Thursday, 31 March 2016

Japan Just Killed Hundreds of Whales — Again!

It seems that Japan is above International Laws having killed 333 pregnant Minke whales in the Southern Ocean this Summer. Like ISIS, random necessary slaughter of the innocent and unprotected is their sick way of achieving their aims! It is time for the Australian and New Zealand Governments to take a harder line against Japan.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Dr Klaus Lackner: The carbon catcher

Dr Klaus Lackner uses captured CO2 to nourish greenhouse plants. Photo / The Washington Post
Dr Klaus Lackner uses captured CO2 to nourish greenhouse plants. Photo / The Washington Post
From the rooftop of Klaus Lackner's seven-storey building on the Arizona State University campus, photovoltaic panels seem to glisten in every direction.

The school claims to have more solar capacity installed than any other university in America - part of a plan to offset the carbon emissions of this institution of more than 80,000 students.

But the odd little box Lackner has come to check might someday take things a big step further. If it works on a larger scale, what's in the box could make the university a negative emitter - more than offsetting the amount of carbon it releases into the air.

Lackner's box is part of a new wave of technology aimed at heading off climate change.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Climate scientists' global warning

If the scientists' study is right, sights like that in Lake Argentina, where chunks of ice broke off the Perito Moreno Glacier this month, could become more common. Photo / AP 
An influential group of scientists led by James Hansen, the former Nasa scientist often credited with having drawn the first major attention to climate change in 1988 congressional testimony, has published a dire climate study that suggests the impact of global warming will be quicker and more catastrophic than generally envisioned.\

The research invokes collapsing ice sheets, violent megastorms and even the hurling of boulders by giant waves in its quest to suggest that even 2C of global warming above pre-industrial levels would be far too much. Hansen has called it the most important work he has ever done.

The sweeping paper, 52 pages in length and with 19 authors, draws on evidence from ancient climate change or "paleo-climatology", as well as climate experiments using computer models and some modern observations. Calling it a "paper" really isn't quite right - it's actually a synthesis of a wide range of old and new evidence.

"I think almost everybody who's really familiar with both paleo and modern is now very concerned that we are approaching, if we have not passed, the points at which we have locked in really big changes for young people and future generations," Hansen said.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Cost of dodgy Pacific tuna fishing over $600m - report

Fishing in Pacific tuna fisheries has been condemned. Photo / iStock
The true cost of dodgy fishing in Pacific tuna fisheries - potentially stretching over $600 million - has been condemned as "larceny on the high seas".
The figure has been revealed in a new 100-page report, prepared by marine consultant company MRAG Asia Pacific for a Pacific economic forum.

It is the first ever attempt to quantify the volume and value of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Pacific tuna fisheries.

IUU is a broad definition that covers vessels fishing in state jurisdictions without permission, misreporting or not reporting harvest volumes, or flouting conservation and management measures put in place for certain areas.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Earth is entering a no-analogue state - and it's a bit scary

An ice bridge cracks from the wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier located at Los Glaciares National Park. Photo / Getty 
If you dig deep enough into the Earth's climate change archives, you hear about the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM. And then you get scared.

This is a time period, about 56 million years ago, when something mysterious happened - there are many ideas as to what - that suddenly caused concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to spike, far higher than they are right now. The planet proceeded to warm rapidly, at least in geologic terms, and major die-offs of some marine organisms followed due to strong acidification of the oceans.

The cause of the PETM has been widely debated. Some think it was an explosion of carbon from thawing Arctic permafrost. Some think there was a huge release of subsea methane that somehow made its way to the atmosphere - and that the series of events might have been kickstarted by major volcanic eruptions.

In any case, the result was a hothouse world from pole to pole, some 5 degrees Celsius warmer overall.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Feeling the heat: February warmest month in recorded history

It's the 10th consecutive month to set a new record, and it puts 2016 on course to set a third straight annual record. Photo / NASA
Humanity's experiment with planetary warming has reached a new level of extremes.

Last month was the hottest February in 137 years of record keeping, according to data released on Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It's the 10th consecutive month to set a new record, and it puts 2016 on course to set a third straight annual record.

It was a big month, not only the hottest February but the most unusual warmth for any month on record. Unprecedented temperatures in the Arctic, averaging 4.5C above normal, melted away layers of ice to record-low levels.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

The more we learn about Antarctica's past, the scarier the present looks

Photo / iStock 
For the second time in a month, leading scientists have closely tied the ancient history of the vast Antarctic ice sheet to a key planetary parameter that humans are now controlling - the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Last month, new research showed that during the Miocene era, some 14 to 23 million years ago, Antarctica gave up huge volumes of ice, equivalent to tens of meters of sea level rise, when levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are thought to have been around 500 parts per million. We're at a little over 400 parts per million now.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

As world heats up it won't just rain, it'll pour - scientists

The skies are dumping more and more water on land, regardless of traditional, local climatic conditions. Photo / Greg Bowker 
As the climate heats up, the forecast is also calling for more rain. Think downpours. Cats and dogs. Or just "extreme rain", as the scientists call it.

The overall rain and snowfall average is increasing only moderately. But observations since 1951 show the wettest days every year have built up their intensity by 1 per cent to 2 per cent per decade, according to a study published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The heavy precipitation is increasing over both wet and dry land areas, a surprising conclusion drawn from the research.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Tilikum, the SeaWorld killer whale at the centre of 'Blackfish', is slowly dying

Tilikum during one his shows at Sea World in Orlando, Florida. Photo / Getty Images 
Over the last 35 years, America's most famous living killer whale has shouldered a fraught history, emerging as the symbol of both orcas' elegance and their capacity for violence. As the focus of the 2013 documentary Blackfish, Tilikum - affectionately called "Tili" - has been at once regarded as a victim of captivity and a maker of tragedy.

On Tuesday, SeaWorld Orlando announced that that knotty story may soon be coming to a slow and quiet end.

The marine park that has owned Tilikum for more than two decades said in a statement on its website that he is suffering from an illness that may likely take his life.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Global Temperatures Are On The Rise, But Media Coverage Is Not

Last year was the hottest year on record, and the impacts of climate change seem more obvious than ever. Therefore, it only makes sense that the news devotes more time to covering this critical subject.

Au contraire!

Despite the already tangible consequences of climate change, broadcast news programs gave five percent less airtime to climate change in 2015 than in 2014. A Media Matters study breaks down each network’s coverage, and the results are not encouraging.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Millions of Acres Will Stay Protected for Polar Bears in Alaska

Conservationists are celebrating a huge victory for polar bears this week after a federal appeals court upheld a designation of more than 120 million acres as critical habitat for them in Alaska.
Polar bears were first listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as threatened in 2008, marking the first time a marine mammal gained protection because of the likelihood climate change will bring about their extinction.

Two years later, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) moved to designate 187,000 square miles as critical habitat, which includes barrier islands along Alaska’s coast, denning areas on land and offshore sea-ice.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Rare blue whale footage captured in New Zealand

Rare footage has been captured of a blue whale nursing its calf in New Zealand waters.

The National Geographic has released the video, recorded by a group of researchers working in the South Taranaki Bight early last month.

The mammals were sighted by staff researching pygmy blue whales in the region.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

There Will Be No Fin Whaling in Iceland This Summer!

Wonderful news!