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News from the Non Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

I have great respect for the team that put together the exhaustive, comprehensive NIPCC report. This team is constantly updating their information on the NIPCC site. If you want information on the peer reviewed references related to the climate, it’s a resource par excellence.

Here’s just a sample of new material posted on the NIPCC Web site:

Details follow:

The Glaciers of Greenland were smaller 5000 years ago. Some disappeared altogether.

Kelly and Lowell (2009) say that “subsequent to late-glacial or early Holocene time, most local glaciers were smaller than at present or may have disappeared completely during the Holocene Thermal Maximum,”

“In other words, Greenland would likely have experienced the same degree of warming and glacial recession that it experienced over the course of the 20th century even if the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration had remained at the same low value it had maintained throughout most of the Holocene to that point in time.” Read More

Kelly, M.A. and Lowell, T.V. 2009. Fluctuations of local glaciers in Greenland during latest Pleistocene and Holocene time. Quaternary Science Reviews 28: 2088-2106.

African savanna trees thrive with increases in CO2

Experiments show some Acacias were growing 2 to 5 times faster in experiments with extra CO2. “…the South African scientists say that “changes in CO2 from pre-industrial times to the present have effectively produced acacia ‘super seedlings’ in relation to their growth potential over the past several million years.”

“…the three researchers write that they “provide experimental support for suggestions and simulation studies predicting that reductions in CO2 alone could have led to loss of tree cover in grassy environments in the last glacial (Bond et al., 2003; Harrison and Prentice, 2003),” and they say that “the large increases in CO2 from industrial emissions over the last century would now favor trees at the expense of grasses,” which conclusion is supported by palaeo-records that indicate that “trees disappeared from current savanna sites in South Africa during the Last Glacial Maximum (Scott, 1999), re-appeared in the Holocene, and have rapidly increased over the last half century,”… Read More

Ciais, P., Piao, S.-L., Cadule, P., Friedlingstein, P. and Chedin, A. 2009. Variability and recent trends in the African terrestrial carbon balance. Biogeosciences 6: 1935-1948.

It was hotter in China a thousand years ago, by a whole degree

Their efforts revealed, first of all, that the MWP had indeed held sway on the Chinese mainland over the period AD 700-1400, peaking at about AD 900. And the eight researchers report that phenological data from east China (Ge et al., 2006) and tree-ring records from west China (Yang et al., 2000) also indicate that “the temperature on the Chinese mainland was distinctly warmer during the MWP.” In fact, they say MWP temperatures were as much as “0.9-1.0°C higher than modern temperatures (Zhang, 1994).” … Read More

Hong, B., Liu, C.-Q., Lin, Q.-H., Yasuyuki, S., Leng, X.-T., Wang, Y., Zhu, Y.-X. and Hong, Y.-T. 2009. Temperature evolution from the δ18O record of Hani peat, Northeast China, in the last 14000 years. Science in China Series D: Earth Sciences 52: 952-964.

Marine-life-with-shells can’t agree on their favourite CO2 level

Using CO2 values of 409, 606, 903 and 2856 ppm, which is equivalent to, current ~2, 3 and 10 times pre-industrial levels of CO2, Ries et al, got very mixed results. They found that 10 out of 18 species suffered, 4 species grew stronger except at the highest CO2 levels, and crabs, lobsters, and shrimps just kept getting thicker shells as the CO2 increased, while blue mussels didn’t give a toss what the CO2 levels were. (At current rates Earth will reach 2856ppm in about 1000 years.)

The three Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (USA) researchers report that “in ten of the 18 species (temperate corals, pencil urchins, hard clams, conchs, serpulid worms, periwinkles, bay scallops, oysters, whelks, soft clams), net calcification decreased with increasing CO2,” and that “in six of the ten negatively impacted species (pencil urchins, hard clams, conchs, periwinkles, whelks, soft clams) [they] observed net dissolution of the shell in the highest CO2 treatment.” However, as they continue, “in four of the 18 species (limpets, purple urchins, coralline red algae, calcareous green algae), net calcification increased relative to the control under intermediate CO2 levels (605 and 903 ppm), and then declined at the highest CO2 level (2856 ppm).” Last of all, they say that “in three species (crabs, lobsters, and shrimps), net calcification was greatest under the highest level of CO2 (2856 ppm),” and that “one species, the blue mussel, exhibited no response to elevated CO2. Read More

Ries, J.B., Cohen, A.L. and McCorkle, D.C. 2009. Marine calcifiers exhibit mixed responses to CO2-induced ocean acidification. Geology 37: 1131-1134.

Temperatures make no difference to the 5000 year record of hurricanes

“Based on their analyses, Wallace and Anderson report “there has been no notable variation in intense storm impacts across the northwestern Gulf of Mexico coast during this time interval,” i.e., 5300-900 yr BP, “implying no direct link between changing climate conditions and annual hurricane impact probability.” In addition, they say “there have been no significant differences in the landfall probabilities of storms between the eastern and western Gulf of Mexico during the late Holocene, suggesting that storm steering mechanisms have not varied during this time.”.. Read More

Wallace, D.J. and Anderson, J.B. 2010. Evidence of similar probability of intense hurricane strikes for the Gulf of Mexico over the late Holocene. Geology 38: 511-514.


NIPCC 2009 Report

“Because we are not predisposed to believe climate change is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions, we are able to look at evidence the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ignores. Because we do not work for any governments, we are not biased toward the assumption that greater government activity is necessary.”

“A score of independent scientists from around the world began to share their research and ideas with Dr. Singer, as they continue to do. Some of these scientists have asked not to be named in NIPCC reports for fear of losing research grants and being blacklisted by professional journals.”

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