Bluebells and Garlic Mustard

12 Feb 2017

This sounds very much like a regurgitation of a post from a couple of years ago - a bit of botanical doom mongering by the alarmists. At ... a study in Global Change Biology (which sounds very much like an environmentalists bean feast sort of magazine) has come out with the same old (same old) witterings of the past decade or so - plants are flowering earlier because it is getting warmer (and this just must be detrimental to life on the planet and we are all going to die). It has not of course got anything to do with the recent El Nino event which led to a mild winter last year - oh dear, scary boo again. Actually, having said that I had noticed bluebell bulbs sprouting in the autumn this year when digging a new trench in a lovely bluebell wood and carefully putting the bulbs aside to be replanted when filled in. Actually, as winter got colder the ground got too frozen and then we had a drop of rain (just after the Met Office had informed us rain was scarce this winter) but never mind the bulbs were responding to the warmth of the previous year. All they need to do is flower before the deciduous trees sprout new leaves (in this case beech and oak in the main, but the occasional ash and witch elm). Bluebells are adapted to the environment they live in. They have existed for thousands if not millions of years and evolved to snatch that period of light from above the canopy just before leaves sprout and shade the woodland floor. They bloom according to the temperature (and presumably the previous year's temperature plays a role). This is a complete non-story and as biologists or environmentalists they know this full well, but are peddling it for mischievous reasons. 

As for garlic mustard plants, these are usually found on roadside verges or more commonly in hedgerows. What they have to do with woodland shade I don't know - although they tolerate a measure of shade. I would have thought in the historical past they bloomed in clearings and edges of dense woodland. Again, as plants that have existed for a very long time they are well adapted to changing climate. The advent of spring is not fixed - it can happen weeks earlier some years and fairly late in another year. Look at the frogs in ponds and lazy rivers. They are actively mating when it is warm and usually after a heavy shower of rain. They stay well hidden when it is cold (keeping snug) but if the spring is early will be eager to get the mating game going full throttle. All it takes is warmth. Nothing to do with CAGW. An El Nino year last year provided just the right conditions for an early start to seasonal regrowth - even the butterflies were on the wing in February last year. Doubt you'll see many this year. 

At ... climate change was responsible for the rapid expansion of horses over the last 20 million years. Okay, climate changed dramatically on several occasions in the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene. What has that got to do with CAGW? Horses spread as a result of an environment that suited not just horses but other ungulates, including mammoths and bison. That environment was a steppe/ praire grassland. Was climate change responsible for burying a herd of horses in western Siberia? This could have been a useful study without the addition of CAGW. Pity.

The dominance of climate change is nearly always the number one issue in so many studies and articles in journals. Mind you the nasty humans with their spears are equally given the thumbs down. It would have been so much better if humans had kept to throwing stones at animals rather than using bow and arrow or spear or sling shots etc. Climate change in the form of a megadrought is the focus of another study at ... on the bottom of a lake in Nevada, where the climate does get a bit warm. Evidence has emerged that the lake shrank to a fraction of its size between the 9th and 12th centuries AD. This is both interesting and amusing as activist climate scientists have been berating everyone that the medieval warm period was not really very warm at all - and it's all lies (just look at our hockey stick). The authors have a scary story, once again, to throw at Joe Public - the spectre of a megadrought in the western US as a result of rising temperatures. The fact this occurred back then and has not occurred in the modern so called warm period just goes to show that temperatures were warmer then than now (and CAGW is basically cobblers on steroids). Let's face facts - there were farmers on Greenland growing stuff and raising animals back in the medieval warm period - in sheltered and ice free zones. In other words, glaciers that now occupy some of Greenland's valleys that flow down to the sea must have been absent for at least a couple of hundred years.

Getting back to the shrinking lake - it turns out it has shrunk on earlier occasions (going back several thousand years). The lake bottom shows that trees were growing between the 9th and 12th centuries, over a period designated as about 200 years. This implies rainfall was low and the lake was not filling up. It may also have been evaporating at a greater rate as a result of hot summer weather. When the climate turned, as it did in the 13th century, rain fed streams and lots of water allowed the lake level to rise again, and drown the trees. In the CAGW model projection of climate models is used and the climate is not expected to become cooler. It is going to get hotter and hotter. What this study shows is that climate changes regularly and on a lot of occasions - and nobody really knows why. They might think they do - but they don't. Hence, to think temperatures are going to keep on climbing is an act of faith. CAGW has characteristics akin to a dogma - and there are still a lot of dogmas out there (even if the church dogma has fallen by the wayside as far as most people are concerned). One dogma replaces another. People like dogma. They feel cosy and safe. Don't expect alarimists to retract at any time soon - or ever. One has to simply ignore the alarmism in science articles and studies and learn to just absorb the interesting bits. It was warm in the medieval warm period. It is not so warm in the 21st century.