ENVIRONMENT: by Peter WestmoreNews Weekly
Frog extinction: another 'global warming' myth
, December 25, 2010
For years, global warming advocates have pointed to the sudden decline in frog species in various parts of the world in the 1990s as evidence of global warming.
|The Harlequin Frog|
In January 2006, for example, National Geographic News
carried a report headed "Frog extinctions linked to global warming". Its report, based on an article in the prestigious Nature
magazine, said: "Global warming may cause widespread amphibian extinctions by triggering lethal epidemics, a new study reports.
"J. Alan Pounds and colleagues suggest that many harlequin frog species (Atelopus
) across Central and South America have disappeared due to deadly infectious diseases spurred by changing water and air temperatures."National Geographic News
added: "Climate scientists have long warned that global warming could spur deadly disease epidemics. The study suggests that such a scenario may already be unfolding in the amphibian world.
"If so, humans and other species should consider themselves duly warned.
"Because amphibians are particularly sensitive to environmental change, they may serve as proverbial 'canaries in a coal mine' that warn of such climate change dangers.
"A two-year-old study by a scientist at Britain's University of Leeds suggests that some 15 to 35 per cent of land-dwelling plants and animals, or about a million species, would be extinct or committed to extinction by 2050.
"Other climate scientists have calculated that half of the planet's species are already affected by global climate change.
"The news for amphibians is particularly bad. In 2004 a global amphibian assessment by the World Conservation Union, Conservation International, and NatureServe reported that about one-third of all amphibian species were in decline."
Other media were equally alarmed. In October 2008, the American online website, ScienceDaily
, said, "Frogs and salamanders, those amphibious bellwethers of environmental danger, are being killed in Yellowstone National Park. The predator, Stanford researchers say, is global warming."
It quoted the researchers as saying, "Precipitous declines of purportedly unthreatened amphibians in the world's oldest nature reserve indicate that the ecological effects of global warming are even more profound and are happening more rapidly than previously anticipated."
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) accepted this as further evidence of global warming.
The alleged link between global warming and species extinction was challenged by a few people in the scientific community, but they were largely ignored.World Climate Report
, a long-running web log concerned with the climate change debate, provided a concise, hard-hitting and scientifically correct response to the global change reports, and pointed out that the Nature
study was flawed.
It showed that the decline in numbers of harlequin frogs coincided with the introduction of exotic fungal infections, possibly introduced by human beings, either ecotourists or field researchers (such as those who did the original Nature
It said: "It has been known [for] nearly a half-century (see Charles Elton's 1958 book, The Ecology of Invasion by Animals and Plants
) that the introduction of exotic species produces genetic pandemics over a broad range of climates. The concurrence of human introduction of the chytrid fungus and amphibian extinctions cannot be ignored."World Climate Report
also showed that claimed rises in temperature in the forests inhabited by the frogs were incorrect.
The frogs being studied lived in a wide range of temperature zones, from 12°C to 34°C, while the average temperature rise over the period of the study (1984-1996) was just 0.5°C.
All this was ignored by the IPCC and most of the media.
New studies in Australia have vindicated World Climate Report
's analysis. According to the latest issue of New Scientist
, studies in both Australia and the United States have shown a recovery in frog numbers, as frog species adapt to the presence of the fungal pathogen.New Scientist
reported, "Frogs across Australia and the US may be recovering from a fungal disease that has devastated populations around the world."
It quoted Associate Professor Michael Mahony from the University of Newcastle, NSW, who has been conducting a 20-year study of frogs along Australia's Great Dividing Range. Professor Mahony said, "It's happening across a number of species", including the barred river frog, the tusked-frog, and several species of tree frog.
Ross Alford of James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, also reported that other tree frog species are repopulating areas where their numbers have now risen.
In the USA, there are also signs of recovery, with researchers observing similar recovery in some endangered species.
None of this, however, has been acknowledged by the IPCC meeting at Cancun, Mexico, which continues to claim that global warming is threatening the future of natural habitats and animal species around the world.