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bronxiteforever's Journal
bronxiteforever's Journal
October 26, 2023

I imagine several of you have gone fossil hunting

When I cracked open my first rock, searching for Ordovician era marine fossils, I felt a sublime thrill. Many folks here have probably felt a similar emotion either digging for the past with an amateur group or on your own.

My first decent fossil was a lowly Brachiopod shell, encased in brown limestone. It was perhaps the same color as the sea bed it lived on some 400 million years earlier. It sits on my bookcase to this day some 40 years after I dug it out. This lowly mollusk was alive in the shallow sea of an ancient and alien earth.

Just hearing that the SOTH, 3rd in line to the Presidency, believes the earth is some 10,000 years old makes me want to weep for our country. This medieval war on science that champions dark ages ignorance must be defeated at the ballot box.

I will let the 20th President of our Country a Republican, respond as he did in a letter in 1859 (today as relevant as it was 160 years earlier).

I admitted, that the world had existed millions of years. I am astonished at the ignorance of the masses on these subjects. Hugh Miller has it right when he says that 'the battle of evidences must now be fought on the field of the natural sciences.'
— James Abram Garfield
Letter to Burke A. Hinsdale, president of Hiram College (10 Jan 1859), commenting on the audience at Garfield's debate with William Denton. Quoted in John Clark Ridpath, The Life and Work of James A. Garfield (1881), 80.

And more poetically the great Carl Sagan wrote

We've begun at last to wonder about our origins, star stuff contemplating the stars, organized collections of ten billion billion billion atoms contemplating the evolution of matter, tracing that long path by which it arrived at consciousness here on the planet Earth and perhaps throughout the cosmos. Our obligation to survive and flourish is owed not just to ourselves but also to that cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.

July 14, 2023

K&R. As a NASA scientist said the other day

climate change is implicated at least to some extent in all of these disasters. It makes the hot days hotter. It makes rainstorms more intense. It dries out landscapes and primes them for ignition. “We don’t need to do a specific attribution study anymore” to make such assertions, Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist and the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told me. “We’ve been doing this for 20 years now … This is so far from rocket science.”

… Disasters are no longer framed as harbingers; they’re simply understood to be the way things are. “These are not canaries in the coal mine,” Schmidt said. “The canaries died a long time ago.”


August 30, 2019

Spiders are threatened by climate change - and even the biggest arachnophobes should be worried

The Conversation UK
August 30,2019
By Sergio Henriques
Chair of the IUCN Spider and Scorpion Specialist Group, Zoological Society of London

Is climate change making spiders more aggressive? A recent scientific study suggests so, as the researchers link aggressiveness to tropical cyclones...However, I have studied these arachnids for more than 15 years and I am not too concerned about tropical cyclones making them more aggressive... if you are not an insect, there is no cause for alarm – their “aggression” is not aimed at humans.

But, although there is no reason to be concerned about their size or aggressiveness, you should be worried about spider survival under climate change. To take one example, just last year I was researching the beautiful ladybird spider in the western Asian highlands (I’m keeping the location secret as these animals are sought after by the illegal pet trade). Where I observed the males maturing much earlier in the year than they would normally do, thanks to an unusual hot period in winter.

For them, this was a disaster. These male ladybird spiders usually leave their nests in spring to find suitable females, but this time they would emerge into the wider world only to find no females yet available to mate, as females appear to depend on food intake to reach sexual maturity rather than wait for environmental cues, such as temperature. Like Romeo, these males died without their Juliet.

You should care about all this because spiders eat an astronomical amount of insects, many of which are agricultural pests or the carries of human diseases, their loss will become ours as it impacts future ecosystems.

More here


August 29, 2019

What a Virginia wildflower can tell us about climate change

August 29,019

...In a study to be published Thursday in the journal Evolution Letters, researchers at the University of Virginia and Washington State University reveal how the colonization of new environments after the last ice age, about 15,000 years ago, fundamentally altered the American bellflower, a wildflower native to Virginia.

Laura Galloway, a UVA professor of biology and co-author of the study...found that populations with the longest expansion routes - those farthest from their area of origin -evolved the ability to self-fertilize, but also accumulated mutations that can be harmful to the well-being of the species over time.

"These combined changes - self-fertilization and detrimental mutations - provide strong evidence that while colonizing new environments causes plants to adapt to the absence of mates in those environments - and that's why they can now self-fertilize - at the same time, it creates genetic change that reduces overall vigor," Galloway said.

"Biologists think that current climate change means species will either adapt, die or migrate," Galloway said. "While migration is often viewed as a means for species to proliferate in new environments, in this research we find that there also are inherent perils of expansion, such as a shallow gene pool. While migration will lead to individuals that are better able to reproduce in the small populations expected in new habitats, it may also cause genetic change that limits their ability to survive in the long term."


August 29, 2019

Heatwaves in the Mediterranean Sea Are Bigger, Hotter and Last Longer (Haaretz)

Water temperature anomalies can cover half the Mediterranean basin and last for weeks, decimating animals and fish – but in deep water, it’s even worse, a new study shows
By Ruth Schuster Aug 28, 2019

Climate change is cooking our fish before they even leave the sea. Marine heatwaves on the surface of the Mediterranean are breaking records for temperature and duration. Surface heatwaves are affecting as much as half the Mediterranean basin and are wreaking ecological havoc, according to a new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that looked at the period between 1982 and 2017.

...In 2003, terrestrial Europe experienced deadly heat that killed tens of thousands of people. At the same time, the Mediterranean Sea experienced a large-scale heatwave that decimated sponges, algae, and coral. It warmed the top 15 meters of the water, but was also detectable at 23 meters too.

...In early 2011, at the height of summer in the southern hemisphere, the west coast of Australia experienced a catastrophic heatwave that raised the ocean temperature from 2 to as much as 5 degrees Celsius (that at a depth of 10 meters!). At the time, it was the highest-magnitude warming event on record. The warming persisted for more than two and a half months, killing fish and bottom-dwelling invertebrates en masse. The seaweed canopy was devastated.

The role of global warming in the increasing frequency and intensification of marine hot spots is unproven but glaring. “Yes, indeed. It is very likely that global warming has an important role to play in the increase in the frequency, duration and intensity of the marine heatwaves,” said Sofia Darmaraki of Meteo France. “It has been shown in similar studies of marine heatwaves around the world.”


August 28, 2019

Europe Is Warming Faster Than Even Climate Models Projected

Yale Environment 360
AUGUST 28, 2019

Climate change is raising temperatures in Europe even faster than climate models projected, according to new research published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The number of summer days with extreme heat in Europe has tripled since the 1950s, while the number of days with extreme cold more than halved.

Extremely hot days in Europe have become hotter by an average of 4.14 degrees Fahrenheit, the study found, while extremely cold days have warmed by 5.4 degrees F. The research examined data from weather stations across Europe from 1950 to 2018, with more than 90 percent of stations showing that the climate was warming.

“Even at this regional scale over Europe, we can see that these trends are much larger than what we would expect from natural variability,” Ruth Lorenz, a climate scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and lead author of the new study, said in a statement. “That’s really a signal from climate change.”


August 28, 2019

As the climate shifts, Central America confronts a deadly dengue outbreak

Thomson Reuters Foundation
Published on 28 Aug 2019
By Anastasia Moloney

BOGOTA, Aug 28 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Central America is grappling with its worst outbreak of dengue fever in decades - and scientists say the disease is likely to spread and become more frequent in the future due to climate change.

Worst hit is Honduras where about 109 deaths from the mosquito-borne disease have been recorded, many among children, making this year's dengue fever outbreak the deadliest on record in the Central America nation, the United Nations noted.

“We have seen dengue cases in the Americas double each decade since the 1980s and this year is particularly severe," said Rachel Lowe, a London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine professor who researches the impact of environmental change on infectious diseases.

One thing we have seen from my research is certainly that warmer temperatures and rainfall can increase the risk of dengue outbreaks," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. As climate change strengthens, dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases are expected to expand into new communities living in highland regions."As the temperature warms, mosquitoes can survive at higher altitudes...”


August 28, 2019

Brown water: natural tannins or sign of looming red tide?

By Chad Gillis, Fort Myers News-Press
Published 3:14 p.m. ET Aug. 27, 2019

Tannin-stained waters are blasting out of some Southwest Florida passes as rain water continues to wash off the watershed and into the Gulf of Mexico. Water quality scientists and others worry nutrients in that water could eventually feed a red tide bloom that's already on the horizon.

"The volume of water and the amount of nitrogen that’s being delivered to the nearshore Gulf is an issue," said Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani. "We’re starting to see background levels of Karenia (red tide), so the timing is really bad. Enriching nutrients for the nearshore water, it couldn’t happen at a worse time as we're heading into the red tide season."

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports from Tuesday show low to medium concentrations of red tide in Sarasota Bay.

Karenia brevis is the organism that causes red tides in the Gulf of Mexico. It's naturally occurring at background levels but can devastate the entire coastline during major blooms.


August 27, 2019

Can We Survive Extreme Heat? Humans have never lived on a planet this hot.

Rolling Stone
AUGUST 27, 2019 9:00AM

Humans have never lived on a planet this hot, and we’re totally unprepared for what’s to come

...As the mercury rises, people die. The homeless cook to death on hot sidewalks. Older folks, their bodies unable to cope with the metabolic stress of extreme heat, suffer heart attacks and strokes. Hikers collapse from dehydration. As the climate warms, heat waves are growing longer, hotter, and more frequent. Since the 1960s, the average number of annual heat waves in 50 major American cities has tripled. They are also becoming more deadly. Last year, there were 181 heat-related deaths in Arizona’s Maricopa County, nearly three times the number from four years earlier. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2004 and 2017, about a quarter of all weather-related deaths were caused by excessive heat, far more than other natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

...How hot will it get? That depends largely on how far and how fast carbon-dioxide levels rise, which depends on how much fossil fuel the world continues to burn. The Paris Climate Agreement (which President Trump pulled the U.S. out of) aims to limit the warming to 3.6°F (2°C). Given the current trajectory of carbon pollution, hitting that target is all but impossible. Unless nations of the world take dramatic action soon, we are headed for a warming of at least 5.4°F (3°C) by the end of the century, making the Earth roughly as warm as it was 3 million years ago during the Pliocene era, long before Homo sapiens came along. “Human beings have literally never lived on a planet as hot as it is today,” says Wehner. A 5.4°F-warmer world would be radically different from the one we know now, with cities swamped by rising seas and epic droughts turning rainforests into deserts. The increased heat alone would kill significant numbers of people. A recent report from the University of Bristol estimated that with 5.4°F of warming, about 5,800 people could die each year in New York due to the heat, 2,500 could die in Los Angeles, and 2,300 in Miami. “The relationship between heat and mortality is clear,” Eunice Lo, a climate scientist at the University of Bristol and the lead author of the report, tells me. “The warmer the world becomes, the more people die.”

...The Maricopa County Department of Public Health reported its first heat-related death of 2019: A homeless man had been found dead in a vehicle near downtown. No name or other details were released... the worst of the summer heat hadn’t arrived yet, and as the temperatures rise in Phoenix and cities around the world, superheated by the civilized world’s insatiable appetite for fossil fuels, there are so many deaths to come.

Long article that is worth the read


August 27, 2019

Acid oceans are shrinking plankton, fuelling faster climate change

August 26, 2019 3.59pm EDT
The Conversation
By Katherina Petrou
Senior Lecturer in Phytoplankton Ecophysiology, University of Technology Sydney
And Daniel Nielsen, University of Technology Sydney

Increasingly acidic oceans are putting algae at risk, threatening the foundation of the entire marine food web. Our research into the effects of CO₂-induced changes to microscopic ocean algae – called phytoplankton – was published today in Nature Climate Change...In our study we discovered increased seawater acidity reduced Antarctic phytoplanktons’ ability to build strong cell walls, making them smaller and less effective at storing carbon. At current rates of seawater acidification, we could see this effect before the end of the century.

...Diatoms use dissolved silica to build the walls of their cells. These dense, glass-like structures mean diatoms sink more quickly than other phytoplankton and therefore increase the transfer of carbon to the sea floor where it may be stored for millennia....The more acidic the seawater, the more the diatom communities were made up of smaller species, reducing the total amount of silica they produced. Less silica means the diatoms aren’t heavy enough to sink quickly, reducing the rate at which they float down to the sea bed, safely storing carbon away from the atmosphere.

On examining individual cells, we found many of the species were highly sensitive to increased acidity...Most alarming, many of the species were affected at ocean pH levels predicted for the end of this century, adding to a growing body of evidence showing significant ecological implications of climate change will take effect much sooner than previously anticipated.

...The only course of action to prevent catastrophic climate change is to stop emitting CO₂. We need to cut our emissions soon, if we hope to keep our oceans from becoming too acidic to sustain healthy marine ecosystems.

More here

Meanwhile one empty chair at G-7 climate meeting: Trump’s

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