Archive for October, 2009

About Living In Southwest USA

October 31, 2009

I just heard on telivision a person say he would never live in Phoenix, Arizona because of the ravages of global warming will be felt there first. I have heard that before. Most recently in the global warming lecture series that I am attending. Ernie Niemi said water problems will shape the western USA soon and he would not live in cities like Phoenix, Arizona where these water problems would show up first. He would advise his children to stear clear of cities like Phoenix but he will not be around long enough to wag a finger at places like Phoenix but he is not going to spend time in places that are still over 100 degrees in late October.

I know really nice people who live in Pnoenix but for reasons simular to Neimi I will stear clear and I hope my children do so.

The interesting thing about Neimi’s data (at least I thought so) was that one of the scenario’s he is modelling shows what he calls an ecosystem “collapse”at + 9% celsius. I would say that in that temperature range we are seeing a transition fron ecosystems that can sustain us to a desertification process which we may, or may not, survive.

Doesnt that give you the creeps that that is even being modelled? It gets back to what Gore so simply and wisely said “how hard do you want to fall?”

Matt

Climate Change and Yellowstone National Park

October 31, 2009

There is an opinion piece in today’s Bozeman Daily Chronicle. It is about the impacts of climate change on Yellowstone’s wildlife. The article is by Pam Mcleod, of the National Parks and Conservation Association. I agree with much about her opinion on what is happening in Yellowstone to it’s iconic wildlife.

The other evening, economist Ernie Nieme said, that most persons who study climate change and national parks like this author Pam Mcleod, think that the pine beetle infestation that is currently devestating Yellowstone’s pine based ecosystems is an artifact of global warming. I very much agree with this and cannot remember beetle devistation at this level. He, like she, mentions the end of Yellowstone’s whitebark pine , a major food source of Yellowstone’s grizzly. I can SEE this happenining as I write this post.

Yellowstone is wildfire country and I have seen wildfires of well over 100,000 acres change entire ecosystems as they rage in Yellowstone National Park and areas around the park. Pine bark beetles will leave huge swaths of pine snags that will further dry as this country drys out as a result of a warming planet. Wild fires will be an artifact of these drying snags and entire ecosystems of what was once forests will begin the desertification process.

If this happens in  places like Yellowstone, what will happen in drier ecosystems like the Great Basin or deserts like the Mojave? Mcleod writes about decreasing poulations of Yellowstone cutthroats, another bear food source. I see the end of the cutworm moth, another major bear food source. I see this happening soon and I can see an outcome, as Yellowstone warms, where food like the calves of elk disappear as a result of a warming climate. Bear’s will disappear soon after this for good in Yellowstone.

I want to be wrong about these outcomes but I fear that I am not.Yellowstone and we may survive the warming planet but I do not think any bear will and I do not see this park as the same without bears…do you?

Matt

P.S. Another typhoon is about to hit the philipines. Who is skeptical about global warming?

Methane’s role in global warming underestimated

October 30, 2009
This is much worse than anything Carbon Dioxide can do.
Matt
By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY

Greenhouse gas calculations blame carbon dioxide too much for global warming, and methane too little, suggest researchers Thursday. In the journal Science, a team led by Drew Shindell of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York finds that chemical interactions between greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide cause more global warming than previously estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other efforts. “The total amount of warming doesn’t change, just the balance of gasses behind it,” Shindell says.The world’s climate warmed an average about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit from 1906 to 2005, very likely due to industrial greenhouse gases, the IPCC concluded in 2007, adding that carbon dioxide is “most important” greenhouse gas. Methane is a greenhouse gas produced by lanfills, agriculture and some industries.In the study, Shindell and colleagues added chemical interactions between aerosols and greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon monoxide to a century-long model of climate change. They wanted to see the effects on each gas’s “Global Warming Potential,” or individual contribution to global warming. Methane played a bigger role than expected, suggesting that climate treaties such as the 1997 Kyoto Protocol need to consider it more carefully, the study says. Greenhouse gases are transparent to sunlight, but retain heat in the atmosphere, raising global average temperatures. Burning fossil fuels, deforestation and other human activities have raised greenhouse gas levels to historic values in the last three centuries. “There is no way, other than aggressive geoengineering, to come close to meeting the world leaders? goal of overall warming not exceeding (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial (levels) without focusing on BOTH carbon dioxide and non-carbon dioxide emissions,” says Michael MacCracken of the Climate Institute, by email. “This is not an either-or choice — we must do both to have any chance at all. “Because non-carbon dioxide gasses also cause air pollution, MacCracken and Shindell both suggest that politicians may embrace limiting those emissions in developing nations more quickly than carbon dioxide ones. China has about 750,000 air-quality-related deaths annually according to the World Health Organization, for example. In December, representatives of 192 nations head to Copenhagen to work on an international agreement to limit emissions. On the international front, “getting priorities right on the non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases has some real value,” says MacCracken, a former Clinton-administration climate scientist. If negotiations keep stalling on carbon dioxide emissions debate, then “all of our efforts on the non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases won’t make much difference,” he says. “There needs to be a deal and, in my view, cutting non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases and soot can be a helpful bridge to getting an agreement.”Current emissions of aerosols actually cool the atmosphere an average about 1.26 degrees Fahrenheit, notes aerosol expert Joyce Penner of the University of Michigan. “So changing aerosol concentrations through changing greenhouse gas emissions is certainly a factor that needs to be considered,” Penner says.” I think that what is needed here is a holistic approach to climate control that takes into account all the factors that influence climate change (including the present day “protection” by aerosol emissions).”

Earth Cools, and Fight Over Warming Heats Up

October 30, 2009

Matt

Then came a development unforeseen by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC: Data suggested that Earth’s temperature was beginning to drop.

That has reignited debate over what has become scientific consensus: that climate change is due not to nature, but to humans burning fossil fuels. Scientists who don’t believe in man-made global warming cite the cooling as evidence for their case. Those who do believe in man-made warming dismiss the cooling as a blip triggered by fleeting changes in ocean currents; they predict greenhouse gases will produce rising temperatures again soon.

The reality is more complex. A few years of cooling doesn’t mean that people aren’t heating up the planet over the long term. But the cooling wasn’t predicted by all the computer models that underlie climate science. That has led to one point of agreement: The models are imperfect.

“There is a lot of room for improvement” in the models, says Mojib Latif, a climate scientist in Germany and co-author of a paper predicting the planet will cool for perhaps a decade before starting to warm again — a long-term trend he attributes to greenhouse-gas emissions. “You need to know what you can believe and can’t believe from the models.”

The renewed discussion of inherent shortcomings in climate models comes on the cusp of potentially big financial commitments. In five weeks, diplomats from around the world will meet in Copenhagen to try to hash out a new agreement to curb global greenhouse-gas emissions. The science continues to evolve.

Economics Talk On Climate Change

October 30, 2009

We are having a  series on Global Climate Change. It is in Bozeman and it is weekly and it is at the public library.

Last week they had a Fish, Wildlife and Parks Lobbiest and #3 man talk about climate change. I guessed that my knowledge base on climate change was way ahead of his but I was gratified that the agenciees #3 man believed very much in a changing climate and that is good.

Today’s speaker was, EcoNorthwest Economist-Ernie Niemi. He was scientifically parsimonius but he was quite good. His “just the facts Jack” attitude was frustrating at times but this guys heart was in the right place. He said what gratified him was so many people came out to hear him speak

He acknowledged his data came from a model that had a result that was middle of the road. He divulged that the science told a far more dire story than his data did. He showed a map of recent data that showed we would increase our temerature in this country to 9% above the 2,000 level and he said many of our known ecosystems would go ito a “tipping point” .I think we will see a desertification process at that point (mid-century) and droughts will be a persistant part of our ecosystrm, to the poin that it will shape the ecosystem, and not at the boundaries. He saw a lot of hope in the Waxman-Markey Climate Change Bill. So do I.

There was much data that he was missing and he was the first to admit his data was conservative but things he had no control over he threw up his arms and shrugged off. He was very much like my friends at Wild Joe’s Coffee Shop. He would work on things he could control and just forget what he had no control over.

I enjoyed listening to Niemi. He was pragmatic and not dry, like most in his proffession. Like Niemi, my best hope was that the room was overstocked full of smart persons who cared about the impacts of global climate change.

Matt

Global Warming Cycles Threaten Endangered Primate Species

October 29, 2009

Global Climate Change impacts all of the earths species. Here is an article on how this change will probably impact some new world primates. As you can surmise knowledgeable scientists do not think primates will not make it  through this change.

Wiederholt and Post decided to concentrate on the way the oscillating weather patterns directly and indirectly influence plants and animals in the tropics. Until the research by Wiederholt and Post, this intricate network of interacting factors had rarely been analyzed as a single system. “We know very little about how climate change and global warming are affecting primate species,” explains Wiederholt. “Up to one third of primates species are threatened with extinction, so it is really crucial to understand how these changes in climate may be affecting their populations.”

The research will be published on 28 October 2009 in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, a fast-track journal of the Royal Society of London.

The scientists focused on the large-bodied monkeys of South America, which are highly threatened. Choosing one species from each of the four genera of Atelines, Wiederholt and Post examined abundance trends and dynamics in populations of the muriqui (Brachyteles hypoxanthus, formerly B. arachnoides) of Brazil, the woolly monkey (Lagothrix lagotricha) in Colombia, Geoffroy’s spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi), which was studied on Barro Colorado Island in Panama, and the red howler monkey (Alouatta seniculus) in Venezuela.

For each species, long-term research projects carried out by other teams over decades have documented the abundance and feeding patterns of these primates. By studying the different species, Wiederholt and Post hoped to highlight the importance of the response to changing climate conditions of the trees that provide the dietary resources for the monkeys. All the species live in social groups and spend most of their time in the trees of tropical forests, using their limbs and prehensile tails to move around or to suspend themselves from branches. The monkeys differ in the proportions of fruit, flowers, and leaves in their diets. Woolly monkeys and spider monkeys predominantly eat fruit, howler monkeys specialize in leaf-eating, and muriquis also eat leaves but consume more fruit than howlers. “Long-term studies like those we derived data from are incredibly valuable for illuminating effects of global warming,” Post said. “Unfortunately for endangered species, such studies also are incredibly rare. We hope our results bring attention to the importance of maintaining long-term monitoring efforts.”

The team hypothesized that the trees’ response to the warming events might provide a crucial link between changes in climate and monkey abundance. To test their hypothesis, Wiederholt and Post needed to compare information on the monkey populations with data on fluctuations in food resources such as leaves, seeds, and fruits. Then, using statistical models, they investigated how food and abundance information related to annual temperature and rainfall information.

Detailed ecological information was not available on each of the forests in which the target species live, so the team used information from Barro Colorado Island — a lowland, moist, tropical forest where Geoffroy’s spider monkey was studied — as a general indicator of what happened over time in each of the habitats. From Barro Colorado, the scientists knew the number of tree species that were fruiting and flowering each month during the years between 1987 and 2004. They also looked at the annual values of flower and seed production for 44 specific tree species with seeds that are spread by mammals.

To examine these factors on a regional and local scale, Wiederholt and Post used information on mean annual temperature, rainfall, and the length of the wet and dry seasons for the years between 1960 and 1990 in Venezuela, Brazil, Barro Colorado Island, and Colombiaavailable. They obtained these data from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and from the Center for Climatic Research at the University of Delaware. “We expected to find a strong relationship between the large-scale climate and the population dynamics of these species,” explains Wiederholt. “We also wanted to tease out which measures of vegetation-response to climatic conditions were most influential.”

The scientists obtained large-scale climate data from the southern oscillation index (SOI), the El Niño-Southern Oscillation indices (ENSO3, 34, 4, and 12), and the Southern Hemisphere temperature-anomaly index, which are available from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean provided a rainfall anomaly index. The El Niño and La Niña phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO — often called simply “El Niño”) are the cycles of warm/dry and cool/wet periods in oceanic and atmospheric temperatures in the tropical Pacific region. These cycles often are associated with disruptive events in to central and northern South America, such as floods, droughts, or disturbances in fishing or agriculture.

The results of the team’s analyses were spectacular. All four monkey species showed drops in abundance relating to large-scale climate fluctuations. Even though the monkey populations were separated by large distances, the three fruit-eating species had synchronous responses to large-scale warming. During El Niño warming events, trees produced more fruit than usual. Then, during the subsequent La Niña cooling events, the trees produced much less fruit, resulting in a local scarcity or even famine.

Some ecologists have speculated that high production of fruit during El Niño events may have been triggered by the increase in solar radiation, despite lower-than-usual rainfall. However, high productivity during an El Niño event might also use up the stored reserves of the trees, which would have difficulty recovering during the subsequent La Niña events, when weather was wet, cloudy, and cool. This mechanism would explain why the fruit-eating monkeys showed a delayed response to the El Niño events after a lag of one or two years.

Howler monkeys also showed declines with warm and dry El Niño events, but their population fall was out of sync with that of the fruit-eating species. The mechanism is not yet clear, but Wiederholt has some ideas. She notes, “Primate researchers have seen elevated adult female mortality and lowered birthrates among red howlers in drought years. Since leaf flush often occurs at the start of the wet season, a prolonged dry season might delay the availability of this resource for the howlers and perhaps cause them nutritional stress.”

Warmer temperatures also may cause leaves — the howlers’ primary food — to mature faster, which would accelerate the leaves’ acquisition of toxins and other chemical defenses against monkeys. The factor that the scientists found was most influenced by changes in climate was the monthly maximum number of tree species that were fruiting. Climate changes also were highly correlated with the monthly maximum number of species that were flowering and with annual seed production. The length of the dry season also was highly correlated with annual flower production. Thus, vegetation responses to climatic conditions substantially altered the food resources available to primates, which in turn influenced the decline or rise in monkey abundance.

Global warming already has produced a rise of 0.74 degrees over the last century, and an additional increase of 1.8 to 4 degrees Celsius is anticipated over the next century. “El Niño events are expected to increase in frequency with global warming,” explains Post. “This study suggests that the consequences of such intensification of ENSO could be devastating for several species of New World monkeys.”

The researchers say that now, more than ever, quantitative studies that delineate the complex ecological links between climate, vegetation, and animal survival are urgently needed.

This study was funded by Penn State’s Graduate Fellowship Program in a grant to Ruscena Wiederholt.

Inhofe Is a Minority

October 28, 2009

This guy is outrageous and even if you believe in global climate change you know on the map where he stands. Some of the people who can be really bad on climate change are grey in their beliefs.

Matt

By Dana Milbank
Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It must be very lonely being the last flat-earther.

Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, committed climate-change denier, found himself in just such a position Tuesday morning as the Senate environment committee, on which he is the ranking Republican, took up legislation on global warming. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was in talks with Democrats over a compromise bill — the traitor! And as Inhofe listened, fellow Republicans on the committee — turncoats! — made it clear that they no longer share, if they ever did, Inhofe’s view that man-made global warming is the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”

 “Eleven academies in industrialized countries say that climate change is real; humans have caused most of the recent warming,” admitted Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). “If fire chiefs of the same reputation told me my house was about to burn down, I’d buy some fire insurance.”

 An oil-state senator, David Vitter (R-La), said that he, too, wants to “get us beyond high-carbon fuels” and “focus on conservation, nuclear, natural gas and new technologies like electric cars.” And an industrial-state senator, George Voinovich (R-Ohio), acknowledged that climate change “is a serious and complex issue that deserves our full attention.”

 Then there was poor Inhofe. “The science is more definitive than ever? You keep saying that because you want to believe it so much,” he said bitterly. He offered to furnish a list of scientists who once believed in climate change but “who are solidly on the other side right now.” The science, he said, “already has shifted” against global-warming theory. “Science is not settled! Everyone knows it’s not settled!”

 Inhofe called for more oil drilling. His aides tried to debunk the other senators’ points by passing around papers titled “Rapid Response.” Mid-hearing, Inhofe’s former spokesman, now in the private sector, sent out an e-mail — “Prominent Russian Scientist: ‘We should fear a deep temperature drop — not catastrophic global warming.’ ”

 The climate of the hearing itself seemed designed to burn Inhofe. Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), sponsor of the climate bill, insisted on having it in a too-small hearing room, causing the place to overheat from all the bodies. Though none of the committee Republicans are supporting her cap-and-trade plan for carbon emissions so far, Boxer made it clear that her primary grievance is with one Republican. “Since John Warner retired, I don’t have a Republican partner on the committee, but I am appreciative for the productive conversations I’ve had with Senator Alexander, about nuclear energy, and for the wide-ranging conversations and meetings I had with Senator Voinovich,” Boxer said, pointedly omitting Inhofe.

 Inhofe began by expressing surprise that Boxer would even use the term “global warming,” asserting that “people have been running from that term ever since we went out of that natural warming cycle about nine years ago.” And he turned with a fury on Graham, his fellow Republican, for an “apparent compromise will also entail a massive expansion of government bureaucracy.”

 Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the first witness, turned up the temperature further on Inhofe. He gave a Gore-like tour of climate catastrophe: “the science is screaming at us to take action . . . pine beetles have destroyed 6.5 million acres of forestland . . . 180 Alaskan villages are losing permafrost . . . we have columns of methane rising now in the ocean.”

 Kerry went on like this for an extraordinary 26 1/2 minutes that included the phrase, uttered with no apparent self-consciousness, “we invented wind.” At various points, Kerry signaled an end with “I’ll just close” or “I’ll just end on this note” but continued on. This infuriated nobody as much as Inhofe, whom Kerry repeatedly singled out for a lecture. “Senator Inhofe, you just talked about the costs of doing some of this,” he said. But “the cost of doing nothing,” Kerry countered, “is far more expensive for your folks in Oklahoma.”

 Inhofe, who glared back at Kerry, still seethed a few minutes later when he interrupted the chairman. “You know, I sat here for 25 minutes listening to Senator Kerry talk about me, and I didn’t have a chance to respond,” he complained. “I will, however.”

 “I so appreciate it,” Boxer said.

 Inhofe molested the majority by having committee staffers put up on the dais a series of 3-by-5-foot posters with messages such as “Congressional Budget Chief Says Climate Bill Would Cost Jobs” and “U.S. Unemployment High/Why Kill More Jobs With Cap & Trade?” But this failed to cool Inhofe’s temper, and by the time his turn came to question the administration witnesses, Inhofe was so steamed that he used his entire five minutes to vent.

 He described the Democrats’ proposal as “the largest tax increase in — in history!” Agitated, his utterances disjointed, Inhofe went on: “Now, I also was — was kind of — I don’t want any of the media to think just because I had to sit here and listen to our good friend Senator Kerry for 28 minutes, that I don’t have responses to everything he said.”

 Nobody doubted that Inhofe had a response. The doubt was whether the response would make any sense.

A Lot of Great News About Global Warming Boring

October 27, 2009

Secratary Chu is in the backdrop now talking…snore-and more snores-about the smart-grid for alternative energy.

Chu is talking about “nuts and bolts” technological solutions to key global warming problems and few people are listening. Chu is a definite “white hat” person but as a speaker “he aint no Obama” and he is tackling such a dry, impotant topic. You know smart grids are not huge ice shelves breaking off, glaciers melting nor polar bear cubs drowning but it is definitely an important global warming topic.

So how do you get people to listen to the Chu’s of the world as they talk about smart grids as the next beautiful polar bear cub dies? This subject (polar bear plight) brings tears to my eyes as I write about it but I know smart grids are in humanities future if we are to survive global warming.

Matt

Statasticians Reject Global Cooling; This Is A Warming Planet

October 27, 2009

By SETH BORENSTEIN

AP Science Writer

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON – An analysis of global temperatures by independent statisticians shows the Earth is still warming and not cooling as some global warming skeptics are claiming that the planet is cooling. The analysis was conducted at the request of The Associated Press to investigate the legitimacy of talk of a cooling trend that has been spreading on the Internet, fueled by some news reports, a new book and temperatures that have been cooler in a few recent years. In short, it is not true, according to the statisticians who contributed to the AP analysis. The statisticians, reviewing two sets of temperature data, found no trend of falling temperatures over time.2005 hottest year recorded. U.S. government data show the decade that ends in December will be the warmest in 130 years of record-keeping, and 2005 was the hottest year recorded. The case that the Earth might be cooling partly stems from recent weather. Last year was cooler than previous years. It has been a while since the superhot years of 1998 and 2005. So is this a longer climate trend or just weather’s normal ups and downs. In a blind test, the AP gave temperature data to four independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented. The experts found no true temperature declines over time. “If you look at the data and sort of cherry-pick a microtrend within a bigger trend, that technique is particularly suspect,” said John Grego, a professor of statistics at the University of South Carolina . Yet the idea that things are cooling has been repeated in opinion columns, a BBC news story posted on the Drudge Report and in a new book by the authors of the best-seller “Freakonomics.” Last week, a poll by the Pew Research Center found that only 57 percent of Americans now believe there is strong scientific evidence for global warming, down from 77 percent in 2006. Global warming skeptics base their claims on an unusually hot year in 1998. Since then, they say, temperatures have dropped — thus, a cooling trend. But it is not that simple. Temperatures are rising once more. Since 1998, temperatures have dipped, soared, fallen again and are now rising once more. Records kept by the British meteorological office and satellite data used by climate skeptics still show 1998 as the hottest year. However, data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA show 2005 has topped 1998. Published peer-reviewed scientific research generally cites temperatures measured by ground sensors, which are from NOAA, NASA and the British, more than the satellite data. The recent Internet chatter about cooling led NOAA’s climate data center to re-examine its temperature data. It found no cooling trend. “The last 10 years are the warmest 10-year period of the modern record,” said NOAA climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt. “Even if you analyze the trend during that 10 years, the trend is actually positive, which means warming.” The AP sent expert statisticians NOAA’s year-to-year ground temperature changes over 130 years and the 30 years of satellite-measured temperatures preferred by skeptics and gathered by scientists at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Statisticians who analyzed the data found a distinct decades-long upward trend in the numbers, but could not find a significant drop in the past 10 years in either data set. The ups and downs during the last decade repeat random variability in data as far back as 1880. Saying there’s a downward trend since 1998 is not scientifically legitimate, said David Peterson, a retired Duke University statistics professor and one of those analyzing the numbers. Identifying a downward trend is a case of “people coming at the data with preconceived notions,” said Peterson, author of the book “Why Did They Do That? An Introduction to Forensic Decision Analysis.” Satellite data tends to be cooler. One prominent skeptic said that to find the cooling trend, the 30 years of satellite temperatures must be used. The satellite data tends to be cooler than the ground data. The key to that is making sure that 1998 is part of the trend, he added…

BBC ‘bear man’ documentary explodes honey myth

October 27, 2009

 

Lynn Rogers is an interesting, complex man.
Matt
Bearwalker of the Northwoods reveals how US wildlife biologist Lynn Rogers’ extraordinary relationship with wild black bears has enabled him to explode numerous myths about the animals – and discover surprising new behaviour

 

Lynn Rogers and Black Bears Of The NorthwoodsLynn Rogers and the black bears of the Northwoods. Following the fortunes of mother bear June and her three cubs over a year, the film reveals an intimate portrait of the lives of black bears. Photograph: Lynn Rogers
Lynn Rogers will be in a PBS film Wednsday evening, in a special entitled: The Bearwalker of the Northwoods. Indeed this man lives in the Northwoods of Minnesota. The film is just as much about Rogers as his black bear subjects.
Matt