Massive Sargassum Seaweed Bloom is Choking The Caribbean — Climate Change a Likely Culprit

According to Caribbean leaders, it’s a disaster that will take at least 100,000 people and 120 million dollars to clean up. And disaster may not be the best word to describe it — for an enormous Caribbean beach and water choking bloom of sargassum algae may be a new abnormal ocean condition. Yet one more dangerous upshot of a warming world.

St-Vincent-August-2014-credit-E.-Doyle

(Great, sulfur-stinking mats of sargassum algae are now choking the beaches and near-shore waters of the Caribbean. In some places the mats are 10 feet deep. These great piles of seaweed can foul beaches, kill off native species, and result in ocean dead zones when they rob waters of nutrients and then die off — pulling life-giving oxygen out of the water by decomposition. Image source: Mission Blue.)

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A Legend of the Ancient Mariners

The story, in this case, begins with an enormous mat of algae called the Sargasso Sea. This vast collection of organisms has at its foundation two forms of algae that produce inter-connected floating masses of seaweed. The mats collect and link together in an Atlantic Ocean Gyre — forming a vast region off the United States Coast.

Ancient sailors crossing the Atlantic during the dawn of North American colonization often passed through the Sargasso Sea. It tended to be a notable feature of their travels as the floating mats were sometimes dense enough to halt the progress of vessels.

1891 Map of the extent of low and high concentration Sargasso seaweed

(An 1891 map proved by NOAA shows the regions of low and high concentration sargassum seaweed in the North Atlantic and Caribbean. Image source: NOAA — Teachers at Sea.)

For hundreds of years the enormous collection remained a mystery. But by the 20th Century researchers had found that the seaweed was transported by the Gulf Stream from the Gulf of Mexico and Carribean into an area just south of Bermuda. There it bloomed as it fed on nutrient-laden run-off spreading outward from the large estuaries of the North American Continent. The sargassum then efficiently recycled these nutrients to support a vital community of hundreds of sea creatures and birds.

The Sargassum algae that make up the Sargasso Sea are not only native to this region. It ranges the tropical and subtropical zones of the Atlantic — blooming wherever there is warmth and nutrients to support it. Lately, there have been signs that biodiversity in the Sargasso Sea is falling. Recent research expeditions are noting fewer and fewer of the species traditionally supported by the sargassum mats. It’s a potential sign of failing ocean health. One that is, perhaps, linked to the massive accumulation of sargassum in the Carribean during recent years.

(Big changes in the Sargasso Sea. MBARI expedition finds lower biodiversity in the sargassum mats. Video source: MBARI/Youtube.)

Ocean Sargassum Fertilization in a Warming World

Due to its highly efficient use of nutrients, pelagic sargassum thrives in warm, well-fertilized waters. And lately, as the Earth has warmed, run-off into the Atlantic Ocean habitats of the sargassum has increased. Added heat in the atmosphere has resulted in greater instances of heavy downpours. These downpours increase erosion — flushing more nutrients into streams and rivers.

In addition, fertilizer-based farming industry leaves soil laden with phosphates and nitrogen. So the heavier downpours are now raining over lands that are artificially loaded with nutrient. Adding to the fertilizer flush is a constant rain of nitrogen particle fallout from an immense and global burning of fossil fuels over the world’s waters — a third new source of nutrient that wasn’t there for the sargassum to access before. Finally, an added warmth in the surface waters due to greenhouse gasses forcing the world to heat up by 1 degree Celsius over the past 135 years creates a yet more ideal environment for the sargassum to grow and bloom.

Reports now indicate that much of the seaweed choking off the Caribbean’s beaches and waters is issuing from a region east of the Amazon River outflow. These reports hint that deforestation, a resulting increase in erosion of Amazon Rainforest soils, and the rise of industrialized farming in Brazil may also be playing a role in the current epic bloom. Finally, there is growing evidence that the Gulf Stream current — a transporter of sargassum out of the Carribean and Gulf of Mexico may be slowing down as thermo-haline circulation weakens. All these factors — the warming waters, the increased nutrient loading of the surface waters, and the reduction of sargassum transport due to Gulf Stream slowing — combined hint at a sargassum seaweed train wreck whose epicenter is the Caribbean Sea.

Caribbean Beaches, Ocean Life Under Threat

Over recent years, it’s thought that these factors combined to help generate a massive bloom of sargassum in the Caribbean. As early as Fall of 2014 reports had been trickling in of 3-4 foot thick mats collecting along Caribbean coastlines and piling up on beaches. By August of 2015 the mats have grown to as dense as 10 feet thick. Now vast swaths of beaches are covered in the sulfur-stink of this great pile of dying biomass.

Typically sargassum is a vital part of the life-giving system of the Atlantic Ocean. Numerous species of fish, including tuna and jacks, rely on the food provided by the prolific algae. Birds, turtles, and scores of invertebrates also rely on the algae in one way or another. But when the algae becomes too prolific it turns from boon into curse. Sea turtle nests become fouled with the stuff. New hatchlings often are unable to clamber through the dense piles to reach the sea. The dense tangles reduce the mobility of larger animals including sharks, rays, and adult turtles. And when the piles become too thick large sections of the sargassum are cut off from light and nutrients. The result is that the large masses can contain oxygen deprived zones where the dead matter decays. These little pockets host hydrogen sulfide and other sulfur producing bacteria — further toxifying the waters and resulting in the now prevalent reports of a ‘rotten eggs’ smell near the sargassum piles.

(“From the surface, it looks bad. But could you imagine if you were a fish?” Dave Eliot goes underwater to take a look at these climate-change enhanced algae blooms. Video source: YouTube.)

For Caribbean Island nations, who rely so much on their pristine beaches and ocean habitats as a source of economic stability, the amazing accumulation of sargassum is a disaster. Today Sir Hilary Beckles of the University of the West Indies called on the international community for aid saying:

“Herein is an endemic and systemic threat to the resilience and development of these nations and therefore we must have an international response to this… What you are looking at is maybe US$120 million . . . and probably we would have to deploy over 100,000 people to carry out a similar strategy across the Caribbean space to make our beaches available to those who wish to use them for their multiple purposes… We must show our children enjoying our beaches and give visitors the assurance that the weed is not killing us and that life goes on. We must let people know that we in the Caribbean are not sitting on our hands but trying to find solutions to the threat presented by the Sargassum weed.”

But, as with so many of the disasters cropping up these days — simply reacting to the symptoms (be it sargassum, or drought, or flood, or mass migration, or sea level rise, or wildfires, or species endangerment, or a thousand other issues related to human fossil fuel emissions and a great heating of the atmosphere and oceans) does not address the root cause. And for that you need a rapid cessation of fossil fuel burning.

Links:

Sargassum Seaweed Single Greatest Threat to Caribbean Tourism

Beautiful Caribbean Beaches Now a Smelly Mess After Seaweed Invasion

Sargassum Seaweed Turns Caribbean Waters Murky

Stinking Seaweed Causes Tourists to Cancel Caribbean Holidays

NOAA — Teachers at Sea

World Ocean Heartbeat Fading

How Global Warming Produces Increasing Instances of Extreme Weather

Hat tip to Andy in San Diego

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121 Comments

  1. wili

     /  August 19, 2015

    Yet another major basic feature of the planet coming apart at the seems before our eyes.

    Thanks for helping us keep up with these.

    It seems to me, however hard it may be emotionally, a bare minimum moral imperative not to turn away from looking at the harms we have done.

    Reply
    • That’s a profound statement. Seeing what’s happening is a part of our responsibility. We make it real. We obliviate denial in this way.

      Reply
    • Right on, wili.
      You’re a good man.
      We also give warnings of possible impending harm.

      Reply
    • danabanana

       /  August 20, 2015

      Wili, I see it more as a change than a loss. Life has seen mass extinctions before and has come out the better.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  August 20, 2015

        dana, that is a totally detached standpoint. But we are in fact attached.

        If I punch somebody in the face, I can say, “Oh, I don’t see it as damage to your face, just change.” But they may not see it the same way.

        In this case, we are the only ones to directly give voice, so we are the ones who have to consider, as we obliterate species and ecosystems and basic structures of the living world, what that world would say back to us if it could.

        Like the man with the punched face, I think the world would not be quite so sanguine about the harm being done to it.

        People have, of course, died before. Does that mean you think it’s ok to kill people?

        I do see lots of people kind of stuck halfway to deep understanding spouting this stuff. But the folks who really see the ultimate emptiness of all things, Buddhists of various stripes, tend to not be particularly happy about destruction of species and ecosystems.

        There’s an old zen saying (I’m not sure it made it into the official list of koans) that went something like: It is hard to achieve deep peace while horses are chewing the baskets.

        That may seem like gibberish to you, but you might look up what ‘baskets’ imply within the Buddhist context. Of course, if your nihilism come from some other direction (Spinoza, perhaps?), I can’t say much, though I suspect even that tradition may be more nuanced than you suppose.

        In any case, when one is to blame and one turns to various philosophies for excuses, it behooves one to consider whether reason has turned into rationalization.

        Reply
      • Yes. Yes. Yes. wili. Thank you.

        Reply
    • Right on Wili! Acknowledging/facing a problem can sometimes be the hardest part. My friend’s mother noticed a lump in her breast, but was afraid to go to the doctor because of the potential cancer diagnosis…a problem she chose to ignore. She died, from a cancer that could have been treated when she first detected it. Instead, she embraced denial.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  August 20, 2015

        Ryan, very sorry to hear about your loss. Few of us are ready to face our own mortality, especially in our death-denying culture, a culture that paradoxically (or maybe not) also causing the greatest death of any other culture or species ever to exist.

        (It’s actually more than just a culture of death, though. Death is a natural part of life. It is a culture of annihilation, a nihilism that is at once pervasive and unreflective and unreflexive. It desperately needs the Buddhist message that even nihilism is nothingness, and that grasping on to nihilism/nothingness is another way of reifying it. But few are talking at this level since most of these operative assumptions are far below the conscious level, imvho. Also, American culture in particular is pretty much allergic to philosophy of almost any sort, part of its general anti-intellectualism.)

        Reply
      • Cautionary, and sad to hear, Ryan… My father’s long-time friend was a member of a religion that did not believe in going to the doctor. Faith should heal, right? Well he died early of cancer as well. Not all bad outcomes are preventable. But some cancers and some of the impacts of climate change are.

        Reply
    • danabanana

       /  August 21, 2015

      You’re talking about spiritualism here? Spiritualism/religion is a self-serving, very destructive exclusively human construct that no other of the hundreds of thousands of species you share the planet with follows. Caused by a sense of morality and guilt which are nothing but a combination of chemicals reactions in your brain.

      Life got where it is here/now via evolution and it will continue to do so. Just as our ancestors 3 million years ago (out of 4.5 billion years that the Earth has been around) didn’t look like us, in 3 million years time from now homo sapiens won’t look like now (if it exists at all). Death IS life and this should be understood not feared. For you to live plants and animals (living organisms) have to die unless of course you feed only on air and sunlight. Life has evolved with change not by remaining the same and this goes for the Universe itself which is active and in motion, constantly changing.

      We are the top predator and as such what happens to those below in the food chain is not something we really care about as long as we have a secure daily plate of food to eat.

      What do you think would happen to your humanity I took that plate of food off you?

      RS sorry for the OT:/

      Reply
      • wili

         /  August 22, 2015

        Ah, if you an label something as ‘spiritualism’ you can dismiss it outright. OK…

        “Death IS life” Right, but mass extinctions are relatively rare events compared to deaths of individual species. Only five great ones since complex life on earth began, until we arrived.

        We are vastly reducing the amount and especially the diversity of life on the planet. If you have come up with some rationalization that this is ok, well, don’t let me get in the way.

        Reply
  2. climatehawk1

     /  August 19, 2015

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  3. Colorado Bob

     /  August 19, 2015

    The conservative brain has no problem lying, because it’s a “reptilian brain “. Dogma is their guiding light. Instinct, not thought is their guiding light. They just cut off the head of an 81 year old man because he would not tell them where to find great art treasures in Syria.

    I think we should set up a area in the middle of the Sahara Desert. Where all the current right wing movements can fight it out. While this rest of us try to save everyone else.

    Reply
    • Syd Bridges

       /  August 19, 2015

      “I think we should set up a area in the middle of the Sahara Desert. Where all the current right wing movements can fight it out. While this rest of us try to save everyone else.”

      An excellent suggestion, CB. We should air drop a few picks and shovels to the ultimate winners of the “Fanatics Fratricide” so that they can spend their time digging wells to stay alive. That would still be many times the humanitarian aid they will give to anyone else. It would be very interesting to see those Big Oil executives forced to make wells in the old fashioned way, while the rest of the world, and the biosphere, might get a chance at survival.

      Reply
    • Always been enamored with the notion of letting them duke it out themselves.

      Reply
    • labmonkey2

       /  August 19, 2015

      If you want a laugh, there’s a ‘Bad Lip Reading’ remake of the GOP debate. You do have to pay attention as some of the voiceover is hard to discern. Dang near blew my coffee out my nose.

      And to add to CBs idea, a tag-team wrestling match might be the way to go. Old school, of course – you pencil-neck geeks! Ahhhh Freddie, we miss you.

      Reply
    • wili

       /  August 20, 2015

      Bob, many repubs do indeed have special blindspots in this area, but most people at some level resist even looking at the sh!t storm we have created. That’s something that makes you and rs and the others here so priceless and irreplaceable!

      Consider:
      “Jeffrey Kiehl was a senior scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research when he became so concerned about the way the brain resists climate science, he took a break and got a psychology degree.

      Ten years of research later, he’s concluded that consumption and growth have become so central to our sense of personal identity and the fear of economic loss creates such numbing anxiety, we literally cannot imagine making the necessary changes.

      >>Worse, accepting the facts threatens us with a loss of faith in the fundamental order of the universe.<<"

      http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a36228/ballad-of-the-sad-climatologists-0815/

      Reply
  4. Colorado Bob

     /  August 19, 2015

    RS –
    I posted a story about this last week at Dr Masters . Some jackass at Key West said it was no big deal. The story reported that some piles were 10 feet high.

    All this heating as really made the oceans take off. We all need watch what comes next. They clearly have taken all the insults they will stand.

    Reply
    • You’re right Bob. The oceans are a basket case. And Jackasses in Key West aren’t helping.

      Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  August 20, 2015

      Other factors sneak in too
      http://www.pnas.org/content/112/4/1089.abstract
      Attenuation of sinking particulate organic carbon flux through the mesopelagic ocean


      Significance

      A key factor regulating the air−sea balance of carbon dioxide (CO2) is the sinking of particles containing organic carbon from the surface to the deep ocean. The depth at which this carbon is released back into the water (remineralization) has a strong influence on atmospheric CO2 concentration. Here we show a significant relationship between the remineralization depth of sinking organic carbon flux in the upper ocean and water temperature, with shallower remineralization in warmer waters. Our results contrast with data from deep-sea sediment traps, highlighting the importance of upper ocean remineralization to our understanding of the ocean’s biological carbon pump. Our results suggest that predicted future increases in ocean temperature will result in reduced CO2 storage by the oceans.

      Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  August 19, 2015

      Good point, girl

      Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  August 19, 2015

      Maria –
      The most expensive thing man has ever done is to make images. 35,000 years ago man when deep into caves to make images. Then we got the long crawl . When we got to the Popes they still were rare. When the Civil War came, no one ever shot a battle in action.

      Now everyone on Earth shoots everything all the time. I’ve been thinking about this

      Because my favorite cave is Altimeria in Spain.

      Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  August 19, 2015

        Yes, perhaps things were better in late Cro-Magnon, hunter-gatherer times. By most accounts they were better fed, healthier and had more leisure time than the early agriculturalists who came with ‘civilization’. Welcome back CB.

        Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  August 19, 2015

        Isn’t there a Steely Dan song about this😉

        Reply
      • Bob, I love that painting of the Altamira cave too….I’ve only seen replicas during trips to Spain. Among other things it evokes a deep sense of humility…………we think we are so advanced……………

        When the Civil War came, no one ever shot a battle in action.

        Now everyone on Earth shoots everything all the time. I’ve been thinking about this

        Yes. It’s a discussion my photographer(we’re mostly amateurs) have at least a few times a year since the smart phone explosion(I primarily shoot with my iPhone since 2011)…I think it’s a net positive…arts used to be only for the rich or you needed someone to sponsor you. Now just about everyone can document their world, make sense of it, if they’re so inclined, that is.

        Honoring Her is one of my main motivators.

        Reply
  5. Colorado Bob

     /  August 19, 2015

    This bloom , is tied to their drought.

    Reply
    • It does make you wonder if there’s also a teleconnection between the Gulf Stream slowdown and the drought in that region. More than just the usual El Niño impact. Although this El Niño is a real piece of work. +2 C in Niño 3.4 and it’s only August. That sub surface heat just looks monstrous. The Pacific is about to crack wide open.

      Reply
  6. redskylite

     /  August 19, 2015

    Good to see Colorado Bob, his enthusiasm is an inspiration . . .

    Just seen this article in today’s The Conversation by Jennifer Francis at Rutgers. I have a lot of respect for her ideas and thrust, so thought it worthy to share . . .

    “The Arctic is melting rapidly. Who cares? Anyone who is concerned about the rising price of food, lives near the coast, shoveled snow all winter, can’t water their lawn anymore, pays a bigger premium now for property insurance or enjoys eating seafood. Did we leave anyone out?

    Apparently so, yet this group of people should care as much as anyone. The House of Representatives earlier this year passed a budget that funds NASA’s earth sciences research at US$1.45 billion – down 18% from $1.77 billion in fiscal year 2015 and well below (26%) the White House request of $1.95 billion in 2016. NASA’s earth sciences work and the National Science Foundation’s geosciences budget fund much of the research US scientists do on the Arctic.”

    http://theconversation.com/a-melting-arctic-demands-more-not-less-research-on-earth-science-46118

    Reply
  7. redskylite

     /  August 19, 2015

    I’ve read deniers who wish climate research was stopped and regard Universities as liberal progressives… I’m just thankful they continue to research while the students increase our pool of knowledge . . .

    “Foresters and ecologists have long gauged the severity of drought from tree mortality that happens the same year. But the damage suffered during drought sets in motion a decline that can kill trees years later. This study identifies the symptoms that can mark an individual for later death,” Clark said.

    “As our future climate warms and droughts in the Southeast become more frequent and severe, this is going to be a major region-wide concern,”

    https://nicholas.duke.edu/news/drought-implicated-slow-death-trees-southeastern-forests

    Reply
    • Griffin

       /  August 19, 2015

      I respectfully disagree with the conclusions reached by the Duke Energy funded research. The true problem for the trees is much deeper than a lack of water. If anyone cares to learn more, here is everything you wished you never knew. http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2013/01/29/whispers-from-the-ghosting-trees/

      Reply
      • Griffin I read this piece last night after you posted it. I learned so much. Thank you. One of the things that it reinforced for me is how inextricably linked every atom in the universe is. That the bonding of a nitrogen and oxygen molecule in China impacts me here in CA. Not in my back yard has to be one of the grandest lies we humans have told ourselves……

        Reply
      • Griffin

         /  August 20, 2015

        Glad to share it Maria. As with most things that I learn, I owe it to the wonderful folks that post on Robert’s blog, for it was shared here some time ago.
        That one article has changed me. I look at the trees around me differently now. I see the signs that Gail points out. They are everywhere in the foliage. Incredibly sad, but very real.

        Reply
      • As with most things that I learn, I owe it to the wonderful folks that post on Robert’s blog, for it was shared here some time ago.

        Same here. I’m so grateful. It seems like the teacher(s) came when this student was ready.

        That one article has changed me. I look at the trees around me differently now. I see the signs that Gail points out. They are everywhere in the foliage. Incredibly sad, but very real.

        I had the same reaction. Deep and visceral. Yesterday, everywhere from my yard to while on my bicycle ride, the trees, the wild dill; seeing changes she describes….some are not subtle.

        While it instills sadness it’s also instilling in me an even deeper reverence for what we have and the passion to be part of the movement to effect the changes we need….Thanks again Griffin, RS, CB, DT, Andy, and all others who maker this blog a very special community of highly intelligent, informed and most importantly, deeply compassionate people.

        Reply
  8. Syd Bridges

     /  August 19, 2015

    Sadly, this infestation may spell great economic hardship for the affected islands, where tourism is such an important source of income. Yet again, those least responsible for the disasters of 2015 will be the ones who pay the highest price.

    However, I can think of somewhere where that stinking sargassum might be quite useful. I read the full story in Reuters a year or so ago, and it is summarized here:

    http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2014/09/17/huckabee-pulled-political-strings-to-get-beach-home-permitted

    Naturally, should such an event occur, or a hurricane strike the region, I am certain that the high-principled gentleman wouldn’t further bilk the taxpayer he defends so fervently, by sticking him with the costs of replacing a $5 million folly.

    The Reuters article was very interesting, covering the huge risks of shoreline development as SLR increases, including the way the wealthy, like Huckabee, ride roughshod over local regulators and then expect the taxpayer to foot the bill for their greed and stupidity.

    Reply
  9. Suzanne

     /  August 19, 2015

    I have been very aware and concerned about GW for decades. I have tried to do my “small” part by contributing to candidates and groups focused on climate/environmental issues. I conserve wherever I can…I don’t eat meat…I don’t drive when I don’t have to…I “consume” as little as possible, etc. I do my best to stay up to date and informed on the subject of GW and it’s impact on our beautiful biosphere. And yet, it often feels like “nothing is getting through”..and “nothing is changing the consciousness” of the masses….It can be very disheartening. I have been “lurking” here for awhile…and am just now starting to have the courage to comment, and I want to thank Robert, and all the commenters here for the commitment and their community “concern” they have not only for our planet, and humanity …but for each other. To everyone here….You give me hope that “change is possible”…Thank you.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  August 20, 2015

      Thanks for posting, Suzanne, and welcome to the forum.

      May I suggest that taking in relevant accurate information is enormously important. Lots of us need to be seeing the same reality if we are ever going to come close to starting to do the right things.

      I would say that change is actually inevitable. The question is whether we can have any influence in keeping that change from taking the wost possible directions.

      Please keep posting and sharing.

      Best,
      wili

      Reply
  10. Jeremy

     /  August 19, 2015

    An interesting detail related to this massive increase in Sargasso plant mass/matter is that for every 10°C rise in temperature there is a corresponding doubling of the metabolic rate within plant tissue – hence the continued explosive plant growth.

    Reply
  11. Jeremy

     /  August 19, 2015

    Of course, at some point the excessive heat kills the plant tissue!

    Reply
  12. Colorado Bob

     /  August 19, 2015

    RS-

    Well now you’ve done it

    Your bigger than Dallas.

    Reply
  13. Jeremy

     /  August 19, 2015

    For you, Colorado Bob:

    “A simple rule of thumb that can be used is: for every 10°C increase, the reaction rate doubles. ”

    http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/Physical_Chemistry/Kinetics/Reaction_Rates/Reaction_Rate

    Reply
    • Spike

       /  August 19, 2015

      However in biochemistry enzymic reactions have an optimal temperature.

      Reply
      • Andy in YKD

         /  August 20, 2015

        For most plants the optimal temp for photosynthesis is 30C/86F. It declines rapidly after 32c/90F, and is about zippo at 38C/100F.

        Reply
  14. redskylite

     /  August 19, 2015

    Not sure if this has been covered in the threads and posts but just noticed a couple of updates over at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (where I rely on ice state info).

    August 17th The rate of ice retreat slowed compared to July, but remained faster than is typical for the month through the first half of August. Most of the ice in Baffin and Hudson bays has finally melted out. Large areas of open water and low concentration ice within the Beaufort and Chukchi seas continued to expand. Some of the low concentration ice depicted in the passive microwave data could be due to the presence of melt ponds on higher concentration ice. However, visible imagery from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor on the NASA Terra and Aqua satellites confirm a very loose ice pack with considerable open water in the region.

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    Reply
  15. redskylite

     /  August 19, 2015

    August 19th: A somewhat unusual pattern occurred in the south, with more melt days than average near the ice sheet ridge crest (center) and coastline, and below-average melting in mid-elevation areas. The pattern could be explained by calm winds near the ridge crest, permitting surface melt, and stronger winds along the flanks, or by differences in cloud condition.

    http://nsidc.org/greenland-today/

    Reply
  16. Carmelo

     /  August 19, 2015

    Even if the beaches would be cleaned-up of sargasum by hand, especially machinery, this would eventually lead to beach erosion. When the next tidal surge hit these beaches 2-5 meters width of them maybe gone. In 2003 beach erosion is prevalent in cancun playas. This problem is going to be more far-reaching than today!

    Reply
  17. Griffin

     /  August 19, 2015

    Great way to close out this post Robert! So many mainstream articles every day, each only a dot. I come here to see the picture that they paint. (even if I think it’s ugly)

    Reply
  18. PlazaRed

     /  August 19, 2015

    Not only is this weed self sustaining, its also acting like a blanket on the seas in 2 ways.
    It absorbs sunlight and hence heat itself and then it blankets heat in the seas and prevents to some extent cooling of the waters.
    The decomposition of the weed is also causing polluting gases to be freed into the atmosphere!
    Removal of the weed from beaches is a temporary cure, as more will inevitably replace it.

    Although the weed is causing massive problems for the tourist industry, we must also consider 2 related factors.
    Tourists themselves are causing pollution by going to the tourist places by powered transport and 2, this kind of problem will bring the issue of the weed and its probable causes more to the publics eyes due to the publicity it is causing.

    Reply
  19. Spike

     /  August 19, 2015

    German farmers hit by drought . DBV President Joachim Rukewied told journalists in Berlin that regions in central Germany were hit hardest, suffering crop slumps of between 40 and 50 percent. Crop-growing regions in the North and the South suffered less due to more rainfall there.

    http://www.dw.com/en/german-farmers-hit-by-drought-russia-food-ban/a-18656285

    Much of Eastern Europe is probably having some similar difficulty

    Reply
  20. Andy in SD

     /  August 20, 2015

    I’m hoping this is not just some lame scam to separate people and their money, and is real.

    Canadian firm builds giant ‘scrubber’ to pull CO2 from the air

    Carbon Engineering’s technology could produce renewable, synthetic hydrocarbons and ‘wind back the clock’ on climate change

    http://www.canadianmanufacturing.com/technology/canadian-firm-builds-giant-scrubber-to-pull-co2-from-the-air-152497/

    Reply
    • redskylite

       /  August 20, 2015

      This American Chemical Society announced technology to economically convert atmospheric CO2 directly into highly valued carbon nanofibers for industrial and consumer products, looks promising, but I would have to see the Mauna Loa CO2 stats starting to level off and then in a slow decline, before getting excited. So far despite all the talk, meetings and actions it still keeps increasing around 2ppm per year.

      Reply
      • redskylite

         /  August 20, 2015

        Not sure is it the same technology as announced by the Canadian firm . . .

        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150819083117.htm

        Reply
      • Fractal

         /  August 20, 2015

        Make of it what you will…

        “We have found a way to use atmospheric CO2 to produce high-yield carbon nanofibers,” says Stuart Licht, Ph.D., who leads a research team at George Washington University. “Such nanofibers are used to make strong carbon composites, such as those used in the Boeing Dreamliner, as well as in high-end sports equipment, wind turbine blades and a host of other products.”

        Licht estimates electrical energy costs of this “solar thermal electrochemical process” to be around $1,000 per ton of carbon nanofiber product, which means the cost of running the system is hundreds of times less than the value of product output.
        “We calculate that with a physical area less than 10 percent the size of the Sahara Desert, our process could remove enough CO2 to decrease atmospheric levels to those of the pre-industrial revolution within 10 years,” he says.

        Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-08-diamonds-sky-approach-co2-valuable.html#jCp

        Reply
        • That’s actually a pretty large footprint. Imagine, for example, 20 billion tons of carbon fiber products produced every year. However, I think the tech can play a part in drawing down atmospheric carbon. It’s nice to see that materials can go carbon negative and work out economically. A carbon tax would move this along nicely.

    • Abel Adamski

       /  August 20, 2015

      Firstly, welcome back CB, or is it welcome back to your sometimes home. Hope all is OK , keep a truckin

      There are several companies into this, the issue is the energy to drive them, the Canadian Company blurb was 70% gain as the energy to drive produced 30% of CO2 removed.
      However powered by renewables, solar or wind etc, looking better

      Plus the synthetic photosynthesis looking to be close to running.by choosing a lower efficiency but cheap and easy to produce and manufacture variant.

      The problems are that as has been raised, the issue has now become more than just CO2, it is the other aerosols and particulates and toxins from FF combustion that is doing as much if not more damage than just warming. Plus the OCEANS

      That CO2 extraction is atmospheric, the oceans and permafrost/methane are out of the extraction loop

      Reply
    • Griffin

       /  August 20, 2015

      It is real Andy. In my opinion, this is easy for folks to dismiss as ineffective technology but they are missing a key point. We are making very little progress on emissions reductions, but the impacts of higher CO2 are growing daily. At some point, being the company with technology that can actually do something to reduce carbon, might put them in an attractive spot. Of course, the world is screwed if we keep on a path to needing carbon scrubbers, but that’s the road we are on.

      Reply
    • This Vox article is a good overview of negative carbon emission issues.
      Vox: It’s time to look seriously at sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere

      It includes Further Reading references to several articles at it’s bottom, two of which I’ll post below.

      Reply
  21. Andy in SD

     /  August 20, 2015

    Does this look like algae starting to bloom in the Baltic to anyone? Hard to make a call on it.

    http://www.arctic.io/explorer/8/2015-08-18/7-N59.34053-E19.82046

    Reply
  22. Dan B

     /  August 20, 2015

    Pacific Northwest wildfires from the space station. The photographer sent prayers.
    http://www.thestranger.com/blogs/slog/2015/08/19/22727943/what-the-northwest-wildfires-look-like-from-space
    Apologies I don’t know how to embed the photo directly – didn’t pay attention when the process was spelled out here.

    Reply
  23. Scientific American is devoting its September issue to the 100 year anniversary of Einstein’s presentation of his Theory of Relativity…apologies if this is known to everyone here..

    Albert Einstein was perhaps even more well known in his time for his work to understand the photoelectric effect. In fact, when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921, the honor was stated to be “for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.”

    This discovery is so important—and Nobel Prize worthy—because Einstein suggested for the first time that light is both a wave and a particle. This phenomenon, known as the wave-particle duality of light, is fundamental to all of quantum mechanics and has influenced the development of electron microscopes and solar cells.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/einstein-s-legacy-the-photoelectric-effect/

    Reply
  24. redskylite

     /  August 20, 2015

    News from Haiti, a Caribbean nation ravished by an Earthquake, that also suffers from Sargassum seaweed, also have more woes piled upon them from climate change….

    “Many families who returned from the Dominican Republic are living hand-to-mouth in shanties.
    The effects of climate change are also encroaching. The summer drought previously confined to country’s north has crept into the south.
    “In the Cayes region and the Macaya natural park, water sources are dry,” di Taranto said. “It’s a problem that’s spreading.”
    Haiti, which has lost 98 percent of its forest cover, has seen worsening agricultural conditions and topsoil erosion.
    Because of this, the warm air current from “El Nino” is affecting Haiti more than other countries in the region.
    “We need to launch public rural development programs which let us confront these climatological dynamics that we can’t control,” ”

    AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE via Arab News has the story ..

    http://www.arabnews.com/news/794026

    Reply
  25. redskylite

     /  August 20, 2015

    Discussion about scrubbing the atmosphere in today’s The Verge . . .

    Some groups of scientists are working on the problem, and documents like the one published by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change urge developing this kind of technology in the future. One major barrier is cost. Technology already exists to remove CO2 from smokestacks at a reasonable price, but taking it out of the air raises the price — just how much, though, is disputed.

    http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/19/9174589/climate-change-carbon-removal-capture-air

    Reply
  26. Mimi Mato

     /  August 20, 2015

    I have to put up the full translation of this article in French because I believe it is worth it, of course.

    It is worth it because it gives the feeling of reading the definition of dystrophication in wikipedia but applied to “just” the entire Gulf of Mexico …
    It’s worth it because it is not a theory but a description of current facts, unprecedented at such a magnitude. Facts are always more compelling than theories.
    It is worth it because it also shows the causes of these facts, verifiable, sourced causes.
    It is worth it because it describes what world’s oceans are being forced to become all, under the pressure of our species if we do not fight enough to change the world for this, quickly and significantly.

    It is a good reason to try to wake up some decision-makers => feel free to share.

    — En français / In French — Partagez-le autant que vous voulez —

    #DYSTROPHISATION #MONDIALE – #ELNINO & ALL – Une explosion massive de sargasses étouffe Les Caraïbes – Le changement climatique comme coupable probable

    Selon les dirigeants des Caraïbes, c’est un désastre qui va demander au moins 100.000 personnes et 120 millions de dollars pour le nettoyer (http://en.mercopress.com/2015/08/19/sargassum-seaweed-greatest-single-threat-to-the-caribbean-tourism-industry). Et “catastrophe” n’est peut être pas le meilleur mot pour le décrire – parce qu’une immense floraison des algues sargasses étouffant tout sur les plages et dans l’eau des Caraïbes est peut être devenu le nouvel état anormal de l’océan. Encore un des résultats les plus dangereux du réchauffement de la planète.

    St-Vincent-Août-2014-crédit-E.-Doyle
    (Grand tapis de sargasses puant le soufre et étouffant en ce moment les plages et les eaux côtières des Caraïbes. À certains endroits ces tapis font 10 pieds d’épaisseur (près de 4 mètres). Ces grands tapis d’algues peuvent envahir les plages, tuer les espèces indigènes et entraîner la mort des zones océaniques qu’elles ont vidé de leurs nutriments avant d’en mourir – retirant par leur décomposition l’oxygène qui permet la vie dans ces eaux.
    Source de l’image: Mission Blue : http://mission-blue.org/2014/10/sargassum-inundates-the-beaches-of-the-caribbean/ )..

    * * * * *

    Une légende des anciens marins

    Cette histoire, ici, commence par un énorme radeau d’algues appelé mer des Sargasses. Ce vaste ensemble d’organismes se forme à partir de deux espèces d’algues flottantes qui se reproduisent en quantités énormes et se lient entre elles. Ces radeaux flottants se regroupent et se rassemblent dans la gyre océanique de l’Atlantique Nord – constituant ainsi une une vaste zone au large des côtes des États-Unis.

    Les anciens marins qui traversaient l’Atlantique au début de la colonisation de l’Amérique du Nord ont souvent du traverser la mer des Sargasses qui avait tendance à être un trait marquant de leurs voyages car ces radeaux flottants étaient parfois assez denses pour stopper la progression des navires.

    (Une carte de 1891, certifiée par la NOAA, présente les régions à forte et faible concentrations en sargasses dans l’Atlantique Nord et les Caraïbes Source de l’image:.. NOAA – Les enseignants en mer : https://teacheratsea.wordpress.com/tag/north-atlantic/)

    Cette énorme concentration est restée un mystère pendant des centaines d’années mais au cours du 20e siècle des chercheurs ont constaté que ces algues sont transportées par le Gulf Stream depuis le golfe du Mexique et les Caraïbes jusqu’à une zone située juste au sud des Bermudes. Là, elles pullulent en se nourrissant des nutriments apportés par les eaux des grands estuaires du continent nord-américain. Les sargasses recyclent ces nutriments puis servent elles-mêmes de base alimentaire à des centaines de d’espèces marines et d’oiseaux.

    Les algues qui composent la mer des Sargasses ne proviennent pas uniquement de cette région. Elles proviennent de toutes les zones tropicales et subtropicales de l’Atlantique – pullulant partout où il y a de la chaleur et de la nourriture. On a récemment observé les signes d’une baisse la biodiversité dans la mer des Sargasses. Des récentes expéditions de recherche ont de plus en plus rarement observé les espèces constituant traditionnellement les radeaux de sargasses. C’est un signe probable de dégradation de la santé de l’océan. Chose qui est sans doute liée à l’accumulation massive de sargasses ces dernières années dans les Caraïbes.

    (Grands changements dans la mer des Sargasses. l’expédition MBARI découvre une biodiversité en baisse dans les radeaux de sargasses – source de la vidéo:.. MBARI / Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8K7wSbn0X8)

    Envahissement de l’océan par les sargasses dans un monde qui se réchauffe

    Le genre pélagique Sargassum se développe bien dans les eaux chaudes et riches en nutriments car il les utilise de façon très efficace et comme en ce moment la terre se réchauffe, les apports de nutriments dans l’océan Atlantique accrus par les eaux de ruissellement actuelles font croitre les sargasses : la montée de la chaleur dans l’atmosphère multiplie les fortes précipitations (https://robertscribbler.com/2013/07/16/dr-jennifer-francis-top-climatologists-explain-how-global-warming-wrecks-the-jet-stream-and-amps-up-hydrological-cycle-to-cause-dangerous-weather/). Ces pluies augmentent l’érosion – lessivent plus d’éléments nutritifs emportés par les cours d’eau.

    En outre, l’industrie agricole, par ses engrais, charge les sols en phosphates et nitrates. Donc, les fortes pluies actuelles tombent maintenant sur des terres artificiellement chargés d’éléments nutritifs. En plus de ce lessivage des engrais, on a sur toutes les eaux du monde une pluie constante de retombées azotées issues de l’immense et mondiale utilisation des combustibles fossiles – une troisième source d’éléments nutritifs qui n’était pas auparavant accessible aux sargasses. De plus, le réchauffement des eaux de surface induit par les gaz à effet de serre qui ont, sur ces 135 dernières années, amené le monde à se réchauffer de 1 degré Celsius, crée un environnement encore plus idéal pour que les sargasses croissent et se multiplient.

    Les rapports indiquent maintenant que la plupart des algues étouffant les plages et les eaux des Caraïbes proviennent d’une région à l’est d’estuaire du fleuve Amazone. Ces rapports laissent entendre que la déforestation, entraînant une augmentation de l’érosion des sols de la forêt amazonienne, et la montée de l’agriculture industrielle au Brésil peuvent également jouer un rôle dans l’extraordinaire pullulation actuelle. Enfin, il existe de plus en plus de preuves que le Gulf Stream – le transporteur des sargasses depuis la mer des Caraïbes et le golfe du Mexique – soit en cours de ralentissement parce que la circulation thermohaline faiblit (https://robertscribbler.com/2015/03/23/world-ocean-heartbeat-fading-nasty-signs-north-atlantic-thermohaline-circulation-is-weakening/). Tous ces facteurs combinés – le réchauffement des eaux, l’augmentation de la charge en éléments nutritifs des eaux de surface et la baisse du transport des sargasses à cause du ralentissement du Gulf Stream – laissent supposer une grave perturbation dans le convoi des sargasses, accident dont l’épicentre se situe dans la mer des Caraïbes.

    Plages des Caraïbes, la vie des océans menacée

    On pense que ces facteurs se sont combinés ces dernières années pour générer une pullulation massive de sargasses dans les Caraïbes. Dès l’automne 2014, on rapportait des amoncellements de 3 à 4 pieds d’épaisseur (autour d’un mètre) s’accumulant sur les plages le long des côtes des Caraïbes. En Août 2015, ces tapis ont grossi pour atteindre jusqu’à 10 pieds d’épaisseur (presque 4 m). Actuellement, de vastes étendues de plages sont noyées dans une puanteur de soufre venant de ces grands amoncellements en train de mourir.

    Fondamentalement, les sargasses constituent une partie vitale et essentielle de l’écosystème de l’océan Atlantique. De nombreuses espèces de poissons, dont le thon et les carangues, reposent sur la nourriture fournie par ces algues prolifiques. Des oiseaux, des tortues et des dizaines d’invertébrés dépendent également d’une manière ou d’une autre de ces algues mais quand elles deviennent trop prolifiques, elles se transforment d’aubaine en malédiction. Les nids de tortues marines sont écrasés sous la chose. Les nouveaux-nés sont souvent incapables de grimper à travers ces entassements denses pour rejoindre la mer. Ces enchevêtrements denses limitent les déplacements des plus grands animaux comme les requins, raies et tortues adultes et quand les radeaux deviennent trop épais de grandes portions de sargasses sont privées de lumière et de nutriments. La conséquence est que les grands radeaux incorporent des zones privées d’oxygène où la matière morte se décompose. Ces poches accumulent des bactéries produisant de l’hydrogène sulfuré et d’autres producteurs de sulfures – rendant les eaux toxiques et expliquant les odeurs “d’oeufs pourri” actuellement rapportés autour des amoncellements de sargasses.

    (Ça a l’ai mauvais en surface mais imaginez-vous ce que ce serait si vous étiez un poisson ?” Dave Eliot plonge sous l’eau pour voir cette prolifération d’algues amplifiée par le changement climatique – source de la vidéo:. YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zBEkr7NB7o )

    Pour les nations insulaires des Caraïbes dont la stabilité économique dépende énormément de leurs plages immaculées et de leurs fonds océaniques, cette accumulation incroyable de sargasses est un désastre. Aujourd’hui Sir Hilary Beckles, de l’Université des Antilles, a appelé à l’aide la communauté internationale ainsi (http://en.mercopress.com/2015/08/19/sargassum-seaweed-greatest-single-threat-to-the-caribbean-tourism-industry) :

    “Nous avons là une menace endémique et systémique à la résilience et au développement de ces pays et nous devons donc y apporter une réponse internationale … Ce que vous examinez est de l’ordre de 120 millions de dollars. . . et nous allons avoir à déployer probablement plus de 100.000 personnes pour mener à bien un travail similaire sur tout l’espace des Caraïbes visant à rendre nos plages disponibles à ceux qui souhaitent les utiliser … Nous devons donner à nos enfants et aux touristes qui profitent de nos plages l’assurance que ces mauvaises herbes ne nous tuent pas et que la vie continue. Nous devons faire savoir aux gens que dans les Caraïbes nous restons pas assis les bras croisés mais que nous essayons de trouver des solutions à la menace représentée par ces sargasses”.

    Mais, à l’instar de tant d’autres catastrophes se produisant en ce moment – se contenter de réagir aux symptômes (que ce soient les sargasses, la sécheresse, les inondations, les migrations en masse, l’élévation du niveau de la mer, les incendies de forêt, la mise en danger des espèces ou mille autres problèmes liés aux émissions gazeuses issues des combustibles fossiles de l’activité humaine et au grand réchauffement de l’atmosphère et des océans) ne traite pas le mal à la racine. Et pour ça il faut au moins un arrêt rapide des combustibles fossiles.

    Reply
  27. danabanana

     /  August 20, 2015

    Here is another. Cause (AGW) and Effect (Record jellyfish numbers in seas off UK including dangerous one)

    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/news/2015/08/20/record-jellyfish-numbers-in-seas-off-uk-including-dangerous-one/

    Reply
    • Hi Suzanne and welcome..as you know, I also am very new to posting here…

      This popped out while reading the NYT piece:

      Since 1895, California has warmed by a little more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit. That increase sounds small, but as an average over an entire state in all seasons, scientists say, it is a large number. The warmer air can hold more water vapor, and the result is that however much rain or snow falls in a given year, the atmosphere will draw it out of the soil more aggressively.

      Dr. Williams calculated that the warmer atmosphere over California is able to absorb about 8.5 trillion more gallons of water in a typical year than would have been the case in the cooler atmosphere at the end of the 19th century.

      Reply
      • Fascinating, thanks for pointing this out. If I haven’t made a math error, that is just a little less than the total capacity of Lake Mead (9.7 trillion gallons).

        Reply
      • Ya, I don’t know Lake Mead’s capacity off the top of my head—but that # is astounding….and this is just CA….I wonder if there is any published data on what the water absorption volumes in other areas around country and world facing similar conditions…

        Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  August 20, 2015

        Maria…I am also new to posting..and still not very confident about contributing. But I have been lurking here for awhile and feel there is a sense of “community” here so am diving in .🙂
        Thanks for pointing out a salient point in the article. I have just commented on Robert’s next post that it seems that the mainstream media is “finally” posting more stories about GW…which is a two edged sword. Things have gotten so much worse this summer that they can no longer deny “the elephant in the room.
        Thanks for your kind words of welcome…It is appreciated.

        Reply
      • Suzanne, ya it is a wonderful community…I saw your comment re: double edged sword. This is so hard in that as a society? human race? we tend to not want to deal with something until it gets severe enough to have to do something about it. But re: climate change there is also the whole dark side of the fossil fuel proponents sabotaging efforts for what is now several decades of legitimate and truth-telling scientists….sort of a perfect storm spelling hard times ahead before we’ll see us making meaningful changes……….I’m eager to see if with all the extreme events this year, alone, results in more aggressive steps taken/proposed at the Paris talks—which are now just a few months away. The pope is addressing the full US congress next month….Lots of people energy, if you will, from different sources, seems to be coming together to deal with this in a meaningful way, I think. I don’t mind being proven wrong re: my statements but I truly hope I’m correct on this one since humanity’s life depends on it..

        I wish one of the candidates would have the guts to say that climate change IS the defining issue of our time right now. All of our problems, 20% of our children going to bed hungry (where my heart is), income disparity, racism, etc have to be placed underneath the umbrella of climate change—deal with this and we then can figure out our other very pressing issues…and we may even alleviate some of our problems by addressing CC…..if any of this makes sense…

        Reply
      • Suzanne and all…here’s a piece that also discusses the study that the NYT did but it added some more interesting information.

        A further twist was introduced in a 2010 study by researchers at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. They showed that massive irrigation from underground aquifers has been offsetting global warming in some areas, because the water cools the air. The effect has been especially sharp in California’s heavily irrigated Central Valley—possibly up to 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit during some seasons. Now, aquifers are dropping fast, sending irrigation on a downward trajectory. If irrigation’s cooling effect declines, this will boost air temperatures even higher, which will dry aquifers further, and so on. Scientists call this process “positive feedback.”

        It’s all these feedback loops that I have had trouble imagining without the help of folk here. I can discuss positive and negative feedback loops in the human body all day long but this material is way beyond my scope of education/awareness.

        Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-08-climate-deepening-california-drought.html#jCp

        Reply
    • NYT”s headline is off a bit — the drought is climate change.
      I’ve watched CA’s weather and climate deteriorate over the last ten years drought, or no drought.
      There have been too many “March miracle” El Nino rain events that offered only temporary ‘drought’ relief. The present day entrenchment of the ‘blob’ of hot H2o & the RRR tells me that reliance of El Nino relief is a real ‘crap shoot’. For we keep loading the climate ‘dice’ with FF carbon.

      OUT

      Reply
      • – But the first paragraph does lede [sic] with “Global warming caused by human emissions has most likely intensified the drought in California by roughly 15 to 20 percent, scientists said..” Good enough.
        I just worry that MSM headlines are way to ‘soft’ on CC.
        OUT

        Reply
  28. Caroline

     /  August 20, 2015

    From: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/08/19/1412479/-How-Hot-Is-It-Going-To-Get:
    Answering the question, “How hot is it going get?” is quite simple.  If we keep burning fossil fuels, temperature will eventually reach 147 degrees Fahrenheit with a heat index of 200 degrees (or more) Fahrenheit where many people now live.
    That’s it.  Simple. Clear. Terrifying.

    Reply
  29. wili

     /  August 20, 2015

    A rare piece on the unfolding disaster in Sao Paulo in the US MSM (thanks as usual to vox at POForums for this): http://www.latimes.com/world/brazil/la-fg-brazil-drought-20150820-story.html

    “Drought drives water shortage to critical stage in Sao Paulo, Brazil”

    “Officials in Sao Paulo state have announced that the water shortage in the city of the same name is now “critical,” with multimillion-dollar emergency construction projects so far failing to ease the situation.

    The announcement was the first time the state government officially recognized the severity of the water crisis and permits the suspension of licenses that allow agriculture, industry and other private concerns to draw directly from area water supplies.

    … >>The announcement was “overdue” and “incomplete” and also may pave the way for water rationing, Ricardo Manuel Castro, an official with the state public prosecutor’s office, told Brazil’s G1 news network. The state government has tried to avoid formal rationing, despite unofficial rationing that leaves hundreds of thousands of Sao Paulo residents without water for hours each day, and in some cases for days on end.”

    Reply
    • Two years and the MSM finally starts to wake up. I suppose it takes an official admission by city managers that this is a problem for it actually to become news?

      Reply
      • You bet it does: “it takes an official admission by city managers that this is a problem for it actually to become news?”
        Remember too that in general, any, or all, ‘admissions’ are quashed by the “Chambers of Commerce.” The ‘economy’ always gets first priority — as we know.
        It must be WAY past serious for city managers to put out the alarm.

        Reply
  30. Greg

     /  August 20, 2015

    For you DT, a data driven air pollution map of China that shows that more than half of the Chinese population lives in air that is beyond the U.S. EPA’s highest threshold for health:

    Reply
    • – Thanks, Greg … cough, cough🙂

      Consider too how much of the Pm is generated to make consumer items for the USA.
      What peeves me the most at the number of times Western US states will point to China as a source for local AP while ignoring local and regional sources.

      – How millions of human beings tolerate the poisoning of their air is beyond any scope of survival (dignity) that I can imagine.
      OUT

      Reply
    • wili

       /  August 20, 2015

      Greg, do you have a link for the source of that map? I’d appreciate it. Interesting that Kunming is the only city listed that is outside of a health hazard area. My bro owns an apartment there. I wanted to send him a link to the map.

      Reply
    • Spike

       /  August 20, 2015

      See Monbiot in the Guardian on air pollution – could be a lot of cognitive decline and other adverse impacts on folk inhaling that stuff

      http://gu.com/p/4btgg?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

      Reply
  31. redskylite

     /  August 20, 2015

    Leaving school and growing up in the sixties, all I read and heard about then was increasing production, industrialization, automation and exploitation. Now in the next century sadly all I hear about are the results of this leap.

    Scientists warn of unprecedented damage to forests across the world

    Forests around the world are being affected by humans – both directly by deforestation and indirectly by climate change, say experts in a special issue of the journal Science.

    http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2015/08/scientists-warn-of-unprecedented-damage-to-forests-across-the-world/

    Reply
    • redskylite

       /  August 20, 2015

      More of the same (in regards to forests) in today’s Conversation

      Tropical forests will still exist in 2100 – but they will be a sorry sight

      By the end of the century, the world’s remaining tropical forests will be left in a fragmented, simplified, and degraded state. No patch will remain untouched – most remnants will be overrun by species that disperse well, which often means “weedy” plants like fast-growing pioneer trees and small rodents that thrive in disturbed areas. Most of the rest will be “the living dead” – tiny remnant populations of plants and animals hanging on with no future.
      http://theconversation.com/tropical-forests-will-still-exist-in-2100-but-they-will-be-a-sorry-sight-46437

      Reply
      • – I must stress enough the significance of N (nitrogen) on the atmospheric treat list. (As noted by RS in this post.) At some levels its a nutrient — at other levels it is toxic and phytotoxic. N permeates the FF emission inventory.
        – One of my first jobs after high school was in a plant nursery (Santa Barbara, CA). The first lesson I learned was how to spot nitrogen burns on foliage (usually from too much fertilizer).
        OK. Much later, and at the same time I noticed black soot and back Pm on stressed out or dead plants — I noticed a lot of burnt foliage on on untended and unfertilized plants and trees. These plants were exposed only to local atmospheric, and environmental, conditions.
        This did clue me in to N but still not as obvious as the damage being done by overall AP fallout (deposition).
        – Later scientific studies really homed in on N as a major threat to biota. Our urban trees and forests suffer.
        – A relevant “silent massacre” study on N:

        ‘Nitrogen emissions in smog threatens to ‘massacre’ world’s forests: Chinese scientists’
        PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 March

        Thick smog could kill off most southern China’s natural forests within decades and threatens trees around the world unless nations take action, say scientists.

        A 13-year study by Chinese scientists has revealed strong evidence to show the danger is being caused by nitrogen emissions in the atmosphere.

        “It is a silent massacre,” said Dr Lu Xiankai, associate researcher at Chinese Academy of Sciences’ South China Botanical Garden…

        http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/technology/article/1749736/nitrogen-emissions-smog-threatens-massacre-worlds-forests

        Reply
      • wili

         /  August 20, 2015

        iirc, a recent study of the major things out of whack in the earths basic systems, the one furthest out of kilter was the nitrogen cycle–even worse than the carbon cycle, in fact. Huge and growing dead zones by the estuaries of most major rivers is one bit (or should I say blight?) of evidence of that.

        Reply
      • Typo; “atmospheric THREAT list”

        Reply
  32. utoutback

     /  August 20, 2015

    My friend sent a book review for While the Glaciers Slept: Staying Human in the Time of Climate Change, by M Jackson about grief, anger, and action.

    http://www.dailygood.org/story/1106/staying-human-in-a-time-of-climate-change-new-author-on-science-grief-and-hope-christopher-zumski-finke/

    Seems appropriate for the discussions here.
    C Bob – I appreciate your need to disappear occasionally. I told a friend awhile back that my default state is melancholy.

    Reply
    • “default state is melancholy.” Sounds like a sound defense to me.🙂

      Reply
    • wili

       /  August 20, 2015

      I find myself wondering if someone has a moral right to be particularly giddy with delight in these times given the death spiral we seem to have thrown much of the biosphere into.

      Someone constantly happy has to be, it seems to me, either willfully ignorant or morally challenged (or just daft), though of course none of those are mutually exclusive!

      Reply
      • It’s all a balancing act of morals and psyche health, etc. with the fulcrum always changing. Engagement is key,

        Reply
  33. redskylite

     /  August 20, 2015

    Europe hit by one of the worst droughts since 2003

    The drought, which particularly affects France, Benelux, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, northern Italy and northern Spain, is caused by a combination of prolonged rain shortages and exceptionally high temperatures.

    https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/news/europe-hit-one-worst-droughts-2003

    Reply
    • redskylite

       /  August 20, 2015

      Seems good for the Wild Boars of Europe . . . . .
      Wild boar populations in Europe are getting out of control – and scientists are blaming climate change.

      There are now millions of wild boar spreading out from their preferred woodland habitat, moving into city suburbs, and even crossing national boundaries to countries that had thought they were extinct.

      In some countries, notably France and Germany, which have always had wild boar populations in their forests, they are a major cause of road accidents.

      France has an estimated two million boar, and the German state of Hesse alone has 180,000. Berlin, the German capital, is erecting boar fencing around its borders in an attempt to keep the animals out of the city.
      http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/warming-sends-wild-boar-numbers-soaring/

      Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  August 20, 2015

        That is really something about the wild boars in Europe..especially in places that haven’t seen them in centuries. We have had a huge wild boar problem here, in S. FL. now for awhile. Not sure if it is also due to GW…but it would not surprise me a bit. I know when I go hiking down here, I pay close attention to signs of wild pig…and avoid crossing paths with them…they can be very aggressive.

        Reply
  34. Carmelo

     /  August 21, 2015

    Sargasum- sounds like orgasm. When these comes in plenty and at the same time is rapture.
    Rapture is upon us people!

    Reply
  35. here’s a post I had to make recently on my local beach in the BVI – I’m sure it’s not the only case. I’ve never seen so many mixed species of dead sea lifw washed up overnight – literally thousands of dead creatures from Bull sharl, to reef fish, to lobsters and several morays and spotted eels. Horrifying. https://www.facebook.com/groups/264448090317807/881583235270953/?notif_t=like

    Reply
  1. Massive Sargassum Seaweed Bloom is Choking The Caribbean — Climate Change a Likely Culprit | GarryRogers Nature Conservation and Science Fiction (#EcoSciFi)
  2. Une prolifération massive de sargasses étouffe les Caraïbes (le changement climatique, c oupable probable) | Le Partage | Enjeux énergies et environnement
  3. Cricket Crescendo | astroplethorama

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