Starving Sea Lion Pups and Liquified Starfish — How We’ve Turned the Eastern Pacific into A Death Trap for Marine Species

As of late January, the news reports were coming in hot and heavy. Baby sea lions were dying in droves. More than 15,000 of the pups were already lost due to starvation. And with each passing week, more than 100 of the emaciated, beleaguered, hopeless animals were washing up on California shores.

The pups staggered across beaches, wandered into vacant lots, or tottered, disoriented, along roadways. Refugees all to some unspeakable disaster. Orphans lost or abandoned by parents unable to provide them with even the most basic of sustenance.

Starving Sea Lion Pups

(Starving sea lion pups taken in by the Marine Mammal Center in San Francisco. Image source: WTSP.)

Marine rescue centers, volunteer centers, and even animal shelters were inundated by a flood of desperate, dying animals. Their organs were shutting down. They could barely breathe or walk. The future generation of the more than 300,000 sea lions living along the US West Coast taking a severe blow from a deadly killer lurking in West Coast waters.

By late February more than 1000 sea lion pups had flooded the California Marine Mammal Center. Hundreds more found their way into local and ad-hoc shelters. The number was so great that all support systems for the animals were overwhelmed. Persons finding and seeking help for the dying pups were, more often than not, turned away due to lack of support and rescue resources.

It was like the scene out of some heart-wrenching sci-fi disaster movie. And everyone kept asking the same question — what could cause this?

Mass Sea Lion Deaths for Three Years Running

This most recent spate of sea lion pup deaths and strandings comes after years of the same. News media currently reports the event in isolation — as if 2015 were the only year for such a thing to happen. But the truth is that this crisis has been ongoing now since at least 2013, with an earlier episode in 2009-2010 preceding the current chain of related events.

The 2013 event was so severe that in the end 70 percent of the 50,000 sea lion pups born that year had died. The 2014 event was rather less severe, accounting for ‘only’ twice the normal loss rate. But 2015 has so far been so deadly that even 2013’s staggering number of sea lion pup losses could be exceeded.

The multi-year event represents such a heavy blow to sea lions that marine organizations have declared the entire current young generation under threat of being wiped out.

Adult Sea Lions, Otters, Starfish, Birds and other Marine Creatures Involved

But the story doesn’t stop at young sea lion deaths alone. From May through August of last summer, reports were flooding in of mass adult sea lion, otter, and bird deaths due to what appeared to be exposure to some form of toxin.

The animals would wash up on the beach or drop out of the sky. They would show signs of convulsions. Autopsies of the deceased animals revealed shrunken hippocampus, brain and heart lesions.

The same marine mammal center that is now taking in over 1,000 baby sea lion pups this summer took in 751 adults suffering from these signs of toxic poisoning. Simply put, the adults died this past summer and now the pups are starving.

Further down the food chain, creatures living in bottom water zones were also suffering and dying. Fishermen off Oregon had to go further and further afield to fill nets. Near shore fishing lines came up empty except for crabs scurrying up the lines as if in an attempt to escape from danger below.

And in 2013, thousands upon thousands of starfish began to turn to white clumps. A freakish instance of mass star fish death that continued inexorably through 2015.

A Victim of Sea Star Wasting Syndrome

(A victim of Sea Star Wasting Syndrome. Image source: Crosscut.)

The star fish would succumb to a strange wasting illness. An illness that would ultimately waste whole swaths of multiple starfish species (20 separate starfish species and millions of animals are now thought to be involved). Entire regions saw their starfish populations dwindle to zero. As with the mass sea lion deaths, marine researchers were both stunned and befuddled.

Perhaps even more disturbing is that the various species deaths just keep on coming — with no apparent end in sight.

A Hothouse Serial Killer

Just off shore, a warm wind runs from south to north over the increasingly wasted waters. Warm airs born of warm waters, providing us with clues for the cause of this ongoing mass death event. For the seas off the US West Coast have reached record levels of warmth — a level of ocean surface heat that flared with the most recent El Nino in 2009 and 2010. A warming that has been building steadily ever since mortality events began their incessant march in 2013.

image

(Sea surface temperature anomaly map for February 27, 2015 depicting very large swath of much warmer than average sea surface temperatures running along the West Coast of North America through to the Bering Sea. Such widespread surface warming contributes to numerous detrimental changes to ocean health. Image source: Earth Nullschool. Data Source: Global Forecast System Model.)

Now a broad swath of surface water ranging from 2-5 C above average blankets an entire oceanic zone from Alaska to Mexico.

Such excess heat may seem innocuous at first blush. A little extra warm water may seem pleasant to the casual observer. But what seems pleasant actually conceals a deadly threat.

Warm surface waters spreading over the ocean can serve as a kind of lid. The warm water prevents cooler water from upwelling toward the surface, mixing nutrients and refreshing the water’s oxygen levels. This shut down of overturning is a dangerous oceanic condition called stratification. And it can level a severe blow to almost all creatures along the marine food chain. Plankton become less productive. Low oxygen zones expand, killing the slow-moving bottom creatures all while driving the mobile fish to more productive waters. In the warmer waters, toxic algae blooms become more prevalent. Harmful microbes, which are culled during influxes of cold water, thrive and multiply, posing a disease threat to all marine species. Finally, in the deeper reaches off the coasts of Washington and Oregon, the already oxygen-poor zones, zones rife with methane from hydrate venting, begin producing a deadly seep of hydrogen sulfide gas.

The living sea has now become a killer. And all it took was a little extra added heat to lock west coast waters in an expanding zone of warm water and low oxygen marine mortality.

Low Oxygen Ocean Zones

(The signature of ocean stratification expansion — low oxygen zones. Note the large and expanding region of low oxygen in the Eastern Pacific. For reference, high oxygen is shown in greens, blues and purples, low oxygen shown in oranges, reds and black. Image source: AMOP’s Study of Oxygen Minimum Zones. Image date: 2013.)

As a result we have the proliferation of the sea star wasting illness. An illness that would usually be contained by the seasonal influx of cooler waters. So too do we have instances of sea lion adults consuming fish, mullusks, and shellfish contaminated with domoic acid — a toxin produced by algae blooms in warm waters. And lastly, we have the overall stress on the food chain due to low oxygen and productivity which has driven sea lion food sources so far off shore that females are too exhausted after hunting to feed their pups.

More Dangers to Come

The recent mortality events mirror ocean warming episodes which caused similar die-offs at the end of glacial periods. Then, as now, warming robbed waters of oxygen and productive mixing, causing stress to numerous species.

However, the current pace of human warming is much more rapid than the warming periods that occurred at the ends of the ice ages. In addition, under business as usual human carbon emissions, the deadly, low-oxygen ocean zones are expected to expand, eventually covering the majority of the world ocean system. It’s a transition to a stratified ocean that will make the current west-coast die-off look like a minor prelude by comparison.

Hydrogen Sulfide Eruption off Namibian Coast

(Hydrogen sulfide eruption off Namibian coast on February 15, 2015. In Namibia, anoxic bottom waters host hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria. Runoff rich with organic material feeds these bacteria as they produce more toxic hydrogen sulfide gas. During upwelling events, the hydrogen sulfide is brought to the surface where it is visible as a florescent green or black slick. Under stratified and Canfield Oceans, more and more regions are capable of supporting deadly hydrogen sulfide production. Currently, the Baltic Sea, Offshore Namibia, the Chesapeake Bay, and Offshore Oregon are known to host broad regions of hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria in anoxic dead zones. Only in Nambia do these zones occasionally reach the surface waters, so far. Image source: Earth Observatory/NASA.)

Eventually, if CO2e levels exceed 800-1000 parts per million, a transition to an even more deadly state called a Canfield Ocean is increasingly likely. And a Canfield Ocean is a powerful killing machine. Implicated all the previous hothouse extinctions, this killer, during the Permian Extinction, was likely primarily responsible for the deaths of 95 percent of species in the ocean and 70 percent of species on land. For the oceans eventually filled up with deadly toxins (primarily in the form of hydrogen sulfide gas) which then vented into the atmosphere.

It’s a very deadly ocean state we want to avoid at all costs. And we should view these very troubling instances of ocean species mortality along the North American West Coast as a warning to stop warming to oceans as swiftly as possible.

Links:

 Here’s Why Hundreds of Sea Lion Pups are Washing Ashore in California

Researchers Find Warmer Waters Increase Sea Bed Methane Emissions

Surge in Marine Mammal Strandings on US West Coast

On California Coast, Biotoxins Cause of Deadly Sea Lion Siezures, Seafood Scare

Unprecedented Sea Lion Mortality Along California Coast Associated With Anomalous Ocean Conditions

Pelagic Zone: Commons

Global Warming May Boost Dead Zones in Oceans

Eastern Pacific Oxygen Minimum Research

Starving Sea Lion Pup Rescued on San Fransisco Boulevard

Sea Star Wasting Continues: Will King of the Rock Fall?

Pacific Rocky Intertidal Monitoring: Sea Star Wasting Syndrome

When the Stars all Go Out Along the Coast

Hydrogen Sulfide Eruption: Namibia

Earth Nullschool

Global Forecast System Model

Hat Tips:

Colorado Bob

Lief Thurston

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248 Comments

  1. i selected ‘like’ but it’s in support of your work and not because i liked this information.

    thank you as well for the update about the kelvin wave. a farmer in his 70’s in manabi province/jama ecuador told me two days ago that he has never witnessed such a dry rainy season. we’ve only received 4 inches of rain in two months – usually the rivers are bravo and we’re wondering when the rains will stop. we need rain, but not el nino rains.

    thanks again for all that you do. lisa/z

    Reply
  2. Kevin Jones

     /  February 27, 2015

    You read it here first, folks. Fantastic synthesis of data, Robert. I’m reminded of Jeremy Jackson’s Naval War College lecture: Ocean Apocalypse (Jan. 13, 2013 youtube): “What took us (the oceanographic community) so long!” (to raise the alarm). So few crying out in such a huge wilderness….but thank you. I’d rather die with the truth than live with the BS!

    Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  February 27, 2015

      And we can’t live with much of the ‘HS’ either.

      (hydrogen sulfide)

      Reply
  3. Can we use phage to attack H2S producers in some capacity? It’s not a magic bullet, but I can’t imagine it hurting this late in the game.

    Reply
  4. Reblogged this on jpratt27.

    Reply
  5. Mark from New England

     /  February 27, 2015

    Very frightening Robert. The anoxic zones off of Mexico’s Pacific coast and off of Peru look particularly bad, even in comparison to the US west coast. I wonder if there are any reports of fisheries collapse, etc. from those locations. And those poor baby sea lions – to lose an entire generation or two will surely lower their overall population soon.

    Reply
  6. Kevin Jones

     /  February 27, 2015

    “…and produce prodigious amounts of hydrogen sulfide…” Nasa’s Earth Observatory…..wonder the fate of a (human) sailor through those waters. Got sick as a dog after 20 hours on the Chesapeake in mid summer a few years ago…strangely so. Not saying anything but wondering….

    Reply
  7. Loni

     /  February 27, 2015

    Thank you for the excellent post Robert, and I’m almost tempted to ask what the hell do you do for an antidote in dealing with all of this news. But I won’t, to each his own, but you’re a valuable resource and I just want to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself.

    I’m just finishing a book called ‘Under a Green Sky’ by Peter D. Ward Ph.D. An excellent read, and describes the Canfield Ocean, and how rare it is in the history of the Earth to have so much life in the oceans. We really have been a bull in a china shop.

    Thanks again for all you do, take care.

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  February 28, 2015

      Haven’t read ^that^ book, published in 2008, however regarding Peter Ward’s current perspective, as per Robert Scribbler:

      https://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/nasa-melting-darkening-arctic-ocean-turns-up-solar-heat-by-5-percent/#comment-30767

      “I am very disappointed in Dr. Ward if he’s jumping on this (geo-engineering) bandwagon. A false choice if I’ve ever seen one.”

      Agreed. Taking Ward’s words with a grain of salt these days.

      Reply
      • I take Ward’s work seriously even if I disagree with his stance on geo-engineering. He is a giant when it comes to Paleoclimate research. And his contribution in that area has been invaluable.

        I think I have a way of making strong statements that can seem like a blanket condemnation. That would be my own failure to communicate my intent.

        That said, I am still disappointed in Ward’s stance on geo-engineering regardless of my admiration for his work in Paleoclimate.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 14, 2015

        Yes. Heard him speak a couple of times, 20 or so years ago; good, smart stuff.
        Future Evolution and the related artworks by Alexis Rockman: brilliant.
        Haven’t kept up with his work the past few years. The geo-engineering bit’s the bother here, not the body of his work.

        Similar disconcert with Stewart Brand. Phenomenal works; nearly 50 years worth.
        Now he wants to revive wooly mammoths and that’s just folly. Surprising.
        http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-plan-to-turn-elephants-into-woolly-mammoths-is-already-underway
        Does the earth need wooly mammoth at this time? Or biliions of carrier pigeons?
        There’re near-innumerable species that are threatened and deserving of at least an attempt at saving. All of that thought, energy and money could be put to much better use serving what’s here right now, in my opinion.

        Reply
  8. Jeremy

     /  February 27, 2015

    And still further silence regarding the ongoing radiological catastrophe at Fukushima.

    http://enenews.com

    How can it be that the greatest ongoing nuclear disaster ever to strike humanity remains completely off the radar.

    Enjoy reading about the latest 7000% spike in radiation.
    http://www.naturalnews.com/048772_Fukushima_radiation_ocean_contamination.html

    We are so doomed it’s not even funny anymore.
    My son is going to hate my generation.

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  February 28, 2015

      Jeremy: I can only share these thoughts: Between 1945 and 1998 almost 2500 nuclear weapons were detonated by the countries with them. Most in the air. Some in the sea. Some underground. A few in space. As horrible and potentially civilization ending as was and is the threat of large scale nuclear war these godawful tests did not put a dent in the exponential curve of human numbers….from fewer than 2.5 billion to our current 7.3 billion. I believe demographics to be one of our most reliable of sciences. Many close friends are anti-nuclear power activists. None of them have, as I repeatedly have, protested nuclear weapons. It was from this concern that I approached climate science 20+ years ago. It has to do with discerning issues in importance of their orders of magnitude. James Hansen and James Lovelock both believe that safer new nuclear generation is essential for addressing our humongous climate/energy crunch. I have enormous respect for both having carefully read them. Personally I do not see this happening. I also fail to see renewables, wind,solar,tidal,biomas, what have you, as preventing catastrophe either. Just my thoughts….(so what do we do? i dunno, but fer chrissakes stop makin’ babies….)

      Reply
    • eleggua

       /  February 28, 2015

      We are ***not*** doomed. As Robert so well put it several weeks ago in a comment here,
      “I just pinched myself. Yep. I’m still alive. Not game over yet.”

      Pinch yourself, Jeremy. And do not give up!!!

      Reply
    • Eric Thurston

       /  February 28, 2015

      The graphic is striking, but it apparently represents an estimate of the maximum possible wave heights of the tsunami.

      http://deepseanews.com/2013/11/true-facts-about-ocean-radiation-and-the-fukushima-disaster/

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  February 28, 2015

        ‘Fish found in Port Orford crab pot likely traveled to Oregon with Japanese tsunami debris’
        February 25, 2015
        http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2015/02/fish_found_in_port_orford_crab.html

        …fish found Friday off the Oregon coast could be a Japanese tsunami refugee, and it’s likely others are out there.

        Scientists at Newport’s Hatfield Marine Science Center are studying a non-native fish that turned up in a fisherman’s Port Orford crab pot last week.

        The striped knifejaw, a native of waters off Japan, China and Korea, could have arrived as a result of the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami that has since been sending waves of debris to the West Coast….

        This is the second time knifejaws have been found in the Northwest, the first coming in March 2013 when five of them were found aboard a boat that drifted from Japan to Washington. Four of those fish were euthanized, and the fifth remains alive at the Seaside Aquarium. The fish discovered Friday is the first one found in the wild…

        Reply
      • I’ve seen this one before as well. Funny how a tsunami forecast somehow gets confused with radiation dispersal. In any case, the trace signatures for radiation off US west coast do not indicate anywhere near lethal levels. Sea life impacts would also be greatest closest to the meltdown site, not across thousands of miles of deep ocean.

        Reply
      • Eric Thurston

         /  March 1, 2015

        At the least, Fukushima and other radiation dumps into the ocean represent yet another insult to the ocean biosphere. Remember the Russian nuclear sub sunk in the Baltic sea? I’m sure there are nuke plants around the globe on the ocean edge or on waterways that are leaking and discharging radioactive crud into the waterways and directly into the oceans; Hanford, Oakridge and Savannah River, for example in the US. Along with acidification, excessive warming, industrial and agricultural pollutants the oceans are becoming toxic sewers. And people wonder why these poor animals are starting to die off.

        Depressing…

        Reply
    • eric smith

       /  February 28, 2015

      Fukishima (on 3/11!) was a nuclear attack on Japan. I am convinced that this is true. The attached link is first rate and will convince any rational person this is the only possible explanation.We are dealing with devils here. http://jimstonefreelance.com/fukushima1.html

      Reply
  9. Reblogged this on dtlange2.

    Reply
  10. Griffin

     /  February 27, 2015

    The storms I can handle. I will hunker down, take the licking, dig out and move on. To see the life of the Pacific dying before our eyes though, really rips my heart out.

    Reply
  11. Great job connecting the dots that traditional media scatter in isolation. The massive loss of wildlife and biodiversity that is occurring rips my heart out. I swear watching so many innocent animals die hurts me far more than the thought of humans suffering. While I do feel for those who fight against climate change, and certainly for the global poor who have done virtually nothing to contribute to this mess, and unborn/young children who were thrown into this situation, I really have no problem with the suffering that will come to the disgusting, ignorant and apathetic masses who care for nothing other than obtaining more than the next guy and destroying this world in ever more efficient ways. They all deserve what’s coming. It’s just too bad that they’re taking the rest of the world with them.

    Reply
  12. Kevin Jones

     /  February 27, 2015

    This stuff really is nasty. LC50 lethal concentration for 50% of humans exposed is 800ppm for five minutes. (according Wikipedia, but appears well sourced)

    Reply
  13. Kevin Jones

     /  February 27, 2015

    ….other sources indicate 50-200ppm exposure can ruin your day. Permanent eye damage, death in some cases

    Reply
  14. Bill H

     /  February 28, 2015

    Well, done, Robert. This post is a very effective rebuttal to the “CO2 is plant food” meme.

    Yes, if you increase CO2 concentrations in a glasshouse you get increased growth: something we’ve known for decades. But this requires that all other variables be kept equal. If the temperature rises, the ocean currents change, etc. , etc. it can be a very different story.

    Reply
  15. Andy in San Diego

     /  February 28, 2015

    If anyone else has had a salt water fish tank in the past, one can quickly see how fragile the whole system & organisms are. Thanks for the sobering report.

    A year ago we were chatting about “the food chain will break down”. Now we are chatting about “the food chain IS breaking down”.

    Things are picking up steam.

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  February 28, 2015

      Sadly, the starfish zombie disease is also affecting animals in captivity ilving in tanks supplied with filtered ocean water.

      http://www.livescience.com/48780-sea-star-wasting-disease-cause.html
      “”What convinced me that this was an infectious agent was that sea stars that had been in captivity in public aquariums for 30 years suddenly died,” said Ian Hewson, an associate professor of microbiology at Cornell and lead author of the study. “There was good evidence that it was something coming in through the intake for the aquariums that wasn’t being removed by the sand filtration. And [aquariums] receiving UV-treated water weren’t getting sick.””

      Reply
    • eleggua

       /  February 28, 2015

      Starfish in the ocean: Zombie Wasting Disease.
      Bees in hives: Colony Collapse Disorder.
      Bats in caves: White Nose Syndrome.
      Frogs and toads in streams and ponds: Chytridiomycosis aka Chytrid Fungus Disease.

      Very, very, very sad.

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 1, 2015

        Yes, that’s intense. Widespread, too; not just in the Caribbean.

        Your comment sparked wonder regarding The Great Barrier Reef.
        Apparently the Australian government is greatly concerned and proactively working to mitiage climate change-related impacts on the Reef:
        http://elibrary.gbrmpa.gov.au/jspui/handle/11017/1140
        Abstract:
        The evidence of coral reef vulnerability and the predictions of climate change underpin the Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2009 conclusion that climate change is the dominant threat to the future of the Reef. This document outlines our strategy to address these challenges, and sets out our plan for action over the next five years. It builds on the strong foundations laid by our pioneering work under the Great Barrier Reef Climate Change Action Plan (2007–2012). We are proud of our efforts in tackling the climate change challenge for the Great Barrier Reef, but there is still much work to be done to secure the future for the Reef. The Great Barrier Reef Climate Change Adaptation Strategy outlines our vision for ongoing efforts to help the Reef, its industries and its communities adjust to a changing climate. Through the Great Barrier Reef Climate Change Action Plan (2012–2017) the Australian Government is committing to a program of activity that will improve the outlook for the Reef.

        Reply
      • Andrew Dodds

         /  March 2, 2015

        Bear in mind that there is and always has been an invisible war going on between the microbes and multicellular organisms; disease is not just a human thing – indeed, it’s the reason why multicellular organisms go to the huge trouble of having sexual reproduction.. Having occasional devastation of populations by disease is probably part of the ‘cycle of life’.

        Problem is, we’ve inadvertently tipped the balance in this war by stressing the bigger creatures with environmental changes.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 2, 2015

        Don’t assume I don’t bear that mind.

        What’s going on with diverse organisms – mammals; birds; inverterbrates, both land- and water-based; amphibians; is nothing “occasional”.
        It’s an epidemic.

        Actually, at this point, it’s the smaller creatures that are exhibiting the most signs of epidemic environmental stress, moreso than megafauna.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 2, 2015

        Also, I would never describe natural interplay between different species as “war”.
        “Interaction” is an apt term.

        Anthropomorphism is a human fault and folly. So is “war”.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 2, 2015

        Human devastation of megafauna is far less subtle than what’s happening to the little things that creep, crawl and fly. (Of course, include the corals; they’re not to be left off of the list despite their relative immobility).

        Habitat destruction and wanton, gluttonous ‘hunting’ and fishing are more responsible for declining megafauna than bizarre disease.

        Reply
    • Griffin

       /  February 28, 2015

      So very true Andy, salt water tank owners fret about nothing more than they do the quality of the water. If the water isn’t just right, the entire investment is lost.

      Reply
  16. eleggua

     /  February 28, 2015

    Related ‘hot pink’ nudibranch population explosion.

    ‘Roses bloom in tide pools: warm water brings southern sea slug to Central Coast’
    01/29/15
    http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/science/20150129/roses-blooming-in-tide-pools-warm-ocean-currents-bring-hopkins-rose-sea-slug

    Warmer ocean temperatures have triggered a population explosion of the Hopkins’ rose nudibranch beyond its normal Southern California range.

    The brilliant pink sea slug is uncommon north of San Luis Obispo and even rarer north of San Francisco. However, scientists in Santa Cruz, San Francisco and Bodega Bay have spotted the tiny puffs concentrating in tide pools as far north as Humboldt County.

    Unexplainable rare wind patterns in the past year have heated West Coast oceans, luring schools of warm-water species like the nudibranch.

    There’s been many unusual visitors. In September, a fisherman near San Francisco caught a sea turtle normally found off the coast of Mexico and the Galapagos. Humpback whales and dolphins are lingering in the Monterey Bay.

    Ocean temperatures off the coast remained about 5 degrees higher than normal for much of last year.

    A team of researchers from UC Santa Cruz’s Institute of Marine Sciences, UC Santa Barbara’s Marine Science Institute, the California Academy of Sciences and University of Zadar, Croatia, published a 2011 paper that predicated these rare oceanographic conditions would lead to a bloom of the nudibranchs…

    Reply
  17. eleggua

     /  February 28, 2015

    Keeling Curve: sixth day in a row around or over 401ppm:
    https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/
    Clear upward trend over the past week.
    Steady at around 400ppm throughout most of February til this uptick.

    Reply
  18. Colorado Bob

     /  February 28, 2015

    Let’s call it: 30 years of above average temperatures means the climate has changed

    By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 5:15 AM GMT on February 27, 2015

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/RickyRood/comment.html?entrynum=329

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  February 28, 2015

      “If you’re younger than 30, you’ve never experienced a month in which the average surface temperature of the Earth was below average.”

      “The fact that – once the official records are in for February 2015 – it will have been 30 years since a month was below average is an important measure that the climate has changed.”

      “There are other reasons that this 30-year span of time is important. Thirty years is a length of time in which people plan. This includes personal choices – where to live, what job to take, how to plan for retirement. There are institutional choices – building bridges, building factories and power plants, urban flood management. There are resource management questions – assuring water supply for people, ecosystems, energy production and agriculture. There are many questions concerning how to build the fortifications and plan the migrations that sea-level rise will demand. Thirty years is long enough to be convincing that the climate is changing, and short enough that we can conceive, both individually and collectively, what the future might hold.

      Finally, 30 years is long enough to educate us. We have 30 years during which we can see what challenges a changing climate brings us. Thirty years that are informing us about the next 30 years, which will be warmer still. This is a temperature record that makes it clear that the new normal will be systematically rising temperatures, not the ups and downs of the last 100 years.

      Those who are under 30 years old have not experienced the climate I grew up with. In thirty more years, those born today will also be living in a climate that, by fundamental measures, will be different than the climate of their birth. Future success will rely on understanding that the climate in which we are all now living is changing and will continue to change with accumulating consequences.”

      Reply
    • eleggua

       /  February 28, 2015

      And in another 30 years, this???

      ‘IPCC: 30 years to climate calamity if we carry on blowing the carbon budget ‘
      Global 2C warming threshold will be breached within 30 years, leading scientists report, with humans unequivocally to blame
      27 September 2013
      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/27/ipcc-world-dangerous-climate-change

      We *cannot* allow that. Plenty of time to revolutionize, re-envision, repair, restore but no time to waste.

      Reply
      • Tom

         /  February 28, 2015

        That is clearly a misstatement. We don’t have 30 years the way things are going. We just keep doing the same ecology-killing behavior we’ve done since the Industrial Revolution, only more and faster to keep up with our steadily rising population.

        By the way, eleggua, just how do you expect humanity to stop the (over 40 and increasing) self-reinforcing feedback loops we’ve tipped so far that are completely irreversible in human time-scales? All those processes you point to are NOT going to happen. In case you haven’t noticed, using fossil fuel energy for ANYTHING is what’s doing a lot of the damage (the basic part – putting too much CO2 into the atmosphere). To correct our behavior and give the Earth a chance to recover we’d have to completely stop civilization as it exists – who’s going to go for that? Even if we did it, the methane and radiation are going to continue for many years to come until the Earth re-adjusts to a new normal – long past humanity’s shelf-life. We’re trapped in a predicament of our own making and all we can do now is bear witness to the on-going destruction and collapse into extinction of most (if not all) life. Habitat loss is our undoing. We weren’t good stewards of the planet.

        Watch as crop yields go steadily downward from climate change unpredictability and variability, plant diseases, insect invasions (all these affecting trees too world-wide), tropospheric ozone contamination, radiation washing out of the atmosphere into the already depleted soils, and on and on. There’s no solution. We’re toast, so appreciate your remaining days and do what you love.

        We should and will continue the fight, but we’re not going to win this one.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  February 28, 2015

        Tom said: “By the way, eleggua, just how do you expect humanity to stop the (over 40 and increasing) self-reinforcing feedback loops we’ve tipped so far that are completely irreversible in human time-scales?”

        Tom, I don’t have the answers but I’m open to listening to sane, intelligent, rational people that have no agenda other than the common goal of creating a sustainable future for all living things on this planet.
        Answers that present credible solutions, I’m ready to back on every level.

        “…we’re not going to win this one.”

        I wholeheartedly disagree with that perspective, Tom. Repeating and reposting:
        As Robert so well put it several weeks ago in a comment here,
        “I just pinched myself. Yep. I’m still alive. Not game over yet.”

        Pinch yourself, Tom. The very fact that you’re here, reading the blog and comments suggests that you haven’t really given up.

        “…appreciate your remaining days and do what you love.”

        Great advice, no matter whether or not facing calamities.

        Reply
  19. Griffin

     /  February 28, 2015

    It is sad to see how many mainstream media articles about the starving pups try to pin the warm water on “the same high pressure system that has caused the drought”. As if to completely remove ourselves of any responsibility for warming the oceans.

    Reply
    • Right, Griffin.

      Reply
    • mikkel

       /  February 28, 2015

      I feel really frustrated with the scientific community. Many of the top people are still rejecting Francis’ work and of course a top NOAA official dismissed the link between global warming and the blocking pattern/drought.

      The sort of things that Robert highlights are completely predictable and logical, but with even less “proof” of the link. If the community can’t even accept atmospheric changes what chance is there of accurately looking at the potential of extreme scenarios like this one?

      Reply
      • climatehawk1

         /  February 28, 2015

        I think there is probably a role for us to play here. The NOAA guy who rejected the link between global warming and the California drought, Martin Hoerling, has also gotten headlines previously for saying warming had nothing to do with Colorado’s flooding and that the massive 2012 spring heat wave in North America was nothing special. I’ve been thinking about doing a blog post to draw some attention to his activities and the lack of foundation for them, just haven’t gotten to it. He professes to fully accept global warming, so as far as I can tell, his activities are motivated solely by a desire for publicity, which I frankly think is reprehensible.

        Reply
      • mikkel

         /  February 28, 2015

        I don’t know his motives, but have seen many scientists say things that border on absurdity because of their extreme evidentiary conservatism.

        From what I’ve read of Hoerling’s comments, they didn’t dismiss the plausibility entirely, just said it was extremely premature to blame global warming for the events because statistically it’s not provable.

        Well I have a lot to say about that…

        Reply
        • climatehawk1

           /  February 28, 2015

          Yes, I think you are correct. So the question is, is it useful at this juncture, given what we know about how the planet is changing in response to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, to be taking to the media to proclaim that some extreme events have not been statistically shown to be connected to climate change? Or is it asinine? As far as I am concerned, it simply serves the interests of those who would delay action, when we have delayed it far too long already.

      • Griffin

         /  March 1, 2015

        Thanks for the explanation on who that guy is because his statements have seemed borderline destructive to the laypersons understanding of climatic processes to me. I am just baffled and more than a little curious as to his motives when speaking to the media.

        Reply
      • mikkel

         /  March 1, 2015

        “So the question is, is it useful at this juncture, given what we know about how the planet is changing in response to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, to be taking to the media to proclaim that some extreme events have not been statistically shown to be connected to climate change? ”

        No, it is terrible. From a cognitive perspective, it is one of the worst possible things that can be said. In fact, most professional scientific framing is terrible from a general communication perspective.

        The problem is that any scientists who try to speak otherwise are immediately criticized by many other scientists for not being “scientific” which makes the communication issue even worse!

        I work a lot trying to influence paradigm shifts in different parts of society. One of the biggest commonalities is that the groups have world views and social rules which are fundamentally misaligned with where they need to be in order for change to occur. Everyone in the room can agree rationally that they *need* to change, but the process of attempting to do so causes social dynamics that instantly destroys the opportunity.

        As I put it, they subconsciously would rather cling to what they know and remain in-group, than take the risk to create something better that they haven’t yet figured out.

        So I often see scientists/doctors/engineers/etc having frank discussions that are amazingly elegant and have deep seated pain that society isn’t supporting reform, only for the exact same individuals to fall into an immediate reactionary pattern the second that a layperson engages…totally confusing the layperson about the need for reform in the first place.

        Reply
      • mikkel

         /  March 1, 2015

        Griffin: I wonder if the solution is to find people who were likely leaning towards climate change being an issue but then heard what he said and decided it wasn’t happening (or as bad as they thought). Then he could be presented with all those people and understand that instead of enlightening people, he was actually turning them off from the core message that he truly believes?

        Reply
      • mikkel

         /  March 1, 2015

        Ugh, I’m reading his stuff like
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/13/martin-hoerling-on-james-hansens-game-over-thinking/

        It’s such terribly narrow, single order thinking, focusing on pedantic interpretations of what Hansen is saying.

        Reply
      • mikkel

         /  March 1, 2015

        Compare that to this other interview
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/noaa-scientist-80-percent-chance-todays-heat-records-due-to-climate-change/2012/07/10/gJQAdv9waW_blog.html?wprss=rss_social-local-headlines&Post+generic=%3Ftid%3Dsm_twitter_washingtonpost

        CLEARLY he accepts climate change. It’s just that his emphasis comes out in

        “A heat wave itself – most of it is due to natural variability. But that extra little step to record proportions pushing over a prior threshold is what climate change is doing. It’s adding an edge to that heat wave.”

        How confident is Hoerling in his statement that there’s an 80 percent chance record highs being set are due to climate change?:

        “[It’s] a strong statement and a defensible scientific statement,” he said.

        That link was on page 6 of the Google results by the way. Pages 1-5 were mostly denier blogs (and some mainstream sources) using him to completely discount Hansen, extreme weather links, etc. to make it look like those people were loonies.

        I’m sorry to say, but the science community is structurally flawed and incapable of communicating its collective interpretation in a way that the general public can understand and actually believe. It can’t even do so effectively in a way that any individual can do so. Hansen isn’t terrible, but even he has ticks that prevent full interpretation (and he knows it and feels guilty).

        Reply
      • mikkel

         /  March 1, 2015

        ” It can’t even do so effectively in a way that any individual can do so.”

        Oops, word salad.

        I meant to say that even individual scientists are completely ineffective at communicating what they think in a way that is understandable and effective long term. To the professional deniers, it’s shooting fish in a barrel.

        Reply
      • mikkel

         /  March 1, 2015

        climatehawk1: “I’ve been thinking about doing a blog post to draw some attention to his activities and the lack of foundation for them, just haven’t gotten to it. ”

        I think something that I’ve become very attune to is that rational arguments and providing counter evidence isn’t effective. For the people not in the argument, it quickly becomes a case of which authority to believe (well you’re certainly going to lose that one! so it’ll just be preaching to the choir) while the target himself would feel combative instead of like you are on the same side.

        If you wrote a blog post, I’d like it to focus on how what he’s saying is counter to what he believes…not in his own mind, but in the perception it creates in others. Surely he must be very frustrated at his own feelings of powerlessness in conveying what he knows to be true. Perhaps opening the door to express that would be enough for him to evaluate his actions and the perceptions they cause.

        Reply
        • climatehawk1

           /  March 1, 2015

          Thanks, but that sounds like a blog post for you to write. I am more simple-minded and less charitable–I just think he likes being in the headlines, as previously suggested, and I’d like to encourage others to connect the dots about the ultimately destructive role he is playing. He did take some heat from other scientists on the California drought issue, so it will probably catch up with him in any event. As I Google him and look at some articles that have criticized him, I see that Joe Romm has been doing a pretty good job. See, for example, http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/12/08/3600717/california-drought-climate-change-2/

      • Griffin

         /  March 1, 2015

        Although I find your comments to be very intelligent and much appreciated mikkel, I tend to agree with climatehawk1 here. It seems to me that Hoerling likes to be the guy that the media turns to for an opinion. From what I have seen, his comments are perfectly suited to what the media is looking for these days. Most, if not all climate articles in the mainstream today will dampen the link to climate change with a “possibly” thrown in at some point. They really don’t want to publish the quotes of the scientist that says “yes, we have unequivocally broken the ocean” for fear of alienating the consumer. Since the public is largely ignorant to the severity of the situation, the story is presented in the least alarmist way possible. In that case, someone with a trustworthy acronym in front of their name and a viewpoint of “we really can’t say that this is our fault” is like gold to them. Once his name is out there, and the media types realize that they will get the favorable quote from him, they will keep calling.
        It is this reality that makes me very thankful that I found my way into reading this blog. I learn more from Robert and everyone’s comments than I ever would from reading a news website.

        Reply
      • mikkel

         /  March 1, 2015

        There is definitely an ego there I agree!

        But I know people who have personally played that role in things just because they are so literal that they get upset when they feel things are being presented without full caveats. By the media reaching out to him, it’s enabling him to do that.

        One time I participated on a blog conversation that seemed to be all professional scientists and several of them were offended at the idea that “framing” existed in the first place! They said “just present all the data and say exactly what we know for sure or what we are unsure about, then let people decide. Objectively that’s what scientists are!”

        Of course, that’s one opinion about what science is, and it’s own frame….

        So from that my question is, because you two understand the dynamics of how he’s being used and what he’s saying, then how do you think highlighting it will change anything? (Or perhaps maybe you actually don’t?)

        You can try to rebut until the cows come home, but the big media framing is going to win out every time. Romm’s blog is one of the largest and it’s read by nobody (both in terms of numbers and more importantly, non-polarized people) compared to the outlets that Hoerling has. I don’t see any way of affecting the situation other than getting him to stop doing it; and in fact, one of the most effective perception changing moves is when someone who seems on one side “switches” and says they were being manipulated to make it appear to say stuff they didn’t believe. That would be quite a coup…

        Reply
      • Griffin

         /  March 1, 2015

        Yes, you are correct mikkel. It is up to him to recognize that his comments which are deflecting culpability away from human influence on the climate are doing much more harm than good. I think of Eric Rignot’s comment regarding the WAIS being past the point of irreversible collapse. It was roughly that some scientists are not comfortable with publicly commenting on such a strong viewpoint as it being past the tipping point, but that he had been studying the area long enough to be sure of his position. Step away from the science for a moment and you can see that the issue is more about human nature and our tendency towards wanting to maintain acceptance than it is about mass loss. The noncommittal cannot be proven wrong, and therefore will maintain acceptance in the community. In his interview with Peter Sinclair, Rignot goes on to discuss the challenge of getting scientists to take off the science hat and put on the communicators hat once in a while.
        The world needs them to do just that!

        Reply
      • Mikkel–

        Sometimes scientists stick too closely to the dictionary definition and, in doing so, fail to get the point across. How many lives would have been saved, for example, during Sandy, if the NHC hadn’t confused the public over definitions mid-storm just because Sandy went extra tropical right before landfall. Sometimes the technical definition gets in the way of truth in experience — how people generally understand truth, which is no-where near as nuanced as the science.

        Scientists should avoid saying things like — only a small part of this heatwave was caused by global warming. Though technically correct, it misleads in that it creates the impression that global warming only has a minor impact. But the real truth in communication is that the heatwave would never have been so dangerous or such a record shatterer without global warming. Global warming turns garden variety heatwaves into monsters. It’s the mutagen agent for freak weather of this kind.

        Scientists need to tell the truth so that people can understand threat and RESPOND.

        Reply
  20. Andy in San Diego

     /  February 28, 2015

    Central Valley Water Allocation – Zero Again (repeat of last year)

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/environment/article11355200.html

    Reply
  21. eleggua

     /  February 28, 2015

    ‘Inhofe brings snowball on Senate floor as evidence globe is not warming’
    February 27, 2015
    http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/26/politics/james-inhofe-snowball-climate-change/

    “A few minutes later, an incredulous Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, one of the most vocal proponents for policies to curb global warming, went to the floor to rebut Inhofe’s claims.

    “I want to respond to the presentation by one of the Republican senators suggesting that the continued existence of snow disproves climate change,” Whitehouse said before explaining how studies by NASA and other credible organizations have proven through various scientific methods that the planet is warming. “

    Reply
  22. eleggua

     /  February 28, 2015

    ”Ground zero of climate change’: Antarctic’s melting ice could reshape continents’
    02/27/2015
    http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_27611420/ground-zero-climate-change-antarctics-melting-ice-could

    “Before Antarctica was much of a wild card,” said University of Washington ice scientist Ian Joughin. “Now I would say it’s less of a wild card and more scary than we thought before.”

    Over at NASA, ice scientist Eric Rignot said the melting “is going way faster than anyone had thought. It’s kind of a red flag.”

    What’s happening is simple physics. Warm water eats away at the ice from underneath. Then more ice is exposed to the water, and it too melts. Finally, the ice above the water collapses into the water and melts…

    The world’s fate hangs on the question of how fast the ice melts…

    But if all the West Antarctic ice sheet that’s connected to water melts unstoppably, as several experts predict, there will not be time to prepare. Scientists estimate it will take anywhere from 200 to 1,000 years to melt enough ice to raise seas by 10 feet, maybe only 100 years in a worst case scenario. If that plays out, developed coastal cities such as New York and Guangzhou could face up to $1 trillion a year in flood damage within a few decades and countless other population centers will be vulnerable.

    “Changing the climate of the Earth or thinning glaciers is fine as long as you don’t do it too fast. And right now we are doing it as fast as we can. It’s not good,” said Rignot, of NASA. “We have to stop it; or we have to slow it down as best as we can. ”

    Reply
  23. eleggua

     /  February 28, 2015

    ‘King of sea lions spotted in Southern California waters’
    2.27.2015
    http://www.scpr.org/news/2015/02/27/50087/king-of-sea-lions-spotted-in-southern-california-w/

    Steller sea lions, the largest of the sea lions, are the latest to visit Southern California waters in a year-long cavalcade of rarely seen marine mammals…

    Warmer-than-average ocean temperatures have been attributed with bringing prey fish, such as sardine and mackerel, to California’s coastal waters. That food source has attracted visits from false killer whales, Bryde’s whales, pygmy killer whales and other rarely seen marine mammals.

    Reply
  24. Colorado Bob

     /  February 28, 2015

    South America Fall Forecast: Brazil to Remain in Grips of Drought; Chile to Feel Warmth

    http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/south-america-fall-2015-weather-forecast/42954364

    Reply
  25. Colorado Bob

     /  February 28, 2015

    Florida Tech study finds global warming fuels coral killer

    Global warming worsens a disease that has almost wiped out Caribbean coral reefs, according to a new study by researchers at the Florida Institute of Technology.

    In only 40 years, the iconic elkhorn and staghorn corals that have dominated Caribbean reefs for 3.5 million years have declined by more than 90 percent. The main culprit: a disease that causes dead, white bands across the coral. And ocean warming is playing a bigger role in the so-called “white-band” disease than previously thought, the researchers found.

    “Up until this point, people didn’t have any evidence between a warming temperature and this disease,” said Carly Randall, a Ph.D. student at Florida Tech and lead author on the study.

    Link

    Reply
  26. Andy in San Diego

     /  February 28, 2015
    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  February 28, 2015

      Lake change, Iran

      Lake Urmia, a salt lake in northwestern Iran, is continuing to shrink as less water flows into it. Dam construction, decreased precipitation and diversion of surface water for upstream use have all been playing a role. The lighter blue colors in these images indicate shallower water. The lake has been home to human settlements since the Stone Age and its watershed is currently an important agricultural region, which supports more than six million people. Also see this set of images.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  February 28, 2015

        Source –

        Reply
      • Andy in San Diego

         /  February 28, 2015
        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  February 28, 2015

        ‘The river Zayandeh-Rood in Isfahan dried ‘

        ^^^Audio isn’t in English however the images speak for themselves.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  February 28, 2015

        From wikipedia:

        Zayandeh-Rood or Zayanderood, was the largest river in the central plateau of Iran. In the early 2010s, the river dried out completely after several years of seasonal dry-outs.

        Zayandeh River crosses the city of Isfahan, a major cultural and economic center of Iran. In the 17th century, Shaikh Bahai (an influential scholar and adviser to the Safavid dynasty), designed and built a system of canals (maadi), to distribute Zayandeh water to Isfahan’s suburbs. Water from the Zayandeh River helped the growth of the population and the economy, helped established Isfahan as an influential center, and gave a green landscape to Isfahan, a city in the middle of a desert.

        Tourism site, with obviously outdated info:
        http://www.itto.org/tourismattractions/?sight=220
        Throughout its course, the presence of lush green thickets adds to the beauty and the pleasant environment, which attributes to the recreational atmosphere.
        Furthermore, alongside the banks of this river, in the city of Esfahan and near the Zaman Khan Bridge (between Esfahan and Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiyari), can be considered as an excellent spot for recreational purposes.

        2011: “The Zayandeh rood river in Isfahan, one of Iran’s main tourist attraction, has dried up. It has been dry for the last three summers.”

        Reply
  27. – This ‘learned deafness’ a syndrome applies to climate change denial/avoidance as well.

    Noise pollution is making us oblivious to the sound of nature, says researcher

    Gift of hearing birdsong and trickling water is being lost to a process of ‘learned deafness’, says US scientist, as people screen out background noise

    The tranquil chorus of the natural world is in danger of being lost to today’s generation as people screen out the noises that surround them, a senior US researcher warns.

    Rising levels of background noise in some areas threaten to make people oblivious to the uplifting sounds of birdsong, trickling water, and trees rustling in the wind, which can often be heard even in urban centres, said Kurt Fristrup, a senior scientist at the US National Park Service.

    The problem was exacerbated by people listening to iPods through their earphones instead of tuning in to the birds and other sounds of nature that can easily be drowned out by traffic, music and others noises, he said.

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/feb/17/noise-pollution-is-making-us-oblivious-to-the-sound-of-nature-says-researcher

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  February 28, 2015

      Highly recommend Bernie Krause’s book, ‘The Great Animal Orchestra’.
      http://www.thegreatanimalorchestra.com/
      Hearing Bernie many years ago discuss ‘the tapestry of sound’ in natural environments was transformative.

      Bernie at TED Global 2013:

      Bernie Krause has been recording wild soundscapes — the wind in the trees, the chirping of birds, the subtle sounds of insect larvae — for 45 years. In that time, he has seen many environments radically altered by humans, sometimes even by practices thought to be environmentally safe. A surprising look at what we can learn through nature’s symphonies, from the grunting of a sea anemone to the sad calls of a beaver in mourning.

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  February 28, 2015

        Apologies for embedded vid. Didn’t realize the link would embed the vid.

        Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  March 1, 2015

      Well said. I’m grateful for having grown up in a (then) very rural setting with lots of woods, overgrown fields and a pond in Connecticut. I got into bird-watching early, and have rekindled that interest over the last few decades. I love the early morning chorus of birds, and in spring, the spring peepers and other frogs.

      Come May, I wonder how many of my neighbors think I’m nuts for craning my neck looking for some invisible thing in the oak trees with binoculars. Well, it’s the arrival of the beautiful neo-tropical songbirds, many passing through here on their way to Canada, that makes May so exciting. And given how hard they can be to see, it helps to learn their songs and calls, which I’ve done over many years. It fills me with wonder to think that the Blackburnian Warbler singing in our oak trees may be on its way to central Quebec to nest, having flown all the way from South America.

      I wonder how many people would be aware if these species went extinct, after all, you have to be curious enough about your local environment / ecosystem to even know they’re there. It makes me sad to think that this knowledge of our local environments is declining just when we need it re-established.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the bird thoughts, Mark from New England.

        But I have serious doubts that ‘people’ even notice their local environment. Everyday, I see great damage and breakdown in local landscapes — and plenty of ‘people’ around who just don’t ‘see’.
        I keep photographing — do stick out in the crowd, and no one seems to notice me either.

        Some of my efforts got a response though.
        Facebook has a “Who was with you — or is in the photo” link. If a local official or celebrity had a Facebook page, I would add them to some graphic dysfunctional landscape. Just to get their attention. Ha!

        Peace, DT

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 1, 2015

        There’re amazing sounds made by all sorts of unexpected critters, great and small.

        Ever hear a bess bug?

        The adults stridulate: they make sound by rubbing part of the exoskeleton against the elytra (iirc). Their larvae, little mealworm-looking critters, also stridulate, using their legs.
        The bess bugs – a beetle, actually, not a ‘true bug’ – tend their young and actually audibly communicate with each other! Essentially, they vocalize!
        They’re carrion eaters; the adults of most bess bug species feed the young. Amazing to observe that behaviour in an inverterbrate that isn’t a social insect controlled by pheromones ala bees and termites.
        There’re some cockroaches that tend their young, too; the burying beetles – another carrion eater, also care for their larvae. It’s a big “Wow!” to see that in action.

        Look up in the trees and look under rocks; amazing life to be encountered and observed everywhere.
        Just make sure to set the rock back in the same exact spot.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 1, 2015

        Mark, have you seen any West Coast transient hummingbirds in your neck of the woods?
        A bunch have been observed on the East Coast the past few autumns, some even staying into the winter. They’re apparently making a u-turn in the southern migration and instead of heading for Mexico, the Yucatan and areas of South America, heading up the East Coast.

        Something instinctual seems to be re-wiring in these birds.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 1, 2015

        http://ebird.org/content/ebird/news/west_hum_east/
        The appearance of these western hummingbirds is a phenomenon that has been realized only recently. Starting in the mid-1980s, each ensuing year has seemed to reveal more hummingbirds of more species in the late fall. In Maryland for example, one Rufous Hummingbird was recorded per decade from 1952 to 1981; in the 1980s there were two; from 1990-1993 there were four; from 1994-1997 there were seven; and from 1998-2000 there were eight. The trend has continued along this trajectory, with more Rufous Hummingbirds appearing in each subsequent year. The state’s first Calliope came in 2004, followed by one in 2006 and another in 2007; an Anna’s Hummingbird occurred in 2005. What will 2012 hold?

        Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  March 1, 2015

        eleggua and DT,

        Thanks for your comments. Your observations remind me of a scene in the movie “The Fisher King” with Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges, in which Robin William’s character reassures Jeff Bridges not to worry about him getting caught climbing a large building in NYC, and breaking into a billionaires appt. to steal the ‘Holy Grail’, since “No one looks up in this city”.

        And eleggua, I have not personally seen any of the western hummingbirds that have wandered east, but I read reports of them often, most especially along the coast and on Cape Cod. Thanks for the links.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 1, 2015

        You’re welcome.

        “No one looks up in this city”.

        Several years ago I’d the great pleasure to observe a massive painted lady butterfly migration; it went on for daze!
        Billions of individuals on the way northward from the Mojave. They were racing through, not stopping to feed, heading to Oregon and Washington breeding grounds.
        Tens of thousands passing over one spot per minute. MIllions of individuals per day. Incredible.

        Not one person that I pointed them out to had noticed them. If they’d been pterodactyls rather than butterflies maybe they’d have been noticed. Or maybe not.

        Same thing with snout butterfly migrations in Texas. No one notices them zipping past in huge numbers until pointed out, and that often gets a “so what?” reaction. Hundreds of thousands flying through Austin and it’s like they’re invisible.
        More butterflies in these migrations than bats under the Congress Ave bridge by ten times.
        (That’s a spectactual sight, too, when millions of bats come out from under the bridge at dusk, on the way to dinner.)

        And the same with eclipses, both solar and lunar. Some people are very jazzed when it’s pointed out.
        Others, “so, what?”, if they even bother to acknowledge it.

        Reply
      • As a fellow Connecticut native, I share your appreciation for the natural beauty of our area. There are so many amazing creatures living here or passing through-if you know where and what to look for. As far as migratory birds, it is a tragedy that we will lose so many great birds that have annual migrations that span multiple continents. There something extra special about species who travel the world on their own power to feed and create the next generation. We had inherited the garden of Eden and we tore it up and turned it into cheap shit to buy and fill our homes with.

        Reply
  28. – Don’t remember if this link has been posted here before but it has some stunning photos of glacier retreat. The NASA Change: Arapaho Glacier, Colorado (1898) caaught my eye.
    Main link to follow.
    http://dsx.weather.com//util/image/w/ArapahoGlacier1898.jpg?v=at&w=980&h=551&api=7db9fe61-7414-47b5-9871-e17d87b8b6a0

    Reply
      • -The photos of the Alaskan glaciers are damned scary.

        Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  February 28, 2015

        NASA Change: Muir Glacier, Alaska (1941) ……………………. 9 of 52

        NASA Change: Muir Glacier, Alaska (2004) …………………. 10 of 52

        A really stunning set of images

        Link

        Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  February 28, 2015

        The main gallery the glacier images came from

        Our Images of Change gallery features images of different locations on planet Earth, showing change over time periods ranging from centuries to days. Some of these effects are related to climate change, some are not. Some document the effects of urbanization, or the ravage of natural hazards such as fires and floods. All show our planet in a state of flux.

        Link

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  February 28, 2015

        Wow. Definitely stunning.

        Related:
        ‘USGS Repeat Photography Project Documents Retreating Glaciers in Glacier National Park’
        http://www.nrmsc.usgs.gov/repeatphoto/
        With evidence of worldwide glacial recession and modeled predictions that all of the park’s glaciers will melt by the year 2030, USGS scientists have begun the task of documenting glacial decline through photography. The striking images created by pairing historic images with contemporary photos has given “global warming” a face and made “climate change” a relevant issue to viewers. The images are an effective visual means to help viewers understand that climate change contributes to the dynamic landscape changes so evident in Glacier National Park.

        Reply
      • Those are some disturbing photos. I’ve been to Colorado quite a few times (Brother in Denver) and always go snowboarding, and to see how large the Arapahoe glacier used to be was shocking. It’s sad to know that they’re already terminal, just a matter of time.

        Reply
      • Andy in San Diego

         /  February 28, 2015

        Ryan,

        I’ve done the same over the years (in-laws in Denver). In the early 90’s you would see significant snow pack at Eisenhower tunnel (and surrounding peaks) in August, and it was still quite cold.

        Over the decades August snow pack has disappeared (just a few gross patches here and there). It is also noticeably not cold anymore. Then in July we started seeing no snow pack when driving up.

        At the same time, the Colorado river by Grand Junction became less and less a river, more and more a stream.

        Climatic zones are marching north, and have been doing so for decades. I’m glad to see someone else notice this localized display as well, and not very glad it is occurring….

        Reply
      • Andy, I drove through Colorado headed across country in 2003 and stayed in Silverthorne for the night. It was late July and there was still some snowpack on the summits of surrounding peaks. Then I spoke with old timers in the area, and they told me how there used to be snowpack year round at those elevations but now it’s basically gone in summer. Like you pointed out, less snow and warmer temps, clear to anyone with their eyes open. Even big ski areas that would reliably get deep snows are going through dry spells, according to locals I’ve spoken with. Combine that with pine beetle epidemics and it’s clear to see that the Colorado we know and love will soon be a thing of the past.

        Reply
  29. Colorado Bob

     /  February 28, 2015

    Hey Boston, Alaska called. It wants its snow and cold weather back

    Starting sometime in December, the Alaskan winter packed up and left the state, like an indignant teenager running away from home. No one knew where it was headed until late January, when the Frontier State’s typical winter climate suddenly turned up moved more than 3,000 miles southeast, in southern New England.

    Now, Alaska is eyeing the epic winter in places like Boston and Portland, Maine, with envy. Much as the cold weather in the lower 48 states has smashed records, the relative warmth in Alaska has broken numerous records and led to some unusual weather phenomena.

    For example, on Feb. 22 and 23, Fairbanks picked up the most freezing rain it had seen in the month of February since the 1920s. Because the ground in that inland city is comprised of a layer of permafrost, which means the soil is permanently frozen, freezing rain can be especially hazardous there. The ice led to the closure of Fairbanks International Airport, for example.

    Link

    Reply
    • Andy in San Diego

       /  February 28, 2015

      Me thinks we may see some forest fires this summer up north again….

      I love the title (Hey Boston, Alaska called. It wants its snow and cold weather back).

      But but but…. Inhofe found a snowball. Doesn’t that disprove everything?

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  February 28, 2015

        The worst fire season we have ever seen all the way into Canada. At the highest latitudes .

        And in Siberia , they have done the same pattern , dry and warm .

        Reply
      • climatehawk1

         /  February 28, 2015

        Very clever tweet on Inhofe’s snowball display. Someone compared it to lying on the floor to demonstrate beyond question that the earth is flat.

        Reply
      • I don’t know about you guys, but to me the frequency and intensity of arctic wildfires is terrifying. Every summer it seems to get worse. In the western US some of the worst fires in history have almost all occurred in the past few years-Arizona, New Mexico, California, Colorado, Washington. Canada and Siberia experiencing massive fires. When you step back and look at it from a global perspective, it’s just one more dead canary in this coal mine.

        Reply
      • Andrew Dodds

         /  March 2, 2015

        Ryan – the canary is dead, the mine owner instructed the supervisor to glue it upright on the perch..

        Here in the UK (South west), winter didn’t start till Febuary.. and it seems over now. We’ve had a few frosts here, a few snow showers (not settled) and that’s it.

        I just find the specter of a politician pulling a stunt like that unbelievable; he should just have been laughed out of the room. I mean, you have a highly advanced country that depends for it’s day to day existence on the application of complex scientific principles, and a member of the leadership class things that such a stunt is even vaguely appropriate.. it beggars belief.

        Reply
    • ” And on Feb. 24, National Weather Service employees in Nome, Alaska, which is about 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle, witnessed an extremely rare, if not unprecedented, event for that location: thundersnow. The NWS observers saw several lightning flashes accompanied by thunder and heavy snow.

      Thoman told Mashable in an interview that thundersnow, which is typically seen in more temperate locations in the continental U.S. since its formation requires relatively warm, unstable air aloft, had never been seen before in Nome.”

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  February 28, 2015

        This story brings to mind a lot of reports of ‘frost quakes’ aka ‘ice quakes’ from various parts of easter North America. Never heard so many reports of what used to be anomalous in one winter, particularly over such a widespread area of the continent.
        Climate change caused?

        ‘Frost quakes surprise Middle Tennessee’
        February 19, 2015
        ysterious booms and cracking noises startled people across Middle Tennessee during a deep freeze Wednesday night, leading many to learn a new scientific term.
        Cryoseismic booms — which occur when frozen water expands and explodes underground — were reported widely.

        ‘Could Local Sonic Booms Be Ice Quakes?’
        HENDERSON COUNTY, N.C.
        February 20 2015
        “I’d never heard of it before but I guess the ice expands underground and causes fractures that causes explosion,” David said.

        ”Ice quakes’ shaking up Arkansans’
        February 23, 2015
        Two winters ago, Arkansans saw the rare winter phenomenon of “thundersnow,” when lightning and thunder accompany snowfall.
        Now, the abnormality is cryoseismic activity, or “ice quakes.”

        ‘Ice quake on Gull Lake?’
        BRAINERD, Minn
        February 12, 2015
        It was not until this past weekend that they took a closer look along the shore and discovered damage to structures and the landscape. A sidewalk on the elder Schwens’ property is pushed up and broken in several places and sand on a nearby beach is mounded up where it’s normally flat. A boathouse next door appears to have shifted from its foundation and previously straight trees are protruding at odd angles.

        ‘Frost quakes’ hit Southern New England’
        Feb 25, 2015

        ‘Frost quake? NH homeowners hear noises during bitter cold’
        Frost quakes occur during extreme changes in temperature
        Feb 25, 2015

        From last year:
        ‘Freaky ‘frost quakes’ boom and shake frozen Midwest towns’
        February 6, 2014
        http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-frost-quakes-cryoseism-20140206-story.html
        Thanks to social media reports, researchers have been able to study frost quake reports submitted from Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Canada and talk to those who felt and heard the unsettling booms and shakes…
        “Since frost quakes are rare, localized, cannot be monitored and tend to cause only minimal damage, the scientific community has very limited amount of information,” said University of Toronto Scarborough Climate Laboratory researcher Andrew Leung….
        King’s map shows frost quake markers in states such as Maine, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin. As recently as Sunday, 911 operators in Illinois and Missouri took reports from callers who said they heard booms.

        It’s more typical to hear of booms once every few years in rural areas of states such as Wisconsin and Massachusetts.

        This widespread activity, two years in a row, is atypical.

        Reply
    • Griffin

       /  March 1, 2015

      Cape Cod has legitimate sea ice in places this year. One look at today’s MODIS shot of New England is all you need to know that things have been crazy wacky this year. The north side of the cape has ice extending out for miles.

      Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  March 1, 2015

      This article is in today’s Boston Globe – but no mention of Dr. Jennifer Francis or the connection between melting sea ice and an erratic jet stream – can you believe it? I may have to remedy that situation with a LTTE.

      Reply
  30. climatehawk1

     /  February 28, 2015

    Thanks, I have shared this via Twitter with the LA Times reporter who wrote about the sea lion pups.

    Reply
  31. Colorado Bob

     /  February 28, 2015

    Melting Arctic sea ice forces relocation on Alaskan village
    Human interest meets ecological endangerment in a small whaling village on a small barrier island in Alaska. Watching midwinter Arctic sea ice turn to water, inhabitants are forced to accept relocation but lack the means.

    Read more: Link

    Reply
  32. Colorado Bob

     /  February 28, 2015

    Freezing rain creates hazardous conditions in Interior Alaska
    Sun Feb 22, 2015.
    Updated 11:58 a.m.: Rain began falling over Fairbanks and Interior Alaska overnight Saturday, coating roads and surfaces with ice and making travel extremely hazardous.

    http://www.newsminer.com/news/local_news/winter-storm-warning-issued-as-rain-falls-in-interior-southcentral/article_ec583058-ba50-11e4-a51b-df70e216fa00.html

    Think about that . Rain in interior Alaska on Feb. 22 at night .
    Then it makes ice, animals cannot paw through ice . Voles, owls, caribou , you name it .

    Ice storms need a warm wet air mass, To see them in Feb. in Alaska is really very scarey.

    The theory predicted this , warm wet air riding over cold dense air laying near the surface.

    It will march north from the South.

    Reply
    • “Then it makes ice, animals cannot paw through ice . Voles, owls, caribou, you name it .”

      -Thanks for mentioning them.

      Reply
      • -The ice quakes reminded me of a passage from a terrific book set in NW British Columbia near the Babine — Driftwood Valley, by Theodora C. Stanwell-Fletcher.

        “Christmas Day

        Last night when we went to bed the windows on the inside were covered with frost an inch thick; the logs in the walls, and the shakes in the roof, cracked like gunshots, as they were split by the cold; and out on the lake the ice kept up an almost steady booming, interspersed with the horrid ripping and tearing that always makes my spine tingle. During the night I was waked repeatedly by such terrific cracks in the logs that I thought the cabin was coming down on our heads. When the temperature is falling, we expect a drop of 15 or 25 degrees during the night, beginning at sunset, but last night it broke all records…”

        Reply
    • The caribou herders (some of the same who have discovered the craters in Siberia) have been experiencing difficulty with increased thawing and freezing events, which as you mentioned Bob, the animals can’t push through the ice the way they can with powder to gain access to the lichen they feed on. It can be deadly for Caribou and others who evolved in a cold, snowy environment.

      Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  March 1, 2015

      Yep. We have no idea what is coming ,
      “Get ready Little Lady, Hell is Coming Breakfast”

      Lone Wadi the Outlaw Josey Wells

      Reply
      • james cole

         /  March 1, 2015

        The threat is now so dire that even I now black it out of my mind most days! And I am one of those who was all over Global Warming when the science first hit mainstream culture in the 80’s. I followed each development, each new scientific revelation. But when by 2000, the government and deniers had taken global warming off the agenda, and news media blacked it out of coverage, I lost faith and hope.
        I now follow Global Warming out of scientific curiosity and love of physics. But as for personal hope that we can and will confront this disaster head on? NOPE! I can’t deal with the shameless way humanity is marching to their doom.

        Reply
      • wili

         /  March 1, 2015

        Me too, james. I call what we have to engage in now, “post-hope environmentalism.” We still have to do fight the good fight and reduce our own footprint, but not because there is anymore any chance of preserving anything like the plane we were brought into. Just because it’s the right thing to do. I can’t remember who said it and it was probably in a different context, but the quote goes something like: “I don’t fight fascists because I think I’m going to win; I fight fascists because they’re fascists.”

        Reply
        • climatehawk1

           /  March 1, 2015

          Like Mother Teresa. Asked if it wasn’t discouraging to her that poverty continued to be overwhelming in spite of her efforts, she said, “God has not called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful.”

  33. Apneaman

     /  March 1, 2015

    Reply
    • Andy in San Diego

       /  March 1, 2015

      That is tough to wrap my head around. With the other populations collapsing, and so quickly and now frequently I am very concerned that the window of opportunity to right this ship is closing fast.

      We may have this pending extinction event not just in the cards, but actually underway.

      Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 1, 2015

      Ugh. Sad.

      Would like to know where the vid was shot; no info on the vid page.
      The poster, Dr. Dijanna Figueroa, Ph.D., is at UC Santa Barbara.
      http://www.blueoceansciences.org/about.html

      Majority of the folks commenting on that vid page are erroneously blaming the deaths on Fukushima radiation.
      This commenter seems to get it, though not entirely:
      And it has nothing to do with the several hundred mile pool of oil products and plastic swirling around the pacific? There’s no mange or lost hair on those seals that I can see, but I do see typical colorations of biological decay some are mistaking for burns. Hardly evidence of radioactivity as it would be oozing, bloody dermal patches. What geiger counter readings did you get of the carcases? Faith is one thing but science helps eliminate doubt. Oil and nuclear energy are both bad answers to a malformed question nonetheless. May the TRUTH reign, whatever it actually is.

      This commenter gets it, but unfortunately derides the ignorant rather than attempting to educate:
      Holy fuck the Fukushima comments. You people try so hard to feel like you’re unveiling some unknown knowledge or something. This website is plagued with fucking idiots. Don’t attest these events to all of the non renewable resources you all contribute towards pumping into the air, which one of the side effects is raising the temperature (as stated in the video, they’re experiencing warmer waters), affecting the dependant homeostasis of life underwater. Go look up how our coral reef systems are handling our fucking destruction, and also look up all of the life dependant on those reefs, and then the life that relies on those lives and so on.. Anyways, that affecting contributes to the disorder to the rest of the foodweb, therefore resulting in shit such as what we’re witnessing in the video.

      Reply
  34. Colorado Bob

     /  March 1, 2015

    Oh shit .

    Reply
  35. Colorado Bob

     /  March 1, 2015

    james cole
    The only reason I am not dead. I want to see how all this plays out. I am a serious old jackass. And I don’t give a rat’s fuzzy butt what the deniers believe.

    Reply
  36. Colorado Bob

     /  March 1, 2015

    james cole

    I pay 40 dollars a month to write this , but every 5 minutes , I have to reboot the entire system . I am in very poor place as far my cable system thinks . If I was 40 years ago , I would be mad. Now , I have no idea what do.

    Reply
  37. Colorado Bob

     /  March 1, 2015

    Ongoing flooding brings further misery to Madagascar

    Antananarivo has recorded 219mm of rain in the last seven days, 129mm of which fell on Thursday alone. The average for the entire month of February is 279mm.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2015/02/ongoing-flooding-brings-misery-madagascar-150228092743218.html

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  March 1, 2015

      II would hope every one would read these numbers. , and think about them over your home.

      Reply
  38. rustj2015

     /  March 1, 2015

    This probably came from an earlier study by Robert Scribbler, but bears repeating:

    Seafloor sediment cores reveal abrupt, extensive loss of oxygen in the ocean when ice sheets melted roughly 10,000-17,000 years ago, according to a study from the University of California, Davis. The findings provide insight into similar changes observed in the ocean today.
    In the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers analyzed marine sediment cores from different world regions to document the extent to which low oxygen zones in the ocean have expanded in the past, due to climate change.
    From the subarctic Pacific to the Chilean margins, they found evidence of extreme oxygen loss stretching from the upper ocean to about 3,000 meters deep. In some oceanic regions, such loss took place over a time period of 100 years or less.
    “This is a global story that knits these regions together and shows that when you warm the planet rapidly, whole ocean basins can lose oxygen very abruptly and very extensively,” said lead author Sarah Moffitt, a postdoctoral scholar with the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory and formerly a Ph.D. student with the Graduate Group in Ecology.

    http://news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=11129

    Reply
    • Griffin

       /  March 1, 2015

      I wish the urge to attach a future timescale to comments could somehow be suppressed by scientists trying to communicate. Once they say “the potential of this to be a problem in 100 years…” the average reader has turned off. With the drastic changes to the oceanic environment that we are seeing now, it would be helpful for them to start framing the discussion on the present. In my opinion anyway.

      Reply
  39. eleggua

     /  March 1, 2015

    Wonderful conversation with cabdriver from Eritrea last evening. He was hip to what’s up with climate change, very concerned, very much in agreement that this is not a political issue or a financial issue, that it’s moral issue. He was not morose about the future; he was not doom-ridden. He seemed very postive about our possibities while not at all ignorant of how huge of task we’ve right now and ahead of us.

    Idiots and deniers may have the bigger bully pulpits at the moment, but one might be surprised at how aware many people are about what’s up and ready to do something – whatever that may be – to help bring about massive positive change. These now-silent voices are going to be heard en-masse very soon. The tide is turning and there’s a phase shift point not far ahead. Keep up the good work; spread the word and encourage the postive.

    Talk to folks – strangers – that you encounter in your everyday life about climate change.
    You maybe suprised how many are actually as acutely concerned as yourself, and ready to contribute whatever possible toward helping catalyze positive change.

    Reply
  40. eleggua

     /  March 1, 2015

    btw, it was hybrid taxi.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_taxi

    Reply
  41. Fighting Patagonia’s ‘impossible’ forest fire

    Hundreds of rescue workers in the southern Argentinean province of Chubut are continuing to fight a huge forest fire that is threatening to engulf a renowned national park in Patagonia.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-31676771

    Reply
  42. David Nemerson

     /  March 1, 2015

    Robert- An arctic ice update might be in order. The sober and serious posters on http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,997.msg46366.html#new seem pretty alarmed by the state of this winter’s refreeze (or lack there of). NSIDC extent falling again over the past few days.

    Reply
    • Cheers David. As of last week we were just bumping along above lowest on record. If it takes a dive now, would be rather bad news. Thanks for the head’s up. I’ll look into it.

      Reply
    • Looks like the North Pole side is rather fragile and vulnerable to melting out this summer…

      On another note, over the past few years we’ve see big area and extent gains this time of year just prior to melt season start. If that doesn’t happen this year, we start melt at or near record extent and area lows. That would be a rather bad start…

      Melt forecast looks like we might see a bit of a dip by next week. GFS shows more Arctic warming due to another set of warm, moist air shots running up over the oceans.

      Reply
  43. Near 120W 40N

     /  March 1, 2015

    It appears the entire California biosphere is under great stress. More dots to connect, all happening at the same time: the precious giant sequoias are suffering due to a decline in snow and cold fog; in the last 50 years, the state’s deer population has fallen by 75%; delta smelt population cratering. Bear and mountain lion sighting increase in the suburbs as they search for increasingly scarce food. California’s famous world-class vineyards are threatened because grapes are very sensitive to climate; a quiet land rush is occurring in Oregon as vintners seek cooler and wetter environments. Sure, urbanization and pollution have a lot to do with this but climate change might be the proverbial last straw.

    Reply
  44. – Climate News Network 0228

    Seeing is believing as scientists trace greenhouse effect

    High-precision field instruments in the US have provided the first real-time “action shots” of the increasing impact of CO2 on global warming.

    LONDON, 28 February, 2015 − Government scientists in the US say they have directly observed for the first time the greenhouse effect in action, while monitoring the way carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere absorbed increasing amounts of thermal radiation from the surface.

    Their measurements, taken over a period of 11 years in Alaska and Oklahoma, confirm predictions made more than 100 years ago, and repeatedly examined: there is a greenhouse effect, and the greenhouse gas that most helps the world warm is carbon dioxide.

    The phenomenon is known in climate science shorthand as radiative forcing, which happens when the Earth absorbs more energy from solar radiation than it emits as thermal radiation back into space.

    The sun shines through the greenhouse gases as if they were glass, and warms the rocks. The rocks emit infra-red waves, but the transparent gases now keep the heat in, as if they formed the glass roof of a greenhouse.

    Carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas: water vapour also plays a role, along with oxides of nitrogen and methane or natural gas.

    But the study was powerful enough to isolate carbon dioxide’s contribution, and even register a dip in this radiative forcing early every year as the green shoots of spring begin to take up the greenhouse gas to build the new leaves and stems that nourish a hemisphere.

    http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/seeing-believing-scientists-trace-greenhouse-effect/

    Reply
    • Isn’t it insane that we are having to go to ever greater lengths to convince the deniers that yes, we do understand simple physics worked out with a pencil and paper in the 1800s? While this research is very high-tech and ultra precise, it’s still the same physics that we’ve known since long ago.

      Reply
      • Andy in San Diego

         /  March 1, 2015

        ” convince the deniers”

        I don’t think that is possible. They are regurgitating whatever story lines they can to deny what is occurring. I view it as a defense mechanism no different than an unemployed person going into foreclosure. They simply don’t open the mail, it is denial.

        I view the majority as simple people who are desperate to not admit what is underway, not evil, just not opening the mail. I feel sorry for these people as they’ll be in as much shock as when the marshals come to throw them out and change the locks.

        The merchants of doubt see the opportunity to make some great money with very little (or no) effort pandering to what the above folks want to hear. These are the truly evil ones.

        It is these kinds of folks who are the evils ones steering the masses.

        “In 1998 major fossil fuel companies put $2m behind a plan that would effectively fuel the fires of climate science scepticism among the American public. We reveal where the 12 people behind that plan are now”

        http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/feb/27/what-happened-to-lobbyists-who-tried-reshape-us-view-climate-change

        There is no convincing the deniers by anyone’s actions or statements. Eventually nature and the climate will do the job of the sheriff.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 1, 2015

        “”One day I woke up and realized that there are 47,000 barrels of nuclear waste that have been dumped in the Atlantic and about half of that in the Pacific. In 45 years those thousands and thousands of barrels of nuclear waste, radioactive waste will begin to leak into the ocean and begin to destroy the life chain at its source. And suddenly I realized that, although I won’t be alive when it happens, my children and other people will be alive. I realized that this is the most urgent problem that faces us. Destruction of the ocean is destruction of the whales, the porpoises and the life chain itself. We are poisoning our entire life and we really must be the guardians and the caretakers of the whole biosphere. I allways thought of it as a hypothetical situation and all of a sudden it became extremely real.” –

        Philip K. Dick, 1982

        Reply
      • Andy that is very true. I’ve read Merchants of Doubt and am familiar with the big money behind the denial movement. It’s a well crafted, extremely well funded propaganda campaign designed solely to protect the large corporate interests that will lose trillions if we do what we need to survive. I think I myself am in denial by sometimes thinking that the denier crowd will someday, somehow be convinced. If people are still blind to what’s going on, then it’s like you said, they’re just refusing to open their mail.

        Reply
  45. Plastic Smog: Microplastics Invade Our Oceans

    Recent research has shown microplastics in ice cores, across the seafloor, vertically throughout the ocean and on every beach worldwide. The little stuff is everywhere.

    The idea that there are “patches” of trash in the oceans is a myth created 15 years ago that should be abandoned in favor of “plastic smog,” like massive clouds of microplastics that emanate out of the five subtropical gyres. My recent publication in the journal Plos One, estimates 269,000 tons of plastic from 5.25 trillion particles, but more alarming than that is it’s mostly microplastic (>92 percent in our study) and most of the plastic in the ocean is likely not on the sea surface.

    If you follow the life of plastic in the oceans, as we have done for 50,000 miles since 2009, you find the large items leaving coastlines in droves, then it rapidly shreds as it migrates toward the calmer waters of the subtropical gyres where sunlight, waves and nibbling fish rip it to micro-size particles smaller than a grain of rice. Microplastic then flow through the bodies of billions of organisms, making their way out of the gyres to deeper currents, and ultimately the seafloor. That’s the end-life of plastic.

    Visualize the problem as “plastic smog” much like the way you can look up and visualize clouds of air pollution over cities…

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 1, 2015

      ‘Chris Jordan: Midway: Message from the Gyre’
      http://www.chrisjordan.com/gallery/midway/#CF000313%2018×24
      On Midway Atoll, a remote cluster of islands more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent, the detritus of our mass consumption surfaces in an astonishing place: inside the stomachs of thousands of dead baby albatrosses. The nesting chicks are fed lethal quantities of plastic by their parents, who mistake the floating trash for food as they forage over the vast polluted Pacific Ocean.

      For me, kneeling over their carcasses is like looking into a macabre mirror. These birds reflect back an appallingly emblematic result of the collective trance of our consumerism and runaway industrial growth. Like the albatross, we first-world humans find ourselves lacking the ability to discern anymore what is nourishing from what is toxic to our lives and our spirits. Choked to death on our waste, the mythical albatross calls upon us to recognize that our greatest challenge lies not out there, but in here.

      Heartbreaking images.

      Reply
  46. – 5 Gyres — quite a group!
    This is short but is a quick glimpse of what we don’t see.

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 1, 2015

      This short film by American director Ramin Bahrani (Goodbye Solo) traces the epic, existential journey of a plastic bag (voiced by Werner Herzog)…

      Reply
      • mdpi-com-journal-polymers

        Plastic Degradation and Its Environmental Implications with
        Special Reference to Poly(ethylene terephthalate)

        Plastic particles in the ocean have been shown to contain quite high levels of organic pollutants. Toxic chemicals, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), nonylphenol (NP)
        , organic pesticides, such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and bisphenol A (BPA) have been consistently found throughout oceanic plastic debris [
        10–12].
        The presence of these compounds further increases the risks associated with ingestion of plastic debris by wildlife, and additionally, many of these compounds can undergosignificant biomagnification and may potentially pose a direct risk to human health [12].
        These toxic agents have been linked to and are associated with many health problems, including developmental impairment (neurological impairment, growth abnormalities and hormonal imbalances), cancer, endocrine disruption, neurobehavioral changes, arthritis, breast cancer, diabetes and DNA hypomethylation [13–16]

        Reply
  47. Climate Photo of the Week
    newsroom.unfccc.int natures-role climate-photo-of-the-week

    http://newsroom.unfccc.int/media/220391/paolopatrizi1.jpg?width=704px&height=469px

    Reply
  48. eleggua

     /  March 1, 2015

    It’s official:

    ‘America’s Addiction to Fossil Fuels Is Officially Causing Earthquakes’
    http://mic.com/articles/111402/america-s-addiction-to-fossil-fuels-is-officially-causing-earthquakes …a growing body of evidence suggests that the operations involved with fracking may be responsible for the increasing number of earthquakes being recorded around the country. In Oklahoma, researchers recorded an unprecedented 585 magnitude-3 earthquakes in 2014 alone, with other spikes noted in states in the Midwest and Southwest involved in energy extraction….

    According to the USGS and Oklahoma Geological Survey scientists, the increase of one to three magnitude-3 earthquakes annually in Oklahoma from the period 1975-2008 to about 40 a year from 2009 to mid-2013 is likely tied to wastewater injection.

    I charted an average of one 4.0 or greater per week in OK last year.
    That’s not okay.

    Reply
  49. eleggua

     /  March 1, 2015

    ^^^That article’s dated February 26, 2015. Meanwhile:

    ‘How earthquakes linked to fracking are fracturing an Oklahoma community’
    February 28, 2015
    http://www.smh.com.au/world/how-earthquakes-linked-to-fracking-are-fracturing-an-oklahoma-community-20150227-13p7ss.html …it is not just the perceptible earthquakes – those measuring more than 3.0 on the Richter scale and above – that are bothering locals. Some fear that the next one could be “the big one”.
    In some areas the ground seems to be constantly trembling, and earthquakes are being measured in “swarms” rather than as singular events.

    And the rumbling of the ground has opened fissures in communities between those who want the fracking to continue unfettered, those who want regulations improved and those who want it banned….

    Oklahoma’s state seismologist, Dr Austin Holland…says he does his work investigating and mapping the quakes with a palpable sense of urgency.
    He confesses to having resumed smoking and upped his coffee intake to help him through the hectic workday.
    He is now confident that the earthquakes and the oil industry are linked, though not directly through the fracking……

    The problem is that you then have to find somewhere to put the unusable wastewater from the fracking process. The solution in Oklahoma was to bore even more holes and to pump the wastewater into them at high pressure.

    Holland believes this pressure – not the water itself – is acting as a lubricant along fault lines, though more study will be needed to work out why it is affecting Oklahoma more than other states….

    Just last week the US Geological Survey made its strongest statement to date on the issue…
    “This rise in seismic activity, especially in the central United States, is not the result of natural processes.

    “Instead, the increased seismicity is due to fluid injection associated with new technologies that enable the extraction of oil and gas from previously unproductive reservoirs. These modern extraction techniques result in large quantities of wastewater produced along with the oil and gas. The disposal of this wastewater by deep injection occasionally results in earthquakes that are large enough to be felt, and sometimes damaging. Deep injection of wastewater is the primary cause of the dramatic rise in detected earthquakes and the corresponding increase in seismic hazard in the central US.”

    Reply
    • Andy in San Diego

       /  March 1, 2015

      Oklahoma is now experiencing more earthquakes than California.

      http://www.scpr.org/news/2015/02/08/49726/california-unseated-as-earthquake-capital-by-unlik/

      In 2014, Oklahoma had 3x the number of quakes as was recorded in California.

      Reply
    • Andy in San Diego

       /  March 1, 2015

      I am looking forward to Inhofe throwing a hand full of dirt (shaped like a snowball?) and declaring that only god can do such things, there were earthquakes before humans so it can’t be peoples actions, humans can’t cause earthquakes, that these recordings of shaking are a liberal plot by the UN to take over the nation and destroy prosperity because there is some motive there and all of the folks running quake monitoring equipment worldwide are in on a giant conspiracy.

      grabbing popcorn and waiting for it ….3 …. 2 ….. 1 …. queue the unicorns from Heartland!

      Reply
      • Someone should throw Inhofe an emaciated seal carcass. Better yet, a high pressure stream of his beloved Oklahoma fracking waste. “Catch, Senator!”

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 1, 2015

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 1, 2015

        Darn. Image failed to embed.

        ‘David H. Kock, James Inhofe and Sarah Palin: What A Glorious Feeling: Fracking In The Rain’

        Reply
    • – Frackers, a desperate bunch with no morals.

      “With Oklahoma in the midst of an ongoing drought, farmers are worried about the massive use of water too. When the frackers move in they suck up water wherever they can find it, from dams and streams, even from the side of the road after heavy rain.”

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 1, 2015

        ‘Fracking and water consumption’
        http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Fracking_and_water_consumption Water is by far the largest component of fracking fluids. According to driller Chesapeake Energy, an initial drilling operation itself may consume from 6,000 to 600,000 US gallons of fracking fluids, but over its lifetime an average well may require up to an additional 5 million gallons of water for full operation and possible restimulation frac jobs……

        he extraction of so much water for fracking has raised concerns about the ecological impacts to aquatic resources, as well as dewatering of drinking water aquifers. It has also been estimated that the transportation of a million gallons of water (fresh or waste water) requires hundreds of truck trips, increasing the greenhouse gas footprint of oil and gas and contrbuting to air pollution.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 1, 2015

        ‘Fighting Fracking: Calvin Tillman Shares His Story of Standing Up to the Fossil Fuel Industry’
        March 1, 2015
        http://ecowatch.com/2015/03/01/fighting-fracking-calvin-tillman/
        … Calvin Tillman, Mayor Emeritus of DISH, Texas, who visited Southern California on a speaking tour of Carson, Brea and La Habra Heights. Each city is engaged in its own, unique struggle against Big Oil, but Tillman’s story of standing up to the industry hit home for residents of each of these communities….

        Tillman’s California visit was timely. Two Los Angeles County cities are turning people out to the polls on March 3 to decide whether to protect their communities from dangerous oil drilling. In La Habra Heights, a small rural community, residents will decide on Measure A, which would ban fracking and other unconventional drilling. And in Hermosa Beach residents will vote on Measure O, which would reverse a long-time ban on drilling in the coastal city; if the industry-funded measure passes, the city will be obligated to approve a project that will install a drill site within 160 feet of some residents’ homes and within one-half mile of half of the residents of Hermosa Beach. This week, Get Out the Vote operations are full swing in Hermosa Beach and La Habra Heights.

        Meanwhile, residents of Carson recently defeated a 200 well proposal by California Resources Corporation (formerly Occidental Petroleum) and the Los Angeles County city is working to revise its oil and gas code in response to public pressure. And folks in the Orange County city of Brea have been struggling to get city officials to take under consideration their concerns about nearby oil wells….

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 1, 2015

        Tillman’s new non-profit:
        http://www.shaletest.org/
        ShaleTest is a non-profit organization that collects environmental data and provides testing to lower income families and communities that are negatively impacted by shale oil and gas extraction. Tim Ruggiero and Calvin Tillman founded ShaleTest in 2010. Based on the extraordinary need for this type of testing, the Earthworks organization agreed to act as ShaleTest’s fiscal sponsor. Earthworks is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment of irresponsible mineral and energy development while seeking sustainable solutions.

        Reply
      • Griffin

         /  March 1, 2015

        One of the many tremendous impacts to me from watching Josh Fox’s Gasland II was the way in which Calvin Tillman had changed in the few years since the making of the original Gasland. In the original, he is a bubbling spirit. There were challenges, but he was confident that they would find solutions to the problems. In Gasland II, he is a defeated man. The fire is gone from his eyes, and the immense frustration of dealing with the power of the oil and gas industry has clearly taken a toll upon him. The look in his eyes showed more than any testimony could convey.

        Reply
    • Every time something terrible happens in Oklahoma, record drought, record heat waves, earthquakes from fracking, I smile a little inside. Just knowing those idiots keep sending Inhofe back to DC makes me want them all to suffer the worst that we can/will see.

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 1, 2015

        Ugh. People that I love live in OK and they didn’t vote for that ogre. Why should they suffer even more for his sins?

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 1, 2015

        ““The times are too difficult and the crisis too severe to indulge in schadenfreude.” – Noam Chomsky referring to the financial crisis, however the quote is apt here, too.

        Reply
      • Andy in San Diego

         /  March 1, 2015

        It is pretty much a prerequisite now to have no morals and be willing to sell out your constituents in order to get the money to be elected.

        A complete oxymoron.

        Reply
      • – A look back to the 1930s via Dorothea Lange’s “Tractored Out” in Childress county, TX.

        Reply
      • – The tractors left and the winds came. Dorothea Lange’s

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 2, 2015

        Is Dorothea a relative?
        Were you aware, she took this iconic photo of Einstein?

        Reply
      • – Many went to California. Dorothea Lange’s:

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 2, 2015

        My bad. Photographer of the Einstein image was Arthur Sasse.

        Sandro Miller does Dorothea, starring Malkovich as ‘Migrant Mother’:

        Reply
      • eleggua, I didn’t know she took that photo of AE . It’s a good one.

        I’m a bit of a Colorado Okie. My name at birth was David Lang. My mother was 16 and unwed. I am the product of a weekend fling with a Paul Lang who I never met. A few years later my mom married a man who adopted me and I got his last name.
        When I was 35 I changed my name back to my original (almost). I added the ‘e’ to Lang out deference to Dorothea because of the empathy of her photography on many subjects including Manzanar (Which I also have a connection with — as well as photography.)
        Thanks for asking, and for the great AE photo.

        Reply
      • eluggua, people shouldn’t mess with her photo of the Migrant Mother. It loses some of its quiet dignity. Besides, there are plenty of new subjects to photograph — especially with climate change.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 2, 2015

        You’re welcome. Thank you for sharing. Sorry about my mistake on the Einstein photo. Searching for more of her of dust bowl photos and that one came up, mistagged.

        I’d forgotten about her Manzanar series. She was phenomenal at capturing the emotions of the plights of the disenfranchised and the poor. Like Riis, though more subtle.

        Reply
      • eleggua, I highly recommend this documentary Dorothea Lange – Grab a Hunk of Lightning – YouTube

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 2, 2015

        I understand your perspective on that Miller pastiche. It seems here to be more of a tribute than a parody. In posting it, I definitely meant no disrespect to her work, which I greatly admire also.

        Agreed. Countless subjects to document. I’d posted a link to some of Chris Jordan’s Midway series somewhere up above. His stuff is powerful; he presents it well publicly, too.

        Checking out these photos earlier. Beautiful and curious. Folks there say they’ve never seen anything like them before. I certainly haven’t.
        ‘Frozen ‘Slurpee’ Waves Lick the Shores of Nantucket
        The waves captured by a Nantucket photographer are so thick with ice that they’ve drawn comparisons to “Slurpees.”‘
        http://www.nbcnews.com/news/weather/frozen-slurpee-waves-lick-shores-nantucket-n314116

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 2, 2015

        dtlange, thanks for the recommendation. Watched the trailer and immediately snagged an inexpensive copy online; would rather watch it on a larger screen; it deserves that.
        Never saw any film of her before and never encountered her in real life. She was a beautiful person; calm, gentle precision. Interesting accent; southern-sounding however she was from the New Jersey and lived in the Bay Area her adult life.

        This quote will stick here:
        “When you’re working well all your instinctive powers are in operation and you don’t know why you do the things you do.
        Sometimes you annihilate yourself. That is something one needs to be able to do.”

        First I’ve encountered her granddaughter, the director, Dyanna Taylor. Checked out her cv; directed a handful of docs and was the cinematography on about four dozen others; no fluff on the list. Obviously inspired by her grandmother, which she notes in the trailer, speaking about how Dorothea transformed her perceptive ability at a young age with one question: “But do you ~see~ them?”
        That sequence is wonderfully edited. Looking forwarded to watching the entire doc.
        Thanks so much for sharing.

        Reply
      • Well they should get the hell out of Oklahoma! That is soon to be a wasteland dominated by Republican propaganda. I apologize for throwing innocent people under the bus. I realize it isn’t EVERYONE in OK, and I too have a couple friends who live there. Overall, they are too far into denial land to ever change as a state. Sadly, all of us are going to suffer for the arrogant ignorance of those like Inhofe and all who support his uneducated view of the world. It just seems like OK is ground zero for some of the most acute changes taking place.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 2, 2015

        Easier said than done. Who’s footing the relocation bill?

        The Berlin wall came down in a day. Let’s not give up on the people of OK’s ability to parse truth from nonsense, and to make appropriate changes.

        ps: I don’t figure that you really want to see any human suffer, Andy. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t care.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 2, 2015

        Sorry, Ryan. Meant you; mistyped “Andy”.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 8, 2015

        dt, thanks for turning me onto ‘Dorothea Lange – Grab a Hunk of Lightning’. A fortunate life filled with splendid serendipity.
        A few appropriations of ‘Migrant Mother’ were shown, as well as a couple of misappropriations. Regarding that image she said, ‘It doesn’t belong to me anymore; it belongs to the world.’
        Was unfamiliar with her ‘Death of a Valley’ work, and that’s some really great stuff, too.
        Thanks again.

        Reply
  50. eleggua

     /  March 1, 2015

    ‘Thousands of dead fish found in Rio Olympic sailing venue’
    February 26 http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2015/02/26/thousands-of-dead-fish-found-in-rio-olympic-sailing-venue/
    <em?Massive die-offs of fish are not uncommon in Brazil, according to O Globo, and it is believed that this may have been triggered by a drought. However, the waters have drawn other unwanted attention because they’re polluted by garbage and untreated sewage from the more than 8 million residents of the 15 cities that share the bay’s shoreline…..

    A lagoon system in western Rio, beside the sites of the Olympic park, is stressed, too, the Associated Press reports.
    The Jacarepagua lagoon system is also filled with sewage and trash, and aerial photos taken Tuesday by the environmental group Olho Verde showed a massive bacterial bloom inside the lagoon that has spilled out onto the Atlantic and a popular nearby beach.

    Rio’s environmental agency noted in a statement that the there was a die-off of twaite shad in the bay last November and that analysis then revealed “neither abnormalities in the water, nor the presence of chemical or toxic substances. Therefore, specialists concluded that the incidents could be related to the intense drought.”

    Reply
  51. Andy in San Diego

     /  March 2, 2015

    Does one normally find the jet stream trundling through Egypt? Perhaps that is normal or not, I’m sure someone knows if it is a regular path. Just curious.

    Reply
    • Ouse M.D.

       /  March 2, 2015

      I guess- based on simple physics- this pattern results in equilibrating temperature in the northern hemisphere.
      Not good.

      Reply
  52. Andy in San Diego

     /  March 2, 2015

    It may be difficult to keep the horses in the barn

    Another paid “science expert who regurgitates from the denial playbook yet has no conflict of interest, honest injun” has been outed. And it looks like more to come.

    “Letters also were sent to the presidents of MIT, Georgia Tech, Pepperdine, Arizona State and universities of Alabama and Colorado. All of the schools have had a researcher appear before Congress.”

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/02/26/uds-david-legates-caught-climate-change-controversy/24090273/

    …grabs another handful of popcorn….

    Reply
  53. eleggua

     /  March 2, 2015

    ‘Artificial glacier could help Ladakh villagers adapt to climate change ‘
    24 February 2015
    Engineers are creating giant pyramids of ice in the drought-hit Indian Himalayas to see if the melt water they release can help solve water shortages during the region’s dry season…
    Villagers blame climate change for causing glaciers to shrink by melting them faster than before.

    To resolve the water-shortage problem, Sonam Wangchuk, a mechanical engineer, and his team of volunteers are building a gigantic vertical block of ice in Phyang, nine miles from Leh, the capital of Ladakh. When spring comes and the artificial glacier melts, farmers will have flowing water.

    The ingenious method stores water without the need for concrete water storage tanks or dams. While it won’t stop glaciers from shrinking, it could help people adapt to a warming world….

    Reply
  54. Mercury levels rising in Pacific yellowfin tuna, study says

    Mercury levels in yellowfin tuna caught in the Pacific Ocean have been rising at a 3.8% annual rate since 1998, according to a new study.

    The findings, published online Monday in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, add to evidence that air pollution, particularly from burning coal, is pumping mercury into the ocean food chain, potentially posing a hazard to human health.

    “Evidence is piling up that the methyl mercury has an anthropogenic source,” said University of Michigan eco-toxicologist Paul Drevnick, lead author of the study. “It’s coming from mercury emissions that are falling into the ocean.”

    http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-mercury-pacific-tuna-20150202-story.html

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 2, 2015

      Have you seen ‘The Cove’? On the dvd there’s a short film, ‘Mercury Rising’, made by the same folks that did the feature presention.
      Potent. One might never again eat tuna after viewing it.

      Here’s the full version of ‘Mercury Rising’: https://vimeo.com/54302736
      Mercury Rising’, a short documentary that explores the dangers of mercury contamination as it affects society and global environment. Conceived by Swartz and narrated by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

      Reply
  55. eleggua

     /  March 2, 2015

    ‘Ancient cod bones carry modern warning about mercury, climate change’
    March 1, 2015
    https://www.adn.com/article/20150301/ancient-cod-bones-carry-modern-warning-about-mercury-climate-change
    Ancient cod bones unearthed at an Alaska archaeological site carry a very modern warning for a world with a rapidly changing climate — as sea levels rise, so do levels of mercury in the food chain….
    Examination of the cod bones shows that mercury levels peaked as sea levels rose during the first half of the Holocene and mercury levels fell dramatically thousands of years later, when sea levels were stable and no new land areas were being conquered by water.

    The study, conducted by scientists from the University of Calgary, UAF, the National Park Service and other institutions, is the first to examine mercury levels in a Gulf of Alaska marine species over that span of time….

    If readings from a contemporary sea otter in the Mink Island area are any indication, Duffy said, some of the cod eaten by people thousands of years ago was laden with mercury in levels well above today’s Food and Drug Administration’s limit of 1 part per million for fish….

    Now, present-day climate change is combining with modern industrial activities to increase mercury loads in ecosystems around the world. Effects are likely to be pronounced in Alaska, among other northern locations, Duffy said.

    “With the predicted increase in rainfall along the Aleutians and in western Alaska in the next 50 to 100 years, with glaciers melting and ice levels melting, mercury will become more mobile and go into the food chain,” he said.

    Mercury levels in the far north are rising, scientists say, from permafrost thaw, increased freshwater runoff from rivers and other manifestations of climate change.

    Added to that is long-range transport on atmospheric currents of distant mercury emissions from coal burning, mining and other industrial activities happening in latitudes far to the south.

    Reply
  56. SimonDoesn'tSay

     /  March 2, 2015

    Off-topic? But I need your help! My brother (denier supreme) lives in Boston & after linking him to a piece about Jen Francis’ jet stream study he insisted climate change is some kind of ‘socialist plot’. Someone must have sent him some supporting material, bc I received 3 pieces in my email. One about the sea ice extent increasing for antarctica , one about a sub examining ice volume for that region (and finding it thicker than expected- although that proves nothing about trends), and this from NOAA –

    ‘When combining the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere sea ice extents, the globally-averaged sea ice extent during January was 21.08 million square km (8.14 million square miles), 7.06 percent above the 1981-2010 average and the second largest January global sea ice extent on record.’

    While it seems blatantly obvious to me that climate change is kicking in (looking at everything from Australia to Brasil), I’m having trouble coming up with a direct response to these types of things.

    Thank ye

    Reply
    • Simon —

      Once the ice sheets become involved in rapid melt, sea ice can swing quite wildly and is not the best proxy for global temperature change.

      In the southern ocean, we have a very large heat sink. This is due to the way winds and currents operate near Antarctica. A lot of atmospheric heat ends up getting dumped into the ocean down there. So the surface warming there has lagged behind the rest of the globe.

      You can couple this with the fact that ice sheets are melting out quite spectacularly in Antarctica — pushing cold, fresh surface waters out from the glaciers along with very large calved ice sheets, many of which are the size of Rhode Island or larger.

      The net effect of the cold fresh water, changes in wind patterns and massive ice bergs is a push for sea ice expansion in the Antarctic region. As such, it is a symptom of global warming. Not a sign of global cooling.

      Even worse, this expansion focuses heat where it is least needed — at the base of sea fronting Antarctic glaicers:

      http://www.climatecentral.org/news/antarctica-ice-melt-sea-level-18155

      This article is based on a recent study that should help debunk some of the nonsense your brother is posting.

      In essence, so long as there are large glaciers hitting the oceans and large fresh water outflows form melting land glaciers in Antarctica, we could expect some pressure for sea ice expansion in the region. As such, it would take very severe southern ocean warming to push that sea ice back. But the more important point is that the base cause is the rapid melt of Antarctic glaciers themselves:

      “CryoSat data shows that the Antarctic Ice Sheet has been losing, on average, 159 billion tons of ice every year for the past three years (once CryoSat passed its commissioning phase). This is twice previous estimates of ice loss from the Antarctic Ice Sheet that were made during the last decade.”

      http://www.sciencepoles.org/interview/putting-antarcticas-ice-mass-loss-into-perspective

      This is based on the most accurate Cryosat data, which is pretty tough to dispute.

      As for basal melt I have these papers:

      http://www.sciencemag.org/content/341/6143/266.short

      Here Rignot finds that the rate of basal melt is quite massive, more than 1 thousand gigatons.

      NASA: Warm Ocean Causing Ice Shelf Mass Loss —

      http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/earth20130613.html#.VPTCYeGGO8A

      The critical Pritchard Paper:

      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v484/n7395/abs/nature10968.html

      Confirmation by Desportier:

      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v502/n7469/full/nature12567.html

      Basal melt is directly related to ice shelf collapse. We have already completely lost two ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula — Larsen A and Larsen B. Larsen C is now in the process of calving a Connecticut sized chunk:

      https://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/another-blow-to-antarctic-glacial-stability-as-larsen-c-ice-shelf-is-cracking-in-half/

      You can learn more about the process here:

      http://www.antarcticglaciers.org/glaciers-and-climate/shrinking-ice-shelves/ice-shelves/

      Note that this paper shows Ross Ice Shelf thinning further due to various features:

      http://www.ess.uci.edu/researchgrp/erignot/files/thomas_etal_rossradarsat_2013.pdf

      In general, I’d say your brother is a willing victim of cherry picked and misinterpreted data. We have observed global warming of 0.85 C since 1880. The rate of warming for the past three decades alone has accounted for more than half of that warming (0.15 C per decade).

      2014 was the hottest year on record.

      The oceans are warming at an unprecedented rate.

      The rate of land ice melt on both Greenland and Antarctica has, over the past few decades, gone exponential.

      And sea levels are rising.

      None of these observed facts fits the definition of a socialist plot.

      Lastly, I would point your brother to the fact that he’s likely been hoodwinked by some rather destructive big-money interests that like to use government badly. For example, in Arizona, a big government utility (SRP) is now charging excessive and absorbitant fees to homeowners who install solar power. In this case, it’s fossil fuel money + Arizona government teaming up to crush the little guy who just wants energy independence and clean energy for themselves and their families.

      Reply
    • Lastly, you may want to take this graph into account:

      You’ll note that though the global sea ice extent measure swings wildly, the general trend since 1979 to 2000 is down. This is due to the fact that losses in the Arctic have thus far well outweighed gains in the Antarctic.

      In the current warming climate, it would take very large melt flows from Greenland and Antarctica to reverse this trend with regards to sea ice. And such a reversal would only be temporary — lasting for decades as the warming oceans absorbed the new ice outflows.

      Reply
  57. Drought triggers alarms in Brazil’s biggest metropolis

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6224/812.full

    Reply
  58. – The wind… my friend. The Wind.

    Global temperatures predicted to rise as winds calm on the world’s oceans

    A recent study that was published in the journal Science last week predicts that global temperatures are about to rise. The study explains how the Pacific Ocean has kept the climate stabile during a period of ‘pause’ for global warming. But scientists predict that will soon end.

    … scientists were also able to conclude that cooler temperatures on the surface of the Pacific Ocean and the slowing down of global warming have a direct relationship with each other.

    The research predicts that the winds on the Pacific Ocean are slowing down and this will increase the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. This will likely result in an increase in global temperatures and warming across the planet.

    http://www.morningticker.com/global-temperatures-predicted-to-rise-as-winds-calm-on-the-worlds-oceans/16105/

    Reply
  59. -The last paragraph is most telling:

    MEDFORD — The snow level at Crater Lake National Park was at a record low last week for this time of year.

    Park Ranger Dave Grimes told the Mail Tribune newspaper that the official snow depth at park headquarters was 28 inches Thursday. The previous record low was 31 inches set in 1977.

    Records show the average snow depth for Feb. 26 is 110 inches.

    The park is at 104 percent of its average precipitation for this time of the year. But warmer temperatures have caused much of that moisture to fall as rain rather than snow.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2015/03/crater_lake_snow_drops.html

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  March 2, 2015

      The winter of 2014-15 has been so warm across a wide swath of the West that more than 20 cities set records for the warmest meteorological winter, which runs from Dec. 1 to the end of February, the Weather Channel reports………………………….. Still, the nasty February was not enough to rattle record books in the East, Weather Channel senior digital meteorologist Nick Wiltgen says.

      “In case you’re wondering, few if any cities in the East will have their coldest winters on record despite a series of high-profile blizzards and record cold waves — mainly because December was relatively mild,” Wiltgen says.

      http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2015/03/01/weather-february-breaks-heat-cold-records/24223177/

      Reply
  60. A little good news. These are big projects and the costs are projected to come down:

    “Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd., a U.K. marine-energy developer, is planning its second project, a 2.8-gigawatt power plant that will use the tides to generate enough electricity for every home in Wales.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-02/tidal-lagoon-plans-marine-project-to-power-every-home-in-wales

    Reply
  61. It seems the claimed forecast of powering “every home in Wales”, (pop. 3m) is a gross exaggeration –

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-31682529

    Reply
  62. eleggua

     /  March 2, 2015

    The proposed building in the image on ^that^ article is reminiscent of the Agarikon mushroom:

    Agarikon grows to resemble a very large beehive and grows like a fruit hanging from the places where branches connect to trunks on old tall trees…
    administration of agarikon showed anti-tubular activity when testing against the tuberculosis bacteria, reaffirming ancient beliefs. They also reaffirmed that eating the fungi can reduce inflammation and that it can be used to help combat both bacterial and viral infections.

    Reply
  63. eleggua

     /  March 2, 2015

    Debate about the project:
    ‘Should the UK be subsidising the world’s first tidal lagoons?’
    2 March 2015
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/02/should-the-uk-be-subsidising-the-worlds-first-tidal-lagoons
    The world’s first tidal lagoon power station is ready to begin construction in Swansea, Wales should it attain planning approval. The project has been criticised for its exorbitant electricity costs, estimated to be £168/MWh. When the project begins generation in 2018, onshore wind will be producing electricity for less than half of this price…

    The money to subsidise the projects will come from a pot of money levied on energy bills. TLP say their projects will need about 1% of the money given to renewable projects each year….
    “It’s absolutely deliverable. It’s the cost that its deliverable at [that is the issue]. In the crudest terms it’s a few turbines that we would use in a hydroelectric plant … It’s walls of rock and stone. I don’t think we’d need to split the atom here, this is relatively straightforward stuff. The issue is it’s on such a huge scale and such a high capital scale that if they do find that they’ve got a maintenance charge that’s out by 5% it’ll hugely change the cost of the electricity that comes out of it,” (Colin Brown, the director of engineering at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers) says.

    Reply
  64. eleggua

     /  March 2, 2015

    Hmmm. The group behind the lagoons project were openly soliciting investment until recently:
    http://www.tidallagoonswanseabay.com/investment.aspx
    Thank you for your interest but our share offer is now closed. If you would like us to keep you informed of future investment opportunities please register here.

    Then why the need for public funding?

    Reply
  65. – Coral and plastic:

    Corals are ingesting plastic which gums up their digestive tracts causing starvation.

    …It has now been confirmed by an Australian Study that corals are ingesting plastic micro beads leading to blockage of their intestinal tracts.

    Corals eat zooplankton and the estimated 5 trillion pieces of floating plastic in the oceans are being consumed as well.

    “Corals get energy from photosynthesis by symbiotic algae living within their tissues, but they also feed on a variety of other food including zooplankton, sediment and other microscopic organisms that live in seawater,” lead study author Nora Hall, a researcher at James Cook University Masters in Australia, explained in a press release.

    “We found that the corals ate plastic at rates only slightly lower than their normal rate of feeding on marine plankton,” Hall added. ”

    From UPI Science:

    When scientists cut open the plastic-eating coral to investigate, they found plastic particles entangled in digestive tissue. The findings suggest excessive plastic pollution could clog up the insides of coral species and prevent the organisms from digesting real food.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/02/1367938/-Corals-are-ingesting-plastic-which-gums-up-their-digestive-tracks-causing-starvation?detail=facebook

    Reply
    • – Plastics equal petroleum equal fossil fuel … uncountable toxic molecules injected into the biosphere.

      The Basics of Plastic Manufacturing

      The term “plastics” includes materials composed of various elements such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, chlorine, and sulfur. Plastics typically have high molecular weight, meaning each molecule can have thousands of atoms bound together.

      … Plastics, also called polymers, are produced by the conversion of natural products or by the synthesis from primary chemicals generally coming from oil, natural gas, or coal.

      Most plastics are based on the carbon atom. Silicones, which are based on the silicon atom, are an exception. The carbon atom can link to other atoms with up to four chemical bonds. When all of the bonds are to other carbon atoms, diamonds or graphite or carbon black soot may result. For plastics the carbon atoms are also connected to the aforementioned hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, chlorine, or sulfur. When the connections of atoms result in long chains, like pearls on a string of pearls, the polymer is called a thermoplastic. Thermoplastics are characterized by being meltable. The thermoplastics all have repeat units, the smallest section of the chain that is identical. We call these repeat units unit cells. The vast majority of plastics, about 92%, are thermoplastics1.

      http://plastics.americanchemistry.com/Education-Resources/Plastics-101/How-Plastics-Are-Made.html

      Reply
    • Photos ‘a’ and ‘b’ show microplastics in the mouths of coral polyps. Photo ‘c’ shows plastic fragments found in the water near reef sites. (Photos: N.M. Hall)

      Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 2, 2015

      ‘Fish eating plastic microbeads; are we?’
      http://www.monroenews.com/news/2014/sep/06/fish-eating-plastic-microbeads-are-we/
      September 6, 2014 …In a combined sample of roughly 260 yel­low perch stomachs in Lake Erie, 33 were found with plastic fibers in their stomachs, or 12 percent, according to her research, which sampled Lake Michigan, Huron and Superior as well.
      Lake Erie had the largest number of fish with plastic in their stom­achs. In one gram of plastic floating in Lake Erie, Dr. Rios found 800 nanograms of toxins compared to 400 nanograms in the Atlantic Ocean. While Lake Erie is smaller and shal­lower than the ocean, which can account for higher levels, Dr. Rios said it’s still a big problem….

      Colgate-Palmolive plans to phase out microbeads by the end of the year while Johnson & Johnson and Unilever plan to phase it out by the end of 2015.
      Some states also have banned the sale of products with microbeads, including Illinois and California. Michigan, Ohio and New York have also introduced similar bans. In Michigan, it was introduced in September, 2013 and has yet to have a hearing.

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 2, 2015

        Fish are eating plastic
        ‘Occurrence of microplastics in the gastrointestinal tract of pelagic and demersal fish from the English Channel’
        2013 Feb http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23273934 Abstract
        Microplastics are present in marine habitats worldwide and laboratory studies show this material can be ingested, yet data on abundance in natural populations is limited. This study documents microplastics in 10 species of fish from the English Channel. 504 Fish were examined and plastics found in the gastrointestinal tracts of 36.5%. All five pelagic species and all five demersal species had ingested plastic. Of the 184 fish that had ingested plastic the average number of pieces per fish was 1.90±0.10. A total of 351 pieces of plastic were identified using FT-IR Spectroscopy; polyamide (35.6%) and the semi-synthetic cellulosic material, rayon (57.8%) were most common. There was no significant difference between the abundance of plastic ingested by pelagic and demersal fish. Hence, microplastic ingestion appears to be common, in relatively small quantities, across a range of fish species irrespective of feeding habitat. Further work is needed to establish the potential consequences.

        Reply
  66. eleggua

     /  March 2, 2015

    ‘Did climate change help spark the Syrian war?’
    http://phys.org/news/2015-03-climate-syrian-war.html#inlRlv
    March 2, 2015
    A new study says a record drought that ravaged Syria in 2006-2010 was likely stoked by ongoing manmade climate change, and that the drought may have helped propel the 2011 Syrian uprising. Researchers say the drought, the worst ever recorded in the region, destroyed agriculture in the breadbasket region of northern Syria, driving dispossessed farmers to cities, where poverty, government mismanagement and other factors created unrest that exploded in spring 2011. The conflict has since evolved into a complex multinational war that has killed at least 200,000 people and displaced millions. The study appears today in the leading journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences…..

    The study’s lead author is climatologist Colin Kelley, who did the work while working on his PhD. at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; he is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It was also coauthored by climate scientists Mark Cane and Yochanan Kushnir, also of Lamont-Doherty.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  March 2, 2015

      ‘Did climate change help spark the Syrian war?’

      God is that phys.org site infested with trolls. And their articles are some of the best web. I read the Nat. Geo article on this paper, yours is a much better link .

      The recent drought affected the so-called Fertile Crescent, spanning parts of Turkey and much of Syria and Iraq, where agriculture and animal herding are believed to have started some 12,000 years ago.

      Can we please stop calling this part of the Earth , the Fertile Crescent ?
      It was a salted-up mess when Alexander the Great marched through .

      Reply
  67. The subject is fracking in the USA, a couple year old, but full of info and first hand citizen accounts.

    Reply
  68. MONDAY … A BUSY DAY:

    Warming temperatures implicated in recent California droughts

    California has experienced more frequent drought years in the last two decades than it has in the past several centuries. That observed uptick is primarily the result of rising temperatures in the region, which have climbed to record highs as a result of climate change, Stanford scientists say.

    In a new study, published in the March 2 issue of the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers led by Stanford professor Noah Diffenbaugh, examined the role that temperature has played in California droughts over the past 120 years. They also examined the effect that human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are having on temperature and precipitation, focusing on the influence of global warming upon California’s past, present, and future drought risk.

    http://phys.org/news/2015-03-temperatures-implicated-california-droughts.html

    Reply
    • climatehawk1

       /  March 2, 2015

      Great, thanks, tweet scheduled on this. An excellent little project for someone would be to hunt down all existing mentions of the NOAA study by Hoerling et al that claims global warming has nothing to do with the California drought and add a link. I’ll try to do some soon.

      Reply
  69. Colorado Bob

     /  March 3, 2015

    Severe changes in world’s leaf growth patterns over past several decades revealed

    Extensive worldwide changes in the timing of leaf activity over the past few decades—which may have significant ecological and atmospheric consequences—have been revealed by a University of Otago, New Zealand research team analyzing satellite data from 1980 – 2012…………………………………………………….. Research team leader Professor Steven Higgins says changes in these environmental cues have previously been shown to cause earlier leaf emergence in Europe and North America, but other parts of the world, especially in the Southern Hemisphere, have not been well-studied.

    “For the first time, we have shown that equally severe changes have occurred over large regions of Africa, South America and Australia. Overall we found that the phenological signature of 95% of the Earth’s land mass has altered with 54% changing substantially,” Professor Higgins says.

    This could lead to higher extinction risks for species that depend on the leaf phenological cycle, a process already underway in the Northern Hemisphere, he says.

    Link

    Reply
    • PHOTO: Squirrel in a nutrient (nitrogen) polluted green tree in Portland, OR
      – by dtlange

      Reply
  70. wili

     /  March 3, 2015

    Related to the main post–one more piece of the puzzle (thanks do hank at rc for the link)?:

    “Anomalous winter winds decrease 2014 transition zone productivity in the NE Pacific”

    Frank A. Whitney*
    DOI: 10.1002/2014GL062634
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL062634/abstract
    Abstract

    “Wind-driven transport from the North Pacific in winter provides nutrients to a highly productive region in the transition zone between the subarctic and subtropics. This region supports many species of fish, marine mammals, and seabirds. In winter 2013/2014, anomalous winds from the south weakened nutrient transport in the eastern North Pacific, resulting in substantial decreases in phytoplankton biomass.

    By January 2014, waters were warmer than usual by 3.5°C at the center of an affected area covering ~1.5 × 106 km2. South of this area, winter chlorophyll levels dropped to the lowest levels seen since the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor satellite began taking measurements in 1997. It is anticipated that impacts will be felt in some fisheries and among migrating predators this coming year.”

    Reply
  1. Starving Sea Lion Pups and Liquified Starfish — How We’ve Turned the Eastern Pacific into A Death Trap for Marine Species | GarryRogers Nature Conservation
  2. | Dead Zones Expanding in the Pacific
  3. The Death Of The Eastern Pacific | The Liberty Beacon
  4. Water Conflict Starts as Climate Change Induced California Drought Expected to Worsen Through Summer, Autumn | robertscribbler
  5. Steaming Equatorial Pacific Sees Winds Blowing Toward Monster El Nino | robertscribbler
  6. Climate Change’s Hot Blob Still Blankets Northeast Pacific | robertscribbler
  7. Hot Pacific Ocean Runs Bloody — Blob Now Features Record Red Tide | robertscribbler
  8. Mass Whale Death in Northeastern Pacific — Hot Blob’s Record Algae Bloom to Blame? | robertscribbler

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