Warming could trigger insect food frenzy

Global warming could bring about a veritable insect explosion, if past performance is an indication of future gains.

Just such a buggy invasion swarmed parts of the northern United States during an abrupt global warming event more than 50 million years ago, a new study of leaf fossils shows.

The study’s findings, detailed in the Feb. 11 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicate that the same thing could happen during our current period of warming.

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This fossilized leaf shows where insects ate away at the plant some 50 million years ago during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.

Read moreWarming could trigger insect food frenzy

Food fear beats climate change

A WORSENING global food shortage is a problem far more urgent than climate change, top Australian scientists have warned.
The Australian Science Media Centre briefing heard why prices for some staple foods had risen by as much as 60 per cent in the past year, and how dramatic price rises are expected to sweep across all staples in the near future.

Read moreFood fear beats climate change

Tens of thousands camp out after Indonesian quake: official

JAKARTA, Feb 21, 2008 (AFP) – Tens of thousands of people camped outside their homes on the Indonesian island of Simeulue after a 7.5-magnitude quake that killed three, an official said Thursday.

The quake hit just off the remote island located near Sumatra on Wednesday, triggering panic across the region lashed by the earthquake-triggered 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed 168,000 people in Indonesia.

Read moreTens of thousands camp out after Indonesian quake: official

World warned on high food costs – BBC NEWS

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said he is deeply concerned about the sharp rise in global food prices.

Mr Ban said the trend would hinder progress towards the millennium development goals (MDGs), which aim to halve extreme poverty by 2015.

The UN World Food Program (WFP) and other agencies may be forced to ration food aid, he said in a BBC interview.

He said shortages might be eased by a “green revolution” to transform farming methods in Africa.

Global food prices have risen by 40% in nine months and food reserves are at their lowest for 30 years.

The WFP is facing a $500m (£248m) shortfall in its attempts to feed 73 million people this year.

Read moreWorld warned on high food costs – BBC NEWS

Cyclone heads to Mozambique tourist area and Madagascar

MAPUTO, March 13 (Reuters) – The tropical cyclone that has lashed parts of Mozambique, killing 10 people, is expected to hit the southern tourist region of the country before gathering speed on its way to Madagascar, authorities said on Thursday.

Cyclone Jokwe struck ferociously last Friday, displacing 55,000 people, destroying electricity pylons and uprooting trees in the northern Nampula province.

“It is too dangerous for shipping. It is now over the Mozambique channel on its current course and is likely to strike both Mozambique and Madagascar again,” Mussa Mustafa, head of the National Institute of Meteorology, said in an interview.

Read moreCyclone heads to Mozambique tourist area and Madagascar

Climate change soon could kill thousands in UK, says report

Climate change could lead to a heatwave in the south-east of England killing 3,000 people within the next decade, a Department of Health report said today.It put the chances of a heatwave of that severity happening by 2017 at 25%.

Without preventative action, the report said that a nine-day heatwave, with temperatures averaging at least 27 degrees over 24 hours, would cause 3,000 immediate deaths, with another 3,350 people dying from heat-related conditions during the summer.

It predicted that there would be an increase in skin cancers due to increased exposure to sunlight and that, over the next half century, air pollution could lead to an extra 1,500 deaths and hospital admissions a year.

While malaria outbreaks were likely to remain rare, the report – Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK 2008 – said health authorities would need to be alert to the dangers posed by possible larger outbreaks of malaria in continental Europe.

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Eggborough power station, near Selby. The report says climate change
could lead to a heatwave in the south-east of England killing 3,000 people.
Photograph: John Giles/PA

Read moreClimate change soon could kill thousands in UK, says report

Polar ice pack loss may break 2007 record

TREND: Ocean currents, global warming and wind combine to leave the Arctic ice fragile. New data this winter on Arctic winds and currents indicate that next summer’s ice loss at the North Pole may be even greater than 2007’s record-setting shrinkage.

Read morePolar ice pack loss may break 2007 record

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

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.