Friday, October 02, 2015
Giant king crabs the latest threat from global warming
Could be tasty!
King crabs may be poised to conquer the Antarctic as a result of global warming, scientists have warned.
The creatures could soon be disturbing delicately balanced Antarctic marine ecosystems, where they have not played a role in tens of millions of years, according to a new study.
Rising temperatures of the ocean west of the Antarctic peninsula should make an invasion of king crabs possible within the next several decades, say the researchers.
Lead author Professor Richard Aronson, from Florida Institute of Technology in the US, said: "Because other creatures on the continental shelf have evolved without shell-crushing predators, if the crabs moved in they could radically restructure the ecosystem."
The scientists used an underwater camera sled to film a reproductive population of the crabs for the first time on the continental slope off Marguerite Bay, on the western Antarctic peninsular. That location is only a few hundred metres deeper than the continental shelf where the delicate ecosystem flourishes.
US co-author Dr James McClintock, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said: "The only way to test the hypothesis that the crabs are expanding their depth-range is to track their movements through long-term monitoring."
The research is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Al Gore spreads environmental gospel before climate talks
6 foot sea rise this century? Eric Rignot is the authority quoted but Rignot is actually an engineer who knows very little about glacier dynamics. Prof. Don J. Easterbrook, a geologist, DOES know about glaciers, however, and he has already given a comprehensive rebuttal of Rignot's claims, remarking, "inter alia":
"These assertions are not new—36 years ago, Mercer (1978) suggested that the West Antarctic ice sheet was potentially unstable and others have commented on it before and since then. Here is what some have said: Calving of large icebergs is a natural process unrelated to warming–this ice shelf and others spawn huge icebergs every 6-10 years. Releasing a huge iceberg, by itself, is a normal process. Collapse of Pine Island glacier, if it did occur, would take 1000-2000 years, but it is unlikely to contribute to more than 2.7 cm of sea level rise over the next 100 years. Every 10 years or so ice shelves calve large icebergs, which are not worrisome. This ice stream is unlikely to collapse in our lifetime. "
Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore is busily training an army of organizers to go out and spread his environmental gospel ahead of key climate talks in Paris later this year.
The modern world is collapsing around us and we must change our ways, according to the former US vice president, who has led the training of more than 5,000 people in the last 18 months.
At each session, he delivers an updated version of his Academy Award-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," using the latest news footage and startling videos to show how the very fossil fuels that have powered so much innovation are leading to the demise of society.
Air so hot it melts airport runways, floodwaters that crumble roads and bridges, methane that blows terrifying holes in Siberia and air pollution so thick it has shortened life expectancy in China by several years featured prominently during his three-hour presentation in Miami this week.
"The world that we have built was built for different conditions," Gore told about 1,000 people who came from 80 countries to attend the three-day climate training session.
At times, he lamented killer heat waves, parching drought, a media that doesn't connect the dots between extreme weather and global warming, and what he called "crazy short-term thinking" among politicians who deny that climate change is occurring.
"Don't let anybody tell you that we are going to get on rocket ships and go to Mars and live in hermetically sealed buildings. We couldn't even evacuate the city of New Orleans when a hurricane hit there," he said.
In Florida, where sea level rise threatens the drinking water, the tourist-friendly beaches and billions of dollars in infrastructure, Gore arrived just as Monday's super moon coincided with high tide, flooding some streets in Miami.
The Climate Leadership Reality Corps Training aims to teach people to give similar but shorter presentations in their own communities, each lasting around 20 minutes, so that they can educate others and encourage conservation and renewable energies.
Attendees in Miami were charged no fee to participate, but once their applications were approved, they were required to pay for their own food, lodging and travel.
On the second day, Gore led a panel discussion with leading scientists, including NASA expert Eric Rignot, who warned that 20 to 30 feet (six to nine meters) of sea level rise is considered inevitable, although it's unclear when this will eventually happen.
Pressed by Gore for a more precise timeline, he said to expect at least 6.5 feet before century's end.
Such a scenario would devour many coastal cities worldwide, but Gore counseled his followers to maintain a positive focus, citing progress in the wind and solar industries.
"Despair is paralyzing," said Gore. "We can't deliver that message."
"Hockeystick" Mann says NYC flood risk rising with global warming
He would. But the dubious data analyses behind his now discredited "Hockeystick" graph give no confidence in his latest calculations
New York City faces an increased risk of flooding, similar to that which occurred during Superstorm Sandy in 2012, as global warming causes more frequent storms and sea levels rise, scientists say.
Researchers in a study out on Tuesday reported that mega-storms on America's northeast coast could begin occurring every 25 years or so, compared to every 500 years before industrialisation.
And the scientists pegged the blame on global warming from greenhouse gas emissions, caused by human activity.
The research was carried out by studying marine sediment and computer models that allowed the researchers to observe the frequency and power of hurricanes in the North Atlantic from the year 850 to 1800.
The researchers were then able to compare those results with data from 1970-2005, according to the study in the latest edition of the Proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences.
The researchers concluded that the storm surge, or rise of water caused by a storm, was on average 1.24 metres higher during the recent 30-year period, compared with the nearly 1,000-year period.
This, they said, was primarily the result of rising sea level.
'Sea level is rising because of climate change,' said Michael Mann, a co-author of the study and professor of meteorology at Penn State University.
'But climate change also appears to be leading to larger and more intense tropical storms,' he added.
The flooding caused by Sandy was the result of several factors: rising ocean levels, high tide and especially the storm's overall size, the researchers said.
'We wanted to look at the impact of climate change on sea level and storm characteristics to see how that has affected the storm surge on the Atlantic coast, specifically in New York City,' said Andra Reed, a graduate student in meteorology at Penn State and the study's lead author.
Global Warming Fever Drove This Professor Completely Mad
I should perhaps note that the actual trend in stature worldwide is for people to become taller -- with the admonitory exception of North Korea -- JR
The alarms constantly ringing in our ears about the dangers of man-made global warming have produced more than just of bit of odd behavior among the believing community. Some members have grown depressed because they're bummed they can't find enough naive people to buy into their story. Others have developed anxiety orders, thinking that if they engage in normal behavior, such as drinking water, they're contributing to climate disaster.
Evidently, being scared, sad, numb, helpless, hopeless, frustrated and angry are also among the responses to the frenzy who want to wrap Greenland in a blanket to slow glacier melting or build a space shield.
But the looniest tune played in recent years came from the mind of Matthew Liao, a professor at New York University. This fellow is suggesting we think about genetically engineering humans to cut our carbon dioxide emissions.
Liao wrote a paper in 2012 outlining his ideas — or maybe he was dabbling in science fiction. Hard to tell.
Anyway, the paper has come back around with the help of Gizmodo and a boost from social media. We missed it the first time. Maybe that was our good fortune. But we've seen it now and we have a duty to share what we saw.
We'd like to start with the screwiest idea that Liao and a couple of Oxford researchers came up with, but they are all so awful that it's hard to rank them. So we'll just jump right in with this one:
They want us to consider the benefits of engineering humans to make us smaller.
"Human ecological footprints are partly correlated with our size. We need a certain amount of food and nutrients to maintain each kilogram of body mass. This means that, other things being equal, the larger one is, the more food and energy one requires."
They suggest breeding smaller humans through "preimplantation genetic diagnosis" — a subject all good families talk about at the dinner table — or using "hormone treatment either to affect somatotropin levels or to trigger the closing of the epiphyseal plate earlier than normal."
If these don't work or are unpalatable to some, there are always "drugs or nutrients" that can be used to "to reduce birth weight."
Other proposals that would delight Dr. Mengele include: inducing allergies to meat so we can cut our livestock herds and their methane emissions; genetically engineer better night vision to cut electricity use; giving people drugs that increase their cognitive abilities, which, they say means they'll have fewer babies; and increasing our altruism and empathy through drugs so we'll be more cooperative with agendas that seek the common good.
Gizmodo said that initially some wondered if the paper was just an attempt to troll the academic community. We can see their point. One might think the paper was written by climate change skeptics who went underground to discredit those who are constantly yapping about warming.
But it seems they are on the level. Which means they are really on the edge.
Seattle's ‘Slop Sleuths’ Tag Residents For Throwing Away Too Much Food
As many as 14,000 residents of Seattle have been “tagged” by garbage collectors and full-time city waste inspectors for throwing too many “compostables” in the trash – including uneaten food and organic waste such as apple cores, egg shells and coffee grounds.
According to a city ordinance that went into effect Jan. 1 under the city’s “zero waste” policy, putting “significant amounts” of compostable material in the garbage is prohibited.
Throwing away recyclable paper, glass and cans has been banned since 2005.
The City of Seattle defines “significant amounts” as “more than 10% by volume of container, dumpster or self-haul vehicle’s load based on visual inspection by a Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) inspector, contractor or transfer station worker.”
Trash workers are currently attaching brightly colored “educational notices or tags” on non-compliant garbage cans.
After Jan. 1, 2016, Seattle residents will be subject to fines of $1 per violation for individuals and $50 for commercial establishments if the content of their trash bins exceeds the approved limit.
However, according to a lawsuit filed in July in King County Superior Court by the non-profit Pacific Legal Foundation, the ordinance violates the Washington State Constitution, “which prohibits government searches of garbage cans without first obtaining a warrant.”
It also violates Seattle residents’ right of due process by providing “no avenue for residents to contest a supposed infraction,” the lawsuit charged.
The ordinance “fully complies with the law, including the enhanced privacy protections afforded by the Washington Constitution,” SPU and the city attorney responded in a joint statement, adding that “containers are only tagged if the contamination is clearly visible.”
But Blevins told CNSNews.com that Seattle’s “slop sleuths” rely on their “arbitrary judgment” to determine whether a violation has occurred. And since the offending trash is hauled away, there is no appeal.
“This law makes trash collectors the judges and juries,” Blevins said in a YouTube video.
“You’re at the mercy of their off-the-cuff estimates about how much food you’ve thrown away in the garbage. And if their hunch goes against you, you get a colorful shaming tag to embarrass you in front of your neighbors.”
House Passes Bill Banning ‘Social Cost of Carbon’ From Environmental Reviews
The House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday that forbids federal agencies from including the "social cost of carbon" in their environmental reviews.
"A lead agency may not use the social cost of carbon in the environmental review or environmental decision making process,” according to a summary of the bill, which passed the House on a 233-170 vote.
The bill,known as the Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development Act of 2015 (RAPID Act) was introduced in January by Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), who chairs the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law.
The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill in March.
The bill also seeks to streamline the regulatory permit process by limiting federally-funded projects to just one environmental impact statement.
“No more than one environmental impact statement and one environmental assessment for a project must be prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) for a project, except for supplemental environmental documents prepared under NEPA or environmental documents prepared pursuant to a court order,” according to the summary.
The bill also limits the time period in which NEPA-based lawsuits can be filed and requires regulatory agencies to “identify the potential effects of the alternative on employment, including potential short-term and long-term employment increases and reductions and shifts in employment.”
During the floor debate on Thursday, Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) pointed out that the bill “gives lead Federal agencies more responsibility to conduct and conclude efficient interagency reviews of permit requests, demands that any entity challenging a final permitting decision in court first have presented the substance of its claims during the agency review process, and requires that lawsuits challenging permitting decisions be filed within six months of the decisions, not six years, as the law currently allows.
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. (AP photo)
“These are simple, but powerful, reforms that will allow good projects to move forward more quickly, delivering high-quality jobs and improvements to Americans' daily lives,” Goodlatte noted.
But Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the committee's ranking member, criticized the bill during that same debate, saying: “This measure would jeopardize public safety and health by prioritizing project approval over meaningful analysis that is currently required under the National Environmental Policy Act.”
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Posted by JR at 1:35 AM