Dead animals across the world

Pollution and weather

Animals are dying all over the world in huge numbers because of the polluted seas and air. Millions of fish and massive numbers of various marine creatures are washing ashore dead. Birds are falling dead from the sky, and millions of poultry and wildlife are dying from avian flu. Land animals are also dying in large numbers from disease.

<> October 19, 2016

PanARMENIAN.Net – Peru’s environmental agency is investigating the deaths of some 10,000 frogs whose bodies have been found in a river in the south of the country. According to a BBC report, a campaign group says pollution in the River Coata is to blame for the deaths. It says the government has ignored pleas for the construction of a sewage treatment plant in the area.

The Titicaca water frog is an endangered species that is found only in the huge freshwater lake shared by Peru and Bolivia and its tributaries.

The cases of mass deaths across the world are not rare. And here are some of them:

Southern blackbirds

On December 31, 2010, about 2,000 red-winged blackbirds fell dead out of the sky over a small town in Arkansas, U.S. There were so many that it took workers two days to remove all the birds’ carcasses from the town’s streets, sidewalks and lawns. The deaths were all the more mysterious because the birds in question don’t normally fly at night. So, they should have been asleep in their roost. None of the dead birds were found on the ground of the wooded area where they roosted, so officials ruled out disease or poisoning as the cause of their deaths, reports said. Instead, it was assumed a weather-related event caused the mysterious mass die-off. Despite that assumption, however, workers cleaning up the birds’ carcasses wore environmental-protection suits just in case.

Bats with white-nose syndrome

An estimated 6.7 million bats have died since 2006 because of an outbreak of white-nose syndrome, a fast-moving disease that has wiped out entire colonies and left caves littered with the bones of dead bats. The epidemic is considered the worst wildlife disease outbreak in North American history and shows no signs of slowing down. It threatens to drive some bats extinct and could do real harm to the pest-killing services that bats provide, worth billions of dollars each year, in the United States. Typically the disease kills 70 percent to 90 percent of bats in an affected hibernaculum (the area where bats gather to hibernate for the winter). In some cases, the mortality rate has been 100 percent, wiping out entire colonies. Some caves that once hosted hundreds of thousands of bats are now virtually empty.


Pilot whales

In late 2008, 60 pilot whales beached themselves along the rocky coast of the southern Australian island state of Tasmania. A week later, 150 long-finned pilot whales did the same. Then, in early January 2009, 45 sperm whales perished when they stranded themselves on a Tasmanian sandbar. And, lastly, in the most egregious in the string of incidents, 194 pilot whales and a handful of bottleneck dolphins beached themselves along the same coastline in March. By the time officials arrived at the scene, 140 were dead. Using stretchers, small boats and jet skis, more than 100 volunteers managed to save 54. But with four beaching incidents in as many months, scientists found themselves at a loss to explain why the majestic mammals had gone ashore.

Pink flamingos

Over 50 pink flamingos have been found dead in southern France, victims of freezing weather conditions that have gripped Europe in February 2012. The birds succumbed to the cold after being trapped in the frozen water and left unable to fly away. Rescuers were able to save several weakened flamingos and send them to a bird park.


In 2004, an estimated 300 hippopotamuses in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park died after drinking water contaminated with anthrax. The lethal bacteria can frequently be found in the pools of stagnant water that form during Uganda’s dry season. The country has suffered from occasional anthrax outbreaks since the 1950s and because of their semiaquatic nature, hippos are particularly vulnerable to contamination.

Magellan Penguins

In July 2010, for example, about 500 dead Magellan Penguins washed up on the shores of Brazil over the course of just 10 days. Autopsies on the animals revealed that their stomachs were entirely empty, indicating that they likely starved to death.


In early 2010, a bitterly cold and snowy winter followed a summer drought, preventing many species in Mongolia from grazing adequately. The disaster resulted in the deaths of millions of camels, goats, sheep, cows, yaks and horses.

Saiga antelopes

In May 2015, 60,000 saiga antelopes died in just four days, and no one really knows why. Saiga – a species of dog-sized antelope with Gonzo-like noses, native to central Asia – are critically endangered. Saigas live in a few herds in Kazakhstan, one small herd in Russia and a herd in Mongolia. The herds congregate with other herds during the cold winters, as well as when they migrate to other parts of Kazakhstan, during the fall and spring. The herds split up to calve their young during the late spring and early summer.


In May 2013, a virus never before seen in the U.S., called porcine epidemic diarrhea, quickly spread to 27 states and claimed the lives of six million piglets in less than a year. Scientists think the virus, which does not infect humans or other animals, came from China, but it’s unclear how it got into the country and wiped out at least three percent of the nation’s pig herd.


In March 2011, boaters awakened to find millions of dead anchovies and sardines washed up around their vessels in a Southern California marina. The fish were so thick in some places that boats couldn’t get out of the marina.


In late 2005 and January 2006, 200 endangered sea turtles were found dead along beaches on the coast of El Salvador. Scientists’ best guess at to the cause of this mysterious die-off is that the turtles fell victim to harmful algal blooms, known as a red tide.

Brown Pelicans

In January 2009, hundreds of Brown Pelicans were found dead or acting peculiar along the California coast. Though researchers were unclear as to what exactly triggered the birds’ illness, the mysterious mass die-off may have been due to unseasonable weather patterns that threw off the Pelicans’ eating habits.

4 Reasons the Paris Agreement Won’t Solve Climate Change

by    Director of the Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions Program at Columbia University.

Many hail the Paris agreement—set to cross the threshold this week to come into effect—as a panacea for global climate change. Yet tragically, this perspective neglects to take into account the scientific reality of our climate system, which tells a much different story.

Our latest research, Young People’s Burden: Requirement of Negative CO2 Emissions, appeared Monday as a “Discussion” paper in Earth System Dynamics Discussion, and outlines how—if national governments neglect to take aggressive climate action today—today’s young people will inherit a climate system so altered it will require prohibitively expensive—and possibly infeasible—extraction of CO2 from the atmosphere.

Global temperatures are already at the level of the Eemian period (130,000 to 115,000 years ago), when sea level was 6-9 meters higher than today. Considering the additional warming “in the pipeline,” due to delayed response of the climate system and the impossibility of instant replacement of fossil fuels, additional temperature rise is inevitable.

Continued high fossil fuel emissions place a burden on young people to undertake “negative CO2 emissions,” which would require massive technological CO extraction with minimal estimated costs of $104-$570 trillion this century, with large risks and uncertain feasibility.

Continued high fossil fuel emissions unarguably sentences young people to either a massive, possibly implausible cleanup or growing deleterious climate impacts or both, scenarios that should provide incentive and obligation for governments to alter energy policies without further delay.

The paper provides the underlying scientific backing for the Our Children’s Trust lawsuit against the U.S. government, which argues that climate change jeopardizes the next generation’s inalienable rights under the U.S. Constitution to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The paper offers an opportunity to examine the current state of the planet with respect to climate change. Four key takeaways include:

1. The Paris Climate Accord is a precatory agreement, wishful thinking that mainly reaffirms, 23 years later, the 1992 Rio Framework Convention on Climate Change. The developing world need for abundant, affordable, reliable energy is largely ignored, even though it is a basic requirement to eliminate global poverty and war. Instead the developed world pretends to offer reparations, a vaporous $100B/year, while allowing climate impacts to grow.

2. As long as fossil fuels are allowed to be held up as the cheapest reliable energy, they will continue to be the world’s largest energy source and the likelihood of disastrous consequences for young people will grow to near certainty.

3. Technically, it is still possible to solve the climate problem, but there are two essential requirements: (1) a simple across-the-board rising carbon fee collected from fossil fuel companies at the source, and (2) government support for RD&D (research, development and demonstration) of clean energy technologies, including advanced generation, safe nuclear power.

4. Courts are crucial to solution of the climate problem. The climate “problem” was and is an opportunity for transformation to a clean energy future. However, the heavy hand of the fossil fuel industry works mostly in legal ways such as the “I’m an Energy Voter” campaign in the U.S. Failure of executive and legislative branches to deal with climate change makes it essential for courts, less subject to pressure and bribery from special financial interests, to step in and protect young people, as they did minorities in the case of civil rights.

For a deeper dive, click here.

Clinton vs. Trump: Will the presidential hopefuls make climate change a focus for Sunday’s debate?

By Amanda Schmidt, AccuWeather Staff Writer
October 8, 2016; 5:05 PM

Despite their sharp contrast on climate change, the subject has not been a major topic of discussion in the 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

In the first debate between Clinton and Trump on Sept. 26., only one minute and 22 seconds was spent on climate change and other environmental issues.

In comparison with presidential debates since 2000, this is the second least amount of time spent on environmental policy. Although it has been a hot-button issue, it was not discussed at all in the 2012 presidential election between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

The high point for green issues came during the 2000 presidential debates between Al Gore and George W. Bush.

2016: so far: 1 minute, 22 seconds in one presidential debate.

2012: 0 minutes.

2008: 5 minutes, 18 seconds in two presidential debates. An additional 5 minutes, 48 seconds in a vice presidential debate.

2004: 5 minutes, 14 seconds in a single presidential debate.

2000: 14 minutes, 3 seconds in three presidential debates. 5 minutes, 21 seconds in a vice presidential debate.

This data is provided by

While Clinton believes that it is an urgent issue, Trump has called climate change a “hoax” in the past.

In the first debate, Clinton accused Trump of believing that climate change is “a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.”

Trump interjected and said that was false. However, as social media users quickly discovered, he had said exactly that in a 2012 tweet.

In a previous AccuWeather poll from February 2016, 58 percent of voters said that a candidate’s stance on climate change would not influence their vote in the election.

Though Trump’s rejection of climate science will not influence everyone’s vote, it may help Clinton reach millennial voters. According to a Harvard study, three out of four millennials believe in climate change.

“… Never thought when I gave my acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention that I would have to put in the following sentence: I believe in science,” Clinton said to the University of New Hampshire campus on Sept. 28.

Young voters have consistently ranked climate change as an important issue, and Clinton’s position is a major divide with both Trump and Gary Johnson, the libertarian candidate.

Clinton’s environmental allies are urging her campaign and debate moderators to keep climate change in the spotlight as the political campaign continues.

Al Gore to campaign for Clinton, hoping to galvanize young voters on climate change

Former vice president Al Gore will start campaigning for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, according to individuals briefed on the plan, in an effort to mobilize young voters who see climate change as a key issue.

The decision by Gore to plunge into the campaign during the final weeks shows the extent to which Democrats remain concerned that Clinton has yet to connect with many millennials, some of whom are backing third-party candidates this year. The former vice president, a climate activist, will speak about not just Clinton’s plan to address global warming, but also the idea that voting for an independent presidential candidate could deliver the White House to Republicans in the same way that Ralph Nader’s candidacy helped undermine his presidential bid in 2000.

CNN first reported Gore’s plans Monday evening.


This Year, I’m Not Voting “For” Anyone…

I’m casting my vote against Donald Trump. There are countless reasons why, not least10592828_10153082232478508_4644565137425820442_n of which is that his sons are trophy hunters, responsibe for the deaths of elephants, leopards and untold other African animals.

But, ‘they are not him,’ you might say. No, and George W was not George Bush, Sr. But W would never have been eletected (or even thought of running) if his father wasn’t first. One sport hunter in the upper echelons of government is bad enough (and we already have one in speaker of the house Paul Ryan).

That doesn’t mean Hillary is the perfect choice either, though. Back when she rejected overpopulation as an issue by telling China (as Secretary of State) that their one-child policy was was wrong, I swore I’d never vote for her if she ran for office in the future. (At least her husband and daughter are veg.)

But Trump is clearly the wrong choice, with his statement that he “believes” climate change is a “hoax” and his selection of a fellow denialist for his cabinet.

I mean, it’s not like we’re talking about god, the easter bunny, or bigfoot; climate change is a well-documented, well-proven fact, and the most urgent issue of our time.



James Hansen, father of climate change awareness, calls Paris talks ‘a frau

James Hansen climate change Paris COP21 global warming Nasa
‘Many of the conservatives know climate change is not a hoax,’ James Hansen says. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod for the Guardian

Mere mention of the Paris climate talks is enough to make James Hansen grumpy. The former Nasa scientist, considered the father of global awareness of climate change, is a soft-spoken, almost diffident Iowan. But when he talks about the gathering of nearly 200 nations, his demeanour changes.
“It’s a fraud really, a fake,” he says, rubbing his head. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”

The talks, intended to reach a new global deal on cutting carbon emissions beyond 2020, have spent much time and energy on two major issues: whether the world should aim to contain the temperature rise to 1.5C or 2C above preindustrial levels, and how much funding should be doled out by wealthy countries to developing nations that risk being swamped by rising seas and bashed by escalating extreme weather events.

But, according to Hansen, the international jamboree is pointless unless greenhouse gas emissions are taxed across the board. He argues that only this will force down emissions quickly enough to avoid the worst ravages of climate change.
Paris talks overlooking immediate threats, say climate change activists
Hansen, 74, has just returned from Paris where he again called for a price to be placed on each tonne of carbon from major emitters (he’s suggested a “fee” – because “taxes scare people off” – of $15 a tonne that would rise $10 a year and bring in $600bn in the US alone). There aren’t many takers, even among “big green” as Hansen labels environment groups.

Hansen has been a nagging yet respected voice on climate change since he shot to prominence in the summer of 1988. The Nasa scientists, who had been analyzing changes in the Earth’s climate since the 1970s, told a congressional committee that something called the “greenhouse effect” where heat-trapped gases are released into the atmosphere was causing global warming with a 99% certainty.

A New York Times report of the 1988 testimony includes the radical suggestion that there should be a “sharp reduction in the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels that release carbon dioxide”, a plea familiar to those who have watched politicians who have traipsed up to the lectern or interviewer’s microphone in Paris over the past two weeks.

After that, things started to get a little difficult for Hansen. He claims the White House altered subsequent testimony, given in 1989, and that Nasa appointed a media overseer who vetted what he said to the press. They held practice press conferences where any suggestion that fossil fuels be reduced was considered political and unscientific, and therefore should not be uttered.

“Scientists are trained to be objective,” Hansen says. “I don’t think we should be prevented for talking about the the implications of science.” He retired from Nasa in 2013. “That was a source of friction. I held on longer than I wanted, by a year or two. I was in my 70s, it was time for someone else to take over. Now I feel a lot better.”

A man rides his bicycle on yellow paint poured on the street during a protest by activists from environmental group Greenpeace on the Champs-Elysee in Paris, ON Friday.
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A man rides his bicycle on yellow paint poured on the street during a protest by activists from environmental group Greenpeace on the Champs-Elysee in Paris. Photograph: Christophe Ena/AP
From being possibly America’s most celebrated scientist, Hansen is now probably its most prominent climate activist. He’s been arrested several times in protests outside the White House over mining and the controversial Keystone pipeline extension.

He is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University. When he’s in New York, he lives near the campus, surrounded by books piled on groaning shelves. Hansen’s not slowing down – he’s involved in a climate lobbying group and still undertakes the sort of scientific endeavor which helps maintain his gravitas.

One particular paper, released in July, painted a particularly bleak future for just about anyone living near the coast. Hansen and 16 colleagues found that Earth’s huge ice sheets, such as those found in Greenland, are melting faster than expected, meaning that even the 2C warming limit is “highly dangerous”.

The sea level could soon be up to five meters higher than it is today by the latter part of this century, unless greenhouse gases aren’t radically slashed, the paper states. This would inundate many of the world’s cities, including London, New York, Miami and Shanghai.

“More than half of the world’s cities of the world are at risk,” Hansen says. “If you talk to glaciologists privately they will tell you they are very concerned we are locking in much more significant sea level rises than the ice sheet models are telling us.
“The economic cost of a business as usual approach to emissions is incalculable. It will become questionable whether global governance will break down. You’re talking about hundreds of million of climate refugees from places such as Pakistan and China. We just can’t let that happen. Civilization was set up and developed with a stable, constant coastline.”

The paper has yet to be fully peer reviewed and some of Hansen’s colleagues, including his protege at Nasa, Gavin Schmidt, have voiced their doubts whether sea level rise will be quite this bad, with the IPCC projecting up to a meter by 2100.

Brickbats are thrown in a bipartisan way. Hansen feels Obama, who has made climate change a legacy issue in his final year in office, has botched the opportunity to tackle the issue.
COP21 environmental photography exhibition – in pictures
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“We all foolishly had such high hopes for Obama, to articulate things, to be like Roosevelt and have fireside chats to explain to the public why we need to have a rising fee on carbon in order to move to clean energy,” he says. “But he’s not particularly good at that. He didn’t make it a priority and now it’s too late for him.”

Hansen is just as scathing of leading Republicans who have embraced climate science denialism to the chagrin of some party elders.

Leading presidential candidates Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson have all derided evidence that the world is warming due to human activity while Ted Cruz, another contender, has taken time out from his campaign to to sit on an inquiry into climate science that has heard testimony from a rightwing radio host who has no scientific background.

“It’s all embarrassing really,” Hansen says. “After a while you realise as a scientist that politicians don’t act rationally.

“Many of the conservatives know climate change is not a hoax. But those running for president are hamstrung by the fact they think they can’t get the nomination if they say this is an issue. They wouldn’t get money from the fossil fuel industry.”

There is a positive note to end on, however. Global emissions have somewhat stalled and Hansen believes China, the world’s largest emitter, will now step up to provide the leadership lacking from the US. A submerged Fifth Avenue and deadly heatwaves aren’t an inevitability.

“I think we will get there because China is rational,” Hansen says. “Their leaders are mostly trained in engineering and such things, they don’t deny climate change and they have a huge incentive, which is air pollution. It’s so bad in their cities they need to move to clean energies. They realise it’s not a hoax. But they will need co-operation.
This article was amended on 14 December 2015 to clarify that Hansen believes taxes on greenhouse gas emissions are essential to the Paris climate talks.

11 Times Trump Said ‘Climate Change Is a Hoax’

Though moderator Lester Holt did not ask a specific question on climate change during the first presidential debate last night, Rolling Stone said, “Trump’s big debate lie on global warming” became the “most important exchange of the night.”

After just 18 minutes of the debate, conversation between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trumpquickly transitioned to renewable energy jobs as they discussed the economy. During that exchange, Clinton slipped in the well-known fact that Trump believes climate change is “a hoaxperpetrated by the Chinese.” Though he has called climate change a hoax numerous times since 2012, he still interrupted Clinton to reject that claim.

Here are 11 times Donald Trump called climate change a hoax—compiled by the Sierra Club Political Committee—despite him telling 100 million people last night that he never said it:

1. Donald Trump on climate change policy on Fox News:


Mass Extinction: It’s the End of the World as We Know It

Dahr Jamail | Mass Extinction: It’s the End of the World as We Know It Monday, 06 July 2015 00:00
Written by
Dahr Jamail By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Interview 

Mass Exctinction(Image: Death valley, ghostly visage via Shutterstock; Edited: JR/TO)

Guy McPherson is a professor emeritus of evolutionary biology, natural resources and ecology at the University of Arizona, and has been a climate change expert for 30 years. He has also become a controversial figure, due to the fact that he does not shy away from talking about the possibility of near-term human extinction.

To see more stories like this, visit “Planet or Profit?”

While McPherson’s perspective might sound like the stuff of science fiction, there is historical precedent for his predictions. Fifty-five million years ago, a 5-degree Celsius rise in average global temperatures seems to have occurred in just 13 years, according to a study published in the October 2013 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A report in the August 2013 issue of Science revealed that in the near term, earth’s climate will change 10 times faster than during any other moment in the last 65 million years.

Truthout caught up with McPherson in Washington State, where he was recently on a lecture tour, sharing his dire analysis of how far along we already are regarding ACD.

Dahr Jamail: How many positive feedback loops have you identified up until now, and what does this ever-increasing number of them indicate?

Guy McPherson: I can’t quite wrap my mind around the ever-increasing number of self-reinforcing feedback loops. A long time ago, when there were about 20 of them, I believed evidence would accumulate in support of existing loops, but we couldn’t possibly identify any more. Ditto for when we hit 30. And 40. There are more than 50 now, and the hits keep coming. And the evidence for existing feedback loops continues to grow.

In addition to these positive feedback loops “feeding” within themselves, they also interact among each other. Methane released from the Arctic Ocean is exacerbated and contributes to reduced albedo [reflectivity of solar radiation by the ice] as the Arctic ice declines. Tack on the methane released from permafrost and it’s obvious we’re facing a shaky future for humanity.

You talk often about how when major industrial economic systems collapse, this will actually cause a temperature spike. Please explain, in layperson’s terms, how this occurs.

Industrial activity continually adds reflective particles into earth’s atmosphere. Particularly well known are sulfates produced by burning coal (“clean coal” has a lower concentration of sulfates than “dirty coal”). These particles reflect incoming sunlight, thus artificially cooling the planet.

These reflective particles constantly fall out of the atmosphere, but industrial activity continuously adds them, too. When industrial activity ceases, all the particles will fall out within a few days. As a result, earth will lose its “umbrella” and rapid warming of the planet will ensue. According to a 2011 paper by James Hansen and colleagues, the warming will add 1.2 plus or minus 0.2 degrees Celsius. Subsequent research indicates the conservative nature of this paper, suggesting termination of industrial activity will add a minimum of 1.4 degrees Celsius to the global average temperature.

What indicators are you seeing that show the possibility of major economic collapses in the near future?

We cannot sustain the unsustainable forever, and this version of civilization is the least sustainable of them all. It teeters on the brink, and many conservative voices have predicted economic collapse this year or next. According to a June 2012 report by David Korowicz for the Feasta group, a disruption of supply will trigger collapse of the world’s industrial economy in as little as three weeks.

The supply disruptions to which Korowicz refers include water, food and oil. We can add financial credit to the list. In other words, credit could dry up as it nearly did in late 2008. Or the bond markets could trigger hyperinflation. California could have insufficient water to grow enough food to support much of the US, and not long from now. The list goes on.

Go into detail about what you’re seeing as far as indications of abrupt climate change.

When I’m in the midst of a speaking tour, as I am now, I deliver a presentation approximately every day. Lately, I include a [different] indication of abrupt climate change [in] each presentation. In other words, I’ve been coming across evidence every day.

Recent examples include the June 19, 2015, paper in Science Advances: We are in the midst of the sixth great extinction. According to the abstract, the “sixth mass extinction is already under way.” The lead author, in an interview, said, “life would take many millions of years to recover, and our species itself would likely disappear early on.”

What are other factors you feel people should be aware of?

We’re in serious human-population overshoot. We’re driving to extinction at least 150 species each day. Nuclear power plants require grid-tied electricity, cooling water and people getting paychecks. Without all these, they melt down, thus immersing all life on earth in ionizing radiation.

There’s more. Much more. But all the evidence points toward our individual deaths and the extinction of our species in the near future.

But most importantly, we get to live now.



Self-Reinforcing Feedback Loops

— from the blog of Guy McPherson, Nature Bats Last 

…22. Drought-induced mortality of trees contributes to increased decomposition of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and decreased sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Such mortality has been documented throughout the world since at least November 2000 in Nature, with recent summaries in the February 2013 issue of Nature for the tropics, the August 2013 issue of Frontiers in Plant Science for temperate North America, and the 21 August 2015 issue of Science for boreal forests. The situation is exacerbated by pests and disease, as trees stressed by altered environmental conditions become increasingly susceptible to agents such as bark beetles andmistletoe (additional examples abound).

One extremely important example of this phenomenon is occurring in the Amazon, where drought in 2010 led to the release of more carbon than the United States that year (Science, February 2011). The calculation badly underestimates the carbon release. In addition, ongoing deforestation in the region is driving declines in precipitation at a rate much faster than long thought, as reported in the 19 July 2013 issue of Geophysical Research Letters. An overview of the phenomenon, focused on the Amazon, was provided by Climate News Network on 5 March 2014. “The observed decline of the Amazon sink diverges markedly from the recent increase in terrestrial carbon uptake at the global scale, and is contrary to expectations based on models,” according to a paper in the 19 March 2015 issue of Nature. ** Finally, according to a paper in the 1 July 2016 issue of Global Biogeochemical Cycles, the 2010 drought completely shut down the Amazon Basin’s carbon sink, by killing trees and slowing their growth. **

Tropical rain forests, long believed to represent the primary driver of atmospheric carbon dioxide, are on the verge of giving up that role. According to a 21 May 2014 paper published in Nature, “the higher turnover rates of carbon pools in semi-arid biomes are an increasingly important driver of global carbon cycle inter-annual variability,” indicating the emerging role of drylands in controlling environmental conditions. “Because of the deforestation of tropical rainforests in Brazil, significantly more carbon has been lost than was previously assumed.” In fact, “forest fragmentation results in up to a fifth more carbon dioxide being emitted by the vegetation.” These results come from the 7 October 2014 issue of Nature Communications. A paper in the 28 December 2015 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates Amazon forest could transition to savanna-like states in response to climate change. Savannas are simply described as grasslands with scattered trees or shrubs. The abstract of the paper suggests that, “in contrast to existing predictions of either stability or catastrophic biomass loss, the Amazon forest’s response to a drying regional climate is likely to be an immediate, graded, heterogeneous transition from high-biomass moist forests to transitional dry forests and woody savannah-like states.”

The boreal forest wraps around the globe at the top of the Northern Hemisphere. It is the planet’s single largest biome and makes up 30 percent of the globe’s forest cover. Moose are the largest ungulate in the boreal forest and their numbers have plummeted. The reason is unknown.

Dennis Murray, a professor of ecology at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, thinks the dying moose of Minnesota and New Hampshire and elsewhere are one symptom of something far bigger – a giant forest ecosystem that is rapidly shrinking, dying, and otherwise changing. “The boreal forest is breaking apart,” he says. “The question is what will replace it?”

Increasing drought threatens almost all forests in the United States, according to a paper in the 21 February 2016 online issue of Global Change Biology. According to the paper’s abstract, “diebacks, changes in composition and structure, and shifting range limits are widely observed.”

For the first time scientists have investigated the net balance of the three major greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide — for every region of Earth’s land masses. The results were published in the 10 March 2016 issue of Nature. The surprising result: Human-induced emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from ecosystems overwhelmingly surpass the ability of the land to soak up carbon dioxide emissions, which makes the terrestrial biosphere a contributor to climate change.

An abstract of a paper to be published in the April 2016 issue of Biogeochemistry includes these sentences: “Rising temperatures and nitrogen (N) deposition, both aspects of global environmental change, are proposed to alter soil organic matter (SOM) biogeochemistry. … Overall, this study shows that the decomposition and accumulation of molecularly distinct SOM components occurs with soil warming and N amendment and may subsequently alter soil biogeochemical cycling.” In other words, as global temperatures rise, the organic matter in forests appears to break down more quickly, thereby accelerating the release of carbon into the atmosphere.

23. Ocean acidification leads to release of less dimethyl sulphide (DMS) by plankton. DMS shields Earth from radiation. (Nature Climate Change, online 25 August 2013). Plankton form the base of the marine food web, some populations have declined 40% since 1950 (e.g., article in the 29 July 2010 issue of Nature), and they are on the verge of disappearing completely, according to a paperin the 18 October 2013 issue of Global Change Biology. As with carbon dioxide, ocean acidification is occurring rapidly, according to a paper in the 26 March 2014 issue of Global Biogeochemical Cycles. Acidification is proceeding at a pace unparalleled during the last 300 million years, according to research published in the 2 March 2012 issue of Science. Over the past 10 years, the Atlantic Ocean has soaked up 50 percent more carbon dioxide than it did the decade before, measurably speeding up the acidification of the ocean, according to a paper published in the 30 January 2016 issue of Global Biogeochemical Cycles. Not surprisingly, the degradation of the base of the marine food web is reducing the ability of fish populations to reproduce and replenish themselves across the globe, as reported in the 14 December 2015 online edition of theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Diatoms, one of the major groups of plankton, is declining globally at the rate of about one percent per year, according to a paper in the 23 September 2015 issue of Global Biogeochemical Cycles.

The Southern Ocean is acidifying at such a rate because of rising carbon dioxide emissions that large regions may be inhospitable for key organisms in the food chain to survive as soon as 2030,according to a paper in the 2 November 2015 online issue of Nature Climate Change.

A paper in the 26 November 2015 issue of Science Express indicates millennial-scale shifts in plankton in the subtropical North Pacific Ocean that are “unprecedented in the last millennium.” The ongoing shift “began in the industrial era and is supported by increasing N2-fixing cyanobacterial production. This picoplankton community shift may provide a negative feedback to rising atmospheric CO2.” One of the authors of the papers is quoted during an interview: “This picoplankton community shift may have provided a negative feedback to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide, during the last 100 years. However, we cannot expect this to be the case in the future.”

Further research on primary productivity in the ocean was published in paper in the 19 January 2016 issue of Geophysical Research Letters. Referring to the Indian Ocean, the abstract concludes, “future climate projections suggest that the Indian Ocean will continue to warm, driving this productive region into an ecological desert.”

For the first time, researchers have documented algae-related toxins in Arctic sea mammals. Specifically, toxins produced by harmful algal blooms are showing up in Alaska marine mammals as far north as the Arctic Ocean — much farther north than ever reported previously, according to apaper in the 11 February 2016 issue of Harmful Algae. The abstract indicates, “In this study, 905 marine mammals from 13 species were sampled including; humpback whales, bowhead whales, beluga whales, harbor porpoises, northern fur seals, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, ringed seals, bearded seals, spotted seals, ribbon seals, Pacific walruses, and northern sea otters. Domoic acid was detected in all 13 species examined and had the greatest prevalence in bowhead whales (68%) and harbor seals (67%). Saxitoxin was detected in 10 of the 13 species … These results provide evidence that … toxins are present throughout Alaska waters at levels high enough to be detected in marine mammals and have the potential to impact marine mammal health in the Arctic marine environment.”

24. Jellyfish have assumed a primary role in the oceans of the world (26 September 2013 issue of the New York Times Review of Books, in a review of Lisa-ann Gershwin’s book, Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean): “We are creating a world more like the late Precambrian than the late 1800s — a world where jellyfish ruled the seas and organisms with shells didn’t exist. We are creating a world where we humans may soon be unable to survive, or want to.” Jellyfish contribute to climate change via (1) release of carbon-rich feces and mucus used by bacteria for respiration, thereby converting bacteria into carbon dioxide factories and (2) consumption of vast numbers of copepods and other plankton.

25. Sea-level rise causes slope collapse, tsunamis, and release of methane, as reported in the September 2013 issue of Geology. In eastern Siberia, the speed of coastal erosion has nearly doubled during the last four decades as the permafrost melts. And it appears sea-level rise has gone exponential, judging from Scribbler’s 4 May 2015 analysis. Considering only data through 2005, according to a paper published 28 September 2015 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the 500-year return time of floods in New York City has been reduced to 24.4 years.

26. Rising ocean temperatures will upset natural cycles of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorus, hence reducing plankton (Nature Climate Change, September 2013). Ocean warming has been profoundly underestimated since the 1970s according to a paper published in the online version ofNature Climate Change on 5 October 2014. Specifically, the upper 2,300 feet of the Southern Hemisphere’s oceans may have warmed twice as quickly after 1970 than had previously been thought. According to a 22 January 2015 article in The Guardian, “the oceans are warming so fast, they keep breaking scientists’ charts.”

Another indication of a warming ocean is coral bleaching. The third global coral bleaching event since 1998, and also the third in evidence, ever, is underway on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. According to Australia National News on 28 March 2016, a survey of the Great Barrier Reef reports 95% of the northern reefs were rated as severely bleached, and only 4 of 520 reefs surveyed were found to be unaffected by bleaching.

27. Earthquakes trigger methane release, and consequent warming of the planet triggers earthquakes, as reported by Sam Carana at the Arctic Methane Emergency Group (October 2013)…

As Climate Disruption Advances, UN Warns: “The Future Is Happening Now”

Monday, 02 May 2016

By Dahr Jamail, Truthout

Each month as I write these dispatches, I shake my head in disbelief at the rapidity at which anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) is occurring. It’s as though each month I think, “It can’t possibly keep happening at this incredible pace.”

But it does.

By late April, the Mauna Loa Observatory, which monitors atmospheric carbon dioxide, recorded an incredible daily reading: 409.3 parts per million. That is a range of atmospheric carbon dioxide content that this planet has not seen for the last 15 million years, and 2016 is poised to see these levels only continue to increase.

To see more stories like this, visit “Planet or Profit?”

Climate Disruption DispatchesRecently, Dr. James Hansen, a former NASA scientist and longtime whistleblower about the impending dangers of ACD, published a paper with several colleagues showing that ACD will push sea level rise into exponential levels by the end of this century. Their paper shows how melting is actually compounding itself, generating dramatically fast increases in both melting and sea level rise. We may well see the current three millimeter per year sea level rise grow to nearly five centimeters by 2056, and continue to increase in a nonlinear fashion.

Scientists in Antarctica are now astounded at the rapidity of the disintegration of the massive Antarctic ice shelves: It turns out the ice in Antarctica is far more fragile and predisposed to melting than was previously believed.