Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Study: More CO2 Now Than Past 650K Years, etc

Here, from my backlog, are brief excerpts of articles all on global warming, in reverse chronological order (more recent uppermost), with my brief comments, bold and in square brackets. Links to older articles may no longer work. I have split this into two posts because of its length.

Starting from a position of skepticism, my position on global warming now is that it is real and what's more, nearer to the worse-case, than the best-case, scenarios. I also believe we are living in the period 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":

Luke 21:24b-32 (NIV) "24bJerusalem 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. 26Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.' 29He told them this parable: `Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened..'"
which will be a period characterized by "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 include major disturbances to the natural order.

Study: More CO2 Now Than Past 650K Years, ABC News/AP, Lauran Neergaard ... WASHINGTON Nov 25, 2005 - Scientists are looking back to a time when "greenhouse gases" were not the problem they are today, and it is giving them a clearer picture of how people are making it worse. A team of European researchers analyzed tiny air bubbles preserved in Antarctic ice for millennia and determined there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now than at any point during the last 650,000 years. The study by the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica, published Friday in the journal Science, promises to spur "dramatically improved understanding" of climate change, said geosciences specialist Edward Brook of Oregon State University. ...

Greenhouse Effect At All-Time High, CBS, WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2005(AP) .... A team of European researchers analyzed tiny air bubbles preserved in Antarctic ice for millennia and determined there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now than at any point during the last 650,000 years. .... Those measurements are disturbing: Levels of carbon dioxide have climbed from 280 parts per million (ppm) two centuries ago to 380 ppm today. Earth's average temperature, meanwhile, increased about 1 degree Fahrenheit in recent decades, a relatively rapid rise. Many climate specialists warn that continued warming could have severe impacts, such as rising sea levels and changing rainfall patterns. ... [This is bad and it is going to get worse, because all the factors that contribute to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and hence global warming are synergistic (work together) and positively reinforcing, e.g. higher ocean temperature -> less Arctic ice -> even higher ocean temperature -> even less Arctic ice -> ...]

Sea Level Rising Faster Than Predicted, Discovery News, Larry O'Hanlon, Nov. 21, 2005 - The latest surveys of large glaciers in Greenland have exposed an alarming step-up in melting that threatens to raise global sea levels far faster than the best climate models have predicted. The latest data comes from a satellite study of the Helheim glacier, one of Greenland's largest ice outlets to the North Atlantic Ocean. Helheim glacier is both flowing faster than ever and rapidly retreating from the sea. ... If all of Greenland's ice sheet were to melt, it would raise global sea levels from between 15 to 20 feet. ... [More evidence that global warming is closer to the worst-case, rather than best-case, scenarios.]

Millions face glacier catastrophe: Global warming hits Himalayas, The Guardian/Observer , Robin McKie, November 20, 2005 ...Nawa Jigtar was working in the village of Ghat, in Nepal, when the sound of crashing sent him rushing out of his home. He emerged to see his herd of cattle being swept away by a wall of water. Jigtar and his fellow villagers were able to scramble to safety. They were lucky: 'If it had come at night, none of us would have survived.' Ghat was destroyed when a lake, high in the Himalayas, burst its banks. Swollen with glacier meltwaters, its walls of rock and ice had suddenly disintegrated. Several million cubic metres of water crashed down the mountain. When Ghat was destroyed, in 1985, such incidents were rare - but not any more. Last week, scientists revealed that there has been a tenfold jump in such catastrophes in the past two decades, the result of global warming. Himalayan glacier lakes are filling up with more and more melted ice and 24 of them are now poised to burst their banks in Bhutan, with a similar number at risk in Nepal. But that is just the beginning, a report in Nature said last week. Future disasters around the Himalayas will include 'floods, droughts, land erosion, biodiversity loss and changes in rainfall and the monsoon' ... [The loss of glacier melt- water will be catastrophic in two ways: 1) the water will be lost in devastating floods; and 2) the world's most populous nations (China, India, South-East Asia) depend on the Himalayan glacier meltwater for their drinking water and agriculture.]

Climate needs 'decisive action', BBC/AFP, 18 November 2005, Roger Harrabin ... Business needs time to plan its investments A top UN advisor on climate science says world politicians are not acting fast enough to tackle global warming. Halldor Thorgeirsson is the science co-ordinator for the upcoming UN climate conference in Montreal. He ... said the prognosis was extremely worrying and the best we could do was to minimise damage by cutting emissions of greenhouse gases and learning to adapt. Developing countries which had not contributed to the climate problem would suffer from it most, he warned. "It is quite clear this problem has very significant ethical dimensions and one of those dimensions is that [the people] who have least contributed to the problem are first to see the consequences," he said. Mr Thorgeirsson hoped the Montreal conference would agree new funds for poor countries to adapt to more droughts or rising sea levels, though he admitted that the cash was unlikely to be sufficient. ... [I agree that "learning to adapt" is the only realistic option, at least in the short-term. I also agree that "the cash was unlikely to be sufficient" for those "poor countries" "who have least contributed to the problem" but "are first to see" or rather experience first-hand "the consequences", which in scale of suffering and death will fit Jesus' description of the Great Tribulation that will occur before His return, "For then shall be great tribulation [Gk. thilipsis = "pressure", "affiction", "distress"], such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." (Mat 24:21 (KJV).]

A cautionary picture of water supplies as Earth warms, Christian Science Monitor, November 17, 2005, Peter N. Spotts .... Mountain snows and alpine glaciers represent key reservoirs of fresh water for some 1.6 billion people worldwide. In 50 years, however, a warming planet is likely to disrupt many of these sources, leaving millions of people scrambling for additional supplies. While conservation, additional reservoirs, and repairs to leaky water mains can help blunt the effects of these changes, efforts to adapt to shrinking snowpacks and vanishing glaciers are expected to require other changes in farming techniques, industrial practices, and lifestyles. That's the warning a team of US scientists is issuing after reviewing field measurements and modeling studies that deal with the impact of global warming on alpine environments. Combined with a second, independent look at stream flows in key parts of the world, the studies are helping scientists fill in a picture of future freshwater supplies as the planet warms.... [Nothing can replace the loss of these "Mountain snows and alpine glaciers" that "represent key reservoirs of fresh water for some 1.6 billion people" and will largely disappear within "50 years" (if not sooner).]

When Cleaner Air Is a Biblical Obligation, The New York Times, Michael Janofsky, November 7, 2005 WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 - In their long and frustrated efforts pushing Congress to pass legislation on global warming, environmentalists are gaining a new ally. With increasing vigor, evangelical groups that are part of the base of conservative support for leading Republicans are campaigning for laws that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which scientists have linked with global warming. In the latest effort, the National Association of Evangelicals, a nonprofit organization that includes 45,000 churches serving 30 million people across the country, is circulating among its leaders the draft of a policy statement that would encourage lawmakers to pass legislation creating mandatory controls for carbon emissions. ... [It is good to see evangelical Christians starting to recognise that global warming is a real problem and putting pressure on lawmakers "to pass legislation creating mandatory controls for carbon emissions." However, the problem is that "CO2 remains in the atmosphere for about 100 years", so even if new greenhouse gas emissions could be drastically reduced, the existing CO2 in the atmosphere will still cause the loss of glacier meltwater and inundation of low-lying coastal land (on which most of the world's cities stand) by rising sea levels. ]

Huge Iceberg Breaks Apart in Antarctica, Livescience, 4 November 2005 ... Capping a 5-year-long saga of destruction, an iceberg about the size of the Hawaiian island of Maui has split into three pieces in the frigid Antarctic, scientists said Friday. The larger iceberg, named B-15A, calved into three smaller icebergs - B-15M, B-15N and B-15P. Two of the larger icebergs (B-15M and B- 15N) are about the size of Grand Cayman and St. Croix, respectively. The fresh splits mark the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth times that a portion of B-15 has broken off, or calved, since the first calving event on May 30, 2000. ... [See also images in the article. Such a large iceberg breaking up is not necessarily evidence of global warming, but if more start to calve and then break up it will be.]

Climate response risks to nature, BBC, 3 November 2005, Richard Black ... Some animals are responding to climate change in ways which could threaten their survival, a new study finds. Scientists showed that migration and breeding of the great tit, puffin, red admiral and other creatures are moving out of step with food supplies. The researchers say the rapid pace of climate change, together with pressures on habitat, make it difficult for species to adapt. ..."The point has often been made that temperatures have increased before in the Earth's past; but the rate now is 100 times greater. "And whereas in those times there were large areas of natural habitat, now it's much more difficult for animals to change or migrate; plus there's loss of genetic diversity, habitat fragmentation - it's just much more difficult for species than 1,000 years ago." ... [This last inability of plant and animal populations to migrate in response to climate change because human farms and cities stand in their way is a major reason why global warming will cause more extinctions than in the past.]

Insurance Company Warns of Global Warming's Costs, Livescience, Robert Roy Britt, 1 November 2005 ... One of the world's largest insurers warned today of the economic costs of global warming. "Climate change will significantly affect the health of humans and ecosystems and these impacts will have economic consequences," concludes a new study cosponsored by Swiss Re, a global re-insurance company. The research was done by the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School and also sponsored by the United Nations Development Program.... [Personally, I would not be surprised if the world economy collapsed under the weight of global warming. If that happens, or is about to happen, I expect that a World Environment Organization will be established, 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 emerge and take over. See my previous posts of 01-Oct- 05, 08-Sep-05 and 03-Sep-05.]

[To be continued in part 2]

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

"SUPPOSE, in the next place, that the person, who found the watch, should, after some time, discover, that, in addition to all the properties which he had hitherto observed in it, it possessed the unexpected property of producing, in the course of its movement, another watch like itself (the thing is conceivable;) that it contained within it a mechanism, a system of parts, a mould for instance, or a complex adjustment of laths, files, and other tools, evidently and separately calculated for this purpose; let us inquire, what effect ought such a discovery to have upon his former conclusion? ... The first effect would be to increase his admiration of the contrivance, and his conviction of the consummate skill of the contriver. Whether he regarded the object of the contrivance, the distinct apparatus, the intricate, yet in many parts intelligible, mechanism by which it was carried on, he would perceive, in this new observation, nothing but an additional reason for doing what he had already done; for referring the construction of the watch to design, and to supreme art. If that construction without this property, or, which is the same thing, before this property had been noticed, proved intention and art to have been employed about it; still more strong would the proof appear, when he came to the knowledge of this further property, the crown and perfection of all the rest." (Paley W., "Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature," [1802], St. Thomas Press: Houston, TX, 1972, reprint, p.7. Emphasis original)

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