Did The Human-Warmed Ocean Just Kill 8,000 Murres?

Around the world, mass sea creature die-offs have been occurring at an alarming rate. Off the US West Coast alone, the past three years have seen severe losses along almost ever link of the marine food chain from sea stars, to salps, to crabs, to sea lions. Many of these deaths have been linked directly or indirectly to impacts caused by a chronic warming of the region’s ocean surface dubbed ‘the hot blob.’

Now, a tragic and heart-wrenching new die-off has been recorded in the region of Prince William Sound. There, according to recent reports in the Washington Post, more than 8,000 murres — a kind of deep-swimming sea bird — were found dead. Washed up on shore, the mures bodies were shrunken and emaciated. Their stomachs completely empty of food.

Researchers noted that the mass death was likely due to starvation. But the potential cause given for the starvation was rather more ominous.

The Link to Human Warming of the World Ocean

Mures feed on small fish that swim within the top 300 feet of the ocean surface. The graceful murres ride the airs above the water until they catch sight of a school of these fish. Swooping in from above, the mures plunge toward their prey, snaring them with rapier-quick thrusts of their beaks.

Such fish usually swim close to the coast — thriving in the cold, nutrient-rich waters off Prince William Sound. But warm the waters up by just a little and the fish may leave — following their own food supply into colder regions.

sea surface temperature anomaly map

(The hot blob still holds sway over the Northeastern Pacific. This despite a series of strong El Nino storms and a somewhat flattening of the Jet Stream. It’s an extreme ocean warming that has been ongoing for more than two years. One that’s been linked to the mass deaths of numerous marine creatures. Image source: The National Weather Service.)

And the waters near and around Prince William Sound have been much warmer than normal during recent years. As of January 14th, 2016, sea surface temperatures in the region have ranged from 1 to 4 degrees Celsius above average. Extremely high differentials for an ocean surface that, during the Holocene, rarely varied by more than 1 or 2 degrees from typical ranges.

This extreme Northeastern Pacific warming is but an aspect of a larger heating trend ongoing in the global ocean system due to a rampant human emission of greenhouse gasses. This massive burning of fossil fuel has dumped hundreds of billions of tons of carbon into the world’s atmospheres and oceans — setting off a raging greenhouse effect and causing the Earth surface to warm by more than 1 degree Celsius above 1880s levels. It may not sound like much, but 1 C is just 1/4 the difference between now and the last ice age — but on the side of hot. And this 1 C warming happened in just 130 years where at the end of the last ice age the same amount of warming would have taken 25 centuries.

A Hothouse Dead Zone For Prince William Sound?

To the oceans and to the innocent creatures that live within, upon and above it, such a rapid accumulation of heat is a brutal insult. It removes whole habitats. It forces sea creatures to change their patterns of migration. It makes the surface waters more suitable for the kinds of dangerous algae blooms that produce ocean dead zones. Zones of low or zero oxygen in which very few forms of life can survive.

Prince William Sound Dead Zone

(Prince William Sound dead zone visible in this December 6, 2015 satellite shot? Tell-tale greens and blues hint that a large algae bloom may be robbing the waters around the sound of much needed nutrients and oxygen. A kind of new deadly ocean environment that is proliferating as sea surface temperatures warm into ranges in which dead zone producing microbes can thrive. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

And it’s this kind of generation of an ocean killing field that is perhaps the most brutal and terrifying aspect of what we’ve already done to our planet. What the legacy of our fossil fuel carbon emissions will continue to do for decades to centuries to, perhaps, millennia.

And sadly, looking at the NASA MODIS satellite data, we do see an indication of the kind of algae bloom that may be depleting the waters near Prince William Sound of that life-giving oxygen. We see the tell-tale greens and blues of a large bloom of the kind that can rob waters both of nutrients to support fish life and of oxygen itself. Visual analysis alone cannot positively identify this kind of bloom with 100 percent certainty. Water samples must be taken in the area and analyzed. But scientists asking the very pertinent question — did global warming cause this? — may only need to take a look at the composition of this bloom to get their answer.

An answer that won’t save the thousands of already dead murres, but that might help us build the resolve to prevent more catastrophes like this one. To stop burning fossil fuels and halt the accumulation of a terrible build-up of heat forcing that is ripping the very underpinnings of life in the oceans asunder.

UPDATE — MODIS Chlorophyll Sensor Yet Another Indicator of Dangerous Algae Bloom in the Region of Prince William Sound

Further analysis of NASA satellite data provides yet more evidence that a dangerous algae bloom began showing up in the waters near Prince William Sound at the start of December.

December 6 MODIS Shot of Prince William Sound With Chlorophyll Layer

(December 6, 2015 NASA MODIS satellite shot of Prince William Sound with chlorophyll production overlay. Chlorophyll production in all ocean regions near the sound show up as elevated with some areas hitting the top of the graph at 20 mg per cubic meter [indicated in red]. Link: LANCE MODIS.)

High levels of chlorophyll in the waters near Prince William Sound provide yet one more instrumental indication of a large algae bloom in the region. As noted above, major algae blooms can rapidly remove nutrients from the water, creating a population crash as the algae starve themselves off. In the mass die-off of algae that follows, microbial decomposition can rob large areas of surface waters of oxygen — killing fish and other sea life or driving it away.

Warm waters provide an environment that tends to support these kinds of large algae blooms and is a primary reason why human heating of the world ocean is dangerous to ocean health. In addition, warmer waters hold less oxygen in suspension even as changes to ocean currents tend to generate more stratified oceans — preventing the kind of mixing that keeps oceans both oxygen and life-rich.

In any case, the added chlorophyll signal coming from Prince William Sound and the nearby ocean region are yet one more indicator that initial suspicions among ocean researchers may well be correct — abnormally warm waters related to human-forced climate change was probably a key trigger involved in the mass death of sea birds there.

Links:

LANCE MODIS

The National Weather Service

Mysterious Mass Death of Seabirds Baffles Scientists

Hat Tip to Colorado Bob

Hat Tip to Leland Palmer

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152 Comments

  1. Jeremy

     /  January 15, 2016

    And what killed 60,000 Saiga?

    “But within four days, the entire herd — 60,000 saiga — had died. As veterinarians and conservationists tried to stem the die-off, they also got word of similar population crashes in other herds across Kazakhstan. By early June, the mass dying was over.”

    http://www.livescience.com/52032-saiga-die-off-mystery.html

    Reply
  2. Related story from: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/15/venomous-sea-snake-found-california-beach-en-nino

    “California beachgoers have been urged to steer clear of a species of highly venomous sea snake following a third, and unprecedented, instance of an aquatic serpent washing up on to the state’s beaches.

    A 20-inch yellow-bellied sea snake was discovered on a beach near San Diego on Tuesday, where it was placed into a bucket before dying. The sighting was the third reported instance since October of the species, which prefers the tropical waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans, washing up on California’s beaches.

    The only previous verified sighting of a washed-up yellow-bellied sea snake was in 1972. Experts believe the snakes have ridden a warm current of water, fueled by the exceptionally strong El Niño climatic event, farther north than they have ever previously ventured. A two-foot live snake was discovered in Ventura County in October, followed by another 27-inch deceased animal in December in Orange County.

    All three animals have since died and have been preserved by biologists, who are increasingly puzzled by the array of tropical species entering California waters that are around 2C to 4C (4F to 7F) warmer than the long-term average. A spate of sea snakes have also washed up along the coast of New South Wales in Australia.”

    Reply
    • James Burton

       /  January 16, 2016

      “California beachgoers have been urged to steer clear of a species of highly venomous sea snake following a third, and unprecedented, instance of an aquatic serpent washing up on to the state’s beaches.”
      That’s as clear a Global Warming Signal as any beach goer in California needs to see! I am familiar with these type of sea snakes from sailing tropical waters. The movement of poisonous snakes at sea is logical, as they follow warm waters and find better feeding and less competition as they move to new habitat. Where there are three, expect hundreds more!
      Over the last 20 years, Siberians have note the fast range north of vipers into the arctic, where they never have been in human times. Right across the arctic circle, these snakes are moving.

      Reply
  3. Murre.

    An excellent indicator – however, other dieoffs were noted when the sardines go and anchovy come, and vice-versa, so caution is in order, esp if we have a PDO switch, which makes the sardines and anchovy switch… But surely the increased amplification that caused the blob was at fault too.

    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/299/5604/217.abstract

    Best,

    D

    Reply
  4. Ryan in New England

     /  January 16, 2016

    This article in The Washington Post concerns mass animal die offs and their relation to climate change….

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/01/13/how-climate-change-could-be-contributing-to-animal-die-offs/

    Reply
  5. Ryan in New England

     /  January 16, 2016

    Article about the collapsing food chains in the ocean, and how it leads to these animal die offs…

    http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/01/12/northwest-pacific-ocean-acidification-climate-change-marine-life-threats

    Reply
  6. 8,000 murres today; what about 7,000,000,000+ humans? The pertinence of the messages may shift.

    Sent from my iPad 🙏🏻

    >

    Reply
    • Yes. I continue to maintain that we won’t see truly meaningful action on the climate until a significant human dying event occurs in rich countries.

      Reply
      • By that time, unfortunately, it will be too late for meaningful action.
        DaveW

        Reply
      • James Burton

         /  January 16, 2016

        The large death toll in the French heat wave a decade ago ,really made a mark at the time. But I am afraid that has now gone down the memory hole. But at the time, the heat was so severe that media and public were very aware this was a global warming event. Sooner or later the dice are loaded for a massive heat wave to hit highly populated western European cities. Solution? More air conditioning. Starting a feed back loop of more fossil fuel burning.

        Reply
    • redskylite

       /  January 16, 2016

      Good question, on the very same day I first read about the dead birds (from starvation ?) along the Alaska coast, I also read about dead Syrians (from starvation) and noted a sad link. Numerous articles cite the Murres as a canary in the coal mine.

      Reply
  7. redskylite

     /  January 16, 2016

    Robert thanks again for the excellent in depth writing, joining up dots and stimulating my grey matter to think. Some of the concepts are hard to put into words, speak and think about. Read the following article in ClimateChangeNews/ClimateHome today, which contains some great quotes and looks at what the current El Nino cycle gives us a glimpse of, and how unprepared we are.“If you overlay a map of water stressed areas of the world with a map of instability and observe the mass migration away from those areas it is perfectly obvious there is an evident link,” he says.

    Many critics of UK spending on foreign aid are the same people who worry about migration overwhelming the country, he notes.

    “My message is if you are concerned about migration now you ain’t seen nothing yet.

    “Some people have short horizons, they move crisis to crisis, like the [2015] flooding in York. Long term sustainability solutions offer greater stability.”

    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/01/13/risk/

    Title. Rampant El Nino offers glimpse of future climate risks

    Reply
    • Spike

       /  January 16, 2016

      Interesting that quote was by Richard Benyon, an extremely wealthy conservative who was floods minister and environment minister in the UK, a role he filled with little distinction and no little controversy.He is the richest MP of the House of Commons, with an estimated wealth of £110 million. In 2012 while Wildlife Minister he refused a request from other MPs that possession of carbofuran, a deadly poison used to kill raptors that is banned in Canada and the European Union, should be made a criminal offence. Green Party MP Caroline Lucas was quoted as saying: “The minister’s shocking refusal to outlaw the possession of a poison used only by rogue gamekeepers to illegally kill birds of prey would be inexplicable were it not for his own cosy links to the shooting lobby.”

      It’s good that the message is getting through even to such people as this who I never expected to make such a statement.

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  January 17, 2016

        He was a third tier minister, a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2010-2013.

        It goes Minister of State, Secretary of State, then the third tier.

        Just pointing out that he was never what is usually referred to as ‘the’ UK Environment Minister (ie he wasn’t in charge) or a junior minister with responsibility for floods (he was natural environment and fisheries), as far as I can see. I didn’t recognise the name so I checked!

        Sorry if thats all just too pedantic, he certainly seems like a pretty loathsome character all the same!

        Reply
  8. redskylite

     /  January 16, 2016

    And from the days when I used to try and debate with denial, my point was that homo sapiens have lived through and dealt with ice ages/glacials cycles previously and survived as a race. But we have never been exposed to an Earth hothouse period before. I wouldn’t fancy our chances of survival too much. I found this BBC news article interesting as there is new evidence of humans in the Arctic much earlier than thought possible before and a chance they made it across to the continent of North America before the ice age/glacial maximum period.

    Title:Mammoth kill linked to earliest Arctic settlers
    The team discusses the mammoth find in the context of other archaeological discoveries from across the Siberian Arctic. The researchers build a picture of human settlers getting themselves close enough to the far northeast of Russia that they could have made an early bid to cross into North America before the last ice age became so severe that the way would have been blocked. This would have been prior to 30,000 years ago.

    Currently, the evidence in northwest America does not support this, but Dr Pitulko said he and other scientists would continue to investigate the idea.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35320938

    Reply
    • Andy in SD

       /  January 16, 2016

      I see the biggest climate change related threat to humans…is humans.

      7+ billion of us. Each and every one of us capable of the most despicable atrocities in the name of survival. And we will do so, over a steadily declining food supply and water supply. Nation on nation, region on region, tribe on tribe, village on village. We will not stop and consider any common cause because our DNA says to win is to survive. It shouts at us to protect our own future by hoarding and keeping others away from what we have hoarded.

      We will fight as a species. We will do so to the death where ever arable land, water, food, a survivable micro climate exists. We will all want to be the one standing there, we will kill to be the one standing there and we will kill to stop others from taking it from us.

      It is wired into our nature, we are nothing but a top predator that is a few scant days of no shelter, no water or no food away from such horrors. And we are always just those few days away from peeling away our civilization and society and baring unbelievable survival instincts.

      Humanities biggest threat is itself at this time. The greatest catastrophe we face are ourselves.

      Reply
      • I don’t usually quote movies…but in reply to your insightful comment…from the “Matrix”:

        Agent Smith: I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet.

        Reply
      • Griffin

         /  January 16, 2016

        And that folks, is what we call “hitting the nail on the head”. Well said Andy.

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  January 17, 2016

        Andy, that was spot on. Our civilization, with our sophisticated culture and high ideals, technological advancement and “mastery” over nature, is never more than a few desperate days away from barbarism

        Reply
  9. mlparrish

     /  January 16, 2016

    This is a picture of a murre hamming it up after observing and being observed by a photographer.
    http://www.newslincolncounty.com/archives/119360
    (I couldn’t get the photo to copy, maybe copyrighted).
    Exactly like the loons on the lake where I stayed in Alaska. I wish it could have been Senator Inhofe there admiring them, and not me.

    Reply
  10. NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 30m30 minutes ago

    Continued busy weather in both basins. 00Z maps reflect developing hurricane force, storms, gales, freezing spray…

    Reply
  11. Ryan Maue ‏@RyanMaue 3h3 hours ago

    Cyclone Victor rapidly developing in South Pacific … should be solid Category 4. Currently east of Pago Pago.

    Reply
  12. – USA OR

    Fossil Fuel Industry Granted Defendant Status in Youths’ Landmark Climate Lawsuit

    Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin of the federal District Court in Oregon granted defendant status Wednesday to three trade associations, representing nearly all of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies. The three associations had moved to intervene in the constitutional climate change lawsuit brought by 21 young people from around the country.

    The newly named trade association defendants are the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM)—representing ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Koch Industries, and virtually all other U.S. refiners and petrochemical manufacturers, American Petroleum Institute (API)—representing 625 oil and natural gas companies, and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

    Reply
  13. – The Pacific Northwest, BC Canada, and Alaska is the major transit hub for fossil fuel exports to Asia.
    The warming waters of the Pacific sit in between.

    Reply
  14. – Seattle WA oil train blockade trial – A photo worth a thousand …
    – Millions of lives are on the line here.

    thestranger.com/blogs/slog/2016/01/15

    The Delta 5 Verdict Is In: Guilty and Not Guilty, But In the End No Jail Time for Blocking Oil Train

    Jury foreman Joe Lundheim hugged Delta 5 defendant Abby Brockway after the verdict was delivered. SB

    Reply
  15. – Robert, an activist El Guapo Plethora with 1,732 followers retweeted my tweet of:

    David Lange ‏@DavidLange2 2h2 hours ago

    Did The Human-Warmed Ocean Just Kill 8,000 Murres? http://wp.me/p2f1XT-2YA via @FantasyScribe

    Reply
  16. NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 59m59 minutes ago

    Two more rapidly intensifying lows to hurricane force in the Pacific between 48 and 72 hours!

    Reply
  17. Toxic cloud blankets Brazil’s largest port after rain sets off fire in tanks of acid

    SAO PAULO — Up to a dozen tanks of acid caught fire and sent a cloud of toxic smoke over Brazil’s largest port Thursday, sending some 40 people to hospitals.

    The fire department in the coastal city of Guaruja said rainwater seeped into the container where the tanks were stored, causing a chemical reaction that sent a large white cloud into the sky.

    The containers held dichloroisocyanuric acid, Reuters reported, citing Localfrio, the company that owns the warehouse storage facility where the fire took place.

    Guaruja Mayor Maria de Antonieta de Brito asked people to stay home…

    – Smoke rises from a tank at a warehouse owned by logistics company Localfrio in the coastal city of Guaruja, Brazil, Thursday. AP Photo/Andre Penner

    Reply
    • Andy in SD

       /  January 16, 2016

      Ouch,

      Acid burn the lining of your lungs, then you get the pulmonary edema. That is utterly nasty in case you’ve never been exposed to an acid cloud.

      To resolve that they need to neutralize the acid, or wait ( fire hoses can just make it worse).

      Reply
    • That fire was contained this saturday, but toxic bad-smelling clouds were still reported today. In order to contain the fire, the burning containers were submerged in water tanks (“when force isn´t enough, use a bigger hammer” way of doing things). The approach succeeded. Fire seems to have started because of failure in the seals of the conteiners, and Localfrio, the enterprise responsible by those, is being indicted by ambiental crimes.
      http://veja.abril.com.br/noticia/brasil/bombeiros-submergem-containeres-para-conter-fogo-em-guaruja

      Reply
  18. Abel Adamski

     /  January 16, 2016

    Something that has been alluded to many times, the effect on food crops.
    http://www.livescience.com/53400-crop-failure-draining-food-supplies-as-planet-warms.html

    As prolonged drought and extreme temperatures have taken their terrible toll on food crops in recent years, nations have tended to focus on regional episodes, such as a single drought-afflicted state or region. Now, scientists have assessed the global scale of food crop disasters for the first time — and the news is not good.

    In a new study, researchers from Canada and the United Kingdom estimate that cereal harvests — including rice, wheat and maize — decreased by an average of 9 to10 percent during droughts and heat waves between 1964 and 2007, with the worst effects seen in North America, Europe, and Australia and its neighboring islands. Furthermore, the impact has grown larger in recent years. With climate change likely to exacerbate extreme weather and make it more common in the future, the study is perhaps the most comprehensive examination yet of the historic impact of extreme weather on global crop production.

    Reply
  19. Chuck Hughes

     /  January 16, 2016

    Tree populations are also being affected…

    Paraphrasing here;

    Foresters and ecologists have long known that climate stress has major effects on forest health. Certainly the Earth is currently experiencing substantial, rapid, directional global climate change driven by major and pervasive human alterations of the Earth’s atmosphere, land surface and waters (IPCC, 2007). It is possible that the increasing reports of dieback represent just the beginning of globally significant increases in problems associated with forest health. Dieback problems are already being reported under relatively modest recent increases in global mean temperature (about 0.5ºC since 1970). Due to a drying climate and a projected 2-4C rise in Global Average Temperature, far greater chronic forest stress and mortality risk can be expected.

    http://www.fao.org/docrep/011/i0670e/i0670e10.htm

    Reply
  20. CDC warning pregnant women not to go to Brazil due to the Zika virus.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/brazilians-panic-as-mosquito-linked-to-brain-damage-in-thousands-of-babies/2016/01/15/7e8e2dec-b8ca-11e5-85cd-5ad59bc19432_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_brazilmoms1044pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory
    Though no mention of GW in the article, we all know that we are seeing more of these mosquito borne viruses because of GW. Here in S. Fl this winter, officials have had to resort to airborne spraying for mosquitoes because it has been so warm and wet the mosquitoes population have been nearly as bad as summer.

    The canary in the coal mine signs continue all over the planet. How long before the masses finally get the link between die offs… new viruses…etc.. to GW? Will it take a huge human die off before people wake up?

    Reply
    • Caroline

       /  January 16, 2016

      Suzanne here is another excellent piece by Dr. Brian Moench regarding the link between AGW and rise in virulent infectious diseases (in previous thread I posted a piece from truthout on this as well).
      This is being covered quite a bit in media—- yet as you pointed out many are leaving out the essential link between disease spread and human induced warming.
      http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/3411122-155/op-ed-the-next-threat-from-climate

      Reply
      • Caroline

         /  January 16, 2016

        Another disease on the rise: Valley fever.
        From article above:
        “Valley fever (coccidioidomycosis), spread by fungal spores in Western dust, has seen the number of cases increase 850 percent, afflicting hundreds of thousands.”

        Re: your question: “Will it take a huge human die off before people wake up?” Apparently it will take more than that given the stats put out by DARA International last year: they linked 400,000 deaths worldwide to climate change each year, projecting deaths to increase to over 600,000 per year by 2030.

        Reply
      • climatehawk1

         /  January 16, 2016

        Tweeting, thanks.

        Reply
      • Great link Caroline…thanks for your reply and post. I have often thought that it will be something like a virus, bacteria, or fungus..something microscopic from GW that “gets us” first. Why people continue to ignore the worldwide deaths attributed to GW astounds me, unless it is that human trait of denial?

        Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  January 17, 2016

      This Zika virus could be the beginnings of a very serious problem (it already is to those affected), and it seems to be spreading. Travel restrictions now recommended for Mexico, parts of the Caribbean and Central/South America.

      The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday night advised pregnant women to postpone travel to Mexico, Puerto Rico and parts of Central America and South America due to the presence of the Zika virus.

      The CDC action was prompted by tests that found Zika, a mosquito-borne illness, in fetal and newborn tissue of Brazilian babies affected with microcephaly. The agency said additional studies are needed.

      The advisory lists Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

      http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/15/health/zika-pandemic-travel-warnings-cdc/

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  January 17, 2016

      And now we have a case in Hawaii (first in the U.S.) of a victim of Zika virus.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/17/health/hawaii-reports-baby-born-with-brain-damage-linked-to-zika-virus.html?_r=0

      Reply
      • Ryan…great catch on the Zika case in Hawaii. A line in that article caught my eye:
        A C.D.C. epidemiologist recently predicted that Zika would follow the same pattern that dengue has, with local transmission during hot weather in tropical parts of the country, including Florida, the Gulf Coast and Hawaii.

        Brazilian officials have been telling women not to get pregnant in summer months, which sounds a bit ludicrous to me. Can you imagine American women being told the same thing here? Oh brother, what a political screaming match that would ignite, wouldn’t it?
        I have lived in S. Fl for 50 years…through several past El Nino events…but have never seen mosquitoes this bad in winter. We have already had cases of Dengue and chikungunya reported here over the past couple of years. I am sure with GW these incidents will only increase. And to complicate matters even more, I just read at NPR this morning that mosquitoes that carry Malaria have become resistant to the insecticides they have used to eradicate them in areas of Africa.

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  January 17, 2016

        Suzanne, I was thinking the same thing! Fast forward a couple decades and project the spread of these mosquitoes North as the globe continues to warm, and becomes more hospitable to mosquitoes. Like West Nile Virus here in Ct. It was unheard of around here in the 90s, and now it’s across the U.S. and Canada and down through the Caribbean and South America. Or the diseases you speak of and how they’ve become more common. We’re only making the world more hospitable for mosquitoes, and they’re only going to spread.

        Microcephaly from Zika is not some illness you can recover from, like Malaria or Yellow Fever. Having a child with that condition requires a lifetime of special care. If this were to become a widespread illness that afflicted the U.S. it could radically alter the social dynamics of society. Picture people being terriffied of getting pregnant during summer, as you pointed out. Everyone starts getting pregnant in narrow windows, and the idea of chance pregnancies, or “leaving it to fate”, or God, etc becomes a thing of the past. The hospitals now experience birthing seasons where they see 95% of their deliveries in a couple months. Or those who get pregnant at the wrong time of year have no choice but to remain indoors, since the risk of infection has become unacceptable.

        Reply
  21. Kevin Jones

     /  January 16, 2016

    Narsarsuaq, Greenland 12:50 UTC Wind NNE 46 mph Gusting 64.4 mph Temp 7C 45F Source: Athropolis Map of the Arctic

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  January 16, 2016

      Weather Underground has (previous) record for date of 39F 2013

      Reply
  22. Griffin

     /  January 16, 2016

    I am not sure if anyone linked this earlier but because it is such an incredible tragedy, here it is again. LA Times report on the worsening situation with the Aliso Canyon methane leak.
    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-aliso-well-hole-20160115-story.html

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  January 16, 2016

      Someone said “History repeats itself. The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

      Reply
      • Stephen

         /  January 16, 2016

        “History repeats itself. The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”
        Karl Marx 1851
        In reference to Adolf Eichmann:
        “…the banality of evil”
        Hannah Arendt 1963
        On our present situation:
        “The banality of evil repeats itself. The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”
        Me, just now

        Reply
      • “…the banality of evil”

        – The evil of banality applies equally.
        Consumerism is banality run amok.

        Reply
    • Andy in SD

       /  January 16, 2016

      As the article explains the precarious situation with the wellhead (wobbling is bad I think) and what will occur if it flops off, that is a disaster on the verge of a catastrophe. I wonder if it would cause any geologic tremors as well if it goes full force.

      Remember that 3 foot (I think it was 3 feet) diameter gas line that ruptured in LA a few years ago and torched a whole neighborhood?

      Reply
  23. Colorado Bob

     /  January 16, 2016

    Ocean Acidification Affects Bacteria’s Ability To Clean Oceans

    Ocean acidification, which is the decrease of the pH in the Earth’s oceans, has been an ongoing process that affects marine creatures and plants. Researchers found that ocean acidification caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide has a major impact on marine bacteria, where it reduces the ability of bacteria to clean the oceans, according to a study at Linnaeus University.

    http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/35743/20160113/ocean-acidification-affects-bacterias-ability-clean-oceans.htm

    Reply
    • – Good find. A very important natural process has been interfered with.

      Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  January 16, 2016

      In what may go down as one of the greatest understatements of The Anthropocene, I believe it was Robert Callum in his The Ocean of Life who said “Inexplicably” we have only begun to study ocean acidification in the past decade or so.

      Reply
    • Griffin

       /  January 17, 2016

      Whoa. If the bacteria breakdown less organic material, things get ugly fast.

      Reply
      • entropicman

         /  January 17, 2016

        Nutrient cycling shuts down, which would cause problems for the phytoplankton and then reduced productivity right up the food chain.

        Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  January 17, 2016

      The more research is done, and the more we learn, the more it is realized that we are literally destroying the entire ocean ecosystem, from the smallest creatures that form the base of the food web right on up to top predators…and the animals (like humans) that breathe the oxygen that those tiny ocean creatures produce. Poisoning the oceans, acidifying the oceans, filling the oceans with garbage and draining them of living creatures. We are a species gone insane.

      Reply
  24. – A rarity of zero tropical cyclones in parts of southern Indian Ocean.

    Philip Klotzbach ‏@philklotzbach 2h2 hours ago

    0 TCs have formed in the S Ind Ocean (W of 135E) since 12/10, the 1st time on record (since 1960) this has occurred

    Reply
  25. Tropical Cyclone Victor born in South Pacific Ocean, Cook Islands on alert

    Anthony Sagliani ‏@anthonywx 4h4 hours ago

    The overall size of TC Victor is pretty massive. Here are some continental land references for comparison.

    Reply
  26. – Millions of people live within199 m/10th of a mile of our ‘freeways’ etc. Many live much closer to these toxic emission corridors.

    Air pollution and traffic fumes tied to infertility risk

    Women who live close to major highways where the air is polluted by traffic exhaust fumes may be slightly more likely to have fertility problems than women who live further away where the air is cleaner, a U.S. study suggests.

    Researchers followed more than 36,000 women from 1993 until 2003 and analyzed air pollution and traffic exhaust near their homes to see if what they breathed might be connected to their ability to conceive.

    Over the study period, there were about 2,500 reported cases of infertility. Women who lived close to a major roadway – within 199 meters, or about a tenth of a mile – were 11 percent more likely to experience this problem than women who lived farther from a highway, the study found.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-fertility-airpollution-idUSKCN0UT2MF

    Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  January 17, 2016

      I read somewhere that it is responsible for 5% of deaths in the UK.

      5 bloody per cent!

      Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  January 17, 2016

      Actually, that ties in with the ‘10% reduction in lung function in children within 200m of major routes’ I read about some time back.

      That means many cities are really bad places for bringing up kids. People need to be told this loud and clear by the relevant govt ministers, but that hasn’t really happened here, in the UK.

      That’s because it is very inconvenient information, I guess.

      Reply
  27. Leland Palmer

     /  January 16, 2016

    NASA Worldview with the Chlorophyll A data products turned on is a good way to locate algae blooms. Cloud cover severely interferes with the Chlorophyll A data products, though, so using the time controls at the bottom of the page to scroll backward and forward in time is a good idea. If a yellow or red area is found using Chlorophyll A, the Chlorophyll A layers can be turned off using the little eye symbol to the left of the data products in the top left of the image:

    http://go.nasa.gov/1Py19p1

    This image of the Prince William Sound area of the southern Alaska coast does indeed show large apparent algal blooms on December 6th, 2015. Turn off the Chlorophyll A data products to see the algae blooms without the false color.

    This is a good general method to locate algae blooms, I think. Turn on the Chlorophyll A data products. Scroll backward and forward in time to minimize the cloud cover interference. Find clear sky days when the Chlorophyll A data products show a red or yellow area in coastal or inland lake areas. Then turn off the Chlorophyll A data products to see a true color image of the algae blooms.

    All along the coasts in the Arctic Circle, high Chlorophyll A readings and visual algae blooms are apparent, for at least the last couple of years. Some areas around the Siberian Arctic Shelf show high persistent algae blooms. Often these areas appear to be the same areas showing increased methane emissions according to Shakova and Semiletov – although I could be wrong about that.

    Reply
  28. redskylite

     /  January 16, 2016

    I remember one of the posters/bloggers featured a young brain damaged child being cared for by his/her mother. Certainly had an impact on me and I have read that Climate Change is suspected in the outbreaks and increases in Zika. Certainly the last Ebola outbreak affected way more than previous outbreaks. Al Jazeera reports of new outbreaks of Zika in new places. Much of this has been predicted by respectable agencies such as WHO.

    Wish we could speed up decarbonizing and undoing the deeds of those bright pre-Victorian engineers, following the progress is painfully slow and a mix between watching paint dry and playing a game Russian roulette.

    Zika virus cases spread in Latin America, Caribbean
    Haiti, Ecuador and Brazil have announced that they have been hit by an outbreak of the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne ailment that causes birth defects and is rapidly spreading through Latin America and the Caribbean.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/01/zika-virus-cases-spread-latin-america-caribbean-160116135607887.html

    Reply
    • Griffin

       /  January 16, 2016

      umbrios27 was the one to first bring this disease to our attention. She may have been responsible for making it a mainstream news issue in America. Just after her comments, we saw the issue go national.

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  January 17, 2016

        You’re absolutely right, Griffin. It seems since Umbrios27’s informative comment about Zika I have been seeing it appear in U.S. mainstream news, which I had never even heard of before. Thank you to Umbrios27 for all of the wonderful information she provides for us. She is very knowledgeable and provides insights into Brazil and South America that we would not get otherwise.

        Reply
      • Griffin

         /  January 17, 2016

        Glad you noticed the same thing Ryan. Your right, her post was awesome.

        Reply
      • redskylite

         /  January 17, 2016

        Thankyou Umbrios27 for drawing attention to the dangers of this virus. Often the dangers to health from disease are undervalued and under-reported, in projections of climate shifts. As far as I know there is no cure/protection against Zika and a worrying time for expectant folk in South America – and it’s moving North.

        Reply
      • Vic

         /  January 17, 2016

        Yep, I reckon the soil’s so fertile here you could cut the leg off a chair, stick it in the ground and it would start growing leaves.

        “Outside in the cold distance a wild cat did growl.
        Two riders were approaching and the wind began to howl, hey. ”

        Reply
      • Thanks everybody, but in sincerity, I wasn’t the first one to comment about Zika virus here. The first comment (the one with the photo) was by Leland Palmer, and I replied to his comment with an overview of what is happening in Brasil, in https://robertscribbler.com/2015/12/27/warm-arctic-storm-to-hurl-hurricane-force-winds-at-uk-and-iceland-push-temps-to-72-degrees-f-above-normal-at-north-pole/

        If that started mainstream media news about the virus, I’m very glad. Prevention requires information. There’s no treatment for Zika (there is a vacinne being speedtracked by Institutes Butantã, Evandro Chagas and Bio-Manguinhos, but it probably will take at least two years for it to be sanctioned for human use), and the only way to prevent it is to avoid being contaminated (by avoiding mosquito bites, or, for those who can, avoiding going to areas where it’s already spread, specially in the first semester of pregnancy). And it’s a silent disease, with few symptoms in most grown-ups, and a terrible effect in fetus.

        It is spreading fast, and a factor in the “velocity” of the spread is that it’s normally only noticed in late pregnancy or birth, while it probably infected the pregnant woman during the first trimester of pregnancy. That means that the virus had a few months being spread in the population before the first autocne case (Hawaii’s case doesn’t count as such, so far) is recognized. Here in the state of São Paulo, where I live, the first autocne cases have been reported this month… that means that Zika is probably already well entrenched, circulating in the population for about six months.

        That means that if a place has Aedes aegypt mosquitos and is a region with a lot of contact and travel from places where Zika is already circulating (for those in the US, Miami and Orlando would definitely be in that list), it might be a good idea for pregnant woman avoid them if they can (best time ever for that 3-month voyage to anywhere north of the mosquito line).

        Symptoms of Zika in adults (considering no Guillam-Barré syndrome) are red rashes, mild headache, mild fever, conjuntivitis, and pain in articulations (not severing pain like dengue, mild pain). Those symptoms last for a few days (4 -7) and go away on their own. A lot of people wouldn’t go to the hospital because of that, if they DO go to the hospital, these are generic self-limiting symptoms and a new disease, and there’s a chance that no tests trying to determine the exact virus will be done. That means the virus may circulate in a population undetected.

        Here in Brasil, for example:
        First cases of Zika came with travellers during the World Cup, in June-July -2014 (a group of researchers in .
        In April 2015 (nine months later) there were public announces bewaring about Zika. It was an endfoot note, as more attention was being drawn to the chikungunya virus, that also was introduced in the country at the same time.
        In October 2015 (15 months after the virus was introduced in Brasil) the surge in microcephaly cases was being reported in Brasil’s mass media.
        In November 2015 (16 months after the virus was introduced in Brasil) official government announces linked microcephaly and Zika virus. By then, number of microcephaly cases were surging to the thousands.

        Now, our country doesn’t have the best health system or epidemiological surveys, but it doesn’t have the worst, neither. Lateness in linking microcephaly cases and Zika virus may have been because no one expected this virus to behave thus. But the delay was also because most infections with Zika are “silent”. There’s symtoms, but very mild ones. Only when pregnant women are infected there’s real trouble. So, while I don’t expect diagnostics to be as late as they were in Brasil (now people known about the effects of the virus), there’s a real chance that the epidemics may spread to new areas and only be noticed about six months later.

        Reply
      • Griffin

         /  January 17, 2016

        It sure is easy to see why we remembered your first post umbrios27. It is simply amazing how much information you have given us!

        Reply
      • redskylite

         /  January 18, 2016

        I should thank Leland Palmer too, and this from NASA Earth Observatory highlights the intensified danger (from El Niño and possibly Climate Change too) . . .

        El Niño Fueled Rains Swamp South America:

        As waters subside, public health threats will persist. In January, Paraguay’s Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare declared an alert for Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika, viral diseases spread by mosquitoes.

        http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=87334

        Reply
      • Vic

         /  January 18, 2016

        Distribution in 2006 of Aedes aegypti (blue) and epidemic dengue (red)

        Reply
      • Vic

         /  January 18, 2016

        “Ae. aegypti has been genetically modified to suppress its own species in an approach similar to the sterile insect technique, thereby reducing the risk of disease. The mosquitoes, known as OX513A, were developed by Oxitec, a spinout of Oxford University and subsidiary of Intrexon (NYSE: XON).”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aedes_aegypti#cite_note-Evenhuis-1

        Reply
      • Vic

         /  January 18, 2016

        Aedes aegypti in Australia.

        “An introduced species, currently known to exist only in Queensland and predominantly northern coastal Qld, but previously known from WA, NT, and southern NSW.”

        Reply
      • Vic

         /  January 18, 2016

        Google says no.

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  January 19, 2016

        Hi umbrios27 and everyone-

        Great reporting, umbrios27. I’m sure we all wish you well, down there in Brazil.

        Poor Zika babies. I’m told that these children will likely be sickly all their lives. Most of them will not thrive physically and will likely have behavioral problems as well as severe mental retardation.

        Globalization and global warming seem to have bad synergies.

        Reply
  29. redskylite

     /  January 16, 2016

    Attached is a very touching and sad story told by a very respected NASA scientist/manager, one of the best opinion pieces I’ve ever read (especially in the New York Times). I can relate, but fortunately surgery & chemotherapy worked out for me, so I hope to see how some of the critical climate factors play out before I leave.

    Last year was the warmest year on record, by far. I think that future generations will look back on 2015 as an important but not decisive year in the struggle to align politics and policy with science. This is an incredibly hard thing to do.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/17/opinion/sunday/cancer-and-climate-change.html?ref=topics&_r=0

    Reply
    • Steven Blaisdell

       /  January 17, 2016

      Great article.

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  January 17, 2016

        Thank you redskylite.
        Wonderful article, goes to show he is not doing it for the money and he is a doer

        Reply
    • Thank you for posting that poignant op ed. I will be passing it on to others.
      And all the best for your continued good health.

      Reply
      • redskylite

         /  January 18, 2016

        Many thanks for your good health wishes Suzanne – appreciated .

        Reply
    • Best hopes for your continued good health, Redskylite.

      Reply
      • redskylite

         /  January 18, 2016

        Many thanks umbrios27 for the good health wishes, I’m glad I listened to the expert oncologist and not to the people (who think they know better) and recommend bizarre home grown remedies. I can see a very strong analogy there.

        Reply
  30. Colorado Bob

     /  January 16, 2016

    Terra/MODIS
    2016/007
    01/07/2016
    09:35 UTC

    Oil fires in Libya

    Reply
    • – Aliso Canyon Sempra SoCal Gas methane blowout: “… cellphones and watches are banned from the site.”

      Efforts to plug Porter Ranch-area gas leak worsened blowout risk, regulators say

      Southern California Gas Co.’s effort to plug its leaking natural gas well involves higher stakes than simply stopping the fumes that have sickened many residents of Porter Ranch.

      The company also is trying to avoid a blowout, which state regulators said is now a significant concern after a seventh attempt to plug the well created more precarious conditions at the site.

      If a blowout occurs, highly flammable gas would vent directly up through the well, known as SS25, rather than dissipating as it does now via the subsurface leak and underground channels.

      State officials said a blowout would increase the amount of leaked gas, causing greater environmental damage. That natural gas also creates the risk of a massive fire if ignited by a spark. The risk of fire already is so high that cellphones and watches are banned from the site.
      http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-aliso-well-hole-20160115-story.html

      Reply
      • The chief deputy director of the department, Jason Marshall, and a senior oil and gas field regulator assigned to daily watch at Aliso Canyon, Scott McGurk, told The Times the site and wellhead were made more unstable by the gas company’s attempts to stop the leak by pumping a slurry directly into the well.

        The last of those efforts, which stretched over several days beginning Dec. 22, expanded a crater around the wellhead, state and gas company officials said.

        The crater is now 25 feet deep, 80 feet long and 30 feet wide, those officials said. The wellhead sits exposed within the cavernous space, held in place with cables attached after it wobbled during the plugging attempt, Marshall and McGurk said. The well pipe and its control valves are exposed and unsupported within that hole, atop a deep field of pressurized gas.

        Reply

      • The gas company would not provide current photos of the site or allow media access. It did not provide a reason.

        Aerial photographs obtained by The Times, taken by a pilot who slipped through no-fly zones imposed after the leak began, show the tension cables strung to hold the jeopardized well in place.

        The photos, taken five days before the final plug attempt Dec. 22, show that the earth and the asphalt pad that directly surrounded the well are gone, scoured out by the backwash of mud repeatedly forced at high pressure into the leaky well in an attempt to plug it

        Reply
      • The two-mile long depleted oil reserve that houses the gas is the largest natural gas storage field west of the Mississippi River. Each fall it is pumped with as much as 86 billion cubic feet of natural gas to run power plants and heat homes in Los Angeles during the winter.

        Reply
      • The gas company reported Oct. 23 that gas was escaping through small cracks in the rocky ground around well SS25, which is among 112 former oil extraction wells that have been converted for the natural gas storage operation.

        Reply
      • – Here’s an image from geosphere.gsapubs.org (subscription only but Google images brought it up.
        Just above the Santa Susana Fault Aliso Canyon and a red line is shown upper left center:

        Structure of the San Fernando Valley region, California: Implications for seismic hazard and tectonic history

        Reply
      • Jean

         /  January 17, 2016

        Somehow I missed the information that the Nat Gas was pumped into the gas hole to supply energy for people.Thank goodness I read robertscribbler and the great comments

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  January 17, 2016

        Great information, dt! Thanks for that. This disaster is yet one more example of how dangerous and damaging our addiction to fossil fuels has become. And don’t forget how much water is wasted or rendered forever toxic by fracking to retrieve this natural gas. A terrible situation all around.

        Reply
      • The LA Times article by Paige St. John is a great piece of informative journalism. Kudos to the editors too.

        Reply
  31. NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 1h1 hour ago

    Incredible satellite image of our latest #hurricane force low in the #Pacific Ocean! Seas analyzed to 36′ at 21 UTC.

    Reply
  32. Colorado Bob

     /  January 16, 2016

    George Osborne and the Tories have slashed resources for dealing with floods

    Last month, 16,000 UK homes were flooded, causing £6billion damage and £1.3billion insurance claims………………………………………
    And Osborne did nothing. Not event a tweet expressing sympathy for the thousands of people whose Christmas was ruined by the floods. ………………………………………….
    These latest floods again took place largely in the North and exposed the myth that the extreme weather, followed by extensive floods, is part of a “one-in-a-hundred-years” cycle.

    Since 1998 there have been five cases of extreme weather and floods – in 1998, 2000, 2007, 2010, 2015. Each one seemingly worse than the last.

    Link

    Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  January 17, 2016

      He’s not wrong. I always liked Prescott, one of the few authentic voices in the previous Labour govt.

      Good right hook too!

      Reply
      • Bill H

         /  January 17, 2016

        Thanks, Colorado Bob. So, the damage to the UK is up to 6 billion pounds now. Not only did the Conservatives cut spending on flood defences, it’s also ending subsidies for on-shore wind energy, after a very high profile campaign linking the big increase in fuel bills in the UK over the last ten years or so to subsidies for wind energy. These subsides amount to less than £200 million a year, and will probably no longer be needed at all in a few years’ time: 3% of what the British people are, one way or another, going to have to cough up for this fossil-fuel caused flood disaster.

        John Prescott, author of this article, curiously failed to mention the major floods of 2013/2014 in his list of recent UK floods – it’s even worse than he’s saying.

        Reply
  33. – H. Melville & The Essex – good sperm whale info included

    The True Story Of Moby Dick

    Reply
  34. Griffin

     /  January 17, 2016

    The incredibly important Jason-3 ocean monitoring satellite will be launched tomorrow morning!
    http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/jason-3/index.html

    Reply
  35. Griffin

     /  January 17, 2016

    On the subject of methane, here is a good article by NatGeo that details just how widespread and massive the issue of flaring is across the world.
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/energy/2016/01/150113-methane-aliso-canyon-leak-noaa-flaring-map/

    Reply
  36. Griffin

     /  January 17, 2016

    More on Aliso Canyon.
    “Independent researchers reported detecting elevated methane levels as far as 8 miles from the massive, ongoing leak of natural gas from a storage site in northwestern Los Angeles.”
    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/14012016/aliso-canyon-high-levels-methane-leak-los-angeles-northridge-natural-gas-benzene-climate-change

    Reply
  37. – FB 0116 Coloradans for Responsible Energy and Environmental Policy added 2 new photos.
    1 hr ·

    Hurricane Alex, only the 2nd tropical storm in the Atlantic in recorded weather history in January, is now forecast to make an unexpected hard left turn and head for Newfoundland. I wonder how many tropical storms have hit Newfoundland let alone in January?

    The photos are forecast storm track and tropical storm-force 120-hour wind probabilities from the National Hurricane Center.
    https://scontent.fsnc1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xtf1/v/t1.0-9/12507318_1719422221636392_6455882102089994811_n.jpg?oh=e17134ee0fec008b53f96096902a164e&oe=5746BD4C

    Reply
  38. -“… katabatic “drainage” winds (off Spain). A condition with a good description — especially for local and regional wind events.

    NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 5h5 hours ago

    ASCAT passes from earlier highlighting common winds as well as North Sea and katabatic “drainage” winds off Spain…

    Reply
  39. – 0117 NOAA H2o vapor shows illustrates the size of the storm in the Gulf of AK

    Reply
  40. Colorado Bob

     /  January 17, 2016

    Stunning –

    Climate Change Disaster Top Threat to Economy in 2016

    A catastrophe caused by climate change is seen as the biggest potential threat to the global economy in 2016, according to a survey of 750 experts conducted by the World Economic Forum.

    The annual assessment of risks conducted by the WEF before its annual meeting in Davos on January 20-23 showed that global warming had catapulted its way to the top of the list of concerns.

    A failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation was seen as likely to have a bigger impact than the spread of weapons of mass destruction, water crises, mass involuntary migration and a severe energy price shock — the first time in the 11 years of the Global Risks report that the environment has been in first place.

    Link

    Reply
    • dnem

       /  January 17, 2016

      Makes one wonder the threat to the economy posed by climate disruption in, say, 2021 or 2026! I continue to believe that the global economy – the “system” if you will – will prove to be profoundly unstable in the face of what is coming.

      Reply
    • Wow…It makes one hope that the world is finally waking up to what many have known for years…..That GW is the biggest threat to us and to the rest of the planet.

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  January 17, 2016

      This is a bigger deal than the average person realizes. Economists have traditionally ignored environmental impacts or dismissed them as trivial or write them off as externalities. For the impacts from climate change to top their list of concerns for the economy is a monumental change, and an example of how the impacts of climate change are here and can no longer be ignored.

      I posted a link about this story a couple days ago, but don’t think anyone saw it. It was the last comment before Robert gave us a new post, thus commencing a fresh comment section.

      http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/14/climate-change-disaster-is-biggest-threat-to-global-economy-in-2016-say-experts

      Reply
  41. Colorado Bob

     /  January 17, 2016

    Why clean energy is now expanding even when fossil fuels are cheap


    Energy and Environment
    Why clean energy is now expanding even when fossil fuels are cheap
    Resize Text Print Article Comments 212
    By Chris Mooney January 14

    Solar panels are seen in the Palm Springs area, California, in this April 13, 2015 photo. Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
    This story has been updated.

    The latest evidence that 2015 was a breakout year for clean energy is in, and it’s particularly telling.

    In a new analysis, Bloomberg New Energy Finance finds that 2015 was a record year for global investment in the clean energy space, with $ 329 billion invested in wind, solar panels, biomass plants and more around the world. (The number does not include investments in large hydroelectric facilities).

    That’s 3 percent higher than the prior 2011 global investment record of $ 318 billion — and most striking is that it happened in a year in which key fossil fuels — oil, coal and natural gas — were quite cheap.

    When it comes to fossil fuels, “prices have been low, continue to stay low, and yet we continue to see strong growth of wind and solar, and it speaks to the fact that again, these technologies are becoming more cost competitive,” says Ethan Zindler, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

    Link

    Reply
  42. Colorado Bob

     /  January 17, 2016

    What is Up in Disko-Uummannaq Bay Greenland January 9-16, 2016

    @TenneyNaumer contacted Alun Hubbard, Jason Box and I with an astute observation last evening. “But what I am getting at is that in general the temperature anomalies over the region of Jakobshavn have been high in the last few days, and I spotted weird temperatures off the coast via Climate Reanalyzer (which is seriously low resolution). I just checked with the manati satellite (also seriously low resolution), and it seems some sort of event has taken place.”

    Following up on what are typically good observations from Tenney I looked at the NASA MODIS imagery posted by the Danish Meteorological Institute. Weather records from automatic weather stations in the region from PROMICE and the surface mass balance model results for the week from Polar Portal.

    It is evident from the PROMICE weather records on the ice sheet just south of the Disko Bay region that temperatures have been exceptionally high since January 5th and atmospheric pressures have been high since January 9th. The Polar Portal mass balance model indicates some actual declines/ablation in the last week. The real changes are in the sea ice fronts and ice in the coastal inlets illustrated by MODIS. Below are images from January 9, 11, 13 and 16 for Disko Bay and January 9, 13 and 16 from Uummannaq Bay.

    http://blogs.agu.org/fromaglaciersperspective/2016/01/17/what-is-up-in-disko-ummanaq-bay-greenland-this-week/

    Reply
    • wili

       /  January 17, 2016

      Thanks, as always, for this story, COBob. What do you take this part to mean: ” it seems some sort of event has taken place.” ?

      A major calving event? A meteorological event? Or something else? And how major of an ‘event’ do you think they are talking about here?

      Reply
      • Griffin

         /  January 17, 2016

        A massive flush of melt water was my take wili. Perhaps a release of subgalcial melt water.

        Reply
    • – The photos of the outflow are quite revealing. Not a good sign either.

      Reply
    • Griffin

       /  January 17, 2016

      All I can say is Wow! Thank you for this CB. Fascinating!!!

      Reply
      • wili

         /  January 17, 2016

        Indeed. I’m reminded of the recent discussions of all the water held in the ‘firn’ layer of the glacier. But maybe this is from some pool of water that built up in the middle of the inside of the glacier? Weird, to say the least, to get a big pulse of melt water in the middle of January!! Is Alex pushing warm water up into the area that is causing some melting below the surface?

        Reply
      • wili

         /  January 18, 2016

        Box seems to think it is the result of a katabatic wind forming a polynya.

        Reply
    • redskylite

       /  January 18, 2016

      Thanks for sharing that Colorado Bob, I’m glad that prominent glaciologists like Mauri Pelto are watching and picking up any significant changes. Nearest thing we have to an early warning system, which we would need if something really major began.

      Also glad to see that Jason-3 has launched today (all is go) and will be monitoring such things as global sea levels.
      Jason-3, a U.S.-European satellite mission, lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California today at 10:42 a.m. PST aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, to become the latest spacecraft to track the rate of global sea-level rise. Jason-3 will also help NOAA’s National Weather Service more accurately forecast the strength of tropical cyclones that threaten America’s coasts.

      http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/jason-3/

      Reply
  43. NWS WPC ‏@NWSWPC 1h1 hour ago

    Heavy #rain affecting N. California. Flooding possible. #cawx

    Reply
  44. Ryan Maue ‏@RyanMaue 2h2 hours ago

    Ensembles range from 2 inches to 3 feet over Washington DC for next weekend potential storm. GEFS 12z @weatherbell

    Reply
  45. A great interview at Democracy NOW with Dr. Kevin Anderson on why climate scientists sometimes “self-censoring to downplay risks” of GW. Partially afraid to upset the “economic apple cart” so to speak. Another reminder that scientists are human beings with the same emotional mechanisms as the rest of us:

    Reply
  46. Ryan in New England

     /  January 17, 2016

    Severe storms and tornadoes hit Florida, leaving damage and fatalities behind.

    http://www.wunderground.com/news/florida-sarasota-severe-storms-tornado-da

    Reply
  47. Greg

     /  January 18, 2016

    Computer modeling and sheer data crunching power had improved the length of time in recent years to which weather forecasts extend. With increased confidence we as consumers routinely look at 10 days and longer in weather forecasts. However, it seems that the variability has increased in the last several years such that forecasts for five days or more out can whipsaw. For example, the winter storm coming this weekend for the Mid-Atlantic originally was going to be sunny and relatively warm when I last looked and I had organized some contractors to do work this weekend based on good weather. The jet stream obviously took a turn southward in the interim. Does anyone know if the degree (not cause mind you) of increased variability in the jet stream in recent years is accounted for or is it catching meteorologists off guard ?

    Reply
  48. JPL

     /  February 25, 2016

    Could you use some good news?

    The second half of this latest Ted Talk from Al Gore has it:

    If only the supreme court hadn’t blown it in Bush v Gore, imagine where we might be now…

    Reply
    • The conservatives on the court apparently did their best to also scuttle Obama’s clean power plan. Let’s just hope Obama doesn’t appoint a Judge that used to represent the interests of Exxon Mobile.

      Reply
  1. Did The Human-Warmed Ocean Just Kill 8,000 Mures? | GarryRogers Nature Conservation

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