We're all doomed! and there's NOTHING we can do about it... DailyMail (UK)
According to the climate change scientist James Lovelock, this is the beginning of the end of a peaceful phase in evolution. By 2040, the world population of more than six billion will have been culled by floods, drought and famine. The people of Southern Europe, as well as South-East Asia, will be fighting their way into countries such as Canada, Australia and Britain. We will, he says, have to set up encampments in this country, like those established for the hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced by the conflict in East Africa. Lovelock believes the subsequent ethnic tensions could lead to civil war. Crackpot or visionary, the fact is that more and more people are paying attention to Lovelock, and that he, himself, supports the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - the influential group who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former American vice president Al Gore for their campaigns on global warming. He has been proclaiming his Gaia Theory for a generation. This states that the Earth is a living, self-regulating system and that by filling its atmosphere with CO2 (carbon dioxide emissions) we have destroyed the balance and overheated the planet. We are in the phase when the thermometer suddenly shoots up. Lovelock believes it is too late to repair the damage. Government targets are "futile". Britain contributes such a tiny amount of emissions compared with countries such as China that our self-regulatory measures are pathetic. "By 2040, China will be uninhabitable." Lovelock believes that the Chinese, because of their high levels of industrial activity, will be the first to suffer, with the death of all plant life. "So I think the Chinese will go to Africa. They are already there, preparing a new continent - the Chinese industrialists who claim to be out there mining minerals are just there on a pretext of preparing for the big move. "This is not science fiction. Mr Putin will colonise Siberia. Those who will have a very rough time are those in the indian subcontinent. You don't need much of a sea level rise to wipe Bangladesh off the face of the Earth." "It is like the flashlight on a torch," explains Lovelock. "The battery will eventually run out. Everything is mortal. I would not want everlasting life for myself or for the Earth. "We are about to take an evolutionary step and my hope is that the species will emerge stronger. It would be hubris to think humans as they now are God's chosen race." No one can accuse the scientist of the Apocalypse of being gloomy. ==============================================================
Amazon rainforest 'could become a desert' And that could speed up global warming with 'incalculable consequences', says alarming new research The Independent Published: 23 July 2006
The vast Amazon rainforest is on the brink of being turned into desert, with catastrophic consequences for the world's climate, alarming research suggests. And the process, which would be irreversible, could begin as early as next year. Studies by the blue-chip Woods Hole Research Centre, carried out in Amazonia, have concluded that the forest cannot withstand more than two consecutive years of drought without breaking down. Scientists say that this would spread drought into the northern hemisphere, including Britain, and could massively accelerate global warming with incalculable consequences, spinning out of control, a process that might end in the world becoming uninhabitable. The alarming news comes in the midst of a heatwave gripping Britain and much of Europe and the United States. Temperatures in the south of England reached a July record of 36.3C on Tuesday. And it comes hard on the heels of a warning by an international group of experts, led by the Eastern Orthodox " pope" Bartholomew, last week that the forest is rapidly approaching a " tipping point" that would lead to its total destruction. The research ­ carried out by the Massachusetts-based Woods Hole centre in Santarem on the Amazon river ­ has taken even the scientists conducting it by surprise. When Dr Dan Nepstead started the experiment in 2002 ­ by covering a chunk of rainforest the size of a football pitch with plastic panels to see how it would cope without rain ­ he surrounded it with sophisticated sensors, expecting to record only minor changes. The trees managed the first year of drought without difficulty. In the second year, they sunk their roots deeper to find moisture, but survived. But in year three, they started dying. Beginning with the tallest the trees started to come crashing down, exposing the forest floor to the drying sun. By the end of the year the trees had released more than two-thirds of the carbon dioxide they have stored during their lives, helping to act as a break on global warming. Instead they began accelerating the climate change. As we report today on pages 28 and 29, the Amazon now appears to be entering its second successive year of drought, raising the possibility that it could start dying next year. The immense forest contains 90 billion tons of carbon, enough in itself to increase the rate of global warming by 50 per cent. Dr Nepstead expects "mega-fires" rapidly to sweep across the drying jungle. With the trees gone, the soil will bake in the sun and the rainforest could become desert. Dr Deborah Clark from the University of Missouri, one of the world's top forest ecologists, says the research shows that "the lock has broken" on the Amazon ecosystem. She adds: the Amazon is "headed in a terrible direction". ==============================================================
Global Warming Can Cause Extreme Climate Change, Scientists Say 05 January 2006 http://usinfo.state.gov Deep-sea historical records show abrupt ocean-circulation reversal
Research funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) shows that global climate change quickly may have disrupted ancient ocean processes and could lead to drastic shifts in environments around the world. Researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California say the events -- which unfolded millions of years ago and spanned thousands of years -- historically are similar to current warming-induced changes in large-scale sea circulation and may help illuminate potential long-term effects of today's climate warming. According to a January 4 NSF press release, scientists Flávia Nunes and Richard Norris said they probed a 4- to 7-degree warming period that occurred 55 million years ago. Their unique data set, based on the chemical makeup of tiny ancient sea creatures -- single-celled animals called foraminifera, or forams -- showed evidence of a monumental reversal in the circulation of deep-ocean patterns around the world. The researchers concluded that it was triggered by the global warming the world experienced at the time, called the Paleocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). "Fifty-five million years ago," Nunes said, "when the earth was in a period of global warmth, ocean currents rapidly changed direction, and this change did not reverse to original conditions for about 20,000 years." Fossil records indicate that the PETM caused a host of changes around the globe, ranging from a mass extinction of deep-sea bottom-dwelling marine life to key migrations of terrestrial mammal species, likely allowed by warm conditions that opened travel routes not possible in colder conditions. This period is when scientists find the earliest evidence for horses and primates in North America and Europe. The results indicate that deep-ocean circulation in the Southern Hemisphere abruptly stopped the conveyor-belt-like process called "overturning," in which cold and salty water in the depths exchanges with warm water on the surface. As this process virtually was shutting down in the south, overturning apparently became active in the Northern Hemisphere. The researchers believe this shift drove unusually warm water to the deep sea, releasing stores of methane gas that led to further global warming and a massive die-off of deep-sea marine life. Today, overturning in the modern North Atlantic Ocean is a primary way to draw heat into the far north Atlantic and keep temperatures in Europe relatively warmer than conditions in Canada. "Overturning is very sensitive to surface ocean temperatures and surface ocean salinity," Norris said. "The case described here may be one of the best examples of global warming triggered by the massive release of greenhouse gases," he added. "It gives us a perspective on what the long-term impact is likely to be of today's human-caused warming." For more information on climate change issues, see Climate Change. Text of the NSF press release follows: (begin text) National Science Foundation Press release 06-003, January 4, 2006 [Washington] Global Warming Can Trigger Extreme Ocean, Climate Changes Scientists use deep ocean historical records to find an abrupt ocean circulation reversal Newly published research results provide evidence that global climate change may have quickly disrupted ocean processes and lead to drastic shifts in environments around the world. Although the events described unfolded millions of years ago and spanned thousands of years, the researchers, affiliated with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, say they provide one of the few historical analogs for warming-induced changes in the large-scale sea circulation, and thus may help to illuminate the potential long-term impacts of today's climate warming. Writing in this week's issue of the journal Nature, scientists Flávia Nunes and Richard Norris explain that they probed a four- to seven-degree warming period that occurred some 55 million years ago during the closing stages of the Paleocene and the beginning of the Eocene eras. The unique data set they constructed, based on the chemical makeup of tiny ancient sea creatures, uncovered for the first time evidence of a monumental reversal in the circulation of deep-ocean patterns around the world. The researchers concluded that it was triggered by the global warming the world experienced at the time. "The earth is a system that can change very rapidly," said Nunes. "Fifty-five million years ago, when the earth was in a period of global warmth, ocean currents rapidly changed direction and this change did not reverse to original conditions for about 20,000 years." The global warming of 55 million years ago, known as the Paleocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), emerged in less than 5,000 years, an instantaneous blip on geological time scales. Fossil records indicate that the PETM set in motion a host of important changes around the globe, ranging from a mass extinction of deep-sea bottom-dwelling marine life to key migrations terrestrial mammal species, likely allowed by warm conditions that opened travel routes not possible under previously colder climates. For example, this period is where scientists find the earliest evidence for horses and primates in North America and Europe. To obtain their data, Nunes and Norris analyzed carbon isotopes -- chemical signatures that reveal a host of information -- from the shells of single-celled animals called foraminifera, or "forams." Such organisms exist in a variety of marine environments, and their vast numbers per research sample allow scientists to uncover a range of details about the state of the seas. "A tiny shell from a sea creature living millions of years ago can tell us so much about past ocean conditions," said Nunes. "We know approximately what the temperature was at the bottom of the ocean. We also have a measure of the nutrient content of the water the creature lived in. And, when we have information from several locations, we can infer the direction of ocean currents." In the study, the scientists looked at a foram named Nuttalides truempyi from 14 sites around the world in deep-sea sediment cores retrieved via the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), for which Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc., manages the U.S. component. The isotopes were used as nutrient "tracers" to reconstruct changes in deep-ocean circulation through the PETM period. Nutrient levels tell the researchers how long a sample has been near or isolated from the sea surface, thus giving them a way to track the age and path of deep-sea water. The results indicate that deep-ocean circulation in the Southern Hemisphere abruptly stopped the conveyor belt-like process known as "overturning," in which cold and salty water in the depths exchanges with warm water on the surface. Even as it was virtually shutting down in the south, however, overturning apparently became active in the Northern Hemisphere. The researchers believe this shift drove unusually warm water to the deep sea, likely releasing stores of methane gas that led to further global warming and a massive die-off of deep-sea marine life. Overturning is a fundamental component of the global climate conditions we know today, said Bil Haq, program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s division of ocean sciences, which funded the research. For example, overturning in the modern North Atlantic Ocean is a primary means of drawing heat into the far north Atlantic and keeping temperatures in Europe relatively warmer than conditions in Canada, he said. Today, "new" deep-water generation does not occur in the Pacific Ocean because of the large amount of freshwater input from the polar regions, which prevents North Pacific waters from becoming dense enough to sink to more than intermediate depths. In the case of the Paleocene/Eocene, however, deep-water formation was possible in the Pacific Ocean because of global warming-induced changes. The Atlantic Ocean also could have been a significant generator of deep waters during this period. Modern carbon dioxide input from fossil fuel sources to the earth's surface is approaching the same levels estimated for the PETM period, which raises concerns about future climate and changes in ocean circulation, say the scientists. Thus, they say, the Paleocene/Eocene example suggests that human-produced changes may have lasting effects not only on global climate, but on deep ocean circulation. "Overturning is very sensitive to surface ocean temperatures and surface ocean salinity," said Norris. "The case described here may be one of the best examples of global warming triggered by the massive release of greenhouse gases. It gives us a perspective on what the long-term impact is likely to be of today's human-caused warming." (end text) It seems to me the distant and fuzzy picture is starting to come into focus... Dan ==============================================================
World On Brink Of Disaster 3-31-05 (The Independent - UK)
Planet Earth stands on the cusp of disaster and people should no longer take it for granted that their children and grandchildren will survive in the environmentally degraded world of the 21st century. This is not the doom-laden talk of green activists but the considered opinion of 1,300 leading scientists from 95 countries who will today publish a detailed assessment of the state of the world at the start of the new millennium. The report does not make jolly reading. The academics found that two-thirds of the delicately-balanced ecosystems they studied have suffered badly at the hands of man over the past 50 years. The assessment was carried out over the past three years and has been likened to the prestigious Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - set up to investigate global warming - for its expertise in the many specialisms that make up the broad church of environmental science. In summary, the scientists concluded that the planet had been substantially "re-engineered" in the latter half of the 20th century because of the pressure placed on the earth's natural resources by the growing demands of a larger human population. The full costs of this are only now becoming apparent. Some 15 of the 24 ecosystems vital for life on earth have been seriously degraded or used unsustainably - an ecosystem being defined as a dynamic complex of plants, animals and micro-organisms that form a functional unit with the non-living environment in which the coexist. The sudden and unprecedented release of free nitrogen and phosphorus - important mineral nutrients for plant growth - has triggered massive blooms of algae in the freshwater and marine environments. This is identified as a potential "tipping point" that can suddenly destroy entire ecosystems. THE TIPPING POINTS TO CATASTROPHE NEW DISEASES As population densities increase and living space extends into once pristine forests, the chances of an epidemic of a new infectious agent grows. Global travel accentuates the threat, and the emergence of Sars and bird flu are prime examples of diseases moving from animals to humans. ALIEN SPECIES The introduction of an invasive species - whether animal, plant or microbe - can lead to a rapid change in ecosystems. Zebra mussels introduced into North America led to the extinction of native clams and the comb jellyfish caused havoc to 26 major fisheries species in the Black Sea. ALGAL BLOOMS A build up of man-made nutrients in the environment has already led to the threshold being reached when algae blooms. This can deprive fish and other wildlife of oxygen as well as producing toxic substances that are a danger to drinking water. CORAL REEF COLLAPSE Reefs that were dominated by corals have suddenly changed to being dominated by algae, which have taken advantage of the increases in nutrient levels running off from terrestrial sources. Many of Jamaica's coral reefs have now become algal dominated. FISHING STOCKS Overfishing can, and has, led to a collapse in stocks. A threshold is reached when there are too few adults to maintain a viable population. This occurred off the east coast of Newfoundland in 1992 when its stock of Atlantic cod vanished. CLIMATE CHANGE In a warmer world, local vegetation or land cover can change, causing warming to become worse. The Sahel region of North Africa depends on rainfall for its vegetation. Small changes in rain can result in loss of vegetation, soil erosion and further decreases in rainfall. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_technology/story.jsp?story=624667 ==============================================================
Climate fear as carbon levels soar 10-11-04 The Guardian - UK
An unexplained and unprecedented rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere two years running has raised fears that the world may be on the brink of runaway global warming. Scientists are baffled why the quantity of the main greenhouse gas has leapt in a two- year period and are concerned that the Earth's natural systems are no longer able to absorb as much as in the past. Measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere have been continuous for almost 50 years at Mauna Loa Observatory, 12,000ft up a mountain in Hawaii, regarded as far enough away from any carbon dioxide source to be a reliable measuring point. In recent decades CO2 increased on average by 1.5 parts per million (ppm) a year because of the amount of oil, coal and gas burnt, but has now jumped to more than 2 ppm in 2002 and 2003. Above or below average rises in CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been explained in the past by natural events. When the Pacific warms up during El Niño - a disruptive weather pattern caused by weakening trade winds - the amount of carbon dioxide rises dramatically because warm oceans emit CO2 rather than absorb it. But scientists are puzzled because over the past two years, when the increases have been 2.08 ppm and 2.54 ppm respectively, there has been no El Niño. Charles Keeling, the man who began the observations in 1958 as a young climate scientist, is now 74 and still working in the field. He said yesterday: "The rise in the annual rate to above two parts per million for two consecutive years is a real phenomenon. "It is possible that this is merely a reflection of natural events like previous peaks in the rate, but it is also possible that it is the beginning of a natural process unprecedented in the record." But the fear held by some scientists is that the greater than normal rises in C02 emissions mean that instead of decades to bring global warming under control we may have only a few years. At worst, the figures could be the first sign of the breakdown in the Earth's natural systems for absorbing the gas. That would herald the so-called "runaway greenhouse effect", where the planet's soaring temperature becomes impossible to contain. As the icecaps melt, less sunlight is refected back into space from ice and snow, and bare rocks begin to absorb more heat. This is already happening. One of the predictions made by climate scientists in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is that as the Earth warms, the absorption of carbon dioxide by vegetation - known as "carbon sink" - is reduced. Dr Keeling said since there was no sign of a dramatic increase in the amount of fossil fuels being burnt in 2002 and 2003, the rise "could be a weakening of the Earth's carbon sinks, associated with the world warming, as part of a climate change feedback mechanism. It is a cause for concern'.' Tom Burke, visiting professor at Imperial College London, and a former special adviser to the former Tory environment minister John Gummer, warned: "We're watching the clock and the clock is beginning to tick faster, like it seems to before a bomb goes off." Peter Cox, head of the Carbon Cycle Group at the Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Change, said the increase in carbon dioxide was not uniform across the globe. Measurements of CO2 levels in Australia and at the south pole were slightly lower, he said, so it looked as though something unusual had occurred in the northern hemisphere. "My guess is that there were extra forest fires in the northern hemisphere, and particularly a very hot summer in Europe," Dr Cox said. "This led to a die-back in vegetation and an increase in release of carbon from the soil, rather than more growing plants taking carbon out of the atmosphere, which is usually the case in summer." Scientists have dubbed the two-year CO2 rise the Mauna Loa anomaly. Dr Cox said one of its most interesting aspects was that the CO2 rises did not take place in El Niño years. Previously the only figures that climbed higher than 2 ppm were El Niño years - 1973, 1988, 1994 and 1998. The heatwave of last year that is now believed to have claimed at least 30,000 lives across the world was so out of the ordinary that many scientists believe it could only have been caused by global warming. Dr Piers Forster, senior research fellow of the University of Reading's Department of Meteorology, said: "If this is a rate change, of course it will be very significant. It will be of enormous concern, because it will imply that all our global warming predictions for the next hundred years or so will have to be redone." http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1324276,00.html ==============================================================
Global Warming Puts China’s Yulong Glacier in Peril China, Sept. 20, 2004, (abcnews)
It is one of China's scenic wonders: the Yulong, or Jade Dragon Mountain. But, if one of China's leading environmental scientists is correct, future generations will only be able to experience the Yulong glacier through their history books. "This glacier is melting," said He Yuanqing. "And it is melting very fast." ABC News joined He and his scientific team recently on their annual visit to the glacier to measure and analyze its height and length and depth. The team doesn't like what it sees. According to He, the icy tongue of the glacier has shrunk by 800 feet in the past 20 years. "At this rate," he said, "the Yulong glacier will be gone in 50 years." In fact, he predicts, thousands of other glaciers in China are on a fast track toward disappearing. But there are worst-case scenarios that also concern scientists in China. Scenarios that seem to foreshadow the string of global disasters depicted in the summer Hollywood blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow. That film became required viewing this summer at China's National Climate Center in Beijing. "The climate of the world is changing," he said. "And changing climate affects all of mankind." Dong said Chinese scientists are already concerned with the wave of severe weather problems that have swept across their country recently. There have been record floods in the south and east, record droughts in the north and west. Desertification is worsening in arid regions. "The global warming cycle fluctuates," he said. "Maybe it's warmer for some years, and then colder for other years." But he believes that glaciers are an early warning system for climactic problems on planet earth. The Yulong glacier, he believes, is sounding a very loud alarm. http://abcnews.go.com/sections/WNT/SciTech/yulong_glacier_040920.html ==============================================================
Antarctic Glaciers Melting Faster 9-22-04 WASHINGTON (Reuters)
Glaciers once held up by a floating ice shelf off Antarctica are now sliding off into the sea -- and they are going fast, scientists said on Tuesday. Two separate studies from climate researchers and the space agency NASA show the glaciers are flowing into Antarctica's Weddell Sea, freed by the 2002 breakup of the Larsen B ice shelf. Writing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the researchers said their satellite measurements suggest climate warming can lead to rapid sea level rise. The teams at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said the findings also prove that ice shelves hold back glaciers. Many teams of researchers are keeping a close eye on parts of Antarctica that are steadily melting. Large ice shelves in the Antarctic Peninsula disintegrated in 1995 and 2002 as a result of climate warming. But these floating ice shelves did not affect sea level as they melted. Glaciers, however, are another story. They rest on land and when they slide off into the water they instantly affect sea level. It was not clear how the loss of the Larsen B ice shelf would affect nearby glaciers. But soon after its collapse, researchers saw nearby glaciers flowing up to eight times faster than before. "If anyone was waiting to find out whether Antarctica would respond quickly to climate warming, I think the answer is yes," said Theodore Scambos, a University of Colorado glacier expert who worked on one study. "We've seen 150 miles of coastline change drastically in just 15 years." The affected area is at the far northern tip of the Antarctic, just south of Chile and Argentina. Temperatures there have risen by up to 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit (2.5 degrees C) in the past 60 years -- faster than almost any region in the world. In the past 30 years, ice shelves in the region have lost more than 5,200 square miles of area. "The Larsen area can be looked at as a miniature experiment, showing how warming can dramatically change the ice sheets, and how fast it can happen," Scambos said in a statement. "At every step in the process, things have occurred more rapidly than we expected." But not all the melting in the Antarctic can be seen as a "miniature experiment." The Ross ice shelf, for example, is the main outlet for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, with several large glaciers that could, if they melted completely, raise sea levels by 16 feet. "While the consequences of this area are small compared to other parts of the Antarctic, it is a harbinger of what will happen when the large ice sheets begin to warm," Scambos said. "The much larger ice shelves in other parts of Antarctica could have much greater effects on the rate of sea level rise." ==============================================================
Mussels Found Near N.Pole in Global Warming Sign OSLO (Reuters) 9-18-04
Mussels have been found growing on the seabed just 800 miles from the North Pole in a likely sign of global warming, scientists said on Friday. The blue mussels, which normally favor warmer waters like off France or the eastern United States, were discovered last month off Norway's Svalbard archipelago in waters that are covered with ice most of the year. "The climate is changing fast," said Geir Johnsen, a professor at the Norwegian University for Science and Technology who was among experts who found the bivalves. Molluscs were a "very good indicator that the climate is warming," he said. "It seems like the mussels we found are two to three years old," he told Reuters. Such shellfish have not been recorded off the islands since Viking times 1,000 years ago during another warm period. U.N. scientists say the Arctic is now warming faster than any other region because of human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released from burning fossil fuels in cars, factories and power plants. As the white ice and snow melts, it exposes darker ground or water that soaks up heat and so accelerates warming compared to regions further south. By comparison, ice in Antarctica is thicker and acts as a deep freeze resisting global warming. Inuit peoples in Canada, for instance, are seeing robins for the first time and hunters are falling through previously solid sea ice. In Scandinavia, birch trees are moving northwards into previously icy areas used for reindeer herding. The scientists monitoring Svalbard also said they had found seas free of ice further north than for 250 years at one point this summer. "The climate has been warming," said Bjorn Gulliksen, a professor at the University of Svalbard. "The ice limit...has not been as far north since 1751." ==============================================================
Ivan May Just Be a Messenger 9-15-04 (wired news)
Hurricane Ivan is among the most powerful Atlantic storms in recent history, and more such storms are likely in the future due to global warming, say climate experts. "Global warming is creating conditions that (are) more favorable for hurricanes to develop and be more severe," said Kevin Trenberth, head of the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. While few climate and hurricane experts are willing to go that far publicly, there is little debate that the Earth is retaining more of the sun's energy than in the past. Emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide act as an extra blanket that keeps some of the sun's energy from dissipating into space. The extra energy from this "greenhouse effect" has already warmed the Earth by about 1 degree Fahrenheit, according to the 2001 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The report is based on evidence and research from more than 2,500 scientists from about 100 countries. Hurricanes need warm water, and the oceans are heating up, as evidenced by the 1 1/4- inch rise in global sea levels over the past 10 years, said Trenberth. The additional heat is causing most of this sea level rise because of thermal expansion -- just as a very full pot of water heated on a stove will spill over. Brazil was struck by the first-ever hurricane in the south Atlantic last March, while the Atlantic coast of Canada got smacked by the storm of the century, Hurricane Juan, late last year. While these may be flukes, the Canadian government suspects global warming and is worried about the future. Largely unnoticed in the attention focused on hurricanes is the record number of tornadoes the United States has experienced this year. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency says a record 173 tornadoes were reported in the month of August, 47 more than the previous record, set in 1979. Iowa has already experienced a record high of 110 tornadoes this year, when its 30-year average is just 45. The changing ocean and atmospheric conditions due to global warming are also making historical weather cycles or patterns less useful in helping to do long-range climate forecasts. ==============================================================
Warnings from the Wild 9-11-04 (CBC.CA)
In the Arctic, climate changes are tangible. As the Earth warms, the ice caps melt. Polar bears depend on the ice to hunt. If the ice breaks up in early spring, the bears go hungry and scientists have noticed a change in the bears' weight and survival rate of cubs. At the other end of the world in the Antarctic, the pattern is repeated, only it's penguins that depend on the ice. On Banks Island in the western Arctic, the Inuvialuit people of Sach's Harbour describe dramatic changes in their environment, directly related to temperature rise. As individual and communal observers of their northern environment, the Inuvialuit may not be scientists in the strict sense of the term, but like aboriginal peoples all over the world, a complete understanding of their harsh environment has been key to their survival. Today, they are seeing changes never before described by ancestors. In the more temperate zones of Europe and the United States, scientists are using the long-term records of amateur naturalists to show how trees are leafing and birds are migrating a full two weeks earlier. To the south, the cloud forests of Costa Rica, home of the famed Golden Toads of Monteverde, have subtly changed, leading to the toads' extinction. On the equator, mile after mile of coral reef is under threat. In the Maldives, scientists have detected signs of coral recovery, but if the sea temperatures continue to warm, the coral will begin to die. There is still time to prevent coral extinction as well as other impending environmental disasters, but only if nature's warnings are heeded. ==============================================================
Manitoba has Worst Summer Ever 8-31-04
Blame the ocean. Or a late spring in the Arctic. Something has to take the brunt of Manitobans' resentment over the summer that never arrived and those are the top two contenders, according to climatologists starting to piece together where their models went wrong. Canada's long-range forecasters painted the country red this summer, predicting above- normal temperatures coast to coast. Now it's their faces that are red after a wide swath through the centre of the country was record-breakingly cold. The entire globe was a fraction of a degree colder than normal in July. But Manitoba dropped about three degrees below normal from May to August, tied with Siberia for the worst summer in the hemisphere. Hell may not have frozen over, but Winnipeg seemed to come close, with the chilliest mean temperature since records started being kept in 1873. Even excluding May, the three summer months will add up to one of the two coldest summers on record -- and the only competitor is 1992, when a Philippine volcano caused a worldwide chill. Next time, climatologists want to get it right, so they are studying global patterns to figure out what happened this year. First suspect: the ocean. Environment Canada's top climatologist, David Phillips, lives in Toronto, where the chill was not as extreme as on the eastern Prairies, but he still gets teased at parties about how far off his department's predictions were. He warns that most climate blips result from a combination of factors that may be too difficult to unravel. But as he speaks, his eyes keep drifting to a sea surface temperature map showing red stripes west of British Columbia and north of Alaska. The temperature of the Pacific and Arctic oceans in that region has been a whopping three degrees above normal. "The water is almost like a hot tub," Phillips said of the 17 C waters off British Columbia. B.C. ocean scientist Howard Freeland said a survey cruise from the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Gulf of Alaska is reporting the warmest top layer of water in 50 years of record-keeping. He said he believes the ocean there is not mixing as well as it used to, so it is not stirring up cooler water up from the deep. Like El Nino -- the warm water off the west coast of South America that can lead to balmy winters here -- this ocean pattern may be affecting weather thousands of kilometres away. Blair agrees with Phillips that the warm coastal waters are one possible explanation for our cold summer. He explains that warm water heats the air above it, causing it to rise and setting up a high pressure ridge. Hence the extremely hot, dry weather in B.C. this summer that is contributing to another bad forest fire season. Downwind of a high-pressure zone is usually a low-pressure zone -- in our case, one that settled over Hudson Bay for much of the summer. ... Folks, this is MORE evidence of a problem with the Atlantic Current... Dan ==============================================================
2003 Likely Europe's Hottest in 500 Years 3-5-04 Washington (AP)
Last year's deadly summer in Europe probably was the hottest on the continent in at least five centuries, according to researchers who analyzed old records, soil cores and other evidence. More than 19,000 people died. Researchers at the University of Bern, Switzerland, collected and analyzed temperature data from all over Europe, including such climate measures as tree rings from 1500. They found that the climate has been generally warming and last summer was the most torrid of all. "When you consider Europe as a whole, it was by far the hottest," said Jurg Luterbacher, climatologist and the first author of a study appearing this week in the journal Science. Luterbacher said the study showed that European winters are also warmer now. The average winter and annual temperatures during the three decades from 1973 to 2002 were the warmest of the half millennium, he said. Some studies have linked rising average temperatures in North America and elsewhere to global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels, but Luterbacher said his team did not attempt to make such a connection. "We don't make any analysis of the human influence," he said. "We don't attempt to determine the cause. We only report what we find." Other climatologists, however, say the new study agrees with models that have predicted a steady rise in global temperature as the result of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels and other sources. Stephen Schneider, a climate expert at Stanford University and a prominent advocate for the theory of human-caused global warming, said the Luterbacher paper is consistent with what climate modelers have been predicting for 20 years. "The data is starting to line up showing that those projections were correct," Schneider said. "We warned the world that this was likely to happen because we believed the theory, but couldn't actually prove it was happening. Now the data is coming in." In the study, Luterbacher and his team analyzed the temperature history of Europe starting in 1500 to the present. For the earliest part of the half millennium, the figures are estimates based on proxy measures, such as tree rings and soil cores. But after about 1750, he said, instrumented readings became generally available throughout Europe. During the 500 years, there were trends both toward cool and toward hot. The second hottest summer in the period was in 1757. That was followed by a cooling trend that continued until early in the 20th century. The summer of 1902, for instance, was the coolest of the entire record. Starting in 1977, the record shows "an exceptionally strong, unprecedented warming," the researchers report, with average temperatures rising at the rate of about 0.36 degrees per decade. Then came last summer. "The summer of 2003 exceeded 1901 to 1995 European summer temperatures by around 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)," the study said. "Taking into account the uncertainties (in the study method), it appears that the summer of 2003 was very likely warmer than any other summer back to 1500." Record temperatures were recorded in most of the major cities of Europe last summer, with many readings over 100 degrees. Authorities have attributed thousands of deaths to the excess heat, making the heat wave one of the deadliest weather phenomena in the past century. In France, the toll was estimated at about 14,802 dead. About 2,000 more than normal died in August in England and Wales. On Aug. 11, Britain's hottest day on record, there were 363 more deaths than average and the temperature reading reached 101.3 in Brogdale in southeastern England. Altogether in Europe, based on official numbers collected by The Associated Press, there were more than 19,000 excess deaths in the summer months. France was hardest hit, but the average number of summer deaths increased by 4,175 in Italy, 1,300 in Portugal and more than 1,000 in the Netherlands. The intense heat also wilted crops, caused wildfires and continued a century long trend of melting the continent's glaciers. Luterbacher said some mountain glaciers have shrunk by 50 percent in the past century in Europe, and some ice fields lost 10 percent of their mass last summer alone. In addition, he said, the long trend of warming temperatures is now melting the high altitude permafrost — the soil that usually remains frozen year-round and that some buildings, bridges and roadways are now threatened with unstable foundations. ==============================================================
Global warming will plunge Britain into new ice age 'within decades' By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor 25 January 2004
Britain is likely to be plunged into an ice age within our lifetime by global warming, new research suggests. A study, which is being taken seriously by top government scientists, has uncovered a change "of remarkable amplitude" in the circulation of the waters of the North Atlantic. Similar events in pre-history are known to have caused sudden "flips" of the climate, bringing ice ages to northern Europe within a few decades. The development - described as "the largest and most dramatic oceanic change ever measured in the era of modern instruments", by the US Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, which led the research - threatens to turn off the Gulf Stream, which keeps Europe's weather mild. If that happens, Britain and northern Europe are expected to switch abruptly to the climate of Labrador - which is on the same latitude - bringing a nightmare scenario where farmland turns to tundra and winter temperatures drop below -20C. The much-heralded cold snap predicted for the coming week would seem balmy by comparison. A report by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme in Sweden - launched by Nobel prize-winner Professor Paul Crutzen and other top scientists - warned last week that pollution threatened to "trigger changes with catastrophic consequences" like these. Scientists have long expected that global warming could, paradoxically, cause a devastating cooling in Europe by disrupting the Gulf Stream, which brings as much heat to Britain in winter as the sun does: the US National Academy of Sciences has even described such abrupt, dramatic changes as "likely". But until now it has been thought that this would be at least a century away. The new research, by scientists at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Acquaculture Science at Lowestoft and Canada's Bedford Institute of Oceanography, as well as Woods Hole, indicates that this may already be beginning to happen. Dr Ruth Curry, the study's lead scientist, says: "This has the potential to change the circulation of the ocean significantly in our lifetime. Northern Europe will likely experience a significant cooling." Robert Gagosian, the director of Woods Hole, considered one of the world's leading oceanographic institutes, said: "We may be approaching a threshold that would shut down [the Gulf Stream] and cause abrupt climate changes. "Even as the earth as a whole continues to warm gradually, large regions may experience a precipitous and disruptive shift into colder climates." The scientists, who studied the composition of the waters of the Atlantic from Greenland to Tierra del Fuego, found that they have become "very much" saltier in the tropics and subtropics and "very much" fresher towards the poles over the past 50 years. This is alarming because the Gulf Stream is driven by cold, very salty water sinking in the North Atlantic. This pulls warm surface waters northwards, forming the current. The change is described as the "fingerprint" of global warming. As the world heats up, more water evaporates from the tropics and falls as rain in temperate and polar regions, making the warm waters saltier and the cold ones fresher. Melting polar ice adds more fresh water. Ominously, the trend has accelerated since 1990, during which time the 10 hottest years on record have occurred. Many studies have shown that similar changes in the waters of the North Atlantic in geological time have often plunged Europe into an ice age, sometimes bringing the change in as little as a decade. The National Academy of Sciences says that the jump occurs in the same way as "the slowly increasing pressure of a finger eventually flips a switch and turns on a light". Once the switch has occurred the new, hostile climate, lasts for decades at least, and possibly centuries. When the Gulf Stream abruptly turned off about 12,700 years ago, it brought about a 1,300-year cold period, known as the Younger Dryas. This froze Britain in continuous permafrost, drove summer temperatures down to 10C and winter ones to -20C, and brought icebergs as far south as Portugal. Europe could not sustain anything like its present population. Droughts struck across the globe, including in Asia, Africa and the American west, as the disruption of the Gulf Stream affected currents worldwide. ==============================================================
Severe Weather Prompts Unprecedented Global Warming Alert The Independent - UK 7-3-3
In an astonishing announcement on global warming and extreme weather, the World Meteorological Organisation signalled last night that the world's weather is going haywire. In a startling report, the WMO, which normally produces detailed scientific reports and staid statistics at the year's end, highlighted record extremes in weather and climate occurring all over the world in recent weeks, from Switzerland's hottest-ever June to a record month for tornadoes in the United States - and linked them to climate change. The unprecedented warning takes its force and significance from the fact that it is not coming from Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth, but from an impeccably respected UN organisation that is not given to hyperbole (though environmentalists will seize on it to claim that the direst warnings of climate change are being borne out). The Geneva- based body, to which the weather services of 185 countries contribute, takes the view that events this year in Europe, America and Asia are so remarkable that the world needs to be made aware of it immediately. The extreme weather it documents, such as record high and low temperatures, record rainfall and record storms in different parts of the world, is consistent with predictions of global warming. Supercomputer models show that, as the atmosphere warms, the climate not only becomes hotter but much more unstable. "Recent scientific assessments indicate that, as the global temperatures continue to warm due to climate change, the number and intensity of extreme events might increase," the WMO said, giving a striking series of examples. In southern France, record temperatures were recorded in June, rising above 40C in places - temperatures of 5C to 7C above the average. In Switzerland, it was the hottest June in at least 250 years, environmental historians said. In Geneva, since 29 May, daytime temperatures have not fallen below 25C, making it the hottest June recorded. In the United States, there were 562 May tornadoes, which caused 41 deaths. This set a record for any month. The previous record was 399 in June 1992. In India, this year's pre-monsoon heatwave brought peak temperatures of 45C - 2C to 5C above the norm. At least 1,400 people died in India due to the hot weather. In Sri Lanka, heavy rainfall from Tropical Cyclone 01B exacerbated wet conditions, resulting in flooding and landslides and killing at least 300 people. The infrastructure and economy of south-west Sri Lanka was heavily damaged. A reduction of 20- 30 per cent is expected in the output of low-grown tea in the next three months. Last month was also the hottest in England and Wales since 1976, with average temperatures of 16C. The WMO said: "These record extreme events (high temperatures, low temperatures and high rainfall amounts and droughts) all go into calculating the monthly and annual averages, which, for temperatures, have been gradually increasing over the past 100 years. "New record extreme events occur every year somewhere in the globe, but in recent years the number of such extremes have been increasing. "According to recent climate-change scientific assessment reports of the joint WMO/ United Nations Environmental Programme Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the global average surface temperature has increased since 1861. Over the 20th century the increase has been around 0.6C. "New analyses of proxy data for the northern hemisphere indicate that the increase in temperature in the 20th century is likely to have been the largest in any century during the past 1,000 years." While the trend towards warmer temperatures has been uneven over the past century, the trend since 1976 is roughly three times that for the whole period. Global average land and sea surface temperatures in May 2003 were the second highest since records began in 1880. Considering land temperatures only, last May was the warmest on record. It is possible that 2003 will be the hottest year ever recorded. The 10 hottest years in the 143-year-old global temperature record have now all been since 1990, with the three hottest being 1998, 2002 and 2001. The unstable world of climate change has long been a prediction. Now, the WMO says, it is a reality. ... well, there ya go. In '97 - on my (now defunct) radio show, this is exactly what I talked about... Dan. ==============================================================
Global Warming 'Threatens Mass Extinction' Sydney Morning Herald 6-20-3
Global warming over the next century could trigger a catastrophe to rival the worst mass extinction in the history of the planet, scientists have warned. Researchers at Bristol University have discovered that a mere 6 degrees of global warming was enough to wipe out up to 95 per cent of the species which were alive on earth at the end of the Permian period, 250 million years ago. United Nations scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predict up to 6 degrees of warming for the next 100 years if nothing is done about emissions of greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide, the chief cause of global warming. The Permian mass extinction is now thought to have been caused by gigantic volcanic eruptions that triggered a runaway greenhouse effect and nearly put an end to life on Earth. Conditions in what geologists have termed this "post apocalyptic greenhouse" were so severe that only one large land animal was left alive and it took 100 million years for species diversity to return to former levels. This dramatic new finding is revealed in a book by Bristol University's head of earth sciences, Michael Benton, which chronicles the geological efforts leading up to the discovery and its potential implications. Professor Benton said: "The Permian crisis nearly marked the end of life. It's estimated that fewer than one in 10 species survived. "Geologists are only now coming to appreciate the severity of this global catastrophe and to understand how and why so many species died out so quickly." Other climate experts say they are appalled that a disaster of such magnitude could be repeated within this century because of human activities. Global warming author Mark Lynas, who recently travelled around the world witnessing the impact of climate change, said the findings must be a wake up call for politicians and citizens alike. He said: "This is a global emergency. "We are heading for disaster and yet the world is on fossil fuel autopilot. "There needs to be an immediate phase-out of coal, oil and gas and a phase in of clean energy sources. People can no longer ignore this looming catastrophe." ==============================================================
New Climate Model Predicts Greater Warming Ahead 5-20-03
Washington - For the first time, scientists have incorporated multiple human and natural factors into a climate projection model. They predict that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, due to changes in the carbon cycle, combined with a decrease in human-produced sulphates, may cause accelerated global warming during the 21st century, as compared with simulations without these feedback effects Results of the study, completed by Chris D. Jones and colleagues at the Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Bracknell, United Kingdom, appear in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, published by the American Geophysical Union. Previous studies have indicated that human activities, such as carbon dioxide and sulphate emissions, as well as natural factors, such as changes in solar radiation, emissions from volcanic eruptions and interactions between climate and the carbon cycle, are important mechanisms for causing climate change. No previous climate studies have, however, integrated all of these factors into a single climate experiment. The climate-carbon cycle experiment completed by Jones and his colleagues is the first to take a more comprehensive Earth-systems approach to climate modeling. This "all-forcings experiment," or ALL, incorporates carbon dioxide emissions, non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases, human-produced sulphate aerosol levels, the reflection of solar radiation associated with sulphate in the atmosphere (the "albedo effect"), atmospheric ozone levels, levels of solar radiation, the effects of volcanic eruptions, and climate-carbon cycle feedbacks. Discrepancies between observed temperature trends in the 20th century and climate simulations that consider only a limited number of factors have hindered the ability of some models to predict future climate change. The ALL model was, however, able to recreate observed temperature records for the 20th century, illustrating the importance of including multiple factors in climate change projections. Also, the rise in carbon dioxide simulated by ALL more closely matches the observed carbon dioxide rise than did previous models. The researchers say that this indicates that mechanisms other than direct carbon dioxide emissions caused by human activity also contribute to the observed trend. Jones and his colleagues were also able to replicate estimates of the amount of carbon currently stored in the oceans and on land worldwide. With regard to future climate predictions, ALL shows that predicted reductions in human sulphate emissions will cause a reduction in the cooling effect associated with sulphates in the atmosphere, or a net warming. The model predicts that the resultant warming will enhance soil respiration, meaning that the increased amounts of carbon stored in the soil during the 20th century will be released into the atmosphere, causing a faster rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide. By the end of the 21st century, the authors state, the increase in carbon dioxide and decrease of sulphates will cause a substantially higher global warming of 5.5 degrees Celsius [9.9 degrees Fahrenheit] compared with 4 degrees Celsius [7 degrees Fahrenheit] when these interactions are neglected. ==============================================================
Earth 'Will Expire By 2050' Says New Report 7-7-2
Earth's population will be forced to colonise two planets within 50 years if natural resources continue to be exploited at the current rate, according to a report out this week. A study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), to be released on Tuesday, warns that the human race is plundering the planet at a pace that outstrips its capacity to support life. In a damning condemnation of Western society's high consumption levels, it adds that the extra planets (the equivalent size of Earth) will be required by the year 2050 as existing resources are exhausted. The report, based on scientific data from across the world, reveals that more than a third of the natural world has been destroyed by humans over the past three decades. Using the image of the need for mankind to colonise space as a stark illustration of the problems facing Earth, the report warns that either consumption rates are dramatically and rapidly lowered or the planet will no longer be able to sustain its growing population. Experts say that seas will become emptied of fish, while forests - which absorb carbon dioxide emissions - are completely destroyed and freshwater supplies become scarce and polluted. The report offers a vivid warning that either people curb their extravagant lifestyles or risk leaving the onus on scientists to locate another planet that can sustain human life. Since this is unlikely to happen, the only option is to cut consumption now. Systematic overexploitation of the planet's oceans has meant the North Atlantic's cod stocks have collapsed from an estimated spawning stock of 264,000 tonnes in 1970 to under 60,000 in 1995. The study will also reveal a sharp fall in the planet's ecosystems between 1970 and 2002 with the Earth's forest cover shrinking by about 12 per cent, the ocean's biodiversity by a third and freshwater ecosystems in the region of 55 per cent. The Living Planet report uses an index to illustrate the shocking level of deterioration in the world's forests as well as marine and freshwater ecosystems. Using 1970 as a baseline year and giving it a value of 100, the index has dropped to a new low of around 65 in the space of a single generation. It is not just humans who are at risk. Scientists, who examined data for 350 kinds of mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, also found the numbers of many species have more than halved. Martin Jenkins, senior adviser for the World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge, which helped compile the report, said: 'It seems things are getting worse faster than possibly ever before. Never has one single species had such an overwhelming influence. We are entering uncharted territory.' Figures from the centre reveal that black rhino numbers have fallen from 65,000 in 1970 to around 3,100 now. Numbers of African elephants have fallen from around 1.2 million in 1980 to just over half a million while the population of tigers has fallen by 95 per cent during the past century. The UK's birdsong population has also seen a drastic fall with the corn bunting population declining by 92 per cent between 1970 and 2000, the tree sparrow by 90 per cent and the spotted flycatcher by 70 per cent. Experts, however, say it is difficult to ascertain how many species have vanished for ever because a species has to disappear for 50 years before it can be declared extinct. Attention is now focused on next month's Earth Summit in Johannesburg, the most important environmental negotiations for a decade. However, the talks remain bedevilled with claims that no agreements will be reached and that US President George W. Bu$h will fail to attend. The WWF report shames the US for placing the greatest pressure on the environment. It found the average US resident consumes almost double the resources as that of a UK citizen and more than 24 times that of some Africans. Based on factors such as a nation's consumption of grain, fish, wood and fresh water along with its emissions of carbon dioxide from industry and cars, the report provides an ecological 'footprint' for each country by showing how much land is required to support each resident. America's consumption 'footprint' is 12.2 hectares per head of population compared to the UK's 6.29ha while Western Europe as a whole stands at 6.28ha. In Ethiopia the figure is 2ha, falling to just half a hectare for Burundi, the country that consumes least resources. The report, which will be unveiled in Geneva, warns that the wasteful lifestyles of the rich nations are mainly responsible for the exploitation and depletion of natural wealth. Human consumption has doubled over the last 30 years and continues to accelerate by 1.5 per cent a year. Now WWF wants world leaders to use its findings to agree on specific actions to curb the population's impact on the planet. A spokesman for WWF UK, said: 'If all the people consumed natural resources at the same rate as the average US and UK citizen we would require at least two extra planets like Earth.' The world's ticking timebomb ... Marine crisis: North Atlantic cod stocks have collapsed from an estimated 264,000 tonnes in 1970 to under 60,000 in 1995. Pollution: The United States places the greatest pressure on the environment, with its carbon dioxide emissions and over-consumption. It takes 12.2 hectares of land to support each American citizen and 6.29 for each Briton, while the figure for Burundi is just half a hectare. Shrinking Forests: Between 1970 and 2002 forest cover has dwindled by 12 per cent. Endangered wildlife: African elephant numbers have fallen from 1.2 million in 1980 to half a million now. In the UK the songbird population has fallen dramatically, with the corn bunting declining by 92 per cent in the past 30 years. ==============================================================
100 Nobel Laureates Issue Dire Warning For Planet Earth
OSLO, Norway - At the Nobel Peace Prize Centennial Symposium here yesterday (12-7-01) celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Nobel prize, 100 Nobel laureates have issued a brief but dire warning of the 'profound dangers' facing the world. Their statement predicts that our security depends on immediate environmental and social reform. The following is the text of that statement: The most profound danger to world peace in the coming years will stem not from the irrational acts of states or individuals but from the legitimate demands of the world's dispossessed. Of these poor and disenfranchised, the majority live a marginal existence in equatorial climates. Global warming, not of their making but originating with the wealthy few, will affect their fragile ecologies most. Their situation will be desperate and manifestly unjust. It cannot be expected, therefore, that in all cases they will be content to await the beneficence of the rich. If then we permit the devastating power of modern weaponry to spread through this combustible human landscape, we invite a conflagration that can engulf both rich and poor. The only hope for the future lies in co-operative international action, legitimized by democracy. It is time to turn our backs on the unilateral search for security, in which we seek to shelter behind walls. Instead, we must persist in the quest for united action to counter both global warming and a weaponized world. These twin goals will constitute vital components of stability as we move toward the wider degree of social justice that alone gives hope of peace. Some of the needed legal instruments are already at hand, such as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Convention on Climate Change, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. As concerned citizens, we urge all governments to commit to these goals that constitute steps on the way to replacement of war by law. To survive in the world we have transformed, we must learn to think in a new way. As never before, the future of each depends on the good of all. ==============================================================
World's Freshwater Lakes Face Death 11-12-1
TOKYO (Reuters) - Many of the world's freshwater lakes face death by pollution, resulting in catastrophe for the human populations that depend on them, an environmental expert warned on Monday. ``There is not a lake left on the planet that is not already being affected by human activities,'' said William Cosgrove, vice president of the World Water Council, an international organization that deals with ecological problems involving water. ``We're killing the lakes, and that could be disaster to the human communities that depend on them.'' Cosgrove, in Japan to attend a week-long conference on saving lakes held in Otsu, a city in central Japan, told Reuters that the situation faced by many of the world's lakes -- estimated to number some five million -- is dire. A majority of the hazards result from a rising demand for water throughout the world sparked by population growth, according to a statement issued by the World Water Council. This leads to increased use and diversion of water, often for irrigating crops, along with contamination by toxic substances and nutrients from industry, farms and sewage. Cosgrove, a Canadian, said that one insidious aspect of the threat faced by lakes is that, even though a lake may appear pristine, it could already have suffered serious damage. ``Then something happens -- like a change in water temperature -- and all of a sudden a lake can be completely transformed,'' he said. ``Once the process starts, it's hard to stop.'' An extreme example is that of Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake, which has over the last two decades suffered the death of several species of fish and a dramatic increase in plant growth due to pollution from several sources, including raw sewage from surrounding towns. ``Fishermen now can't even get their boats out away from the shore to go fishing,'' Cosgrove said. Another seriously threatened lake is Taihu Lake in China, the World Water Council statement said, ``where experts say you can practically walk on its surface because of severe pollution.'' Deterioration on this scale can lead to a lack of livelihood, resulting in poor nutrition and starvation in the populations surrounding the lake. Other problems include illnesses due to drinking tainted water and crop failure. The potential impact is huge, Cosgrove added. ``Humans are already using more than 50 percent of the usable freshwater resources, and 90 percent of this is in freshwater lakes,'' he said. And despite the magnitude of the threat, dealing with the pollution of freshwater lakes remains low on the list of government priorities in many areas, he said. As a result, one of the biggest goals of the World Water Council is simply to get the message across to ordinary people, hoping that the pressures of public opinion will finally prompt government action. ``The most important thing is to get their voices organized, to say (to governments) that this is not something we want to happen and to get your priorities straight,'' he said. ==============================================================
World Water Shortage May Cause Global Crisis
A worldwide water shortage is likely to worsen severely over the next 25 years, affecting billions of people in an unprecedented global crisis involving the earth's most precious natural resource, reports the UK's Independent. This an other international news reports were summarized in the World Bank's Development News Digest on Aug. 14. Predictions on freshwater availability portray a bleak future for the children of today. As many as 2.7 billion people, almost one-third of the world's population, will live in regions facing severe water scarcity by 2025, the UK's Financial Times reported. Figures issued by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), based in Sri Lanka, show that Asia and sub-Saharan Africa will be the most severely affected regions, with the shortage likely to extend well beyond semi-arid and arid regions. Even in the unlikely event that the current conflict between Israelis and Arabs is resolved tomorrow, in 10 years or less the area is likely to explode over water--unless regional and long-range planning begins soon. Every continent has places where painful shortages are coming. China, for example, has 7% of the world's fresh water and 22% of its population; 300 large cities there already have serious water shortages. The World Bank reports that 300 million people live today in areas of serious to severe water shortage and that in 25 years the number will be 3 billion. ==============================================================
Researchers Forecast Rapid, Irreversible Climate Warming 7-26-1
There's a nine out of ten chance that global average temperatures will rise between three and nine degrees Fahrenheit over the coming century, with a four to seven degree increase most likely, according to a new probability analysis by scientists in the United States and England. The most likely projected increase is five times greater than the one degree temperature rise observed over the past century. As early as the year 2030, the planet is likely to heat up between one and two degrees, say the scientists. The study appears in the July 20 issue of the journal "Science," a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In arriving at their estimates, the scientists assumed that no policies would be implemented to curb climate change before 2100. "We are assigning probabilities to long-term projections to aid policy makers in assessing the risks that might accompany various courses of action or non-action," says first author Tom Wigley of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). "If all scenarios are believed to be equally likely, it's difficult to plan." National Center for Atmospheric Research, located in Boulder, Colorado, has as its primary sponsor the National Science Foundation. NCAR is managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of 66 universities offering Ph.Ds in atmospheric and related sciences. An estimated global warming range of 2.5 to 10.4 degree F was announced in January by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body of scientists created by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme in 1988. Many hundreds of scientists from many countries participated in the preparation and review of three comprehensive climate change reports. "New analyses of proxy data for the Northern Hemisphere indicate that the increase in temperature in the 20th century is likely to have been the largest of any century during the past 1,000 years," the IPCC reported in January. "It is also likely that, in the Northern Hemisphere, the 1990s was the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year." But the likelihood that the earth's temperature would warm only 2.5 degree or as much as 10.4 degree is very low, say Wigley and his coauthor Sarah Raper of the University of East Anglia in England and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany. Even warming of four to seven degrees F, however, is very large compared with the observed warming over the past century, Raper and Wigley write. "Whether or not such rapid warming will occur ... depends on actions taken to control climate change." Global climate change is linked to the accumulation in the atmosphere of six gases that trap the Sun's ray's close to the Earth's surface. These gases are emitted by the burning of coal, oil and gas. International negotiations are currently underway in Bonn, Germany to finalize the rules for implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, a supplement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, that would limit the emission of these gases by 38 industrialized nations. The United States signed the Kyoto Protocol under the Clinton administration, but President George W. Bu$h announced in March that the United States would not ratify the treaty. This move caused a crisis in the international approach to the agreement since the United States emits 25 percent of the world's heat- trapping greenhouse gases. The European Union is leading a renewed effort to finalize the protocol. Today, final talks are talking place aimed at making a breakthrough on compliance, the area that appears to be the final stumbling block to an agreement. If greenhouse gases are not limited and global warming does occur, Raper and Wigley says it would be almost impossible to reverse. If a rapid warming and its expected impacts occur in the near future, even swift societal attempts at control would yield little immediate success, say they write. "The climate's inertia would lead to only a slow response to such efforts and guarantee that future warming would still be large." New estimates of sulfur dioxide and other emissions, along with updated information on carbon storage, ocean circulation, radiation, andother components of the Earth's system have improved computer models of the earth's climate and led the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to both raise and widen its estimated range of global temperature increase. http://www.enn.com/news/enn-stories/2001/07/07242001/warming_44399.asp ==============================================================
Global Warming Much Worse Than Predicted
7-12-01 Global warming is happening now, caused by human actions, and threatens the Earth with disaster, the world's leading atmospheric scientists insisted yesterday as politicians struggled to repair the Kyoto treaty on climate change which the United States torpedoed in March. A 2,000-page UN report on the science and potential impacts of climate change gave the most authoritative statement yet that the Earth is warming rapidly, that the main cause is industrial pollution, and that the consequences for human society are likely to be catastrophic. The report, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), made up of several hundred of the world's most distinguished meteorologists, including many Americans, is a substantial slap in the face for US President George Bu$h, whose unilateral abrogation of Kyoto has thrown the international effort to counter global warming into chaos. It comes on the eve of first big meeting, held in Bonn next week, to try to repair the treaty. The president cited doubts about the science of climate change as the reason why he would not impose on the American economy the cuts in industrial gases which Kyoto requires and which the US signed up to at the original treaty agreement in 1997. But yesterday the IPCC scientists gave their unqualified support to the view that global warming is real. Furthermore, they said, since their last report was published six years ago, they found they had vastly underestimated the rate at which global temperatures are rising. They now believe they will rise by as much as 5.8C by the end of this century, almost twice the increase predicted in their 1995 report. This is likely to lead to crop failures, water shortages, increased disease and disasters for towns and cities from flooding, landslides and sea storm surges, they believe, with the poor developing countries likely to be hit hardest. The crucial point that emerges from the report is that all these new stresses may be happening at the same time to a world already under great stain from massive population growth, poverty and pollution. As the massive three-volume study was published yesterday (by Britain's Cambridge University Press), politicians across the globe were scrambling to put some sort of deal together at next week's Bonn conference, which will be attended by ministers and officials from more than 150 nations. It is a resumption of the meeting on the Kyoto treaty which broke up acrimoniously in The Hague last November with a spectacular walk-out by Britain's Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. But the argument then was over a technicality in the treaty and the Americans were still on board. Subsequently, Mr Bu$h has repudiated the treaty's basic principle that the industrialised countries should cut their greenhouse gas emissions and the chances of the Americans coming back on board are regarded as minimal. Bizarrely, the Americans will be present in Bonn as negotiators on a treaty they have said they will have nothing to do with, as they are signed-up parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Diplomatic efforts were continuing yesterday to build alliances which might allow Kyoto to be repaired. Mr Prescott flew into Tokyo for meetings with the Japanese prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, and his foreign and environment ministers, in an attempt to persuade the Japanese to join the European Union's plan to ratify the treaty without the Americans. But it looks increasingly likely that the Japanese will do nothing to upset the US, their main diplomatic and trading ally. European leaders yesterday admitted that confidence in the Kyoto process may collapse if there is no breakthrough in next week's Bonn talks. Margot Wallström, European Commissioner for the Environment, conceded that negotiations in Japan and Australia had failed to win a pledge from the two governments to ratify the treaty without the involvement of the US. "I clearly see the risk that the public and stakeholders lose confidence in the process if we do not make any steps in Bonn," Ms Wallström said. Olivier Deleuze, the energy minister of Belgium, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, added: "If nothing moves forward in Bonn then we will lose momentum and the process will sink." Brussels has still not given up hope of progress and argues that Japan and Australia remain committed to the Kyoto objectives, and to the discussions in Bonn. http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/environment/story.jsp?story=83051 ==============================================================
Global Warming Will Devastate Agriculture 7-11-01
Global warming will turn frozen tundra into wheatfields, significantly reduce crops in Britain, France and other parts of Northern Europe, and will devastate agriculture across much of the developing world, a major scientific report claims today. According to the study by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, 65 countries, representing more than half the developing world's population in 1995, will lose about 280 million tonnes of potential cereal production in the 2080s. The report, which was published at the Open Science Conference on global change in Amsterdam, is the first to apply a standard methodology globally to produce a worldwide fore-cast. It claims more than half the developed countries are expected to gain from climate change through an improved capacity for growing food. Canada and Russia will be able to cultivate land that was previously frost-bound. However, cereal production could fall in France, Ukraine and the US, as well as Britain and Australia, where the soil will be drier. Guenther Fischer, one of the report's authors, said: "It raises issues of fairness. Developing countries have contributed relatively little to the causes of global warming. Yet many will bear the brunt of climate change through loss of food production." ==============================================================
Human Sperm In Dramatic Decline 7-3-1 By Aaron Derfel Montreal Gazette www.montrealgazette.com
Scientists from around the world are alarmed by a dramatic increase in genetically damaged human sperm - a trend that is not only causing infertility in men, but also childhood cancers in the offspring of those who can reproduce. It's now estimated that up to 85 per cent of the sperm produced by a healthy male is DNA-damaged, a leading authority on the subject revealed yesterday at an international conference being held in Montreal. "That's very unusual," said John Aitken, head of biological sciences at the University of Newcastle in Australia. "If you were to take a rat or a mouse or a rabbit, usually more than 80 per cent of their sperm would be normal." For the last 20 years, scientists have known about declining sperm counts. But researchers are now learning that the quality of human sperm is steadily eroding, and might be causing birth defects as well as brain cancer and leukemia in children. Abnormal sperm is also being blamed for a global increase in testicular cancer - a disease that strikes men in their 30s. Scientists believe that when a DNA-damaged sperm fertilizes a woman's egg, it can trigger a mutation of a key gene in the embryo. And even if men today can reproduce, their damaged sperm might lead to infertility in their male progeny, Aitken suggested. "You're likely to see lots of diseases that are related to poorer semen quality." Scientists suspect a wide range of environmental causes for the abnormal sperm - from exposure to pesticides and heavy metals to electromagnetic radiation. "We're all exposed to 10 times more electromagnetic radiation than our forefathers," Aitken said. "It's all the electrical appliances we use, including microwave phones." There is a consensus in the scientific community that men who smoke cause damage to their sperm, and that this might be responsible for childhood cancers. "If you are a man and you smoke, your semen profile won't be obviously affected," Aitken said. "You'll still have lots of sperm swimming around and you'll be fertile. But the DNA in your sperm nucleus will be fragmented." The average ejaculate of human sperm contains 80 million spermatazoa, each genetically programmed to fertilize a woman's egg. Scientists examining human sperm have discovered that not only are sperm counts on the decline, but that the vast majority of sperm is sluggish, poorly structured, their DNA fragmented and that they generate a lot of cellular waste called free radicals. "Generally speaking, everything is bad with the sperm," Aitken said. Fortunately for most couples, it's the undamaged or least damaged sperm that tends to fertilize the egg. As a result of increasing male infertility, scientists have developed a new technique to help couples conceive. It's called Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). In the lab, a technologist will take from the would-be father a single sperm, or even a cell that is on its way to becoming a sperm, and fertilize it in the test tube with the woman's egg. The resulting embryo is then transferred to the woman's uterus. Dr. Keith Jarvi, of the University of Toronto-Mount Sinai Hospital, said the ICSI technique has revolutionized the treatment of male infertility. But he wondered about the health outcomes of the ICSI children. That human sperm is of poorer quality than that of other mammals is not surprising. The human species is the only one that wears clothes, and healthy sperm need to be kept a couple of degrees cooler than the full body temperature. But clothing alone is not responsible for the extent of abnormal human sperm, Aitken argued. ============================================================== Rethink on ice shelf melting NEW scientific evidence reveals that the Antarctic ice shelf is at more risk of melting than previously calculated. Rising summer temperatures rather than overall mean annual temperatures are exposed as the biggest threat to the polar ice. Scientists warn that the vast ice shelves are "just a few degrees" away from a potentially catastrophic meltdown. If the ice melts, the rush of billions of gallons of water into the oceans will lead to rising sea levels, affect global weather systems and, ultimately, adversely impact on wildlife and mankind. While some areas of the Antarctic have warmed by as much as 2.5C in the past 50 years, few records have been kept of seasonal temperatures over ice shelves. Researchers from NASA and teams of university scientists report in the latest issue of the Journal of Glaciology that warmer surface temperatures over just a few months in the Antarctic can splinter an ice shelf and prime it for a major collapse. Tell-tale signs of melt water on the ice surface were studied using a sophisticated computer simulation of the motions and forces within an ice shelf. The scientists demonstrated that added pressure from surface water filling crevasses only a few feet deep can crack through the ice entirely. They warn that this process can be expected to become more widespread if Antarctic summer temperatures continue to increase. Christina Hulbe, of the University of Maryland and NASA's Goddard Earth Science & Technology Centre, said: "The importance of melt water implies that ice shelf stability may not be limited by the mean annual temperature, as has long been thought, but by the mean summer temperature. As the mean summer temperature exceeds 0 degrees Celsius, surface melting is likely to promote ice-shelf retreat." Ted Scambos, of the National Snow and Ice Data Centre at the University of Colorado, added: "This result implies that other ice shelves are closer to the breaking point than we previously thought." Further research is being carried out by the team that focussed on the Larsen Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula, which experienced major retreats in 1995 and 1998. ============================================================== Global Warming Wreaking Havoc Around The World 11 - 14 - 00 http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/ Floods in Yorkshire. Millions facing drought in China. Permafrost melting in Russia. And that's just the start, global warming is wreaking havoc around the world. United States The movie horror-fantasy of the sea engulfing east coast cities could become reality this century if nothing is done to halt global warming, scientists believe. Take, as they project, temperatures increasing by between 1.5C and 6C (2.7F and 11F!!), causing the sea to expand and rise by as much as 60cm (2ft); add stronger storms and greater precipitation causing more extreme downpours and cities such as New York and Boston might be in jeopardy. Phenomena already attributed to global warming include: 196,000 hectares (485,000 acres) in Florida burned and 300 homes and other structures destroyed by fires two years ago, and an ice storm that killed 44 in New England the same year. The other impact is the spread of infectious diseases. West Nile disease, borne by mosquitos, has been identified in the greater New York region, killing about 10 people in the past two summers. Higher temperatures allow insects and rodents that would otherwise have died in the winter to survive and breed. Cases of malaria have been recorded for the first time in Queens, New York. Britain will be a warmer place in future, with drier summers and more frequent droughts, but with wetter autumns and winters. In other words: more rain and more river flooding. And there is a double jeopardy. The coastal areas are pinched - in danger of fresh water flooding from within, in danger of high tides from without. Higher sea levels as a result of global warming, combined with the fact that southern England is sinking by about 30 centimetres a century, means that tides will become more threatening. One pessimistic estimate puts the average sea level rise around the coast of East Anglia at 80cm in 50 years' time. One of the greatest threats to Britain is a storm surge - a gigantic wave of low pressure sweeping across the Atlantic from Canada and funnelling down the North Sea which raises the ocean by 30cm and sends it crashing into the English east coast. The west coast is vulnerable to similar surges in the Irish Sea. In the south-east, average annual temperatures are expected to increase by 1.2 to 3.4C; winter rainfall to go up by 6%-22%, summer rainfall to drop by 8%-22%. Russia The permafrost - permanently frozen subsoil - which covers 65% of Russia is becoming less permanent. A gradual melting process has already begun in developed areas of Siberia and scientists have warned that if temperatures continue to rise, the southern permafrost frontier could retreat by around 150 miles over the next 25 years. In places like the diamond-producing town Mirny, in Yakutia, a quarter of the population have been evacuated because their homes, built on permafrost foundations, have begun to slide into the melting soil. Services along the newer Trans-Siberian railway track have been suspended for days, as parts of the track twist and sink. Roads and bridges have buckled, while oil and gas pipelines have been damaged by the gradual shifting movement. Villagers in the northern extremities of Russia, who have traditionally stored their food in pits cut into the permafrost, have returned to find their stocks destroyed. Were the upper section of permafrost to melt, scientists believe 12 times the level of CO2 normally in the atmosphere would be released, and 2,500 times the normal level of methane, worsening the greenhouse effect. China China sighed with relief this summer because the Yellow River, for the first time since 1997, did not run dry before reaching the sea. But scientists are under no illusions that the threat from climate change is growing. Nearly 400m people in north China live under conditions of "absolute water scarcity". Hundreds of cities face regular restrictions, with flows as little as one hour a day. The water table on the north China plain is falling by 1.5 metres a year. Glaciers and lakes have shrunk with alarming speed on the Qinghai- Tibet plateau over the past 15 years. The average annual temperature on the Tuotuo River, one of the Yangtze's three sources, has risen from -4.6C to -3.9C since the 1960s - enough to disturb the critical balance between evaporation and precipitation. Marshlands are drying up while grasslands disappear. China loses nearly 2,500 sq km of cultivated land annually. Scientists see the Qinghai-Tibet plateau as an early warning system for the world, and admit that the blame must be shared. Energy consumption has grown by 50% in the past decade and will at least double again by the year 2050. Japan The people of Japan live with volcanoes, earthquakes, typhoons and tidal waves. But global warming could make previous disasters pale into insignificance, forcing 15m people out of their homes and punching a £2.4 trillion hole in the world's second biggest economy. Japan is at particular risk, says the national institute for environmental studies (NIES), because most of its population and resources are concentrated in the narrow and exposed strip of coastline between Tokyo and Osaka. The greatest threat is posed to the capital, where millions live below sea level or on reclaimed land that will be engulfed if the worst fears of scientists are realised. Shuzo Nishioka, head of NIES, predicts that a one-metre rise in sea level would force millions from the coastal plains into the mountains, which make up 70% of the country's land mass. Health problems would increase along with the rising temperatures, which would suck Japan into the malaria zone and push up cases of heat stroke and food poisoning. ============================================================== Scientists Claim Nothing Will Stop Climate Change 11-13-00 (UK Sunday Times) SCIENTISTS have warned thousands of government officials and politicians gathering for international climate talks in the Hague that the rise in global temperatures is irreversible, and that the best they can hope for is to slow it down by a fraction of a degree. Their research shows that even if delegates implement all the proposals before them in full, this will cut only about six-hundredths of a degree from a temperature rise that could be as much as 5C by 2100. The warning comes from researchers at the Hadley Centre, the British Meteorological Office's climate change prediction centre, who will present the results in the Hague next week. The aim of the talks is to find ways to implement the agreement in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997 under which developed countries would reduce emissions of gases, mainly carbon dioxide, to 5.2% below 1990 levels by 2012. Geoff Jenkins, head of the Hadley Centre, said: "This has to be seen as just the first stage. If we want to minimise global warming we have to achieve emission cuts of 60% or more within the next few decades." The centre's research shows that even with 60% cuts, the rise in temperatures will not be halted but could be restricted to only about 2C by 2100. This would cause a sea level rise of about 30cm. However, with cuts of just 5.2%, temperatures would rise by up to 5C and sea levels would rise more than 60cm, flooding many low- lying areas. The obstacles facing even a 5.2% reduction are huge. This weekend Michael Meacher, the environment minister, said the key was to persuade America to cut its emissions. "The US has just 5% of the world's population but it emits a quarter of all the gases," he said. Meacher and others are worried that America favours emissions-trading, under which countries would get quotas for emitting gases which could be sold on the open market. It could then buy the right to emit gases without making real cuts. The rise in temperatures has led to increasingly unpredictable weather. Last Christmas Eve a storm hit northern France, killing scores of people and ripping up more than 400,000 trees. Recently towns and cities across Britain have been hit by flooding. ... 60cm is about 2 feet ... thats a Huge rise in sea level folks! ============================================================== Report warns of water degradation, shortages EAST LANSING, Mich. (October 21, 2000 http://www.nandotimes.com) Freshwater systems around the world are so damaged that their ability to support human, animal and plant life is seriously diminished, according to a report released Saturday. Their degradation will mean increased water shortages for people and rapid population loss or extinction for many other species, the World Resources Institute predicted. "The findings are very disturbing," said Jonathan Lash, president of the Washington, D.C.-based policy research center. "We're just using way more water than the earth can afford to give us." The report is part of a comprehensive study by the institute on how human activity is changing the world's ecosystems. It was released during the national meeting of the Society of Environmental Journalists at Michigan State University. The report makes no recommendations but serves as a warning to citizens, industries and government, Lash said. He described it as a "physical exam" that produced a poor diagnosis for the patient. Over the next six months, specialized reports will be issued on agroecosystems, coastal areas, forests and grasslands. While many regions have ample water supplies, four out of every 10 people live in river basins with water scarcity, the report says. It predicts that by 2025, at least 3.5 billion people - roughly half the world's population - will experience water shortages. Only about 1 percent of the water on the planet is freshwater available for human use, Lash said. Agriculture accounts for 93 percent of freshwater use, producing runoff that degrades water quality with silt and chemicals, the report says. Dams, diversions or canals fragment 60 percent of the world's largest rivers, trapping runoff and sediments. While dam construction has slowed in the United States, the report says many more are being built in the basins of the Yangtze River in China, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the Middle East, and the Danube River in Eastern Europe. Also being depleted is the world's groundwater, the sole source of drinking water for 1.5 billion people, the report says. Half the world's wetlands were lost in the 20th Century as land was converted to agricultural and urban use or contaminated with diseases such as malaria, according to the report. Invasive species pose another problem, competing with native species for food and habitat. Twenty percent of the world's 10,000 freshwater fish species have become extinct, threatened or endangered in recent decades. The findings are bad news for the environment and the economy, said Carmen Revenga, who helped write the institute's report. "We need to value freshwater ecosystems not only for the goods they produce, like fish and clams, but also the services they give, like the filters and nurseries that wetlands provide," Revenga said. ============================================================== Extreme Weather On The Rise BOULDER -- Expect hotter days, warmer nights, heavier rain and snowfall events, and more floods over the next century, says a new study published September 22 in the journal Science. The article reviews observations, impacts, and results from some 20 global climate models currently in use worldwide. The earth's average temperature has risen about 0.6 degree Celsius (1.1 degree Fahrenheit) since the start of the 20th century. The trend is most obvious in higher daily minimum temperatures. During the same period precipitation has increased over land in the mid- to high latitudes and decreased in the tropics. Some changes have already been observed over the last century and are expected to escalate. These include an increase in very hot days in some areas, higher minimum temperatures with fewer frost days, and heavier short-term rainfall (lasting one or several days), especially in the midlatitudes. In the United States, incidents of heavy rainfall over several days increased most noticeably in the southern Mississippi River Valley, Southwest, Midwest, and Great Lakes. Researchers studying wild plants and animals have documented climate- induced extinctions, shifts in species range, and other seasonal behavior changes. Some gradual biological changes may be responses to changes in extreme weather and climate events. ============================================================== WHO issues new alarm over drug-resistant infections WASHINGTON (June 12, 2000) - The World Health Organization on Monday warned that increasingly drug-resistant infections in rich and developing nations alike are threatening to make once-treatable diseases incurable. Bacteria, parasites and viruses all naturally evolve to fight treatment. It's classic survival of the fittest: Bugs exposed to drugs that don't kill them become stronger, able to withstand subsequent treatment attempts, and pass on that drug resistance to their next generation. Misuse of medications, particularly antibiotics, speeds this process. What effect does all this have? Among the report's sobering examples: Gonorrhea was once easily curable with penicillin and tetracycline. "Today, you can't touch it anywhere in the world with those drugs," Heymann said. Poor nations can't afford more expensive alternatives and, to make matters worse, untreated gonorrhea is fueling spread of the AIDS virus. In Estonia, Latvia, and parts of Russia and China, more than 10 percent of tuberculosis patients have strains resistant to two powerful medicines. Overall, up to 2 percent of the world's 16 million TB sufferers have multi-drug resistant strains, particularly frightening because TB is airborne, spread when people cough. Malaria, the mosquito-spread infection that kills a million people a year, is resistant to the top medication 80 percent of the time. Some 5,000 Americans may have suffered longer-lasting food poisoning in 1998 from drug-resistant germs in chicken. Nobody counts deaths from drug-resistant infections. The CDC says 88,000 Americans a year die of infections they catch in the hospital, and many are resistant to at least one antibiotic, complicating treatment attempts. Wiser use of antimicrobial drugs is the solution, the WHO said. It recommended increased funding to help poor countries afford enough antibiotics, and education for poor and rich nations alike to avoid misuse. WHO also recommended that human antibiotics not be used as growth promoters for animals. Europe already has banned several such drugs. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has debated stricter rules here for several years, but is under industry pressure not to tighten animal drug restrictions. ============================================================== Rising Temps Forecast Changes 06/09/00 WASHINGTON (AP) - Alpine meadows will disappear, along with many coastal wetlands and barrier islands. Cities will be hotter and more humid. Ski runs will be scarcer, the demand for air conditioners will increase, and scientists will have to combat a likely resurgence in insect-borne diseases such as malaria. This is the weather forecast for the late 21st century, when average U.S. temperatures will have risen by 5 degrees to 10 degrees. Four years in the making, the report reflects the most ambitious attempt to gauge the impact of climate change on America. A dozen government agencies and hundreds of scientists, in and out of government, worked on ``Climate Change in America.'' It will be released next week and later presented to Congress, which asked for the assessment a decade ago. ``Based on the best available information, most Americans will experience significant impacts'' from Earth's warming, the report concludes. Among the findings: -Entire ecosystems may shift northward as temperatures increase. -The Alpine meadows of the Rocky Mountains likely will disappear. -Forests in the Southeast may break into ``a mosaic of forests, savannas and grasslands'' and sugar maples could disappear from Northeastern forests. -Ocean levels will rise, causing wetlands, marshes and barrier islands to disappear or - when the geography allows - be force inland. -The Great Lakes are predicted to decline because of increased evaporation causing yet different problems. -Some coastal cities, faced with sea level rise and more frequent storm surges, may have to redesign and adapt water, sewer and transportation systems. The study does not attempt to put a cost to such improvements. An early draft of the overview summary was attacked in December as having ``an extreme, alarmist tone'' on predicting impact on human health. The summary has been revised with more emphasis on the uncertainties of predicting health impacts. Nevertheless, the study says higher temperatures and increased rainfall likely will exacerbate air pollution, saddle large cities with more frequent and severe heat waves, and lead to the spread of waterborne or insect-carrying diseases including malaria in the Southeast. Warmer weather will reduce the mountain snowpack, curtailing the summer runoff that feeds irrigation across much of the West and complicating water management. But more rain is predicted for the arid Southwest. That could bring new vegetation - and more flash floods - to desert lands. Tree, fish and animal species will migrate northward everywhere. In the Pacific Northwest, the salmon may shift north to Alaska, replaced by warmer water species. In Alaska the rising temperature is expected to cause further thawing of permafrost, damaging roads and buildings. ============================================================== What's Behind Global Warming? 05/19/00 (NBC) Evidence of global warming has scientists questioning what is causing it and how it will affect our global forecast. From snow in April to record-breaking heat in May, with tornadoes tossed in between, the atmosphere can cook up plenty of surprises. At the National Weather Service, where they have been keeping records since 1869, officials recorded 1999 as the warmest year yet. These logbooks tell a great deal about the past, but just what it means for the future is still uncertain. Last summer, New Yorkers experienced a drought and record-high temperatures. August brought a torrential rainstorm that caused major flooding. One month later, Hurricane Floyd hit, devastating parts of the area with more flooding. Weather is what we experience everyday, including the heat or possible rain. Climate, however, looks at the bigger picture, studying pattern variations from season to season and year to year. That is where meteorologists are really seeing changes. Scientists at GFDL point to changes in the Arctic Sea ice. Northern climates, sub-Arctic areas like Alaska and other Northern climates, could see changes first. Sea level is rising and permafrost is melting. On the East Coast, many areas could be affected. “Anyone who lives here in Alaska knows that the winters are warmer, in fact, warmer by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 30 years,” said Gunter Weller, a professor at the University of Alaska. Scientists say temperatures are certain to rise as a result of global warming, depending on the level of carbon dioxide. In New York, the levels are worse than in other parts of the country. “That means New York City is worse than New Orleans when it comes to summer heat index,” said Mahlman. The number of days above 90 degrees a year could rise from 13 days a year to over 30 days a year. This could mean stress to power grids and potentially more blackouts. Eric Williford, at Florida State, says that this global climate could have an effect on future storms. “Will the sea surface warm? That’s probably the key ingredient here. If we have warmer oceans, we have more chance for storms and definitely higher potential for larger storms, intense hurricanes,” Williford said. ============================================================== Melting of Earth's Ice Cover Reaches New High The Earth's ice cover is melting in more places and at higher rates than at any time since record keeping began. Reports from around the world compiled by the Worldwatch Institute show that global ice melting accelerated during the 1990s-which was also the warmest decade on record. Some of the most dramatic reports come from the polar regions, which are warming faster than the planet as a whole and have lost large amounts of ice in recent decades. The Arctic sea ice, covering an area roughly the size of the United States, shrunk by an estimated 6 percent between 1978 and 1996, losing an average of 34,300 square kilometers-an area larger than the Netherlands-each year. The massive Antarctic ice cover, which averages 2.3 kilometers in thickness and represents some 91 percent of Earth's ice, is also melting. So far, most of the loss has occurred along the edges of the Antarctic Peninsula, on the ice shelves that form when the land-based ice sheets flow into the ocean and begin to float. Within the past decade, three ice shelves have fully disintegrated: the Wordie, the Larsen A, and the Prince Gustav. Two more, the Larsen B and the Wilkins, are in full retreat and are expected to break up soon, having lost more than one-seventh of their combined 21,000 square kilometers since late 1998. The disappearance of Earth's ice cover would significantly alter the global climate - though the net effects remain unknown. Ice, particularly polar ice, reflects large amounts of solar energy back into space, and helps keep the planet cool. When ice melts, however, this exposes land and water surfaces that retain heat-leading to even more melt and creating a feedback loop that accelerates the overall warming process. But excessive ice melt in the Arctic could also have a cooling effect in parts of Europe and the eastern United States, as the influx of fresh water into the North Atlantic may disrupt ocean circulation patterns that enable the warm Gulf Stream to flow north. ============================================================== 20th Century Warmest In The Past Five Centuries The 20th century was the warmest in the past five centuries, a new study confirms in a report published today (Feb. 17) in Nature. A research team led by Shaopeng Huang of the University of Michigan bases its conclusions on borehole temperatures from around the world. Huang's study "reinforces the forecast for the 21st century that we've heard before: significant warming head," Jonathan T. Overpeck of the University of Arizona writes in "News and Views" commentary in the same Nature issue. "The results also provide unsettling indications that human alteration of the climate system over the last century is going to make the reliable prediction of future climate change one of society's most important challenges," Overpeck says in his commentary, "The Hole Story." A number of recent "proxy" record studies suggest that the late 20th century has been the warmest in the past 400 to 1,000 years, Overpeck adds. Huang's study is further independent confirmation of tree-ring, ice-core, coral and sediment records that show the global warming trend. "In both the southern and northern hemispheres, the borehole records match the instrumental records of the last century, and confirm that the 20th century is the warmest of the last 500 years," Overpeck said. "Moreover, each of six continents investigated has warmed faster over the 20th century than during any of the previous four centuries." Earth is starting the new millennium warmer than at any time during the previous millennium. What is at least as worrisome, Overpeck adds: **Politicians, corporate industrialists and private citizens "need to know how climate is going to change, where and when" -- and not just in 50 or 100 years from now. Shifts in seasonal, decadal to centennial climate, for example, can have a big impact on economies and livelihoods. Given that society appears destined to further global warming, decision-makers need good forecasts for climate changing on several time scales. **"Even if the effects of human (trace-gas) forcing on climate turn out to be modest, climate researchers are faced with a serious challenge." The challenge is to verify if -- as the Huang study suggests -- previous studies underestimate how greatly climate can vary over decades and centuries. "We've come to the point where we know that natural variability isn't trivial, and that humans can change the course of climate," Overpeck says. "Now we have to get more serious about using our resources to develop the knowledge needed to tell society's decision-makers what Mother Nature is going to do in the seasons, years and decades ahead." Overpeck is director of the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth and a professor of geosciences at the University of Arizona. Lori Stiles Jonathan T. Overpeck, 520-622-9065, jto@u.arizona.edu ============================================================== GLOBAL WEATHER PATTERNS CHANGING January 21, 2000 The International Herald Tribune reported: "The world may be on the brink of a change in climate patterns that could last 20 or 30 years, some scientists believe. If current temperature conditions in the Pacific Ocean persist, if an upstart theory of climate cycles proves correct and if satellite data released Wednesday reflect the start of a new era, North America could be about to experience a meteorological replay of the 1950s and '60s, with colder, wetter winters in the north but warmer weather in the south. This and more, a growing number of scientists say, could result from a titanic flip-flop in something called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), a concept so new that it was named only three years ago and is the subject of fierce debate. The phenomenon could also affect Asia, producing milder winters in northern countries like Japan and China and an increase in typhoons in tropical regions, according to climatologists at the French weather service, Meteo France. ['This phenomenon would concern a third of the planet,' Michel Deque, an expert in climate modeling, told the International Herald Tribune by telephone from the Meteo France headquarters in Toulouse. He said effects were most likely to be felt in North America because of prevailing winds from the west over the Pacific, with weather changes also probable in Asia but less so in Europe.]..." ============================================================== Dramatic Thinning Of Arctic Ice Found 11/17/99 Scientists analyzing decades of data from Arctic Sea ice recently reported a significant reduction in the thickness of the ice during the last decade. The scientists found a decrease in sea ice all across the Arctic Ocean and that corresponds to previously reported evidence that the Arctic climate is warming, according to Dr. D. Andrew Rothrock of the University of Washington and colleagues. A report on the data, Thinning of the Arctic Sea-Ice Cover, will be published in the Dec. 1 issue of Geophysical Research Letters. The Scientific Ice Expeditions program, which consisted of six extended voyages, acquired the data using nuclear submarines. This study analyzed data from three autumn cruises: USS Pargo in 1993, USS Pogy in 1996 and USS Archerfish in 1997. The average draft of the sea ice (its thickness from the ocean surface to the bottom of the ice pack) has declined by 4.3 feet, or 40 percent, since the first measurements were made in 1958, said the scientists. The thinning of Arctic ice that has already occurred is "a major climatic signal that needs to be accounted for in a successful theory of climate variability," according to the scientists. To help fill the gaps between the earlier and more recent submarine observations, they call for the public release of other ice thickness data gathered by submarines over the past 40 years, which they believe would be "of immense help" in understanding the cause of thinning. The available data are insufficient to provide answers about the cause of the ice loss, said the researchers. They suggest several hypotheses about the flow of heat from the ocean itself, the flow of heat from the atmosphere as well as from short-wave radiation. Other possible avenues to explore include the amount of precipitation and snow cover in the region and ice movement. ============================================================== UN ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS WARNING The BBC reported: "The United Nations is warning that time is running out to stop worldwide environmental damage and says it is already too late to prevent irreversible harm to ecosystems like tropical forests.The findings come in the end-of-century review of the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP), called Global Environment Outlook 2000, which sees a number of ‘full-scale emergencies’ on the horizon. These include severe water shortages that will get steadily worse, reduced agricultural productivity through the loss of topsoil, and unwanted growth of vegetation along sea-coasts and of algae at sea, caused by the heavy application of fertilizers. GEO-2000's key finding is stark: ‘The continued poverty of the majority of the planet's inhabitants and excessive consumption by the minority are the two major causes of environmental degradation,’ says the report. The report recommends that the developed world must cut its use of natural resources by 90% to give the rest of the world a chance of emerging from poverty. But the destruction of tropical rainforests has already gone too far to prevent irreversible damage and it is too late to regain the planet's former bio-diversity, the report finds..." ============================================================== Virus Found in Arctic Ice BBC News 9-1-99 The discovery of the first virus preserved in the Arctic ice has prompted a warning that there may be more, and that warm weather may release them to start epidemics. The virus, a tomato mosaic tobamovirus (ToMV) was found by a team of American researchers. The discovery, reported in the magazine New Scientist, suggests that other viruses, possibly including 'flu, smallpox and polio, may also have survived in the ice. One of the team, Tom Starmer, of Syracuse University, said: "We don't know the survival rate, or how often they get back into the environment. But it certainly is possible." The team says a brief rise in temperature could let loose any viruses and cause disease. Scott Rogers told BBC News Online: "We think micro-organisms are being released constantly, during periods of warming, and when glaciers calve". "It's very possible that more frequent and intense warming, caused by climate change, will lead to more releases." Alvin Smith, a virologist at Oregon State University, said: "If you've got these things lying in the ice for a thousand years or more and their usual host has not had to deal with them, this may be a source of epidemics". He has found that caliciviruses, which can cause diarrhoea, emerge from time to time from the sea to cause new infections. Identical caliciviruses have appeared at 20-year intervals on opposite sides of the USA, he says, and could have spent years in the polar ice before re- emerging. He and his colleagues now plan to use other techniques to see whether viruses in other cores are still viable. They will look not only at Arctic cores, but also at ice from the Antarctic that is up to 400,000 years old. ==============================================================
Global Warming - The Hard Evidence By Patrick Mazza and Rhys Roth www.climatesolutions.org www.protest.net 6-7-99
A worldwide wave of extreme weather inflicted at least $90 billion in damage in 1998, more than in the entire 1980s. Last year was also the hottest on record. While no single weather event or year proves humans are warming the planet, a powerful scientific case is building. Some of the most compelling evidence emerged in just the past year. Greenhouse gases are present in the atmosphere in greater amounts than at any time in at least 220,000 years. Certainly something is heating the globe. The century's ten warmest years have all occurred since 1983--seven in this decade. A new National Science Foundation study based on natural indicators such as tree rings, ice- cores, and corals finds the last decade of the millennium has been its hottest. And 1998 was by far the hottest year. Temperatures surged faster than previously documented to break a record set in just the previous year, 1997. Middle and lower latitude mountain glaciers are showing the effects. University of Colorado glaciologists at Boulder in 1998 reported that those glaciers have retreated on average at least 60 feet since 1961, and the rate at which they are melting is increasing. The retreat of mountain ice in tropical and subtropical latitudes provides "some of the most compelling evidence yet for recent global warming," Ohio State University researchers note. A new study by NASA's Goddard Institute found Greenland glaciers appear to be spewing icebergs into the ocean faster than in the past. The finding was unexpected, and raises fears that global sea levels, already projected to rise 20 inches next century, could increase even faster. Predictions that global warming will be greatest in the polar regions are now being borne out. Arctic sea ice has been shrinking by 3 percent each decade since 1970. Several of the years with the smallest sea ice coverage were in the 1990s. Around the Antarctic Peninsula, extensive sea ice formed 4 winters out of every 5 in the mid-century. Since the 1970s that dropped to 1-2 winters out of every 5. Several Peninsula ice shelves, which attach to the continent but stretch into the sea, are in retreat. Some of the most dramatic losses came in 1998, when around 2,000 square miles calved into icebergs. The Larsen A ice shelf, after years of slowly melting away, suddenly disintegrated in 1995. Scientists have now mounted a death watch for Larsen B and Wilkens--together three times larger than Delaware. Since ice shelves already displace water, the loss will not add to rising ocean levels. But melting northern tundra could have a devastating global effect. Carbon in tundra soils, equal to one-third that in the atmosphere, could be released. Tundra researcher George W. Kling of the University of Michigan says, "Our latest data show that the Arctic is no longer a strong sink for carbon. In some years, the tundra is adding as much or more carbon to the atmosphere than it removes." A warmer atmosphere is expected to cause more evaporation, making for worse droughts and more deluges. Beginning around 1980, sections of the U.S., Europe, Africa, and Asia began to experience more dry spells, while parts of the U.S. and Europe became much wetter. The National Climatic Data Center scrutinized U.S. weather records for extremes expected to increase under global warming. NCDC discovered that wild weather has been surging since the late 1970s. Statistical analysis showed only 1-in-20 odds that this was a natural fluctuation. NCDC Chief Scientist Tom Karl commented, "I would say the climate is responding to greenhouse gases." Thick, precipitation- prone clouds significantly increased over Australia, Europe, and the United States between 1951 and 1981. Researchers concluded the increase is "likely to be related" to human-caused greenhouse gases. Cloud cover holds in heat after the sun goes down. So nighttime warming is a significant global warming indicator. Nighttime temperatures are going up more than twice as fast as daytime temperatures. Extreme summer heatwaves in the U.S increased 88 percent between 1949-95, with the biggest heat increases coming at night. Warming is having devastating impacts on plant and animal life. Coral reefs, the "rainforests of the ocean," where one-quarter of all marine species are found, suffered record die-off due to heat- induced bleaching in 1998. "At this time, it appears that only ... global warming could have induced such extensive bleaching simultaneously throughout the disparate reef regions of the world," a State Department scientific report concluded. A dramatic temperature increase off North America's west coast began around 1977. Zooplankton, the microscopic plant-eaters that form the base of the marine food chain, dropped 70% because warmer waters suppressed colder, nutrient-rich currents. Indicating food chain collapse, ocean seabirds in the California Current have declined 90% since 1987. As the Pacific has warmed, so has Alaska. On the south central coast, cool temperatures normally keep the spruce bark beetle under control. But with the warming, beetles have killed most of the trees in a space of three million acres, one of the largest insect-caused forest deaths in North American history. Evidence is mounting that global warming is here and humanity is driving it. Remaining scientific uncertainty "does not justify inaction in the mitigation of human- induced climate change and/or the adaptation to it," the American Geophysical Union said in a recent statement. The emerging scientific consensus leaves us with no excuses. We must rapidly transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. The global climate crisis, perhaps the greatest challenge in the history of civilization, calls upon us to act decisively and without delay. --Patrick Mazza and Rhys Roth This article is excerpted from a new white paper, Global Warming Is Here: The Scientific Evidence, available from Climate Solutions, 610 E. 4th St., Olympia, WA 98501, USA, phone (360) 352-1763, info@climatesolutions.org ============================================================== Global warming and plant life (April 6, 1999 ) - You may have heard that one of the positive effects of global warming is that plants will grow better. Plants need carbon dioxide to grow, and when there's a slight increase in carbon dioxide in the air, they actually do grow faster. From this you might conclude that having additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has its good side, maybe off-setting some of the harm that may come from global warming. You could conclude this, but you probably won't once you hear about Dr. Nancy Tuchman's research. Tuchman is an environmental scientist at Loyola University. She asked herself an important question: "We know from other research that when plants grow in conditions of elevated carbon dioxide, this alters the leaf chemistry. What impact does this have on the nutrition contained in the leaf?" In other words, what is it going to mean to the animals that feed on the leaves when the leaves aren't quite the same as they are when grown under normal carbon dioxide conditions? To find out, Tuchman and her colleagues have been working on a revealing experiment. They've constructed several dozen carbon dioxide chambers to grow aspen trees. Each chamber is about 7 feet tall and about 4 feet wide, and consists of a plastic frame wrapped in clear plastic and open at the top. Tuchman did nothing to half of the chambers. For the remaining half, she pumped in enough carbon dioxide to equal the concentrations of carbon dioxide projected to occur in the year 2050. The carbon dioxide-treated trees grew moderately faster than the trees that weren't receiving the extra carbon dioxide. No surprises here. But the leaves from the trees that grew in the carbon dioxide- rich atmosphere contained less nitrogen than the leaves from the other trees. Lower nitrogen content translates into lower protein content. Another difference in the leaf chemistry of the treated trees was that they were higher in phenols. These are complicated chemical groups that are anywhere from slightly toxic to severely toxic to the animals that feed on the leaves. Tuchman was particularly interested in what happened to the microorganisms that fed on the leaves when the leaves fell in streams. Preliminary results of her experiment should give pause to anyone who thinks that having extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is good for the food chain. The aquatic organisms that fed on the leaves grew at only about two- thirds the rate that they do when they feed on normal leaves. "There's truth to the idea that you are what you eat," Tuchman says. "Generally, if an insect eats a leaf with less nitrogen, it may look the same but the tissues are now deprived of normal amounts of nitrogen. The insect won't produce as many eggs and there won't be as many adults." A worst-case scenario is that this could mean less food at lower levels of the food chain, and a collapse of the food chain at the top. At this point in Tuchman's research, no one knows how mild or how severe the impact will actually be. Still, Tuchman believes that she's seen enough to make her concerned about the amount of carbon dioxide we're adding to the atmosphere through burning fossil fuel. "We're consuming fossil fuels as if there's no effect on the environment," she says. "But in fact, there's a tremendous effect." ============================================================== SCIENTISTS PREDICT ANTARCTIC MELTING ABC News - Feb. 2, 1999 Scientists from New Zealand's Geological and Nuclear Science Institute addressed a government conference of Antarctica Treaty nations on their predictions of global warming melting Antarctica. Their research stated "global warming could raise sea levels by as much as 20 feet in the next generation and the earth could be heading for a mini ice-age". Increased global temperatures could soon begin the melting of the western Antarctic ice shelf causing large amounts of cold water to mix with the Earth's oceans and disturb sea currents. The scientists suggest this disruption would cause a small ice age with some areas getting extremely cold while other places get warmer. Scientist Peter Barrett of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand predicted temperatures increases of three degrees through the next century. "Once the conditions are set in train to melt, the process cannot be stopped." Tim Naish from New Zealand's Geological and Nuclear Science Institute said, "If models are going to be believed the rates of change are going to be very quick. We're playing Russian roulette with the climate and no one knows what lies in the chamber of the gun." Antarctica ice contains 90 percent of the world's fresh water and if completely melted would raise sea levels by 228 feet. ============================================================== New Microbes Pose Health Risks to Humans, Marine Life The Associated Press - Jan. 22 99 Previously unknown bacteria and viruses blooming in the Earth’s warming oceans are killing some marine life and threatening human health. There are increasing reports of dying coral, diseased shellfish and waters infected with human virus as the seas rise in temperature and pollution from the land intensifies, researchers said today in studies presented at the national meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “These are the cries and whispers beginning to confront us about the ecological dangers ahead,” said James W. Porter, an ocean studies specialist at the University of Georgia. “We are finding disturbing new kinds of things.” There has been a 446 percent increase in disease at 160 coral sites being monitored along the Florida coast since 1996. One reef experienced a death rate of 62 percent, said Porter, and nearly all of the killing pathogens “are new to science.” Many of the disease-causing viruses that infect humans directly or through eating contaminated shellfish cannot be detected by the routine monitoring of water pollution. ==============================================================

Scott P Wilson - 07:10pm Nov 9, 1997 PDT Send e-mail to bud@tpgi.com.au

What are Executive Orders? They are laws established by U.S. presidents. These laws are not passed by the House or the Senate and create an end-run around the Constitution. These executive orders are simply printed in the Federal Register. After 30 days, these orders become law and carry the full impact of any laws passed by Congress. These laws are unconstitutional, because the Constitution does not afford any person the right to create laws by himself that negate the Constitution.

Executive orders: 10995: Seizure of all communications media in the United States. 10997: Seizure of all electric power fuels and minerals, public and private. 10999: Seizure of all means of transportation, including personal cars, trucks or vehicles of any kind and total control of highways, seaports and waterways.

11000: Seizure of all American people for work forces under federal supervision including the splitting of families if the government finds it necessary. 11001: Seizure of all health, education and welfare facilities, public and private. 11002: Empowered the postmaster general to register all men, women and children in the U.S. 11003: Seizure of all airports and aircraft. 11004: Seizure of all housing and finance authorities to establish Forced Relocation Designated areas to be abandoned as "unsafe". 11005: Seizure of all railroads, inland waterways and storage facilities, public and private.

1219: Signed june 3, 1994, by President Clinton. Encompasses all the above executive orders.

Two posts containing some good info on the Mayan Calendar.

The longest cycle in Mayan cosmology is the 26,000-year cycle -- this is the cycle of our solar system around the Pleiades star cluster. This cycle ends on December 22, 2012, and the closer we approach to that time, the more people will experience an accelerating collapse of linear time-based (fear-based) conceptual structures. They will awaken from the spell of linear time caused by lower mind conflicts. The collective resolution of these conflicts will trigger even more people to transcend the complex of limiting illusions that stem from the illusion of linear-sequential time. By 2012, the Mayan prophecies say there will be a total collapse of time as we know it and an entry of humanity into post-history. Post-history -- Gregorian year 2013 -- is entered at a point known as galactic synchronization. Tibetans, Egyptians, Cherokees, Hopi and Mayans refer to this same 26,000-year cycle in their mystical belief systems; and each also developed calendars based on this great cycle.

2012-DEC-22: The Mayan calendar has many divisions of time: months of 20 days, years of 360 days, katun of 7200 days and a baktun of 144,000 days. Their calendar started on 3114-AUG-13 BCE with the birth of Venus. They expected the world to last for exactly 13 baktun cycles. They anticipated the end of the world near the Winter Solstice of 2012.

added 9-17-04 The date December 21st, 2012 A.D. ( in the Long Count), represents an extremely close conjunction of the Winter Solstice Sun with the crossing point of the Galactic Equator (Equator of the Milky Way) and the Ecliptic (path of the Sun), what that ancient Maya recognized as the Sacred Tree. This is an event that has been coming to resonance very slowly over thousands and thousands of years. It will come to resolution at exactly 11:11 am GMT.*

*I posted details about this in the message board... Dan

ISiS = "City in the Sky" ?

It would seem we only have the "Blue Star" to watch for now ...
Here are Hopi Prophecy lists from two different sources:
1. Trees will die. (Acid rain has taken a heavy toll on trees in some areas, but this could also refer to the demise of the rainforest).
2. Man will build a house in the sky. (Space station Mir, or the planned international space station to be built).
3. Cold places will become hot. Hot places will become cold. (Erractic weather patterns and global warming).
4. Lands will sink into the ocean and lands will rise out of the sea.
5. There will be an appearance of the Blue Star Kachina

"This is the First Sign: We are told of the coming of the white-skinned men, like Pahana, but not living like Pahana men who took the land that was not theirs. And men who struck their enemies with thunder.
"This is the Second Sign: Our lands will see the coming of spinning wheels filled with voices. In his youth, my father saw this prophecy come true with his eyes -- the white men bringing their families in wagons across the prairies."
"This is the Third Sign: A strange beast like a buffalo but with great long horns, will overrun the land in large numbers. These White Feather saw with his eyes -- the coming of the white men's cattle."
"This is the Fourth Sign: The land will be crossed by snakes of iron." (RailRoads?)
"This is the Fifth Sign: The land shall be criss-crossed by a giant spider's web." (Telegraph/Telephone/the Net?)
"This is the Sixth sign: The land shall be criss-crossed with rivers of stone that make pictures in the sun." (Modern Highway?)
"This is the Seventh Sign: You will hear of the sea turning black, and many living things dying because of it." (Oil Spills?)
"This is the Eight Sign: You will see many youth, who wear their hair long like my people, come and join the tribal nations, to learn their ways and wisdom." (Hippies?)
"And this is the Ninth and Last Sign: You will hear of a dwelling- place in the heavens, above the earth, that shall fall with a great crash. It will appear as a blue star. Very soon after this, the ceremonies of my people will cease. (now is this ISiS or MIR, which crashed into the ocean in 2001??)

the ( thoughts ) in the 2nd list are mine ... Dan

So far people have looked deeper.