Saturday, October 22, 2005


Over something with a population that obviously varies greatly anyhow

Saving the endangered delta smelt, a tiny fish considered a key indicator of the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a report to be released Thursday. The price tag includes projects that also could aid other troubled species and the overall ecology of the delta, which provides drinking water to more than 70 percent of Californians. This summer, scientists said the delta smelt population had fallen to its lowest level since scientific measurements began in 1959. Three other bellwether fish populations also are at record or near-record lows and would likely benefit from the delta smelt plan. The delta smelt is considered particularly vulnerable, however, because its one-year life cycle means a catastrophic collapse could eliminate the species.

Options to restore the population and their costs vary, according to the 14-point recovery plan obtained by The Associated Press. The report, developed by the state Department of Water Resources and Department of Fish and Game, also said further research could affect decisions on what actions to take. "This gives us a range of things we could do," said Chuck Armor, a California Department of Fish and Game biologist. "Some of that is pretty big dollar amounts. The next step will be ... how do we choose among those options and how do we pay for it?" Armor manages the Interagency Ecological Program, which is composed of six federal and three state agencies that track the delta's ecology.

U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo, chairman of the House Resources Committee, objected that the plan includes myriad water projects under the umbrella of rescuing the delta smelt. He calls it a possible tactic to curry favor with lawmakers who would have to approve funding. Pombo also was surprised that none of the proposed actions focuses on foreign species that have invaded the delta and are suspected of causing problems for native fish. "I do have a lot of concerns about the underlying science," said Pombo, a Republican whose Tracy home borders the delta. He said a survey just a few years ago showed the delta smelt were so prolific that they might qualify for removal from endangered species protection.

One proposal would spend $75 million to install permanent gates that would be used each spring to dam water in some parts of the delta. That would raise the water level and make it easier to pump irrigation water. The report says the barriers and increased volume of water would keep smelt and other fish species from being sucked into the pumps.

The report also suggests studying whether it makes sense to divert some fresh water entirely around the delta to the giant pumps that send it to Southern California. A proposed "peripheral canal" was rejected by California voters in 1982. But over the next two years, the California Bay-Delta Authority is to reconsider diversion projects, which the draft report says would cost billions of dollars .....

More here


Within hours of Turkey being confirmed as the latest nation to fall prey to bird flu, many in Britain began exhibiting the first symptom of an encroaching pandemic - a total loss of perspective.

Those who should be most worried by the arrival of the dreaded H5N1 virus in Europe are also least likely to know about it, as they are birds. Despite all the scary talk of a repeat of the Spanish Flu pandemic, which killed at least 20 million in 1918-19, the new virus has yet to make the critical jump to humans. Those that have died so far - barely 70 people worldwide - have all been in close contact with birds carrying the virus. As yet, not a single case of human-to-human transmission has occurred.

The doom-mongers may well be right in saying it is only a matter of time. Yet the fact remains that, even at this very early stage, the world's health agencies are already on full alert. Compare that to SARS, the almost-forgotten deadly form of pneumonia that emerged in China in 2002. By the time Chinese officials admitted they had a problem, the SARS virus had made the jump into humans, spread across Asia and was killing 10 per cent of those it infected - a hit-rate even worse than the dreaded Spanish Flu.

Despite being on the brink of a pandemic, the world's health agencies snapped into action and stopped the virus in its tracks. And they did it not with fancy genetic medicine or mass vaccination, but by grabbing anyone who looked unwell and slinging them in isolation hospitals. In the end, the global toll was less than 800.

The SARS epidemic was a damned close-run thing. But the way it was beaten should soothe the nerves of anyone infected by the flap over bird flu



Clinical trials will begin within weeks on a Liverpool-produced vaccine for the deadly bird flu virus which it is feared could kill millions of people worldwide. Experts at the Chiron plant, in Speke, have spent several months working on a vaccine for the H5N1 avian flu virus. A spokeswoman for the company told the Daily Post last night that thousands of doses would be shipped to the US in the next few weeks when scientists will begin testing it on humans.

Fears of a global bird flu pandemic grew over the weekend after a suspected outbreak at a turkey farm in Turkey and another possible case among ducks in Romania. It is feared H5N1 could mutate and acquire the ability to pass from human to human, threatening the lives of millions of people worldwide. Around 60 people in Asia have already died from the virus which was first identified at a chicken farm in South Korea in 2003.

In May last year, the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) awarded a contract to Chiron to produce 8,000 test vaccines against H5N1. The Chiron spokeswoman said: "The H5N1 test vaccines have been produced in Liverpool and will be supplied to NIAID for testing later in the autumn." She added it would be difficult to say how long it would take before the vaccine would gain final approval. "There is obviously a lot of focus on this right now, but it would depend on what the mechanism was for approval - it might be there is a variation on the normal," she said..

Experts at Liverpool have already produced a test vaccine for another strain of bird flu, H9N2, which has recently undergone trials in Italy. At the end of last week, US President George Bush called in the chief executive of Chiron, along with representatives from other pharmaceutical firms, to the White House and urged them to speed up their efforts to head off a possible global pandemic. The US Health and Human Services secretary, Mike Leavitt, said after the meeting: "We talked about what is necessary to get to the goal of having enough vaccine in the shortest possible time."



What was done:
The authors investigated the thermosteric (i.e., due to temperature only) sea-level change over the last 50 years using the global ocean temperature data sets of Levitus et al. (2000) and Ishii et al. (2003).

What was learned:
It was found that thermosteric sea level variations are dominated by decadal oscillations of the planet's main coupled ocean-atmosphere climatic perturbations (El Ni¤o-Southern Oscillation, Pacific Decadal Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation). In terms of the global mean, in the words of the authors, "thermosteric trends computed over 10-year windows exhibit a time oscillation of around a 20-year period," and they say that these trends "show large fluctuations in time, with positive values (in the range 1 to 1.5 mm/year for the decade centered on 1970) and negative values (-1 to -1.5 mm/year for the decade centered on 1980)."

What it means:
Over the full half-century period of data, there has been a net rise in sea level due to the thermal expansion of sea water, but only because the record begins at the bottom of a trough and ends at the top of a peak. In between these two points, there are both higher and lower values, so that one cannot be sure what would be implied if earlier data were available or what will be implied as more data are acquired. Noting that sea level trends derived from Topex/Poseidon altimetry over 1993-2003 are "mainly caused by thermal expansion" and are thus "very likely a non-permanent feature," Lombard et al. conclude that "we simply cannot extrapolate sea level into the past or the future using satellite altimetry alone."

Consequently, even the 50 years of global ocean temperature data we possess are insufficient to tell us much about the degree of global warming that may have occurred over the past half-century, as any long-term increase in global thermosteric sea level it may have caused is absolutely dwarfed by decadal-scale variability.

Lombard, A., Cazenave, A., Le Traon, P.-Y. and Ishii, M. 2005. "Contribution of thermal expansion to present-day sea-level change revisited". Global and Planetary Change 47: 1-16.

From: CO2 Science Magazine, 19 October 2005


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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