Cannibal Spiders


I doubt spiders come to mind when pondering impacts of global warming at northern latitudes. Climate change has had a profound effect on Arctic Wolf Spiders, nobody cares because spiders are easily dismissed. Fun fact – in terms of biomass, wolf spiders in the Arctic outweigh that of regional wolf populations by 80 – 1. That’s a lot of spiders – thanks to longer, warmer summers they’re getting bigger and producing more offspring.

Nature has a uncanny ability to adapt when challenged with brief periods of climatic change. In 2009 researchers predicted warmer Arctic seasons would boost wolf spider size and numbers. Springtails, their prey of choice are wingless fungi eating hexapods. “Science’s Michael Price explains that springtails subsist on a diet of fungi, which consume decomposing plants and release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. But when wolf spiders keep the springtail population in check, the insects consume less fungus, which triggers faster decomposition of the tundra’s dead plant matter—and more greenhouse gases.” – https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/how-wolf-spiders-evolving-diet-keeping-arctic-cool-180969735/

Science expected dense populations of wolf spiders to initially cannibalize their own, consume anything smaller than themselves while sorting out territory. They thought more wolf spiders meant fewer fungus nibbling springtails, but that hasn’t happened. Seems climate enhanced hoards of wolf spiders developed a taste for their own, ignoring springtails, favouring opportunistic ambushes of smaller spiders.

Science can’t explain why cannibal wolf spiders no longer fancy springtails. It can state as fact – higher springtail populations mean less fungus, slower decomposition of organic material, thus significantly less greenhouse gas released by the process of decomposition. Are cannibal wolf spiders Mother Nature’s way of mitigating the mess we’ve made?

Wolf spiders may turn to cannibalism in a warming Arctic

https://phys.org/news/2020-05-wolf-spiders-cannibalism-arctic.html

197 Myths, Ice Melt And Conservative Apathy


 

Remember when wannabe president Trump tweeted –

How about Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, Republican chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, tossing a snowball in February 2015?

“God is still up there, and He promised to maintain the seasons and that cold and heat would never cease as long as the earth remains.”

“The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous,” he said.

Inhofe mocked Obama for saying climate change was a greater threat to Americans than terrorism. He spewed lists of terrorist atrocities and enemy nations, accusing the Obama administration of trivializing national security threats in favour of climate propaganda. Inhofe accused liberal news media of using climate propaganda to create fear.

Trump blames China, Inhofe calls on God – how does a reasonable person crack these nuts? Visual aides?

Image courtesy – https://climate.nasa.gov/climate_resources/4/graphic-dramatic-glacier-melt/

Stunning video documentation?

Gone are the days when skepticism demanded verifiable truth. Collective denial is a modern reality perpetuated by numskulls with money, power and political agendas oblivious to ramifications of climate apathy. That said, I stumbled upon a list of 197 climate myths at Skeptical Science. I challenge anyone to find a more complete, user friendly resource –

https://skepticalscience.com/argument.php

 

Climate Change GIF


There are those who flatly deny man-made climate change, others who prescribe to global warming as a natural earth cycle, and scoffers convinced the whole thing is an elaborate hoax. Presidential wannabe Donald Trump contends climate change a conspiracy perpetrated by China to undermine the U.S. economy. Bastions of tight ass right wing patriotic duplicity, the likes of Heartland Institute, Americans for Prosperity and the Heritage Foundation, use their considerable non-profit resources to cast doubt on climate science – target of choice, the NOAA. Inhabiting the opposite end of the spectrum, a plethora of organizations from the David Suzuki Foundation to Greenpeace champion the result of humanity’s indifference to drastic warning signs of climate calamity.

On Monday UK climate scientist Ed Hawkins of the University of Reading, posted this “infographic” on Twitter. In a Washington Post article, Jason Samenow wrote –

“Over the years, scientists have attempted to visually communicate the Earth’s warming in many ways.  They’ve developed an array of maps, charts, and animations that present an unmistakable picture of a warming world.

But I’ve seen no visual as striking and effective as the infographic posted to Twitter Monday by climate scientist Ed Hawkins.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/05/10/the-most-compelling-visual-of-global-warming-ever-made/

Regardless of which camp you call home, ponder Hawkin’s graphic. Each ring represents a year from 1850-2016.

See Earth’s Temperature Spiral Toward 2°C : Discovery News

Voracious Carbon Eating Microorganisms


Ponder hungry microorganisms lurking within the Arctic tundra. Vast regions of permafrost – defined as permanently frozen layers of rock, soil and sediment – now thawing at alarming rates due to increased global temperatures. I’m not talking the thin “active” top layer of permafrost covering 24% of Northern Hemisphere land – ponder deep layers of ancient glaciated tundra surrendering to the elements.

Boreholes in northern Canada, Norway and Russia indicate a .4 degree increase in ground temperatures at a depth of 60 meters. It might sound like no big deal – let me assure you otherwise. In the last decade it translates to an increase greater than the last 100 years. So why worry about mushy tundra?

Trapped in that permafrost are enormous amounts of formerly frozen ancient carbon. As the ground warms, billions of voracious microorganisms belly up to the all you can eat buffet. Devouring carbon releases vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere – CO2 that contributes to accelerated global warming.

Robert Spencer from the University of Florida, lead researcher of a paper published April 23, 2015 in Geophysical Research Letters said –

“When you have a huge frozen store of carbon and it’s thawing, we have some big questions. The primary question is when it thaws, what happens to it? Our research shows this ancient carbon is rapidly utilized by microbes and transferred to the atmosphere, leading to further warming in the region and therefore more thawing. So we get into a runaway effect.”

http://earthsky.org/earth/carbon-from-melting-permafrost-goes-back-to-atmosphere?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=1ac6825dd9-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-1ac6825dd9-393970565

http://icestories.exploratorium.edu/dispatches/big-ideas/tundra-and-permafrost/

While the climate denial camp busily pats itself on the back for convincing the masses we have nothing to worry about – stop and ask yourself why people gobble their self serving propaganda hook, line and sinker.

Survey: WeatherCasters Coming Around on Climate Change


Had to do it 🙂 Be sure to watch the second clip of Pippa the “Weather-girl” going rogue.

Climate Denial Crock of the Week

One of the frustrations for climate communicators over the years has been the unwillingness of TV weathercasters to come to grips with climate change.  That’s a big deal, because for a large majority of citizens, the weather guy or gal is the closest thing they ever see to an actual atmospheric scientist.
Most of them are not meteorologists, but rather communication specialists with (maybe) some met 101 courses in their transcript. Many are employed by extremely conservative media organizations, and are loathe to be seen as promoting a “liberal agenda” (science!).

For several years, there have been ongoing efforts by a number of top flight scientists and communicators to reach out and answer questions for this group.  It may be that these efforts, and the accelerated pounding by Mother Nature, are having an effect.

A new survey offers a glimmer of hope.

Below, Pippa the Weather Girl goes Rogue!

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Senate Snowball


You’ve gotta love American politics, only in America would the head of the Environment and Public Works Committee saunter onto the Senate floor with snowball in hand. James Inhofe, Republican Senator from Oklahoma, chairman manning the helm of environmental issues, had a point to make. This wasn’t just any snowball, it was proof God existed and climate change was a hoax.

“God is still up there, and He promised to maintain the seasons and that cold and heat would never cease as long as the earth remains.”

“The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous,” he said.

Inhofe isn’t content with jurisdiction over environment – he published a book titled The Greatest Hoax, urging readers to ignore science (dubbed alarmists) because a greater “Authority” has already spoken.

Over the past few days I’ve been called “eco-tard” “nuts to ponder” “ignorant clown” “climate fetishist” “moronic liberal” “parroting lies of liars” – and those are just the nice names. More than one of these people supported venom with links to The Greatest Hoax.

All I can say is “good luck America” and have a nice day.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/06/jim-inhofe-genesis_n_6815270.html

 

Climate Change and The Taliban


What does climate change mean,  how do people define global warming? Do we think of melting ice caps in terms of rising ocean levels, threatened animal habitats, violent unpredictable weather? Do we think about it at all? Are we confused by anti warming propaganda, suspicious of scientific proof? How many ponder a connection between climate change and the Taliban?

Founded in 1994 by Mohammed Omar, iron fist Taliban fundamentalism seized control of Afghanistan in 1996. Brutal Taliban justice, horrific oppression of women, terrorist agendas, outraged the global community long before 9/11. One of the first Taliban edicts – eradicate all opium poppy fields as an offense to Islam. From 1996 to the American ousting of Taliban rule in 2001, Afghan farmers who once supplied of 60% of world heroin, grew wheat crops.

Unfortunately 2001 coincided with a period of unprecedented drought in Afghanistan. Devastated farmers had families to feed – the Taliban needed money, soldiers and safe havens. Fragmented Taliban forces came up with a solution. In exchange for “taxes”, recruits and absolute indifference to caching weapons or hiding insurgents, they would protect impoverished farmers choice of crops. Opium poppies thrive on 1/6th the water of wheat.  Drought resistant poppies sustained a population whose only choice became Taliban loyalty or starvation.

Far from suggesting Afghanistan’s untimely drought was a direct result of climate change – it’s worth considering implications beyond rising sea levels. Religious fundamentalists outlawed opium poppies when rain fell, weaponized poppies by allowing starving farmers to plant them in exchange for loyalty.

Ponder climate change as a weapon. Consider ramifications of weaponizing crops We can ignore mind numbing climate change rhetoric, or wrap our heads around drought and Taliban support.

 

35,000 Walruses


The average male Walrus is something to behold – up to 11 feet long, 3700 pounds, punctuated with three foot tusks. Ponder 35,000 Walruses along a few thousand feet of Alaskan shoreline.

On September 27, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) captured the first image above during their annual aerial arctic marine mammal survey. Entwined along a one Kilometer beach near Point Lay Alaska, clustered Walruses represent a phenomenon known as “haul out”.
Hauling out – forced to rest on land rather than sea ice – hit scientific radar in 2007. Since then, diminished sea ice accounts for hauled out behemoths as the norm, rather than occasional exception.  In a perfect world Walrus spend 80% of their time at sea. Summer found females and calves along the continental shelf, feeding in shallow waters of the Chukchi Sea between Russia and Alaska. Over the last decade, escalating sea ice melt – an irrefutable consequence of warmer arctic climate – has radically altered Walrus behavior.
Pondering hauled out Walrus populations might not present itself as earth shattering news. Considering this trend in perspective of climate change is. Debating the cause of global warming is best left for another day – understanding the reality, regardless of whether your tent is pitched in the natural cycle or carbon emissions camp, is what matters. Global warming is real – a reality with tangible implications.
Before I continue – a link to earthsky explaining arctic and antarctic ice…
Climate change eclipsed science a long time ago – it resides in the arena of political buzz words, special interest propaganda, and conspiracy alarmists. Amidst all the hullabaloo, we seem to have forgotten our faithful barometer – nature. Free of ulterior motives, financial gain, political posturing or plain old denial – nature speaks unbiased truth to the state of our affairs.

Extreme Climates


Mention global warming or climate change –  most people think of temperatures increasing world-wide. According to researchers at Northwestern University in Boston, Mass. 97% of the scientific community agrees – the planet is heating up due to burning fossil fuels and deforestation. The tricky part is predicting “variability”, the difference between hottest and coldest temperatures from year to year.

Evan Kodra and Auroop Ganguly of Northwestern, published a paper July 30 in Scientific Reports, it outlined research data from Ganguly”s Sustainability and Data Sciences Laboratory. Research pointing to wider swings in hot and cold temperatures. In a nutshell – global temperatures are rising, at the same time, we can expect far greater swings between hot/cold in any given place.

For the first time, research looked at science behind a particularly hot summer with accelerated ice cap melt, and how that translates to extreme cold snaps in winter. Phenomenon like the Polar Vortex of last winter – all symptoms of global warming.

“Just because you have a year that’s colder than the usual over the last decade isn’t a rejec­tion of the global warming hypoth­esis.” – Evan Kodra

http://earthsky.org/earth/more-heat-waves-and-cold-snaps-ahead

Climate is changing – anyone who pictures balmy winters fading gently into early springs or glorious extended summers keeping first frosts at bay ought to think again. Climate change will be defined by extremes – storms of the Century or “100 year floods”, replaced with “events” of the decade, and soon storm of the year or month.

Ponder what you know about global warming – next, ask yourself where the majority of information comes from. Consider Donars Trust aka Donors Capital Fund – between 2000 and 2010 collecting over $120 million in private donations – money used to fund over 100 “think tanks” and conservative right wing action groups – their sole purpose to deny climate change, create enough confusion and polarization to “create a wedge”, prevent legislated reduction of greenhouse gasses and above all – prevent the Obama administration from initiating climate change legislation.

“We exist to help donors promote liberty which we understand to be limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise,” – Whitney Ball CEO of Donars Trust

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/feb/14/funding-climate-change-denial-thinktanks-network

I could list dozens of anti-climate propaganda mongers – dangerously elevated blood pressure isn’t worth hammering down the point. Suffice to say, misguided bat shit libertarians have us by the balls – if society is too lazy to figure it out, we deserve what’s coming.