New Study Finds 3-4 Meter Sea Level Rise From Antarctica May be Imminent

Ocean stratification. A condition characterized by the separation of layers of water of different temperatures and chemical make-up. A condition that has serious impacts to the geophysical nature of the worlds oceans, to the ability of oceans to support life, and to the stability of the vast glaciers of Antarctica — whose faces plunge as deep as hundreds of feet into the Southern Ocean.

In the Antarctic, today, what we see is a cold surface layer and a heating bottom layer. The cold surface layer is fed by an expanding pulse of chill, fresh water issuing from the melting glaciers of Antarctica. Over the years it has become more uniform, sequestering cold near the surface as warmth builds up in the depths below. The deeper hot layer is fed by warmer water issuing in from the tropics and heated to temperatures not seen for tens of thousands of years. This hot water bears a heavy burden of salt. So it is denser and it dives beneath the expanding fresh water layer. The insulating fresh, cold water layer prevents mixing between the bottom layer and the surface. Such mixing would cool the bottom layer. But instead the heat builds and builds and builds.

Difference in Ice mass Between now and last glacial maximum

(Antarctica — visual difference in ice mass between now [right] and last glacial maximum [left]. By mid century, atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations driven by humans could be high enough [550 ppm CO2e+] to melt all the remaining ice upon this now-frozen continent. Image source: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.)

Ocean currents bring the deep, hot water in contact with the base of Antarctica’s massive glaciers. And this intensely focused heat engine goes to work to rapidly melt the ice.

It is this condition of ongoing and intense melting of the ice sheet’s bases that terminate in faces of ice cliffs, hundreds of feet high and deeply submerged in the sea, that is driving the irreversible collapse of many glaciers in Antarctica. Already, due to this irreversible fall, the entire flank of West Antarctica is under collapse — locking in at least three feet of sea level rise from this region alone going forward.

But now, a new study finds that these conditions — the same conditions we observe today — led to the release of enough glacial ice from Antarctica alone at the end of the last ice age to raise sea levels by 3-4 meters (10-13 feet) in just 1-3 centuries.

From Nature Communications:

“The reason for the layering is that global warming in parts of Antarctica is causing land-based ice to melt, adding massive amounts of freshwater to the ocean surface,” said ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science researcher Prof Matthew England an author of the paper.

“At the same time as the surface is cooling, the deeper ocean is warming, which has already accelerated the decline of glaciers on Pine Island and Totten. It appears global warming is replicating conditions that, in the past, triggered significant shifts in the stability of the Antarctic ice sheet.”

The last time this happened was 14,000 years ago as the Earth slowly warmed out of the end of the last ice age. But the result was anything but gradual:

“Our model simulations provide a new mechanism that reconciles geological evidence of past global sea level rise,” said researcher UNSW ARC Future Fellow Dr Chris Fogwill.

“The results demonstrate that while Antarctic ice sheets are remote, they may play a far bigger role in driving past and importantly future sea level rise than we previously suspected.”

“The big question is whether the ice sheet will react to these changing ocean conditions as rapidly as it did 14,000 years ago,” said lead author Dr Nick Golledge, a senior research fellow at Victoria’s Antarctic Research Centre.

These are critical questions. Ones that have serious impacts for the more than 700 million people now living within 10 meters of current sea level.

Antarctic Ice Shelf Thickness Changes

(Antarctic Ice Shelf thickness changes. Note the thinning of almost all the ice shelves along the margin of Antarctica. Ice shelves anchor interior ice, keeping it from rushing out through deep channels into the Southern Ocean. Rapidly thinning ice shelves is a precursor to glaciers rushing toward the sea. Image source: Nature Pritchard et al. 2012)

To this point it is worth noting that the pace of warming 14,000 years ago was on the order of 0.05 degrees Celsius each century. The current pace of human-driven warming over the past century was 20 times faster. This century, the warming is predicted to be as much as 500 times faster (3-5 C warming by 2100). So the question may we be — will Antarctica respond as ‘slowly’ as it did at the end of the last ice age? Slow as in ice outbursts that lead to sea levels rising by as much as 14 feet during one century.

Links:

Change Antarctic Conditions Could Trigger Steep Rise in Sea Levels

Antarctic Contribution to Meltwater Pulse 1A From Reduced Southern Ocean Overturning

Weighing Change in Antarctica

It’s All About Fresh Water — Rapid Sea Level Rise Points to Glacial Melt in Antarctica

Human-Destabilized Antarctica Capable of Glacial Outbursts Contributing to Sea Level Rise of 14+ Feet Per Century

Antarctic Ice Sheet Loss Driven by Basal Melting of Ice Shelves

(Hat Tip to Colorado Bob)

 

 

 

 

 

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135 Comments

  1. Outstanding post, Robert.

    Reply
    • Thanks, DT. Hope you’re finding a break from the Cali heat.

      Reply
      • Well, it’s 76 F @ 35% humidity here in Portland, OR.
        96 F @ 6% in Santa Barbara, CA.
        Hot and dry forecasts for the entire west coast.
        Meanwhile the NWS advises:
        … much of the Upper Midwest will drop into
        the low to mid 30s overnight with a rain/snow mix likely occurring from
        Minnesota to Wisconsin. Light snow accumulations will be possible here but
        relatively warm ground conditions and daytime temperatures rising into the
        40s during the day on Saturday will preclude travel problems.

        On the other side of the nation, upper level ridging will be in place
        through the weekend, allowing for above average temperatures and dry
        conditions to persist. High temperatures this weekend for cities from San
        Diego, California to Spokane, Washington will run anywhere from 10 to 25
        degrees above early October normals.

        Reply
      • The important points from NWS:
        Cold air from Canada will invade the Plains and Midwest, with temperatures 20 degrees or more below normal across the region.
        … San Diego, California to Spokane, Washington will run anywhere from 10 to 25
        degrees above early October normals.

        Reply
  2. Kevin Jones

     /  October 3, 2014

    Network news interviewed some of a whole new bunch of global warming alarmists. From Dallas to Chicago they’d just attended a lecture from our angered Mother Nature… But what does She know?

    Reply
  3. bassman

     /  October 3, 2014

    Have to ask the question. When are we going to get an update on sea level? Nothing since last May.

    Reply
  4. Thanks Robert, very appreciative of your posts as always. Sudden changes in sea level rise beyond ENSO related changes are something to watch out for as an early warning of increasing melt rates. One more thing before I check out. NOAA updated their MEI page today with new data (maybe I just realized it now but it seems new to me and very interesting).

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/enso/mei/index.html

    Reply
  5. All summer (southern hemisphere winter) the air temperature anomalies in Antarctica were pretty amazing. The peninsula and swinging down through west Antarctica has shown a high anomaly of 20+ for much of the cold season. With the weakened thermal density it should continue to exhibit effects as their summer begins.

    Reply
  6. robertscribbler October 3, 2014
    “Mangled Jet Stream. The weather forecasters need to consult DR. Francis.”
    Indeed!

    Looking at that jet stream reminds me of some of my younger days of inhaling and chasing a wandering stream of opium smoke with a straw.
    I believe the Chinese call it, “Chasing the dragon’s tail.”
    Anyway, it is generally the simple and direct truths such as Dr. Francis and her easy to follow workings of the jet stream (it’s like poetry), that confounds so many of our fellow citizens.
    Cheers.

    Reply
  7. Griffin

     /  October 4, 2014

    Fantastic post Robert. I am fascinated by sea level rise. A King tide will visit Miami on October 9th. Should be an interesting prelude to the not too distant future for the city!

    Reply
    • Miami is already more than 1 foot higher than mid 20th century norms. + 4.5 inches during last 20 years alone. +0.8 inches during last year.

      Reply
  8. I will add my various Santa Barbara, CA, USA sightings and observations as a tool for us to know some of the reasons many people and civil governments deny or refuse to acknowledge our present climate crisis, and its causes. But it show’s what one solitary and concerned citizen can observe and document.
    What happens, or is tolerated, on a small regional level indicates what also will take place on a larger, or global level.
    History tells us that cultures and societies do break down and collapse. All this, in spite of strong mechanisms in place designed to avert this.
    That was a long winded way to say that we shouldn’t look to a modern and educated American city like Santa Barbara for an example on how to survive. This applies to the state of California, and the USA itself.

    – For example, over a few weeks, I had been watching a certain plume of traffic dust in a sloping street gutter. This was summertime. A number of days after a rainy spell I checked a puddle of standing gutter water and noticed it was thick and gray. I wondered how toxic the water was.
    A few days later, I re-checked the puddle. While I was there, a Vector control worker came by to sample puddle. Zero, mosquito larvae were found. The worker/inspector was amazed. (She paid no attention to the gray water, it is usually clear.) She registered her finding in her log, and off she went to the next puddle.
    This was in a low lying area that was notorious as a mosquito breeding ground. But this area was now dense with toxic traffic dust. I’m sure this sort of thing happened at many other nearby locations
    I did a cursory check of Vector info but saw no reference to contaminated water impacting the situation.
    So, the Vector ‘bean-counters’ made their tally, and that was that — “situation under control”.
    Denial, acceptance, ignorance — in a civil society?

    Robert, please let me know if I burden your comment section.

    Reply
    • No worries, DT. I enjoy the friendly discussion.

      Reply
    • vardarac

       /  October 4, 2014

      Have you raised this concern with local authorities? Surely a bean counter would jump at an opportunity to justify their employment.

      Reply
      • I had to leave (flee) Santa Barbara two years ago after much back and forth banter with many levels of city, county, and state government on the buildup of black soot and traffic dust. At least every other day, I was finding an example of some sort of biological, botanical, or chemical damage or anomaly. On every damn block of the city. The ‘bean counter’ was fulfilling her duties. The ‘local authorities’ are just high ranking ‘bean counters’. I tried to educate them all on some basic physics and organic chemistry, which I learned in the field.
        If I had a legion of cohorts I might have had some more success. A repeated S.O.S. was sent but no one wanted to get their hands dirty, or tell people what they didn’t want to know.
        Thanks, vardarc.

        Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  October 4, 2014

        DT, though it looks like you got your hands dirty – literally! You did something, and it is having an effect – here.

        Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  October 4, 2014

      Did anyone sample that dirty water? I’d love to learn of the results, if any. Perhaps these toxic puddles can be sampled in the future, as I’m sure the situation has not improved – but for the lack of puddles due to the drought.

      Reply
      • Mark from New England, FYI it is an open secret that traffic, or roadway, dust is full of toxics:
        benzene,soot, heavy metals, asbestos, sulfurs, and unknown cargo drippings, etc.
        This is why I put much effort into the subject. The lifeless puddle was just one more bit of evidence. Thanks.

        Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  October 4, 2014

        …and cadmium and more nasty heavy metals than we can name, including Black Sabbath…

        Reply
    • Amazing. Water so toxic even mosquitoes won’t touch it.

      Reply
  9. Dave Werth

     /  October 4, 2014

    Pertinent to your post I ran across a post at Climate Change National Forum by Mauri Pelto about the Pine Island Glacier. It’s an update on his 2009 RealClimate post. It’s from May so you may have already seen it but it has some details of the PIG and how vulnerable it is to rapid collapse.

    http://climatechangenationalforum.org/pine-island-glacier-hypothesis-to-emergent-event/

    Reply
    • This and a number of other reports have sounded a death knell on the PIG. Nature report this year show this glacier and some of its fellows are in irreversible collapse. Thanks for posting.

      Reply
  10. Colorado Bob

     /  October 4, 2014

    Typhoon Phanfone Heads Towards Japan This Weekend

    Rainfall Threat

    Regardless of the exact path of Phanfone, there’s increasing concern about the threat of heavy rainfall from this storm.

    The map above shows a computer model forecast for rainfall through Tuesday. The map gives a general idea of where heavy rainfall may fall, but it’s important to bear in mind that the official track forecast may differ from the forecast from any individual computer forecast model.

    Additionally, Japan’s steep terrain often leads to large variations in local rainfall that often aren’t captured by the global models, so the above map is only a general idea of where the heaviest rain may fall.

    Some of the areas in Phanfone’s path saw historic rainfall from the one-two punch of Tropical Storm Nakri and Typhoon Halong in August. The city of Kochi had over 61 inches of rain in August, its wettest month in records dating back to 1886. The rural hamlet of Shigeto in the mountains of Kochi Prefecture picked up 94.41 inches of rain, crushing its previous all-time record for any calendar month by nearly 40 inches.

    http://www.wunderground.com/news/typhoon-phanfone-heads-towards-japan-weekend-20141004?

    Reply
    • Those rainfall totals are just outrageous. I’m surprised the new Japan records for August weren’t more widely reported.

      Reply
      • Spike

         /  October 4, 2014

        Japan seems to have been the epicentre of extreme rainfall this year. Wonder how close many of its slopes are to sliding down.

        Reply
    • Second storm just behind this one.

      Reply
    • Yes, ‘Japan’s steep terrain’ can get torrents of rain orographic enhancement. We used to get that in Santa Barbara when the counter-clockwise rotation of a storm off of the Pacific would squeeze against the mostly south facing Santa Ynez mountains.
      Something of the opposite would happen in usually hot and dry off-shore events when the dry air would stack up on the other side of the mountains and then come rushing down towards the sea. They were called sun-downers.

      Reply
  11. Colorado Bob

     /  October 4, 2014

    NASA Satellites Put California Drought Into Shocking Perspective

    Newly released images created from NASA satellite data illustrate the staggering effect the California drought has had on groundwater supply in the state.

    The images show the amount of water lost over the past 12 years, with different colors indicating severity over time.

    Link

    Reply
    • -4 trillion gallons each year? Devastating. I’d been wondering when NASA would point its gravity sensor at California in an attempt to determine total water loss.

      Reply
  12. Kevin Jones

     /  October 4, 2014

    IPS Thirsty Land Hungary People a photo essay of northern Sri Lanka drought….fits right in with your link, CB

    Reply
  13. Kevin Jones

     /  October 4, 2014

    ……hungry people. Some days I can’t spell my own name…..

    Reply
  14. bassman

     /  October 4, 2014

    The MEI from NOAA is in at a flat .500 for Aug/Sept. The prolonged El Niño tease.

    Reply
    • Could go on for some months yet. SOI back to zero. Current Kelvin wave looks like it could keep surface waters on the warm side for some time. 2014 has highest running PDO values since 2003 — that is mildly positive.

      Reply
  15. Colorado Bob

     /  October 4, 2014

    World’s First ‘Solar Battery’ Captures and Stores Sun’s Energy

    Researchers have created a “solar battery” by combining the energy-harvesting panel with the energy-storing medium at a microscopic level. The device could change the way solar power is used, though it still has much to prove. Ohio State’s Yiying Wu, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, led the team that made the breakthrough, which was reported this week in Nature Communications. The panel, like any other solar cell, produces electrons when struck by sunlight. But then, instead of having those electrons piped to a separate battery unit and leaking as much as 20 percent of them in the process, they built the battery right into the panel. The solar-sensitive part is porous, and gives access to a battery layer that attaches and detaches oxygen from lithium ions to store energy. “Basically, it’s a breathing battery,” Wu explained in a news release. And, strangely enough, the panel is tuned to a certain wavelength of reddish light by using iron oxide as a dust — also known as rust. Combining the production and storage of solar power could potentially reduce costs and make solar-powered devices compact.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/worlds-first-solar-battery-captures-stores-suns-energy-n218091

    Reply
    • Very promising avenue. With solar, it’s a matter of how rapidly the materials sciences can advance. Lots of innovations ongoing.

      Reply
  16. Substantial areas of warm air over northern Quebec, eastern Hudson’s Bay, NE Greenland, and Barrents Sea: Climate Reanalyzer Oct. 4, 2014.

    Reply
  17. Apneaman

     /  October 4, 2014

    The priorities of capitalism (the religion of Mammon) strike again.

    http://io9.com/ebola-vaccine-delay-may-be-due-to-an-intellectual-prope-1642035584

    Reply
  18. From the WSJ we get an interesting take (But ‘global warmist’ ‘global-warmist orthodoxy’ ‘orthodox global-warmist’ ?!) (It’s real name basic physics.)
    (Shakespeare, I’m sure, would write a wonderful tragi-comedic political farce from this material)

    ‘The Climate Couch
    Can psychologists make global warmists of us all?

    Global warmists have a problem, which they hope to solve through therapy–for others.
    … Warmists need a way of “convincing a lot of conservatives that yes, climate change is a threat to civilization.” Achieving that objective “has more to do with psychology than politics.”
    …attitudes about so-called climate change are often a matter of “identity.” He even acknowledges that is true of liberals as well as conservatives–but whereas he sees the latter as a problem to be overcome, the former is a mere parenthetical. The implicit assumption is that identity-based viewpoints are problematic only inasmuch as they are “incorrect”–counter to global-warmist orthodoxy.

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/the-climate-couch-1412366906

    Reply
    • That’s right, because melting glaciers and hothouse oceans are all about politics and psychology.

      My how the mighty Wall Street Journal has fallen It’s transformed directly from the cult of greed into the cult of ignorance, stupidity and babble.

      Reply
  19. Apneaman

     /  October 5, 2014

    Short clip of the Monster in action

    Reply
    • Amazing. And this is just what happens when it has detached from the local seabed, just a few meters away. Pretty clear all it takes is a little nudge to release this stuff.

      Reply
      • It’s a bit like watching dry ice melt — is it a gas, or is it a solid?
        Scripps is a treasure.
        There the entire 53 min. 2008 lecture on Youtube. I often download lectures, convert to mp3, then listen in bed on a player.
        Methane Hydrates: Natural Hazard or Natural Resource? – Perspectives on Ocean Science

        Reply
    • Griffin

       /  October 5, 2014

      This just made the monster even more real. I don’t know how anyone could watch that and dismiss these hydrates as not being a huge risk.

      Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  October 5, 2014

    The Smithsonian Institution Announces an Official Climate Change Statement
    The bold assessment acknowledges that the global climate is warming because of human activities

    Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/smithsonian-institution-announces-official-climate-change-statement-180952822/#1iPodf2FOWuTSIpX.99
    Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
    Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

    Reply
  21. Spike

     /  October 5, 2014

    Weather warnings issued for Monday in western UK as first major storms since winter mayhem barrel in from Atlantic. Jet stream forecasts look like there’s a fair bit of weather heading our way.

    Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  October 5, 2014

    The map above shows the RPM computer model forecast for rainfall through Tuesday morning local time. The map gives a general idea of where heavy rainfall may fall, but it’s important to bear in mind that the official track forecast may differ from the forecast from any individual computer forecast model.

    Additionally, Japan’s steep terrain often leads to large variations in local rainfall that often aren’t captured well by computer models. Indeed, in areas where winds blow perpendicular to the steep terrain, rainfall amounts could easily double what’s shown above.

    JMA forecast bulletins are predicting anywhere from 500 to 800 mm (roughly 20 to 32 inches) of rain in the Tokai region, including the Nagoya metropolitan area, Japan’s third largest, with roughly the same population as Chicagoland. Other parts of Japan’s Pacific coast could see generally 200 to 600 mm (roughly 8 to 24 inches) of rainfall.

    Some of the areas in Phanfone’s path saw historic rainfall from the one-two punch of Tropical Storm Nakri and Typhoon Halong in August. The city of Kochi had over 61 inches of rain in August, its wettest month in records dating back to 1886. The rural hamlet of Shigeto in the mountains of Kochi Prefecture picked up 94.41 inches of rain, crushing its previous all-time record for any calendar month by nearly 40 inches.

    Link

    Reply
  23. Climate Reanalyzer Oct.5, 2014.
    The jet stream seems to turn back on itself over Hudson’s Bay, breaks off, then heads straight off towards southern Greenland and to the UK.
    It’s like a bizarre Chinese New Year. The dragon is chasing its own tail.

    Reply
    • james cole

       /  October 5, 2014

      That is amazing! I can only imagine this winter’s weather for upper Midwest and North Eastern USA. It really does seem that a warming arctic sea and land surface is taking away the driver of a stable jet stream. And that we might not see a stable jet stream again anytime soon. Of course Government, Industry and Media will act in concert to suppress this type of information. It’s not about censoring it, it is about getting it to the back page so to speak, just under the local bowling league scores!

      Reply
      • At least half of government is now not involved in active suppression. It’s primarily those who are ideologically opposed to government response who are involved in suppression at this time.

        Reply
    • Ridge west, trough East. Cut off upper level heat low over California. Note the strong dip into the North Atlantic south of Greenland coupled with storm track intensification toward northern UK.

      Strong dig moving through Hudson Bay means ‘the gales of November’ may well come early for the Great Lakes.

      Reply
  24. Stars and Stripes
    Published: October 5, 2014
    Super Typhoon Phanfone can be seen south of Japan in this false-color satellite image taken Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014.NOAA.

    Reply
    • Apneaman

       /  October 5, 2014

      Hey dt I like listening to lectures & documentaries in bed too. (It’s what single doomers do?)
      Wes Cecil is one of my favorite profs. Here is his most recent:

      Myths of The American Mind: Smartness

      Reply
      • Thanks, Apneaman. Am giving it a listen. I sense an extra twisted form of ‘American Exceptionalism’.

        Reply
    • Heavy blow aimed at Japan. Potential new storm threat to the south and east as well.

      Reply
    • james cole

       /  October 6, 2014

      “Tepco, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, has revealed that the approaching typhoon could hit the damaged, decommissioned 40-year old nuclear power facility Fukushima No.1, which was severely affected during the earthquake and tsunami in 2011.”

      Lets hope it misses this little hot spot!

      Reply
  25. james cole

     /  October 5, 2014

    This really is incredible information! How much longer can the “big lie” be maintained by fossil fuel interests and their captive media mouthpieces? Here is a short news bit I picked up on the economics blogs, a bit off topic, pertaining to California, which seems to be approaching a mega disaster if weather patterns don’t change, and change fast!
    “Nobody has any idea how disastrous it’s going to be,” Mike Wade of California Farm Water Coalition told the Associated Press, as RT reports a growing number of communities in central and northern California could end up without water in 60 days due to the Golden state’s prolonged drought. While California is bearing the brunt, experts note “We’re seeing it happening all over the world, in most of the major aquifers in the arid and semi-arid parts of the world.”

    Reply
  26. james cole

     /  October 5, 2014

    ” Ocean stratification. A condition characterized by the separation of layers of water of different temperatures and chemical make-up. A condition that has serious impacts to the geophysical nature of the worlds oceans, to the ability of oceans to support life, and to the stability of the vast glaciers of Antarctica — whose faces plunge as deep as hundreds of feet into the Southern Ocean.” This information makes me wish I was still in the Navy and engaged in Submarine and anti Submarine warfare. These guys will be recording all these changes in the upper ocean layers. I can see entire areas becoming totally blind to surface vessel sonar, unless variable depth. These hard and fast layers provide shelter for any Submarine and make zones where only other Submarines can engage each other. I am sure that upper levels of command have been watching the changes as data pours in every day from Surface and subsurface naval vessels operating across the oceans of the world. The arctic seas are becoming a hot bed of naval activity and that means a steady stream of ocean data flowing in to USN and Russian Federation Navy commands. Exciting, but very disturbing times!

    Reply
    • Oh, yeah. USN has been on top of this for a long time. Jeremy Jackson relates his ‘encounter’ with USN about ocean chemistry. USN said “it’s far worse” than Jackson’s data.
      It’s 116 min. Jeremy Jackson speaking at UC of Santa Barbara Bren School – Ocean Apocalypse Now

      Reply
      • The intel/leadership types in the US Navy and broader US military have been well aware of the heightening risks for some time. There’s been a pretty intense non public and occasionally public effort on the part of these military members to wake the US civilian leadership up for some time now.

        What kind of kills me about conservatives is their increased deafness to a military they profess to be 100% behind.

        Reply
      • Very good lecture, btw. Thanks for posting.

        Reply
      • james cole

         /  October 6, 2014

        Much thanks! I am taking the time to view in full!

        Reply
    • Sub warfare types will see this increasingly stratified ocean at the poles expanding toward the equator. At the edge of the fresh water wedge will be a strong down-welling zone where the warmer, saltier water dives down below the fresh water layer. At the equator — more evaporation and production of hot, salty water.

      Reply
  27. Colorado Bob

     /  October 5, 2014

    Apneaman
    / October 5, 2014

    “Short clip of the Monster in action”

    It would be nice to know just what the temperature/ pressure changes were in this clip.

    One could see the oceans violently boiling , given how fast the phase change was in this short 2 minutes.

    Reply
    • Apneaman

       /  October 5, 2014

      I don’t know exactly but here is a general description from The World Ocean Review.

      “Methane hydrates are only stable under pressures in excess of 35 bar and at low temperatures. The sea floor is thus an ideal location for their formation: the bottom waters of the oceans and the deep seabed are almost uniformly cold, with temperatures from 0 to 4 degrees Celsius. In addition, below a water depth of about 350 metres, the pressure is sufficient to stabilize the hydrates. But with increasing depth into the thick sediment layers on the sea floor the temperatures begin to rise again because of the proximity to the Earth’s interior. In sediment depths greater than about 1 kilometre the temperatures rise to over 30 degrees Celsius, so that no methane hydrates can be deposited.”

      http://worldoceanreview.com/en/wor-1/energy/methane-hydrates/

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  October 5, 2014

        Thanks for that , the more I learn about Methane hydrates, the less I know.

        Reply
    • I think what probably ends up happening is that the layer destabilizes but most of the pressure builds up until it violently bursts out. So you end up with the plumes we now see first and then a kind of sea bed eruption as sections of sea bed are violently thrust up and the larger destabilized pool releases.

      My opinion is that rate of sea bed warming is probably at least as important as total warming. Under slow warming, the destabilized portions have more time to find fissures and cracks through which to slowly relieve pressure. But under rapid warming, there is less opportunity for non catastrophic pressure release.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  October 5, 2014

        Like we see saw in Siberia this summer on land.

        But the chunk , seemed to react because it was removed from the parent mass. That would indicate the the entire mass is just above out gassing. and in the first images we saw it as “egg whites floating in boiling water”. Clearly they were after a sample, seeing that first chunk float away , was scary as well.

        The message is that all this is in a finely tuned balance . And it all floats in sea water.
        It’s scarey clip , if one knows the geology of the Earth. I got think there were huge deposits of Methane hydrates the Permian Seas. And when the Siberian Traps flowed up through those coal deposits. , that was all the oceans needed for their Methane hydrates to release their stores of carbon on the sea floor , and add to the Permian train wreck .

        Reply
        • It was the last major glaciation to hothouse event. Before now. And now we could set off Permian type warming in only a few centuries — 1880 to 2180.

      • Colorado Bob

         /  October 5, 2014

        “Thanks for that , the more I learn about Methane hydrates, the less I know.”

        Methane hydrates, are in delicate balance of pressure and temperature. If either one changes , the lattice they form goes through a phase change. And the carbon they store goes some place else.

        These phase changes are the key . Take water . It has 3 phases , that carries energy as it is being moved through the system.
        Same thing with that clip , Methane has has it;s own system of phase changes , and like water a great deal of energy is moving from one place to another.

        Reply
  28. Colorado Bob

     /  October 5, 2014

    More accurate model for greenhouse gases from peatlands

    Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have created a new model to more accurately describe the greenhouse gases likely to be released from Arctic peatlands as they warm. Their findings, based on modeling how oxygen filters through soil, suggest that previous models probably underestimated methane emissions and overrepresented carbon dioxide emissions from these regions.

    Link

    Reply
    • Apneaman

       /  October 5, 2014

      It looked to me like the clathrate and robot was moved. Could ascending just a few feet relieve enough pressure to start the process? What about temp changes from the same few feet? I would not be surprised if some of the gov/industry clathrate energy projects know this, since there have been a number of them trying to figure out how to commercialize the stuff for the last 30 years. Seems like there should be a lot of research materiel on the subject.

      Reply
  29. Colorado Bob

     /  October 5, 2014

    Mount Ontake has 2 feet of ash on it at 10,000 feet.

    JMA forecast bulletins are predicting anywhere from 500 to 800 mm (roughly 20 to 32 inches) of rain in the Tokai region, including the Nagoya metropolitan area, Japan’s third largest, with roughly the same population as Chicagoland.

    Things could down hill very fast in Japan today :

    Reply
    • Brutal. Let’s hope we haven’t seen root system degradation in that region similar to what’s occurred in other regions of the world.

      Reply
  30. “Different depths reveal ocean warming trends”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-29474646

    “…scientists found that the rate of upper-ocean warming between 1970 and 2004 had been seriously underestimated. That inaccuracy is specific to the Southern Hemisphere, but is big enough, the scientists suggest, that global upper-ocean warming rates are also “biased low” – to the tune of 24% to 55%.”

    Reply
    • bassman

       /  October 5, 2014

      Just saw this, a really big deal.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  October 5, 2014

        We are up to our asses in big deals all over the world . And TMZ rules our fate.

        Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  October 5, 2014

      We low balled the methane from the Arctic as well –
      More accurate model for greenhouse gases from peatlands

      As we tune in these studies , not one ever comes in as high balling . Not one has ever said that Man is good for the Earth ,

      That should be a mantra :

      How is man good for the Earth ?

      Reply
    • I think the bias is generally conservative overall. Not a good bias to have if your goal is to reduce risk and prevent harm.

      Reply
  31. Colorado Bob

     /  October 5, 2014

    The low ball –
    By combining these calculations, the scientists found that the rate of upper-ocean warming between 1970 and 2004 had been seriously underestimated. That inaccuracy is specific to the Southern Hemisphere, but is big enough, the scientists suggest, that global upper-ocean warming rates are also “biased low” – to the tune of 24% to 55%.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29474646

    Reply
  32. Colorado Bob

     /  October 5, 2014

    The deniers always claimed there was bad math, they were are right , we missed out bad it was by – the tune of 24% to 55%.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  October 5, 2014

      If one wants to understand this problem –

      Read up on what is called “specific heat”, That will tell you a lot , water carries more heat than air ever dreamed of. Water has the the rating of ” one” on the specific heat scale . Everything else is measured against it.

      The only things that store more heat than water are salts than go through phase changes .

      Nothing in nature stores more heat than water.

      Nothing.

      Reply
      • Exactly. And that’s what’s delivering all the melting force to glaciers. That’s what’s delivering all the destabilization force to the hydrates. This has major implications to what will happen to both oceans and atmospheres and for our observations as they are currently ongoing.

        Reply
  33. bassman

     /  October 5, 2014

    From Gavin

    @ClimateOfGavin: @SJvatn …but since it changes estimates of the recent ocean heat uptake, it pushes estimates of sensitivity higher. Esp. for L&C.

    Gavin says he will update his view on the data soon

    Reply
  34. Apneaman

     /  October 5, 2014

    This ain’t exactly new and I think we need to acknowledge social, career, and financial pressures as well.

    Climate Scientists Erring on the Side of Least Drama

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/01/31/1524981/why-climate-scientists-have-consistently-underestimated-key-global-warming-impacts/

    Reply
  35. This is from the NEW SCIENTIST today:

    “The study covers the period from 1970 to 2003. Cai says that, during that time, while the northern hemisphere has been well sampled by cargo ships and projects led by wealthy countries north of the equator, very few direct measurements have been taken in the south. So it’s not surprising that the in-situ measurements have been wrong. “But this is huge,” says Cai.”

    One has to wonder what has been going on since 2003 in the Southern Ocean. How much ocean heat has been buried from the Pacific or Atlantic in these oceans. I don’t understand enough about the currents to give any kind of answer.

    Reply
    • In the Southern Ocean, we have the warm, salty equatorial currents encountering the fresh water outflow originating from Antarctica. The warm saltier water is driven below this outflow in high volume. The net result of this mechanism would be to drive more heat into the Southern Ocean.

      It’s also worth noting that both observation and modeling confirm the Southern Ocean is a powerful heat sink.

      Reply
  36. Colorado Bob

     /  October 5, 2014

    That’s why when water moves through it’s phases it’s so important . We have no clue the amount of energy it takes to drive one water molecule off the ocean and take it to Greenland, and condense it to snow.

    What we all need to understand water doesn’t move easily , heat moves water, Water is just like the electrons over the wires that move the electricity . A water molecule has to have great deal of energy to leave the Gulf of Mexico . Once that happens , It can carry the energy that made it leave the Gulf anywhere on Earth

    But the real key to all this , heat seeks cold even if the cold is at the top of world The top of troposphere Our the bottom of the world . Heat seeks cold.

    It’s old law, and we didn’t write.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  October 6, 2014

      RS –
      That’s the best science I ever wrote on your blog . Off to watch the Simpsons.

      Reply
      • 🙂 well done, sir. And certainly well worth thinking about.

        Reply
      • Yes, very good. Straight, and to the point.

        … Like an ice dagger, straight through the heart — of the matter.🙂

        (I’ve been saving up that one. Maybe from an old Sherlock Holmes yarn. The perfect murder weapon.

        Reply
  37. bassman

     /  October 6, 2014

    @ClimateOfGavin: .@sjvatn Impact of Durack et al increase of ~40% in OHC on L&C 5-95% ECS goes from 1.1-4.1 to 1.1-6.1 (preliminary calc).

    Just in, could you translate this. Robert? Why would the lower bound range stay so low?

    Reply
    • The lower bound ECS range seems to assume little or low positive feedback response from ocean heating.

      Averaging ECS changing from 2.6 to 3.6 is a rather big deal, though. Especially for the modeling science and for how much the Earth may ultimately warm this century. It’s also more fodder for dealing with those pesky arguments that have come out of the whole ‘hiatus’ discussion chain and related nonsense.

      That the location of this added heat is in close proximity to all those destabilizing and irreversibly collapsing Antarctic glaciers is also an indirect validation of that line of science. The glaciers are going down more rapidly than expected and there’s more heat than we initially thought.

      So pretty big deal.

      Reply
      • bassman

         /  October 6, 2014

        The other Nature study today seems to suggest that less of that OHC is going into the lower depths. Does this make sense? I find it disturbing because it suggests that Heat will remain in the upper levels much longer melting Ice and influencing surface temps (Nino and Hurricanes). In the short term it would be much better for this OHC to be buried at lower depths but maybe there is a natural mechanism preventing this.

        Really need to read a text book on ocean currents.

        Reply
        • Remember, upper ocean is the top half mile of water. So you can still have a 100 foot deep cold surface layer due to freshening and melt outflow even though the aggregate 2,500 foot column is warming.

          In my view, it’s better to have heat in the atmosphere than heat in the oceans, deep or shallow.

  38. Tulare county is pretty much out of water. Towns in the county are dry. 100,000 more wells to go dry this month here in CA.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/not-one-drop-how-long-will-california-survive-life-without-n195976

    Reply
  39. Spike

     /  October 6, 2014

    Just re-reading this wonderful book on the numerous punches we throw at the oceans

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/nov/18/ocean-of-life-how-our-seas-are-changing-review

    Highly recommend it. We have lost so much, and stand to lose so much more. I was out watching pilot whales and bottle nose dolphins a few days ago, a mere handful but a huge privilege – but to read the accounts of the abundance of life in the oceans in times past I find almost unbearably poignant.

    Reply
  40. Unrelated to the article, but something I’d like you all’s thoughts on.

    A sentiment I find repeated in comments against measures on climate and pollution is this feeling of being punished or controlled; “the left wants to tax us”, for what they believe are incorrect predictions; “scientists were wrong about the sea ice disappearing”, etc.

    The second sentiment is, of course, misguided, but I wonder if something can’t be done about the first that would do more to effect immediate and even welcome change.

    It makes sense to me that climate change action should be rewarded more so than inaction punished. Something should be done to provide readily tangible incentives to drive down pollution, consumption, and/or reproduction, say, write-offs on your income and property tax for conserving fuel and energy; for taking public transportation; for not flying; getting paid or not taxed as much for another year of not having children?

    (I guess the next question is where the money will come from. Also, I’m aware that we already have measures similar to this for installing solar panels and the like, but would it help to make these more widely ranging in scope?)

    Reply
    • We need to remove this stigma that taxation is bad. Taxes help support both decent jobs and positive action. In some cases, you need to give something in order to get something back.

      In the case of both climate change and Ebola it is the ideological push against taxation/revenue generation that has left governments, communities and civilizations vulnerable to scaling and non-linear impacts from out of context crises.

      In general, the continued starvation of public entities to benefit increasingly more monopolistic private interests is not at all helpful.

      Lastly, the people who often complain about taxation and a shift more back toward public expenditures would often benefit the most. Such actions generally support far more permanent middle class jobs at higher wages…

      Reply
    • As for where the money will come from — the investment sector is massively inflated these days. Adding a progressive capital gains tax on the income tax scale would be vastly helpful for revenue generation.

      One other point — Hansen’s tax and transfer directly taxes carbon emitters while sending the money to the consumer who is then empowered to purchase non-carbon based energy sources. Probably the kind of tax/incentive scheme that would have very wide-ranging benefits while reducing net consumption.

      Reply
  41. From Real News, Masters in a short interview:

    ‘New Evidence Links Global Heat Waves to Climate Change

    Meteorologist Jeff Masters explains the latest evidence linking man-made climate change to record heat waves and extreme weather across the world – October 5, 14’

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12480

    Reply
  42. Here’s a bit of good news re: ozone (mostly ground level).
    U.S. top court rejects challenge to ozone regulations

    (Reuters) – The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an industry challenge to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations issued by Republican former President George W. Bush’s administration that set standards for ozone pollution.

    By declining to hear the case, the court left in place the so-called primary air quality standards designed to protect public health, which Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration defended.

    Those rules, which set air quality standards that U.S. states and the federal government must implement through regulations, had been challenged by the Utility Air Regulatory Group, which represents electricity-generating companies…

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/06/us-usa-court-pollution-idUSKCN0HV1H820141006

    Reply
    • *sees Chevron ad on article* “Put Americans back to work / The energy industry can support up to 3.3 million jobs by 2020…” *FLIPS TABLE*

      Reply
  1. New Study Finds 3-4 Meter Sea Level Rise From Antarctica May be Imminent | robertscribbler | Enjeux énergies et environnement

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