When the Great Ice Sheets Start Going Down — Approaching the Age of “Storms”

The great ice sheets are melting with increasing velocity. Melt ponds are forming over Greenland, then pounding heat down through the ice like the smoldering hammers of ancient Norse fire giants. Warming mid-depth ocean waters are eating away at the undersides of Antarctica’s great ice shelves. Pools of fresh water are expanding outward from the bleeding glaciers, flooding the surface zones of the world’s oceans. Sea level rise rates have jumped to 4.4 millimeters per year (see study here). And the North Atlantic Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is slowing down.

Ice mass loss all glaciers

(Accelerating ice mass loss from Antarctica, Greenland and other continental glaciers and ice caps [GICs]. Image source: Geophysical Research Letters.)

Keeping all this in mind, let’s talk a little bit about the ugly transition to phase 2 climate change. A transition it now appears we’re at the start of. The — you should have listened to Dr. James Hansen and read The Storms of My Grandchildren — phase of climate change. The awful, long, stormy period in which the great glaciers really start going down.

*    *    *    *    *

In an effort to organize how human-caused climate change may proceed, it helps to break the likely progression of human-caused climate change down into three basic phases. For this simplification we have phase 1 — polar amplification, phase 2 glacial melt and storms, and phase 3 — runaway hothouse and stratified/Canfield Oceans. For this article, we’ll focus mostly on phase 1 and 2.

Phase 1 — Polar Amplification

During the first phase, human greenhouse gas emissions gradually add heat to the atmosphere. This causes general warming that is most intense at the polar regions, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. Called Polar Amplification, this added heating at the poles occurs due to greenhouse gasses’ ability to increase the atmosphere’s heat trapping efficiency at night, when the sunlight angle is low, or during periods of dimmer light (cloudiness etc). In addition, snow and ice melt cause albedo loss at the poles and greenhouse gasses sequestered within frozen carbon stores may release during warming as ice thaws adding another kick to polar amplification (amplifying feedbacks). Due to lower volumes of continental ice, more low-albedo land mass, more vulnerable carbon stores, and closer proximity to human greenhouse gas emissions sources, the Northern Hemisphere polar zone is most vulnerable to increased rates of warming during phase 1 climate change.

Weather impacts during phase 1 include a slowing down of the jet stream due to loss of polar ice, a multiplication of slow moving weather systems, an increasing prevalence of drought and heavy rainfall events, and a slow ratcheting of the intensity of powerful storms. Phase 1 continues until ice sheets begin to become heavily involved and melt outflows greatly increase. At that point, we begin a transition to a more unstable period of human-caused climate change — phase 2.

Phase 2 — An Age of Storms

During phase 2, ever-increasing volumes of cold, fresh ice and water pulse out from the world’s glaciers. In essence, the great mountains of ice really get moving and there’s nothing left to stop them. The glacial heat content has reached a critical point and the glaciers start moving and crumbling on a massive scale. A seaward avalanche that has essentially become unstoppable due to basic inertia.

Due to highest levels of ice concentration, the regions seeing the greatest impact are areas adjacent to Greenland and Antarctica. Cold, fresh water and ice hitting these local ocean zones have numerous influences. The first is that the local fresh water acts as a lid on ocean-to-atmosphere heat transfer. As a result, atmospheric temperatures in the region near large glacial melts will tend to cool. Warm, saltier surface waters near the glacial outflows are pushed downward by the lighter, fresh water — heating the ocean bottom zone and continuing to melt the underbellies of sea facing glaciers. Ultimately, the meridional ocean circulations in the North Atlantic and in the Southern Ocean are cut off.

Deep water formation is driven toward the equator. This stops heat transport toward the poles in a number of regions resulting in equatorial heat amplification. Meanwhile, the impact of the fresh water ocean lid results in local atmospheric cooling near the glaciers — a counter-trend to a larger global warming.

Weather-wise, we see a reverse of the trends first apparent during phase 1. The cooling of surface zones near the great glaciers puts a damper of phase 1 polar amplification. Meanwhile, the southward progression of fresh surface waters shuts down the oceanic coveyors transporting heat into the polar zones. As a result we see heat building up through a kind of ocean heat transport train-wreck in low latitude regions near the equator. The combined equatorial heating and near glacier cooling increases temperature gradients and amplifies the storm track.

20121230_iceberg_cooling_effect_Hansen_Sato

(Model runs showing temperature anomalies under A1B [near RCP 6.0] scenario warming with 0.6 meter global sea level rise from glacial outflows by 2065 and 1.44 meter global sea level rise by 2080 vs only thermal expansion based sea level rise [right frame images]. Note that A1B implies about 550 ppm CO2 — a bad scenario but no-where near the worst case. Also note that these models do not include carbon store response feedbacks. Finally, the models were adjusted by adding fresh water outflows from glaciers, so this is not a prediction of rate of sea level rise, only a projection of atmospheric impacts under a given melt and ghg scenario. Image source: Greenland Melt Exponential?)

In the Northern Hemisphere, the North Atlantic sees the greatest counter-trend cooling influence in atmospheric regions due to glacial melt. Meanwhile, Arctic regions continue to see (somewhat slowed) warming conditions. The result is a shift of the center of cold air to an off-set zone more toward Greenland and a screaming storm track running oblong over the polar zone and centering over a trough in the North Atlantic. Amazing temperature differentials between the continents, the Polar zone, Greenland, the North Atlantic, the equatorial Atlantic and Africa result in the potential for continent-sized storms packing the strength of hurricanes according to a recent study by Hansen.

The storms would spin up as the unstable cold air over Greenland ravels and unravels in great frontal wings of cold air encountering the hot air roiling at the equator and building in sections of the Arctic and over the continents. Tropical storms forming adjacent to cold core storms would increase the potential for hybrid storm events. And extreme temperature gradients would provide high octane atmospheric fuel for baroclinic systems. Finally, the great melt pulses themselves would supply periods of high global thermal variance. The pre melt pulse times would see rapid warming, while the post melt pulse times would see cooling. This up-down would periodically load and then wring the global atmosphere of moisture, resulting in high risk for extreme deluge events.

Heating the Deep Ocean Sets Stage for Phase 3

Meanwhile, heat at the ocean surface is driven toward the deep ocean by the fresh water melt pulses issuing from the glaciers. So the melt outflows and storms of phase 2 climate change act as an amazing mechanism for atmosphere-to-ocean heat transfer. Which is really bad news for the health of the world ocean system.

This phase 2 climate change age of storms lasts so long as large glacial outflows still issue from Greenland (in the North) and Antarctica (in the South). Since even under the most rapid pace of human-caused warming it would take hundreds of years for the great ice sheets to go down, what we are looking at is a period of possibly centuries. Avoiding phase 2 climate change, on the other hand, involves avoiding rapid destablization of Greenland and Antarctica’s ice sheets. An issue we may have already pushed too hard to prevent at least some of these storm, ocean, and weather destabilization impacts.

As for phase 3 climate change — that’s a transition to a runaway hothouse and a stratified/Canfield Ocean state. And we really don’t want to see that either. But before we get there, it’s a transition to an age of glacial melt and tremendously potent storms.

Links:

Hat Tip to Colorado Bob

Why Greenland’s Huge Melt Lakes are Vanishing

Global Sea Level Rise, Ice Melt, El Nino

An Increase in the Rate of Sea Level Rise Since 2010

What’s Going on in the North Atlantic?

Geophysical Research Letters

Greenland Melt Exponential?

The Storms of My Grandchildren

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211 Comments

  1. kevin jones

     /  June 4, 2015

    My take precisely, Robert. I wrote Dr. Hansen regarding his above image: “How could this not be plausible?” Excellent article. ( Typo in first sentence?…melting with…not within, I believe you intend.)

    Reply
  2. Tsar Nicholas

     /  June 4, 2015

    It’s been unusually cool here in Wales since Easter, so i have to say that the notion of Gulf Stream slowdown/shutdown has crossed my mind.

    Reply
    • kevin jones

       /  June 4, 2015

      Hello, Tsar Nicholas. My father’s father was from Bethesda, Gwynedd. lechyd da! And stay warm!

      Reply
      • Jeremy

         /  June 4, 2015

        Noswaith dda – good evening. I can confirm that it has been cold since Easter in North Wales & wet. When we had a fine few weeks in March/April I was afraid that that was our summer. May used to be a fine settled month on average, now rarely is it settled.
        There are so many coastal settlements that are going to be washed away by the coming storms that it saddens me – my son was in Aberystwyth in the storms of 2014 and a small increase in sea level will see the town swamped – and when the sea is angry it is terrifying.
        The outer hebrides have already experienced hurricane force storms ( http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2005/nov/06/weather.scottishparliament ) and the North Sea surge last year came within inches of flooding swathes of eastern England. As my house is 500 feet above sea level its one thing I can avoid if the roof is not blown off.
        Robert your work is appreciated, do not know how you keep it up.

        Reply
    • Unusual winter type weather reports from Scotland too

      Reply
      • Well, with AMOC taking a hit, it’s cooler than usual there. The anomalies I’ve seen in the maps range from -1 to -4 C in broader regions with -7 C to -12 C below seasonal temperatures in very isolated areas (like Aonach Mor). You can see some pretty amazingly colder than normal predicted temps over the next few days for that location here: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/forecast/gfh7qbhun.

        But when you compare it with these very broad zones of solid +20 C anomalies, you really begin to realize that we are dealing with some amazing out of season temperature ranges here, with the higher peaks on the hot extreme and with the cold extreme looking very odd. Frankenweather patterns. We’d really, really see more of this as the glaciers start to go down, especially in the North Atlantic and near Antarctic regions.

        The Fall/Winter pattern for the North Atlantic could be pretty amazingly ugly this year. Already we have this crazy hot-cold boundary zone running across the Atlantic roughly centered of the US Mid Atlantic/Northeast coast and ranging diagonally northward toward the shores of Spain and France. That boundary zone is a storm breeder, as we saw this past winter in the US Northeast and during the winter of 2013-2014 for England and coastal Europe. We really are entering a new era that just gets worse as glacial melts increase.

        Reply
  3. Good ‘top of the fold’ headline reporting, Robert.
    Valuable ‘phase’ context for us.
    Thanks for your hard work.

    Reply
  4. – Atmospheric Nitrogen (My acute peeve.) fallout is in the news again. This time in the high mountain lakes of the Rocky Mountains. I do believe that air moving W to E is bringing anthropogenic N to the Rockies. There’s plenty of sources.

    “…algal bloom in one of our high mountain lakes,” .

    It’s May in Rocky Mountain National Park, but on a mountainside 10,829 feet above sea level, snow is falling. It’s pelting Jim Cheatham, a biologist with the National Park Service. Shrugging off the cold, Cheatham seizes a teachable moment. This snow, he says, holds more than just water.

    “Chances are it’s carrying the excess nitrogen we’re talking about,” says Cheatham.

    For the past eight years, the biologist has spent most of his time thinking about how nitrogen pollution is changing the park’s forests, wildflowers and alpine lakes. He’s also been looking for a way to stop it.

    “This past year, for the first time we saw an algal bloom in one of our high mountain lakes,” said Cheatham. “Never been seen before, never been documented before.”
    http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/06/01/411248935/its-raining-nitrogen-in-a-colorado-park-farmers-can-make-it-stop

    Reply
    • – Signs of excessive N in Portland, OR: Dehydrated algal growth from painted metal fence – aprox. 1 heaping tablespoon, Portland, OR. 2015. Photo – DT LANGE

      Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 4, 2015

      Everyone read this NPR story.

      Nice catch dtl.

      Reply
    • It really is amazing how dangerous the fossil fuel emission is when you think about it. Heat the atmosphere, seed the water with nitrogen which sets off these massive, oxygen consuming algae blooms. It really does look like the start of the Permian in fast motion. An industrial Permian, if you will.

      Reply
  5. Colorado Bob

     /  June 4, 2015

    ” the potential for continent-sized storms packing the strength of hurricanes according to a recent study by Hansen.”

    These continental cyclones are going to be a big problem on the grid. The idea of crews from unaffected. areas coming in to help are going to be a thing of the past, because the destroyed area will be so vast. We have seen hints of this .

    Reply
    • It’s one reason why I think decentralized systems based on renewables would work out better — adding resiliency to these kinds of events. They’d still be pretty amazingly difficult to manage, though.

      Reply
  6. Reblogged this on GarryRogers Nature Conservation and Science Fiction and commented:
    We have ignored the warnings and relentlessly burned gasoline, oil, and coal; now we must prepare for Act II, the Age of Storms.

    Reply
  7. Colorado Bob

     /  June 5, 2015

    Reply
  8. Colorado Bob

     /  June 5, 2015

    sail away enya

    Reply
  9. Colorado Bob

     /  June 5, 2015

    Georgetown University Votes To Divest From Coal

    Georgetown University’s board of directors voted to divest the school’s endowment from coal companies Thursday, a move that fell short of students’ hopes for divestment from all fossil fuel companies.

    Link

    Reply
    • climatehawk1 (@climatehawk1)

       /  June 5, 2015

      Thanks, tweet scheduled.

      Reply
    • Lots of coal divestment going on. And this is very, very good news. Now let’s also start pushing to jettison oil and gas.

      Reply
      • If I divest it means someone else have to buy. What does it mean? And isn’t better if I buy the shares and then dismantle the company??? Any economict here?🙂

        Alex

        Reply
        • Yes, if you can afford to buy the company and dismantle it, that would be better. If you can’t afford to buy it (most people can’t), here is why divestment is useful:

          1) Fossil fuel companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on image advertising. Divestment demonstrations and social media are a very inexpensive way to blow a hole in the positive images created.

          2) If you sell your shares, yes, someone else buys them, but the price goes down. Falling prices are not what most intelligent investors are looking for in their investments.

          3) Divestment campaigns help to raise awareness of the risk of investing in companies that depend for their livelihood on wrecking the habitability of our planet. At some point, there will be a race to the exits by investors. We can see some of that happening now with coal. Jim Cramer, host of a popular daily show on investing (“Mad Money”), has been telling callers for a while now, “I don’t want you to invest in coal. Bad idea.”

          4) Campus divestment campaigns also draw attention to the complicity of institutions like Harvard and Brown in the burning of fossil fuels and give young people a way to directly play a role in combating climate disruption.

  10. james cole

     /  June 5, 2015

    “the southward progression of fresh surface waters shuts down the oceanic coveyors transporting heat into the polar zones. As a result we see heat building up through a kind of ocean heat transport train-wreck in low latitude regions near the equator. The combined equatorial heating and near glacier cooling increases temperature gradients and amplifies the storm track.”
    That’s sort of an Ah! Ha! moment for me. Seeing that a strong temperature gradient will reform due to massive heat build up in the equator, while a fresh water lid in the arctic and antarctic cools the polar areas again temporarily.
    This leads me to how badly do you think ocean conveyer currents will slow or shut down? The stopping of heat transfer to the poles , leaving the heat build up at the equator. It sounds like a Scifi Movie. Thinking of radical heat build up in the tropics while the poles go cold again for awhile. That temp difference would be lethal.
    I wonder though, I have been early with the belief [1980’s] that the Atlantic conveyor would be slowed, then all I have read since then is that that is not much of a worry. What am I missing? Are the dice loaded now to shut that current down?
    In any case, brilliant post, lots of things are becoming clear, the more I read the blog.

    Reply
  11. Reblogged this on The Secular Jurist and commented:
    As glacial melting ramps up, climate change transitions from phase-1 to a very stormy phase-2 period which will exert great stresses on human civilization. After that, phase-3 would be nothing less than catastrophic for most life on Earth.

    Reply
    • james cole

       /  June 5, 2015

      It’s amazing how long phase two might last, all the while growing worse till temperatures start to average out at much higher averages and less temperature differences are found in our new hot house world. We have created the perfect Scifi Movie, only for real!

      Reply
  12. You neglected to provide a cite for your claim that sea level rise has increased to 4.4mm per year. The link you did provide only went to an article in the Brisbane Times which makes the same claim but, typicaly, also failed to provide a cite.
    So if anyone is interested in the original paper it is here:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL063902/abstract

    Doesn’t pay to provide ammunition to deranged deniers.

    Reply
    • Got it, Leslie. The BT article was definitely worth a read. Was pretty certain it had good citation if not all live links. Will add this as well.

      Reply
  13. Tom

     /  June 5, 2015

    [RS Warning label comment]

    cushngtree: the same has happened to NBL too yesterday. One is subject to a “This Account Has Been Suspended” warning when trying to access the site. Two or three days ago it was a few hours of 404 statements and Guy posted an e-mail by a reader/commenter who was avidly trying to spread the word and who was scared shit-less by an unknown entity taking over his computer, accessing all his data and warning him off further activity. Very suspicious. It’s up and running again now.

    […]

    good quick read here too: http://www.dailyimpact.net/ [RS warning label — this article may contain misinformation that leads the reader to believe atrocity is the only answer to refugee crises ranging the globe]

    […]

    Reply
    • dnem

       /  June 5, 2015

      Wow, that Daily Impact story is chilling. It makes this point about the african refugee crisis in the Med: “The under-appreciated fact is that most of these movements have as their root cause, climate change: chronic drought leading to hunger and thirst, leading to revolution and civil war and chaos.” I play a little game these days, asking myself, regarding almost every major news story, to what degree is climate change really the underlying driver? The answer is often “high.”

      Reply
      • dnem

         /  June 5, 2015

        I don’t know Tom at all, but I don’t think he was ADVOCATING turning your neighbor away, and neither was the linked story. The sad truth is that there is a refugee crisis in the Mediterranean and it is already taxing the ability of governments in southern Europe to respond. And there will obviously be far, far more people on the move in coming decades. And it will tax all of our abilities to respond. That in no way means that we shouldn’t respond with all the compassion and generosity we can. It just means that it will be challenging. That’s what I got from it. The Atlantic photo essay linked in the Daily Record piece is heartbreaking http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2015/06/fleeing-by-the-millions-migration-crises-around-the-world/394805/

        Reply
        • The allusion to Sophie’s choice is pretty clear. With not other discussion of solution, it immediately jumps to the worst choice possible. If it did not intend to make this suggestion, then it was at the very least grossly irresponsible.

    • Sophie’s Choice is the answer? Very poor thinking and a bad allegory at that. In a backward, back-handed kind of way, the article attempts to justify the reprehensible and irresponsible actions that occurred following Katrina. In essence, the article attempts to justify a failure of government.

      If you draw the hard line, you end up with roving bands of aggressive refugees, increasing religious extremism, and far more frequent border conflicts and wars. Tom, you take care of people — preferably where they live. Failing that, if they have nowhere to live, you provide them with a new place. Or otherwise you end up with destabilizing unrest that takes down civilizations.

      Where the real choices that help or hurt people are made are at the global policy level. You need provisions for aiding these countries in distress and reducing this wave of refugees, for helping the refugees get back to their societies or to make new societies for them, or to provide places for them. You reduce the impact of climate change by rapidly moving to net negative carbon emissions. You increase resiliency by changing what you eat and how you produce food and energy. You increase the resource base by not using resources as we have — to make the rich richer, to build these destructive industries (meat farming, fossil fuels etc). Individuals sacrifice so everyone has a chance and the overall quality of civilization goes up.

      This is very ugly to me, Tom, as if some people want to draw this terrible line between the haves and the have-nots. Rather than working on solutions, people want to exile others and call it a solution. Well, there’s a very real word for what this writer is calling Sophie’s choice and it’s collapse. You start making those kinds of choices, the wrong choices, where you don’t take care of people, where you cut them out, then the civilization starts to collapse. And it can go down very quickly as a result.

      In this case, Tom, it takes compassion to survive. This is not Auschwitz, we live in a world full of democratically elected governments. It’s time those governments started making the right choices and actually did the good, hard work to start taking care of people. To say no to the business special interests, to say not to people like you who are telling people that there are special people who live, and others who die, and to start working to build resiliency, respond to a global emergency and to save lives. But if people pushing these ‘Sophies choices’ have their way, if we devalue human lives (as some have devalued the lives of animals and other creatures) then we may see the kinds of governing bodies capable of producing things like Auschwitz emerge. If we give up on actually helping people and begin to draw lines in this way it’s a dark, dark hole with no bottom we go down.

      I honestly feel sorry for people who think this way. The dark world that is their mind must be a very difficult place in which to live and be happy. But enough of that, we have a responsibility to wholeheartedly say no to this kind of nonsense, lack-spirit, and base lack of ethics.

      Reply
      • Thanks, Robert, with you 100% on this. Facing this planetary crisis, there is an urgent need for people to become conscious of their shared humanity and responsibilities toward one another.

        Reply
        • What I don’t get is the persistent push, this pushing over and over and over again to convince people to treat each other badly. It’s both an odd sort of intellectual and spiritual bullying and, what seems to me, a very visible display of a kind of heart of darkness.

      • Tom

         /  June 8, 2015

        Alright now Robert, hold up. First of all – i only linked to the article because it’s becoming pretty clear that the climate refugees will soon include most of the “civilized” world (once sea level rise takes hold) and these types of choices will, like with Katrina, lead groups to make them to protect the few remaining resources they have from being over-run. I’m not advocating anything, and i don’t think the author of the article is either. He’s simply pointing out what happens and provides an example from right here in the U.S.

        Secondly, you can be as hopeful and positive as you’d like, but what we’re facing isn’t conducive to sustaining humanity, let alone all the species that are currently dying off, despite our efforts or lack there-of to help or make it cease. Fukushima has not been fixed (and cannot be according to current experts) and will continue to poison the atmosphere and oceans for as long as the radiation its spewing has a half-life (far beyond human time-scales). We’ve triggered about 4 dozen positive or self-reinforcing feedbacks that guarantee that climate change will continue to worsen in our lifetimes and far beyond before balancing out, so there’s no stopping this runaway train and all the consequences that these factors entail.

        It’s depressing, demoralizing and awful, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up and throw in the towel. It’s not over until we CAN’T grow food, provide for our range of body temperatures and the rest. The problem is all the other species of plant and animal life will react as they have in the past – they’ll die-off and leave us to what’s left, which will be less and less as time goes on. So of course we’ll continue trying to improve our situation, bleak as it is, because we only have a choice of doing so or self-terminating.

        When people get desperate they become irrational and frantic, losing ethics and morality to panic and chaos – the examples abound throughout history. Nobody WANTS it to be this way, it’s just what ends up happening. Humanity never achieved the next phase of evolution we were supposed to attain (enlightenment?) because we got side-tracked somewhere before the Industrial Revolution to go in the wrong direction (possibly because of the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the Maximum Power Principle) and that has lead to population overshoot and rampant pollution of the commons. Now it’s too late to undo all the damage we’ve done in time for the Earth to heal itself and provide habitat for the many species we rely on to survive.

        i HATE this, but it’s reality unfortunately.

        Reply
        • The onus is on the writer. One needs to be very careful when looking at these things.

          The problem is when you start viewing some choices as ordained or inevitable. For example, the bad choices made during Katrina were due to malfeasance and incompetent leadership far more than due to lack of available resources. The article frames the bad choices as inevitable and unavoidable — which is flat wrong-headed. The leaders in that case were lazy, making choices that at first seemed easy to them but which resulted in devastating impacts to the people on the ground. They failed to look beyond the array of standard tools before them, find new avenues to approach a situation that many knew, one day, would happen. There was clearly little planning, or any previous plans were simply tossed out the window. And there was a broad failure to coordinate all available resources — public, private, people on the ground in the midst of the event, and NGOs. From a crisis management standpoint Katrina was textbook for “worst decision making ever.”

          Either the author didn’t know this, failing to educate himself on the topic, or worse, didn’t care.

          Similar to disaster managers in any emergency, we have a long list of choices before us. Some will improve our situation, others will worsen it. In this we can look at the Norse in Greenland who alienated and attacked cultures that could have helped them through the climate change that was coming. Who became highly stratified within their own culture. Who built barrier after barrier after barrier. Well, they starved and succumbed to the elements. So it’s more than fair to say we probably shouldn’t use the barrier/bunker response as a model. It fails time and time again.

          In a world in which millions will be migrating, the safe havens are required for civilization survival. The barriers and border wars that would result from a failure to provide them would hasten collapse. The article, if it does not advocate a bad choice (and it seems to advocate it to this particularly sensitive reader) labels it as inevitable. Either is grossly irresponsible.

          There is a way to look at bad choices without falling into a trap of fatalism, or worse, becoming mesmerized by brutality and atrocity. The article fails on both counts.

          So there is no excuse of this kind — ‘I hate to report this terrible truth.’ No excuse whatsoever because the article itself has failed to report the most basic truth of all — during a crisis, effective decision-making is almost always the difference between survival and failure. And if we give up our faculty to make those decisions, if we abandon the moral glue that binds things together and the basic imperative of life preservation, then the atrocity becomes ever more likely. The article, and its worldview, is therefore part of the problem. It has no informative value and instead simply wallows in its perceived vision of catastrophe. There is no imperative. No call to action. Just a meme that generates apathy, depression, and terrible judgement.

      • And if civilisation collapses from these bad choices, eventually everyone will be fighting each other like starving rats.

        Reply
      • Thanks, Greyson. The following is not directed at you, but at those responsible:

        Unfortunate use of h-word in both instances. From a communications perspective, every time the p-word or h-word is used, whether intentionally or unintentionally, it spreads the denier “meme” that there has been a p- or a h-. Word choice is really, really, really important (that is to say, it’s important :)) when attempting to convey anything to a general audience, and I think the science community, as well as many reporters, has let the public down by failing to be disciplined about the words used. (This is also true, by the way, even for clever formulations like Dr. Mann’s “faux pause.” Just don’t say the damn word.) In point of fact, it’s been a slowdown at best, so why adopt denier terminology?

        Reply
    • dnem

       /  June 5, 2015

      Tamino has certainly been crushing the p-word/h-word concept for several years now.

      Reply
  14. Andy in San Diego

     /  June 5, 2015

    The past weeks heat blob that rolled over Russia up into the Arctic has done a number on the ground cover snow. It’s gone. For anyone else who’s been glancing at the snow cover in the Arctic over the past few weeks, you can see that it has essentially vanished.

    http://www.arctic.io/explorer/8/2015-06-04/5-N58.55894-E82.73051

    Reply
  15. That composite record for Antarctica hides the true magnitude of the acceleration that is happening in the WAIS

    Accelerated West Antarctic ice mass loss continues to outpace East Antarctic gains
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X15000564

    Reply
    • Thanks for this TDG.

      I thought the composite was good. But this set does provide some highlights as to where melt rates are most rapidly accelerating.

      Reply
  16. Colorado Bob

     /  June 5, 2015

    Norway Will Divest From Coal in Push Against Climate Change

    Norway’s $890 billion government pension fund, considered the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, will sell off many of its investments related to coal, making it the biggest institution yet to join a growing international movement to abandon at least some fossil fuel stocks.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/06/science/norway-in-push-against-climate-change-will-divest-from-coal.html?_r=0

    Reply
    • Yes this was good news, but this week there was also news that they pull out all funding from the wind parks that were planned in both Norway and Sweden. As the article says, there is a bit of ambivalence about it all since our wealth indeed comes from oil and gas revenues (though that has plummeted lately due to low oil price, the fund itself has been booming). It doesnt particularly help that we have a right government too where one part of it has many climate deniers in it (and indeed our agricultural minister is a climate denier as well as our financial minister is a doubter, recently reiterating her stance on the subject).

      Reply
      • If they pull out of renewables now, they are cutting themselves off at the feet. They need to focus on a mixed economy going forward. At least they are not in the same boat as Russia/Saudi Arabia. If the international community were wise they would provide some safety net for the more fossil fuel dependent economies.

        Reply
  17. kevin jones

     /  June 5, 2015

    Robert. Your first comment above regarding cool Scotland and freaky hot Siberia prompted a thought: Which do people remember most, an unseasonable hot spell or an unseasonable cold spell? And why? I suspect New Englanders will remember this past February-March longer than the weirdly hot March of 2012. http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/nmaps.cgi?sat=4&sst=3&type=anoms&mean_gen=03&year1=2012&year2=2012&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=1200&pol=rob Why? Because we evolved during a cold time which required such a desperate search for comfort and calories? Cold = Dangerous Discomfort. Hot = Relax on the Beach Could this, for Northerners anyway, be why we just don’t get the warnings?

    robert. Your

    Reply
    • We don’t get the warnings because there is a massive campaign on the part of oil, gas, and coal interests to strong-arm media, government, and outlets like yours truly to change reporting on the subject, cease reporting on the subject, downplay reporting on the subject or shift focus to a different subject. We don’t get the warnings because people generally don’t want to believe that something’s wrong, and, because some climate shifts are gradual, can tend to gloss over what they see in every day reality achieving a sense of false comfort. This is particularly true when it comes to sea level rise — as many aren’t concerned until the ocean is in their house. In contrast, if we had responsible reporting on the issue on a broad basis, we would have more general concern as people tend to be greatly influenced by ‘authority’ these days.

      But, yes, perhaps there is this sense that warm = good times and cold = danger. Perhaps that comes from living in a time of ice ages in which scarcity tended to come with the cold. Now we deal with the opposite and that may well be bit of an out of context problem for our species.

      Reply
      • kermit

         /  June 10, 2015

        Maybe the campaign of silence and misdirection is finally failing. I work near a small farm-economy city in Washington State. Its newspaper Yakima Herald-Republic had three articles on climate change on its front page this morning:
        1. The G7 summit and what they claimed they will or should do about it.
        2. May was the wettest month in the contiguous 48 states.
        3. Yesterday was the hottest on record for that date in Yakima 105°F (36C), beating the old one by ten degrees (F)!

        And yes, they discussed these in CC context.

        Reply
        • climatehawk1

           /  June 10, 2015

          Nice. Is it a shift for the paper?

  18. kevin jones

     /  June 5, 2015

    Thanks for the reply. I remember the massive campaign waged in my youth by others and the very same interests you mention above to wage war in SE Asia. I heard the other day that the arms sales restrictions on Hanoi were about to be fully lifted buy our govt.. The next time I visit that Wall in Washington I’m going to ask my brothers on it what they think of this. Not that I hold a grudge….The Vietnamese, who beat us, were not our enemies. The bastards who invented that war were/are. I still wish my nation would grow up.

    Reply
    • And we still have some people living under the illusion that we should have fought that ridiculous war. That we could have won it if everyone here had just supported it.

      It wasn’t as if the whole silly premise for the war — that Stalinism would consume the globe if we didn’t beat it back in Vietnam — didn’t just evaporate in a huge puff of smoke after we lost the war. Well we lost and the small c communist Vietnamese are doing quite well and the world isn’t living under some Stalinist dictator and the people in Vietnam are mostly pretty happy.

      So all the people who fought and died there did so why? Because some interests didn’t like the notion that a non-capitalist system might actually work out somewhere somehow without some convienant straw-man like Stalin to hang over it? Or was it that they were really convinced that the bogeyman they invented was real? Or maybe there really were people interested in trying to dominate oil resources in the region.

      My view is that old colonial powers didn’t want to lose hold over SE Asia. So they inserted odd rhetoric to wage a colonial war that went bad as bad can be and, in the end, we still have these ridiculous fractures and national pride issues as a result. Not to mention the vast numbers of lives lost in an inexplicable war.

      Reply
  19. kevin jones

     /  June 5, 2015

    Reply
  20. rayduray

     /  June 5, 2015

    Coal got a mention above. This might be a good place to insert a Politico article about the recent success of activists and energy markets in shutting down coal fired power plants.

    http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2015/05/inside-war-on-coal-000002

    Quoting the article: “The war on coal is not just political rhetoric, or a paranoid fantasy concocted by rapacious polluters. It’s real and it’s relentless. Over the past five years, it has killed a coal-fired power plant every 10 days. It has quietly transformed the U.S. electric grid and the global climate debate.”

    Reply
  21. rustj2015

     /  June 6, 2015

    “water, water, everywhere…”
    But EPA believes it’s mostly all kind of safe to drink, right, oil companies?
    If you are concerned, maybe you’ll look into this protest to EPA:
    Tell the EPA That the American People Deserve Better
    http://act.foodandwaterwatch.org/site/R?i=fvIUe5Y_2jUv2HbHvGJgqw

    Reply
    • rustj2015

       /  June 6, 2015

      This report is described at InsideClimateNews:

      Launched five years ago at the behest of Congress, the water study was supposed to provide critical information about the method’s safety “so that the American people can be confident that their drinking water is pure and uncontaminated,” said a top EPA official at a 2011 hearing.

      But the report was delayed repeatedly, largely because the EPA failed to nail down a key component: the prospective, or baseline, sampling of water before, during and after fracking. Such data would have allowed EPA researchers to gauge whether fracking affects water quality over time, and to provide best industry practices that protect drinking water. EPA had planned to conduct such research, but its efforts were stymied by oil and gas companies’ unwillingness to allow EPA scientists to monitor their activities, and by an Obama White House unwilling to expend political capital to push the industry, an InsideClimate News report from March showed.

      Further, the study confirmed problems that independent researchers have identified over the last five years in peer-reviewed scientific literature. The EPA cited the high number of chemical spills on well pads in places such as Colorado, where fracking fluid could leach into the water table. It confirmed the migration of methane into some people’s drinking water in Pennsylvania. Moreover, it noted that oil and gas companies, especially in the West, frack in underground sources of drinking water––or USDWs––formations where pockets of water and hydrocarbons weave through each other.

      Industry has denied such types of fracking. But Jackson and his Stanford colleague Dominic DiGiulio presented research at a conference last year that said oil and gas companies are fracking at much shallower depths than widely believed, sometimes through the underground water sites.

      The draft report now goes to the EPA’s Science Advisory Board for review and it will be open for public comment after June 5.

      http://insideclimatenews.org/news/05062015/fracking-has-contaminated-drinking-water-epa-now-concludes

      Reply
  22. Syd Bridges

     /  June 6, 2015

    Thank you for another excellent post, Robert. The reference to the Norse gods seems extremely appropriate. At the end there is the Finbul winter, the Age of Storms, followed by the Gottedammerung, the Canfield Ocean. Events may play out more slowly than in the old sagas, but the results will be much the same. Even more appropriate, Loki was the god of fire, and this disaster is being brought about by burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuel companies could play the part of the wolf, Fenris, and their political whores-sorry, but I can’t think of a politer or more accurate term-could be the Midgard Serpent.

    Story tellers from antiquity and from many cultures warned of the dangers of greed and hubris. It’s a shame we didn’t heed them, or the scientists who have warned us of the impending disaster from the time of Arrhenius onward.

    Reply
  23. rayduray

     /  June 6, 2015

    UCSD’s Scripps’ researcher Marty Ralph discusses atmospheric rivers. Highly informative, at least for me.

    Reply
    • rayduray

       /  June 6, 2015

      And of course if we’re talking about atmospheric rivers, this might be one of the most atmospheric of all…

      Reply
      • Yeah, Redbone is something else – great in concert..
        I think he’s playing a guitar that the great Eddie Lang once had.
        (I make it a habit to play (finger style acoustic) at once a day. It’s my sure fire psyche spiritual elixir.)
        Here’s (nice title) “After You’ve Gone 1931” – Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti, Jack Teagarden.

        Reply
  24. 10 California Oil Spills Bigger Than The Refugio Oil Spill — We Think – May 21, 2015

    Santa Barbara County is reeling this week from a pipeline accident that spilled an estimated 105,000 gallons of crude oil near Refugio State Beach, much of which has reached the ocean.

    And, sadly, it’s nothing unusual. Though the estimate of how much oil flowed out of the pipeline operated by Plains All American may rise, and the extent of the slick may spread despite efforts to contain it, spills of crude oil and the products we make from it are an everyday occurrence in California.

    We’re not kidding when we write that oil spills are an everyday thing in California. The state’s Office of Emergency Services records reports of spilled petroleum products ranging from thousand-barrel slicks of crude oil on the ocean to a couple quarts of improperly discarded motor oil. According to OES’s spill database, more than 760 such spills have been called into their office in California since March 1 of this year. And it’s safe to assume that for every spill called into OES by energy companies or emergency responders, several go unreported.

    Diesel fuel in Suisun Marsh | Photo: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

    Reply
  25. Phil

     /  June 6, 2015

    Enjoying your posts – bit handicapped at the moment in ability to respond. Recently had a fall at work and ruptured my quadriceps tendon in my left knee (had surgery on Wednesday to fix the rupture) and also broke my right wrist in the same fall. Now face recovery/rehab for next couple of months. Will be following your posts with interest (and no doubt some alarm) however.

    Reply
  26. Andy in San Diego

     /  June 6, 2015

    Long-Term Study Links Warmer Ocean Temperatures to Typhoon Intensity

    This is something we’ve chatted about and ponder for a year or so now.

    http://www.aaas.org/news/long-term-study-links-warmer-ocean-temperatures-typhoon-intensity

    Reply
    • Griffin

       /  June 6, 2015

      A topic that will undoubtedly gain traction when the Atlantic decides that the incredible run of good fortune for the East Coast is over. Someday there will be hurricanes that threaten very populated areas again, and the contribution of warmer waters to intensity will be a hot button discussion.

      Reply
  27. Apneaman

     /  June 6, 2015

    Media failing on climate-change coverage
    Climate change may be the story of the century. So why aren’t more news outlets giving it the coverage it deserves?

    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/05/31/media-failing-on-climate-change-coverage.html

    Reply
  28. kevin jones

     /  June 6, 2015

    Reply
    • As a CO2e gas, this particular one counts for +0.09 to 0.18 parts per million CO2e since emissions began in the 1980s. A paltry contribution compared to the +60 ppm CO2 and +20 ppm CO2 methane over the same period. In addition, the very easy fix to this gas is to incinerate it as part of the production process. By contrast, the added photovoltaics have prevented on the order of 30-60 times equivalent CO2e forcing by replacing fossil fuel burning over a similar time.

      The argument/issue is therefore a red herring as it relates to the current crisis. I won’t be entertaining it as it creates the false impression that solar is a non-solution. The focus on this as an issue, therefore, dumps it directly into misinformation. Those who repeat post on it in a manner that implies it’s central to the current crisis (as it’s peripheral at best) risk being put in the spam folder.

      One final point with all these trace gasses — the greater the concentration, the lower the forcing by volume due to concentration. If, for example, CO2 were at a similar trace amount its RF fraction would be much, much greater due to lack of competition along the absorption band. People who harp on this issue as a central issue clearly either lack basic scientific understanding or are attempting to denigrate solar as an energy source. Both are distinctly not helpful.

      Reply
    • kevin jones

       /  June 6, 2015

      I was hoping the above link was just a reiteration of the recent Nature Climate Change paper. The one talking about the greatest migration of oceanic life in 3 million years. It is not. It is more recent. And more troublesome.

      Reply
    • Folks, a little info on the content of links would be appreciated. Even just a sentence.

      Reply
      • kevin jones

         /  June 6, 2015

        Sorry, climatehawk1. For brevity and concision my (poor?) habit is to let the link speak for itself. Point well taken. Thanks.

        Reply
        • Thanks, Kevin. I’m trying to ID tweetable material without repeating, so appreciate not having to check the link to see if it is something I’ve previously used.

  29. kevin jones

     /  June 6, 2015

    Robert: Sorry if humortra’s piece and my response were off topic or damaging to the narrative. Please scrub anything of mine if you feel so. It is your blog, my friend, and my intension is always to try to enhance the discussion….never otherwise.

    Reply
    • This particular misinformation meme comes up over and over and over again. And it’s a pretty myopic one. I’ve basically lost patience with it.

      Reply
  30. kevin jones

     /  June 6, 2015

    My thinking regarding trace gasses, especially the man-made ones, which are GHG’s is that they should be monitored. What I find interesting is not how miniscule HF6 is but how quickly it has doubled. I cut my teeth on the Ozone Wars where Lovelock himself said the presence of these substances posed no conceivable hazard. Simply, I respect our scientists, any true one and therefore believe they measure the ones they do for a reason, I shall take a break since my intention is not to give anyone a headache but I’m giving myself one! 🙂

    Reply
    • Simple fix — incinerate the gas at the point of manufacture. Yet another instance where policy can make a difference. But in the worst case we get x10 rate of accumulation which is 0.05 ppm CO2e per year. So you have to ask yourself — when does this become an issue relevant to human warming on the same scale we have now. And the answer is only if the process scales up by x500 current industry and if this particular gas is still in use and if we do not responsibly incinerate it as part of the process. So

      1. Simple fix.
      2. Orders of magnitude below actual crisis level at current use.
      3. Absorption band competition means that actual major problem volumes are almost impossible to reach.

      That’s the science.

      On the other hand you have this ridiculous attempt to label solar as a greenhouse gas emitter which is utter and complete bunk whatever the source. BBC clearly failed to do their homework on this and the utter stupidity is only here with me continuing to entertain this discussion and lend it further unnecessary attention. Basically, you can chalk this up with human breath on its scale of actual impact — that is basically infinitesimal. If human respiration and this were the only factors currently, then the CO2e forcing from 1880 to now would be 280 ppm to 280.0153 (average) ppm with a 10,000 year window at current scaling to hit 320 ppm CO2e… So yeah, give me solar panels and human breath any day of the week over this ridiculous rate of fossil fuel burning.

      In essence some people are attempting to turn a sliver of a grain of sand into a mountain. I won’t be party to it. Last warning.

      Reply
  31. Greg

     /  June 6, 2015

    Following Hurricane Blanca closely. It has so far surprised and will likely continue to do so not only for Mexico but for the U.S. It is the earliest season second cat 3 or above storm in Eastern pacific since 1895 and will likely play out into the desert southwest next week. Already phoenix had its first ever rain on June 5th. More El Nino evidence? Atm. moisture levels at records in Colorado. May see more big flooding next week.

    http://www.weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/hurricane-tropical-storm-blanca-baja-california-desert-southwest-jun2015

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 6, 2015

      Hurricane Blanca Regains Category 4 Status

      Hurricane Blanca has accomplished the rare feat of reaching Category 4 status on the Saffir-Simpson scale for a second time after weakening to Category 1 level in between. Blanca continued plowing northwestward parallel to the Mexican coastline on Saturday morning after a dramatic burst of intensification overnight pushed its sustained winds to 130 mph,
      http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3008

      Reply
  32. james cole

     /  June 6, 2015

    Sea Level Rise and Storm Intensity? Here is a neat fact. When Britain built the Thames River Barrier thirty years ago, it was necessary to close the barrier against storm surge around 4-5 times a decade. Today in the 2010’s, the barrier is closed 4-5 times a year! This reflects increasing storm intensity and a rising North Sea.
    Right now an increase in barrier height is on the front burner.

    Reply
  33. Colorado Bob

     /  June 6, 2015

    For New Mexico’s Chiles, The Enemy Isn’t Just Drought But Salt, Too

    “The aquifers tend to be salty,” said Stephanie Walker, a vegetable specialist at New Mexico State University.

    Salt is part of a geologic legacy beneath the desert, leftover from ancient oceans that once covered the West. The shallow aquifer under New Mexico’s chile fields concentrates the salt. Experts estimate salt content there has quadrupled in the last four years.

    “The longer growers have to pump water … the more detriment to the vegetables that they are trying to grow,” Walker says.

    Link

    Reply
  34. Colorado Bob

     /  June 6, 2015

    Dog dies from toxic blue-green algae in Douglas County

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota residents are being advised to avoid going into a Douglas County lake because of toxic blue-green algae.

    The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports one dog died and another became seriously ill after apparently being exposed while swimming in Red Rock Lake in west central Minnesota.

    The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports the conditions appeared to be consistent with an early bloom of blue-green algae.

    Link

    Reply
  35. Colorado Bob

     /  June 6, 2015

    Research station moved nearly 500 km across the Greenland ice sheet

    Fast flowing ice

    The project involves drilling a 2½ kilometer deep ice core through the fast flowing part of the ice sheet. The drilling will be carried out in the large ice stream in Northeast Greenland. An ice stream is an area in the ice where the ice is flowing around 60 meters per year.

    Little is known about how the ice in the ice sheet moves, so the aim of the project is to gain more knowledge about how ice streams are contributing to the rapidly increasing loss of the Greenland ice sheet. Knowledge about how and how fast the ice is moving could improve forecasts of sea level rise in the coming years.

    Read more at: Link

    Reply
  36. Colorado Bob

     /  June 6, 2015

    Ocean cycling of nitrous oxide is more intense than thought, emissions are increasing

    Now new research by MIT postdoc Andrew Babbin and three others has provided a way to quantify this cycle, in which N2O—commonly known as laughing gas—is rapidly formed and destroyed in oxygen-poor layers of seawater, and some of the gas is released into the air. The findings, based on computer analysis and sampling of ocean waters from different depths, are presented this week in the journal Science, and show that this source of atmospheric nitrous oxide has been drastically underestimated.

    Read more at: Link

    Reply
    • Vic

       /  June 7, 2015

      N2O measurements at Mauna Loa are beginning to look exponential in nature.
      I wonder if the ozone layer is again under threat. Not from air-conditioner and refrigerator manufacturers this time around, but from farmers.

      Reply
      • Kevin Jones

         /  June 7, 2015

        The curious and menacing story of global ozone depletion is what launched an incredible world of discovery for me. I busted my tail to quantify and qualify the developing science of it at great personal cost. If ever there was a cautionary tale regarding ‘puny’ humans having a global detrimental effect…. And after all these years with then undreamt of global issues coming to be understood i.e. ocean acidification, etc;, my concerns remain misunderstood. With great appreciation to all of you, I am signing off. Deepest regards and best of luck. Sincerely. Kevin Jones.

        Reply
  37. Colorado Bob

     /  June 6, 2015

    The ebb and flow of Greenland’s glaciers

    Moon and colleagues from the University of Washington focused on 16 glaciers in northwest Greenland, collecting detailed information on glacier speed, terminus position (the “end” of the glacier in the ocean) and sea ice conditions, during the years 2009-2014.

    Sea ice had an important influence on the glaciers: When the waters in front of the glacier were completely covered by sea ice, the ends of the glaciers often advanced out away from land; icebergs that might otherwise have broken off and floated away stayed attached. When sea ice broke up in the spring, the ends of the glaciers usually quickly retreated back toward land as icebergs broke away.

    By contrast, seasonal swings in glacier speed had little to do with sea ice conditions or glacier terminus location. Rather, the speed (velocity) of ice flow is likely responding to changes in the surface melt on top of the ice sheet and the movement of meltwater through and under the ice sheet.

    Over the longer-term, however, Moon and her colleagues found a tight relationship between the speed of glaciers and terminus location. When sea ice levels were especially low and glaciers’ toes (termini) retreated more than normal and then didn’t re-advance, the glaciers sped up, moving ice toward the sea more quickly. While low sea ice is likely not the full cause of the changes, it may be a visible indication of other processes, such as subsurface ice melt, that also affect terminus retreat, Moon said.

    Read more at: Link

    Reply
  38. Colorado Bob

     /  June 6, 2015

    Geologists: Artificial Grand Canyon floods are bringing back Colorado River sandbars

    http://www.sltrib.com/news/2588954-155/geologists-artificial-grand-canyon-floods-are

    Reply
  39. Colorado Bob

     /  June 6, 2015

    Drought hastens decline of the Joshua tree, California’s desert symbol

    As Barrows explained, it’s a tough time to be a Joshua tree. Climate change is taking an enormous toll, and the current drought has hastened the decline of a species that is regarded as the symbol of California deserts.

    “For Joshua trees, hotter, drier conditions are a problem — but a bigger problem is that what little rainfall occurs evaporates faster,” Barrows said. “So, seedlings shrivel up and die before they can put down strong roots.”

    Link

    Reply
  40. Colorado Bob

     /  June 6, 2015


    Seaweed colonizing ice-free parts of Antarctica

    With glaciers melting, the original white, mostly lifeless Antarctica is now becoming darker and lively with seaweed.

    Link

    Reply
  41. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2015

    Once upon a time every Sat. morning in Torrance , California I taught people to do what I knew for free. And every time I entered the store I played this.

    Reply
    • rayduray

       /  June 7, 2015

      There’s going to be a remake, due out in early 2017. More Louisiana tax breaks at work.🙂

      Reply
  42. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2015

    It got my blood up . And I knew nearly every word.

    Reply
  43. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2015

    “if had God had not made sheep , he would not what them sheared.”
    Calvera

    Reply
  44. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2015

    This movie is about laying down in the face of evil , it is 53 years old.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 7, 2015

      “If God had not made them sheep , he would not want them sheared.”

      Calvera.

      That is pretty much our system today.

      Reply
  45. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2015

    “Reminds me of that fella back home who fell off a ten-story building. As he was falling, people on each floor kept hearing him say, “So far, so good.” Heh, so far, so good”

    Reply
  46. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2015

    Calvera: Somehow I don’t think you’ve solved my problem.

    Chris: Solving your problems isn’t our line.

    Reply
  47. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2015

    They are farmers. They talk of nothing but fertilizer and women. I have never shared their enthusiasm for fertilizer. As for women, I became indifferent when I was eighty-three.

    Reply
  48. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2015

    Chris: You heard of anything?

    Vin: Just shooing some flies away from a Mexican village, but I can’t find out what it pays.

    Chris: Twenty dollars.

    Vin: A week?

    Vin: Six weeks.

    Vin: Oh, that’s ridiculous. Have you heard of anything?

    Chris: Yeah. Shooing away some flies from a Mexican village. Theirs.

    Vin: That wouldn’t even pay for my bullets.

    Villager: We understand. You could make much more in a grocery store. And it would be good, steady work.

    Chris: [Sarcastically] Yeah.

    Vin: How many you got?

    Chris: [Puts up one finger. Vin reluctantly puts up two]

    Reply
  49. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2015

    We could all clerk in a grocery store.

    Reply
  50. Andy in San Diego

     /  June 7, 2015

    Perhaps an example of warm water chewing through floating ice?

    If you look at this outlet glacier (the larger one), look at the lower branch that feeds into it. There is a pretty prominent dark, water looking section. If anyone has a better explanation, do let me know (ie: surface lake or otherwise).

    http://www.arctic.io/explorer/8/2015-06-06/9-N77.41736-W68.181

    Reply
  51. My comment did not pass the first time. I will try again.
    I am not sure that the scenario of Hansen is fully plausible. Slowing of the AMOC is a strong negative feedback that would stop the melting of Greenland ice. Actually, we might have seen that last year.
    We may just be close to a bijection and moving back and forth between climatic state A and B over a few years time scale. That would certainly mess with our agricultural system.

    Reply
    • Your assertion:

      ‘Slowing of the AMOC would stop the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet’ does not take into account larger dynamics.

      1. Freshwater expansion, though promoting local atmospheric cooling also promotes warm bottom water formation near the base of glaciers enhancing basal melt.
      2. Inertial stress from glacial outflow continues to pull destabilized glaciers into the sea, regardless of surface temperature flux.
      3. It takes a strong melt pulse to over-ride even the temporary impact of the buildup of ghg on the atmospheric zone near Greenland.
      4. AMOC slowdown of the magnitude we have seen thus far, in a normal world, would have resulted in ice accumulation on GIS. The brief slowdown in mass loss over the past two years is most likely a trough between melt pulses — one that is part of the larger melt dynamic.
      5. We know that Greenland melt, historically, has occurred in large pulses, so yes, the progression to phase 2 would be uneven. The description in this case is a broad definition of what state tends to dominate and as the ice goes down more rapidly the tendency is a shift toward the phase 2 state with that state reaching prevalence during periods of large volume outflows.
      6. The recent melt pulse 2000s through 2012 and atmospheric/ocean response can be seen as prelude as well as part of the ongoing ramp up to a more phase 2 like state. Here we are probably involved in a multi decade transition.
      7. The best way to reduce the speed of transition and reduce impacts is to rapidly reduce to zero and net negative human carbon emissions.

      Reply
    • I think we mostly agree.

      Today, AMOC as been reduced by 30 % and this as not slowed down much the polar amplification. We might see a local cooling around Greenland (indeed, we see it), but overall the Arctic will get much warmer anyway. I know also the model killing the AMOC have to use huge amount (unrealistic some would say) of fresh water.

      This is why I am doubtful about the stable 2 scenario. My gut feeling is we will observe period of slowdown that will freeze Greenland for some time until the meltwater is mixed/heated again, then the melting will restart. In brief, phase II will be only touched periodically but will be not a stable climate feature.

      Reply
      • Phase 2 coincides with melt pulses. In the past, these climate changes have lasted for as long as a few thousand years (melt pulse driven changes). The size of the melt pulse generally needs to be on the order of 6-10 feet + SLR per century for multiple centuries.

        We are at very high risk of this kind of melt pulse at temps in the range of +1.5 to +2.5 C (global). At that point phase 2 becomes practically guaranteed. Of course there would be overall warming during phase 2. So you get these periods where phase 1 tries to reassert, which drives the next big melt pulse. The key here is that phase 1 never really gets back into play so long as there’s so much ice to melt.

        When the ice is done going down, that’s when you get this big final warming (phase 3). And without the ice sheets to put the breaks on things, the warming during that period could be quite extreme depending on ghg levels.

        CO2e levels to take down the major ice sheets is 550 to 600 ppm. Hitting the edge of that range means a long, drawn-out, but less intense phase 2 than hitting above those values. Stopping at 400 ppm CO2 and 480 ppm CO2e with slow atmospheric draw-down means a ‘milder’ phase 2 (possibly never hitting full phase 2) with likely stabilization at SLR of 15-75 feet.

        You could label any decade with greater than 0.5 foot SLR (0.25 feet contribution in one hemisphere) a phase 2 decade for this purpose.

        In any case AMOC slowdown of 30 percent is pretty significant given that the Greenland melt volume has been ‘somewhat milder’ than 0.25 feet per decade (implied fraction). This is clearly not enough to put a damper on NH polar amplification yet. And hasn’t stopped melt outflow from Greenland entirely (nor would it due to basal melt and inertia). So the issue here is that the melt pulse from Greenland will necessarily grow stronger in the buildup to phase 2.

        As alluded to above, there’s little paleoclimate evidence that phase 2 would be brief (so I absolutely disagree with you here). Heinrich Events have traditionally heralded major climate shifts. Given that human forced climate change is more powerful and rapid it is also likely that the transitional variance during change from phase 1 to 2 would likely be quite intense.

        As for stability… Now that is an entirely relative term. There’s no ‘stable’ climate until energy in and energy out at the top of the atmosphere is in balance. The very transitional nature of phase 2 makes it highly unstable.

        One final point. If you have something new to say, then please do. But if your next post is just another repetition of what you said before (and without evidence or analytical support) then I’m going to take it down as it lends no further value to the discussion.

        Reply
      • Thank’s. I understand better what is going is your mind. As I science blogger myself, I wanted what was the basis of your reasoning and where (and why) we were differing of opinion.

        Reply
  52. rayduray

     /  June 7, 2015

    Watch “Earth On Fire”:

    The other ABC, Australian Broadcasting, has a documentary program called Catalyst. Here’s a one hour documentary on forests, fires and human follies. Recommended.

    This doc won the Tasmanian Media Award for 2015: “Best Feature, Documentary or Current Affairs went to Mark Horstman of the ABC Catalyst’s, program for “Earth on Fire” which exposed to a wide audience the historical significance of bushfire in an urban setting and the world leading science being done into the reasons for and the likely effects of so called “mega fires” in the future.”

    Reply
  53. cushngtree

     /  June 7, 2015

    From the documentary above, “by 2050, 3 different methods (tree ring analysis, modeling and experimental) show there will be no conifers in New Mexico”, and by extension the whole southwest. Whew!

    Reply
    • rayduray

       /  June 8, 2015

      The decline of Western North American forests seems almost inevitable at this point. What’s to replace the magnificent conifers? In this 13 page article originally published at Harper’s, David Quammen argues that Earth is becoming a “Planet of Weeds”:

      http://www.botany.wisc.edu/courses/botany_422/readings/Quammen1998.pdf

      Reply
    • The SW just gets hammered by this long list of very rapid changes. I honestly can’t understand how some of those living there now can’t see what’s happening.

      Reply
      • Syd Bridges

         /  June 8, 2015

        For many in business and officials in those states I suspect Upton Sinclair had the simplest explanation ‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.’

        Reply
      • rayduray

         /  June 8, 2015

        Syd beat me to the response. But let me go one further. Here in Central Oregon we have a decade old controversy (2003) that simply won’t go away. It’s related to a wildfire called the B&B Complex Fire. Recall that George Bush and his crowd are the deniers that global warming is happening, er, is a problem. Then think about the cynicism required to start an illegal war and destroy a nation in the Middle East, er, start a dramatic fire just ahead of a Presidential visit. And when you learn that black helicopters were easily spotted in the vicinity of the ignition points of the fires, well, this is what you get:

        Black copters over Oregon
        When President Bush visited rural Oregon to tout his Healthy Forest Initiative, huge fires suddenly broke out — and a lot of people in the small town of Sisters think he dropped the match.

        http://www.salon.com/2003/09/08/oregon_2/

        Reply
      • Henri

         /  June 8, 2015

        I overheard a story about a study made after a structural fault was found in a bridge. According to the study people far downstream were worried, people a few miles downstream were terrified but the people living right next to the base of the dam weren’t even worried. Apparently it is common for the human psyche to shut out the facts when they are too much to bear.

        Reply
      • rustj2015

         /  June 8, 2015

        I agree, Syd. and for some select, there is an economic and a political river coming together to kayak on. It is deemed a sacrifice state already.

        Reply
    • Spike

       /  June 11, 2015

      Reminded me of this article showing similar declines in SW Australia:

      http://theconversation.com/western-australias-catastrophic-forest-collapse-6925

      Reply
  54. Any plans for a post about the blob? Or have you guys found any good coverage?

    I’m in PNW and an old timer who otherwise isn’t too concerned about AGW asked me if I knew much about the blob he read about in the paper. “2 or 3 degrees warmer than normal, its killing everything, how is that possible?” he said to me.

    Reply
  55. Tom Bond

     /  June 8, 2015

    RS “I honestly can’t understand how some of those living there now can’t see what’s happening”.

    This has puzzled me also. I live in the South West of Australia, where one of the biggest climate change signatures in the world occurs. About 40 years ago I read in the newspapers that scientists had forecast a long term drying trend for the South West which ignited my interest in climate change.
    Since 1970 the rainfall here has fallen by 25%, dramatically reducing runoff to our water storage dams particularly this century. See
    http://www.watercorporation.com.au/water-supply-and-services/rainfall-and-dams/streamflow/streamflowhistorical
    where runoff has dropped from above 300GL before 1974 to less than 100GL now.

    The Government response to this was been slow with few programmes to reduce water use. About 10 years ago in a panic move a large water desalination plant was planned then constructed. This was quickly followed by two more, now producing 140GL of water a year. Yet amazingly we also annually dump 130GL of treated sewage “grey” water into the ocean.
    At a recent Engineers Australia evening talk, engineers from the Water Corporation forecast that by 2020 our dams will cease to be a source of potable water and all water will have to come from desalination and ground water. There are also plans to inject treated sewage waste water to replenish ground water aquifers.
    Despite these water resource concerns there is no interest in climate changes issues from the general public and thus the Government. I noticed that in particular, young people just see our current weather as “normal” and therefore nothing to worry about. I guess this will continue to be the attitude until the water stops flowing out of our taps!

    Reply
    • rayduray

       /  June 8, 2015

      Hi Tom Bond,

      You wrote: “Since 1970 the rainfall here has fallen by 25%”

      When I went to the website you provided I noted that from 1911 to 1974 the average streamflow was 338 GL. Whereas from 2006-2013 the average streamflow has been 66 GL.

      In other words, streamflow has dropped by about 80% since 1974. Yikes. That’s pretty dramatic.

      A comparable would be the Colorado River in the SW U.S. and Mexico. Before the completion of Hoover Dam in the 1930s, pretty much the run of the river minus some minor extraction for irrigation would flow out to the Sea of Cortez. In a number of recent years, the Colorado has not reached the Sea Of Cortez once all the various users have pulled water from the river. In that case, the Colorado saw a 100% reduction in streamflow at the mouth of the river. Similar things are happening to the Yellow River in China and a few others.

      NatGeo has a list of 8 rivers that no longer reliably run to the sea:

      Reply
  56. Tom Bond

     /  June 8, 2015

    rayduray

    Yes the reduction in stream flow is very dramatic particularly when you consider that the rivers/streams are relatively short, flow through forest with little or no draw from other users and the flow is measured before entering the dam reservoirs.

    My understanding is the evaporation rate during our long hot dry summers has increased greatly over the years resulting in much of the initial winter rainfall being absorbed by the dry ground. Only once the ground is saturated enough does runoff into the streams occur.

    In recent years the water runoff has only occurred very late in the winter resulting in very low stream flows.

    Reply
  57. Colorado Bob

     /  June 8, 2015

    Yukon sets forest fire record for May

    May was a record month for wildfires in Yukon, says Yukon Wildland Fire Management Information officer George Maratos.

    “We had 17 new starts since Friday with three yesterday,” says Maratos.

    “That brings our total to a historic high of 93 fires in May which is unusual. I mean, we definitely have busy seasons but to have that many fires in May is very unusual.”

    Link

    Reply
  58. Colorado Bob

     /  June 8, 2015

    Canada’s Northwest Territories Are Looking at Another Record-Breaking Summer of Forest Fires

    Just a month into fire season, the NWT has already seen 51 fires and over 170,000 acres burn. That’s seven times the 20-year average, which would see around seven fires and approximately 12,000 acres burned at this point of the year.

    Of this year’s fires, six are confirmed holdovers from last year’s fires, which burned so deeply into the ground they survived the harsh northern winter to pop up in the spring.

    Mike Flannigan, a professor of wildland fire at the University of Alberta, agreed there is “great potential” for an extremely active fire season ahead.

    Link

    Reply
  59. Colorado Bob

     /  June 8, 2015

    Northern Hemisphere hurricane season off to record start, fueled by El Niño

    To determine how active a hurricane season has been thus far, scientists use a tool called accumulated cyclone energy — a measure of wind speed over time in each individual storm, which is then summed across all storms. Basically, this measurement, which meteorologists refer to as “ACE,” is a rudimentary way to calculate the activity of any given season.

    According to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach, this measurement of hurricane activity has surged to a new record high so far in 2015. As of Sunday, the ACE for the Northern Hemisphere was an astonishing 152, while the previous record high for the year-to-date was 102.

    Not only has the Northern Hemisphere blown away the old record, but it’s done it three weeks prior to the old record of 152, which was on June 28, 2004. In other words, this record is coming three weeks ahead of schedule. The normal ACE at this point in the season is just 41.

    Link

    Reply
  60. Greg

     /  June 8, 2015

    A lot of the data we rely on comes from instruments orbiting the Earth. A really important new one devoted to climate monitoring just achieved successful orbit. If I am not mistaken Al Gore tried unsucessfully to get this up there when he was V.P.

    http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nation-s-first-operational-satellite-in-deep-space-reaches-final-orbit

    Reply
  61. Andy in San Diego

     /  June 8, 2015

    A superb piece in Propublica regarding water in the South West. The companion article on the sidebar (part 2 of the series regarding Las Vegas is just as excellent).

    This part 1 is regarding cotton farming in Arizona, the water waste in it, and how profitable it is to waste water.

    Well worth the read.

    https://projects.propublica.org/killing-the-colorado/story/arizona-cotton-drought-crisis

    Reply
  62. Colorado Bob

     /  June 8, 2015

    The U.S. Got More Rain This May Than Any Other Month On Record

    This May was the United States’ wettest month in all 121 years of record-keeping, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    A total of 4.36 inches fell across the lower 48 states last month — 1.45 inches more than average, NOAA said Monday. Fifteen states saw precipitation that was “much above average” in May, and Oklahoma and Texas experienced their wettest month on record, with precipitation levels “more than twice the long-term average,” according to NOAA.

    Link

    Reply
  63. Colorado Bob

     /  June 8, 2015

    Can bees have Alzheimer’s?

    Most of the time, different factors add up to cause the disease. Bees are well known for their intelligence in mapping our routes to make it back and forth from hives to flowers, even miles away from where they are.

    Results showed higher than safe aluminum amounts. Pupae, as it turns out, carries at least 13-200 ppm. Patterns of distribution of the metal have seen higher quantities in smaller pupae. Around 3 ppm of aluminum for a human body can already damage brain tissues.

    “Aluminum is a known neurotoxin, affecting behavior in animal models of aluminum intoxication,” Exley said.

    Also, aluminum is one of the most common industrial chemicals that is being discharged into the Earth’s environment. Actually, the metal already affected fishes, the forest, and have caused low productivity in many crop farms.

    The results also indicate that the source comes from the nectar and, based from a previous study, bees don’t avoid nectar from flowers with aluminum.

    Link

    Reply
  64. Greg

     /  June 9, 2015

    Now this is my kind of tipping point. $175 million well spent can make a real difference. This Republican Entrepeneur just became one of our best friends:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/republican-climate-change-jay-faison-118755.html

    Reply
    • Not sure how other people think, I am just afraid we will not solve climate change problem with some adjustments to business as usuall, i.e. growth based economy, whatever the growth comes from. I think we need an alternative to current capitalist system which ignores basically all externalities.

      Alex

      Reply
      • Greg

         /  June 9, 2015

        You may well be right but we have to move the conversation first from denial to what can/should/must the future look like. There is no context yet for a true debate. A real conversation must ensue, a knock-down philosophical fight that is worthy of our future. We need the extreme right to begin to argue from the assumption that our future is indeed at stake and then make a case. Rich conservative environmentalists like Jay Faison significantly help drive that conversation forward IMHO even if you don’t agree with their capitalism.

        Reply
      • Greg

         /  June 9, 2015

        I am also looking very forward to the Pope’s upcoming Climate Change Encyclical to jump start a real debate.

        Reply
      • Tom

         /  June 9, 2015

        Alexander: We’d also have to re-sequester all the carbon (and now methane too) we’ve spewed, somehow bring back all or many of the species we’ve driven to extinction, and lower our own population to “sustainable” (a very slippery term here) numbers – among many other problems we can discuss.

        Reply
  65. Robert In New Orleans

     /  June 9, 2015

    G7 Leaders Agree On Action To Limit Global Warming To 2 Degrees:http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/06/08/3667069/g7-prioritizes-climate-change/

    What this really means:
    Bye

    Reply
  66. Tom

     /  June 9, 2015

    Robert: here’s an article you’ll definitely enjoy (and it’s from the mainstream)!

    Here’s what it would take for the US to run on 100% renewable energy

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/technologyinvesting/heres-what-it-would-take-for-the-us-to-run-on-100percent-renewable-energy/ar-BBkRLcT?ocid=iehp

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  June 9, 2015

      “We do not believe a technical or economic barrier exists to ramping up production of WWS (wind, water and solar) technologies, as history suggests that rapid ramp-ups of production can occur given strong enough political will. For example during World War II, aircraft production increased from nearly zero to 330,000 over five years.”

      Reply
  67. Greg

     /  June 9, 2015

    Asia is key to eliminating fossil fuel use worldwide. An innovator now showing itself is from Taiwan. They have just released beautifully designed electric scooters which are very popular in the dense urban areas of Asia. What is interesting is they plan on changing the relationship Asian cities (and beyond) have to energy making batteries the centerpiece to all electric economies, similar to Tesla but in some ways more comprehensive. Regardless of their success they offer insights into a future we can have in terms of infrastructure:

    http://www.theverge.com/2015/6/9/8750399/gogoro-smartscooter-experience-center-taipei

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  June 9, 2015

      Side note- My wife just got back from western China (Chengdu -14 million population) and found the city was full of scooters and they are all electric. She said the youth didn’t know why they were electric that “they’ve always been as far as we know”. She said she loved that it is taken for granted among them. Maybe us in a few short years?

      Reply
      • Griffin

         /  June 9, 2015

        Sure do hope so Greg. Thank you for the inspiration.

        Reply
  68. – The money trails are long in their pursuit of climate sabotage. Nasty folks with a compliant US Congress as fellow saboteurs.

    The Guardian 0609 – Suzanne Goldenberg and Helena Bengtsson:

    Secretive donors gave US climate denial groups $125m over three years

    Funds allocated to organisations lobbying against Obama’s climate bill and working to undermine rules to reduce carbon pollution, tax records show

    Reply
  69. – The mayhem in the N.lat. landmass continues in AK & Siberia.

    Reply
  70. – Click image for current info.

    Reply
    • – The jet stream is not moving much air, which is helping to maintain the stale hot box dynamics. Or so it seems.

      Reply
  71. synaxis

     /  June 10, 2015

    Re: the recent G7 agreement, there’s a useful article at Climate Central with reactions from Kevin Trenberth, Michael Mann and others.

    09 June 2015, Bobby Magill/ClimateCentral: “G7 Carbon Goal May Come Too Late, Scientists Say”

    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/carbon-goal-may-come-too-late-19086

    Reply
  72. Reblogged this on Damn the Matrix.

    Reply
  73. Leland Palmer

     /  June 10, 2015

    I think Hansen is a great scientist. I agree with just about everything he says.

    But when he says “well first we have to melt the ice sheets” before we can have a methane catastrophe, I get a feeling of wrongness – I doubt it. The main reason I doubt it is because of the tremendously accelerated rate of fossil fuel emissions, compared to past probable methane catastrophe triggering events. I also wonder if it is possible to have a methane catastrophe happening in Siberia, for example, while Greenland melts and Antarctica remain relatively intact.

    For one thing, methane hydrate inventories could be at the high end of available estimates. Gerald Dickens, another great scientist, thinks that the most recent estimates are too low, too, preferring the consensus estimates of a few years ago of 5-20 trillion tons of carbon. Some of the estimates have run as high as 75 trillion tons. The more hydrate we have, likely the faster the crisis will develop.

    For another thing, there is a subclass of methane hydrates that are associated with high salt content that could be drastically less stable than most methane hydrate deposits. These hydrate deposits are at the triple point of the solid/liquid/gas system, and can have fast transport of methane throughout the entire deposit. They could also be exquisitely sensitive to temperature. The salt is left behind as the hydrate crystals form, and so the high salt contents develop naturally, when hydrate formation deposits salt faster than it can diffuse away into surrounding sediments and sea water. A loosely estimated 50 billion tons of carbon could be in these high salt deposits, but actually nobody knows how common they are.

    I fear that the hydrate deposits will activate when warmed – change not just quantitatively but qualitatively as well. The way I visualize it, the first to dissociate will likely be the high salt “triple point” deposits, and these will discharge as much as 70 percent of their mass as methane fairly quickly.

    At the same time, the relict hydrates that actually exist outside the hydrate stability zone will start to dissociate. These hydrates probably formed under the high pressure conditions under ice sheets and are left over from past ice ages, and have been kept stable by permafrost. Large portions of the ESAS hydrates and the layer of relict methane hydrate that probably exists under large areas of Siberia including the Yamal peninsula will start to blow. On land, this will create craters that evolve by subsidence into circular lakes.

    As gas releases increase from the conventional hydrates, gas driven pumping will increase the flow of sea water through the hydrate deposits, activating them. This will destroy the validity of existing calculations of methane release rates from the hydrates, I think. Like ice sheets, I think it’s likely that hydrates have an active phase, involving gas flow up the known chimneys in hydrate deposits, and compensating flow of sea water into the buoyant channels, made less dense than seawater and therefore buoyant by their methane bubble content. Existing modeling makes the circular argument that one dimensional models can simply be integrated over the area of the hydrate deposits, and therefore methane release from the hydrates will be slow and orderly, limited by heat flow. I think a more dynamic three dimensional model is necessary, one dominated by mass flow. The existing modeling is a best case scenario, I think, and is very likely to be wrong.

    It might also be possible to construct a mass flow mechanism using mud, instead of sea water. Mud containing gas bubbles would be less dense than surrounding mud, and so a slow viscous mass flow mechanism could occur. Hydrate deposit activation could be a mixture of gas driven mud flow and gas driven sea water pumping.

    We cannot assume that the ice sheets will save us from a methane catastrophe, I think. This is an experiment without a control that can only be done once, and scientific conservatism and skepticism should be on the side of caution, not on the side of skepticism about practices and predictions deviating from business as usual.

    Reply
    • Leland Palmer

       /  June 10, 2015

      Some links supporting the above post:

      Gerald Dickens

      Down the Rabbit Hole: toward appropriate discussion of methane
      release from gas hydrate systems during the Paleocene-Eocene
      thermal maximum and other past hyperthermal events

      ” In the last ten years, estimates have ranged from 500-2500 Gt (Milkov,2004), ∼700–1200 Gt (Archer et al., 2009), and 4–995 Gt (Burwicz et al., 2011) to 74 400 Gt (Klauda and Sandler,2005). The latter is almost assuredly too high (Archer, 2007).The others are probably too low”

      http://www.clim-past.net/7/831/2011/cp-7-831-2011.pdf

      In this paper, Gerald Dickens discusses what he appears to believe is inappropriate discussion and muddling of the facts surrounding methane hydrate dissociation. To me, the muddling appears associated with oil corporation involvement. Milkov worked for BP when he made his low estimates, and Archer co-authors scientific papers with ExxonMobil chief scientist Kheshgi and works for the Unviersity of Chicago, founded and funded with oil money. Burwicz has made strange, muddled statements widely quoted on Fox News and in the climate science denial press, leading to some discussion of whether he is a climate science denier – charges he vigorously denies.

      Reply
    • Griffin

       /  June 10, 2015

      Very interesting and well thought out. I might add that it would really suck if you are correct!

      Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  June 13, 2015

        Oh, yes, it would really bite the big one.

        No matter what the cost, switching to solar and wind, and maybe even biomass with carbon capture and storage, has got to be better than monkeying with this particular buzz saw, I think. The cost would actually be minor, and much cheaper than the cost of destabilizing the climate. Time is running out, most of us who visit this site agree.

        It’s a tragedy almost beyond measure. For all we know, we might be the only semi-intelligent life in the universe, and to see our promising beginning snuffed out or made vastly more difficult by sudden climate change would be almost infinitely tragic, especially since it is so preventable.

        Reply
  74. Leland Palmer

     /  June 10, 2015

    High salt triple point hydrates:

    Passing gas through the hydrate stability zone at southern Hydrate Ridge, offshore Oregon
    Xiaoli Liu *, Peter B. Flemings

    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.151.234&rep=rep1&type=pdf

    “Free gas supplied from below forms hydrate, depletes water, and elevates salinity until pore water is too saline for further hydrate formation. This system self-generates local three-phase equilibrium and allows free gas migration to the seafloor. Log and core data from Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 1249 show that from the seafloor to 50 m below seafloor (mbsf), pore water salinity is elevated to the point where liquid water, hydrate and free gas coexist. The elevated pore water salinity provides a mechanism for vertical migration of free gas through the regional hydrate stability zone (RHSZ). This process may drive gas venting through hydrate stability zones around the world. Significant amount of gaseous methane can bypass the RHSZ by shifting local thermodynamic conditions”

    Reply
    • Leland Palmer

       /  June 14, 2015

      Xaoli Liu’s thesis, Chapter 4, which explicitly talks about triple point hydrate activation from above by global warming: His modeling shows about a 5% loss from the triple point hydrates within about 100 years, followed by a 70% loss within 20,000 years under 4 degrees C of warming.

      http://www.beg.utexas.edu/geofluids/Theses/xiaoli_liu_hydrate_thesis.pdf

      But, what if sea floor warming is 6 degrees C? What happens if it is 8 degrees C? Limited 2D modeling done so far shows that gas venting occurs at the top of the slope of the hydrate deposit, at the top edge of the gas hydrate stability zone. Does this gas venting create gas driven pumping of sea water or mud through the deposit, increasing heat flow into the deposit? Could gas driven pumping create oscillating flow out of alternating chimneys or alternating parts of the same chimney, and how could this behavior possibly be captured without a 3D model?

      “However, Case 3 suggests that seafloor temperature increase may release a large amount of methane stored in hydrates to the ocean, if hydrates are initially at three-phase equilibrium. There are two main reasons for this behavior. First, dissociated methane is transported upward as free gas and the emission rate is not limited by the low methane solubility in water. Most of the dissociated gases can directly escape to the ocean via the three-phase zone and do not refreeze at shallower depths. Second, a concentrated hydrate accumulation at three-phase equilibrium is initially available for dissociation. Changes in P-T-salinity in the hydrate zone follow equilibrium during dissociation. The salinity necessary for three-phase equilibrium decreases rapidly with temperature [Liu and Flemings, 2005]. Thus for the three-phase equilibrium to be sustained at the increased temperature, a large amount of hydrate must be dissociated to decrease salinity. The sharp increase in seafloor gas venting indicates that hydrates at three-phase equilibrium may play an important role in the climate changes. ”

      New high resolution seismic scans explicitly link chimneys with vents and pockmarks in the ocean floor. Methane hydrate formation in the region of these vents may keep these chimneys at the triple point of the system, leading to free gas migration from the entire depth of the deposit directly to the sea floor. Chimneys are a common feature of seismic scans. Are all of these chimneys invariably associated with triple point hydrate deposits? If so – there are lots of these chimneys. How many gigatons of carbon are we talking about,here?

      Reply
    • Leland Palmer

       /  June 14, 2015

      High-resolution P-Cable 3D seismic imaging of gas chimney structures in gas
      hydrated sediments of an Arctic sediment drift

      http://www.geometrics.com/assets/petersen-et-al-mpg-2010.pdf

      This paper has very high resolution seismic images of gas chimney structures in gas hydrated sediments. The images are consistent with triple point chimneys lined with methane hydrates, Liu and Flemmings talk about triple point chimneys in some of their papers.

      Are all of these chimneys at the triple point of the solid/liquid/gas system? That would provide a seismic scan method of locating triple point hydrate deposits, and estimating the amount of methane in these triple point deposits.

      Reply
  75. Leland Palmer

     /  June 10, 2015

    Relict hydrate layer under large areas of Siberia:

    Sources of Natural Gas Within Permafrost North-West Siberia:

    http://www.arlis.org/docs/vol1/ICOP/40770716/CD-ROM/Proceedings/PDF001189/151104.pdf
    .
    “Sudden gas blowouts originating within permafrost intervals have been encountered during well drilling in different parts of the polar region…

    Some cores [taken at depths of 70-120 m – too shallow to be in the gas hydrate stability zone- LP] liberated remarkable volumes of gas when melted in liquid. The total volume of liberated gas was in excess of 10 times the volume of available pore space in the cores… Therefore, it was concluded that gas…had been transformed into gas hydrate….

    … It is obvious, however, that substantial volumes of methane are trapped in relatively shallow permafrost (down to 150 m) [outside the gas hydrate stability zone – LP].

    …Thus the estimated free gas volume at this depth interval should be no less than … 50,000 m3/km2. This is the minimum value: actual methane content may be an order of magnitude greater…

    Gas can accumulate within permafrost as free gas or in hydrate form. Evidence suggests that hydrates can be distributed throught the permafrost section even without favorable thermodynamic conditions for hydrate stability (self-preserved hydrates). …

    Elevated gas content at depth intervals of 50-120 m in the Bovanenkovo field, 50-100 m in the Yamburg field, 60-400 m in the Taglu field, in comparison with other permafrost intervals at these fields, suggests the possibility of regional layers with extremely high methane content which could potentially liberate huge volumes of methane gas during global warming”

    This possible layer of relict gas hydrate could be the source of the gas blowouts we have been seeing in Yamal leaving those mysterious craters that apparently evolve by subsidence into circular lakes.. These blowouts have been encountered at Bovanenkovo, within a few kilometers of the most famous gas blowout crater.

    Reply
  76. Aldous

     /  June 10, 2015

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/heavy-smoke-due-to-wildfires-force-evacuations-1.3104701

    “Even though we get a little precipitation, the fuel itself, the trees, the grass and even the duff layers are dry, dry, dry, so the fires dig in,” said Steve Roberts of Wildfire Management. “They get going fast and a little bit of wind make them go really fast.”

    Reply
  77. Greg

     /  June 10, 2015

    A really nice needed multimedia piece released today by the Weather Channel with interviews with 25 leading “smartest” voices regarding Climate Change and all its dimensions. Short, compelling interviews. “Make or break for humanity”. Highly recommend:

    http://climate25.com/

    Reply
  78. – Fire & Smoke from the high North. This may be with us for quite a while now.

    0610 WaPo:

    The sun glows red through the veil of Canadian wildfire smoke

    A thick haze of smoke drifted over the D.C. region late Tuesday afternoon, driven south from Canada’s burgeoning wildfires by the high-level winds of the jet stream.

    There are six large wildfires burning in Alberta and British Columbia, according to the Remote Sensing Applications Center in Salt Lake City. These fires are pumping copious amounts of smoke high into the atmosphere, which is then hitching a ride on the global jet stream to paint our skies pink and orange.

    Reply
  79. – Linkage: I like the way the PNW extreme weather is linked to Wisconsin’s.

    Northwest heat wave stretches to western Wisconsin
    The same weather system that has pushed temperatures above 100 degrees in the Pacific Northwest may be responsible for a heat wave that pushed temperatures well into the 90s Tuesday in western Wisconsin, according to the National Weather Service.

    La Crosse hit 96 degrees late Tuesday afternoon, breaking the previous record of 95 degrees set in 1911, according to the La Crosse weather service office.

    The heat wave in western Wisconsin stems from the edges of a hot air ridge over parts of the West Coast and Great Plains, said La Crosse meteorologist John Wetenkamp.

    The ridge, which resulted in a record high temperature of 105 degrees in Yakima, Wash., on Monday, is pushing temperatures up across the western and central parts of the nation, Wetenkamp said.
    http://www.jsonline.com/weather/northwest-heat-wave-stretches-to-western-wisconsin-b99516679z1-306720611.html

    Reply
  80. – And in E. Europe human caused petroleum fires burn:

    Ukraine, EU ‘may face acid rain’ amid furious blaze at fuel storage depot near Kiev

    Ukraine and the EU may reportedly suffer from acid rain, following a huge blaze at an oil and gas storage facility near Kiev. Local residents described to RT a Silent Hill-like picture of the area, saying that black sky, rain and smoke are everywhere.

    “The fire is big – all the sky is black, we have seen black rain which lasted for 5-10 minutes,” a local girl, Alina, told RT, adding that the village which is near the blaze area is now being evacuated.
    She added that the local residents were told “not to go out and to shut all the doors and windows.”

    Another local resident, Olga, says: “I don’t know where to run, there’s black smoke, all the cars are black, it’s falling from the sky on our land, we can see these oil stains. It’s been going on since yesterday evening, but the wind was blowing the opposite direction yesterday, today it’s blowing our way. My neighbor’s car is all spotted with black soot. No one gave us any instructions on what to do in this situation. There’s no organized evacuation, people are packing up themselves and leaving.”

    Various Ukrainian officials have given contradicting reports concerning the environmental situation in Kiev after the blaze.
    http://rt.com/news/265948-ukraine-oil-blaze-ecology/

    Reply
  81. – Doing a bit or catchup here on the big fossil fuel ‘N’ (nitrogen) word .
    Here’s a fresh puddle, in an ‘average’ urban setting, and which is subject to nitrogen deposition, and which seems to have an algae bloom. Portland, OR. I see this sort of thing often. There is plenty of aerosol nitrogen that just needs a wet medium to induce algal soup.
    PHOTO: DT LANGE

    Reply
    • dnem

       /  June 11, 2015

      Just spent the day scrubbing algae off my fence prior to staining it! Baltimore, MD.

      Reply
      • I’m sure, dnem.
        Better go to DC and tell Congress to stop feeding the algae with all of the N emissions they have under their sole jurisdiction.
        Cheers

        Reply
      • Atmospheric sign of the times: PLEASE DON’T FEED THE ALGAE.

        Reply
  82. – More jet stream malfunction confirmation from another outlet (It may be a reiteration of previous info) :

    Climate scientists find more evidence linking Arctic warming to jet stream movement

    Findings from a new Rutgers University climate change study support previous research that shows a link between the rapidly warming Arctic and an increase in extreme weather events.

    Using self-organizing maps – statistical tools to help identify characteristic patterns in a data set – Rutgers climate scientists Jennifer Francis and Natasa Skific studied 48 years worth of daily atmospheric information to detect weather patterns that occur repeatedly.

    The patterns they found validated previous study findings that the polar jet stream has been meandering more north and south in the past two decades rather than traveling in a relatively straight path. Scientists are studying the relation of changing jet stream patterns and Arctic warming to extreme weather conditions.

    Reply
  83. – From N (nitrogen) to O (ozone) — more threats in a GHG FF burning culture.
    Remember: This human caused ozone harms, or destroys, biotic tissue — plants and animal. My lungs burn even at our terrible permissible levels.
    And, where there is this ozone, there is some sort of nitrogen — NOX, et al.

    It’s a widespread and regional problem too — here’s some current headlines:

    FLORIDA: Air Pollution Advisory issued for tomorrow. The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission and the Regional Air Pollution Control Agency issued the advisory because of “ground-level ozone” concerns for Clark, Greene, Miami, and Montgomery counties. -whio.com-news-air-pollution-advisory

    UTAH: It may look like a beautiful day across northern Utah but in the Salt Lake Valley looks are a little deceiving. Air quality is bad, and no, we’re not talking about an inversion.

    The Department of Air Quality says their biggest concern during the hot summer months is ozone.

    “Here at ground level it’s a very strong oxidant and so when we breathe it in it interacts with the soft linings of the lungs the tissues inside our bodies and causes damages to those similar to a sun burn,” …

    (DEAR US CONGRESS, MY LUNGS ARE SUNBURNED YET THEY ARE NEVER EXPOSED TO SUNLIGHT.)

    fox13now.com 2015/06/09 pollution

    OKLAHOMA: Tulsa Under First Ozone Alert Of 2015
    Earlier this year, the American Lung Association ranked the Tulsa area 12th out of 220 metro areas in the U.S. for the number of high ozone or smog days in 2014.

    The American Lung Association’s “State of the Air 2015” report gave the Tulsa area a grade of “F” with 57 ozone days in 2014.
    newson6 com story tulsa-areas-first-ozone-alert-day-in-2015

    Reply
  84. Tom

     /  June 11, 2015

    A Dutch Student’s Giant Ocean Cleanup Machine Is Going Into Production

    http://news.yahoo.com/dutch-student-giant-ocean-cleanup-machine-going-production-232750675.html

    The oceans have a plastic debris problem, and it’s growing by 8 million tons a year.

    Three years ago, a Dutch teenager named Boyan Slat garnered global accolades for a solution he devised for a high school science fair: a passive ocean trash collection device that would collect ocean plastic without harming marine life.

    These days, Slat is a 20-year-old entrepreneur who is eager to put his massive ocean-cleaning idea to the test. A passing grade might lead to the removal of nearly half of the plastic debris floating in the Pacific Ocean in under a decade. But the process needs to be tested in real-world conditions before it can be launched at full scale—or beat the criticism of scientists who are skeptical that it can work.

    Slat’s idea reverses current marine cleanup methods: Instead of sending ships out to chase floating garbage, position a stationary, floating, V-shaped buffer in ocean currents so that water moves through it, funneling plastic debris into a container for capture and removal while allowing animals to swim past the net-free device. [more]

    Reply
  85. Colorado Bob

     /  June 11, 2015

    Alaska just had its hottest May in 91 years

    We already knew Alaska was having some crazy weather lately. That included a record 91 degrees in Eagle in May, the “hottest temperature ever recorded so early in the calendar year in our 49th state,” per our own Capital Weather Gang.

    And now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that the state as a whole experienced its warmest May in the weather books. As the agency puts it:

    The Alaska statewide average temperature for May was the warmest on record in 91 years of record keeping at 44.9°F, 7.1°F above average. The warmth in Alaska was widespread with several cities were record warm, including Barrow and Juneau.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/06/09/alaska-just-had-its-hottest-may-in-91-years/

    Reply
  86. Jay M

     /  June 11, 2015

    Moved up to Clark County, WA which is on the opposite side of the river from PDX. Very much shining city on a hill driving jacked up F-150’s or other assorted dinosaurs. The investment in traffic control signals for 6-10 lanes of traffic on the main highways seems astonishing–massive signaling structures every few hundred yards signalling the unidriver of the industrial beast that rules all. Not sure about ozone levels in the Columbia gorge, but petrochemical haze is evident every morning when the winds aren’t very active. Snow level non existent for practical purposes, like ag. Perhaps teeth are gnashing.

    Reply
  87. Robert In New Orleans

     /  June 11, 2015

    This is an article from CNN’s website:

    15 facts about sea level rise that should scare the s^*# out of youhttp://www.cnn.com/2015/06/10/opinions/sutter-climate-sea-level-facts/index.html

    My question is why is this story listed under opinions instead of news or science?

    Reply
  88. Greg

     /  June 11, 2015

    Tropical Storm Carlos forms off of Mexico coast. Third named storm of this “remarkable” season. Normally we’d see second hurricane of season by August 19 and we’ve had two so far:
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3014

    Reply
  89. Greg

     /  June 11, 2015

    In Michigan utility DTE Electricity has asked regulators to let it cut monthly residential electricity rates, citing fast-falling wind energy costs:

    https://cleantechnica.com/2015/06/09/cheap-michigan-wind-energy-set-save-consumers-15-million-annually/

    Reply
  90. Greg

     /  June 11, 2015

    Georgetown, Texas, the second fastest growing city in the United States, and err not exactly of same politics as Burlington, VT is about to go 100% renewable. “Seems to me that the wind and sun will be out in Texas for many, many years. I don’t have a degree in environmental science or anything, but if I had a choice and the costs were the same I would want something without stuff coming out of a smokestack.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/06/11/3666649/georgetown-texas-one-hundred-percent-renewable/

    Reply
  91. ROBERT:

    Not sure if you get notices for comments this late, but the URL in the link for the ice mass loss graph is broken, and I can’t get the extraneous characters to translate and link directly. Can you plz ref that paper directly if you get this?

    Thank you,

    Best,

    D

    Reply

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