Environment

Back to Square 1 - First Steps in Climate Science


Step 1 - we humans discover that the Arctic accumulates more heat on a summer's day then the equatorial regions.

Step 2 - we realise that our atmosphere is heated not so much directly by the sun but by heat from the surface.


George Best not the footballer  circa 1580



Step 3 - we discover that heat and light are two separate forms of radiant energy

Donald Trump has just been elected as US president, as a Republican climate skeptic. So if you are from the US you may get the impression that this is a political debate between “lefties” who think climate change is real and “righties” who think it isn’t. But it’s only in the US that there still is a political debate at all. Here in the UK for instance it has cross party support, and we have a right wing government who have just ratified the treaty. For us, it was a matter for debate a decade or two ago, but the debate was already over some years back. We've decided action is needed, and there were many things we could have done, but the main thing was to do something, and the Paris agreement was what they came up with.

A mathematical model that assists in decision-making at a facility devoted to the cultivation and production of the common mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) has received the prize for the best scientific contribution during the 2nd International Food Operations&Processing Simulation Workshop, FoodOPS, held in Larnaca (Cyprus).

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), one of the nation's largest environmental groups, which has been bankrolled with $50 million from the heirs to the Walmart fortune, has spent millions of dollars pushing a wholesale change in how the U.S. manages its fisheries, to the detriment of fishermen and with no benefit to nature

Substantial environment impacts due to rejection of GM canola

In a Youtube video that has been viewed more than 25 million times,  George Monbiot explains with masterful clarity How Wolves Change Rivers. The short film tells the story of Yellowstone National Park, where wolves were reintroduced in 1995 after an absence of 70 years. Heralded as a successful example of "trophic rewilding" (Svenning et al 2015) - whereby missing "trophic levels" in the food pyramid are re-installed to exert top-down control- the returning wolves are credited with controlling numbers and behaviour of herbivores (elk), thereby allowing vegetation to return.

Over the past few weeks there have a been a series of reports raising concerns about the felling of old-growth trees in the ancient Bialowiezça forest in eastern Poland. A recent piece in the Guardian begins

My last post dealt with the permaculture edible forest garden, and it received some commentary on a couple of Facebook groups and permaculture forums.

A lot of the responses were, predictably, from permaculture advocates who took umbrage at my having deigned to critique their philosophy at all, but there was one very valid criticism concerning yields: while I had compared weights of different crops per acre, a more useful approach would be to compare calorific yield.

Doing this for the crops I listed gives a result looking something like this:

With GMOs going off patent, anti-science activists and the PR groups running interference for them (such as US Right To Know and Sourcewatch) are running out of time to use one of the arguments they love most to disguise the fact that they hate science; that corporations control the food supply.

Because GMOs are patented, they have  an expiration and that is happening right now. If it's not about the science, but instead about having farmers controlled by an evil seed corporation, then it's all good, right? Their war on science has ended?

A peptide and its receptors work to regulate auxin response and control leaf tooth growth in plants.

The plant hormone auxin has been known to take part in the development of leaf teeth, but the exact mechanism of their formation has been a mystery up till now. In this study, the research group has found that a peptide called EPIDERMAL PATTERNING FACTOR-LIKE 2 (EPFL2) and its receptor protein, ERECTA family receptor kinases, control the amount of auxin during leaf tooth growth. In plant leaves where the EPFL2 peptide is inactive, the leaf becomes round without teeth.