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Trouble In Paradise: Global Warming A Greater Danger To Tropical Species

ScienceDaily – May 6, 2008

A team of University of Washington scientists has been studying the insect population of the tropics and concluded that an increase in temperature could many species at risk of extinction. I give more credence to these types of studies to articles on climate models since, in this case, it is possible to do some true cause and effect analysis as well as maintain a control group. The problem with climate models is that they are simply mathematical equations that are developed by mathematicians and then run on moderately powerful computers.

I wrote about Brazilian ants several months ago. This new study seems to be in contrast to the conclusions of that article. This is not unusual in science that different studies with different techniques results in different conclusions.

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Global Warming’s Impact on Lobsters Has Scientists in a Stew

The Ellsworth American – December 27, 2007

I have written before on the possible repercussions of global warming on plant and animal life (a few examples are here, here, and here).  Most of these repercussions come off as solid conclusions even though they really are just educated guesses on the reaction of the given species. In this case, the author was much more balanced and more fair, as he states that it could be good for lobsters or it could be bad. This acknowledgement that a complicated climate model interacting with a complicated species is not a sure science is refreshing. (Follow the feed link to read the rest of the story).

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UN issues ‘final wake-up call’ on population and environment

International Herald Tribune – October 25, 2007

This article almost makes you want to put a gun to your head! No, I absolutely do not condone suicide or violent behavior but this article will not make you feel good about life. I almost suggest that you watch an episode of Barney when you get done reading just to make you feel better.

The UN recently released its Global Environmental Outlook and it is not a pretty picture. Basically, the UN is saying that there are too many people out there and we are using more basic resources than the planet can sustain. I write about this in a global warming site simply because if human’s are causing global climate change than it is likely due to the problems listed in this report as well.

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South Africa: Marion Island Clue to Global Warming Threat

allAfrica.com – August 8, 2007

An extremely interesting article even though I think the title is making a basic claim that is not proven by the article!

I have written about the adaptability of species on this site before (see here and here and here). I found this article to have a unique spin. I am not convinced though that this article is about the dangers of global warming or the dangers of man introducing new species into another environment.  Wikipedia has a great write-up and other links on the dangers of species invasion and you may want to do some background reading there as well as check out their references.

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Species Explosion

Smithsonian.com

I have no idea if this is good news or bad. I only find it interesting that life continues to evolve even as the world changes. If you are an optimist you will say that this means that the dire predictions by many are false. If you are a negativist you will point out that this is terrible that potentially man is causing an unnatural evolution.

I tend to be a centrist and try to find the middle for all things. So in this case, I think it is wonderful that the animal and plant kingdoms will find a way to thrive even if man is potentially killing other types of life off. According to the theory of evolution, life has always been evolving to accentuate the ability to survive – this is simply one more point on the curve. I also find it sad that some species will cease to exist due to this change but acknowledge that extinction is part of the cycle of evolution.

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Global warming causes frog extinctions

Plenty Magazine – May 23, 2007

This is a sad article if it is true. Evidently several species of frogs have become extinct and some scientists believe that this extinction was caused by global warming. While I am well aware that certain amphibians (esp. frogs) are very susceptible to changes in their environment, I am concerned that this article does not live up to the burden of proof.

A few of my concerns:

  • Global warming should be more accurately termed “Northern Hemisphere Warming” since much of the measured increase was in the northern half of the planet. Costa Rica is very close to the equator – what was the increase in temperature for Costa Rica in the last 50 years? We really do not need to worry about average global temperatures if we are discussing the effect on a species that is very local.

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Brazil’s Urban Ants May Predict Reaction To Warming Trends

Wall Street Journal – April 27, 2007

Interesting article that discusses how ants have adapted to the heat caused by our large urban cities.  The study is important because it can compare insects that live in a city (where it is warmer) than in the rural parts of the country.  Insects can be gathered from both locations and tests can proceed giving a very stable comparative reference.  The IPCC is predicting mass extinctions due to the increase of global temperatures, this study suggests that our fellow inhabitants on this planet may be more resistant than some think.

It’s getting hotter in the human hive, and in some ant colonies, but the ants are learning to live with it.

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How Global Warming Works

howstuffworks

HowStuffWorks.com is a wonderful site that has very well written articles.  This article is a basic description of global warming.  I know that many of my regular readers may find this article very basic however, my goal is to make sure that the average person can understand much of the science of climate change.  To that end, I offer this article.

Global warming was once an uncommon term used by a few scientists who were growing concerned over the effects of decades of pollution on long-term weather patterns. Today, the idea of global warming is well known, if not well understood. It is not unusual to hear someone complaining about a hot day or a freak storm and remark, “It’s global warming.”

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The Beginning of the End for Life as We Know it on Planet Earth?

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society – May 4, 2007

This is a very disturbing and controversial viewpoint that reminds me of a book by Tom Clancy from several years ago where extremists schemed to demolish the population of the planet to make it better for wildlife.  I have decided to include this article only because I believe that extremism (in either direction) on this issue of humans effecting the world is typically bad.  A centrist viewpoint almost always makes sense and by pointing out the radicals, rational people can disassociate themselves from the stance.

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Role of global warming in extinction may be overestimated

Mongabay.com – March 1, 2007

This is a wonderful article.  It calls for better science.  It says that better modeling is needed to understand extinction.  This is even more complicated when layered onto global warming since now we have theories layered onto theories.

Extinction is a hotly debated, but poorly understood topic in science. The same goes for climate change. When you bring the two together to forecast the impact of global change on biodiversity, chaos reigns.

A new paper published in Bioscience sides with the latter contention, noting that “surprisingly few species became extinct during the past 2.5 million years” despite a series of ice ages.

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