4. Warming winds, rising tides: weather anomalies and ocean issues
Drs. Johan C. Varekamp and Ellen Thomas, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences,Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
Information about sea level rise in Delaware Bay and other North American locations.
Ms. Carol R. Fretwell, Coordinator, Administrative Operations, National Coral Reef Institute, NSU Oceanographic Center, Dania Beach, FL
Contacts and information on current research
Mr. Kevin P. Helmle, National Coral Reef Institute, NSU Oceanographic Center, Dania Beach, FL
Tour of collection of coral cores from Caribbean.
Dr. Thomas J. Goreau, Global Coral Reef Alliance, Chappaqua, NY
Early responses to my project with detailed information about coral bleaching.
Ms. Nancy Baron and Dr.Patty Debenham, SeaWeb, Monterey CA
Facilitated the Packard Coral Reef Science Fellowship for the 9th International Coral Reef Symposium, 2000.
Dr. Carden Wallace, Curator, Museum of Tropical Queensland, Townsville
Provided information and access to her coral research in Indonesia.
Dr. Steve Palumbi, Department of Biology, Harvard University
Briefing for journalists at the 9th ICRS
Dr. Clive Wilkinson,Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network Australian Institute of Marine Science,Townsville, Queensland
Early and continuing briefs and contacts on coral damage from 1998 El Nino and other causes.
Dr. Ove Hoegh-Goldburg, Director, Center for marine Studies, University of Queensland
Briefings at 9th ICRS on coral health and bleaching
Mr. Tommy Obruk, President of Native Village, Shismaref Alaska
Generously provided access to his village and information on erosion of shoreline.
Mr. Fred May, Florida Campaign Producer, NRDC
Research and location advice for images of Florida drought and sea level issues.
Dr. Ray Berkelmans and Dr. Terry Done, Australian Institute for Marine Science/CRC Reef; Dr. Paul Marshall, Research & Monitoring Co-ordination , Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority/ and Steve Montgomery, Independent Biologist, Oahu, Hawaii.
Research Articles and Documents
For an overview see Easterling et al, "Climate Extremes: Observations Modeling and Impacts" Science 289 pg 2068 (22 Sept 2000)
Increased temperatures, frost free days, rainfall and drought are being recorded, but not all extreme weather types are increasing.
Levitus et al., "Warming of the world ocean" Science 287, pg 2225 (2000)
The oceans are warming. The top 1,000 meters of the ocean has warmed by 0.06 degrees C over the past 50 years, while the top 300 meters has warmed by 0.31 degrees. These small increases not only are expanding the water itself, creating rising sea level, but also may vindicate global climate model results.
Grevemeyer et al, Nature 408 pg 349 (16 November 2000)
Study of Atlantic ocean wave height shows increase over the past 20 years.
Wilkinson, Hough-Guildburg, and others, Personal communication and various papers at the 9th International Symposium on Coral Reefs, Bali (Oct 2000)
Coral reefs underwent the most severe recent blaching event during the El Nino of 1998-9 and up to one-quarter of the worlds reefs have not recovered. The severity of this El Nino has been tied to warmer average ocean temperatures and a strengthening of the ENSO cycle by climate change.
Up to 60 percent of Great Barrier Reef was affected by an unexpected coral beaching episode early in 2002, according to a survey by the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Cooperative Research Centre for the reef. Dr Craig Berkelmans said that compared with the severe bleaching during the 1998 El Nino, "the 2002 event was probably worse because more reef area was affected." (Personal communications from Berkelmans and Dr. Terry Done. Quote from an ENS story May 23, 2002 .)
Dr. Paul Marshall, director of climate change programs, Great Barrier Reef Marine Protected Area, Australia, and Dr. Hoegh-Guldberg. personal communications, February 2005, on the current state of corals.
Hoegh-Guldberg "Climate Change, Coral Bleaching and the Future of the World's Coral Reefs" (Greenpeace, Washington DC 1999) and Hoegh-Guldberg and Hans Hoegh-Guldberg "The Implications of Climate Change for Australia's Great Barrier Reef" (WWF/Queensland Tourism Industry Council, Sydney, 2004)
Dr. Kent Bransford, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Provided information on the Chicago heat wave and medical effects of urban heat from his presentation material. A recent book, Heat Wave, by Dr. Eric Klinenberg of New York University set the total deaths during that week in July 1995 at 739. See http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/443213in.html .
A compilation of effects of European heat wave of August 2003 is at
http://www.earth-policy.org/Updates/Update29.htm by Janet Larsen, "RECORD HEAT WAVE IN EUROPE TAKES 35,000 LIVES."
She writes, "A record heat wave scorched Europe in August 2003, claiming an estimated 35,000 lives. In France alone, 14,802 people died from the searing temperatures- more than 19 times the death toll from the SARS epidemic worldwide. In the worst heat spell in decades, temperatures in France soared to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) and remained unusually high for two weeks."
It was actually the worst heat spell in 500 years, according to a paper in Science 303, 5 March 2004 "European Seasonal and Annual Temperature Variability, Trends, and Extremes since 1500" by Jurg Lutherbacher et al, Their study shows there have not been warmer temperatures in Europe for more than 500 years, and that 2003 was by far the hottest summer in this period of time.
5. The Critics and Skeptics: A few references
Scientists skeptical about the nature or pace of global warming challenged the "consensus" being presented on the issue in 2000 by researchers working for the United Nations, according to a BBC news story at http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1131000/1131275.stm Several scientists outside the IPCC criticized what they described as the "arrogance" of the UN body, insisting that the evidence for global warming was still far from certain.
In response, Sir John Houghton, the former UK Met Office chief who co-chaired the Shanghai meeting, said that, in his view, there could no longer be any doubt about the human effect on climate. "The evidence is certainly sufficiently strong for countries to take action based on what we've said," he told BBC News Online. "I think there are very few scientists who'd disagree with the IPCC. And most of those who do disagree have not published much," he added.
Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg, an avowed acolyte of famous environmental skeptic Julian Simon, says the global environment is getting better, not worse and claims gross exaggeration by conservation groups. In a new book in 2001 he takes special aim at climate change predictions, deforestation concerns and endangered species information. He dismisses the thousands of atmospheric, chemical, ecologic and biologic scientists who contributed to the IPCC reports and other scientific studies.
However, critical reviews in Scientific American, Nature and Science, and point by point assessments by the world Wildlife Fund and others show that Lomborg has chosen to exaggerate, select, misstate, and distort not only statements by environmental community, but also scientific studies and government reports. At the very least, he appears guilty of the same false arguments he accuses environmental groups of.
For many critiques of Lomborg's book, see www.gristmagazine.com. Stephen Schneider on the climate change portions is at