Sonntag, 6. August 2006

Citizens Against Dredging at Casa Beach

Help us save the seals at Casa Beach in La Jolla!






'Dead Zone' Threat to US Suburban Dream

Informant: binstock

Dreizehntes bundesweites Treffen am 19. August in Braunschweig: Massenmobilisierungen und Kampagnen-Ideen

Lieberman Loss Could Be a Party Watershed

"A victory by businessman Ned Lamont on Tuesday would confirm the growing strength of the grass-roots and Internet activists who first emerged in Howard Dean's presidential campaign," writes Dan Balz. "Driven by intense anger at President Bush and fierce opposition to the Iraq war, they are on the brink of claiming their most significant political triumph, one that will reverberate far beyond the borders here if Lieberman loses."

Civil war: 'Iraq is now caught in hell'

Informant: jensenmk

From ufpj-news

Lieberman defeat will affect 2008 presidential race

Informant: jensenmk

From ufpj-news

Super Computer Predicts Rising Temperatures as Escaping Gas Bubbles Up Through the Sea

By Bill Blakemore

ABC News
August 4, 2006

Visualization can be a powerful aid to realization, and two such aids to realizing the great and imminent danger of global warming have just come to light.

One paints a remarkable picture of the output of an immense supercomputer hidden in the basement of a futuristic government building in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies that requires a special pass. The other reveals a scene on the sea floor off the coast of California, previously requiring SCUBA gear and a waterproof map.

Now you can see both by just clicking on the "Video -- click to watch" caption under the picture next to this story:

The gigantic super-computer in the basement of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., is so big you can walk down the aisles inside it, the walls of the sleek black servers at either elbow, wrapped in the constant hum of air coolers and countless trillions of silicon chip operations working day and night to calculate the climate future over the next several decades of the only home we've got: Earth.

"These super computers are getting more and more powerful every year," scientist Jerry Meehl told us as he gave us the tour. "It makes the computers we were using for global warming predictions back in the
1980s look primitive."

And even those computers, we now know from events such as the double heat wave just past, were predicting accurately.

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder have now figured out how to project the computer predictions -- which used to be just rows of numbers -- in the form of changing colors on a 5-foot sphere with the continents outlined on it.

A number of these spheres are now being installed in museums around the United States and the world, so the world can see what it's in for.

With green and blue for cooler temperatures, scientists and regular folks can watch the digitized projectors paint the globe, starting in
1870. Along about 1990, the globe grows yellower -- warmer -- and is entirely yellow by 2001.

Then comes the sobering part. Red, for much warmer, starts to appear in North America -- and other continents -- and by 2051 the United States is almost entirely red.

That's only 45 years from now, when today's toddlers will barely be in middle age.

There Is Consensus, The Earth Is Getting Warmer, Faster

The leading climate scientists now generally agree that earth in the coming decades will warm another 2 degrees Fahrenheit no matter what we do -- partly because carbon dioxide, the major manmade greenhouse gas, stays in the atmosphere about a hundred years.

That's in addition to the average of 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit the Earth has already warmed from manmade causes -- which though it doesn't sound like much (remember, it's a single-number average for the entire planet) has already, say most scientists, given us disappearing glaciers worldwide, drought and famine, increasingly frequent and more intense heat waves and millions of species in ecosystems everywhere scrambling for cooler ground but often running into uncrossable highways and ever-expanding human development.

Even scarier is the other sight, about 20 meters down off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif.: bubbles, millions of bubbles of methane -- 20 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The methane is bubbling up naturally from some of the enormous natural undersea reservoirs of the gas mostly locked into the frozen mud under the sea floor.

Scientists have just released video showing how, for the first time, they have been able to measure these natural up-wellings to tell whether, if large amounts of this methane ever thawed out from its deep sea beds, it would reach the atmosphere, rather than being absorbed in the water, and thus make the earth even hotter.

The findings of oceanographer Ira Leifer et al, published in a strictly peer-reviewed scientific journal, are that it would do just that.

In other words, all that undersea methane is a potential "positive feedback" of catastrophic proportions.

If warming currents, such as those already detected by scientists at depth, begin to thaw these methane beds, it will make the atmosphere, and consequently the sea currents, even warmer, and melt out more methane.

A number of scientists tell me that would take the Earth up into temperatures humankind has never experienced -- and probably could not survive.

They believe it's happened for natural reasons before -- before, for example, the Jurassic age, when dinosaurs, but no humans, roamed the earth.

That's why they insist we must stop the unnatural burning of fossil fuels -- oil, coal and gas -- which risks giving such a methane mega-burp an artificial kick that could -- hard as this is to take in -- end civilization.

Small doses are the best way to take in such news.

Psychologists tell us that a little denial when facing truly frightening news can, at first, be a good thing. It helps us hold ourselves together in face of the threat, helps keep our "meaning systems" intact.

As long as we keep working back towards reality.

No child wants to think it can harm the basic wellbeing of a protective parent who provides its only world.

They can't even believe they could do such a thing.

Climate scientists are telling us we are doing just that to our own Mother Earth, and we should believe it.

Informant: David Sunfellow

Aspen Global Warming Study Suggests Grim Future

By Allen Best
The Telluride Watch
August 4, 2006

ASPEN, Colo. - A new study in Aspen paints a dramatic picture of the area's climatic future should temperatures and atmospheric pollution continue to rise.

In a better-case future, in which the growth of global emissions of greenhouse gases are slowed, Aspen temperatures are projected to rise
6 degrees by the year 2100, giving it a climate comparable to what is now found at Los Alamos, N.M., or even Glenwood Springs, Colo.

On the other hand, if the direst warnings of scientists are correct and greenhouse gases remain unchecked, temperatures could rise 14 degrees by century's end, making Aspen's average daily temperatures more like those of Salt Lake City or Boise.

Even in the better-case scenario, skiing is expected to shrink as a component of Aspen's economy. In the worst-case scenario, skiing will disappear altogether.

These and other findings were released last month by Aspen town leaders, who have been working with climate scientists and others during the last year in an effort that, by several measures, is groundbreaking.

The study was the result of Aspen's Canary Initiative, which was launched a year and a half ago by the city government. In the first part of that program, Aspen examined its own contribution to greenhouse gases. The study, released this past winter, showed that Aspen was responsible for roughly twice the per capita emissions of U.S. residents, mostly due to jet travel by visitors and the lifestyles of its well-heeled residents.

The Aspen study may be the first time that broad, continent- and region-wide computer models have been used to deduce with precision the impacts of global warming in a very local area.

Older computer models projecting impacts of global warming were so broad that they failed to even show the mountain ranges of the West. Newer models do, but remain coarse.

"There are always limitations as you go to smaller and smaller regions," says John Katzenberger, executive director of the Aspen Global Change Institute. "Colorado is particularly challenging because it has storm tracks coming from different directions, and it also has the backbone of the continent. Whether storm tracks are on the east side or west side make a lot of difference."

Because of the limitations of existing computer models in predicting climate in local areas, Aspen took the unusual step of integrating several different approaches.

"They're not precise for this small of an area," says Katzenberger. "That's why we used four methods, so we would come back at it from different angles and see if they came back with consistent messages."

The models used in the study did consistently show the same increments of warming, given certain levels of greenhouse gases. The more greenhouse gases that accumulate, the lesser the chances for skiable snow.

Concentrations of carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas, stood at 250 parts per million in the atmosphere 200 years ago, at the start of the Industrial Revolution. Concentrations of the gas are currently at 379 parts per million. Many scientists say that 550 parts per million is the maximum that the earth's atmosphere can absorb without catastrophic consequences. Given current trajectories, concentrations are likely to hit that number in 2050. Aspen's worst-case scenario assumes 900 parts per million by the end of the 21st century.

However, Katzenberger notes that 550 parts per million is not an inevitability. "It's possible, if the world really wanted, it could do better than that," he says. "And if it did so, the climate impacts could be greatly reduced."

Unlike future temperatures, the climate models for Aspen are unsure about future precipitation levels. Again, this mirrors the more continent-wide models from which the local predictions were teased.

"Given the current state of climate modeling, what precipitation will do in northwest America, and with Aspen in particular, is really hard to say with any degree of confidence," says Brian Lazard, a hydrologist with Stratus Consulting, a Boulder-based firm. "What we can say with a great deal of confidence is that the temperature will go up. It's just a matter of how much."

The warmer temperatures mean Aspen will see less snow and more rain. What snow it does get will melt more rapidly, up to three weeks earlier, mirroring changes that have been documented in California's Sierra Nevada over the last 50 years. In other words, the runoff seen this year and in 2002 is likely to become the norm in future years.

Dan Richardson, the global warming project manager for the City of Aspen, says he is most taken aback by the implications of earlier runoff. "It's almost so big you can't get your arms around it."

The implications have also been under scrutiny in California, where much of the annual water supply comes from the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada.

Many of the study's key findings have been previously predicted, but the study gives them a stronger, scientific foundation. They include:

• Local warming will force some plant and animal species to ascend to higher elevations. By mid-century, for example, the vegetation in Aspen is likely to look more like what is now seen near Basalt, a town that is 1,400 feet lower in elevation and 20 miles away. Species of the alpine tundra such as ptarmigan and pika will face threats of localized extinction, something called extirpation.

• Rising temperatures will increase the likelihood of insect outbreaks. Cold nights and winters help keep insect populations in check. Warmer nights and winters, along with longer, warmer summers, will increase the risk of pests to spruce-fir forest and to aspen groves. Bark beetles in pine trees are likely to be less checked.

• Existing invasive species such as Canada thistle and leafy spurge will spread, and new non-native species may invade.

• Ski season, if it remains, will occur at higher elevations, and during a shorter season. Rafting season will be shorter, and water supplies will be more stressed.

• Total precipitation has decreased 6 percent in the past 25 years, and at higher elevations of 10,600 feet, the precipitation has decreased 18 percent. In addition, the amount falling in the form of snow has decreased 18 percent.

Results of the study, says Katzenberger, should be useful to communities making decisions about how to adapt to climate changes. The economy of Aspen, says the report, is more likely adaptable to climate change than are plants and animals. But, in general, the greater the warming, the more difficult and expensive adaptation to climate change will be.

Aspen figures to use its prominence to warn about the dangers of the current and projected volume of greenhouse gas emissions. The Canary Initiative has received major play in national magazines and TV broadcasts. It is also sponsoring a conference Oct. 11-13 geared toward mountain and gateway communities.

Aspen's next step will be to compile a draft action plan, to determine what it can do better to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Aside from its dependence on travel and its many large homes, the city and nearby Pitkin County have already taken many notable steps, among them adoption of building codes designed to maximize energy efficiency in buildings and a high reliance upon hydro and wind energy.

Informant: David Sunfellow

Lt. Watada's pre-trial hearing set for Aug. 17

Informant: jensenmk

From ufpj-news

Rep. Conyers massively documents Bush misdeeds, preps for

Informant: jensenmk

From ufpj-news

Bolton strong-arming the U.N.

Senator wants U.S. troops out of Iraq within 6 months

" The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

From Information Clearing House

At Hearing, Witness Says Troops Fired at Fleeing Iraqis

Helton said the soldiers fired and one detainee "fell flat down and the second one, wherever he got shot, it was kind of like what you'd see in a movie where he spun around and landed on his back." One was spitting up blood, he said.

From Information Clearing House

What happens when the American Dream dies?

By Jerry Landay

When dreams fall apart, humans often respond with rage, hysteria, hopelessness, and fear. How many more will find false comfort in the preachments of dangerous demagogues, who offer certitude by finding scapegoats? How many will seek solace in radical religious frenzy, pronouncing wrathful judgment on America while rooting out "the godless"?

Say NO to mass dog slaughter in China

Informant: Rebecca Cummings

Atomwaffen gehören alle abgeschafft!


Mit zahlreichen Aktionen, Mahnwachen, Kundgebungen und Gedenkfeiern begeht die Friedensbewegung den 61. Jahrestag der Atombombenabwürfe über Hiroshima und Nagasaki (6. und 9. August 1945).


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