Week of July 21, 2008

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World

Top physics group shows crack in warming 'consensus'

Editor counters leadership, acknowledging many scientists don't believe man is cause

In another strike against the conventional assertion of a consensus on global warming, a publication of an organization representing more than 50,000 physicists acknowledges many members of the scientific community don't believe humans are the primary cause of climate change.

 

The editor of Physics & Society, a newsletter of the American Physical Society, says that with his July issue he wants to kick off a debate concerning one of the main conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC.

 

The IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year along with former Vice President Al Gore for sounding the alarm about alleged man-made global warming. Yesterday, in a speech at Constitution Hall in Washington, Gore challenged the U.S. to make a "man on the moon" effort to produce all of the country's electricity from renewable resources within 10 years.

 

But Physics & Society Editor Jeffrey Marque says there's a "considerable presence within the scientific community" of experts who don't agree with the IPCC's contention human-produced CO2 emissions likely are the primary cause of global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution.

 

The publication's July issue features a paper by Lord Christopher Monckton, the science advisor to Britain's Margaret Thatcher administration. Monckton concludes the IPCC's modeling has grossly overstated the rate of

temperature change caused by greenhouse gas.

 

Monkton's paper is preceded by a disclaimer, however, that states: "The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review. Its conclusions are in disagreement with the overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community. The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article's conclusions."

 

Also, the American Physical Society responded to a report by the Daily Tech blog today that said the society had reversed its stance on global warming.  On its website, the society said the society reaffirms the position on climate change adopted Nov. 18 by its governing body, the APS Council: "Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate."

 

Monckton insists there is substantial support for his results in peer-reviewed literature, the Daily Tech reported.  He concludes in his paper that the IPCC's modeling has grossly overstated the rate of temperature change caused by greenhouse gas. Monckton, who believes natural variability is the cause of most recent warming, told the DailyTech he was "dismayed" to discover the IPCC's 2001 and 2007 reports did not properly explain the method used to reach its conclusions.  "When I began to investigate, it seemed that the IPCC was deliberately concealing and obscuring its method," he said.

 

Larry Gould, professor of physics at the University of Hartford and chairman of the New England Section of the APS, called Monckton's paper an "expose of the IPCC that details numerous exaggerations and "extensive errors," the DailyTech said.  Courtesy:  WorldNetDaily


National

Lead Shot and Sinkers: Weighty Implications for Fish and Wildlife Health-USGS Report

(This press release comes directly from the USGS and is reproduced in its entirety)
Millions of pounds of lead used in hunting, fishing and shooting sports wind up in the environment each year and can threaten or kill wildlife, according to a new scientific report.  


Lead is a metal with no known beneficial role in biological systems, and its use in gasoline, paint, pesticides, and solder in food cans has nearly been eliminated. Although lead shot was banned for waterfowl hunting in 1991, its use in ammunition for upland hunting, shooting sports, and in fishing tackle remains common.

While noting that more information is needed on some aspects of the impact of lead on wildlife, the authors said that numerous studies already documented adverse effects to wildlife, especially waterbirds and scavenging species, like hawks and eagles. Lead exposure from ingested lead shot, bullets, and fishing sinkers also has been reported in reptiles, and studies near shooting ranges have shown evidence of lead poisoning in small mammals.  

Frequently used upland hunting fields may have as much as 400,000 shot per acre. Individual shooting ranges may receive as much as 1.5 to 23 tons of lead shot and bullets annually, and outdoor shooting ranges overall may use more than 80,000 tons of lead shot and bullets each year.  Although precise estimates are not available for lead fishing tackle in the environment, about 4,382 tons of lead fishing sinkers are sold each year in the United States.

The most significant hazard to wildlife is through direct ingestion of spent lead shot and bullets, lost fishing sinkers and tackle, and related fragments, or through consumption of wounded or dead prey containing lead shot, bullets or fragments, emphasized USGS contaminants experts Drs. Barnett Rattner and Chris Franson. The two scientists are lead authors of The Wildlife Society (TWS) technical report and co-authors with five other experts of a recent Fisheries article on the same subject.

“Science is replete with evidence that ingestion of spent ammunition and fishing tackle can kill birds,” Rattner said. “The magnitude of poisoning in some species such as waterfowl, eagles, California condors, swans and loons, is daunting.  For this reason, on July 1, 2008, the state of California put restrictions on the use of lead ammunition in parts of the range of the endangered California condor because the element poses such a threat to this endangered species.” Lead poisoning causes behavioral, physiological,

and biochemical effects, and often death. The rate of mortality is high enough to affect the populations of some wildlife species. Although fish ingest sinkers, jigs, and hooks, mortality in fish seems to be related to injury, blood loss, exposure to air and exhaustion rather than the lead toxicity that affects warm-blooded species.

 

Although lead from spent ammunition and lost fishing tackle is not readily released into aquatic and terrestrial systems, under some environmental conditions it can slowly dissolve and enter groundwater, making it potentially hazardous for plants, animals, and perhaps even people if it enters water bodies or is taken up in plant roots. For example, said Rattner, dissolved lead can result in lead contamination in groundwater near some shooting ranges and at heavily hunted sites, particularly those hunted year after year.

Research on lead poisoning related to spent ammunition and lost fishing tackle has been focused on bird species, with at least two studies indicating that the ban on the use of lead shot for hunting waterfowl in North America has been successful in reducing lead exposure in waterfowl, the report said. The authors found that upland game -- such as doves and quail -- and scavenging birds -- such as vultures and eagles -- continue to be exposed to lead shot, putting some populations (condors in particular) at risk of lead poisoning.

Some states have limited the use of lead shot in upland areas to minimize such effects, and others are considering such restrictions.  Environmentally safe alternatives to lead shot and sinkers exist and are available in North America and elsewhere, but use of these alternatives is not widespread, according to the report.

The authors of the report concluded that a better understanding of the toxicity and amount of lead poisoning in reptiles and aquatic birds related to fishing tackle is needed, as well as more information on the hazards of spent ammunition and mobilized lead at or near shooting ranges. In addition, the authors suggested that a more detailed knowledge of how lead shot and fishing tackle specifically affect wildlife here and in other countries is essential, as well as studies that evaluate the effects on wildlife health and ecosystems of regulations restricting the amount of lead ammunition and lead fishing tackle.

To obtain a copy of the technical review report, “Sources and Implications of Lead-Based Ammunition and Fishing Tackle on Natural Resources,” visit www.wildlife.org.  For a copy of the American Fisheries Society article on the known and potential impacts of lead in shooting and fishing: http://www.fisheries.org/afs/docs/fisheries/fisheries_3305.pdf


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for July 18, 2008

Weather Conditions

Hot and humid conditions were present in the Great Lakes basin this week.  Temperatures reached the 90 degree mark in many places on Wednesday and Thursday.  A stubborn frontal system also touched off several rounds of thunderstorms as it interacted with the hot and humid air mass.  The front will linger in Great Lakes for the weekend, leading to more showers and thunderstorms.   Heavy rain is a good bet as storms will be slow moving.  Unsettled weather is expected to linger into next week.

Lake Level Conditions

Presently, all of the Great Lakes remain higher than they were at this time last year. Lake Superior is 15 inches above last year's level while lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are 7 inches higher than they were a year ago.  Lakes Erie and Ontario are 8 inches and 9 inches, respectively, higher than they were last year.  Lake Superior is projected to rise 1 inch over the next 30 days, while Lake Michigan-Huron is predicted to remain around the same level.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario, however, are forecasted to fall 3 to 5 inches during the next month.  All of the Great Lakes are expected to remain above their water levels of a year ago over the next few months.  

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

In June, outflow through the St. Mary's, St. Clair, and Detroit Rivers was below average. Niagara River's outflow was near average, while outflow from the St. Lawrence River was above average.

Alerts

Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.

 

 

Supior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for July 18

 601.7

 578.2

 574.5

 572.0

 246.4

Datum, in ft

 601.1

 577.5

 572.3

 569.2

 243.3

Diff in inches

 +8

 +9

 +26

 +34

 +37

Diff last month

 +4

  +2

 +2

  +1

 -4

Diff from last yr

 +15

 +7

 +7

 +8

 +9

 


Snow melt, heavy rains help raise Great Lakes water levels

Following a winter of above-average snowfall and recent heavy rains in the region, water levels are rising throughout the Great Lakes. According to reports from Environment Canada and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, water supplies to the basins of all of the Upper Great Lakes were well above average for June, near average during May, and above average for April, resulting in fairly dramatic increases in water levels.

 

As of the beginning of July 2008, Lake Superior is 38 centimeters (15 inches) higher than one year ago. The level of

Michigan-Huron is 16 cm (6.3 in) above last year. Likewise,

Lake St. Clair is 15 cm (5.9 in) higher than a year ago while Lake Erie is 14 cm (5.5 in) higher. Despite the recent rises in lake levels, Superior and Michigan-Huron are still below their respective long-term averages (1918-2007) but at or slightly above chart datum.

 

At the beginning of July, Michigan-Huron is 36 cm (14”) below its long-term average but is 46 cm (18.1”) above the 1964 record low for this time of year. Lake Superior is 13 cm (5”) below its beginning of the month average but 48 cm (19”) above the record low set in 1926.


IJC sets Public meetings for Aug 9-12 in Ontario

The International Upper Great Lakes Study has scheduled five public meetings in the Georgian Bay region of Lake Huron, offering residents the opportunity to learn about the Study, express their opinions, and ask questions of Study experts.

 

Sat, Aug 9, 9-11 AM, Royal Canadian Legion No. 177, Vankoughnet St. East, Little Current

Sat, Aug 9, 3-5 PM, Stockey Centre, 2 Bay St., Parry Sound

Mon, Aug 1, 7-9 PM, North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre, 527 Len Self Boulevard, Midland

Tues, Aug 12, 2-4 PM, Royal Canadian Legion, 490 Ontario St., Collingwood

Tues, Aug 12, 7-9 PM, Bayshore Community Centre, 1900 Third Ave. East, Owen Sound


Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin Compact move to Congress

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact is drawing nearer to implementation now that all eight participating states have ratified the agreement. Congressional consent to the Compact is the next step, and both presumptive major party presidential candidates support it, said Peter Johnson, program director with the Council of Great Lakes Governors.

 

To complement the Compact, there is also an accord among the eight states and two Canadian provinces — the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement - with basically the same provisions. Both Ontario and Quebec have approved the agreement. The Compact bans diversions of Great Lakes water with very limited exceptions for communities that straddle the Basin divide, communities in counties that straddle the Basin divide,

and intra-Basin transfers. Any such diversions must meet stringent requirements including return flow back to the lake watershed from which the water was taken.

 

In a flurry of activity in late June and early July, the governors of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan signed legislation ratifying the Compact, following action by their respective state legislatures. The governors of Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, New York and Wisconsin had already given their approval.

 

Without the right management policies, diversions and unsustainable uses in the Basin could ultimately have costly ecological and economic impacts on the Great Lakes. For example, low levels have negative and expensive consequences both for shippers who are unable to fully load their vessels with cargo and for municipal water systems that may need to relocate water pipes into deeper water.


More than 250 turn out for IJC public meetings in Michigan

More than 250 people attended a second round of public meetings sponsored by the International Upper Great Lakes Study this spring in Michigan. On April 28 in Bay City, April 29 in Port Huron, and May 3 in Muskegon, members of the Study Board and Public Interest Advisory Group (PIAG) provided a Study overview, discussed historical water level trends, received public comment, and answered questions.

 

PIAG U.S. Co-Chair Kay Felt outlined Study objectives, outreach efforts and the crucial role of public input. Joining her were Canadian PIAG Co-Chair Dr. James Bruce, who provided expertise regarding weather and climate change; and U.S. Study Board Co-Chair Dr. Eugene Stakhiv, who reviewed past and current Great Lakes water levels, and explained how scientists are seeking to answer the Study’s key scientific questions. U.S. Study Board member Jim Bredin

of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality answered questions related to water use and the state permitting process.

 

Attendees included riparian property owners, boaters, anglers, marina operators, environmentalists, research scientists, clean water activists, land use experts, state and local government officials, representatives of the tourism industry, and other businesses closely associated with the lakes. U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, and U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra sent staff members.

 

Public comments and concerns varied by location. In the meeting at Bay City, attended by 120 people; many questions and comments centered on the “muck” problem in Saginaw Bay, i.e., mud, rotting algae and other decomposing organic matter that accumulate on beaches and restrict use of shoreline property.


Key IUGL Study leader among Nobel Peace Prize Honorees

Hydrometeorologist and climatologist Dr. James Bruce, who serves on the International Upper Great Lakes Study Board and as co-chair of the Public Interest Advisory Group, was invited to join 24 fellow scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Oslo, Norway, late last year where they were presented with the Nobel Peace Prize. He was the only Canadian in the delegation.

 

The Committee chose to honor the IPCC with the prize for their rigorous and comprehensive assessments of climate change research, and former Vice President Al Gore for his involvement in promoting public awareness of the issue. The Committee considered that addressing climate change will contribute to world peace and human well-being.

 

Jim Bruce has been hard at work on climatology and hydrological issues for decades. In fact, he played a key role in convening the very first meeting of the IPCC in Geneva, Switzerland, in November 1988, attended by about 80 experts. The organization now has more than 3,000 participants working to assess the science and to evaluate the risks of

climate change caused by human activity. He later co-chaired one of the three working groups and served as a review editor for the 2001 and 2007 reports.

 

Dr. Bruce has worn many hats during his 50-year professional career. He worked for Environment Canada for 37 years, and helped draft the first Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1972, and its 1978 update. He was founding Director of the Canada Centre for Inland Waters, Burlington, Ontario, and later served as Assistant Deputy Minister of the Atmospheric Environment Service.

 

This is certainly not the first time Dr. Bruce has been recognized for his contributions to science and policy development. Other honors include:

• the International Meteorological Organization Prize given by the World Meteorological Organization for “exceptional worldwide contributions in meteorology and hydrology,”

• elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada,

• Officer of the Order of Canada 1997, and

• honorary doctorates from McMaster University and Waterloo University


General

New lead banning effort by Wildlife Society and AFS

New report, no new news on effects of lead in hunting and fishing

Bethesda, MD -- Lead introduced in the environment through recreational hunting, shooting sports, and fishing poses a potential hazard to both wildlife and humans, according to a new report issued by The Wildlife Society (TWS) and American Fisheries Society (AFS).  

 

The report co-authored by six noted experts and a graduate student including NY Fish Chief Doug Stang and Great Lakes Fishery Commission Director Chris Goddard, is also posted in the May issue of Fisheries, the monthly publication of the American Fisheries Society. A related report was also posted on the USGS Newsroom site.

 

The report states in part “The Wildlife Society supports legal and ethical hunting and fishing and recognizes its important role in supporting wildlife conservation,” said Michael Hutchins, PhD, executive director/CEO of TWS. “However, we are very interested in preventing potential lead toxicity associated with these outdoor activities from adversely affecting wildlife, fish and the environment as a whole while maintaining healthy populations for future generations.”

 

The report, basically a repeat of similar previous efforts to encourage legislators and bureaucrats to ban the sale and use of lead based fishing and hunting products, reflects no new evidence or scientific data to support an effort to eliminate its use. To the contrary, existing data shows little if any evidence showing any harm to the environment. The key word is “potential”, an equivocal expression and style often used by wannabes trying to instill fear into users and bureaucrats of what “can” “might” or “could” occur if different evidence or scenarios develop. Never mind the fact there is little if any evidence to support the claims of the Wildlife Society or its new partner the American Fisheries Society,

 

The report adds large quantities of lead ammunition and fishing tackle are produced annually -- the EPA estimates that

roughly 72,600 metric tons of lead shot and bullets are deposited in the U.S. environment each year at outdoor shooting ranges alone. And while estimates of lost fishing tackle are much less, lead tackle also poses a potential toxicological threat. Lead (Pb) is a nonessential heavy metal with no known functional or beneficial role in biological systems. Although lead is relatively stable; under some environmental conditions (e.g., soft acidic water, acidic soil); lead objects can weather and the element can mobilize, spreading the toxic properties. However, the TWS/AFS technical review concludes that the greatest hazard arises from direct ingestion of lead ammunition and fishing tackle by wildlife, particularly birds.

 

The authors of this report include: Barnett A. Rattner, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, USGS, MD; J. Christian. Franson,  National Wildlife Health Center, USGS, WI; Steven R. Sheffield, Bowie State U, MD; Chris Goddard, Great Lakes Fishery Commission; Douglas Stang, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, NY; and Jack Wingate, Minnesota DNR, MN (retired).

 

These are the very same authors that presented a similar paper at the 68th Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference last December in Madison, WI. At that time, in a conversation with Goddard, he exclaimed his rationale for getting involved with this effort was that of appeasing the folks at the Wildlife Society; that is throwing them a bone to back off from any further pursuits in the use of recreational lead in the environment.

 

The use of equivocal statements is a scare tactic that has often been used by USEPA in its decades long reporting of fish consumption advisories, efforts having little to do with scientific evidence showing any real negative impacts from fish consumption. That little fact however, never dissuaded the EPA from its chosen mission.  We seriously doubt if the lack of any real evidence of a negative impact of lead in the environment will deter the Wildlife Society – or its newfound associate, of its chosen mission either.


For your next great vacation adventure, there's no place like home

Springfield, Missouri—A recent study by Expedia.com, as reported by the New York Times, found that about a third of the population does not take all their allotted vacation time.  It seems people are more than ready, willing and able to give up their vacation days.  The reasons are many—the gloomy economy, lack of funds, impending bills, insufficient time, conflicting schedules, etc.  But health officials are concerned about the long term negative effects of this ‘all work and no play’ mentality.

 

“Vacations and time away from the stressors of work are extremely important to a person's health and well-being,” stated Dr. Chris Farmer, St. John’s Sports Medicine in Springfield, Missouri.  “They allow our bodies and brains a chance to recharge by decreasing stress and increasing time allotted to leisure activities and sleep.   Studies have shown that individuals that repeatedly skip vacations year after year suffer higher rates of heart disease and overall death due to all causes.  Unfortunately, many people bring their work along with them on vacation and simply perpetuate their daily stressors in a different location.”

 

According to an article published in the Free-Lance Star: (http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2008/062008/06292008/

390356) researchers found that women who took vacation once every 6 years or less were 8 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack than women who took at least two vacations a year.

 

The article also cites that a 2000 study by the State University of New York at Oswego found that men who took yearly vacations reduced their overall risk of death by about 20 percent--and their risk of death from heart disease by as much as 30 percent.

And, information from the US Fish and Wildlife web site www.fws.gov shows adults, and kids especially, spend less time playing outdoors than any preceding generation.  Long-term health concerns associated with this lack of play time

among adults and children are on the rise including stress, depression, obesity, and low self-esteem.

 

According to information from the same US Fish and Wildlife site, nature is good for your health.  New research shows that adults and children who feel connected to nature have better physical, mental, and emotional health.  Traditions and lasting bonds between family members can be created during this ‘together’ time and chances are, you’ll be more productive at work or school once your ‘batteries have been recharged.’  Getting outside needn’t cost very much or demand you go very far.  In fact, it can be as easy as stepping into your own backyard.

 

From a backyard cook-out to an overnight camping stay to a day-long canoe trip,  Bass Pro Shops offers some ideas and ways to help families enjoy the healthy benefits of a vacation close to home.  During the weekends of July 26th and 27th and August 2nd and 3rd, Bass Pro Shops store locations will offer a wide variety of outdoor skills workshops, exciting information-filled seminars and fun games and activities to offer ideas and ways to maximize your “Staycation Vacation”.

 

Seminars include topics like tips for setting the perfect campsite, fishing from the bank, canoeing local streams and rivers, campfire cooking and much more.  Activities and games will feature smores-making, fly tying for fun, scavenger hunts, foam shooting competitions and many others.  (Visit www.basspro.com and click on store information for individual stores’ events listing.)

 

Figuring out where to start depends on what you fancy. Check out local and state parks, area creeks and rivers, nature preserves and trails.  Pick out what your family would like to focus on and you’ll have a leg up on getting them outside and interested. Family vacations needn’t be stressful or expensive and you can still reap the benefits of enjoying time together outdoors.  This summer, let your next adventure begin close to home or in your own backyard.


Anglers’ Internet Use on the Rise, but Magazines still Dominant Media for Anglers/Hunters 

Anglers’ reliance on Web sites for fishing information and entertainment has risen sharply during the past year, according to a recent survey. Hunters’ Internet use, on the other hand, has remained virtually unchanged. Magazines remain the primary media source for both anglers and hunters.

 

In the 2008 media preference surveys from AnglerSurvey.com and HunterSurvey.com, approximately 34% of anglers stated that Web sites are their primary source of fishing information and entertainment, compared with about 24% in 2007—an increase of 10%. The results for hunters remained static, with about 26% reporting in 2007, and again in 2008, that the Internet is their preferred media source.

 

Despite the increase in anglers’ Internet use and the fact that more than one-fourth of hunters use the Internet as their primary source of information about their sport, both these groups turn to magazines as their preferred media. In the 2008 survey, about 39% of anglers indicated that magazines are their primary source of fishing information. The 2008 magazine figure for hunters was approximately 47%.

 

Though magazines remain the most popular information and entertainment source for anglers as well as hunters, both 

groups’ preference for magazines showed a roughly 4%decrease from 2007 to 2008. In 2008, about 39% of anglers named magazines as their preferred media, vs. 43% in 2007. Hunters’ preference for magazines showed a similar trend: 47% of hunters named magazines as their primary source of information and entertainment in 2008, compared with 51% in 2007.

 

“Clearly, more and more anglers are relying on Web sites as their chief source of fishing information and entertainment, and more than a quarter of hunters turn primarily to the Internet as well,” said Rob Southwick of Southwick Associates. “It will be interesting to see how these trends develop in the future,” he added. 

 

Source: Launched in 2006, HunterSurvey.com, TargetshootingSurvey.com, and AnglerSurvey.com help outdoor equipment industries, government officials, and conservation organizations track consumer activities and expenditure trends. The above represents only a small sample of the vast amount of information that is available from the complete survey results. The results are scientifically analyzed to reflect all U.S. anglers, hunters, and target shooters. Find out how a subscription to the complete survey data can help your business, government agency, or organization.


The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the GLSFC, its officers or staff. 

Reproduction of any material by paid-up members of the GLSFC is encouraged but appropriate credit must be given. 

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