June 30, 2010

China’s 2,000 Year Temperature History

We constantly hear that the warmest years on record have all occurred in the most recent decades, and of course, we are led to believe this must be a result of the ongoing buildup of greenhouse gases. In most places, we have approximately 100 years of reliable temperature records, and we wonder if the warmth of the most recent decades is unusual, part of some cyclical behavior of the climate system, or a warm-up on the heels of a cold period at the beginning of the record. A recent article in Geophysical Research Letters has an intriguing title suggesting a 2,000 year temperature record now exists for China – we definitely wanted to see these results of this one.

The article was authored by six scientists with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, the State University of New York at Albany, and Germany’s Justus-Liebig University in Giessen; the research was funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the United States Department of Energy. In their abstract, Ge et al. tell us “The analysis also indicates that the warming during the 10–14th centuries in some regions might be comparable in magnitude to the warming of the last few decades of the 20th century.” From the outset, we knew we would welcome the results from any long-term reconstruction of regional temperatures.


June 21, 2010

Spinach Lovers Rejoice

Filed under: Adaptation, Agriculture, Plants

We at World Climate Report wholeheartedly endorse First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to curb childhood obesity. As she has said many times, about two-thirds of American adults, and about a third of American children, are overweight or obese. The country spends $150 billion every year treating obesity-related diseases, most of which are preventable. Military officials, looking at a pool of increasingly overweight recruits, have said that the nation’s weight problem is a security issue as well as an economic one—obesity is now one of the most common disqualifiers for military service.

If you are in the DC area, be sure to make a visit to the south lawn of the White House grounds where the first lady will be organically growing lots and lots of spinach (more spinach than anything else—see Figure 1)! She not only plans on growing the stuff, but she is featuring her side dish called “No Cream Creamed Spinach” which to feed six people requires two pounds of baby spinach (the recipe is at the end of our article). We are sure the Obama children just cannot get enough of her healthy spinach salad.

Figure 1. Layout of the White House vegetable garden. Note the preponderance of spinach!

Given the Obama’s focus on spinach, we decided to deliver them some wonderful news about how spinach responds to elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).


June 14, 2010

Raining on Boreal Forest Fires

Filed under: Climate Changes, Precipitation

No presentation on global warming is complete without images of some major wildfire – from day one, the global warming alarmists have insisted that a warmer world will generate more wildfires thereby devastating ecosystems from sea to shining sea. It is an easy sell – higher temperatures will increase potential evapotranspiration, forests dry out, and therefore become far more susceptible to fire. Recall that the entire global warming issue became front-page news back in 1988, and 1988 was the summer Yellowstone Park and much of the western United States suffered severe forest fires. Ever since, every major fire somehow gets linked to global warming. We searched the internet for “Fires and Global Warming” and found literally thousands of websites claiming that global warming will cause more fires, fires are causing global warming, and of course, global warming leaders should be fired!


June 8, 2010

Trying to Hit a Mosquito with a Sledgehammer

Filed under: Health Effects

One of the standard tenets of the global warming bible is that malaria will get worse as temperatures rise. We’ve addressed this many times before, primarily by noting that the link between high temperatures and high malaria infection rates is anything but straightforward. Infectious disease expert Paul Reiter is quick to point out that malaria has been observed inside the Arctic Circle…and this is obviously not typical of a so-called “tropical” disease.

Nevertheless, the case for a malaria-temperature relationship stands on reasonably solid ground. Mosquitoes are more active at higher temperatures so they can expand their range. Biting frequency also depends on temperature, to some extent, so this should increase the infection rate, assuming the little buggers can find enough people to bite. Fairly sophisticated models have been developed that estimate the impact of weather variables on malaria infection rates. On the face of it, this seems like a reasonably solid argument.


June 3, 2010

Leave it to Beavers

In recognition of the recent discovery of the world’s largest beaver dam, we take a look into the activities of past beavers to see what they may be able to tell us about previous climate changes, and we speculate on the impacts that on-going climate changes may be having on the likes and dislikes of current beavers.

World’s largest beaver dam in found in Northern Alberta, Canada.


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