Based on my writings on penguins I was honored by Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs to contribute a chapter on the current state of the Emperor Penguins in the IPA's new book Climate Change: The Facts 2020
Our Local Bookstore. They are a wonderful community asset.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although it is wise to think globally, all plants and animals respond locally. Always! As Jim Steele demonstrates, there have been a worrisome series of very bad scientific papers that blame global warming on a species' decline even though the maximum temperatures locally have declined since the 1930's. As Jim Steele's research on bird populations discovered, it was not climate change but landscape changes that had caused the wildlife declines and by acting locally the problem was remedied by restoring the watershed. After restoration, the bird populations rebounded and the landscape has remained moist and biologically productive despite the recent droughts caused La Niñas.
Unfortunately, for researchers looking for funding, the joke in most university biology departments is "how can I link my research to global warming?" As a result funds that should be directed towards restoring habitats and watersheds have been diverted to speculative studies about future devastation from CO2. We have the power to make a more resilient environment by acting locally, but the focus on a global average temperature has set conservation science back years.
Climate change happens for many reasons. Although no one argues that mankind has increased the concentrations of CO2, there is widespread scientific debate about the climate's sensitivity to that increase. Jim Steele demonstrates that from a global perspective, we need another 10 to 20 years to confidently separate contributions from natural cycles of the sun and the oceans (such as El Niño) before we can accurately estimate the contributions from greenhouse gases. However from a local perspective it is quite clear that changes to the landscape and urbanization can raise temperatures much more dramatically than rising CO2. Researchers that estimate temperature trends based on tree rings in undisturbed areas, do not observe that same alarming rising temperatures that are based on instruments where humans have removed the vegetation and paved the ground.
Although that is the hype in the media, the scientific evidence does not support those alarming claims. Many extremes are the result of natural weather patterns. For example due to natural weather dynamics, the world's record high temperature of 134°F in Death Valley occurred in 1913, even though both solar activity and CO2 concentrations were much lower then. In a paper published by NOAA's Dr. Easterling titled "Climate Extremes: Observations, Modeling and Impacts" they reported for maximum temperatures "a downward trend in the number of these extremes despite an overall warming in the mean temperature, but with cooling in the southeastern United States." For droughts they wrote, " Examination of drought over the 20th century in the United States shows considerable variability, the droughts of the 1930s and 1950s dominating any long-term trend." As Jim Steele describes in an easily grasped manner, many of the so-called strange weather patterns are easily explained by natural weather patterns and ocean cycles.
submit your questions to: landscapesandcycles [ at ] earthlink.net