Friday, August 12, 2005

Key claims against global warming melt away, etc

Here are some more science news excerpts:
Key claims against global warming melt away, Karen Barlow, ABC, August 12, 2005. ... Three new research papers debunk earlier research that showed the planet was not warming up. In 1990, study of data collected by the University of Alabama satellite found that the atmosphere's low-level troposphere was not warming in line with computer modelling predictions. The study been used ever since by global warming sceptics. But now a correct reading of the data has revealed unequivocally that the planet's atmospheric and surface temperatures are on the rise. …. Dr David Jones, from the Bureau of Meteorology's National Climate Centre, says one satellite used to collect the data was not properly calibrated. "… There was mistake made in the correction for the time it actually travelled overhead and that's just recently come to light. "The correction's been made and now we find the satellite data shows a much more rapid warming and a warming which is very consistent with what we see at the surface." ... Two other studies, which are also published in the journal Science, have also revealed global warming miscalculations. Yale University … has found that the sensors on older weather balloons were either faulty or positioned incorrectly. The researchers say the sensors read too warm in daylight, so the results could not be trusted. California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has also smoothed out discrepancies between 19 different climate models and measurements. ... "So the broad picture for many years has been of a globe warming and a globe warming quite rapidly. ... These developments come as Siberia reports that its vast frozen peat land is undergoing its first thaw since the end of the Ice Age ... This will release billions of tonnes of greenhouse-polluting carbon dioxide and methane gas into the atmosphere, which will then speed up the global warming phenomenon. A peat land expert at the Australian National University, Professor Geoff Hope, says … the thaw will unlock massive amounts of greenhouse polluting gases into the atmosphere, which will then speed up the global warming phenomenon. "Once the peat lands are able warm up, when the frost melts from below it, then it starts to rot away," he said. "... It is partly made up of methane, most of it is carbon dioxide and the whole volume of the peat land shrinks away. "It becomes more like a sort of potting mix and less like a lot fibrous material and we release a whole pile of methane and CO2 into the air, millions and millions of tonnes of it." ...
Off piste: glacial meltdown has the ski slopes on the run The Australian, August 12, 2005 ROME: Scientists have raised the alarm over Europe's vanishing glaciers as a high-altitude ski run in Italy closed because of a lack of snow. Tour operators at Val Senales in Alto Adige, near Italy's border with Austria, said yesterday the run had never closed before in the 30 years since it had opened. High-altitude ski runs have also been closed in the Tonale Pass and at Marmolada, in Italy's Dolomites. Ski officials at Val Senales said they hoped to reopen the piste at the end of this month if conditions improved. Walter Maggi, a geologist at Milan University, said that the closures had followed low rainfall in the northern spring and high temperatures in June and July. "But there are deeper causes. The finger of suspicion points at global warming," he said. Mr Maggi said that he used to take geology students to study the glaciers in Valtellina, "but there is not much left for them to study there any more". He estimated that Italy had lost 40per cent of its glaciers since 1850, with a notable acceleration in the past three years. Glaciologists have noted the loss of glaciers across the Alps. …
[As I have said before on my now-terminated list CED (e.g messages #13683; #13319; #13288; #12532; etc), according to my Amillennial interpretation of the Bible, we are in the period mentioned in Luke 21:24-28 (NIV):
"[24] … Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. [25] There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. [26] Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. [27] At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. [28] When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."]
between v.24, "Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (which happened in 1967, as a result of the Six-Day Egypt-Israel War) and v.27, "At that time they will see the Son of Man [Jesus] coming in a cloud with power and great glory." That is a time of "nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea" (v.25) when "Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world" (v.26). Doesn't that sound like the daily newspapers? Accordingly I expect that global warming is going to be nearer to the worst case scenarios (and the best case scenarios are bad enough). Glaciers provide much of the fresh water to Europe, Asia and India, and the loss of them will be catastrophic. But the good news (or bad news) is that this is a `sign of the times' that Jesus is coming back soon! ]
Leaf to Bud: Pssst, It's Time to Flower Scientists Figure Out How Leaves Send Signal to the Flowers, Telling Them It's Time to Bloom By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID AP ... Aug. 11, 2005 - How does a flower know when to, well, flower? For one thing, it isn't just April showers that do the trick. After all, some forsythia burst forth in early spring, roses enjoy the summertime and there are types of rice that flower in the fall. Scientists have long known that it is the amount of sunshine that makes the difference. Now they have figured out how the leaves signal the flowers to form. A series of papers ... details the process in Friday's issue of the journal Science. A gene called FT in the leaves, discovered in the 1990s, is crucial to the process, but questions remained about how it delivered the message. The researchers have now found a protein called FD, which occurs in the tips of branches, that causes bunches of plant stem cells to form flower buds. "Only when FT and FD join forces in the same cell can they be active," said Detlef Weigel ... The researchers concluded that the protein produced by the FT gene moves from the leaves to the branch tips where it activates FD. Philip Wigge ... noted that "the transition to flowering is one of the most important decisions made by plants. It has to be carefully controlled according to the seasons." "For example, plants that need to be fertilized by pollen from other members of the same species, as is the case for cherry trees, need to make sure that they produce flowers at the same time as their neighbors. Requiring two independent components to come together for activation of flowering is a neat trick. One determines the right time of year and the other specifies the right place for the formation of flowers," Wigge said ... [This is not completely new. I remember seeing a video of this in a Plant Physiology class and I thought then how beautifully elegant in its simplicity it was. In fact it is better than measuring "the amount of sunshine", because that can vary with cloud. What plants do is measure the amount of *night*! This reminds me of Jesus' words in Mat. 6:28-30 that "God clothes the grass of the field" with flowers, and how the two explanations, teleological and mechanical (or Aristotle's final and efficient causes) are complementary, not mutually exclusive. This is the fallacy of the `God of the gaps' claim by theistic naturalists that God as an explanation must retreat before the advance of science. All that science does is discover what God put there in the first place! As Warfield pointed out long ago, "Darwin" and "Darwinism" showed a "lack of general philosophical acumen" by not understanding "that teleology is in no way inconsistent with-is, rather, necessarily involved in-a complete system of natural causation" and that "Every teleological system implies a complete causo-mechanical explanation as its instrument" (see tagline]

Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
"Problems of Evolution"

"The antiteleological zeal of Mr. Darwin is well known. the vigor with which-as, for instance, in his correspondence with Asa Gray-he repelled the intrusion of teleology into his system betrays his fundamental thought. The antiteleological implication of Darwinism taken in its strictness when it becomes a system of pure accidentalism-is obvious. But it could have been hoped that by now we had got well beyond all that. Some lack of general philosophical acumen must be suspected when it is not fully understood that teleology is in no way inconsistent with-is, rather, necessarily involved in-a complete system of natural causation. Every teleological system implies a complete causomechanical explanation as its instrument. Why, then, should the investigators of the causo-mechanical explanation array themselves in polemic opposition to the very conception of governing purpose? Above all, why should they make their recognition or nonrecognition of teleological factors the test of the acceptability of theories? This gives the disagreeable appearance to the trend of biological speculation-we do not say of biological investigation-that it is less interested in science for science's sake, that is, in the increase of knowledge, than it is in the validation of a naturalistic worldview; that it is dominated, in a word, by philosophical conceptions not derived from science, but imposed on science from without." (Warfield B.B., "Review of Vernon L. Kellogg, `Darwinism Today: A Discussion of Present-Day Scientific Criticism of the Darwinian Selection Theories, together with a Brief Account of the Principal and Other Proposed Auxiliary and Alternative Theories of Species-Forming' (New York: Henry Holt, 1907)," Princeton Theological Review, Vol. 6, October 1908, pp.640-50, in Noll M.A. & Livingstone D.N., eds, "B.B. Warfield: Evolution, Science And Scripture: Selected Writings," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 2000, p.250)

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