News stories that I’m following

Posted by Sappho on May 22nd, 2014 filed in Africa news and blogwatch, Climate Change and Desertification, Greek News

Poll shows SYRIZA leading ND by 2.5 pct ahead of Sunday’s European vote. It’s not looking good for New Democracy, so it’s no wonder that Jean-Claude Juncker, the nominee of the EU’s Christian Democratic parties for the top job at the European Commission, warns against early elections in Greece. Last Sunday’s local elections in Greece didn’t give a clear win to any party, but did show voters’ disapproval of austerity.

Nigeria: U.S. Deploys 80 Special Forces to Chad to Search for Girls.

“These personnel will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area. “The force will remain in Chad until its support in resolving the kidnapping situation is no longer required.”

The US president said the action had been directed in furtherance of US national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to his constitutional authority to conduct US foreign relations and as Commander-in-Chief and Chief Executive.

“I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148),” he added.

Obama expressed his appreciation and the support of the US Congress in these actions. In addition to the troops being sent by the US, France also has forces in Chad, while Britain and the US had sent small teams of specialists to Nigeria to assist the Nigerian government in the search for the girls.

I’m sure you’ve all, by now, heard the double whammy bad news that there’s been a sharp increase in the rate at which Antarctica’s ice is melting, and that Greenland is more vulnerable to melting than was thought. Some of you may have seen the graphic on Facebook about the news we’re hearing, with a huge part of the circle devoted to some story or other about Jay-Z and Solange, and a tiny sliver to the ice melting. Sadly, our minds aren’t well shaped to face a challenge like climate change; if you think about it, knowing all the detailed gossip about who was doing what to whom (with the information that supplied about whom in your group you could rely on) was more critical to our survival for most of our past than worrying about climate signs in distant places that we can’t see with our own eyes. But here’s a round up of some articles about the ice melt story:

Ars Technica, 5/12/2014: Glaciers draining Antarctic basin destabilized, big sea level rise all but certain [Updated]

Today, researchers at UC Irvine and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have announced results indicating that glaciers across a large area of West Antarctica have been destabilized and that there is little that will stop their continuing retreat. These glaciers are all that stand between the ocean and a massive basin of ice that sits below sea level. Should the sea invade this basin, we’d be committed to several meters of sea level rise.

Scientific American reports

“It has passed the point of no return,” said Eric Rignot, lead author on one of the studies and a glaciologist at the University of California, Irvine, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory….

Rignot’s study, accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, looked at observations of the glacier’s grounding lines since 1992 and found that they have “been retreating at record speeds, unmatched anywhere else in the Antarctic,” Rignot said during a press conference.

A previous study by Rignot and his colleagues also found that the flow speeds of the glaciers in the ASE have also increased over the past few decades, with a minor recent slowdown in the Pine Island Glacier’s flow, increasing the total amount of ice discharged into the ocean. The faster glaciers flow, the more they spread and thin. The faster flow and increasing retreat reinforce each other in a feedback cycle….

In other climate change news:

Loathed by motorists, loved by fruit trees, California’s tule fog fades away.


Britain faces malaria risk as climate change sees mosquitoes thriving in garden water butts.

I got the above two stories from this interesting climate change blog, which has many others.

2 Responses to “News stories that I’m following”

  1. Wired Sisters Says:

    Malaria was fairly common in England during the Middle Ages.

  2. Sappho Says:

    When did it die out in England?