September 30, 2010

Sweet News for Maple Syrup

Filed under: Adaptation, Agriculture, Plants

We conducted a web search for “Global Warming and Maple Syrup” and found over 150,000 sites – almost all proclaim that the maple syrup industry is in deep peril given the threat of global warming. This must surely be seen as bad news for all those who enjoy maple syrup on waffles, pancakes, oatmeal, crumpets, and French toast (and in any number of desserts as well). Before you think this threat is less than serious, be aware that maple syrup is big business in New England and in Canada.

But, as with most things you read about on the majority of websites, the fate of maple syrup turns out to be not nearly as bad as portrayed. In fact, the future may be even better for maple syrup production than the past.

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September 20, 2010

Amazon Rainforest Resiliency

Filed under: Adaptation, Plants

Do a search on “Global Warming and Amazon Rainforest” and enjoy over 200,000 sites mostly proclaiming that “Amazon rainforest may become a desert” or “large portion of the rainforest will be lost” or you name it. Throw in the 200 indigenous cultures in the forest, add in some clever phrases like “lungs of the planet,” argue that the rainforest is being destroyed faster than anyone expected, and then claim “incalculable damages” all because of global warming. The cure for everything and anything is surely hidden in the rainforest of the Amazon, and the loss of that ecosystem could spell the end of us all.

Three recent papers appearing in leading scientific journals spell trouble for the alarmists’ claims about global warming and the precious and delicate Amazon rainforest.

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September 13, 2010

Coral Bleaching

Filed under: Adaptation, Animals, Plants

Global warming causes coral bleaching – and there is absolutely no doubt about it, right? Tens of thousands of websites found searching for “Global warming and coral bleaching” seem to agree that when the ocean warms, the oxygen content reduces, and the corals become “bleached.” The heat affects the tiny algae which live symbiotically inside the corals and supply them with food. The heat stress damages the algae and in consequence leads to coral death. The argument for the global warming/coral bleaching connection is bolstered by the massive El Niño event in 1997 and 1998 that led to unusually warm tropical waters throughout the world’s lower latitudes and coral bleaching in many locations. But, as with so many other topics covered in World Climate Report, the idea that corals are in peril because of global warming turns out to be considerably more complicated than is commonly presented to the public at large.

Three recent articles give us reason to question the alarmists’ claims that coral reefs are in deep trouble due to the buildup of greenhouse gases.

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September 8, 2010

Mortality Update

Filed under: Health Effects

An extensive literature exists linking global warming to human health and mortality. There is no doubt that atmospheric conditions have a profound effect on human health; outbreaks of pneumonia, influenza and bronchitis have been linked many times to both weather and climate. Pollen concentrations and pollution levels are certainly related to both weather and human health. Furthermore, the impact of heat waves and cold outbreaks on health and mortality are well established. Humidity not only influences health in terms of allowing bodies to cool in hot periods, but on the other side of the coin, dry, cold air leads to excessive dehydration of nasal passages and the upper respiratory tract increasing chances of microbial and viral infection. Precipitation events, particularly large snowfalls, are directly linked to an immediate decline in human health and an increase in mortality. Given the large literature on the subject, it has been fairly easy for alarmists to make claims that changes in weather and climate will result in higher mortality and an overall decrease in human health.

We have addressed the climate change—mortality connection many times in the past, and while scientists certainly exist claiming the impacts will be catastrophic, others come to the opposite conclusion suggesting global warming might improve human health and extend our lifetimes.

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