February 28, 2011

More Good News for Frogs

Filed under: Adaptation, Animals

A couple of months ago we featured some recent scientific studies that showed that the future for frogs was apparently not going to be as bleak once projected—especially when it comes to the impacts of global warming.

Our article “A Frog Revival” was particularly popular, so we decided to highlighted some other fairly recent scientific papers that conclude that climate change is really not likely to be all that bad (and perhaps even pretty good) for various frog and other amphibian species.

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February 18, 2011

Coral Reefs Expand As the Oceans Warm

Filed under: Adaptation, Animals, Plants

Hold onto your hats, this will come as quite a shock.

Well, not really—unless you count yourself among that pessimistic bunch who sport blinders that only allow you to see bad things from global warming. And if you are one of those poor souls, you better stop reading now, because we wouldn’t want reality to impinge on your guarded (and distorted) view of the world.

But for the rest of us, the following news will fit nicely into the world view that the earth’s ecosystems and are robust, adaptable and opportunistic, as opposed to being fragile, readily broken, and soon to face extinction at the hand of anthropogenic climate change.

A hot-off-the-presses paper in the peer-reviewed journal Geophysical Research Letters by a team of Japanese scientists finds that warming oceans expand the range of tropical corals northward along the coast of Japan. At the same time, the corals are remaining stable at the southern end of their ranges.

That’s right. Corals are adapting to climate change and expanding, not contracting.

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February 16, 2011

Uncertainties Galore!

One word that comes up over and over in the global warming issue is “uncertainty”. The alarmists tend to minimize the discussion of uncertainties while the so-called skeptics seem to harp on how uncertain we are on so many fronts. Two articles have appeared in the literature during the past year highlighting amazing uncertainties dealing with ice loss from glaciers and water mass in the world’s oceans.

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February 10, 2011

Australian Fisheries to Flourish?

Filed under: Adaptation, Animals, Extinctions

Conduct a search of the internet on “Global Warming and Fisheries” and treat yourself to nearly 1.5 million sites almost all proclaiming that the world’s fisheries are on the brink of disaster of biblical proportions due to global warming. Warmer sea temperatures completely alter the food chain, changes in sea currents add to the disaster, oceanic acidification compounds the mess, changes in climate alter the flow of nutrients to the sea, starving humans overharvest fisheries, and on and on it goes for another million sites. You must look long and hard for any evidence that climate change could benefit fisheries, or at least not devastate them.

An extraordinary article has appeared in Global Change Biology dealing with climate change, primary production of marine food webs, and implications for fisheries and threatened marine animals. The work was produced by 17 scientists from throughout many agencies in Australia and Canada; the work was supported financially by the Australian Research Council, the University of Queensland, CSIRO, and the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation.

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February 8, 2011

Mixing Politics into “Scientific” Papers

There is a paper in this week’s Science magazine by a long list of authors led by Ulf Büntgen from the Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research that unabashedly throws political commentary into the conclusions of their scientific research paper (i.e., it is not an opinion piece).

The work largely is an unremarkable retelling of the climate social history of Western Europe over the past two millennia or so, with a rather remarkable conclusion.

Anyone familiar with the history of European civilization and how is has been shaped by climate—a story that has been well known for some 30 or 40 years (and probably longer)—will find little new in the Büntgen et al. work.

Factually, that is.

What will come as a surprise to climate history buffs is their take of this well-known story and its implication for the future.

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February 3, 2011

Good News for Sea Turtles from the Great Barrier Reef

If you haven’t heard the news, global warming is causing sea level to rise and causing storms to become more severe, and the net result is shoreline erosion throughout the world. This pillar of the apocalypse is particularly easy to sell—gather up some pictures of shoreline erosion, throw in some images of turtle nest destruction, and you are on your way to winning a Nobel Prize for putting all the pieces together.

A recent issue of Global and Planetary Change contains an article on this subject written by two scientists with the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland; funding was provided by the Environmental Protection Agency-Queensland. Dawson and Smithers focused on Raine Island located on the northern portion of the Great Barrier Reef, and if you don’t know, Raine Island is “a globally significant turtle rookery.” So it’s all here—an island on the Great Barrier Reef, turtles, sea level rise, relatively frequent tropical cyclones, sand beaches easily eroded—we are sure the global warming alarmists cannot wait to see how bad things have become at this sacred location.

But, alas, the results from Raine Island are about to rain on their parade of pity.

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