Climate Change is Causing Mt Rainier to Grumble

The volcanic Mt Rainier is grumbling. But it’s not what you think. At least not yet.

According to reports from the Seattle Times, the glaciers atop Rainier have melted to the point where they are becoming unstable. Particularly so with Tahoma Glacier which, all throughout July to mid August, has emitted large floods of muddy, ice-choked water. Tahoma sent its floods rumbling down the mountainsides, filling streams and rivers with roiling, brown outflows.

These glacier outburst floods issuing from Rainier have packed quite a punch. They’ve been strong enough to shake the earth, setting off seismographs in the region of Rainier. It’s a shaking and quaking that’s tumbled boulders down the mountainside, gouged out new flood channels and smashed great swaths of trees.

Mt Rainier Glaciers

(Over recent months, the Tahoma Glacier on the southwestern face of Mt. Rainier has been issuing large flows of glacial outburst material. Those familiar with the mountain believe that a warming climate may have pushed Rainier’s glaciers into a new era of destabilization. Image source: Glaciers of Washington.)

Zachary Jones noted in his eyewitness report to the Seattle Times:

“The rumble was getting louder and trees were falling down and it looked like a big pile of rubble was raging down the dry creek bed. We saw huge boulders, half the size of a Volkswagen bug, just raging down and falling over each other (see related video here).”

Scientific Link Between Glacial Melt, Increase in Volcanic Activity

Back during the 1980s and 1990s, Rainier went through a similar period of warming-stoked glacial destabilization. Now, the heat is even worse. A new phase of glacial retreat has isolated Tahoma and set it on path toward more rapid melt. It may mean that coming years and decades host a ramping of glacier outbursts for Rainier. It may also mean a changing of the weight loading atop Rainier’s volcanic vents and magma chambers. Setting up a rising risk for increased volcanic activity from Rainier as its overburden rocks and underlying magma structures develop a new equilibrium.

Recent, though rather controversial, science has established a link between glacial retreat over and near volcanic systems and increased volcanic activity. In particular, studies focusing in on Iceland have linked periods of glacial melt with increased periods of volcanism. Though it is uncertain whether Rainier will succumb to the added stresses of glacial melt and respond by entering a new period of volcanic awakening, the melt human warming is setting off does provide a new stress to one of the most dangerous volcanic systems in the western US.

In other words, Rainier’s grumbling glaciers are bad enough without adding in a volcanic bassline.

Links:

Rainier Melting Unleashes Glacial Outbursts

Climate Change’s ‘Waking Giant’

How Will Melting Affect Volcanic Hazards in the 21st Century?

Hat Tip to Andy in San Diego

 

 

Leave a comment

94 Comments

  1. climatehawk1

     /  August 18, 2015

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  2. – I see that the ‘melt’ is on the west flank of Ranier.
    I say this in the context that the PNW now gets a lot of warm and dry air from the W/NW.
    There should be cool moist air from the Gulf of Alaska dominating the region.
    With CC/JS/Arctic melt this norm has changed.
    The RRR etc. has warmed this area significantly. We have a lot of formerly cool terra firma that is now warm or hot.
    Maybe magma is at work too.

    Reply
  3. James Burton

     /  August 18, 2015

    Iceland’s scientists maintain their melting glaciers has increased volcanic activity as measured by them over decades. Less pressure on the bottle cap.
    The worst news possible is coming from the UK today, as expected:
    “Britain’s Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) announced Wednesday it would award licenses to UK companies to drill for shale oil and gas in 27 additional locations in England.”
    And if Iceland does get more frequent volcansim, guess who sits right in the prevailing ash paths? Then UK politicians will never point the finger back at themselves, their CO2 generating plans for fracking the UK will be out of the press and forgotten. Proving the tame nature of corporate media in our day and age.

    Reply
  4. Worrisome, considering the proximity of Rainier to major population centers.

    Reply
    • litesong

       /  September 11, 2015

      I was 2000 feet high on Mt. Enumclaw, north of Mt. Rainier(Tahoma) & giving an unobstructed view of the northwest Rainier profile. From the massive summit & high steep volcanics, the profile shallowed out BUT NEVER FLATTENED COMPLETELY, as the nw slope reached all the way to Tacoma City shipping docks & the Salish Sea(Puget Sound).

      Reply
  5. LadyHawke

     /  August 18, 2015

    The Electron Lahar happened with no known volcanic eruption, and buried sites where present day towns now sit. There doesn’t need to be an eruption to injure or kill thousands in the river valleys coming off the mountain.

    http://www.geotimes.org/apr04/feature_MountRainier.html

    http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mount_rainier/mount_rainier_geo_hist_79.html

    Reply
  6. Dan B

     /  August 18, 2015

    The biggest threat from Mt. Rainier are lahars: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mount_rainier/mount_rainier_hazard_50.html Most of Mt. Rainier is volcanic debris, clay, and ice. When the snow and ice melt this “rock” warms, the ice begins to thaw, and it’s destabilized. Much of Rainier is steep terrain. It was once taller than 16,000 feet. I believe the Osceola lahar reduced the height of the mountain by 1500 feet. The city of Enumclaw sits on a huge plain that was created by that mudflow. Approaching the city from Auburn the highway climbs up a 70 “hill” that is a terminal edge of the mudflow.

    Of course an eruption would likely cause great damage.

    Reply
  7. Dan B

     /  August 18, 2015

    The Green Revolution (modern fertilizer dependent agriculture) is adding nitrous oxide to the atmosphere at a higher rate than the IPCC calculates: http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/08/how-midwests-corn-farms-are-cooking-planet It’s not just the US midwest but most every agricultural region on the planet.

    When can we get a break? Here in Seattle looking out at a smoke filled sky…

    We had heavy rain and lightning most of last Friday. It was one of the biggest rainfalls for a single day in August (1 1/4 inches in the city and much more elsewhere) and exceeded the average rainfall for the month (1 inch). It cleared the smoke but the lightning started more fires. I don’t recall more than one lightning strike in summer here in the past 30 years – that’s one lightning bolt in thirty years. Snow storms in winter with lightning happen(ed?) every other year but summer thunderstorms were very rare.

    It was wonderful to have the rain. We’ve had less than 1/4 inch since mid-May and it’s been very warm, even at night. Nights in a typical summer are sweater, and coat, weather since we get cold winds out of the north. This summer they’ve been short’s weather, great for our neighbors’ Vietnamese Karaoke. There’s been no news on why we’re so warm and humid. I wonder if there’s a connection to the Blob.

    Reply
    • No news? Just silence?

      That pool of +4 C above average sea surface temperatures absolutely has an impact as does the synergy between Arctic sea ice melt and the RRR.

      PDO flipped to warm — generating a slot for that hot blob to develop. The atmosphere responded by setting up high pressure systems above the hot pool. And the warm core high
      pressure found it didn’t have much a limiter in the form of cold air to the north. So it stretched on into Alaska and the Arctic time after time.

      That’s not a normal climate dynamic for your region. That’s a changed climate.

      Reply
      • Dan B

         /  August 19, 2015

        I believed that the warm PDO and resultant RRR would prevent, or at least reroute, most of the humidity from the blob from heading our direction. That it would somehow get drawn into the wildly distorted jet stream and into the Arctic. Without good reporting on the interaction between the rapidly warming Arctic in the MSM and our local media and how that’s altering our weather. I wish someone could get Jennifer Francis’ theories into the consciousness of someone local and influential (I’m looking at you Cliff Mass, our local climatologist, plus Bill Gates and Paul Allen…)

        FYI a group of us had lunch at Kew Gardens, London, in 1984 with the board of the Royal Horticultural Society. The RHS collects data worldwide (thank you colonialism) on leaf out times and leaf drop plus first and last frosts and other weather data. By 1984 they said there was already a clear global warming signature. We didn’t have good information or theories about what that would mean. Now we do. Trees dying of drought all over western Washington, for one.

        Reply
    • Griffin

       /  August 18, 2015

      I owe someone on here for pointing this article out some time ago. Anyway, it is very relevant to your nitrous oxide comment Dan. I have been paying close attention to the trees around me lately and those in the news as well. Gail Zawacki nails it here, and the implications are huge. It is worth a read.
      http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2013/01/29/whispers-from-the-ghosting-trees/

      Reply
      • Dan B

         /  August 19, 2015

        Griffin;
        Thanks for the link! I’m a landscape designer with a horticulture degree and lots of scientists in the family. My father was a chemist, my uncles designed the spacesuits and the lunar and mars explorer. I was headed that direction but got sidetracked.

        Reply
  8. Carol

     /  August 18, 2015

    “Prior to the advent of human-caused global warming in the 19th century, the surface layer of Earth’s oceans had undergone 1,800 years of a steady cooling trend, according to a new study. During the latter half of this cooling period, the trend was most likely driven by large and frequent volcanic eruptions.”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150817132013.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fearth_climate%2Fenvironmental_science+%28Environmental+Science+News+–+ScienceDaily%29

    I’m not sure if this study uncovers anything new, but it shows again the complexity of the planetary system. And now global warming is allegedly causing more volcanism, which will cool the oceans and save us all (except of course those killed by the volcanism). Be careful what you wish for! Unfortunately it’ll probably be used as fodder by geoengineers wanting to spew more junk into the atmosphere.

    P.S. Colorado Bob, PLEASE come back!

    Reply
    • Volcanism, unfortunately, can’t stop climate change. The effect of an eruption is temporary cooling, but long term warming due to the volcanic CO2 emission. A new age of volcanism would ultimately increase the warming. But it can’t hold a candle to human warming in any case. Not 11 billion tons of carbon per year worth in any case.

      Reply
  9. – This map shows quite a bit wildfire activity on the Pacific side of Central America vs zero on the Atlantic side.
    Anybody heard anything/

    http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=topics.smoke_wildfires

    Reply
    • The other thing that happens is that people I’ve banned for bad behavior in the past tend to come back — either under a new name or the same name with a different url. I’ve gotten to the point that I laugh about it now.

      Reply
    • Over on Facebook a young lady from the Kashmir region keeps asking me for updates on glacial lake and dam status. I showed her the MODIS site, but mentioned that the best thing to do would be to set up live spotters and local alarm systems for the communities downstream.

      Reply
  10. I find it tragically ironic that one of the glaciers is named Carbon.

    Reply
  11. Spike

     /  August 18, 2015

    I recently read Bill McGuire’s book on geo hazards associated with climate change. I had read a lot of sniping and hand waving dismissals of his work, but thought I should see for myself. I was surprised by the breadth of scholarship and the sheer quantity of research he could reference to. It was a real eye opener for me on a topic which isn’t widely discussed or reported on even in the climate change reporting of substance.

    Reply
    • This one and methane tend to get the mainstream riled up.

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  August 20, 2015

        Ain’t that the truth!

        I think that the published evidence is slowly mounting upon McGuire’s side. The book is 3 years old now, so it’s been enough time for further work to be published.

        Iceland now looks like a nailed on certainty for a response, but I couldn’t find any mention of Mt Rainier in McGuire’s book.

        Most of the research on Rainier seems to focus on lahars etc, but I notice that Wiki suggests the volume of all the glaciers is about 4 cubic kilometres, spread over 93 sq kms area. Is that going to be enough to give a significant response? I don’t know enough to make an educated guess.

        As an aside, the number of glacial outburst events on Rainier is truly epic!

        Reply
  12. – dtlange2 post:

    Wildfire Smoke in the Sky Over Portland, Oregon.

    The climate changed Northern Hemisphere has become a tinderbox of wildfire where everything in the high latitudes now burns.

    Boreal forests, plants, birds, animals, tundra, permafrost, and the rest now easily incinerate.

    Tons of ash and soot float in the atmosphere before falling to land resulting in a black coat of heat absorbing ashy soot

    “In the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere, much of the landscape is covered by boreal forest, or taiga. These regions are incredibly rich in organic matter (carbon), and they are also prone to intense fires that can send smoke thousands of miles downwind.”

    https://dtlange2.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/dscn3461_15788c.jpg?w=468&h=351

    Reply
  13. From the Atlantic coast of the US across to the Pacific and on to Bangladesh sea level rise will spare no-one. By no means recent news, but a reminder that global means global.

    “We are nearing one degree Celsius warming,” and that the “worst case scenario is what we are already on.”
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/07/10/3678948/ice-sheets-could-add-20-feet-to-sea-level-with-current-temperature-increase/

    “Six Alaska communities are planning partial or total relocation,
    and 160 have been identified as threatened by climate-related
    erosion by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps estimates
    relocation costs at $30 to $50 million per village.
    https://seagrant.uaf.edu/map/climate/docs/sea-level.php

    “See, we are very poor people. We cannot afford to buy a plot in the mainland. Those who can they have already left. Only death can take us out of this place,”
    http://www.rtcc.org/2015/02/20/sundarbans-islanders-face-stark-choice-as-sea-levels-rise/

    “Krangket Island has a total population of about 3,500 inhabitants comprised of four clans. The islanders are experiencing problems with rising sea levels due to global warming.”
    http://www.climatefrontlines.org/fr/content/video-documentation-impacts-sea-level-rise-krangket-island-communities-and-economy

    “If the oceans continue to rise, scientists warn, some US and Canadian cities including New York and Halifax will need to prepare themselves for “extreme sea level events.”
    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/global-warming-sea-levels-north-new-york-rise-by-record-128mm-1489365

    “Coastal communities in Wales face being abandoned as rising sea levels mean the cost of maintaining defences can no longer be justified”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-26125479

    “Tidal flooding, driven by sea level rise, will dramatically increase in U.S. East and Gulf Coast communities over the next 30 years.”
    http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/impacts/effects-of-tidal-flooding-and-sea-level-rise-east-coast-gulf-of-mexico#.VdOzKnjvbzI

    “Indigenous communities in Panama are living the reality of melting glaciers and sea level rise.”
    http://ecowatch.com/2014/09/16/sea-level-rise-panama-climate-change/

    “Coastal communities could be significantly damaged if authorities don’t plan ahead for sea-level rise, according to University of Queensland experts studying coastal inundation.”
    http://phys.org/news/2014-12-coastal-sea.html#jCphttp://phys.org/news/2014-12-coastal-sea.html

    “Scientists predict that Kiribati—a remote Island Republic in the Central Pacific—could be lost to rising sea levels in the next 50 years.”
    http://ecowatch.com/2014/11/13/sea-level-rise-climate-change/

    “It’s the planet’s lowest country. “On average, it’s only five feet above sea level,” says Puschak.”
    http://ecowatch.com/2015/05/22/maldives-underwater-climate-change/

    “The Hampton Roads area in Virginia is experiencing the highest rates of sea-level rise along the entire U.S. East Coast. The area is also second only to New Orleans, LA, as the largest population center at risk from sea-level rise in the country.”
    http://www.wri.org/publication/sea-level-rise-virginia

    “The UN listed Tuvalu in 1989 as one of a number of island groups
    most likely to disappear in the 21st Century because of climate
    change”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32598360

    Reply
  14. Andy in SD

     /  August 19, 2015

    This one is for DT, looks like something you have noticed,tracked and observed is now on the radar map.

    Why sunny days turn urban grime into dangerous pollution
    Grime in town and city centres releases an air pollutant when exposed to sunlight, new research has found.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/11808307/Why-sunny-days-turn-urban-grime-into-dangerous-pollution.html

    Reply
    • – Thanks Andy,
      I’m still digesting it after coming across the subject as:
      “Urban Grime Can Contribute to Air Pollution
      Researchers say it spurts ozone-causing chemicals into the environment.”

      – It is noteable that the elements (chemical and otherwise) of the ‘grime’ is petroleum soot mixed with other fossil fuel created debris of solids, liquids, and gases. The quantifying of NOX and nitrates is helpful to understand what is a cycle basic to the whole FF scheme.
      – Many, if not all, of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are remain active and in flux — ready to reignite or go gaseous depending on environmental conditions.
      This gooey petro-soot is toxic and caustic atmospheric fallout that is doing great harm whether it’s falling or whether it’s out-gassing.

      -Here’s some relevant text from the Press Release that points to some core elements of FF aerosol pollution:

      ‘Urban grime, according to Donaldson, is a mixture of thousands of chemical compounds spewed into the air by automobiles, factories and a host of other sources. Among these compounds are nitrogen oxides. When in the air, these compounds may combine with other air pollutants — known as volatile organic compounds…’

      -“Urban grime, Hell. That stuff is toxic and phytotxic petro-poison sludge aka hazardous material.
      – But you see how difficult it has been to get through these lingo-lexicon terminology double blinds that I have to hurdle just to describe the obvious. Boggle, boggle.
      – If one wants to find a reliable and relevant solution to a problem — one must first adequately describe it.
      -Thanks again, Andy. Keep cool.🙂

      – Urban Grime Press Realease:
      http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-08/acs-ugr071715.php

      Reply
  15. Hard to deny evidence of global warming.

    Reply
  16. rayduray

     /  August 19, 2015

    Dear Robert,

    I am wondering if you’ve been in contact with Colorado Bob in the past 3 weeks? I haven’t seen his usually reliable stream of thought at any of our watering holes.

    I don’t know Bob (or you) except as cyphers on the Internet. And yet I’m getting a sneaking feeling, not quite a premonition, that Bob is either very ill or no longer living. He’s simply dropped out of every usual haunt he’s enlightened or infested in the past couple years.

    You don’t make yourself easy to contact. So I’ve exposed more of my personal info than usual here.

    And here’s why. I live in Bend, OR. I’ve been a community activist since 2002. I made a lot of local friends of anti-establishmentarian types over the years. One of them was Paul Carpenter, someone who was a retiree from the lumber industry. We worked together on rallies, film exhibitions and seminars for years. Two winters ago Paul dropped out of the scene, much as Colorado Bob has. It took a full 10 weeks from the last time anyone had contacted Paul until I pushed in the front door of his house and discovered a dessicated cadaver in his own bed. I think we might have another similar situation on our hands.

    Please let me know what you can find out. I know you are a fine investigator.

    Reply
  17. redskylite

     /  August 19, 2015

    Excellent news from the Scotland Government who are encouraging drivers & small business to go electric with vehicles. Wish more governments would try and encourage a switch.

    Business Green

    “Scottish businesses hoping to reduce their emissions will now be able to apply for up to £100,000 to switch their transport fleet to electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles, under a new Scottish government loan scheme announced last week.
    The Energy Saving Trust, which has secured funding from the Scottish government’s Transport Scotland agency, has set aside £2.5m to encourage drivers to move from diesel and petrol vehicles to cleaner alternatives.
    As part of the government’s “Switched-on Scotland” initiative, businesses will be able to apply for up to £100,000 while personal loans of £50,000 can also be taken out, covering the entire cost of most electric vehicles. Funding will be provided interest-free and can be repaid over a period of up to six years, allowing businesses to make repayments using the money saved from fuel costs.
    Derek Mackay, Scottish transport minister, said the loan would be key to achieving Scotland’s climate change targets.
    “Encouraging mass changeover to electric vehicles from more polluting ones running on petrol or diesel is a key to cleaner road transport in Scotland and a fundamental factor in achieving our ambitious climate change targets while also improving local air quality,” he said in a statement. “Electric vehicles already offer large savings to drivers through reduced fuel and taxation costs and this fund will further encourage new buyers by addressing the current cost premium often cited as a barrier to making the switch.”
    The loan can be provided in addition to the existing Plug-in Vehicle Grant offered by the Westminster government, which provides up to £5,000 off the cost of electric cars and £8,000 towards the purchase of electric vans. 
    It can also be taken out in conjunction with the Scottish government’s ChargePlace Scotland programme, which provides grants for the installation of charging points at home.
    Applications for the loan, which opened last week, will close on 31 March next year.”

    http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2422299/scottish-government-launches-gbp25m-pay-as-you-save-electric-vehicle-push

    Reply
  18. A Muslim organisation is doing its bit in the build up to the Paris talks.
    “There is no Islamic Pope”.
    The Declaration asks Muslims, in the words of the Koran, “not to strut arrogantly on the Earth”.
    Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change
    http://islamicclimatedeclaration.org/islamic-declaration-on-global-climate-change/

    Reply
  19. FLwolverine

     /  August 19, 2015

    @rayduray – FYI Colorado Bob was posting on Ricky Rood’s blog at weatherunderground on Aug 15. Hopefully that means there’s no real problem. But it would be nice to know for sure.

    Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  August 19, 2015

    Thanks for the concern folks, not dead , ………….. just this stuff is getting to me more than it used too.

    Western Pacific Tropical Cyclone Activity Sees Record Year to Date

    Tropical cyclone activity in the western North Pacific Ocean basin continues at a record pace this year, a leading atmospheric scientist said Monday.

    According to Dr. Phil Klotzbach, lead author of tropical season forecasts at Colorado State University, the ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) index of 257 units through Aug. 17 shatters the previous record active start to the year set in 2002 of about 227 units. ………………… With typhoons Goni and Atsani in the Pacific now, this number will skyrocket.

    Link

    Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  August 19, 2015

      Bob…So glad to hear from you! You have been in my thoughts. 🙂

      Reply
    • Anne

       /  August 19, 2015

      Great to have you back, Bob. I was worried. You are needed!

      Reply
    • Welcome back, Carter😉

      Bob — I completely understand what you’re going through. The black dog haunts me on many days. It was especially difficult for me during 2013 and 2014 for some reason. Though I’m used to dealing with tough information, the challenges involved in facing climate change are extraordinarily daunting. It’s especially tough when you’re sensitive to the plain fact that we’re dealing with living creatures and people whose lives matter. People who could just as well be us. It became easier for me when I decided the only bit I could control was how little or how much I did to help. Then I resolved myself to help the most that I could according to my own abilities.

      We do live in a hard world. But each one of us pushing the needle makes a difference. And your own contributions in this regard have been substantial and significant.

      For future cases, is there a better way to contact you? Let us be a part of your support network.

      Also, you may want to think about taking a bit more of a break from time to time. Bodies wear out. But so do hearts and minds. And you often can’t see the psychic damage until things just start falling off. My mother, as an example, was a counselor at a children’s hospital. In one year more than 30 of the children under her care were lost. You don’t just walk away from that kind of stuff without it affecting you. The stuff we do here is similar. We are not blissing ourselves away to oblivion. We’ve decided to take responsibility by facing the trouble. And that comes at a cost.

      Warmest wishes to you, my friend.

      Reply
    • Brian

       /  August 20, 2015

      “for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”
      Friedrich Nietzsche
      My heartfelt thanks to all of you here who are strong enough to help facilitate the change we so desperately need. There are few who have the intestinal fortitude to do it and there is no doubt that you are true heroes.

      Reply
  21. Suzanne

     /  August 19, 2015

    Just read an article at NYTimes about the drought in California and how it “may be” their new normal. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/20/us/losing-water-california-tries-to-stay-atop-economic-wave.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=photo-spot-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

    If anyone is interested I posted my “two cents” under “Suzanne” by trying to focus on the climate change aspect to this story. I hope these kinds of stories get more attention in the media and with the public.

    Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  August 19, 2015

    Heat Shifts to the Northwest After All-Time Record Heat Smothered the Southwest

    When the National Weather Service issues “excessive heat warnings” for the hottest region of the country, you know it’s hot. And when Phoenix ties its all-time August record high, you know it’s really hot.

    After much of last week and this past weekend featured brutally hot weather across the Southwest, now the heat has spread north toward the Canadian border.

    The heat has returned to the Pacific Northwest and will remain in place through midweek. Several daily record highs have either been tied or broken across Oregon and Washington so far on Monday and Tuesday.

    Link

    Reply
    • Carole

       /  August 19, 2015

      CB, I had a such a sense of dread when I read your post on Sunday morning. I could not find the words to express it. I am so pleased to see you are back.

      Welcome back. 🙂

      Reply
  23. Colorado Bob

     /  August 19, 2015

    Climate change lethal to baby lizards: Nests become heat traps

    The expected impact of climate change on North American lizards is much worse than first thought. A team of biologists led by Arizona State University investigators has discovered that lizard embryos die when subjected to a temperature of 110 degrees Fahrenheit even for a few minutes.

    The researchers also discovered a bias in previous studies, which ignored early life stages such as embryos. Embryonic lizards are immobile and cannot seek shade or cool off when their surrounding soil becomes hot. ………………………

    Link

    Reply
  24. Colorado Bob

     /  August 19, 2015

    Frequent volcanic eruptions likely cause of long-term ocean cooling

    An international team of researchers found an 1800 year-long cooling trend in the surface layer of the Earth’s oceans, and that volcanic eruptions were the likely cause of the cooling from 801 to 1800 AD. The coolest temperatures were during the Little Ice Age – that was before man-made global warming erased the cooling trend in the 1800s.

    The research reported today by the Past Global Changes’ (PAGES) Ocean2K Working Group in Nature Geoscience indicated that it was likely an increase in the number and size of these eruptions in recent centuries that was the prime cause of the cooling.

    Reference: “Robust global ocean cooling trend for the pre-industrial Common Era”, McGregor et al., Nature Geoscience, to be published online 17 August 2015,

    Reply
    • Thanks Bob…my best friend’s expression says it all re: how I felt upon seeing your first post this morning.

      Reply
    • PS: I think that when I was just lurking here, I saw some of your posts that indicated you were an artist….since he is getting on in years I’m looking for someone to paint a portrait of him. I have some pix that you could choose from…………I’d be honored to hang a rendition of yours on my wall….I’ll give you contact info if you’re interested.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  August 19, 2015

        Maria
        Sorry these days, I couldn’t paint my way out of a paper bag., .

        Reply
      • Shux…Stormy is a very nonjudgmental being😉 If you change your mind please drop me a line.

        Reply
  25. Colorado Bob

     /  August 19, 2015

    Researchers: Drought creating California ‘ghost forests’
    Survey finds 6.3M dead trees in southern Sierra Nevada

    Jeffrey Moore, a biological scientist for the Forest Service, estimated 20 to 30 percent of the trees were dying or dead during an aerial survey of the zone in early July.

    “This is the area of the state that’s really been most affected by the drought for four years now,” Moore said.

    This latest report is part of an ongoing statewide aerial survey of the effects of the drought on California’s forests.

    Link

    Reply
    • labmonkey2

       /  August 19, 2015

      Glad to see you’re OK, CB. I know this stuff is getting hard to fathom as the data continues to amaze.
      RE: CA forests – sad news for the giants, too –

      “According to Craig Allen, a USGS research ecologist based in New Mexico and the Forest Ecology and Management paper’s lead author, tree
      mortality rates have not only risen in historically arid regions, but also in wet forest environments. “Old trees and ancient forests everywhere are arguably at risk,” says Allen. “If projected temperatures rise by 4 degrees C [7.2 degrees F] by 2100, that warming alone could quite possibly cause most old trees to die sometime this century.”


      http://e360.yale.edu/feature/giant_sequoias_face_looming_threat_from_shifting_climate/2631/

      Remember – “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.”
      – Paul Atreides from DUNE.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  August 19, 2015

        labmonkey2

        I corresponded with Craig Allen several years ago when the pinon / juniper forest collapsed Northwest of Los Alamos. He has amazing before and after pictures from the same vantage points from that event.. The guy really knows his trees, and on a world wide basis.

        Reply
  26. Caroline

     /  August 19, 2015

    Yet another excellent piece Robert.
    Mountains, oceans, rivers, forests,wetlands, tundra . . . . the whole of the biosphere under assault due to human use of fossil fuels.
    Been learning a lot of late about Sargassum seaweed and the Sargassum Sea. Should have been required learning in school given how fascinating, miraculous and vital to ocean life this unique ecosystem is:
    http://www.alertdiver.com/Sargassum-barometer-of-global-change

    Reply
    • Caroline, thanks so much for posting this. Indeed, it should be required reading. Recently, spurred by DT’s posts on the crisis of coral reef bleaching, I began reading and I’m astonished(and embarrassed) to learn how much I do not know about this majestic and essential living organism. I spent hours one day going from link to link.

      This struck me in your link:

      What is causing the apparent recent explosion of sargassum? The problem has been worsening along the Texas coast for decades, and it happened again in 2014 in the Florida Keys and the eastern Caribbean region. Several hypotheses have been advanced. One is that this simply represents an ever-growing eutrophication problem in the Gulf of Mexico and beyond, where increasing land-based nutrients, especially nitrogen, fuel growth.

      Nitrogen(excess) and its abuse of life forms both above and below the sea is another issue that is new to me—thanks to the informative posts here at RS…

      Reply
  27. Suzanne

     /  August 19, 2015

    An article at Slate about how the El Nino may effect the weather over the next few months. Even though the article isn’t specifically about GW, it does hint at it in several places.
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/08/18/winter_weather_preview_thanks_to_el_nino_we_know_what_s_coming.html

    One place in particular got my attention (I have lived in S. Fl for 50 years):
    The driest spot east of the Rockies right now is in southern Florida, where this summer’s rainy season has been the worst in 70 years. That’s a big problem, because as sea levels rise, the Miami area needs a steady supply of freshwater as a counterforce against saltwater intrusion and as a salve for Everglades restoration. Ultimately, this is a battle the region cannot win, but for now southern Florida is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on new pumps to keep the sea at bay.

    It isn’t a “perfect” article in terms of getting out the word about GW…but it nuanced enough that it might getting some people thinking…and right now it is a “most read” article. I guess I am just happy when any article at least in some way address GW.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  August 19, 2015

      ” The driest spot east of the Rockies right now is in southern Florida, where this summer’s rainy season has been the worst in 70 years ”

      Suzanne –

      Hydro static pressure , is a real threat to your water supply. Once sea water invades the old system , Fla is screwed. I remember when St. Louis had their record setting rainfall event a few years back, Manhole covers were being blown 60 feet in the air along I-70 . The mayor of Tampa just said their system wasn’t designed to handle all the rain they received this summer, when the big rain came. Last spring, Pensacola , got 2 feet in 24 hours. And South Fla. was moving into the worst drought in 70 years.

      These sharp lines between “too much and too little” are really becoming the sign posts of our times. Sitka, Alaska loses 3 people in mud slide , central Washington is out of control.

      As the Airplane once said, ” It’s a wild time, I’m doing things that don’t have a name yet.”

      Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  August 19, 2015

        Bob…Thank you for your informed reply. I have lived here for 50 years and am aware of our very porous limestone which is so vulnerable to drought along with sea level rise. What is disheartening is watching the unfettered growth here, along with the “newer” residents of Florida being so ignorant of how susceptible our water table is to climate change (drought along with sea level rise is a lethal combination). In Miami, you now have street flooding on days with not a drop of rain in sight during extra high tides. What is even more disheartening is most of the time I feel like I am “yelling into the wind” when I even try to broach the subject of global warming with friends/ associates and family….they just don’t want to face it. Like you…I have many dark days…where it can feel just insurmountable..which why finding friendly voices here has been like finding a life raft in the middle of a dark sea.

        Reply
  28. Colorado Bob

     /  August 19, 2015

    Dr. Rood has just finished a 4 part series on the twisting of a scientist says and what the media reports. He has been commenting on it on this thread, his experience with Fox News is really revealing. He now demands and unedited copy of the entire interview for his files.
    Needless to say , Fox doesn’t call him anymore.

    Ice-Age 4: Media and Why There is No Prediction of a Mini Ice Age

    Link

    Reply
  29. For all of you and all my friends who bother to try to communicate the facts of life, here is a quote that came to us from All Souls UU church in NYC:

    Danger has been a part of my life ever since I picked up a pen and wrote. Nothing is more perilous than truth in a world that lies. Nothing is more perilous than knowledge in a world that has considered knowledge a sin since Adam and Eve.

    (Nawal El Saadwi, 1931 – )

    Reply
  30. Here’s a revealing and jolting NG gif visual of ArctIc ice I don’t remember seeing at RS.

    Reply
  31. Syd Bridges

     /  August 19, 2015

    The possible depressurization of magma is a worry for Mount Rainier, but I suspect the loss of ice pressure is an even bigger threat to Iceland’s volcanoes. The combination of an ocean spreading centre atop a mantle plume is one that can lead to massive volcanism. With the melting of glaciers and icecaps in Iceland, the pressure is decreasing from above. So the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull came as no surprise. Its disruption, however, was considerable, despite it being a fairly minor eruption. Often it is followed by an eruption in the much bigger subglacial Mount Katla, though that hasn’t happened yet, and might not for some years . As Katla generates explosive basaltic and dacitic eruptions, it could be the big chill for regions downwind of it next time it blows. The predominant westerlies would again bring much of the fine tephra and sulphate aerosols over my country, the UK. The Lakigagar fissure eruption of 1783, certainly had drastic consequences for the UK, with an estimated 23,000 deaths from cold and SO2 induced fogs. Couple that with Greenland melt water and an enhanced storm track across the Atlantic and the UK could be in for a very rough ride.

    However, we in the UK are blessed with outstanding leadership from David Cameron (Lord Snooty in Private Eye) and clearly an Eton and Oxford education, with a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, will have no difficulty in fracking his way out of the problem. Even if a tephra cloud were to affect, Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Oporto, our Dave can easily afford to buy older vintages to tide him over. As for the proles: “Let them drink Bollinger!”

    Reply

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