Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pity none of these are April Fools' jokes

AAAS conference: 50 million environmental refugees by 2020. This is a connection that we've been seeing in the Middle East and North Africa and is only likely to continue to grow in importance. Climate and ecological damage combine with political and economic conditions to cause food insecurity, leading in turn to political instability in nations closer to the edge and these problems are then exported through migration. Such migrants won't always be labelled ecological or climate refugees, since the proximate causes will include political and economic factors, often focalised or triggered through food issues.

Physorg: Some Greenland glaciers have doubled in speed over the last decade.

Science Daily: Higher CO2 means less transpiration as plants reduce their pores.

Coral reefs are the canaries in the global coal mine. It is likely most won't survive above 350 ppm CO2 for more than a few decades. We're at 390 and rising.

Guardian: Wasting water in a throwaway society. In the UK, "we throw away, on average, twice as much water per year in the form of uneaten food as we use for washing and drinking."

The Australia Institute: Hiding the unemployed (and underemployed), or why the official unemployment rate is the tip of the iceberg.

Shell says we are entering a zone of uncertainty over oil supply. A clever ploy to keep the prices high or a frank admission that the future of oil is declining global production?

One of the most useful pages on Skeptical Science is Ten Indicators of a Warming World (and Ten Indicators of a Human Fingerprint on Climate Change). But this may be an eleventh: wave height.

Guardian: Time to pledge our "full-throated" support for the monarchy.

OK, so one of them is.


byron smith said...

Asian Development Bank Says Climate Migration Poses Growing Threat.

"In a new report, the bank says more than 42 million people in the region were displaced by environmental disasters over the past two years alone. In 2010, it said, more than 30 million people were displaced, some permanently, primarily by devastating floods in Pakistan and China."

byron smith said...

Carbon Brief: Some better news on coral. Perhaps coral might be slightly more resilient than previously thought. This doesn't mean they are out of the woods by any means.

byron smith said...

Grist: Coral reefs and ENSO, a disturbing new study finds that many reefs stopped growing entirely for a few thousand years during a period of heightened ENSO activity a long time ago.

byron smith said...

From the study I just mentioned:

"This finding indicates that, as we know from paleoecological studies of earlier eras, our modern coral reefs are supremely sensitive to subtle changes in climate even in the absence of local impacts like fishing and pollution. [...] Everyone agrees that overfishing, particularly the depletion of predators from coral reef ecosystems, is an enormous, global problem. But the current science indicates that this problem is largely unrelated to the climate change problem. We urgently need to tackle both problems simultaneously and with equal vigor and commitment. Unfortunately, solving one will not negate the other."

The study goes on to point out that after this period (2500 years of inactivity ending about 1500 years ago) reefs bounced back, demonstrating their resiliency, but this required ocean temps to cool, which is unlikely to happen for a very long time in our case...