Fossil Record Suggests Insect Assaults On Foliage May Increase With Warming Globe

During the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum more than 55 million years ago, insects chewed large holes in this leaf.

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More than 55 million years ago, the Earth experienced a rapid jump in global carbon dioxide levels that raised temperatures across the planet. Now, researchers studying plants from that time have found that the rising temperatures may have boosted the foraging of insects. As modern temperatures continue to rise, the researchers believe the planet could see increasing crop damage and forest devastation.

Read moreFossil Record Suggests Insect Assaults On Foliage May Increase With Warming Globe

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Mystery Bee Disappearances Sweeping U.S.

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( Commentary from the Infinite Unknown:
There will be FOOD SHORTAGES very soon !!!

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” – Albert Einstein )

Without a trace, something is causing bees to vanish by the thousands. But a new task force hopes to finger the culprit and save the valuable crops that rely on the insects.

Pennsylvania beekeeper Dave Hackenberg was the first beekeeper to report to bee researchers what’s become known as colony collapse disorder (CCD).

In October Hackenberg had delivered honeybees to a Florida farm to pollinate crops. The bees typically return to their boxed hives when their work is done. But this time was different.”I came to pick up 400 bee colonies and the bees had just flat-out disappeared,” Hackenberg said. “There were no dead bees, no bees on the ground, just empty boxes.”

“In almost 50 years as a beekeeper, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

CCD has spread throughout 24 states and ruined hundreds of thousands of bee colonies.

Hackenberg has lost roughly 1,900 of his 2,900 hives. Other operators have lost up to 90 percent of their hives.

Read moreMystery Bee Disappearances Sweeping U.S.

WMO: La Nina may be partial cause of S China’s freeze-up

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GENEVA — The current La Nina weather phenomenon may just be a partial cause of South China’s freeze-up at the start of 2008, said the United Nations World Meteorological Agency (WMO) Monday.

The latest La Nina pattern, which began in the third quarter of 2007, has picked up strength in the past three months, with sea surface temperatures now about 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius colder than average over large parts of the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean, said the latest report issued by the WMO.

A rescuer carries an 80-year-old woman out of Jinlian village in Longnan county, East China’s Jiangxi Province, Feb. 3, 2008. After being trapped for days in frozen weather and without electricity and water supply, 1,761 people in the village were rescued successfully on Sunday. [Xinhua]

Read moreWMO: La Nina may be partial cause of S China’s freeze-up

‘Frankenfoods’ Giant Monsanto Plays Bully Over Consumer Labeling

Monsanto doesn’t want consumers to know the truth about the milk they’re drinking. The corporation’s monopoly is at stake.

“There are some corporations that clearly are operating at a level that are disastrous for the general public … And in fact I suppose one could argue that in many respects a corporation of that sort is the prototypical psychopath, at the corporate level instead of the individual level.”

–Dr. Robert Hare, The Corporation

Since 1901, Monsanto has brought us Agent Orange, PCBs, Terminator seeds and recombined milk, among other infamous products. But it’s currently obsessed with the milk, or, more importantly, the milk labels, particularly those that read “rBST-free” or “rBGH-free.” It’s not the “BST” or “BGH” that bothers them so much; after all, bovine somatrophin, also known as bovine growth hormone, isn’t exactly what the company is known for. Which is to say, it’s naturally occurring. No, the problem is the “r” denoting “recombined.” There’s nothing natural about it. In fact, the science is increasingly pointing to the possibility that recombined milk is — surprise! — not as good for you as the real thing.

“Consumption of dairy products from cows treated with rbGH raise a number of health issues,” explained Michael Hansen, a senior scientist for Consumers Union. “That includes increased antibiotic resistance, due to use of antibiotics to treat mastitis and other health problems, as well as increased levels of IGF-1, which has been linked to a range of cancers.”

Read more‘Frankenfoods’ Giant Monsanto Plays Bully Over Consumer Labeling

Finnland – areas normally covered in snow and ice…

RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service
Budapest, Hungary2008-03-04 19:23:42 – Climate Change – Finland

GLIDE CODE: CC-20080304-15687-FIN
Date & Time: 2008-03-04 19:23:42 [UTC]
Area: Finland, , Statewide,

Description:

Southern Finland had only 20 days of snow, compared to 70 days normally,
while neighboring Estonia had to cancel a popular cross-country ski
marathon in the southern city of Tartu in early February. “I don’t
remember winter like this. We had almost no snow at all in February,”
said Merike Merilain, chief weather forecaster at Estonia’s
meteorological institute, EMHI. “It’s been emotionally very stressful,
especially to many older people, that it’s dark and rainy all the time,”
she added. The Finnish Meteorological Institute said the mild winter
partly resulted from strong southerly and westerly air currents caused
by exceptionally warm surface temperatures of the Atlantic.
Nevertheless, the higher temperatures have only fueled concern that
greenhouse gasses are changing the climate, especially in the sensitive
Arctic region.

“When we were young, back in the ’80s, then winter existed,” said Ronny
Ahlstedt, 28, who works at an outdoor ice-skating rink in downtown
Stockholm. “We are contributing to this warm weather by letting out all
this pollution in the air.” In areas normally covered in snow and ice,
spring-like temperatures have brought premature sightings of flowers
such as winter aconite, snowdrops, wood anemone, daffodils and
coltsfoot. Finland’s coasts are clear of ice up to 350 miles north of
Helsinki, said Jouni Vainio from the Finnish Institute of Marine
Research. “It’s most unusual because now the whole sea should be frozen
along the Finnish coast.” Railway traffic is also being helped by the
warmth. More than 90 percent of all trains this winter have been on time
or less than five minutes late, according to the Finnish state railway,
VR. “Hard frosts and heavy blizzards have always been a bane of rail
traffic. This winter has been punctuated by their absence,” VR spokesman
Herbert Mannerstrom said.

Sweden: Winter ended before it started in Europe’s north

RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service
Budapest, Hungary2008-03-04 19:22:55 – Climate Change – Sweden

GLIDE CODE: CC-20080304-15686-SWE
Date & Time: 2008-03-04 19:22:55 [UTC]
Area: Sweden, , Statewide,

Description:Icebreakers sit idle in ports. Insects crawl out of forest hideouts.
Daffodils sprout up from green lawns. Winter ended before it started in
Europe’s north, where record-high temperatures have people wondering
whether it’s a fluke or an ominous sign of a warming world. “It’s the
warmest winter ever” recorded
, said John Ekwall of the Swedish
Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. In December, January and
February, the average temperature in Stockholm was 36 degrees – the
highest on record since record-keeping began in 1756. Record winter
highs were set at 12 other locations across the country, according to
the national weather service, SMHI. Migratory birds have returned from
southern latitudes prematurely. In southern Sweden, they never left.
“The birds that have stayed are robins and chaffinches,” said biologist
Lars-Ake Janzon at the Swedish Museum of Natural History. “They stayed
because there hasn’t been any snow.”

The warm weather also has stirred life inside the vast forests of the
Nordic and Baltic countries, where insects such as ants and ticks
emerged early from winter shelter. For businesses, the mild weather has
been a mixed blessing. For winter sports enthusiasts, the green winter
has been a nightmare. Small ski resorts around Stockholm never opened,
and skating enthusiasts waited in vain for ice to form on the waterways
surrounding the Swedish capital. “There’s not one millimeter of ice,”
said Anders Tysk, organizer of the annual Vikingarannet ice-skating race
on Lake Malaren. After postponing the race several weekends, he had to
tell 500 registered participants on Monday there would be no race this
year. “It’s the first time we’ve canceled since we introduced flexible
dates in 2003,” he said.

Finland this year has recorded its highest average temperature for a winter season since 1900

RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service
Budapest, Hungary

2008-02-29 03:52:25 – Climate Change – Finland

GLIDE CODE: CC-20080229-15599-FIN
Date & Time: 2008-02-29 03:52:25 [UTC]
Area: Finland, , Statewide,

Description:

Finland this year has recorded its highest average temperature for a
winter season since 1900, the Finnish Meteorological Institute said
Thursday. The average temperature in the Finnish capital Helsinki in
January was 0.6 degrees Celsius, which was 4.8 degrees higher than that
of the period between 1971 and 2000, said the institute. Global warming
and unusually constant warm currents from the south and the southwest
may have contributed to the extraordinarily mild winter, the institute
added. A recent poll showed that eight out of ten people see climate
change as a great threat and most Finns would be willing to take more
economic responsibility for global climate change.

Famines May Occur Without Record Crops This Year


Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) — Grain farmers will need to harvest record crops every year to meet increasing global food demand and avoid famine, Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. Chief Executive Officer William Doyle said.

People and livestock are consuming more grain than ever, draining world inventories and increasing the likelihood of shortages, Doyle said yesterday in an interview on Bloomberg Television. Global grain stockpiles fell to about 53 days of supply last year, the lowest level since record-keeping began in 1960, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“If you had any major upset where you didn’t have a crop in a major growing agricultural region this year, I believe you’d see famine,” Doyle, 57, said in New York.

Potash, the world’s largest maker of crop nutrients, has more than doubled in market value in the past year as record crop prices allowed farmers to spend more on fertilizer to boost yields. The company has more than doubled net income in the past two years to $1.1 billion and expects gross profit from potash to expand to $8 billion within five years from $912 million in 2007. Potash is a form of potassium that helps plants grow.

Read moreFamines May Occur Without Record Crops This Year

Ice Caps Melting Fast: Say Goodbye to the Big Apple?

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Southeast coast of Greenland

It is hard to shock journalists and at the same time leave them in awe of the power of nature. A group returning from a helicopter trip flying over, then landing on, the Greenland ice cap at the time of maximum ice melt last month were shaken.
One shrugged and said: “It is too late already.”

What they were all talking about was the moulins, not one moulin but hundreds, possibly thousands. “Moulin” is a word I had only just become familiar with. It is the name for a giant hole in a glacier through which millions of gallons of melt water cascade through to the rock below. The water has the effect of lubricating the glaciers so they move at three times the rate that they did previously.

Some of these moulins in Greenland are so big that they run on the scale of Niagra Falls. The scientists who accompanied these journalists on the trip were almost as alarmed. That is pretty significant because they are world experts on ice and Greenland in particular. We were visiting Ilulissat, Greenland, once a stronghold of Innuit hunters but now with so little ice that the dog sleds are in danger of falling through even in the depth of winter. But it is not the lack of sea ice that worries scientists and should be of serious concern to the inhabitants of coastal zones across the world. Cities like New York and states like Florida are in the front line.

Scientists know this already, but just to give you some idea of the problem, the Greenland ice cap is melting at such a fast rate it is triggering earthquakes as pieces of ice several cubic kilometres in size break up.

Read moreIce Caps Melting Fast: Say Goodbye to the Big Apple?