Noise in the seas ? another anthropogenic problem which could be solved

Keskiviikko 10.2.2021 klo 14:08 - Mikko Nikinmaa

Sound moves faster and longer in water than in air. Different animals use all sorts of sounds in communication. Dolphins top the list with up to 70000 different sounds. It is probably even higher than human sounds – a person with 20000 words has a good vocabulary. Grey whales’ mating calls travel many kilometers in water in order to reach a suitable mate. Thus, the biogenic sounds are important for the functioning of animal populations in aquatic environment. Notably, when I was a child, and we were angling, one needed to be very quiet so that fish would not hear us, because they would do it a long way away.

With an increase of marine traffic and all sorts of other human endeavours in the seas and their shores, the soundscape of the oceans has changed immensely during the recent decades. Anthropogenic noises have even been suggested to be behind the shoring of whales.  In a recent number of Science (Duarte et al., Science 371, eaba4658 (2021)), Duarte et al. reviewed “The soundscape of the Anthropocene ocean” indicating the many problems for aquatic life. However, it would be possible to modify the anthropogenic sounds so that the soundscape of marine life would be acceptable. Thus, with this human-induced problem it is more or less the same as with climate change: we know what should be done, and we have the technical means to do it. However, we lack the political and economic will to do it.

GREED of the present generation decreases the possibilities for sustainable life of future generations.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: noise pollution, anthropogenic disturbances

No Anthropogenic Climate Change? Another case where correlation is falsely interpreted to indicate causality

Lauantai 20.7.2019 klo 15:05 - Mikko Nikinmaa

An article “giving experimental evidence” that it is not greenhouse gases, but changes in humidity/low level clouds, causing temperature increase, is circulating. The article is widely used by climate sceptics to indicate that carbon dioxide increase has little to do with the observed temperature increase. I wish it were so, but a quick reading of the ArXiv 2019 (Kauppinen & Malmi; manuscript (NO EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE FOR THE SIGNIFICANT ANTHROPOGENIC CLIMATE CHANGE) indicates a serious problem in the conclusion. Measurements of temperature change are unequivocal – temperature has increased markedly from preindustrial time, especially during the last 50 years. Since temperature, cloud cover and humidity data can be found, the authors have calculated correlations between temperature and the other two and have shown significant IMG_3885.jpgrelationship. Up to this point I have no quarrel with the authors. But then, at least to my understanding, they conclude that these correlations indicate causality. From the observed temperature and cloud cover change they calculate that an increase in % cloud cover causes a decrease in temperature by 0.11 degrees/% cloud cover. However, correlation does not mean causality, it is equally possible that an additional factor influences one or both components of the correlation. A good example of this is the classical ice cream eating and drowning-relationship. There is very tight correlation between the consumption of ice cream and the number of drowning accidents. Yet, few people would claim that ice cream eating causes drowning. A similar problem is in this case, the authors’ calculation indicates an association between cloud cover change and temperature increase. However, the reason why the temperature increases is not verified by the authors’ calculations. It could be anything, for example anthropogenic. Thus, the study does not prove “that the changes in the low cloud cover fraction practically control the global temperature”. It is difficult for me to understand, why this kind of obvious weakness has remained unobserved, when at the same time inaccuracies in the IPCC conclusions are pointed out.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: global temperature, climate sceptics, cloud cover, anthropogenic

Insect declines - then flowers and birds

Sunnuntai 22.10.2017 klo 20:04 - Mikko Nikinmaa

Insects pollinate about 80 % of flowers and are the major food of approximately 40 % of birds. Recent news have shown unexplained deaths in bee colonies, and the possible effects of neonicotinoid-treated seeds on pollinating insects discussed. However, in all earlier cases intensive agriculture has been discussed as making a contribution to the insect problems.

In view of this the recent report by Hallmann et al (PLoS ONE 12, e0185809) is worrisome. The scientists have determined flying insect biomass in German nature protection areas for about 30 years. During that time the biomass has decreased more than 3/4. Further, no reasons which could explain the decrease have been found. The decrease has occurred similarly in insect-rich and insect-poor habitats, so it is a general phenomenon and not associated with the change in habitats.

Let's hope that we find the reasons and can stop the decline before flowers and birds start disappearing, although already decreases in many bird populations have occurred. As yet, it is not known if these declines can be associated with the disappearance of insects, but the possibility exists.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: extinction, pollution, anthropogenic effects

Climate change, and the effect of anthropogenic carbon dioxide, just imagination?

Lauantai 11.3.2017 klo 16:05 - Mikko Nikinmaa

Quite incredibly the US Environmental Protection chief Scott Pruitt said that anthropogenic carbon dioxide is not the primary reason behind climate change. The scientists in EPA are of opposite opinion - thus a politician can say how things are opposite to what scientiststs who have carried out careful research on the topic have given as the conclusion by EPA. This shows the views of the present US president and his government. Lets go back to the past when there was no EPA and the environment could be be polluted so that a burning river resulted in generation of EPA. Personally, I think that if there is even a possibility that human influence endangers our environment, for the sake of future generations we should carry out corrective actions as best we can.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: fossil fuels, carbon dioxide, anthropogenic effects