Porites microatollsCoral reefs are a lot more resilient than previously thought. At least according to a new study published yesterday that showed Pacific island coral reef can grow fast enough to match rising sea levels, even with increased ocean temperatures. Because they grow vertically on shallow reef flats, researchers observed that Porites microatolls coral is keeping pace with current sea level rise, but may have trouble under the worst-case IPCC scenarios. The Porites microatoll, whose growth is largely lateral and limited by exposure to air, is named for its resemblance to island atolls (see picture).
Researchers at the Florida Institute of Technology, who published their study in the Royal Society Open Science, say their findings provide the first evidence that "well-managed reefs will be able to keep up with sea-level rise through vertical growth." However, if CO2 emissions rise past 670 parts per million (ppm), which may cause ocean temperatures to increase 2.2 degrees Celsius, reefs will have a hard time keeping up with the projected sea level rise.
A slow-down in global warming is not a sign that climate change is ending, university researchers have found. The phenomenon is a natural blip in an otherwise long-term upwards trend, their research shows. In a detailed study of more than 200 years’ worth of temperature data, results backed previous findings that short-term pauses in climate change are simply the result of natural variation. The findings support the likelihood that a current hiatus in the world’s year-on-year temperature increases – which have stalled since 1998 – is temporary. --Reporting Climate Science, 20 July 2015
A two-day Vatican workshop on climate change and human trafficking came to a close Wednesday after a like-minded group of some 60 mayors from around the world met with Church officials and United Nations representatives to discuss a coordinated response to environmental challenges.
The United States was heavily represented at the meeting, with ten mayors present as well as California governor Jerry Brown. The bizarre thing about the American delegation, however, was the absence of a single member of the Republican Party, as if the Democrats spoke authoritatively for the United States as far as ecology is concerned.
Where, for instance, was Republican Mayor Greg Ballard of Indianapolis, a decorated veteran of the Marines and an active proponent of environmental awareness?
Two months ahead of his first trip to the U.S., Pope Francis' approval rating among Americans has plummeted, driven mostly by a decline among political conservatives and Roman Catholics, according to a new Gallup poll released Wednesday.
Fifty-nine percent of Americans said this month they had a favorable view of the pope, compared with 76 percent in February 2014, Gallup reported. The share of Americans who disapproved of the pope increased from 9 percent to 16 percent in the same period. The changes were most dramatic among political conservatives, whose opinion of Francis nosedived by 27 percentage points to 45 percent. Among Catholics, Francis' approval dropped by 18 percentage points to 71 percent.
Is the world still getting warmer? If so, how fast? Has there been a global warming ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ or not? Or has the recent warming rate been as fast, or even faster, than that measured in the 1990s?
Oddly enough, in a field where one is told that the science is ‘settled,’ there has been disagreement from several eminent scientists. Dr Ed Hawkins, a principal research fellow at Reading University, who no one could ever call a sceptic, wrote in his blog that even if one accepts NOAA’s data revisions, ‘there has clearly been a slowdown in the rate of warming when compared to other periods’.
The hijacking of learned institutions by political activists is something of a theme at BH, and today's news brings further depressing evidence that the situation has not changed. It seems that the managers of a group of UK learned societies have decided to try to influence the political agenda ahead of the Paris conference, issuing a joint call to arms (another one!), no doubt without consulting a single one of their members.
The communiqué opens with a decidedly shonky statement about the scientific evidence:
The scientific evidence is now overwhelming that the climate is warming and that human activity is largely responsible for this change through emissions of greenhouse gases.
The Arctic ice pack has dramatically expanded – despite years of doom-laden predictions that it was melting away for good.
British scientists discovered that it grew by more than 40 percent in 2013 thanks to cooler than expected temperatures.
The findings by experts at University College London suggest the polar cap is more resilient than first thought and is able to quickly bounce back. Despite several warm summers there is still about a third more ice in the region than there was five years ago.
North Dakota’s prosperous oil-powered economy remains as strong as ever despite the wishful hopes and claims of left-leaning media that the state economy will go bust.
On June 27 the Atlantic published an article titled “A North Dakota Oil Boom Goes Bust,” with the subhead “What will happen to those who built their lives on it?” The theme of the article was North Dakotans are suffering miserably and being played the fool by a predatory oil industry that soaked up the state’s oil when prices were high and have now shut down operations. The end result, according to the Atlantic, is abandoned “graveyards” of formerly productive oil rigs, rapidly rising unemployment, “unraveling” economic conditions, and a statewide economic bust that is “diminishing” the lives of those who live there. The Atlantic’s message is unmistakably clear – North Dakotans are worse off now than before North Dakota oil production took off, and it would have been better for North Dakotans if the oil boom had never happened at all.
Britain’s government on Wednesday moved to rein in the spiraling costs of renewable power subsidies which it said threatened to push up household bills. The proposals come just a month after the government said it would scrap new subsidies for onshore wind farms from April next year. --Susanne Twidale, Reuters, 22 July 2015
My priorities are clear. We need to keep bills as low as possible for hardworking families and businesses while reducing our emissions in the most cost-effective way. Our support has driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly. As costs continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies. –Amber Rudd, UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, BBC 22 July 2015
Just one cool summer caused the much-worried-about Arctic icepack to swell by no less than a third in 2013 and it has grown even more since - more than making good its losses during the previous few years. Meanwhile of course, the southern sea ice around Antarctica has continued to spread out and cover bigger areas all the time, a circumstance which has frankly stumped climate scientists as their models cannot account for it. Antarctic ice hit a new all-time record last year, in fact. --Lewis Page, The Register, 21 July 2015
Dr Benny Peiser, director of The Global Warming Policy Foundation, said the paper "doesn't change anything". "We've been monitoring both Arctic and Antarctic ice caps for a long time, and the basic problem for everyone trying to understand what's going on is that our observational data only starts with the satellite age - so it goes back about 30 years. We don't fully know what the ice caps looked like 50 or 100 years ago, and therefore it is difficult to make long-term predictions. The melting of [Arctic sea ice] may be slower than thought, as there were predictions it would be gone by now. Basically it all depends on what global temperatures are going to do in the coming decades. The good news about this study is it is not a one way street, there are periods where the ice can recover. I don't think one paper can tell you much, we know global temperature has more or less stalled over the past 10 to 15 years. We are increasing CO2 emission at an accelerating rate but temperatures aren't rising as fast as predicted." –Lucy Sherriff, Huffington Post, 21 July 2015
Polar bear expert and zoologist Susan Crockford is firing back today at recently published articles that say polar bears are somehow starving and "food deprived" because of global warming. The problem is that since 1979, polar bears are thriving and far from starving. This is due to plentiful Arctic sea ice they need (except when it's too thick) to hunt for food before the summer arrives. Unlike most carnivores, polar bears are unique mammals that do all their primary feeding in the spring, and very little during the summer. Other mammals hunt and gather food in the late spring, summer, and fall, but because of the Arctic's unique climate, late winter/spring is the time that polar bears hunt and fatten up.
According to Crockford, "polar bears are at their lowest weight in March and at their highest in June/July." She notes that other large mammals don't have this unique eating pattern because no other carnivore lives on the surface of the sea ice. "Summer is warm across the Arctic," she writes. "It’s the perfect time for polar bears to fast, as little energy is needed for keeping warm, especially if they don’t swim around."
Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley told Bloomberg News over the weekend that climate change is responsible for the rise of ISIS. This is a significant flip flop for the former Maryland governor who earlier tried to separate global warming from national security.
But that bandwagon is leaving the station and O'Malley figured it was time to jump aboard.
"One of the things that preceded the failure of the nation-state of Syria and the rise of ISIS was the effect of climate change and the mega-drought that affected that region, wiped out farmers, drove people to cities, created a humanitarian crisis that created the symptoms — or rather the conditions of extreme poverty — that has now led to the rise of ISIL and this extreme violence,” O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, told Bloomberg news in a question about foreign policy.