Human CO2 Emissions to Drive Key Ocean Bacteria Haywire, Generate Dead Zones, Wreck Nitrogen Web

Trichodesmium. It’s the bacteria that’s solely responsible for the fixation of nearly 50 percent of nitrogen in the world’s oceans. A very important role for this microscopic critter. For without nitrogen fixation — or the process by which environmental nitrogen is converted to forms usable by organisms — most of life on Earth would not exist.

Now, a new study produced by USC and the Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has found that human carbon emissions are set to drive this essential organism haywire. Forcing evolutionary changes in which the bacteria is unable to regulate its growth. Thus generating population explosions and die-offs that will be very disruptive to the fragile web of life in the world’s oceans.

Trichodesmium_bloom,_SW_Pacific

(A Trichodesmium bloom off New Caledonia. Image source: Earth Observatory.)

Trichodesmium — A Mostly Helpful Bacteria Essential to Ocean Life

Trichodesmium is a form of cyanobacteria. It resides in the near surface zone composing the top 200 meters of the water column. Possessing gas vacuoles, the bacteria is able to float and sink through the water column in order to access the nutrients it needs for growth — nitrogen, iron, and phosphorus. A widespread bacteria, it is often found in warm (20 to 34 C), nutrient-poor waters in the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, the North and South Atlantic, the Caribbean, near Australia, and in the Northeastern Pacific.

Trichodesmium congregates in blooms which are generally a straw-like color. For centuries, this coloration has generated its common name — sea straw. However, in higher concentrations it can turn waters red. The Red Sea, for example, owes its name to this prolific little bacteria. Trichodesmium blooms generate a strata that support mutualistic communities of sea creatures including bacteria, diatoms, dinoflagellates, protozoa, and copepods. These small organisms, in turn, are fed on by a variety of fish — notably herring and sardines.

But Trichodesmium’s chief role in supporting ocean health is through making nitrogen in the air and water available to living organisms. It does this by turning environmental nitrogen into ammonia as part of its cellular metabolism. This ammonia can then be used for growth by a wide variety of creatures on up the food chain. Trichodesmium is an amazing producer of this biologically available nitrogen — perhaps generating as much as 50 percent of organic nitrogen in the world’s oceans (70 to 80 million metric tons) each year.

Human Fossil Fuel Burning is Projected to Drive Trichodesmium Haywire

But now a new study by USC and WHOI shows that atmospheric CO2 concentrations projected to be reached by the end of the 21st Century in the range of 750 ppm CO2 could force Trichodesmium’s nitrogen fixation rate into overdrive and lock it there indefinitely.

Trichodesium Nitrogen Fixation before and after

(Rate of nitrogen fixation in Trichodesmium at 380 ppm CO2 [black and red], at 750 ppm CO2 [pink, yellow and light blue], and when CO2 levels are returned to 380 ppm after five years of exposure to 750 ppm levels [dark blue]. Image source: Nature.)

The study subjected Trichodesmium to atmospheric CO2 concentrations (750 ppm) projected under a somewhat moderate rate of continued fossil fuel burning scenario by 2100 for five years. After this five year period of exposure, Trichodesmium nitrogen fixation rates nearly doubled (see above graphic). But, even worse, after the Trichodesmium bacteria were returned to the more normal ocean and atmospheric conditions under 380 ppm CO2, the rate of nitrogen fixation remained elevated.

In essence, researchers found that Trichodesmium evolved to fix nitrogen more rapidly under higher ocean acidity and atmospheric CO2 states at 750 ppm levels. But when atmospheric levels returned to 380 ppm and when oceans became less acidic, Trichodesmium’s rate of nitrogen fixation remained locked in high gear. For an organism like Trichodesmium to get stuck in a broken rate of higher metabolism and growth is practically unheard of in evolutionary biology. Organisms typically evolve as a response to environmental stresses. Once those triggers are removed, organisms will typically revert to a near match of previous states. Strangely, this was not the case with Trichodesmium.

David Hutchins, professor at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and author of the new study described this alteration to Trichodesium as ‘unprecedented’ stating that:

“Losing the ability to regulate your growth rate is not a healthy thing. The last thing you want is to be stuck with these high growth rates when there aren’t enough nutrients to go around. It’s a losing strategy in the struggle to survive.”

Uncontrolled Blooms, Population Crashes, Biotoxin Production, Dead Zones

Nitrogen is a key component of cellar growth. So Trichodesmium nearly doubling its rate of nitrogen fixation means that the bacteria’s rate of production will greatly increase as atmospheric CO2 levels and ocean acidification continue to rise. Under heightened CO2, the bacteria essentially loses its ability to restrain its population.

La-Jolla-Red-Tide.780

(Large algae/bacterial blooms like this red tide off La Jolla, San Diego are causing the expansion of hypoxic and anoxic dead zones throughout the world’s oceans. A new study has found that one of the ocean’s key microbes goes into growth overdrive as atmospheric and ocean CO2 concentrations rise — which would greatly enhance an already dangerous rate of dead zone expansion in the world ocean system. Image source: Commons.)

As a result, researchers warn that Trichodesmium blooms may run out of control under heightening levels of CO2. Such out of control blooms would rapidly remove scarcer nutrients like phosphorous and iron from the water column. Once these resources are exhausted, Trichodesmium would begin to die off en-masse. As with other large scale bacterial die-offs in the ocean, the decaying dead cellular bodies of Trichodesmium would then rob the nearby waters of oxygen — greatly enhancing an already much amplified rate of anoxic dead zone formation. And we know that anoxic waters can rapidly become home to other, far more dangerous, forms of bacterial life. In addition, large concentrations of Trichodesmium are known to produce biotoxins deadly to copepods, fish, and oysters. Humans are also rarely impacted suffering from an often fatal toxicity response called clupeotoxism when the Trichodesmium produced toxins biomagnify in fish that humans eat. Sadly, more large Trichodesium blooms will enhance opportunities for clupeotoxism to appear in human beings.

Exacerbating this problem of heightened Trichodesmium blooms and potential related dead zone formation is the fact that ocean waters are expected to become more stratified as human-forced warming continues. As a result, more of the nutrients that Trichodesmium relies upon will be forced into a thinner layer near the surface — thus heightening the process of bloom, die-off, and dead zone formation.

Final impacts to ocean health come in the form of either widely available nitrogen, (during Trichodesmium bloom periods) which would tend to enhance the proliferation of other microbial life, or regions of nitrogen desertification (during Trichodesmium die-offs). It’s a kind of ocean nitrogen whip-lash that can be very harmful to the health of life in the seas. One that could easily ripple over to land life as well.

No Return to Normal

But perhaps the most shocking finding of the new research was that alterations in Trichodesmium’s rate of growth and nitrogen fixation may well be permanent after the stress of high CO2 and ocean acidification are removed. Hinting that impacts to ocean health from a rapid CO2 spike would be long-lasting and irreparable over anything but very long time-scales. Yet more evidence that the best thing to do is to avoid a major CO2 spike altogether by cutting human carbon emissions to zero as swiftly as possible.

Links:

Irreversibly Increased Nitrogen Fixation in Trichodesmium in Response to High CO2 Concentrations

Climate Change Will Irreversibly Force Key Ocean Bacteria into Overdrive

Trichodesmium

Earth Observatory

Red Tide Algae Bloom off San Diego

Awakening the Horrors of the Ancient Hothouse

Trichodesmium: A Widespread Marine Cyanobacteria with Unusual Nitrogen Fixation Properties

Nitrogen Fixation

Hat Tip to Colorado Bob

Leave a comment

64 Comments

  1. Yazmin

     /  September 2, 2015

    Is this in the blooms along the west coast of N.A?

    Reply
    • Unfortunately, we don’t have a full assessment of all the microbes involved. But we do know that Pseudo-nitzschia was the primary algae in the current record red tide in the region due to off the charts concentrations of domoic acid biotoxin. So it’s likely that Trichodesmium isn’t very widely incorporated in the current large blooms.

      Reply
  2. Thank you Robert for so aptly bringing focus to our oceans – where our climate crisis’s most significant changes are now manifesting. In the oceans, the Godzillas of our demise are ominously growing by feeding on our carbon pollution and carbon-induced heat. Seems we have no other option at this point other than profound and immediate shifts in our life-styles, technology, etc. Of course, most importantly comes the shift in consciousness – so thanks for more poignant impetus for that to happen!

    Reply
  3. climatehawk1

     /  September 2, 2015

    Tweeting.

    Reply
  4. Colorado Bob

     /  September 2, 2015

    U.S. Wildfires 2015: Are The Worst Yet To Come?

    Thus far, 2015 has been one of the worst U.S. wildland fire seasons since modern records began. More than 8.2 million acres have burned across the nation as of September 1, an area larger than Massachusetts and Rhode Island combined. Across the last ten years, that’s the largest amount of fire-scorched U.S. acreage for the January-August period, and it’s close to 50% above the decadal year-to-date average. We are well ahead of the pace set in 2007, when 9,328,045 acres burned, the highest annual total in records going back to 1960.

    Link

    Reply
  5. Colorado Bob

     /  September 2, 2015

    Ancient Cold Period Could Provide Clues About Future Climate Change

    AUSTIN, Texas — Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have found that a well-known period of abrupt climate change 12,000 years ago occurred rapidly in northern latitudes but much more gradually in equatorial regions, a discovery that could prove important for understanding and responding to future climate change.

    The research, published Sept. 2 in Nature Communications, focuses on the Younger Dryas, a cooling period that started when the North Atlantic Current, an ocean current, stopped circulating. The event caused Earth’s northern hemisphere to enter into a deep chill, with temperatures in Greenland dropping by approximately 18 degrees Fahrenheit in less than a decade.

    Link

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  September 3, 2015

      “Sea ice around Greenland acts as a ‘switch,’ causing that region to respond more quickly than the rest of the planet does by insulating the air from heat stored in the deep ocean,” said Yuko Okumura, a UTIG research associate and a co-author on the study.

      Reply
      • Yes… It’s an interesting dynamic. The models get pretty nasty when these effects start coming into play as the energy imbalances really hit new extremes. The other point is that there’s a bit less ice in Greenland now compared to the Dryas. They might want to do concordant studies on the Eemian at +10-25 feet higher SL and concordantly less ice on Greenland. That might provide a better overall situational understanding. Of course, nothing can compare to the kind of velocity of changes that we’re setting up if we keep burning FF.

        Reply
    • You’ve got to raise sea levels rather rapidly to get this kind of larger response. We’re about 1/10 th of the way there. In addition, the current context is still one of rapid ghg accumulation. So the responses are not a perfect allegory.

      Reply
  6. Yet another study that confirms this climate change thing is a one way street, and there is very little chance in undoing what damage is done. As you point out, Robert, the only option we have is to avoid raising CO2 levels in the first place. On the local morning news today they reported on Obama’s trip to Alaska, and stated that his trip to receding glaciers “highlights the need to reverse climate change”. They really don’t get it.

    Reply
    • Thankfully, we haven’t gotten to 750 ppm CO2 yet. So we can still avoid this impact if wiser heads rule. Obama did point out that some aspects of climate change are irreversible and unavoidable. This particular potential impact is still one we can put in the avoidable column. But not if we keep burning FF.

      Overall, I’d say Obama got his speeches mostly right. Some bits could have used a little more polish. But I must prefer this Alaska campaign to Shell Drilling approvals. Obama has done good work on climate change. But even he is quick to admit we need to do more. The clock’s tick ticking.

      Reply
      • Wharf Rat

         /  September 3, 2015

        ” Trichodesmium evolved to fix nitrogen more rapidly under higher ocean acidity and atmospheric CO2 states at 750 ppm levels. But when atmospheric levels returned to 380 ppm and when oceans became less acidic, Trichodesmium’s rate of nitrogen fixation remained locked in high gear.”

        Why will CO2 levels return to 380 in time for this to matter? Magic wand? A dusty Springfield rifle?

        Reply
        • It shows that the impacts of continued fossil fuel burning to life on Earth are likely to last for tens of thousands of years. It shows that some damage may be irreparable — even on geological time scales. If we don’t want to lock in, from the human context, seemingly permanent and extraordinarily adverse conditions, we need to stop fossil fuel burning as rapidly as possible. We may have locked in some harm. And it’s going be very difficult for human civilizations to deal with that harm. But it’s nothing compared to what happens under a regime of continued fossil fuel burning.

          This is an important point to consider. This point of nearly irreversible harm. I don’t take it lightly in writing about it.

    • Methane producing bacteria is absolutely a huge problem if those carbon stores come out of the cold locker. Though I’m not entirely convinced this is the single source of the massive carbon store response during the Permian, it may well be a part of the larger puzzle. Worth noting that nickle content in the world ocean is now at 0.0066 ppm or twice the available iron content…

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  September 3, 2015

        The story of the study of mass extinctions seems to be littered with ideas that can’t all be right. I guess that some of the extinction mechanisms are more nailed down than others, but whilst I know about numerous ideas for causes, I’d never heard of this one.

        Reply
  7. Andy in SD

     /  September 3, 2015

    So what wins?

    One of the winners may be Jellyfish,

    Look towards the proliferation of Jelly fish blooms out of the norm over the past 24+ months. Remember Japan last year being inundated?

    As Jelly fish are not really an organism, rather a colony they may adapt better as well as being more fault tolerant.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/21/are-jellyfish-going-to-take-over-oceans

    Reply
  8. Reblogged this on GarryRogers Nature Conservation and Science Fiction (#EcoSciFi) and commented:
    Yet another danger from CO2 emissions, one that could become irreversible.

    Reply
  9. redskylite

     /  September 3, 2015

    Having just watched a video of Syrian refugees being driven back (with tear gas and stun grenades) by Police in Macedonia, I can’t help thinking after two world wars and an industrial revolution, we could have done better (as a species). Feel sorry for the Syrians who looked so full of hope fleeing the atrocities. My own country just turned down a hopeful refugee from Kiribati, is this a harbinger or is there a light at the end of the tunnel ?

    Deutsche Welle explores the topic today . .

    http://www.dw.com/en/climate-change-could-displace-up-to-a-quarter-of-a-billion-people/a-18689811

    Reply
  10. Yes, skylight, the images on the news tonight were unbearable—this version of this song is beautifully chilling.

    My family fled a totalitarian regime in the 50s and I grew up hearing their stories–very hard stuff–yet, compared to what these souls are going thru…..??????

    Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  September 3, 2015

      Fascinating editorial decision to bring these images on to the front pages of the newspapers. Do you think it was a viral thing?

      I saw that Save the Children have been quoted in many of the associated articles. If they have managed to get this image into the spotlight, I take my hat of to them.

      My girlfriend instantly burst into tears, and I found it very, very difficult to look at.

      Reply
      • I’m glad they’re reporting on the issue of refugees. It’s a moral decision to shine the light there. Again, though, media all too often fails to connect the dots with climate change.

        Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  September 3, 2015

        Having read a bit more, it seems to have been the editor of the Independent who got the ball rolling.

        I wonder if a single photo could have such an impact on the Climate change debate, and what could that picture be?

        Reply
  11. Sort of OT. It lifted my spirits tonight…the first underwater museum in the Atlantic Ocean—off the coast of the Canary Islands. Art meets undersea conservation. I’ll post it in 2 separate comments for the links.

    h/t Scientific American…

    [….Jason deCaires Taylor’s latest ambitious project: the first underwater museum in the Atlantic Ocean. His museum will consist of dozens of cast concrete figures submerged off the coast of the Canary Islands in 12 meters of water, forming the basis for an artificial reef.

    By bringing his art out of the galleries and into the natural environs Taylor aims to create opportunities for people to interact with nature and gain an appreciation for the oceans and how climate change and human activity is affecting sea life. In addition, his underwater spectacles relieve pressure on fragile natural habitats, drawing tourists away from stressed and damaged existing reefs, allowing them time to recover, while seeding new reefs that will exist for years to come….]

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/symbiartic/buried-at-sea-but-not-dead-yet/

    Reply
    • redskylite

       /  September 3, 2015

      Thanks for sharing that SciArt article – brilliant concept from the science-artist (great job title). Canary Islands is a great setting for the statues too.

      Reply
  12. Here is the link to the artists gallery.

    http://www.underwatersculpture.com

    Reply
  13. Indeed…I wasn’t expecting to see his more mature pieces…Artists, I, not infrequently think, are our last hope for humanity. Whether thru the written word, the musical note or visual representations, they seem to be the yarn that stitches humanity together—even if briefly.

    Reply
    • Eric Thurston

       /  September 3, 2015

      Amazing sculptures. Wonderful idea. It occurs to me, however, that the increasingly acidic ocean may eat away these sculptures perhaps rather quickly since they are concrete, which is quite alkaline.

      Reply
    • – Also, artist as have an obligation to reveal hidden truths — and pains, through their art.
      If not, then they are just propagandists. Yes.

      Photo of Picasso working on Gurnica.

      Reply
      • “…Guernica is certainly the his most powerful political statement, painted as an immediate reaction to the Nazi’s devastating casual bombing practice on the Basque town of Guernica during Spanish Civil War.” [Note the term ‘casual’ bombing — mechanized terrorism thru fossil fuels. I don’t think they would have tried with hang gliders, you know — or zeppelins.]

        http://www.pablopicasso.org/guernica.jsp

        Reply
  14. Best El Niño comment ever:

    Who knew that this all plays like a family drama? We have the La Nina, who is in “a pesistant state”. We have the El Nino, who needs “to develop and fully mature.” We have the RRR, which is obviously an entrenched and trenchant mother-in-law. The Blob is obviously the couch surfing brother-in-law. I leave it up to your imaginations who the TTT might be, but I if they show up in my family I want them to know I have guns.

    h/t weather west.com

    Reply
  15. redskylite

     /  September 3, 2015

    After reading through as much climate change news as I could find today, this last item has lifted me out of gloom . Vive La Paris …

    Paris has banned all traffic from much of it’s City Center for one day in an effort to reduce carbon emissions. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said, “Paris will be completely transformed for a day. This is an opportunity for Parisians and tourists to enjoy the city without noise, pollution and therefore without stress.”

    Reply
  16. Mblanc

     /  September 3, 2015

    OT this time. This seems to be a very interesting, encouraging in some ways, scary in others!

    http://environmentalresearchweb.org/cws/article/opinion/62441?

    The time lag between a carbon dioxide emission and maximum warming increases with the size of the emission

    Kirsten Zickfeld and Tyler Herrington discuss the implications of their finding that the time lag between a carbon dioxide emission pulse and the maximum warming increases for larger pulses.

    In a recent letter, Ricke and Caldeira [1] estimated that the time lag between a carbon dioxide (CO2) emission and the maximum warming response is a decade on average. This is an important finding as it indicates that the full climate damages expected to occur in response to a CO2 emission will already be felt by the generation responsible for those emissions. Conversely, the relatively short response timescale implies that CO2 emission cuts implemented today have the potential to influence the rate of warming in the short term. Thus, their finding corroborates the notion that the rate of warming over the next decades is not inevitable, but will be determined by future CO2 emissions [2].

    The sting in the tail is that bigger emissions pulses take way, way longer to come through the climate system.

    Reply
    • Some of this involves a few assumptions. The first and most important is that global carbon sinks can draw down a good portion of the excess carbon emitted. Otherwise the time scales for maximum warming are in the range of 500 years or more. The problem with this assumption that sinks will temper maximum warming in the current day involves a good bit of sink overload, especially in the ocean. In the event of a rapid draw down of human fossil fuel emissions to zero, the ocean hits a kind of balance in the range of -10 to -20 ppm CO2 from present values. This is due to the face that when atmospheric values rapidly fall, the ocean re-emits some of its stored carbon back. The tail off in atmospheric CO2, then, ends up hitting a much slower decline after the initial 10-20 ppm drop. This would imply a 2 C warming long term under current conditions without significant feedbacks from other global carbon stores over the long term. And the assumption, given the current ghg and heat spike that such a response will not add to the long tail warming without other mitigations is probably far too optimistic.

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  September 3, 2015

        I did recognise that there model was pretty simple, but I also took heart from they are trying to address a massively important issue.

        The assumptions about the sinks are clearly crucial to the results they get, as you say. Iif researchers can build on this, we may get some truly useful numbers.

        Thanks for having a look, your perspective is always one I value.

        Reply
  17. Jeremy

     /  September 3, 2015

    Finally, some good news from the UK.
    Having recently scrapped renewable subsidies we are pleased to present –

    “Japanese carmaker Nissan has announced it will invest £100m in its UK plant to build the new Juke model.

    According to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, UK car production in the first half of the year hit a seven-year high of 793,642 cars – the equivalent of three cars every minute.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34136541

    Folks – were are so far from even taking the smallest steps towards moving in even the slightest direction towards a sustainable future.

    We are, sadly, whistling (or is it pissing) into the wind?

    Reply
    • wili

       /  September 3, 2015

      I think it’s ‘whistling past the graveyard’ and ‘pissing into the wind,’ but yeah, we are doing both.

      An _optimistic_ projection (leaving many probable feedbacks out) estimates that we have to producing _any_ more ff-burning cars, or other vehicles, plants or machines of any kind by 2018 if we are to have any chance of avoiding 2 degrees C, a limit agreed on by all essentially all nations.

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/must-stop-new-carbon-infrastructure-2018.html

      But as your link (and I’m sure one could find thousands of others) shows, there is zero indication that anyone in power anywhere is giving this limit one millisecond’s though.

      Reply
      • We’re breaking 1 C this year. On the painful march to 2 C now. Depending on feebacks and emissions, it could happen as soon as 2036 (Mann). Even if we keep a lid on emissions increases, we’ve got another 20-25 years before we hit 450 ppm CO2 and 520 ppm CO2e. That’s a bad future there. We need to start rapidly trimming emissions now.

        Reply
  18. Colorado Bob

     /  September 3, 2015

    Mblanc –
    The Science Daily article about your link, more details.

    Evidence that Earth’s first mass extinction was caused by critters not catastrophe
    A powerful analogy for what is happening today

    “There is a powerful analogy between the Earth’s first mass extinction and what is happening today,” Darroch observed. “The end-Ediacaran extinction shows that the evolution of new behaviors can fundamentally change the entire planet, and we are the most powerful ‘ecosystem engineers’ ever known.”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150902123456.htm

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  September 3, 2015

      Sorry, My mistake a completely different paper.

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  September 3, 2015

        When I was young, it was all asteroids and vulcanism. Now its all tiny bugs and critters!

        It kind of reminds me of War of the Worlds, because the all-powerful Martians are brought down by microbes and stuff.

        Maybe we are the Martians!

        Reply
  19. Suzanne

     /  September 3, 2015

    At Buzzfeed this morning this lead in got my attention:

    A Team Of Unarmed Arctic Researchers Are Trapped By Hungry Polar Bears

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/jasonwells/a-team-of-unarmed-arctic-researchers-are-trapped-by-hungry-p#.xhDOxoRG3

    The team’s predicament comes amid a renewed focus on climate change and the impact it will have on the Arctic

    Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  September 3, 2015

    Sea temperature changes linked to mystery North Pacific ecosystem shifts

    Longer, less frequent climate fluctuations may be contributing to abrupt, unexplained ecosystem shifts in the North Pacific, according to a study

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150831163723.htm

    Reply
  21. Colorado Bob

     /  September 3, 2015

    The number of hurricanes or typhoons that have reached Category 4 or 5 strength in the Northern Hemisphere this year is closing in on a record set just over a decade ago.

    Following a trio of Category 4 hurricanes at the same time during the final weekend of August, we’ve now seen 15 storms of Category 4 or 5 strength in the Northern Hemisphere so far in 2015. This is just three shy of the current Northern Hemisphere record of 18 set in 2004, according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University and blogger for wunderground.com. For perspective, an average of 12.5 Category 4 or 5 storms have been recorded during the 1990-2014 period, Klotzbach added.
    http://www.wunderground.com/news/record-most-category-4-or-5-hurricanes-typhoons

    Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  September 3, 2015

    KIEV, Ukraine – The city hall in Ukraine’s capital Kiev has scrapped classes at schools and pre-schools for Thursday and Friday amid a record-breaking heat wave and pit-bog fires.

    Residents of Kiev awoke on Thursday to see the city enveloped in gray smog from fires outside the city and the lack of precipitation to clear the air.

    Health authorities say the heat wave and fires have driven air pollution levels to dangerous levels. The city hall in Kiev called on motorists to use public transport and restricted traffic from entering the city.

    Kiev broke an all-time record for Sept. 1 when the temperatures reached 35.5 degrees Centigrade (95.9 Fahrenheit). Rainfall in August was just 4 percent of the average, according to the local weather forecasters.

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/09/03/city-hall-in-ukraine-kiev-cancels-school-amid-record-breaking-heat-wave/

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  September 4, 2015

      I note good old Fox noted record heat but failed to mention how high above average as pointed out by Robert . i.e so they have had a few hot days, big deal

      Reply
  23. Colorado Bob

     /  September 3, 2015

    Burn scars in central Alaska
    (false color)

    Aqua/MODIS
    2015/244
    09/01/2015
    22:50 UTC

    Link

    Reply
  24. Colorado Bob

     /  September 3, 2015

    Fires in southern Sumatra

    Aqua/MODIS
    2015/245
    09/02/2015
    06:50 UTC

    Link

    Reply
  25. Colorado Bob

     /  September 3, 2015

    Phytoplankton bloom in the Barents Sea

    Aqua/MODIS
    2015/243
    08/31/2015
    09:00 UTC

    Link

    Reply
  26. Eric Thurston

     /  September 3, 2015

    It actually isn’t surprising that a critter like the trichodesmium can get stuck in overdrive after being exposed to a surfeit of food. Look at what happened to humans after the agricultural revolution.

    Reply
    • LJR

       /  September 3, 2015

      The dieoffs will probably weed out the overdrive tendency – but that may take awhile.

      Reply
      • Good point. The lab would not have indicated this kind of evolutionary pressure due to the fact that it was a controlled environment.

        Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  September 4, 2015

        We don’t have 10,000 + years to wait for the hand of evolution to repair the damage

        Reply
  27. Abel Adamski

     /  September 4, 2015

    And just for some perspective
    http://ringoffireradio.com/2015/09/the-world-has-an-attitude-that-americans-are-stupid-as-dirt-watch-this-and-understand/
    The first video has much relevance to the Aussie readers

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  September 4, 2015

      The PAP attack video places the influence of the denialist campaigns into perspective, it will only be for many when the negative consequences really start biting home personally that questions will be asked

      Reply
  1. Cricket Crescendo | astroplethorama

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: