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Battle At The Ocean Whale Sanctuary

The Sea Shepherd organization continues to try stopping Japanese whalers from killing whales. Over the last month, Sea Shepherd boats have been attacked with water cannons and rammed by the larger Japanese whaling ships.

A battle erupted between the Sea Shepherd ships Bob Barker and Steve Irwin and the Japanese whaling fleet when the whalers ignored a warning from Sea Shepherd to not reenter the Southern Ocean Sanctuary.

The Japanese fleet was escorted out of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary at 1530 Hours on Tuesday, February 9th. They left the Sanctuary at 60 Degrees South and 76 Degrees and 36 Minutes East.

The fleet fled north on a course of 310 Degrees to the position of 57 Degrees 14 Minutes South and 69 Degrees 6 minutes East and then turned back one hundred and eighty degrees and headed back towards the Sanctuary on a course of 230 at 1700 Hours on February 10th.

At 1650 on Thursday, February 11th the Japanese fleet reentered the Whale Sanctuary at 60 Degrees South and 62 Degrees East.

As the Japanese fleet reentered the Whale Sanctuary, the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin pulled up alongside the Nisshin Maru to deliver a message by loudspeaker in Japanese warning them not to enter the Whale Sanctuary. The Nisshin Maru responded with water cannon and LRAD fire. The Steve Irwin returned water cannon fire.

The Steve Irwin then attempted to launch a helicopter when the three harpoon vessels moved in with water cannons and LRADs blazing in an attempt to destroy the helicopter on the deck. The Bob Barker moved into position to block the harpoon vessels and the Steve Irwin was forced to fire warning flares in front of the harpoon vessels to force them to back off.

The six ships, four whaler and two conservation vessels, engaged for over five hours. There were many near misses but no collisions. There were no injuries.

A Sea Shepherd Delta launched from the Steve Irwin annoyed the harpoon vessels with rotten butter bomb attacks.

All ships have backed off and the convoy of whalers and anti-whalers continues in a Southwestern direction into the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

“Tomorrow marks a full week that not a whale has been killed,” said Captain Paul Watson. “Our goal now is to make it two weeks and then three weeks. We will not tolerate the death of a single whale. If they attempt to kill and transfer a whale to the Nisshin Maru there will be inevitable collisions, because we will neither move out of harms way nor cease blocking the slipway. That I can promise.”

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Invasive Species: Asian Carp

Threat Posed by Asian Carp in the Great Lakes

HARRISBURG, PA – Attorney General Tom Corbett joined colleagues from several other Great Lakes states in calling for a national discussion concerning the environmental and economic threat posed by Asian Carp.

Attorneys General from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin contacted the White House on Monday, January 25th, formally requesting participation in a proposed state-federal summit to address the Asian Carp crisis.

“As chief legal and law enforcement officers for our states, we all serve on the front-lines of a struggle to protect the ecology and economy of our region,” Corbett said. “Any discussion about addressing the threat posed by Asian Carp should include the Attorneys General from all concerned states.”

Corbett said that Pennsylvania has joined with Michigan and other states in a federal lawsuit to close shipping locks near Chicago, in an effort to prevent Asian Carp from entering Lake Michigan. The states have argued that the spread of this invasive, non-native species into the Great Lakes could be devastating to native fish and the fishing industry of the entire region.

Corbett explained that the Office of Attorney General is representing Pennsylvania’s interests in the Asian Carp case because it is directly linked to legal actions dating to the early 1900’s regarding the waters of the Great Lakes, including a 1967 decree by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Attorney General’s Office represented the Commonwealth’s interests in those original cases and has been involved in reviewing related legal matters since that time.

Additional information about the threat posed by Asian Carp, along with the multi-state effort to address this issue, is available at www.stopasiancarp.com

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Water Vapor Is A Global Warming Wild Card

National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration

Stratospheric Water Vapor
A 10 percent drop in water vapor ten miles above Earth’s surface has had a big impact on global warming, say researchers in a study published online January 28 in the journal Science. The findings might help explain why global surface temperatures have not risen as fast in the last ten years as they did in the 1980s and 1990s.

Observations from satellites and balloons show that stratospheric water vapor has had its ups and downs lately, increasing in the 1980s and 1990s, and then dropping after 2000. The authors show that these changes occurred precisely in a narrow altitude region of the stratosphere where they would have the biggest effects on climate.

Water vapor is a highly variable gas and has long been recognized as an important player in the cocktail of greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide, methane, halocarbons, nitrous oxide, and others—that affect climate.

“Current climate models do a remarkable job on water vapor near the surface. But this is different — it’s a thin wedge of the upper atmosphere that packs a wallop from one decade to the next in a way we didn’t expect,” says Susan Solomon, NOAA senior scientist and first author of the study.

Since 2000, water vapor in the stratosphere decreased by about 10 percent. The reason for the recent decline in water vapor is unknown. The new study used calculations and models to show that the cooling from this change caused surface temperatures to increase about 25 percent more slowly than they would have otherwise, due only to the increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

An increase in stratospheric water vapor in the 1990s likely had the opposite effect of increasing the rate of warming observed during that time by about 30 percent, the authors found.

The stratosphere is a region of the atmosphere from about eight to 30 miles above the Earth’s surface. Water vapor enters the stratosphere mainly as air rises in the tropics. Previous studies suggested that stratospheric water vapor might contribute significantly to climate change. The new study is the first to relate water vapor in the stratosphere to the specific variations in warming of the past few decades.

Authors of the study are Susan Solomon, Karen Rosenlof, Robert Portmann, and John Daniel, all of the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) in Boulder, Colo.; Sean Davis and Todd Sanford, NOAA/ESRL and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado; and Gian-Kasper Plattner, University of Bern, Switzerland.
NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

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