Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Pacific Atlantis: first climate change refugees, etc

The second part of my brief excerpts of articles from my backlog, all on global warming, in reverse chronological order (more recent uppermost). My comments are bold and in square brackets. Links to older articles may no longer work. As I said in part 1 of this two-part post, I believe we are living in the period prophesied by Jesus in Luke 21:24b-32, between "Jerusalem" no longer "trampled on by the Gentiles" (which happened in 1967) and "the Son of Man [Jesus] "coming in a cloud with power and great glory." That period, would be (and is) characterized by "signs in the sun, moon and stars. ... nations ... in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken." (Luke 21:25-26). nations ... in anguish and perplexity" and "Men [in] ... terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world". I interpret the "signs in the sun, moon and stars", "roaring and tossing of the sea" and "the heavenly bodies will be shaken" to mean major disturbances to the natural order, which global warming will be. Indeed, I regard the unprecedented catastrophe that global warming will bring, as an important part of the Great Tribulation, predicted by Jesus in the parallel passages of the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24:1-44; Mark 13:1-37 & Luke 21:5-36.

Pacific Atlantis: first climate change refugees, The Guardian, John Vidal, November 25, 2005 ... For more than 30 years the 980 people living on the six minute horseshoe-shaped Carteret atolls have battled the Pacific to stop salt water destroying their coconut palms and waves crashing over their houses. They failed. Yesterday a decision was made that will make their group of low-lying islands literally go down in history. In the week before 150 countries meet in Montreal to discuss how to combat global warming and rising sea levels, the Carterets' people became the first to be officially evacuated because of climate change. Starting as soon as money is available to the Papuan New Guinean regional government, 10 families at a time will be moved by the authorities to Bougainville, a larger island 62 miles away. Within two years the six Carterets, roughly the size of 80 football pitches and just 1.5 metres high, will be uninhabited and undefended. By 2015 they are likely to be completely submerged. .. [The first of many. Hard evidence of global warming-water expands as its temperature rises, but it takes a lot to raise the average temperature and therefore level of the ocean.]

Remnants of Delta Now Threaten Africa, Washington Post/AP, November 28, 2005 ... MIAMI -- The still-powerful remnants of Tropical Storm Delta could bring strong wind to the northwestern coast of Africa and the Canary and Madeira Islands, forecasters said. The 25th named storm in the record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season had top sustained winds near 65 mph, up from 40 mph Sunday. ... The six-month Atlantic hurricane season officially ends Wednesday, but forecasters warn that tropical storms and hurricanes can develop in December ...
Hurricane Gamma kills 14, The Age, Tegucigalpa, Honduras November 21, 2005 ... US military helicopters flew in aid to survivors in central America as Gamma, the 24th major storm in a record-breaking hurricane season, weakened after killing 14 people. Gamma slowed to a tropical depression today and meandered off the Honduran coast with maximum sustained winds of 55kph. It was expected to dissipate by tomorrow, the US National Hurricane Centre in Miami said. ...
Hurricane Beta Sets Record for Most in a Season, Livescience/AP, 29 October 2005 ... SAN ANDRES ISLAND, Colombia (AP) -- Hurricane Beta battered the mountainous Caribbean island of Providencia on Saturday, ripping roofs off wooden homes and forcing people to seek shelter in brick shelters on high ground. Beta was the 13th hurricane this year, more than any Atlantic season on record. This season has also seen 23 named storms, more than at any point since record-keeping began in 1851. The previous record of 21 was set in 1933. Last week Tropical Storm Alpha formed, the first time a letter from the Greek alphabet has been used because the list of storm names was exhausted ...
Tropical Storm Alpha Sets Record for Busiest Hurricane Season, Livescience/AP, 23 October 2005 ... Hurricane Wilma has been joined by Tropical Storm Alpha, which formed Saturday south of the Dominican Republic as the record 22nd named storm for the Atlantic season. It was the first time forecasters exhausted the regular list of names and had to turn to the Greek alphabet for labels in almost 60 years of naming storms. The previous record of 21 tropical storms and hurricanes had stood since 1933. Alpha was expected to weaken as it turned north from the Dominican Republic. ... [That Atlantic hurricane names for the first time exceeded the number of English names and is currently into the fourth Greek letter names, is more evidence that global warming is real and increasing. See also below on the possible need to add a new category 6 hurricane.]

Debate over, it's time to save the planet, The Australian, Matt Price, October 27, 2005 ... THE debate on climate change is over. As far as the Howard Government is concerned, Australians must accept that humans contribute to global warming and adapt their behaviour to save the planet. Emerging from a bushwalk through the Tarkine forest in northwest Tasmania, Environment Minister Ian Campbell told The Australian that argument about the causes and impact of global warming had effectively ended..... [This represents a shift by the conservative Australian government of Prime Minister John Howard, that global warming is real and a threat.]

No Escape: Thaw Gains Momentum, The New York Times, Andrew C. Revkin, October 25, 2005 ... LOSING GROUND Sea ice near the North Pole. Bright Arctic Ocean ice reflects sunlight, but open dark water absorbs it, warming in the process. As more ice melts, more open water could amplify the warming trend.... [This is an example of positive feedback which could (and I expect will) spiral upward into a runaway greenhouse gas effect which will be catastrophic, and will fit Jesus' prediction of the Great Tribulation, which will occur immediately before His return: "For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now-and never to be equaled again." (Mat 24:21 NIV. My emphasis.]

Climate change 'could ruin drive to eradicate poverty', The Independent, Steve Connor, 24 October 2005 ... Britain's most senior independent scientist has warned that global warming threatens to ruin the international initiative to lift Africa out of poverty. Lord May of Oxford, the president of the Royal Society, said the cost of dealing with the adverse effects of climate change could soak up all the aid to African countries. In an open letter to G8 environment ministers who are to meet in London on 1 November, Lord May warns that the Gleneagles agreement on aid and debt relief to Africa could amount to nothing. "As long as greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise, there is the very real prospect that the increase in aid agreed at Gleneagles will be entirely consumed by the mounting cost of dealing with the added burden of adverse effects of climate change in Africa," Lord May said. ... [I expect that the cost of global warming (both to poor and wealthy nations alike) will at some point exceed the ability of the wealthy nations to give aid to poor nations. At that point, hundreds of millions (if not billions) of humans in those poor countries will sink into failed states of unrelievable poverty, disease, starvation and death. This then will be greatly exacerbated by refugees fleeing those countries and crushing the economies of neighbouring countries (see below), in a domino effect. It is these circumstances that I expect that a World Environment Organization (WEO) will be established (if it has not already) which Antichrist (1 Jn 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 Jn 1:7; 2 Th 2:1-4; Rev 11:1-8; 13:2-18) will then arise and take over. See my previous post, with links to other posts. See also further calls for a WEO by Charnovitz, Whalley & Zissimos, Goffman (to mention only some) and even a book on it! It is moving even faster than I thought.]

Satellite images reveal Amazon forest shrinking faster: New methods detect twice as much logging as previously estimated, Christian Science Monitor, October 21, 2005, Peter N. Spotts, Brazil's Amazon rain forest - one of the most biologically productive regions on the planet - is disappearing twice as fast as scientists previously estimated. That is the stark conclusion ecologist Gregory Asner and his colleagues reached after developing a new way to analyze satellite images to track logging there. ... [I did an assignment in an ecology unit in 2004 on the relative effects of land clearing and greenhouse gas production on global warming, and after reading a large number of scientific journals on these topics, I came to the conclusion that land clearing (which removes vegetation that absorbs both CO2 and heat) may even have the greater effect. But whichever is the greater, the literature made the point that each was synergistic (working together) of the other.]

Wilma's Rage Suggests New Hurricane Categories Needed, Livescience, Ker Than, 20 October 2005 ... In a season that has included three Category 5 hurricanes for the first time on record in the Atlantic Basin, scientists are beginning to wonder if their rating system is adequate, LiveScience has learned. On the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, there is no Category 6. But Hurricane Wilma this week brushed up against where a 6 would be if the scale were logically extrapolated to include another category. And hurricanes are getting stronger, apparently fueled by global warming. ...An extrapolation suggests that if a Category 6 were there, it would be in the range of 176-196 mph. Hurricane Wilma, which had maximum recorded wind speeds of 175 mph, would have been on the verge of breaking into this hypothetical new category. ... [I expect that hurricane of wind speeds greater that 176 (and even 196) mph (283 and 315 kph) will require new categories 6 and 7 and maybe even higher!]

Antarctic species feel the warmth, BBC 19 October 2005 ... An alarming rise in temperature in the Southern Ocean threatens seals, whales and penguins as well as krill, which play a crucial role in the food chain. The ocean west of the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed by more than a degree since the 1960s - contradicting the results of computer models. Sea animals in the region are highly sensitive to changes in temperature. ... [It will be devastating to Southern Hemisphere marine life and fishing, if small crustaceans like krill, at the bottom of the food chain, decline in numbers due to increased Southern Ocean temperatures.]

Scientists: Natural Disasters Becoming More Common, Livescience, Ker Than, 17 October 2005 ... Earth might seem like a more active and dangerous place than ever, given the constant media reports of multiple natural disasters recently. But a broader view reveals that it's not Mother Nature who's changed, but we humans. Drawn by undeveloped land and fertile soil, people are flocking to disaster-prone regions. This creates a situation in which ordinary events like earthquakes and hurricanes become increasingly elevated to the level of natural disasters that reap heavy losses in human life and property. ... [It is irrelevant to the Bible's teachings on the Great Tribulation prior to Jesus' return, whether it is primarily caused by increases in the physical factors like earthquakes, hurricanes, etc, or on increased human population. The emphasis in the Bible is on the effect on humans (e.g. "anguish and perplexity ... terror ... apprehensive" - Luke 21:25-26) not the physical causes.]

Planet endures hottest month since 1880, The Australian, October 15, 2005 ... SEPTEMBER was the hottest month recorded on the planet Earth since 1880, US weather trackers said overnight. The global temperature was 0.63 degree C above the mean going back to 1880, when the first reliable instrument recordings were available, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. ...
Planet Sees Warmest September on Record, ABC News/AP ... WASHINGTON Oct 14, 2005 - Worldwide, it was the warmest September on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday. Averaging 1.13 degrees Fahrenheit (0.63 degree Celsius) above normal for the month, it was the warmest September since the beginning of reliable records in 1880, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center .... [This literally is global warming!]

The 100-Year Forecast: Stronger Storms Ahead, Livescience, Ker Than, 13 October 2005 ... As Earth gets warmer, large regions will experience heavier rain and snowfall as weather becomes generally more intense, according to a new study. "The models show most areas around the world will experience more intense precipitation for a given storm during this century," said lead researcher Gerald Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). ... [See above on the need for higher hurricane categories and below on overwhelmed storm drains.]

Millions 'will flee degradation', BBC, 11 October 2005 ... , ... There will be as many as 50 million environmental refugees in the world in five years' time. That is the conclusion of experts at the United Nations University, who say that a new definition of "environmental refugee" is urgently needed. ... [That is 50 million environmental refugees ... in five years' time! And that is just the beginning. See above on the domino effect of this.]

Global Warming Could Overwhelm Storm Drains, Livescience, 11 October 2005 ... Scientists at a modest university in a small town in New Hampshire offered today a big tip to city planners around the world: Prepare your culverts for global warming. Nearly a foot of rain this weekend in Keene, NH, overwhelming the storm drains. Latham Stack [and] Michael Simpson at Antioch New England Graduate School were not surprised. They had just finished studying culverts in Keene and looking at climate models that forecast more frequent downpours like this in the future. ... [Of course one local flooding proves nothing. But if these local floodings become the widespread norm, then that is another cost of global warming.]

End of the World? Not Likely, Scientists Say, LiveScience, Ker Than, 10 October 2005 ... The recent spate of natural disasters affecting the globe "might be" signs that the Biblical apocalypse is near, says Christian televangelist Pat Robertson. On an Oct. 9 episode of CNN's "Late Edition" ... Seth Stein, a seismologists at Northwestern University's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, thinks everything is as it should be, at least as far as earthquakes go. "I don't think there's any reason to believe the frequency of large earthquakes has changed over the past million years," ... Concerning hurricanes, Robertson may be correct in observing that they're occurring more frequently than in the past. According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research ... Kevin Trenberth .... "By several measures, this will end up being the most active storm season on record, it's not just number but also how intense they are," ... Global warming is believed to contribute to hurricanes in the same way, by warming up the ocean surface and putting more moisture into the atmosphere. ... [Of course, "Scientists" have expertise to tell us whether natural phenomena like earthquakes and hurricanes are increasing or decreasing, but they have no expertise when it comes to telling us that Biblical predictions of the "End of the World" are "Not Likely". The Bible in fact says that Jesus' second coming will be unexpected to non- Christians:

1 Thess 5:1- 4: "Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, `Peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief."
See also Mat 24:43-44; Lk 12:39-40; 2 Pet 3:10; Rev 3:3; 16:15]

Polar bears face extinction on melting planet, Independent Online, October 09 2005, Anchorage Carrell and Severin Carrell ... The polar bear is one of the natural world's most famous predators - the king of the Arctic wastelands. But, like its vast Arctic home, the polar bear is under unprecedented threat. Both are disappearing with alarming speed. Thinning ice and longer summers are destroying the bears' habitat, and as the ice floes shrink, the desperate animals are driven by starvation into human settlements - to be shot. Stranded polar bears are drowning in large numbers as they try to swim hundreds of kilometres to find increasingly scarce ice floes. Local hunters find their corpses floating on seas once coated in a thick skin of ice. ... [Presumably there will remain some Arctic habitats for the Polar Bear to survive? But in general its is the animals and plants that have specialized (especially to a tundra or montane ecosystem) that are most at the risk of extinction, as their habitat shrinks or even disappears.]

Amazon 'at lowest level in 36 years', The Australian, October 07, 2005 ... THE Amazon River, South America's largest, has hit its lowest level in the 36 years since records have been kept near its source in Peru, experts said. Peru's National Port Company (ENAPU) has recorded the river's level at the river port of Iquitos, in northeastern Peru, since 1969. The level at Iquitos was reported to be 106.5m above sea level, below the previous, 1995 record of 106.6m. ... [Another indicator of declining rainfall (due to deforestation?) and snow melt.]

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

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