Is Human Warming Prodding A Sleeping Methane Monster off Oregon’s Coast?

We’ve talked quite a bit about the Arctic Methane Monster — the potential that a rapidly warming Arctic will force the release of disproportionately large volumes of methane from organic material locked in permafrost and in frozen sea bed hydrates composing volumes of this powerful greenhouse gas large enough to significantly increase the pace of human-forced global warming. But if we consider the globe as a whole, the Arctic isn’t the only place where large methane stores lurk — laying in wait for the heat we’ve already added to the world’s oceans and atmosphere to trigger their release. And a new study out of the University of Washington provides yet another indication that the continental shelf off Oregon and Washington may be one of many emerging methane release hot spots.

For all around the world, and beneath the broad, blue expanse of the world’s seas, rest billions and billions of tons of frozen methane hydrate.

A kind of methane and ice combination, frozen hydrate is one of the world’s most effective natural methods of trapping and sequestering carbon. Over long ages, organic material at the bottom of the oceans decompose into hydrocarbons, often breaking down into methane gas. At high pressure and low temperature, this methane gas can be locked away in a frozen water-ice hydrate lattice, which is then often buried beneath the sea bed where it can safely remain for thousands or even millions of years.

Plume2_nolabels_cropped

(Plume of methane bubbles rising from the sea floor off the Oregon Coast. This image shows methane bubbles originating from the sea bed about 515 meters below the surface before dissolving into the water column at about 180 meters depth. Image source: American Geophysical Union.)

Most of these deposits lay well beneath the sea bed or at extreme ocean depths of one mile or greater. And so far, human forced warming hasn’t been great enough to risk the destabilization of most of these deep ocean carbon stores. But some hydrate deposits rest in the shallower waters of continental slope systems and at depths where current warming may now be causing them to destabilize.

Scientists Think Methane Hydrates May be Destabilizing off Oregon

Enter a new study by University of Washington scientists which found “an unusually high number of bubble plumes at the depth where methane hydrate would decompose if seawater has warmed.” The scientists concluded that these bubble plumes were likely evidence of methane hydrate destabilization due to a human forced warming of the water column in the range of about 500 meters of depth.

The warm waters, ironically, come from a region off Siberia where the deep waters have, over recent decades, been heated to unprecedented temperatures. These waters have, in turn, through ocean current exchange, circulated to the off-shore region of Washington and Oregon where they appear to have gone to work destabilizing methane hydrate in the continental slope zone. A paper published during 2014 hypothesized that these warm waters would have an impact on hydrates. And the new paper is the first potential confirmation of these earlier predictions.

In total about 168 methane plumes are now observed to be bubbling out of the sea bed off the Washington and Oregon coasts. Of these, 14 are located in the 500 meter depth range where ocean warming has pushed temperatures to levels at which hydrate could begin to destabilize. University of Washington researchers noted that the number of plumes at this depth range was disproportionately high, which also served as an indirect indicator that human heating may be causing this methane to release.

PlumesMap

(Locations of methane plumes in the continental slope zone off Washington and Oregon. The location of a disproportionate number of these plumes in a zone now featuring a warming water column is an indication that the human-forced heating of ocean currents is starting to drive some methane hydrate structures to destabilize. Image source: AGU.)

Lead author H. Paul Johnson, a University of Washington professor of oceanography noted in AGU:

“So it is not likely to be just emitted from the sediments; this appears to be coming from the decomposition of methane that has been frozen for thousands of years… What we’re seeing is possible confirmation of what we predicted from the water temperatures: Methane hydrate appears to be decomposing and releasing a lot of gas. If you look systematically, the location on the margin where you’re getting the largest number of methane plumes per square meter, it is right at that critical depth of 500 meters.””

Implications For Ocean Health, Carbon Cycle

Most methane released at this depth never reaches the atmosphere. Instead, it either oxidizes to CO2 in the water column or is converted by ocean bacteria. That said, expanding zones of methane release can rob the surrounding ocean of vital oxygen even as it can saturate the water column with carbon — increasing ocean acidification and reducing the local ocean’s ability to draw carbon out of the atmosphere. Such a response can indirectly increase the volume of heat trapping gasses in the atmosphere by reducing the overall rate of ocean carbon uptake. In more extreme cases, methane bubbles reach the surface where they then vent directly into the atmosphere, proportionately adding to the human-produced greenhouse gasses that have already put the world into a regime of rapid warming.

It has been hypothesized that large methane releases from ocean hydrate stores contributed to past hothouse warming events and related mass extinctions like the Permian and the PETM (See A Deadly Climb From Glaciation to Hothouse). But the more immediate consequences of smaller scale releases are related to declining ocean health.

According to AGU and Dr. Johnson, the study author:

Marine microbes convert the methane into carbon dioxide, producing lower-oxygen, more-acidic conditions in the deeper offshore water, which eventually wells up along the coast and surges into coastal waterways. “Current environmental changes in Washington and Oregon are already impacting local biology and fisheries, and these changes would be amplified by the further release of methane,” Johnson said.

Instances of mass sea life die-off have already occurred at a very high frequency off the Washington and Oregon Coasts. And many of these instances have been associated with a combination of low oxygen content in the near and off shore waters, increasing ocean acidification, increasing dangerous algae blooms, and an overall warming ocean system. It’s important to note that ocean acidification, though often cited in the media, is just one of many threats to ocean life and health. In many cases, low oxygen dead zones and large microbial blooms can be even more deadly. And in the most extreme low oxygen regions, the water column can start to fill up with deadly hydrogen sulfide gas — a toxic substance that, at high enough concentrations, kills off pretty much all oxygen-based life (See Hydrogen Sulfide in the World’s Warming Oceans).

During recent years, mass sea life deaths have been linked to a ‘hot blob’ forming in nearby waters (See Mass Whale Death in Northeast Pacific — Hot Blob’s Record Algae Bloom to Blame?). However, indicators of low oxygen in the waters near Washington and Oregon have been growing in frequency since the early 2000s. Though the paper does not state this explicitly — increasing rates of methane release in the off-shore waters due to hydrate destabilization may already be contributing to declining ocean health in the region.

Slope Collapse, Conditions in Context

A final risk associated with methane hydrate destabilization in the continental slope zone is an increased prevalence of potential slope collapse. As methane hydrate releases, it can deform the sea bed structures within slope systems. Such systems become less stable, increasing the potential for large underwater landslides. Not only could these large landslides displace significant volumes of water or even set off tsunamis, slope collapse events also risk uncovering and exposing more hydrate systems to the warming ocean in a kind of amplifying feedback.

In context, the total volume of methane being released into the off-shore environment is currently estimated to be about 0.1 million metric tons each year. That’s about the same rate of hydrocarbon release seen from the Deepwater Horizon blowout. A locally large release but still rather small in size compared to the whopping 10+ billion tons of carbon being dumped into the atmosphere each year through human fossil fuel burning. However, this release is widespread, uncontrolled, un-cappable and, if scientists are correct in their indications of a human warming influence, likely to continue to increase as the oceans warm further.

Links:

Bubble Plumes off Washington and Oregon Suggest Warmer Ocean May be Releasing Frozen Methane

Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems

Warming Oceans May be Spewing Methane off US West Coast

Concern Over Catastrophic Methane Release

Hydrogen Sulfide in the World’s Warming Oceans

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

A Deadly Climb From Glaciation to Hothouse

Hat tip to Humortra

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233 Comments

  1. Great article Robert. Small typo – “disappointing” in the bubble plume caption.

    Reply
  2. Fix in. Thx for the extra eyes.

    Reply
  3. Griffin

     /  October 17, 2015

    Robert, I can’t help but think back to that purple surf. Although some dismissed it as being salps, these methane plumes do tie in to the “alternative theory” by contributing to anoxic conditions, no?

    Reply
    • Absolutely. This region was one of a few hot spots for early hydrogen sulfide production including the Baltic, off NE Africa, and the Chesapeake Bay. In two of these places methane seeps play a role. Of course, there’s also the Arctic.

      Reply
    • Dave Person

       /  October 17, 2015

      Hi Griffin,
      Except scientists went to the coast, took water samples, and found pink and purple colored juvenile salps. They did not report finding any sulfur eating bacteria, which would likely have been obvious in the samples. The “alternative theory” is not a theory, it is an hypothesis that currently is unsupported by data.

      dave

      Reply
      • Griffin

         /  October 17, 2015

        You are correct Dave. It is not a theory but a hypothesis. I will continue to maintain an open mind in regards to the situation in the PNW. Please allow me to explain why. From the very limited coverage that I can find through an internet search, it seems that many beachgoers reported seeing a purple tint on the beach, and in the waves and sea surface. The sightings spanned across many beaches in the region. It was then some time before the ODFW took samples from one beach (Clastop) and then reported that they had determined the tint to be caused by juvenile salps.
        I have no doubt that the team found salps in the samples that they took. It is the very limited range of the samples taken, as well as the time span involved, that leads me to keep an open mind. Put it this way, imagine you live in an area where moose are rare but elk are common, and many folks report seeing ungulates in the local fields that had a striking appearance. Many days later, biologists study tracks in one field and determine that in fact the sightings were of a large herd of young elk. Extrapolating that data to determine that in fact no moose were anywhere in the area a week before is a bit of a stretch in my mind. So I remain open to further thinking on the subject.
        Back when Robert posted on the event, his intention was not to blame hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria, but to ask the question of if it could be. if we were to look for a region that may have the capacity to produce such an event in limited quantity, the PNW is not a bad place to look. The well documented problems with low oxygen content and low ph levels have been discussed for some time. Now, we have documented large seeps of methane coming from the sea floor in the same area. I think that is more than enough to not necessarily dismiss purple waves as always being caused by salps. While a Canfield Ocean state is extremely unlikely, the ramifications that even a limited outbreak of hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria would have on the local fishing industry is potentially damaging. I think that this should warrant further study on a larger scale than is being conducted (or funded) today.

        Reply
        • The answer — it’s salps — doesn’t completely deal with the question.

          1. Salps don’t typically pick up pigmentation so
          2. How are salps displaying this coloration and
          3. Given salps microbial food sources should we also not look at bio magnification?

          Given the low oxygen dead zones in this region, we would certainly be looking at the potential for hydrogen sulfide production similar to what’s been documented in the Baltic. What surprises me is that there’s been little, if any, documentation of the chemocline depths and compositions in this hotspot region.

          The call is certainly for taking a closer look as it absolutely related to regional ocean health whose decline in this way would clearly have an impact on lives there.

      • – Robert, I’m glad you mentioned ‘coloration’ etc:
        “1. Salps don’t typically pick up pigmentation so
        2. How are salps displaying this coloration and
        3. Given salps microbial food sources should we also not look at bio magnification?”

        On 10/13 I commented on coloration/mimicry (it came to mind during the first OR purple water sightings) on 10/13.
        #
        “Extreme [climate] weather events will cause many of these to change places, or forms, between gases, solids, and liquids.
        Mutations and some form of mimicry, or Batesian mimicry — or the inverse, can occur.
        Our ‘Pandora’s Box’ of pollutants is a hydra headed beast beyond our control.
        Many possibilities… or the inverse…

        ‘Batesian mimicry is a phenomenon whereby unprotected prey species (called “mimics”) gain protection from predators by mimicking toxic or otherwise protected species (called “models”).’
        http://biodiversitylab.org/batesian-mimicry
        #
        My involvement with butterflies, to lesser extent moths, led me to the subject. It must apply to many organisms as well.

        ‘Camouflage’ fits too for survival impulse in a world of rapid adaptation. Coloration, and location are points to think about too.
        And keep asking questions…
        #
        These are exciting times — and like no other.🙂
        Thanks again, Robert.
        ###
        OUT

        Reply
  4. Dan B

     /  October 17, 2015

    Every Labor Day we stay at a small resort just a few dozen miles north of the biggest group of methane seeps in Washington. It’s a few miles north of where the huge megaquake of 1700 was discovered so there’s plenty of drama lurking in the future. Beneath the beauty lies a dramatic past and future.

    This year there was almost no detritis on the beach: kelp, seashells, fish bits, sand dollars, seaweed, etc. In a one mile stretch of the beach there were three dead seabirds of the same species. When we googled them we discovered that these birds were dying of starvation. It began to seem like the hot blob was already beginning to wipe out marine life here.

    This week the weather in the region has been ten degrees F warmer than normal. Typically there will be some light snowfalls in the mountains by mid-October. This year there is none and fairly warm showers are in the forecast which would mean no chance of snow. That and the forecast for a warmer than normal winter are foreboding. This increases the chance of forest fires in the western half of the state for next summer. Since these “wetter” western Washington forests are very dense and populated it’s a setup for catastrophe. This summer’s fires were mostly in the sparse forests, and grasslands, of the eastern drier half of the state. Fires in the western half could be a horror show.

    Reply
  5. climatehawk1

     /  October 17, 2015

    Tweeting.

    Reply
  6. Robert Alexander

     /  October 17, 2015

    Down the road Scribbler will have a bluntly titled post: “Mr. Canfield, I Presume?”

    Reply
  7. entropicman

     /  October 17, 2015

    Latest University of Colorado sea level data is out.

    Confirms the Japanese data.

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  October 17, 2015

      Quite the uptick in Jason-2 since Jan. 2014, entropicman. Looks, if extended, close to 9mm/yr. (9cm/dec. .9m/century….) Very well put together article, Robert.

      Reply
  8. Abel Adamski

     /  October 17, 2015

    The economic consequences are starting to show
    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/canadas-frozen-north-feels-financial-burn-global-warming-151321724–business.html#yxXIBSf
    “YELLOWKNIFE, Northwest Territories, Canada (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Climate change is taking a heavy economic toll on Canada’s far north, with buildings collapsing as melting permafrost destroys foundations, rivers running low and wildfires all a drain on the region’s limited finances, senior government officials said. ”

    Scientists want to keep international temperature rises below 2 degrees compared with pre-industrial levels, while providing poor countries with money for adaptation.

    But in parts of the Northwest Territories, average temperatures have already risen more than three degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, government officials said.

    The delicate ecosystem of the wide-skied territory, home to the indigenous Dene people, and where wolves, caribou and bison roam, has been plunged into a environmental vicious cycle.

    Climate change has been linked to decreased water levels in the territory’s major rivers, partly due to greater evaporation, causing a sharp contraction in hydro electric power generation.

    As a result, the government has had to import more diesel, borrowing about $30 million this year alone to make up for the electricity shortfall, hurting its budget and increasing climate-warming emissions in a catastrophic feedback loop.

    “It’s not sustainable,” said Miltenberger, the finance and environment minister.

    He called on Canada’s national government to provide more financial help for climate change mitigation, particularly in renewable power, to reduce the costs of importing diesel.

    With a small population, and high operating costs due to its size and climate, the territory’s main employers are diamond mining and the public sector. The region’s indigenous people rely on the hunting of caribou as a key food source, but herds are declining, with climate change likely a significant driver.

    Northwest Territories receives financial transfer payments of about $1.3 billion, or about $29,000 per resident, from Canada’s national government to run public services.

    Craig Scott, executive director of Ecology North, a Yellowknife-based environmental group, believes the government should have invested earlier in renewable energy.

    Fuel trucks hauling diesel along gravel roads to small rural communities are a common site across the territory.

    Generators have been working around the clock following the decline in hydro power, Scott said, and new holding tanks had to be imported to store the diesel.

    “Renewable energies (including) micro hydro, solar and biomass have high capital costs in the short-term,” Scott told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “But they are sustainable versus the long-term pain of diesel.”

    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/canadas-frozen-north-feels-financial-burn-global-warming-151321724–business.html#yxXIBSf

    Reply
  9. Abel Adamski

     /  October 17, 2015

    Sorry Robert one in moderation, accidentally doubled up on the link.
    Could you delete the second link pretty please
    Ta AA

    Reply
  10. Colorado Bob

     /  October 17, 2015

    Following what the National Weather Service described as “high astronomical tides due to the lunar cycle,” a coastal flood advisory was put in place for South Florida early this week. Pictured above is flooding that occurred in Miami Beach at Indian Creek Drive and 30th Street on September 28, 2015.

    At the end of the summer, the polling firm, Latino Decisions, released the results of their 2015 Environmental Attitudes Survey. Of the Latinos polled, 74 percent said it was extremely or very important for the US government to “set national standards to prevent global warming and climate change.”

    http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-10-17/climate-change-new-big-election-issue-latino-voters

    Reply
  11. Colorado Bob

     /  October 17, 2015

    There are certain species who have a reproductive mechanism called “temperature-dependent sex determination” – this means that the temperature during egg incubation determines the gender of the hatchling. This temperature dependency is extremely sensitive, so tiny changes to the average temperature can cause a large gender skew. Skewed sex ratios are already being observed widely across turtle hatching grounds and this could cause the eventual collapse of the species.

    Another weird effect of climate change — too many female sea turtles
    Climate change is affecting wildlife in a lot of serious, and occasionally weird, ways. It’s destroying the icy habitats of polar bears and walruses. It’s driving fish species out of their normal habitats and taking away the food supplies of seals, sea lions and whales. It’s even causing bumblebees’ tongues to shrink.

    Now, scientists have revealed another unexpected climate effect: It may be disrupting the sex ratio among baby sea turtles.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/10/16/another-weird-effect-of-climate-change-too-many-female-sea-turtles/

    Reply
  12. Colorado Bob

     /  October 17, 2015

    Another super typhoon –
    Koppu packed maximum winds of 115 knots (213 kilometers) per hour with gusts as high as 140 knots, according to the 5 p.m. bulletin of the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center. That’s stronger than the Saturday morning forecast of 105 knots and 130 knot-gusts and puts it in Category 4 storm on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-10-17/philippines-says-millions-on-storm-path-must-brace-for-flooding

    Reply
    • Poor Phillippines. Getting slammed again… Saw the potential bombification in the GFS runs. Unfortunately it happened.

      Reply
    • Greg

       /  October 17, 2015

      Dr. Jeff Masters today: “Koppu is the nineteenth Category 4 or 5 tropical cyclone this year in the Northern Hemisphere, setting a new record for these most powerful of storms….Extreme winds, a large storm surge, and heavy rains are all major threats from Koppu, but it is the storm’s rains that will cause most of the storm’s destruction. Recent satellite estimates showed Koppu’s maximum rainfall rate was likely 20 inches of rain per 24 hours….Koppu is moving very slowly, which will lead to extremely high rainfall rates. Koppu will slow down further after landfall, and spend at least three days over northern Luzon Island….More than four feet of rain will likely fall in some mountainous areas, and rainfall amounts of this magnitude are likely to cause devastating flooding.”
      http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3157

      Reply
      • Greg

         /  October 17, 2015

        and Nick Wiltgen of Weather.com

        “If Kuppo/Lando should stall or move along a path that keeps onshore winds blowing in the same direction for a long enough time, highly localized rainfall amounts topping 2,000 millimeters (nearly 80 inches) would not be unrealistic. To put this in perspective, these rainfall totals would be on par with the average annual rainfall in Miami, Florida (61.92 inches) and could more than double the peak total from the recent South Carolina flood event. All in the span of a few days. Even in the typhoon-prone Philippines, rainfall amounts exceeding 40 inches (1,000 mm) from a single typhoon are relatively rare, and always extremely dangerous. Far lower rainfall amounts from past typhoons have proven deadly time and again.”
        http://www.weather.com/storms/typhoon/news/typhoon-koppu-tropical-storm-western-pacific-philippines

        Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  October 17, 2015

        More records being smashed – And this one is going to be very bad.

        According to wunderblogger Dr. Phil Klotzbach, Koppu is the nineteenth Category 4 or 5 tropical cyclone this year in the Northern Hemisphere, setting a new record for these most powerful of storms. The previous record was eighteen such storms in 2004. ………………….Forecast for Koppu: an extreme rainfall nightmare
        Unfortunately for the Philippines, Koppu is moving very slowly, which will lead to extremely high rainfall rates. Koppu will slow down further after landfall, and spend at least three days over northern Luzon Island. With water temperatures an unusually warm 30 – 31°C (86 – 88°F) in the waters surrounding Luzon–about 1°C (1.8°F) above average–the typhoon will be able to pull in tremendous amounts of water vapor from the oceans, resulting in widespread rains of over two feet falling on Luzon Island. More than four feet of rain will likely fall in some mountainous areas, and rainfall amounts of this magnitude are likely to cause devastating flooding.

        Link

        Reply
      • PlazaRed

         /  October 17, 2015

        Although the rainfall is stated to be the major threat from the typhoon we must also consider that if the storm stalls for several days depositing the rainfall, the winds will also continue leading to massive amounts of damage and tree uprooting.
        Structures which can stand high winds for a few hours will not be capable of standing winds up to 100 mph or 160 KPH for several days on end.
        Added to this there is also the psychological effects on the population with the const5ant threats from a storm of this magnitude.

        Reply
      • No words, Greg. I saw a tweet this morning by one of the meteorologists I follow that said: “prayers to the Filipino people.” Along with an image of the above prediction.

        Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  October 18, 2015

      The poor Philippines. They contributed very little to this situation, yet are already experiencing devastating effects of the carbon emissions of the west. If these super typhoons increase further in their frequency I imagine places like the Philippines will have to really start building their homes and other structures in a way that can ultimately endure the repeated assault from tornado forced winds. Globally, typical ways of erecting structures do not account for the possibility of 150-200+ mph winds. The only thing that survives a Haiyan like storm is a bomb shelter.

      Reply
  13. Colorado Bob

     /  October 17, 2015

    Wiltgen said that two computer models “predicted rainfall totals far exceeding 50 inches in the mountains lining the northwestern coast of Luzon” adding that should the storm stall “highly localized rainfall amounts topping nearly 80 inches would not be unrealistic.”

    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/typhoon-koppu-could-bring-6-feet-rain-philippines-n446061

    Reply
  14. Colorado Bob

     /  October 17, 2015

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  October 17, 2015

      Mumbai, India set new October max temp record of 38.6 C on the 16th at the Santacruz observatory. The previous record was 37.9 C on 23rd Oct, 1972.
      This is second consecutive monthly record that the city has broken. On Sept 30th, the max temp was 37.4 C, breaking the old record of 37 C set on 27th Sept, 2014 and the previous one being 36.4 C on 23rd Sept, 1972.

      Reply
  15. Andy in SD

     /  October 17, 2015

    Another issue / trigger for that coastal methane of of Oregon / Washington is the Cascadia fault line. It is due for a big shaker which would help compromise the integrity of what is holding the methane lattice in place.

    Reply
  16. Tsar Nicholas

     /  October 17, 2015

    I appreciate the time and effort put in by Mr scribbler, as do many. Can I add however, that i also deeply appreciate the many comments, from which I have leaned a lot. And generally so civilised too!

    Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  October 18, 2015

      Roberts approach to trolling, and ‘I’m not a denier but…’ types is extremely pro-active. This sacrifices some of the openess of his website, but I think it means a much better atmosphere.

      I value this civilised ‘feel’ far more highly than the contribution of the kind of posters that hamstring many other sites.

      That doesn’t mean we all agree on everything, partly because we have a good range of different concerns, interests and knowledge. But a general acceptance that we have a big/very big/catastrophic problem means that we can move past the trench warfare of the ‘climate wars’.

      If I want to fight deniers (and I sometimes do), I go elsewhere. But if I want to learn about the many emerging threats/risks, I find that this is an excellent place to start, often following the great links hoovered up by the most excellent regulars.

      Thanks to all for creating this resource, I am better informed as a result of your contributions.

      Reply
      • James Burton

         /  October 20, 2015

        I appreciate the lack of deniers being given a soap box to ply their trade. Their plan is based on disruption, get a foot in the door and then troll all hell out of everyone to prevent discussion to carry forward on the science. I see the troll army are everywhere on line. But not here! And thank god for that!

        Reply
    • Hear, hear… RobertScribbler!! Thank-you from all of us…

      Reply
      • And thanks to you guys too! Wouldn’t have happened without so much diligence on everyone’s part. As for the actions RE trolling. I kinda think about it this way — what value does it add to the conversation to hear for the umpteenth time the false narrative that it’s the Sun, or God, or natural variability, or that the data has been intentionally manipulated by greedy scientists the world over, or that we should be happy for greenhouse gasses b/c they’re plant food and melting the Arctic is all so great for the global economy. We know it’s not true. We have scientific proof that we’re pushing a disaster of unimaginable scope our way. Science that serves the public good brought forward by scientists who could have made a lot more money working for oil companies or selfishly wasting their intellectual talents generating personal profits by gaming Wall Street.

        In other words, if we were a blog about the impacts of smoking on the human lung, what point would there be to entertaining nonsense statements like ‘smoking doesn’t cause lung disease, cancer, or greatly contribute to the development of heart disease.’

        Anyone coming from the intellectual perspective that spreading views that result in people being misinformed and as a consequence greatly increasing their risks of loss of livelihood or dying nasty, terrible deaths is a form of worthwhile freedom of expression need to really think hard about the value of diversity of views. And if that value comes up as some form of exploitation, then we have found them severely wanting in critical moral characteristics.

        This isn’t some clever card game we’re playing. It’s about saving lives, first and foremost. Quacks and snake oil salesmen need not bother applying.

        Reply
  17. – Post So Cal rain event – collateral traffic and air pollution on a narrow coastal shelf in Santa Barbara:

    I-5 Closure Snarls Highway 101 Traffic in Santa Barbara

    Motorists seek alternate route after mudslides shut down major north-south arterial north of Los Angeles; some lanes reopened

    The I-5 closure sent a huge volume of extra traffic to Highway 101, the other major north-south arterial in California.
    The freeway congestion through Santa Barbara County was pushing a lot of motorists onto surface streets, causing back-ups there.

    [And the neighborhoods and hospital/school zones get commandeered!]
    http://www.noozhawk.com/article/i_5_closure_snarls_highway_101_traffic_in_santa_barbara

    Reply
  18. 1016 LA Daily News
    El Nino sends deadly sea snakes to local beaches

    While the biggest El Niño in decades may bring heavy rains and floods, warming sea temperatures have already delivered a different menace: highly poisonous sea snakes.

    For the first time in 30 years, yellow-bellied sea snakes — descended from Asian cobras and Australian tiger snakes, with some of the most toxic venom in the world — were found slithering this week across an Oxnard beach.

    “It’s very unusual,” said Dana Murray, a senior marine scientist for Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay, who posted the Thursday and Friday snake sightings on a blog about climate change and El Niño. “It’s only when we have these warming ocean events that they come into California.

    Reply
  19. Caroline

     /  October 17, 2015

    Another excellent article and insightful/informative commentary that follows, thanks Robert (et al)!

    This reaction (from a woman in article posted below) is becoming commonplace :
    “I’ve never seen anything like this before”
    and:
    “It was terrifying,” 51-year-old Rhonda Flores of Bakersfield told the Associated Press. I’ve never experienced anything like it, ever.”

    The images embedded in article below are . . . ??? . . can’t find the right word to describe—–insert your own.

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/17/california-mudslides-cars-stuck-photo-video-cleanup

    And now another catastrophic typhoon. I feel for all affected; humans, nonhumans—-the latter not having a voice.

    The song stuck in my head is that Chamber Brothers song—–thanks a lot C.B. 😊!! (great song btw but it is running on an inner audio loop in my brain)

    ps go Cubs —nice escape if you can get past all the stupid commercials: cars, viagra, cialis (sp?) and to top it off, Bob Dylan promoting IBM!!

    Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  October 17, 2015

    On a happier note, just saw my second monarch butterfly in as many days, beating into a south breeze for Mexico.

    Reply
  21. redskylite

     /  October 17, 2015

    Methane never far from the news these days as a meeting takes place in Anchorage to discuss the latest evidence and threats.

    “Warming in high latitudes is causing permafrost in Siberia and northern Canada to thaw and release plumes of methane stored there, they say. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and these releases threaten to trigger secondary rises in global temperatures.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/17/arctic-alaska-global-warming-threatens-ice-cap

    Reply
  22. Greg

     /  October 17, 2015

    This image by Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service shows the world’s two largest tropical rainforest carbon stores are both burning due to extreme drought conditions – and both emitting extremely large amounts of CO2, far larger than any industrial (fossil carbon) point source. There is both a prolonged El Niño-induced drought in Indonesia – and simultaneously another months-long drought in Brazil and the Amazon.

    The forest fires in Indonesia, and the dramatic air pollution they cause in for instance Singapore, receive media attention across the globe. What seems to go unnoticed is another surge in tropical rainforest wildfires that is currently occurring in Brazil. The Brazilian Institute for Space Research (INPE) has reported earlier this month that is has already detected over 11,000 forest fires this year, 47 percent more than last year.

    Reply
  23. Greg

     /  October 17, 2015

    Think we have pollution and water quality issues? Try Bangalore where the residents have raised their concerns to the authorities, the government has not taken adequate measures to curb the problem and the foam emits an unbearable smell, but local residents are forced to live with it. In May, the lake caught fire – twice
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/10/1/1443694161697/a1552e42-ba1f-4812-99f9-4ebfa010df13-1020×683.jpeg?w=700&q=85&auto=format&sharp=10&s=d118de84b3f66b114f4476b5f836ac6d

    Reply
  24. Colorado Bob

     /  October 17, 2015

    rustj2015

    Every joke these days is grim work.

    Reply
  25. Climate humor…

    Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  October 18, 2015

    Protest against San Leon Energy drilling in occupied Western Sahara (flyover)
    15.10.2015: Irish/UK oil company San Leon Energy is drilling in occupied Western Sahara. The people of the territory lives as refugees following the Moroccan invasion of their homeland.
    UN has stated that any further oil exploration in Western Sahara is illegal if the people of Western Sahara don’t wish it welcome. Evidently, they don’t.

    121. barbamz

    Reply
  27. Colorado Bob

     /  October 18, 2015

    I have been playing Paul all night

    Reply
  28. Colorado Bob

     /  October 18, 2015

    Once again I have been banned from WU. This time for just 2 hours. Yesterday it was 23 hours. Their mods are some of the tightest ass holes on the planet.

    Reply
  29. Colorado Bob

     /  October 18, 2015

    I’m coming back at them hammer and thongs.

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  October 18, 2015

      CB you go girl! Picturing you in a thong going after them with a hammer is not unlike my wife but likely not nearly as pretty.

      Reply
  30. Colorado Bob

     /  October 18, 2015

    i will never lay down , and roll over.

    Reply
  31. Colorado Bob

     /  October 18, 2015

    Too many people ……………………………..

    Reply
  32. Colorado Bob

     /  October 18, 2015

    N\ever, ever.

    Reply
  33. Sorry for the pessimism, but it may be quite probable that the methane monsters are entering a phase of terminal flatulence.

    Sent from my iPad 🙏🏻

    >

    Reply
  34. Syd Bridges

     /  October 18, 2015

    Thanks again, Robert. If only those hacks in the MSM were collectively as diligent as you-not individually,of course-we might have educated enough people to avoid these threats.

    I remember, about ten years ago, some bright-eyed, bushy-tailed entrepreneurs were talking about mining methane hydrate from the sea bed as a new energy source. My reaction was: How do you mine it from the seabed without destabilising it? I could envision large blowouts toppling rigs or sinking drill boats. Now,it seems, we may be able to destabilise it without mining it at all. Hansen’s methane clathrate gun is being cocked and loaded. Yet another of his predictions that is becoming a looming reality.

    Large methane seeps could deplete areas of the ocean of oxygen. Plenty of dead organic material, then, and a plentiful supply of sulphate. I wonder what that could lead to?

    Reply
  35. redskylite

     /  October 18, 2015

    Thanks Robert for keeping us up on the latest developments in the pleasant and informative style of writing that you are gifted with, and for all your hours of research and dedication.

    A very interesting and informative article appeared in the Iceland Monitor today, certainly the warming is happening very dramatically at the higher Northern latitudes, and is very evident. No place for deniers to hang around. It is always interesting for me to see how different nations are reporting and discussing the problem. Not so evident in my part of the woods, unless you visit the diminishing glaciers down in the South Island. With the predicted climatic changes that will occur with the slowing of the AMOC we are in for a bumpy ride.

    If I was reading a book by H.G Wells this would make fascinating reading, but unfortunately this is not fiction.

    The quickest temperature rises have occurred in Greenland, Alaska, Northern Canada and Siberia. Significant warming did not begin in Greenland until the mid-1990s, i.e. temperatures have risen by over 2°C in just twenty years. “This is a much quicker rise than anybody expected, even in the Arctic region,“

    http://icelandmonitor.mbl.is/news/nature_and_travel/2015/10/17/arctic_2015_arctic_warming_twice_as_much_as_elsewhe/

    Reply
    • Jeremy

       /  October 18, 2015

      Thanks for the link to this interesting article, but the one thing that surprised me was the lack of any mention of the possible affects on the volcanic systems underlying Vatnajökull especially the Grimsvotn volcanic system, part of the same system as Laki fissure eruption of 1783–1784. We know that the end of the last Ice Age had major affects on volcanic systems and there seems little to expect anything different with our manmade ice changes.

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  October 19, 2015

        Interesting that the MWP was ended by a super volcano in 12567 followed by a period of increased volcanic activity, the end of the Roman WP was also notable forvolcanic activity (Pompei featured in there as well, then the Minoan WP was ended around the time of geological/volcanic activity (the centre of the Minoan Empire/Culture was wiped out by a massive tsunami in the Mediterranean area

        Reply
  36. National Geographic special issue on Climate Change. The information is well-known here. I’m heartened to see this after the Murdoch purchase.

    http://www.nationalgeographic.com/climate-change/special-issue

    Reply
  37. Super Typhoon 25W (Champi), #7

    1 a.m. Monday, Oct. 19, Guam time: Champi has been upgraded to super-typhoon status by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, but is still far from any significant land masses and looks to stay that way.

    At 10 p.m., Champi was 345 miles south-southwest of Iwo Jima, moving north-northeast at 5 mph, packing sustained 150-mph winds and 184-mph gusts at center. Champi is forecast to peak at 167-mph sustained winds and 201-mph gusts at around 10 p.m. Monday, JTWC estimates.

    Champi is still forecast to be a significant Category 4-equivalent typhoon as it roars 23 miles northwest of Iwo at about 3 p.m. Wednesday, before curving northeast away from Japan’s main islands and dying out over the northwest Pacific Ocean.

    Reply
    • “Champi is forecast to peak at 167-mph sustained winds and 201-mph gusts at around 10 p.m. Monday…” 201-mph!

      Reply
    • – Nearby, in SE Asia. “… low rainfall certainly incurs sea water reaching deeper into rice fields.”

      Vietnam’s Mekong Delta in desperate shortage of fresh water

      TUOI TRE NEWS
      Updated : 10/17/2015 16:08 GMT + 7

      The Mekong Delta of Vietnam with wide system of rivers and canals interlacing has been in a desperate shortage of fresh water for cultivation in the coming rice season.

      The General Department of Irrigation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development held a meeting on Friday in the local province of Ben Tre to discuss solutions to deal with the circumstance.

      Dang Van Dung, vice director of the Southern Hydrometeorology Station, told the meeting that the raining season in Vietnam came around two months late this year and raining has not occurred evenly over the region.

      The water level upstream Mekong River from May this year has been lower than the average level, and at some points 1 – 2 meters lower than the lowest level recorded before.

      The low rainfall certainly incurs sea water reaching deeper into rice fields and other farming land in the mainland.
      http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/31044/vietnam-s-mekong-delta-in-desperate-shortage-of-fresh-water

      Reply
      • – Note the term ‘incurs’ — which also applies to AGW.

        verb
        3rd person present: incurs

        become subject to (something unwelcome or unpleasant) as a result of one’s own behavior or actions.
        “I will pay any expenses incurred”
        synonyms: bring upon oneself, expose oneself to, lay oneself open to…

        Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  October 19, 2015

        I read somewhere that dams especially in China (partly for Hydropower) are reducing flow into many SE Asia river systems and precisely this issue was a concern for that reason

        Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  October 22, 2015

        The article re damming the Mekong
        http://www.watoday.com.au/environment/could-damming-the-mekong-destroy-southeast-asias-greatest-river-and-food-bowl-20150615-ghobvi

        Conservationists, politicians and at least one prime minister are warning the quest for hydro power for booming urban centres in China and south-east Asia is threatening the food supply of more than 40 million people, including millions in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam’s food bowl.

        Kraisak Choonhavan, an environmental activist and former chairman of Thailand’s Senate foreign affairs committee, calls the building of the dams “a disaster of epic proportions” that threatens to shatter declarations of unity among member states of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

        Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung warns that 27 per cent of his country’s GDP, 90 per cent of its rice exports and 60 per cent of its seafood exports are at risk, mainly because disrupted sediment flows could destroy the integrity of the Mekong Delta.

        Duong Van Ni, of Vietnam’s Can Tho University, who has studied environmental factors affecting the delta, says Chinese dams have already reduced the delta’s sediment by half and caused serious erosion, damage to soil fertility and mangrove forest depletion.

        But the river has become unpredictable in recent years, rising and falling suddenly and not according to the seasons, villagers and conservationists say. Sandbars now protrude at times when before they were never there and fish stocks have dropped dramatically in some areas, villagers say.

        The reason is that China has built six giant dams hundreds of kilometres upstream, conservationists say. Fourteen more are planned in China within the next decade as well as the 11 mainstream Mekong Basin dams in Laos and Cambodia.

        And a total of at least 140 hydro power dams are proposed for the entire Lower Mekong River mainstream and its tributaries.

        An extremely disturbing article

        Reply
    • And # 20 Cat 4 + for the Northern Hemisphere so far this year. We are leaving the mid 2000s in the dust. We just keep stepping up the frequency of very intense storms.

      Reply
  38. – 37 “tipping points” — “massive ensemble of climate models ”

    Abrupt climate change can occur below 2°C warming rise

    LONDON, 18 October, 2015 – Climate change could arrive with startling speed. New research has identified at least 37 “tipping points” that would serve as evidence that climate change has happened – and happened abruptly in one particular region.

    And 18 of them could happen even before the world warms by an average of 2°C, the proposed “safe limit” for global warming.

    But Sybren Drijfhout, of the University of Southampton in the UK and his collaborators in France, the Netherlands and Germany, are not so sure.

    They report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they “screened” the massive ensemble of climate models that inform the most recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and found evidence of abrupt regional changes in the ocean, the sea ice, the snow cover, the permafrost and in the terrestrial biosphere that could happen as average global temperatures reached a certain level.

    The models did not all simulate the same outcomes, but most of them did predict one or more abrupt regional shifts.
    http://climatenewsnetwork.net/abrupt-climate-change-can-happen-below-2-warming-rise/

    Reply
    • The range of global natural variability during the Holocene mostly stayed within a narrow band between +0.5 and -0.5 C along a very steady baseline average. Getting outside that for any significant period of time would certainly start to risk hitting tipping points. One thing I’ve noticed in the record, especially with regards to ice sheets and ocean responses, is that the range of +1 to +2 C (global) is where things really get rolling. At that point, overall temperature increase may stall as large scale geophysical changes start hitting high gear. In other words, we’re in the range where we start to hit catastrophic responses now.

      My metric would be +1 C or above = pretty bad, +1.5 C or above = really bad, +2 C or above = catastrophically bad.

      Once we reach those temperatures it’s not like we just hit them and then back off. There are aspects of the system that will feedback to preferentially keep temperatures at or near those levels, once reached, or even increase them. We’re not dealing with a small transient change in solar irradiance over certain regions of the globe here. We’re dealing with increasing greenhouse gasses as an initial feedback in a global environment where the addition of heat (from whatever source) has traditionally pushed the global carbon stores to add yet more carbon.

      That’s what we’re dealing with hear. There’s a certain amount of additional trouble that gets locked in with each and every extra ton of ghg emission added by humans. And each extra ton adds yet more weight to a feedback system that will take millenia to work itself out. That’s the kind of fire we’re playing with. And we really don’t want to be doing this.

      Reply
  39. Climatic volatility, agricultural uncertainty, and the formation, consolidation and breakdown of preindustrial agrarian states

    Abstract

    The episodic formation, consolidation and breakdown of preindustrial states occurred in multiple contexts worldwide during the last 5000 years and are contingent upon interacting endogenous economic, demographic and political mechanisms. In some instances, there is support for climate change stimulating integration or inducing sociopolitical fragmentation in these complex systems. Here, we build upon this paradigm and introduce the hypothesis that stable climatic conditions favour the formation of agrarian states, while persistently volatile climatic conditions can contribute to the episodic collapse of these complex societies.

    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/373/2055/20140458

    Reply
  40. – Biodiversity: absolutely!

    How Nature Stabilizes Ecosystems During Climate Extremes

    Biodiversity can often help protect ecosystems from extreme conditions, according to a study of 46 grasslands in North America and Europe. The results showed that increasing plant diversity decreased the extent to which extremely wet or dry conditions disrupt grassland productivity.

    The researchers began by classifying each year of each experiment on a five-point scale from extremely dry to extremely wet. They then measured corresponding productivity — basically, how much above-ground plant material each level of plant biodiversity produced each year.

    Combining results across the 46 study sites, the researchers found that the higher the plant biodiversity, the lower the variability in productivity during wet or dry climate events…
    http://www.science20.com/news_articles/how_nature_stabilizes_ecosystems_during_climate_extremes-157576

    Reply
    • – 1018 USA PNW PDX – CLIMATE REGIME CHANGE

      Yes, it is October 18 but for some ‘reason’ some daffodils bulbs are sprouting and poking their foliage above ground. February, as in five months into the future — is when this should happen.

      Reply
      • – PNW Cold Water Climate Shield

        The Associated Press
        Scientists develop Cold Water Climate Shield to protect NW trout species

        BOISE — Federal scientists using new technologies have mapped what is being called a Cold Water Climate Shield, an area spanning five western states that could support viable populations of native species if the region continues its warming trend.

        Mapping the cold-water refuges for cutthroat trout, a favored sport fish among anglers, and threatened bull trout could help resource managers make decisions aimed at preserving populations of those and other cold-water native species in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana and Wyoming.
        http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2015/10/scientists_develop_cold_water.html

        Reply
      • – Forget the ‘anglers’ — Cutthroat trout are beautiful fish.

        Reply
      • Photo credit: You can help preserve the legacy of Yellowstone
        cutthroat trout for generations to come!
        (Photo: Patrick Cooney)
        thefisheriesblog.com/2012/05/16/cutthroat-conservation

        Reply
  41. – fewer “false springs”

    Climate change is making our winters shorter

    The researchers observed that the Pacific Northwest and Mountainous regions of the western US would see the biggest shift — they estimate spring will arrive nearly a month early in these regions by 2100. The shift will be the smallest in the southern regions, where spring already arrives early,

    The researchers also predicted that there would be fewer “false springs” — when freezing temperatures return unexpectedly after spring plant growth has begun — across most of the country, except in certain parts of the western Great Plains, which is projected to see an increase this particular weather phenomena.

    “This is important as false springs can damage plant production cycles in natural and agricultural systems” Allstadt said. “In some cases, an entire crop can be lost.”

    The researchers now plant to expand their inquiry to extreme weather events such as droughts and heat waves. “We are particularly interested in how these affect bird populations in wildlife refuges,” Allstadt said.

    http://www.salon.com/2015/10/17/the_u_s_can_expect_spring_to_come_three_weeks_early_partner/

    Reply
  42. – One more tidbit:

    Policy Fail: Using Experts Without Adjusting For Their Biases

    The accuracy and reliability of expert advice is often compromised and needs to be interrogated with the same tenacity as research data to avoid weak and ill-informed policy, according to risk analysis scholars writing in Nature.

    Though governments aspire to evidence-based policy, it is more often the scientization of politics outlined in books like Science Left Behind; because the researchers say the evidence on experts themselves actually shows that they are highly susceptible to “subjective influences” and
    “cognitive frailties”
    – from individual values and mood, to whether they stand to gain or lose from a decision

    http://www.science20.com/news_articles/policy_fail_using_experts_without_adjusting_for_their_biases-157577

    Reply
  43. Africa’s Largest Elephant Was Just Killed By a German Hunter

    It’s as if folks missed the news that within ten years, the African Elephant is likely to become extinct. Or, at least that’s the only explanation this author can surmise, for what else could allow one – or a hunting community around the world – to believe that stalking and killing a majestic elephant in Africa is okay?

    As The Telegraph reports, a German hunter reportedly paid $60,000 to shoot and kill one of the largest elephants ever spotted in Zimbabwe. The bull elephant, who was estimated to be between 40 and 60 years old…

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  October 19, 2015

      The Kharmic wheel is turning and unfortunately too many “innocents” will be grist in the mill

      Reply
    • This makes me sick to my stomach.

      Reply
    • Mark in New England

       /  October 19, 2015

      Sick is right. These are intelligent creatures. Well, for humans the Karma of the 20th century will bear it’s harsh fruit in the 21st.

      Reply
    • Each single living elephant remaining is a treasure more precious than any material good, than any hunter’s murderous pride. The lust for death among a certain group of hunters, here, is as wretched as it is genocidal. Anyone conducting hunts on elephants at this time is contributing to the extinction of a species. There is no thin excuse that can justify these actions at this time.

      Reply
  44. Abel Adamski

     /  October 19, 2015

    It may have been covered previously, however for what it is worth

    You may wish to refer to this finding.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150225132103.htm

    First direct observation of carbon dioxide’s increasing greenhouse effect at Earth’s surface

    Date:

    February 25, 2015

    Source:

    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

    Summary:

    Scientists have observed an increase in carbon dioxide’s greenhouse effect at Earth’s surface for the first time. They measured atmospheric carbon dioxide’s increasing capacity to absorb thermal radiation emitted from Earth’s surface over an 11-year period at two locations in North America. They attributed this upward trend to rising carbon dioxide levels from fossil fuel emissions.

    The influence of atmospheric CO2 on the balance between incoming energy from the Sun and outgoing heat from Earth (also called the planet’s energy balance) is well established. But this effect has not been experimentally confirmed outside the laboratory until now. The research is reported Feb. 25 in the advance online publication of the journal Nature.

    They found that CO2 was responsible for a significant uptick in radiative forcing at both locations, about two-tenths of a Watt per square meter per decade. They linked this trend to the 22 parts-per-million increase in atmospheric CO2 between 2000 and 2010. Much of this CO2 is from the burning of fossil fuels, according to a modeling system that tracks CO2 sources around the world.

    Reply
    • Locations: “The scientists measured atmospheric carbon dioxide’s contribution to radiative forcing at two sites, one in Oklahoma and one on the North Slope of Alaska, from 2000 to the end of 2010.”

      Reply
  45. Colorado Bob

     /  October 19, 2015

    Warming Oceans May Threaten Krill, a Cornerstone of the Antarctic Ecosystem

    SYDNEY, Australia — Every day for a week, So Kawaguchi peered intently into the jars of cold water holding harvested krill eggs. None were hatching. In his laboratory in Hobart, Tasmania, on the edge of the Southern Ocean, he could see that the carbon dioxide he had pumped into the icy seawater had killed the eggs.
    Stories from Our Advertisers

    “We thought the krill might be more robust,” said Dr. Kawaguchi, a biologist who works for the Australian government’s Antarctic Division. “We were not expecting such a clear result.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/science/australia-antarctica-krill-climate-change-ocean.html?_r=0

    Reply
  46. Colorado Bob

     /  October 19, 2015

    Rio De Janeiro: The calendar says it’s still spring in Rio de Janeiro, but the coastal Brazilian city is suffering through one of the most severe bouts of hot weather of the past century.

    For a second consecutive day on Friday, the mercury hit 43 degrees Celsius (more than 109 degrees Fahrenheit), the third hottest temperature recorded on this date in nearly a hundred years of record-keeping, according to the National Institute of Meteorology (INMET).

    The blistering temperature just missed surpassing 2012’s record of 43.2 degrees, prompting desperate residents to escape to the region’s famed beaches.

    http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/near-record-heat-in-sweltering-rio-de-janeiro-1233194

    Reply
  47. Colorado Bob

     /  October 19, 2015

    Rise and fall of agrarian states influenced by climate volatility

    Climate variability is one of the major forces in the rise and fall of agrarian states in Mexico and Peru, according to a team of researchers looking at both climate and archaeological records.

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-10-fall-agrarian-states-climate-volatility.html#jCp

    Reply
  48. Colorado Bob

     /  October 19, 2015

    Alaskan boreal forest fires release more carbon than the trees can absorb

    A new analysis of fire activity in Alaska’s Yukon Flats finds that so many forest fires are occurring there that the area has become a net exporter of carbon to the atmosphere. This is worrisome, the researchers say, because arctic and subarctic boreal forests like those of the Yukon Flats contain roughly one-third of the Earth’s terrestrial carbon stores.

    The research is reported in the journal Nature Climate Change.

    Alaska fire records go back only to 1939, and scientists often assume that present-day fire activity mirrors that of the ancient past. The researchers on the new study instead used actual fire data from a previous study in which they analyzed charcoal fragments preserved in lake sediments in the Yukon Flats. In that study, they found that fire frequency in a 2,000-kilometer swath of the Yukon Flats is higher today than at any time in the last 10,000 years.

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-10-alaskan-boreal-forest-carbon-trees.html#jCp

    Reply
    • Griffin

       /  October 19, 2015

      Further solidifies my thinking that we have no “carbon budget” left anymore. Emissions reductions now are urgent in that they are the only way in which we can buy more time. Feedbacks are well in motion and the thermostat is getting harder to turn left with every day.

      Reply
  49. Colorado Bob

     /  October 19, 2015

    2015 Sets a New Record for Category 4 and 5 Hurricanes and Typhoons

    A record 20 hurricanes or typhoons have reached Category 4 or 5 strength in the Northern Hemisphere this year.

    The record was broken on Saturday when Koppu became the nineteenth storm to reach this intensity prior to slamming into the Philippines as a super typhoon. This was then followed by Champi on Sunday, which became a super typhoon with maximum sustained winds also estimated to be Category 4 strength.

    The old record for the Northern Hemisphere was 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
  50. – US (GOP) Congress set to attack the EPA – Climate Wrecking Business and Commerce as Victim:

    Week ahead: House GOP targets climate, ozone rules

    Republican lawmakers are slated to resume their sharp criticisms of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    The House Science Committee is bringing in critics of the EPA’s new ozone regulation made final this month, while the House Energy and Commerce Committee is planning a hearing on the legality of the climate rule for power plants.

    The ozone hearing Thursday is the first congressional inquiry into the rule since the EPA finalized it on Oct. 1. It reduces the allowable ground-level ozone concentration to 70 parts per billion, from 75.

    The hearing on the climate rule, also on Thursday, will examine legal objections to the regulation before the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subpanel.

    It follows up on hearings in both chambers of Congress before the rule was made final that highlighted legal arguments against it, including those by Larry Tribe, a Harvard law professor working for coal miner Peabody Energy, who famously compared the rule to “burning the Constitution.”

    Not to be outdone, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Oversight Subpanel will hold a wide-ranging hearing on the regulatory impact analyses for EPA regulations.
    http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/257187-week-ahead-house-gop-targets-climate-ozone-rules#disqus_thread

    Reply
    • Anti-life on Earth republicans are at it again. One wonders if there’s an exploitative or destructive profit motive they won’t actively defend.

      Reply
  51. – BC, Canada — (The Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island) once my home for 13 years.)

    “… November… about half a degree above normal… by February… more than three degrees warmer than usual.”
    #
    … Its mix of trees, says Leslie, is typical for the Kootenays — firs, larches, cedars and spruces.
    “Climate projections for this area call for a climate by 2050 or 2080 that will be suited for grasslands and Ponderosa pine and that’s it,” says Leslie. The seeds for the trees Leslie plants come from further south and in drier, warmer microclimates.
    #
    … this summer made climate change real for many ranchers in B.C.
    “The whole water cycle is shifting with climate change,” says Allen Dobb, a consultant to the ranching industry in B.C. “Water is moving through the system faster.” The reservoirs look high at the start of the spring, but don’t get recharged throughout the season… Then a heavy rainfall erodes the soil even more.
    Climate change is driving B.C. ranchers to pressure the government to create a mirror of the agricultural land reserve. This one, a province-wide water reserve.
    #
    … Mount Cain, a popular Vancouver Island ski spot. Every time enough snow fell to give the mountain a chance at opening, the freezing level climbed higher and everything turned to mush.
    It’s a sign of things to come, says hydrologist Bill Floyd…
    “If we go back to November, we were only about half a degree above normal,” he says. But the gap widened and by February the temperatures were more than three degrees warmer than usual.
    #
    As the ocean rises, communities on the Fraser River delta must come up with new ways to keep the sea out of their homes.
    Expanding the dikes that protect municipalities from the sea may not be enough, and the battle over who will pay to keep the streets dry is just beginning.
    Sea levels are already rising twice as fast as they were last century on average, but it’s not just the inexorable swelling of the sea that has to be taken into account; what worries city planners is the combination of higher storm surges and big tides working together with a higher sea level.
    http://thetyee.ca/News/2015/10/19/Climate-Change-Personal-In-BC/

    Reply
  52. Report: San Francisco Bay needs major wetland overhaul to stem sea-level rise

    San Francisco Bay is in a race against time, with billions of dollars of highways, airports, homes and office buildings at risk from rising seas, surging tides and extreme storms driven by climate change.

    And to knock down the waves and reduce flooding, 54,000 acres of wetlands — an area twice the size of the city of San Francisco — need to be restored around the bay in the next 15 years.

    That’s the conclusion of a new report from more than 100 Bay Area scientists and 17 government agencies that may help fuel a regional tax measure aimed at addressing the looming crisis.
    http://www.marinij.com/environment-and-nature/20151018/report-san-francisco-bay-needs-major-wetland-overhaul-to-stem-sea-level-rise

    Reply
    • Tweeted, thanks. Maybe they should just send the bills to ExxonMobil and Koch Industries.

      Reply
    • At the early stages, money can help keep back the rising waters. But after a certain point, no amount of spending will avail. CH is right. We need to bill Koch and Exxon. And it looks like we may need to bill them for moving entire cities inland.

      Reply
  53. – Is Paris burning…? No Mein herr, but it’s quite smoggy.🙂

    Police Raid VW’s French HQ

    PARIS — Police have raided Volkswagen’s French headquarters over an investigation into the massive pollution-cheating scandal that has engulfed the German auto giant, a judicial source said Sunday.

    Investigators searched the company’s main office in Villers-Cotterets in northern France on Friday, as well as another office near Paris, seizing documents and computer hardware in the process, the source added.
    http://www.industryweek.com/regulations/police-raid-vw-s-french-hq

    Reply
  54. – Nutrient (anthropogenically incurred N) dependent Algae still making headlines:

    Ohio River’s Huge Algae Bloom a Warning for Water Suppliers

    A toxic algae outbreak that snaked more than 600 miles down the Ohio River past four states is forcing water utilities to reassess the threat from harmful algal blooms that are popping up increasingly around the nation.

    Treatment plant operators and researchers along the river were surprised by the large bloom and said it should be a warning to cities that get their water supply from lakes, rivers and manmade reservoirs.

    “You need to be ready and have a plan in place,” said Roger Tucker, who monitors algae sampling for the Louisville Water Co. in Kentucky. “The Ohio River is proof of that.”
    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/ohio-rivers-huge-algae-bloom-warning-water-suppliers-34579039

    Reply
    • Toxic Algae Threatens Bald Eagles

      Hydrilla is slowly choking rivers, ponds and lakes of North Carolina. Now it has become an even more ominous potential threat and an eagle killer.

      A newly identified deadly neurotoxin produced by algae found on the underside of the invasive aquatic plant has been linked to numerous bald eagle deaths in DeGray Lake, Arkansas and Thurmond Lake that straddles Georgia and South Carolina, and at Lake Sam Rayburn in Texas.

      So far, the toxin has only been confirmed in North Carolina at Lake Surf in Moore County and Coachman’s Trail Lake in Raleigh. The bacteria have also been found at Mayo Lake in Person County, although the presence of the toxin has not been confirmed.
      http://www.coastalreview.org/2015/10/toxic-algae-threatens-bald-eagles/

      Reply
  55. Champi knocks out Tinian water supply

    Tropical Storm Champi, which strengthened into a typhoon after blowing through the Marianas on Friday, brought gusty winds of up to 70 miles per hour and torrential rain that caused flashfloods and erosion to Saipan and Tinian.

    According to the National Weather Service in Guam, Champi dumped 24.77 inches of rain on Tinian from midnight until 4pm of Friday. Saipan, on the other hand, received 11.71 inches of rain during the 18-hour precipitation period.

    With over two feet of rain, Tinian sustained major flooding and damage to roads…
    http://www.saipantribune.com/index.php/champi-knocks-out-tinian-water-supply/

    Reply
  56. “In polluted environments, diesel fumes may be reducing the availability of almost half the most common flower odours that bees use to find their food, research has found.

    The new findings suggest that toxic nitrous oxide (NOx) in diesel exhausts could be having an even greater effect on bees’ ability to smell out flowers than was previously thought.

    NOx is a poisonous pollutant produced by diesel engines which is harmful to humans, and has also previously been shown to confuse bees’ sense of smell, which they rely on to sniff out their food.”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151019085821.htm

    Reply
    • – That’s right — diesel fumes and toxic NOx etc — especially the acidic component nitric acid destroys flower and leaf as well. It stains petals then it fries them to a crisp.
      #
      Nitric acid, also known as aqua fortis and spirit of niter, is a highly corrosive mineral acid. The pure compound is colorless, but older samples tend to acquire a yellow cast due to decomposition into oxides of nitrogen and water. Wikipedia
      Formula: HNO3
      #
      My photo of PDX USA flowery hedge shows this, “It stains petals then it fries them to a crisp.” in action. It’s quite pathetic that so much takes place in plain sight. And locations like this are worked over on a weekly basis by paid landscaping ‘crews’ with power tools who have no idea how botany and the natural world works.

      Reply
    • – Notice it is the horizontal, subject to atmospheric fallout (deposition) facing surface that shows the damage.

      Reply
  57. Colorado Bob

     /  October 19, 2015

    Typhoon Koppu unloads deadly, flooding rain in Philippines in record-breaking season
    Now those forecasts are coming to fruition as Koppu has slowed down to a near-halt just west of the Philippines coast, with heavy thunderstorms hovering over western Luzon. Baguio City, home to over 318,000 people, has recorded nearly 3 feet of rain — 30.6 inches — since the storm began there. Over 6 inches of that fell in just three hours from 8 to 11 p.m., on Monday, Philippines time.

    Link

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  October 20, 2015

      That record number of storms is about to be 21 with Hurricane Olaf if he follows the NHC’s intensity forecast.

      Reply
      • Syd Bridges

         /  October 20, 2015

        21 category 4 or 5 storms says it all. We are in new territory as far as the climate is concerned. No, on second thoughts, I’ve just applied the infallible RRT (Republican Reality Transformation) and I don’t believe a word of it. I haven’t seen 21 hurricanes and typhoons here in northern Colorado so probably none of them really happened! It’s just the Weather Channel trying to gain customers and a few gold-digging academics and weathermen after grant money. My opinion, as a graduate of the school of Common Sense is worth far more than theirs. As Bob Dylan said “You don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

        Reply
      • mike gordon

         /  October 21, 2015

        Hurricane Olaf, already a strong Category 4 hurricane, could reach near-Category 5 strength as it begins a turn to the northwest Wednesday that should keep the powerful storm away from Hawaii, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said this morning.
        http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/20151020_olaf_enters_central_pacific_as_powerful_category_4_hurricane.html?id=334650741

        Reply
  58. Syd Bridges

     /  October 20, 2015

    The title of this post made me think of a poem: The Kraken, by Tenyson
    .
    Below the thunders of the upper deep;
    Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
    His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
    The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
    About his shadowy sides: above him swell
    Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
    And far away into the sickly light,
    From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
    Unnumbered and enormous polypi
    Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
    There hath he lain for ages and will lie
    Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep,
    Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
    Then once by man and angels to be seen,
    In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

    The latter fire is now heating the deep. I suspect that when the Methane Kraken dies at the surface, it will take most of us with it.

    The Kraken Awakes was a 1950s John Wyndham novel where invading aliens colonize the Ocean Deeps and melt the ice caps. So totally unrealistic plot line. Not the aliens )”the Bathies”) of course, but the absurd idea that the ice caps could melt.

    Reply
  59. Greg

     /  October 20, 2015

    Harper is done. Trudeau wins. A decade of Canada held hostage to fossil fuel interests likely over. No link necessary. Check your favorite news site, any news site.

    Reply
    • redskylite

       /  October 20, 2015

      Truly great news from Canada, we should see the mufflers lifted from science and hope for increasing serious action on climate change from Canada. .

      Reply
    • Mark in New England

       /  October 20, 2015

      Great news. Now only if the country to the south of you will wise up!

      Reply
    • Ouse M.D.

       /  October 20, 2015

      Dream on…
      There’s nothing in tally on the scale to replace fossil fuels.
      3 things: EROEI, energy density, storage & portability.
      Not even a politician- especially a liberal lawyer- can change the laws of physics.

      Reply
      • Greg

         /  October 20, 2015

        M.D. Keep throwing those tomatoes. I will compost them for my garden and make pasta sauce with the rest.

        Reply
      • Ouse, some nice FF company PR work and misinformation there.

        Burning fossil fuels makes for an uninhabitable world, which should be the first and only consideration. They are impractical and uneconomical on that basis alone. In other words, many forms of poo are high in calories. Based on your logic, eating poo is an ideal form of energy transfer to human bodies — regardless of the fact that it will make you sick and eventually, probably, kill you.

        In any case, all these EROEI arguments are bunk as well. Industrial scaling and tech breakthroughs keep increasing the EROEI of renewables and related systems. Scarcity means that EROEI of FF just keeps getting worse and worse. Harper did his best to keep renewables from eating FF’s lunch. And he needed policy to do it. And even with the policy measures and his renewable killing cronies, he failed. Renewables still advanced in Australia, just more slowly. And the point at which he started to lose was when he started to push outright laws attempting to, in effect, ban renewables.

        So Harper is a perfect example of the myopia of the fossil fuel centric worldview. What you have here is a man whose false opinions are formed by one moneyed interest. And, now, in order for that interest to survive requires a fossil fuel tyranny in governments. Democratic governments, no less, that will not tolerate such abuses for long.

        In the end, it’s better not to eat poo, have Harper leading governments, or to burn fossil fuels. At this point, the result of any of these is equally undesirable.

        Reply
    • Fantastic! They couldn’t go soon enough!

      Reply
  60. redskylite

     /  October 20, 2015

    “The sea level rise is bringing up water so fast that our defences against it have failed,” said Ky Quang Vinh, director of the Climate Change Coordination Office, a government agency in Vietnam’s Can Tho, the most populous city in Mekong.

    “We’ve stopped growing mangrove trees on the coast because they only grow if the sea level rise stays below 1.6mm (0.06in) a year, and our work shows that in Vietnam it’s going up by 5mm (0.2in).”

    “Several of our sea dykes have collapsed too.”

    BBC report on the Mekong Delta, things are getting bad there . .

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34407061

    Reply
  61. Abel Adamski

     /  October 20, 2015

    As we saw in the US and Canada and Siberian forest fires, increasingly by lightning and the incidence of lightning is apparently rising as per the climate modelling

    http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2015/10/20/as-lightning-deaths-surge-in-india-some-blame-global-warming/

    The number of annual reported lightning deaths across India has climbed by about 40% compared with 10 years ago. Last year, 2,582 Indians were killed, according to the official government tally. While the deaths are usually spread across the subcontinent, almost all of them are in rural areas.

    More than 30 people perished in a single day in September. That is more than the U.S. total for all of 2014.

    Scientists say they aren’t sure why the official number of lightning deaths has been surging in India. Some say the jump can be attributed to the rising population. Others say it may be the fact that cellphones and computers make it easier to monitor and record deaths that happen in far-flung regions.

    Some meteorologists in India also theorize that rising global temperatures, which researchers say contribute to more-severe electrical storms, could also play an important role.

    Reply
    • – Attendant electrostatic particulate from FF and CC in the atmosphere should also lend itself to lightning formation.

      “Lightning can also occur within the ash clouds from volcanic eruptions, or can be caused by violent forest fires which generate sufficient dust to create a static charge.”
      electricalfun.com/lightning

      Reply
    • I wonder what the global figures on lightning deaths looks like.

      Reply
  62. 12volt dan

     /  October 20, 2015

    Two U.S. Representatives Seek Justice Department Inquiry into Exxon.

    Two California congressmen have called on U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to open an investigation into whether ExxonMobil violated federal laws by “failing to disclose truthful information” about climate change.

    Democratic Reps. Mark DeSaulnier and Ted Lieu, both members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said they were “alarmed” by the possibility that Exxon withheld significant climate change information and went so far as to try to discredit the science confirming global warming.

    Interesting turn of events. Full story here
    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/16102015/two-us-representatives-seek-justice-department-inquiry-exxon

    Reply
  63. Colorado Bob

     /  October 20, 2015

    Drought-stressed California forests face a radical shift

    Biologist Greg Asner first heard the numbers in April, but they did little to prepare him for what he saw.

    The Forest Service had estimated that nearly 12.5 million trees in the state’s southern and central forests were dead. But as Asner peered down upon the same forests from his airplane at 6,000 feet, he saw something far worse. ………………………………………
    There is no saying which trees will die, but by his estimation the count statewide could be close to 120 million — as much as 20% of the state’s forests.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-dying-forests-20151020-story.html

    Reply
  64. Greg

     /  October 20, 2015

    Hard to see a revolution when you are in the middle of it. Lots of noise. This small news item is big, in my estimate. Lots of vaporware out there in terms of energy storage news but I have been following Sakti3 for some time now and they just got bought and will now scale. Basically, they are making solid state lithium batteries which will truly seal the deal for energy storage by making, for example, electric cars cost competitive with no compromise, everyday appliances battery based, solar with storage viable throughout the world, etc.

    http://insideevs.com/dyson-acquire-sakti3-90-million/

    Dr. Ann Marie Sastry is another one of those shining a beacon for a way out of here.

    Reply
    • Fantastic to see the revolution taking more strides forward. One wonders where we’d be if we’d attempted to go down this path a century ago. Probably less wars, a far healthier Earth system, and much more resilient economies. At least some are trying to do it now. But the hour is pretty late. I sincerely hope they pull it off.

      Reply
  65. James Burton

     /  October 20, 2015

    Summer in October continues in the upper Midwest. I love it. But it will be our doom in the end! Sadly.

    Reply
  66. Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015
    Grand title winner
    Winner 2015
    Mammals

    Don Gutoski, Canada
    A tale of two foxes

    From a distance, Don could see that the red fox was chasing something across the snow. As he got closer, he realised the prey, now dead, was an Arctic fox. For three hours in temperatures of -30 degrees Centigrade Don stayed at the scene, until the red fox, finally sated, picked up the eviscerated carcass and dragged it away to store for later. In the Canadian tundra, global warming is extending the range of red foxes northwards, where they increasingly cross paths with their smaller relatives, the Arctic fox. For Arctic foxes, red foxes now represent not just their main competitor – both hunt small animals such as lemmings – but also their main predator. Few actual kills by red foxes have been witnessed so far, but it is likely that conflicts between the two mammals will become more common.
    http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/wpy/gallery/2015/images/mammals/4965/a-tale-of-two-foxes.html

    Reply
  67. Heavy smoke continued to pour from peat fires in Borneo, Indonesia, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image on October 19, 2015.
    In southern Borneo, the intent is often to make room for new plantings of oil palm and acacia pulp.
    – earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards

    Reply
  68. Griffin

     /  October 20, 2015

    Well done article about the explosion of wood pellets as fuel in EU, and what it means for carbon accounting. (Spoiler alert: It’s not good news)
    http://reports.climatecentral.org/pulp-fiction/1/

    Reply
    • – wood pellets… oil palm… acacia pulp!

      -“In 2015, Drax [power station] expects to burn through more than 6 million tons of them — which would be produced by dehydrating about twice that much fresh wood. That’s equivalent to the yearly wood harvests from all U.K. forests combined.”
      #
      -EU imports of wood pellets from the United States showed no signs of slowing in the first seven months of 2015, with the rate of growth likely to stabilize or even accelerate in the remaining period of the year. According to Eurostat latest statistics, the European Union countries have imported 25% more wood pellets from the U.S. in January-July of 2015 as compared to the correponding period of 2014. Thus the US covers now almost a third (31,56%) of all EU worldwide pellet purchases being its major source.

      The driving force behind this development is unmistakably the United Kingdom, as major UK power plants such as Drax are currently undergoing major coal-biomass conversion plans.

      “the timber network ” : http://www.ihb.de/wood/news/EU_wood_pellet_imports_44294.html

      Reply
    • – Forbes

      Dozens of manufacturers, increasingly concentrated in the Southeast, are now approaching production of 10 million annual short tons of wood pellets — ostensibly made from the leftovers at lumber mills or from the branches, slash and other woody material found on the forest floor. Another 6 million short tons of capacity is now planned or under construction, according to industry data, making the U.S. the single largest wood pellet producer in the world.

      Reply
      • James Burton

         /  October 21, 2015

        We heated our local High School for two decades with wood pellets from local mills.

        Reply
    • – A Port of Panama City, Panama City, Fla. tidbit:

      Berg is one of three major tenants at the port, along with Oceaneering, which manufactures steel umbilicals used in oil and gas drilling, and Enviva, formerly Green Circle, which exports wood pellets produced at its plant near Cottondale.

      The port’s bulk cargo exports of wood pellets also increased last year, rising from 720,000 tons to 783,000 tons.
      http://www.newsherald.com/article/20151008/NEWS/151009214

      Reply
    • Leland Palmer

       /  October 21, 2015

      I’m not sure I believe the studies that question the carbon neutrality of biomass. I think it’s quite possible that the European countries have it right.

      Fossil fuel combustion adds carbon to the active carbon cycle.

      Biomass combustion cycles carbon already in the active carbon cycle.

      That’s a fundamental difference, I think. The carbon produced by burning biomass came from the atmosphere in the first place. The carbon produced by burning coal has been out of the carbon cycle for hundreds of millions of years, generally.

      If a forest is in a steady state, forest fires do not in general add to global warming, because the carbon from the forest came from the atmosphere decades ago.

      Only by ignoring this fundamental difference between carbon already in the active carbon cycle and carbon being added to the active carbon cycle can the statement be made that biomass combustion contributes to global warming more than combustion of coal. Only by looking at very short time scales and single cycles of carbon exchange can this illusion be maintained.

      Our communications media, a small percentage of our scientific community and many sectors of our society are heavily influenced by fossil fuel corporation propaganda. I’m not sure where these studies are coming from, or who is financing them.

      Reply
      • Greg

         /  October 21, 2015

        I think the problems relate to the fossil fuel used to cut down and then transport that fuel across the Atlantic and the fact that the “neutral” carbon takes decades to hundreds of years to recycle back when in fact we are removing semi-permanently the ability for it to do so be removing largely forests that would otherwise be taking up carbon. It is like natural gas, a hopefully brief transition from coal and fossil fuels. Not a good long-term solution at the scale we are at and worse, headed towards.

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  October 21, 2015

        Biomass burning on much larger scales has been happening all along without contributing to global warming. Biomass combustion is a fine long term solution – the long term solution the biosphere has been running on for hundreds of millions of years.

        Fossil fuels used to cut down and transport the biomass, that part I understand contributes to global warming. I get that. My understanding is that only about ten percent of the energy content of the biomass is used to transport it across the Atlantic, though. Also, the energy used to harvest and transport the biomass could come from the biomass itself, and in the future probably will.

        But coal combustion contributing to to global warming less than biomass combustion? The carbon from that coal will cycle through the carbon cycle, many times, each time contributing to warming some more. The carbon from the biomass, already being in the carbon cycle, is part of the natural steady state of the system.

        I suspect fossil fuel corporation sponsored funny math.

        Reply
      • Griffin

         /  October 21, 2015

        I see the point that you are making Leland. It is important to note that biomass, regardless of how it comes out in the math, is simply not able to grow at a rate that can keep up with our ability to burn it. We will burn right through it, until our forests are gone.
        The bottom line is that we have three choices. Wind, solar or the end.

        Reply
        • Strong, STRONG, backer of wind here, but there’s also geothermal, run-of-river hydro, tidal, wave, even ocean thermal. Quite a bit of stuff hasn’t been given a serious trial yet because of the relentless din from the fossil fuel claque, which is still trying–hard–to slow down wind and solar in the U.S.

      • Leland Palmer

         /  October 21, 2015

        Hi Griffin-
        Wind and solar are carbon neutral, at best. Biomass with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) can be made strongly carbon negative, and can actively remove carbon from the active carbon cycle. Many scientists agree that making the math work to avoid disaster without some carbon negative alternative like BECCS or biochar is essentially impossible.

        We have more choices than wind, solar, or death, and biomass is one of them.

        The studies in question don’t even consider BECCS, which is downright odd, I think.

        There is a lot of biomass – Oak Ridge National Labs says 1.4 billion tons per year is available in the U.S. easily from agricultural and urban and forest waste. Maybe not enough to completely solve the problem, but enough to impact it strongly, considering that carbon negative sources of energy simultaneously displace fossil fuel use, generate useful electricity, and put carbon back underground.

        Peter Read and Jonathon Lermitt propose planting biomass plantations. I think we ought to do this along navigable rivers, and move the biomass or charcoal from the biomass downstream to the coal fired power plants on barges.

        Bio-energy with carbon storage (BECS): a sequential decision approach to the threat of abrupt climate change

        http://stabilisation.metoffice.com/Read_Lermit.pdf

        “. Modeling shows that, using BECS, and under strong assumptions appropriate to imminent ACC, preindustrial CO2 levels can be restored by mid-century”

        It’s a good idea. It would work. We ought to do it. It’s better than hanging around, waiting for the methane hydrates to destabilize. If it creates a mess, at least we would be around to clean it up.

        If trees don’t grow fast enough, use fast growing trees, canes or grasses. That way, carbon could be removed from the atmosphere on short time scales – a couple of years – and put back underground by carbon capture and storage. Don’t use post-combustion carbon capture – use oxyfuel combustion, producing a reasonably pure stream of CO2 from the start.

        Reply
      • Eric Thurston

         /  October 21, 2015

        I have been debating some friends about the issue of carbon from the normal carbon cycle vs carbon from fossil fuels. I understand the difference, but unfortunately we are entering a period where, in my opinion, the difference is academic.

        The wildfires that have been dumping huge amounts of ostensibly normal carbon cycle CO2 into the atmosphere have been burning rain forests, boreal forests and huge tundra peat bogs. All of these sources of non-fossil carbon have been storing carbon for thousands of years and once burned are not likely to recover in any human relevant time frame. I would guess that it could take a thousand years for the rain forests or the boreal forests or the peat bogs to recover. The climate crisis is such that we only have on the order of 50 – 100 years to deal with this. Even the temperate deciduous forests are being cut faster than they are being replaced.

        Also, I’m not aware of any carbon capture and storage technology that has been shown to work on a scaled up model. I’d be interested in more information on that.

        Reply
        • Don’t forget, we are not really trying yet–still just dicking around. China is doing massive tree planting to slow desertification, and it’s possible to combine efforts like that with much more effective fire detection and suppression. I’m no Pollyanna, but we haven’t begun to apply tech to the question of how to ramp up and sustain biomass drawdown, IMHO. (On the other hand, of course, we still don’t know jack about what warming is going to do to tree growth of individual species at individual locations.)

      • Wind and solar’s carbon impact is much lower than that of wood burning. Much, much lower when you consider the fact that a living tree not being burned or cut down is actively taking carbon out of the atmosphere. The issue with wood burning is that you end up taking down large sections of the active carbon store at the Earth surface and dumping it into the atmosphere even as you break down the natural process of carbon sequestration by forests. Some of this can be mitigated by CCS + biomass. But like coal, CCS + biomass is not something that’s happening now and one wonders if the major electricity generators will ever let it happen (due to costs).

        Anyone looking at this form of energy as a mainstay for electricity generation is looking at a world of dwindling forests and at a reduced ability for the biosphere to take down the excess carbon we’ve already added.

        Wind + solar + storage are far better options for electricity, in my view. Peripheral biomass + CCS is probably needed as well. But scaling to the point that we start taking down forests,as appears to be happening now, is exceedingly counter-productive.

        Lastly, and a final note, why does it not surprise me that the Southeastern US is becoming a hotbed for this. If there’s an emerging energy that needs to be regulated to prevent abuses, I think this would be it.

        Reply
      • Griffin

         /  October 21, 2015

        I will say that I had not considered BECCS Leland. You make a good point there.

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  October 22, 2015

        Hi Eric-

        Here’s a link to information on the Vattenfall Schwarze Pump oxyfuel combustion pilot plant in Germany. It uses oxyfuel combustion to capture just about all of the CO2.

        https://sequestration.mit.edu/tools/projects/vattenfall_oxyfuel.html

        The project has been cancelled, but my understanding is that this is for economic reasons, not technical ones. From Vattenfall’s point of view, it’s $100 million dollars down a rat hole, if no one is going to force them to implement it, I think.

        Technically, oxyfuel combustion (combustion in a mixture of pure oxygen and recycled flue gas) is quite possible. Oxyfuel is pretty common in industry, especially where a higher combustion temperature is desired. There have been American efforts as well. The basic problem is that it takes energy to produce oxygen cryogenically from air, and if no provision is made to add a topping cycle to make use of the potential higher Carnot efficiency of oxyfuel, there is a net power loss from using oxyfuel.

        If there was a price on carbon of about $50 dollars per ton, though, oxyfuel becomes competitive, according to the studies I’ve seen. If a high temperature ceramic heat exchanger could be developed, as was studied in the Clinton administration Combustion 2000 program, it would be possible to add a gas turbine topping cycle to oxyfuel combustion and use the extra power generated by the topping cycle to pay for producing the oxygen and compressing the CO2 for deep injection. I think the end result would be a more complex power plant, producing electricity at roughly current rates, but capable of capturing essentially all of the CO2 from biomass for deep injection.

        Reply
      • Leland — I think some of this is needed (BECCS). However, I’m worried that without a carbon price, and direction by government to build the BECCS plants and to limit usage, we end up just burning wood and taking down the forests without getting the added benefit of a net carbon capture. I think Laissez Faire will screw this up — resulting in a similar situation to what we now see with palm oil in Indonesia. The goal would be aimed at biomass at a scale that doesn’t take down forests and that is mainly used in CCS.

        Regarding atmospheric capture, I’m also interested in taking down atmospheric carbon for use in carbon fiber raw materials.

        Reply
  69. mike gordon

     /  October 21, 2015

    Formation of coastal sea ice in North Pacific drives ocean circulation and climate

    http://blogs.agu.org/geospace/2015/10/20/formation-of-coastal-sea-ice-in-north-pacific-drives-ocean-circulation-and-climate/

    Reply
  70. – Trees in decline in northeastern NA.
    – 1970: “… region-wide downturn after 1970.” This relative time frame is one I plan to use re aerosol pollution’s effect on tree health out West. More on that later.

    ‘New study rings alarm for sugar maple in Adirondacks’
    Posted By News On October 21, 2015 – 4:30am

    The iconic sugar maple, one of the most economically and ecologically important trees in the eastern United States and Canada, shows signs of being in a significant decline, according to research results published today (Oct. 21, 2015) in the open-access journal “Ecosphere.”

    “Given their relatively young age and favorable competitive status in these forests, these sugar maples should be experiencing the best growth rates of their lives. It was a complete surprise to see their growth slow down like this,” said Daniel Bishop, who conducted the study as part of his master’s thesis at ESF. “But our data tells a clear story. We can detect the start of a region-wide downturn after 1970, with a large proportion of the trees continuing this trend over recent years.”
    http://www.sciencecodex.com/new_study_rings_alarm_for_sugar_maple_in_adirondacks-167874

    Reply
  71. European birdwatchers unravel how birds respond to climate change
    Posted By News On October 21, 2015 – 4:30am

    New details on how birds respond to climate change have been revealed by volunteer bird watchers all over Europe. The information they’ve gathered shows birds respond to changing conditions in different seasons of the year. While some species benefit from these changes, birds that are adapted to colder regions stand to lose.

    The results are based on an incredibly large dataset from 18 different countries collected by volunteers and published in Global Change Biology led by the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen, together with BirdLife International and the European Bird Census Council.
    http://www.sciencecodex.com/european_birdwatchers_unravel_how_birds_respond_to_climate_change-167876

    Reply
  72. – On Oct. 17 Sam Carana on Arctic News posted Robert’s “Is Human Warming Prodding A Sleeping Methane Monster off Oregon’s Coast?”
    🙂

    Reply
  73. Vic

     /  October 21, 2015

    The Australian government’s offer of four million dollars to help establish a new think tank for Bjorn Lomberg has now been withdrawn. Several universities had toyed with the idea of hosting Lomborg’s outfit in return for the funding but were met with fierce resistance from their own students and academics. Activism works.

    Another one’s gone
    and another one’s gone
    Another one bites the dust…

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-21/govt-withdraws-funding-from-lomborg-centre/6873238

    Reply
  74. redskylite

     /  October 21, 2015

    It seems if the UT Energy Poll is trustworthy that attitudes are changing, albeit slowly . . .

    Reason for increased hope ?

    “The latest UT Energy Poll released this morning reveals that U.S. attitudes on climate change have shifted significantly – and not just in the ways you might expect. Seventy-six percent of Americans now say that climate change is occurring–an increase from 68 percent just one year ago. Further, only 14 percent say it’s not, compared with 22% when we first asked the question in the Spring of 2012.”

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/over-3-out-of-4-americans-now-acknowledge-climate-change-is-occurring-including-the-majority-of-republicans/

    Reply
  75. Colorado Bob

     /  October 21, 2015

    Smoke and fires in southern Sumatra and Borneo

    Terra/MODIS
    2015/294
    10/21/2015
    03:00 UTC

    Reply
  76. Colorado Bob

     /  October 21, 2015

    September 2015: Earth’s Warmest Month in Recorded History, Says NOAA
    By: Jeff Masters ,

    Link

    Reply
  77. Greg

     /  October 21, 2015

    Not so fast on framing Climate Change as a National Security Threat. There’s are implications.
    http://www.wired.com/2015/10/how-climate-change-became-a-national-security-problem/

    Reply
    • Regardless of framing, CC is a national security issue. Anything that wrecks people’s lives on a mass scale and puts huge numbers of people in motion is something that should be looked at as a threat. My view is that aiming our threat focus at solving and responding to climate change puts resources to good use and puts us on a footing where we not only believe that response is possible, but necessary.

      The issue is how we identify and respond to the problem. If we look at the climate processes that generate refugees and displaced persons as a the real threat (which it is), then we likely have a positive response that includes providing aid to the displaced. If we start looking at displaced persons as the threat, then we’ve actually made an error in threat analysis. An error that will result in less resiliency in the long term and not more.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  October 21, 2015

        A prime example , the poorest people in Northern Colorado were living in trailer parks on flood planes.

        Those are gone for ever.

        Reply
  78. Colorado Bob

     /  October 21, 2015

    Quoting 40. FunnelVortex:

    Then we can call it GREENland for once🙂

    A word about words.

    If I’m a Viking real estate developer over run by volcanoes on an island called “Iceland” , what am I going to call my next great find ?

    GREENLAND

    Like Apple Valley in the high desert of California, there ain’t no apples in “Apple Valley” except for Roy Rodgers stuffed horses.

    Long before our real estate developers called places in a desert “Paradise Valley”. huskers for the Santa Fe Railroad were in Eastern Europe handing out handbills claiming that the “rain follows the plow” in Kansas. Women from the Ukraine, and Russia brought seal jars of “hard red winter wheat” on their laps to Kansas, in those jars were the seeds of the “Russian thistle”. that is why we have our song “Tumblin’ Tumble Weeds”.

    Buffalo Bill never saw a “Tumblin’ Tumble Weed” in his life.

    And the term “Greenland” is so wrong. It’s a fiction of Viking Hype .

    Reply
  79. Colorado Bob

     /  October 21, 2015

    Here’s another “Lego Map” from NOAA on this report –
    http://www.wunderground.com/news/record-warmest-january-september-noaa
    The really creepy thing, is that cold spot Southeast of Greenland is the only deep blue spot in the oceans, on the entire map. And month after month it doesn’t move. There is a hell of a lot of cold fresh water coming out of that Southeast drain in the Greenland bath tub.

    http://i.livescience.com/images/i/000/056/407/original/Greenland3.jpg?1377792929

    Reply
  80. Colorado Bob

     /  October 21, 2015

    RS –
    Don’t stop , when you can’t post, open an ” Open Thread”. Before Joe Romme joined his mess today, he did just that, and it was some the most informative comments I ever read.

    Reply
    • Good Idea, Bob! Actually, I got one out today🙂. Will think about posting an open thread on other dog days.

      In an unrelated topic, the climate change denier spammers now can’t tell the difference between CO2 (now at around 400 ppm) and CO2e, which they are calling a typo at (480 ppm). Another clear indication of scientific illiteracy if I’ve ever seen it😉

      We are not done. Not by a long shot.

      Reply
  81. Colorado Bob

     /  October 21, 2015

    RS –
    I have a double link comment in this WordPress hell.

    I know a bit
    Time to up grade my friend .

    Time Has Come Today.

    Reply
  82. Colorado Bob

     /  October 21, 2015

    Simple Minds- Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Lyrics

    Reply
  83. Colorado Bob

     /  October 21, 2015

    You have the best research team on the web. your comments travel far and wide

    Please don;t lay done.

    Reply
  84. “Most British teenagers expect their first car to be electric –
    More than 80% of British 14-year-olds believe that the first car they buy will be electric, as electric vehicle sales in the UK continue to rise. Almost 90% of 14 to 17 year olds feel that motorists should be driving zero-emissions cars, regardless of their age.
    The results come off the back of a 26.6% growth in electric car sales in the UK. In September this year 3,912 electric and hybrid cars eligible for the government’s £5,000 grant were sold, compared to 3,090 in September 2014. For the year-to-date, that figure is at 20,992, up 138.5% from last year. However, electric and hybrid cars still represent a tiny share of total cars sold in the month, which for September 2015 stood at 462,517, up 8.6% from last year.”

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/most-british-teenagers-expect-their-first-car-be-electric-1524811

    Reply
    • Good for them! Let’s hope their government supports their aspirations as well as like hopes for solar and wind-fueled homes and vehicles.

      Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  October 21, 2015

      The real world is those kids will never drive anything. If one leaves school with $ 500,000 in the hole.
      That is where we are headed,

      Reply
  85. Colorado Bob

     /  October 21, 2015

    Here we go kids into a world we never dreamed of I am an old man.
    This new world will not be easy.

    Reply
  86. Colorado Bob

     /  October 21, 2015

    RS –

    Please write anew thread,

    Reply
  87. mlparrish

     /  October 22, 2015

    Re biomass burning. I am from North Carolina where lots of those wood pellets are coming from. It is heart breaking to see all that biomass, not to mention corn, being used (and exported) for primary energy production, not for food or forests. Those pellets, and much of other biomass, need to be reworked into the soil to replace the organic components. This is not generally done to the degree necessary since it is difficult, time- and labor-intensive. Yes, you can grow crops (and forests) on depleted soil using chemicals. The food therefrom tastes like what it grew upon. Long ago the topsoil in the South was several feet thick. Not any more.

    Reply
  1. Is Human Warming Prodding A Sleeping Methane Monster off Oregon’s Coast? | GarryRogers Nature Conservation and Science Fiction (#EcoSciFi)

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