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Climate Change 

January 13, 2011

Climate change to go on for at least “1,000 years”

Ris­ing car­bon di­ox­ide lev­els in the Earth’s at­mos­phere will cause un­stop­pa­ble changes to the cli­mate for at least the next 1,000 years, a new study sug­gests…” (read more).

A very interesting study which asks the question, “What if we ceased putting any more carbon dioxide from fossil fuels into the atmosphere, what would be the consequences a millenium into the future?” This is the sort of thing that one can do with models, explore areas of parameter space that we are unlikely to experience, or to sample in any reasonable timeframe. The results of this particular exercise are not encouraging. There is some recovery from the effects of warming in the Northern Hemisphere, but general catastrophe in the Southern Hemisphere as the Antarctic ice sheet collapses. Definitely not encouraging, since the scenario is run under unrealistically optimistic conditions.


Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 7:51 pm

December 22, 2010

Ecosystem Impact of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster

Oil spill magnitudesEcosystem Impact of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster.

A Pritzker Lecture in November, 2010 at the California Academy of Sciences.


Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 9:10 pm

November 21, 2010

53% – Majority of Republicans No Longer See Evidence of Global Warming

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A 53%-majority of Republicans say there is no solid evidence the earth is warming. Among Tea Party Republicans, fully 70% say there is no evidence.” (…read more).

Interesting. Why? Has the evidence disappeared? Did someone solve the problems and forgot to tell the rest of us? One more time: Science is not about belief or disbelief. Nature does not hold opinions; it simply is. One more time: The planet doesn’t give a fig what we believe or disbelieve.

If you find yourself in the minority, yet vocal and influential category of deniers, I welcome you to comment here. Tell me why, the basis for your disbelief, and any questions that you have. Dialogue is sorely needed, as is understanding.

Thanks C.D. for the link.


Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 9:38 am

October 29, 2010

Thinking about public transportation?

For those of us fortunate enough to have efficient public transportation available, the question often arises as to the environmental effectiveness of the options. That is usually a very complicated question, with complicated answers, but I was very pleasantly surprised to discover this: The BART Carbon Calculator. BART stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit, and is the regional commuter rail system for the San Francisco Bay area. On peak days, BART transports close to the equivalent of all daily domestic flights in the United States! So, while planning a trip to the Oakland Airport this morning (to attend the Annual Conference of the Geological Society of America), I was surprised by this little calculator that popped up to inform me of the environmental impact of my decision and route.

Now, not all transit systems are equivalent. Too many of them rely on high-emissions, even environmentally hazardous, vehicles. But at the very least, they are no worse than a passenger vehicle, and they are always better than passenger traffic because of the volume of passengers in a single vehicle. So check out your local transit system and see if they’re already impressing you with a similar calculator. If they’re not, then encourage them to do so! It’s good for the public, it’s good for business, and it’s good for the environment.


Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 9:09 am

September 22, 2010

BBC News – Arctic claims summit gets under way in Moscow

BBC News – Arctic claims summit gets under way in Moscow.

Never mind the primary reason for this territorial fight, the fact that human-driven global warming is largely responsible for this sudden bonanza. Any and all mineral exploitation of the Arctic should be made contingent upon some proceeds from the new Gold Rush being diverted to mitigation of the effects of carbon dioxide emissions. All the countries involved are big talkers when it comes to talk regarding climate change. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is.


Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 5:49 am

September 15, 2010

BBC News – ‘Rapid’ 2010 melt for Arctic ice – but no record

BBC News – ‘Rapid’ 2010 melt for Arctic ice – but no record.


Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 8:25 pm

August 6, 2010

BBC News – Huge ice sheet breaks from Greenland glacier

via BBC News – Huge ice sheet breaks from Greenland glacier.


Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 8:47 pm

July 21, 2010

Oysters and the Ecosystem | Radio Times | WHYY

While some people may see oysters as only a delicious delicacy, researchers are using them to understand the long term environmental impact of the Gulf oil spill. Oyster shells turn out to hold important clues about past ecological disasters. This hour, the importance of oysters – more than just good eating, these mollusks play a key role in the ecosystem. Guests PETER ROOPNARINE, a curator at the California Academy of Natural Science and PAUL CALLOMON, a collections manager at the Academy of Natural Science, tell us about reading oyster shells and the threats oysters face from pollution, climate change, acidification, overharvesting, and invasive species.


Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 8:37 am

July 19, 2010

Stephen Schneider, 1945-2010

The First Okazaki Biology Conference: The Biology of Extinction

The First Okazaki Biology Conference: "The Biology of Extinction"

It was with great sadness that I learned this evening of the passing of Dr. Stephen Schneider, Nobel Laureate, IPCC author, Stanford University professor, and much more. Many of you will no doubt read biographical pieces over the next few days, so I won’t do that here. I just wish to say something personal on this blog. I met Stephen several years ago at a week-long conference on extinction, held in Okazaki, Japan. Sitting with about 70 other scientists in a room, for 5 days, discussion extinction, is an enlightening if not depression experience. Stephen was one of the closing speakers of the week, and of course spoke on the topic of climate change. After I returned from that meeting, I re-focused much of my work, in fact I changed it. Previously I studied extinction mostly from a paleontological and mostly academic viewpoint. I now take it as a personal responsibility, and as an applied science. Stephen Schneider had that influence on me.

Stephen was by all accounts a great scientist, a gifted communicator, and a seemingly tireless worker for what he believed in. He once flew an overnight flight from London, where he was attending UN meetings, to give a lecture to teachers in the Academy’s Bioforum series. I never knew him well enough to say this to him, but he was a great influence on me in the short time that I knew him. We could all honour him by ensuring that his work and efforts to address climate change bear fruit.


Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 9:46 pm

July 7, 2010

Expert credibility in climate change — PNAS

Expert credibility in climate change — PNAS.

Although preliminary estimates from published literature and expert surveys suggest striking agreement among climate scientists on the tenets of anthropogenic climate change (ACC), the American public expresses substantial doubt about both the anthropogenic cause and the level of scientific agreement underpinning ACC. A broad analysis of the climate scientist community itself, the distribution of credibility of dissenting researchers relative to agreeing researchers, and the level of agreement among top climate experts has not been conducted and would inform future ACC discussions. Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field surveyed here support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.


Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 8:35 am
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