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Saturday, January 31, 2009

China Expects A Sea Level Rise of About 0.13 Meter in Next 30 Years

A report is predicting that coastal areas will rise 0.13 meters in the next three decades. If that happens, the Chinese State Oceanic Administration (SOA) has suggested that the sea level along China's marine borders will drop.

The average increase in sea level has been about 2.6 millimeter per year in the past 30 years, 0.8 millimeter higher than the world's average, according to the administration's report of China's sea level changes.

According to the report, among all the coastal seas, the East China Sea saw the fastest rise in sea level, with an annual increase of 2.9 millimeter over the past three decades.

Li Xiaoming, director of the department of oceanic protection of the SOA, said that global warming, earth subsidence and unusual climate phenomena, all attributed to the rise of sea level.

SOA statistics show that over the past 30 years, air and sea temperatures along China's coastal areas rose 1.1 Celsius and 0.9 Celsius respectively.

Li said the further rise of sea level could add to damage caused by marine disasters such as storm tides, coast erosion, sea water encroachment and soil salinization.

The Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta, the Yellow River Delta and coastal areas of Tianjin, regions located along the coast with the country's most developed economy, are the key areas that will suffer the impacts of a rise in sea level, according to Li.

The SOA has suggested governments of coastal cities improve sea level monitoring and take the impact of sea level rise into consideration when making economic development plans, according to the report.

The SOA has also asked the governments to control groundwater exploitation, reinforce dikes and improve protection of coastal wetlands.

Alternative Energy Sources

Dr.Badruddin Khan asked:

All living systems require energy to survive. A person requires energy in the form of food. A plant requires energy in the form of sunlight. All mechanical systems also require energy to function. A car needs gasoline to run. A sailboat needs wind to move across the water. Energy, in one form or another, is needed for all living and nonliving activity on the planet. Energy does not actually exist as a thing itself, however. Instead, energy is an idea describing various sources of power. Long ago, humans relied upon the natural systems of the earth to meet their energy needs. Cliff dwellers of the Southwest built their homes to capture the heat of winter sunlight. Ancient Greeks bathed in water warmed by geothermal vents. Humans around the world used wood to cook their meals and warm their homes. The natural systems of the planet met all of these needs.

The pursuit of more powerful and consistent energy sources came about during the Industrial Revolution, which began in the late eighteenth century and continued through the beginning of the nineteenth century. For the first time, humans began burning fossil fuels in great quantities to meet their energy needs. Fossil fuels powered the factories they worked in, the farm equipment needed to produce large crops, and eventually, the cars they drove. It seemed as if fossil fuels were the perfect answer to the need for a quick and efficient form of energy. It was not until the 1970s that serious problems from the use of fossil fuels began to be recognized. Oil-producing countries began to demand more money for their product. Oil-consuming countries, such as the United States, refused to accept these higher costs. Many countries put oil embargoes into place. This drove the cost of fossil fuels higher and higher. This series of events led to an energy crisis. People began to wonder what they would do if the cost of fossil fuels did not decline and, consequently, an interest in alternative energy sources began to develop.

Also, since the energy crisis of the 1970s, scientists have learned more about the environmental impact of fossil fuels. They have linked acid rain to the sulfur dioxide released when fossil fuels are burned. Burning fossil fuels also releases large quantities of carbon dioxide. Scientists have found a connection between the growing amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and an increase in global temperatures, referred to as global warming. These discoveries about the effects of fossil fuels have also led to an increased interest in the development of alternative energy sources. Currently, there are four main alternative energy sources being developed and used today: solar power, wind power, hydropower, and geothermal power. These energy sources, called renewable energy, are all powered by the natural systems of the earth. Unlike fossil fuels, they are also continuously replenished by the earth’s natural systems regardless of whether or not they are used. Sunlight will stream down on the planet every day, whether it is captured with solar panels or not. Wind will blow across the land, regardless of turning the rotor of a windmill. Rivers will flow down mountains and geothermal vents will release energy, whether or not their energy is harnessed.

As the resources of the planet are used faster than they are replaced, people are turning to solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal energy to meet their energy needs. Supporting the use of energy sources that are replenished as fast, or faster, than they are used is helping to create a sustainable energy future. For such changes to happen effectively, however, it will take changes in government policies, more economic support for alternative energy producers, and individual consumers demanding a different choice. These factors will determine the direction of energy production in the coming decades.

Internationally Glaciers Are Dethawing at a Dreadful Pace

Everywhere glaciers are retreating at a swifter pace than at any point since records began, states The Independent. Scientists from the International Glacier Monitoring Service, which follows 32 glaciers across 11 mountains, calculate that from 1853 to 1967 glaciers retreated at a net average pace of 32 centimeters per annam. Between 1972 to 2001 the amount retreating increased to 65 to 85 centimeters a yr. Since then the norm has comprised greater than one metre a yr. And last season recorded the biggest losses up til now of 1.1 m.

Worldwide glaciers are receding at any rate as fast as those in this small sample with possibly fatal results for local villages. Shortly there will be a lot more deluges, and in the future, water supplies will disappear, meaning sharp mains water deficits.

Chamonix French Alps, with its high number of glaciers, the consequences of global warming and the disappearing of glaciers could be noticeably sensed. This is perhaps why lots of shops and locals seem to be more cognisant of these issues so are therefore trying to undertake measures to limit their energy consumption. With luck it isn’t too little too late to halt the upshots of climate change and ensure an environment for our kids.

CO2, Temperatures, and Ice Ages

Guest post by Frank Lansner, civil engineer, biotechnology.

(Note from Anthony - English is not Frank’s primary language, I have made some small adjustments for readability, however they may be a few passages that need clarification. Frank will be happy to clarify in comments)

It is generally accepted that CO2 is lagging temperature in Antarctic graphs. To dig further into this subject therefore might seem a waste of time. But the reality is, that these graphs are still widely used as an argument for the global warming hypothesis. But can the CO2-hypothesis be supported in any way using the data of Antarctic ice cores?

At first glance, the CO2 lagging temperature would mean that it’s the temperature that controls CO2 and not vice versa.

Click for larger image Fig 1. Source:

But this is the climate debate, so massive rescue missions have been launched to save the CO2-hypothesis. So explanation for the unfortunate CO2 data is as follows:

First a solar or orbital change induces some minor warming/cooling and then CO2 raises/drops. After this, it’s the CO2 that drives the temperature up/down. Hansen has argued that: The big differences in temperature between ice ages and warm periods is not possible to explain without a CO2 driver.

Very unlike solar theory and all other theories, when it comes to CO2-theory one has to PROVE that it is wrong. So let’s do some digging. The 4-5 major temperature peaks seen on Fig 1. have common properties: First a big rapid temperature increase, and then an almost just as big, but a less rapid temperature fall. To avoid too much noise in data, I summed up all these major temperature peaks into one graph:


Fig 2. This graph of actual data from all major temperature peaks of the Antarctic vostokdata confirms the pattern we saw in fig 1, and now we have a very clear signal as random noise is reduced.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Mature Arctic Ivory Gull Seen in Massachusetts - first time in over a century

One of the claims about “global climate change” is that it will affect the normal ranges of flora and fauna of our planet. Well, with a very cold northern hemisphere this winter, that seems to happening. A bird not seen (as a mature adult) in Massachusetts since the 1800’s , an Ivory Gull, normally an inhabitant of arctic areas, has been spotted. Here are the details from the Plymouth, MA Patriot-Ledger. - Anthony

GULL-LOVER’S TRAVELS: Birdwatchers flock to Plymouth to spot rare specimen

PLYMOUTH — Jan 28th, 2009

The temperatures were in the single digits, but not low enough to keep the gawkers away. A celebrity was in town, behind the East Bay Grille, a visitor not seen in these parts in decades, if not longer.

But these weren’t paparazzi, and this wasn’t a Hollywood star. Rather, they were avid birdwatchers – about 20 in all – braving the frigid air as they scanned the bay and the edges of the breakwater with binoculars and spotting scopes.

And they would be rewarded, catching a glimpse of a glimpse of a rare, fully mature ivory gull. A birdwatcher reported seeing one in Plymouth last week, and another was spotted at Eastern Point Lighthouse in Gloucester. From Sunday through Tuesday, the avian visitor was a regular in Plymouth, much to the delight of birdwatchers, who came from near and far in hopes of adding the extremely rare bird to their life list.

Ivory gulls normally stay well above Newfoundland, living on Arctic ice where they follow whales and polar bears to feed on the scraps and carcasses they leave behind after making a kill.


Until this year, the last report of a fully mature ivory gull in Massachusetts was in the 1800s. Three immature birds were seen in the 1940s. In 1976, another immature bird had been spotted in Rockport.

Russell Graham of Dallas is flying in Friday for a three-day visit. He’s hoping the gull will still be in town when he arrives.

“The ivory gull is one of a handful of birds that every birder dreams of seeing but almost no one has.,” he said. “This isn’t a dream that’s confined to North America. There is also an immature bird in France that is causing the same reaction there. There are a couple of places where you can go in the summer and expect to see one but they are distant and expensive - Svalbard on Spitsbergen, Norway and Pond Inlet on Baffin Island, Canada.

“I never thought I would have the chance to see one and I can’t pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

If the gull is gone, Graham will consider a side trip to Nova Scotia, where two adult ivory gulls have been seen recently. “I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed,” he said.

John Fox of Arlington, Va., and his friend Adam D’Onofrio of Petersburg drove more than eight hours on Sunday to see the gull.

“No bird this morning,” Fox said a day later, shaking his head. “We left Virginia at three in the morning yesterday and arrived here 20 minutes too late.”

On Sunday morning, hundreds of people got to observe and photograph the gull as it fed on a chicken carcass someone put out on one of the docks in the parking lot. The bird stayed until 11 a.m., then flew across the harbor. It was not seen again for the rest of the day.

“We arrived at 11:20 and spent the rest of the afternoon in the parking lot, hoping it would return,” Fox said.

They stayed at Pilgrim Sands Motel and arrived at the parking lot early Monday morning for one more chance to see the ivory gull before returning to Virginia. Fox said it was his first time in Massachusetts. If he didn’t see the bird, he said, at least he could see Plymouth Rock before they left for home.

“That’s how it goes sometimes,” he said. “We don’t always see what we come for, but it’s nice to see some of the sights when you travel to a new area in hopes of seeing a rare bird.”

As Fox was planning his exit, a commotion caught his attention. One of the birders pointed toward the sky and said with a shout, “There it is.”

The pure white gull was flying toward the parking lot, silhouetted against a bright blue sky. Someone in the crowd announced for the record the gull had arrived at 7:45 a.m.

The bird flew in circles overhead, then landed on a snow bank in the middle of the parking lot. Cameras clicked and the birders “oohed and ahhhed” each time the ivory gull switched positions.

“Look how white it is,” someone said. “It’s got black feet, black eyes and a grayish-black beak,” said another.

The gull eyeballed the chicken carcass, still there from the day before, but it didn’t eat. Instead, it flew to the railing along the edge of the boat ramp and perched with a group of sea gulls. The photographers followed, changing positions to get the best lighting.

Fox stood with the group, talking with other birdwatchers, as the gull sat peacefully on the railing, observing all the people gathered around it. Was it worth the long drive up from Virginia?

“It sure was,” Fox said with a smile.

Global Sea Ice Update

I think it's a good time to see how the global extent of sea ice is doing compared to the longer term normal. Let's start in the Antarctic, where the peak of the summer melt off is not that far away.........

The image below is courtesy of the Polar Research Group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Based on their sea ice graph it looks like the current area of Antarctic sea ice is right on normal.

The second image is courtesy of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). This image shows the updated Arctic sea ice extent compared to the 1979-2000 average. As you can see, the current sea ice extent is running very close to the 2006-2007 line, which was the year of the record low sea ice extent.

Here is an explanation by NSIDC on why they use the 1979-2000 period as the average and not 1979-2008.

The image below, courtesy of the NSIDC, shows the entire 2008 plot of Arctic sea ice extent compared to the 1979-2000 normal.

Finally, courtesy of the Polar Research Group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, we have a global plot of sea ice area with the anomaly at the bottom. Global ice area appears to be slightly below normal at this current time. If look from 2000 to to current and try to visualize a trend line it is clearly, in my opinion, trending slightly lower (negative trend in global sea ice area).

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gore: Economy should spur action on global warming

WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Al Gore is urging Congress not to be sidetracked by the current financial crisis and to take "decisive action" this year to reduce the heat-trapping gases responsible for global warming.

Former Vice President Al Gore arrives at the 20th Annual Producers Guild Awards,
AP – Former Vice President Al Gore arrives at the 20th Annual
Producers Guild Awards, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009, …

Gore, scheduled to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, planned to tell lawmakers that a bill capping greenhouse gas emissions is needed if the U.S. is to play a leading role in negotiations for a new international climate treaty.

He also was pressing Congress to pass President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan, saying investments in clean energy and green jobs will help dig the country out of its economic rut, according to his prepared testimony.

The Bush administration pulled out of the last treaty, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, because of the lack of participation by developing countries. Negotiations on a new agreement are scheduled for later this year in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Gore — recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize whose book on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," became an Oscar-winning documentary — said the economic recession and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan should not cause another delay.

"The road to Copenhagen is now very clear. It starts with the passage of President Barack Obama's stimulus bill in its entirety. And then, secondly, we need to put a price on carbon by passing cap and trade legislation," Gore said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. "In other words, this crisis is an opportunity."

Gore's appearance is another sign that the Democratic-controlled Congress plans to act quickly on climate change. It comes days after Obama signed orders that will boost the fuel efficiency of the nation's cars and trucks and could allow states to limit emissions of greenhouse gases from exhaust pipes.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also named a special climate envoy this week to lead U.S. negotiations on a new international treaty. She picked Todd Stern, a former White House assistant who was the chief U.S. negotiator at the Kyoto talks.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he asked Gore to testify before the panel so "the message can go out loud and clear that the committee is going to be relentless and super-focused" on preparations for Copenhagen.

Gore is the perfect messenger, Kerry said.


On the Net:

Senate Committee on Foreign Relations: http://foreign.senate.gov/

Obama acts on fuel efficiency, global warming

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- U.S. President Barack Obama set his green plan into action Monday, potentially reversing several Bush-era decisions on global warming and fuel efficiency.

U.S. President Barack Obama signs orders Monday on vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency standards.

U.S. President Barack Obama signs orders Monday on vehicle
emissions and fuel efficiency standards.

In his first major environmental acts as president, Obama directed his Environmental Protection Agency to review a California application to regulate greenhouse gases and told his Department of Transportation to begin implementing fuel efficiency standards passed last year but not implemented by the Bush administration.

He also pushed for passage of the $825 billion economic stimulus package in the House and Senate. Those bills include money for investments in renewable energy, conservation and a better electric grid.

"No single issue is as fundamental to our future as energy," Obama said at a White House news conference. "It is time for this moment of peril to be turned into one of progress."

California emissions: Under the Clean Air act, California has long sought to tighten its air quality standards.

To achieve those standards, California would likely require cars to emit fewer greenhouse gases. Currently the federal government does not regulate carbon dioxide emissions - the main culprit in greenhouse gases.

The Bush administration recently denied California's request saying that new federal fuel standards made stricter rules there unnecessary.

Obama said his administration will review that decision. Any change in policy would likely take months to implement.

"Let me be clear: Our goal is not to further burden an already struggling industry; it is to help America's automakers prepare for the future," said the president.

The environmental community applauded the move. New emission standards could result in vehicles that get better gas mileage.

"With these actions our new president is not just stepping up to the threat of climate chaos," Dave Hawkins, head of the climate center at the Natural Resources Defense Council, wrote on his blog. "The cleaner cars he will help put on the road will show us the way to reduce our dangerous dependence on oil and will push automakers to make the cars that the world will want and need in the 21st century."

The auto industry, which has opposed California's effort to raise its air quality standards, said in the past it will result in an expensive patchwork of emissions standards and force them to build different cars for different markets.

Seventeen other states may adopt California's rules if the Obama administration allows it, representing over half the vehicle market.

On Monday General Motors said it is trying to make more efficient vehicles, but said any standard must be "workable."

"GM is working aggressively on the products and the advance technologies that match the nation's and consumer's priorities to save energy and reduce emissions," the company said in a statement to CNN. "We're ready to engage the Obama administration and the Congress on policies that support meaningful and workable solutions and targets that benefit consumers from coast to coast."

Chrysler had no comment, and Ford could not be reached.

It's possible automakers would simply make their entire fleet conform to the stricter standard - thus upping fuel efficiency standards for the whole nation.

It's also possible the auto industry would make different cars for different markets, perhaps not selling certain bigger cars in states that adopted the new standard.

Either way, most analysts said it would raise prices for everyone.

"Anytime you have to comply with two different sets of standards, it's more expensive," said Eric Fedewa of CSM Worldwide, an automotive research company.

Fedewa also said having two different standards could be a challenge for the auto industry at this time - they are currently losing money and have recently received billion in taxpayer support.

Federal fuel efficiency rules could be more easily relaxed if the industry had a hard time complying, he said.

"It's in our nation's best interest to be under a common strategy," he said.

Fuel efficiency standards: Regardless of what California does, Obama also moved to implement higher fuel efficiency standards passed in 2007.

Those increases - the first in more than 30 years - called for raising the average fuel economy from 27.5 miles a gallon for cars and 22 miles a gallon for trucks to 35 miles a gallon for the whole fleet by 2020.

Obama said the increased standards would save 2 million barrels of oil a day.

That's about 10% of the country's total oil consumption, and roughly the same amount the country currently imports from the Persian Gulf.

"This rule will be a downpayment on a broader and sustained effort to reduce our dependence on foreign oil," said the president.

The new standards, originally supported by Bush, were put on hold during his last days in office, in response to the woes facing the auto industry.

The industry has long opposed raising fuel economy standards. It has argued that the new rules are expensive and unnecessary since it already makes fuel efficient cars.

Stimulus: Obama also called on Congress to pass the $825 billion stimulus plan currently under debate in both houses.

Tens of billions of dollars are allocated for energy programs under both plans.

The House version contains $20 billion in tax incentives for the industry that are intended to get money flowing back into a sector particularly hard hit by the financial crisis and help Obama meet his stated goal of doubling renewable energy production in the United States in three years.

It also contains $10 billion to modernize the countries aging electric grid, including money for a so-called smart grid.

The smart grid basically involves digitizing and connecting the country's aging utility grid.

Experts say it will result in greater efficiency because appliances will be able to turn on and off when electricity is cheapest, consumers will have more information about how much electricity they are using, and when and where they are using it.

The smart grid is also essential if various forms of renewable energy like wind and solar are to be used.

The House version of stimulus also calls for billion in conservation money for federal buildings, public housing, and homeowner incentives.

"America will not be held hostage to dwindling resources, hostile regimes and a warming planet," said Obama. "This is the boost that our economy needs and the new beginning that our future demands."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The UK Climate Impact Programme Forecasting Scoresheet

The UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) is a government funded organization with the following scientifically neutral mission statement on their home pageThe UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) helps organisations to adapt to inevitable climate change. While it’s essential to reduce future greenhouse gas emissions, the effects of past emissions will continue to be felt for decades.

On their headline messages page they have a list of global warming predictions and supporting evidence. In this article we will examine some of their claims and evidence.

Claim: Summers will continue to get hotter and drier…

  • Evidence: Total summer precipitation has decreased in most parts of the UK, typically by between 10 and 40% since 1961.

According to the UK Met Office, the summer of 2007 was the wettest summer on record. Summer, 2008 was the wettest on record in Northern Ireland, and broke many local rainfall records in England. The last hot day in London (30C or 86F) was on July 27, 2006. London is normally one of the UK’s warmest locations in summer, and it has been 915 days since London has seen any “hot” weather.

Winters will continue to get milder and wetter…

  • Evidence: Average winter temperature for all regions of the UK has risen by up to 0.7 °C since 1914..

The Met office reported last month: “Temperatures from the Met Office have revealed that the UK has had the coldest start to winter in over 30 years.

This month, the Met Office reported:The British Isles has experienced almost a fortnight of freezing conditions. Temperatures as low as -9 °C have been fairly common throughout southern areas of the UK, with temperatures struggling to rise above freezing in some places.

This winter has not only been unusually cold, but it has also been unusually dry in the UK.

Sea frozen as cold weather grips Britain

Recreational boating during the winter of 2008-2009

Claim: Some weather extremes will become more common, others less common…

  • Evidence: The average duration of summer heatwaves has increased in all regions of the UK by between 4 and 16 days since 1961.
  • Evidence: The average duration of winter cold snaps has decreased in all regions of the UK by between 6 and 12 days since 1961.
  • Evidence: There has been a trend towards heavier winter precipitation for most parts of the UK since 1961.

As mentioned above, there have been no hot days in the UK for nearly three years. The current winter has been one of the coldest and driest in recent memory.

Sea level will continue to rise…

  • Evidence: Global average sea level rose by between 10 and 20 cm during the twentieth century.
  • Evidence: The temperature of UK coastal waters has increased by between 0.2 and 0.6 °C per decade since 1985.

It is somewhat surprising that a scientific organisation would use this information in support of global warming. Sea level has been rising nearly continuously since the end of the last ice age, 15,000 years ago. The average sea rise rate has been about 80cm/century, 4X-8X higher than UKCIP’s reported current levels.

Post-Glacial Sea Level.png
Additionally, there has been little change in sea level rise rates over the last 100 years.


Regarding their discussion of UK sea temperatures since 1985, there hasn’t been much glacial activity in the UK over the last 25 years and it is unlikely that UK ice sheet melt is adding much to sea level. Their reported UK SST changes are more likely due to ocean circulation patterns like the AMO. Current SST anomaly maps show ocean temperatures around the UK near or below normal. And according to the University Of Colorado, global sea level has scarcely risen since 2005.


From: http://sealevel.colorado.edu/current/sl_noib_global_sm.jpg
One might think that taxpayer funded organisations like UKCIP would be required to keep their public statements a bit more up to date and accurate.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Western U.S. Tree Mortality Rates have Increased Rapidly

The mortality rate of trees in old-growth forests of the western United States has more than doubled over the last few decades and the most probable cause is regional warming, according to researchers from the United States Geological Survey and other participating Universities.

A burned out redwood tree.

Tree death rates have increased across a wide variety of forest types, at all elevations, in trees of all sizes, and in pines, firs, hemlocks, and other kinds of trees., according to the U.S.G.S. report.

The research team also noted that increasing tree mortality rates mean that western forests could become net sources of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, further speeding up the pace of global warming.

A number of other potential causes were ruled out before the researchers concluded that increasing regional temperature was correlated with tree deaths. The causes that were ruled out were air pollution, long-term effects from fire supression and normal forest dynamics.

The greater than one degree F. increase in temperature over the western U.S. over the past few decades has been enough to reduce winter snowpack, cause earlier snowmelt, and lengthen the summer drought, according to Phil van Mantgem, a USGS scientist. Drought is also stressing the trees and the warming has allowed diseases and insects such as tree-killing bark beetles to thrive.

This study was posted in this month's online edition of Science.

You can also find supporting online material here.

There is also a Science podcast interview with Phil van Mantgem.

Climate Modelers Given $140 Million Bonus

From NOAA News, Susan Solomon predicts the future with certainty. In other news, on the same day Caterpillar, Sprint, Texas Instruments, and Home Depot announce massive layoff plans to the tune of 50,000 people, unemployed climate modelers get a government bailout today courtesy of our new president to the tune of 140 million dollars. That should be just enough to pay the electric power bill for the new supercomputer I’m sure NOAA will just “have to have” now to keep up with the new toy for the Brits at Hadley. (h/t to Ed Scott for the NOAA pr)

New Study Shows Climate Change Largely Irreversible

January 26, 2009

A new scientific study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reaches a powerful conclusion about the climate change caused by future increases of carbon dioxide: to a large extent, there’s no going back.

The pioneering study, led by NOAA senior scientist Susan Solomon, shows how changes in surface temperature, rainfall, and sea level are largely irreversible for more than 1,000 years after carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are completely stopped. The findings appear during the week of January 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Our study convinced us that current choices regarding carbon dioxide emissions will have legacies that will irreversibly change the planet,” said Solomon, who is based at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo.

“It has long been known that some of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activities stays in the atmosphere for thousands of years,” Solomon said. “But the new study advances the understanding of how this affects the climate system.”

The study examines the consequences of allowing CO2 to build up to several different peak levels beyond present-day concentrations of 385 parts per million and then completely halting the emissions after the peak. The authors found that the scientific evidence is strong enough to quantify some irreversible climate impacts, including rainfall changes in certain key regions, and global sea level rise.

If CO2 is allowed to peak at 450-600 parts per million, the results would include persistent decreases in dry-season rainfall that are comparable to the 1930s North American Dust Bowl in zones including southern Europe, northern Africa, southwestern North America, southern Africa and western Australia.

The study notes that decreases in rainfall that last not just for a few decades but over centuries are expected to have a range of impacts that differ by region. Such regional impacts include decreasing human water supplies, increased fire frequency, ecosystem change and expanded deserts. Dry-season wheat and maize agriculture in regions of rain-fed farming, such as Africa, would also be affected.

Climate impacts were less severe at lower peak levels. But at all levels added carbon dioxide and its climate effects linger because of the ocean.

“In the long run, both carbon dioxide loss and heat transfer depend on the same physics of deep-ocean mixing. The two work against each other to keep temperatures almost constant for more than a thousand years, and that makes carbon dioxide unique among the major climate gases,” said Solomon.

The scientists emphasize that increases in CO2 that occur in this century “lock in” sea level rise that would slowly follow in the next 1,000 years. Considering just the expansion of warming ocean waters—without melting glaciers and polar ice sheets—the authors find that the irreversible global average sea level rise by the year 3000 would be at least 1.3–3.2 feet (0.4–1.0 meter) if CO2 peaks at 600 parts per million, and double that amount if CO2 peaks at 1,000 parts per million.

“Additional contributions to sea level rise from the melting of glaciers and polar ice sheets are too uncertain to quantify in the same way,” said Solomon. “They could be even larger but we just don’t have the same level of knowledge about those terms. We presented the minimum sea level rise that we can expect from well-understood physics, and we were surprised that it was so large.”

Rising sea levels would cause “…irreversible commitments to future changes in the geography of the Earth, since many coastal and island features would ultimately become submerged,” the authors write.

Geoengineering to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere was not considered in the study. “Ideas about taking the carbon dioxide away after the world puts it in have been proposed, but right now those are very speculative,” said Solomon.

The authors relied on measurements as well as many different models to support the understanding of their results. They focused on drying of particular regions and on thermal expansion of the ocean because observations suggest that humans are contributing to changes that have already been measured.

Besides Solomon, the study’s authors are Gian-Kasper Plattner and Reto Knutti of ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and Pierre Friedlingstein of Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, Gif-Sur-Yvette, France.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Philadelphia’s Climate in the Early Days

January, 1790 was a remarkable year in the northeastern US for several reasons. It was less than one year into George Washington’s first term, and it was one of the warmest winter months on record. Fortunately for science, a diligent Philadelphia resident named Charles Pierce kept a detailed record of the monthly weather from 1790 through 1847, and his record is archived by Google Books. Below is his monthly report from that book.

JANUARY 1790 The average or medium temperature of this month was 44 degrees This is the mildest month of January on record. Fogs prevailed very much in the morning but a hot sun soon dispersed them and the mercury often ran up to 70 in the shade at mid day. Boys were often seen swimming in the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. There were frequent showers as in April some of which were accompanied by thunder and lightning The uncommon mildness of the weather continued until the 7th of February.

Compare that to January, 2009 with an average temperature of 27F, 17 degrees cooler than 1790. One month of course is not indicative of the climate, so let us look at the 30 year period from 1790-1819 and compare that to the last 10 “hot” years.

From Charles Pierce’s records, the average January temperature in Philadelphia from 1790-1819 was 31.2F. According to USHCN records from 2000-2006 (the last year available from USHCN) and Weather Underground records from 2007-2009, the average January temperature in Philadelphia for the last ten years has been 29.8 degrees, or 1.4 degrees cooler than the period 1790-1819. January, 2009 has been colder than any January during the presidencies of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, or Monroe. January 2003 and 2004 were both considerably colder than any January during the terms of the first five presidents of the US. Data can be seen here.

According to several of the most widely quoted climate scientists in the world, winters were much colder 200 years ago than now - yet the boys swimming in the Delaware in January, 1790 apparently were unaware.

Another interesting fact which can be derived from Charles Pierce’s data, is that January temperatures cooled dramatically during the period 1790-1819 - as can be seen in the graph below. The cooling rate was 13F/century. What could have caused this cooling? We are told by some experts that variations in solar activity can only affect the earth’s temperature by a few tenths of a degree. CO2 levels had been rising since the start of the industrial age. The downward trend is fairly linear and does not show any sharp downward spikes, so it is unlikely to be due to volcanic activity. What other “natural variability” could have caused such a dramatic drop in temperature?

Looking at the sunspot records for that period, something that clearly stands out is that solar cycle 4 was very long, and was followed by a deep minimum lasting several decades. Perhaps a coincidence, but if not - Philadelphia may well be in for some more very cold weather in coming winters.
Source for graph:

Global warming could unleash ocean 'dead zones'

PARIS (AFP) – Global warming may create "dead zones" in the ocean that would be devoid of fish and seafood and endure for up to two millennia, according to a study published on Sunday.

Its authors say deep cuts in the world's carbon emissions are needed to brake a trend capable of wrecking the marine ecosystem and depriving future generations of the harvest of the seas.

Global warming could unleash ocean 'dead zones': study
AFP/File – Sunset is seen over the sea. Global warming may
create "dead zones" in the ocean that would …

In a study published online by the journal Nature Geoscience, scientists in Denmark built a computer model to simulate climate change over the next 100,000 years.

At the heart of their model are two well-used scenarios which use atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, as an indicator of temperature rise.

Under the worst scenario, CO2 concentrations would rise to 1,168 parts per million (ppm) by 2100, or about triple today's level.

Under the more optimistic model, CO2 would reach 549 ppm by 2100, or roughly 50 percent more than today.

The temperature rise that either would yield depends on several factors: when the peak in carbon emissions is reached and how quickly it falls, and whether the warming unleashes natural triggers, or tipping points, that enhance or prolong the warming in turn.

Taking such factors into account, the scientists predict a possible rise of around five to seven degrees Celsius (nine to 16 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial times under the worst scenario. Under the other scenario, there would be warming of roughly between two to four C (3.7-7.2 F).

Either scenario spells bad news for the ocean, said Jens Olaf Pepke Pedersen, a physicist at the Technical University of Denmark.

Under the worst scenario, warmer seas and a slowdown of ocean circulation would lower marine oxygen levels, creating "dead zones" that could not support fish, shellfish and other higher forms of marine life -- and may not revive for 1,500 to 2,000 years.

"They would start slowly by the end of this century, it's not something that would happen tomorrow or in the near future but over the next few generations," Pedersen told AFP.

"But because of the inertia in the ocean, once you have the process going, it's not feasible to reverse it again just like that, so it would continue for hundreds of years.

"Even if after a hundred years, if you stopped all carbon emissions, the ocean would still need hundreds of more years to cool. These low-oxygen areas would continue to expand and they would peak around 2,000 years from now. The ocean would then slowly recover as it cools."

Even under the less gloomy scenario, there would still be significant, long-term expansion of oxygen-starved zones.

Marine "dead zones" already exist today, in shallow areas next to the coast, where runoff from agricultural fertiliser causes an explosion in oxygen-gobbling algae.

Wide oxygen depletion of the ocean, though, poses a far greater threat, touching at the heart of biodiversity, the paper warns.

Around 250 million years ago, a chemical change of the seas led to a massive wipeout of marine species.

Lead scientist Gary Shaffer of the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen said it was unclear, in the grim light of this study, whether future generations could look to the oceans as a major reserve of food.

"Reduced fossil-fuel emissions are needed over the next few generations to limit ongoing ocean oxygen depletion and acidification and their long-term adverse effects," he said.

Since 1900, the mean global atmospheric temperature has risen by 0.8 C (1.44 F) the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in 2007. It forecast warming of 1.8-4.0 C (3.2-7.2 F) by 2100 over 1980-99 levels, but said "positive feedback" triggers that could amplify warming remain unclear.

Antarctic sea creatures hypersensitive to warming

ROTHERA BASE, Antarctica (Reuters) - Thriving only in near-freezing waters, creatures such as Antarctic sea spiders, limpets or sea urchins may be among the most vulnerable on the planet to global warming, as the Southern Ocean heats up.

British marine biologist Simon Morley holds up an Antarctic marine woodlouse -- related to far smaller woodlice found on land -- in an aquarium at the British Rothera research station in Antarctica, January 20, 2009. (REUTERS/Alister Doyle)

Isolated for millions of years by the chill currents, exotic animals on the seabed around Antarctica -- including giant marine woodlice and sea lemons, a sort of bright yellow slug -- are among the least studied in the world.

Now scientists on the Antarctic Peninsula are finding worrying signs that they can only tolerate a very narrow temperature band -- and the waters have already warmed by about 1 Celsius (1.6 Fahrenheit) in the past 50 years.

"Because this is one of the most rapidly warming areas on the planet and because the animals are so temperature sensitive...this marine ecosystem is at higher risk than almost anywhere else on the planet," said Simon Morley, a marine biologist at the British Antarctic Survey at Rothera.

"A temperature rise of only 2-3 degrees (Celsius) above current temperatures could cause these animals to lose vital functions," he said.

In warmer waters, laboratory studies show that clams and limpets lose the ability to right themselves if they land upside down. Such a skill is vital in Antarctica's shallows, where icebergs regularly scrape across rocks on the seabed.

"Will they be here in 100 years' time?" Morley said, standing by blue tanks of sea cucumbers, worms and others. "I think that we will see changes in the ecosystems, more in some species and less in other species.

"It does look as if these mechanisms are truly applicable worldwide," he said.

Studies of clams in Singapore also show that they find it hard to burrow if temperatures rise, he said. Coral reefs can also suffer damage if temperatures rise even slightly.

The U.N. Climate Panel has a best estimate that air temperatures may rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 Celsius this century, due to a build-up of greenhouse gases.

Rothera's waters range from about minus 2 Celsius in winter, kept from freezing by saltiness, to 1 Celsius in summer.


On a recent trip into Rothera's bay, Ali Massey and Terri Souster, dressed in thick black dive-suits, disappeared into the water from a red inflatable speedboat and re-emerged 20 minutes later with a haul of the little-understood creatures.

"It is a fascinating place to dive," said Souster, a 24-year-old South African.

The inshore habitat is largely separate from the open ocean, where penguins and whales feed on krill that in turn consume algae. Big predators in the shallows are starfish and fish such as Antarctic cod.

In Antarctica, another linked threat is from icebergs that now scour each part of the shallow seabed on average once a year -- smashing many of the creatures.

Divers off Rothera are extending a 5-year study of iceberg scours by placing small white concrete blocks on the seabed. They are later retrieved to see how many are cracked by icebergs.

And iceberg poundings could become more frequent since warming could bring a decline in sea ice. Winter sea ice locks icebergs into position -- when it melts they can get moved around by winds and tides and swept into the shallows.

Another worry is that non-native species will arrive off Antarctica if the oceans warm, perhaps organisms floating on a piece of plastic or stuck on the hull of a ship. Invasive species, usually transported by humans, can oust local species.

"It's something we are really concerned about," Morley said, noting that at current rates of warming the danger was about 50 years away.

-- For Reuters latest environment blogs click on http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/

Prevent Global Warming

Today, prevent global warming seems to be the necessity of the day. It is high time we noticed effects of industrialization on the planet. It is no more difficult to notice that global warming has been changing climate of the world. Large ice masses that initially adorned both the north and south poles are melting as a very fast speed. This shows warming is affecting us since the water levels will increase drastically. Melting of ice masses will also mean changing in climatic conditions all around the world. Effects of which will be difficult for humans and animals alike.

You can prevent global warming by uniting against it. It does not matter what your place of residence may be; however, you can contribute towards reforestation and help reduce green house gases and carbon dioxide considerably. You can also help in cooling the earth down substantially. Global warming is also the result of using fossil fuels like petrol, diesel, CNG, etc. with industrialization there has been growth in number of car owners, this has made global warming faster.

You can easily prevent global warming, you should use all those facilities provided to you consciously. A little saving of water, fuel, electricity, etc per person can make a lot of difference to our planet.

In order to prevent global warming there are several organizations which are working actively so they can increase forests around the world. Increasing forests is a good and a constructive alternative to solving this problem of global warming. It is true that rain forests and tropical forests around the world are being cut down to fulfill demand for wood and paper, this is causing deforestation. A simple solution to this problem is replanting the trees that have been cut off and letting these grow back again naturally. These lush green trees in the tropical rain forests have worked as lungs for all the world for ages. Reduction in these forests will accelerate the disaster brought in by global warming.

Several governments around the world are taking steps and implementing laws that will help curb production of green house gases and make the world a better place for our children. However, these laws will take time in being implemented. Till the time, these actually come into being, all world’s population can contribute a little more by planting trees around them and prevent global warming.

You will find concerns about global warming being echoed online too. In fact several organizations have opened their websites so that they can spread awareness about the current situation amongst general public. These organizations will also educate you about how a small contribution from you will make a ton of difference in world’s ecological climate.

You can contribute to this cause to as low as $10 just once, and a chunk of deforested land will be taken for reforestation so all its natural habitat can be restored. Such organizations generally specify the place where they are being carrying out reforestation so you can contribute and prevent global warming.

Buy Deforested Land, help it regenerate, and protect it from exploitation again forever. You can do something about Global Warming and deforestation right now. The Wild Again Reforestation Trust relies on public donations to purchase deforested land.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Hamish_Fraser

Stop Global Warming

Each of us can make small changes every day that will help stop global warming. At the same time these steps can also save money. Here are a few suggestions for small changes that businesses can make:

  • Switch to compact fluorescent lights. For a cost study refer to Get Energy Smart Now. Make sure to recycle used light bulbs properly. If your office is in a commercial building with overhead fluorescent lighting try turning off the overhead lights when there is sufficient daylight to further reduce your energy expenditure.

  • Use recycled paper and green office supplies. Shop local for these items if possible as many office supply stores carry recycled paper. You can also find additional green office products at The Green Office, Dolphin Blue, and Tree Cycle.

  • Reduce paper and energy wasted by stopping junk mail. If you use direct mail yourself make sure to maintain your lists and target mail campaigns effectively or try email campaigns instead.

  • Use email campaigns instead of direct mail to effectively reach your target audience. You will save money at the same time you save natural resources and reduce energy expenditures.

For more assistance check to see if your local area has a program such as the Bay Area Green Business Program. Each of us making small changes can make a difference.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Brief Exegesis on Arctic Sea Ice

Arctic sea ice reaches 2008 minimum

In a comment on yesterday's post Carbon Emissions Curbs in Time for Copenhagen?, where some discussion ensued in the comments on carbon taxes vs. carbon cap-and-trade, reader Ted Clayton wrote,

Going for a Carbon Tax not only stiffs the President, but can be expected to harden public attitudes which already show little interest in the Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis. The best test of this hypothesis will come this summer, as we watch the Arctic Ocean icepack to see if it continues rebuilding. [[Emphasis mine.]]

This is a good opportunity to talk about what the overall trends in Arctic sea ice tell us about the state of the climate.

The quick hit: Polar sea ice is decreasing -- faster than expert scientists expected. The extent of Arctic summer sea ice hit a record low in 2007, the lowest since satellite measurements began in 1979. 2008 saw the second-lowest extent on record. Since the Arctic is more sensitive to changes in the climate than other environments on the globe, the melt of the Arctic is probably an early indicator of growing climate instability.

In the summer, Arctic ice melts, and recedes. In the winter, it forms and advances. What happens over the course of a year in terms of how much melting and freezing occur, or a couple years, is much less significant as an indication of what's going on with the climate, than the trends over longer periods of time.

Remember -- natural variation is occurring at the same time human-propelled global warming is destabilizing the climate. Interpreting trends over time is a question of signal to noise: The longer the period of time we look at, the more "noise" filters out -- in this case natural shifts in the climate system, such as El Nino/La Nina years -- and the stronger the signal that emerges.

What's emerged is that over the past 30 years,the extent of Arctic ice has decreased about 4.2 percent per decade, according to research cited by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Below is the NSIDC's chart showing the overall trend -- that polar sea ice is decreasing at a fast rate -- since 1979, the year satellite measurements began. The gray line charts the average extent of Arctic sea ice during the summer melt from 1979 to 2000. The dark blue line shows the melt in the summer of 2008, and the light blue line shows the extent during the summer melt in 2007, when summer sea ice hit a record low:

September polar ice, 1979-2008

Per the NSIDC: "Extent comparisons: This graph compares 5-day running means for Arctic sea ice extent (area of ocean with ice concentration of at least 15 percent) for the long-term mean (1979-2000), the record low (2007) and the extent for 2008. Although Arctic sea ice retreated more slowly in June and July 2008 than it had the previous year, it experienced a record loss in August 2008." [[Emphasis mine.]]

In September of 2007, the extent of Arctic sea ice was 4.67 million square kilometers, the lowest on record -- 39.2 percent below the 1979-2000 average. In September of 2008, the extent was 4.67 million sq. km., "only 9 percent above 2007, despite cooler summer conditions," per the NSIDC.

Four of the past eight years have seen record-breaking loss of Arctic sea ice. Prior to 2007 and 2008's melts, the record lows were in 2002 (5.96 billion sq. km., a 15.3 percent drop from the 1979-2000 average) and 2005 (5.57 billion sq. km., 20.9 percent below the 1979-2000 average).

Sea ice thickness, has also decreased substantially over the past half-century or so, by about 1.3 meters between the 1950s and the 1990s, below shown by data on sea ice draft (the amount of ice below the water's surface):

Decrease in Arctic sea ice draft, 1958 to 1997.

Per the NSIDC: "Mean sea ice draft: Decrease in Arctic Sea Ice Draft for 1958 to 1997. Graph derived from Rothrock et al. 1999."

This 2003 article at the NASA Earth Observatory web site has a good overview of how overall warming of temperatures at the Arctic is accelerating.

Image: "This map shows the extent of sea ice on September 17, 2008, measured by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Percent ice coverage is in shades of light blue to white. The gray line traces the boundary of the area normally covered by ice at the summer minimum based on data from 1979-2000. The line represents the median minimum ice extent; to qualify as "normally ice covered" an area has to meet the center’s criteria of at least 15 percent ice cover in at least half of the years in the record. The extent on September 17 was clearly much smaller than normal. Although this is not the first year the Northwest Passage has been navigable, it is the first year on record that both the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route, on the opposite side of the Arctic, were both open." Source: NASA Earth Observatory

Judgement Day "december 21, 2012"

Science can neither confirm nor discredit the validity of many religiously or prophetically deemed judgment days of the future, the soonest of which will be arriving December 21, 2012, the final day of the Mayan Calendar. Although the Mayas reached their conclusion astrologically, many religious beliefs and prophets have also independently attached different earth-shattering events to take place during relatively the same neighborhood in time. As the winter solstice of 2012 draws nearer, scientists and skeptics alike are paying close attention to the world’s development and potential signs that might support the Mayan calendar’s End-Time date or the religious belief of others in a prophesied Judgment Day.

Most religions throughout history that believe in a God or a Creator have had some sort a judgment day within their belief system. In each case, this is a time when the earth shall be destroyed or cleansed of the wrong-doers and those that believe in their God shall be saved or brought to heaven to reside in His Kingdom. Although many predicted judgment days have already come and gone without incident, the fact that several others fall relatively close to the Maya’s astrologically derived end-time has been the cause of some special attention given to this particular date in the near future.

Both the Jewish and the Islamic faiths have specific end-time dates arriving within 229 years of the Mayan prediction in 2012. The Jewish date is in October of 2240 while the Islamic date falls in the “Year of the Haj” in 2076. The Jewish faith maintains that each one thousand years marks one day for God. Both the Jewish calendar and the Old Testament of the Bible state that on the seventh day of God, everything that belongs to Him shall be returned to Him. Likewise, many Christian prophets have claimed that He shall return on the third day of God, which could be anytime between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 3000, each day of God again being represented by a thousand years.

The Christian faith gives no specific date for when God is going to return to earth and destroy all evil while taking His followers with him to Heaven. Instead, the Book of Revelations talks of diminishing faith, increased violence, world wars, world catastrophes, and natural disasters mounting shortly before His reappearance. Many religious leaders look at today’s crime rates, Tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, wars being fought between nations, and the growing number of atheists as signs that God’s return will be soon. In 2005, La Voz De Aztlan reported, “…many of the Old and New Testament biblical prophecies of the end-times correlate amazingly with religious beliefs of the Mayas and other indigenous civilizations of the western hemisphere.”

The Mayan calendars use astrology rather than faith in pin-pointing their version of the last day on earth as we know it. The Mayas were well ahead of their time in regards to tracking the stars and motions in the skies. They managed to track patterns in the universe that scientists were unable to rediscover until hundreds of years later. Their calendars are based on the alignments of Venus in relation to the Earth, or the positions of particular stars and their relation to the planets and solar system. The mere fact that they were aware of a solar system and the difference between planets and stars without the use of high-powered telescopes baffles scientists and historians to this day. Nonetheless, their calendars have been proven to be by far the most accurate in existence.

The Mayans claim that time will no longer be able to be measured after December 21, 2012 because it will no longer consistently travel in the same pattern that it does today. This could very easily be a description of what would happen to time if the earth got thrown off its axis. Once it starts spinning at a different speed and angle, the days will be longer or shorter. Likewise, if its orbit around the sun is changed, so is the length of a year. Their explanation was that the solar system will reach the conclusion of a 5,125 year natural cycle on December 21, 2012, at which time drastic changes will take place. These changes will be the cause of a day no longer consisting of twenty-four hours and a year no longer being three hundred and sixty-five and a quarter days. Scientists have confirmed that, in much the same manner as a year cycles through the four seasons, the Mayas were once again correct in regards to the 5,125 year seasonal cycle of the solar system.

Along with the different religious beliefs and the ancient astrology of the Mayas, there is one major prophet that has earned the right to be listened to who also confirms that the world is soon in for a major change. Nostradamus was born more than 500 years ago in France in 1503 A.D. From 1555 to 1566, he wrote hundreds of quatrains. Each of these quatrains is a prediction, a vision he claimed he had gotten from the future that had been delivered to him by God. Most of his predictions were related to the political and economic conditions of his own era, the late 1500’s and into the 1600’s, but he also counted the number of future world wars correctly, going so far as to name “Hizler” as the second anti-Christ behind World War II. In the early 1560’s, he described wars fought from the air and from below the ocean’s surface. He goes on to write about ‘the new city’ that gets flattened soon before the third and final world war. Many scholarly translators of Nostradamus’ work believe this prediction came to fruition on September 11, 2001 with the World Trade Center’s collapse in New York City.

From his quatrains that are considered relevant to today and potentially coincide with the type of dramatic changes that would take place during the prophesied end-time days, some experts translate to state that a war will begin out of the Middle East and the third anti-Christ will be a man with a turban and a beard. He predicts that there will be massive, worldwide loss of life, both militant and civilian. He then claims that a millennium of peace will follow this final world war, which some interpret as starting over, or not enough people left in the world to fight.

Nostradamus was well-known and not appreciated by the government in power at the time of his writings. Much of his work was written in a coded language that he himself invented while constantly traveling throughout Italy and France in case the government got their hands on them. It is for this reason that his predictions cannot be taken to the bank. There is no doubt that Nostradamus had an incredible insight of some sort to be aware of world wars, planes, and submarines, to name but a few, hundreds of years before they took place or were invented. Precise dates, and many times the event itself, however, are subject to translation of his original work, which not every translator sees eye to eye on.

In light of so many unrelated sources pinpointing the same relatively small span of time for a cataclysmic event to occur, many scientists are carefully tracking the numbers and severities of today’s natural disasters and comparing them closely to the past. In Revelations, as the world as we know it nears its final days, natural disasters are on the increase. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a government funded organization, in the 1900’s there were 110 earthquakes large enough to cause 1000 or more deaths throughout the world. Breaking the century down to first half and second half, there were exactly fifty-five earthquakes of this magnitude during the first fifty years. There were also exactly fifty-five earthquakes during the second fifty years of the 1900’s. So they have not increased in numbers. However, using the number of deaths as a determining factor in history is irrelevant because of the growth and greater densities of the population as time progresses. The great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, for example, caused 3,000 deaths. With today’s population, that same earthquake could easily be responsible for 30,000 deaths.

This leaves us to look at the severity of the earthquakes. The Richter Magnitude scale is used to measure the strength of each quake. During the first fifty years, the 1.1 earthquakes per year averaged a 6.6 on the Richter scale. During the second fifty years, the average was 6.9. This may not look like a very large difference, but in this point system, each tenth of a point is almost double the strength of the previous tenth. And having pointed that out, we should take note of the fact that the U.S. Geological Survey team also has recorded seven such earthquakes thus far in the 2000’s. The average in numbers is only half an earthquake more per year, but the average Richter scale level has risen quite a bit to 7.5.

Hurricanes and tropical storms are also being closely tracked. According to the National Hurricane Center, the United States had more hurricanes in the first half of the 1900’s than the second half by twenty-three, but the percentage of those hurricanes that were ranked in the most severe categories rose from 32% to 39% in the latter half.

On the most recent years, CNN News reports that a record number of storms hit the U.S. in 2005. The seasonal average for named storms is ten. Six of those are hurricanes and two of those are major. In 2005 alone, there were a record twenty-seven named storms, thirteen of which were hurricanes, and seven of which were major. That puts over 50% of the hurricanes into the higher categories, a dramatic increase from the last century.

Another natural phenomenon going on right now that scientist and governments alike are very concerned about that could potentially cause the realization of the Mayan prediction regarding the fate of the earth, is global warming, or more specifically, the melting of the earth’s ice caps. CBS NEWS reported on February 19, 2006, that the ice caps have been frozen for more than 100,000 years but will have melted by the end of this century. “Temps in the arctic are rising twice as fast as they are in the rest of the world” (Bill Owens).

Bob Corell, one of the world’s top authorities on climate change, recently joined with 300 scientists from eight countries and put together The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. Their reported conclusion was, “The entire planet is out of balance…In 10 years, here in the arctic, we [will] see what the rest of the planet will see in 25 or 30 years from now.” Corell adds, for CBS News, that sea levels which have risen 10 inches over the last century will have risen an additional three feet during the next 100 years. The result of this would cause the lowlands in virtually every country in the world to be under water. The Netherlands would simply no longer exist.

On August 23, 2005, the India Daily Technology Team, released a study about the overall condition of our planet, stating “The tectonic plate shifts, underwater volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides and Tsunamis are increasing at rates never seen before…The number of floods and droughts has increased beyond imagination in the last ten years.” The numbers in some cases are indeed up, but in most there is little change. However, the intensity or magnitude of these natural disasters has most definitely increased and currently show no signs of changing this trend.

The increased severities of these storms and earthquakes, as well as the predicted melting of the ice caps, are all natural phenomenon that may be taking place as part of the natural cycle of the solar system. Just as every summer melts away the winter snow and ice, the rising temperatures here on earth could be a part of a change of seasons in the solar system. Since the end of this cycle occurs December 21, 2012, it stands to reason that a new cycle will begin on December 22, 2012. We know that the solar system, as well as the planet we live on, has been through this cycle countless times in its billions of years of existence. We also know that the earth has been through many of these cycles without falling off its axis. Since the ice caps are not predicted to melt completely for another century or so, and the new solar season begins in less than six years, it is quite possible that the new season could begin to correct these natural phenomena before they contribute to the destruction of life on this planet as we know it. It is virtually impossible to know what daily or even yearly changes in the earth’s climate may have taken place in the last decade or two before the end of the last solar cycle 5,119 years ago.

Something cosmic may indeed happen on December 21, 2012, but all we need to do is look back a few years to 1999 when the world held its breath as the calendar shifted to a new century. People were stocking up on supplies and preparing for a world-wide economic collapse just before the turn of the century based purely on the suspicions of a few paranoid folks in power. By 2010, the paranoia that the Maya’s might be correct will undoubtedly reach discussion levels to equal the intensity of Y2K, if not surpass it. But without concrete scientific evidence that the structure of time is going to change as in the Mayan prediction, or that the earth is going to change its rotation or orbit around the sun in less than six years, in my opinion, we will more than likely see another prophesied judgment day come and go once again. Then after a collective, global, sigh of relief, we will undoubtedly shift our attention to the next potential judgment day in 2040 when all nine planets of our solar system line up in a straight line for the first time in hundreds of thousands of years.

Source: http://www.associatedcontent.com

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