Weather Change on Planets – In Sync With Earth?

No proof, but interesting evidence of a variety of changes in the weather on a few planets that looks like it is arriving more or less in sync with changes on Earth. Somehow I don’t think using your cars is causing it…

First off, the weakest change. A Dust Storm on Mars. Yeah, big deal. Mars and dust storms. The Usual comes to mind. But there are two things about this that caught my eye.

First off, it was NOT a U.S.A. or Russian report / satellite.

Mars Orbiter Sends Pictures of Dust Storm Activities on the Red Planet

India | Press Trust of India | Updated: September 29, 2014 20:27 IST

BANGALORE: India’s Mars orbiter has sent a picture of regional dust storm activities over the northern hemisphere of the Red Planet, ISRO said today.

“Regional dust storm activities over northern hemisphere of Mars – captured by Mars Color Camera on-board Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)”, Bangalore-headquartered Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said on its official Facebook page with a picture.

It said the image was taken from an altitude of 74,500 km from the surface of Mars.

MOM spacecraft had sent its first images of the planet on Thursday, a day after creating history by becoming the only such endeavour so far to have met with success on the maiden attempt.

Yes, India has a Mars Orbiter and it worked on the first try. Someone will make it to a permanent space settlement, but you might need to learn Chinese or Hindi… On the plus side, looks like their stuff is more reliable and the flights are cheaper, so the first commercial spaceport with cheap bulk passenger service that folks like me can afford might well be in India…

But back at the news:

The Rs. 450-crore MOM is the cheapest inter-planetary mission. India is the first country to reach Mars in the very first attempt. European, American and Russian probes have managed to orbit or land on the planet, but after several attempts.

A crore is 10-Million (or l00 lakh that are 100,000 units) in the odd Indian numbering system often used for money. So that’s 4.5 Billion (or Million Million in the old English system…).

So 450 x 10^ 7 or 4.5 X 10^ 9 rupees. The rupee is running about 1.6 ¢ at the moment, so we’re talking about 2.8 x 10^7 dollars. Call it $28 Million. Think NASA can even repaint the launch pad for that little?

But NASA has some info from the ground:

NASA Tracks Big Dust Storm on Mars
by Staff | November 24, 2012 08:30am ET

This is from 2 years before the Indian report, but still relevant. Since our weather warmth peaked in about 1998, these are both from the “post solar shift” phase.

A NASA spacecraft is keeping tabs on a vast dust storm on Mars that has spawned changes in the Martian atmosphere felt by two rovers on the planet’s surface.

The Martian dust storm was first spotted by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) on Nov. 10 and has been tracked ever since. The agency’s Mars rover Opportunity has seen a slight drop in atmospheric clarity due to the storm. Meanwhile the newer Curiosity rover — which has a built-in weather station — has seen a drop in air pressure and slightly increased nighttime temperatures halfway around the planet from Opportunity, NASA officials said.

So what, on Mars, can cause changes in pressure and temperature? SUVs? Burning coal? Or maybe, just maybe, changes come from the Sun.

Because the dust from the current storm is absorbing sunlight instead of reflecting it, a warming effect 16 miles (25 kilometers) above the Martian tempest has been seen by MRO. The effect, first recorded by MRO’s Mars Climate Sounder on Nov. 16, has led to a temperature increase of 45 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) so far.

Warmer temperatures are not confined to the Martian south. The circulation of the Martian atmosphere has also led to a hot spot in the planet’s northern polar regions. The temperature on Mars is typically about minus 80 degrees F (minus 60 degrees C), but can vary depending on location and the Martian season.

Gee… changes in aerosols and solar flux can combine to cause a 25 C temperature change… AND we get a polar hot spot from descending compression heating rather like a sudden stratospheric warming on Earth.

Same thing on Saturn (minus the dust, obviously):


14 November 2006
The instruments on board the Cassini spacecraft have observed an enormous storm raging in the atmosphere above Saturn’s south pole. This type and scale of storm has never before been seen on another planet.

From 2006 (though on the news today was a report of another major polar storm on Saturn, but I’ve not found a link for it yet). That 2006 date is also after the solar turn. So what happened on Saturn?

mages of the storm show it to be very similar in morphology to hurricanes on Earth, with a well-developed eye some 1500 km across, surrounded by a ~300 km wide ring of towering clouds. From the central ring, two spiral arms of clouds extend outwards and the entire storm measures ~8000 km across.
Over the eye, at the altitudes normally inhabited by bright ammonia clouds, there is a hole in the cloud layer and we can look deeper into Saturn’s atmosphere. In the last two of the ISS images, this results in the eye to appear darker. At the concerned wavelengths (728 and 890 nm) methane gas absorbs light and only the highest clouds are visible, but these are absent over the eye of the storm

The absence of high clouds is also underlined by the brightness of the eye in the last image at 5.0 μm (with red colour scheme). At 5 μm, the lack of clouds at higher altitudes allows for the planet’s thermal emission from below to escape, making the region appear brighter.

The dark spots in the two VIMS images are all smaller storms that are well developed and extend deep into the atmosphere, making them good absorbers of the thermal emission from the planet below. They therefore stand out in silhouette.


Observations by the Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) taken at the same time, but imaging higer altitudes, reveal a very small hot spot over the south pole coinciding with the eye of the storm.

I’ve bolded a couple of bits. Snark follows:

Gee… a south polar atmospheric hole causing differences in gas chemistry there… and not a CFC using air conditioner in sight…

Then changes in cloud cover allows heat to escape… wonder why that can’t happen on Earth. Clearly we get polar hot spots from driving cars, but on Saturn it must be something else /snarc;

The measured temperature increase of ~2 Kelvin suggests that the atmosphere sinks over the south pole, with the increase in pressure causing the atmosphere to become compressed and heated up.

So vertical air flow can change temperatures, not CO2? Gee… wonder if they can generalize to evaporation from the surface on earth and convection dumping heat at altitude as the water condenses… then the sinking dry air making it higher temperature (but lower heat) where it comes down in the dry areas.

Then, with a H/T to Sabertoothed in tips here:

This link about a large unexplained dust plume on Mars:

This article on Uranus:

Mystery storms rage across face of Uranus

21 January 2015

STORMS have clouded Uranus’s normally placid face. In the past year, the gas planet has played host to huge cloud systems so bright that even amateur astronomers can see them from Earth – and their cause is a mystery.

“We have no idea. It’s very unexpected,” says Imke de Pater at the University of California, Berkeley.

De Pater observed Uranus on 5 and 6 August, 2014, and was surprised to spot unusually bright features, the hallmark of clouds condensing in the planet’s upper atmosphere. “It was brighter than anything we had ever seen in Uranus’s atmosphere before,” she says. The planet’s weather generally picks up at its spring and autumn equinoxes every 42 years, when the sun shines on the equator. But the last equinox was 7 years ago, so the recent spike in activity is difficult to explain.

De Pater’s group spread the word, and amateurs around the globe trained their telescopes on Uranus. Coincidentally, the amateurs spotted a storm that de Pater had imaged at a different wavelength on 5 August. Using the Hubble Space Telescope, de Pater and her colleagues saw storms spanning a variety of altitudes […], which could be linked to a vortex deep in Uranus’s atmosphere.

Though I’d really rather they trained their telescopes on something other than Uranus ;-)
( I know, i know… cheap and obvious… butt… )

So once again an large uptick in storms with evidence of increased vortex strength.

Anyone claiming our present Polar Vortex is caused by car driving and warming homes needs to explain how that managed to impact the other planets too, and anyone claiming our present strong storms are caused by human activity needs to explain the increase in storms on other planets too.

If anyone has a link to the more recent report of a major polar storm on Saturn, please post it. In the mean time, check the weather before driving anywhere, or taking a vacation to Mars or Saturn…

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Does Obama “Love America”?

I think this is largely a tempest in a teapot, but I’m going to stick an oar in the water anyway.

CNN and the Loony Side Of Left are doing their usual character assassination on Rudy Giuliani. FOX is all over the way the Lame Stream Press has tried to use this to “frame” Scott Walker as either out of touch, or gutless (unwilling to comment), or a closet believer that Obama has the claimed faults.

So we have yet another “Does So!” vs “Does Not!” over something that is artificial slime and at most a useless distraction from everything that matters. (Thanks again, Saul A…. /sarc;)

So what’s the truth, IMHO?

Obama does NOT love the America of our history, that has existed up until his election, and that most of the USA does love. Obama DOES love the America of his dreams, as he sees it could be after his “Fundamental Transformation” to its character is completed.

Why do I see it that way? Simple, really:

You don’t see the need for a gut wrenching top to bottom fundamental change to a socialist central control model if you love America as it stands (stood?) as a decentralized free market country with fundamental and widespread liberty. You don’t see the need to take over 1/6 of the economy, institute wide spread punitive taxes, and attack our power generation companies and oil energy production ability if you think markets work fine and free people making free decisions don’t need a Federal Mandate and Federal Control and Federal Handouts.

The simple fact is that the America of our constitution died some time ago. I remember it, in a hazy kind of way, from the ’50s with a few echos holding on into the ’60s ( even John F. Kennedy believed in things like lower taxes to increase prosperity ); but even that is a faded version post Progressive Era. The ’70s and ’80s had ongoing erosion of that America but with a brief resurgence under Reagan, and by the late ’90s we were in the full embrace of “Progressive” views. (Hillary once said she was not a “Liberal” but a “Progressive”…) Those progressive and socialist views are antithetical to the fundamental nature of the America of our Constitution. No two ways about it.

The Constitution describes a country where only very very limited powers are given, by the States, to the Federal government and nothing more. The America of today has a massive bloated Federal Government with unlimited powers until and unless a compliant Supreme Court decides to nit pick some detail (while leaving the bulk of the power grab in place…) Similarly, there is a strong assault on free markets and individual responsibility in favor of collectives and Federal direction and control. Just look at the bank bailouts as a stellar example (with GM as a side bar). Federal control of education is straight out of the Communist Manifesto and not anywhere in our Constitution.

Sidebar On Central Control of Education

For those doubting that last remark:

No particular endorsement of that source, it just had an easy to find copy that is complete and matches what I remember from my original copy back in California… Note well that we have a heavy and progressive income tax (and it will not be reduced by any True Believer) due to this Manifesto as well…

But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social.

And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention direct or indirect, of society, by means of schools, etc.? The Communists have not intended the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class.

The bourgeois claptrap about the family and education, about the hallowed correlation of parents and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all the family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labor.
These measures will, of course, be different in different countries.

Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5. Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc.

So read it and weep. That is exactly the source for our progressive income tax, centralization of Education in the government and then further on to the Federal Government Central Authority, central control over communications and transport ( FAA, FCC, Dept. of Transportation, etc. etc.), The Fed and a small controllable cartel of “too big to fail” banks under Federal Central Authority, property confiscation laws (thank you War On Drugs…), and erosion of property rights (like that Eminent Domain For Any Friends Of Government that lets them take ANY land for their own use).

If you don’t memorize this Manifesto and constantly compare it to what your government is doing, you will have no clue why such things happen. Communism was not defeated. You can not defeat an idea. It just went briefly into hiding and behind the scenes. It shows up now in University and College classes all over this country. That, after all, was where I was required to study it…

(BTW, I’m not necessarily against all those ideas, just most of them. And those largely because they are subject to corruption by a few sociopaths as they rise to power, not due to any disagreement with the end goal of the ideal form. For example, I love the idea of providing an education to all. Just figure out how to prevent this being perverted into indoctrination as in Nazi Germany and under Stalin, and how to prevent any voucher program from being used to run Madrases pumping out Jihadis… so until they can be shown to safely work, I’d rather leave Education as a private good with individual funding and choice… Marx, IMHO, mostly was mistaken only in that he didn’t appreciate the capacity of Evil Bastards to corrupt Central Authority…)

Back At Obama and Such

Banks that were “too big to fail” were made bigger by forced government mandated mergers and Federal bailout money. Instead, they ought to have been broken up and made smaller (and put back Glass-Steagall… it worked fine for about 67 years; from enactment in 1932 to it’s demise in 1999 by the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act.) Then, to make it worse, they were made wards of The Fed in large part and the Federal Government has mandated much of their behaviour since. And the side bar is straight out of the Socialist method. The avoidance of bankruptcy is a key behaviour. Instead, the stock & bond holders are set aside and the means of production are handed to the state or to the workers. What happened with GM was exactly that. The capital stock was handed over in large part to the Union (i.e. workers) and another large stake was taken by the state (i.e. the Federal ownership of stock). Since then the government has sold off their stake, but that does not change what was done.

To those thinking “But we saved GM! Did you want GM to go away?!”: Please note that Bankruptcy does not mean the end of a company, it means new owners, typically the bond holders, take over. We still have Chrysler after many bankruptcies and sales and we still have many other companies that have gone bankrupt. What is different here is that the bond holder rights were taken away and the company was given to others, favored by the Socialist ideal, those being labor and The State.

Now Obama loves THAT America. He does not love the America where bond holder rights are recognized and they get to do what they want with their property including setting aside labor contracts made with the prior owners that make the company non-competitive and / or selling their assets as they see fit. (Also realize I am not taking a position on which of those outcomes is better. That tends to vary with the specifics. I am only taking a position on which is the historical American Rule Of Law and which is the Socialist Ideal…)

There are countless other examples of where Obama and his administration act in accordance with Social Democrat Ideals and implement Lang Type Socialism economics. Neither of those being historically American Ideals. All of them being “Fundamentally transform” activities.

In Conclusion

So that’s my take on it. Obama loves the Progressive Socialist Liberal America Of His Dreams, and he does not love Historic Classical Libertarian America of our founding, nor does he love the Transitional Crony Capitalist Federalist America from post Civil War constitutional changes. Just ask him why he doesn’t implement the proven to work Democratic economic recovery package of John F. Kennedy. Cut taxes? Reduce in some way Central Authority? No way… he doesn’t love THAT America…

Until that discussion of the different Americas is in the public square, it will remain a Lapdog Press tossing smear at folks like Scott Walker for being honest and saying they don’t know and maybe don’t care what Obama thinks. And, frankly, neither to I… (He’s on his way out, and will simply be Yet Another Lame Duck and Usta-Be in a couple of years. He won’t change what he thinks, and there is nothing I can do about it, nor anything he can do that will be lasting, so why care? Furthermore, I don’t care at all WHO is or is not a Christian nor who loves the America of the last 20 years. That isn’t the “real America” of my dreams anyway…)

Mostly I’m just groaning at Yet Another Smear Campaign being launched against anyone the Progressive Liberal Socialist Left thinks might have any chance of getting in their way and / or representing an opposing view. Their constant negative slime is, frankly, what drives me away from them. I can go on at some length about the failures of Markets (and about the failures of Socialism…) and I’m not at all in love with giving the Evil Bastards Of Corporate Oligopolies free reign over millions of powerless workers. But no way am I going to advocate for those issues when it puts me in the same tent with the Slime Mongers.

I don’t stand with slime and despise bullies of all stripes. Make no mistake, bullies in the press and the political parties are no different from those in the street; just learned to make a paycheck out of it and wear a suit. And they wonder why We The People have such low opinion of Congress, The Executive, Business Leaders, and The Press… Here’s a free clue: It’s the slime, disrespect, attacks, failure to have ‘fair play’, and constant dirt campaigns. I stand with the Nice Guy who has honest beliefs. I will NOT agree with all of those beliefs, maybe not even most of them. But I’ll take an honest nice guy with a working moral compass (no matter which way it points) over a slime chucking bully with dirt mouth.

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A Well Done Comparison of Iceland Temperatures V.S. GIStemp Fantasies

While reading over at TallBloke’s, there was this article:

That was largely a repost and link to this article:

That does a very nice job of showing why I found GISS product GIStemp to be “unfit for purpose” and not a valid temperature representation. It does algorithmic adjustments and extreme (IMHO broken) “homogenization” to a copy of GHCN monthly averages (and an average is no longer a temperature), with a snippet of Antarctic data added and a semi-blending of USHCN monthly averages. This after NCDC has done a boat load of “adjustments” and their own form of ‘homogenized pasteurized data food product’ homogenization on it. (This, often after the individual Met. Offices of various countries have already ‘fixed’ via adjustment and homogenization of the data they collected…)

The farther away from actual daily MIN / MAX readings, the further you get from temperatures. ONLY the actual readings of MIN / MAX and current temp are a temperature. ALL Averages are no longer temperatures, but are a statistic about the original temperatures and no longer represent temperature or heat content. So “don’t go there” is the best idea, but GIStemp goes there in spades and on steroids. This posting shows the result.

They go back to the Iceland Met Office and get the almost-original data only slightly adjusted and homogenized. (IMHO that is still an error, but a smaller one than doing it recursively a few times…) Then compare that to GIStemp “data food product”. The difference is dramatic. The reality on the ground in Iceland is not dramatic at all.

I don’t think I can improve on the article, nor do I think I need to quote the whole thing for effect or to preserve it, so just “hit the link” and read it. Also look at the nice and effective graphs.

Then realize that is what is being done globally in all of the three main suppliers of such “data food products”; NCDC, GISS, and Hadley. They all use very similar methods and start from the same basic input data, so are essentially the same product with only minor variations.

I have a load of articles looking at specific details of the GIStemp product and NCDC “issues”, and they can be found in the various ‘category’ listings at the sidebar of this blog. In particular the dT/dt alternative method, the GIStemp specific, and the NCDC specific. Also note that there is an ‘entry point’ at the top of this blog for GIStemp that has a map to the other articles.

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Species formation via inter-species hybrids

Folks here will know that I’ve occasionally pointed out a stupidness in the way species are defined. By definition, the result of an inter-species hybrid is forbidden to be thought of as a new species. This, IMHO, is rank stupid of the highest form as we have a load of evidence for species “sudden formation” by exactly that means. The Triangle Of Wu, for example, explains how 3 new species families come out of inter-species crosses between the original mustards, turnips, and cabbages.

While I learned it as Wu, the recent (more PC?, or just propagating a Japanese error?) trend is to call it “U”. In reality the guys name is a Korean character set and any transliteration is as right as any other, in that they are all made up. But I digress…

The triangle of U is a theory about the evolution and relationships between members of the plant genus Brassica. The theory states that the genomes of three ancestral species of Brassica combined to create three of the common modern vegetables and oilseed crop species. It has since been confirmed by studies of DNA and proteins.

The theory was first published in 1935 by Woo Jang-choon, a Korean-Japanese botanist who was working in Japan (where his name was transliterated as “Nagaharu U”, his Japanese name). Woo made synthetic hybrids between the diploid and tetraploid species and examined how the chromosomes paired in the resulting triploids.

So maybe Triangle of Woo is more accurate… Woo Wu U… but I digress…

The key point here is that a boat load of key vegetables, from rutabagas to Russian kale to rapeseed (canola) to some kinds of mustard species are directly a result of inter-species hybrids and have been recreated from the original species as proof of it.

Something similar happened with wheat, so we have several kinds of wheat that are very different (yet all called wheat, though some get ‘special’ names too like spelt and emmer). There has been a bit of a cult rise up over the different kinds of wheat with folks claiming that modern wheat has a toxic kind of gluten not found in old wheats and that it causes all sorts of health problems. If find that hard to accept given that the basic crosses happened long ago and the components of the gluten are fairly common in many kinds of seeds; but this posting isn’t about that (and I’ve not gone into it in any depth, really).

But what is of interest to me is that there are these several crosses of different grass species in the wheat lines. Yet more ‘new species from inter-species hybrids’. I’m fond of saying that “The Species Barrier is really more of a Species Strong Suggestion”… And wheat shows that clearly.

Sidebar On Ploidy

– or how many copies of chromosomes and genes you have

There are a great many other of these inter-species hybrids, especially in plants. Plants are rather more willing to just ‘double up’ their chromosome count and let all the chromosomes ‘get along’ together. This is called being a “tetraploid” or sometimes just a polyploid, as in this text about the brassicas:

These three species exist as separate species, but because they are closely related, it was possible for them to interbreed. This interspecific breeding allowed for the creation of three new species of tetraploid Brassica. Because they are derived from the genomes of two different species, these hybrid plants are said to be allotetraploid (contain four genomes, derived from two different ancestral species). (More specifically, they are amphidiploid, i.e., containing one diploid genome from each of the two different Brassica species). Data from molecular studies indicate the three diploid species are themselves paleopolyploids.

Note that last bit about paleopolyploids. This ‘doubling up’ goes on all the time in all sorts of species, and has for the history of life. And that, BTW, is what makes a turnip different from a rutabaga. Both the rutabaga and Russian Kale are a interspecies cross between the turnip and the cabbage lines, but with different results; while the turnip is just a turnip… and with 1/2 the genes of a rutabaga.

Polyploidy is the state where all cells have multiple sets of chromosomes beyond the basic set, usually 3 or more. Specific terms are triploid (3 sets), tetraploid (4 sets), pentaploid (5 sets), hexaploid (6 sets), heptaploid or septaploid (7 sets) octoploid (8 sets), nonaploid (9 sets), decaploid (10 sets), undecaploid (11 sets), dodecaploid (12 sets), tridecaploid (13 sets), tetradecaploid (14 sets) etc. Some higher ploidies include hexadecaploid (16 sets), dotriacontaploid (32 sets), and tetrahexacontaploid (64 sets), though Greek terminology may be set aside for readability in cases of higher ploidy (such as “16-ploid”). Polytene chromosomes of plants and fruit flies can be 1024-ploid. Ploidy of systems such as the salivary gland, elaiosome, endosperm, and trophoblast can exceed this, up to 1048576-ploid in the silk glands of the commercial silkworm Bombyx mori.

The chromosome sets may be from the same species or from closely related species. In the latter case, these are known as allopolyploids (or amphidiploids, which are allopolyploids that behave as if they were normal diploids). Allopolyploids are formed from the hybridization of two separate species. In plants, this probably most often occurs from the pairing of meiotically unreduced gametes, and not by diploid–diploid hybridization followed by chromosome doubling. The so-called Brassica triangle is an example of allopolyploidy, where three different parent species have hybridized in all possible pair combinations to produce three new species.

Polyploidy occurs commonly in plants, but rarely in animals. Even in diploid organisms, many somatic cells are polyploid due to a process called endoreduplication where duplication of the genome occurs without mitosis (cell division).

The extreme in polyploidy occurs in the fern genus Ophioglossum, the adder’s-tongues, in which polyploidy results in chromosome counts in the hundreds, or, in at least one case, well over one thousand.

It is also possible for polyploid organisms to revert to lower ploidy by means of haploidisation.

So sometimes the genes “double up”, sometimes they “double up from two parent species”, and sometimes you get a shuffle and mix, or other times a mutate and mix, and then sometimes you can get a reversion back to a lower count via a ‘divide by 2′. With all that shuffle, mix, cut the deck, reshuffle and double the deck with mixing from other species; well, that’s how you get big leaps of species formation, IMHO. While I’m sure at some point they will be forced to accept species hybrids as species formations, last time I looked it was still a forbidden conclusion. Yet nature does not listen to the definitions of biologists…

On Wheat

Wheat cultivation has been around for about 10,000 years. (At that point it gets murky, and IMHO could have an even earlier history in the prior turn of civilization, but that’s speculative). What is known is that it originated in this line of history about 10 kya, and with some specific kinds in evidence about 8000 B.C.

Cultivation of wheat began to spread beyond the Fertile Crescent after about 8000 BCE. Jared Diamond traces the spread of cultivated emmer wheat starting in the Fertile Crescent sometime before 8800 BCE. Archaeological analysis of wild emmer indicates that it was first cultivated in the southern Levant with finds at Iran dating back as far as 9600 BCE. Genetic analysis of wild einkorn wheat suggests that it was first grown in the Karacadag Mountains in southeastern Turkey. Dated archeological remains of einkorn wheat in settlement sites near this region, including those at Abu Hureyra in Syria, suggest the domestication of einkorn near the Karacadag Mountain Range. With the anomalous exception of two grains from Iraq ed-Dubb, the earliest carbon-14 date for einkorn wheat remains at Abu Hureyra is 7800 to 7500 years BCE.

Remains of harvested emmer from several sites near the Karacadag Range have been dated to between 8600 (at Cayonu) and 8400 BCE (Abu Hureyra), that is, in the Neolithic period. With the exception of Iraq ed-Dubb, the earliest carbon-14 dated remains of domesticated emmer wheat were found in the earliest levels of Tell Aswad, in the Damascus basin, near Mount Hermon in Syria. These remains were dated by Willem van Zeist and his assistant Johanna Bakker-Heeres to 8800 BCE. They also concluded that the settlers of Tell Aswad did not develop this form of emmer themselves, but brought the domesticated grains with them from an as yet unidentified location elsewhere.

I’m particularly intrigued by that mention at the end of “from an as yet unidentified location elsewhere”…

But even here we have direct evidence of emmer at 9600 B.C. and it originated about the time the Gobekli Tepe folks where disappearing. Hmmmm….

So what makes Emmer “special”?

Wheat genetics is more complicated than that of most other domesticated species. Some wheat species are diploid, with two sets of chromosomes, but many are stable polyploids, with four sets of chromosomes (tetraploid) or six (hexaploid).

Einkorn wheat (T. monococcum) is diploid (AA, two complements of seven chromosomes, 2n=14).

Most tetraploid wheats (e.g. emmer and durum wheat) are derived from wild emmer, T. dicoccoides. Wild emmer is itself the result of a hybridization between two diploid wild grasses, T. urartu and a wild goatgrass such as Aegilops searsii or Ae. speltoides. The unknown grass has never been identified among now surviving wild grasses, but the closest living relative is Aegilops speltoides. The hybridization that formed wild emmer (AABB) occurred in the wild, long before domestication, and was driven by natural selection.

Hexaploid wheats evolved in farmers’ fields. Either domesticated emmer or durum wheat hybridized with yet another wild diploid grass (Aegilops tauschii) to make the hexaploid wheats, spelt wheat and bread wheat. These have three sets of paired chromosomes, three times as many as in diploid wheat.

So we have a regular diploid ( one copy from each parent, so two total copies of the genes) as Einkorn Wheat.

Emmer is a tetraploid, made via a hybridizing event with a wild goat grass before 10,000 B.C. and in the wild. We also see that durum wheat is similar in genetic numbers, but a different type of wheat (used in noodles ;-)

Finally, we get yet another interspecies cross that gives us the “three-fer” wheats with hexaploid gene sets. Spelt (that oddly some folks cling to as a ‘primitive wheat’ and therefor somehow ‘better’ – but actually a more recent formation than Emmer and far more recent than Einkorn) along with the more common bread wheats of today (more starch than Durum). But now we are up to 3 different species “getting together” to make the bread wheat of today. Having a “three way” has been around for a very long time… at least for plants…

Since then, humans have crossed wheat with rye to be Triticale.


E.A. Oelke1, E.S. Oplinger2, and M.A. Brinkman2

1Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108.
2Department of Agronomy, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53706. Nov., 1989.

I. History:

Triticale (trit-ih-KAY-lee) is a crop species resulting from a plant breeder’s cross between wheat (Triticum) and rye (Secale). The name triticale (Triticale hexaploide Lart.) combines the scientific names of the two genera involved. It is produced by doubling the chromosomes of the sterile hybrid that results when crossing wheat and rye. This doubling produces what is called a polyploid.

Hybrids between wheat and rye date back to 1875, but until recently there was little effort to develop highyielding triticales as a field crop. Plant breeders originally wanted to include the combination of grain quality, productivity, and disease resistance of wheat with the vigor and hardiness of rye. The University of Manitoba began the first intensive program in North America about 30 years ago working mostly with durum wheat-rye crosses. Both winter and spring types were developed, with emphasis on spring types. Since Canada’s program, other public and private programs have initiated both durum wheat-rye and common wheat-rye crosses. The major triticale development program in North America is now at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico, with some private companies continuing triticale programs; however, the University of Manitoba has discontinued its program.

Even though triticale is a cross between wheat and rye, it is self-pollinating (similar to wheat) and not cross pollinating (like rye). Most triticales that are agronomically desirable and breed true have resulted from several cycles of improvement, but are primarily from the durum-rye crosses with some common wheat parentage occasionally involved.

Now at this point we’ve got a serious set of different plant ancestors for the various wheat like grains we grow. And this is before you get into questions like what made up rye and einkorn in the first place…

But before this turns into a posting all about wheat, I’m just going to paste in a list of the different kinds of wheat in common use, and then move on to the thing that prompted this posting. Yet Another Species from an interspecies hybridizing event… But first, the wheat list from the wiki:

Major cultivated species of wheat

Hexaploid Species

Common wheat or Bread wheat (T. aestivum) – A hexaploid species that is the most widely cultivated in the world.

Spelt (T. spelta) – Another hexaploid species cultivated in limited quantities. Spelt is sometimes considered a subspecies of the closely related species common wheat (T. aestivum), in which case its botanical name is considered to be Triticum aestivum subsp. spelta.

Tetraploid Species

Durum (T. durum) – The only tetraploid form of wheat widely used today, and the second most widely cultivated wheat.

Emmer (T. dicoccon) – A tetraploid species, cultivated in ancient times but no longer in widespread use.

Khorasan (Triticum turgidum ssp. turanicum also called Triticum turanicum) is a tetraploid wheat species. It is an ancient grain type; Khorasan refers to a historical region in modern-day Afghanistan and the northeast of Iran. This grain is twice the size of modern-day wheat and is known for its rich nutty flavor.

Diploid Species

Einkorn (T. monococcum) – A diploid species with wild and cultivated variants. Domesticated at the same time as emmer wheat, but never reached the same importance.

Classes used in the United States:

Durum – Very hard, translucent, light-colored grain used to make semolina flour for pasta & bulghur; high in protein, specifically, gluten protein.

Hard Red Spring – Hard, brownish, high-protein wheat used for bread and hard baked goods. Bread Flour and high-gluten flours are commonly made from hard red spring wheat. It is primarily traded at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange.

Hard Red Winter – Hard, brownish, mellow high-protein wheat used for bread, hard baked goods and as an adjunct in other flours to increase protein in pastry flour for pie crusts. Some brands of unbleached all-purpose flours are commonly made from hard red winter wheat alone. It is primarily traded on the Kansas City Board of Trade. One variety is known as “turkey red wheat”, and was brought to Kansas by Mennonite immigrants from Russia.

Soft Red Winter – Soft, low-protein wheat used for cakes, pie crusts, biscuits, and muffins. Cake flour, pastry flour, and some self-rising flours with baking powder and salt added, for example, are made from soft red winter wheat. It is primarily traded on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Hard White – Hard, light-colored, opaque, chalky, medium-protein wheat planted in dry, temperate areas. Used for bread and brewing.

Soft White – Soft, light-colored, very low protein wheat grown in temperate moist areas. Used for pie crusts and pastry. Pastry flour, for example, is sometimes made from soft white winter wheat.

Red wheats may need bleaching; therefore, white wheats usually command higher prices than red wheats on the commodities market.

I find it interesting that different exchanges trade different wheat types. This also helps to explain why home made versions of some kinds of baked goods are never quite like the commercial ones. It is very hard to get the specific kinds of flour used when the store only sells bread flour, all purpose flour, and if very lucky, cake flour. That doesn’t even cover all the main types, and forget all the sub-types and variations.

But at least now you know why different flours have different characteristics. They are different species of wheat, and with different ancestor grasses.

FWIW, I’m still not sure just which wheat it is that the food purists think is too new and has the wrong kind of gluten in it. Maybe someday I’ll get around to chasing that particular thread…

But this brings us to the actual point of this posting. Just how far apart CAN an inter-species hybrid reach? I’ve speculated that we have an orangutan / chimp cross in our ancestry (and have a bit more evidence for that for a future posting – it involves preferences for “doggy style” vs not… ). That seems like too far a gap to span, yet some species have gone further.

One Giant Leap for Fern Kind

This fern species has a gap of about 60 Million years between parents.

Distant species produce ‘love child’ fern after 60-million-year breakup

Date: February 13, 2015

Source: Duke University


A delicate woodland fern discovered in the mountains of France is the love child of two distantly-related groups of plants that haven’t interbred in 60 million years, genetic analyses show. Reproducing after such a long evolutionary breakup is akin to an elephant hybridizing with a manatee, or a human with a lemur, the researchers say.

A bit of an overstatement, as plants are far more, um, “adventuresome” in gene swapping than are mammals. Yet maybe a 6 Million year gap for primates might be a reasonable comparison. So more like a Chimp and an Orangutan…

Led by Pryer and Carl Rothfels of the University of California, Berkeley, the study appears online today and in the March 2015 issue of the journal American Naturalist.

The pale green fern was found growing wild on a forest floor in the Pyrenees and eventually made its way to a nursery, where researchers plucked several fronds and extracted the DNA to pinpoint its parentage.
To their surprise, genetic analyses revealed that the fern was the result of a cross between an oak fern and a fragile fern — two distantly related groups that co-occur across much of the northern hemisphere, but stopped exchanging genes and split into separate lineages some 60 million years ago.

“To most people they just look like two ferns, but to fern researchers these two groups look really different,” Rothfels said.

Other studies have documented instances of tree frog species that proved capable of producing offspring after going their separate ways for 34 million years, and sunfish who hybridized after nearly 40 million years, but until now those were the most extreme reunions ever recorded.

So yet another example of a ‘new species’ made from a couple of old ones. Neatly showing how the lack of “missing links” is completely irrelevant to speciation.

I’d also note that inter-species hybrids are relatively common in related fish types along with the odd dogs, wolves, coyotes, foxes et. al. There are also recorded cases of stable sheep / goat hybrids despite different chromosome counts. Usually to gain viability in mammals, there is the need to breed back to a particular parent gender to stabilize the chromosome counts. See for more than most folks want to know…

Now 6 million years ago when humans first showed up, Chimps and Orangutans were 6 million years closer to each other than now. Any attempt at a cross now might not work so well, even if it did then. We might not even have the right species anyway ( for my money it was a Bonobo relative in the Chimp line, as those critters are more, er, active, than the other chips and thus, IMHO, more likely to have accepted some Orangutan ‘visits’…)

But if this fern is any evidence, that species “strong suggestion” might even be more of a “demure”…

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Well, someone finds a well proven 2000 year cooling trend with MWP and RWP

Climate in northern Europe reconstructed for the past 2,000 years: Cooling trend calculated precisely for the first time
Date: July 9, 2012

Universität Mainz


Scientists have published a reconstruction of the climate in northern Europe over the last 2,000 years based on the information provided by tree-rings. Researchers used tree-ring density measurements from sub-fossil pine trees originating from Finnish Lapland to produce a reconstruction reaching back to 138 BC. In so doing, the researchers have been able for the first time to precisely demonstrate that the long-term trend over the past two millennia has been towards climatic cooling.

Yes, from 2012, so a couple of years back. But somehow I’d missed it. Uses tree rings, but does it in a smart way with well preserved trees from under sediments / fossils.

What did they find?

A long term down trend. Fairly warm MWP and Roman WP, with cold half cycles following each. Present warming not at all unusual.

An international team that includes scientists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has published a reconstruction of the climate in northern Europe over the last 2,000 years based on the information provided by tree-rings. Professor Dr. Jan Esper’s group at the Institute of Geography at JGU used tree-ring density measurements from sub-fossil pine trees originating from Finnish Lapland to produce a reconstruction reaching back to 138 BC. In so doing, the researchers have been able for the first time to precisely demonstrate that the long-term trend over the past two millennia has been towards climatic cooling.

“We found that previous estimates of historical temperatures during the Roman era and the Middle Ages were too low,” says Esper. “Such findings are also significant with regard to climate policy, as they will influence the way today’s climate changes are seen in context of historical warm periods.” The new study has been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Well Golly! It actually got published, and without a hokey hockey stick…

Then they actually give a (polite) small slap to the IPCC:

In addition to the cold and warm phases, the new climate curve also exhibits a phenomenon that was not expected in this form. For the first time, researchers have now been able to use the data derived from tree-rings to precisely calculate a much longer-term cooling trend that has been playing out over the past 2,000 years. Their findings demonstrate that this trend involves a cooling of -0.3°C per millennium due to gradual changes to the position of the sun and an increase in the distance between the Earth and the sun.

“This figure we calculated may not seem particularly significant,” says Esper, “however, it is also not negligible when compared to global warming, which up to now has been less than 1°C. Our results suggest that the large-scale climate reconstruction shown by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) likely underestimate this long-term cooling trend over the past few millennia.”

Looks to me like some small snippets of truth are finally being published, now that the attempted influence of editors has been exposed via the ClimateGate emails.

So the “net net” of it all is that we are continuing the very long slow slide into the next glacial (that takes a while to get rolling); and we have a roughly 1000 year ‘peak to peak’ warm excursion with peaks at about 0 A.D., about 1000 A.D. and about now. Guess what comes next…

Our present ‘warming’ on that graph is absolutely normal, and the next down turn will be to a lower low than the Little Ice Age. Though even the ‘fast onset’ wiggles like the one near 400 A.D. take a couple of hundred years to get from top to bottom, so “we” are unlikely to see the full drop in any one lifetime, and what things are like in 2400 A.D. will likely be a lot colder, but in a world far different from this one anyway. (Do you really think that 400 more years of Islamic Militancy, Nuclear Proliferation, and technological change will leave the world recognizable as being ‘just like now’? Think what the world of 1600 A.D. was like, and we are changing faster now, than then.)

We’ve also got a good 1/2 C of upside to maybe even 1.5 C of upside range (the Holocene Optimum was even warmer and is not on this graph) from present temperatures before we are ‘warmer than in the past’, and the past was pretty good, so in my book that means “No Worries”.

Overall, this trend says to me that IF we are very very lucky, burning all the carbon based fossil fuels we can might just slow our decent into the next Ice Age Glacial. Maybe. For a little while. If not, we get frozen, but that’s going to happen in any case, just a question of when. In no case can we keep making things warmer at a rate sufficient to permanently overcome the long term down trend AND the next cyclical dip of a couple of degrees C, and stay “like things are now”. At best, we drop to about -1.5 C instead of the deeper dip to -1.8 C otherwise expected compared to the Little Ice Age (i.e. to ‘about the same’ instead of ‘deeper due to downtrend’). But that would at least be not yet into the glacial. One hopes.

Then again, I’m pretty sure that CO2 does nothing in the troposphere and is a trivial addition to the radiative loss from the stratosphere, with water being by far dominant, so it’s most likely we just keep on ‘wobbling downward’ on that long term slope until we hit a water / ice knee and the Arctic stays frozen one summer. After that comes the much more rapid plunge into the Glacial. Hopefully not for another couple of hundred years. Maybe…

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