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What A Week It Was: Apocadocuments from
View By Scenario:
Species Collapse:(3)
Plague/Virus:()
Climate Chaos:(11)
Resource Depletion: (6)
Biology Breach:(9)
Recovery:(5)
This Week's Top Ten Very Scary Tags:
anthropogenic change  ~ global warming  ~ ocean acidification  ~ water issues  ~ technological innovation  ~ faster than expected  ~ contamination  ~ toxic sludge  ~ marine mammals  ~ capitalist greed  ~ climate impacts  



ApocaDocuments (11) for the "Climate Chaos" scenario from this week
[see full week] ~ [see full Climate Chaos scenario and stories]
Sat, Jan 3, 2009
from Science Daily (US):
Hot Southern Summer Threatens Coral With Massive Bleaching Event
A widespread and severe coral bleaching episode is predicted to cause immense damage to some of the world's most important marine environments over the next few months. A report from the US Government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts severe bleaching for parts of the Coral Sea, which lies adjacent to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and the Coral Triangle, a 5.4 million square kilometre expanse of ocean in the Indo-Pacific which is considered the centre of the world's marine life. "This forecast bleaching episode will be caused by increased water temperatures and is the kind of event we can expect on a regular basis if average global temperatures rise above 2 degrees," said Richard Leck, Climate Change Strategy Leader for WWF's Coral Triangle Program.... The bleaching, predicted to occur between now and February, could have a devastating impact on coral reef ecosystems, killing coral and destroying food chains. There would be severe impacts for communities in Australia and the region, who depend on the oceans for their livelihoods. ...


That is one massive canary.

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Fri, Jan 2, 2009
from London Independent:
Climate scientists: it's time for 'Plan B'
An emergency "Plan B" using the latest technology is needed to save the world from dangerous climate change, according to a poll of leading scientists carried out by The Independent. The collective international failure to curb the growing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has meant that an alternative to merely curbing emissions may become necessary. The plan would involve highly controversial proposals to lower global temperatures artificially through daringly ambitious schemes that either reduce sunlight levels by man-made means or take CO2 out of the air. This "geoengineering" approach including schemes such as fertilising the oceans with iron to stimulate algal blooms would have been dismissed as a distraction a few years ago but is now being seen by the majority of scientists we surveyed as a viable emergency backup plan that could save the planet from the worst effects of climate change, at least until deep cuts are made in CO2 emissions. What has worried many of the experts, who include recognised authorities from the world's leading universities and research institutes, as well as a Nobel Laureate, is the failure to curb global greenhouse gas emissions through international agreements, namely the Kyoto Treaty, and recent studies indicating that the Earth's natural carbon "sinks" are becoming less efficient at absorbing man-made CO2 from the atmosphere. ...


What the hell. Let's skip B and go right to Plan C!

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Fri, Jan 2, 2009
from Chicago Tribune:
Canada's forests, once huge help on greenhouse gases, now contribute to climate change
As relentlessly bad as the news about global warming seems to be, with ice at the poles melting faster than scientists had predicted and world temperatures rising higher than expected, there was at least a reservoir of hope stored here in Canada's vast forests. The country's 1.2 million square miles of trees have been dubbed the "lungs of the planet" by ecologists because they account for more than 7 percent of Earth's total forest lands. They could always be depended upon to suck in vast quantities of carbon dioxide, naturally cleansing the world of much of the harmful heat-trapping gas. But not anymore. In an alarming yet little-noticed series of recent studies, scientists have concluded that Canada's precious forests, stressed from damage caused by global warming, insect infestations and persistent fires, have crossed an ominous line and are now pumping out more climate-changing carbon dioxide than they are sequestering. Worse yet, the experts predict that Canada's forests will remain net carbon sources, as opposed to carbon storage "sinks," until at least 2022, and possibly much longer. ...


So... Ronald Reagan WAS right. Trees do cause pollution!

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Thu, Jan 1, 2009
from New Scientist:
More polar bears going hungry
The number of undernourished bears has tripled in a 20-year period.... In 1985 and 1986 the proportion of bears fasting was 9.6 and 10.5 per cent respectively. By 2005 and 2006 this had risen to 21.4 and 29.3 per cent... "If the ice continues to contract, which seems inevitable, polar bears will become even more nutritionally disadvantaged. The study proves polar bears are in serious trouble," says Rick Steiner, a marine conservationist at the University of Alaska in Anchorage. ...


"Nutritionally disadvantaged"? Should we be considering the polar bear just "collateral damage"?

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Wed, Dec 31, 2008
from SciDev.net:
Climate change linked to decline in Asian monsoon
Evidence that human-induced climate change may be affecting the Asian monsoon cycle has been published by a Chinese-US team.... Records show that, before 1960, warmer years were associated with stronger monsoons, and the temperature decreased when the monsoon weakened. But the study found a reversed association after this date. "The rising temperature now leads to less precipitation, which is not a natural pattern," said Larry Edwards, geologist at the University of Minnesota and co-author of the paper, which was published in Science (November). ...


How's that for good luck! Now Asia will need fewer unsustainable umbrellas and raincoats!

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Wed, Dec 31, 2008
from Reuters:
Researchers say 2009 to be one of warmest years on record
LONDON (Reuters) - Next year is set to be one of the top-five warmest on record, climate scientists said on Tuesday. The average global temperature for 2009 is expected to be more than 0.4 degrees celsius above the long-term average, despite the continued cooling of huge areas of the Pacific Ocean, a phenomenon known as La Nina. That would make it the warmest year since 2005, according to researchers at the Met Office, who say there is also a growing probability of record temperatures after next year. Currently the warmest year on record is 1998, which saw average temperatures of 14.52 degrees celsius - well above the 1961-1990 long-term average of 14 degrees celsius. Warm weather that year was strongly influenced by El Nino, an abnormal warming of surface ocean waters in the eastern tropical Pacific. ...


You say El Nino, I say La Nina ... let's call the whole thing off!

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Wed, Dec 31, 2008
from Politiken.dk:
Danish Arctic research dates Ice Age: "so sudden that it is as if a button was pressed"
The extensive scientific study shows that it was precisely 11,711 years ago -- and not the indeterminate figure of 'some' 11,000 years ago -- that the ice withdrew, allowing humans and animals free reign. ... "Our new, extremely detailed data from the examination of the ice cores shows that in the transition from the ice age to our current warm, interglacial period the climate shift is so sudden that it is as if a button was pressed", explains ice core researcher Jorgen Peder Steffensen, Centre for Ice and Climate at NBI at the University of Copenhagen. ...


Is that button labelled "reset"?

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Mon, Dec 29, 2008
from Agence France-Presse:
Natural disasters killed over 220,000
BERLIN -- Natural disasters killed over 220,000 people in 2008, making it one of the most devastating years on record and underlining the need for a global climate deal, the world's number two reinsurer said Monday. Although the number of natural disasters was lower than in 2007, the catastrophes that occurred proved to be more destructive in terms of the number of victims and the financial cost of the damage caused, Germany-based Munich Re said in its annual assessment. "This continues the long-term trend we have been observing. Climate change has already started and is very probably contributing to increasingly frequent weather extremes and ensuing natural catastrophes," Munich Re board member Torsten Jeworrek said. ...


We might have to stop calling them natural disasters.

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Mon, Dec 29, 2008
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
What if you can't see the forest for the wind farm?
The only certain thing about the battle shaping up on the edge of Algonquin Park is that the green side will win. The question, however, is which green side will be the victor? In a conflict suited to the times, the Ontario government is running into resistance from self-professed environmentalists over its plan to expand the use of wind turbines, which are the darling of other self-professed environmentalists. The government, which wants to shut down all the province's polluting coal plants by 2014, seems determined to ignore the cries that plunking up to 60 giant wind turbines in the middle of nearly pristine forest is not the highest evolution of green philosophy. ...


I have a solution: Disguise the wind turbines AS trees!

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Mon, Dec 29, 2008
from via ScienceDaily:
Climate Change Could Dramatically Affect Water Supplies
It's no simple matter to figure out how regional changes in precipitation, expected to result from global climate change, may affect water supplies. Now, a new analysis led by MIT researchers has found that the changes in groundwater may actually be much greater than the precipitation changes themselves. For example, in places where annual rainfall may increase by 20 percent as a result of climate change, the groundwater might increase as much as 40 percent. Conversely, the analysis showed in some cases just a 20 percent decrease in rainfall could lead to a 70 percent decrease in the recharging of local aquifers a potentially devastating blow in semi-arid and arid regions. ...


You mean.... there's water under the ground?

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Mon, Dec 29, 2008
from NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory via ScienceDaily:
NASA Study Links Severe Storm Increases, Global Warming
The frequency of extremely high clouds in Earth's tropics -- the type associated with severe storms and rainfall -- is increasing as a result of global warming, according to a study by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. [The] team found a strong correlation between the frequency of these clouds and seasonal variations in the average sea surface temperature of the tropical oceans. For every degree Centigrade (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) increase in average ocean surface temperature, the team observed a 45-percent increase in the frequency of the very high clouds. At the present rate of global warming of 0.13 degrees Celsius (0.23 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade, the team inferred the frequency of these storms can be expected to increase by six percent per decade. ...


I'll just get a six-percent bigger umbrella every decade!

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