Rutger's English Blogg

The new hesitant view 2013-03-29

Publicerad 2013-03-29 11:04:52 i Allmänt

More and more people are now saying that the climate is not getting varmer as previously thought. The Magazine "The Economist" summarizes this and refers to researchers that earlier warned of global warming and now acknowledge, as James Hansen, that the temperature is on the same level despite that the emissions of carbon dioxide still continue in large scale. Other researchers have published reports that says that climate sensitivity is not so great as we previously thought.

From th Economist:

"The mismatch between rising greenhouse-gas emissions and not-rising temperatures is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now. It does not mean global warming is a delusion. Flat though they are, temperatures in the first decade of the 21st century remain almost 1°C above their level in the first decade of the 20th. But the puzzle does need explaining..........

A recent paper by Ka-Kit Tung and Jiansong Zhou in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences links temperature changes from 1750 to natural changes (such as sea temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean) and suggests that “the anthropogenic global-warming trends might have been overestimated by a factor of two in the second half of the 20th century.” It is possible, therefore, that both the rise in temperatures in the 1990s and the flattening in the 2000s have been caused in part by natural variability."
In other words: The human contribution to climate change is smaller than we thought. This also emerged earlier this year in an interview with the researchers working on the next IPCC report. They also talked about natural fluctuations.
See "Picture of the Day" and Blog for January 16.

Cold for everyone in England.


When will the cranes arrive? 2013-03-26

Publicerad 2013-03-26 10:33:39 i Allmänt
The cranes are wise, they can choose, they know, or perhaps better expressed they have the instinct that the wrong time to return means death. It is interesting to look at the statistics from previous years. Through this statistics we can see when we had early springs. 2006 the mass arrivel were at the end of March april but before there had been some vanguard, the first vanguard arrived March 22. The earliest was the year 2007 when the first vanguard came  March 5.

The Webb camera at Hornborgasjön shows that it is still empty.

Still winter 2013-03-25

Publicerad 2013-03-25 11:17:42 i Allmänt

The military has been called on in the Ukraine to assist in traffic. England also have problems with snow.

Over a moor, Saddleworth Moor, east of Manchester.

Same thing in Northen Ireland

A temperature curve for the month of March in Northern Ireland. Last year's March was wonderful not only in Sweden but also in Northern Ireland.

In London, it's zero degrees today. In Brighton south of London the average temperature is 7 degrees in the month of March normally but now it's different.
See weather forcast from
It varies between 0 and 3 degrees today.
A large group of students from Vårgårda went to Brighton yesterday for intensive studies in English, unfortunately it will be cold for them.


The spring bloom of plankton 2013-03-21

Publicerad 2013-03-20 21:29:49 i Allmänt
I read last week at SMHI's site that the spring bloom had started and are going on at full speed in the West Coast Sea. See picture from SMHI.

"On March 11, it was good conditions for satellite observations of algal blooms in the North Sea. Picture suggests high chlorophyll concentrations along the Swedish west coast. Satellite image from NASA's MODIS Aqua, processed by SMHI.'s Black Cloud or country."

Got a chance yesterday to go out to the west coast and after raking plankton. Now today on my biology lesson, we will analyze the algae we got hold of. It seemed clear to me that there were a lot of different "particles" in the water. It also seemed I got some water fleas / small crustaceans as well.

At the tip of Klädesholmen we see the rounded rocks. The ice sheet during the ice age did a masterly work.




Electrolysis 2013-03-20

Publicerad 2013-03-19 22:33:34 i Allmänt
We connected our carbon electrodes to a power source. We had a solution of sodium sulphate as an old familiar recipe precribes. We dripped BTB into it which is a pH indicator. Power on and at both electrodes, it bubbled slightly. At the anode, it became yellow, indicating that became acidic, hydrogen ions. At the cathode, it became blue, basic with hydroxide ions. Today when we rehearsed electrolysis pondering why the recipe prescribed sodium sulphat because we found that it did not participate in the reactions. We then tried to do the same with water alone. It was the same result but it took much longer time. One student suggested that we take common salt, sodium chloride. Said and done we did. Again the same result but it went faster, as fast as with sodium sulfate. See a close up picture of the electrolysis. From the beginning it was greenish colour in the solution.

When searching online, you always have sodium sulphat in this electrolysis. Why? I think it's just the case of a habit. Simply having water takes too long time, when there are ions in the water, it's faster, ions probably helps to convey the power.




Global temperature 2013-03-19

Publicerad 2013-03-18 20:34:10 i Allmänt

Daily Mail had in England had a critical article about this? Some climate scientist thought the use of computer models that fit well with previous years should also be good at predicting the future. How it happened is shown in this graph. The global temperature has levelled of for 15 years. How much longerwill it take before it falls or rises. Everything in nature goes in cycles, it should not be forgotten. You can not just extrapolate a trend for decades into the future. See

The panda 2013-03-18

Publicerad 2013-03-17 22:37:27 i Allmänt

A predator that has become a vegetarian. It is a species in the bear family living on bamboo, but will it find a little meat it  well to taste good to the panda. Its closest relative is the only bear in South Amaerica, Spectacled Bear who lives in northern Andes. It is estimated that there are between 5000 and 30000 of this bear. It is similar to the panda in that it eats mostly vegetarian stuff, fruit and shoots. Only 5-7% of the diet is meat as Wikipedia says. It is short faced like pandas. See picture.

In the case of pandas, we have been led to believe that it is endangered. But not today. In the wild, we know of over 1600 but others appreciate thenumber to 3000 based on DNA studies from feces. "In breeding center in Chengdu, they are now so numerous that they do not know what to do with them but pandas are useful in diplomacy," writes Eirik to me. It is 40% more than what they knew in the 90's. Pandas have always been rare. Best way to save them for posterity, of course, is to save their habitat. I've only seen a live panda once in my life. It was at the London Zoo in the 70s. A panda sitting relaxed and reclined and ate bamboo leaves. A peaceful predators that are solitary, meet each other only by mating. The giant panda I saw was sitting like the panda in the image below.

Our plantations 2013-03-15

Publicerad 2013-03-15 22:15:01 i Allmänt
The most commonly cultivated plants besides the three wheat, corn and rice are shown in the table below.

Pulses are beans / peas.If we go by weight, corn first, followed by wheat, rice, potatoes. Potatoes gives 17 tonnes per ha. No other crop can compete with potatoes in terms of yield per ha. Nr 10 on the list is bananas.

Rice comes in third place and is the largest crop in Asia. Rice harvest has increased substantially over the past 40 years. An example from Bangladesh. In 1971 they produced between 10 and 11 million tonnes of rice, now they produce about 25 million tons of rice on the same land. The population in the same period increased from 71 million to 135 million people. Yields have increased faster than the population.

Those areas do not change much over all in Asia. Even Alfred Russel Wallace said 100 years ago about Bali that they grow on each cm2 and there is hardly any place for wild plants. Thailand plans to increase its rice areal with 500 000 ha while Japan has abandoned the same amount of land, land more difficult to cultivate.
China is the largest producer and consumer of rice. Yields have increased a lot too. So much so that China has reduced rice area by 19 million hectares. Some of these secondary land has been abandoned and some are used for other crops. See

Forest land in China has increased from 8.6% in 1949 to 18.2% in 2003. According to ~ csong/Song2009-ChinaForestCoverBookChapter.pdf
This abandoning of marginal and not very fertile agricultural land is a phenomenon not only in Asia. In Puerto Rico, the proportion of forest land increased from 28% to 40% of the country.
The same trend in Nicaragua. Some countries in Africa are developing in the  opposite direction as for example Zimbabwe. They lost 21% of their forests between 1990 and 2005. Something that reflects the anarchy in this country where the old, crazy man Mugabe reigns.

Pangolins of the world 2013-03-13

Publicerad 2013-03-13 10:36:24 i Allmänt

The pangolins are poorly understood both by the public and by scientists. One reason is that they are nocturnal, shy away from people and not so spectacular. Youdon´t  see them often. They resemble anteaters but they are not related to them. They feed on ants and other insects. No one defends them but many Chinese people like to eat them, and their scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Some of the Asian species are endangered and need protection. Now, more recently people has begun to focus more on them and realized that the Asian species need protection. From all over Asia these animals are sent to China to be cooked and their scales are ground down to be used in medicine.

The TRAFFIC organization that keeps track of the trade in endangered species says that Saba, East Malaysia sent the 22,000 pangolins over 18 months and Vietnam sent in 2011 between 40 000 and 60 000 pangolins. These are estimates based on consignments stuck in customs.

Pangolins of the world



• Manis gigantea - bright green, Central Africa, least concern
• Manis tricuspis - light green, Central Africa, near threatened
• Manis tetradactyla - dark blue, least concern
• Manis temmenicki - pure blue, least concern

• Manis crassicaudata - violet, indian, near threatened
• dactyla - Orange, China, endangered
• Manis javanica - pure cyan, East Asia, endangered
• Manis culionensis - pure red, Philippines, near threatened


Pangolins fetus is a delicacy in China


How the climate has changed 2013-03-11

Publicerad 2013-03-11 09:55:02 i Allmänt
More warmer and earlier springs. Good isn´t it?

Iron Nights / frost nights in early June, has disappeared, at least in southern Sweden. Good isn´t it?
It was then in the old days people were guarding their ryefields, frost at night would come at the time of the rye bloom. Did it bloom when frost came there was no rye harvest and no rye bread. They lit fires at the small ryefields and they went along both sides of the fields and pulled with a rope so that the ears bent, that the  small sensitive ryeflowers would not freeze. Today, plant breeding also helped that we do nor need to go rye guarding.
Summers was not always warm, especially July. The average temperature in July, the last 30 years is about 2 degrees colder than in the 30 - 40 - and 50's in a great part of the country except in the mountainous area. Sad isn´t it? See my blog entry for 28 August.

Overall, the summer was a bit colder than normal. The month of July was, however, at the last 30-yearly averages. But if we add June and August so it was overall a bit colder. For the whole summer temperature average in map form, there is not any one on SMHI pages so we can not get a real good picture of how it was in the southern half of Sweden.

Autumn is characterized by later frost nights. Good is´nt it?

When talking about climate change the average temperature is really not a good measure. To tell if it is bad or not, one must know how the heat is distributed over time and the country.



Auracaria bidiwillii- Bunya tree 2013-03-08

Publicerad 2013-03-07 21:22:41 i Allmänt

Auracaria a genus of coniferous trees best known from Australia and New Caledonia, but there is also the auracaria species in Brazil and Argentina. In the picture below you can see Auracaria bidiwillie also called Bunya tree, which is found naturally in southern Queensland near the coast. This Auracaria has the largest cones but all Auracaria species have large cones.

A Brasilien Auracaria.

An Auracaria from Argentina is a very durable tree that you understand from this picture.





Silversword and other plants 2013-03-07

Publicerad 2013-03-06 22:06:19 i Allmänt

Look first at how a blossoming silversword looks. An impressive sight.


Hawaii has many special plants that are just there, they've evolved there. They are endemic to say.

91% of all plant species are endemic to Hawaii, the highest rate on the planet. This means that Hawaii is a good place to study the evolution of. Overall, there are 970 vascular plants there.
And number two, New Zealand with 81% of endemic species.
Number three is New Caledonia, with 76% of endemic plant species.
These three islands are in a class by itself along with New Guinea, where it is estimated that between 70 and 80% are endemic. All plants are not fixed there yet.

If we then go to other islands such as Cuba 46% is endemic, Jamaica 23%.
Galapagos Islands, you're probably wondering about that. There is 25% endemic species.
Had Darwin arrived in Hawaii, he had found even better study material for his theory of evolution.

But we must not forget that the Philippines has altogether 9253 plant species and where only 66% are endemic. I once read a scholar who wrote that the Philippines was much more interesting than the Galapagos Islands from the evolutionary point of view.

Sweden? Vascular plants include seed plants and spore plants as clubmoss, horsetails and ferns. In Sweden, anout 2,200 resident species of vascular plants are known, of which about 650 are stray species from cultivation and are established in the wild during the last two centuries. For just over 300 vascular plants included in ArtDatabankens and Swedish Botanical Society "floraväktarverksamhet" (gards of wild species), there has also been a very detailed basis for assessing the performance of the individual species populations, and the spontaneous reporting of finds recorded in the Species Gateway has provided significant additional ontribution of discovery sites.

650 plant species have thus man brought into our country during the last 200 years and I'm pretty sure that the monks during the Catholic period also brought in some  species. This means that humans have increased the botanical diversity of our country by about 42% over the past 200 years. Who is it that says that humans reduce biodiversity? There's both a plus and a minus account. 300 species are on the flora guardians track. Who is flora guardians in Sweden? Most retirees. Very few young people are flora guardians. We would need more young people.

Endemic species in Sweden? I have not found an exact list of this. They often mix species and subspecies. but it is said to be more than 30 endemic species in our country. We can blame the ice age for this small part. Time has been to short to evolve many endemic species. These endemic species are found in the mountains, on Öland and Gotland and along the Baltic coasts. An endemic species is Gymnadenia runei  an orchid more red than Brunkullan, a relative, found only in southern Lapland. This one was discovered in 1960 by "Rune" hence the name Gymnadenia runei. This Rune with first name Olof. See picture.



The Misty Foja mountains 2013-03-06

Publicerad 2013-03-05 20:30:00 i Allmänt
When the researchers visited this mountainous part of New Guinea, they found new species of various kinds. They also discovered that the unusual tree kangaroos even existed here even though they were not common despite the undisturbed nature. In New Guinea, there are 10 species of tree-climbing kangaroos and northern Australia there are a few more. All of these are in low numbers. In New Guinea there are about 10 000 of them. Their main enemy is humans who hunt and eat them. Other enemies are pythons in northern Australia and an eagle in New Guinea, but this eagle is mostly eating the possums. Otherwise, predation does not seem to play a major role in this part of the world. This applies especially to the beautiful paradise birds. An unusual situation.

The tree-climbing kangaroos are not as agile as monkeys but they are durable. They can jump to the ground from the trees at 30 meters height without injury. Sometimes they jump down when they get scared. The picture shows one of the tree-climbing kangaroos from New Guinea.
At this site you can found godd photos from the area.

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