- The Petermann ice shelf in Greenland (the northern-most glacier in the world) has lost a quarter of its mass, calving a 100 square mile iceberg now known as the “Petermann Ice Island (2010)”. Note that there is a “2010″ designation to distinguish this one from a smaller iceberg calved in 2008. Ed Markey had a good idea.
Relevance to the pending apocalypse: Sign of global warming; loss of Arctic / sub-Arctic environments and habitats; influx of fresh water into the North Atlantic currents; Greenland is smaller.
- The drought and related fires in Russia continue, threatening, among other things, wheat prices and harvests. Relevance to environmental and social DOOM: Farmlands diverted from other crops to wheat; wheat prices increasing; and, of course, smoke from the fires may contribute to global warming as well as causing shorter-term respiratory problems.
- Rising temperatures diminish rice harvests. It’s getting too hot at night for rice to grow. Yields have already diminished by 10-20% in some parts of the world, over the last 25 years. Need I mention that rice is the #3 staple food crop? And the primary staple food crop in Asia and Africa?
- Rising food costs. Related to both the wheat & rice fiascos, the FAO has predicted that staple food prices will rise significantly, between 15 to 45%, over the next decade.
- Genetically engineered pesticide-resistant strains of canola growing wild on roadsides. “Roundup Ready” and “Liberty Link” varieties have been found, and varieties resistant to both pesticides — indicating cross-breeding of the varieties. Why is this a problem? To the extent these are pest plants — weeds — they will have to be controlled with other, more toxic, pesticides, or controlled through agricultural methods (e.g., plowing) that adversely affect soil erosion. Plus, of course, once those now-wild genes start jumping, the problems will just multiply. As my partner has pointed out, one-in-a-million events happen millions of times with plant propagation.
Thank you, global warming purveyors:
Tahoe City — Global warming seems to have reached the lowest depths of Lake Tahoe, scientists warned Monday, potentially complicating plans to preserve the lake’s fabled water clarity and biological health.
A new study by researchers at UC Davis suggests the lake has heated by nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit since the early 1970s, when readings began. The warming may be significantly altering the dynamics of Lake Tahoe’s cold-water upwellings and seasonal mixing of sediments and nutrients, the scientists said.
It’s the latest sign that a changing climate may be showing up in the Sierra Nevada, one of many mountain ranges around the world in which scientists are looking for the subtle impacts of global warming. No one can be certain if any given change is due to human activity, but the widely held assumption is that emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases are involved.
[A] warming signal is emerging in the lake’s temperature data at virtually all depths, down to as deep as 1, 300 feet.
“The lake has warmed from top to bottom over the past 30 years,” Schladow said. He said there are no local or regional factors big enough to explain the warming, even with all the development that has occurred in the Tahoe Basin in recent years.
Schladow and others said the changes are consistent with emerging data worldwide that point to an increase in temperature taking place far more rapidly than any previous change in the geologic record.
There is no reliable way to gauge Lake Tahoe’s water temperature before the 1930s. But air temperature data in the Tahoe City region go back about 90 years and show about a 3.6-degree Fahrenheit increase, enough to account for the increase in average water temperature and consistent with the emerging global data on climate shifts.
The data show that relatively wide swings in Lake Tahoe water temperatures are common from one year to the next, at least during the past 30- plus years of regular monitoring and some 7,300 individual measurements.
But after smoothing out the peaks and troughs, scientists said there is a clear upward tilt in the numbers, with temperatures increasing by an average of about 0.027 degree Fahrenheit a year from 1970 to 2002.
Excellent. Thank god someone finally did this — in this case, a group of scientists & engineers (Scientists and Engineers for Change and Environment 2004). The story at “CNSNews.com” describes this as “Florida Billboards Blame Bush for Hurricanes [10/26/2004]. I would call it “Florida billboards point out the connection”, but whatever they call it, it’s about damn time.