Saturday, December 13, 2008

Possums Martyred for Climate Jihad

This commentary took place on Jen Marohasy's blog and is reproduced in part for the record.

If one was sincerely looking for a reason why Lemuroid Possums may be extinct then there are much more likely causes than Global Warming. Indeed, the most likely culprit, if there is a culprit, is the far more likely natural event, Tropical Cyclone Larry. See
“Severe Tropical Cyclone Larry (JTWC designation: 17P) was a tropical cyclone that made landfall in Australia during the 2005-06 Southern Hemisphere tropical cyclone season. Larry originated as a low pressure system over the eastern Coral Sea on March 16 and was monitored by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in Brisbane, Australia. The low-pressure area formed into a tropical cyclone two days later and quickly strengthened into a Category 5 storm on the Australian tropical cyclone scale. Larry made landfall in Far North Queensland close to Innisfail on March 20 as a Category 4 with wind gusts reaching 240 km/h (150 mph) and dissipated over land soon after. The total effects of Larry were nearly A$1 billion in damage and one fatality.[1]”

Another noted impact was the almost complete defoliation of trees, exposed, high altitude rainforest trees in particular due to the relative softness of their wood. And if the particular transects used by the researchers were defoliated then the possums would have moved to more sheltered locations where the food supply was more reliable, and many would have remained there.

The more interesting point is to ask why it was that our designated custodians of vulnerable species didn’t get around to assessing the impact of an event like Larry until two and a half years after the event? The species was listed as vulnerable long before Larry hit but it doesn’t seem to have dawned on them that these particular “state wards” might need a helping hand. It was, after all, well known that the species was reluctant to cross gaps in the canopy and making gaps in a conopy is one of the things that level 5 Cyclones do best.

Could it be that we have another instance where negligent and possibly culpable public sector “Lord Protectors” are seeking to avoid responsibility for their omissions and inaction by shifting blame to Global Warming?

This temperature line was always bull$hit because possum kind have always dealt with hot daytime temperatures by SLEEPING THROUGH THE WORST OF IT. It is what nocturnal species do. Get used to it.

It should also be pointed out that another consequence of the mass defoliation of rainforest by cyclone Larry would be the subsequent regrowth of leaf mass on a grand scale in the months and years afterwards. This is likely to have produced a much wider spread of suitable food sources for the possums. So one reason why they may not be found in the same old transects is because they have dispersed over a much wider territory.

Chris Johnson, a researcher in the field from JCU, Townsville responded on December 11th, 2008 at 2:40 pm
Ian, Cyclone Larry passed a long way south of the distribution of the lemuroid ringtail possum. If it had any impact, it would have been mainly in the southern part of that species distribution, not the north where the white ones are (or used to be).

But Chris, the Carbine Tablelands are only 150km from Innisfail. And as the winds were recorded as being in the order of 240km/hour at the epicentre then we can safely assume that the winds at 150km radius and at altitude, were at least in the order of 180+km/hr.
In fact, See which advises that the top of Bellenden Ker Tower (1450m) recorded wind speed of 294km/hr against only 113km/hr at nearby Mareeba. The Carbine peaks are at altitudes of 1200m to 1320m so any suggestion that they did not cop a real hiding in TC Larry is pure bunkum.

But there is another far more relevant fact that Chris and his colleague, Williams, have completely ignored. They talk about hot tropical daytime temperatures and we all think 35C+ and link this to our supposedly heat stressed little fuzzies. The only problem with this scam is that the Carbine tops where the Lemuroids hang out are above 1200 metres and there is no dispute in the fact that temperature drops 1C for every 100 metres of altitude. It follows that when the temperature in Cairns hits 35C these Lemuroids are supposed to be undergoing serious heat stress at only 23C.

And when we add in the BOM anomaly data we find that in 2005, what might have been a 35C day in Cairns became a 35.5C day instead and what might have been a 23C day in the Carbine tops became a 23.5C day. So the question then comes down to issues of basic animal metabolic temperature. The equilibrium temperature of these possums is most certainly higher than 23C. Indeed, the range for mammals is 30C to 42C. So there is clearly a healthy margin for this animal due to the altitude it inhabits.

So lets pin this down, shall we. When a daytime extreme temperature at sea level hits 42C, the Carbine tops will only be 30C, the very bottom of the range of temperatures that mammal kind can endure. The Lemuroids obviously do not just have a single body temperature, they will have a range of temperatures within which they function. Their capacity to cool themselves when temperatures exceed their upper range may be limited but there is still likely to be some residual capacity there. So assuming their upper range is only 35C then it would have to reach a massive 48C at sea level to pose a threat to them on the Carbine tops.

These shonkademics have shot their mouths off, again, without bothering to check the basic biophysics of the species and the basic climatic variables of their habitat. It is the kind of Bull$hit that only makes sense on a campus or a metropolitan media studio.

Meanwhile, up on the Carbine tops, the population that was decimated by TC Larry is slowly recovering. Old trees with nest hollows were the first to get bowled over in the storm and all the resulting gaps removed not just their food supplies but also their shade, their main method for regulating body temperature.

Meanwhile, the town of Atherton (altitude 752m) has two sets of temperature records. The first, Atherton PO, goes from 1895 to 1972 while the newer one, Atherton, goes from 1992 only.
The January max from the old series is 29.0C while the January max from 1992 to present is only 28.4C. The December max for 1895 -1972 is 29.7C while the 1992 to present max is only 29.0C, indicating a mid-summer cooling over the past 16 years of -0.65C.

Of more relevance is the 3.00pm January Max since 1992 of only 26.2C and the 3.00pm December max of only 26.8C. This information is critical in understanding the nature of this scam because the key claim was that “more than 5 hours of temperatures above 30.0C would be enough to wipe out the species, wank, wank”.

But it is pretty hard to get five hours of continuous temperature above 30.0C when the mid-summer 3.00pm maximum is consistently 2.2C cooler than the daily maximum of 29.0C. If, for example, the maximum continued until 2.30pm then five hours at that maximum would have to begin at a highly improbable 9.30am. A quick look, for example, at the UV index for Mareeba for today (12/12/08) has a maximum mid-day UV reading of 16 but only 11 at both 10.0am and 2.00pm. So the probability of a daily maximum temperature beginning at 10.0am and continuing for the full five hours to 3.00pm is close to zero.

But wait, Atherton is at 752m AHD while the Lemuroid Possums are another 500m higher at 1,250m AHD and therefore 5.0C cooler. So the most likely December maximum in the Carbine tops will only be 24.0C with the 3.00pm December max at only 21.8C.

So the Lemuroid Possum extinction by global warming scam is fundamentally compromised by five key considerations;

1. Recent maximum midsummer mean temperatures are 0.65C cooler than the mean from 1895 to 1972.
2. Current midsummer mean maximum temperature in the Carbine tops is only in the order of 24.0C, a full 6.0C cooler than the claimed critical temperature of 30.0C.
3. The claimed critical temperature for Lemuroids of 30.0C is the lowest minimum body temperature that mammals are known to function at and the assertion that this species will not survive five hours exposure to this temperature has not been put to a proper test, even in a controlled experiment.
4. The duration of the diurnal range in UV levels, combined with recorded data for 3.00pm maximum temperatures, makes it highly improbable that a daily maximum temperature would be maintained for as long as 5 hours. Indeed, to have a 3.00pm maximum of 30.0C would require a daily maximum that was actually 2.2C higher. And this would have to be a massive 8.2C higher than the December Maximum in the Carbine tops.
5. A midsummer maximum of 32.2C in the Carbine tops would require sea level temperatures of 44.2C but there is still no actual experimental proof that this would be fatal to the species.

It should also be kept in mind that these are Ringtailed Possums, by far the most adaptable of all possum species. Other Ringtails are known to shelter in a wide range of sites, including houses, rock caves, rock piles and even disused burrows if they are on steep slopes. And one does not need to go far under ground, or under cliff in shadow, to start enjoying the temporary relief provided by ambient earth temperatures. This is particularly the case on mountain tops where high morning temperatures can be avoided by moving to the shaded side of the hill.

In fact, any nook or cranny on a vertical, south facing cliff or even large rock will remain at ambient temperature throughout the hottest part of the day. So even if a controlled experiment were to prove that all Lemuroids (not just the least fit) will die from five hours of 30.0C+ temperatures it does not in any way confirm that Lemuroids in the field will suffer the same fate.
This whole scam is just another totally speculative climate mafia beat up based on pure ignorance.

T which Tom Melville responded on December 12th, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Very interesting, Ian. It certainly is a scam alright. By the way, has there been any real live research on what these possums actually do to cope on very hot days? Or is this even more speculation?

Thanks, Tom, its amazing how just a little bit of reality can blow these eco-bogans and their claptrap clean out of their tree. No sign of Chris, Sod or Libby yet (blog trolls). Must be comfort time with “Mr Thumb”.

And I doubt if there is any research on Lemuroids conducted during a heat wave because these boofheads only go out at night when they can spotlight, and over the same ground every time.
Clearly, deep tree hollows down inside very big trees would be much favoured by possums in heat waves. And those that just happened to have a thick leaf cover casting shadow between 11.00am and 1.00pm would be even more favoured. But who knows? They might even prefer a loose bunch of sticks that let the breeze through, provided it is in shade. And it is also likely to be the time when they prefer hollows that are closer to the ground so the trunk above the hole maintains shadow and ambient temperature.

Of course, on a mountain top the whole concept of proximity to the ground needs revision because the nearest ground might be out sideways. This whole issue of heat management highlights one of the most desireable features (for the fuzzies) of a nest hollow, multiple entries. A hollow that allows the user to shift around inside the tree as each side heats up and cools down is a much better option than two different hollows that require an external shift during the day.
There are a whole lot of attributes that hollow users value at different times.

They can actually be incorporated most easily in artificial hollows but our ecological lords and masters have decreed that the noble profession of woodland habitat enhancer is one that will never come to be. Can you believe it? What would have to be the most “sustainable” jobs one could ever imagine has been ruled out by the eco-nazis, in the name of “forest protection” no less. Either way, this GW scam is pure fantasy.

This prompted Helen Osborn to say, December 12th, 2008 at 7:25 pm

What a wonderful cool breeze of common sense in the current climate of hot air surrounding this issue. My wish is for people like you to become government advisors. Not that I don’t think we should be caring better for the earth - I do, and I think we should. But let’s not get all hysterical and paralysed as a result, where we end up ’straining out gnats and swallowing camels’

Thanks Helen and good point. But the researchers don’t have clue how they cope in daytime heat because they only go spotlighting at night, and lately, they only go spotlighting where they used to be.

What is now very obvious is that these guys actually want a species to go extinct so they can play it up for the climate scam. Don’t doubt it, these creeps are fully capable of sitting there looking the other way as a species goes extinct for the “greater good” of climate jihad. They clearly want some “climate martyrs” and Lemuroids, being really only a sub-group of the broader Ringtail species, will do just fine.

Note how Chris’ only “solution” to the Lemuroid’s so-called problem was to put the entire planet on a moggadon holiday to make substantial reductions in CO2 emissions. As if that was a realistic prospect any time soon.

If these bogans gave a tinkers cuss (or is that a Cuss Cuss?) then they would design an artificial nest hollow with high quality external insulation and enough thermal mass to keep the fuzzies cool through summer. A nest hollow inside a disused hot water system with a large volume of cold water that can be exchanged once it warmed up, would do the trick. All it would take is a bit of basic plumbing, a thermostat, a small solar pump and an insulated reserve tank and the species will be assured survival into two centuries of imaginary warming. They would probably fight over it. Who knows, when the little ice age hits they could even reverse the process and warm the little goobers up as well.

As Bjorn Lomborg says, adaption is far cheaper than the cure.

Hmmmn, 24 hours and not a word from Libby, 36 hours and not a word from Sod or Chris. The question is, is reality and common sense actually sinking in or are they just in denial?

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