Blair Anderson, on the hustings 'canvassing for opinion'

Blair Anderson, on the hustings 'canvassing for opinion'

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Coastal thinking, and C&C

Harder Rain, More Snow
Meteorologists See Future of Increasingly Extreme Weather Events
Computer models based on nine different countries' climate data indicate every country will be hit with climate change throughout this century.
The potential effects are far reaching; the computer models have accurately simulated past weather events and now some experts believe these simulations of future climates are likely to be correct. Scientists, however, disagree on what can or should be done, but know something needs to be done.
The National Center for Atmospheric Research [N-CAR] scientists expect the average global temperature to increase by three degrees over this century. Three degrees may not seem like a large amount, but in a heat wave, a three-degree difference could be dangerously hot for more people and create one-foot higher storm surges.
As these evidence based theories mature and reports become increasingly both regular and convincing, one must ask, what [quantative] measures are we taking to ensure the global community stays under two degrees. The only environmental framework that addresses itself to optimal economic imperatives while remaining both ethical and constitutional is "Contraction and Convergence".
It is now obvious to many that we have a problem. We just need the conversation. Those who live on and invest in the coastal margins and our collective civic infrastructure are at grave risk. The risk is a mere 'in our childrens children lifetime, and for some, sooner.' 

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

Butterfly Biologist Develops New Evidence For Global Warming

University Of Texas Austin Biologist Develops New Evidence For Global Warming
ScienceDaily: Your source for the latest research news  and science breakthroughs -- updated daily

Science News

University Of Texas Austin Biologist Develops New Evidence For Global Warming

ScienceDaily (Oct. 10, 2000) — AUSTIN, Texas -- Dr. Camille Parmesan, an assistant professor of biology at The University of Texas at Austin and an expert on non-migratory butterfly species, has worked with world climate experts to document new evidence of global warming. The research is featured in the Sept. 22 issue of the journal Science.

According to scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, temperature and precipitation records collected for the past century point to a slight increase in warmer weather throughout the world, accompanied by an increase in both the number and the severity of extreme weather events.

The scientists documented that rising temperatures and extreme weather also are having an impact on population, behavior, distribution and even the physical appearance of a wide variety of animals and plants in the wild. Dr. David R. Easterling, scientific director of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., is lead author on the paper.

Parmesan said the paper is especially significant because it coordinates data collected through the years on climate change with basic research on wildlife and with recent trends in wildlife attributed to climate change.

Scientists have plenty of evidence that extreme weather events can cause everything from bleaching of coral reefs and smaller beak size in some species of birds to changes in mating behavior of African elephants. Parmesan said the increasingly rapid extinction rate of species around the globe make it critical "to understand the specific impacts of climate change on those trends."

Parmesan said that, over many decades, a series of extreme weather events is believed to underlie a gradual range shift in the Edith's Checkerspot (Euphydryas Editha), a butterfly named for the checked patterns on its black, orange and cream-colored wings. This butterfly, found in the western part of North America, has moved northward and to higher altitudes over the past 100 years. Parmesan linked extreme weather events to the permanent disappearance of entire local populations of the colorful insects.

Parmesan said when reviewing research by other biologists, what really surprised her was that "every time (a Checkerspot) population went extinct, it was connected with an extreme climate year. The l976-77 California drought caused a lot of local population extinctions, and 20 years later they were still extinct." Due to the l983 El Nino, the snow never melted in some areas of Northern California's Gold Lake and the butterflies never emerged, she said.

Extreme weather events, from hurricanes to blizzards, are nothing new. But in the past, populations of animals were larger. When, for example, they shifted territory in response to a drought, they didn't run into farmland or urban areas. "Especially when you are talking about an endangered species that already is restricted to a very small habitat, one severe weather event can wipe out an entire species," Parmesan said.

Weather records reviewed for the study document an increase in the average global temperature of about 0.6 degrees centigrade since the beginning of the 20th century and a decrease in the number of days each year below freezing. Climate researchers have been looking for a link between the changes and increasing greenhouse gases from human activities. While some uncertainty remains, the evidence of such a link, especially in the past few decades, is growing stronger. Parmesan said a one or two-degree increase in global temperature in the next century doesn't sound like very much, but the increase "makes local extreme weather events even more extreme. In a particular year, the maximum high temperature in the summer could be 10 degrees hotter, and precipitation increasingly is coming down as floods," Parmesan said. "This is something that is happening now."

Adapted from materials provided by University Of Texas, Austin.

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