Mass Whale Death in Northeastern Pacific — Hot Blob’s Record Algae Bloom to Blame?

Something lurking in the Northeastern Pacific is killing off the graceful giants of the world’s oceans. For since May of 2015 30 large whales have been discovered dead — their bloated and decaying bodies washed up on Alaskan shores. It’s an unusual mortality event featuring a death rate of nearly 400 percent above the average. So far, scientists don’t yet have a culprit. But there is a prime suspect and it’s one that’s linked to climate change.

*  *  *  *  *  *

Bears consuming whale carcass

(Bears consume the carcass of a beached finback whale on the Alaskan coastline. Image source: NOAA.)

This month the US government declared an ‘unusual mortality event’ after it was confirmed that 30 large whales including 11 finback whales, 14 humpback whales, one gray whale and four other whales so bad off it that spotters where unable to identify the bodies by type were found dead. For large whales, whose numbers tend to be low due to size, low birth rates, and dietary requirements, that’s a very rapid mortality rate. As a comparison, all of 2014 only featured four large whale deaths in the Gulf of Alaska.

According to an official statement from NOAA:

“NOAA Fisheries scientists and partners are very concerned about the large number of whales stranding in the western Gulf of Alaska in recent months… To date, this brings the large whale strandings for this region to almost three times the historical average.”

Hot Blob’s Record Algae Bloom Suspected

Starting an official investigation of this odd large marine mammal mortality event shows that scientists are somewhat baffled about what could have caused the tragic deaths of these majestic creatures. But the scientists’ investigation is not absent a suspect. For the emergence of extraordinarily warm ocean water in a region where these whales live has been linked to a number of mass sea creature die offs.

This area — an expansive zone of 1 to 5 degree Celsius hotter than average surface waters — has been implicated in the mass death of starfish, in dolphin mortality events, in sea lion mortality and orphaning events, in sea otter deaths, in salmon deaths, and in the mass death of crabs and shellfish (see “Starving Sea Lion Pups and Liquified Starfish” and “Hot Pacific Ocean Runs Bloody“).

Hot Blob

(A combination of factors related to human-caused climate change have forced the Northeastern Pacific into a period of record warmth. First, sea ice recession in the Arctic has enabled the formation of warm ridges in the Jet Stream over this region. Second, ocean waters are globally hotter than they’ve been in at least 135 years. Third, a switch to positive PDO and El Nino in the Pacific has unlocked an unprecedented degree of ocean heat forced into Pacific waters by record strong trade winds throughout the 2000s. As a result, the typical positive PDO signal is amplified. In other words, as Dr. Kevin Trenberth has warned time and again, deep ocean warming is coming back to haunt us. Image source: NOAA/ESRL.)

Abnormally warm waters fertilized by the particulate fallout from fossil fuel based industry and climate change driven wildfires can create a host of problems for sea life. First, the warmer waters contain lower levels of oxygen — which reduces the range in which fish and crustaceans can live. Hotter, lower oxygen and zero oxygen waters also create zones and regions in which toxic microbial life thrive. We’ve talked a lot about the deadly hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria. But the expansive algae blooms of a warming, nutrient enriched ocean surface can produce a host of other toxins. Microcystins, Nodularins, Anatoxin-a, Cylindrospermopsins, Lyngbyatoxin-a, Saxitoxin, Lipopolysaccharides, Aplysiatoxins, BMAA, Hydrogen Sulfide Gas and Domoic Acid are just some of the toxins produced by algae and bacteria that thrive in warming waters, in low oxygen waters, or in waters that have been subject to high nutrient loading from increasing run-off and the fallout of nitrogen and particulates due to fossil fuel burning.

In particular, this year’s record red tide has resulted in an extreme outbreak of the kind of algae that produce the deadly neurotoxin — domoic acid.  And it’s this domoic acid poisoning that many are pointing to as a possible cause of excessive whale deaths.

Whale stranding locations

(Whale stranding locations along an abnormally warm Gulf of Alaska. Strandings may be associated to a global warming-tied blob of hot water in the Northeastern Pacific together with a related red tide algae bloom impacting the region. Image source: NOAA.)

The massive algae bloom impacting regions of the Northeast Pacific threatens whales in a number of ways. First, the whales swim in the algae-filled waters. So the toxin is a part of their environment. It thus becomes unavoidable. The toxin concentrates in the bodies of the tiny sea creatures upon which the whales feed — planktonic life forms that, in their turn, feed on the toxin-laden algae. As domoic acid moves up the food chain, it bio-magnifies — becoming more concentrated. And since whales must consume prodigious volumes of small sea life to survive, the opportunity for biomagnification of toxins in whales is great.

Biomagnification of domoic acid is also a threat to human beings. And it is for this reason that the US Fisheries Services have curtailed the consumption of West Coast shellfish, which can contain high concentrations of domoic acid from 2015’s record red tide.

Conditions in Context — Deadly Waters

Mass whale deaths and strandings along the Alaskan coastline have, over recent weeks, garnered a great deal of attention from the public. However, these strandings and deaths do not occur in isolation. The tragic and freakish mortality events are happening in a region of abnormally hot water. A region of hot water that scientists have linked to human-forced climate change. An area in which numerous other mass sea creature deaths have occurred.

The region features low oxygen waters. Waters infected by deadly microbes that have liquified starfish, crabs, and sea cucumbers. And waters that now feature the largest red tide — a massive bloom of toxic algae — on record. It should be very clear from all these related events occurring within the same region of abnormally hot water that a warming ocean is an increasingly deadly ocean. And if we are to have any hope of halting these events, we should look to cessation of fossil fuel burning and related human forced warming of the Earth System as rapidly as possible.

Links:

NOAA: Alaska Fisheries

NOAA/ESRL

Scientists Baffled by Mass Whale Death

Whales are Mysteriously Dying in Northeastern Pacific

Starving Sea Lion Pups and Liquified Starfish

Hot Pacific Ocean Runs Bloody

Hat Tip to Colorado Bob

Hat Tip to Andy in San Diego

(Please support public, non-special interest based, science like the fantastic efforts conducted by the fisheries and ocean researchers at NOAA.)

 

 

Leave a comment

67 Comments

  1. climatehawk1

     /  August 25, 2015

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  2. On an evolutionary scale the ancestors of the whales (a close relative of today’s cattle on the evolutionary genetic tree) “are to blame” for going back into the water, so many millions of years after their (and our!) lungfish ancestors crawled ashore.

    On an even longer evolutionary timescale, the mechanisms of molecular biology that impel organisms to seek and exploit energy to convert matter into their own biomass “is to blame” for continuing to compel human growth even after our acquisition of intelligence and adaptability that has enabled us to defeat those limits to growth that would have kept us from disrupting the bounds of existential safety.

    Sent from my iPad

    Reply
  3. Dan B

     /  August 25, 2015

    Here’s a photo of the Cascade Range from the air. … The view is looking north towards the border with Canada. The most distant peaks are nearly 100 air miles away.

    The article proposes that we are entering World War CC. Interesting.

    http://www.thestranger.com/blogs/slog/2015/08/25/22754659/soldiers-are-fighting-climate-change-in-central-washington

    Reply
    • Thanks for this Dan B. I do have a disagreement with the author propagating the idea that we’re entering a “war against climate change.” The climate is not the enemy. Our earth is not the enemy.

      Fossil fuels are the enemy and those who willfully, knowing their consequences, (recall we recently learned that Exxon knew in 1981 FF impacts on GHG and warming) relentlessly stonewall any efforts at meaningful transition to renewables. These people and their paid off legislators, their faux think tanks, the unscrupulous scientists who accept their money to propagate lies. These the same people threaten our ethical scientists lives, if not their careers, for speaking the truth………They are the enemy.

      End of rant.

      Reply
      • You’re right Maria. If you’re going to do anything constructive about climate change, you’ve got to deal with fossil fuels. And doing that means stopping their use as quickly as possible.

        Reply
      • Yes, Robert and I’m so glad you include this in every one of your posts—-the messaging, as you well know, is key. We need to look no further than our “war on drugs, war on poverty” campaigns to see their NONsuccess.

        Healing the Earth just doesn’t seem to have the same resonance in our war-inclined society but I think that journalists/bloggers have the opportunity to change this? You’re doing it in spades.

        Reply
      • She is not the enemy. Ouch. That term struck a nerve.

        Reply
  4. Dan

     /  August 25, 2015

    Tragic for innumerable reasons, not least of which is how crucial whales are in maintaining greater ocean (and climate) health via “trophic cascade”:

    Reply
  5. Barack Obama singles out Koch brothers over fossil fuel lobbying

    Barack Obama has railed against US political and business figures who oppose the expansion of wind and solar power in a speech where he singled out the influential Koch brothers for criticism.

    Obama praised the solar panel industry, where he said prices for panels had fallen by 10% in the US since 2008 while installations had risen 30%, while “every three minutes another business in America goes solar” and thousands of jobs were being created.

    Accusing opponents of his energy policies of “wanting to protect an outdated status quo” based on fossil fuels, he warned them away from “standing in the way of the future” and his efforts to combat climate change.

    “I’m getting resistance from some fossil fuel interests who want to protect the outdated status quo. When you start seeing massive lobbying efforts backed by fossil fuel interests or conservative thinktanks or the Koch brothers, pushing for new laws to roll back renewable energy standards or prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding, that’s a problem,” he said.

    “That’s not the American way, that’s not progress, that’s not innovation. That’s trying to protect the old ways of doing business and standing in the way of the future,” Obama continued.

    Link: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/aug/25/barack-obama-warns-fossil-fuelled-opponents-he-has-clean-energy-to-spare

    Reply
  6. – Just in from The Intercept:

    Attorney Hounding Climate Scientists Covertly Funded By Coal Industry

    Christopher Horner, an attorney who claims that the earth is cooling, is known within the scientific community for hounding climate change researchers with relentless investigations and public ridicule, often deriding scientists as “communists” and frauds.

    Horner is a regular guest on Fox News and CNN, and has been affiliated with a number of think tanks and legal organizations over the last decade. He has called for investigations of climate scientists affiliated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and NASA, and inundated climate researchers at major universities across the country with records requests that critics say are designed to distract them from their work.

    New court documents reveal one source of Horner’s funding: big coal.

    Last Thursday’s bankruptcy filing of Alpha Natural Resources, one of the largest coal companies in America, includes line items for all of the corporation’s contractors and grant recipients. Among them are Horner individually at his home address, as well as the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic, where he is a senior staff attorney.

    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/08/25/chris-horner-coal/

    Reply
  7. Greg

     /  August 25, 2015

    I was in these Pacific waters, just north of here, coming out of Seward, two weeks ago and the abundance of the waters was readily apparent. Seeing Fins and humpbacks feeding near Orcas with so much to eat it appeared threat/competition was suspended. It was sunny/rain free for days on end, however, and knowing the algae and especially warm waters were just south of here was unsettling. The beauty of this area is breathtaking and knowing what lurks below is disturbing.

    Reply
    • In the summer of 1976 I went on a six week sea kayak trip run by National Outdoor Leadership School in the Prince William Sound. The weather was what you would call typical for the area at the time: day after day of wet, either downright rainy or drizzle, and cool temps. Out of 6 weeks there were only six days it didn’t rain. Near the end of our journey was spent in Glacier Sound camped out on the smooth rock pebbled shoreline about 3 miles from the terminus of Columbia Glacier.

      It is a spectacular locale encased by lush and misty forested mountains; and on our second night, a relatively un-wet although lightly misty/drizzly one, I stayed up all night (twilight really) to soak it all in. The inlet was filled with ice chunks of all sizes floating by my smoldering fireside perch on the shore. They snapped, crackled, and popped as they rolled and clinked about against one another and along the pebbled shore. As large chunks of ice calved off — sometimes for minutes at a time — the ice blue Columbia glacier, the rumbling reverberated like thunder and distant explosions or fireworks, pushing 2 to 3 foot swells of water that would wash along the shore, stranding bits and pieces of ice blocks.

      I heard too an occasional otter or seal bark, and watched a few through my binoculars float by on the cascade of icy flotsam. Later on in the gray morning I saw some swimming back up the bay of icy obstacles after having sailed outbound on the tide through the night. And in the approaching dawn light a bald eagle silently soared above it all, while in the nearby Prince William Sound healthy whales frolicked.

      13 years later the Exxon Valdez disaster struck this area. And now the climatic calamity of our fossil fueled addiction is ravaging the Alaskan (and entire arctic and Pacific) wild with further woe and destruction. Tragically…

      “[T]here is no otherness to the insanity that threatens us now. The insanity is what we call normal, and it is all our own.” — Verlyn Klinkenborg, NYTimes 4.11.07

      Reply
  8. Griffin

     /  August 25, 2015

    Currently 50F in Barrow, Alaska with a severe weather alert for, of all things, a High Surf Advisory.
    http://seaice.alaska.edu/gi/observatories/barrow_webcam

    Reply
  9. Apneaman

     /  August 25, 2015

    Here’s what happens when you try to replicate climate contrarian papers

    A new paper finds common errors among the 3% of climate papers that reject the global warming consensus

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2015/aug/25/heres-what-happens-when-you-try-to-replicate-climate-contrarian-papers

    Reply
  10. wili

     /  August 25, 2015

    From the generally insightful Lord M Vader at neven’s forums on recent forecasts for the Arctic:

    “Something that REALLY should scare the heck of most people here is the latest ECMWF 12z run!!

    IF, and there should be a BIG IF considering that it’s far out in the forecast period!

    Look at the movements of the foreseen three tropical cyclones steering west by RRR!! One doesn’t need a wide imagination to have a fantasy idea that they sometimes in September should have a good chance to be steered north into Arctic dragging very warm and moist air into the loose ice pack…

    Will be very interesting so see upcoming runs!!”

    Reply
  11. redskylite

     /  August 26, 2015

    This news really made my spidee senses tingle this morning, are we changing the clouds in the Southern regions of the U.S of A ?????

    http://www.weather.com/science/environment/news/climate-change-noctilucent-clouds-theory

    Reply
    • danabanana

       /  August 26, 2015

      NLC’s are a direct result of increased CH4 on the atmosphere. Hydroxyl radical converts C+H+H+H+H into H+H+O with the help of UV hence NLC’s only happen after sunlight returns to the Arctic. They are imo the atmospheric canary in the coal mine.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroxyl_radical

      Reply
    • Sunkensheep

       /  August 26, 2015

      Noctilucent cloud are one of those high latitude gems. Occasionally get to see them in far Southern Australia, and saw a good one in Tasmania, a little after sunset, back in January.

      Reply
    • – Good catch, red. I have series of some cloud shots from ground level PDX of really weird clouds that I need to annotate. The clouds formed back in mid June just before the latest very hot and dry weather cycle settled in the PNW. I will post at dtlange2 then link to here. The clouds are quite astounding. There are similarities to the clouds in your link.
      – Later

      Reply
      • danabanana

         /  August 27, 2015

        dtlange, I was lucky enough to witness them in 2010 in the skies above Nottinghamshire, England. They are quite exclusive and, if you are familiar with clouds, cannot be confused by cirrus or anything else for that matter. They are mesmerising to watch them shine against a dark sky as they move and ripple away. Spaceweather.com has a photo gallery where people upload really good NLC pictures every year.

        Reply
  12. redskylite

     /  August 26, 2015

    Vive La Total

    I know oil companies are subject to heavy criticism (and quite rightly so), but I do have some respect for Total, who are partners with Masdar in the U.A.E and are at least investing in solar energy as a partner. Today splendid news .. no more connections to coal.

    http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2423356/total-brings-down-the-curtain-on-coal-operations

    Reply
  13. Not about whales, and I confess that I only read the abstract of these two papers (the paywall is a bit high for me right now), but even the abstracts are interesting. Our state climatology institute, INPE, did a detailed description of the current drought in Southeastern Brasil, finding that it is the worst in record and started in the 1999/2000 rainy season:
    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00704-015-1540-9

    Reply
    • A 16 year long drought? This has cover up written all over it.

      Reply
      • Cover up in the sense that (almost) no one mentioned the drough until the reservoirs where near collapse, or in the sense that it seems an exageration?

        If the latter, besides trusting INPE scientists, the drought did have a few scattered, rare and low profile reports before. In 2008 I started seeing mentions of it in low profile environmental online newspapers (O Eco and Ecodebate). In 2010 the drought had a bit of mass-media publicity (in Brasil) because we had almost three full months of no-rain, from mid-June to mid-September. Even then, the effects on air pollution and crop damage were emphatized over impact on the water reservoirs and as soon as spring rains came, the drought went in the ignored list again.

        Measures that could have prevented worsening of the drought (as far as it can be prevented locally) weren’t considered until the water crisis became to big to be ignored.

        If the first, well, wheter or not politicians in charge were even advised about it I don’t known, and actually, I’d believe that they simply ignored the few reports they had (the old saying that one shouldn’t attribute to malice what could have been born of ignorance comes to mind). No one who was talking about the drought was someone who mattered to said politicians (they were busy running form presidency and doing other politician things), just a few scientists and/or environmentalists. Environment was not in vogue at the time (isn’t now either, but then things were worst), and it was all “foreign-sponsored-hippie-talk”, wasn’t it?

        I don’t think it was a cover up as much as it was simply not-caring until things couldn’t be ignored anymore. There’s no strong green party here in Brasil (there is a Green Party, it doesn’t matter politically). There is a strong two party rivalry, which may seem natural to those in the USA, but was crafted recently here (hey, when I was a child, Brasil was a dictatorship, and only one of the two main parties existed). One of the parties (PT) used to have a strong environmental stance in the far past, but sold those ideologies long ago. The other (PSDB) not only tries to oppose PT’s views because they’re PT (even when PT doesn’t sponsor them anymore), but also has too deep finantial roots in agribusiness (and the rural bancada is against any environmental stance by principle, even when it makes no sense at all). Most politicians around here don’t have an environmental politics advisor, nor care. Both the environmental minister in the Federal level, and the environmental secretary in São Paulo state aren’t technicians or environmentalists that may have a clue about what’s going on: those posts went to career politicians.

        Environment here in Brasil is treated like a side issue. I’ve lost count of the sneers and tasteless jokes I’ve listened for working in an environmental crimes oriented branch of our police, and when things go to politics, those trying to defend environmental causes get a even worst treatment. Environment is considered as something safely ignored around here. Until it isn’t.

        Reply
    • Bill H

       /  August 27, 2015

      Umbrios, Thank you for your reports about this crisis, a crisis that the rest of the world is, disgracefully, ignoring.

      Reply
  14. Andy in SD

     /  August 26, 2015

    Here is a bit of good news

    Statewide records for solar generation shattered
    Figures don’t include power produced on residential rooftops

    http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2015/aug/24/ticker-statewide-record-solar-generation-shattered/

    Reply
  15. The second paper INPE has published tempts me to buy it: it’s a detailed study of the reasons behind the drought. The abstract hints that higher than normal ocean temperatures are to blame, and consistent higher temperatures in the South Atlantic Ocean diminish precipitation in the southeastern Brasil (while driving atmosferic rivers to Paraguay, Argentina and Rio Grande do Sul, all of which had more than their share of floods recently):
    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00382-015-2800-1

    If I’ve understood the abstract right, this paper implies that climate change (via hotter South Atlantic) had a greater impact in creating the drought than diminishing moisture in the sky rivers, though both reasons acted concomitantly.

    We had our first rains of August yesterday, with celebration for it in the radio. This year actually feels lucky to me: there was rain in most of July, and the rains have returned while it’s still August. This dry season had a bit more rain than usual, and though the reservoirs are almost done, and in worst shape than an year ago, there has been no total collapse yet (with the first rains of spring coming so soon, I believe that we’ll have another year of “respite”).

    Freshwater life is being hit badly (I really do hope that this year’s Piracema period of no-fishing is extended. Fish populations are plummeting, since the water that should be left for the environment is being diverted to domestic use), our grid is getting dirtier by the day (less water = more termoeletrics around here), and “non-official rationing” continues, but everybody is trying to ignore the elephant in the room.

    Reply
    • rustj2015

       /  August 26, 2015

      Thank you for these informative summaries of what you are experiencing.

      Reply
  16. Yes it is over. I want to thank all you for your work. Mr. Scrib, you are my favorite accept for CB.

    Reply
  17. redskylite

     /  August 26, 2015

    When discussing the advantages of electric vehicles some people point out that they will be powered by fossil fueled electricity generation. Apart from a U.S government report I have seen which concludes they still emit fewer carbon emissions (even if the electricity comes from fossils), look at this announcement . . .

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2015/08/100-percent-renewable-energy-charged-ev-stations-allow-driving-on-sunshine.html

    Reply
    • redskylite

       /  August 26, 2015

      According to the US Department of energy electric vehicles emit 54 lb (24.5 kg) per 100 miles (161 km), as opposed to a combustion engine’s 87 lb (140 kg), assuming the electricity is generated from a fossil fuel sourced power station. So clearly the EV is causing less emissions. (1). In many places renewable energy sourced EV charging stations are becoming available, which means the EV emissions are reduced to zero. (2) In country’s with a strong commitment to replacing conventional energy sources with renewable resource there is also encouragement and facilities to charge an EV from 100% renewable sources (3). Electric vehicles have the potential to reduce carbon emissions if not completely stop them for transportation needs.

      (1) http://www.afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/electric_emissions.php

      Reply
  18. redskylite

     /  August 26, 2015

    When I read about some of the large scale responses Earth is putting out to our GHG supercharged atmosphere, it is scary. But I see no reason to lose optimism, there are a lot of positive things happening too. News reacts quickly to the big events, but it is the accumulation of very gradual and unnoticed changes that are the most scary of them all.

    Hawaii putting out good news to cheer me up.
    It seem their governor gets it . . .

    “It’s time to focus all our efforts on renewables”
    -Hawaii Governor David Ige.

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/hawaii-turns-its-back-on-lng-as-it-pursues-100-renewable-energy-57421

    Reply
  19. Griffin

     /  August 26, 2015

    Robert, this post, about the whale deaths. The researchers can clamor about the need for more research, and it is certainly important to find the culprit, but these deaths are both not surprising and terribly sad. So many posts that you have made in telling this tragic story. We are losing so much, so fast.

    Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  August 26, 2015

    Cuba Suffers Through The Worst Drought Of ‘The Last Century’
    More than 1 million residents in the Caribbean country are now relying on trucked-in water to survive.

    “California gets all the attention but in the Caribbean the situation is worse because large-scale water transport is not possible at all,” Toby Ault, a professor in Cornell University’s earth and atmospheric sciences department, told Bloomberg in July.

    In Puerto Rico, more than 1.5 million people have been affected by drought while in some areas of the Dominican Republic, people have reportedly gone weeks without “any liquid in the pipes.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/cuba-drought_55dd3e28e4b08cd3359ddfef

    Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  August 26, 2015

      Many people in the Caribbean and S. Florida are looking forward with some trepidation to Erika now heading our way….Just hoping it doesn’t get too strong with the winds, but gives us “all” the much needed rain we have not gotten during this “rainy season that isn’t”….Okay..going to go back to my hurricane prep list of things to do to get ready…

      Reply
  21. rustj2015

     /  August 26, 2015

    Deep end of the pool for me, but for those experienced:
    Focus: ENSO under change
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/focus/enso-under-change/index.html

    Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  August 26, 2015

    Global insecurity and refugee crisis linked to climate change: expert

    TORONTO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Climate change is “adding fuel to the fire” of worsening political instability and unrest around the world, an expert told a security forum.

    “We are experiencing a surprising uptick in global insecurity… partially due to our inability to manage climate stress,” Columbia University professor Marc Levy, who conducts studies for U.S. government agencies, said on Tuesday at the Global Security Initiative, a research body in Arizona.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/26/us-climatechange-security-aid-idUSKCN0QV0ER20150826

    Reply
  23. Greg

     /  August 26, 2015

    These days the prey pray for rain from the drought and behold a torrent. North Korea suffers a flood following its drought. Typhoon Goni leftovers.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/floods-hit-north-korea-killing-dozens-and-stranding-thousands_55ddb8d5e4b04ae4970514ea?kvcommref=mostpopular

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  August 26, 2015

      North Korean state media said there had been 40 “casualties” and “massive” damage after 250 mm (9.5 inches) of rain fell over the weekend. About 155mm (6 inches) fell in just three hours on Saturday, it said.

      Reply
  24. Greg

     /  August 26, 2015

    Further evidence that carbon credits are rife with failure. Russia and Ukraine got away with hot air. Carbon fees with dividends are very likely the best financial solution going forward to rapidly reduce emissions.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34042115

    Reply
    • PlazaRed

       /  August 26, 2015

      Here’s a line from the above comment link:-
      “For thousands of years, sea level has remained relatively stable and human communities have settled along the planet’s coastlines. But now Earth’s seas are rising. Globally, sea level has risen about eight inches since the beginning of the 20th century and more than two inches in the last 20 years alone.”

      For about 200 year maybe a bit more structures have become very permanent things. This means that unlike our forefathers we cant just move around.
      Temporary structures, tents and shelters were not a problem to rebuild or build somewhere else. Now there is very little somewhere else and a lot of people who will be wanting to move soon.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  August 26, 2015

        Good points. And we have very limited options as far a _energy_ to move or rebuild all those structures.

        Reply
  25. Greg

     /  August 26, 2015

    Apologies if already posted but NOAA update for El Nino from the 24th. Region 3.4 is still growing at 2.1…
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

    Reply
    • It’s absolutely still heating up. Today’s SSTA maps are just looking nuts. 2.2 to 2.3 in Nino 3.4 if my grid analysis is correct.

      It’s August and we’re already hitting these levels. We have 6-10 weeks til traditional peak.

      Reply
  26. Greg

     /  August 26, 2015

    The Cascades enveloped in smoke from fires developed from the same RRR/Pacific warming waters induced drought/heat that is poisoning the waters off of Alaska. From a plane out of Sea-Tac yesterday:

    Reply
  27. June

     /  August 26, 2015

    The sea surface temperature anomalies from Climate Reanalyzer are just astonishing…not to mention scary. I wish that local TV stations would show this graphic on their broadcasts every night. Maybe it might shock at least some people out of their stupor.
    Nah.

    http://cci-reanalyzer.org/DailySummary/#
    (If this link doesn’t take you there, go to Today’s Weather Maps, then go to Sea Surface T Anomaly)

    Reply
  28. PlazaRed

     /  August 26, 2015

    Warming waters will be the death of many species in the coming years, I think that the whales dying could be either a direct problem with them in their immediate environment which is becoming hostile, or their food supply is either becoming more difficult to find, or possibly poisoned.
    This is not something which has not already been put forward but there will be investigations going on about it as its in Alaska. Some countries would probably not see it as a big issue but the USA will take some sort of note of these deaths.

    Meanwhile I see that Gas or Petrol is on its way down to $2 a gallon, so plenty of reason for people to rush out use a lot more of it!
    In the UK its about $8 a gallon, maybe a bit less.
    In Spain we pay about $6 a gallon.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/2-gas-its-already-happening-in-12-states-2015-08-24

    Reply
  29. Hello, Robert.

    Thank you for all of the work that you do!

    While I do not know what affect the algae could have on marine life, I think that it is also a tragic coincidence that the US Navy conducted exercises in the Gulf of Alaska late this summer.

    http://www.kcet.org/shows/democracy_now/videos/us-navy-war-games-in-gulf-of-alaska-threaten-one-of-worlds-most-pristine-areas.html

    Reply
  1. Mass Whale Death in Northeastern Pacific — Hot Blob’s Record Algae Bloom to Blame? | GarryRogers Nature Conservation and Science Fiction (#EcoSciFi)
  2. Mass Whale Death in Northeastern Pacific — Hot Blob’s Record Algae Bloom to Blame? | Artic Vortex
  3. Is Human Warming Prodding A Sleeping Methane Monster off Oregon’s Coast? | robertscribbler

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: