arctic methane.

Arctic methane is the biggie, on a ten year timescale x120 more potent then CO2 … this we know already from many sources online, I mean blogs and material from sensible people not alarmist junk of which the latter I tend to avoid.

Explaining to a new friend yesterday its not just the two and three deg C rise by at my guess 2026 (I’ve a £1k wager on this for 3C+ by end 2026) that will in itself hurt us ie its just a hotter day to endure … BUT its the effect on world interconnected natural systems with locked in feedbacks and associated drives that respond at such fine-scale limits that will alter this biosphere to become un-livable, this literally one thou inch thick biosphere on an eight inch diameter childs football.  This is thinner than any layer of modern varnish, more like the old fashioned shellac.  Already the jet stream has split into two loops and is streaming hot moist air over the Arctic. My guess is that the end of the greenland ice sheet I quote “By 2100” as bandied in the general press is woefully overestimated; the nature of ice melt is a law unto itself.

Note that of recent years no-one is bandying the expression that ‘nature is resilient’ anymore …

8 inch dia = 8k miles dia of planet Earth

therefore .001 in (one thou inch) = 1 mile approx.

cigarette paper = 0.001 in (copier paper is 0.004 in)

And still diesel drivers idle their engines all day, at work, at supermarkets whilst waiting, during lunchbreaks etc etc.

So much if not all of our CO2 to O conversion shuts down at increased CO2 levels, it does not / can not ‘rise to the occasion’, ie green plants and forests, diatoms, algae.  Likewise my particular ‘hobby horse’ and fascination with diatoms is a critical factor, the irony of using ancient deposits of oil and gas mainly derived from diatoms has led to their own and our demise, see also the loss of the symbiotic relationship of diatoms to bryozoans ie coral reef.  No-one has ever seen with the naked eye a diatom yet nearly all of our petrol and oil carbon lifestyle is based upon them.

http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/06/when-will-we-die.html

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3263/9/6/251

 

 

 

 

Older garden varieties and the knowledge inherent seems doomed ?

I don’t know if some words were altered and even the original Daily Telegraph copy leaves something to be desired in how it reports the impending possible/ probable loss of a great variety of horticultural material, ie bred named forms, diversity,  varieties treasured, things kept going for generations, the product of clever hands and minds. In other words anything that is produced for a ‘mass market’ seems to be squeezing other more knowledgable specialist approaches. I found the article via MSN and clicked to the Telegraph original. It certainly could be better worded, to be clearer, to make the point far better; the loss of specialist growers and the lack of younger people to take on such a precarious business with often a low financial reward. Reads as if the writer possibly had no real understanding of the subject.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/05/17/british-rose-snowdrop-risk-extinction-42-per-cent-nurseries/

What they really meant is the nationwide network of SPECIALIST ENTHUSIAST plant nurseries is declining. The prospective not particulary knowledgeable or even totally unknowledgeable customer finds it easier to go to the big commercial garden centres where its often bought-in and all designed to sell and sell quickly. I can appreciate that position. That is good news in avoiding pot bound con-jobs, worst case recently was my unknowingly bought a £30 shrub from an unknowledgable so-called garden centre (non-specialist) ie a buyer-in of all material only to find half of the lower pot bound rootball sliced off to leave a disc four inches thick in a eight inch deep pot!

In other words the specialist growers are finding both that no-one wants to follow on after them and fewer people nowadays hunt out their specialist plants, that the general non-specialist garden centre ie plastic furniture, ornaments, novelties are one-stop shopping centre for most ordinary occasional gardeners; plants and shrubs are dealt with as if any other bought-in product. Like it or not we live in the here and now.

Its called the pushing aside of  ‘knowledge and experience’ … things that if not presented or primarily existing within the screen are seemingly irrelevant to much of the population. Its not only the young apparently middle aged folk also seem bewitched by online activity.

I’ve said this for years, the ability to work with soil, to nurture, to create a worthwhile and ‘intelligent garden’ are quite rare and increasingly rare. An interesting illustration is my patch of the English lake District where its very difficult to find a small scale garden that instills any sense of depth or age, everywhere everything is never older than a decade. ie retirement then infirmity scupper what can be achieved over decades as the garden, the plot itself determines the winners and losers.

 

postscript: its hard to get the point across of basic soil husbandry with many people, ie how to garden. Each autumn I treasure the leaf fall as nourishment for the myriad soil inhabitants, worms, algae, mold, bacteria and its also an insulating blanket for the impending winter cold. Note bulbs by the end of September already are showing significant underground development, in waiting for the spring push. Likewise buds on trees by the September are set and waiting for the Spring dash!  Yet so many unwitting households adore their silly garden vacuums and love to hoover away all that is set by nature to help them! And yes I’m aware of excessive leaf fall and the possible plague of midges, point taken. The so called ‘garden compost’ so beloved of the bbc r4 GQT I am most sceptical of, its not inherent in any truly natural system of organic soil development, can throttle off self sown seedlings in the established flower garden, is much over-rated in fact, most certainly it will kill off all your crocus! I build my compost heaps for the mice. I remember a customer trying to loosen up a v heavy clay soil with annual mulches of sand … my suggestion of a top dressing of FYM to aid worm and soil life development went totally unheeded. She had no realisation of Nature and nurture, establishing the right framework to aid her little assistants underground, yet lift up any lump of FYM and the life is teeming from under.

A fifty yard bank of cowslip from Seaham, seed first cast twenty years ago.
A fifty yard bank of cowslip from Seaham, seed first cast twenty years ago. ie my annexe / nature reserve, a private venture so to speak.
Heres a tricky area, lots of shade, probably its best year yet, a patch three decades old. I've also planted Amelanchier to the left and a few weeks ago the small white flowers were a delight in the semi-shade.
Heres a tricky area, lots of shade, probably its best year yet, a patch three decades old. I’ve also planted Amelanchier to the left and a few weeks ago the small white flowers were a delight in the semi-shade.
Two dozen native british north country species introduced over as many years, latest successes are avens and primrose where my wifes ashes are scattered.
Two dozen native british north country species introduced over as many years, latest successes are avens and primrose where my wifes ashes are scattered.
Doronicum looking good, ivy at right is for nesting wren, lots of honeysuckle and rambler rose to flower in a couple of months.
Doronicum looking good, ivy at right is for nesting wren, lots of honeysuckle and rambler rose to flower in June and July.
Just a small part, looking north, all paths are herringbone brick from thirty years ago. The garden itself decides what shall flourish! The clever part if the unfolding of so many layers and years of planting as the weeks progress from Christmas.
Just a small part, looking north, all paths are herringbone brick from thirty years ago. The garden itself decides what shall flourish! The clever part if the unfolding of so many layers and years of planting as the weeks progress from Christmas.

 

All it takes is a little bit of appropriate habitat and to be left alone ... much like myself!
All it takes is a little bit of appropriate habitat and to be left alone … much like myself! ie damselflies taken on a secondhand £20 ebay camera.

 

 

 

 

.

Insect decline, moths, butterflies …

Time to see what new material we can find on this …

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/17/where-have-insects-gone-climate-change-population-decline

An old article, I’d say it is meantime that the loss has been so apparent … https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/feb/01/british-moths-calamitous-decline

Its peculier how the obvious decline of moths these last five years is so little reported.

Where have all the insects gone?

Australia … http://lepidoptera.butterflyhouse.com.au/faqs/gone.html

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/as-insect-populations-decline-scientists-are-trying-to-understand-why/

1,005 comments …  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/27/magazine/insect-apocalypse.html

For the UK an old book E B Ford ‘Moths’ in the Collins New Naturalist Series is a good all round starter. https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Moths.html?id=mVsxvgAACAAJ&source=kp_cover&redir_esc=y

Roy Pitman ‘A Naturalist at Home’

Newman ‘Looking at Butterflies’

Quick I/D guide … Collins ‘Complete British Wildlife’… good for moths and butterflies.

Anything Richard South on moths, the old Warne series but still useful.

Theres lots, thank goodness for ebay.

Remember, our liveable space on the planet (half a mile up and half a mile down) is represented by a one thousandth of an inch ie 0.001″ cigarette paper placed on a childs eight inch dia football. A cigarette paper is one quarter of the thickness of copier paper ie at 0.004 inch. We have so little space, therefore if we mess with its chemistry, its temperatures and a myriad of multi-webbed feedback loops then we are in trouble; or a single species such as ourselves takes too big a bite of burning resources and upsetting natural systems alien to nature, then as again, we are in trouble.

 

 

 

 

Global warming …

This link is usually my first port of call for Arctic warming,  a highly qualified professional well worth reading. He knows all the active professionals / scientists and is certainly their equal, this is acknowledged. He says what he thinks, he no longer has any academic position / daytime job to fear losing.

http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/04/an-infinite-scream-passing-through-nature.html

Northern Canada: +22C when it should be zero.

Yikes, ultra creepy temp increase  … anything that says by 2100 Greenland Ice Massif will be gone … more like 2026 I’d say. This end of 2026 point in time is when i would think we are somewhere at a minimum of  3 to 4C global warming, you can wave goodbye to anything like a piddling 2C prediction … quite laughable sticking to 2C considering the interconnectedness of natures climate systems and feedback loops. If I’m not correct then I will donate £1k GBP to charities, no quibble.  Remember, the accelerating nature of ice melt is working against us, any child knows wake up next morning and it can often be an exasperating sight to see all the ice and snow mostly gone overnight as often happens here in northern England. Realise too that with increased ice-melt the freshwater adds to increasing humidity and rainfall. Therefore no albedo effect ie the reflective nature of a white landscape is lost and ad infinitum heat absorbancy spirals way beyond most publicly available predictions. Permafrost becomes mush, methane tumbles upwards from microbial, geological and thawing hydrate; better sort some space for all the oxygen cylinders we will need.

And then what ?

 

Heres a pic of what its like up there in NWT … https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/mackenzie-valley-winter-road-closed-1.5064202

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/truck-plunges-deline-ice-road-1.3477869

 

Postscript; thinking of ice loss, not even the term logarithmic in relationship to volume decay is applicable when the temperature is rapidly increasing as in the North West Territories cited above, any ‘steady state’ conformity to plotting arithmetic curves or laws of decay goes out the window or into the newly formed lake. Again, thinking of childhood observation of a quick thaw here in temperate England, all the melt seemed to merely sink into the earth itself which in a permafrost situation up north is the last thing we need. So therefore in my mind most ‘predictions’ are invalid, unreal because thawing ice behaves in its own unique way. Its back to what I fear by 2026.

At least i’m doing ‘something’ even if its quite by chance or the new circumstances of my wife passing away three years ago which has enabled me to do things differently, ie much reduced mileage in the car as I’m happier being nearer to home (I’m the ideal profile for an electric vehicle) …  washing machine bust and won’t be replaced, plastic bucket and a clothes line do all i want as theres no real dirt or grime to remove. Keeping the computer switched off most hours also helps in several ways, use books more, increase pleasure in sketching, copying, taking notes, memorise things … we don’t always need to be up on the latest news online, theres much human knowledge that is as good now as it was forty or a hundred years ago. I’ve no tv through choice and this suits me, bbc r3 and 4 provide sufficient, no mobile either and I’ve uninstalled the wireless remote heating thermostat. The only modern luxury I wish to retain is my central heating system and the pleasure of a hot bath !

Spinning and tumbling clothes dry here in England can be severely cut back and perhaps eliminated in many households, the washing line does all these things; particularly as these last few years we seldom have the rainfall here in NE England that we used to have.

Seabird populations …

Its difficult to get up-to-date information on this, i am also ‘stuck for time’; three and four years ago there was massive Pacific seabird collapse and likewise with oceanic diatom collapse whenever I ask online questions I never get a reply.

Lets start with …

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/seabirds-suffering-massive-population-declines/

http://www.seaaroundus.org/

https://pacificseabirdgroup.org/conservation/psg-policy-conservation-actions/

https://www.nfwf.org/seabirds/Pages/pacific.aspx

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/07/seabird-crisis-conservation-birds-oceans/

 

Insect decline.

Plenty of news coverage yesterday re insect decline, bizarre predictions of  ‘100 years’ seem so silly, if insect loss stands as it does now I’d say three years, five or seven. How else, if they’re ‘dropping like flies’  (horrible pun)  with nicotinoids and unmentioned aluminium levels then the tail off will can only be drastic. I feel so sorry for the knock on effects, to lose garden song birds will be so sad. Likewise bees, butterflies, and i wonder at earthworms. I garden for birds here, strangers have told me so, yet we use the term ‘garden songbird’ when in fact gardens suitable for them, swathes of urban garden are punctuated with barren grass patches at best or paving and gravel and the dreaded dreaded membrane. People just do not seem to connect, few people plant a garden hedge, there are other preoccupations, other toys to play with nowadays. People are so THICK …

My garden is a maze of carefully thought out ‘jumble’, niche corners, shrubs, flowering things, every day of the year theres something in flower. All done at little expense, lots from seed and cuttings.

Many farmers are not the best of operators in ensuring biodiversity, often on my rambles hedges are left to fail and thin and then remain as a few straggling hawthorn sixty years later. A most useful small / mini wood at the entrance to Old B Church was destroyed a few years ago, snowdrop churned to muck, for no purpose, the Forestry Commission a hundred miles away telling me they granted a license to fell and there will be i assume grant aid to develop another artificial synthetic planting. Here in our local Park much used by urban dogwalkers similar nonsense is occurring, an obsession in destroying potential butterfly habitat ie strimming and putting out of reach leaf litter for blackbirds with an obsession with wood chippings; maybe I’m wrong, maybe it will house worms and woodlice, I shall have to check.

Likewise at a couple of separate places i visit, i place bird seed in useful rough weathered fencepost, for twenty years yellowhammer have always accompanied me along that road in spring and summer, its the least i can do. I feed horses too, initially a little neglected, twenty years ago, nowadays the owners realise they need to make an effort. Its what you do that matters, not platitudes or vacuous observations with no follow up. In the bad snow of seven years ago it was only one visit in six weeks that I missed a 28 mile round trip to feed each afternoon; snow tyres being essential.

Do kids do gardening at school? They’ve stopped the wood and metalwork decades ago. And I always wonder that once the photo-op has passed what are the results of their efforts with trowel and seed packet? The consistency, the regularity of effort?

I recall my years eleven to sixteen in a village Secondary School NE England … the microscopes only ever came out of the cupboard once in five years, the biology / science teacher hopeless and uninterested, many lessons devoted to playing ‘hangman’ while he played around with his admin tasks!

We most definitely are bringing up kids that cannot make perform simple tasks to satisfactorily conclusion, cannot complete a practical task. The term ‘using ones hands’ still carries to many a derogatory inflexion to it. Lets blame the Educationalists, they have eradicated so much that is practical and geared toward a finished piece of work, not just fannying on with the apron and plastic specs. We live in a bullshit world, we are getting what we deserve.

An American style obsession driven by big business, all sizes of business with red meat and burgers will have to be re-thought, likewise population control; likewise what we spray on the fields. Probably its too late, but i would never give in, never decline to make the effort.

Aluminium levels are much ignored, not embraced as mainstream and my interest in diatoms is just too obscure (fundamental to the marine food chain) to yield anything from online searches!

 

https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/world-seeing-catastrophic-collapse-of-insects-study

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/10/plummeting-insect-numbers-threaten-collapse-of-nature

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47198576

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/insects-dying-out-uk

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00553-8

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47203344

 

From the Readers Digest Book of Birds, a most valuable and informative book. It 'appeals' ... is a beautiful object, it draws you in like no website ever could.
From the Readers Digest Book of Birds, a most valuable and informative book. It ‘appeals’ … is a beautiful object, it draws you in like no website ever could.

 

Isn’t that a beautiful rendition of the lapwing!  So accurate, so characterful, a credit to the artist. Their antics, their beautiful rippling warble across upland landscape is joyful, a masterpiece of creation. To those that don’t know it, they are sadly lacking.

So lets remind ourselves and also learn …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Spring

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pesticide_toxicity_to_bees

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_R._Ehrlich

https://www.ecologise.in/2017/10/26/giant-insect-ecosystem-collapsing-due-humans-catastrophe/