pA new U.S. Geological Survey study finds, “Warmer spring temperatures since 1980 are causing an estimated 20 percent loss of snow cover across the Rocky Mountains of western North America.” The USGS explains, “The new study builds upon a previous USGS snowpack investigation which showed that, until the 1980s, the northern Rocky Mountains experienced large [...]/p
Tag Archives: AGW
Climate change will cause widespread global-scale loss of common plants and animals, researchers predict
When I first started this blog, my intention was to focus mainly on the effect of climate change on the ecological world. I started out by collecting a number of references to papers that demonstrate range shifts and behavioural changes in various species caused by anthropogenic climate change. That list can be found here. The blog then morphed into a place where I could vent my frustrations about idiotic AGW deniers and more recently focus on Australian politicians and their position on the the scientific consensus that AGW is real and serious. I am pleased to occasionally get back to looking at the impacts of climate change on the natural world because idiotic deniers cannot argue that species haven’t moved or undergone phenological changes because the evidence for these things is unequivocal. Plants, animals, fungi and bacteria cannot be accused of lying or falsifying data or selling out their morals or any other of the ridiculous claims deniers make about scientists. So, to the following article. I welcome any deniers who wish to discuss why the biologcal world is doing what it’s doing. Much as I like going to the circus and watching the clowns throw buckets of confetti at each other.
From NewsDaily, an article that explains simply, the significance of passing the 400ppm mark in global CO2 concentration.
Ok dummies, this is for you, courtesy of Peter Hadfield (Potholer 54)….
In North America, nothing highlights the consequences of AGW on ecosystems more than the mountain pine bark beetle which, due to warmer winter temperatures over all of its range and beyond, has devastated millions of hectares of pine forests killing off up to 99% of the mature trees in some places. I wrote a short piece about them some time ago here. Well it seems they are on the move again, having run out of food, they are now expanding again into other areas outside their normal range and their new range. This article from Scientific American discusses the issue. Meanwhile, here’s a reminder of how much evidence there is for the ecological impacts of AGW.
You don’t need to watch this video just put it on and enjoy the song while reading this post.
I was over at a WTFIWWAW and saw a post mentioning John Cook and Stephen Lewandowsky in the title. Having just read the latest paper from Lewandowsky (LCOM13) and posted a small piece about it here I was curious to see what it was about. I was quite taken with the first line…
Now to be quite honest, while Watts, is obviously trying to be funny, I’m actually not sure if he genuinely doesn’t want to be labelled a conspiracy theorist or if he wears the tag with pride under the delusion that he thinks he’s right? Whatever, it’s irrelevant because a number of his sycophants (many of whom become very indignant at the label as was demonstrated in LCOM13) in responding to the post couldn’t help themselves.The post was about the “Angry Summer” report.
At the time I checked it out there were 50 comments from 45 people. Using the criteria as outlined in LCOM13 I classified the commenters as either a conspiracy theorist or not and guess what? 23 of them are conspiracy theorists. It’s no surprise really. A fair number of the comments were completely irrelevant, a couple deliberately deceptive and one batshit crazy. I think I’ll start with the batshit crazy one first.
“Others have noted the title “Angry Summer” in relation to Gaia and as a demonstration of the primitive.
Whilst the first (or continuing) response may be to be amused or bemused, it is overtime to actually look at these sorts of things seriously.
Tim Flannery recently, I think in some manner in reference to this publication or at around the same time, referred to the atmosphere as a “sensitive organ”.
Forget the attempt to fit such beings into categories such as poor/incompetent scientist, or noble cause victims.
These are actually beings that do not qualify as fully human. I mean that in all seriousness. To be homo sapien is not equivalent to being human. Humanity has characteristics distinct from the functioning of an organism.
These do not include the compulsion to reduce by generally unspecified means the world population by a dramatic amount as is actually the desire of a significant part of these beings.
They do not include the abasement of human capacity to a degree required to live in a manner subservient to unknowable physical forces directed by an inconceivable power completely unrelated to human experience.
These being have separated themselves by whatever means from humanity. They intend to impose their will on humanity and effectively destroy it.
They do so for their benefit as they see it.
In the past they would have been described as evil.
Whether that is preferred to primaeval does not matter, it is the same thing.
It is time to stop seeing these beings as misguided or opportunistic in an ordinary way. They are something altogether different. And they are a threat to humanity.”
Right then. It’s a whole good versus evil thing apparently with half-humans being the bad guys. Interesting that he calls himself jc. Coincidence or does he think he might be Jesus? The whole good/evil thing had me wondering.
Next we have the deceptive where one of my favourite morons, Eric Worrall tries to somehow link the refusal of the government to allow the Traveston dam to the Brisbane floods. For anyone unfamiliar with the geography around Brisbane, the dam would have been on the Mary River, not the Brisbane River or any of its tributaries, more than 100km north of Brisbane. Here’s what Eric had to say…
Oh dear. tsk tsk. Of course nobody takes Eric seriously. Anyone seeing his nonsense over at Watching the Deniers where he demonstrates his silly trolling and clown act knows what he is like. I’ll have to dig out the comments he made where he suggested all the polar bears could be placed in Antarctica and all the crocodiles in Australia should be shot. But finally I would like to show my favourite comment from the post. It is my favourite, because not only is it irrelevant, juvenile, and worthless, but it also shows that Anthony Watts has very very low standards for what he finds acceptable on his blog.
Good one Terry. It must have taken you at least 10 minutes to come up with that one…. and you managed to type it with one hand. Well done. You managed to violate at least half a dozen of Anthony’s rules and still get published. Well done again.
The people who frequent the excellent Watching the Denier’s blog are familiar with the class clown, Eric Worrall. He is …… nevermind. Let’s just say that out of the top 100 denier memes featured over at SkepticalScience, he has so far uttered about 65 of them. I’ve done a few DOCD’s on him here, here and here. I also did a longer piece here. Anyway, in a particularly epic comment thread, Eric had been spouting his usual nonsense, this time talking about shooting all the crocodiles in Australia because they are child killers and shifting the polar bears to the Antarctic….no, I’m not kidding, when along comes the voice of reason, Nick. I don’t need to analyze or explain anything about this comment because it is perfectly self-explanatory. Here it is, and thankyou Nick…
A new study published in the last few weeks online in PLoS ONE has revealed significant changes in temperature in two Himalayan Valleys, resulting in range shifts in a large number of endemic plant species and changes in species richness. Telwala et al used historical and recent data (1849-50, 2007-2010) on temperature and endemic species’ elevational ranges to perform a correlative study.
From the abstract…
We provide first evidence of warmer winters in the region compared to the last two centuries, with mean temperatures of the warmest and the coldest months may have increased by 0.76±0.25°C and 3.65±2°C, respectively. Warming-driven geographical range shifts were recorded in 87% of 124 endemic plant species studied in the region; upper range extensions of species have resulted in increased species richness in the upper alpine zone, compared to the 19th century. We recorded a shift of 23–998 m in species’ upper elevation limit and a mean upward displacement rate of 27.53±22.04 m/decade in the present study.
So, what do these temperature changes look like?
The thing that is immediately apparent is the temperature has increased at each of the elevations in each of the seasons.
The changes in species distribution, the range shifts, took many forms with some species’ range’s expanding, some contracting, some staying unchanged. Similarly there were difference in the direction of range shifts with a small number losing altitude, some not moving, but the vast majority gaining altitude. The concern of course is that these species, under continued warming, will run out of mountain to climb and become extinct.
The most dramatic range contractions occurred in 6 species, that saw reductions of more than 50% of their historical ranges. These are most likely to be among the first coming under the threat of extinction in a continuously warming environment. In contrast, there were a small number of species that expanded their ranges by more than 100%, possibly colonising areas on the higher elevation end of their range, vacated by more temperature sensitive species.
This is a classic case of specialists losing out to generalists that we are starting to see everywhere where climate change induced range shifts in species is taking place as dictated by both niche theory and disturbance theory in ecology. An excellent but unfortunately paywalled paper that discusses this is. The citation is Joanne Clavel, Romain Julliard, and Vincent Devictor. 2011. Worldwide decline of specialist species: toward a global functional homogenization? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9: 222–228. Click here for the abstract.
What these two graphs demonstrate is that the greatest range shifts in terms of distance moved occurred at the lower elevations and generally more so at the lower margin of the range than the upper. The vast majority of range shifts have also been up the mountains rather than down which is to be expected with increasing temperatures.
An interesting part of this paper is the authors’ discussion of the effects of these range shifts on levels of species richness.
The authors report that the elevation at which 50% of the cumulative species counts per hectare occur has moved upwards in altitude by nearly 260 m. Overall species richness declined by 37%. Despite this decline, species richness in the uppermost 200m elevational band increased by an average of 14.7 species. They report that recent surveys in the study area have revealed 15-18 species that are new arrivals. In a nutshell, some species have disappeared, most have undergone range shifts,, and the whole area is being exploited by generalist species and new arrivals who are able to take advantage of the disturbance created by temperature changes and localised extinctions.
This paper hasn’t been out for long and I have already seen one comment in a forum suggesting that the increase in species richness increase in the upper bands of the study area is evidence that climate change is a good thing. For mind, the only time an increase in species richness is a good thing is when an area is recovering from disturbance back to some semblance of what it was prior to the disturbance. That is not what is happening in the pristine areas of the Himalayas. This is human induced climate change ruining ecosystems through the creation of weed habitats and don’t forget that overall decline in species richness.