Ancient Italian fossils reveal risk of parasitic infections due to climate change

From Eurekalert

Rise in trematodes could occur much sooner than thought, according to new Mizzou study from the University of Missouri-Columbia

IMAGE: Location map, cross-section, and images of parasitized Abra segmentum valves. A-Location map of investigated Po coastal plain sector, Italy B-Cross section illustrating core samples. C-Photomicrographs of A. segmentum with trematode-induced… view more Credit: Scientific Reports

In 2014, a team of researchers led by a paleobiologist from the University of Missouri found that clams from the Holocene Epoch (that began 11,700 years ago) contained clues about how sea level rise due to climate change could foreshadow a rise in parasitic trematodes, or flatworms. The team cautioned that the rise could lead to outbreaks in human infections if left unchecked. Now, an international team from Mizzou and the Universities of Bologna and Florida has found that rising seas could be detrimental to human health on a much shorter time scale. Findings from their study in northern Italy suggest that parasitic infections could increase in the next century, if history repeats itself.

Trematodes are internal parasites that affect mollusks and other invertebrates inhabiting estuarine environments, which are the coastal bodies of brackish water connecting rivers to the open sea. John Huntley, assistant professor of geological sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science, studied the prehistoric clams as a senior visiting fellow for the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Bologna, Italy. With core samples taken from the Po River plain in Italy, the team found traces made by trematodes on the shells of the clams disclosing the connections between the ancient clams and climate change.

“The forecasts of increasing global temperatures and sea level rise have led to major concerns about the response of parasites to climate change,” Huntley said. “Italy has a robust environmental monitoring program, so there was a wealth of information to examine.”

Ancient trematodes had soft bodies; therefore, they didn’t leave body fossils. However, infected clams developed oval-shaped pits around the parasite in the attempt to keep it out, and it’s the prevalence of those pits and their makeup that provide clues as to what happened during different eras in time.

Using 61 samples collected from a drill core obtained by the Italian government for geological research, the scientists examined trematode traces and matched the information to existing records measuring sea level and salinity rises through the ages.

“We found that pulses in sea-level rise occurred on the scale of hundreds of years, and that correlated to rises in parasitic trematodes in the core samples,” Huntley said. “What concerns me is that these rises are going to continue to happen and perhaps at accelerated rates. This poses grave concerns for public health and ecosystem services. These processes could increase parasitism in not only estuarine systems but also in freshwater settings. Such habitats are home to the snail hosts of blood flukes, which infect and kill a million or more people globally each year. What’s scary is it could potentially affect the generations of our kids or grandkids.”

Huntley and his team think that the discoveries they continue to make about impending climate change could provide a good road map for conservationists and those making decisions about marine environments worldwide.


The study, “Surges in trematode prevalence liPnked to centennial-scale flooding events in the Adriatic,” recently was published in Scientific Reports, a journal of Nature. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation (EAR-1650745 and EAR-1559196), the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Bologna, Unkelsbay Fund of the Department of Geological Sciences at Mizzou and the University of Bologna.

Daniele Scarponi, assistant professor of paleontology at the University of Bologna; Michele Azzarone, a doctoral student in the Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Bologna; and Micha? Kowalewski, a professor and Jon L. and Beverly A. Thompson Chair of Invertebrate Paleontology at the University of Florida contributed to the study. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.

Editor’s Note: For more on the story, please see:

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Sea Level Manipulation

Nils-Axel Mörner: Also sea level data were manipulated to achieve maximum horror scenario of a general flooding to come.
On Sunday the 5th, the Mail had a benchmark article where Dr John Bates was allowed to present a remarkable documentation of the manipulation of NOAA’s temperature measurements in order to provide the impression that global temperature is keeping on rising over the last decades [1]. This manipulated record was forced to appear in time for the COP21 decision in Paris 2015. The true temperature record provide an 18 year long temperature pause, despite the fact that global atmospheric CO2 content has kept on rising. This sheds serious
doubts on the core notion of the COP21 decision claiming the CO2 is the cause of recent global warming.

David Ross, quite correctly, posed the core question [2]: How can we trust them? I will add another case of manipulation referring to the core issue in horror scenarios claiming that sea level is a very rapidly rising mode, and that lowlying coasts and islands will soon be flooded.
In the period 2000-2005, I led an international sea level project in the Maldives. By observational facts collected along the shores of a large number of islands, we were able to demonstrate that, indeed, there is no flooding going on, rather the sea level has remained stable over the last 40 years.

Therefore, in 2007, I wrote a booklet entitled “The Greatest Lie Ever Told” (besides a number of peer reviewed papers published in international scientific journals). The same absence of any present sea level rise has now been documented also in Bangladesh, Goa in southern India, Qatar, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Kiribati, French Guiana and Venice. In all those places (and their surroundings) sea level has
remained virtually stable over the last 40-50 years [3, 4].

In Northwestern Europe with a very long history of recording local uplift and subsidence, we have quite consistent records of a mean rate of sea level rose over the last 125 years of 1.0 ±0.1 mm/yr [4]. The NOAA satellite altimetry records of the last 24 years is said to give a rise of
2.9 ±0.4 mm/yr. The record of University of Colorado (UC) gives a rise of 3.3 ±0.4 mm/yr.

There is something strange in the satellite altimetry documentation, however (which I have tried to point the finger on in numerous papers and lectures of the last two decades). I will hereby return to this question. I illustrate the case by the figure attached, and I claim we here have an additional case of manipulation of measured data

Image result for Nils-Axel Mörner: Also sea level data were manipulated to achieve maximum horror scenario of a general flooding to come.

The rising oblique cure gives the satellite altimetry record of NOAA in 2015, providing a rising trend of 2-9 ±0.4 mm/yr. The yellow field marks the field of observational facts. Both the original satellite altimetry record (red line) and the gravity record (blue line) were subjectively – this is the “manipulation” – lifted up to cope with the rising trend of the NOAA record.

Satellite altimetry measurements started in late 1992. The first record was published in early 2000. It gave variability around a flat zero line, marked with a red line in the figure. In 2003, the same record was tilted to a rise of 2.4 mm/yr, marked with an arrow and a pink line. At a discussion in Moscow Academy of Science in 2005, the British IPCC group said they “had to do so, otherwise it would not be any trend” [5], which was just what I accused them fore.

The first GRACE gravity records gave a sea level lowering of 0.12 ±0.06 mm/yr (blue line in the figure). This measured value was hypothetically “corrected” for global glacial isostasy so it fitted the satellite altimetry trend as marked by an arrow and a pink line.

Observational facts (as discussed above) lie within the yellow zone. When the NOAA and UC records are tilted back to original measurements (i.e. removing the so-called “corrections”), both records fall within the yellow zone, NOAA at 0.45 mm/yr and UC at 0.65 mm/yr (i.e. both together at 0.55 ±0.1 mm/yr). And now the satellite altimetry records agree quite well with observational facts [6]. It implies that the satellite altimetry records have been significantly manipulated in order to document a strong rise in global sea level, which is one of the key issues the horror scenario of global warming.

How can we trust these people? And why should we trust them any longer? It is here where CLEXIT comes in: the international organization claiming that we must leave the COP21 agreement (i.e. climate exit) because it is all based on wrong assumptions: CO2 has little to negligible effects on climate, and sea level is by no means in a rapidly rising mode.

Nils-Axel Mörner
Former head of Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics at Stockholm University
President of Independent Committee on Geoethics
[3] Mörner, N.-A., 2017. Coastal morphology and sea-level changes in Goa,
India, during the last 500 years. Journal of Coastal Research, in press.
[4] Mörner, N.-A., 2016. Sea level changes as observed in nature. In:
Easterbrook, D.J. (ed.), Evidenced-Based Climate Science, 2nd edition.
Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp. 219–231.
[5] Mörner, N.-A., 2011. The Maldives as a Measure of Sea Level and Sea
Level Ethics. In: Easterbrook, D.J. (ed.), Evidence-Based Climate Science,
Elsevier, Amsterdam, Chapter 7, pp. 197-209.
[6] Mörner, N.-A., 2015. Glacial isostasy: Regional – not global. International
Journal of Geosciences, 6, 577-592.
Uploaded on ResearchGate, Febr. 20
DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.28591.12963


Climate Mafia Strikes Again : This Time With Satellite Sea Level Data

Two weeks ago, the climate mafia got to Carl Mears at Remote Sensing Systems, and got him to increase the rate of global warming shown in his satellite data.

This week’s victim of the climate mafia is the satellite sea level data from the University of Colorado, where the same type of data tampering has occurred.


Study: Sea Level Rise Revised Downward

Reposted from Roy Spencer’s Blog

If I had not looked past the headline of the press report on a new study, I would have just filed it under “It’s worse than we thought”. A new study in Nature reported on July 17 carried the following headlines:

“Satellite snafu masked true sea-level rise for decades”
“Revised tallies confirm that the rate of sea-level rise is accelerating as the Earth warms and ice sheets thaw.”

When I read that, I (like everyone else) assumed that corrections to the satellite sea level data since 1993 have now led to a revised trend toward faster (not slower) sea level rise. Right?


During the satellite era (since 1993), the trend in sea level rise was revised downward, by almost 10%, from 3.28 mm/year to about 3.0 mm/year. (For those concerned about Miami going underwater, these numbers equate to a little more than one inch every 10 years). This result was published back in April in Geophysical Research Letters, and the newNature study looks at the wiggles in the revised data since 1993 and makes ominous pronouncements about sea level rise “acceleration”.

I’m calling “fake science news” on the Nature reporter who covered the story. The headline was technically correct…but misleading. (I can also make up technically correct headlines: “Scientists Agree: Sea Levels are Rising, We are All Going to Die”)

The researchers in April made a major adjustment to the first 1/4 of the satellite record, bringing those early sea levels up. This results in adding curvature to the upward trend (an acceleration) by flattening out the early part of the curve. This new signature of “acceleration” was what made the news in the new Nature study, even though the long term trend went down.

Should this New “Acceleration” be the News?

In a word, no.

Short-term undulations in the sea level rise curve should not be used as a predictive curve for the future. They are affected by a wide variety of natural phenomena. For example, ice loss from Greenland (which was large in 2011-12) has recently reversed itself with huge gains made in the last year. These events are governed by natural variations in weather patterns, which have always occurred.

For longer-term variations, yes, the rate of sea level rise during the entire period since 1993 probably is a little more than, say, during the period since 1900 (sea level rise was occurring naturally, anyway). But the inferred acceleration is small. And even that acceleration could be mostly natural — we simply don’t know.

My main point is that the Nature headline was misleading. They clearly had to find something in the study that supported the alarmist view of sea level rise, and they figured few people would read past the headline.

A face-value reading of the two main studies together results in the conclusion that sea level rise since 1993 has been revised downward. The most recent study then reads too much into the wiggles in the new data, and even implies the acceleration will continue with the statement, “The suggested acceleration… highlights the importance and urgency of mitigating climate change and formulating coastal adaptation plans to mitigate the impacts of ongoing sea level rise”.

The new study does NOT revise recent sea level rise upward, as is suggested by the Natureheadline quoted above.