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SUMMARY OF RELEVANT STUDIES
REPORT FROM CO2science.com

Greenland Ice Sheet: Going, Going ... Growing!


Reference

Johannessen, O.M., Khvorostovsky, K., Miles, M.W. and Bobylev, L.P. 2005. Recent ice-sheet growth in the interior of Greenland. Sciencexpress / www.sciencexpress.org / 20 October 2005.

Background

For years we have been bombarded with reports of melting and thinning of ice in the coastal areas of Greenland and the catastrophic consequences that climate alarmists have said will follow in the wake of the dramatic sea level rise they predict to result from the mountains of meltwater they say will be released to the surrounding ocean, together with their even further-fetched story of imminent thermohaline circulation shutdown induced by the impending huge freshwater discharge to the region of North Atlantic Deep Water formation. Little, however, has been written about changes that may be occurring in the much larger interior region of the island's famous ice sheet and what they might imply. Now, a new study rectifies that deficiency.

What was done

Johannessen et al. derived and analyzed "a continuous satellite-altimeter height record of Greenland Ice Sheet elevations by combining European Space Agency ERS-1 and ERS-2 data, in order to determine the spatial patterns of surface elevation changes over an 11-year period, 1992-2003."

What was learned

The researchers report that "below 1500 meters, the elevation-change rate is -2.0 0.9 cm/year, in qualitative agreement with reported thinning in the ice-sheet margins," but that "an increase of 6.4 0.2 cm/year is found in the vast interior areas above 1500 meters." Spatially averaged over the bulk of the ice sheet, the net result is a mean increase of 5.4 0.2 cm/year, "or ~60 cm over 11 years, or ~54 cm when corrected for isostatic uplift."

What it means

In a world that has been said by many to have experienced a century of warming that is claimed to have been unprecedented over the past two millennia (Mann and Jones, 2003), the Greenland Ice Sheet continues to accumulate mass, even at the apex of the historical (but likely highly-inflated) temperature increase. This finding does not bode well for those who have cried "the ice sheet is shrinking" so vociferously and for so long a time.

Reference

Mann, M.E. and Jones, P.D. 2003. Global surface temperatures over the past two millennia. Geophysical Research Letters 30: 10.1029/2003GL017814. Reviewed 2 November 2005


Birds in Finland Respond to Global Warming


Reference

Brommer, J.E. 2004. The range margins of northern birds shift polewards. Annales Zoologici Fennici 41: 391-397.

Background

Climate alarmists typically claim that CO2-induced global warming will be so fast and furious that many species of plants and animals will not be able to migrate towards cooler regions of the planet (poleward in latitude and/or upward in elevation) rapidly enough to avoid extinction.

What was done

In a study that addresses this claim, the author categorized birds of Finland as either northerly (34 species) or southerly (116 species) and quantified changes in their range margins and distributions from two atlases of breeding birds, one covering the period 1974-79 and one covering the period 1986-89, in an attempt to determine how the two groups of species responded to what he calls "the period of the earth's most rapid climate warming in the last 10,000 years which started in 1976 (McCarthy et al., 2001)."

What was learned

It was determined that the southerly group of bird species experienced a mean poleward advancement of their northern range boundaries of 18.8 km over the 12-year period of supposedly unprecedented warming. However, the southern range boundaries of the northerly group of bird species were essentially unmoved by the skyrocketing temperature; and this result, in the words of the author, "did not change when raptors and threatened species were omitted from the analyses."

What it means

Noting that similar results have been obtained for birds in the United Kingdom (Thomas and Lennon, 1999) and other species (primarily butterflies) elsewhere (Parmesan, 1996; Parmesan et al., 1999), Brommer concludes that "in general, for northern hemisphere species, southerly range margins of species are less responsive to climate change than the northerly margins." As a result, it can be appreciated that the ranges of such species in a warming world will actually increase in size, as their northern range boundaries expand poleward and upward while their southern range boundaries remain largely unaltered, which should render them less subject to extinction than they are currently.

For more on this subject, see our major report The Specter of Species Extinction: Will Global Warming Decimate Earth's Biosphere?

References

McCarthy, J.J., Canziani, O.F., Leary, N.A., Dokken, D.J. and White, K.S., Eds. 2001. Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Parmesan, C. 1996. Climate and species' range. Nature 382: 765-766.
Parmesan, C., Ryrholm, N., Stefanescu, C., Hill, J.K., Thomas, C.D., Descimon, H., Huntley, B., Kaila, L., Kullberg, J., Tammaru, T., Tennent, W.J.,
Thomas, J.A. and Warren, M. 1999. Poleward shifts in geographical ranges of butterfly species associated with regional warming. Nature 399: 579-583.
Thomas, C.D. and Lennon, J.J. 1999. Birds extend their ranges northwards. Nature 399: 213.


The Roman and Medieval Warm Periods in Spain

Reference

Martinez-Cortizas, A., Pontevedra-Pombal, X., Garcia-Rodeja, E., Novoa-Muoz, J.C. and Shotyk, W. 1999. Mercury in a Spanish peat bog: Archive of climate change and atmospheric metal deposition. Science 284: 939-942.

What was done

Working with a core of 2.5 meters length, which they sampled at intervals of 2 cm in the upper 1 meter and at intervals of 5 cm below that depth, the authors derived a record of mercury deposition in the peat bog of Penido Vello in northwest Spain (4332'N, 734'W) that extends to 4000 radiocarbon years before the present, which they analyzed for a number of parameters. This work revealed, in their words, "that cold climates promoted an enhanced accumulation and the preservation of mercury with low thermal stability, and warm climates were characterized by a lower accumulation and the predominance of mercury with moderate to high thermal stability." Based on these findings and further analyses, they derived a temperature history for the region that they standardized to the mean temperature of the most recent 30 years of their record.

What was learned

The five scientists determined that the mean temperature of the Medieval Warm Period in northwest Spain was 1.5C warmer than it was over the 30 years leading up to the time of their study, and that the mean temperature of the Roman Warm Period was 2C warmer. Even more impressive was their finding that several decadal-scale intervals during the Roman Warm Period were more than 2.5C warmer than the 1968-98 period, while an interval in excess of 80 years during the Medieval Warm Period was more than 3C warmer.

What it means

Martinez-Cortizas et al. conclude, and rightly so, that "for the past 4000 years ... the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period were the most important warming periods." And, of course, we hardly need to note that these conclusions totally repudiate (for this small part of the world, at least) the drastically different claims of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) and Mann and Jones (2003), as well as the "consensus" judgment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, while many other studies repudiate the IPCC's position in many other parts of the world (see Medieval Warm Period and Roman Warm Period in our Subject Index).

Reviewed 2 November 2005


Global Warming and the Sachem Skipper Butterfly


Reference

Crozier, L. 2004. Warmer winters drive butterfly range expansion by increasing survivorship. Ecology 85: 231-241.

Background

The author notes that "Atalopedes campestris, the sachem skipper butterfly, expanded its range from northern California into western Oregon in 1967, and into southwestern Washington in 1990," where she reports it has warmed 2-4C over the past 50 years.

What was done

To assess the importance of climate change (in this case, regional warming) for population persistence of A. campestris in the recently colonized areas, Crozier "compared population dynamics at two locations (at the current range edge and just inside the range) that differ by 2-3C." Then, to determine the role of over-winter larval survivorship, she "transplanted larvae over winter to both sites."

What was learned

As Crozier describes her findings, "combined results from population and larval transplant analyses indicate that winter temperatures directly affect the persistence of A. campestris at its northern range edge, and that winter warming was a prerequisite for this butterfly's range expansion."

What it means

Noting that "populations are more likely to go extinct in colder climates," Crozier says "the good news about rapid climate change [of the warming type] is that new areas may be available for the introduction of endangered species." Her work also demonstrates that the species she studied has responded to regional warming by extending its northern range boundary and thereby expanding its range, which should enable it to move further back from the "brink of extinction" that so many climate alarmists associate with rapid global warming. See also, in this regard, our major report The Specter of Species Extinction: Will Global Warming Decimate Earth's Biosphere? Reviewed 2 November 2005


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