More Signs of Gulf Stream Slowdown as Floods Devastate Cumbria, England

Back in 2009 heavy rains fell over the Northern UK. The rains, abnormally intense, pushed river levels to heights never before measured. A wall of water built-up. Surging over banks, it inundated the town of Carlisle, Cumbria, England — forcing many to flee to higher ground.

At the time, weather forecasters and climatologists wondered if there might have been a global warming link to the freak Cumbria floods. There was certainly risk. Risk that the North Atlantic would become a mess of storms as the Gulf Stream slowed down and cold air masses collided with warm — developing a raging storm track to the west of the UK. A climate situation with the potential to draw in never-before-seen rivers of moisture and set off flooding the likes of which the UK has never known. Flood defenses were shored up. New commitments were made to shift the country away from carbon emissions.

But in just six short years many of those commitments have lagged. Funding for flood defenses was cut by conservatives in the UK parliament even as similar funds for wind and solar energy were targeted in favor of fracking the countryside for natural gas. The usual litany of climate change denial spewed out of the regular conservative mouthpieces in the politics and the media. It was the height of hubris and mismanagement. And again we have a ‘never before seen’ rainstorm roaring up out of a greatly troubled North Atlantic.

*****

Sands Center Carlisle River Level

(On December 6 of 2015 river levels at Sands Centre in Carlisle hit 8 meters above the typical range. The previous record highest level for this river gauge was 4.5 meters — a level the new flood defense systems were designed to contain. But this week’s rainfall simply overwhelmed both flood defenses and previous expectations for the upper limits of extreme weather. Image source: Shoothill Gauge Map.)

On Saturday and Sunday of December 5th and 6th, 2015, Cumbria flooded again. An even higher flood surge than before overwhelmed the new defenses and forced residents to yet again flee. Then, just three days later on Wednesday more than two months worth of rain fell over the Cumbria region. The amount at 341 mm in just 24 hours was a new UK record and compares to average total rainfall for the month of December at 146 mm. The county was again overwhelmed by water. Human chains were formed to help bring those stranded to safety. After the waters began to subside — devastation. More than 6,000 homes were found to have been flooded with perhaps as many as 20,000 people displaced.

This was the flood UK parliamentarians swore they would fight to keep from happening again. The one conservative politicians said would never again happen in our lifetime. A flood that was worse than the terrible event of 2009 happening just six years after the first. And one that was almost certainly made worse by the dreadful alterations wrought by human forced climate change on the environment of the North Atlantic.

The Gulf Stream Slowdown and The Great New Storms of the North Atlantic

One doesn’t have to be a climatologist to see that sea surface temperature patterns in the North Atlantic are all topsy-turvy. The region of ocean to the west of the UK is cooler than normal. It’s a great cool pool once predicted by climate scientists and now made real by a human-forced warming of the world’s airs and waters. The result of an ever-increasing glacial melt outflow coming from Greenland.

image

(Temperature anomaly deltas in the region of the Gulf Stream are in the range of -5 C below average in the northern, Greenland melt-related, cool pool, and +9 C above average in a hot ribbon off the US East Coast. This overall new 14 C temperature variance from south to north is generating new atmospheric instabilities that intensify storm systems firing off in the North Atlantic. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

Climate scientists have known for a long time that just such a cool pool of fresh glacial melt could play havok with weather across the North Atlantic and on to far-flung regions of the globe. And it’s just such a weather disruptor that we see developing there now. One that was originally dramatized in the film The Day After Tomorrow. But one that will all-too-likely represent centuries of catastrophic weather terminating in a new, much hotter, far more toxic, and far less life-sustaining world — rather than simply a week-long hemisphere-sized superstorm abruptly halted by a nonsensical new ice age (Please see World Ocean Heartbeat Fading).

To the south of our cool pool and on off the US East Coast we find that sea surface temperatures are screaming hot. Hot as in the range of 5-9 degrees Celsius (9-16 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal. Both the cool pool to the north and the hot pool to the south taken together are an ominous sign that the Gulf Stream is slowing down. The cool, fresh water outflow from glaciers near Greenland is interrupting a heat and salt driven over-turning there. The over-turning, which drives the Gulf Stream current, slows down. As a result, heat that would be transported northward instead backs up off the US East Coast.

What results is a kind of dipole temperature pattern that aids in storm generation over the North Atlantic. The cool pool tends to pull cold air southward from Greenland. The hot ribbon off the US East Coast tends to draw warm, moist, tropical air into collision with the trough zone south and east of Greenland. The result is a high potential for storm bombification in the region west of the UK. These storms, in turn, pull rivers of moisture up from the tropical airs to the south and over England, Ireland and Scotland. This confluence of weather sets off unprecedented storms and heavy rainfall for the UK.

Both the new North Atlantic sea surface temperature pattern and the resulting storms are not normal. They are an upshot of only recently emerging weather patterns resulting from a human-forced climate change. And, sadly, we can expect to see them continue to worsen. This year, in particular, could see some extraordinary trans-Atlantic storms as the El Nino-driven tendency for trough development and tropical air injection over the US East Coast comes into play. But overall, El Nino or no, the new dipole temperature anomaly pattern in the North Atlantic fed by Greenland melt and a related Gulf Stream slowdown will tend to keep pushing the region into a stormier and stormier pattern for the foreseeable future. The UK and its politicians should be made well aware of the consequences of their actions. Continuing to plan to burn fossil fuels is simply adding more fuel to an already raging climate fire.

Links:

The Story of the 2009 Cumbria Floods

More Rain and Flooding Expected in Northwest England

Toxic Interests: In Lead-up to Paris Summit, Conservatives Around the World are Fighting to Kill Renewable Energy

The Devastation in Cumbria

Shoothill Gauge Map

Earth Nullschool

World Ocean Heartbeat Fading

Warning From Scientists – Halt Fossil Fuel Burning Fast or Age of Superstorms, 3-20 Foot Sea Level Rise is Coming Soon

Hat Tip to Dr. James Hansen

Hat Tip to Neven, Jeremy, and Miles

Leave a comment

158 Comments

  1. Griffin

     /  December 11, 2015

    Thank you for this post Robert! I was just looking at the SSTA’s off the east coast this morning and wondering about this very thing.
    I hope you are doing well. Perhaps you could use a chuckle. This video is a spoof of the Koch Brothers and I think it is a great way to use humor for getting the climate change message across to more people.
    http://ecowatch.com/2015/12/11/climate-denier-spoof-video/

    Reply
    • Thanks for this, Griff. A much needed chuckle, indeed. Very well done spoof!

      Looks like the U.S. Southeast will be more so in the crosshairs this year. But with those high deltas off New England commingling with typical El Niño trough and moisture delivery patterns you could end up with storm systems that blanket the entire East Coast. The UK is taking a beating again. One is tempted to agree with Jeremy and say they deserve it. But all of the UK is not characterized by the bad actions of numbskull politicians.

      Reply
      • Colin Wright

         /  December 12, 2015

        Hey Robert et al. Slamming the Uk as a whole with vitriol is pretty poor, no matter what the frustration.

        Remember the environmental successes driven from the Uk, including the Montreal protocol, described by Kofi Annan as mankinds’ greatest environmental achievement. I had the honour of working for Farnham, Gardener and Shanklin during those heady days, just before Joe retired, and they were giants among men. (These are the guys who discovered the ozone hole and published the Nature paper, 16th May 1985).

        It is also something to think about from our perspective looking back across the pond that America has a rough average of 250% more per capita CO2 output than us Limeys (and there are a lot of you!).

        I share your frustration with the shameful ‘Con–servatives’ and their hateful energy and environmental policies, but do not judge us by our current government, more on our achievements. And please no more Republican presidents!

        Best wishes, and lets hope Paris delivers ! It may not be enough but everything helps at this point!

        Kind Regards
        Colin

        Reply
        • All excellent points, Colin. To be very clear, I don’t agree at all with the ‘screw em’ attitude and was trying to nudge the conversation in a different direction. Nor do I see the UK, as a whole, as being worthy of a blanket blame. You’re absolutely correct to point out past achievements. And I do not believe for one minute that sentiment in the UK overall supports the irresponsible policies we’ve been seeing coming from UK government over the past few months.

          That said, political influence and the actions of influential sub groups matter. And if, for example, a good number of people suffering from environmental tragedies are now willfully ignorant of the causes, well that’s an entirely distinct form of tragedy in itself. Some were describing this kind of sentiment in the regions hardest hit by the recent floods. And though it may be difficult for those of us to find sympathy for victims of climate change who are also dead set against solutions to climate change, it is no less an instance where we should reach out. We may not share their views. We may be all too cognizant of the harm the policies they encourage generate. But I do not feel that they should be abandoned to their own dire fate. Some say such a thing would be justice. But it reeks of vengeance. And we are not on a mission of vengeance here. We are on a rescue mission.

          That said, such sentiment does not at all forego or replace a rightful placing of blame. We are largely in this fix due to a staunch policy opposition supported by the ignorant, the ill informed, and by those who are basically unwilling to do the right thing even to save their own children from this mess. They bear a far, far greater share of the responsibility for this mess and I believe ignoring that is a rather dangerous precedent.

          We should hold them accountable. But vengeance is not justice.

      • Scott

         /  December 12, 2015

        Jeremy’s thought was my first thought, but with a little bit of a twist…it’s nice to see a first world country bear the brunt for a change. And the rest of your comment resonates as well. If the US is next in line, well, so be it. We can afford it, and we are the ones who need to change our ways. Seems only fitting.

        Thank you so much for what you do. I appreciate your work.

        Reply
      • Jeremy in Wales

         /  December 12, 2015

        There are still far too many sheeple in the UK who deny that climate change is taking place, “its a conspiracy to tax us” or “it is part of natural cycles” (Piers Corbyn brother of the the Labour Leader – see “This Week By-Election special”, 03/12/15, on BBC-i player to see the nonsense he spouts). However the real blame lies with the politicians who have had all the scientific advice they needed since Thatcher (who actually took the threat seriously) in the 1980s.

        The mountains and hills of the north and west are basically bald of everything except grass and bracken largely because of sheep farming for the last 200 years. Heavy rain just runs off immediately and nothing holds it back. The English Enviroment agency Natural England had a policy Vital Uplands that proposed more vegetation to soak up and delay its release into rivers but even this minor policy attracted the ire of politicians. I will let Mr Monbiot take up the story: http://www.monbiot.com/2015/12/08/a-storm-of-ignorance/

        “For the past three years, Cumbria’s two most prominent MPs, Rory Stewart, now a minister at the environment department, and Tim Farron, leader of the Lib Dems, have denounced those who call for the better management of watersheds to prevent flooding. In 2013, Rory Stewart blasted the National Trust because it “allows water to ruin the lowland pastures of their small tenant farms, apparently on the advice of the Environment Agency.” In 2014, he mocked the RSPB and the water company United Utilities for managing their land “in a way that ‘increased biodiversity, decreased flooding, increased carbon capture.’”

        In 2013, Tim Farron pronounced himself “delighted that Natural England are readjusting their approach to the uplands, with the recent dropping of their Uplands Vision”. This vision (called Vital Uplands) proposed that there should be more vegetation in the hills to reduce “the risk of downstream flooding”. It noted that “Intensive grazing can cause soil erosion and compaction, and prevent regeneration of scrub and trees, thus speeding water run-off.” The report was publicly denounced by the head of the government body that had commissioned it, Natural England, who happened to make his living as a farmer. Once again, the online version was deleted and the hard copies were pulped. Is this how democracies behave?

        Now Messrs Stewart and Farron wring their hands and wring out their clothes, lamenting this inexplicable act of God. On Saturday, Tim Farron was trapped in the floodwaters while driving his car, and had to be rescued. The car, apparently, is a write-off. There is relief that he and his four children came to no harm. Still, parables have been told about men like him.”

        Mr Rory Stewart MP is a the MP for Penrith & the Border (part of Cumbria) & in 2015 was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), with responsibilities including the natural environment, national parks, floods and water, resource and environmental management, rural affairs, lead responsibility for the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Forestry Commission, and acting as the Secretary of State’s deputy on the Environment Council. He is the minister for flooding for christs sake!!! Obviously.

        Farron is MP for Westmorland & Lonsdale (Cumbria) is now leader of the rump of MPs called Liberal Democrats who were in coalition with the Conservatives 2010-2015.

        With politicians (fools) like these how do we expect them to lead the population to deal with the actual cause of the massive floods? I dread this happening in the south of Wales where steep narrow valleys are intensively urbanised due to 19 Century coal mining and the floods hitting the coastal towns when the tide is in (2nd highest range in the World) from the Bristol Channel (Mor y Hafren). Cumbria has taken the bullet three times now, chances are it will be somewhere else next time.

        I just wish there was a possibility of electing politicians who are not ignorant, who could approach a problem with joined up thinking and who was not in thrall to vested interests. I also wish that people when buying houses just looked at a map and avoided buying houses close to rivers unless you are prepared to adapt the houses and take regular losses.

        Robert, Thanks for such a clear explanation of the processes involved.

        Reply
  2. Jeremy

     /  December 11, 2015

    Sorry to say this but-“Fuck ’em” – this is exactly what they need.
    I was in the Borrowdale Valley this summer for a week – at Honister Pass in fact, where 12″ rain just fell.
    Everyone I spoke with was a denier.

    This is the wake up call they need.

    Reply
    • It never fails to amaze — the capacity of some for self destructive self delusion. I suppose this might be the same crowd that Trump targets as customers for the golf courses he’s been investing in? Utter madness. But I feel bad for them nonetheless. So it’s more like — those poor fools — for me.

      Reply
      • Colin Wright

         /  December 12, 2015

        Hey Robert et al. Slamming the Uk as a whole with vitriol is pretty poor, no matter what the frustration.

        Remember the environmental successes driven from the Uk, including the Montreal protocol, described by Kofi Annan as mankinds’ greatest environmental achievement. I had the honour of working for Farnham, Gardener and Shanklin during those heady days, just before Joe retired, and they were giants among men. (These are the guys who discovered the ozone hole and published the Nature paper, 16th May 1985).

        It is also something to think about from our perspective looking back across the pond that America has a rough average of 250% more per capita CO2 output than us Limeys (and there are a lot of you!).

        I share your frustration with the shameful ‘Con–servatives’ and their hateful energy and environmental policies, but do not judge us by our current government, more on our achievements. And please no more Republican presidents!

        Best wishes, and lets hope Paris delivers ! It may not be enough but everything helps at this point!

        Kind Regards
        Colin

        Reply
      • Caroline

         /  December 14, 2015

        Reply
    • Steven Blaisdell

       /  December 12, 2015

      Jeremy, as horrible as it sounds I kind of agree with you. At some point one loses compassion for folks so deluded and dissociated from reality, so drunk on materialistic entitlement, so blinkered by the puerile narcissism of wealth (and all industrialized societies are wealthy), so fattened on the golden calf; at some point the effort of caring about supposedly conscious animals unable or unwilling to stop shitting in the water hole; at some point this becomes a losing proposition. If there are so many so in thrall to comfort and convenience, to placating lies, to primitive genetic programming, that shifting perspective in order to save a livable biosphere becomes impossible, then, yes, “fuck ’em.”

      Reply
  3. NevenA

     /  December 11, 2015

    Robert, I believe Cumbria is a county, not a town.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the fact check, Neven. Fixes in. Hope all is well with you.

      Reply
      • NevenA

         /  December 11, 2015

        Thanks, Robert. Hope all is well with you too.🙂

        And thanks for an interesting read on the Gulf Stream. I read an article a few days back stating that the current slowdown in the AMOC may cause winter sea ice extent in the Arctic to remain steady in the near future (not that changes in winter ASI are as big or fast as the ones during summer).

        And this one just today, to stay even more on-topic: Storm Desmond rainfall partly due to climate change, scientists conclude

        “Researchers ran climate modelling experiments and found that climate change made flooding 40% more likely”

        Reply
        • With regards to the very interesting article you linked above —

          I think that’s a question that will be deeply related to how rapidly Greenland glacial ice ends up melting. But it could certainly result in more sea ice resilience in the near Greenland region. Say Baffin Bay, the CAB north of Greenland, and the region between Greenland and Svalbard. But I wonder about the Russian side and on through Alaska?

          If we get some big melt pulses, I’m pretty sure you’ll be up to your eyeballs covering some strange swings, though. It would be rather wild, but quite possible, for example, to see sea ice expansion out of Baffin and into the North Atlantic even as Kara, Laptev, ESS, Chukchi, and Beaufort still keep receding.

          As for Desmond. It’s great to see the scientists on the ball with this one. It’s worth noting the language change to ‘likely contributed to’ and ‘partly due to’ as opposed to the rather confusing ‘any one storm cannot be attributed to.’ I find that alteration refreshing and more contextually accurate. We’ve got climate change baked into the weather cake at this time. It’s a driver that just gets more and more prominent as warming and related geophysical changes take hold.

          Flooding 40 percent more likely is a pretty big deal. That’s kinda a curve buster. I mean, we’re not talking about marginal stuff. A 40 percent change is a rather large probability shift.

          Thanks for these, Neven. As ever, very informed and informative.

  4. dnem

     /  December 11, 2015

    Never tried to upload a photo before, but here goes. A few shots from balmy Bawlmer. First, a narcissus blooming in late November.
    /Users/NemFree/Downloads/Narcissus.jpg

    Reply
  5. dnem

     /  December 11, 2015

    Sorry, how do you upload a photo here?

    Reply
    • If you copy the image location into the post it should work. Looks like the last one didn’t have the full html. Possibly a mis-key on the cut and paste?

      Reply
    • dnem / December 11, 2015

      Sorry, how do you upload a photo here?
      – All you want to do is post a tread/link to an image on a web page.
      Just right click on an image on a page until you see ‘copy image location.’
      Copy it then past it into the comment box but make sure you remove any characters after.jpg 🙂

      Reply
    • “It’s a local photo on my Mac.”
      Comments here only link to something posted or uploaded files on the web — not your local computer.

      Reply
  6. Around 800,000+ years ago one of our hominin ancestors striking two stones or rubbing two sticks together may have sparked some tinder alight ushering in the new technology of the control of fire. Like the sorcerer’s apprentice, we were unaware of the many consequences and how to deal with them. And there does not seem to be any rescuing sorcerer in the offing at the moment.

    Sent from my iPad 🙏🏻

    >

    Reply
  7. Miles Newman

     /  December 11, 2015

    “Surging over banks, it inundated the town of Carlisle, Cumbria, England.”

    Reply
  8. Nothing too surprising out of Paris (yet). But nice to see Kevin Anderson getting some MSM attention at least:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/climate/2015-paris-climate-talks/scientists-see-catastrophe-in-latest-draft-of-climate-deal

    “Dr. Anderson called the draft agreement “somewhere between dangerous and deadly” for the lowest-income people in the world.”

    Reply
    • Good to see the NYT talking about this. Kudos for that. And Dr. Anderson does have a nice ring to it, don’t you think? In any case, I’d add that it’s dangerous and deadly to everyone. The wealthy can’t really be safe in a world where whole civilizations start going under due to climate change. It’s not a question of the wealthy not existing anymore. There will always be wealthy people. But this future is just really a lot less safe, a lot more dangerous and deadly for everyone.

      Dr. Anderson is absolutely right, though, when you think about the human tragedy involved. I mean, we’re basically talking about whether or not we risk putting ourselves on the endangered species list. I think people don’t realize that when we’re talking about degrees of warming. But at 2 C, or 3 C, and almost certainly 4 C that’s a pretty strong possibility. We just risk massive and never ending human tragedy if we don’t manage to really get serious. And that’s a huge deal. So Kevin’s right to keep beating that drum.

      Reply
  9. Loni

     /  December 11, 2015

    Another good post, Robert, thank you. We had a pretty good blow come through the north coast of California the other night, I’ve been replacing roof shingles. (Can’t wait to start building under ground.)

    Can the ocean heat that is building up off the eastern sea board work it’s way into and around Greenland?

    Reply
  10. A very clear and informative article Robert, thanks. A small pedantic point…you refer to “the region west of the UK” but then omit Wales from your list of nations in the firing line.

    Re: Jeremy’s comment “Fuck ’em…This is the wake up call they need”. Well, fuck him for his lack of compassion. Many of those affected by Storm Desmond will have been “woken up” in 2009, or by other events or for other reasons. Having “fuck ’em” thrown in their faces right now – even if they’re not yet awake to global warming – is just callous, insulting, and indicative of how far we have to go as a species if we’re to have any hope of digging our way out of this mess…which probably amounts to fuck all.

    Linking ill-informed climate deniers to that fuck wit Donald Trump is not helpful either.

    If Jeremy thinks our neoliberal conservative politicians need to wake up, he’s right, and fuck them. But it’s not going to happen. They, of all people, are not going to ditch capitalism for any kind of ecologically sound political economy. It’s hard to imagine Labour doing so either, even with Jeremy Corbyn at the helm. Which reinforces my sense of there being fuck all hope. However, Berlin Walls can fall.

    Incidentally, I don’t know if it’s been mentioned elsewhere on this blog (a search turned up no results) but Corbyn’s mad brother Piers of weatheraction.org is a rabid denier: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03b1c7c

    Robert, you concluded: “Continuing to plan to burn fossil fuels is simply adding more fuel to an already raging climate fire.” True enough, but what about continuing to expand the meat trade?

    Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  December 12, 2015

      The Republic of Ireland, or more correctly, Eire, can also be added to that list of nations.

      Its interesting to see Dr Kevin Anderson receiving praise in this thread, presumably he is an exception to the ‘f**k em’ comment.😉

      I think Jeremy is just frustrated, as we all are, at the pace of change. Sadly, flooding in the North isn’t really going to be enough to prompt action.

      If it was the Thames again, now that would get a few minds focused!

      Reply
      • Jeremy

         /  December 12, 2015

        Frustrated doesn’t do it justice.
        We’re living in an armed madhouse .

        The masses are celebrating $36 oil and cheap gasoline .

        My eleven year old will be wondering what we were thinking .

        Reply
  11. Ryan in New England

     /  December 12, 2015

    Great post, Robert! Those SST anomalies are outrageous. Here in Ct it’s feeling a lot like early Spring. I was literally running in shorts and a t-shirt today, and was perfectly comfortable. There wasn’t a bit of cool to the air. I actually worked up quite a sweat. And right behind my home I noticed some plants starting to bud. We have three more days of 60+F temps, with nothing approaching freezing in the forecast. This is far different than the Christmastime I remember as a child. Yet most people around here view it as a blessing, a gift, something to be thankful for. Instead of what it really is, a symptom of the early stages of a catastrophic climate shift.

    Reply
    • Steven Blaisdell

       /  December 12, 2015

      Yep, same down here in TX; even otherwise bright and well informed folks commenting on the “beautiful weather.” It often feels unreal to me, like watching a movie where I know the ending, or like a biologist observing the unconsciously teleological behavior of some species (which is what it is, really). We are living through truly rare times.

      Reply
      • Griffin

         /  December 12, 2015

        As a fellow New Englander I can attest to the overwhelming comments of joy regarding the recent warm weather.
        As the stern of our sinking ship rises above the waves, the passengers on the fantail sure are loving the view of the setting sun.

        Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  December 12, 2015

      It’s enough to make one crazy! Sometimes I feel like I’m the only sane person surrounded by population of brainwashed, mentally ill individuals. Even the meteorologists on the local news proclaim how lucky we are, and how this weather is absolutely beautiful. They have fun montages showing last year’s record breaking snows occurring in Buffalo by this time (they saw about 8ft in a week or so) and the freezing temps we were experiencing, juxtaposed with this year’s bare ski slopes, budding plants, and golfers in short sleeves. They use titles like “going to extremes” or “weather whiplash” without ever broaching the fact that all of these extremes we’ve been seeing in recent years are very troubling signs and were predicted decades ago by our best scientists, and when put in the proper context of climate science are indicators that a very dark future is in store for our global civilization. Those of us who are aware of what is really happening can see these events for what they are…and they are very troubling.

      Reply
    • James Burton

       /  December 12, 2015

      Northern Minnesota. Every day is in the 40’s, which is warm for us. I suggest we are 15 degrees above normal on a daily basis.

      Reply
  12. Ryan in New England

     /  December 12, 2015
    Reply
    • Leland Palmer

       /  December 13, 2015

      Hi Ryan

      It’s not the monolithic slowing of the rotation of the earth that scares me, it’s that the stresses slowing the earth are being applied unevenly, to the crust of the earth and the beds of the oceans. There are some old papers in geophysics that speculate that changes in sea level can trigger geomagnetic reversals, by changing the relative motions of the mantle and core of the earth.

      But what worries me is the geological coincidence between hyperthermal mass extinction events and flood basalt eruptions like the End Permian. It’s always been supposed that the flood basalt eruptions caused the hyperthermal events and mass extinction events.

      But what if the reverse is true – what if abrupt shifting of the mass of the icecaps to the equatorial regions as the icecaps melt can actually change the motion of tectonic plates creating rifting and flood basalt eruptions?

      The mantle plume explanation of rifting is being questioned, these days, so I read. Scientists are willing to entertain alternate causes of rifting.

      We really, really don’t want flood basalt eruptions, injecting upwards of a million cubic kilometers of lava as occurred during the Siberian Traps erruption and the End Permian mass extinction.

      Somebody competent to do this should run the numbers, keeping in mind that the stresses slowing the rotation of the whole earth will be applied to the westward equatorial margins of continents mostly, I think, unless the stress can be applied by viscosity to the whole ocean bed.

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  December 13, 2015

        That’s a terrifying thought, Leland. I hadn’t really ever thought about the potential tectonic consequences of the shifting mass distribution from melting ice sheets and movement of large amounts of water. When the two major earthquakes struck Nepal, right in the Himalayas where lots of ice loss has occurred, the possible link finally became apparent in my mind. With NASA’s G.R.A.C.E. satellite we’ve been able to finally see the huge amount of ice and groundwater that has been lost in areas around the world. This amount of weight must have consequences when it is redistributed.

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  December 14, 2015

        Hi Ryan-

        Yes, even if the rifting idea is not true, there will almost certainly be seismic consequences from isostatic adjustment as the glaciers lose mass.

        The geological evidence seems to show that the mass extinction events occur at the same time as the flood basalt eruptions, but the flood basalt eruptions continue on for hundreds of thousands of years after the mass extinction event. Likely it would be hard to find the first eruption sites in flood basalt eruptions – the subsequent eruptions would probably cover up and destroy the first ones. So, I need to read more about what is known about the exact sequence of events during these flood basalt associated extinctions.

        I hope, too, that the rifting idea – that sudden mass redistribution from the polar regions to the equatorial regions might cause rifting and flood basalt eruptions – is not true. We really don’t want flood basalt eruptions, ejecting millions of cubic kilometers of lava into our biosphere.

        I wish the real experts in geophysics would do the calculations and tell us the results. My understanding is that modeling software is being developed that might be able to answer questions like these.

        Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  December 14, 2015

        The rotational axis is shifting and that shift is accelerating, those reports of the increase in ice mass in West Antarctica as East Antarctica is losing mass is truly a matter for concern in relation to axial stability.

        https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24755-earths-poles-are-shifting-because-of-climate-change#.U17X045ELzI

        Now, Jianli Chen of the University of Texas at Austin and colleagues have shown that melting due to our greenhouse-gas emissions is making its own contribution to the shift.

        The wobble in Earth’s axis of rotation is a combination of two major components, each with its own cause. One is called the Chandler wobble and is thought to arise because the Earth is not rigid. Another is the annual wobble, related to Earth’s orbit around the sun.
        Additional wobble

        Remove these wobbles, and you are left with an additional signal. Since observations began in 1899, the North Pole has been drifting southwards 10 centimetres per year along longitude 70° west – a line running through eastern Canada.

        This drift is due to the changes in the distribution of Earth’s mass as the crust slowly rebounds after the end of the last ice age. But Chen’s team found something surprising. In 2005, this southward drift changed abruptly. The pole began moving eastwards and continues to do so, a shift that has amounted to about 1.2 metres since 2005.

        To work out why the pole changed direction, Chen’s team used data from NASA’s GRACE satellite, which measures changes in Earth’s gravity field over time. The data allowed them to calculate the redistribution of mass on Earth’s surface due to the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and mountain glaciers, and the resulting rise in sea level. It correlated perfectly with the observed changes in the mean pole position (MPP).

        “Ice melting and sea level change can explain 90 per cent of the [eastward shift],” says Chen. “The driving force for the sudden change is climate change.”

        Greenland thaw

        Chen’s team calculated that the biggest contribution is coming from the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which is losing about 250 gigatonnes of ice each year. Another big factor is the melting of mountain glaciers, which contributes about 194 gigatonnes per year. The contribution from Antarctica adds up to 180 gigatonnes per year, but there is considerable uncertainty here because changes in the gravity field due to Earth’s crust rebounding are less well understood over Antarctica than elsewhere.

        Since the MPP can be accurately measured using multiple independent techniques, its position and drift can be used to gauge the extent of ice sheet melting, especially in between the end of the ageing GRACE mission and the launch of the next generation of gravity-field-measuring satellites, says Chen.

        Jean Dickey of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who was not associated with the study, agrees. “It’s a way to monitor climate change by continuing to measure the deviation [of the MPP] from what we have seen in the past,” she says.

        Chen presented his findings this week at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  December 17, 2015

        Hi again, Ryan, Griffin and Abel-

        People that read this board probably understood that I was talking about the conservation of angular momentum effect – the same effect that is seen when ice skaters slow their rotation by extending their arms. This is the same effect that is already slowing the rotation of the earth, slightly. As mass shifts from the polar regions close to the axis of rotation of the earth to the equatorial regions far from the axis of rotation, the equatorial regions of the crust are going to want to slow down. The rest of the planet is going to want to rotate at its old rate.

        If the oceans rise by tens of meters, the equatorial regions are going to want to slow down – a lot. All of that water (a layer tens of meters thick covering the entire ocean surface) is going to have to be accelerated to almost the same velocity as the old rate of rotation of the earth. That’s going to create stresses between the crust and mantle, I think. The oceans are going to want to push the equatorial tectonic plates westward, counter the rotation of the earth. Relative to the equatorial regions, the polar regions are gong to want to rotate eastward, perhaps applying a significant torque clockwise in the northern hemisphere to tectonic plates.

        It may be that these forces will not be great enough to significantly affect the motions of the massive tectonic plates. I don’t know. A lot might depend on the rate at which the oceans rise, and how much they rise.

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  December 25, 2015

        By the way, the earth rotates at about 1000 miles per hour at the equator. So if the earth slows by one millisecond per year, the continental plates are going to end up about 1.5 feet west from where their inertia would like them to be, at the equator. Sure, it’s a tiny acceleration, but the mass of the tectonic plates is huge, and they are riding on a viscous but somewhat fluid mantle.

        What’s going to happen when the continental plates end up 1.5 feet per year west of where their inertia wants them to be, at the equator but much less than that at the polar regions? Plate motions are generally a factor of 10 or so less than this 1.5 feet per year. Is the inertia of the plates themselves going to change their relative motions as the rotation rate of the earth decreases?

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  December 26, 2015

        Oh, correction, the original article says at least 5 milliseconds increase in the length of a year over the next century. Chances are they’re using the IPCC estimates of sea level rise, too, so the actual numbers could be much higher.

        Still, using that probably conservative estimate, that’s a distance of something like 7.5 feet that the plates will be displaced from their inertial position, over that period of time – comparable to the distance the plates themselves would move from plate tectonics.

        Reply
    • Griffin

       /  December 14, 2015

      Hi Ryan, you may be interested in this book. I picked it up at my local library and found it fascinating.
      http://www.billmcguire.co.uk/books/waking-the-giant.html

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  December 14, 2015

        I will def pick up a copy! I was unaware of this book. Thanks Griffin!

        Reply
  13. Ryan in New England

     /  December 12, 2015

    A lawsuit in Oklahoma is blaming earthquake damage on fracking. This article has a great graphic from the USGS depicting the incredible rise in earthquakes in recent years.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/12/11/3730531/oil-gas-doesnt-want-to-pay-for-earthquake-damage/

    Reply
    • Andy in SD

       /  December 12, 2015

      Another item that is occurring there.

      Record storage in Cushing Oklahoma due to low prices has pretty much all of the tanks full. They are built to a standard which does not expect this may quakes of these sizes. There is concern about the tank integrity, and potential damage / release.

      Reply
  14. Andy in SD

     /  December 12, 2015

    This is a series of articles that is so well worth the read. It is outstanding coverage of ground water depletion, in USA Today no less. I read the whole thing (all sections), very much recommend it.

    The focus is human induced overdraw, It dovetails very well with reduced snow packs and shifted rainfall patterns.

    http://www.usatoday.com/pages/interactives/groundwater/

    Reply
    • Andy in SD

       /  December 12, 2015

      One of my take away’s from these articles is the export lanes to 1st world countries. ie: Peru asparagus. So much of their exports goto the USA as do the exports from the over exploited groundwater usage in Africa.

      We pretend that the problem is “over there” and won’t touch us. When you connect these sources of produce to the first world, you see quickly it in fact will touch us.

      Another item, touched on in one buried simple sentence screamed at me. By moving our agriculture and forcing onto areas where the local population has no voice, we are in fact exporting OUR water shortage by exploiting their water (at their expense).

      We are literally exporting our water shortage.

      Reply
    • – California – Like Deepthroat (M. Felt) said in ‘All the “President’s Men’, “Follow the money.”

      “…California farm revenues have risen to record highs in the past few years, pushing gross farming income to $56.9 billion in 2014.”
      – USA Today

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  December 13, 2015

      That was a very good read, Andy. Was surprised how in depth it was. Points out some very troubling trends, and a dire situation that we face. Thanks for the link.

      Reply
  15. Syd Bridges

     /  December 12, 2015

    Thank you for this post, Robert. I’ve been trying to follow the weather in the UK, but bbc.co.uk gets redirected to bbc.com, so I don’t see the real UK news. Google searches do a bit better, with some amazing pictures of the coastal storms on, of all places, the Daily Torygraph website. I’ll be back in England a week today. If the storm track moves south, I’ll be experiencing similar weather.

    It has been obvious to me for months that this winter was likely to be disastrous for the British Isles. The backed-up Gulf Stream, the extraordinary warmth off the US East coast, and the huge cold pool off south Greenland were a disaster waiting to happen.

    As far as Cameron’s “never again” promises are concerned, he does not want to understand what is going on. His fracking insanity shows this. He’d rather not have wind power because windmills “ruin the view” of a few selfish Tory grandees. When their country houses flood, then he might listen.

    Reply
    • Apneaman

       /  December 12, 2015

      syd, try this search engine

      https://duckduckgo.com/

      Reply
    • James Burton

       /  December 12, 2015

      If you have an IPO outside the UK, you will never get UK coverage or UK television. Their computers search your IPO address, find it is not UK and block you. Almost all nations do this now. You need a proxy IPO server to get foreign TV. Just a point of interest. Many people click on BBC and hope for UK coverage, but get redirected.

      Reply
    • DrFog

       /  December 12, 2015

      Try this link:

      http://www.bbc.com/news/uk

      It should show the main news of the day in the UK, according to the BBC.

      Reply
  16. Andy in SD

     /  December 12, 2015

    Several provinces in South Africa have recently been declared drought disaster areas, leaving some farmers in serious financial trouble and raising the possibility of food shortages across the country.

    http://www.voanews.com/content/southern-africa-grapples-deepening-drought-food-scarcity/3099455.html

    Reply
  17. Griffin

     /  December 12, 2015

    Some amazing and frightening pictures (and a good video link) of California’s now infamous gas leak at Aliso Canyon. This has to be one of the quietest and least covered disasters that we have seen lately.
    http://blogs.edf.org/californiadream/2015/12/10/infrared-camera-reveals-huge-wafting-cloud-of-methane-over-californias-aliso-canyon/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social-media&utm_campaign=main

    Reply
  18. Abel Adamski

     /  December 12, 2015

    An interesting article placed in context by the sole comment
    http://www.techtimes.com/articles/111718/20151130/increased-carbon-dioxide-levels-lead-to-rapid-plankton-growth-how-this-harms-the-environment.htm

    “A team of marine researchers, led by associate professor Anand Gnanadesikan of Johns Hopkins University, discovered that the population of microscopic marine alga known as Coccolithophores in the North Atlantic experienced a tenfold increase from 1965 to 2010.

    This recent finding contradicts earlier assumptions made by scientists that the phytoplankton would find it difficult to produce plates from calcium carbonate as ocean waters become increasingly more acidic.

    Dr. William Balch, a researcher at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and one of the authors of the study, explained that the results show the importance of conducting long-term time-series observations of oceans in order to find out how marine microorganisms deal with the effects of climate change and prove that the ocean garden is indeed undergoing some changes.

    “We never expected to see the relative abundance of coccolithophores to increase 10 times in the North Atlantic over barely half a century,” Balch said.

    “If anything, we expected that these sensitive calcifying algae would have decreased in the face of increasing ocean acidification.”

    Balch added that the carbon-limited microorganisms, instead, seem to make use of the excess carbon from carbon dioxide to help speed up the growth of their population.

    As far as the fast growth rate of coccolithophores goes, lead researcher Gnanadesikan said that this could be beneficial to larger creatures that consume the phytoplankton even though it remains unclear what those creatures are.”

    The comment

    russ george • 11 days ago

    The authors of this fine paper neglected to explain how this 50 year enhancement of the cocolithophores describes the most dramatic ‘canary in the coal mine’ effect in the world’s view of the impact of our fossil CO2. These armoured ocean pastures pico-plankton, cocolithophores, are the harbingers of the most massive shift in planetary ecology ever withness by mankind. In lock step with the proliferation of these largely stony ocean pasture plants we are seeing a decline of more nutritious ocean pasture plankton that once sustained a rich biodiversity of ocean life.

    The authors clearly could show the same level of correllation to growth of these cocoliths with the dramatic decline in large ocean fish species. While cocoliths are life they are for ocean pastures the equivlent of inedible and noxious weeds taking over pastures on land. We can and must restore ocean pastures before they become cocolithophore deserts.. http://russgeorge.net/2015/11/

    Reply
    • wili

       /  December 12, 2015

      Yes, one species seems to do relatively well under slightly less alkali conditions. How they will do as oceans warm and acidify further is not clear. And we really have very little knowledge of how most of the other many species of phytoplankton will react, but most indications are that few will respond positively.

      As you quote from the article: “While cocoliths are life they are for ocean pastures the equivlent of inedible and noxious weeds taking over pastures on land. ”

      This seems to be the case in terrestrial species often, too. IIRC, poison ivy is one of the plants that benefits most from “CO2 fertilization.” Not a plant that is particularly beneficial to humans and to most animals.

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  December 13, 2015

        Another item I have misplaced is the development of nanoengines that remove CO2 from water using a calcification process, this to me is a major concern for the sea creatures that feed by filtering the water.
        I wondered myself if these weed inedible species were not a factor behind the starving plankton eaters such as whales

        Reply
  19. dnem

     /  December 12, 2015

    Just a few observations from the freakishly mild mid-Atlantic. As I said above, there are narcissus blooming down the block from me. In December. My aware neighbor texted me a pic of a monarch visiting his blooming Echinacea. In December. And last night we noticed another neighbor’s forsythia bursting into bloom. In December. So, just to confirm, if I want to post a picture that I took, I need to mount it to a website first, and then link to it here? I can’t post a locally stored image that does not have a web address?

    Reply
  20. Jeremy

     /  December 12, 2015

    I’m now in Kühtai, Austria – the highest ski resort in the country.
    Where the slopes should be under 1-2 meters of snow there is nothing .
    Barren mountains everywhere and not a snowfall expected for days .

    The many snow machines are scattered all around pumping out snow – and more CO2

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  December 12, 2015

      That’s absolutely nuts. Here in Ct, the ski areas won’t be open for Christmas. It’s not even going to be close to freezing during nighttime lows, so they can’t even make snow.

      Reply
      • PlazaRed

         /  December 12, 2015

        Here in southern Spain they are working overtime to make snow with machines as there is no “natural snow” this year.
        Its about 20 degrees in the days in mid December and we have had no rain for about 6 weeks.
        The olive pickers who normally have to cope with mud, are this year suffering dust storms from the wheels of the tractors, I know this for sure as I have been observing it.
        Any idea of a winter seems to be a bit distant as we are heading back into a huge high pressure next week.
        Needless to say, to the north of us in the Cold Damp Islands the storms seem relentless.

        What is now needed, urgently, is a ban or severe restriction on any form of agricultural burning to at least lessen the amount of avoidable CO2 going into the air, along with all the other nasty burning gases.

        Reply
  21. Baker

     /  December 12, 2015

    A question: “The cool pool tends to pull cold air southward from Greenland” – Shouldn’t the cold air go where it’s warmer (direction Western or Northern Europe) to cool the warmer air down and not where it’s already cool on the Atlantic?
    The temperature anomalies are already crazy. Given that pattern, I suppose that Europe gets a record warm winter too with constant westerly/south-westerly flow…
    The true arctic air is locked in over Northern Canada, Greenland and Eastern Siberia and the winds rotate around this centre..?
    Between Iceland and Nowaja Semlja it doesn’t get colder either.
    I thought the AMOC slowdown means that European coasts would get slightly colder as well or would we see that effect only in several decades or centuries?
    Is it also because of the cool pool that there is such a strong high pressure system over Southern Europe/Northern Africa?

    Reply
  22. labmonkey2

     /  December 12, 2015

    Hansen just came out and denounced the Paris talks:

    “It’s a fraud really, a fake,” he says, rubbing his head. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/12/james-hansen-climate-change-paris-talks-fraud

    I would tend to agree, too. There’s too much control of this world by the Capitalists and War Mongers to fix this now. Cheap fossil fuels will be our eventual doom.

    Reply
    • dnem

       /  December 12, 2015

      Hansen is absolutely correct. A price on carbon is the only possible solution to our predicament. It’s the only thing affects behavior widely enough. Without a price, we’re toast.

      Reply
    • wili

       /  December 12, 2015

      I can’t remember Hansen ever so bluntly calling something ‘bullshit’ before. This is not a guy prone to profanity. The fact that he has found himself resorting to it a few times recently alone should be a warning that the conclusion of these negotiations really has doomed humanity and much of the complex life on earth.

      Reply
  23. James Burton

     /  December 12, 2015

    Excellent post as always Robert.
    The United Kingdom has for some years now been in the cross hairs of Atlantic storms. I used to post on these storms once and awhile, but they have become so common, that I don’t bother. Although this last one really got my attention. The hills in Cumbria throw off water fast, and all those little hill streams people have homes and villages right next to, turned into torrents! I watch any number of videos.
    The people of Britain can only be put off by the lies of the Daily Mail for so much longer! They experience flooding and extreme wind events one after the other, seemingly non-stop. The media covering up climate change can’t hide reality, and the Brits are square in the face of reality.
    Historically, when climate makes a shift of some size, Britain has been hit by the effects. Look at the historical record of how the little ice age began, Britain got the rain, then the storms, then collapse of farming for years running. Followed by starvation and plague.

    Reply
  24. Spike

     /  December 12, 2015

    As a Brit I thank you for your interest and this exceptionally clear article Robert; it provides a perspective lacking from our national discourse which is I think being reticent to a pathological degree, including many who know the reality and should explain it loudly, clearly and simply. The Lake District in Cumbria is one of my favourite places on Earth, and it is terrible to see places I know and love like Keswick and Glenridding flooded and truly awful for the folk suffering this again. Areas of southern Scotland and NE England have been similarly impacted, and today it has been raining again in my area for the last 14 hours solidly. In the north snow is falling in many areas to add to their troubles. My son’s university closed early due to power loss after the electricity station flooded. Today incredibly I read that our politicians are subsidising new filthy diesel generation nationally “to keep the lights on”!! It would be funny were it not so tragic, and as an example of fossil fuel madness is unrivalled, this on an island with huge renewable resources.

    It has always seemed to me that AGW was a perfect WMD – the inertia in the climate system, the economics, the psychology, and the politics especially
    always mean it’s been an uphill struggle trying to get it taken seriously here as in all the English speaking nations. By the time vigorous action has been initiated I fear we will have unleashed forces which cannot be easily undone, and that will unleash political storms we are familiar with from history.

    Reply
    • Very clearly and eloquently stated Spike. I feel a deep sadness for what’s happening to the UK and her people. As well for what may happen, or is ever more likely to happen in the future. As with the last Great War, your lands are at the forefront of the trouble, though this one is apparently more difficult for some to recognize. Perfect WMD indeed.

      Reply
  25. James Burton

     /  December 12, 2015

    “The result of an ever-increasing glacial melt outflow coming from Greenland.”
    When this cold fresh water comes of Greenland, and lays on the surface, is there much by way of surface currents or wind effects to carry it away? Or does it tend to pool up and stay put? I am guessing that the systems up there do not have any great ability to disperse the glacial melt waters and dilute the cold fresh waters.

    Reply
  26. doug

     /  December 12, 2015

    Sympathies out to those in Great Britain suffering through these storms. I am an American who lived in Ireland for awhile, so it feels a bit personal to me. I wanted to write on another topic and say that having had solar panels on our house for six months now, it’s the best thing I’ve ever spent money on. If anyone is on the fence about doing it, I’d say go for it. It honestly is a stress reliever, knowing your electricity is coming from the Sun, and it often makes financial sense as well. I believe the U.S. Federal tax credit will be reduced for solar from 30% to 10% after 2016, so now might be the time to make plans for getting solar for U.S. customers. (You can use that tax credit for up to ten years as well I believe). Our system makes 133% of the power we need and the extra 33% is fed back onto the grid. We get a check every month or two from the power company for that extra power, and we can use that extra power for future energy needs through “net metering”. I am planning on buying a used Chevy Volt next year, and charging it off of that excess power. I calculate that that should pay for fuel costs, saving roughly $1000 a year in gasoline.

    The whole solar system will probably pay for itself in about 9 years, and then we will have free electricity for our home and car for decades.

    It really is a great investment AND really makes you feel good as well. It’s like a breath of fresh air having solar on your home. Not all States have the same incentives and charges but for most I believe it’s a good investment, and even in Northern U.S. States that have a lot of cloudy weather, I believe panels produce 85% of the power on average that they do in the sunny southwest.

    Reply
  27. NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 3h3 hours ago

    1200 UTC Himawari-8 RGB & OPC analysis w/rapidly intensifying low en route to Bering Sea, already at hurricane force

    Reply
    • PlazaRed

       /  December 12, 2015

      This storm is going to cause some serious devastation, along with the smaller one to the west of Vancouver Island.

      Reply
  28. – USA Gulf Coast – Favorable conditions for algae blooms continue.

    December 11, 2015
    Algae blooms close all Coast beaches, oyster reefs

    BILOXI — Algae blooms in the Mississippi Sound have closed all beaches and oyster reefs in South Mississippi, according to the state departments of Marine Resources and Environmental Quality.

    The decision is a precautionary measure due to the proximity of the potentially harmful algae blooms.
    http://www.sunherald.com/news/article49300005.html

    Reply
  29. PlazaRed

     /  December 12, 2015

    I just picked this up from the MSN.
    It seems that some sort of agreement has been reached in Paris.
    I cant seem to find so far anything about control of agricultural fires and wanton burning but I’m sure that with the aid of an electron microscope the might be the odd word in there.

    http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/paris-climate-deal-nearly-200-nations-sign-in-end-of-fossil-fuel-era/ar-BBntBXc?li=AA59G2

    The limits seem to be based on overall emissions, not how to stop unnecessary emissions and deal with offenders.
    I’ll have to leave it to experts to read into it what might really have been achieved.

    A very nasty storm is raging though the Aleutian Islands and there is another one off Vancouver Island of less intensity but still at about 70 MPH or 110 KPH.

    Reply
    • NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 43m43 minutes ago

      2310 UTC Himawari visible image, Pacific hurricane force low w/large area of cold cumulus/cold advection S&W of low.

      Reply
  30. Wharf Rat

     /  December 12, 2015

    There was a nice little schematic of this in my (Cal) alumni mag,but it’s not on line yet. Plans call for converting 28 homes in Oakland, and they hope to have the bulk of the funding by early next year.

    The Eco-​​Block Project
    How to make mil­lions of old, inef­fi­cient homes part of a clean-​​air, low-​​carbon & low resource-​​use future?
    How can block-​​scale solu­tions enable bet­ter climate-​​change adap­ta­tion & response strate­gies than indi­vid­ual, home solutions?
    How do you get block-​​scale inhab­i­tant buy-​​in, and sup­port from util­i­ties, stage agen­cies and the clean­tech sector?

    https://rael.berkeley.edu/project/the-eco-block-project/

    Reply
  31. Mark in New England

     /  December 12, 2015

    Haven’t seen North America this ‘red’ since the 2004 election:

    Reply
  32. BELA RHEE'TH

     /  December 12, 2015

    Here in Cymru -the country in between Ireland and England one must add to the observation above “- if it was the Thames again- ” Mother Nature has tried that and yet the chorus of denial is deafening – it’s going to take a whole lot more until the MSM and ordinary everyday people get it ‘That increasing temperatures means increasing periods of precipitation (Freqency and Volume) unless and until reduced levels of CO2 are the natural order of the day. The planting of trees, adoption of permaculture ,modifications in our diets(less meat consumption) etc allied with full ecological education are the pre requisites for the continuation of Life and Civilisation on this Earth P.S.Spring Flowering Gentians are currently in full bloom in S. Cymru(Wales)

    Reply
  33. PlazaRed

     /  December 12, 2015

    I just found this article about storm “Eva” which is about to arrive in the UK.

    http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/uk-weather-snow-arrives-across-britain-as-country-awaits-storm-eva/ar-BBntsj0?li=AAaeUIW

    Reply
    • Syd Bridges

       /  December 13, 2015

      With luck it will have cleared by Friday, when I return to England. But I expect there will be plenty more this winter, so I won’t miss out. And with “Call me Dave” having so perspicaciously cut the money for flood defences, I’m sure I’ll see flooding in areas round the Severn before long. This is looking more like a repeat of 2013-14 as each storm comes along. When cold air hits the Eastern Seaboard, then the misery will be on both sides of the Pond, Snowmaggedon versus Noahmaggedon. I hope this doesn’t happen, but the warm and cold pools look ominous to me.

      Reply
  34. – 1212
    Coast Guard reopens most maritime port entrances in Oregon and Washington – with restrictions
    -1211
    The U.S. Coast Guard has shut down all maritime entrances in the Pacific Northwest due to high seas and the large amount of debris in the water from 5 days of heavy rain.

    Officials said the Oregon ports closed to all traffic are the ports of Chetco River in Brookings; Coos Bay; the Umpqua River in Winchester Bay; the Siuslaw River in Florence; Yaquina Bay in Newport; Depoe Bay; Tillamook Bay in Garibaldi; and the Columbia River at Astoria.
    http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2015/12/coast_guard_closes_all_maritim.html

    Reply
  35. Steven Blaisdell

     /  December 13, 2015

    Seventy-five degrees at 11:00 pm in Austin, Texas. Not 11:00 am, or four in the afternoon, but 11:00 at night. Halfway through December. Overnight lows, almost every night, 10-12 degrees above the already abnormally hot 1999-2014 ‘normal.’ (This is nothing new; overnight lows have been increasingly warmer than ‘normal’ for several years, more consistently and at a greater magnitude than daytime highs.) As my daughter said this evening, “It’s hot.” Yes it is, punkin. Yes it is. The past two Decembers magnolias have bloomed at least a little here in Austin; last year they bloomed, then the flowers froze two days later. This year they’re flowering in full force, like it’s Spring, the sweetness almost overpowering as I walk by a thirty footer in full bloom.

    I’m sorry to the hopeful, but I just don’t see how we pull this one out. (Especially after watching Kevin Anderson\’s videos.) People cowering behind AC in climate controlled homes, businesses, cars, malls, restaurants, movie theaters….lost in screens and consumption and rampant materialism….completely dissociated everywhere they go and in everything they do from actual perceptual awareness of the changes happening week in and week out, changes readily noticed and felt if the windows are open and you feel, actually feel what’s going on, day in and day out. How are a people so wedded to distraction, to comfort and entitlement going to make the necessary, drastic shift to a much lowered level of consumption, to what amounts to virtual eradication of almost everything that’s now taken for granted as modern existence? How are a people so shut off from the vicissitudes, the cycles of the natural world (not “Nature,” but the world just outside one’s doors and windows) and so shut down perceptually going to willingly accept the required shift to aware, sustainable lifestyles? I hope I’m underestimating the potential for America and Americans to change. I just don’t see that change happening, if it does happen, in time to forestall bad juju. We are drunk on Empire, and drunks don’t give up their poison willingly. It takes some kind of external forcing and we got one helluva external forcing ramping up as we speak, you betcha…..

    Reply
    • Andy in SD

       /  December 13, 2015

      So very well put….

      “We are drunk on Empire, and drunks don’t give up their poison willingly. It takes some kind of external forcing and we got one helluva external forcing ramping up as we speak”

      I’ve been following the aquifer depletion in Texas for the past couple of years. Very unfortunate.

      Reply
    • dnem

       /  December 13, 2015

      Beautifully put Steven.

      Reply
    • Griffin

       /  December 13, 2015

      Wow, that is a very powerful post Steven.

      Reply
    • PlazaRed

       /  December 13, 2015

      Steven,
      Looking at and understanding what you are writing, it seems that to the materialistic world of endless plenty that they will see this kind of comment as an attack on their lifestyles.
      I have had endless arguments about what you are commenting on and it seems like an hopeless case to convince people that this sort of lifestyle can not continue endlessly.
      The biggest problem is convincing people that something is wrong, as they seem to not believe anything which cant be seen right in front of them.

      I’m afraid that it is going to take big catastrophes in the Western World before there is much chance of the general public listening to climate views.

      Reply
    • Syd Bridges

       /  December 13, 2015

      Thank you, Steven. You reminded me of this quote from Alexander Pope:

      “True Wit is Nature to advantage dress’d
      What oft was thought, but ne’er so well express’d;
      Something whose truth convinced at sight we find,
      That gives us back the image of our mind.
      As shades more sweetly recommend the light,
      So modest plainness sets off sprightly wit.”

      I fear that the external forcing, when it comes, will be brutal. Then people will ask why it happened. The answer will be because you didn’t look around you. On the tomb of Sir Christopher Wren, in St Paul’s Cathedral, is his epitaph: “Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice.” (Reader, if you seek a monument, look around you.) A similar epitaph might be written for our carbon culture, but the monument won’t be magnificent, like St Paul’s but more reminiscent of Dante’s Inferno.

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  December 13, 2015

      Well said, Steven. You are spot on. When I try to engage others on this subject, I realize just how alone I am. Last night I was at a housewarming/ugly sweater Xmas party, and everyone was amused with the fact that it’s too damn hot to wear sweaters. In Connecticut. At Christmas. Everyone should be terrified about this. But our local media reinforces the brainwashed masses, and as I type this the local news is reporting on “the holiday gift that local golfers are receiving this holiday season.” They proclaim that 60’s in December is something to be glad about. When any jackass with half a brain knows what the hell is really going on. We were warned three decades ago that we would see exactly what we are seeing.

      Reply
  36. Andy in SD

     /  December 13, 2015

    Check out the forecasts for Montreal.

    Sunday 2C
    Monday 7C
    Tuesday 8C
    Wed 2C
    Thurs 5C
    Fri -1C

    They are running roughly 10C above normal.

    https://weather.gc.ca/city/pages/qc-147_metric_e.html

    Reply
    • Steven Blaisdell

       /  December 13, 2015

      The low for 12/12/2015 here in Austin was 71 – you read that right – 71 degrees F. That’s 34 degrees above ‘normal.’

      Reply
  37. PlazaRed

     /  December 13, 2015

    I have just seen this news article about the floods and other problems in the UK.
    Back to snow for the time being.

    http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/river-levels-recede-in-north-of-england-as-temperatures-plunge/ar-BBnuZ4R?li=AA59G2

    Reply
  38. entropicman

     /  December 13, 2015

    This is like Game of Life.

    I have been watching the steep temperature gradient off the US East coast. It is acting as a meteorological glider gun. Depressions form every few days and are fired northeast at the Uk

    Reply
  39. Andy in SD

     /  December 13, 2015

    That Lake That Was Going to Fall Off a Cliff in Canada Actually Did

    https://news.vice.com/article/that-lake-that-was-going-to-fall-off-a-cliff-in-canada-actually-did

    Reply
    • – It’s just south of Inuvik!

      Published on Dec 8, 2015

      Rapid drainage of a small lake due to expansion of a retrogressive thaw slump about 20km northwest of Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories, Canada.

      Reply
  40. Andy in SD

     /  December 13, 2015

    In Drought-Battered Somaliland, Climate Change Is Deadly Serious

    https://news.vice.com/article/in-drought-battered-somaliland-climate-change-is-deadly-serious

    Reply
  41. Andy in SD

     /  December 13, 2015

    Why Climate Is Also on the Agenda for War-Torn Nations
    Climate and conflict: two converging agendas

    https://news.vice.com/article/why-climate-is-also-on-the-agenda-for-war-torn-nations

    Reply
  42. Andy in SD

     /  December 13, 2015

    SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS, Brazil, Nov 25 – For the rural community of Pacheco in northeastern Brazil, the local school has never been so important. It is now the only place in the drought-stricken area that has water on tap.

    But to fill the school’s tank, water must be trucked from a reservoir some 40 km away – and it is shrinking fast.

    http://www.trust.org/item/20151125082700-93r0x/?source=fiDontmiss

    Reply
  43. NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 6h6 hours ago

    Intense Bering Sea hurricane force low analyzed at 924 hPa on 06Z OPC analysis, matching Post-Tropical Nuri (2014).

    Reply
    • NWS Anchorage ‏@NWSAnchorage 6h6 hours ago

      Major storm moving through the Bering Sea. The strongest wind so far was reported at Adak with a gust to 122 mph!

      Reply
      • Andy in SD

         /  December 13, 2015

        Nice… now we have cyclones forming in the north, just lovely….

        Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  December 13, 2015

        Andy in SD

        Pay no attention to the time of year, just watch how deep the pressures get. Thank god the crab fleet is Dutch Harbor.

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  December 15, 2015

        Looking at earthnullschool, it seems like there is a whole lot of cyclone activity in the north, like Andy in SD says. It doesn’t look normal to me, but how abnormal is it? Is there a measurement of vorticity that we can point to and say something like “cyclonic activity in the north has increased by xx percent in the last 5 years”?

        I don’t remember hurricanes in the north when I was a kid…

        Reply
    • God. 924? That’s got to be one of the strongest storms ever recorded for that region.

      Reply
  44. Jeremy in Wales

     /  December 13, 2015

    A small positive sign that we may get on top of emissions from power generation, a new design of tidal generator has been placed in the sea off St. Davids in W. Wales

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-35087510

    Due to problems with funding it had been sitting on a dockside for a year where it was nicknamed the daffodil.

    Hope it survives the winter storms but the UK should have been using tidal power for generations.

    By the way another soaking weekend here in Wales.

    Reply
  45. Colorado Bob

     /  December 13, 2015

    2 winters ago –
    Met Office confirms the wettest winter on record for UK
    The UK has had the wettest winter since national records began in 1910, the Met Office has confirmed.

    Separate records held for England and Wales also show the heaviest rainfall since they were started in 1766.

    Regional records have also been beaten, with the flood-hit South East of England getting well over double the rainfall expected in a normal winter.

    The persistent string of powerful storms and heavy rain brought extensive flooding to parts of the UK.

    About 6,500 homes have been affected by flooding since December, with many people forced to evacuate their homes.

    Provisional figures released by the Met Office said 517.6mm of rain fell in the UK between December 1 and February 24.

    It compares with an average winter rain fall of 330.4mm between 1981 and 2010.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-26367160

    Reply
  46. Colorado Bob

     /  December 13, 2015

    Why do these events keep hitting us so very hard? Because we are in the middle of a perfect storm, not of wind and rain but of circumstances. Extreme weather, political dishonesty, institutional chaos, slack planning, dodgy developments and a continuing refusal to accept that climate change is doing this are all working together to create a disaster – or series of disasters – when it comes to flooding, says Professor Ashley.

    “Politicians don’t take it seriously. They’re pretending. They’re not doing anything that will address the change in levels of risk.” Why not? “They have a very short shelf life. They think the effects of climate change won’t happen on their watch; they’ll be gone.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/storm-desmond-how-a-toxic-brew-of-cuts-to-flood-defences-and-empty-rhetoric-made-cumbrias-floods-a6770921.html

    Reply
  47. Colorado Bob

     /  December 13, 2015

    “It was the worst storm in 150 years,” said Iris Straume of the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, which is calling Desmond “Storm Synne.”
    http://www.wunderground.com/news/norway-evacuations-following-storm-desmond

    Reply
  48. Apneaman

     /  December 13, 2015

    THE “PURPOSE” OF “CONSUMER ACTIVISM” & COP21 – “WE MEAN BUSINESS”

    http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2015/12/11/the-purpose-of-consumer-activism-cop21-we-mean-business/

    Reply
  49. Colorado Bob

     /  December 13, 2015

    That “screw them” thinking that was expressed up the thread , I must admit I have engaged in that, like when South Carolina got slammed a few months back with their 1,000 year event.
    ( But I’ve never forgiven them for tossing the match into powder keg that was the American Civil War.)
    But each of these events keep exposing the same pattern all over the world. Whether one is in Cumbria, England, Chennai, India, Wimberley, Texas, or the Low Country of South Carolina.

    Extreme weather, political dishonesty, institutional chaos, slack planning, dodgy developments and a continuing refusal to accept that climate change is doing this are all working together to create a disaster – or series of disasters – when it comes to flooding, says Professor Ashley.

    And as long as they are seen as local, freak, one off events, or failures , then little will change, and not be seen as part of the larger world wide pattern.

    I have followed these events for years , and not just as they happen, but I try to see what the real bill was months, and years later.
    When record daily rain fall came to Amarillo , Texas a few years back , a few months later, angry citizens flooded the city council meeting . The city manger stood in front of them , and told them No One who designed their infrastructure Ever Dreamed their sewers would have to deal with 8 inches of rain in 10 hours. That’s 50 percent of their whole yearly average.

    And that’s without all our other blunders , cutting trees, putting trailer parks on flood plains paving everything we can back a concrete truck on to.

    Here’s really great follow up to the June 2013 Alberta floods , on how we still fail to understand the new world we live in –

    Fearing the worst, Pomeroy had the computers and all the fragile equipment at the research station secured well above ground the next day before sending most of his staff home. Back at his house in Canmore, he and his wife put up extra food and drinking water, and prepared for no electricity.

    And still no flood alert from Environment Canada.

    That’s when Pomeroy typed “I see a screw-up coming” in an email to Kevin Shook, a colleague at the Centre for Hydrology at the University of Saskatchewan.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/11/16/alberta-flood-2013-climate-change_n_8572420.html

    This bigger longer picture world wide for people is sadly lacking . The people at Wimberly , Texas lost cypress trees that were over 800 years old.
    Some how there should be this flood story site. Where these things can be compared. Besides keeping the trash out of your drains.

    Reply
  50. Colorado Bob

     /  December 13, 2015

    Here’s the thing about all these events , when they hit us the story is never told. 3 old people drown , several thousand have to leave their homes. Well how many livestock were drowned ? That never comes out, and those farmers in Cumbria have several thousand animals floating down stream tonight. That always comes in the weeks after the event.

    That is the injustice of floods. , or droughts. The dead toll , and insurance bills, come months later

    Reply
  51. Colorado Bob

     /  December 13, 2015

    Reply
  52. Ryan in New England

     /  December 14, 2015

    Bill McKibben on why we need to pick up the pace in dealing with climate change…

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/13/paris-climate-talks-15c-marathon-negotiating-physics

    Reply
    • Eric Thurston

       /  December 14, 2015

      I hate to drag out the old Titanic metaphor again, but it seems so appropriate. I can envision a headline reading something like this: “195 nations in landmark climate talks agree that the deck chairs DO need to be rearranged!”

      Then there are the poor folks in steerage, those residents of the disappearing Pacific islands, who are already drowning. The great majority of the rest of the world’s peoples don’t seem to realize that the rest of the ship is connected to steerage and will be going down too.

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  December 14, 2015

        I agree, Eric. The nations all agreed to try and keep warming under 2C, and try to stay under 1.5C. That’s a dream, especially since fossil fuel infrastructure is still being developed. According to what I’ve read so far, all the nations just agreed on goals. Like you said, that’s like agreeing that the chairs on the Titanic need to be rearranged. Nothing is actually committed to, and business as usual pretty much stays business as usual.

        Reply
  53. Caroline

     /  December 14, 2015

    HAMBURGERS & FISH AND CHIPS AT COP 21
    OUI, MAIS BIENSURE!

    Reply
  54. Spike

     /  December 14, 2015

    Chilling to see latest keeling curve data of 403.01 ppm on 12/12/15. A year ago on 12/12/14 it was 398.55 ppm, so a rise of 4.46 ppm in a year !! I know it rises more in El Nino years but this really did shock me.

    Reply
    • dnem

       /  December 14, 2015

      I’ve been harping on this idea recently. It would seem to me that the Keeling Curve integrates what’s really going on far better than any of the suspect emissions measurements. The atmosphere don’t lie!!!

      Reply
  55. Apneaman

     /  December 14, 2015

    The Siege of Miami
    As temperatures climb, so, too, will sea levels.

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/12/21/the-siege-of-miami

    Reply
  56. – 1213
    UW-Madison CIMSS
    ‏@UWCIMSS

    Perspective on scale. Compact Typhoon #Melor nearing #Philippines lower left & massive Bearing Sea Low upper right.

    Reply
  57. Apneaman

     /  December 14, 2015

    What happens if the permafrost disappears?
    If the Arctic permafrost thaws, the results could be catastrophic. Belinda Smith reports.

    https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth-sciences/what-happens-if-permafrost-disappears

    Just read the COP21 agreement to the permafrost and it’s sure to stop melting.

    Reply
  58. Apneaman

     /  December 14, 2015

    Perfect example of what Bob was referring to yesterday. What happens after the MSM, if it bleeds it leads, story ends.

    The BIG Flood, December 3rd-6th 2015

    http://littlerivercooperative.com/blogs/news/80745350-the-big-flood-december-3rd-6th-2015

    Reply
  59. Steve from NZ

     /  December 14, 2015

    That’s a great post by Captain Paul Watson that Caroline linked to above. Especially his comments on the disconnect between concern and action (drinking water from plastic bottles in a lecture about plastic in the oceans!). So many have an idea of what is going on but are unwilling to change their lifestyle – it’s not ignorance it’s laziness.

    His comments on veganism at the conference resonated too, I went vegan years ago as a way of reducing my carbon (and for animal welfare). It was a sacrifice – I won’t lie, I enjoyed meat and dairy products (I don’t miss them now though) and being vegan is very inconvienient in a country that builds its economy on dairy (white gold it is known as here in NZ) – some see you as unpatriotic!

    Seems the notion of sacrifice for a greater good in the future has all but been destroyed by “instant gratification” neo-liberal economics. That is a major problem with any move to mitigate our effects on this earth.

    Reply
  60. – Debris – heat – chemistry – Algae – NOX

    Dinosaur-killing asteroid may have caused global algal bloom, marine extinction

    … a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.

    Around 66 million years ago, an asteroid 10 kilometers (six miles) in diameter slammed into the Yucatan peninsula, creating a crater 180 kilometers (110 miles) across and 20 kilometers (12 miles) deep. The Chicxulub impact sent tiny spheres of material up into the atmosphere where they became super-heated. Approximately 1023 of these microscopic spherules were ejected and re-entered the atmosphere to create a global carpet of silica glass 3-millimeters (0.19-inches) thick, known geologically as the Cretaceous-Paleogene layer.

    In the new study, researchers simulated how the spherules of molten and vaporized rock ejected from the impact would have behaved as they were sent into the atmosphere and fell back down to Earth. Upon re-entry these tiny fireballs created large amounts of the gases nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide – known collectively as nitrogen oxides.

    The study suggests these gases came back down to Earth as acid rain and increased the nitrate levels in the oceans, stimulating a massive global algal bloom. This algal bloom could have generated harmful toxins and disrupted the marine ecosystem, potentially triggering the massive marine die-off that followed the extinction of the dinosaurs, according to the study’s authors.
    http://blogs.agu.org/geospace/2015/12/04/11769/?campaign=wlytk-41855.5282060185

    Reply
  61. Caroline

     /  December 14, 2015

    Fascinating/inspiring/informative comments from all—thank you!
    Apneaman, thanks for the link on the research re: methane release and thawing permafrost. Professor Schuur is doing some excellent research with the Permafrost Carbon Network.

    Between the latest findings of methane release via permafrost, methane release from clathrates in sea beds and CO2 at 403 it’s getting rather challenging to assimilate the onslaught of dire news. Maybe repeated playing of Time has Come Today will help? 😉
    Don’t know about anyone else—- but even if I were to stop reading/listening to the news which would include not visiting Robert’s site—– I would still feel/smell/hear/see the effects of human induced warming, habitat destruction, fragmentation, invasive species and extinctions. There really is no escape for those who get what’s going on. It’s amazing to me how there are so many humans cut off from the reality of what’s around them.
    Yet . . . there is a need within me to know the facts about what is unfolding—– so I will keep reading, watching, listening . . . and doing what I can to help those without a voice regardless of what happens.

    Steve —I share your feelings about going vegan and Paul Watson post.
    Paul Watson is one of my heroes. He is out there on the front lines . . His love for the nonhuman world is so very evident in both words AND actions—- inspiring in such a dark time. He has an updated post on COP21, FYI.
    In the meantime—-
    the weather seems downright apocalyptic all over the world.
    In the upper Midwest of the U.S. where I live, it is so warm that the blossoms of skunk cabbages and great Angelica are emerging from wetlands where Sandhill cranes are feeding—–it appears they are not going to migrate this winter (“winter” . . . or whatever you want to call it)
    The weather is quietly ominous here unlike Norway, Brazil, Cumbria/UK and many places throughout the world where it appears that the Earth is screaming. Although quiet here it is devastating in it’s own way . . . Robert, any thoughts on what happens after El Nino? It feels like ‘normal’ is gone forever, yes?

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  December 14, 2015

      Caroline, it’s been crazy warm here on the East Coast too. I was in a short sleeve shirt today at work, and still sweating. I noticed that around 2007 our weather really started to become unusual, with more and more “unprecedented” events occurring each year. Even the regular rainstorms have morphed into super deluges with amounts measured in multiple inches…which used to be far less common. Right now we are expecting thunderstorms to roll through. They’re supposed to be quite strong. And my windows have been open for the past four days, even at night. In the middle of December, in CT!

      Reply
  62. Ryan in New England

     /  December 14, 2015

    This is one reason I am not overly optimistic about the climate agreement in Paris, the agreed upon targets rely on non-existent negative emissions technology. Those who have seen Kevin Anderson’s recent talks will already be familiar with this.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/14/eu-says-15c-global-warming-target-depends-on-negative-emissions-technology

    Reply
  63. Explain how a Gulf Stream slowdown is consistent with last winters strong positive NAO, a strong negative sea surface height anomaly southeast of Greenland and dropping temperatures last winter at the 1000 meter level of the North Atlantic east of Labrador.

    Clue: the Gulf Stream has been going strong this year according to cable measurements across the Florida Strait. You are misinterpreting the cold anomaly.

    Reply
  64. JPL

     /  January 12, 2016

    Climate activist trial here in my neck of the woods is one to watch…

    Delta 5 Trial Set To Make History With “Necessity Defense” for Climate Action

    ‘On January 6, the judge issued a ten page order denying the defendants the use of the necessity defense. In that order the judge acknowledged the reality of harm from climate change but denied the necessity defense with the following explanation:

    “General harms by global warming are obvious – and potentially catastrophic – if government and individuals fail to act. But such generalized harm – even though it is extreme, cannot be legally cognizable because it is impossible to quantify the societal benefits of defendants’ illegal acts as they relate to the harm averted. Therefore, necessity is unavailable as a defense.”

    In the order the judge gave examples of where the necessity defense was clear, including a stranded mountain climber breaking into someone’s home to survive or a prisoner escaping a burning jail cell to save his life. He also noted that in a previous case protestors had blocked a train thought to be carrying nuclear warheads, the necessity defense was denied.

    Lawyers for the Delta 5 quickly filed a Motion to Reconsider, and to the surprise of many involved, the judge reversed his decision and is now allowing the necessity defense. So on January 11th, for the first time, the necessity defense will be used in court to defend civil disobedience actions related to climate change.

    With the judge allowing the necessity defense the jury will hear from expert witnesses including a co-author of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report and a rail safety expert, to convince the jury that the threat posed by climate change justified their acts of civil disobedience.’

    John

    Reply
  1. More Signs of Gulf Stream Slowdown as Floods Devastate Cumbria, England | robertscribbler | GarryRogers Nature Conservation and Science Fiction (#EcoSciFi)
  2. As a Titanic El Nino Begins to Fade, What Fresh Trouble Will a Record Warm World Bring? | robertscribbler
  3. Gale After Gale After Gale Dumped Two and a Half Feet of Rain Upon Scotland and Wales This Winter | robertscribbler
  4. El Nino Começa a Esmorecer - Quais as Previsões Climáticas?

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