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Bee & Weather News

No Organic Bee Losses (via) :: May 10 2007 :: "Sharon Labchuk is a longtime environmental activist and part-time organic beekeeper from Prince Edward Island. She has twice run for a seat in Ottawa's House of Commons, making strong showings around 5% for Canada's fledgling Green Party. She is also leader of the provincial wing of her party. In a widely circulated email, she wrote: "I'm on an organic beekeeping list of about 1,000 people, mostly Americans, and no one in the organic beekeeping world, including commercial beekeepers, is reporting colony collapse on this list. The problem with the big commercial guys is that they put pesticides in their hives to fumigate for varroa mites, and they feed antibiotics to the bees. They also haul the hives by truck all over the place to make more money with pollination services, which stresses the colonies."

Where Have All the Bees Gone? :: Penn State Agriculture Magazine - Winter/Spring 1998 :: In the spring of 1993, entomologist Maryann Frazier encountered a mystery. "Beekeepers began calling to report that they had no bees in their colonies," she recalls. "When bees don't have enough food over the winter, beekeepers often will find a big cluster of dead bees in the colony. But these keepers were saying that not one bee was left in their colonies. This was very weird. They had seen bees making flights in February, but by April, there were no bees. What happened to them?" Frazier's investigation into the reasons the bees disappeared continues today. If she and her colleagues can't unravel the mystery of why bee colonies are dying, beekeepers, fruit and vegetable growers, and consumers all are likely to feel the consequences [...] Working with entomologist Diana Cox-Foster, the researchers are looking at enzyme systems that bees use to fight disease. "While sucking the bee's blood, tracheal mites also inject saliva and other substances that the bee's body reacts to," says Camazine. "The tracheae tend to get very dark and blackened, a reaction that may be caused by the enzyme system we are studying. Perhaps a response to the tracheal mite saliva prevents air exchange across the tracheae, or perhaps the bees are mounting an immune response against the tracheal mite injections that causes some inadvertent damage to their own bodies. We have to find out more about the honey bee immune system in order to use what we discover to deal with the problem."

 + Enzymatic Processes during Molting and Cellular Immunity in Insects
 + Colony Collapse Disorder Working Group
 + Why Aren't the Honeybees Coming Home?

Hurricane chief: NOAA wasted millions :: WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The federal government is spending millions of dollars on a publicity campaign while its hurricane forecasters are struggling with budget cuts, the National Hurricane Center's director said Thursday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is spending up to $4 million to publicize a 200th anniversary celebration, said Bill Proenza, who heads the hurricane center, part of the National Weather Service, which is a NOAA agency. At the same time, it has cut $700,000 from hurricane research, he said.

"No question about it, it is not justified. It is using appropriated funds for self promotion," Proenza said in a phone interview while attending the Florida Governor's Hurricane Conference in Fort Lauderdale. NOAA spokesman Anson Franklin said the agency is only spending about $1.5 million on the campaign over two years. He said it is justified to publicize the agency's mission to a public that is often unaware of its involvement in weather prediction and forecasting. "It's part of our responsibility to tell the American people what we do," Franklin said. "It's inaccurate and unfair to just characterize this as some sort of self-celebration."

Proenza has been critical of NOAA since taking over the post in January. He says millions of dollars in new funding is needed for expanded research and storm forecasting. One immediate concern is the "QuikScat" weather satellite, which lets forecasters measure such basics as wind speed and direction. Proenza said the satellite could fail anytime, degrading storm prediction capabilities, and there are no plans to replace it. Franklin said NOAA is considering several options if the satellite fails, including outfitting other satellites with similar technology. Overall, he said, NOAA spends $300 million of its $4 billion annual budget on hurricane forecasting and research.

NOAA is also considering name changes for the National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service, adding its own logo to both entities. NOAA officials say it is about broadening the agency's name recognition as a whole and establishing an identity. However, Proenza fears the move could dilute funding to individual agencies within NOAA and will confuse the American public, which has come to rely on the credibility of the National Weather Service as a brand name. Craig Fugate, Florida's emergency disaster chief, was also frustrated by that move. "I think it really shows how sometimes bureaucracies lose sight of their mission, trying to capitalize in such a way that short-term goals are actually detrimental to long-term goals," he said.

Warmest January-April on record; new record Arctic sea ice minimum :: April 2007 was the third warmest April for the globe on record, and the first four months of 2007 were the warmest ever, according to statistics released this week by the National Climatic Data Center. The global average temperature for April was 1.19°F/0.66°C above the 20th century mean. Over land, April global temperatures were the warmest ever measured. Ocean temperatures were a bit cooler (seventh warmest on record), thanks to the cooling associated with the disappearance of the winter El Niño event. [+] Atlantic storms :: The computer models have been forecasting development of several low pressure systems along the East Coast over the next few days. All of these lows will be non-tropical in nature, due to the high levels of wind shear. The models are beginning to hint that wind shear could relax over the ocean waters north of Panama next week, and we may have to watch that area for tropical development if the shear does indeed relax as forecast.

 + NASA Finds Vast Regions of West Antarctica Melted in Recent Past
 + NASA Finds Arctic Replenished Very Little Thick Sea Ice in 2005
 + Scatterometer
 + QuikSCAT
 + Cryosphere

Seven Myths on Global Warming (via NewScientist.com)

 • Myth #1: Carbon Dioxide does not cause warming
 • Myth #2: Current warming is no big deal because the earth has experienced greater warming in the past
 • Myth #3: Because Human CO2 production is small in comparison to natural sources, human activity can't be the reason the earth is warming
 • Myth #4: Global Warming is a good thing, at least for people in colder regions
 • Myth #5: It's all caused by the Sun
 • Myth #6: Antarctica is getting cooler which proves that global warming isn't real
 • Myth #7: It was warmer during the Middle Ages than it is now

River, Interrupted :: Earlier this month, Congress held a hearing on a bill to implement the San Joaquin River restoration settlement. The legislation is one of the final hurdles on the long track to what arguably will be the longest river restoration in North America [...] A restored San Joaquin won’t look like those historical accounts of a river bursting with salmon. But a living, functioning river will be resurrected from the dead, which is pretty miraculous stuff. When it happens, I think we should all take picnic and sit on the banks somewhere a bit northwest of Fresno and be among the first to hear a wondrous sound, a sound no one has heard along that stretch of river in more than half a century: the splash of spawning salmon.

Tags: bees, global warming, quikscat, san joaquin, weather
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