Daily Archives: May 2nd, 2012

Plant study flags dangers of warming world

By Nina Chestney

LONDON | Wed May 2, 2012 1:06pm EDT

(Reuters) – Plants are flowering faster than scientists predicted in response to climate change, research in the United States showed on Wednesday, which could have devastating knock-on effects for food chains and ecosystems.

Global warming is having a significant impact on hundreds of plant and animal species around the world, changing some breeding, migration and feeding patterns, scientists say.

Increased carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels can affect how plants produce oxygen, while higher temperatures and variable rainfall patterns can change their behavior.

“Predicting species’ response to climate change is a major challenge in ecology,” said researchers at the University of California San Diego and several other U.S. institutions.

They said plants had been the focus of study because their response to climate change could affect food chains and ecosystem services such as pollination, nutrient cycles and water supply.

The study, published on the Nature website, draws on evidence from plant life cycle studies and experiments across four continents and 1,634 species. It found that some experiments had underestimated the speed of flowering by 8.5 times and growing leaves by 4 times.

“Across all species, the experiments under-predicted the magnitude of the advance – for both leafing and flowering – that results from temperature increases,” the study said.

The design of future experiments may need to be improved to better predict how plants will react to climate change, it said.

Plants are essential to life on Earth. They are the base of the food chain, using photosynthesis to produce sugar from carbon dioxide and water. They expel oxygen which is needed by nearly every organism which inhabits the planet.

Scientists estimate the world’s average temperature has risen by about 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1900, and nearly 0.2 degrees per decade since 1979.

So far, efforts to cut emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases are not seen as sufficient to prevent the Earth heating up beyond 2 degrees C this century – a threshold scientists say risks an unstable climate in which weather extremes are common, leading to drought, floods, crop failures and rising sea levels.

The study can be viewed at www.nature.com/nature

(Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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Lovelock: The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing

Recently Lovelock revised his view;
“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. ..”
Lovelock apparently still speaks ambiguously. When he says, “We do not know….” So he is a skeptic, denier or whatever, it doesn’t make any difference.
So far no one has presented calculations upon which we can clearly say:
1. If the scientists have a consensus about global warming, in this case,  the IPCC’s theory risk is %( XX),
2. And if the IPCC’s theory is rejected, then the risk is %(YY),
However, the solutions with less risk, seems to be preferred.
The scientists are very similar to basketball and football players. They may play in different clubs.
Lovelock says, “We do not know….” So the deficit problem is necessary and sufficient information.
Incomplete theories, premature conclusions, inexperience, with the impression that this is the final theory, unhealthy competition, sometimes feel irresponsibility, unavailability of sufficient information, being faced with large variables, need for teamwork with the necessary expertise, individualism, sometimes misuse of public position, eventually entering politics, all contribute to a scientist with misconceptions still make mistakes. I am sure just in one case; if any decent scientist discovers the mistake, he will deviate from it. Lovelock did it.If Lovelock discovers that the Chimera has dropped its previous comments, all who know him, again but this time more advanced, he will come back to the field.


PeterGeorge says:
April 30, 2012 at 8:59 am

“But when, in an immature field of science, there is a plausible argument and some evidence for an effect that will destroy us and everything we care about if we don’t act immediately, what SHOULD we do if we don’t allow ourselves to use heuristic reasoning?”

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/30/consensus-argument-proves-climate-science-is-political/#comment-973847

Don’t believe the headlines. Wind farms do not cause ‘global’ warming.

A recent study published in Nature Climate Change suggests that large wind farms could be pulling down hot air at night, raising the average temperature of the local region. The results of the study, however, have been widely misconstrued in the news media.

The Christian Science Monitor

By Trevor Quirk, Contributor / April 30, 2012

·

Cattle graze beneath turbines at the Penascal Wind Power Project in Kenedy County, Texas. A new study indicates that large wind farms can cause local temperature increases.

Business Wire

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All energy technologies have nuances and drawbacks. New research published in Nature Climate Change found that wind farms are no exception.

Specifically, the study found that large tracts of wind turbines in remote areas of Texas appear to be increasing local surface temperatures. The results of this study have been misconstrued by certain media outlets as ironic evidence that a supposedly "green" technology is contributing to global warming, despite the lack of any supporting evidence.

Here are the facts: The team of researchers, led by SUNY Albany environmental scientist Liming Zhou, analyzed surface temperature data of Texan wind farms – the data courtesy of NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites. Zhou and his colleagues found that the immediate surroundings of the wind farms rose an average of 0.72 degrees Celsius between 2003 and 2011. The effect was most prominent at night. Some of the team has speculated that this localized warming trend could be an effect of the turbines pulling down warm air from higher altitudes at night, when the air above the land would otherwise be cooler.

In a recent University at Albany press release, Zhou warned that "the estimated warming trends only apply to the study region and to the study period, and thus should not be interpolated linearly into other regions (e.g., globally) or over longer periods (e.g., for another 20 years)," he said. "For a given wind farm, once there are no new wind turbines added, the warming effect may reach a stable level."

RELATED: Are you scientifically literate? Take our quiz!

Yet exaggerated interpolation seems to be stock-in-trade for many of the media outlets covering this story. Take, for example, FOX News‘ headline: Wind farms are warming the Earth, or that of Forbes: Wind Farms Cause Global Warming! or that of the Inquistr’s: Wind Farms May Contribute to Global Warming, or that of Newser: Latest Global Warming Culprit: Wind Farms. It should be noted that nearly all of these stories contradict their own headlines by explaining that the observed effect was local.

This new study doesn’t necessarily illustrate a causal link between wind turbines and localized warming, let alone temperature change on a global scale. The authors of the Nature paper were the first to admit that further science is needed to determine that exact nature of this link.

If it were true that the spinning blades of wind turbines increased the overall temperature of the planet, as opposed to simply redistributing thermal energy, we would have to rewrite some basic laws of physics, particularly the 2nd law of thermodynamics. This is an important distinction from the burning of fossil fuels, which produces gas that increases how much of the sun’s energy the Earth retains. In this respect, this process contributes to a globally warming climate because the source of energy (the sun) is apart from the system that is warmed (the Earth.)

Rather than inform the public’s perception on climate change, exaggerated coverage of this study has merely justified the common distrust scientists have for journalists.

The reality is that any alternative energy source is going to present problems. Over the past two years, there has been scientific investigation of whether wind turbines can affect the health of proximal residents, though the legitimacy of "Wind Turbine Syndrome", as it was called, was widely questioned. Natural gas has its problems with fracking, nuclear energy with radiation, and even solar cells with electronic waste. This recent study was merely exploring a similar issue in wind energy, but only so that we might effectively deal with it.

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