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land erosion

“To illustrate, the picture above, taken by Charles Sturt University’s Professor of Farming Systems David Kemp, shows a Mongolian “grassland”. A generation ago the graziers were complaining they couldn’t find their cattle because the grass was too high. Now, they say, they can see the mice. This is happening in dry lands around the world as farmers desperately try to scrape a living amid falling returns by running more stock or planting more crops. The price signal to do this goes straight from the affluent consumer, often completely oblivious of where their food comes from or how agricultural markets work, to the world’s 1.8 billion farmers.”

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land conservation and food production

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global warming: greenland and california - deniers are advised not to read this news item

I’m so glad and thankful that there is no global warming.

“Driven by the loss of ice, Arctic temperatures are warming more quickly than other parts of the world: last autumn air temperatures in the Arctic stood at a record 5C above normal. For centuries, the ice sheets maintained an equilibrium: glaciers calved off icebergs and sent melt water into the oceans every summer; in winter, the ice sheet was then replenished with more frozen snow. Scientists believe the world's great ice sheets will not completely disappear for many more centuries, but the Greenland ice sheet is now shedding more ice than it is accumulating.

“The melting has been recorded since 1979; scientists put the annual net loss of ice and water from the ice sheet at 300-400 gigatonnes, which could hasten a sea level rise of catastrophic proportions.

“As Hamilton has found, Greenland's glaciers have increased the speed at which they shift ice from the sheet into the ocean. Helheim, an enormous tower of ice that calves into Sermilik Fjord, used to move at 7km (4.4 miles) a year. In 2005, in less than a year, it speeded up to nearly 12km a year. Kangerdlugssuaq, another glacier that Hamilton measured, tripled its speed between 1988 and 2005. Its movement – an inch every minute – could be seen with the naked eye.”

“Earlier in the expedition, the crew believe, they became the first boat to travel through the Nares Strait west of Greenland to the Arctic Ocean in June, once impassable because of sea ice at that time of year. The predicted year when summers in the Arctic would be free of sea ice has fallen from 2100 to 2050 to 2030 in a couple of years.

“Jay Zwally, a Nasa scientist, recently suggested it could be virtually ice-free by late summer 2012. Between 2004 and 2008 the area of "multiyear" Arctic sea ice (ice that has formed over more than one winter and survived the summer melt) shrank by 595,000 sq miles, an area larger than France, Germany and the United Kingdom combined.” [Quoted from guardian.co.uk]

Some global models are predicting a long-term drying for the USA south-west.

“The fire is now more than 492 square-kilometers in size and two firefighters were killed in the line of duty on Sunday, after their vehicle rolled off a mountain road.”

“ Brush in the area had not burned for a century, fire officials said. Trees among the San Bernardino Mountains were going up like candles while another 300-acre wildfire that erupted on the edge of Yucaipa has forced the evacuation of 200 homes.” [Quoted from ctv.ca]

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“Wildfire Threatens Historic California Observatory

“The Mt. Wilson Observatory, a century-old astronomical compound located on a 5,700-foot-high peak in southern California, has contributed much to our knowledge of stellar evolution and cosmology, providing the first observational evidence backing the Big Bang theory. The aging observatory has survived much adversity, but now faces a new challenge--it is menaced by a wildfire dubbed the "Station Fire," which has scorched over 85,000 acres in the mountains north of Los Angeles and claimed the lives of two firefighters. Despite the fire's rapid approach to the mountain, there is hope that this historic observatory may weather this latest threat.” [Quoted from gearlog.com]

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global warming

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ersatz science and sunspots

“The team first confirmed a theory that the slight increase in solar energy during the peak production of sunspots is absorbed by stratospheric ozone. The energy warms the air in the stratosphere over the tropics, where sunlight is most intense, while also stimulating the production of additional ozone there that absorbs even more solar energy. Since the stratosphere warms unevenly, with the most pronounced warming occurring at lower latitudes, stratospheric winds are altered and, through a chain of interconnected processes, end up strengthening tropical precipitation.

“At the same time, the increased sunlight at solar maximum causes a slight warming of ocean surface waters across the subtropical Pacific, where Sun-blocking clouds are normally scarce. That small amount of extra heat leads to more evaporation, producing additional water vapor. In turn, the moisture is carried by trade winds to the normally rainy areas of the western tropical Pacific, fueling heavier rains and reinforcing the effects of the stratospheric mechanism.

“The top-down influence of the stratosphere and the bottom-up influence of the ocean work together to intensify this loop and strengthen the trade winds. As more sunshine hits drier areas, these changes reinforce each other, leading to less clouds in the subtropics, allowing even more sunlight to reach the surface, and producing a positive feedback loop that further magnifies the climate response.

“These stratospheric and ocean responses during solar maximum keep the equatorial eastern Pacific even cooler and drier than usual, producing conditions similar to a La Nina event. However, the cooling of about 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit is focused farther east than in a typical La Nina, is only about half as strong, and is associated with different wind patterns in the stratosphere.” [Quoted from reason.com]

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“One of the mysteries regarding Earth's climate system response to variations in solar output is how the relatively small fluctuations of the 11-year solar cycle can produce the magnitude of the observed climate signals in the tropical Pacific associated with such solar variability. Two mechanisms, the top-down stratospheric response of ozone to fluctuations of shortwave solar forcing and the bottom-up coupled ocean-atmosphere surface response, are included in versions of three global climate models, with either mechanism acting alone or both acting together. We show that the two mechanisms act together to enhance the climatological off-equatorial tropical precipitation maxima in the Pacific, lower the eastern equatorial Pacific sea surface temperatures during peaks in the 11-year solar cycle, and reduce low-latitude clouds to amplify the solar forcing at the surface.” [Quoted from sciencemag.org]

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“This passage captures what is wrong with much of econophysics, systems biology, sociophysics, and almost any field that been tackled by heavily computational complex systems approaches. Many of these researchers don't understand what it means to test a theory. They build these complex models, which involves making important assumptions that could easily be wrong, and then if their models fit existing data, they think the model is right.” [Quoted from scientificblogging.com]

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bits of pakistan for lease or sale

“Pakistan is offering one million acres of farmland, protected by a special security force, for lease or sale to countries seeking to secure their food supplies, an official from the ministry of finance said on Monday.

“Gulf Arab countries, mainly reliant on food imports, have been seeking farmland in developing nations to secure supplies and have expressed interest in Pakistan's offer.”

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land conservation and food production

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black carbon aerosols modeled to have high impact on arctic warming [NASA press release]

Graph illustrating temperature rises associated with global warming. Credit: Drew Shindell, Goddard Institute for Space Studies
“Since the 1890s, surface temperatures have risen faster in the Arctic than in other regions of the world.
In part, these rapid changes could be due to changes in aerosol levels. Clean air regulations passed in
the 1970s, for example, have likely accelerated warming by diminishing the cooling effect of sulfates.”

“A new study, led by climate scientist Drew Shindell of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, used a coupled ocean-atmosphere model to investigate how sensitive different regional climates are to changes in levels of carbon dioxide, ozone, and aerosols.

“The researchers found that the mid and high latitudes are especially responsive to changes in the level of aerosols. Indeed, the model suggests aerosols likely account for 45 percent or more of the warming that has occurred in the Arctic during the last three decades. The results were published in the April issue of Nature Geoscience.”

“The regions of Earth that showed the strongest responses to aerosols in the model are the same regions that have witnessed the greatest real-world temperature increases since 1976. The Arctic region has seen its surface air temperatures increase by 1.5 C (2.7 F) since the mid-1970s. In the Antarctic, where aerosols play less of a role, the surface air temperature has increased about 0.35 C (0.6 F).

“That makes sense, Shindell explained, because of the Arctic's proximity to North America and Europe. The two highly industrialized regions have produced most of the world's aerosol emissions over the last century, and some of those aerosols drift northward and collect in the Arctic. Precipitation, which normally flushes aerosols out of the atmosphere, is minimal there, so the particles remain in the air longer and have a stronger impact than in other parts of the world.

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antarctica melting ice, sea levels, water and weather implication
arctic melting ice, sea levels
global warming - dust, aerosols and particulates

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mobile home fans out to size

Compacted mobile mini house pulled by a Mini. Image: Yanko Design
Compacted mobile mini house pulled by a Mini. Image: Yanko Design

“You will find a bathroom, living room, bedroom, kitchen and an office in the 252° Living Area: Mobile Mini House.

“The entire setup of the trailer is based on the rooms fanning out to a 252° radius. The mobile walls and floor of each unit run on rails and can be slid open easily. Just like you open one of those Japanese fans, open up this trailer from under its protective shell and set up your mobile house.”

The trailer gradually opening out. Image: Yanko Design
The trailer gradually opening out. Image: Yanko Design

Opened out mobile home in use. Image: Yanko Design
Opened out mobile home in use. Image: Yanko Design

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a picture is worth....

Compararable capacity and space occupation of cars, a coach and bicycles. Image: Munster City Council
Image source: Press office, City of Münster, Germany

Urban space occupied by sixty road users - 60 single-occupant cars, one bus and 60 bicycles.

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orangs and forest devastation - video

This film is interesting - regenerating bio-diverse forests helps preserve the home of orang-outangs.


22:38 minutes

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