This is What the Anthropocene Looks Like — Tropical Storms Are Now Forming During Winter

Tropical Storms in both the Atlantic and Pacific during January. It could happen this week. And it’s all due to this new Anthropocene weather we’re now experiencing.

*****

The Holocene ended more than half a century ago. That’s when human impacts from the production of plastics, to the use of nuclear materials, to the forcing of species extinction, became what scientists now believe to be the dominant influence on this era of Earth history. It was also the time when human beings were in the process of plotting a course to radically alter the Earth’s climate. Pumping greenhouse gasses into the global environment at the fastest pace ever recorded in the geological record. Setting the stage for a warming event not seen in millions of years and, perhaps, in all of time on this world. One that would fundamentally alter the geophysical nature of the Earth system from the bottom of the oceans to the top of the atmosphere.

And it sure does feel like it — with the North Pole now experiencing above-freezing temperatures during Winter and with both the Atlantic and the Pacific retaining enough heat and instability to brew up tropical cyclones during January.

Unprecedented Tropical Cyclone Development in Both the Pacific and the Atlantic During January

It’s really a bit of an understatement to say that January is not a month where we usually see tropical cyclone formation in the Northern Hemisphere. Back in the 1870s it happened in the Atlantic. Once. In the Pacific, which tends to host sea surface temperatures that are hotter than those in the Atlantic, the various basins can sometimes see these beasts blow up early on in the year. Sometimes meaning that two have only ever been recorded during January — Winona on January 9 of 1985 and Ekeka on January 26 of 1992.

Since climatology is the understanding of trends in average weather over long periods, we can probably say that the off-season tropical cyclone climatology has already changed for the Pacific. During the 148 years since record keeping began in 1832 for the Pacific through to 1980 only seven tropical cyclones were recorded to have formed during the period of December through May. During just the 35 years since 1980, we’ve seen nearly twice that many — 12. In other words, the rate of recorded off-season storm formation septupled or increased a factor of 7. And both the earliest and the latest named stormed have now formed during back-to-back years — Nine C on New Years Eve less than two weeks ago and now Pali on January 7th.

What we are seeing now is unprecedented by any measure of tropical weather system climatology. We have never seen a tropical storm form so early in the Central Pacific at the same time during which a similar, very rare, tropical system was threatening to form in the Atlantic. In other words, it’s not just both events in isolation that’s quite odd. It’s the fact they are both happening side-by-side.

Pali — Earliest Tropical Cyclone to have Ever Formed in Central Pacific

Pali, in particular, is an unusual beast. According to Weather Underground, as of early this morning Pali was whipping up 65 mile per hour winds and rough surf along a broad region of water some 1350 miles southeast of Hawaii. Pali spun up out of a westerly wind burst and storm pattern associated with the monster El Nino now going off in the Pacific. But even during past super El Ninos, related odd tropical systems have tended to form mainly during late November through to mid December. The formation of Pali is then possibly associated with both this late peaking El Nino and with sea surface temperatures in the Pacific that are now among the hottest ever seen in human reckoning.

Pali projected path

(According to today’s National Hurricane Center forecast, Pali could stick around for quite some time. This record earliest Pacific cyclone could last into the middle of January — spinning out westerly winds that aid in the maintenance and possible re-intensification of the current super El Nino. Image source: NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center.)

Pali is expected to meander along the Central Pacific equatorial region in which it formed over the next six days. It is predicted to maintain tropical storm intensity throughout this period — making it a rather long-lasting weather system. Expected to re-curve back toward the Equator near the 175 West Longitude line, the strong westerlies associated with Pali could also aid in maintaining or even increasing the strength of our current super El Nino — driving warm water up-welling in the Eastern Pacific to reinvigorate. Sea surface temperatures in the range of 27 to 28 degrees Celsius are more than enough to maintain tropical storm intensity. Meanwhile, sea surfaces in the range of 3-4 degrees Celsius hotter than normal just to the southeast of Pali will continue to provide considerable moisture for the storm to feed upon. Wind shear, therefore, is the only major limiter for Pali. And though shear appears to be strong enough to preclude Pali’s development into a typhoon, it is not at this time predicted to become intense enough to disperse Pali. So, if the forecast is correct, we’re looking at this storm sticking around for at least another week.

30 Percent Chance of Tropical Cyclone Development in the Atlantic During January

As if Pali and this ramping trend of off-season tropical cyclone formation in the Pacific weren’t enough to put an exclamation point after the sentence — tropical storms are forming earlier than they used to — we have a concordant potential tropical cyclone development happening at the same time in the Atlantic. A weird storm is taking on extra-tropical characteristics off the US East Coast. Already packing gale-force winds in the range of 60-65 miles per hour, this odd system now has the potential to become a warm-core, tropical low as it moves eastward toward the Azores.

The storm now sits over sea surface temperatures in the range of 23-26 degrees Celsius. That’s much, much hotter than normal (2 to 8 degrees Celsius above average) for that region of the North Atlantic for this time of year. It’s also in the range that’s generally considered just about enough to support tropical storm and even possibly hurricane formation. Subsequently, the National Hurricane Center sees the potential for a warm core formation in this system and has given it a 10 percent chance of becoming a tropical storm over the next 48 hours.

Odd North Atlantic System Potential Tropical Storm

(Very odd North Atlantic Gale rages over record warm waters in the North Atlantic. This system now has a 10 percent chance to develop into a tropical cyclone over the next 48 hours. Over the next five days, the chance of tropical cyclone development jumps to 30 percent. Image source: The National Hurricane Center.)

This freakish system is then expected to skirt the southern edge of a powerful low between the UK and Greenland. Tracking eastward toward Africa, its winds are predicted to further intensify as it heads toward somewhat warmer waters. Over the next five days, the National Hurricane Center gives a moderate chance (30 percent) that this system will form into a tropical cyclone.

As noted above, such weather patterns are not at all normal for the North Atlantic. And if a hurricane or tropical storm did form during January in the North Atlantic it would be the first time since 1872. Again it’s a case of we’ve never seen weather like this before. We’ve never seen hurricanes so early in the Central Pacific. We’ve never seen sea surface temperatures so warm during Winter off the US East Coast. And we’ve never seen the potential development of a January Atlantic tropical system at the same time such systems are riling the waters of the Equatorial Pacific.

The scientists were absolutely right. The Holocene is over. We’re living on a different planet.

Links:

Human Impact Pushed Earth Into the Anthropocene

Warm Storm Unfreezes North Pole During Winter

Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Climatology

Pacific Tropical Cyclone Climatology

Pali Weather Underground Report

NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center

The National Hurricane Center

Hat Tip to Colorado Bob

Hat Tip to Caroline

Hat Tip to DT Lange

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285 Comments

  1. Some might contend that the Anthropocene began before Homo sapiens, with the control of fire by our (Homo) genus over 800,000 years ago; and the Thanatocene began with the electrical grid and petroleum powered transportation, marked by the explosive growth of human population from just over a billion to seven plus billion in about a century.

    Sent from my iPad 🙏🏻

    >

    Reply
    • Fire was pretty powerful. But it’s nothing like what we’re doing now.

      Reply
      • Apparently, at least to me, Robert, you’re both agreeing and disagreeing with Robindatta. But if we end up committing NTE, even if only after a thousand years, who’ll be around to call the present era either the Anthropocene or the Thanatocene?

        BTW Excellent post, Robert.

        Reply
        • I’m a pretty analytical creature and find I often make distinctions. Although I’m not sure to what I’m partially agreeing to. My general drive is to get everyone involved in direct action for threat identification and positive change when it comes the issue of human forced warming. Saving people and the living creatures of this world from as much harm as possible being the end goal. It’s more about active problem solving and disentegrating calcified structures than anything else. From the issue standpoint, climate change denial, renewable energy denial and delay, and natural world disconnection/dislocation/ lack of sympathy for the living creatures of this world are the areas that I tend to attack.

          As for my notion of the future — it’s scenario based. A combination of the realized level of active human response and the level of overall climate sensitivity determines the outcome. One, we control by making the choice to rapidly reduce carbon emissions or by making the choice not to. The other we cannot control.

  2. – NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 9h9 hours ago

    06Z OPC Atlantic surface analysis & Meteosat / GOES-E infrared mosaic w/multiple storm force lows across the basin.

    Reply
  3. NOAA Satellites ‏@NOAASatellites 22h22 hours ago

    Lake Erie declared 99% ice-free on 1/5/16 – the most since 2007.

    Reply
    • DT —

      Just wanted to let you know that I took down the Independent link. There’s no major cold snap forecast for the UK. And, especially after one of the warmest Decembers on record, there’s not a chance in the world that this will be one of the UK’s coldest winters. The only thing that’s true in the link is that there were two extreme weather warnings issued. But they were related to floods.

      Sometimes you run into this kind of misinformation. But I’m surprised to see this coming from the Independent. Maybe they missed something in editing. In any case, thanks so much for all the links.

      Best

      R

      PS There’s another post you made that’s not showing up in the comments on page but is showing up in my approved comments list. It’s the freak weather one-liner. If you’re missing that, I just wanted you to know that it’s approved. But, for some kind of glitchy reason, it isn’t showing up on page. Hopefully it will clear soon.

      Reply
      • Jeremy in Wales

         /  January 8, 2016

        The Met Office is predicting a return to colder more winter like weather next week, eg “normal January weather” with some ice and snow. Nothing extreme. However some newspapers would characterise it as a return of the Ice Age.
        http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2016/cold-weather

        Reply
        • It’s a move back toward more normal temperatures for the UK. But it’s not the coldest winter in 58 years. That’s complete nonsense.

          For comparison, here in Gaitherburg we saw recent days and nights in the 20s, 30s and 40s (F). That’s normal winter weather here, but after seeing weeks of above average temperatures, we’re still experiencing a much warmer than normal winter.

          For reference, please see the GFS air temperature anomaly graphic for Europe over the next seven days:

          This was the coldest day in the set and still just slightly below the hotter than normal 1979 to 2000 baseline.

      • Jeremy in Wales

         /  January 8, 2016

        What the hell the Indy means by “The UK is braced for severe weather this weekend as the coldest winter in 58 years is expected to hit the country.” I do not know. That would make it colder than the 1963 winter Jan 1963 coldest UK month in 20th Century) – highly unlikley – unless they know of a giant comet striking the earth. The paper must have been listening to Corbyns freak brother and wants to turn itself into the Daily Express.

        Reply
        • Yeah. It’s basically bunk. And to add to the ridiculous nonsense, I’ve got a passel of Guy Mcpherson cronies over on facebook trying to turn me into a doomer. I am so sick and tired of people who can’t just stand up and fight for what must be done. These guys, I swear, do the oil companies more good than the climate change deniers. They make environmentalists doubt themselves.

      • – I was kind of hasty putting the Indy link up. Something about it seemed off but I dig deeper into it.
        But, with these massive and ‘unusual’ pulses of energy, such as Frank, forming and entraining plumes of severe weather — fast weather changes seem likely.

        Ps Just a few days ago a local PDX reporter said that air temps in Bend, OR increased 22 F in just 12 hrs.

        Reply
        • So the trough development zone to look for would be from Greenland and Baffin Bay. That’s where the UK would get its cold from in the current climate. It was the North Pole, Siberia claim that gave me a double-take.

      • ” but I DIDN’T dig deeper into it”

        Reply
        • You’re good DT.

          Just want to issue an open warning to everyone. Despite what Hansen said, we shouldn’t be attacking COP 21. There’s a lot of fodder on this right now. But the policy being pushed out is the strongest one we’ve had so far. And even though I mentioned earlier that it’s not likely to be enough to avoid 2 C warming, it does knock us off the BAU path, which is an immprovement.

          There’s a huge push right now through the usual pretend environmentalist channels to bash COP21. My bet is that this is a fossil fuel based misinformation campaign intended to divide environmentalist support for carbon emissions reductions policies. We need to be very clear. COP21 was not enough. But that does not mean it was a failure or that the whole climate conference process should be attacked. The COPs are the basis for policy. And policy is critical. Moving off the BAU path is also a big move. So we should be glad about that. Facing this terrible climate crisis, it’s tough to be happy. But we should take our victories. And this could well be one of them if we can get these carbon reductions policies implemented.

          The main goal now should be shutting down carbon emissions by every means possible policy, individual action, protest, voting, business, government etc. We need to use every weapon at our disposal now and the COPs are a big one. So we need to stick to our guns on this and not fall to this siren song that urges us to attack our own causes. We can do this by admitting that we are making progress, but by stating that we aren’t moving fast enough. That’s what’s most honest. Most direct. We need to keep up the call to action.

      • Robert, “I am so sick and tired of people who can’t just stand up and fight for what must be done.”
        Right, I am continually amazed and frustrated by so much unwillingness to defend themselves or their community.
        For me it is, as the Japanese put it, a sense of giri — obligation to ones values and community.
        Without it, I am nothing but a mere spectator to my existence. This is unacceptable.

        – Giri – Moral Obligation
        http://japanese.about.com/od/japanesecultur1/a/071497.htm

        Reply
      • climatehawk1

         /  January 9, 2016

        Agreed. COP21 is crappy, but it is the best that could be done at this point in the development of the climate crisis and evolution (so slow) of the international system. We all need to work urgently to expand and strengthen it, not undermine it. MHO.

        Reply
      • redskylite

         /  January 9, 2016

        The Independent pieces need handling with care, they are generally a good source, but every now and again they pick up and publish some unreliable stuff. I remember them reporting on an “ice age is coming soon” story in July 2015 from a rather dubious source. How long have we heard exaggerated history from the Little Ice Ageists. Fine reporting on low sun spot activity, if you impress in the report that the accumulating GHG radiative excitation and radiative blocking effects far outweighs the effects of the sun’s cycles.

        Reply
      • Bill H

         /  January 9, 2016

        The UK media seem to be redefining “cold snap”/”arctic conditions” to mean “near-average temperatures”. That said the Met Office had been forecasting that the “cold” would arrive sooner. The current atmospheric conditions are so unusual that even the usually highly reliable Met Office is struggling with its forecasts.

        On the subject of the Met Office for the last nine years or so they have, at the end of each year, been issuing a forecast for average global temperature for the following year (e.g. in Dec 2014 they forecast average global temperature for 2015). It’s a very simple model, just combining forcings from CO2, volcanic aerosols and ENSO. They’ve been extremely accurate. See:

        http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/seasonal-to-decadal/long-range/glob-aver-annual-temp-fc/validation-and-methods

        and scroll down to the graph comparing Met Office predictions with actual WMO values.

        So, the next time some soi-disant Sceptic tells you that “climate models have no skill” you can wave this graph in front of his/her nose.

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  January 9, 2016

        In regards to COP21 I agree it is far from perfect, and not nearly enough to completely avoid catastrophic consequences, but it is far better than nothing. At least we have moved past continued delay, inaction and obfuscation of what the real problem/solutions really were. Before COP21 the global community was like a very unhealthy, sick person who smoked, drank and used drugs and insisted they were perfectly healthy and therefore didn’t need to see a doctor. After COP21 we are still unhealthy with drug and alcohol addictions, but at least now we have agreed to start seeing a doctor and have acknowledged that we have substance abuse problems that require treatment, and plan on reducing our substance abuse. Sure, we are still addicted, but sometimes just admitting that you need help is the most difficult part and the start of a very positive transformation.

        So I agree that we shouldn’t work to undermine it, but rather use it as a foundation upon which we can build something stronger. This could be the first step towards what ultimately needs to be done.

        Reply
  4. – ” freak weather…”

    (test)

    Reply
  5. Loni

     /  January 8, 2016

    I’m reminded of Dr. Shakhova’s statement after the return of their, (Shakhova/Semiletov et.al.) expedition to the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, “Everything we see is anomalous, everything.”

    Reply
    • Spike

       /  January 8, 2016

      Yes Yeat’s words spring to mind seeing so many recent stunning events.

      All changed, changed utterly:
      A terrible beauty is born.

      Reply
    • – ““Everything we see is anomalous, everything.”
      As I have viewed it, this applies the sky and the landscape of every location I have been in for the past nine, or ten, years.

      Reply
    • Exactly! Even in New Orleans, where the coldest night of the year is still above freezing, instead of between 20 and 25 F like in an historically normal year.

      Reply
  6. Griffin

     /  January 8, 2016

    Gusts to 59 MPH in Bermuda from the storm! Amazing.

    Reply
    • It’s an amazingly strong one. The bit I’m seeing now on the maps that is just crazy impressive to me is that you have 80 F sea surface temperatures just about 500 miles east of New Jersey. In winter!

      Reply
      • Griffin

         /  January 8, 2016

        Those warm ocean temps led to a rare “ocean effect” snow on upper Cape Cod earlier this week. The stripe of snow is clearly visible on the MODIS shots of the area. It also led to a large temp gradient today in eastern Mass as the wind off the water dragged in air that was over 20F warmer than areas just inland. More than ever, we are seeing signs of that crazy warm water having real life impacts on our area. Sure will be interesting when the first good storm of the season gets amped up.

        Reply
  7. Andy Lee Robinson

     /  January 8, 2016

    Welcome to the Anthropobscene!
    Shortest. Epoch. Ever.
    Well hopefully not, but collectively we have an awful lot of work and education to do if we are to learn to live in harmony on a planet that is trying harder to kill us more than usual.
    All societies around the world must build in sustainability awareness into their education systems and cultures, that everyone and everything is connected and our actions have effects far beyond our horizons.

    Reply
    • Leland Palmer

       /  January 9, 2016

      Shortest. Epoch. Ever.

      Sad but likely true. The really tragic thing is that it doesn’t have to be that way. The solar energy resource is huge – on the order of 1000 times our total global energy demand.

      This generation could set the earth on a stable course that could last millions of years. Instead we are in massive denial, and are electing politicians that pander to and take advantage of that denial.

      I fear that as the threat from global warming ramps up, a hard core of authoritarian followers will engage in denial, and seek authoritarian leaders who make vague promises that they will fix everything and allay their suppressed fears. Heavily propagandized human beings in denial are a fearful force.

      This is supposed to be a good online book on authoritarian followers: The Authoritarians by professor Bob Altemeyer:

      http://members.shaw.ca/jeanaltemeyer/drbob/TheAuthoritarians.pdf

      His general thesis seems to be that authoritarian following is driven by suppressed fears.

      From an evolutionary point of view, the ability to parrot a strong leader and take shelter in his organization – suppressing facts that might lead to disagreeing with that leader – would likely have tremendous survival value. It would be a shame if we let our evolved propensities destroy the biosphere.

      Reply
  8. Tweeting. Anthropocene misspelled in headline, btw.

    Reply
  9. Griffin

     /  January 9, 2016

    Robert, my hat is off to you for taking the time to run this blog. I have a feeling that you go through a lot more crap than many of us realize. Thanks for making it a great place for us to visit. Your work is appreciated.

    Reply
    • redskylite

       /  January 9, 2016

      I second that hats off statement, I’m sure that a lot of behind the scenes crap is overcome by Robert in keeping this site straight and true. A lot of work and skill to maintain. I agree entirely with Griffin.

      Reply
    • Griff — can’t tell you how much it means to me to hear that. I do my best to keep the mind shrinking stuff out. A bit still gets through, though.

      Reply
    • Bill H

       /  January 9, 2016

      Amen to that, Robert. I daresay as your profile gets higher so does the trollery – along the lines of “AGW is a fraud because Al Gore lives in a very big house”, or “AGW is false because the US Navy said the Arctic would be ice-free by 2013”, etc., etc.

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  January 9, 2016

      I completely agree, Griffin. Robert provides and incredible service to us all, and not only consistently delivers fantastic writing with insightful analysis of current events, but provides one of the most informative and knowledgeable comment forums on the internet, free from denier trolls and those looking to shut down productive conversation. This kind of environment is extremely rare, and I consider it a precious resource. Thank you so much, Robert. And thank you to all who help to make this my favorite place to visit 🙂

      Reply
      • Thank you, Ryan. It’s good to see that my work does pay off, at least in some small way. And I really, really appreciate all the honest shared thoughts of everyone here, especially when they are aimed at defining the problem and looking for ways to lessen it. But we should all realize that we are breakable human beings and that the human heart does not compell the mind and body to act when full of despair.

        That is why I value so much of what you guys do here. So much of what we are doing is fighting despair itself.

        Reply
  10. utoutback

     /  January 9, 2016

    I keep going back to my medical training and thinking about medical crises that “cascade” once a certain point is reached. In medicine it comes with a patient in critical condition where each intervention brings on a whole new set of physiological events, often with the end point being the death of the patient as the physician runs out of options.
    When we look back at 2015, I’m afraid we will see the futility of the weak COP 21 agreements and the string of events that were there for all of us to see: the disruption of the jet stream and shifting of the polar vortex, the rapid melting of arctic sea ice and the major land based ice (glaciers and Greenland ice sheet), the slowing of the Gulf stream current, more and more frequent “anomalous” weather events, flooding & drought, major forest fires (particularly Indonesia), pingos, methane bubbling from the ocean floor, a human mediated natural gas leak of epic proportions, ocean dead zones and toxic algae blooms, species extinction….
    All enhanced by a super El Nino.
    I don’t know about you, but to me it feels like we have passed the “tipping point”.

    Reply
    • utoutback

       /  January 9, 2016

      Just to let you know – this is NOT an attack on COP21. It’s an expression of frustration that there are such obvious signs that we are in a crisis that requires much stronger action. Meanwhile (off topic) we have ea group of Yahoos occupying government land here in OR talking about how the government should just stay out of the way of he people”.
      Sigh.

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  January 9, 2016

        I completely understand your frustration. I feel it too. It’s very apparent that we are in an escalating crisis that requires urgent action, yet the majority of the public is brainwashed by modern propaganda that instructs them to consume more, and tells them that everything is fine.

        Reply
  11. Tom

     /  January 9, 2016

    Hey Robert, great essay again – informative and timely. I think your research is exceptional with regard to the “new normal” (chaotic) weather. Thanks also to your great crew of commenters and regulars. i read them daily for updates, banter, discussion and music appreciation.

    To be fair though, you’re giving McPherson an unfairly bad review. He’s been at this a long time and sounded the alarm for years. Nothing changes because our leadership is tied to the fossil fuel industry, capitalism and business as usual. He encourages people to keep up the fight, not throw in the towel. Where you disagree is that he sees where this is going and knows (from being a conservation biologist) that the other species in our environment, from phytoplankton at the base of the marine food web to plants cannot possibly adapt to the rate of change of the climate – in short, we’re losing our habitat. His work is based on peer-reviewed science and he’s being honest.

    We cannot give up because our lives and those of our children depend on it. Even though we won’t be able to undo the centuries of misuse, pollution and non-stewardship that have wrecked the global climate, we’re still bound to fight to correct our ways as best we can in order to mitigate what’s already “baked in.”

    Thank you for your work and encouragement in this regard.

    Reply
    • Where I disagree is that his message is that the worst case is inevitable. This generates hopelessness and the exact opposite of a call to action. It is vastly irresponsible — regardless how bad the situation becomes. The equivalent to a petulant 2 year old crying — I can’t.

      In addition, the active attacks on positive action, because they are not perfect, are dramatically counterproductive. No effective policy — not the Montreal protocol, not the DDT reductions — started out in their current form. They progressed. But they were successful enough to save lives, to reduce damage, to create space for response. Yes, they are still not perfect. Yes, we should still work to improve them. But this view that policy and action have been ineffective and that government and the entire system is evil is the equivalent to accepting failure before you even start.

      I could think of no better means, intended or not, to disable effective response among environmentalists — coordination, action, whatever. That’s why I’m so critical of what I rightly believe to be a rotten way to think.

      Reply
      • uilyam

         /  January 12, 2016

        Robert – I respectfully (honestly, with great respect for you) disagree with you on this point. I also disagree with the followers of McPherson who attacked you on Facebook, and I expressed myself on a few of their pages. My advice is to not let them distract you from doing your thing. By all means, state your opinion on COP21, but avoid excessive criticism of those with a different opinion. In particular, my opinion is that your “equivalent to a petulant 2 year old crying” is you getting down in the mud to wrestle with pigs — you get dirty and they enjoy it. Don’t let them drag you down to that level. You’re much better than that.

        С большим уважением!

        Reply
        • Thank you uilyam. I’ll consider this very important comment in all future communications. I’d avoided addressing McPherson on most occassions. But this particular COP 21 issue seemed to need direct response. Perhaps it would have been better just to talk about the issue and not address McPherson specifically.

          In any case, thank you for the perspective. It is important for me to engage with readers of all stripes. And, sometimes, I guess I can mis-step now and again.

          All that said, I can’t help but be reminded that, historically, when people don’t clearly call out those who are misleading people, that some don’t get the message clearly. In other words, they don’t receive fair warning. And the very clear message to get from my statement here is that McPherson is misleading people. That he is taking away their will to respond. And, I must say that I disagree with you in this instance. In this case, I needed to call him out.

  12. Andy in SD

     /  January 9, 2016

    It makes sense that what we are doing may be unprecedented if you consider that the propagated chain of events one would call “effects” of human activity on this planet is much slower that an asteroid impact, yet considerably faster than an ice age forming (or retreating). We are some where in between, closer to the asteroid impact in terms of allowing the biosphere to adapt.

    Reply
    • Apneaman

       /  January 9, 2016

      Asteroid impact, volcanism were one-two punch for dinosaurs

      ““If our high-precision dates continue to pin these three events – the impact, the extinction and the major pulse of volcanism – closer and closer together, people are going to have to accept the likelihood of a connection among them. The scenario we are suggesting – that the impact triggered the volcanism – does in fact reconcile what had previously appeared to be an unimaginable coincidence,” he said.”

      http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/10/01/asteroid-impact-volcanism-were-one-two-punch-for-dinosaurs/

      Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  January 10, 2016

        One interesting thing about the combined impact and volcanism scenario is that India was close to antipodal from the asteroid impact at the time (66 million years ago). The Deccan traps were only about 30 degrees in longitude and pretty much directly antipodal in latitude from the impact, according to some reconstructions of plate tectonic motions. Reconstructions from only 66 million years ago should be pretty accurate, although latitudes are much easier to determine than longitudes.

        This free public domain software is interesting to use, and has numerous reconstructions and tutorials:

        http://www.gplates.org/

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  January 10, 2016

        Oh, BTW-

        Asteroid impacts can focus seismic waves (and maybe tsunamis and ejecta) at a point antipodal to the initial impact, leading to deep fracture zones in some models. So it seems possible that the impact in Chicxulub on the Yucatan Peninsula could have led to antipodal fractures on the far side of the earth, exacerbating the Deccan Traps eruptions. Certainly, as the time between the two events keeps getting dated closer and closer, the possibility of coincidence diminishes.

        The motions of the plates were those from Wright 2013, available on this page which lists numerous GPlates reconstructions:

        http://www.earthbyte.org/Resources/earthbyte_gplates_legacy.html

        It would be interesting to see if other reconstructions of plate motions have Chicxulub directly antipodal to the Deccan Traps. Latitude is available from paleomagnetic data, while longitude must be inferred from models of seafloor spreading when that data is available and has not been erased by plate subduction. Reconstructions from only 66 million years ago should be pretty good.

        Reply
    • I´ve been reading a Paleontology book from Brasil, and it mentioned an asteroid impact near the Permian-Triassic boundary also, in Araguainha Mato Grosso (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Araguainha_crater ), which would be insuficient to cause the Permian extinctions (it impacted shale oil rocks, though, and would have liberated a lot of methane and CO2 in the atmosphere), but may be connected with the eruption of the Siberian traps (acording to the book I´m reading, they would be antipodal to the crater in that epoch).

      That was the first mention of an asteroid impact near the Permian-Triassic that I read about, and though I found a bit of material in the web about it, I have a bit of fear that the info may be a bit of a “jaboticaba” (a term in Portuguese to define our brasilian tendency of overestimating the importance of things that happen in Brasil, or to qualify things that are strange for the outside world and ubiquous in Brasil).

      Have you guys ever heard about that meteor? Is it possible that it´s really connected to the Permian-Triassic extinction event (one of the causes, not the main cause. Even the book I´m reading consider the volcanism in the Siberian Traps as the main cause, by virtue of the CO2 expelled), or it was just exageration in the part of the book author?

      Reply
      • So it’s amazingly clear that the Permian was a hothouse mass extinction due to the emergence of flood basalts in Siberia. Though there were impacts near that time, impact theory hasn’t been able to present a very strong case that these had much of an influence on the overall event.

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  January 15, 2016

        Hi umbrios27-

        The GPlates software reconstruction I downloaded has the Siberian Traps not antipodal to the Araguainha impact site 252 million years ago. According to the Phanerozoic Earthbyte reconstruction (580 mya – present), the impact site is only about 100 degrees of longitude from the Siberian Traps instead of 180, and the latitudes also don’t match up. Reconstructions differ, but being wrong by that much seems unlikely. If I find another reconstruction with a different result I will post about it,

        At 254.7 +/- 2.5 million years ago for the impact, the large Siberian Traps eruptions 252.3 million years ago are within the interval. What is needed is tighter dating for the impact, I think – really tight dates already exist for the Siberian Traps.

        Scientists looking for evidence of a large impact – looking for shocked quartz for example – at the time of the Permian Triassic mass extinction have come up empty so far, I think. Not so for the KT mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs – there is plenty of evidence worldwide of a large impact at the time of that extinction.

        The latest I’ve heard, the timeline for the End Permian has the mass extinction event progressing over 80,000 years – pretty slow for an asteroid impact, but just about right. for methane hydrate dissociation triggered by flood basalt volcanism and global warming.

        The plate tectonic motion reconstructions will likely improve, and be increasingly combined with fossil evidence of climate and fossil databases. My understanding is that a way of determining longitude would be a great help.

        Reply
  13. NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 4h4 hours ago

    21Z Geocolor #satellite image of a hurricane force & storm force low in the Eastern #Pacific. #GRPG

    Reply
  14. NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 4h4 hours ago

    Latest 01Z Himawari visible satellite image of Tropical #Cyclone #Ula west of #Fiji.

    Reply
  15. – My admiration goes to the media in Utah who describe the serious menace of anthropogenic (mostly FF) air pollution as it should be described.

    Headline:

    Provo air ranked dirtiest in the nation
    Pollution hurting pregnant women, unborn kids

    http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/provo-air-ranked-dirtiest-in-the-nation/article_8d6651f9-980f-5cb3-a6b9-fdb02a8fa6d1.html

    Reply
    • – The ‘Right to Lifers’ just never show up at places like this to protect the unborn.
      Why is that?
      Do they use a sliding scale?
      This has always bugged me.
      And what about the health care costs?
      Or the tears shed?
      There’s no good sound bites there for the media or Congress.
      OUT

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  January 9, 2016

        It is more about punishing the unchaste or the victims of abuse or rape. The pure, virtuous and innocent would never find themselves in that situation or so their delusions would have them believe.
        The old saying always was “the Good Girls get pregnant”

        Reply
      • – Qs:
        If you’re not safe within your mother’s womb — how safe will you be when you get out and into your community?
        How moral is your community?
        If emissions in the atmosphere are allowed to penetrate the micro-climate of a mother’s womb — what future awaits the newborn?
        These are questions a society should ask itself every day.

        Reply
  16. – Something for Bob from the Sempra Porter Ranch gas blowout:

    Massive Natural Gas Disaster Hits Los Angeles

    CURWOOD: Now, what exactly has SoCal Gas done to try to plug this leak, and how much more gas is likely to come out before they get the situation fixed?

    INGRAFFEA: What SoCalGas did when they realized the magnitude of the problem was to call in experts, a company called Boots & Coots.
    … The problem is that the leak in the casing is occurring relatively shallow – it’s only about 500 feet below the surface of a nearly 9,000 foot deep well. But the pressure at the bottom of a column of liquid 500 feet high was insufficient to overcome the roughly 2,700 pounds per square inch of gas pressure. And so, that column of liquid could not force the gas down below the breach in the casing to stop the flow into the atmosphere, so that failed.

    http://loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=16-P13-00002&segmentID=1#.VpCFywH8aaw.twitter

    Reply
  17. AGU 2015: Eric Rignot – Ice Sheet Systems and Sea Level Change

    Reply
  18. Syd Bridges

     /  January 9, 2016

    Thanks for this post, Robert. This is yet another unusual weather pattern, like so many we’ve seen in recent years.

    In the 1980s, we began to see weather oddities, then they were just straws in the wind and could have been natural variance in the system. By the late 1990s, this line was looking increasingly unlikely. However, the extraordinary El Nino of 1997-8 allowed the deniers to cherry pick for a number of years to claim that global warming had stopped. How this could possibly be true with rising GHGs was another matter. Looking at the rolling means or the minima of the graph told a very different story.

    Now we are seeing completely different weather patterns along with record temperatures. The straws have turned into massive straw bales hurtling past but we are told that the wind isn’t stronger, the anemometers are conspiring with the downed trees and the missing roof shingles and a group of alarmists The alternative explanation that it is all due to snow blowers being tested before the next Ice Age seemed somewhat implausible until Congress passed a resolution stating that this was, in fact, the case.

    As Solzhenitsyn wrote at the end of August 1914: “Untruth did not begin with us; nor will it end with us.”

    Reply
  19. dnem

     /  January 9, 2016

    Robert- First, thanks for all you do to create this incredible resource. It has become an important part of my daily routine. Second, thanks for the slap to help us avoid falling into the doomer trap. Yes, we all know that the current pace of change is woefully inadequate, and that, if continued, would fall far, far short. But, in much the same way that natural systems respond to change in non-linear ways, I think the human zeitgeist can change in dramatic, and non-linear ways. We are surely not there yet, but we must continue to hope that a dramatic, civilization altering change will sweep through our sad, strange species. That change will only come if we all continue to push a positive, affirming narrative that there is a better world out there beyond mindless growth-for-growth’s-sake industrial consumerism.

    Reply
  20. Hopelessness is not despair

    Even in the Vedic tradition one of the charasteristics of the Realised Ones is the absence of hope.

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  January 9, 2016

      Insightful and a reminder of the realities and true worth in life

      Reply
      • Agreed. Definitely possible that we will not succeed, but accepting that possibility reduces anxiety and helps me stay focused on the effort. Relevant quote from Mother Teresa: “God has not called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful.”

        Reply
    • wili

       /  January 9, 2016

      I studied briefly under Trungpa Rinpoche, the author of your quote. He has many deep insights, but he was also quite a piece of work–slept with many of those who entrusted their spiritual development to him, etc. I’m not sure you can call a quote from him ‘Vedic’ exactly, either. (Sorry if this sounds pedantic. False hope can certainly be a crutch that impedes meaningful action. I do think it is tricky to take quotes from deep and complex religions and philosophies out of context, though.)

      Reply
  21. Ken Barrows

     /  January 9, 2016

    Mother Teresa was faithful but most of the money received didn’t actually help people (except spiritually, I guess). Give to Doctors without Borders instead.

    Reply
    • Good point. My intent was to communicate a specific state of mind, rather than to endorse a particular charity or even a particular person. While I’m revisiting the topic, I should also clarify that her statement was not with respect to “success” in gaining wealth or influence, but rather to success in eliminating poverty.

      Reply
      • I think this is a key distinction. When we define success as helping others, as helping increase the vitality of our world, as helping the living creatures of this world there is a kind of end to despair. It’s deciding to carry the light rather than expecting the world to give it. It’s accepting your responsibility for your place in this. And, ironically, this is the beginning of the end of being part of the problem. This is the very nature of spiritual rebirth. When hearts, minds, and eyes become unclouded, courageous, and lusting — not for personal gain — but for justice. Lusting for the good end that should be. The right world that should be. And fighting for it. That is the death of despair.

        Reply
  22. My perspective is that inaction is immoral. Full stop. The action will vary with the individual and their world view, as well as their preference of methods and the levers available for them to pull. Part of my attention in this, for instance, is directing the attention of the Christian world to the fact that what we are seeing in the natural world exactly parallels some prophecy in the Bible. Another part of my attention is focused on decreasing my footprint, and the final part of my attention is focused on assisting those in the developing world who are most strongly impacted by change. Others will choose an entirely different mix or will focus on just one thing. More power to them. But, as I said, my perspective is that inaction is immoral.

    Reply
    • LJR

       /  January 9, 2016

      Action is consolatory.
      It is the enemy of thought and the friend of flattering illusions.
      – Joseph Conrad

      Reply
      • Out of context and not at all applicable here. Conrad, in other words, in this case, is wrong.

        Inaction is the enemy. It is the death of reason. The author of apathy. A thousand little dooms cobbling the road to our end.

        We are entirely capable of full response. And due to rotten thinking — as above. We continue to fail. Not only ourselves. Not only our children. But life on this world itself.

        Reply
      • wili

         /  January 9, 2016

        LJR, one might point out that, if you really believed that, you wouldn’t have taken the ‘action’ of posting it in the first place (unless you are choosing to engage in merely ‘consolatory’ activity that is the ‘enemy of though and the friend of flattering illusions,’ of course!)

        Reply
    • entropicman

       /  January 9, 2016

      “There’s a Divinity that shapes our ends,
      Rough-hew them how we will.”

      Hamlet: Act 5, Scene 2

      Reply
  23. NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 11h11 hours ago

    Another (low latitude) hurricane force low developing in the N Atl…plus a developing storm off the British Isles!

    Reply
  24. NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 14h14 hours ago

    “Midget” Cyclone Ula in S Pac very compact at less than 150 nm across though forecast to become very intense.

    Reply
  25. – I hope it doesn’t melt soon while the ‘out of season’ rain swollen rivers are still high.
    NWS WPC ‏@NWSWPC 18m18 minutes ago

    #Snow totaling 12 to 18 inches, with locally higher amounts, is forecast for lower Michigan

    Reply
  26. – MALFUNCTION… please delete the above.
    Svein T veitdal ‏@tveitdal 8h

    Reply
  27. – There’s good footage here:
    YouTube Newswire ‏@ytnewswire 4h4 hours ago

    Watch #drone footage showing the extent of heavy flooding in northeast #Scotland
    Flooding in Inverurie Jan 8th 2016
    Published on Jan 8, 2016

    Views of River Don, Don Bridge and Port Elphinstone

    Reply
  28. Colorado Bob

     /  January 9, 2016

    Wintertime floods among costliest ever

    Once all the costs of lost business and damaged roads, bridges and public buildings are added up, it’s a “safe bet” the total loss will exceed $1 billion, said Steve Bowen, a meteorologist with Aon Benfield, a global reinsurance firm based in London.

    That estimate comes from preliminary damage assessment information from federal and local officials and on early insurance claims in affected areas.

    For example, in and around the St. Louis area, floods have damaged or destroyed an estimated 7,100 structures, according to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, and at least a half-million tons of debris will need to be removed. Repairs to roads in St. Louis County will top $200 million.
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2016/01/08/mississippi-river-flood-cost/78366942/

    Reply
    • Apneaman

       /  January 10, 2016

      I see a pattern. Why come out with these preliminary guesses all the time? They did the same in the 2013 Alberta floods $1 billion. It ended up over $5 billion. Saw it in Oct in SC $1 billion. They’re still tallying in SC and have just gotten more flooding. How many home, business and infrastructure rebuilds and repairs can the system take? The insurance industry? Families? FEMA forever?

      South Carolina Floods Are A Small-Business Owner’s ‘Nightmare’

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/south-carolina-flood-insurance_56144d8ce4b021e856d2cad2?utm_hp_ref=flood

      Reply
      • Apneaman

         /  January 10, 2016

        Capitalism – no profit, no business.

        Head: UK floods to cost in excess of $1bn and hit insurer earnings

        http://www.commercialriskeurope.com/cre/4810/56/Head-UK-floods-to-cost-in-excess-of-1bn-and-hit-insurer-earnings/

        Reply
      • Bill H

         /  January 10, 2016

        Apneaman, It’s worse than the headline you quote suggests. Later in the article the figure of 3 billion UK pounds is mentioned – about 4.5 billion dollars. I have seen other estimates of 5 billion pounds, though.

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  January 10, 2016

        The repeated destruction of homes and infrastructure occurred in my home state of Connecticut. The shoreline was devastated by Hurricane Irene and then Sandy, with the state also being struck by massive snowfalls (record breaking events) that caused widespread power outages throughout the area, all in a three year period. Some homeowners lost homes, started to rebuild, then lost the rebuilt home the following year. At some point our entire economic output will be spent on reconstruction and dealing with extreme weather events. At that point we are just running to stand still.

        Reply
      • Jeremy in Wales

         /  January 11, 2016

        The capitalist system loves flooding, all the damage has to be repaired and things replaced, It acts as a boost to GDP, shows the economy is growing, whats not to love? Our system loves spending, does not matter who is paying or why it is happening.

        Reply
    • It’s going to get worse. We have until at least April for this pattern.

      Reply
      • Bill H

         /  January 10, 2016

        Robert, coming from the UK myself that forecast is particularly unwelcome. Do you have a link for it?

        Reply
        • No. I’m just watching the way these weather patterns keeps setting up. The North Atlantic is receiving a ridiculous amount of moisture and has a very strong SST dipole along with a significant trough generation sole near Greenland. I don’t really see how this pattern will change significantly before March/April.

  29. Colorado Bob

     /  January 9, 2016

    Perfect is the enemy of good
    Perfect is the enemy of good is an aphorism, an English variant of the older better is the enemy of good, presumably of proverbial Italian origin, which was popularized by Voltaire in French form.

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

    Reply
  30. Colorado Bob

     /  January 9, 2016

    Tipperary Song (Das Boot)

    Reply
  31. Ryan in New England

     /  January 9, 2016

    Heatwaves and drought have caused a decline in cereal grain yields over the past 50 years…

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/weather_extremes_slash_cereal_yields_20160109

    Reply
  32. Ryan in New England

     /  January 9, 2016

    Jeff Masters’ blog is a good read today. It concerns the record warmth across the U.S. in December.

    It’s hard to overstate the striking character of December’s mildness. Millions of people along the Eastern Seaboard experienced it first hand, as all of the big cities (and many smaller ones) from Washington, D.C., to Portland, Maine, smashed their previous records for December warmth. New York City’s Central Park went through the entire month of December without dipping down to freezing, whereas all prior Decembers back to 1871 had reached 32°F at least six times. As shown in Figure 1, each state east of the Mississippi–plus Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri–saw its warmest December on record, and even the coolest states were close to their long-term December average. All told, close to 12,000 daily records (warm highs and warm lows) were set across the nation in December, as noted by weather.com.

    During the nine-day period from December 23 to 31, the lowest temperature observed in Key West, Florida, was 78°F. This happens to be the previous record-warm minimum for the entire month of December, going back to 1871! This is the first time I’ve heard of any U.S. location with more than a century of weather-observing history that managed to tie or set a monthly record on so many consecutive days. Key West’s daily lows were an astounding 79°F on December 25, 27, 28, 29, and 31. Finally, on January 3, the mercury dropped below 69°F, for the first time since April 1–making it the longest such streak at or above 69°F (277 days) in Key West history.

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/warm-wet-year-for-us-record-heat-in-south-africa-tropical-storm-p

    Reply
  33. Colorado Bob

     /  January 9, 2016

    Climate Change Could Cause Power Blackouts Worldwide
    Researchers find that drought and rising temperatures will reduce water supplies that fossil fuel and nuclear power plants need to operate.
    http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/01/09/power-production-climate-change-water

    Reply
  34. Tom

     /  January 9, 2016

    Water is the big problem now. Too much or too little destroys crops. Since we’re already way over the carrying capacity of the planet (with respect to humanity), this is nature’s way of bringing us back to ‘more reasonable’ numbers.

    Reply
  35. Ryan in New England

     /  January 9, 2016

    To those of us paying attention to what’s going on in the world, it seems totally insane to still deny the reality of man made climate change. Sadly however, it appears the age of climate denial is far from over.

    http://www.desmogblog.com/2016/01/07/study-finds-era-climate-science-denial-not-over

    Reply
    • I think the crucial thing to remember here is that as long as the fossil fuel industry exists, some form of climate change denial will continue to exist. Or, at the very least, some kind of attempted issue manipulation in order to continue burning fossil fuels.

      We have an industry that just simply cannot continue to exist if people fully realize the situation. But I think that there’s a similar effort aimed at confusing the issue further. For example, geo-engineering as an issue or proposed solution keeps rearing its head. And the one key phrase to remember from the article: ‘attempts to polarize the issue of climate change.’

      I think that’s the phrase to remember. What I see consistently in the comments that I moderate out of this blog as well as those on Facebook is a persistent effort to sew discord and polarization. For me, at least, the pressure is less now for climate change denial (I still get some of that. But it’s almost as if they know I’ll delete it. So there’s a different angle as well.) and more for just making these ridiculous and divisive statements. Poor people suffer from renewable energy is one such nonsense meme. And the heavy attacks on COP recently just lit things up.

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  January 10, 2016

        You’re completely correct, Robert. This is an unavoidable result of the fossil fuel industry fighting for its own survival. If people truly understood the problem they would realize that fossil fuels are incompatible with a livable climate.

        And I can’t imagine the crap you must have to wade through to moderate this space, so again I will thank you for that service. It means more than you can imagine. When I have to see the ignorance and complete disconnect from reality on display in comments sections it makes my head want to explode. I understand far too much about what is truly at stake and what we are fighting for to have patience and tolerance for those who try and stop progress and shut down conversation.

        Reply
      • I want to add my voice to those thanking you for all the work you do in this blog, Robert, not only your texts are superb but fighting trolls all the time to keep these comments a good place must take it´s tool. And congratulations in the Voice of America interview, you rocked there!

        Reply
      • Jeremy in Wales

         /  January 11, 2016

        The big fossil fuel companies suffer everytime a person, company or institution makes a decision to reduce or eliminate fossil fuels. It is a drip, drip effect before it becomes overwhelming and crashes the economics of their trade.
        I managed to find LED bulbs to replace the halogen mini bulbs in the bathroom, 80 watts saved, multiply that by 20 million households and it makes a serious figure.
        Took the other half for a weekend away, Portmerion (for those of you old enough “The Prisoner” with Patrick McGoohan) to find they are busy installing a district heating system powered by woodchip to replace 27 seperate heating boilers, 1MW equivalent. (appreciate it has its own problems), fossil fuels lose out again.
        These sort of changes will take these carbon companies over the edge and make future fossil fuel investment less attractive. The question is how fast we can make changes.

        Reply
  36. Colorado Bob

     /  January 9, 2016

    Climate change strongly linked to UK flooding

    High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/831d04d4-b5ee-11e5-b147-e5e5bba42e51.html#ixzz3wnGnSgKc

    Climate scientists are moving away from cautious statements made in the past that, while man-made global warming makes certain types of severe weather more likely, it cannot be blamed for specific events.

    All climate experts who have analysed this December’s record-breaking temperatures and rainfall in Britain see a significant role for global warming in addition to natural variability in the weather, according to Professor Adam Scaife, head of long-range prediction at the UK Met Office.

    “When natural oscillations add to climate change, you end up breaking records,” he said.

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/831d04d4-b5ee-11e5-b147-e5e5bba42e51.html#axzz3wnFBJCgq

    Reply
  37. PlazaRed

     /  January 10, 2016

    Thank you Robert for bringing to the forefront of the debate what is hidden from the masses.
    We have recorded all sorts of things but the main lever in the challenge for the war of Temperatures and their effects is still to come?.

    Its going to be a simple battle of, we are OK because we have no problems!
    This is going to be the challenge for the future?
    I see the ice as the “Key” and nothing else will step into its way!
    I see our way forward now as the human population aware that they are in grave danger!
    Then again will they even notice that their predicament is DIRE?

    Reply
  38. Seemorerocks

     /  January 10, 2016

    In response to all the conversation above, Russian folk wisdom is a fine antidote to the American addiction to positivity:
    “A pessimist thinks things can’t get any worse
    An optimist knows it can”

    Reply
  39. Tom

     /  January 10, 2016

    Thanks Robin, that’s great.

    New tech mtl from MIT:
    Material could harvest sunlight by day, release heat on demand hours or days later

    (@physics.org)

    Reply
  40. Vic

     /  January 10, 2016

    The rush for the exits gains pace as Saudi royal family considers divestment…

    SAUDI ARABIA is thinking about listing shares in Saudi Aramco, the state-owned company that is the world’s biggest oil producer and almost certainly the world’s most valuable company. Muhammad bin Salman, the kingdom’s deputy crown prince and power behind the throne of his father, King Salman, has told The Economist that a decision will be taken in the next few months. “Personally I’m enthusiastic about this step,” he said. “I believe it is in the interest of the Saudi market, and it is in the interest of Aramco.”

    http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21685529-biggest-oil-all-saudi-arabia-considering-ipo-aramco-probably

    Reply
    • Jeremy in Wales

       /  January 11, 2016

      Seems that the Saudis are trying to extract as much value from there oil before demand starts falling, pump it as fast as you can to destroy fracking, sell the company, reduce their own subsidies. They can sense the trends with technology, electric cars, and renewables. But it could all so easily implode there.

      Reply
      • Bingo. They’re externalizing their risk. That’s what this IPO means. They’re foisting their risk onto any investor foolish enough to hold fossil fuel assets at this time.

        Reply
  41. Griffin

     /  January 10, 2016

    “Higher than predicted” tide levels in Key West, Florida tonight.
    http://inws.wrh.noaa.gov/weather/alertinfo/28199591

    Reply
  42. Andy in SD

     /  January 10, 2016

    Canada’s Ice Roads Are Melting — And That Is Terrible News for Aboriginal Communities

    https://news.vice.com/article/canadas-ice-roads-are-melting-and-that-is-terrible-news-for-aboriginal-communities

    Reply
  43. Andy in SD

     /  January 10, 2016

    Bad news: Scientists say we could be underestimating Arctic methane emissions

    https://www.adn.com/article/20151222/bad-news-scientists-say-we-could-be-underestimating-arctic-methane-emissions

    Reply
  44. Andy in SD

     /  January 10, 2016

    Russian icebreaker breaks speed record on Arctic route

    A Russian icebreaker just completed the fastest transit of the Northern Sea Route. Along with setting the speed record, the icebreaker also completed the trip more than a month after the shipping season usually ends in the Arctic.

    https://www.adn.com/article/20151231/russian-icebreaker-breaks-speed-record-arctic-route

    Reply
  45. NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 1h1 hour ago

    A #storm force low in the E. #Pacific has resulted in seas up to 42 ft per the OPC 00Z #wind/wave analysis!

    Reply
  46. – climatecentral.org/news/tropical-hydropower-biodiversity-climate-risk

    Hydropower Said to Put Climate, Biodiversity at Risk

    Hydropower — often considered a renewable source of energy that is key to meeting global climate goals — is big business in the Amazon, Congo and Mekong river basins, where more than 450 dams are on the drawing board.

    But dam building in tropical rainforests comes at a huge cost to biodiversity and the tropical rain forest ecosystems that provide humans with clean air and water, according to a Texas A&M University study published Thursday in the journal Science.

    The Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in the Amazon under construction.
    Credit: Kirk Winemiller/Texas A&M

    Reply
    • Policy Forum

      Development and Environment
      Balancing hydropower and biodiversity in the Amazon, Congo, and Mekong
      http://www.sciencemag.org/content/351/6269/128

      Reply
    • Jean

       /  January 11, 2016

      So dam ugly

      Reply
    • Belo Monte is already operating. Not fully, because the eletric lines to connect it to the grid aren´t complete, but it received it´s licence of operation and is stocking their lake.

      Personally, I don´t consider it the worst dam in the Amazon (it´s still a bad idea, just not the worst). It received more publicity because it´s in the River Xingu, which is iconic to conservation here in Brasil.

      But the ambiental impact of the usines in the River Madeira (Jirau and Santo Antonio) is even worst. They were a huge factor in the floods of Acre, Rondonia and Bolivia in February 2014 (just after they started flooding their lakes), as it had been predicted in ambiental impacts studies. Actually, our ambiental defense agency, IBAMA, tried to stop or change their construction (if the dams were positioned differently their impact would have been smaller, and they wouldn´t be causing megafloods, BUT they would have been more expensive to build, and… ), so it´s president was fired and substituted by a cronie that okeyed the construction.

      Now the environmental movement in Brasil is trying to stop the construction of more mega-hidreletric usins in the Tapajós river, another huge, flat land megadiverse river in the Amazon. The prospect is a bit better than the against Belo Monte campaign, as both the government and the big-construction sector are broke right now, but the campaigns aren´t having the same impetus that the against Belo Monte did, and that one failed.

      Those kind of hidreletric are awful environmentally, as even the expected benefits of “not producing CO2 with their energy” aren´t realized. These usines flood areas of woods, and that produces huge quantities of methane (http://philip.inpa.gov.br/publ_livres/Preprints/preprints-to%20be%20linked/1995/HYDRO-GH-EC.pdf ).

      Reply
      • We should be clear that hydro is pretty amazingly tough on rivers. But nowhere near as tough as continuing to burn fossil fuels the way we currently are. The way some are trying to force us to continue to do.

        Reply
      • I agree that termoeletrics using fossil fuels are worst than most hidroeletrics (hidros like Jirau, Balbina, Three Gorges Dam and like I´m not sure, including because of the problem of methane I´ve cited above), but the alternative to big hidro in the Amazon could easily be more investiment in eolic energy (eolic parks in the Northeast are producing the cheapest and surprisingly realiable energy, even though our federal government is so unsupporting of it that one of the “ignorance memes” of our President Dilma is about how wind energy can´t be trusted), and in solar energy, specially residencial solar energy (which has no government support at all in Brasil, with endless bureaucracy for daring to install a grid-tied residencial solar system). And even more biomass termoeletrics, which here mostly use by-products of ethanol/sugar production and are installed near the places of highest eletric consumption.

        We have a huge potential for all those energy sources around here, to the point that they´re becoming economic vantageous despite opposition of our current government. They pretend not to in international conferences (in Brasil´s pledge to Paris, for example, one of the itens was about renewable energy. It was heavily criticized here in Brasil, because it promised that by 2030 we´d had LESS renewable energy that we have now, and it was then corrected to say that it was only about renewable energy in the eletric grid… still far to easy a target, that should be reached without any incentives to the use of renewables here), but their policy internally is very against it.

        Example: two eolic farms in the Northeast were stranded without eletric lines connecting them to the grid by almost two years, because funding to install those eletric lines, a federal investment, was curtailled. The energy that they produce is about the same as Belo Monte, with costed far more federal funds (about ten times more than both eolic farms together), the eolic usines are nearer consumer areas and their ambiental costs are orders of magnitude less than Belo Monte.

        But those big dams in the Amazon are constructed by some of the biggest enterprises here in Brasil, enterprises that, as Lava-Jato operation is showing, heavily invested in the government and politics.

        Reply
  47. Greg

     /  January 10, 2016

    Presume those spikes in Asia are coal plants keeping China warm and that little plume in California is the methane leak turning into CO2

    Reply
    • Vic

       /  January 10, 2016

      That relatively puny puff of CO2 off the south west corner of Australia is pretty much all that’s left of the town of Yarloop which was razed in a massive bushfire three days ago. As the combusted town blew out to sea, its ash rained down on the town of Busselton 120km away.

      Witnesses said it took seven minutes to destroy the town of 120+ homes, the historic timber workshops, factories, old churches, the old hospital, shops, the hotel, bowling club, fire station and a large proportion of the school. Gone. Seven minutes.

      Reply
    • Bill H

       /  January 10, 2016

      Greg, I doubt the CO2 “hotspot” above Calif. is due to methane: methane’s fairly stable in the atmosphere IIRC.

      Reply
      • In the presence of hydroxyl it breaks down into CO2. It’s much less stable than say CO2. But methane’s stable enough to last about 8 years. It’s possible that the Porter Ranch leak includes a lesser volume of CO2 which could be showing up as a plume.

        Reply
  48. redskylite

     /  January 10, 2016

    I remember U.S Presidential Science adviser, John Holdren, politely & patiently explaining to a House Committee Science member (rep Steve Stockman) on why “Global Wobbling” is not included in supercomputer modelling. I understand that the next ice age is likely to occur in approximately 50,000 years intantho our future, when it would replace all that polar ice that is fast melting away. Even that far into the future there will be a significant % of anthropogenic CO2 still remaining in our atmosphere. I just wonder if any of our descendants will still be around by then. I certainly hope so.

    This excellent article from the “Mother Nature Network” explores some of the science.

    “Climate science is complicated business, and understanding the extent to which climate change is man-made also requires an understanding of Earth’s powerful natural cycles. One of those natural cycles involves Earth’s orbit and its complicated dance with the sun.
    The first thing you need to know about Earth’s orbit and its effect on climate change is that orbital phases occur over tens of thousands of years, so the only climate trends that orbital patterns might help explain are long-term ones.
    Even so, looking at Earth’s orbital cycles can still offer some invaluable perspective on what is happening in the short term. Most notably, you might be surprised to learn that Earth’s current warming trend is happening in spite of a relatively cool orbital phase. It’s therefore possible to better appreciate the high degree that anthropogenic warming must be taking place in contrast.”

    http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/climate-weather/stories/everything-you-need-to-know-about-earths-orbit-and-climate-cha

    Reply
  49. Abel Adamski

     /  January 10, 2016

    For Scientific Americans input
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/global-warming-helped-exacerbate-biggest-year-ever-for-u-s-wildfires/

    Global Warming Helped Exacerbate Biggest Year Ever for U.S. Wildfires

    A warmer, drier climate played a role in fires that burned more than 10 million acres

    Morgan at the University of Idaho agrees that the forest and fire communities will need to do more to account for climate change. She said fire is inevitable, and even as federal fire policy is flexible enough to bolster resources for improving forest health, the quandary falls to humanity to learn how to live with fire.

    “I think we have the tools, but having the many different kinds of conversations we need to have and accepting we can’t put out all fires will be tough,” she said. “It’s probably going to lead to different ways of managing where we live and how we live as people.”

    Reply
    • Hmm, encouraging, I think I discern a shift in tone between this (and recent similar coverage of the UK flooding) and previous media coverage of weather-related extremes. Maybe media are finally starting to move off the dime?

      Reply
      • And yet another story with the same tone. Seems like good news–God knows, we could use a little:

        “STATELINE, Nev. — The El Niño weather pattern that’s fueling a snowy start to 2016 for the Lake Tahoe region is among the strongest on record and likely to continue bringing storms to the region.

        “But the long-term climate prognosis for the Sierra Nevada and the planet as a whole is more troubling with rising global temperatures threatening to make cold, snowy winters less likely in the future.

        “That was the message two climate scientists delivered Friday to an audience of meteorologists gathered for a conference at Lake Tahoe. … ”

        http://www.rgj.com/story/news/2016/01/08/lake-tahoe-current-el-nio-among-strongest-record/78508656/

        Reply
      • And another:

        “The record-breaking rainfall and devastating floods that have drenched Scotland over the last few weeks are the “new normal” – and they could force some communities to abandon built-up areas and move to higher ground.

        Experts canvassed by the Sunday Herald warn that we will have to get used to more winters like this one, as climate pollution from vehicles and industry warms the globe and wreaks havoc with the weather. Without action to curb carbon emissions, they say, it is likely to get much worse.

        “There is no natural weather any more,” declared Professor James Curran, the former chief executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and a leading climate expert. “The world is now warmer by one degree centigrade than it would be without climate change – so there is no weather anywhere, at any time, that isn’t man-made these days.”

        It was wasting time to endlessly debate to what extent the current bad weather was caused by climate pollution, he argued. After last month’s climate summit in Paris, the priority was to tackle the problem.

        “It’s been long predicted and is almost certain now that, whatever we do, flooding both from the sea and from rivers will become more severe and at least twice as frequent by 2100,” he said. … ”

        http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14194010.Revealed__scientists_warn_climate_changes_means_wild_weather_in_Scotland_is_the__new_normal_/

        Reply
      • – A statement from the above worth noting:

        “There is no natural weather any more,” …. “The world is now warmer by one degree centigrade than it would be without climate change – so there is no weather anywhere, at any time, that isn’t man-made these days.”

        – We broke the weather. We really did.
        – For what?
        – Speedy service at the DRIVE THROUGH TAKE OUT WINDOW?

        Reply
  50. Kevin Jones

     /  January 10, 2016

    Cryosphere Today shows Arctic Sea Ice Area entered record low for date on 1/4/16. Joining NSIDC record low extent for date. Thanks, John Christensen over at Nevins’ blog.

    Reply
  51. Griffin

     /  January 10, 2016

    Tidal flooding at high tide along the New Jersey coast this morning.

    Reply
  52. I am from Romania. He didnt had a nice winter since i don’t know when. We used to have 50 cm of snow this time of year. In the last years in this time of the year is just like autumn. Global warming is our biggest enemy

    Reply
  53. Kevin Jones

     /  January 10, 2016

    A little rain in Quebec. A little rain on the Ross Ice Shelf. (shows Climate Reanalyzer)

    Reply
  54. Colorado Bob

     /  January 10, 2016

    The VOA article

    Global Warming, El Niño Combine to Fuel Extreme World Weather

    Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at Weather Underground, speaks to Hashtag VOA via Skype from Ann Arbor, Michigan on Jan. 5, 2016

    Robert Fanney, climate change blogger, speaks on Hashtag VOA, Jan. 5, 2016

    Stephen Amstrup, chief scientist at Polar Bears International, speaks to Hashtag VOA via Skype from Kettle Falls, Washington on Jan. 5, 2016

    http://www.voanews.com/content/global-warming-el-nino-fuel-extreme-world-weather/3137190.html

    Reply
  55. J.R.

     /  January 10, 2016

    Nuclear (anything) is not GHG free (or even “low”). Anything built from oil has a GHG cost, including solar panels, nuclear power, dams, etc. Concrete is one of the worst polluters, but so is most everything else made from oil-derived energy. None of these are made “without oil” to this day.

    Reply
    • Tom Bond

       /  January 10, 2016

      Nuclear (anything) is not GHG free (or even “low”).

      From IPCC

      The life cycle GHG emissions per kWh from nuclear power plants are two orders of magnitude lower than those of fossil-fuelled electricity generation and comparable to most renewables (EC, 1995; Krewitt et al., 1999; Brännström-Norberg et al., 1996; Spadaro et al., 2000). Hence it is an effective GHG mitigation option, especially by way of investments in the lifetime extension of existing plants.

      http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg3/index.php?idp=128

      Reply
      • J.R.

         /  January 11, 2016

        This is ‘continued insistence’ that humans can still have their power and GHG too. It is not ‘effective GHG mitigation’ – this claim is disingenuous at best. Emitting more is being redefined as ‘better’ when it’s still GHG (and still oil-derived and oil-dependent – something that usually is conveniently forgotten). The entire life-cycle of site preparation, construction, maintenance, power production and what this ‘enables’ for the human community (including all their GHG / fossil-fuel derived activities) needs to be taken into account. It’s still BAU. It’s not ‘mitigation’ – it’s continued emissions and consumption – and then a massive disposal problem yet to be solved.

        Reply
      • Reposted the nuclear question here. Thanks!

        Reply
  56. Tom

     /  January 10, 2016

    Eric: not to be all Danny Downer here, but the huge increase in tropospheric ozone (a side effect of fossil fuel use) is also a factor, but it damages roots, leaves and ability of plants to uptake nutrients. It’s killing trees everywhere.

    Reply
    • – Yes indeed, this ozone destroys biotic tissue — plant and homo sap.

      Reply
    • Griffin

       /  January 10, 2016

      Indeed. Ozone in the wrong places is an issue that is really helping to drive terrifying changes to our planet. The trees are leaving us as a result. (no pun intended)

      Reply
    • The article just showed that increased CO2 altered boreal plant respiration. There was not anything in it to support Eric’s assertion that this resents a major new carbon sink. In other words, the comment was misinformation. So I took it dow.

      Reply
  57. Andy in SD

     /  January 10, 2016

    City of Charleston’s strategy to tackle sea level rise related flooding

    http://counton2.com/2016/01/01/city-of-charlestons-strategy-to-tackle-sea-level-rise-related-flooding/

    Reply
  58. James Burton

     /  January 10, 2016

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_2GjzS576A “Naomi Klein on Why Climate Change is ‘Incredibly Threatening To Our Elites’ ”
    She does a good job of putting the whole social and economic situation into the spotlight.

    Reply
    • Jeremy

       /  January 11, 2016

      That’s funny.
      From the perspective of who is going to be most immediately affected by climate change, SHE is one of the elite.
      Constantly jetting from one speaking venue to the next.

      Reply
  59. NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 12h12 hours ago

    Timely data to verify our 10/00Z forecast. Winds @ 65 kt and seas @ 39 ft with the latest instrument readings..

    Reply
  60. – USA Great Lakes: Animated gif at:

    Anthony Sagliani ‏@anthonywx 16m16 minutes ago

    Awesome view of powerful vortmax wrapping into deepening extratropical cyclone over eastern GL.

    Reply
  61. NWS New Orleans ‏@NWSNewOrleans 1h1 hour ago

    Major flood stage reached at Baton Rouge. Crest forecasted at 43.5ft on 1/18. City protected by levees. #lawx

    Reply
    • – Hydrology

      LA State Police ‏@LAStatePolice 2h2 hours ago

      LSP Air Support monitoring opening of BC spillway. Public safety is highest priority. @TeamNewOrleans @GOHSEP

      Reply
      • – The Mississippi as a whole has been channelized for commerce — much needed silt is not reaching the Gulf tidelands etc. The sea grows inland and upstream — SLR compounds the error.

        Reply
  62. – UK ‘Smoggy London Town”
    – Independent:

    Diesel fumes ‘biggest health catastrophe since Black Death’ as London exceeds yearly air pollution levels – in eight days

    Campaign groups are calling on the Government to do more to tackle ‘breathtaking’ air pollution levels

    Diesel exhaust fumes are causing the biggest health catastrophe since the Black Death, a campaign group has claimed, as new figures show air pollution limits for the whole year have been breached in just eight days in London.

    European Union limits demand that maximum hourly nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations are not exceeded for more than 18 hours a year – yet Putney High Street, in west London, had recorded its 19th hour breaching the limits during Friday morning’s rush hour, the London Air Quality Network said.

    – Air pollution obscures the view of the London eye in central London on April 9, 2015 Getty

    Reply
  63. Arctic

    As the Arctic heats up, it’s becoming home to a wider variety of birds, plankton, and other creatures of the polar night.
    http://www.audubon.org/magazine/january-february-2016/meet-night-creatures-warming-arctic

    Reply
  64. WS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 1h1 hour ago

    low analyzed to 987 hPa, generating HF winds; new NHC 5d outlook increases to 40% chance of trop cyclone formation

    Reply
  65. Revealed: scientists warn climate changes means wild weather in Scotland is the ‘new normal’

    “According to Simon Tett, professor of earth system dynamics at the University of Edinburgh, said changes are happening faster than anticipated. “We have long expected winters in the northern hemisphere to be wetter, and for rainfall to be more intense,” he said.

    “As humans have increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and warmed the planet, rainfall amount and intensity have, indeed, increased – and by more than we predicted.” ”

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14194010.Revealed__scientists_warn_climate_changes_means_wild_weather_in_Scotland_is_the__new_normal_/

    Reply
  66. – USA Oregon
    Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
    Malheur Refuge Closed

    Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is closed until further notice.
    Why Is The Refuge Closed?

    An unknown number of armed individuals have broken into and occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge facility near Burns, Oregon. While the situation is ongoing, the main concern is employee and public safety; we can confirm that no federal staff were in the building at the time of the initial incident. We will continue to monitor the situation for additional developments.
    http://www.fws.gov/refuge/malheur/

    Reply
    • – npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/08/462286523/these-photos-inspired-

      These Photos Inspired The Creation Of That Occupied Oregon Refuge

      The armed militants occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Oregon come from as far away as Texas and Montana. But they are hardly the refuge’s first out-of-state visitors.

      Malheur Lake is a regional hub for hundreds of thousands of migrating waterfowl. By some measures, it boasts the greatest diversity of bird species in the entire state.

      A century ago, that diversity attracted the attention of naturalist William Finley. He visited the lake in 1908 with his childhood friend and photography partner, Herman Bohlman.
      When Finley returned to his home in Portland, he shared his photos (some colored by hand) with Theodore Roosevelt. He urged the president to protect the area. That same year, Roosevelt created the Lake Malheur Reservation “as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds.”

      Finley estimated that several thousand birds had been killed so their feathers could be used to decorate hats.
      – Audubon Society of Portland

      Reply
    • William Finley, seen here with a California condor, visited Malheur Lake in 1908 with his photography partner Herman Bohlman.
      Herman Bohlman/Audubon Society of Portland

      Reply
    • Yeah. These nuts took over some of the refuge’s buildings a couple of days ago. Apparently, they’re protesting federal land use. In other words, the public shouldn’t be able to keep safe these lands for future generations. Corporations and wealthy individuals should just be able to ruin it all.

      Reply
  67. Anthony Sagliani Retweeted
    Philippe Papin ‏@pppapin 32m32 minutes ago

    #TC #Pali wins the award for the weirdest forecast track I’ve ever seen. Threatening to cross #equator in 120h.

    – animated gif at: https://twitter.com/pppapin

    Reply
    • These guys are attacking Paris and appear to be pushing geoengineering (a very dangerous crap shoot and one that gives fossil fuels even more cover). If they were saying that the rate of carbon emissions reductions needed to increase further from Paris, then I’d have to agree. But this particular statement seems to me to be a dangerous distraction.

      In other words — if you’re attacking Paris in order to push geo-engineering, that falls under the category of vastly irresponsible. Seeding oceans, which appears to be presented as a solution in the article, speeds ocean health decline. Solar radiation management changes weather patterns increasing the risk of devastating drought. I’s say the only safe responses recommended are reforestation and atmospheric carbon capture. But I wouldn’t lump that under geo-engineering and would instead call that carbon mitigation.

      Very bad move by these guys. If this is what Dr Kevin Anderson supports, then I’m very disappointed. Dr Wadhams has pushed this climate engineering stuff before. But it doesn’t change my disappointment for this current statement. Very, very bad move.

      Reply
      • Completely agree. Over and over, mans biggest endeavors end up illustrating that we don’t understand the knock-on effects of what we do. With a track record like that, who in their right mind would support geoengineering?

        Reply
      • danabanana

         /  January 11, 2016

        Hi Robert,

        I think that the reason why they are advocating GE is that they know that the vast majority of the population will not reduce their Carbon emissions and they don’t seem to care about what is happening either. Consume more is still the mantra therefore they believe that in order to prevent RGW a ‘fix’ must be available.

        Thanks for what you do.

        Reply
        • It’s equivalent to giving up. We can’t fix this with geo-engineering. Very, very bad and divisive move. Everyone that’s thinking strategically would be firing all guns on fossil fuels now. Instead, we get what amounts to a dangerous distraction.

      • I agree Robert.

        However, my reading of it was that Kevin Anderson was agreeing with the sentiment that the Paris deal is inadequate to hold to 1.5C or 2C and relies on large assumptions about the deployment of BECCS.

        Reply
        • Well, that would be an important distinction. My reading was that Dr Anderson was a signatory of this broad statement supporting geo-engineering. Is there something I missed?

      • Christina in Honolulu

         /  January 11, 2016

        The letter states, “The high political and environmental risks associated with this [geo-engineering] must be made clear so that it is never used as an alternative to making the carbon cuts that are urgently needed.”

        Their argument seems to be that world leaders are forcing the public to unwittingly choose a future of geo-engineering by failing to reduce GHG enough to avoid the 2C danger zone now, and failing to inform the public that the only alternative to reductions right now is the false promise of geo-engineering.

        Reply
        • Probably worth mentioning again here the two takeaways (for me) from Kim Stanley Robinson’s global warming trilogy (Forty Signs of Rain, Fifty Degrees Below, Sixty Days and Counting):

          1) Nothing meaningful happens in D.C. until the temperature there falls to -50F due to a freak combination of polar weather and ocean currents.

          2) We wind up doing geoengineering, not because it isn’t dangerous (it is, insanely so), but because we have nothing left to lose.

        • We’re not at that point yet.

        • Christina —

          You’re taking this statement out of the larger context of the letter. This statement occurs at the end and more as an afterthought. Clearly, what we have here is another brazen push for geo-engineering. One that de-emphasizes the impact of human emissions, over-emphasizes the risk of Arctic methane release, makes out of context attacks on COP 21, and buries the necessary call for carbon reductions at the end.

      • Quoting the piece it says…

        “The Paris Agreement’s heart was in the right place but the content is worse than inept. It was a real triumph for international diplomacy and sends a strong message that the sceptics have lost their case and that the science is correct on climate change. The rest is little more than fluff and risks locking in failure,” said Professor Kevin Anderson of Manchester University, who has not signed the letter but agrees with its argument.”

        From what I understand of Prof. Anderson’s position the journalist is being too broad in his statement about the level of agreement.

        Prof. Anderson was clearly not a signatory.

        Reply
        • I noticed that when going back and reading this a second time. So I’m a bit relieved.

          In any case, it seems to me that the Independent’s use of his quote in this context makes him appear as if he supports geo-engineering.

      • Christina in Honolulu

         /  January 11, 2016

        As an avid reader of this blog, and a concerned citizen who would like as much clarity as scientifically possible regarding climate change, I would caution us from dismissing each other as “idiots” or “doomers” etc. I am a lawyer, and an effective lawyer trick is to label someone to undermine their authority. If we disagree, for the sake of clarity and our shared goal of appropriate action, let’s point out why we disagree and support that disagreement with data so that we don’t undermine our own authority and intellectual integrity.

        For my part, as a concerned citizen and not a climatologist, I am finding it difficult to understand how much reduction in GHG must happen when to avoid what. In part, this is because the integrity of the IPCC has been undermined by politics. I look to those here, as well as the myriad other voices concerned with this issue to shed light on this.

        A legal reading of the Paris Agreement does not inspire confidence. Article 4 of the Agreement states: “… to undertake rapid reductions [in GHG] thereafter in accordance with best available science, so as to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century, on the basis of equity, and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.”

        Basically, this says that the goal is net zero emissions SOMETIME in the second half of the 21st century and that countries shall do so using the BEST AVAILABLE SCIENCE. Thus, there is no true timeline. “Sometime” in the 21st century could mean year 2099. “Best available science” certainly will be defined to include geo-engineering. There is no concrete commitment for each country to reduce their emissions to a specific amount at a specific date. It appears that this “Agreement” is an agreement that there is a problem, but it is not an agreement to take any concrete measurable and defined steps to address the problem.

        That leaves me, at least, wondering what really needs to be done when to avoid what.

        Reply
        • Context, Christina —

          I have climate change deniers trying to spread misinformation about the scientific basis for climate change. I have doomers who are spreading this meme that everything is hopeless and we should all give up. And I have ignoramuses who are supporting geo-engineering methods that scientific studies have shown will negatively impact billions.

          One is actually denial. One is actually doomerism. And one is actually idiotic.

          This is not mere labeling. This is an accurate application of definitions.

      • Ryan in New England

         /  January 11, 2016

        Christina, thank you for your legal perspective on the COP21 agreement. I was disappointed and concerned that the agreement was basically an admission of the problem, but in regards to emissions reductions it’s still just kicking the can down the road. It sad to know that a lawyer’s take on the document is essentially the same as mine. I was hoping I misunderstood.

        And I agree with your point about dismissing others who have different views or opinions. We need to remember that all the visitors here have a lot common and have a more like-minded view of things than you will likely find at any other comments section. Of course our opinions will vary, but our different ideas and perspectives is what helps make this place so great. Let’s not turn this into a comment section that causes frustration or hurt feelings for anyone. I like to think we are all friends here🙂

        Reply
        • Careful here, Ryan.

          So the distinction should be made that COP 21 was the largest increase in commitments to emissions reductions to date. What’s not finalized is how we could possibly keep warming below 1.5 C. The reason being that the only reasonable way to do that would be to develop atmospheric carbon capture technologies that we don’t yet have. More to the point, even if we cut emissions to zero over the next decade, it would be very tough missing 1.5 C warming this Century.

          As for the promotion of geo-engineering — ocean seeding and solar radiation management — my use of the term idiotic was actually rather reasonable. What I should have said that it was monstrously irresponsible. Promoting anything that accelerates ocean death or that results in droughts with the potential to impact billions is rightly characterized as such.

      • So, for the sake of this discussion, I’m posting the entire letter here. I’m going to also add my notes and highlights.

        The letter’s first paragraph:

        “The hollow cheering of success at the end of COP21 agreement proved yet again that people will hear what they want to hear and disregard the rest. What people wanted to hear was that an agreement had been reached on climate change that would save the world while leaving lifestyles and aspirations unchanged.”

        RS statement:

        OK. I find this statement to be one of opinion. I’ve heard quite a lot about COP 21. Perhaps some world leaders are saying that this will ‘save the world while leaving lifestyles and aspirations unchanged.’ But, if so, I haven’t heard it. What I’ve heard among leaders are the typical attacks by the fossil fuel special interests even as some more responsible leaders laud the agreement as progress in the fight against climate change.

        And it’s true that this is progress. But it isn’t anywhere near enough.

        More to the point, I’m hearing most of the scientific community stating that the goals of COP 21 aren’t enough to avoid catastrophic climate change or to hit the implied goal of 2 C warming this Century.

        Some scientists, like Hansen, who understand that strong policy will be needed to avoid escalating catastrophic impacts have called out the agreement for what it is — a statement of inadequate goals that has no means of enforcement.

        Hansen’s own set of very specific recommendations should have been followed by nations back during 2007.

        Please see:

        http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/TargetCO2_20080407.pdf

        Back then, Hansen began to recommend an escalating price on carbon at the wellhead or point of import as well as a transfer subsidy to people in order to provide them with the capital needed to purchase new energy and higher efficiency products. Hansen then also recommended that the nations of the world engage in a World War II level of effort to begin reducing emissions immediately. Hansen’s final statement was more chilling — that continued increases in emissions through 2017 would begin to lock in catastrophic impacts.

        We are at the point now where we are starting to lock in some of those impacts. So from the point of view of Hansen, which is a good point of view to take, this late agreement is by no way adequate to the problem.

        And so I find myself caught in this bind. Do we promote COP 21 for the thing that it is — the best increase in commitments to reduce emissions to date (toothless and non-binding as it is)? Or do we attack COP 21 for being an agreement that isn’t yet anywhere adequate enough to the very serious problem the world now faces.

        To this point, I’ll go on to the statement’s next paragraph.

        “What they disregarded were the deadly flaws lying just beneath its veneer of success. As early as the third page of the draft agreement is the acknowledgment that its CO2 target won’t keep the global temperate rise below 2 deg C, the level that was once set as the critical safe limit. The solution it proposes is not to agree on an urgent mechanism to ensure immediate cuts in emissions, but to kick the can down the road by committing to calculate a new carbon budget for a 1.5 deg C temperature increase that can be talked about in 2020.

        Given that we can’t agree on the climate models or the CO2 budget to keep temperatures rises to 2 deg C, then we are naïve to think we will agree on a much tougher target in five years when, in all likelihood, the exponentially increasing atmospheric CO2 levels mean it will be too late.”

        RS:

        This statement is one that I find lacks context. We should be very clear that any effort adequate to the task of avoiding 2 C warming this Century would be Herculean. An effort that would involve all nations working together to rapidly cut emissions to zero. An effort that would surely include the early closing of fossil fuel using power plants, the commitment across the board to not build new coal or gas or oil power plants. The commitment to very rapidly electrify transportation. And other commitments that would likely result in the curtailment of current fossil fuel driven transport such as air travel unless such travel could be managed with fuels that are net zero emissions. It would involve very large research and development efforts for new energy systems as well as for drawing down excess carbon from the atmosphere.

        In truth, Paris could not commit to such a necessary regime. The original constraints of the agreement prior to even its meeting did not involve binding commitments or treaty status. So what we ended up with was probably the strongest structure we could have hoped for given the initial limits of the conference process. An agreement to rapidly draw down emissions by 40 percent through 2030 and by 75 percent through 2050.

        Back in 1990, this would have been an excellent agreement (to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent over 14 years and by 75 percent over 34) — if the nations of the world could have held to it. Now, because the problem is so difficult, even these strongest commitments out of any climate conference are not enough.

        So, in my view, the above statement fails in that it does not appropriately contextualize the problem, the goals, the progress of COP 21, or the amazing difficulty of the challenge we now face.

        “More ominously, these inadequate targets require mankind to do something much more than cut emissions with a glorious renewable technology programme that will exceed any other past human endeavour. They also require carbon to be sucked out the air. The favoured method is to out-compete the fossil fuel industry by providing biomass for power stations. This involves rapidly growing trees and grasses faster than nature has ever done on land we don’t have, then burning it in power stations that will capture and compress the CO2 using an infrastructure we don’t have and with technology that won’t work on the scale we need and to finally store it in places we can’t find. To maintain the good news agenda, all of this was omitted from the agreement.”

        OK. And here we start getting into statements that I find to be vastly irresponsible. Atmospheric carbon capture will absolutely be necessary if you’re going to avoid 2 C warming this century. There are numerous methods that may or may not be achievable given the challenge. But focusing in on just one form of atmospheric carbon capture and presenting it in this fashion is the absolute worst kind of strawman argumentation. Here we begin to understand that this particular letter isn’t being entirely honest. And, sadly, we see more in the next paragraph.

        “The roar of devastating global storms has now drowned the false cheer from Paris and brutally brought into focus the extent of our failure to address climate change. The unfortunate truth is that things are going to get much worse. The planet’s excess heat is now melting the Arctic Ice cap like a hot knife through butter and is doing so in the middle of winter. Unless stopped, this Arctic heating will lead to a rapid release of the methane clathrates from the sea floor of the Arctic and herald the next phase of catastrophically intense climate change that our civilisation will not survive.”

        This statement is scientifically unqualified. It takes a low risk, high impact potential and claims that such an event is inevitable. There is no proof yet to support the thesis that Arctic methane clathrates will, inevitably, respond in this manner so soon. Moreover, even if they did, the current human emission is now a larger heat forcing than any clathrate response that could rationally be expected would generate.

        The statement thus fails on two levels.

        1. It identifies an outside potential as an inevitable.
        2. It elevates that outside potential to a higher level of risk than that generated by the current human emission.

        These sets of reasoning provide a false impression and, therefore, generate a false call to action. It also makes all the previous unsupported statements highly suspect.

        “The time for the wishful thinking and blind optimism that has characterised the debate on climate change is over. The time for hard facts and decisions is now. Our backs are against the wall and we must now start the process of preparing for geo-engineering. We must do this in the knowledge that its chances of success are small and the risks of implementation are great.”

        And here is where I would say that we have jumped off the deep end and into utterly dangerous nonsense. They use a false premise (catastrophic methane release worse than the current human emission is inevitable) to support a dangerous course of action (geo-engineering). They seem to infer that this geo engineering is the only option because they believe that Paris is a failure that will result in a catastrophic methane release worse than human forced warming. But they do not talk about the billions and billions of people that would likely be impacted by said geo-engineering. And though they admit that expensive and resource draining geo-engineering would have little chance of success, they assert that this is ‘the only option left.’

        Given how dangerous and unlikely to succeed geo-engineering is, an honest, clear-headed, observer would state that increased reductions in carbon emissions are what’s absolutely necessary. That more efforts to provide for the atmospheric draw down of excess carbon need to be put in place (not just CCS + biofuels, for example). Attacking Paris to support geo-engineering is, therefore, vastly irresponsible. It diverts much needed energy away from dealing with the central issues which are the rate of human emission and the current greenhouse gas overburden.

        The madness and insanity continue in the paragraph that follows.

        “We must look at the full spectrum of geoengineering. This will cover initiatives that increase carbon sequestration by restoration of rain forests to the seeding of oceans. It will extend to solar radiation management techniques such as artificially whitening clouds and, in extremis, replicating the aerosols from volcanic activity. It will have to look at what areas that we selectively target, such as the methane emitting regions of the Arctic and which areas we avoid.”

        So the restoration of the rainforest is not geo-engineering and as such the above statement conflates a desirable outcome with one that is dramatically undesirable — seeding the oceans. To those who aren’t knowledgeable, seeding the world ocean system in order to sequester carbon involves dumping iron and other nutrients into the water to promote blooms of algae and other carbon respiring microbes. The theory goes that these microbes would then draw more carbon from the atmosphere and, as they die, deposit that carbon onto the sea bed. Unfortunately, we are already seeding the oceans now. This process is a well-documented increase in nitrogen and other nutrient effluents to the world ocean system. And it generates large algae blooms that, in their decomposition, produce massive ocean dead zones.

        Adding in more nutrients would only accelerate this process. We’d in effect, be pushing a more rapid ocean die-off than what we see today. And when we realize that ocean death was the primary killing agent involved in previous hothouse mass extinction events, we realize that we really, really don’t want to be pushing the oceans to die off faster than they already are.

        Solar radiation management is also a very, very dangerous crap shoot. For one, many model studies have now found that solar radiation management at a scale large enough to cool the Earth relative to the human heat forcing would result in a severe shifting of global weather patterns such that even more extreme droughts would emerge. The model studies found results in which ‘billions of people were impacted.’

        The statement goes on to conclude:

        “The high political and environmental risks associated with this must be made clear so that it is never used as an alternative to making the carbon cuts that are urgently needed. Instead cognisance of these must be used to challenge the narrative of wishful thinking that has infested the climate change talks for the past twenty one years and which reached its zenith with the CO21 agreement. In today’s international vacuum on this, it is imperative that our government takes a lead.”

        And it is here that we return to a somewhat reasonable statement. That statement being that geo-engineering would never be used as a replacement to the much needed carbon emissions cuts. But since this statement is only in after-thought to the much more brazen statements above, it serves little more than window dressing on another irresponsible appeal to start doing things that are just as likely to worsen some of the impacts of human forced climate change (ocean seeding) as they are to invoke their own form of climate chaos (solar radiation management).

        The fact that carbon emission reduction is not front and center in this statement and is only given as after-thought in the context of over-blowing the issue of Arctic methane release is also irresponsible. Others have used both issues in the past to draw attention away from these desperately needed emissions reductions. And this statement will serve as further fodder to those efforts.

        In my view, this is the very definition of foolishness. The signatories would have been far better off supporting Hansen’s original statement above and making renewed calls for more rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. To make much needed calls for a wide variety of atmospheric carbon capture methods. And to leave the Frankestien engineering approaches of ocean seeding and solar radiation management where they belong — in the dustbin of things better never tried due to the extreme risk of extraordinarily destructive unintended consequences.

        Signed by

        Professor Paul Beckwith, University of Ottowa

        Professor Stephen Salter – Edinburgh University

        Professor Peter Wadhams – Cambridge University

        Professor James Kennett of University of California.

        Dr Hugh Hunt – Cambridge University

        Dr. Alan Gadian -Senior Scientist, Nation Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, University of Leeds

        Dr. Mayer Hillman – Senior Fellow Emeritus of the Institute of the Policy Studies Institute

        Dr. John Latham – University of Manchester

        Aubrey Meyer – Director, Global Commons Institute.

        John Nissen – Chair Arctic Methane Emergency Group

        Kevin Lister – Author of “The Vortex of Violence and why we are losing the war on climate change”

        Reply
  68. Jeremy

     /  January 10, 2016

    The ignorance and denial in the comments section at The Independent is more disheartening than the published letter itself.

    Reply
    • Dave Person

       /  January 11, 2016

      HI,
      Just remember, comment sections are not a random representative selection of the population and that includes this blog. That is not a criticism, just a warning that it is not wise to generalize from those who comment on internet sites.

      dave

      Reply
  69. Ryan in New England

     /  January 10, 2016

    Here in CT (41.6N 72.7W) it is 60F in the middle of January, which is a record for the day. It’s raining and it feels more like Spring.

    Reply
    • We had temps in the 60s here in MD. Then very heavy downpours. Tonight it will be 25 F with gale force winds.

      Reply
      • _ These rapid changes are as impressive as they are powerful.
        Such energy manifesting itself
        Like squeezing a water filled balloon….
        Set an extra watch and batten down the hatches.
        OUT

        Reply
    • Some two inches or rain here in western Maine with a high of 48. Most of the (six inches or so) of snow melted and streams are at the tops of their banks. By mid-morning tomorrow, all surface water will be ice.

      Reply
  70. Andy in SD

     /  January 11, 2016

    On the Bonnet Carre Spillway. Since being built in 1931, it has been opened on average once every 10 year. Today, it is the 3rd time in 6 years (2008,2011,2016).

    Reply
    • Good one.

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  January 11, 2016

      Jeff Masters’ latest blog post is about the Bonnet Carre Spillway. This was the earliest they have ever opened it.

      At 10 am CST January 10, 2016, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the gates on the Bonnet Carré Spillway in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana to allow flood waters from the swollen Mississippi River to flow into Lake Pontchartrain. This is the earliest that the Corps has been forced to open the spillway, and just the 11th time since it became operational in 1931 that it has been used. The only other time the spillway has been opened in January was back in 1937. All of the other openings have come in spring or early summer. Opening of the spillway is expected to keep the Mississippi River below its 17-foot flood stage in New Orleans–just 3 feet below the tops of the levees. The river is expected to crest in New Orleans on Tuesday, January 12. There is also chance that the Corps will be forced to open the Morganza Floodway in Pointe Coupee Parish northwest of Baton Rouge, which would divert water from the Mississippi River down the Atchafalaya River. This floodway has been opened only twice–in 1973 and 2011–and has a considerably higher cost of being opened than opening of the Bonnet Carré Spillway, due to the large amount of agricultural lands that would be flooded below the Morganza Floodway. The Sunday morning forecast from the NWS River Forecast Center predicted that the Mississippi River would crest at Red River Landing, just above the Morganza Floodway, on January 18. The predicted crest of 61.0′ is just 2.4′ below the all-time record crest of 63.39′ set on May 18, 2011, when the Corps was forced to open the Morganza Floodway in order to relieve pressure on the Old River Control Structure. The earliest the Corps would open the Morganza Floodway would be Wednesday, January 13.

      http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/army-corps-opens-bonnet-carr-spillway-a-january-subtropical-storm-i

      Reply
      • We are basically having spring-like weather in winter time. The most extreme versions of Spring like weather, that is. It’s as if all of winter has turned into March — with its wild swings and furious storms. But add in climate change and the new lion is really one hell of a beast.

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  January 11, 2016

        Robert, I was thinking the same thing. This is like March weather. Collisions of air masses with huge temp differences, swings from cold to balmy with tropical warmth and moisture working its way north to fuel intense rainfalls, then a swing back to blustery conditions. Yesterday was 60 with 2 inches of rain and today was 30 with fierce winds.

        Reply
        • Interesting. Recent weather in east central Vermont has not been as wild as Connecticut and western Maine. Yesterday’s high was 46–unusual but nothing that new for January (record was 53) and temps today were chillier but not super-cold. Strong fronts come through here all the time during winter, sometimes lasting for 3-4 days.

  71. Colorado Bob

     /  January 11, 2016

    Considering Churchill’s future

    The weak link today is the rail bed. It sits on discontinuous permafrost that is thawing due to climate change. Ironically, the same climate change opens the bay up for a longer shipping season.

    However, if government money is to be allocated to make Churchill viable, a more comprehensive assessment of the overall situation is needed. Considering the rail line and port alone could lead to expensive and risky conclusions.

    http://www.manitobacooperator.ca/news-opinion/opinion/considering-churchills-future/

    Reply
  72. Colorado Bob

     /  January 11, 2016

    Spread of algal toxin through marine food web broke records in 2015

    Researchers monitoring the unprecedented bloom of toxic algae along the west coast of North America in 2015 found record levels of the algal toxin domoic acid in samples from a wide range of marine organisms. The toxin was also detected for the first time in the muscle tissue or filet of several commercial fish species.

    Link

    Reply
  73. Colorado Bob

     /  January 11, 2016

    todaysguestis / January 10, 2016

    Revealed: scientists warn climate changes means wild weather in Scotland is the ‘new normal’

    – December 2015 was by far the wettest Scotland has seen since records began in 1910, with 351.4mm of rain.

    – Scotland’s second wettest December was in 2013, with 300.7mm of rain.

    – Average rainfall in Scotland for December between 1981 and 2010 was 153.5mm.

    – 50 of the river gauges run by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) for decades measured record levels in December.

    – Six of Sepa’s river gauges in northeast Scotland have measured record levels in January.

    Reply
  74. Colorado Bob

     /  January 11, 2016

    South Africa: Drought Leads to Failed Crops, Water Shortages

    SENEKAL, SOUTH AFRICA—

    The main street of this dusty South African town is lined with empty buckets, marking each residents’ place in line as they wait for their daily water ration to be brought in by unreliable trucks.

    Keeping watch over her buckets, Pulaleng Chakela sleeps in a wheelbarrow on the side of the road to save her spot in the line. The 30-year-old wraps herself in a little blanket as temperatures drop overnight, and asks a male friend to sit nearby for safety.

    “If I don’t wait here all night, the water will be finished,” she said.

    A flatbed truck carrying three 5,000-liter tanks arrived midmorning when temperatures had already reached 40° C (104° F). Murmurs of relief are soon replaced by angry shouts as residents learn they have been further rationed from filling four buckets to just two. In the chaos, Chakela slips two extra buckets in the line. The situation is so unfair that she feels no guilt, she said.

    Link

    Reply
  75. Colorado Bob

     /  January 11, 2016

    Stormy Times: Climate Change as Predicted

    In June 2008 the Community Climate Change Consortium for Ireland (C4I) produced a 118 page report entitled “Ireland in a Warmer World: Scientific Predictions of the Irish Climate in the Twenty-First Century” (supported and co-funded by Environmental Protection Agency, Sustainable Energy Ireland and the Higher Education Authority) which forecast “an increase in the frequency of very intense cyclones, and also increases in the extreme values of wind and precipitation associated with them. This implies an increased risk of storm damage and flooding in vulnerable Irish coastal areas.” The report also suggested that the “[d]emand for heating energy is likely to reduce significantly as the climate warms.”

    Now in 2016, we are already seeing these predictions come true. There have been six storms already since the beginning of winter and a weather station in Donegal recorded its wettest day for any month since 1885 and its highest December temperature in 60 years.

    Link

    Reply
  76. Colorado Bob

     /  January 11, 2016

    robertscribbler / January 10, 2016

    Bob — did I ever mention the fact that you rock.

    RS – Glad you got the little metaphor.
    The best music in Das Boot really captures the heart man, and his wicked ways, and the stink in those U-Boats .
    I felt this way every morning when I was hunting oil. –

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  January 11, 2016

      The worst odds in WWII in the European theater were the U-Boat crews , nobody died in greater numbers than them , an 80% chance of dying. As this movie paints so well. ( We have no numbers from the Russians, )
      And no movie ever painted a better picture of the Battle of North Atlantic.

      Hemingway could have written this script.

      Reply
    • It’s the perfect metaphor. The hunt. The risk. The grit. The preying on civilians. The claustrophobic isolation. The pure ugliness of it all.

      Reply
      • Jeremy in Wales

         /  January 11, 2016

        My family were originally merchant seamen and my grandfather survived his ship being torpedoed in WW1, Cardiff lost some 160 ships over the two worldwars. Their views on submariners would be unprintable, they were attacking civilian ships. Ugliness is the least of it as now in any war it is the civilians who are the targets no 1.

        Reply
  77. Colorado Bob

     /  January 11, 2016

    Reply
  78. – Out from Santa Barbara Channel via Sam Carana at Arctic News

    Warming Icy Methane Adds to Greenhouse Effect

    Channel Core Studies Link Methane and Ancient Glacial and Warming Events

    In an amazing feat involving time, location, and tectonic uplift, UCSB scientists pulled up a core sample from below the Santa Barbara Channel that gives the first detailed look at an ancient period of significant global climatic change, one that holds parallels to today’s warming oceans. Methane bubbling up from defrosting methane hydrates under the sea — with an ability to warm the atmosphere 86 times as much as carbon dioxide…

    http://www.independent.com/news/2016/jan/04/warming-icy-methane-adds-greenhouse-effect/

    Reply
  79. Colorado Bob

     /  January 11, 2016

    Global benchmark Brent was down 89 cents, almost over 2.6 percent, to $32.66 per barrel at 0319 GMT, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down about 2.3 percent to $32.39.

    The tar sands is about to fire everyone on their payroll.

    Reply
  80. NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 1h1 hour ago

    Continued super-active in the Pacific. Another developing hurricane force as well as multiple storm force systems

    Reply
    • NOAA long range has another 10 inch rainfall event for the US West Coast. Looks like the high to the south keeps SoCal relatively dry. This one hits middle California on northward pretty amazingly hard.

      Reply
  81. – Tires and carbon black now wafting in the atmosphere in AU. Bad smoke.

    Tyre fire starts in Broadmeadows, Melbourne, Australia – Timelapse

    Reply
  82. Colorado Bob

     /  January 11, 2016

    Once last thing about Das Boot, a gay man , who invented our modern world . Cracked the German codes. That turned the tide in the North Atlantic, and all of Europe. For this achievement, the British Government hounded him into suicide in the early 1950’s.

    ” the heart of man, and his wicked ways”

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  January 11, 2016

      A heartbreaking and tragic situation they put that poor man through. Alan Turing was a brilliant man who deserved to be honored by society, not forced into chemical castration and driven to suicide. Our culture rarely values brilliance and knowledge. We embrace ignorance.

      Reply
    • Poor Turing. Yet another precious visionary that monsters and scoundrels destroyed.

      Reply
  83. PlazaRed

     /  January 11, 2016

    Wind conditions in western Europe are very bad at the moment, while temps in the Alps area north of Italy are in the 12/C range.
    Damage can probably be expected on the French western coast and the low over northern Scotland is looking vey strong.
    Screaming gales here in the south of Spain but very little rain.

    http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/1000hPa/overlay=temp/orthographic=-8.15,49.21,1264/loc=10.481,45.904

    Reply
  84. Carole

     /  January 11, 2016

    Single point of vulnerability:

    “As we turned [onto the highway], we saw the whole bridge — a kind of big gust of wind came underneath it and blew it up and then it came back down,” she said, adding it shifted by about half a meter.”

    ‘This is the one place in Canada where there is only one road, one bridge across the country’.

    “It’s not just us. It’s all of Canada that has a problem right now,” Nipigon Mayor Richard Harvey told CBC News.

    Dozens of transport trucks stranded on either sides. The alternate route is across the US, lengthening the trip by 12 hours.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/nipigon-river-bridge-closed-transcanada-1.3397831

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  January 11, 2016

      Ah, the genius of just-in-time delivery.

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  January 11, 2016

        In a world impacted by climate change and variability it will be noose around the neck of many economies and be the death knell of many businesses

        Reply
  85. Abel Adamski

     /  January 11, 2016

    It is those with much to gain with political clout that need to understand and pressure media , business and elected members
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/climate-change-means-more-fear-less-fun-global-121838044–sector.html

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  January 11, 2016

      Sorry should read those with much to loose, namely the comfortable middle class whose fear of loss is at the core of denial

      Reply
      • Blaming the middle class is like blaming the victim. You should be looking at the wealthy guy that consumes as much as 100,000 of his fellow human beings. A majority of those of us in the middle are sick to death of being captive consumers to fossil fuels. To be forced to buy the snake oil we, in most cases, would rather not consume.

        Reply
      • wili

         /  January 11, 2016

        This is kind of the gist of the problem–most people, much as they like the services provided currently by ffs, would be just as or much more willing to get the same services from less polluting sources.

        But ‘most people’ don’t make policy. In fact, it has been scientifically proven that policy has essentially nothing to do any more with what most people want, at least on the national level in the USA.

        So even if we got nearly everyone on board that GW was a real, man-made, existential threat, if the 1% (or .1%) cannot be convinced of the same, we will see little to no change. And most of that top tier makes their money directly or indirectly either from the fossil fuel industry or from the churning consumer industrial economy that runs of ffs. Insurance seems to be about the only major industry that sees itself as vulnerable to major loss in the relative short term from claims due to increasing CC calamities, as far as I see.

        Reply
      • wili

         /  January 11, 2016

        “US is an oligarchy, not a democracy”

        http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  January 11, 2016

        Wili, it’s a grim scenario, but I have to agree with you. I was into politics from the time I could vote, and have read dozens and dozens of books about our political/economic system and it has been pretty thoroughly proven that voters no longer have influence over policy on a national level. Corporate interests and the very wealthy/powerful have gained control of all the levers of democracy, and corporations and lobbyists write their own laws. Even if everybody wanted to kick fossil fuels, I feel like we would still drag our feet and not transition until the oligarchs decided it was time.

        Reply
  86. Andy in SD

     /  January 11, 2016

    25 years of Arctic ice melting in one minute (TIMELAPSE VIDEO)

    Reply
    • It’s just absolutely crazy. Why we keep burning the fossil fuels with all these contexts so clearly visible is the very definition of insanity.

      Reply
      • PlazaRed

         /  January 11, 2016

        Oil price today down to $31.55 a barrel. This means that it going to be cheaper to buy and burn now and probably for a long time to come.
        At this rate they will be using crude oil in power stations as the price drops the cost per kilowatt drops with it.

        http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/future/crude%20oil%20-%20electronic

        Reply
        • The price of oil would have to be less than 20 dollars per barrel to be competitive with current renewables. Of course, considering the fact that we have mass bankruptcies now underway among the oil drillers and producers, anyone betting that the oil price is stable at this low level isn’t really paying attention. Sure, the glut and the low prices will continue for some time. But the industry itself is falling apart at the seams. In addition, the rate of solar and wind energy adoption keeps forcing gas and coal and oil out of the electricity generation market. What we’re seeing is the fall of fossil fuels from power. It’s slow, it’s ugly, it’s painful and it involves some losses. But it’s happening. Is it happening fast enough? Hell no. But it is happening.

        • No kidding, what a co-inkydink! I just read Gail Tverberg’s blog the other day and she said in this post that we need a new liquid fuel online at a cost equivalent of less than $20.00 per barrel if we are to maintain our economy and with it our present living arrangements.

          Any chance you’ll do an article on the now mega-low costs of renewables?🙂

      • PlazaRed

         /  January 11, 2016

        2 of the 3 properties I look after in Southern Spain are 100% solar, no problems and both of them now running without any new cash input for over 8 years now.
        Meanwhile I note that with oil at now under $31, the general public will be burning a lot more of it and the main reason vehicles became more efficient is that the price of fuel got very expensive, up to approaching $10 a gallon in the UK and other counties at some points in the recent past.
        Now the battle is going to be on to keep the fuel use efficient and also to get rid of as much as possible the fossil fuel burning vehicles and industries.
        We can live in actions and hopes!

        Reply
  87. No surprise there:

    Report quietly published last month shows efforts to cut government’s carbon emissions, domestic flights, waste and water usage fell short on all counts.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/11/uk-government-misses-own-green-targets

    Reply
    • Well, that’s what happens when you attack renewable energy and efficiencies in order to support nat gas and fracking, in order to attempt to add more diesel fired generators.

      Reply
      • Fascinating is, or not so, that UK governments paints itself as one of THE most green in the worlds. So lets call that irony…:-/

        Alex

        Reply
        • Conservatives are back to their old greenwashing tricks. Sad to see. But it’s all about trying to keep burning fossil fuels to oblivion.

    • Jeremy in Wales

       /  January 11, 2016

      They aimed for a 25% fall and hit 22%, not a huge margin. What the article does not tell you is how they did it, and by my reckoning it is by reducing the employee headcount 15%, closing offices and transferring functions to the private sector. Smoke and mirrors.

      Reply
  88. Known more as a symbol of global warming, the nutrient-rich plumes that trail melting giant icebergs are in fact sinking carbon deep into the ocean

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/11/giant-icebergs-are-slowing-climate-change-research-reveals

    Reply
  89. Professor Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre Manchester, interviewed on Friday 8th January.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  January 11, 2016

      Thanks for this, tgi. Anderson is a global treasure, one of the few voices of authority who consistently tell it like it is.

      Reply
    • wili

       /  January 11, 2016

      Are parts 2 or 3…available yet?

      Reply
    • wili

       /  January 11, 2016

      Ah, I see at the website they say: “Parts two (on psychology and hope) and part three (on what is to be done, what is NOT to be done and so on) will be posted on Tuesday and Wednesday.” Something to look forward to, kinda, I guess…

      http://manchesterclimatemonthly.net/

      Reply
  90. Jeremy

     /  January 11, 2016

    US auto sales.
    2015 – best year ever.
    17 million new gas guzzlers!

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2016/01/05/auto-sales-2015/78302038/

    Reply
    • PlazaRed

       /  January 11, 2016

      Best year for a very long time in Spain last year for car sales with over a million units sold.
      I don’t know the figure for truck and other commercial vehicles but it will be considerable, so we are well on the way to new levels of transport pollutions.

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  January 11, 2016

      That is sickening. 17 million new vehicles in a single year!? Think of all the resources that go into making a vehicle, and think of how many people buy a new one every year. It’s like we are trying to make sure there is nothing left of this planet for the next generation. Our culture is absolutely nuts any way you view it.

      Reply
  91. Michael Ventrice ‏@MJVentrice 2h2 hours ago

    Latest GEFS hinting of a Sudden Stratospheric Warming event about the North Pole during late January.

    Reply
    • Baker

       /  January 12, 2016

      Very interesting. Which effect could this SSW have on Northern Hemisphere weather patterns?

      Reply
  92. – Animated gif of the long ‘plume’ sweeping NE.

    NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 4h4 hours ago

    Atlantic, quick look: cold front draped from Gulf of St Lawrence to the Yucatan, 985 hPA storm force low drifting SE
    https://twitter.com/NWSOPC

    Reply
  93. Visualizations created with the Yellowstone supercomputer

    AtmosNews :: NCAR & UCAR Science on YouTube

    Reply
  94. – Coal

    One Of The Largest Coal Companies In The United States Just Filed For Bankruptcy

    Arch Coal, one of the United States’ largest coal companies, filed for bankruptcy on Monday in the hopes of eliminating more than $4.5 billion in long-term debt, according to a press release issued by the company.

    The news comes as several of Arch’s competitors — Patriot Coal, Walter Energy, and Alpha Natural Resources — have also filed for bankruptcy. Arch Coal is the second largest supplier of coal in the United States behind Peabody Energy, and its mines represent 13 percent of America’s coal supply.
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/01/11/3737929/arch-coal-files-for-bankruptcy/

    Reply
  95. wili

     /  January 11, 2016

    I’d like to join the chorus thanking rs for another worthy post. And for a headline that I might just have to steal as a chant (to the ‘tune’ of ‘This is what democracy looks like’) for the next rally I attend, especially if it’s on an unusually hot or stormy day. ‘-)

    Reply
  96. Colorado Bob

     /  January 11, 2016

    RE The British Government –

    The floods: eight ways politics have turned the crisis into a disaster


    After the 2013/14 floods I wondered if they would be Cameron’s and Osborne’s Katrina. That was a mistake. For all its faults, and Fox News, the US has a more open media than the UK, particularly when the BBC is cowed by government threats. When it comes to the current floods, the Guardian, Independent and Mirror will complain (and the Morning Star will channel my blog!), but the large majority that never read these papers will remain ignorant of what has gone on. A chaotic Labour Party has been unable to coordinate any attack, and fail to effectively voice justifiable rage, and that gives the BBC an excuse to ignore them.

    Link

    Reply
  97. Colorado Bob

     /  January 11, 2016

    Another shot for those who claim satellite measurements are the best measurements.:

    Surface Temperature or Satellite Brightness?

    Posted on 11 January 2016 by Kevin C
    There are several ways to take the temperature of the earth. We can use direct measurements by thermometers to measure air or sea surface temperatures. We can measure the temperature of the surface itself using infrared cameras, either from the ground or from space. Or we can use satellites to measure the microwave brightness of different layers of the atmosphere.

    In a recent senate subcommittee hearing the claim was made that microwave brightness temperatures provide a more reliable measure of temperature change than thermometers. There are two issues with this claim:

    Microwaves do not measure the temperature of the surface, where we live. They measure the warm glow from different layers of the atmosphere.
    The claim that microwave temperature estimates are more accurate is backed by many arguments but no data.
    Scientific arguments should be based in evidence, so the aim of this article is to investigate whether there is evidence for one record being more reliable than the other. If we want to determine which record is more useful for determining the change in temperature over time, we need to look at the uncertainties in the temperatures records.

    The known uncertainties in the satellite trend as provided by the record provider, are 5 times the uncertainties the thermometer record trend .

    Reply
  98. mlparrish

     /  January 11, 2016

    “On January 8, 2016, 12-24 hr, the EUMETSAT METOP 1-B IASI instrument measured a global mean methane spike of 2963 ppb during the 12-24 hr period. This spike spears through the previous highest 12 hour reading set on April 25, 2015 of 2845 ppb by an almost 5 percent increase.”
    Source: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/soundings/iasi/index.html

    Link: http://megiddo666.apocalypse4real-globalmethanetracking.com/

    Reply
  99. – This trial may be noteworthy in that the defense can use the recently uncovered Exxon carbon/climate studies to bolster their claim of expediency.

    -Seattle WA Bakken Volatile Crude Delta 5

    – kuow.org/post/climate-activists-who-chained-themselves-tracks

    Climate Activists Who Chained Themselves To Tracks Head To Court

    Five environmental activists who chained themselves to train tracks in Everett to protest oil and coal trains begin trial in Snohomish County District Court on Monday.

    The activists face criminal charges alleging they trespassed on BNSF Railway property and blocked an oil train for eight hours on Sept. 2, 2014.
    … “Delta 5” (after the BNSF Delta railyard in Everett where they erected their human blockade).

    The trial is drawing national attention because it’s believed to be the first allowing a “necessity defense” for climate-related civil disobedience. The judge has ruled that the defendants can argue that their actions were justified because of the threat of climate change.

    Reply
  100. Apneaman

     /  January 12, 2016

    Is the Rio Grande Headed for “Permanent Drought”?

    http://nmindepth.com/2016/01/05/is-the-rio-grande-headed-for-permanent-drought/

    Reply
  101. Apneaman

     /  January 12, 2016

    Missing from the Paris Agreement: the Pentagon’s monstrous carbon boot print

    “How much of the mainstream media coverage given to COP21 and the Paris Agreement mentioned the mysterious exemption given to the US’s massive military and security machine? None, writes Joyce Nelson. Not only are these emissions entirely outside the UNFCCC process, but a ‘cone of sillence’ somehow prevents them from even forming part of the climate change discourse.”

    http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2986576/missing_from_the_paris_agreement_the_pentagons_monstrous_carbon_boot_print.html

    Reply
  1. Exploratorius
  2. Subtropical Storm Alex Forms in the Atlantic — Sets Path Toward Greenland | robertscribbler

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