Temperatures over Greenland Fast Approaching 400,000 Year High, Risk 15-19 Feet of Additional Sea Level Rise

It’s getting hot over Greenland. Not the kind of hot we think of as each summer rolls along. But the kind of hot that melts massive two-mile-high slabs of ice. How hot? Within a decade or two, Greenland temps could reach their highest levels in at least 400,000 years. And that’s a problem. A big fracking problem.

Why?

Because a mere 1 degree Celsius of warming separates Greenland from temperatures last seen during the warmest interglacial of the last million years. During that time, sea levels were 6-13 meters higher than today — a staggering 19-44 feet. Melt came from both West Antarctica and Greenland, but until this week we didn’t know what melt portion came from which glacier system. For a study published Wednesday in Nature has pinned down the extent of the Greenland ice sheet of 400,000 years ago. And this new knowledge gave researchers the ability to estimate Greenland’s contribution to the swelling seas of that time.

The study took sediment cores from regions surrounding Greenland and, in doing so, was able to establish that enough ice melted from Greenland during a time when ice sheet temperatures were just 1 degree Celsius warmer than today to raise sea levels by between 4.5 and 6 meters (15 to 19 feet).

Southern Tip of Greenland

(The southern tip of Greenland, as seen in this June 26, 2014 LANCE MODIS satellite shot, was ground zero for a major ice melt during a warm interglacial period 400,000 years ago when Greenland was just 1 degree C hotter than it is today. Melt likely first issued from the low-lying and ocean exposed glaciers along the west coast of Greenland adjacent to Baffin Bay. Today, this region hosts Greenland’s fastest glaciers as well as its most extensive proliferation of surface melt ponds.)

A large portion of this ice came from the very vulnerable southern tip of Greenland. According to the ice core measures, two mile high ice mountains flooded away under the Arctic heat of 400,000 years ago, retreating to a meager central dome separated from a northern ice sheet which was also greatly reduced. In total, about two thirds of the ice from greater Greenland was lost (total loss of the Greenland ice sheet would raise sea levels by 24 feet).

Study co-author Anders Carlson noted in a recent press release — “…the threshold for ice sheet collapse is pretty low. We could be nearing the tipping point.”

Staring Rapid Greenland Melt in the Face

One degree Celsius, that’s all that separates all of the southern Greenland ice and a portion of the rest from a likely irreversible slide into the world ocean. And that’s also a rather pressing problem. Because the Arctic is now warming faster than anywhere else on Earth, at least two times faster than the global average. But for Greenland the recent pace of warming has been even faster. For since 1979 the surface of the Greenland ice sheet has warmed by 1 degree Celsius every decade.

This gives us just one more decade under the current pace of Greenland warming before we hit a threshold in which 15 to 19 feet of additional sea level rise is locked in and added to the already locked-in losses of about 4 feet from West Antarctica and about 5 feet from the other permanently destabilized and irreversibly collapsing glaciers and ice caps around the world.

That may just be the start. For the current CO2e heat forcing of 481 ppm is sufficient, if maintained long-term, to melt enough ice to raise sea levels by at least 75 feet overall. Unfortunately, ghg levels aren’t anywhere near stabilizing, but are instead rising faster than ever before. The human emission is so rapid that we hit atmospheric forcing levels high enough to melt all ice on Earth (if maintained over the long term) within 23 years. It’s a vicious threat to the world’s coastal communities. One that is difficult to overstate.

Simply put, the longer high and rising global greenhouse gas levels are maintained the more ice sheets we are likely to see going into irreversible decline.

Links:

Nature: Southern Greenland Ice Sheet Collapse

LANCE MODIS

Greenland Ice Sheet May Face Tipping Point Sooner Than Expected

Greenland Ice Sheet Warmed by 1 C per Decade, Half Attributed to Climate Variability

 

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93 Comments

  1. Colorado Bob

     /  June 26, 2014

    Fires linked to large-scale Greenland ice melt

    A cocktail of rising temperatures and ash from forest fires led to large-scale surface melting of the Greenland ice sheet in 1889 and 2012, according to recent research from Dartmouth College and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    “The widespread melting of the Greenland ice sheet required the combination of both of these effects – a lowered snow albedo from ash and unusually warm temperatures – to push the ice sheet over the threshold,” said Kaitlin Keegan, a Dartmouth doctoral student who was the study’s lead author.

    http://arcticjournal.com/climate/722/fires-linked-large-scale-greenland-ice-melt

    Reply
    • And both Canada and Russia are prepped for much greater fire frequency.

      Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  June 26, 2014

        What a wicked positive feedback the soot and dust is. Dark snow indeed.

        It seems that the Earth’s climate system wants to get warmer, once a certain (low) degree or threshold of warming takes place. I wonder how long that warmest of the inter-glacials lasted 400K year ago? If the ice sheets eventually recovered from that massive melt, perhaps they can recover if we keep additional warming to less than 1C ? Not that I expect we will.

        Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 26, 2014

      Although the study did not seek to identify the source of the ash from the 2012 event, it found a high concentration of ammonium together with the black carbon, which indicates that its source was large boreal forest fires in Siberia and North America in June and July of that year. Air masses from these two areas arrived at the Greenland ice sheet’s summit just before the widespread melt event.

      Reply
      • Well, well…

        Reply
      • Wind-blown dust due to an earlier melt season also appears to be playing a role, as well as biological activity in the ice which is being promoted by surface melt and the nutrients found in the dust.

        For more, please see:

        The satellite signal showed that impurities in the ice sheet causing the darkening were most likely colored, and not black like soot or other impurities, said Dumont.

        Via additional analysis, they concluded that dust carried by the wind likely was the main source of the impurities in the snow. On-ground measurements from Northern Greenland showing much higher levels of dust than soot backed the conclusion, according to the paper. An increase in dust is consistent with climate change, Dumont said.

        “Our hypothesis is that now that seasonal snow cover in the Arctic is retreating earlier than before, bare soil is available earlier in the Spring for dust transport,” said Dumont in an email. While it will take on-the-ground measurements to determine the dust link definitively, it appears to be the most likely explanation, she said.

        Wind-Blown Dust Darkens Greenland, Speeding Meltdown, Christa Marshall (ClimateWire). Scientific American, 2015-06-10

        The article links to:

        Dumont, M., et al. “Contribution of light-absorbing impurities in snow to Greenland/’s darkening since 2009.” Nature Geoscience (2014).

        … which is unfortunately paywalled.

        Reply
  2. Colorado Bob

     /  June 26, 2014

    Studying Arctic ice from cradle to grave

    When spring 2015 approaches, sun spilling the landscape will find a group of scientists adrift at sea on RV Lance – once a top-of-the-line seal hunting boat, now turned research vessel. On board, an international collection of researchers will watch up-close as the arctic wakes, with instruments tuned not only to wildlife but to the most important creature of them all – the sea ice.

    “The ice itself has changed. It’s a new system, a different system of ice,” says Harald Steen of the Norwegian Polar Institute to BarentsObserver. “Through the winter we’ll study the ice, and when the sun returns we’ll be there to study the awakening of the Arctic ecosystem.”

    Steen is the project leader for the Norwegian Young Sea Ice Cruise (N-ICE2015). Scientists from the Norwegian Polar Institute, University of Bergen, Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Colorado State University and a dozen other research organizations will be on board RV Lance studying Arctic ice dynamics. The research vessel will go to sea late December 2014 and will freeze into the ice north of Nordaustlandet, Svalbard and passively drift with the ice through the winter. The RV Lance was chosen for its ability to withstand the crushing power of the winter ice.

    http://barentsobserver.com/en/arctic/2014/06/studying-arctic-ice-cradle-grave-26-06

    Reply
  3. Griffin

     /  June 26, 2014

    Another post to get the wheels of the mind spinning furiously! Robert, a very important factor in sea level rise is the rate of change in the rise. We know that sea levels today are rising faster than they have in the not so distant past, but do you (or anyone else) know of how often the rate of sea level rise is calculated for the globe, or even specific regions? As I have said before, we often see scientific predictions for “by the end of the century” but a rise of even just a few inches has tremendous implications. As you mentioned, the threat is hard to overstate! When I walk the beaches I am always wondering when the day will come where the visual confirmation of the rising sea can be made with the naked eye.

    Reply
    • Google AVISO sea level rise. That’s as close to real time as you get.

      Current rate is 3.2 mm per year. Rate bumped up about 25 years ago, probably due for a step increase as glaciers come more and more into play.

      My opinion is in the range of six feet by end of century.

      Reply
    • 6 feet total rise by end of century…

      Reply
      • Griffin

         /  June 26, 2014

        I will check that out. Thank you!

        Reply
      • Apneaman

         /  June 26, 2014

        Robert have the goal posts been moved quite a few times in the last decade? Or is it just me?

        Reply
        • IPCC initially predicted a 1 foot rise during the early 2000s. More recently, predictions were for a 1-3 foot rise. Now the range is for 18-55 inches.

          I’ve been writing about most likely scenarios in the range of 3-9 feet since 2007 (6 average), through analytical process. It’s worth noting that scientific predictions run a gambit from 1 foot at the low end to 20 feet + at the high end. IPCC, when taking the range into account, remains conservative. If you just average the scientific studies (not the best proceeds, probably), you end up with about 6 feet. Real Climate wrote an excellent article about just this.

          Anything greater than 3 feet involves some very, very extreme weather (per Hansen).

  4. Jay M

     /  June 26, 2014

    Bay region not quite planning for the eventuality yet:
    http://blog.sfgate.com/cityinsider/2014/06/25/unprepared-who-us-san-francisco-lacks-plan-for-rising-sea-level/
    “. . .the the regional San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission predicting waters will rise 16 inches by 2050 and 55 inches by 2100. A 55-inch rise would put 93 percent of San Francisco International Airport under water, according to a 2011 BCDC report.”
    Bur don’t worry, the control tower will be above the waves.

    Reply
    • Griffin

       /  June 26, 2014

      On the other end of the continent, the wisdom is no greater. The Sandwich power plant at the east end of the Cape Cod Canal is currently not producing power. We stand today with indisputable knowledge of sea levels being much higher by end of century. One would think that this plant and it’s associated oil tanks and pipelines which sit unprotected only a few feet above the water might be the subject of discussions of dismantlement. Not quite. In a community that hopes each winter will pass without the storm surge that swamps the vital tax base of (very expensive) homes along the marsh, there is talk today of luring the power company into upgrading and restarting the plant as a natural gas facility. When I read Robert’s posts like this one, it occurs to me that the community does not have the time it thinks it has. Dismantling the plant would take who knows how long in planning and execution. They don’t have time. As obvious as it may seem, the Devil in the Dollar suit stands in the way of common sense. Averting tomorrows environmental catastrophe takes a back seat to today’s tax revenue for town officials. Amazing. A town faced with destruction by man-made changes is fighting to keep it’s giant emitter belching carbon. Nature does not suffer fools lightly.
      http://www.capenews.net/sandwich/deal_would_reduce_canal_power_plants_valuation_by_60_million

      Reply
    • Griffin

       /  June 26, 2014

      And just think, perhaps that SFO tower could one day be directing boat traffic! Now that’s forward thinking! ( I am kidding).

      Reply
  5. Colorado Bob

     /  June 26, 2014

    Terra/MODIS
    2014/177
    06/26/2014
    04:30 UTC

    Reply
    • Yeah. That. Fires, fires, everywhere. So why does it give me the chills?

      Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  June 27, 2014

        Can the soot and particulates from these fires northwest of Lake Baikal reach the arctic sea ice?

        Reply
        • Yes. The state of fires there is in advance of those seen during 2012. However, 2012 showed very explosive periods of fire outbreak starting in early July and extending into August. The smoke plumes were massive, encircling the Northern Hemisphere eventually. The ash ended up in Greenland and in many cases became entrained in storms running into the Arctic Ocean. It was a complete and utter mess. 2013 showed a similar outbreak over a shorter period that, though very intense, did not match the overall scope of the 2012 fires.

          Winter this year was very warm, so any area of significant heat, especially in Siberia, will carry with it extreme risk.

    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 26, 2014

      Aqua/MODIS
      2014/177
      06/26/2014
      06:20 UTC

      Reply
  6. Not sure if anyone else has been watching Hudson Bay over the past month+ but the ice in there simply collapsed in an extremely short period of time (ie: 2 weeks or less). That gives us an indication of what one year, and otherwise thin ice can do.

    Hudson Bay can be viewed as a micro lab of how the Arctic will behave in the future. The heat chews the ice up from underneath and the drop-off of extent is quick. I don’t think extent will matter as much as we move forward, but rather volume (1 yr, 2 yr etc…, depth).

    As for my calculation test so far, I have the responses and trends pretty good so far (they track spot on so far), the numbers are off, so after this run I’ll recalibrate said equation.

    Date Calced Range Observed
    —– —————– ———–

    20th 20-25%. (28%)

    21st 20-25%. (22%)

    22nd 20-25%. (19%)

    23rd 30-40% (22%)

    24th 35-40% (30%)

    25th 45 – 55% (36%)

    26th 45-55% (TBD)

    27th 30-35% (TBD)

    28th 25-30% (TBD)

    29th 20-30% (TBD)

    However (sarcasm intended) since the calculations were not absolutely perfect the first time they were ran, it must invalidate all scientific endeavors ever done by the giant cabal of scammers who have conspired to rip off the universe at the expense of the ever caring compassionate benevolent coal company & oil company CEO’s …(sarcasm off).

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Hudson has about 11 days, give or take a few. Baffin Bay is pretty much done as well. So far, the melt period in those regions is similar to 2013. The advancement of melt in the Beaufort, Laptev and Chukchi is some cause for concern. At this point, beating 2012 is a longer shot and would require unprecedented melt rates (possible given strange Arctic conditions). Beating 2007 is more likely but closer to a 50/50 shot. Near zero sea ice at this point is less likely but still in the cards given very extreme conditions.

      Reply
  7. Gerald Spezio

     /  June 27, 2014

    Robert, I have had big time chills & existential terror ever since Dec. 2011, when I read Igor Semelitov’s empirical observations of hundreds of one km diameter methane plumes coming from the Arctic Ocean.

    I became much more chilled when Charles Miller of Nasa Carve released his empirical observations on more than a few methane plumes that where 150km in diameter.

    In Oct. 2013 I gave away most of my limited possessions, including my sacred library.

    I think that Guy McPherson’s courageous & honest prediction that near term extinction is increasingly probable gives some of us a chance to make the most of our time left.

    The probability that an abrupt & large methane release will occur within a few months or a few years escalates daily.

    By September this year or next much of our jawboning will be settled empirically.

    Reply
    • “By September this year or next much of our jawboning will be settled empirically.”

      Even if we add one more year to your statement, I don’t see much need to go beyond that.

      As Robert, Bob & others have concisely stated that the convection & acceleration due to trapped energy causes feedback, I suspect we have crossed a threshold this year. Just look at the extreme water dumps, mega-hail (repeatedly), parked highs, mangle jet stream, surface winds out of control in Antarctica (with a nice dose of high temp anomalies). A lot of new “weather features” have erupted into our lexicon this year.

      As for methane burps, I see them as a baked in. We are seeing them now and the last few years. I can only imagine we’ll see more & larger coming up shortly (within a few years).

      Reply
      • Have to agree here.

        In context the global methane emission from all sources is in the range of 600 megatons. The assumed total Arctic methane emission is about 10 percent of this. A large emission equivalent to a major industrial nation.

        One thing to consider is how large the human emission is. Pennsylvania alone has 1 million wells and coal mine shafts that leak methane.

        That said, I can’t help but think that the Arctic methane emission is a bit understated. On any global satellite sensor, Arctic methane readings show a high overburden at the lower to mid levels indicating a stronger local emission in that region than in the rest of the world.

        Reply
    • From the standpoint of risk, we look at the most likely scenario, the least likely scenario, the scenario that results in the most harm, and the scenario that is most favorable.

      Large methane release within the next few decades is one of the ‘most harm’ scenarios. Ironically, you get to the same place almost as rapidly with worst case fossil fuel emissions scenarios. Large methane release within two years is low potential, but because of the high degree of harm from the potential event, necessitates observation.

      Semelitov’s assertion that the risk is high and likely release of large scale within 10-20 years is probable is very concerning. The bulk of the scientific Earth Systems community in the US is against him, Wadhams, Shakhova and others.

      For reference, a 10-50 gt release pushes warming by about another 0.5 to 1 C or more this century. I’ve seen the exponential models, but at some point, you end up with large scale ice sheet negative feedback putting a damper on things. Not really the kind of salvation you, want, though, with accelerating ocean stratification and terrible storms baked in.

      All terrible stuff. But again, on the side of less likely than near zero sea ice within the next two years.

      Overall, the concerns are valid, but perhaps a bit hasty.

      The big fires early, though, scare the crap out of me, and though I can rationally manage risk given an account of the overall science, I am not at all comforted. We’ve picked the worst kind of forces to mess with.

      As for near term extinction, it would take a sci-fi scale methane release, amplifying feedbacks stuck in an exponential arc and no negative feedbacks at all to do it. And that is one of two least likely scenarios (together with complete near term cessation of carbon emissions).

      In any case, the observation is of overall increasing atmospheric methane, but at no-where near immediately catastrophic levels, and what appear to be rising Arctic emissions in the range of 70 megatons per year. This is a harmful positive feedback that adds to an overall larger, at this point, human emission.

      Honesty, requires stating what you know and have observed and putting it in the most unbiased context possible. And, given the current state of the research this is my most honest possible assessment. Events, or lack thereof, have a way of changing the variables.

      In any case, even if our chances of survival were empirically nil as observed in the broader science (they’re not), I wouldn’t give up. It’s my honest observation that positive action of any kind increases survival chances. In any case, I believe it is the height of cowardice to give up so soon, not only for ourselves but for those innocents who have no part in this crisis. We owe it to them to do our best to fight our way out.

      Reply
      • Apneaman

         /  June 27, 2014

        After at least a decade of trying to educate friends and family I’m near exhausted Robert. No one has changed their lifestyle except me and many think I’m delusional. Some of my relatives in Calgary have basically disowned me. The flood last year convinced them of nothing. Hell if I know what to do anymore.

        Reply
      • I can empathize with Apneaman. Rob and I can both tell you that it’s next to impossible to convince someone of the science behind global warming. They’re firmly convinced of all the stuff that they hear on FAUX news. It’s not worth damaging your family relationships over this. You can.not change their minds. At least until Rupert Murdoch thinks its in his best interest to change the fake news channels policy, then maybe. Until then, you’ve got to just smile nicely, nod your head, and don’t argue with them. If they say to you “you still believe that liberal crap”, just smile and say that well I listen to the NASA scientists and let it go at that.

        Reply
      • synaxis

         /  June 27, 2014

        As always, much appreciate your posts and replies to comments, Robert.

        On the methane/near term extinction issue, it would be interesting to know your perspective on the substantial post earlier this month by Malcolm Light, Harold Hensel, and Sam Carana at Arctic-News: “Arctic Atmospheric Methane Global Warming Veil”

        http://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/2014/06/arctic-atmospheric-methane-global-warming-veil.html

        Reply
        • To put things into perspective, to double the current human ghg forcing, annual methane emissions from the Arctic would have to exceed 800 megatons. Over a century scale, this is 80 gigatons or approximately 8 percent of the estimated store. Such a release would effectively double the additional ghg heat forcing and would clearly have catastrophic results. But the residence time for methane is shortened by the hydroxyl sink and so the long-term effect is tapered.

          PETM, the Jurrassic and the Permian are estimated to have seen far stronger releases.

          I’ll do the math to get a total net forcing of a large release of this kind. But my experience is the view represented in the article is an absolute worst case that is outside of the standard scientific Earth systems context.

          Might be worth a blog🙂

      • Griffin

         /  June 27, 2014

        Robert, your response is beyond motivating. Apneaman, giniajim, your not alone. There is hope. There are late-comers like myself that have awoken to the urgency of the situation and have taken to educating those around me even in the face of ridicule or remarks. If I can wake up so quickly, others can too, and that is the best we can hope for. Thank you all again for all of your remarks on this blog, and to Robert for putting so much of his time into educating the rest of us on the biggest topic of our lives.

        Reply
        • Cheers Griff. You boost my morale.

          Looking at a +4 C pool of water off your Cape, although there’s some cool water upwelling near shore. Swath from the Carribean through a large region east of the Bahamas and on up the US East Coast showing very high tropical storm intensity potentials for so early in the season. Nothing developing at this time. But worth noting that the ocean heat/moisture loading is fully in play. Strange to see the ability to support Cat 4 and Cat 5 storms so early.

  8. Very nice discussion. My thanks to you all. I am happy to pass it on to my readers on Scoop.It and my blog.

    Reply
  9. Gerald Spezio

     /  June 27, 2014

    “But again, on the side of less likely than near zero sea ice within the next two years.”

    Doesn’t your predictive statement increase the probability of an increasingly large methane release as as a result of the decreased ice cover & increased heating?

    We still haven’t had any update from Miller & Carve about this year’s methane release &/or the size of any observed plumes.

    In Nick Breeze’s video of Natalia at the European Geophysical Union Conference in Vienna in 2012 the probability of a large methane release is openly discussed.
    Igor says from the wings; “It could happen anytime.”
    Natalia replies, “You think so?”

    Reply
  10. Gerald Spezio

     /  June 27, 2014

    Apneaman, Ditto, & I’ve been at it since 2005, when I read Elizabeth Kohlbert’s superbly written, FIELD NOTES FROM A CATASTROPHE.
    I live like I am in hospice.

    Reply
  11. Gerald Spezio

     /  June 27, 2014

    Andy, what else? The gas analysis is on the wall – right in front of me. The 150 km methane plumes have not gone away. What size are they now?

    Reply
  12. Robert, here’s a suggestion for a piece on a ticking time bomb that is about to go off.

    If the current trend continues at it’s present pace, Lake Mead will hit a new low within 3 weeks. It is dropping at ~2 inches per day. 1.94 feet in the last 13 days (22 ft lower than same day last year).

    The lowest was fall 2010, Nov 10, 2010 @ 1081.89 (20.76 inches lower than it is today) .That 20.76″ difference will last ~11 days at the present average depletion rate.

    It is now 7 feet lower than the same date in 2010. If the average rate remained at 1″ (1/2 of what it currently is), than by Nov 10, 2014 it will be roughly 12.5 feet lower at ~1071 feet,it will likely be higher though.

    California has increased it’s draw from Lake Mead due to drought by up to 30,000 acre feet (within the contract, but you can bet Az & Nv are not happy).

    At 1075 feet, Ration Regime 1 takes effect. Ration Regime 1 means Las Vegas get cut off. At 2″ per day, this occurs roughly in 51 days. That is within the summer time frame while temperatures and evaporation are highest.

    At 875 feet Lake mead hits dead pool.

    http://lakemead.water-data.com/

    http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/california-will-tap-its-water-bank-even-lake-mead-shrinks

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/18/us/arizona-cities-could-face-cutbacks-in-water-from-colorado-river-officials-say.html

    http://www.arachnoid.com/NaturalResources/index.html

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 27, 2014

      At 875 feet Lake mead hits dead pool.

      Which will make Las Vegas’ new deeper straw into the very bottom , rather worthless , since the town will be dark , since the turbines at the damn won’t be spinning.

      Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  June 27, 2014

        The power brokers may consider changing their minds about AGW if and when Las Vegas has to close shop due to lack of water.

        Reply
      • Vegas may well be a model for unsustainability. Giant city in the middle of a desert funded primarily by gambling and ground zero for an endless drought set off by climate change. One would think they would at least shut off those extraordinarily wasteful fountains, giant water parks and swimming pools.

        Let’s hope this one is a miss.

        River of moisture still inching across the Pacific. Equatorial SSTs at +0.83 C today. Broad areas of west winds. Both SSTs and feed backs look pretty solid. Very hot water just north of Nino 3 zone appears to be sinking in.

        Reply
      • rayduray

         /  June 28, 2014

        Bob,

        Should Hoover Dam go to dead pool, you can be sure that the Western Interconnection will provide the power to pump water to Las Vegas.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Interconnection

        Reply
    • rayduray

       /  June 28, 2014

      Andy,

      Predictions of imminent catastrophe for Lake Mead are probably premature. Since April, the elevation of Lake Powell has risen by 33 feet. It would appear that BuRec has in mind to drop that water down throughout the summer when they can get peak rates for the electricity generated at the Glen Canyon Dam. We’re not out of water yet.🙂

      http://lakepowell.water-data.com/

      Reply
  13. utoutback

     /  June 27, 2014

    I’m thinking that it’s not just about sea level rise, but also about water redistribution. As the atmosphere hold more moisture and intense rain with flooding hits areas (not predictable) we may see a return of large shallow inland lakes and loss of agricultural land. The climate refugees and migration resulting will be unimaginable.

    Reply
    • Hello Central Valley California.

      Good observation. It takes about 1 meter of sea level rise to threaten this kind of inundation over many regions. It’s interesting that people talk about Florida. But Delaware is little more than an overgrown barrier island and also gets taken down very quickly.

      Sea level rise has very far reaching effects.

      Reply
      • Jacob

         /  June 27, 2014

        I think we are well on our way to a large Central Sea (in California) surrounded by desertified hills and mountains. If we continue with BAU and the seen/unforeseen positive feedbacks continue to come, and nothing presently indicates they’ll be reversed, I get the feeling we can look at Folsom Lake to see where the surface of that sea will end up being at some point in the distant future.

        Reply
  14. Weir Bohnd

     /  June 27, 2014

    Nick Breeze posted a new interview with Dr. Shakhova recently. The audio is poor, but usable. She describes a discovery from drilling cores near shore that were only submerged a couple of hundred years ago that the permafrost seems to be just as destabilized as the outer shelf. She says scientists had presumed they would still be frozen. Who knows whether we will get a methane belch any time now, but it seems we can see that like Godzilla the methane monster is emerging from the deep and coming ashore.

    I agree with something Paul Ehrlich said a few years ago. The media is devoted to getting us all worked up over sea level rise. What will almost certainly get us first is starvation, except here in California where it might be dehydration. I am informed by friends and family in Iowa and Nebraska that the crops are loving the heat and moisture. However, crops are not best pleased with hail, tornadoes, hurricane-force winds and flooding. As my nephew’s Lab mix knows, it’s all about the foods. If these storms continue marching across the bread basket in the general direction of the District of Criminals, we could get kind of hungry.

    Breeze’s interview, http://vimeo.com/98813224

    Reply
    • I saw the most recent Shakhova interviews by Nick. My opinion is that the near shore destabilization is not unexpected and I generally think the mainstream science community will be unpleasantly surprised to find the seabed hydrate and permafrost models didn’t find or take into account all the potential release mechanisms. They have a tough enough time with sea ice, the seabed permafrost is even less transparent and gives secrets only grudgingly. It’s almost certain that the releases will increase. The question is how fast and when we hit thresholds for potential catastrophic release. In a way, it’s more like monitoring a volcano than it is like monitoring a traditional climate system.

      Reply
  15. Dave Werth

     /  June 27, 2014

    I’ve heard that the last time CO2 levels were in the 400 ppm range that sea levels were some 60 or 70 feet higher than they are today. It makes me wonder if that much SLR is already baked in and it’s just a matter of how many centuries it takes to get there.

    Reply
    • It’s a good question. The general scientific consensus seems to be that if we bring ghg levels down fast enough, then some sea level rise may be avoided. Rates of glacial destabilization seem to be much faster than expected, though. Ice sheet inertia doesn’t look all that powerful when confronted with a warming ocean.

      Reply
      • Tom

         /  June 27, 2014

        What do you mean “if we bring ghg levels down fast enough”? We aren’t bringing them down at all – and haven’t as far back as the beginning of the Industrial Revolution? Even during the “recession” we’ve been under since 2009, CO2 levels (and methane) continue to rise. By now it’s too late and far too large a project to undertake in a depleting fossil fueled energy world. Indeed, now we’re seeing wars for the last sources of oil to keep it going as long as possible. Coal use is still up, despite it being harder to find or mine. When is it going to end?
        When the economic system implodes and not before. In the meantime, nobody is doing anything to bring these green house gas levels down.

        Reply
        • Well, there are the hopeless and there are the hopeful. I’m not willing to join the ranks of the hopeless yet, especially when I can see a clear path to achieving a reduction in emissions despite what I would consider to be imbecilic opposition.

  16. Colorado Bob

     /  June 27, 2014

    Flash Floods in Guwahati, Seven Dead in Last 15 Hours
    Guwahati has been experiencing incessant rainfall in the last 15 hours, setting off flash floods. Half of the city is said to submerged under flood water. Rajgarh and Tarun Nagar areas in Guwahati are the worst-hit. Four persons died after getting electrocuted.

    http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/flash-floods-in-guwahati-seven-dead-in-last-15-hours-548974

    Reply
  17. Gerald Spezio

     /  June 27, 2014

    “It’s almost certain that the releases will increase. The question is how fast and when we hit thresholds for potential catastrophic release. In a way, it’s more like monitoring a volcano than it is like monitoring a traditional climate system.”

    Precisely, I have been openly saying this since 2008, & we are there now. I think that Natalia’s predictive phrase on the 2012 Breeze video is the most prophetic phrase ever stated;
    “The worst thing might happen.”

    Tom, how can anybody miss it?
    “What do you mean “if we bring ghg levels down fast enough”? We aren’t bringing them down at all – and haven’t as far back as the beginning of the Industrial Revolution?”

    Reply
  18. Gerald Spezio

     /  June 27, 2014

    Andy & CB,
    Experts don’t know what will happen if the water drops below 1,050 feet, which represents the bottom of the efficiency curve for the current turbines, where more water is needed to produce an equivalent amount of electricity.

    Such low depths increase the rough zones for the turbines—the generating range in which vibration and cavitation threaten to damage the unit. At extremely low lake levels, like the ones Mead is fast approaching, those rough zones—which usually occur in a narrow production band at medium capacity—could expand to fill the entire generating range, making the turbines vulnerable at any speed.

    But this unprecedented scenario would be a mystery even to the staff of the Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the dam.

    Cavitation is a basic concept in turbine/pump engineering ( bonkers vibration at the molecular level) meaning that the nonlinear bizarre motion of water molecules literally tears the structure of the pump/turbine apart.

    Reply
  19. Gerald Spezio

     /  June 27, 2014

    Another fascinating fact for the Hoover Dam generators.
    Every foot drop in water level in the lake translates into a diminished generating capacity of 5.7 megawatts, or about 2 large generating plants.
    At 1050 ft. it is game over for generating anything, except despair.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 27, 2014

      Gerald Spezio

      Excellent points.

      Reply
    • JPL

       /  June 27, 2014

      From: http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-20140620-column.html#page=1

      “Other old assumptions will also have be discarded. One crucial need is to keep Lake Mead’s water level well above 1,000 feet, the point at which it is unable to deliver water to Las Vegas and its ability to generate hydroelectricity is compromised. That task would be considerably eased by draining Lake Powell, the reservoir behind Glen Canyon Dam, upstream of the Grand Canyon.

      That proposal has been pushed by the Glen Canyon Institute, a Salt Lake City-based environmental group, but faces hurdles in Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico, where residents fear that draining Lake Powell will only allow California, Arizona and Nevada to deprive them of their legal right to the river’s flow.

      The political resistance to shutting down Lake Powell is intense, though in time it may be trumped by the sheer scale of the water crisis. “We’ve gone from seeming to be the lunatic fringe to being taken seriously,” says M. Lea Rudee, a board member of the Glen Canyon Institute.”

      If the drought keeps up, it’s gonna get ugly between the states involved…
      Makes one start to ponder the long term viability of this collective we call the U S of A.

      John

      Reply
      • Rival’s root word comes from river. As river flows decline, political rivalries intensify. Severe stress to systems in such events.

        Reply
  20. Gerald Spezio

     /  June 27, 2014

    George Monbiot’s column today about his Lordly betters double talk concerning legal duties for the proles & legal ledgerdemain for the Lords.

    “Preventing climate breakdown means leaving most fossil fuels in the ground.
    How do governments resolve this contradiction? By ignoring it. Our ministers go around the country urging people to consume less, while publishing white papers urging oil companies to produce more.”

    A pertinent question; “What ARE the rules for changing the rules?”

    Reply
  21. Colorado Bob

     /  June 27, 2014

    Drifting Continents Caused the Quaternary Ice Age 2.6 Million Years Ago

    “Until now, the cause of the Quaternary ice age had been a hotly debated topic,” said Thomas Stevens, one of the researchers, in a news release. “Our findings suggest a significant link between ice sheet growth, the monsoon and the closing of the Panama Seaway, as North and South America drifted closer together. This provides us with a major new theory on the origins of the ice age, and ultimately our current climate system.”
    More specifically, the scientists found that the joining of North and South America changed the salinity of the Pacific Ocean. This, in turn, caused major ice sheet growth across the Northern Hemisphere since the change in salinity encouraged sea ice to form. The sea ice then changed wind patterns and lead to increased and intensified monsoons, which caused an increase in snowfall.

    http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/15699/20140627/drifting-continents-caused-quaternary-ice-age-2-6-million-years.htm

    Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  June 27, 2014

    Attention climate deniers: This scientist will give you $10,000 for actual proof that global warming is a hoax
    Physicist Christopher Keating tells Salon about his plan to get climate deniers to “put up or shut up”

    Link

    Reply
  23. Gerald Spezio

     /  June 27, 2014

    CB, even language is breaking down. An “excellent point” is telling the truth about the workings of the world as best we can.

    Are predictions of upcoming mammalian extinction “true?”

    Excellent but gruesome points, maybe?

    Back to Oppenheimer’s “excellent” point (on point?), as he observed the first “successful” atomic test.
    “I have become death.”

    After the horrors of Hiroshima & Nagasaki, Leo Szilard completely washed his hands of anything to do with nuclear physics, & Oppie was hounded into despair. & early death.

    The test was unquestionably “excellent physics” & extraordinarily “successful” engineering.

    I am not a Bible guy, but the tower of Babel is informative.

    Reply
  24. Loni

     /  June 27, 2014

    Robert, thank you for your entry beginning with “From the standpoint of risk……..” that was most appreciated by this observer. From Jay M’s entry regarding the SF Bay Conservation and Development Comm. that they were looking at a sea rise of 16 inches by 2050, and a sea level rise of 55 inches by 2100. My blurry eyed morning math says that those figures indicate a higher sea level increase rate from now until 2050 than will take place from 2050 to 2100. I would have thought that the rate of seal level rise would get greater as time moves on?

    Reply
    • Rate of increase under this scenario is 0.6 inches per year through 2050 and 0.8 inches per year through 2100. The curve, in this case, slowly steepens. What we are likely to see in reality is a gradually steepening curve interspersed with spikes of much greater SLR at times of large outbursts. If the SLR is 16 inches by 2050, one would expect the rise to be a bit higher than that predicted through 2100.

      Post 2050, I would think that one inch per year and more is a distinct likelihood.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  June 27, 2014

        The broken record for this weekend –
        Central Europe Faces Weekend Severe Storms, Floods

        Meanwhile, torrential rain will spread across the Alps Saturday night through Sunday with amounts generally on the order of 25 to 75 mm (1 to 3 inches).
        With the majority of that rain falling in 8 to 12 hours for any one community, there is significant concern for flash flooding and mudslides. Such dangers will be greatest across southwestern-facing slope, where the highest rain totals will be measured.

        http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/central-europe-faces-weekend-s/29437404

        Reply
  25. Loni

     /  June 27, 2014

    Apneaman, your entry stating “After at least a decade of trying to educate friends………” how well I know THAT one, with my more astute friends now responding to my initial segue into the topic with responses like, “Oh yea, I’ve heard about that, say, how ’bout those Giants?”, or some other crafty deflection. I was thinkin’ about startin’ a support group for folks like us, but then decided it would just become a gathering of drinkers, kinda like what the bar on the Titanic must have regressed into. One the other hand, I can’t think of another group of folks I would rather be in the company with than the folks that were saying this was coming………….unless it would be with the guys in charge of tickets for the life boats.

    Reply
    • Brian

       /  June 30, 2014

      Funny you should say, after years of rancorous arguments on a couple of my favorite forums, I recently came to the conclusion that it was completely hopeless and a waste of time to try to have an intelligent discussion with people who think climate scientists are all in collusion to deceive the masses in a great conspiracy to scam grant money and take away our freedoms oh yeah and Al Gore and Climate Gate too………..

      I’ve found heavy drinking and reading the comments and posts here and at hotwopper far more more rewarding and soothing – a breath of fresh air, really

      Another gin and tonic, I think…..carry on…….

      Robert, another excellent discussion with lots of detailed information, sir….

      Reply
      • Loni

         /  July 1, 2014

        Ya, can you imagine how these scientist must feel, coming forward with all of this hard earned research only to be branded gold diggers at best. It is like the story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf, only in reverse, and here we sit in our houses made o’ straw. Incredible.

        You know, regarding the gold digger accusation, I did a little pokin’ aroun’ about these guys, and everyone I found out about IS somebody, I mean as if they needed the money! Most of these folks seem like they’re at the top o’ their game, and certainly within retirement age, so how the hell does that argument stick!?! ( I trust no one took offense to that. I like to know about my subject matter as to be able to respond to such accusations). No, the fact that they keep steppin’ up to the plate is proof of the strength of conviction, and rememberin’ their fortitude is what I kinda default to when yet another friend says to me, “Yea, yea, yea, but ya know, the planet’s changin’ all the time, and Greenland was once GREEN, so it’s gonna be green again, what’s the big deal?”, and I wanna say, “Man, the chance that we land there is worse than pullin’ to an inside straight”, but what the hell, they won’t hear a word I say, much less goin’ to a site I suggest.

        So, I’ll meet you in the bar car when this train starts o’er the edge, it’ll be my pleasure to buy the first round, hell, we’ll get the whole bottle, never know, there might be a rush on the stuff.

        Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  June 27, 2014

    Cenk Uygur and Jimmy Dore at The Young Turks sweetened the pot to $30,000.
    Want $30K? Prove Climate Change Isn’t Real

    Reply
  27. Loni

     /  June 27, 2014

    Thank you for the correction Robert, that is why I never touch my check book until after 10:00 a.m., and then WITHOUT the cat on the lap to help!

    Reply
  28. Colorado Bob

     /  June 27, 2014

    Record rainfall swamps Oslo
    The torrential rainfall that descended on Oslo on Thursday smashed all historical records, with a colossal 44.5mm of rain falling in just a single hour between four and five on Thursday afternoon.

    Water streamed down the city’s streets on Thursday afternoon, causing gridlock in much of the city centre, while hailstorms left parts of the city covered in a layer of freak summer ice.

    The previous highest rainfall rate the city has seen since records began in 1937 came came in 1980, when 41.5mm of rain fell in an hour over the summer.

    “It seems as though we had nearly one month’s rainfall in three hours,” Marit Helene Jensen told Aftenposten after the rain subsided yesterday evening.

    http://www.thelocal.no/20140627/record-rainfall-swamps-oslo

    Reply
  29. Colorado Bob

     /  June 27, 2014

    Is climate change destabilizing Iraq?

    This winter was not a good one for farmers in the Fertile Crescent.

    A punishing drought hit most of Syria and northern Iraq during what’s normally the wettest time of the year. In the mountains of eastern Turkey, which form the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, snow and rain were less than half of normal. The region has seen one of the worst droughts in decades.

    Drought is becoming a fixture in the parched landscape, due to a drying trend of the Mediterranean and Middle East region fueled by global warming. The last major drought in this region (2006-2010) finished only a few years ago. When taken in combination with other complex drivers, increasing temperatures and drying of agricultural land is widely seen as assisting in the destabilization of Syria under the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Before civil war broke out there, farmers abandoned their desiccated fields and flooded the cities with protests. A series of U.N. reports released earlier this year found that global warming is already destabilizing nation states around the world, and Syria has been no exception.

    With the ongoing crisis in Iraq seemingly devolving by the day, it’s not a stretch to think something similar could already be underway just next door.

    Link

    Sure enough, this year has been unusually hot so far in Iraq with the March-April-May season ranking as the warmest on record across much of the country.

    Reply
  30. Loni

     /  July 1, 2014

    p.s. “as if they needed the money…..” should read, “as if they’d do that for the money”, sorry ’bout that, I’m not a presumptive man.

    Reply
  1. Temperatures over Greenland Fast Approaching 400,000 Year High, Risk 15-19 Feet of Additional Sea Level Rise | GarryRogers Nature Conservation

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