Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Australia: Warmer water devastates Great Barrier Reef's seabirds

Is the article below a sign of growing realism? The scientists quoted attribute warming to changes in sea currents, not anything in the atmosphere. And they talk of climate "fluctuations" rather than warming. But you would not know that if you just read the headline and the first sentence. Even the Australian media are faithful to the one true religion

GLOBAL warming has been blamed for dramatic declines in seabird populations on the Great Barrier Reef and surrounding waters. Tens of thousands of seabirds are failing to breed because warmer water from more frequent and intense El Nino events means there is insufficient food to raise their young, according to research compiled by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Warm water near the surface forces fish, plankton and other prey into deeper water, where it cannot be reached by seabirds.

The research forms the basis of a report commissioned by the marine park authority and the Queensland Environment Protection Agency to address the impact of climate change on seabirds, and obtained by The Australian under freedom of information laws. "Recent analyses at key sites have revealed significant declines in populations of some of the most common seabird species, which raises concerns regarding the threatening processes acting on these populations," says the report, prepared by C&R Consulting.

The report, Seabirds and Shorebirds in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area in a Changing Climate, says the reef is home to between 1.3 and 1.7million seabirds and half the world's population of several species. The results of research by Bradley Congdon and five other seabird experts working for the marine park authority have been published in another report, Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef: A Vulnerability Assessment. The authors concluded that recent climate fluctuations were having significant detrimental impacts on seabird populations.

The two reports paint a grim picture of the predicament for seabirds. In the Coral Sea, populations of great and least frigatebirds declined by 6-7 per cent annually between 1992 and 2004. Despite a return to more favourable conditions since the severe El Nino event of 1997-98, populations have not recovered. On Raine Island, in the northern barrier reef, populations of at least 10 of the 14 breeding seabird species have been falling. Numbers of common noddies have fallen by 96 per cent, sooty terns by 84 per cent, bridled terns by 69 per cent, and red-footed boobies by 68 per cent.

The park authority's vulnerability assessment report says there is no evidence of significant human interference or habitat loss on Raine Island, indicating "depletion of marine food stocks linked to changing climate" as the cause. On the Swain Reefs, in the southern reef, the number of brown booby nests has dropped from 350 in 1975 to less than 30 since 2000. "The declining trend was consistent throughout the region and was not simply a consequence of inter-seasonal migration between islands," the report says.

On Heron Island, the black noddy population had been rising since early last century, but the number of active nests fell from about 70,000 to 30,000 between 1996 and 2000, with mass mortality of adults and chicks in the El Nino year of 1998.

In 2002, another year of abnormally high sea surface temperatures, almost none of the huge numbers of wedge-tailed shearwaters that normally nest annually on Heron Island succeeded in raising young. Off Heron in 2003, a 1C increase in sea surface temperature reduced feeding frequency by shearwaters from one night in two to one night in five. In 2006, a similar rise in water temperature resulted in the number of daily meals fed to the chicks of black noddies falling from three to one-half.

Negative impacts on seabird populations were recorded in all parts of the barrier reef, in virtually all species, and in nearly all components of reproductive biology. Timing of breeding, year-to-year recruitment, number of breeding pairs, annual hatching, chick growth and adult survival were all affected.


Parts of California see coldest temps since 1893

A record cold snap in Mendocino County over the weekend caused little damage to wine grapes but chilled the hearts of farmers who already have suffered huge losses this year. "It's just one more thing on top of one more thing. You kind of hold your breath," said Potter Valley wine grape grower Bill Pauli.

Temperatures dropped to 31 degrees in the Ukiah Valley on Saturday night and early Sunday morning, the coldest Oct. 12 morning since record keeping began in Ukiah in 1893, said Troy Nicolini, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Eureka. The previous record was 34 degrees in 1916.

Temperatures were milder in Sonoma County, and there were no reports of frost-related problems, county officials said. Farmers in Redwood Valley and other cooler regions in Mendocino County reported temperatures as low as 27 degrees.

Mendocino County wine-grape growers were fearful because they already had lost an estimated 30 percent of their crop to frost in the early spring. The crop also was hit by an early rain that threatened to cause rot, and the region endured a wildfire-choked summer that had the potential to cause smoke damage.

More here

Cold temps in Oregon break 118-year-old record

Cold temperatures set several new record lows this weekend, including a low of 22 Saturday in downtown Pendleton that broke a 11820year-old record of 24.

Record lows started falling Thursday with a new low of 20 for Meacham, four20degrees cooler than the previous record from 2006, according to information from the Web site for the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Pendleton.

Heppner and Long Creek then set new low temperatures Friday. Heppner hit 29, the coldest that date has seen since 1960 when it was 30; and Long Creek was 21, besting the 1987 record by four degrees.

Saturday set multiple new lows, including the record 22 in downtown Pendleton. John Day dropped to 21, breaking the 1990 record of 23; Meacham's 15 broke the previous low of 20 from 2002; and Mitchell set a record with 21, five degrees cooler than the 2002 record.

Additionally, the top of Airport Hill in Pendleton set a new low of 25; the previous record was 33. And the agricultural experimental station north of Pendleton recorded a low of 18, five degrees cooler than the previous record from 1990.

The cold continued to set records Sunday. Meacham, for the third time in four days, set a record with a low of 15, one degree cooler than the 2002 record. Long Creek and Mitchell again set new records as well Long Creek's low of 21 broke with 1969 record of 25, and Mitchell's 21 broke the 1949 record of 24.

The top of Airport Hill in Pendleton also set another record with 24; the previous record was 28 from 2002. And downtown Pendleton's 21 chilled past the previous record of 25 from 1931. Also Sunday, two-miles north of Hermiston cooled to 18, breaking the 1953 record of 20.

More here

Alaska glaciers grew this year, thanks to colder weather

Two hundred years of glacial shrinkage in Alaska, and then came the winter and summer of 2007-2008. Unusually large amounts of winter snow were followed by unusually chill temperatures in June, July and August.

"In mid-June, I was surprised to see snow still at sea level in Prince William Sound," said U.S. Geological Survey glaciologist Bruce Molnia. "On the Juneau Icefield, there was still 20 feet of new snow on the surface of the Taku Glacier in late July. At Bering Glacier, a landslide I am studying, located at about 1,500 feet elevation, did not become snow free until early August. "In general, the weather this summer was the worst I have seen in at least 20 years."

Never before in the history of a research project dating back to 1946 had the Juneau Icefield witnessed the kind of snow buildup that came this year. It was similar on a lot of other glaciers too. "It's been a long time on most glaciers where they've actually had positive mass balance," Molnia said. That's the way a scientist says the glaciers got thicker in the middle.


New book

With so much attention on the proclaimed "climate crisis" prevalent in the mainstream media today, it's difficult to determine the facts from the hysteria. Add NASA scientist James Hansen and politicians with deep pockets like Al Gore into the mix, and global warming hysteria has become the shot heard around the world. Fear-mongering and inexact science have become the rule rather than the exception, but many folks like you, me and author Paul Spite remain skeptical of man-made climate change. I recently had an opportunity to interview Paul about his book, A Climate Crisis A La Gore. In this two-part series, I'll post the 10 questions I presented to Paul as well as his responses:

SGW: In your book, you said that you were surprised to find that you agreed with many of the points in Al Gore's book, An Assault on Reason. Which of those points made in Gore's book are you in most agreement and why?

PS: There are really several. For various reasons, I completely agree with Mr. Gore that Americans have lost, and are continuing to lose, the ability to reason out the truth. They are as follows:

a. To a large extent, I agree that this has resulted from our dependence upon video for entertainment, first in the form of television, then movies, DVD, the Internet, etc.

b. Reliance upon this type of entertainment has immersed us in continual exposure to advertising, of which the sole purpose is a focus upon our own desires, giving rise to self centeredness that is tearing our once United States apart.

c. Our substitution of this form of non-participatory and passive stimulation for the consideration of ideas once enjoyed in print has made the masses extremely susceptible to manipulation by slick advertising campaigns by those with enough money to afford them.

d. It is morally wrong to falsely link two events together, then use the fear thereby created to seize power or profit from those willing to surrender them in return for the illusion of safety from threats that were always just imaginary.

e. I also agree with Mr. Gore that those using such tactics to manipulate others should never be trusted again.

SGW: It seems that many ideals espoused by the former Vice President changed radically between the writing of An Assault on Reason and the release of An Inconvenient Truth. Which one of those changes in ideology has the potential to have the biggest impact on Americans today?

PS: I do not agree that any of Mr. Gore's ideology has changed. He is espousing the same pseudo-scientific environmental nonsense that he has been for many years now. The difference in the ideas in the two presentations lies in their intended purpose. An Inconvenient Truth was intended to frighten the American people into pushing Congress to pass the carbon tax legislation, solely for the purpose of putting huge amounts of power and profit into the hands of a select few. That profit will cost an unthinking public dearly.

The Assault on Reason, in part a vengeful and spiteful attack on President Bush for winning their electoral contest, actually has a far cruder (believe it or not) basis. It is another attempt to scare the American public into pushing Congress into another type of legislation, this one to more specifically benefit Mr. Gore. The book urges Americans, for the benefit of our democratic process, to insist Congress pass laws allowing broad band users of the Internet, those who resell parts of that bandwidth to others for a profit, to be allowed use of the Internet for the same fees charged to individual home users. While most would agree that those who use more of anything should pay in accordance with the portion they use, this book lets us know this legislation to prevent such proportional payment is necessary to insure continued freedom and democracy in America. It has nothing to do with Mr. Gore's recently acquired half ownership in a broadband user attempting to compete with "youtube." Just as carbon legislation requiring American industry to subsidize projects by "sustainable" companies has nothing to do with Mr. Gore's half ownership of an investment company buying up ownership of many of the sustainable companies our companies will be forced to pay tribute to.

The amazing thing is Mr. Gore counting on America being so stupid as to not notice the difference in the two sets of ideas. As to which has the most ability to influence America, the carbon legislation will as absolutely destroy our economy as it did that of Czechoslovakia. The assault on reason was just a foolish exercise lacking greatly in the sophistication of the first ruse. The difference between the two suggests strongly of other minds behind the environmental coup in progress.

SGW: Mr. Gore had a mentor of sorts in his early days as an advocate for change to fight global warming. Who was he and how did his relationship with Al Gore change over time?

PS: I do not know if Professor Roger Revelle, one of Mr. Gore's instructors in college, claimed our environmental savior as his protege, but Mr. Gore certainly claimed Mr. Revelle as his mentor in his 1992 book, Earth in the Balance. We are told Mr. Revelle drew a correlation between the processes of civilization and changes in the composition of the atmosphere, and what would happen if we did not change, and everything was clear.

Mr. Revelle did not, in fact, make this projection into the future. In a 1984 interview with Omni magazine, asked specifically if CO2 increases were responsible for worsening weather, Dr. Revelle indicated an increase would be more likely to temper weather extremes. In a 1991 article for Cosmos, he warned against the economic harm and potential human suffering possible from acting precipitously to curtail emissions when decades of research were still required to understand the real effect of such gasses. He advocated that we looked before we leaped.

His rebuttal of Mr. Gore's misrepresentation of his work, claiming the proof was not yet definitive enough to cry "wolf," changed the nature of the relationship between them. Three months after that article in Cosmos, Mr. Revelle passed away. The differences between what he believed, and what Mr. Gore claims he believed, became national news in the 1992 presidential election. Mr. Gore's response was to claim his "mentor" had become senile before his death. He also claimed the co-author of the article had lied about Dr. Revelle's involvement. After a defamation suit, an apology was made in 1994. There is no way to know now what Mr. Revelle would think of his proteges current drastic proclamations. We do know he had no time for them while alive.

SGW: According to NASA, 1998 is not the warmest year on record. What was the warmest year on record and where do the top 10 warmest records fall by decade?

PS: Interestingly, these assertions, of what the warmest and coldest years have been, keep shifting around somewhat. The latest release of records I can access indicates that 1934 was actually the warmest year for which we have records. These records have been somewhat repressed as they do indeed represent an inconvenient truth. It is hard to imagine a direct link between drastic increases in industrial CO2 emissions and temperature increases, when almost all the increases in emissions were well after 1934. I do not have data available as to the rank of the decades in terms of temperature, but four of the warmest ten years in the U.S. are from the 1930s, while only three are from the 1990s. Luckily, in the face of unmistakable evidence of a cooling trend, extremist scientists have recently been able to change from proclaiming imminent disaster to a prediction that the effects of our emissions will actually become apparent a varying number of years in the future, well after legislation has passed. They predict the climate will change. Most impressive! More on that later!

SGW: According to your book, even Al Gore acknowledged that carbon dioxide levels seemed to be building in the atmosphere but this is still unconfirmed. In your opinion, why would Gore publish this statement after his An Inconvenient Truth documentary when it clearly objects to the basic principle of his film?

PS: Mr. Gore is a politician, playing as a scientist. With the release of his "documentary," he managed to awaken a scientific community to the idea that his claim to be representing them would lead to the absolute destruction of the esteem of science if his claims were allowed to stand as representing their opinion. There are a vast number of scientists who do not live on grant money, given to study climate change, who would lose their livelihood if there were no danger. These unfunded scientists began very vocal and publicized experiments, discussion, and analysis to prove or disprove the idea of a correlation between CO2 and increased temperatures.

With the Internet filling up with conflicting data before the legislation could be passed, thanks to a tanking economy, Mr. Gore is modifying his rhetoric. He is a politician. Now he is claiming evidence needs to be found to establish the link absolutely. Soon, he will probably claim that, notwithstanding 1.2 million copies of him saying otherwise, he never said there was a definite link. Mr. Gore is a politician. He is counting on the assault on reason having destroyed America's ability to discern or even care about the truth. More on that later as well!


Another Prominent Dissenter

Climatologist Dr. Richard Keen is a lecturer in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado, a member of the American Meteorological Society and has worked with the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Keen specializes in volcanic aerosols and climate change studies and wrote the book "Skywatch: The Western Weather Guide." Keen's Global Warming Quiz asking "Inconvenient Questions" was featured on October 14, 2008 on former Colorado State climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke's Sr. website.

According to Keen, global warming ranges between a "minor inconvenience that's overblown" or "nothing - it doesn't exist" or "a good thing." "Earth has cooled since 1998," Keen noted, "in defiance of the predictions by the UN-IPCC." According to Keen, "The global temperature for 2007 was the coldest in a decade and the coldest of the millennium." After noting the recent cooling temps, Keen wrote "which is why `global warming' is now called `climate change.'" Keen also pointed out that the most Antarctic sea ice on record was recorded in 2007 and then he rhetorically asked: "Did you see [that fact] reported in the news?" Keen's quiz also showed that 10 out of 11 "wacky weather" events occurred in the U.S. before 1957.

Wacky Weather: When did most of the following events occur?

1. Alaskan glaciers melt at the rate of 1 mile per year 1900
2. Alaska bakes at 100 degrees north of the Arctic Circle 1915
3. North Dakota bakes at 120 degrees 1936
4. Hurricane hits Boston with Category 5 winds (180 mph) 1938
5. Hurricane kills half the population of a large southern city Galveston 1900
6. Hurricane destroys most of Los Angeles 1839
7. Half a dozen hurricanes hit the East Coast of the US 1954-1955
8. A dozen tornadoes strike Los Angeles 1983
9. A major US city hit by a hurricane, tornado & earthquake Charleston 1886
10. U.S. warmest year ever; 20 states set new all time heat records 1934
11. Greenland warms - Farmers raise crops and brew beer 1000 A.D.

Keen's global warming PowerPoint also asks: "Since 1949, which [presidential] administration has overseen the smallest increase of greenhouse gas (mostly CO2) emissions?" Keen shows a chart revealing that the answer is President George W. Bush. "U.S. carbon emission growth rate has slowed to 0.2 % per year since 2000," Keen wrote.

Keen's PowerPoint asks is "Kyoto is working?" and then provides data showing the treaty is failing. "Between 1997 and 2004 (the most recent year for which we have complete statistics), carbon dioxide emissions rose as follows: Worldwide Emissions increased 18.0 % - Countries that ratified the protocol increased 21.1 % - Non-ratifiers of the protocol increased 10.0 % - U.S. (a non-ratifier) increased 6.6 %.

75 % of Kyoto signers had more CO2 growth than the U.S. - U.S. emissions have risen only 0.2 % per year since 2000." Keen concludes his PowerPoint by stating: "Enjoy the warm climate while it lasts, and please make enough CO2 to feed a tree."


For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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