Hot Old Forests

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/12/global_warming_good_for_rainforests/

The Register reports that way back, way back, when the rainforests were good and hot, they prospered and life proliferated.

“Global warming is actually good for rainforests, say boffins” reads the headline from Lewis Page, “plus 3 degrees C, 1000 parts per million Carbon Dioxide did jungles a world of good last time”.

Not quite, Lewis old chap. Not quite.

1. The change in global temperatures at the Paleocene-Eocene border was only “rapid” in geological time – at around 20,000 years for the whole event. Plenty of time for rainforests to adapt. Not like now.

2. “There is no evidence for enhanced aridity in the northern Neotropics”, says the Abstract of the research paper “Effects of Rapid Global Warming at the Paleocene-Eocene Boundary on Neotropical Vegetation” by Jaramillo C. et al., in Science, 12 November 2010, Volume 330. Number 6006, Pages 957 – 961, DOI: 10.1126/science.1193833

Yet evidence of severe droughts in the Amazonian rainforest area today makes the analogy with the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum rather thin. With the current incredibly fast rate of warming in South America, it’s unlikely that regular, intense, droughts are going to reduce in the rainforest area.

Added to the current data, there is every reason to believe that the climate in the tropics was very different at the time of the PETM – the Americas had not yet met, and no Gulf Stream northwards existed.

3. “”It is remarkable that there is so much concern about the effects of greenhouse conditions on tropical forests,” says Jaramillo’s Smithsonian colleague Klaus Winter”, write Lewis Page. Klaus, who ? He’s not even listed on the research paper author listing. Does Mr or Dr Winter have anything to do with this research ? Why does Lewis Page quote hiim ?

4. Have you seen the organisations that contributed to this research ? They include “Colombian Petroleum Institute”, “Petróleos de Venezuela S.A.” and “Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos, Bogotá, Colombia” and a number of mining companies. What do they want out of research into rainforest productivity 55 million years ago ?

5. Have we talked about the massive extinction of animal life that took place at the PETM ? Well, perhaps we should…

I wonder what Dr Simon Lewis, rainforest expert, will make of this latest “atrocity” from The Register ?
[ UPDATE : The Daily Mail reported Dr Simon Lewis’ views some way down in an article on the subject here. By e-mail, Dr Simon Lewis wrote to me, “[One] obvious point is they are happy to extrapolate 56 million years to now from three points in a tiny corner of South America, which is a bit different from their usual views about historical proxy data…” ]

When I get the access to this report, I will need to delve deeper into the reasons why Lewis Page has proved, once again, that he doesn’t understand current Climate Change science, and doesn’t understand why the climates of yesteryear often have very little to say about the climate of today and tomorrow.

Hell Freezes Over : BBC Apologises

Jaw-droppingly, the BBC have apologised for the contents of a Today Programme. Not the one that caused poor, deceased Dr David Kelly so much embarrassment, God rest his soul. No, the one that featured the breaking of the “Climategate” e-mail scandal :-

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/bbc_apologizes_to_university_o.php

The BBC picked the wrong scandal story to run with, it appears.

The real scandal of Climategate is how the scientists’ e-mails were “liberated” from the University of East Anglia, and then annotated to give heavily biased interpretation, then released to the general public via the Internet, and how the Media were taken in.

Certain people at the BBC chose to go with the fake scandal, it seems – the narrative fabricated and dictated to them by Climate Change deniers.

Anyway, now the BBC have made an apology, of sorts. Better late than never, but all the same, it would have been better earlier rather than later.

Thankfully, despite the late apologies, this particular alleged witch-hunt didn’t end with a suspected suicide. Although it did include reports that Professor Phil Jones had, in fact, contemplated suicide; the reporting of which just added to his completely groundless public humiliation at the hands of the Press. Which they should apologise for, in my humble opinion. Just as good (old) George Monbiot had the good grace to offer some regret for :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2010/jul/07/russell-inquiry-i-was-wrong

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7180154/Climategate-Professor-Phil-Jones-considered-suicide-over-email-scandal.html
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7017922.ece

http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/rebuttalsandcorrections/johnhumphrys

“BBC apologises to University of East Anglia for “incorrect” remark”

“The BBC has apologised for an “incorrect” remark made by John Humphrys that UEA researchers had “distorted the debate about global warming to make the threat seem even more serious than they believed it to be”.”

Continue reading Hell Freezes Over : BBC Apologises

Unpicking Kyoto (5)

Unpicking Kyoto
Jo Abbess
20 June 2010

PART 5

CONTINUED FROM : Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4

Linking Climate Change to other Environmental Problems

The Greenhouse Gas Carbon Dioxide (CO2) from humankind’s activities is accumulating very rapidly in the Atmosphere, and this is why the international Climate Change negotiations and Climate Change Science focus on it so heavily.

The warming response of the Earth’s surface correlates strongly with the rise in Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere, so Global Warming can be treated almost entirely as the Earth system’s reaction to rising levels of this one gas.

Other Greenhouse Gases, such as Methane (CH4) and high level water vapour (H2O), are increasing in line with the rise in Carbon Dioxide.

Logic and experiment dictates that they are doing this in response to the rise in Carbon Dioxide, so their rise is a feedback effect in the Earth system – a reaction to rising temperatures – caused by the warming due to increasing airborne Carbon Dioxide.

However, Carbon Dioxide is not the only Greenhouse Gas that humankind is pumping into the Atmosphere in excess of natural levels – a rather famous example being that growing numbers of livestock are belching Methane that is adding to the up-tick on concentrations of Methane in the Atmosphere.

There are still high levels of various gaseous industrial pollution, some of which is in the form of Greenhouse Gases.

In addition, Global Warming is not the only environmental problem, although it is exacerbating other environmental problems.

Climate Change is an added stressor on natural habitats that are being degraded by pollution, bad land management and deforestation.

It seems obvious to take a step back to the Rio Earth Summit of 1992 and mesh together once more the environmental threads of the United Nations conventions : on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Desertification.

Continue reading Unpicking Kyoto (5)

Amazongate : Jonathan Leake Retracts

Another chapter in the ongoing saga of the exhausting struggle to educate the mainstream media journalists to check their Climate Change stories thoroughly before publishing.

You may have heard of “Amazongate” – the Amazon would seem to be capable of withstanding more frequent drought caused by Global Warming – according to one interpretation of an isolated piece of research.

However, if you believed that take on things, you’d be very much mistaken in doing so. And the person you’re most likely to be able to have believed on this story would be Jonathan Leake, writing in The Sunday Times.

An article that he wrote, published on 31 January 2010 has been retracted after a submission to the Press Complaints Commission by Dr Simon Lewis. The link to the original article has been removed from the Times Online website :-

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7009705.ece
“UN climate panel shamed by bogus rainforest claim”

Searching for this article title using Google produces thousands of pages that refer to the original publication :-

http://www.google.co.uk/search

The retraction is apparently published here, but I have no access to it, because it requires subscription, which I will not register for, so I do not know what it says :-

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/article196428.ece

Continue reading Amazongate : Jonathan Leake Retracts

Amazongate : Why Investigate ?

The Climate Change “sceptics” are calling it “Amazongate”. I’d rather like to rename it “Investigate”, because of the appalling lack of investigative journalism that surrounds latest news of the Science of the Amazon basin.

Why is it that so many mainstream newspapers repeat the same lazy accusation that somebody has uncovered “yet another error” in the IPCC report ? This looks like a flawed attempt to create a narrative of scandal, where there is actually nothing to find.

Many expert commentators have tried to explain that, yes, the IPCC had a couple of problems, where they have used information that was not peer-reviewed Science, and findings that other experts disagree with. But no, the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report still stands, and is still the best statement that Sciencekind can give on the subject of Climate Change.

There is no evidence of the kind of wrongdoing in the work of the IPCC that the Climate Change “sceptics” claim. So why do the journalists carry on with the narrative of doubt ? Could it have something to do with the fact that they don’t check the facts ?

And why do most of the mainsteam news organisations take the same line, with the same sloppy thinking and poor arguments replicated in article after article ? Could it be that there is no investigative journalism left these days ?

Why does it have to fall to the independent web loggers to point out the facts ? Why can’t the newspapers at least hire Environment writers who have studied Climate Change Science ?

Continue reading Amazongate : Why Investigate ?

Amazongate Redux : Jonathan Leake Still Misguided

I was going to entitle this little web log post “Yet More Proof Journalists Can’t Read” but I thought that might seem a little too rude, and anyway, I wanted to be clear about the subject of the content of the post in the title, so I changed it.

I have just received an e-mail from Jonathan Leake of the Times of London and the Sunday Times. By order of his e-mail signature, I am not permitted to share entirely the contents of that e-mail with you, however, I can relate to you that it concerns the latest Climate Change “sceptic” bunkum story, to which you can find extensive reference plastered all over the Internet like some ugly, testosterone-fuelled teenage graffiti :-

http://news.oneindia.in/2010/03/12/amazonrain-forests-were-unaffected-from-once-in-a-centuryd.html

“Amazon rain forests were unaffected from once-in-a-century drought in 2005 : Friday, March 12, 2010”

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100311175039.htm

“New Study Debunks Myths About Vulnerability of Amazon Rain Forests to Drought : ScienceDaily (Mar. 12, 2010)”

Continue reading Amazongate Redux : Jonathan Leake Still Misguided