back to article Blood-crazy climate mosquitoes set to ground Santa's reindeer

Some say the menace of climate change has been overblown: but they couldn't be more wrong, as it has emerged that global warming is set to extirpate - or anyway, seriously annoy - the lovable arctic reindeer. This is because, according to a new climate model, a warming arctic will soon be overrun with bloodlusting mosquitoes …

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  1. Trollslayer Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Our studies showed

    We guessed by putting in fudge factors.

    Yes, we get paid for this.

  2. JetSetJim Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Make your mind up

    On Monday global warming had stopped. What happened?

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Make your mind up

      @ JetSetJim

      There are many models and many theories and the climate is not static (naturally). So what happened is another testable prediction which may or may not affect the MMCC co2 theory but may give us some more understanding of how the climate works.

    2. Ilmarinen
      Devil

      Re: Make your mind up

      Man-made Greenhouse emissions can make warming *and* cooling *and* stopping, and ALL AT THE SAME TIME - only Deniers claim otherwise

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Make your mind up

        I'm a rendenier ... with dyslexia

    3. daeronryuujin

      Re: Make your mind up

      Bias, mostly. Might want to read this article again though, they put in a qualifier that indicates they don't actually believe it will happen. I think they just couldn't pass up the opportunity to make reindeer jokes, no matter their personal views.

    4. E 2
      Boffin

      Re: Make your mind up

      There are two things:

      1) Measurement of CO2 levels and temperature and sea level in the past - going back through several periods of glaciation and of extreme warming - shows a very strong correlation between high CO2 concentration and high temperatures. Nobody disputes this.

      2) Modelling the effect _now_ of rising CO2 levels using computers and climate models is not well understood nor are there commonly accepted models (in the sense of, say, Newton's Three Laws, or Gauss's equations, or Special Relativity). So you can tweak the coeffs any way you want.

      Number 1 says: if the CO2 levels get too high the temperature will rise a lot, but it does not say when.

      Number 2 tries to say when.

      Everyone yells about number 2, but they seem to forget about number 1.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Make your mind up

        @E2

        You 'forgot' to mention in your first point that the rise in the level of CO2 happens well after the rise in temperature.

        1. E 2

          Re: Make your mind up

          @Ivan 4

          You assume malice.

          I don't read all the journal articles (do you?). I was just pointing out there are two things at issue and that they are constantly conflated.

      2. BobM54

        Re: Make your mind up

        "shows a very strong correlation between high CO2 concentration and high temperatures"

        BS.... the higher levels of CO2 come 2 to 3 hundred years later.

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Make your mind up

          @BobM54 I'm guessing you just looked at the pictures and forgot to read the last line: "more than 90% of the glacial-interglacial warming occured after that atmospheric CO2 increase".

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

        Re: Make your mind up

        Measurement of CO2 levels and inferred temperatures using ice cores with better dating methods has shown that although higher temperatures and higher CO2 levels occur at roughly the same times, the higher temperatures seem to lead the higher CO2 levels.

        In other words, higher temperatures cause higher CO2 levels, and not the other way around.

  3. MarkB

    Surely it's mind-controlling parasitic wasps <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortitude_%28TV_series%29> we need to be worried about, isn't it?

    1. Panicnow
      Flame

      mind-controlling parasitic wasps

      They have certianly reached the Register offices!

  4. Steven Roper

    Mosquitos can kill large animals, and not just by spreading disease

    I remember seeing back in the 90s, a documentary on TV about the northern jungles of Australia. At one point they showed clouds of mosquitos, actual banks of cloud formed by the things, preying on a herd of buffalo. One of the buffalo dropped dead after this cloud of mosquitos passed over it - dead from blood loss and the sheer volume of anticoagulant pumped into it by billions of mosquito probosces.

    If there's one species this world could well do with the extinction of without wrecking the food chain, it's these bastards. Anything that eats mosquitos can easily survive by eating other flying insects.

  5. Grikath Silver badge

    biting pests...

    You mean in addition to all the other insects that already treat caribou as a walking buffet? It's not as if the permafrost tundra in summer is insect-free, quite the contrary as the unwary tourist soon finds out...

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: biting pests...

      Indeed. I've visited Greenland at the beginning of summer - those (blood) suckers are vicious!

    2. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: biting pests...

      In the North of Sweden the mosquitoes are like those miniature combat helicopters DARPA is dreaming about unleashing, but there is of course worse creatures:

      "Knot", "micro mosquitoes" which forms little dense swarms like a golf-ball-sized utility fog containing thousands of sub-millimetre sized and evil blood-suckers that will go for your ear-canals, eyes, and anything else you forgot to double-coat with anti-mosquito goo and mosquito mesh. They have them in Scotland too .

      You don't get just a few mosquito bite from these, instead you get an entire hand-sized surface of seeping, soon-to-become-infected, insanity inducing itchiness on your skin.

      Of course there is also the cattle fly which always leaves an infected crater behind if it manges to bite. The reindeer stay in the heights during summer to avoid that bastard or they run.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: biting pests...

        Or northern Quebec in August. I've never seen so many blackflies and mosquitoes. And that was 20 years ago, nothing new...

        Insanity-inducing, lol... I had flashbacks for years!

        1. LesC
          Mushroom

          Re: biting pests...

          No see-ums. We were plagued by these, mozzies and these infernal blackflies (they're like eye seeking missiles) at Meaghers Grant in the upper Musquodabit Valley in Nova Scotia when I was fishing for trout there. Les Stroud Backwoodsman strength DEET out of Canadian Tire the aroma of this stuff lingers to this day, the friend I was staying with called it 'Eau de Canada'.A good spray of this concoction certainly saw the little sods off, unfortunately it took out my Gul Force surfer's watch too :(

          Scotland is the same with added cleg but Scottish outfit APS's Smidge doesn't melt plastic and is just as effective at dealing with the little bastrads.

          Nuke as these little sods will live through it.

          LC

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: biting pests...

            Scotland? Where in Scotland are biting pests so bad? I've been there a couple times to play golf (though Dornoch near Loch Ness was as far north as I've yet been) for a total of about four weeks and never had issues, even on the few rare days when the wind laid down.

      2. oldcoder

        Re: biting pests...

        So that is how they learned to fly....

        Hopefully raindeer flying speed will cause buggers to burn up due to friction...

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: biting pests...

          I briefly dated a girl from Finland, she used to visit her grandfather way up north when she was a kid. She said one year the blackflies were so bad when a swarm passed it would block out the sun, and they killed baby reindeer (not sure if it was due to blood loss, shock from all the bites or they were breathing them in and choking)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reindeer as tourist attractions

    I took my genetic legacy to the world on a "meet Santa" holiday, one of the excursions was to a reindeer farm where we had a sleigh ride, along with a coachload of other families. All very jolly.

    Appreciating some of what other countries and cultures can produce, I did ask if there was a farm shop (in the same way that you sometimes get in the UK), for some reason I got a disapproving look from the tour guide. Clearly humour doesn't always travel.

    1. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: Reindeer as tourist attractions

      "I did ask if there was a farm shop"

      Or you could go to "Mister India" in Oslo and enjoy a number 55:

      http://www.mister-india.no/en/menu.html

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Reindeer as tourist attractions

        Many's the time I've had roast reindeer just after Xmas in Norway. Most tasty

      2. TitterYeNot
        Coat

        Re: Reindeer as tourist attractions

        "Or you could go to "Mister India" in Oslo and enjoy a number 55"

        55. MAAN KURMA

        Origin: Tamil Nadu, South-India

        Marinated and grilled round steak of reindeer, served on an aromatic "kurma"

        Ah yes, the renowned South-Indian reindeer, famous as a tourist attraction as it trots through the crowded streets of Chennai, its antlers festooned with vibrant ribbons to celebrate the 'Festival of Colours'.

        Ahem. Or maybe not. Lovely idea though...

    2. Drudgery Leak
      Happy

      Re: Reindeer as tourist attractions

      An incredibly stupid and delicious animal.

  7. Reg T.

    If Only

    these remarkable scientific folk had been available when the Wooly Mammoth disappeared. And, they surely could have prevented The Great Flood.

    One does wonder why they are so prejudiced against the insect classes over the mammal. Perhaps they sufffer from "Mammal Advantage" and need reeducation and an attitude adjustment. After all, we are all "here" and must "get along".

    Recent studies in Animal Psychology reveal that sucking the teat for an extended time is a definite conditioning activity which results in imperious persecution of other non-mammal; species.

    Etc.

  8. Ilmarinen
    Stop

    Modeling, schmodeling

    Reading the abstract, they did do *some* measurements (in Western Greenland) but the rest of the "results" are from a "parametrized" "demographic model" wot they developed ...

    An old RF mate of mine had a nice incite into modeling (RF bods do modeling and simulation all the time), he said "the trouble with simulation is, like m*****bation, if you do it too much you start to believe it's the real thing".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Modeling, schmodeling

      And don't forget that not one of their models has been validated by anyone outside the climate change community and I doubt if anyone inside has either.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Modeling, schmodeling

        Yes, because all the other models you use were validated outside the 'insert field here' community. It's a little known fact that the Beagle 2 mars probe crashed because the guy who was meant to model the landing was actually busy verifying a model of aspirin's effects on hangovers as part of the international 'all models verified by people who aren't expert' programme.

      2. Naselus

        Re: Modeling, schmodeling

        This isn't a global warming story.

        It's a basic bit of biology modelling the effect of rising temperature on mosquito populations. It's not predicting warming. It's not trying to say there will be. It's saying that if warming occurs, then the impact of mosquito populations on reindeer will increase. I'm sure there's another grad student out there right now freezing kestrels on the shores of Loch Ness so he can publish a 5-page paper on how plummeting temperatures would impact on Northern Scotland's bird populations in relation to salmon fishing, and he is also not saying that temperatures will rise or fall. He's just saying what would happen if they do.

        I'd be utterly stunned if the 'climate change community' have validated this guy's model, since it's in no way a climate model and so not really anything to do with them. Those in the biologist community probably have, since that's their job.

        1. Ilmarinen

          Re: Modeling, schmodeling

          <quote>

          Abstract

          Climate change is altering environmental temperature, a factor that influences ectothermic organisms by controlling rates of physiological processes.

          </quote>

          Still, I guess they had to say that:

          Want to study bugs? No much money.

          Want to study the effect of Climate Change (TM) on bugs? How much would you like??

  9. Sir Sham Cad

    No surprise

    Reindeer is fucking delicious!

    Mosquitos with excellent taste.

  10. Alister Silver badge

    In other festive-season related recent climate news...

    Oh Gods, not you as well!

    Look, IT IS NOT THE FESTIVE SEASON YET!!

    I don't care if the retail trade think it's Christmas already (our local supermarkets all have their XMAS displays up now) there's THREE WHOLE MONTHS to go, a quarter of the year, so please El Reg, shut up about it already.

    Bah, Humbug!

    </rant>

    1. Alistair Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: In other festive-season related recent climate news...

      @ Alister

      in as much as you mimic my name, at least your perspective on seasonal rotation agrees with mine.

      Have one, just for that rant

      1. Alister Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: In other festive-season related recent climate news...

        in as much as you mimic my name

        Pah! you're just a pale imitation of the inestimable Mr Dabbs :)

        However, as one of the clan-who-shall-never-be-spelled-correctly,-no-not-even-by-family-members, have an upvote in return.

        :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: In other festive-season related recent climate news...

          And another from me. Anonymous for obvious reasons.

  11. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Of course this is good news ...

    for those people who advocate eating insects as a source of protein.

    1. Mr. Abelazar Woozle

      There are other solutions...

      Arctic mozzies are evil buggers as we found out on a sixth-form expedition to Norway many moons ago, but we also found out that Tescos own-brand gin made an excellent repellent, far better than the proper ones. So, we just need to ship plenty of cheap gin out to the reindeer herders!

  12. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Bah, they are already there

    There are already so many mosquitoes in Lapland in the summer it is hard to believe adding some makes difference... in any case, mosquitoes are benign compared to blackflies, the real insect terror of Lapland. Whereas normal mosquitoes feed on you with something like tiny hypodermic needles, the blackflies of Lapland bite off pieces of your skin. Tiny pieces, but you will be attacked by hundreds of the tiny devils at a time... Somehow the reindeer survive.

  13. davenewman

    The tempory slowdown has ended

    and in any case, was made to look more impressive by very careful choice of the starting year.

  14. Dan Paul

    Have you EVER been in Northern Canada?

    As a young man, my family camped many times in several parks up in Northern Canada and the Adirondack Mountains in New York during our vacations.

    The mosquitos and black flies would carry you off and you had to wear netting and bug repellent or you would go mad trying to fight them off. There were literal clouds of insects.

    However, they only bothered the moose and deer intermittently. Seems having a thick coat of hair everywhere (unlike most humans) meant that only their softer bits were targeted. However, deer ticks pose a much greater problem for disease and between me and you, I would rather be eaten by mosquitos than ticks.

    There other bloodsuckers to consider too. You can't enter a pond or stream in the North Country that is not full of leeches. Better wear tight swim trunks or suffer some embarrassing leech removals. You quickly find out who your friends are at Scout camp (Northern Lights). Everybody went skinny dipping ONCE there, then suddenly found modesty through practicality.

    Those deer flies bite like that pinch your mother would give you when you acted up in church. Some of them are as big as an inch long and they sound like a model airplane engine sometimes.

    All said and done, there is little difference other than size between deer and reindeer/caribou. The bugs find all mammals tasty and this has been going on since there have been blood sucking insects. I have seen many deer calmly grazing in a field and they are just covered in the little bastards.

    Funny how those bloodsuckers presence hasn't resulted in any extinctions regardless of what's being "reported".

    1. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Have you EVER been in Northern Canada?

      No, but in northern Finland, Sweden and Norway. It's all about the northern latitude really. Nasty buggers and you do cover yourself well. Nice fishing though. Those buggers have probably been there since the Ice Age ended and animals started to move that way. But I would like to point out that new buggers like the "Lipoptena cervi". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipoptena_cervi have started to move north just recently. Also birds never seen in the north find their way there now.

      One could of course claim they have just become more industrious and decided to expand their "lebensraum", but the simple fact is that it has become warmer, man made or not. An animal with some "cervi" in their nostrils are very unhappy about it, (this a bit outside the topic of mosquitoes)

    2. Alistair Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Have you EVER been in Northern Canada?

      Yes. Yes I have.

      Your camp counsellors didn't tell you to have salt handy for when you got out of the water? Lousy camp.

      And this is why canadians like flamethrowers. And REALLY big campfires.

  15. Speltier

    Better living through chemistry

    Stop being passive, and use that new chemical printer to generate some skeeter blasting DDT! DDT has a tried a true history of wiping out entire skeeter ecologies... which would you rather be surrounded by, withered husks of (formerly) cuddly reindeer under a blanket of buzzing blood suckers, or silent piles of dead bugs?

  16. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Either

    a. as the white stuff retreats, the reindeer will also retreat north.

    b. mossies are genetically mutating to survive the cold (probably bored of the heat in Africa and all the diseases they get from humans).

    And I'm not even a bio-boffin and can work that out.

    1. Trygve

      you clearly have no experience of these critters

      Each year I get my first mosquito bite while there is still a decent amount of snow on the ground. If it's warm enough for grazing stuff to grow, it's plenty warm enough for the Biting Bastards to breed by the billion and chow down. You cannot flee, you can only endure.

      Brief summary:

      Knott/Midge/Blackfly/No-see-um. Death by a billion cuts. Small enough to crawl through a jumper or netting. Ridiculously disproportionate pain/size ratio.Love to gnaw on ear passages, nostrils, edges of eyelids. To small to swat on a practical basis. Found by the millions. Not really bothered much by DEET or other repellents in my experience.

      Mygg/Mosquito. Death by exsanguination. Simply poke their proboscis through normal clothing and netting to feast on contents. Fragile, but swat the first thousand, the next lot will thank you for clearing the way. Found by the hundred thousands. Can be repelled, thank god.

      Broms/Kleg/Cleg/Deerfly. You'll wish for death as a reprieve from the terror induced by the perpetual droning followed by stabbing pain. Elegantly simple feeding method - biting loose a chunk of meat so they can drink blood from the crater. Can bite through the hide of moose or cow, also through jeans+human skin. Swatting generally only stuns them for a second unless you use extreme force i.e. punching yourself in self-defense. Normally only found by the hundred. Probably drink shots of DEET while relaxing at the end of a hard day.

      1. fritsd

        Re: you clearly have no experience of these critters

        Yup.. seen them all..

        In my experience those Bromses come in 2 varieties: the really big, slow, black & white ones, that cut you open and then your arm swells up like your're wearing a yellow childrens' swimming armband for several weeks, and the fast narrow black ones that seem to have only one wing and kamikaze-attack you like a Dune hunter-seeker (after which it takes *ages* for the centimetre-large bump to go away even if you don't scratch it).

        Luckily the winters will always be cold and long enough to keep their populations under control. Right? Right?

        I got acquainted(sp?) with the midges in County Donegal, Ireland. That was an adventure I'll never forget. We wondered what that brown cloud was that suddenly came towards us out of the lake after sunset..

  17. E 2
    FAIL

    Jeez, Fail

    Go to Yellowknife in the summer currently - the bugs are so numerous you will be sucked dry in a short time.

  18. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Headmaster

    DDT Blankets

    Santa's Helpers were arrested after they tried DDT blankets for the reindeer.

  19. PacketPusher
    WTF?

    Somehow, these critters survive further south where the mosquitos already flourish My experience is with Alaska rather than Fennoscandia, but I doubt that there is much difference. The warmer climate will mean more vegetation for them to feed on. It seems to me that only real downside to warming for them is that farmers will be able to plant in areas that are now too cold. You can displace the caribou only so far before they have nothing but Arctic Ocean left.

  20. Pompous Git Silver badge
    Happy

    The largest outbreak of malaria in modern times occurred in the 1920s and 1930s in northern Siberia, a territory not noted for its tropical climate. During the epidemic, some 13 million people were infected and 600,000 died; 30,000 of them as far north as the port of Arkhangelsk on the Arctic Circle. Anthropogenic Global Warming is so powerful it can even cause events 80 years or more in the past without changing the temperature!

  21. Pompous Git Silver badge

    Here's a trap for the unwary

    The Wiki-bloody-pedia has a map of the world's climate zones sourced from the University of Melbourne:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%B6ppen_climate_classification

    So, can anyone identify which of these climate zones have changed over the last 100 years? For example, where I live (Tasmania) is a maritime temperate climate and would appear to have been so back in the early 19th C never mind the 20th. If we have just experienced a century of "unprecedented global climate change", why hasn't this happened in Tasmania? Or is Tasmania not part of "global"?

    1. fritsd

      Köppen map shifts

      Here you go, I found what you asked:

      http://koeppen-geiger.vu-wien.ac.at/shifts.htm

      It doesn't predict much change for Tasmania in the coming century, from the look of it.

  22. Richard Parkin

    If they are so numerous suck them up with giant vacuum cleaners and feed the compressed mass to the reindeer - or export to China where they are probably a delicacy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      IT Angle

      They do something similar on Lake Victoria, the resulting insect paste is not a delicay but an essential food in some areas

  23. tomgnh

    Hey, all you deniers: Do me one favor- look at your children or grandchildren and say to them "Don't worry- I'm ignoring all these warnings because I know better. You'll be fine in fifty years, so I don't have to change a thing."

    And say it out loud so they can hear you.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      @ tomgnh

      Twelve years ago when given a similar question to mine in a university exam, I gave the following:

      Six thousand years ago, during the Holocene Optimum/Hypsithermal/Altithermal, what is now the Sahara Desert was a savannah with lakes, rivers, hippopotami, gazelles, giraffes, humans and all manner of beasts and vegetation.

      I take it that in my place, you would have asked the invigilator to excuse you while you flew to New Zealand for a quick heart-to-heart with the grandchildren. I was given a Credit in that course. What marks would you have been awarded do you think?

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