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Climate Changes Shift Springtime in Europe 259

gollum123 writes to mention a BBC article on a study of Europe's changing climate. The study collated information from 17 nations and 125,000 studies involving 561 species. The results indicate that, at least in Europe, 'Spring' is coming earlier and earlier every year. From the article: "Spring was beginning on average six to eight days earlier than it did 30 years ago, the researchers said. In regions such as Spain, which saw the greatest increases in temperatures, the season began up to two weeks earlier. The findings were based on what was described as the world's largest study of changes in recurring natural events, such as when plants flowered. The team of researchers also found that the onset of autumn has been delayed by an average of three days over the same period."
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Climate Changes Shift Springtime in Europe

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  • 30 years ago? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ZakuSage ( 874456 ) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @12:44AM (#15988192)
    Wasn't there a cooling trend in the 70s, that one that made everyone concerned about global cooling? Wouldn't that skew their results? How is it compared to say 50 years ago?
    • MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      How is it trolling to wonder if a flaw in their research would skew their results?
      • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:5, Informative)

        by RsG ( 809189 ) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @01:07AM (#15988267)
        The mods probably saw "cooling trend" and "1970" and assumed the poster was bringing up the tired old arguement that we used to think the earth was headed into a new ice age.

        The arguement usually goes that before 1970 we thought there was a new ice age coming, due to a global cooling trend. This is usually followed by the arguement that climate scientists don't know what they're talking about, and that man-made global warming is a myth. What this "talking point" ignores is that the so-called "new ice age" never had much scientific credibility; it is primarily remembered because it had a great deal of press coverage. Further, IIRC the global warming hypothesis goes back to at least 1968.

        In every single /. discussion involving climate change, the above arguement is made as a talking point by people who dislike the notion that humans are affecting global temperature. So, after a while I suspect that moderators get a wee bit trigger happy whenever someone mentions the words "cooling" and "1970" in a post about climate change.

        Note that the GP's point is valid, as there was an observed period of lower temperature 30 years ago (which is what sparked all the media speculation regarding a new ice age). However, I'm sure the scientists who did this study took that trend into account, and in any case the cooling trend was both brief and comparatively small.
        • by puzzled ( 12525 ) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @01:41AM (#15988369) Journal


                The Earth was cooler from 1940 to 1970 - this was due to diesel engines producing sulfate aerosols, which are highly reflective. Right now we gain about 4.0 watts/meter^2 due to CO2 and methane, but we lose about half of it due to the sulfate aerosols still in the stratosphere. The cleaner burning fuels we implemented in the 1970s resulted in lower amounts of that stuff in the atmosphere, hence the reversal of the cooling (dimming, actually) trend.

        • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:4, Insightful)

          by kfg ( 145172 ) * on Sunday August 27, 2006 @01:44AM (#15988376)
          . . .the so-called "new ice age" never had much scientific credibility; it is primarily remembered because it had a great deal of press coverage.

          Ahhhhhhhhhh, how ironic this could look in another 20 or 30 years.

          KFG
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          The problem, really, is the term "Global Warming" itself. It basically gives the naysayers plenty of easy (if faulty) ammo.

          Perhaps "Global Climate Change" would have been better... or just "Global We're Fucked"
        • by Rob Kaper ( 5960 )
          What this "talking point" ignores is that the so-called "new ice age" never had much scientific credibility; it is primarily remembered because it had a great deal of press coverage.

          Making it a very good analogy for the global warming hype..
        • I'm too lazy to go looking for the article, but I had read that due to a breakdown in the current from the Gulf of Mexico to Western Europe, Europe could be propelled into a Canada-like state (aka, much colder on average). So, the current is breaking down, but the temperatures are rising; I wonder who this is explained or if the link has even been studied.
    • Re:30 years ago? (Score:5, Informative)

      by slightlyspacey ( 799665 ) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @01:09AM (#15988275)
      As a matter of fact, there was ... from Newsweek "The Cooling World" [junkscience.com] April 28, 1975, page 64:

      In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant over-all loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually.

      So, as a rough estimate growing seasons are about the same as they were in the 1950s. The researchers only went back 30 years so they wouldn't have to deal with this "anomaly". That is known in some circles as "cooking the data".
      • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @03:20AM (#15988602)
        All the dishonesty that happens with the studies. People cry about the dishonesty and corporate backing that comes from anti-GW studies, but it really doesn't seem to be any better on the pro GW side. It's just not science that's being done in many cases. Science isn't about finding evidence to support your position, it's a process of knowing things and to do it right, you always have to try to prove yourself wrong.

        I think Feynman said it best:

        "It's a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty--a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid--not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you've eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked--to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

        Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can--if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong--to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.

        In summary, the idea is to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgement in one particular direction or another."

        (http://www.physics.brocku.ca/etc/cargo_cult_scien ce.html)

        This cherry picking of data, downplaying and/or ignoring of contradictory results and such is just not acceptable. It may very well be that there's something to the idea that humans are causing global warming and that it's going to lead to bad things, but the way to prove that is not to use bad science.

        Because of all this crap floating around on both sides, I personally have just said "fuck it" in relation to global warming. I'm not looking in to it anymore, I don't know who to believe. I neither believe nor disbelieve the theory. I'll continue to conserve as much as possible in my personal life (biking to work, for example, which I highly recommend) since I believe in conservation for it's own sake and since it makes economic sense (use less, have more). However I'm not going to get all worked up about it because I just can't figure out if there's anything to get all worked up about.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by njh ( 24312 )
          Because of all this crap floating around on both sides, I personally have just said "fuck it" in relation to global warming. I'm not looking in to it anymore, I don't know who to believe. I neither believe nor disbelieve the theory. I'll continue to conserve as much as possible in my personal life (biking to work, for example, which I highly recommend) since I believe in conservation for it's own sake and since it makes economic sense (use less, have more). However I'm not going to get all worked up about i
        • People cry about the dishonesty and corporate backing that comes from anti-GW studies, but it really doesn't seem to be any better on the pro GW side.

          It doesn't have to be "better". Because the potential downsides are so huge, it's sufficient for people who are concerned about global warming to demonstrate that it is a plausible possibility and that it has significant costs. That has clearly been done. Furthermore, we know that the costs of carbon emission reductions are small in comparison to the costs r
          • Lets just replace global warming with eternal torment in Hell. Guess what. Using your logic, everyone should instantly become Christian, "Just in case". This is faulty logic. There is a very large 'Global Warming' industry. There are plenty of people making a lot of money off of scaring other people. There are also a lot of people who have a social/religious agenda aginst comfort and progress. Given that, saying that we should all do without because maybe some fearmongers are right seems kind of sill
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by falconwolf ( 725481 )

              There is a very large 'Global Warming' industry. There are plenty of people making a lot of money off of scaring other people.

              There are also very large industries who make lots of money while denying global warming. The petroleum, coal, and power, industries may have much to loose if there are restrictions on greenhouse gases. Money isn't a one way street, er people don't only make money on one side of the street. I'd say let the freemarkets work but if someone's property gets flooded by rising sea le

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by cagle_.25 ( 715952 )

            It doesn't have to be "better". Because the potential downsides are so huge, it's sufficient for people who are concerned about global warming to demonstrate that it is a plausible possibility and that it has significant costs. That has clearly been done. Furthermore, we know that the costs of carbon emission reductions are small in comparison to the costs resulting from global warming if global warming is occurring.

            First, the GP was not talking about "better" in terms of correctness; he was talking about

    • Re:30 years ago? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @01:33AM (#15988342)
      "Wasn't there a cooling trend in the 70s, that one that made everyone concerned about global cooling? Wouldn't that skew their results? How is it compared to say 50 years ago?"

      North America's climate was cooler from roughly 1950 through about 1975; but I don't know that it was a world-wide phenomenon (it could have been; I just don't know.). However "cooler" is a relative term - it wasn't "Little Ice Age" cool or anything like that. It was just cooler than the period before and after. You might notice that a lot of your local record low temps occured in the 1950s; at least if you live in the US.

      There have been a lot of fluctuations like this, and will continue to be whether global warming continues or not (that's one thing that bugs me - the debate shouldn't be "it is warming" versus "it isn't warming". The ice core records taken in the past two decades have established that IT IS WARMING UP. The question really is, is this observed warming trend caused by man's activity [anthropogenic] or is it a natural fluctuation?).

      That's one of the problems with the global warming discussion. As the climate continues to warm year after year it becomes more and more likely that this is anthropogenic rather than natural; but by the time we are 100% certain it'll be too late to do anything. Unfortunately this sort of uncertainty is common in science, which means politicians can use their mad spin skillz to argue it whatever way their constituency wants.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aichpvee ( 631243 )
        It's especially ridiculous since it's pretty clear we ARE causing it and the fix is a) simple and b) cheap to implement relative to the cost of continuing as we are, damage to the planet not even considered.
    • Given the amount of particulate air pollution from that period, the cooling trend was likely the result of global dimming. [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_dimming [wikipedia.org] ] To some degree this may have offset the effects of global warming, but after 30 years of concerted effort to limit particulate pollution, that offset has begun to erode.
      • by jez9999 ( 618189 )
        Fry: This snow is beautiful. I'm glad global warming never happened.
        Leela: Actually, it did. But thank God nuclear winter cancelled it out.
  • Really? (Score:2, Funny)

    by LordRPI ( 583454 )
    I didn't know that climate change could affect the date of the equinox...
  • by talkingpaperclip ( 952112 ) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @12:51AM (#15988212) Homepage
    Either move the official start date of spring up six to eight days or remove that many days from the calendar. Personally, I vote for the first week of the year, I always hated the first week of school back from winter vacation when I was a kid.
    • Man,

      That's right in the middle of our summer holidays, usually heralding a trip to the beach with our new christmas presents, and lazy summer days. You can prise that week from my cold dead fingers! The first week in July would be much better.

      Damn northern-hemisphere-centric views...
  • is the words "pending doom".
    • Damnit man, playing doom 3 is just delaying the actions that should be taken! Get some priorities! ;)
  • by NZheretic ( 23872 ) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @01:06AM (#15988261) Homepage Journal
    CHORUS:
    Europe was having trouble.
    What a sad, sad story.
    Needed a new climate to restore.
    Its former glory.
    Where, oh, where was it?
    Where could that man it?
    We looked around and then we found.
    The pollution for you and me.

    LEAD TENOR SCIENTIST:
    And now it's...
    Springtime for Europe and Germany
    Deutschland is happy and gay!
    Glaciers receding at a faster pace
    Look out, here comes the heatwave race!
    Springtime for Europe and Germany
    Rhineland's a fine land once more!
    Springtime for Europe and Germany
    Watch out, Europe
    Al Gore going on tour!

  • by Icyfire0573 ( 719207 ) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @01:06AM (#15988262)
    Our president assures us that this is both not a problem, and not happening.
  • by mveloso ( 325617 ) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @01:11AM (#15988278)
    Do the other seasons move as well?
  • by JonLatane ( 750195 ) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @01:15AM (#15988293)
    If this study is based upon when plants flowered, it may not be as much climate change as it is light change. This is not to say that the climate has not changed, only to say that plants flowering is not most directly attributed to temperature.

    Assuming I am not mistaken in my recollection of AP Biology, plants flower based upon the longest period of darkness that they percieve. That is to say, when certain enzymes in plants are not exposed to IR light for a certain period of time (varying based upon the plant), processes including flowering occur.

    So, this may not be based as much upon climate change as much as light change, which could easily be caused by increasing urbanization (city lights and such providing enough light to change these processes).
    • If this study is based upon when plants flowered, it may not be as much climate change as it is light change.

      Good point (and good elaboration of it). Now, TFA mentions that they observed "542 plants and 19 animal species". Which doesn't go against the issue that you raise, since changes in plants can lead directly to changes in animals dependent upon them. So, it might not be climate change but something else that affects plants. However, I am not sure I agree about light being the necessary culprit; whe
  • by QuickFox ( 311231 ) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @01:16AM (#15988300)
    Come on people, don't be so gullible. It's only 125,000 studies, how could that be in any way conclusive?
  • Once we run out of fossil fuels to burn, there won't be as much air pollution.

    Plus, white styrofoam chunks, shiny aluminum cans, and glass bottles should be spread around outside, to help reflect sunlight away from the earth.

    And bird flu/SARS will solve any overpopulation problem.

    Nature can take care of itself, by taking care of us.
    • Nature dislikes it when you anthrpomorphasize her :-)

      And on a more serious note, you do realize that bird flu and SARS are far less serious than the black death in the middle ages and the 1918 flu epidemic right? Disease organisms that kill their host die themselves in the proccess, so there is a strong evolutionary pressure against fatal epidemics. If we were all going to die of some horrible plague, we'd have done so already. Plagues can cause great human suffering, but aren't likely to cause extinctio
  • I believe that more research needs to be done to determine whether human activities are having any effect on the global climate. As history tells us, it is usually the best course of action in the face of uncertainty to do nothing. For example, during the Cold War there was a great deal of uncertainty about what he intentions of the Soviet Union in East Germany were, and due to this fact we made sure to not "rock the boat" b,y sending any troops or weapons of any kind to West Germany. It was of course ou
  • Mr. Groundhog have to say about all this?
  • A year passed ... Winter changed into Spring ... Spring changed into Summer, Summer changed back into Winter, and Winter gave Spring and Summer a miss and went straight on into Autumn ... Until one day ...
  • ...but the trouble with human emissions is that they coinside with destrction of the Earths natural Carbon Sink mechanisms, eg. deforestation of the Amazon which has reached a crutial tipping point [climateark.org] and the so-called Mega-fires [bostonherald.com] have already started, as not reported on Slashdot (sniff).
  • The funny part... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jopsen ( 885607 )
    The funny part is the it's America that's responsable for the climate changes... Most if not all of Europe takes part in international campaigns against CO2 polution. I Denmark (Europe) one Gallon of (car) fuel cost 7.12 USD. - What do you pay? - And how does that affect the environment?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by will_die ( 586523 )
      Here in Germany gas costs less then that and the extra taxes we pay over what someone in the US pays does not go to reducing pollution it goes into the social programs.
      BTW as for Kyoto the only countries in europe that have a chance of actually meeting it are UK and Germany, UK because they are spending alot on nuclear and plants and Germany because datawise they get to count old East German plants that got closed down as thier start point. However the chance of both of them actually meeting it are none.
    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )
      THe funny thing is that you actually believe that.

      Sorry, no. In western countries, CO2 output is roughly equivilant to the population count. In developing countries, it's even higher.
  • I wonder what the difference is from when winter started back then until now.

    Just to hazard a guess: it was about the same period of time earlier then than now.
  • s/Global warming/Climate change/ ...
  • The Earth has an opinion [washingtonpost.com].
  • Pretend you don't know anything more than:

    1. There is a complex system involving equilibrium in which for a relatively long time period the proportion of X in a gas suffused throughout the system has been Y. That gas plays an active role in interaction with many other parts of the system.

    2. Over a relatively short period the proportion of X is increased towards 2 * Y.

    Would you venture then, having a general background knowledge of complex systems in equilibrium, that the doubling of Y would:

    A. Dissrupt the

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