18th August - Today's News: Climate Change Killed the Mammoth?

Something different to kick off with today. Another study into the megafaunal extinctions at the end of the Pleistocene suggests dwindling green pastures, not hunting, may have killed off the mammoth. Actually, this is nothing new - indeed, Dale Guthrie was saying exactly the same, with regards Alaska, 4 years ago. The authors do also appear to concede that human predation still played a role, though not as big as some have previously suggested. The BBC news story inaccurately implies they think climate/vegetation change was the sole cause.

The big question around the megafaunal extincts is why so many dies out at the start of this interglacial, yet appeared to have survived previous once, especially the warmer Eemian. I continuce to believe that in the past they found refugia where they could 'summer' the Interglacial - but this time, due to human activities, either such refugia did not exist or else their numbers were pushed still lower until population levels became unsustainable. There is some suggestion that mammoths on Wrangle Island in the Arctic Ocean became extinct around the time the first human hunters turned up there. They were still around when Stonehenge and the Giza pyramids were built ...... If humans had stayed in Africa, maybe some would still be around in Siberia today?

Other news: Smos satellite tracks Pakistan floods

Another China landslide leaves more than 60 missing


And with the 'help' of La Nina, hurricane season about to begin in earnest. Perhaps. It's been surprisingly quiet in the Atlantic basin so far, and indeed the Pacific too (which is even more unusual).

With speculation it was struck by lightning, Colombian jet crash 'miracle' as all but one survive.

Russia halves fires areas a weather chills

There's snowfall road chaos in Tasmania

In Essex last weekend a tornado gets our readers snapping - nice funnel! And another tornado forms in the skies over Rickmansworth. Presumably they only become 'mini tornadoes' if that actually touch the groud!

Down in Cornwall, wind farms running at just a fifth of their possible capacity and across England, around half are below 25% - and that's according to the official energy regulator.

The AGW 'deniers' love this one: resolving the paradox of the Antarctic sea ice - well, actually they don't. They hate the way global warming can cause sea ice to both decrease (in the Arctic) and increase (in the colder Antarctic) - much as they hate the way it can cause glcaiers to retreat and surge all at the same time. Maybe they should stop proselysing and start learning a bit of basic physics?

This year's extremes of weather unlikely to thaw deadlock on climate change though.

And finally, just for a laugh, in the ridiculous 'Big Brother' TV programme, HMs evacuated from house after a heavy downpour caused the roof of the 'house' to leak. Probably the first interesting thing to have ever happened on the show!

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