Category Archives: Risks

Plankton Could Stop Making Oxygen by End Of Century

Researchers reveal how Earth’s oxygen could collapse with ocean warming of just 6 degrees C.  Such as collapse is a far greater threat than the threat of sea level rise and flooding.

A study of ocean plankton led by Sergei Petrovskii, Professor in Applied Mathematics (specializing in ecological mathematics) from the University of Leicester’s Department of Mathematics, has shown that an increase in the water temperature of the world’s oceans of around six degrees Celsius – which some scientists predict could occur as soon as 2100 – could disrupt the process of photosynthesis and so stop oxygen production by phytoplankton.

About two-thirds of the planet’s total atmospheric oxygen is produced by ocean phytoplankton – and therefore cessation would result in the depletion of atmospheric oxygen on a global scale. This would likely result in the mass mortality of animals and humans.”

Additional support for the model comes from direct measurement of a mysterious decline of oxygen in the atmosphere. Within the past several years scientists have found that oxygen (O2) in the atmosphere has been dropping, and at higher rates than just the amount that goes into the increase of CO2 from burning fossil fuels, some 2 to 4-times as much, and accelerating since 2002-2003. Simultaneously, oxygen levels in the world’s oceans have also been falling in an expanding fashion for the past fifty years, and will continue into the foreseeable future.

The fundamental cause of oxygen decline in the oceans that has not been mentioned in many studies is the failure of phytoplankton in the oceans to regenerate oxygen by photosynthesis. Phytoplankton is responsible for most of the primary productivity in the oceans that supports the entire marine food web and accounts for the majority of the planet’s primary production from photosynthesis.

Article: Mathematical Modelling of Plankton–Oxygen Dynamics under Climate Change
Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

Russ George: 17 June 2016

Is climate sceptic Barnaby Joyce changing tune?

It was the moment Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, a renowned climate change sceptic, confronted the reality of global warming.

He was at his parent’s property where they have had very low rainfall over the past three years.  He was standing beside the ever-diminishing creek near his one-time childhood Hobbit hole, looking as though he might cry.
“When I look at this,” he says, shaking his head, “I start to wonder whether climate change might really be happening.”

(Sydney Morning Herald: 20 May 2016)

Murdoch press: Lame jests to belittle climate change

Why is the Murdoch media publishing muddle-headed toilet-humour ridiculing climate change?  Is this part of their plan for increasing community confusion about climate change?

Here is a letter published in the Melbourne Herald Sun: 11 Jan 2016

Different Climate:  Sometimes you can’t help but smile.  During a TV documentary I was watching recently, about recovering fossilised fish from an old lake bed, the host explained the fish became fossilised about 5 million years ago when the lake bed dried up die to climate change. Didn’t realise our influence stretched back that far, or it was all those dinosaurs exhaling hot air and breaking wind? (Name Printed: Launceston, Tasmania)

The Murdoch press makes out that climate change is not only false but a joke.

Episodes of climate change long ago were not caused by (1) the current industrial emissions of carbon dioxide, nor by (2) the breathing and farting of dinosaurs.  They were caused by things like periodic changes to the earth’s orbit.

A Gunner:  Feedback Reigns

Key Words: Climate Change, denial
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Hottest year on record 2015: Second hottest 2014

Global Temperatures 1880 - 2015 (NOAA)

Global Temperatures 1880 – 2015 (NOAA)

  • The 2015 global temperature smashed the record
  • That record was only set last year in 2014.
  • Global temperature in 2015 was 1.13°C above the 1880-1920 baseline.
  • This exceeds the previous record, set last year in 2014, by a gob-smacking margin of 0.16°C.
  • 2015 is Earth’s warmest year by the widest margin on record. (NOAA)
  • You can see the 2015 temperature soaring above the record 20154 temperature on the NOAA temperature graph.  It is the right-most red vertical line on the graph.
  • Accounting for annual variability, it is fair to say that global warming has now reached 1°C above 1880-1920 baseline.
  • El Nino only made a “small contribution” (25%) to the record heat.
  • 2016 is likely to be at least as warm, if not warmer than 2015 (UK Met Office)
  • December 2015 was the hottest December on record, blowing out the previous December record, set in 2014, by a staggering 0.29°C.

Carbon Brief analysis of the UK Met Office, NOAA and NASA announcements about 2015 global temperature.

Climate Council

Key Words: Climate Change, extremes
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Humans push the planet into a new geological epoch: the anthropocene

There is now compelling evidence to show that humanity’s impact on the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and wildlife has pushed the world into a new geological epoch, according to a group of scientists.

The question of whether humans’ combined environmental impact has tipped the planet into an “anthropocene” – ending the current holocene which began around 12,000 years ago – will be put to the geological body that formally approves such time divisions later this year.

The Guardian: Adam Vaughan: 8 January 2016

Key Words: Climate Change, risks
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December 2015: Wettest UK month on record

December 2015 was the UK’s wettest month on the records kept since 1910.

Storms delivered a total of 230mm of rain across the UK, according to the Met Office analysis. That’s nearly twice as much as the long-term December average between 1981-2010.  The second wettest December was in 1929.  In 1929 the rain was widespread, whereas in 2015 a greater amount of rain fell over a much smaller area, mostly in the north of the country.

Carbon Brief: 5 Jan 2016: Roz Pidcock

Key Words: Climate Change, extremes
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Climate Chaos, Across the Globe

What is going on with the weather?  With tornado outbreaks in the South, Christmas temperatures that sent trees into bloom in Central Park, drought in parts of Africa and historic floods drowning the old industrial cities of England, 2015 is closing with a string of weather anomalies all over the world.

The year, expected to be the hottest on record, may be over at midnight Thursday, but the trouble will not be. Rain in the central United States has been so heavy that major floods are beginning along the Mississippi River and are likely to intensify in coming weeks. California may lurch from drought to flood by late winter. Most serious, millions of people could be threatened by a developing food shortage in southern Africa.

New York Times: Justin Gillis: 30 Dec 2015

Key Words: Climate Change, extremes, risk
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Renewables can’t do it: The new form of climate denial

No Problems
No Problems

After the signing of a historic climate pact in Paris, we might now hope that the merchants of doubt – who for two decades have denied the science and dismissed the threat – are officially irrelevant.

However, a new, strange form of denial has appeared on the landscape, falsely asserting that renewable sources can’t meet our energy needs.

Oddly, some of these voices include climate scientists, who insist that we must now turn to wholesale expansion of nuclear power. Just this past week, as negotiators were closing in on the Paris agreement, four climate scientists held an off-site session insisting that the only way we can solve the coupled climate/energy problem is with a massive and immediate expansion of nuclear power. More than that, they are blaming environmentalists, suggesting that the opposition to nuclear power stands between all of us and a two-degree world.

Continue reading Renewables can’t do it: The new form of climate denial

Climate change denial is about politics not science


Political views are the main predictor of the acceptance of climate change as a real phenomenon.  US Republicans are far more likely to be doubtful or dismissive towards climate change. This is because climate change challenges the Anglo-American neoliberal view that is held so dear by mainstream economists and politicians. Neoliberalism is about free markets, minimal state intervention, strong property rights and individualism.  Whereas climate change is a massive pollution issue that shows the markets have failed and it requires governments to act collectively to regulate industry and business.

Continue reading Climate change denial is about politics not science

Ten Extreme Weather Events in 2015: Climate Alarm

Here are 10 freakish weather extremes in 2015 that underscore the urgency of strong action on climate change. The first was an Arctic heat wave at the end of December caused temperatures in the North Pole to spike 60 degrees Fahrenheit above the norm for the season, soaring past the freezing point and making the region hotter than cities across the U.S. and Europe. …

Eco Watch: 2 Jan 2016

Key Words: Climate Change, risk, extremes
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