World Ocean Heartbeat Fading? ‘Nasty’ Signs North Atlantic Thermohaline Circulation is Weakening

Scientists call it Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). But we may as well think of it as the heartbeat of the world ocean system. And when that heartbeat begins to slow down, we’d best sit up and start paying attention:

(New video produced by climate hawk Peter Sinclair and featuring top scientists Stefan Rahmstorf, Michael Mann, and Jason Box, issues warnings about an observed disruption to ocean circulation due to water freshening in the North Atlantic. This is the kind of work I mentioned last week in my KPFA interview. The kind that should be showing on major network news every single night. Since that probably won’t happen, I urgently ask you to spread this video, together with its critical information, as far and as wide as possible.)

Global Warming Poses Risk to Ocean Circulation, Life Support

For nearly three decades now, prominent climate scientists have been warning policymakers that salt and heat driven circulation of the world ocean system (called thermohaline — thermo for heat and haline for salt) could be disrupted by cold water outflows from Greenland. There, in the North Atlantic, salty, dense, ocean water issuing from the tropics along the Gulf Stream begins to cool. The heavier water, burdened with salt, sinks to the bottom in the North Atlantic. This sinking, in turn, drives a massive ocean conveyer belt. It delivers colder, oxygenated water to the deep ocean. It dredges less oxygen rich bottom waters to the surface where they can be reinvigorated. And it drives this ocean revitalizing train of currents through every major corner of the world ocean.

A disruption of this ocean water mixing machine would ripple through the world oceans like a gunshot to a vital circulatory organ, reducing oxygen levels throughout the whole ocean system, and greatly reducing the oceans’ ability to support life. It would be a major shift toward a stratified, less life supporting ocean, and one step closer to the nightmare ocean state called a Canfield Ocean (named after its discoverer — Dr. Donald Canfield).

Warmer, salty water cooling and sinking in the North Atlantic is an essential cog in the wheel of this massive ocean water overturning machine. It has also been described (as Dr Box notes in the video above) as the Achilles Heel of global ocean circulation.

But I like to think of it more as the world ocean’s beating heart. The reason is that any disruption of the overturning process in the North Atlantic basically kills off a life-giving circulation to the entire world ocean system.

Cooling in Exactly the Wrong Place

AMOC Temperature Trend

(Linear temperature trend from 1900 through 2013 produced by Stefan Rahmstorf in his new study. Note the anomalous cool pool just south of Greenland. That’s exactly the kind of temperature signature you don’t want to see. One that is indicative of cold, fresh water outflows from Greenland interfering with North Atlantic and World Ocean Circulation. Also see: RealClimate.)

Now, a new 2015 report headed by Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf finds that the world ocean system is cooling in exactly the wrong place — the North Atlantic just south and east of Greenland. This cooling is an indicator that a high volume outflow of cold, fresh water is entering this region of ocean. A cold, fresh outflow that comes directly from the melting glaciers of Greenland itself. A cooling and freshening that creates a physical block to salt water down welling in the North Atlantic. The kind of block that can directly disrupt the Gulf Stream and the rest of ocean circulation on down the line.

Dr Rahmstorf explains the findings of his study in his notes at RealClimate:

The North Atlantic between Newfoundland and Ireland is… the only region of the world that has defied global warming and… cooled. Last winter [this region] was the coldest on record – while globally it was the hottest [such period] on record. Our recent study (Rahmstorf et al. 2015) attributes [ anomalous North Atlantic cold water] to a weakening of the Gulf Stream …, which is apparently unique in the last thousand years.

It happens to be just that area for which climate models predict a cooling when the Gulf Stream System weakens (experts speak of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation or AMOC, as part of the global thermohaline circulation). That this might happen as a result of global warming is discussed in the scientific community since the 1980s – since Wally Broecker’s classical Nature article “Unpleasant surprises in the greenhouse?” Meanwhile evidence is mounting that the long-feared circulation decline is already well underway. (emphasis and a little clarity added)

To Dr Rahmstorf’s point that the North Atlantic was experiencing a Gulf-Stream threatening record cold while the world was under a pall of record warmth, we need only look at NOAA’s Land-Ocean temperature anomalies map for the winter of 2014-2015 below:

NOAA land ocean temperatuer anomalies

(NOAA Land Ocean temperature anomalies map for 2014-2015 shows extraordinary record cold pool of water south of Greenland in a record warm world. The smoking gun for large glacial outflow and thermohaline disruption in the North Atlantic. Image source: NOAA via ClimateCrocks and MeltFactor.)

Other Concerns Regarding North Atlantic Cooling

Unfortunately, an expanding pool of cold, fresh water in the North Atlantic is not just a threat to ocean health. It also represents a zone of anomalous cold in a region surrounded by atmospheric and ocean warming. As such, it represents a zone of likely expanding atmospheric instability — one involved in the shift of the cold center of circulation from the polar zones and more toward Greenland and Canada. Parcel to the kinds of weather disruptions that have been described in the theories of Dr. Jennifer Francis and during some of the later works of Dr. James Hansen (alluded to in The Storms of My Grandchildren).

As such, cold water bleeding from the great glaciers of Greenland not only poses a threat to ocean circulation, it also poses a risk for generating significant disruptions to atmospheric winds and related weather as well. Ones that could set off increasingly intense storm events in the Northern Hemisphere similar to what was seen for the US Northeast this winter (but likely worsening with time) and the extraordinarily powerful barrage of storms hitting England during the winter of 2013-2014.

Dr. Hansen in his Greenland Ice Sheet Loss: Exponential? paper warned of the potential for continent-sized frontal storms packing the strength of hurricanes under some rapid Greenland melt scenarios by mid-century.

Hollywood dramatizations aside, this is more than enough real world weather and climate trouble to pose serious cause for concern. And as Dr. Rahmstorf, Peter Sinclair, Dr. Jason Box and Dr. Mann allude to the header video — the policy makers were warned well in advance.

Links:

A Nasty Surprise With the Greenhouse

What’s Going on With the North Atlantic?

Exceptional 20th Century Slowdown in North Atlantic Overturning Circulation

Unpleasant Surprises in the Greenhouse

NOAA

MeltFactor

Greenland Ice Sheet Loss: Exponential?

Linking Weird Weather to Rapid Warming in the Arctic

Canfield Ocean

Hat tip to Today’s Guest Is…

Leave a comment

262 Comments

  1. wili

     /  March 23, 2015

    Thanks for another great and timely update. I have been wondering about this situation and haven’t seen much about it. Good to have a place to talk about it.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  March 23, 2015

      That cool spot in the north Atlantic has certainly been worrying me. Now I know I wasn’t alone in my concern.

      Reply
    • climatehawk1

       /  March 23, 2015

      Agreed, tweet scheduled. Nice job!

      Reply
    • Wili. I’ve been around the block to RC and TAIB. I noticed your concern in all the various places. If you want to vent or just to talk about what’s got you worried. You know you have a place here.

      To put this paper in a bit of perspective, the surface cooling we are seeing now is indicative of an AMOC disruption. As terrible as that sounds, we don’t yet have proof of a complete AMOC shutdown.

      The T anomalies, off the US East Coast, as you and Griffin and I have been discussing this past year, are a serious concern. The signatures with negative T anomalies showing up on the NOAA maps, the ensemble maps from Earth Nullschool, and the NASA maps south of the GIS are also cause for concern. And the recent reports showing Gulf Stream slowing by 10 percent, the water rise incident along the US East Coast during 2009 and 2010 of some inches, and a number of studies showing a slow-down in bottom water formation in the North Atlantic are also cause for concern.

      I suppose the question we need to ask the scientists is — how much fresh water outflow from Greenland does it take to shut down AMOC completely? Is it proportional? So, for example, does an approximate 250 GT annual release correspond to the 10 percent approximate slowing of the Gulf Stream in the mid to late 2000s? And if so, does it take an annual melt outflow of 2,500 GT to completely shut down overturning? Or is the response more cumulative, so that simply an ongoing flood of the kind we see now is enough to shut down AMOC eventually?

      To this point, we should also consider than any AMOC weakening is a bad signal, and one with consequences to ocean health, and almost certainly to weather as well. A signal that strengthens in intensity as AMOC weakening proceeds.

      The atmospheric and ocean surface temperature signatures are disturbing, however, and we can expect that signature to become more extreme with time as melt outflows will almost certainly increase.

      So I’m there with you. This is serious business. And certainly more than serious cause for concern. But we still need more definition to better understand our circumstances. Bad is a relative term. We are dealing with matters of degree here.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  March 25, 2015

        Thanks, robert. I’m deeply humbled by your concern. I am always of at least two minds. But at least one of those minds has become quite concerned of late.

        “how much fresh water outflow from Greenland does it take to shut down AMOC completely? ”

        My understanding was that it took about one Sverdrup of fresh water (one million cubic meters per second… approximately equal to all the water flowing into the ocean from all streams and rivers) to stop the AMOC. Don’t remember where I got that, so you’d better check it.

        That always seemed like rather a tall order to get from the GIS, even adding the melt of sea ice from the Arctic on top of it.

        But even a respectable percent of that could cause a perceptible slowdown. And that seems to be what we’ve got now.

        So, yeah. I’m worried.

        I know it’s just one more in a series of tipping points.

        But it’s one I really had thought we wouldn’t see now for a while.

        Thanks for providing a place to hash these things through in a relatively non-hostile environment.

        It’s day by day now, really.

        Just…day…by….day…

        (And by the by..wth is TAIB??)

        Reply
        • The Arctic Ice Blog. I need to be careful with my use of acronyms.

        • One Sverdrup is roughly equal to 2,500 GT melt coming from Greenland each year (as mentioned above). So approximately three more doublings in the melt rare, or just one extraordinarily bad melt year. Unfortunately, it’s entirely possible we’ll see this by mid century. Greenland could melt at that rate for about 8 centuries.

          So under the current warming scenario, yes, that’s certainly possible. Basically takes 1 meter from Greenland per century. A 6 foot global SLR by 2100 implies something near that rate.

  2. I found this over at the comments section of climatecrocks…

    Reply
    • wili

       /  March 23, 2015

      Good video, tgi. At about 8 minutes, one of the experts points out that a storm surge going the right direction at the right speed could “blow Baltimore away.”

      Reply
      • My family mostly all live in this region. You could draw a box from Baltimore to Kitty Hawk and capture them all in mostly low lying areas.

        The constant effects of just 3 feet of SLR would be extraordinary. NOAA’s 6 foot projection by end Century pretty much removes half the coastal communities in this region. And God forbid we get something as nasty as Sandy in the Chesapeake Bay.

        Reply
      • wili

         /  March 23, 2015

        My brother-in-law’s relatives all live on the east side of the bay within a few feet of sea level, at most. Fortunately, my sister and brother-in-law just decided to sell their house on the bay.

        I think it is pretty much inevitable that there will be a Sandy-like storm in the bay in the next very few years. But El Nino this year should pretty much shut down hurricane activity in the Atlantic this year.

        Reply
      • Actually, with a mid-ocean El Niño now, there is some science that’s indicative of a potential ramp-up for Atlantic hurricane season activity. So not exactly out of the woods for 2015.

        Glad to see your fam is getting out of the low-lying regions. I really hate to advocate migration. But it’s not conscionable for me to advise staying in what amounts to a deepening flood zone likely to see increasingly severe storms.

        Reply
      • PCCP82

         /  March 23, 2015

        I live in Baltimore, attended university of Maryland. I attended a seminar at the time, and one of my professors mentioned the concept of the glaciers melting, causing a rebound where the ice sheet was, and settlement on the near boundry of it. the eastern shore of MD is sinking. I was very happy to see it mentioned in this video, because I don’t think it was part of the course material.

        I thought Isabel was going to be the big one, but I should point out that the Fall Line is in Baltimore City….it takes me about 20 minutes to walk south to the inner harbor, and the elevation for my neighborhood is around 85 FT…I wouldn’t be concerned about an Ivan event literally taking the earth away…though most of the CBD district would absolutely be underwater.

        having said that, the area south/east of the city is low level marsh-land. it would be an enormous impact, to say the least.

        Reply
  3. Kevin Jones

     /  March 23, 2015

    Great content and context, Robert. I appreciate the nod to Wally Broecker (from 28 long years ago). He’s in his 80’s. Would love to hear his thoughts.

    Reply
    • Dr. Broeker did some amazing pioneering work in this area. I would love to hear his thoughts. Maybe he’ll drop in to comment somewhere?

      Reply
  4. Nancy

     /  March 23, 2015

    Very worrying, Robert (not that I don’t already worry about climate change every day!). I sent this to Coral Davenport at the NYT. I will also send to the major network news divisions. Are there any environment reporters left working at the major networks?

    Reply
    • I’m not aware. At the very least MSNBC and PBS/NPR should take note of the critical video by Rahmstorf, Box, Mann and Sinclair.

      Thank you for the passing on of this, Nancy! Warmest regards and best wishes to you!

      Reply
  5. Robert In New Orleans

     /  March 23, 2015

    So what does a continental storm with hurricane winds look like?

    It sounds rising insurance premiums and much tougher building codes.

    Reply
  6. I watched this last year and it seemed important to what we are talking about today. I’m not smart enough to connect all the dots but I’m pretty sure the 10 mins of this video has a an important dot for us. Ironically, this PBS video is only made available because of the generous donations from Koch Science Foundation (in the opening credits).

    NOVA – Earth from Space

    Reply
    • Dang it, the interesting water/ice portion of this video starts at 34:40, my link was to the full movie, which is pretty good too.

      Reply
    • Maybe Koch should just complete the circle and start funding renewables while ceasing the war on climate science?

      Thanks for this, Cowpoke. Will take a look.

      Reply
    • OK. I’ve seen some of the segment and will look at the rest later.

      But the short explanation is that Antarctica is no longer surrounded by an impenetrable barrier of cold. It has a weak underbelly — warming circumpolar current melting the ice sheet bases. And the intesifying storms around the southern ocean are causing this water to upwell toward an increasing number of ice shelf and ice sheet faces.

      PIG is destabilized. Larsen C is cracking in half. Totten is speeding up as warm water threatens its plug. Ross Ice Shelf is melting from underneath. This is not the ‘fortress Antarctica’ any longer.

      Will keep watching later.

      Reply
  7. eleggua

     /  March 23, 2015

    Great article, Robert, albeit very troubling.

    What are the recommendations, along with or other than the simple halting of fossil fuel madness, that can help stave off this H2O crisis, or at least mitigate it?

    Thanks to todaysguestis for posting this vid the other day.

    Reply
  8. Mark from New England

     /  March 23, 2015

    Would it be fair to say that some of the worst ‘storms of our grandchildren’ will occur over the UK, Ireland and northern Europe in general, given its location down weather from this cold spot near Greenland? I know from experience that the northeastern US will be hit hard periodically😉, but from what I’ve seen described and linked here, when it’s stormy in the UK and Europe recently; it’s often been catastrophic. I’d rather deal with blizzards than the intense rain, wind and severe flooding they tend to get.

    Reply
    • In the military, there is a term we used for this — down range.

      It’s a tough case for Europe, true. But I don’t see how the US NE is in too much better shape. That said, the detail isn’t all too fine as of yet.

      Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  March 23, 2015

        Yes, lest I forget, there have been some big floods recently in New England, every few years – usually mid-spring or mid-fall. Kevin will remember the October storm of 2005. I think part of downtown Keene flooded – correct me if I’m wrong.

        Reply
  9. Reblogged this on The Secular Jurist and commented:
    Ruh roh! “The Day After Tomorrow” film was Hollywood fantasy, but there’s real science behind it.

    Reply
  10. entropicman

     /  March 23, 2015

    The slowdown started at least 25 years ago.

    This reports a reduction in Greenland Sea Deep Water formation as far back as the 1980s.

    Reply
    • Yes. But the surface signature signal is growing very strong pointing to yet worsening conditions.

      Reply
      • entropicman

         /  March 23, 2015

        Agreed. What was a process affecting only the deep waters is now having detectable effects on the climate.

        Like Colorado Bob I am struck by the large number of once-hypothetical climate changes which are now being confirmed by observation.

        Reply
  11. Add this one to the stack of strong entries on your blog for us to talk about in our upcoming Radio Ecoshock interview. I look forward to talking with you Robert!

    Reply
  12. Colorado Bob

     /  March 23, 2015

    A slowdown also adds to the regional sea-level rise affecting cities like New York and Boston.” A separate recent study found a sharp 4-inch surge in East Coast sea levels in just one year, around 2009, that was linked to the slowdown in the Atlantic current as water piled up.
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2015/03/23/greenland_icemelt_study_suggests_the_day_after_tomorrow_has_some_basis_in.html

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  March 23, 2015

      Mysterious East Coast flooding was caused by ‘unprecedented’ surge in sea level

      Several years ago, in 2009 and 2010, a string of unexplained floods and unusually high tides struck the East Coast. There was no easy explanation. No hurricane. No winter storm. But the waters kept spilling across the shoreline, from North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras to Canada.

      The cause of that phenomenon may now have finally been found. Sea levels from New York to Newfoundland were undergoing an “extreme” surge unlike any other in recorded history, according to a new study in Nature Communications published this week. Calling the phenomenon “unprecedented” and “very unusual,” oceans along the East Coast rose roughly four inches between 2009 and 2010 in a rapid spike researchers compared to a “1-in-850-year event.”
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/02/25/mysterious-east-coast-flooding-caused-by-unprecented-surge-in-sea-level/

      Reply
    • Apparently, the U.S. east coast also gets the gravity rebound from Antarctic melt as well….

      Reply
  13. Griffin

     /  March 23, 2015

    You told me about this slowing of the gulf stream last year when I first asked about the SSTA along the east coast Robert. You were right on the money. Given what I have seen in the growth of the anomaly since I first asked about it, the slowdown is obviously accelerating over a short time period.

    Reply
    • The weakening has proceeded coincident with Greenland melt outflow. Reports in the mid to late 2000s indicated an approximate 10 percent weakening. Prior to that, we’d had indications of deep water formation slow down since the late 1970s. The signal has proceeded up and down the water column and is now quite intense at the surface. This includes the warming off the US east coast you and I have been chatting about for some time together with a deeper cold pool south of Greenland that is now starting to show up on the various temperature anomaly maps.

      As for trends. I think we’ve done a good job here identifying both anomalous features in the observational data and related threats. Lots of good work going on here. Glad you were there, Griff.

      Reply
      • Griffin

         /  March 24, 2015

        Thank you for all that you and your wonderful readers have done to take the time to share so much knowledge. Although it is not always fun to learn of such things, it is better to know.Your posts are fantastic Robert, and the readers comments have become an incredible source of information.

        Reply
      • It will be a tough one for us all, Griff. It’s the point when things hit home that’s the roughest. Better together than alone.

        If we can keep most of the ice, the oceans will eventually right themselves. That’s why we really need to work on a rapid transition and a net carbon negative civilization, it’s going to take a kind of care and diligence we’re not accustomed to. And a level of cooperation that’s pretty much unprecedented. Perhaps I’m an optimist. But it’s something I believe we are capable of.

        Reply
  14. Reblogged this on Damn the Matrix.

    Reply
  15. Anthropocene

     /  March 23, 2015

    Thanks for the video -indeed scary stuff. I see that the Maryland video mentions that a weakening in the gulf stream will increase SLR on the east coast of USA. Wasn’t there a report a few weeks back mentioning 12 inches of SLR in exactly the right place to match? It would be interesting to see if the SLR indicates the same level of slow-down in AMOC as this paper is suggesting. That would be two independent bits of information pointing to the same reality.

    Reply
    • Anthropocene

       /  March 23, 2015

      Ah I see Colorado Bob got there before me and it was 4″ not 11. Still a comparison of the two results and seeing if they match still applies…..

      Reply
  16. Reblogged this on The Oldspeak Journal and commented:
    Oldspeak: Yeahhhh…. Not good. NOT GOOD ATAL. Earth’s oceans are in critical condition, heartbeat is fading. A perfect storm of irreversible feedbacks are combining to make the situation worse. Keep in mind the words of Captain Paul Wilson “If the oceans die, we die.” -OSJ

    Reply
  17. doug

     /  March 24, 2015

    Heartbreaking.

    I guess it’s time for a global response akin to, The Marshall Plan X The Apollo Project X The Manhattan Project X The Mobilization for WW2.

    Will we do it, or let down every generation that’s ever lived…???

    If we wait for our politicians to act instead of making them, then we’ll get the answer we deserve.

    Reply
    • Have to agree with you on this one, Doug.

      Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 24, 2015

      “If we wait for our politicians to act instead of making them, then we’ll get the answer we deserve.”

      A change in the political systems, or at the very least a change in aspects of the systems, would be best. True democracy, by the people for the people. The system in the US is clearly skewed toward the interests of the very few, the wealthy.

      Reply
      • Not just the U.S. – the neoliberal virus has hit the UK hard too, and Europe.

        Reply
      • Dana Lundin

         /  March 24, 2015

        You know eleggua, even if we had politicians interested in acting, reversing this requires just about every abled body’s participation. There is so much opportunity in local initiatives that are low cost and easy to implement. Are you aware of the Transitions Movement? Start something in your neck of the woods! I have a community garden and compost project starting this year at my Park District and local churches.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 24, 2015

        Yes, I do know, Dana. A bit familiar with Transition, too. Here’s their link, for anyone interested:
        https://www.transitionnetwork.org/

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 24, 2015

        And Transition US:
        http://transitionus.org/

        Reply
      • eric smith

         /  March 25, 2015

        Speaking of hearbeats. We are living with an elephant in the room which we dare not name. The irony is if we don’t face this there is no hope as by definition it insures that those in power are morally bankrupt and probably much worse. The heartbeat I speak of is the current monetary system. “The bank hath benefit of interest an all moneys it creates from nothing”.

        Reply
  18. Matt

     /  March 24, 2015

    What really amazes me in watching this particular event unfold, is that the waters of the Norwegian and Barents sea have also not cooled, instead happily going about their job of warming up with the rest of the Arctic. I know that the increasing surrounding land temps and greater water exposure to sunlight due to larger ice melt would warm things, but shouldn’t the loss of this conveyour of warmer water be having a bigger impact? what would the temp anomolies be in those seas if the current was uneffected?

    Reply
  19. Andy in San Diego

     /  March 24, 2015

    If the down welling slows significantly (or gets close to a stop) would this cause hypoxia at the lower depths as well?

    Reply
  20. eleggua

     /  March 24, 2015

    Costa Rica Has Gotten All Of Its Electricity From Renewables For 75 Days Straight March 21, 2015
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/03/21/3636823/costa-rica-renewables/
    ….The Latin American country hasn’t had to use fossil fuels at all so far in 2015, due to heavy rains that have kept hydroelectric power plants going strong. Wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy have also helped power the country this year…..

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  March 24, 2015

      Thank you for this link. Note that their price for electricity has dropped as a result and is expected to continue dripping this year. Also note they have increased their forest cover from 24 to 46 percent since 1984. “We are declaring peace with nature…our attitude is not progressive, it is conservative” Hear, hear!

      Reply
    • There is a side to the renewables that isn’t often considered, this great video brings the facts to bear on wind power around minute 7:00 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcQYI4yo8mM

      Reply
      • Sorry Dana, this is malinformation. See fossil fuel centric worldview.

        Reply
      • Please see NREL study here:

        http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/re_futures/

        Key Findings:

        Renewable electricity generation from technologies that are commercially available today, in combination with a more flexible electric system, is more than adequate to supply 80% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2050 while meeting electricity demand on an hourly basis in every region of the country.

        Increased electric system flexibility, needed to enable electricity supply and demand balance with high levels of renewable generation, can come from a portfolio of supply- and demand-side options, including flexible conventional generation, grid storage, new transmission, more responsive loads, and changes in power system operations.

        The abundance and diversity of U.S. renewable energy resources can support multiple combinations of renewable technologies that result in deep reductions in electric sector greenhouse gas emissions and water use.

        The direct incremental cost associated with high renewable generation is comparable to published cost estimates of other clean energy scenarios. Improvement in the cost and performance of renewable technologies is the most impactful lever for reducing this incremental cost.”

        This is a government report and likely conservative. As noted in the findings above, current technology is enough to supply 80 percent of electric generation capacity with renewables. This report does not include expected advances in battery tech, expected advances in panel efficiency, reasonably expected advances in smart grid technology, wind turbine advances, or new materials tech that greatly enhances renewable energy cost to value ratios.

        I’m sorry to say that much of the analysis on The Oil Drum on the issue of renewable energy comes from the fossil fuel industry itself. So reporting on this issue in this way is wholly disingenuous.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 24, 2015

        Thank you for your analysis and guidance regarding that vid, Robert. 😉

        Reply
        • Same bad information that gets repeated over and over again. I will have no part in its dissemination. You should know better by now.

      • OMG! That is sobering information Robert. I felt it made sense from an non renewable resource point of view. Jeremy Rifkin wrote a book Entropy which analyzed our way of life from a similar angel and it made good sense to me.

        Reply
        • I’m not familiar with Jeremy Rifkin. However, there are quite a number of renewable energy detractors that post either old information, information that is entirely too pessimistic on the part of renewable energy for whatever reason, or information that was produced by fossil fuel based energy companies themselves.

          For whatever reason, a lot of this malinformation got repeated through various channels. But the fact that it was widely repeated doesn’t make it any more valuable.

      • eleggua

         /  March 24, 2015

        I do, and am glad that you don’t allow it. Hadn’t watched the vid before providing the direct link to the point mentioned. Sorry for any inconvenience. (Video is still linked in the post that sparked this exchange.)

        Are you familiar with Jack Alpert, the person responsible for that video? First job was at GM (two years), in Safety Research and Development.
        http://www.skil.org/Qxtras_folder-2/Jack%27s%20resume%207_03_files/Jack%27s%20resume%207_03.htm

        Reply
        • No, Eleggua, I am not specifically familiar with Jack. But, despite an impressive resume, I would urge him to check his facts first — especially with various government agencies, like NREL, who have numerous experts that have no fossil fuel industry ties and can provide a more accurate and less special-interest based opinion.

      • eleggua

         /  March 25, 2015

        Not exactly impressed with his resume though he seems like a decent person.

        ‘one of 9 managers that grew Cisco from zero to five billion dollars in stock evaluation in 2.5 years.’

        ^^^That doesn’t impress me. Other commercial/corporate interests, too, that don’t impress, along with creepy social engineering schemes.

        Reply
    • I’m going to leave a comment for Jack to check his facts through his website.

      Reply
  21. Marianna

     /  March 24, 2015

    According to recent reports, some of the east coast SLR can also be attributed to melt in Antarctica. The resulting loss of mass diminishes local gravity, and apparently North America pulls the sea north to hump up near the east coast. It is a perfect storm of consequences isn’t it? Each coast will be unlivable for diametrically opposed reasons. I’m glad I live in the middle.

    Reply
  22. Marianna

     /  March 24, 2015

    My post sounds so callow. I realize, of course, I won’t be exempt from some remarkable changes here in the middle. Right now it is warmth. Soon.. who knows?

    Reply
    • We also tend to think of our own situations in isolation, don’t we? A middle third cannot stay unaffected simply due to in-migration from the outer thirds.

      Reply
  23. eleggua

     /  March 24, 2015

    Global water use may outstrip supply by mid-century March 23, 2015
    http://phys.org/news/2015-03-global-outstrip-mid-century.html
    Population growth could cause global demand for water to outpace supply by mid-century if current levels of consumption continue. But it wouldn’t be the first time this has happened, a Duke University study finds.

    Using a delayed-feedback mathematical model that analyzes historic data to help project future trends, the researchers identified a regularly recurring pattern of global water use in recent centuries. Periods of increased demand for water—often coinciding with population growth or other major demographic and social changes—were followed by periods of rapid innovation of new water technologies that helped end or ease any shortages.

    Based on this recurring pattern, the model predicts a similar period of innovation could occur in coming decades…..

    Reply
  24. eleggua

     /  March 24, 2015

    Ocean Acidification May Negatively Impact Diatoms in the Southern Ocean Feb 24, 2015
    http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/22668/20150224/ocean-acidification-negatively-impact-diatoms-southern.htm
    …Diatoms fulfill an important role in the Earth’s climate system,” said Clara Hoppe, one of the researchers, in a news release. “They can absorb large quantities of carbon dioxide, which they bind before ultimately transporting part of it to the depths of the ocean. Once there, the greenhouse gas remains naturally sequestered for centuries.”

    Scientists have actually assumed in the past that ocean acidification would promote the growth in diatoms. They believed the addition carbon dioxide in the water would have a fertilizing effect. However, it appears that this isn’t the case.

    “Several times a day, the wind and currents transport diatoms in the Southern Ocean from the uppermost water layer to the layers below, and then back to the surface-which means that, in the course of a day, the diatoms experience alternating phases with more and with less light,” said Hoppe.

    Under these conditions, the diatoms suffer most from insufficient light when they are in the deeper water layers. This is when they grow more slowly in changing compared to constant light. However, former experiment didn’t take this shifting light into account, which greatly affects diatoms’ reactions to ocean acidification.

    “Our findings show for the first time that our old assumptions most likely fall short of the mark,” said Bjorn Rost, one of the researchers. “We now know that when the light intensity constantly changes, the effect of the ocean acidification reverses. All of a sudden, lower pH values don’t increase growth, like studies using constant light show; instead, they have just the opposite effect.”

    The findings reveal that diatoms may be negatively impacted by ocean acidification. This, in turn, could be bad news for the entire ecosystem. Currently, the researchers hope to explore how different algae species reaction to changes in their habitat in order to see which species will benefit from ocean acidification and which will suffer.

    Reply
  25. eleggua

     /  March 24, 2015

    Ascension of marine diatoms linked to vast increase in continental weathering March 23, 2015
    http://esciencenews.com/articles/2015/03/23/ascension.marine.diatoms.linked.vast.increase.continental.weathering
    A team of researchers, including Rensselaer professor Morgan Schaller, has used mathematical modeling to show that continental erosion over the last 40 million years has contributed to the success of diatoms, a group of tiny marine algae that plays a key role in the global carbon cycle. …

    Diatoms consume 70 million tons of carbon from the world’s oceans daily, producing organic matter, a portion of which sinks and is buried in deep ocean sediments. Diatoms account for over half of organic carbon burial in marine sediments. In a mechanism known as a the “oceanic biological pump,” the diatoms absorb and bury carbon, then atmospheric carbon dioxide diffuses into the upper ocean to compensate for that loss of carbon, reducing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    “What we really have here is a double whammy: The chemical breakdown of rocks on land efficiently consumes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and those minerals are delivered to the ocean basins by rivers where, in this case, they fueled the massive expansion of diatoms,” said Schaller, an assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences. “Diatoms are photosynthetic, so they also consume atmospheric carbon dioxide. The combination of both of these effects may help explain the drastic decrease in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the last 35 million years that has plunged us into the current condition where we have glacial ice cover at both of the poles.”….

    Their results indicate that the long-term massive erosion of continental silicates was critical to the subsequent success of diatoms in marine ecosystems over the last 40 million years and suggest an increase in the strength and efficiency of the oceanic biological pump over this period.

    Reply
  26. wili

     /  March 24, 2015

    I get the general impression that many of you don’t get the basic implication of the lead post….It’s popcorn time, people. Sit back and watch now. We are now totally and utterly f.d.

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 24, 2015

      wili, you’re only speaking for yourself and your own negative perspective, not for the majority of courageous, committed individuals on this blog and around the planet. Get with it; you’re currently on the wrong side of evolution.

      Pinch yourself; still kickin; endure! PYSKE!

      Reply
      • Matt

         /  March 24, 2015

        eleggua, i agree with your sentiments, and i am sure wili has also been fighting the good fight. I think that it is very hard for people to comprehend the actual scale of events such as the one this post refers. Comprehending it, as wili obviously does can lead to some serious bouts of depression surely???
        I think (and don’t want to be presumptuous here) that we all agree that there will be a point of no return as far as the climate system goes in being habitable for us humans, and i don’t think any of us could pretend to know when that is or what tipping points will need to be reached. The example of “limiting warming by 2C” really? Look at where the current warming has got us!
        It may take us another 10 years to go beyond the point of no return, 50 years, 100… or we may already have passed it. Personally i think the point of no return was reached when the political momentum gained by James Hansen’s 1988 congress hearings was lost due to special interest groups and more importantly the greed of politicians who benefited from their bribes.
        Does this mean we give up? Hell no, i will go down with the sinking ship, i have 2 young children, and am kept busy teching them all i can, arming them with knowledge and self sufficency. Endlessly dragging conversation into the climate change discussion (even though it means far fewer invites to social events😛 )

        Reply
      • Matt

         /  March 24, 2015

        oops should be “teaching”🙂, clearly not much of a student myself….

        Reply
    • Matt

       /  March 24, 2015

      Yep wili i get it. I feel sick with anxiety over the rapid progression of what is happening, things that i never thought i would see in my lifetime already occuring and over watching our so called leaders here in Australia pander to fossil fuel industries in the full knowledge of what’s going on to the planet. All they see is 4 year election cycles and a fat pension. What really sickens me is when the S..t really hits the fan, the bast..ds in charge will turn it all around with the moronic masses and it will be the fault of the conservationists and scientists. Not sure how the PR machine will spin this yet, but mark my words…….

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 24, 2015

        Keep your chin up and remember, you are not in this alone. Peace to wili and Mark.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 24, 2015

        ^^er, Matt.

        Reply
      • Matt

         /  March 24, 2015

        🙂 you too eleggua, till the last breath!!!!

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 24, 2015

        Thanks, Matt.

        Reply
      • Matt, despair and apathy must be avoided by good self care practices. See the book Active Hope by Johanna Macy. Also get invoked with a Transitions Initiative in your area or start one yourself. Composting reduces methane, and regenerative organic farming is very effective at quickly sequestering carbon. I started a composting and gardening project at my park district and local churches this year and will be going around doing presentations wherever I can to inspire people to act. My message is big on the love factor. While fear can alert us to danger, I am motivated by my love for the earth and all of her wonders. Our disassociation from our hearts land being connected to all of life has led to this terrible state of affairs.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 24, 2015

        “While fear can alert us to danger, I am motivated by my love for the earth and all of her wonders. Our disassociation from our hearts land being connected to all of life has led to this terrible state of affairs.”

        I agree with you, Dana. May the hearts of all beings be open to positive change and to love.

        Here’s a good piece on Joanna Macy:
        http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/24083-on-staying-sane-in-a-suicidal-culture

        Reply
      • Thanks for posting that article on Johanna, its a good one. This book also gives some great context for the challenges we face. The theory is that we get evolutionary leaps in times of crisis (if you participate that is).http://www.amazon.com/New-Consciousness-World-Transitional-Participate/dp/1594774129

        Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  March 25, 2015

        Wili has a good point, it feels like one blow after another at the moment, its just one way traffic. But once the world ‘gets it’, we will fight very, very hard to hang on. Its in our nature. We will go down fighting.

        When will the people of the world finally ‘get it’? Well, not very long, if such clear and chilling images continue to emerge out of the data.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 25, 2015

        “The theory is that we get evolutionary leaps in times of crisis (if you participate that is)”

        Alluded to that in a comment on another article here a few days ago.
        Doesn’t matter if one participates or not; we’re all along for the ride.

        Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 24, 2015

      What is Courage in a Warming World? The Climate Minute Podcast
      https://massclimateaction.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/what-is-courage-in-a-warming-world-the-climate-minute-podcast/
      We remember Rick Piltz who passed away this week. His courage in opposing the suppression of climate knowledge during the Bush Administration leads us to consider what it means to be courageous in the face of climate change. Is such courage for great men only, or do we all need courage?…

      Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 24, 2015

      The Courage to Fight Climate Change
      http://climatestate.com/2013/06/05/the-courage-to-fight-climate-change/
      …To save this spineless world from itself, supplying the truth isn’t enough. You need to supply the spine, too. You need to be courageous. And so Jim (Hansen) has been forced by the times—and by his moral convictions—to become an activist….

      Now more than ever, we are tied in a single garment of destiny, cloaked as a species in a protective climate that we are in the process of unraveling. And so the need for activism, the need for courage, the need to speak out, is as great as ever. As King put it, “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”…

      Reply
      • It’s not my experience that wili has been overly negative. He’s appropriately shocked. For reference, Wili is probably one of the more widely read science enthusiasts out there. He is active on many of the major sites — including the sea ice blog (Neven) and over at RC.

        I think, with this issue in particular, many of the ocean and glacier scientists are very concerned about what’s going on.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 24, 2015

        Yes, I know; jumped the gun on that one. My apologies, wili; sincerely sorry.

        Must keep up the spirits in the material world.

        Reply
    • wili

       /  March 24, 2015

      “You’re own negative perspective”….lol.lol.lol.lol.lol.lol.lol.lol.lol.lol.lol.lol

      Reply
      • Wili —

        I have an unrelated question. Do you know who Hank Roberts actually is? Came over here with what seemed to be a rather giant chip on his shoulder about two weeks ago. Mostly over the thorny issue of Arctic Methane and some rather odd projection on the issue of footnotes.

        This might not be the kind of persona I can make peace with. But, as they say, forewarned is forearmed.

        Reply
      • wili

         /  March 25, 2015

        I have a lot of respect for hank. But his persona, as you put it, can be a bit hard to deal with. Like many very bright people, he has some huge blind spots he cannot see around. I can’t tell you what to do as far as his attempts to post here. He seems to have gotten a bit more extreme recently. Your call, of course.

        Reply
        • Thanks for the thoughts. I’ll keep it in consideration. Outright attacks aren’t for this forum. And yes, he came across as very bright, if tough to deal with.

          Is he the moderator over at RC? Moderation can make a person pretty rough around the edges, as you have to face down a lot of nonsense. It’s not really good for type A personalities. Kinda like low-grade police work, really.

      • wili

         /  March 25, 2015

        No, hank isn’t a mod there. Just a very frequent participant. His usual mode is more school-marmish (says the prick who just scolded you for minor grammatical issues!!’-)) than combative, though he can be that, too. But he seems to be convinced that anyone saying anything remotely worrying about methane is doing a huge disservice to humanity. It’s kind of a blind spot for him, it seems.

        That he was trying to post here makes some sense of some of his more obscure comments on rc recently.

        Reply
        • He’s welcome if be can manage to talk about the subjects of his concern without going ad hominem.

          He primarily attacked me because I didn’t agree with him on the issue of footnotes. At which point he began a lesson about attribution which was way off base. But I think the whole angle was just trying to poke holes in the methane pieces I’ve written by making obscure attacks on the authority of the author — namely me.

          Oh course, if methane is his hot button, then I could see why he might dislike me — being an odd kind of gadfly that keeps poking this issue because I’m simply not satisfied with various blanket and absolutist assurances.

        • Oh, and any honest suggestions for improvement are certainly appreciated. As you can attest, I tend to take most of them to heart. It’s only where the suggestions undermine the larger goals that I take issue and push back.

    • It’s pretty bad. But not so bad as it can be. I’d say the current situation is still survivable. But man do we need to get our act together.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  March 25, 2015

        “But not so bad as it can be.”

        Indeed, things can always get even worse!

        It is good to have a place to keep track of major, fundamental earth systems as they go through their collapse, one by one. I do wonder which one will be next. What do you think of the possibility of collapse of the Hadley Cell system?

        Reply
  27. eleggua

     /  March 24, 2015

    ‘Merchants Of Doubt’ Suggests We’re All Being Conned March 20, 2015
    http://www.kpbs.org/news/2015/mar/20/merchants-doubt-suggests-were-all-being-conned/
    …He shows the real scientists as being awkward an uncomfortable on camera. They can’t look directly into the lens of the camera, they stumble over their words, and at a government inquiry they have to be instructed on how to use the microphone properly…..

    That statement is not entirely true. Jason Box comes off very well in every appearances I’ve seen; others are good, too. The excellent editing in ‘A Nasty Suprise’, the video that’s inspired this piece, magnificently heightens the import of the scientists’ statements therein.
    Science, common sense, sanity and nature bat last. The game is far from over.

    Reply
    • Henri

       /  March 24, 2015

      Quite a few scientists are terrible performers. If i recall right Jason Box is one of them. And it’s perfectly ok, since it is not their specialty. Quite a few have the annoying “umm…” and “aaa…” frequently in their speeches. It is an unfortunate byproduct of actually thinking what you are about to say instead of just spilling some garbage.

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 24, 2015

        Jason Box isn’t a performer however he is neither awkward nor uncomfortable on camera, during media appearances, not that I’ve witnessed at least. Check him out in the video Robert included at the very beginning of this article.

        Reply
      • wili

         /  March 25, 2015

        I thought Mann rather underplayed the significance of this development–basically, fishing may not be quite as good as it otherwise would…! I have to assume this was a matter of bad editing.

        Reply
        • climatehawk1

           /  March 25, 2015

          Maybe. I am very much a Mann fan, but it seemed to me like a scientist thing–the science is alarming by itself (to a scientist), so not too much thought given to how best to convey to a general audience what it means (or might mean).

  28. Andy in San Diego

     /  March 24, 2015

    Pipeline key to water supply for NLV Apex project
    ======================================
    Hey! Lets build a business park in North Vegas that sucks up 7 million gallons of water every day!

    However, the question of whether or not there will be enough water to support the project lingers over the Apex development.

    We’ll see if they can finish it before Lake Mead’s water level finishes them.

    http://www.8newsnow.com/story/28595425/pipeline-key-to-water-supply-for-nlv-apex-project

    Reply
  29. eleggua

     /  March 24, 2015

    Robert, any progress on the links harvesting project?

    Reply
    • Got a rough harvest using the spider Andy gave. Pretty disorganized as yet.

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 24, 2015

        We could make it a collaborative effort among some of your readership, Robert. A few others have offered to assist. Combined with the spider, it shouldn’t be too difficult a task.

        Perhaps a dedicated page would best serve the effort; each seperate article you’ve posted can be assigned to a person or persons; the comments can be perused and the links listed according to the article where there were found. Others can go over the work and add any that might’ve been missed in the first go-round.

        Just an idea…maybe someone else has a better one that would serve this interest.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 24, 2015

        35 months of posts. Maybe it could be done by month instead of by article, each person or team taking a month’s worth of articles.

        Reply
      • Actually, that’s a great idea. I’ll see if we can get it started this week.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 24, 2015

        A list of subject categories under which to file the links would be helpful.
        Links can be filed under more than one subject, if relevant, I’d figure. Up to you, of course, how you want things arranged. With regard to that, some guidelinesto direct harvesters will be helpful.

        Do you want links to topics involving political stuff not necessarily relevant to climate change catalogued also? For instance, the link on this (first ever?) article?
        https://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/rush-goes-nuclear-in-republican-war-on-women-39/

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 25, 2015

        March 2012 done; check your email.

        Reply
  30. uknowispeaksense

     /  March 24, 2015

    Reblogged this on uknowispeaksense.

    Reply
  31. Wharf Rat

     /  March 24, 2015

    Neven’s latest…

    The Ns are calling the maximum
    In the past couple of days organisations like the NSIDC, NASA and NOAA have announced the annual event of the Arctic sea ice pack reaching its largest size at the end of the freezing season….

    The forecast has temps increasing and winds decreasing/turning in the Barents Sea after these two days, and so this really is the last opportunity for a slightly higher record. If it wasn’t for my promise, I would now be joining the other Ns and call the maximum

    http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2015/03/the-ns-are-calling-the-maximum.html

    Reply
    • With AO flipping back toward positive, melt pressure will mount and a rebound above the late Feb max grows more unlikely. The Ns are in, with a nod, at least, from Neven.

      Reply
  32. Colorado Bob

     /  March 24, 2015

    Ocean circulation changing: Ten years of ocean monitoring uncovers secrets of changing UK winters

    The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is a major system of currents in the North Atlantic, and monitoring changes in its movement is important for understanding climate variability and change, including the severity of Britain’s winters…………………….Until recently it had been widely thought that the AMOC couldn’t be measured in such a consistent way — and there have been some surprising findings.

    Firstly, it had been thought that the strength overturning of the AMOC would weaken due to climate change. However, the ocean sensors have detected that the AMOC is now declining faster than anticipated, which could potentially have a long-term impact on Britain’s climate.

    Secondly, the results revealed that the AMOC was significantly more variable than had been previously thought. Thirdly, the data also appeared to confirm that the AMOC had a direct impact on Britain’s winter weather, which could be specifically seen with respect to the harsh winter of 2010/11. The measurements showed that the strength of the AMOC in 2009/10 was much lower, which affected sea surface and atmospheric temperature — and seemed to directly affect Britain’s weather months later. The slowdown in the AMOC in 2009/10 also raised sea levels in New York by 13cm — 4 times the global average sea level rise.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150323150621.htm

    Reply
    • I’m going to have to do a more comprehensive article on this. This is a huge fracking deal. And fracking with all the terrible connotations that should apply to such a word.

      Reply
  33. Phil

     /  March 24, 2015

    Was not the AMOC as well as potential methane releases from sea beds discounted in the last major scientific report in the USA about the dangers of abrupt climate change as significant issues within the next 100 years? I recall seeing a presentation of one of the lead authors of that report who mentioned those two ‘conclusions’.

    Reply
    • Phil

       /  March 24, 2015

      If I recall properly, the presenter was Professor James White, University of Colorado. The talk included and assessment of impact of sea level change on both Miami and New York, among other things. I remember him mentioning you will be able to take a ferry to Disneyland.

      Reply
      • Phil

         /  March 24, 2015

        Youtube links to the talk – the first one is the full talk and the second is just the part dealing with AMOC and methane.

        Reply
      • Well, well. Yes. I do recall this particular bit of the assessment. My opinion is that the bits that are public announcements tend to get toned down. No one official wants to start looking like Chicken Little. The problem is that these threats are valid concerns — especially in a rapidly warming world. And even if AMOC doesn’t shut down completely, a substantial weakening can have some rather harmful outcomes.

        My view would be that they should have probably mentioned that AMOC had seen observed signs of weakening since the 1970s, worsening through to today. And if a complete shutdown was seen as unlikely, then the question of how much further weakening was likely needed to be answered. In this case, a range of the potential outcomes is more useful than settling on one.

        I see that wili, above, was very disheartened by this. He’d read the reports on AMOC and had taken the mainstream science findings to heart. So a report, from another subset of mainstream science that calls into question the integrity of AMOC — which is essential to ocean health — is a really, really big deal. Wili knows this, because he’s widely read and he intuitively understands how important ocean health is to the health of the Earth System. I think the fact that the scientific communication on this took such a sharp turn also shook him up, which may have raised questions about other communications.

        Wili has also been rather concerned about methane release and has advocated for some of the reporting I’ve done on the issue over at RealClimate. This advocacy has met with some resistance. But I’m simply using a standard form of emergency communication — providing the range of possible outcomes I’d mentioned above.

        My reports do include a range of potential outcomes when it has come to Methane release and, for this reason, have been rather controversial. But the reticence on the part of some in the scientific community to talk about worst case scenarios means that we may end up being blind sided. We may not really be doing our best to make the public aware of the extreme risk of continued carbon emission. And that’s why it’s essential that we must talk about things that many people find very scary.

        It’s the basis in how we deal with difficult things. The defined thing, no matter how terrible, is easier to deal with — because we know its boundaries. The thing we hide from, run away from, or deny. That’s the thing that just keeps getting worse and worse. Eventually it becomes unmanageable. We are at risk of doing that with climate change. And that is why a clear communication of risks is entirely essential.

        Reply
      • eric smith

         /  March 25, 2015

        At 36:00 in Jim White’s lecture an astounding statement. At 3 million years ago, the last time co2 was present in the atmosphere at today’s level it was 30 degrees f warmer in the arctic AND CURRENT MODELS CANNOT PRODUCE THIS THUS THERE MUST BE MISSING FEEDBACKS! Time to hit the panic button. A great and very enjoyable lecture.

        Reply
  34. Colorado Bob

     /  March 24, 2015

    Pakistan’s changing weather patterns threaten harvests

    Torrential rain and hailstorms have raised fears that Pakistan’s winter crops yield could be seriously depleted – and global warming is the likely culprit.

    Islamabad, 23 March, 2015 − Anxious farmers in Pakistan waited for weeks for the rains to arrive – but when the skies finally opened, the downpour was so intense it destroyed crops and put the harvest in jeopardy.

    “We weather scientists are really in shock, and so are farmers, who have suffered economic losses due to crop damage,” says Muzammil Hussain, a weather forecasting scientist at the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD).

    “The wind from the southeast has carried moisture from the Arabian Sea. Normally, the northeast wind brings rain during winter, and the southeast wind brings monsoon rains in summer. But the pattern has changed this year because of what is believed to be global warming.”
    http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/pakistans-changing-weather-patterns-threaten-harvests/

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 24, 2015

      …Arif Mahmood, a former director general at PMD, says the onset of winter across much of Pakistan is being delayed by two to three days every year, and there is an urgent need for farmers to adapt to such changes.
      “Over recent years, winter has been delayed by 25 to 30 days, and also the intensity of the cold has increased, which has affected almost every field of life − from agriculture to urban life.”

      This year has also been marked by abrupt changes in temperature. Ghulam Rasul, a senior scientist at PMD, says big swings in temperature are likely to add to the problems being faced by millions of farmers in Pakistan.
      “The average temperature during the first two weeks [of March] was between 11 and 13 degrees Celsius, but now it’s on a continuous upward trend and has reached 26˚C over the space of two days,” he reports.
      “The winter rains in the north and central area of Pakistan, and the sudden rise and fall in temperature, are related to climate change.”

      Similar storms and late winter rains have also caused serious damage across large areas of northern India.
      The states of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra – the two most populous states in the country – have been particularly badly hit.
      In Maharashtra, snow and landslides have blocked roads and cut off towns and villages.
      In Uttar Pradesh, there are fears that more than 50% of the wheat crop has been lost in the eastern part of the state.

      Reply
    • ““The wind from the southeast has carried moisture from the Arabian Sea. Normally, the northeast wind brings rain during winter, and the southeast wind brings monsoon rains in summer…”

      We are hearing more, and more, of this refrain these days.
      These changing wind and weather patterns are problematic (understatement!) but should be able to be understood by anyone. The wind brings the weather. The wind is the weather. The atmosphere in motion. Easy to understand.

      A: “Where’s the wind?”
      B: “Over there.”
      A: “Can’t be! Is it really?”
      B: “Yes, it’s over there alright.”
      A: “Uh oh…”

      Reply
  35. Colorado Bob

     /  March 24, 2015

    The lack of severe weather so far in 2015 has pushed into “uncharted territory” in March, according to a government severe weather expert.

    Not a single severe thunderstorm or tornado watch has been issued anywhere in the U.S. by NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center so far in March, as of March 22.

    “This has never happened in the record of SPC watches dating back to 1970,” said Greg Carbin, Storm Prediction Center warning coordination meteorologist in a SPC news release Tuesday. “We are in uncharted territory with respect to lack of severe weather.”

    http://www.wunderground.com/news/lack-severe-tornado-watches-march-2015

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 24, 2015

      The calm before the storm.

      …Not that anyone is complaining, but why has severe weather essentially disappeared recently?
      Severe thunderstorms require adequate moisture, atmospheric instability (colder, drier air aloft topping warm, humid air near the Earth’s surface) and a source of lift (strong dryline, cold/warm front, convergence near surface low pressure, strong low and upper-level jet streams).
      Those elements haven’t aligned since a Jan. 3-4 mini-outbreak of 23 tornadoes in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.
      A sharp southward plunge of the polar jet stream into the Plains and East has kept those areas generally cold, and any moisture remaining has been trapped over the Gulf of Mexico.
      The southern branch, or subtropical jet stream ends up running over this cold, more stable air, instead of finding warmer, more humid air.
      Thus, a steady rain, or pellets of sleet, or flakes of snow have fallen this winter in the Deep South….

      Don’t count on this streak of good fortune to last.
      When warmer, more humid air returns to parts of the southern and central U.S. in spring, any significant jet stream disturbance sweeping out of the Rockies has the potential to generate severe thunderstorms, including tornadoes.
      The peak tornado months in the U.S. – April, May and June – are yet to come. On average, the U.S. tornado count more than doubles from March to April, reaching a peak in the month of May and remaining high into June…..

      Reply
  36. Matt

     /  March 24, 2015

    Speaking as an absolute novice, wouldn’t it be possible to gain estimates of the fresh water loss from Greenland required to disrupt this circulation? could this be used to correlate with figures derived from the GRACE data? the reason for my query is how quickly this event has started to occur, is it possible that because of the massive Greenland melt that it’s land mass is rebounding and lowering the mass loss figures provided by GRACE? Or would this already be taken into consideration?

    Reply
    • Griffin

       /  March 24, 2015

      Jason Box tweeted a link to an article the other day. It brings into question if the recent mass loss estimates are in fact, too low.
      http://williamcolgan.net/blog/?p=247

      Reply
      • Gotta love how Box gets to the end and says — I’m guessing there aren’t many non scientists reading at this point…

        So we have some estimates that show a potential for subtle mass gain from 1961-1990, followed by 7 percent greater mass loss, primarily through calving, than currently indicated in official numbers for Greenland mass balance. The study emphasizes the impact of uncertainty, which is somewhat refreshing.

        Put a book mark in this for later reference.

        Reply
      • Matt

         /  March 27, 2015

        Thanks Griffin, i will take a look, have been off line for a few days and just seen your reply! I did think that it wouldn’t have been overlooked, but have never seen any reference to it being accounted for.

        Reply
  37. jyyh

     /  March 24, 2015

    Cooling just in the predicted place.

    Reply
  38. dnem

     /  March 24, 2015

    Excellent post, Robert! You have been beating this drum loudly since I discovered your blog. I am on a sustainable consumption listserv and one of the frequent posters is William Rees, an ecologist, ecological economist, Professor Emeritus and former Director of the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning. I find him to be very sober and clear on “what needs to be done” – a question that comes up here frequently. He recently posted this: “The scientific evidence suggests that the world needs to achieve a full 80% absolute reduction in energy and material consumption even as we face additional population growth, up to 30% more people in the next few decades.” I think that sums up our task neatly. An 80% reduction in energy and material consumption, even while populations grow and we try and tackle global poverty alleviation AND accommodate the one billion that aspire to enter the global consumption class. Daunting, no? In my opinion, success will simply not be compatible with the continuation of global consumption-based capitalism, period.

    Reply
    • Dave Person

       /  March 24, 2015

      Hi dnem,
      Thank you for posting that. I recall a conversation at a conservation biology conference 20 years ago among a small group of systems ecologists, including myself, concerning work on human carrying capacity. Rees’s work as well as others such as Stuart Pimm were discussed mostly from the perspective of human aquisition of net primary productivity. As you can imagine, assumptions about how much netpro can be sequestered by humans without affecting the integrity of ecosytems and processes are complex and difficult. The upshot was that we speculated the world could support about 1-2 billion at a consumer level equal to human populations in northern Europe. Regardless of very large levels of uncertainty about our assumptions, the global population at the time (6-6.5 billion) was so far above those limits that the uncertainty in assumptions probably would not change a conclusion about overshoot at that level of consumption. We concluded that if the global population consumed equitably and sustainably, people could absorb netpro at a level no greater than the average person in Mexico.

      Reply
      • We are most definitely in overshoot at this time. The aspects that are going critical now mostly relate to fossil fuel use. That said, there are other issues that will likely need to be addressed in due course.

        Reply
    • I’m glad to see that so many people are starting to focus on solutions. The particular focus you address appears to be related to the total impact of the human population on the ecosystem — the Growth Shock or Overshoot problem.

      My focus right now is in helping to implement solutions to the carbon crisis, which is just one (albeit very significant) aspect of the larger Growth Shock crisis. Broad brush solutions to that are:

      1. Jettison all (in excess of 95 percent net carbon emission reduction) carbon emitting transportation and industry over as brief a period as possible (before 2050 and hopefully before 2040).
      2. Replace fossil fuel based infrastructure and carbon emitting infrastructure with renewables and efficiencies.
      3. Change land management and implement new tech to make the human system net carbon negative. As a few examples, we could run biomass plants with CCS or coproduce biochar, run steel production on biomass and coproduce biochar, change farming methods so that soils capture carbon rather than release carbon, recycle everything by manufacturing all products to be disassembled for recycling after use, play a far more active role in the revitalization of forests, incentivize the use of atmospheric carbon capture tech (expensive but emerging).

      Some solutions on the books now will work, others will not. The aim should be to deploy the most obviously effective solutions as rapidly as possible. And the low hanging fruit in this area is to ambitiously replace fossil fuel burning with now widely available and cost effective renewables + efficiency as swiftly as possible.

      There is an argument emerging, as expected, that rapid transition away from fossil fuels is somehow unwise. That we should focus on the, less carbon intensive natural gas, for example.

      But though natural gas is less carbon intensive, it directly competes with renewable energy adoption. This results in more emission than you would have seen otherwise and still results in emission increases on a global scale well into the future. And we simply can’t afford any further planned emissions increases or locking in legacy fossil fuel emissions over decadal timeframes with new natural gas infrastructure.

      What is very optimistic is that electricity generation can now go all-renewable with very little in the way of added cost and with quite an amazing degree of added benefit. And that is the very definition of low hanging fruit.

      A lot of energy will go into fighting the oil and gas industry on fixing in place new fossil fuel infrastructure. This is a necessary fight and one we must win.

      As to your larger points — yes there are other issues that will need to be addressed down the road. But it helps to break things down into achievable bits.

      Reply
      • Greg

         /  March 24, 2015

        Yes, yes, and yes as well as reverse population growth.

        Reply
        • Absolutely, Greg. Population de growth is critical. Something that really helps matters over longer timescales.

      • Greg

         /  March 24, 2015

        And current carbon must replace ancient carbon. We must begin sequestering it across industries and have in place the incentives to do so. Current carbon needs to become the main ingredient in everything we build. Replace the steel altogether. Price fossil carbon to the point that it is cheaper to harvest carbon from the air and from the plants around us than to dig it up.

        Reply
      • dnem

         /  March 24, 2015

        Yes, Robert. But I think we need to be clear that the current corporate controlled, growth-oriented global economic system just is not compatible with solving the human crisis. A more efficient but essentially similar world order with capital, resources and labor still criss-crossing the globe is a loser. At least I don’t see technological tweaks to the current order being anywhere near sufficient. We need a new, re-localized economic structure that places value on experiences, cooperation and local production, not acquisition of more material goods. And even though I KNOW that, it is hard for me to achieve in my daily life.

        Reply
        • If you remove fossil fuels from the equation a good bit of the structural focus shifts from wealth to value. In essence, taking that piece out is a good start to a structural transition as it reinforces the kinds of essential values you promote. We can basically look at things from a mountaintop perspective or we can go down and really start getting into the guts of it.

          From the point of view of strategy, I look for centers of gravity to the current crises. And I see oil, gas, and coal as one enormous CG. Not only are they contributors to global systems degradation on a scale unheard of, they also are the authors of many of the economically and socially destructive pure capitalist policies we have seen over the last few decades.

          Not that all problems go away without them. But the do tend to fragment and become less organized as social opposition to solutions.

          Center of gravity, Dnem. Center of gravity.

      • Mark from New England

         /  March 24, 2015

        Robert, Great suggestions. This sounds like it would be a good core of a new article.

        Reply
        • I think you’re right. A global solutions article would be a good fit for later this week. I’ve got a few bits in queue. Was thinking about running a piece on divestment today. There appears to be a misinformation meme running that’s it’s not effective, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

      • eleggua

         /  March 24, 2015

        “thinking about running a piece on divestment today. There appears to be a misinformation meme running that’s it’s not effective, which couldn’t be further from the truth.”

        Don’t trust Truss:
        MPs pension fund should not be divested from fossil fuels, says Liz Truss 24 March 2015
        http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/24/mps-pension-fund-should-not-be-divested-from-fossil-fuels-says-liz-truss

        Reply
        • And since Truss is basically a fossil fuel industry sock puppet, we can rapidly determine how much her word is worth…

          This meme is a talking point that has been duplicated in about a thousand places over the past few days. Expect those susceptible to bandwagoning to be easily victimized.

      • Greg

         /  March 24, 2015

        The future has two paths as I see it, the energy intensive or the diffuse low energy civilization. The former one is highly appealing as an environmentalist and is being pursued by many in this forum and is the unwritten backbone of the back to basics, localization and transition movements among others. It is very important, but I believe will be marginalized or, more likely, a niche player unless we have outright collapse. The latter vision, a high energy intensive but efficient civilization, IMHO, based on having this argument many times with thought leaders, is the likely outcome and one we should plan on and inspire the elites with. Its success requires, of course, a decoupling of energy usage from the extractive destruction and concomitent waste that has historically been intertwined with it. It is a high tech future, and has all the problems associated with a complex highly entropic system, but is the trajectory of our species. As such we should be open to it and plan for it, especially if we expect the elites of society to get on board for the radical changes ahead. It doesn’t mean that the two visions are incompatible. To me, off the top of my head, it could look, in Western Nevada for example, like employees of Elon Musk’s gigafactory having picnics in thermally regulated body suits (graphene) under the shade of one of the windmills near the gigafactory while sipping water from bio-plastic bottles filled with water from fog collectors and being shuttled to and from in carbon fiber teslas (BMW I3 anyone?) on roads made largely from inert solidified carbon waste under solar celled shading. They each contribute an hour or more of their work week to the large green-housed employee garden that purchases biochar from a local “farmer” who cultivates Creosote bush for a local community centered energy producer who sells the biochar, bio-liquid fuels and kilowatts from their catalyzed furnace, as a supplier to Tesla, as a profitable enterprise to support the community in its efforts to rebuild low income housing that is mostly earthen, largely underground, except for the roofs. Otherwise I see a vast desert with no humans….

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 24, 2015

        ” having picnics in thermally regulated body suits ” Not a desirable future. Phil Dick envisioned similar futures and it depressed him to the point of fatal stroke.

        Reply
      • Greg

         /  March 24, 2015

        No, you don’t want everybody having to do that, of course, but they are working in the Nevada desert, after all. Of course we don’t want to envision a world that is too hot for mammals. Also, I have often thought if I wore clothing that thermally regulated I would not have to heat and cool all the artificial environments I enter. Much more efficient as all that space is heated and cooled just for the small surface of my body. If I didn’t have to cool my house it would save considerable energy.

        Reply
  39. Robert In New Orleans

     /  March 24, 2015

    Just when you think the news is bad enough, along comes something worse. I keep thinking about the very probable end of times and then I am reminded of the Star Trek The Next Generation Episode: “The Inner Light”.

    Reply
  40. eleggua

     /  March 24, 2015

    The Return – Again – of Nathan:
    Tropical Cyclone Nathan Batters Australia Following Third Landfall March 24, 2015
    http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/tropical-cyclone-nathan-set-to/44342105
    Tropical Cyclone Nathan has been plaguing Australia for two weeks, and the threat is not yet over despite weakening over Australia’s Top End following a third landfall….

    As Nathan continued westward, just off the coastline, interaction with land began to weaken the cyclone. This weakening continued until a third and final landfall occurred Tuesday morning to the west of Maningrida.
    Nathan continued to weaken as it moved southwest and farther inland on Tuesday, eventually weakening below tropical cyclone strength….

    The remnants of Nathan will move into the Timor Sea Wednesday night into Thursday, but redevelopment into a tropical cyclone is not expected at this time.

    Tropical Cyclone Nathan formed on March 10, off the northeastern Queensland coast, bringing flooding rain to the region over the course of several days. Over 500 mm (20 inches) of rain fell in a few areas.

    The cyclone then slowly moved away from the coast allowing flood waters to recede, only to return making a landfall early Friday morning, March 20, between Cooktown and Cape Melville, as a severe Category 4 tropical cyclone, according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.
    This brought a second round of flooding rainfall to northeast Queensland. A total of 114 mm (4.47 inches) of rain inundated Cape Flattery on Thursday night into Friday morning with a 24-hour total of 166 mm (6.54 inches) recorded at Battle Camp.
    The second landfall occurred over the weekend in the northeastern part of the Northern Territory, near Gove City where winds gusted to near 100 kph (60 mph). More than 200 mm (8 inches) of rain was reported as well.

    Reply
    • Matt

       /  March 27, 2015

      Eleggua, What are the odds of a Fourth return? the BOM pretty much states that it will stay below tropical strength in the Western region (but leaves the door ajar). As a complete novice, the satellie pictures off-shore kimberly look ominiously like a reforming cyclone to me? the next 24 hours will be interesting. not sure if Australia has ever has a cyclone traverse all 3 regions before?

      Reply
  41. eleggua

     /  March 24, 2015

    BP joins list of companies fleeing conservative ALEC policy group March 23, 2015
    http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/mar/23/alec-bp-british-petroleum-companies-conservative-lobbyist
    British Petroleum is the latest company to pull its membership from the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), the oil company announced on Monday. The oil giant is now the third oil and gas company to leave the conservative nonprofit that acts as a lobbying group.

    BP’s departure follows a wave of exits by tech companies from Alec at the end of last year. Google, Yahoo, Facebook, eBay and Yelp all cut ties with the organization following criticism by environmental nonprofits for drafting model legislation that denies any human contribution to climate change.

    However BP spokesperson Brett Clanton did not mention the group’s position on climate change in a statement announcing the decision:“We continually assess our engagements with policy and advocacy organizations and based on our most recent assessment, we have determined that we can effectively pursue policy matters of current interest to BP without renewing our membership in Alec.”…

    Reply
  42. eleggua

     /  March 24, 2015

    Beijing mayor promises frugal, smog-free Winter Games Mar 24, 2015
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/24/us-china-olympics-idUSKBN0MK0A820150324
    If Beijing wins the right to hold the 2022 Winter Olympics they will be both frugal and free from the city’s notorious smog, the city’s mayor was quoted as saying in a state-run newspaper on Tuesday….

    …only Beijing and Kazakhstan’s Almaty have been left in the 2022 race though neither city is a winter sports powerhouse.

    Despite strong political backing and a proven track record, Beijing faces serious doubts over its poor air.
    While Beijing made strenuous efforts to clean up its air in time for the 2008 summer Olympics, the city still suffers from terrible smog, so bad on occasion that it forces the airport to shut and envelops everything with a thick, choking haze.

    “We are prepared to reduce the use of coal, alleviate pollution caused by traffic, extend the use of new energy vehicles and ask more polluting plants to move out of Beijing,” Wang said.
    “We promise the air quality will meet World Health Organisation standards by the start of the winter of 2022.”

    Average levels of hazardous airborne particles known as PM2.5 stood at 85.9 micrograms per cubic meters in 2014, down four percent compared with the previous year, but still far higher than the national air quality standard of 35 micrograms.
    Beijing plans to bring readings down to 60 by 2017, the municipal environmental bureau said earlier this year.

    Reply
  43. eleggua

     /  March 24, 2015

    Solar water system douses risks in Cameroon’s arid north Mar 24, 2015
    A pioneering solar-powered water distribution system is improving access to potable water in a region of Far North Cameroon beset by drought, water-related illness and an influx of refugees fleeing Boko Haram attacks.
    The system, in which water is collected in a large dam built amid the region’s hills and piped to a series of underground community wells, aims to cut the distance women need to walk to collect water and improve access to safe water….

    Cameroon’s National Water Company, SNEC, supplies water only to Mokolo, the main town in Diamare division. That means only about 20 percent of people in the division have access to potable drinking water, Nganou said.
    The new system, however, now has helped bring clean drinking water within the reach of 80 percent of people in the division, he said.

    The project uses a 2,500 cubic meter collecting dam in the hills to store water. Solar power is then used to pump water from the dam and into pipes leading downhill to six neighboring villages including Mindif, said project engineer Jorel Kom.
    In the villages, over 40 water storage containers collect the supplied water, which can then be pumped into household containers using a low-maintenance hand pump, he said.

    Constructed at a cost of over 788 million CFA ($1.3 million) from the country’s public investment budget, the project is transforming life in a region increasingly struggling with erratic rainfall and drying groundwater supplies, local people say….

    “My business now attracts more customers who no longer doubt the source of water used for production,” said Adjidja Alim, one of the (millet beer) brewers….

    Agriculture employs 70 percent of the workforce in Cameroon, and provides 42 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and 30 percent of its export revenue, according to government statistics.

    Health experts say an improve supply of portable water in Far North Cameroon could also help reduce a rising series of disease outbreaks in the region over the past three years…..

    Reply
  44. eleggua

     /  March 24, 2015

    <bCoastal Erosion to Double by Mid-Century in Hawaii as Sea Levels Rise Mar 24, 2015
    http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/23620/20150324/coastal-erosion-double-mid-century-hawaii-sea-levels-rise.htm
    …Like the majority of Hawai’i’s sandy beaches, most shorelines in the 10 study sites for this latest research are currently retreating. If beaches were to follow current trends, an average of 20 to 40 feet of shoreline recession may occur by 2050 and 2100, respectively….

    Reply
    • And there are beaches that I used to sleep, walk on, near Santa Barbara, CA, that are no longer there. Years ago it was said that dams on rivers were holding back silt etc that brought the sand to the beaches.
      Then again, wind and ocean currents bring sand too. Some of them are in disarray even as the sea level rises.

      Reply
  45. Mark from New England

     /  March 24, 2015

    California Snowpack is a Record Low 9% of Normal, No Melt Water for Water Supplies:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/24/1372949/-California-Snowpack-is-a-Record-Low-9-of-Normal-No-Melt-Water-for-Water-Supplies?detail=facebook_sf#

    It’ll be an interesting summer.

    Reply
  46. eleggua

     /  March 24, 2015

    What’s Better: Saving the World or Building Another Facebook app? Feb 13, 2010
    http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/13/what%E2%80%99s-better-saving-the-world-or-building-another-facebook-app/
    ….What if we challenged these students and Silicon Valley to build businesses that do good for the planet and make a healthy profit doing so? Today, the world faces more problems than perhaps at any point in recent history. The economy is on the brink. Greenhouse gases threaten to turn Earth into a giant steam room. Scarce resources such as food, water, and oil have already become international flashpoints as the developing and developed worlds jockey for position to sustain or improve their standards of living. Drug-resistant bacteria threaten us with doomsday plagues. Yet we have the greatest minds and the deepest pool of investment capital in the world focused on building Facebook and Twitter apps…..

    Reply
  47. eleggua

     /  March 24, 2015

    UN climate chief joins alumni calling on Swarthmore to divest from fossil fuels 24 March 2015
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/24/un-climate-chief-joins-alumni-calling-swarthmore-college-divest-fossil-fuels
    The United Nations climate chief appealed to her alma mater, Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, to withdraw from fossil fuels, in an important symbolic show of support for the campus divestment campaign.

    A group of protesters occupied Swarthmore’s administrative office last week to demand the university return to negotiations on fossil fuel divestment. The administrative board have since agreed to put divestment on the agenda their May meeting.

    n a letter to Swarthmore’s administration and students, Christiana Figueres, who heads the UN agency guiding the international climate negotiations, called on the university to rid its endowment of fossil fuels….

    “The thought that one institution’s small investment level is inconsequential is analogous to the dangerous sentiment that in the context of a democratic system one vote is irrelevant because a single person does not affect change,” the letter said. “Or, in the context of an academic institution, it is analogous to the unacceptable belief that the education of one student is unimportant because a single person does not affect change.”….

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  March 24, 2015

      Sequester the carbon in all the materials of civilization:
      BMWi3:

      Reply
  48. eleggua

     /  March 24, 2015

    Robert, email for you re: links harvesting project.

    Reply
  49. Colorado Bob

     /  March 24, 2015

    Forest fires rage in Chile, made worse by strong winds, drought

    In the 2014-2015 season, forest fires have so far consumed 91,327 hectares, far above the average of 59,300 per year over the previous five years, according to government forestry agency Conaf.
    http://news.yahoo.com/forest-fires-rage-chile-made-worse-strong-winds-172717176.html

    Reply
  50. Colorado Bob

     /  March 24, 2015

    The GOP’s 10 Commandments on Climate Change
    by ALAN FARAGO

    In public, GOP leaders are climate change deniers. In private, they understand climate change perfectly. The difference is that disclosure doesn’t serve the party’s purposes. Climate change denial — against the backdrop of accumulating science and fact — is like an electrical charge stimulating the Republican base. Here are the GOP’s ten commandments of climate change.

    1) Climate change is like the weather: there is nothing we can do about it.

    2) We are top predator. Others must adapt to us or die.

    3) It doesn’t matter if climate change is man-made: whatever happens is God’s will.

    4) Since our God in the only God, we know what is best for you.

    5) As the party of limited government, any effort to strengthen environmental regulations is cutting our own throats.

    6) As the party of capitalism, we are against any climate-driven protectionism unless it serves our interests.

    7) If climate change requires subsidies, existing subsidies will be protected, first. Any additional subsidies will have to adapt to ours.

    8) Dissenters on climate change are psychological deviants, to be dealt with and isolated from decision-making.

    9) If there is a dispute on climate change between constituencies the GOP represents, the leadership will side with that person who who concentrates our political power.

    10) We will adapt our behavior to impacts of climate change as they happen, not before.

    Alan Farago is president of Friends of the Everglades and can be reached at afarago@bellsouth.net

    Reply
  51. dnem

     /  March 24, 2015

    Ok, here’s my Center of Gravity: If I was King for a Day the first thing I’d do is institute a large and rising carbon tax, most likely with a Hansen style 100% rebate back to the public. The second thing would be to make all elections 100% publicly financed. No private fundraising whatsoever. These two steps would go a long way toward ushering in the lower impact future I envision. If we could accomplish them, it is my belief that the global economic system would both be forced, and urged, to adapt in radical ways, without the need to ever utter sacrilege like “capitalism must end or we’re screwed.”

    Reply
    • I think these are fantastic policy measures.

      Capitalism must end or we’re screwed is something I’m inclined to agree with as well. Especially the uninhibited brand we’ve been suffering through for the last few decades.

      So no sacrilege here.

      Reply
      • Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wicked of men will do the most wicked of things for the greatest good of everyone.

        John Maynard Keynes

        Reply
      • Whatever happened to that BTU (British Thermal Unit) tax that Prez Clinton called for way back? That seemed to be a sensible step in the right direction.

        Reply
        • Direct carbon tax would target FF use. I’m inclined to support Hansen’s tax and transfer as a mechanism that also addresses income inequality and rewards good action.

      • Right, Robert.The carbon tax is much better than the BTU tax.

        I had thought (in ignorance) that it involved taxing the amount of total BTU (from fossil fuels) expended in the production of items or services dependent on FF.

        Hansen et al, and you, are right on top of it.

        Reply
        • That may have been the intent. But there seemed to be a bit too much wiggle room for me to feel comfortable with the BTU tax monicker.

  52. PCCP82

     /  March 24, 2015

    something seems off about this paper…and I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’m not an expert, but it appears that not everything is unpacked about the natural process/modulation of AMO fluctuation.

    having said that, the temp anomalies indicate that if not what the authors are suggesting is happening, something which could be mistaken for it is.

    Reply
    • The paper uses T anomalies over the 1900 to 2013 timeframe as an indicator. The indicated AMOC weakening is also supported by recent studies showing reduced bottom water formation and a weakening of the Gulf Stream off the US east coast. So what we are looking at is one piece of the larger puzzle. But a rather significant piece — and one that was successfully identified in climate change forecasts.

      Reply
  53. Colorado Bob

     /  March 24, 2015

    Dozens of the world’s leading scientists released an open letter Tuesday asking museums to stop accepting donations from oil companies or climate change deniers, and to kick Koch off the Board of Directors at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

    An Open Letter to Museums from Members of the Scientific Community


    As members of the scientific community we devote our lives to understanding the world, and sharing this understanding with the public. We are deeply concerned by the links between museums of science and natural history with those who profit from fossil fuels or fund lobby groups that misrepresent climate science.

    Link

    37 names so far .

    Reply
    • Fantastic!

      And, by the way, divestment is working. Otherwise, we wouldn’t hear such hue and cry.

      Reply
    • It’s good to see them naming names (David Koch) too. Make it personal. People need to take climate change personal — and react.

      Reply
  54. Colorado Bob

     /  March 25, 2015

    A good point about the “slowdown of the AMOC” –

    Without the AMOC to carry heat away from the tropics and redistribute it, Mann said parts of the Northern Hemisphere could become cooler. But he also said hurricanes, Nor’easters and other storms could become more common, providing the heat with an alternative pathway along which it can travel.

    “If you shut down this mode of ocean circulation, you’re denying the climate system one of its modes of heat transport,” Mann said. “if you deny it one mode of transport, it’s often the case that you will see other modes of transport increase.”

    Link

    Reply
    • If you get a large scale AMOC shutdown, you basically enter what I’ve been calling phase 2 of climate change. It’s when the tropics really start to heat up. When the North Atlantic cools down. When, likely, the region near West Antarctica and, possibly, East Antarctica cool down. Heating at the tropics and uneven cooling near the upper lattitudes (with some regions cooling while others still warm) is a recipe for some very significant weather. The kind Hansen mentions in Storms.

      If we are at the gateway of phase 2 now, then that is real trouble. Really nasty trouble.

      I’m still digesting this. And I might need to write another piece related to it soon. But I am glad to see that Mann is addressing these issues.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  March 25, 2015

        “I might need to write another piece related to it soon. ”

        Please do. This is so huge, it will take a while for most of us to get our heads around the likely consequences.

        Reply
        • There are two really big parts to this — ocean and atmosphere. That makes it tough to encapsulate. But it needs to be done. I’m setting aside all of this evening and Thursday.

  55. Colorado Bob

     /  March 25, 2015

    I got to thinking about that map last year of Greenland under the ice , which showed a bowl, with 3 holes in the sides –

    Reply
    • An imperfect basin with pre-set outflow channels…

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  March 25, 2015

        More Ice Breaks off of Petermann Glacier : Natural Hazards

        The Petermann Glacier grinds and slides toward the sea along the northwestern coast of Greenland, terminating in a giant floating ice tongue. Like other glaciers that end in the ocean, Petermann periodically calves icebergs. A massive iceberg, or ice island, broke off of the Petermann Glacier in 2010. Nearly two years later, another chunk of ice has broken free.

        http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=78556

        Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  March 25, 2015

      Make that 5 holes in the sides

      Reply
    • Andy in San Diego

       /  March 25, 2015

      The NE channel has turned into a giant outflow the past few years. Last year it was unbelievable. Jakobshavn (Ilulissat) has been in the fore front, but the NE outlet is very scary as well.

      Reply
      • Oh, you are absolutely right, Andy. Zachariae has seen a strong outflow during recent years.

        Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  March 25, 2015

        I went looking for this map, to see the South East corner, ( close to that cold pool in the Atlantic) sure enough, there’s hole there as well. But little iceberg production.

        Reply
    • james cole

       /  March 25, 2015

      Great thanks for that map! I just never saw the landscape beneath the ice before. Really puts Greenland’s melt into a whole new light.

      Reply
  56. james cole

     /  March 25, 2015

    One of my long time hobbies is West European history. I mean from the last Ice Age up to present. Prehistory relies a lot more on paleoclimate than most people would imagine. In prehistory we look at long term trends in the archeological record as social systems change, and you always have to compare changes in archeological findings with what is known of climate at the time. Example is the crisis at the close of the bronze age in the British Isles. Something profound happened over a 200 year period, before the Iron Age took hold. Nobody knows what the collapse entailed for certain, but it is recorded clearly in the archeological record. It seems very likely that climate did a job on the people of the bronze age and their farming and warrior culture.
    This is where Robert’s post hits home with me. Over long history, Western Europe has had some real shocks to prevailing cultures. And the more paleoclimate we understand, the more we connect a change in climate with the cultural collapses, or rises.
    The Atlantic and North Sea cultures are prone to being affected heavily by what these North Atlantic currents do.
    If this current slows down, or shuts down, the effect will be immediate. From history, there are times when we can trace shocks to a social order, shocks that seem to happen within the matter of a few years. When we see that, I always think of the North Atlantic current and what state it is in when changes occur to prehistoric cultures. We can see it in coastal cultures when types of fish disappear from the diet almost at once, and other foods replace them. This has to be ocean currents changing where the fish inhabit and what fish people could obtain offshore.
    A colder climate for Northern Europe, with it’s massive population density today, would be simply beyond imagination. Especially as climate refugees from the Middle East are making a beeline for Europe, in hopes of finding an economic safe haven. If Europe gets stressed, and important safety valve is closed for climate refugees.
    On that subject of climate refugees, their numbers are growing both near Turkish and Greek borders, and also along the entire North African coast, looking for boat passage to Italy, Greece, Spain and South of France. While European media reports on the growing army of refugees, they almost never explain that climate is one of the biggest driving forces to this mass migration towards rich European nations.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  March 25, 2015

      Excellent comment.

      Reply
    • Except that we have the situation now where so much of the rest of the world is warming very rapidly. So you get that cold pool in the middle of a warming world. The heat shifts to the tropics and you get an uneven heating of the NH. You have got to believe this dumps extraordinary instability into the atmosphere.

      I think you and I had a conversation about fire and ice giants some time a while back. This wonderfully insightful comment reminds me of that.

      Reply
    • Agreed with Colorado Bob, excellent comment,

      Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  March 25, 2015

      Thanks for that, james cole. I’ve just finished Eric H Cline’s 1177B.C. The Year Civilization Collapsed. Your comments expand that End of Bronze Age story.

      Reply
  57. Colorado Bob

     /  March 25, 2015

    Greenland is a leaking once frozen water tower . with holes in it’s sides.

    Reply
  58. Colorado Bob

     /  March 25, 2015

    Greenland’s crazy little friend –

    Iceland rises as its glaciers melt from climate change
    Date:
    January 29, 2015
    Source:
    University of Arizona
    Summary:
    Earth’s crust under Iceland is rebounding as global warming melts the island’s great ice caps. In south-central Iceland some sites are moving upward as much as 1.4 inches (35 mm) per year. A new paper is the first to show the current fast uplift of the Icelandic crust is a result of accelerated melting of the island’s glaciers and coincides with the onset of warming that began about 30 years ago, the researchers said.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150129113719.htm

    Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  March 25, 2015

      the land of fire and ice indeed.

      and, along with Alaska, the ‘canary in the coal mine’ for a volcanic response to CC, according to some.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  March 25, 2015

        Yes, Alaska will will really wake up. And their volcanoes are thick, sticky, lava, Really big events.

        Reply
  59. Colorado Bob

     /  March 25, 2015

    CU study finds climate, not pine beetle, drives western U.S. wildfires

    Wildfire follows hot wind and drought — but not the ravaging of mountain pine beetles, a new study found.

    University of Colorado scientists investigated western U.S. forests that burned over the past decade and compared them with forests infested with beetles.

    They concluded that beetle-killed forests are no more at risk of burning than healthy forests. The beetle outbreaks, which since 1996 have turned 15 million acres of green forest gray from Alaska to Arizona, don’t drive wildfire, said University of Colorado at Boulder ecologist Sarah Hart, author of the study, which is poised for publication this week.

    “Forest fuels may get drier as a result of fuels being dead from insect infestations. But the fuels in live forests are dry enough to promote fire. It is weather conditions — warm and dry conditions — that make the difference,” Hart said.

    Link

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  March 25, 2015

      From the comments on this link –

      “Going Full Ostrich on inconvenient truths is apparently what passes for “conservative” these days…”

      Reply
  60. LRC

     /  March 25, 2015

    As has been pointed out by many. We will not go into a deep freeze. Too much heat in the system. What may happen is a worsening of the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” and the “Terribly Tenacious Trough.”
    If we are to acknowledge that the slowdown does not affect the heat balance between incoming and outgoing from space, as that is related to CO2 and not currents, and if the North Atlantic is to remain the cold spot, then the heat that is rising is rising somewhere else. Traditionally the cold spots were at the poles and the hot spots at the equators and weather moved accordingly. Now you could have a case where the cold spot has moved from the pole to North Atlantic. Could not that create a more or less permanent blocking pattern, pushing weather systems far farther into the Arctic or far farther south, thereby putting England either in the bulls eye or getting ignored altogether. Either scenario would be very bad news for those folks.
    And as for North America could that not result in potentially more Sandys by pushing more systems westward.

    Reply
    • Great point to repeat, LRC (with a hat tip to Francis and Hansen too). No way we see a new ice age. But what we do see is weather wreckage.

      As has been repeated here many times, we see a shifting of the cold spot toward Greenland, Canada and the North Atlantic due to polar amplification, Greenland melt and the related (what Hansen used to call) Iceberg cooling effect for the regions impacted.

      The upshot is very, very unstable weather.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  March 25, 2015

        http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00382-015-2540-2

        On likely consequences of AMOC slowdown, focused on Europe. Thanks to Yvan Dutil at rc for the link.

        “…Summer precipitation decreases (increases) in northern (southern) Europe and is associated with a negative summer North Atlantic Oscillation signal.

        Winter precipitation is also affected by the changing atmospheric circulation, with localised increases in precipitation associated with more winter storms and a strengthened winter storm track. Stronger westerly winds in winter increase the warming maritime effect while weaker westerlies in summer decrease the cooling maritime effect.

        In the absence of these circulation changes the cooling over Europe’s landmass would be even larger in both seasons. The general cooling and atmospheric circulation changes result in weaker peak river flows and vegetation productivity, which may raise issues of water availability and crop production.”

        Reply
  61. Colorado Bob

     /  March 25, 2015

    The pine beetle link , brings up a great point .

    Huge fires are burning at tip of South America. In Chile, and Argentina , in forests that have 1,000 year old trees . In forests that have a cool misty climate . In trees that never had fire as part of their life cycle.

    Argentina –
    ‘Worst Fire in 100 Years’ Sweeps Through Patagonian Forest
    by Indy Staff, 24 February 2015.

    Link

    One month later –
    Forest fires rage in Chile, made worse by strong winds, drought

    In the 2014-2015 season, forest fires have so far consumed 91,327 hectares, far above the average of 59,300 per year over the previous five years, according to government forestry agency Conaf.

    Link

    The great thing about being a denier is, you have never heard of Patagonian, and never looked at a map to find it.
    The most troubling thing about these fires , they are North of Drake Passage , and fastest warming part of Antarctica.

    No links keeps me out of the filter. the titles are your links.

    Reply
  62. Colorado Bob

     /  March 25, 2015

    Reply
  63. Best I’ve read online explaining what this report represents. Thanks so much for all your work and sharing this with us!

    Reply
  64. wili

     /  March 25, 2015

    http://www.vox.com/2015/3/23/8277345/atlantic-overturning-circulation

    “The Gulf Stream system may already be weakening. That’s not good.”

    Pretty thorough coverage, here.

    Reply
  65. Thank you for an important article. Hopefully, people are paying attention.

    Reply
  66. jyyh

     /  October 1, 2015

    I’d say not the heart, but a severe bruising or a major vein going varicose. but anyway… thanks for the story

    Reply
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