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Climate Shifts » J.Roff http://www.climateshifts.org Science, climate change, coral reefs and the environment Sun, 05 Oct 2014 04:16:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.24 New ocean life discovered at the 'Hadal Zone' – 11,000 meters deep, and pressure rises to 1,000 bar (or a ton per square centimeter) http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5742 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5742#comments Thu, 19 Aug 2010 13:20:25 +0000 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5742
The hadal zone: deep sea trenches over 11,000 meter deep (deeper than Mount Everest is high), the pressure rises to 1,000 bar, there is no light and food is scarce.

It (the Hadal zone) offers a glimpse of what life on Jupiter’s moon, Europa, might look like. A new species of archaebacteria, [...]]]>
The hadal zone: deep sea trenches over 11,000 meter deep (deeper than Mount Everest is high), the pressure rises to 1,000 bar, there is no light and food is scarce.

It (the Hadal zone) offers a glimpse of what life on Jupiter’s moon, Europa, might look like. A new species of archaebacteria, Pyrococcus CH1,was recently discovered thriving on a mid-Atlantic ridge within a temperature range of 80 to 105°C and able to divide itself up to a hydrostatic pressure of 120 Mpa (1000 times higher than the atmospheric pressure). Excedrin Migraine won’t help down there.

This discovery was made by an international team of microbiologists of the Microbiology of Extreme Environments Laboratory in partnership with the Institute of Oceanography of Xiamen (China) and the Earth Science Laboratory. This archaebacteria had been isolated from samples by a Franco-Russian team that explored the mid-Atlantic ridge for six weeks searching for new hydrothermal vents.

The piezophilic microorganisms constitute a subgroup of extremophiles. Discovered on the site “Ashadze”(2) at 4100 meters depth, the deepest vent field explored so far, the CH1 strain was successfully isolated and assigned to the genus Pyrococcus, within the Euryarchaeota lineage of the Archae domain. The discovery extends the known physical and chemical limits of life on Earth.

The reason scientists believed for so long that life did not exist in the deepest parts of the sea is because the oxygen that filters down is centuries old, having formed near the surface through photosynthesis by microscopic plants known as phytoplankton.

(link to full text)

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Fish evolve to tolerate colder temperature in just three years http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5686 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5686#comments Tue, 10 Aug 2010 01:37:59 +0000 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5686

A stickleback may be a long way from a coral reef, but here’s an interesting paper showing one of the fastest evolutionary responses in a vertebrate.  The key here is that generation times are short (less than 6 months), unlike those in corals: From ScienceDaily:

University of British Columbia researchers have [...]]]>

A stickleback may be a long way from a coral reef, but here’s an interesting paper showing one of the fastest evolutionary responses in a vertebrate.  The key here is that generation times are short (less than 6 months), unlike those in corals: From ScienceDaily:

University of British Columbia researchers have observed one of the fastest evolutionary responses ever recorded in wild populations. In as little as three years, stickleback fish developed tolerance for water temperature 2.5 degrees Celsius lower than their ancestors.

The study, published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, provides the some of the first experimental evidence that evolution may help populations survive effects of climate change.

Measuring three to 10 centimetres, stickleback fish originated in the ocean but began populating freshwater lakes and streams following the last ice age. Over the past 10,000 years, marine and freshwater sticklebacks have evolved different physical and behavioural traits, making them ideal models for Darwin’s natural selection theory.

“By testing the temperature tolerance of wild and lab-raised sticklebacks, we were able to determine that freshwater sticklebacks can tolerate lower temperatures than their marine counterparts,” says lead author Rowan Barrett from the UBC Department of Zoology. “This made sense from an evolutionary perspective because their ancestors were able to adapt to freshwater lakes, which typically reach colder temperatures than the ocean.”

To learn how quickly this adaptation took place, Barrett and colleagues from Switzerland and Sweden “recreated history” by transplanting marine sticklebacks to freshwater ponds and found that in as little as three generations (or three years), they were able to tolerate the same minimum temperature as freshwater sticklebacks, 2.5 °C lower than their ancestral populations.

“Scientific models have suggested that climate change could result in both a general, gradual increase of average temperatures and an increase in extreme temperatures,” says Barrett, who received his PhD last week.

“Our study is the first to experimentally show that certain species in the wild could adapt to climate change very rapidly — in this case, colder water temperature. However, this rapid adaptation is not achieved without a cost. Only rare individuals that possess the ability to tolerate rapid changes in temperature survive, and the number of survivors may not be large enough to sustain the population. It is crucial that knowledge of evolutionary processes is incorporated into conservation and management policy.”

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"You could make a fairly tight argument to say that it is the single greatest health threat that has ever faced the human species. I suspect this will shorten lives, if it turns out that this is what’s going on" http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5553 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5553#comments Sun, 27 Jun 2010 23:41:09 +0000 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5553

Analysis of nearly 1,000 sperm whale tissues (sampled using a dart gun, not the Japanese harpoon method) reveals ‘jaw dropping’ levels of cadmium, aluminum, chromium, lead, silver, mercury, and titanium:

“The entire ocean life is just loaded with a series of contaminants, most of which have been released by human beings,’’ Payne said [...]]]>

Analysis of nearly 1,000 sperm whale tissues (sampled using a dart gun, not the Japanese harpoon method) reveals ‘jaw dropping’ levels of cadmium, aluminum, chromium, lead, silver, mercury, and titanium:

“The entire ocean life is just loaded with a series of contaminants, most of which have been released by human beings,’’ Payne said in an interview at the International Whaling Commission’s annual meeting.

“These contaminants, I think, are threatening the human food supply. They certainly are threatening the whales and the other animals that live in the ocean,’’ he said.

Roger Payne (a man with some pretty serious whale science credentials, being the first researcher to document whale songs back in the late 1960′s) went on to say “You could make a fairly tight argument to say that it is the single greatest health threat that has ever faced the human species. I suspect this will shorten lives, if it turns out that this is what’s going on”. If this holds true, it’s pretty disturbing:

“The biggest surprise was chromium,’’ Payne said. “That’s an absolute shocker. Nobody was even looking for it.’’

Chromium, a corrosion-resistant material, is used in stainless steel, paints, dyes, and the tanning of leather, and can cause lung cancer in people who work in industries where it is commonly used.

Wise applied chromium to healthy whale cells in the laboratory to study its effect. He found that the concentration of chromium found in whales was several times higher than the level required to kill healthy cells in a petri dish, Payne said.

Link to full story here.

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University of Queensland Scientist named Coordinating Lead Author for next IPCC report http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5542 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5542#comments Thu, 24 Jun 2010 11:21:47 +0000 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5542 Go Ove!

The Director of UQ’s Global Change Institute, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, has been selected as the Coordinating Lead Author of Chapter 30, “Open Oceans”, to the Working Group II (WGII) contribution of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), scheduled for completion in 2013-2014, [...]]]> Go Ove!

The Director of UQ’s Global Change Institute, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, has been selected as the Coordinating Lead Author of Chapter 30, “Open Oceans”, to the Working Group II (WGII) contribution of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), scheduled for completion in 2013-2014, will be the next comprehensive assessment of all aspects of climate change by the IPCC.

UQ Vice-Chancellor & President Professor Paul Greenfield said Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg was an excellent scientist and a fine choice by the IPCC.

“Ove has pioneered knowledge of the links between climate change and coral reefs,” Professor Greenfield said.

“His service to the IPCC will exemplify how UQ researchers can help communities around the world understand and manage the most challenging issues.”

The IPCC Working Group II assesses the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to climate change, negative and positive consequences of climate change, and options for adapting to its consequences.

Coordinating Lead Authors play a leading role in ensuring that any cross-cutting scientific or technical issues, which may involve several sections of a report, are addressed in a complete and coherent manner and reflect the latest information available.

The author teams will conduct the scientific-technical assessment using procedures that emphasise comprehensiveness, scientific independence, openness, thorough review and transparency.

Professor Hoegh-Guldberg has published works that include over 180 refereed publications and book chapters and is one of the most cited authors within the peer-reviewed literature on climate change and its impacts on natural ecosystems.

Other Coordinating Lead Authors from Australia in Working Group II include:

• Roger Jones, Victoria University, Ch. 2, “Foundations for Decision Making”
• Ian Noble, The World Bank, Ch. 14, “Adaptation Needs and Options”
• Roger Kitching, Griffith University, Ch. 25, “Australasia”
• Roger McLean, University of New South Wales, Ch. 29 “Small Islands”

A number of other Australians have also been selected to participate in WGII as Contributing Authors and Reviewing Editors, as the work on the Fifth Assessment Report progresses.

A full list of the authors may be accessed at http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/AR5_authors.html.
More information about the IPCC’s 5AR may be found at http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/ar5.html.

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Chemosynthesis: dark water communities in the Gulf of Mexico live off crude oil as a primary food source http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5539 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5539#comments Wed, 23 Jun 2010 23:43:52 +0000 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5539

Here’s an interesting perspective on the current oil spill from the NYT: cold, dark, teeming with life:

The deep seabed was once considered a biological desert. Life, the logic went, was synonymous with light and photosynthesis. The sun powered the planet’s food chains, and only a few scavengers could ply the [...]]]>

Here’s an interesting perspective on the current oil spill from the NYT: cold, dark, teeming with life:

The deep seabed was once considered a biological desert. Life, the logic went, was synonymous with light and photosynthesis. The sun powered the planet’s food chains, and only a few scavengers could ply the preternaturally dark abyss.

Then, in 1977, oceanographers working in the deep Pacific stumbled on bizarre ecosystems lush with clams, mussels and big tube worms — a cornucopia of abyssal life built on microbes that thrived in hot, mineral-rich waters welling up from volcanic cracks, feeding on the chemicals that leached into the seawater and serving as the basis for whole chains of life that got along just fine without sunlight.

In 1984, scientists found that the heat was not necessary. In exploring the depths of the Gulf of Mexico, they discovered sunless habitats powered by a new form of nourishment. The microbes that founded the food chain lived not on hot minerals but on cold petrochemicals seeping up from the icy seabed (Read More)

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Expert credibility in climate change: not all climate research and expertise are equal. http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5515 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5515#comments Tue, 22 Jun 2010 05:38:01 +0000 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5515 A fairly convoluted (but interesting none the less) paper just got published in PNAS by Anderegg et al (2010) looking at climate change and scientific credibility (more coverage by the Guardian here). Why don’t we trust climate scientists? To answer this question, the authors conducted a literature search of 1,372 climate researchers [...]]]> A fairly convoluted (but interesting none the less) paper just got published in PNAS by Anderegg et al (2010) looking at climate change and scientific credibility (more coverage by the Guardian here). Why don’t we trust climate scientists? To answer this question, the authors conducted a literature search of 1,372 climate researchers whose work “constitutes expertise or credibility in technical and policy-relevant scientific research”, and conclude what we’ve been blogging here for some time: “Despite media tendencies to present both sides in debates, which can contribute to continued public misunderstanding,not all climate researchers are equal in scientific credibility and expertise in the climate system

Although preliminary estimates from published literature and expert surveys suggest striking agreement among climate scientists on the tenets of anthropogenic climate change (ACC), the American public expresses substantial doubt about both the anthropogenic cause and the level of scientific agreement underpinning ACC. A broad analysis of the climate scientist community itself, the distribution of credibility of dissenting researchers relative to agreeing researchers, and the level of agreement among top climate experts has not been conducted and would inform future ACC discussions. Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.

Here’s the nuts and bolts of the paper (CE = convinced by the evidence, UE = unconvinced by the evidence):

So: not only is there a pretty considerable difference between the number of expert researchers between CE and UE groups, the mean expertise of the UE group was around half (60 publications) that of the CE group (119 publications). Here’s the real interesting statistic: researchers with fewer than 20 climate publications comprise ≈80% the UE group, as opposed to less than 10% of the CE group. To quote the authors: “This indicates that the bulk of UE researchers on the most prominent multisignatory statements about climate change have not published extensively in the peer-reviewed climate literature.

From a subsample of the 50 most-published researchers from each group, there was a considerable difference in relative expertise between the CE and UE groups:

Of these top 50 researchers, the CE group have an average of 408 climate publications, whilst the UE researchers averaged only 89 publications. Again, to quote the authors. this suggests that not all experts are equal, and top CE researchers have much stronger expertise in climate science than those in the top UE group“.

So who’s citing who? Anderegg et al use citation metrics to determine “…the quality and impact of a researcher’s contribution—a critical component to overall scientific credibility—as opposed to measuring a researcher’s involvement in a field, or expertise“. In examining the top four most-cited papers for each CE and UE researcher with 20 or more climate publications, the disparity in citation metrics between the CE and UE groups is astonishing:


Conclusions?

(i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of Anthropogenic Climate Change (ACC) outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

(ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.

As Phil M commented on a post the other day, the UE group:

1) Also happen to have close ties to fossil fuel & mining industries.
2) Have ties to right wing lobby groups.
3) Have only a handful of scientists who back the denier side, of whom few have published or conducted research in any relevant climate science field, much less publish any papers in reputable journals debunking AGW.
4) Have not a single scientific instituion backing them.

Anderegg W.R.L., Prall J.W., Harold J. & Schneider S.H. (2010 Online Early) Expert credibility in climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 21 June 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1003187107

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The Rational Optimist is greatly exaggerated http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5487 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5487#comments Thu, 17 Jun 2010 23:01:15 +0000 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5487 So I missed all the initial discussion, but apparently the New Scientist published a critique of a recent book by Matt Ridley called “The Rational Optimist”, who amongst other things believes that ocean acidification is ‘greatly exaggerated’. You can read his response to the critique over at his website. It’s an [...]]]> So I missed all the initial discussion, but apparently the New Scientist published a critique of a recent book by Matt Ridley called “The Rational Optimist”, who amongst other things believes that ocean acidification is ‘greatly exaggerated’. You can read his response to the critique over at his website. It’s an entertaining dialogue, but here’s where his argument starts to fall down:

My source was the Herfort et al 2008 paper, which Ridgwell says is irrelevant, because of its experimental design. That’s his opinion, which others in the field do not share (Read more)

His opinion? As Chris Langdon pointed out, the Herfort paper it is not relevant to predicting what will happen in the future. What Ridley misunderstands is that it isn’t based opinion. Journalism is based upon opinion, science is based upon fact. Here’s what Chris Langdon had to say about the Herfort paper:

In their experiments, they increased both the bicarbonate and the carbonate concentration. This is what happens when you add sodium bicarbonate to seawater. They have no way of knowing if the increase in coral calcification was due to the increase in the bicarbonate or the carbonate.

In the real world, and in the experiments that I and others have performed, the bicarbonate concentration is increased by 13 per cent and the carbonate concentration is decreased by 40 per cent. When you do this the calcification of the corals is observed to decrease.

Here’s what we had to say about the Herfort paper back in June 2008:

Herfort’s experiment focused on the effects of increasing bicarbonate concentrations on rates of photosynthesis and calcification of coral reef organisms. I hear some of you ask: “But, is that not the same as ocean acidification?” Well, in a nutshell – no. Ocean acidification is the result of declining pH caused by the uptake of atmospheric CO2. Herfort et al. kept their pH (the parameter that determines acidity) constant at 8.2 across all treatments. This also means that Herfort’s results are totally irrelevant to the major problems of ocean acidification – (1) carbonate saturation state and (2) acidosis of cellular mechanisms such as photosynthesis.

The lowered pH from ocean acidification leads to low concentrations of carbonate ions, the building blocks of all marine calcifying organisms, which can lead to critically low rates of calcification and even shift to net rates of calcium carbonate dissolution. Also, the proper functioning of cellular mechanisms such as photosynthesis are sensitive to pH change, so keeping pH constant would not capture those stresses.

Bottom line, Herforts’ experiment did the opposite of any realistic future scenario: by keeping pH constant while increasing bicarbonate (HCO3-) concentrations they boosted carbonate ion (CO3=) concentrations and thereby rates of calcification, and ignored any effects of acidosis. Idso et al (2008) is another sad example of uninformed propaganda, running with one of two sentences from a study they do not comprehend – and then leaping to their own naive conclusion that the overwhelming amount of good science predicting negative effects of ocean acidification, is simply alarmist (Read more)

Matt Ridley concludes with:

In conclusion, I rest my case. My five critics have not only failed to contradict, but have explicitly confirmed the truth of every single one of my factual statements. We differ only in how we interpret the facts.

Interpreting the facts? Oh well. I guess opinion sells books! See this paper released today in Science (Ocean Acidification Unprecedented, Unsettling) by Richard Kerr:

As hydrogen ion concentrations go up, more and more of the ocean’s carbonate ions—the building block of all carbonate shells and skeletons—combine with hydrogen ions to form bicarbonate, driving down the concentration of the essential carbonate. Organisms have a harder time extracting the carbonate they need from the surrounding water. In a compilation of controlled acidification studies, marine chemist Scott Doney of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and his colleagues found that all 11 species of tropical coral studied under falling pH slowed their aragonite production. Among noncoral calcifiers, most also slowed their carbonate building, though a few, such as certain coralline red algae and echinoderms, increased it.

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Campaign for disinformation: Watts up with that? http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5486 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5486#comments Thu, 17 Jun 2010 22:43:33 +0000 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5486 Seems like Anthony Watts is a little upset over Ove and John’s appearance at his seminar here in Brisbane the other day. We mentioned earlier on the blog:

The Climate Shifts crew and other scientists will be there en masse to record and debunk the lies that will be told.

After the event, Anthony noted [...]]]> Seems like Anthony Watts is a little upset over Ove and John’s appearance at his seminar here in Brisbane the other day. We mentioned earlier on the blog:

The Climate Shifts crew and other scientists will be there en masse to record and debunk the lies that will be told.

After the event, Anthony noted that the:

“en masse” was about 5, maybe 6 people by my count.

After seeing the event, i’m thinking that maybe Anthony is right, this isn’t all big oil funding. For a little context, here’s what the ‘lecture tour’ looked like:

As for Ove? See for yourself. More on the ‘lecture tour’ shortly…

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Nikon Camera Lost at Sea Found 1,100 Miles Away With Video Taken by Sea Turtle http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5482 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5482#comments Tue, 15 Jun 2010 05:35:18 +0000 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5482 Epic! Camera and waterproof housing found intact in Florida, turns out it was lost in Aruba 6 months prior, complete with video footage taken by a sea turtle somewhere in Honduras:

On May 16, Coast Guard investigator Paul Shultz was walking along a Key West, Florida marina when he came across a red Nikon L18. [...]]]> Epic! Camera and waterproof housing found intact in Florida, turns out it was lost in Aruba 6 months prior, complete with video footage taken by a sea turtle somewhere in Honduras:

On May 16, Coast Guard investigator Paul Shultz was walking along a Key West, Florida marina when he came across a red Nikon L18. Although the underwater housing surrounding the camera was battered from what appeared to be a long period at sea, the camera was in tip top shape.

After finding nothing in the photos and videos on the memory card that pointed to the owner, Shultz turned to the Internet, posting the photos to Scubaboard.com. Within days, it was determined from clues in the photos that they were taken in Aruba, about 1,100 miles from where the camera was found.

The clues included a plane’s tail number that revealed that the plane was in Aruba the day the photo was taken, a blue roof that was located on Google Maps, and a school poster written in Dutch (Aruba is a Dutch island).

Once the camera’s origin was known, Shultz published the photos to Aruba.com. Within two days a woman recognized the children in some of the photos as her son’s classmates and, after contacting the family, the mystery was solved.

Dick de Bruin, a sergeant in the Royal Dutch Navy, was salvaging an anchor from the USS Powell for a WWII memorial when his camera floated away. One way or another it ended up 1,100 miles to the north and into the hands of Paul Shultz.

An interesting part of this story is that among the things found on the memory card was a video recorded by a sea turtle that dragged the camera for a period of time during the journey. The shaky video has amassed hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube:

(via Reddit)

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Viosca Knoll 906: a deep sea coral reef 400m below the surface, just 20 miles north of BP's blown oil well… http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5385 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5385#comments Thu, 03 Jun 2010 23:08:38 +0000 http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5385

Viosca Knoll 906 is a deep sea coral reef approximately 1300ft (~400m) below the Gulf of Mexico, home to a thriving Leiopathes (black coral) ecosystem. The number ’906′ identifies the oil and gas lease block that encompasses area – in this case, ’906′ reef is situated approximately 20 miles north of the [...]]]>

Viosca Knoll 906 is a deep sea coral reef approximately 1300ft (~400m) below the Gulf of Mexico, home to a thriving Leiopathes (black coral) ecosystem. The number ’906′ identifies the oil and gas lease block that encompasses area – in this case, ’906′ reef is situated approximately 20 miles north of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster where 11 workers lost their lives, and thousands of gallons of oil per day is pouring into the Gulf. The New York Times Green blog is reporting on how this reef will act as a before and after ‘litmus test‘ to the disaster – scientists first surveyed this reef back in 2008. The stuff that looks like snow in the video footage is imaginatively known as ‘marine snow’ – particulate matter made up of mucus, algae, sediment and other odds and ends of organic matter, and is a prime food source for Leiopathes corals (unlike their tropical counter-parts which are phototrophic and rely on sunlight, not much light reaches reefs at this depth). If the fall out from the oil spill really does end up reaching the deep sea floor, then these filter feeding corals will be the silent sentinels. And with no obvious end in sight for the leaking oil well, and the spill threatens to head via the loop current towards Florida and beyond….

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