August 15, 2011

Climate Models Not So Good For Crop Prediction

Filed under: Adaptation, Plants

Many global warming alarmists tout the notion that anthropogenic global warming will result in widespread crop failures as (projected) climate changes increasingly lead to increasingly bad growing conditions (see our article Science Fiction Down on the Farm, for some examples).

Using Al Gore’s lingo, we are quick to call “BS” on that premise, for the simple fact that that is not how things work. Crop scientists and farmers have an economic incentive to improve genetic cultivars and agricultural practices to maximize output given the prevailing environmental conditions. And, they are pretty effective at what they do. Despite the “global warming” and other affiliated and/or non-affiliated climate changes that have occurred over the past 100 years, global crop production just keeps on increasing—see our recent coverage here of this very good news.

We are clearly and demonstrably able to change agricultural practices to keep up with changing climate while increasing yields.

So much for the “dumb farmer scenario” that farmers stand by and watch their crops fail as conditions change.

But what about those future climate changes that underlie the scare scenarios? Are climate models really able to the climatic factors that are important for agriculture?

A new soon-to-be-published study finds that the models are not so hot, at least over the world’s most productive agro-region, the good-old-US of A. As we shall see, though, the pressures to say the politically correct thing still comes beaming through from the halls of Academia.

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July 19, 2011

Earth Getting Greener, not Browner

Filed under: Adaptation, Plants

A new study in Scienceexpress (Science magazine’s pre-paper-publication outlet) by Yude Pan of the U.S. Forest Service and colleagues finds that the net carbon sink in terrestrial forest systems across the globe has been expanding, taking up ever more carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere. (A “sink” is a place where something—carbon dioxide, heat, water, etc…winds up.)

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July 15, 2011

Arctic Species Prefer Warmer Climate?

Filed under: Adaptation, Animals

Let us imagine someone who suddenly gets interested in climate change and the Arctic. They conduct an internet search on “Climate Change and Arctic” and over 11,000,000 sites are identified. If a person spent one minute looking at each site, it would take them 20 years to visit every site. Of course, over the next 20 years, millions of sites will undoubtedly be added – no person could ever get to the end of these sites proclaiming that the Arctic is ground zero for climate change, the ice is melting, permafrost is being destroyed, habitats of everything and anything living there are highly sensitive to even the smallest change in climate, the whole place is fragile beyond belief, and on and on.

Several articles have appeared recently in leading journals with news that fails to get coverage in the millions of sites assuring us that our actions are destroying pristine Arctic regions.

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May 11, 2011

Crabs Love Warmer Water!

Filed under: Adaptation, Animals

Who would ever guess that in 2011, one of the most popular television shows in the world is about fishing for crabs in “the vast Bering Sea.” Deadliest Catch premiered on the Discovery Channel on April 12, 2005 and currently airs in over 150 countries. If you don’t know, the show portrays the real life events aboard fishing vessels in the Bering Sea during the fall Alaskan king crab and the winter Opilio crab fishing seasons. With so much interest in the show and so much concern about climate change in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, it was just a matter of time before we explored the world of crabs and climate change.

Our interest in this subject actually came about given a recent article in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. The article was produced by three scientists from Oregon; Stoner et al. acknowledge that “This study was conducted as part of the AKCRRAB Program (Alaska King Crab Research, Rehabilitation, and Biology) funded by the NOAA Aquaculture Program and the Alaska Sea Grant College Program.” They note in their introduction that “Red king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus) (RKC) was the most economically valuable crustacean fishery in Alaska from the late 1960s, until the population collapse in the early 1980s. Both over-harvest and unfavorable environmental conditions probably contributed to low fishery recruitment. Various fishing closures have been imposed in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea for more than two decades, but the stocks have not recovered substantially.”

Regarding any link to climate change, Stoner et al. state “Temperature is a dominant environmental factor that mediates the behavior, physiology, growth, survival, distribution, and recruitment of ectothermic animals living in temperate and high latitudes. Consequently, climate-driven changes in ocean conditions can cause significant fluctuations in the distribution and abundance of marine populations. In the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea, oceanographic regimes linked to climate conditions occur on a multi-decadal scale, and these climate cycles have been linked to major temporal shifts in the composition of marine fish and invertebrate communities. Longer-term trends in sea surface warming and loss of sea ice have already been observed in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea, and the potential impacts on economically important species are large.”

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March 30, 2011

Yes, Even Poison Ivy Thrives in a CO2 Enriched World

Filed under: Adaptation, Plants

A “fan” of World Climate Report sent us an email insisting that we feature too many articles showing biological benefits of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. We were accused of featuring forests, grasslands, and agricultural crops, with no discussion of how elevated CO2 might enhance noxious members of the biosphere. The “fan” challenged us to do a feature on poison ivy, so in the spirit of fairness, we accepted the challenge and explore the world of higher levels of CO2, higher temperatures, and the impact on poison ivy. We imagine that just like plants the world over, poison ivy, too, will greatly benefit from an enriched atmospheric CO2 concentration.

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March 23, 2011

Global Greening Continues: Did We Cause It?

You know the story. Humans are burning fossil fuels and because of their actions, the world is now warming at an unprecedented pace. This warming is stressing ecosystems throughout the world with devastating consequences to vegetation from one end of the earth to the other. If we do not act fast, we will destroy the planet and have a tough time facing our grandchildren. We can all hear it now—why didn’t you do something when there was still time to save the Earth?

Two articles have appeared recently in the scientific literature with results that may make us reconsider this entire affair. The first appears in the Journal of Geographical Sciences dealing with worldwide trends in the vigor of vegetation since the early 1980s—the results may surprise you, but they did not surprise us given all that has been written on this subject and certainly covered at World Climate Report.

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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 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 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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