In the Silence of the Beaufort Sea, a Polar Bear Cub Drowns Beside Its Mother

Last night I couldn't sleep.  I kept replaying in my mind the nine day endurance swim a polar bear and her cub attempted, due at least in part to climate change.  I kept imagining the mother swimming on and on, through water as deep as 3400m for 232 hours straight.  She never stopped, and was not carried by currents; rather she was continuously pushed away from her path and had to fight the current.  No one knows when her cub died, but the scientists who reported the findings concur that the most reasonable explanation was that the cub likely died from exhaustion before the 687km swim was completed.  Imagine the scenario.  A lone polar bear swimming through an endless dark blue sea with her young cub following her, valiantly trying to keep up.  Somewhere out there in that deep sea, where the ice used to be she must turn her head and watch her cub succumb to the depths and there is nothing she can do.  To survive she must keep on swimming, hoping that the ice will appear on the horizon soon.  Imagine her grief.  Her baby is gone, her constant companion, lost to her.  Don't believe it didn't hurt her.  It did. 
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SRES. Something You Might Want To Know About

As I journey up the steep learning curve of Climate Change, using the tools of rationality, logic and scientific fact to guide me, I become more and more uncomfortable with my findings.  Yesterday was a long day of research, hence the lack of posts online.  I managed to get a few Tweets posted but mainly I was learning, sorting my thoughts and contemplating where I was going to go next with my upcoming blogs. 
Before we start, allow me to review the modus operandi of Paradigm's Bend.  As I research I wish to share what I learn with others, so long as it falls under the header of being useful, relevant and enlightening information, whether I do so by posting other people's articles or by writing my own posts which I have researched and tested with critical questioning.  My constant view is that while the Internet and Media are both wonderful resources in and of themselves, they tend to come at a price. They grant vast knowledge and awareness, while at the same time with one or two misclicks, the promising path followed can rapidly confuse the seeker with poorly researched information that should be labelled as deceptive, misleading or even downright nonsense.  This blog focusses on distilling balanced, straight forward information and posting the best and clearest information gleaned from the Internet, science journals and government papers. 
Today's blog is a little like taking a step back.  I want to have a post on PB that benchmarks Climate Change in a realistic and measurable way.  In a way that impacts on humans personally.  Something that can be referred back to in future posts.  That is where SRES comes in.  Until recently I hadn't heard about SRES, it's not discussed much in the media but it should be.  In my humble opinion, this shouldn't be the fodder of only the policy makers, little kids should be taught this in school.  It should be ingrained into our lives and made part of our cultural consciousness.  Soon you will see why.
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Fabulous article

Perfectly encapsulating the complexities of how difficult it is to pinpoint what is really happening to our climate even when things are changing very quickly.  Also a very good review of the unbelieveable weather 2010 brought to the planet.  Props to IHT for posting such balanced reporting of this subject.

Excerpt from Tospy-Turvy Weather Tied to Weaker Arctic 'Fence'

"Since satellites began tracking it in 1979, the ice on the Arctic Ocean’s surface in the bellwether month of September has declined by more than 30 percent. It is the most striking change in the terrain of the planet in recent decades, and a major question is whether it is starting to have an effect on broad weather patterns."

Read the full article from International Herald Tribune's Justin Gillis "Topsy-Turvy Weather Tied to Weaker Arctic ‘Fence’"

Shades of Grey

People like duality.  Hitler is bad.  Mother Teresa is good.  Finger pointing is one of the best ways humans separate themselves from others, whether the identifier is a religious affiliation; a lifestyle choice; a cultural preference; a political view; or a sports team.   Amazingly this need to belong to a certain "side" funnels right down to the insignificance of choices like whether one drinks Coca Cola or Pepsi.  Let's face it, life is easier if we can label things and then pick our camp.  Then we know where we belong and depending on our choices the finger pointing can be as laid back or radical as we like.  I remember I once worked for a boss who drank Pepsi.  Being a Diet Coke drinker I just couldn't wrap my head around the idea that I worked for "one of them", loyalty to my brand was so fierce that I even lost some respect for my boss because he drank the "weaker" beverage.  Division is a force to be reckoned with, but that's a subject for the anthropologists to discuss, not me.
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Climate Change Event Tracker ~ January 2011

This post has been moved to a permanent page since it has been made into a live document.   To see the new page, please click the tab Climate Events at the top of the blog.  Alternatively, you may click here to redirect.

Nova Friburgo, Brazil Flood, Jan 14, 2011

Cited as one of the worst natural disasters in Brazil's history, the heavy rains caused flooding and landslides over a vast distance, not just in one area.  The area affected takes one hour to drive across under normal circumstances, circling the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, where both the extremely wealthy have summer homes alongside those of lesser means.  As of today the death toll is over 600 and climbing.  The bodies are turning up so fast that graves are being dug with JCB diggers.  Unlike Australia where the rain has stopped, the rain is continuing to fall and is deeply hampering rescue operations.

As discussed in my "beginning of the end" blog you will see footage of the devastation of the flood in Brazil, and having found this extended video today about the lady with the dog am deeply saddened to realise that the woman had at least two dogs, one which was not even around anymore by the time the rescue occurred.  The dog's name was Beethoven and you can hear her yelling his name when she loses him.  The rest of the footage shows the torrential flood waters which makes what happened in Queensland look tame by comparison.

A dog sits for a second consecutive day next to the grave of her owner, Cristina Maria Cesario Santana, who died in the week's catastrophic landslides, at the cemetery in Teresopolis, near Rio de Janiero, on January 15, 2011. Brazilians on Sunday prayed for victims of devastating floods after the death toll from the natural disaster rose to at least 610 and was predicted to climb again.  Credit (AFP/Vanderlei Almeida)

Queensland Floods Dec 10, 2010 - Jan 11, 2011 & Mar 7, 2011

A goanna clings to a barbed wire fence during the Queensland flood

Update note Mar 7, 2011 ~ Queensland is once again inundated by flood waters following record breaking rainfall.  Photos

Update note Feb 7, 2011 ~ Since this blog was originally posted I have been spending a little time trying to get more photos and information about the flooding in Queensland. posted some incredible photos of the floods on their Big Picture page here.

I have also amended the title of the blog to accurately reflect the time period of the flooding as best as I have been able to research it.

Footage below chosen as some of the best I have found showing the reality of the flooding that swept into Queensland following the torrential rains that caused the inundation of a landmass the size of Germany and France combined.  The first video shows the floods that hit Toowoomba, and in real time shows how quickly the water covered the land. 

The second video of the horse rescue may not seem that spectacular, but in fact the animal's hooves were caught in debris and the man stayed with the horse until it could be freed by emergency services.  Considering how close the water was to its nose at the end, it would have surely drowned otherwise.  

The last video is a glimpse into the brutal reality that faced those who survived the flood...what the media isn't interested in showing us...

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the beginning of the end

I want to be like Charlie Frost, the real hero from the movie 2012 who lived in a RV filled with computers, maps, newspaper articles, assorted low tech tracking equipment and  whose fridge contained two basic items - beer and dill pickles.  You know  Charlie, he's the one who saw it all coming but nobody believed him since he looked and acted like a paranoid whack job.  Yes, I want to be like him, only I'll be the female version.  I will live in a remote setting on some high ground in nowhere, Sweden and I will watch the world carefully from my office, delving into the net using the skill of asking it the right questions, to get to the interesting answers (usually found in boring places like science journals). And I will eat pickles and talk to my cats.  But you know why I think Charlie is the true hero?  Because he had the balls to follow his instincts and ultimately was the one who saved the Jackson's life (and a few others too by mere dint of association to him).  If Jackson hadn't run into Charlie, he wouldnt have known what he needed to know to get to safety. When the end came Charlie died in a rather spectacular way, but he went the way he wanted to go, with his mind and eyes wide open to the truth, there was no fear, shock, terror or surprise, just blissful acceptance of his fate, which he welcomed with open arms.
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