Rumigeration: A spreading abroad of a Rumour or Report (from N. Baily's "An Universal Etymological English Dictionary: being also An Interpreter of Hard Words")

Thursday, January 31, 2008


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From: Global Warming: The Only Solution
Date: Jan 31, 2008 5:50 PM

Warmer Atlantic fuels hurricanes

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From correspondents in London | January 31, 2008

BRITISH researchers said they have shown that a half-degree Celsius temperature rise in the Atlantic ocean can fuel a 40 per cent increase in hurricanes.

The finding by the team from University College London is a contentious one in the debate over how climate change affects weather and, especially, storms.

"A 0.5 degree C increase in sea surface temperature is associated with a 40 per cent increase in hurricane frequency and activity," the British researchers wrote in their report, published in the journal Nature today.

The team showed ocean warming is directly linked to the frequency, strength and duration of hurricanes, said Adam Lea, the research scientist who co-led the study.

The study, which did not look at whether greenhouse gases linked to global warming played a role in increasing water temperature, will help scientists better predict how warmer oceans might affect hurricanes, he said.

"It is important that future climate models are able to reproduce the relationship between sea surface temperature and hurricane activity," Mr Lea said. "If you are trying to predict some of the impacts of global warming you need to have that kind of sensitivity."

Hurricanes feed on warm water, leading to conventional wisdom supported by some recent research that global warming could be revving up more powerful storms.

US researchers, however, last week challenged this view, saying global warming could reduce the number of hurricanes hitting the United States with warmer waters resulting in atmospheric instabilities that prevent storms from forming.

Atlantic storms play a pivotal role in the global energy, insurance and commodities markets, particularly since the devastating 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, which hammered US oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico.

The British team looked at storms that formed in the tropical North Atlantic, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico - a region that produced nearly 90 per cent of the hurricanes that struck the United States between 1950 and 2005.

Mr Lea and his colleague Mark Sanders at University College London built a statistical model based on local sea surface temperature and wind to replicate hurricane activity over the past 40 years.

This allowed them to remove the effects of wind to determine the sole impact of sea surface warming.

"We are just linking how much activity you get for a specific temperature rise," he said.

"The results ... indicate that local sea surface warming was responsible for 40 per cent of the increase in hurricane activity relative to the 1950-2000 average between 1996 and 2005," the researchers' report said.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How Whales Are Really Killed!

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Tierra ~Abolition, Veganism, & Direct Action
Date: Jan 29, 2008 12:14 PM

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Carmarthenshire Animal Action
Date: Jan 29, 2008 10:50 AM

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Jade says Stop Animal Cruelty
Date: 29 Jan 2008, 14:32

Thank You
† Jenny †

Whales have evolved as diving mammals, they have a continuous supply of blood to the brain even when other functions shut down. A whale may still be conscious when it is motionless, and appearing to be dead and breathing is undetectable. Whales can take several hours to die after grenade tipped harpoons shred their internal organs, the best they can hope for is to drown in their own blood, before they are tortured and cut up alive on the processing ship Nisshin Maru.

Once hauled up on ship, they are electrocuted, via another harpoon fired into the body that would shock the heart, even though the International Whaling Commission outlawed this in 2001.

Masayuki Komatsu, executive director of the Japan Fisheries Research Agency, said that standard harpoons, used to kill minke whales, could not ensure a swift death for larger whales, so they have invented a super harpoon.

"Because new species have been added to the research project this year (2006) which are larger than a minke whale, we thought we would need a bigger grenade on the end of the harpoon to ensure the killing is instantaneous,” he said.

The new weapon (super harpoon) uses a “warhead” redesigned to penetrate the thickest layers of skin, blubber and bone. The body of the harpoon has also been redesigned, using research from battlefield weapons, so that it shatters into sharper fragments.

“If the grenades that used to be fired missed the target they just prolonged the whale’s death, so this grenade is a far more humane method,” she said.
However, the environmental groups monitoring the fleet say that the harpoons do not always work as intended so the animals can take a long time to die.

Nowadays, whales that do not die immediately are supposed to be shot in the head with large-calibre rifles. However, according to Greenpeace campaigners who witnessed such incidents, some are dragged backwards until they drown.

Wounded whales are also dragged to the boat where they may be harpooned again with non-explosive harpoons (electrocuted) or Shot with rifles. Reports from recent Japanese and Norwegian whaling operations state that it took an average of 2.9 shots to kill each whale, and that it can take up to 9 shots and they are Stabbed with electric lances and electrocuted.

The following video is a response by AussieWhale to the slurs against anti whalers. Warning, very graphic detail.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Earth Warming Acceleration

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Global Warming: The Only Solution
Date: Jan 16, 2008 4:16 PM

he Year in Review: The planet
No denying the cold, hard facts
Michael McCarthy on climate change
Published: 28 December 2007

The sheer scale of what happened hasn't sunk in, it probably hasn't sunk in at all, with most people. They're not looking back on 2007 and talking about it, in the office, in pubs or over dinner. Listen to them: they're talking about Brown taking over from Blair, or David Cameron's prospects, or England failing to qualify for the European football championships. Or they're talking about getting and spending, or love and hate, as they always have. But what happened in September dwarfs all that.

You might compare it, in its implications, to Hitler marching his troops into the previously demilitarised Rhineland, in March 1936 – the clearest possible sign that the world was in for serious trouble. Some people understood the potential consequences of Hitler's move at once, but the world as a whole carried on with business as usual, until three years later the storm burst upon it. And so it seems to be with the ice.

On Sunday 16 September 2007, the sea ice covering the Arctic ocean melted back to a record low point. It has always melted back in the summer, but in recent years it has retreated further and further, to new lows, strongly suggesting the influence of climate change. The 2007 retreat, however, shattered the previous record, set only two years earlier, by a quite colossal amount, an amount so enormous as to be scarcely credible. It exceeded the September 2005 low point by another 22 per cent – an area of 1.2 million square kilometres, or more than 385,000 square miles. This represents an extra area of ice five times the size of the United Kingdom. Gone in a single summer. If you consider that and you don't think the world is rapidly warming up, what do you need to convince you?

This summer's Arctic melting astonished scientists around the world, and sent a chill down the backs of those who saw the implications. As the head of the Canadian Ice Service said, it wasn't predicted in any supercomputer-generated climate change scenario. The scale was entirely unexpected. It was not just the clearest signal yet that global warming is taking hold; it was an ominous indication that the warming process is proceeding far, far faster than anyone considered possible even five years ago, and that its catastrophic consequences may be upon us much sooner than we have hitherto imagined.

To take just one example: the rapid increase in the melt rate in the past two or three years has led to a revision of estimates of when the Arctic might be wholly ice-free in summer.

Early predictions by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), based on computer models of global warming, suggested that as climate change advances, this might happen by 2080. But now scientists are increasingly thinking the models have seriously underestimated the rate, and it may happen much earlier.

According to Mark Serreze, a researcher at the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Colorado, it might take only 25 years – or less. "If we were talking even two or three years ago, I'd have said the transition to an ice-free Arctic summer might be between 2070 and 2100," he said. "But we're starting to see that that is rather optimistic, and an educated guess right now would be 2030. It's something that could be within our lifetime."

He added: "We're on strong spiral of decline; some would say a death spiral. I wouldn't go that far but we're certainly on a fast track. We know there is a natural variability, but the magnitude of change is too great to be caused by natural variability alone."

Yet other estimates in recent months have put an ice-free Arctic summer even closer, perhaps within 10 years. This spells doom for much of the wildlife of the region, led by polar bears, which need the ice to hunt seals. Polar bears were officially notified as threatened species last year by being included in the Red List of the World Conservation Union. Some conservationists think they could be gone by mid-century.

What the melting of the Arctic ice will not do is add to global sea-level rise because, following Archimedes' principle, it is already displacing its own volume of water when floating in the sea. (When the ice-cube melts in the gin and tonic it does not raise the level of liquid in the glass.) It is the melting of giant land-based ice sheets, such as those covering Greenland and Antarctica, which is likely to add substantially to sea levels. But breathe no sigh of relief – this is also happening at an accelerating rate, and in 2007 there was an indication of it, just as graphic as the ice melt in the Arctic Ocean.

A new island appeared off the coast of Greenland. Several miles long, the island was once thought to be the tip of a peninsula halfway up Greenland's remote east coast, but a glacier joining it to the mainland melted away completely, leaving it surrounded by sea. Shaped like a three-fingered hand, some 400 miles north of the Arctic Circle, it was discovered by veteran American explorer Dennis Schmitt, who named it Warming Island. The US Geological Survey confirmed its existence with satellite photos that show it as an integral part of the Greenland coast in 1985, but linked by only a small ice bridge in 2002, and completely separate by the summer of 2005. It is now a striking island of high peaks and rugged, rocky slopes plunging steeply to a sea dotted with icebergs.

The Independent gave over the front page to a picture of Warming Island, and also published the satellite photos, which made it clear that the new isle had been created by a quite undeniable, rapid and enormous physical transformation. It was the most vivid image yet of the disintegration of the Greenland ice sheet, which, if it melted completely, would lead to a global sea level rise of 7.2 metres, or more than 23 feet.

The melting of the ice, at sea and on land, threw into sharp relief the other climate warning that 2007 brought us – the official written one, in the shape of the fourth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

AR4, as it is known in the jargon, appeared in three parts, in February, April and May, dealing respectively with the science and the potential impacts of global warming, and the strategies for countering it. The report as a whole painted a dire picture of what was likely to happen to the world and to human society if the emission of greenhouse gases continued unabated, with a potential rise in average global temperature of 6.4C by the end of the century, which would make life on the planet as we know it unviable. Agriculture would be likely to fail over wide areas of Africa where people are poorest, while extreme weather events and sea-level rise would affect hundreds of millions.

The predictions were not entirely new – they were a refinement of the three previous IPCC reports. What was new was the level of confidence with which they were made. The fact that the world was warming was now "unequivocal", the IPCC said – an unusual strong word for cautious scientists to use – and the likelihood that this warming was a direct result of the increased amount of greenhouse gases being put into the air by human society was greater than nine out of 10.

These conclusions, representing the considered and consensus view of the international community of climate scientists, in effect ended the major debate about climate change, for all but the most perverse sceptics. They were heard with all the more attention in a world that had been at last alerted to the real dangers of global warming by one man – the former US Vice-President Al Gore, with his film An Inconvenient Truth. (He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his efforts, jointly with the IPCC, in September.)

However, some voices said the IPCC, even in its dire warnings, was underestimating the real danger, and that the rate of ice-melt instanced above was evidence of a much faster progression of global warming than the UN scientists were allowing for.

Chief among the critics was America's leading climate scientist, James Hansen of Nasa, who published an apocalyptic paper in May suggesting that by the end of the century the world would face a sea-level rise not of 59 centimetres, as the IPCC suggested, but of several metres.

This was because the land-based ice-sheets were melting in a "non-linear" way – not just melting at a steady rate, but dynamically breaking up as well, and this process was not properly represented in the supercomputer climate models used to make global-warming predictions.

By the time the final synthesis of all three sections of AR4 was published in Spain in November, the authors had partially accepted this criticism, and indicated that sea-level rise might be more than they had first calculated.

Just as important was the fact that the report had been signed off by every government in the world, including that of the US, whose officials said that the basic scientific case for climate change had now been accepted. That did not mean that the world community was united in what to do about it. On the contrary, the meeting of the UN convention on climate change in Bali this month showed that there were still wide divisions between nations about how to go forward and tackle the most critical problem human society has ever faced. The world has two years at most to get its act together to build a new international climate treaty to replace the Kyoto protocol, which is coming to an end.

But there is no longer any excuse for inaction, as people can clearly see the future, and it is dire. They used to see it in the stars, in crystal balls, in the entrails of sacrificed birds, even in tea leaves.

Our generation is seeing it in the ice.

Whale Activists "Captured"

Whale Activists "Captured"
By Andrew Darby
The Age AU

Wednesday 16 January 2008

The war between whalers and protesters escalated last night when two activists - an Australian and a Briton - stormed a Japanese ship and were detained on board by crew members.

The drama at sea came hours after the Federal Court in Sydney found that whaling in Australian Antarctic waters was illegal - a ruling that could place pressure on the Rudd Government to take more action to stop the hunt.

In a daring protest, Australian Benjamin Potts, 28, and Briton Giles Lane, 35, boarded the moving Japanese whale catcher, Yushin Maru No. 2, just inside the Australian Antarctic Sanctuary in the Southern Ocean. The pair, from the Sea Shepherd protest vessel Steve Irwin, were reported to have been tied to the whaling ship's radar mast and left out in the cold for several hours after delivering a letter to the captain saying that the crew was "illegally killing whales."

Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research confirmed that two activists had been "taken into custody" and were being held in a "secure room" on the ship.

But the head of the institute, Minoru Morimoto, denied the men had been tied up. "Any accusations that we have tied them up or assaulted them are completely untrue," he said.

"It is illegal to board another country's vessels on the high seas. As a result, at this stage, they are being held in custody while decisions are made on their future."

Mr Morimoto said the activists had boarded the ship after attempting to "entangle the screw of the vessel using ropes and throwing bottles of acid onto the decks."

Sea Shepherd international director Jonny Vasic insisted the men had been tied up. "We have a photo that shows that when they were held they were basically strapped by the arms with zip ties and tied with rope around their chests," he said. "And then they were held there for several hours in the cold."

Sea Shepherd's leader, Captain Paul Watson, said the incident happened after the group's vessel broke up the whaling fleet's attempt to resupply in the Southern Ocean.

Captain Watson said the activists were being held hostage, and he had notified the Australian Federal Police that he would like to see charges of kidnapping brought against the whalers.

The letter given to the Japanese captain said the pair were not intending to "commit a crime, to rob you or to inflict injury upon your crew and yourself or damage to your ship."

As the drama unfolded on the ship, Greenpeace continued to chase the main Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru away from the whaling area, while Oceanic Viking - the Australian customs ship sent south to monitor the whalers - was yet to appear.

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland last night ruled out using Ocean Viking to enforce yesterday's court ruling against the Japanese whaling company's hunt.

Before the election, Environment Minister Peter Garrett said Labor would enforce the law banning whale slaughter in the Australian-declared sanctuary.

But Mr McClelland said yesterday enforcement would put lives at risk. "More than that, to ultimately end whaling ... is to win the co-operation of the Japanese," he said.

The Japanese Government recently ordered the whalers not to take humpbacks, in a deal reached with the US under Australian pressure.

In the case brought by the Humane Society International, the Federal Court ruled yesterday that the Japanese whale hunt was unlawful under Australia's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

But in his ruling, Justice Jim Allsop acknowledged that enforcing the injunction would prove difficult, given Japan's refusal to acknowledge Australia's sovereignty over the sanctuary's waters.

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