By Andrea Thompson, LiveScience Staff Writer
A gray, grim landscape used to greet residents of the Northeastern United States each November, but autumn’s riot of red, orange and yellow came late this year. Delayed fall foliage also occurred in Chicago and parts of Europe.
Some say droughts and a warm summer played a role, while others wonder more broadly about global warming. In fact, it’s rising levels of carbon dioxide, not the warmer temperatures fueled by the greenhouse gas, that have been delaying the transformation of green leaves, at least in Europe for a few decades, a new study suggests.
The researchers found that trees exposed to elevated levels of carbon dioxide retained their leaves and stayed greener longer than those exposed to ambient levels. Their results are detailed in an online edition of the journal Global Change Biology. “The research data provide compelling evidence ... that autumnal senescence in such forest ecosystems will be delayed as the atmospheric concentration of CO2 continues to rise, independent of increased temperatures,” said study author Gail Taylor. Read more here.
A cyclone killed over 2000 people and left much of southern Bangladesh cut off from the rest of the country before heading inland and losing strength Friday, officials said. Tropical Cyclone Sidr roared across the country’s southwestern coast late Thursday with driving rain and high waves, spawning a 4-foot water surge that left low-lying areas and some offshore islands under water, according to Nahid Sultana, an official at a cyclone control room in the capital, Dhaka. But by early Friday, the cyclone had weakened into a tropical storm and was moving across the country to the northeast, the department said, adding that while skies remained overcast, wind speed had fallen to 37 mph.
Bangladesh, a low-lying delta nation, is prone to seasonal cyclones and floods that cause huge losses of life and property. The alluvial plain in Bangladesh is probably the worst place in the world for a storm surge. May inlets lead to a funneling of the storm surge well inland.
Icecap notes: The 1991 Bangladesh cyclone Gorky killed at least 138,000 people and leaving as many as 10 million homeless as it roared inland with 155 mph winds and a 20 foot storm surge. In November of 1970 devastating tropical cyclone Bhola struck Bangladesh (at that time East Pakistan) and India’s West Bengal. It was the deadliest tropical cyclone ever recorded, and one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern times. Up to 500,000 people lost their lives in that storm.
By James Delingpole: Thunderer, Times Online
First there came the computer-generated polar bear in Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth; then that heartrending photo, syndicated everywhere, of the bears apparently stranded on a melting ice floe; then the story of those four polar bears drowned by global warming (actually, they’d perished in a storm). Now, in a new cinema release called Earth – a magnificent, feature-length nature documentary from the makers of the BBC’s Planet Earth series – comes the most sob-inducing “evidence” of all: a poor male polar bear filmed starving to death as a result, the quaveringly emotional Patrick Stewart voiceover suggests, of global warming.
Having been up to the bears’ habitat in Svalbard, I do have a certain amount of sympathy with these concerns. To claim, however, that they are facing imminent doom is stretching the truth. In 1950, let us not forget, there were about 5,000 polar bears. Now there are 25,000. No wonder Greenpeace had trouble getting polar bears placed on the endangered species list. A fivefold population increase isn’t exactly a catastrophic decline. But never let the facts get in the way of a good story. The doom-mongers certainly won’t. Despite evidence from organizations such as the US National Biological Service that in most places polar bear populations are either stable or increasing, Ursus maritimus will continue to top the eco-hysterics’ list of animals in danger because it’s so fluffy and white and photogenic.
If you’re really that worried about their demise, I’d book yourself a ticket to Churchill, Manitoba, where the evil buggers (about the only creature, incidentally, that actively preys on humans) are so rife they’re almost vermin. Read more here.
By Paula Easley, Anchorage Daily News
Reading about the recent global warming rally at Kincaid Park, I wondered if the participants would be relieved if man’s activities were proved not responsible for Alaska’s warming weather. An intriguing question.
They probably don’t know ground-based warming stopped in 1998, according to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change data. This temperature stability is occurring despite a four percent increase in atmospheric C02 over the last eight years. Lower atmosphere satellite data also show little, if any, warming since 1979, although atmospheric CO2 increased 17 percent.
In another surprising turn, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies corrected data errors this September that required changing America’s warmest year on record from 1998 to 1934, thus refuting the Gospel According to James Hansen, the Institute’s director. The third hottest year is now 1921.
Ancient Chinese records have revealed historic warming from year one to about A.D. 240 (the Roman Warming); a cold period between years A.D. 240 and 800 (Dark Ages); warming between 800 and 1400 (Medieval Optimum); and cooling from 1400 to about 1900 (Little Ice Age). Where were man-made CO2 emissions then? Contrary to today’s predictions of catastrophic weather events, during China’s warm periods it experienced fewer and milder storms, fewer droughts and floods, better crops and more prosperity. Here at home, researchers found serious droughts are becoming rare. According to www.CO2Science.org, seven droughts occurred before 1920, seven from 1921-1940 (including the Dust Bowl disaster), eight from 1941-1960, five from 1961-1980 and just three during the next two decades.
But people are dying because of global warming, prominent climate alarmist Deborah Williams wrote (ADN, April 18, 2006), noting 31,000 Europeans died in the 2003 heat wave. Yet cold kills many times more people than heat (as Alaskans well know). Cold weather in England and Wales, 1998-2000, caused some 47,000 deaths each winter. Read more of Paula’s story here.
By Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit
In recent discussion of the Weblog 2007 Awards, several commenters at other blogs have argued that our criticisms of the Mannian parlor tricks have been “thoroughly refuted and discarded by climatologists, published in a credible journal”; that “other professionals in the field who also have “looked in great detail at the problem at hand” and have come to the conclusion that rather than McIntyre’s findings being “valid and relevant”, they instead have found them to be “without statistical and climatological merit”; that CA “fluffed on the whole hockey stick thing”.
Omitted in these references are the fact that the people described as “climatologists published in a credible journal” or “professionals in the field” are none other than Wahl and Ammann, serial coauthors with Michael Mann, students of Mann, who are not independent of the controversy. Indeed, they largely use (without citation or attribution or even acknowledgment to Michael Mann) arguments originally published at realclimate (and already responded to in MM 2005b(EE). Aside from their lack of independence, neither Ammann nor Wahl qualify as statistical authorities. Ammann did his undergraduate work in geology; Wahl in divinity. While this does not exclude them from having potential insight in the matter, it is evidence that one should not necessarily expect a sure grasp of mathematical and statistical issues and that their conclusions cannot be relied upon uncritically, even if Stephen Schneider accepted their article. Read more from Steve recapping the history of the totally debunked hockey stick here.
Icecap Note: Congratulations to Steve and Climate Audit to see his hard work rewarded with a virtual tie with Bad Astronomy blog for Best Science Blog 2007.
By Molly Reuter, KLTV
It’s a movement that’s gained momentum and has become mainstream, especially in political and media circles. Even major television networks these days are promoting Going Green, to stop Global Warming. One of the things you’re not hearing in the national media is a voice like John Coleman, founder of The Weather Channel. In a recent article, Coleman calls Global Warming the greatest scam in history.
“There is no runaway climate change,” said Coleman. “The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic. In time, a decade or two, the outrageous scam will be obvious.” KLTV 7 has three meteorologist on staff. It’s their job to analyze weather patterns both in the short term, and the long term. When it comes to Global Warming, all three have a lot to say.
It’s being blamed for almost every major catastrophe, hurricanes, tornados, flooding and even droughts. More and more people are now on the Global Warming bandwagon. “Any idea can become mainstream if you just hear one side of the argument,” said KLTV 7 Meteorologist Morgan Palmer. For those who study the weather everyday, the idea of man-made Global Warming is a scientific theory, and Palmer says it has now become political. It is because of money,” said Palmer. “Folks that are writing these papers, that a lot of institutions are going after, grant money and grant money is given by folks who might have very good intentions, but unfortunately the papers that are being written are heavily weighed on man-made Global Warming.”
Now, Meteorologist Mark Scirto and Grant Dade want the other side of the argument to be heard. Read more here.
By John Stossel, ABC 20/20
Recently on “20/20,” I said “give me a break” to Al Gore for claiming that the global-warming debate is over and suggesting that all dissenters were in it for the money. I interviewed independent scientists who say Gore is wrong.
Some people were relieved to finally hear the other side: “Thank you, thank you, thank you for your report on climate change. … I’m sick of hearing ‘the debate’s over’ and writing anyone who differs off as a nut. This report showed the true nature of the debate and true lack of consensus, something you can’t get anywhere else.” Others were just mad: “Your 20/20 report on Global Warning made me sick. ... Your sarcastic ridiculing of Al Gore … I have lost all respect for you and your reporting.”
Yes, the globe has warmed, but whether severe warming is imminent and whether human beings are causing it in large degree are empirical questions that can’t be answered ideologically. The media may scream that “the science is in” and the “debate is over,” but in fact it continues vigorously, with credentialed climate scientists on both side of the divide.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may present a “consensus view of scientists,” but the “consensus” is not without dissent. “Consensus is the stuff of politics, not science,” says Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute. The scientific process ought to be left to play itself out with as little political bias as possible. Politically influenced research is poison to science. Read more here.
By Christopher Booker and Richard North, UK Telegraph
No one can deny that in recent years the need to “save the planet” from global warming has become one of the most pervasive issues of our time. Inevitably, many people have been bemused by this somewhat one-sided debate, imagining that if so many experts are agreed, then there must be something in it. But if we set the story of how this fear was promoted in the context of other scares before it, the parallels which emerge might leave any honest believer in global warming feeling uncomfortable.
Evidence now has been accumulating to show that, despite the continuing rise in CO2 levels, global temperatures in the years since 1998 have no longer been rising and may soon even be falling. It was a telling moment when, in August, Gore’s closest scientific ally, James Hansen of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was forced to revise his influential record of US surface temperatures showing that the past decade has seen the hottest years on record. His graph now concedes that the hottest year of the 20th century was not 1998 but 1934, and that four of the 10 warmest years in the past 100 were in the 1930s.
Furthermore, scientists and academics have recently been queuing up to point out that fluctuations in global temperatures correlate more consistently with patterns of radiation from the sun than with any rise in CO2 levels, and that after a century of high solar activity, the sun’s effect is now weakening, presaging a likely drop in temperatures. If global warming does turn out to have been a scare like all the others, it will certainly represent as great a collective flight from reality as history has ever recorded. The evidence of the next 10 years will be very interesting. Read more here.