Rapid Acceleration in Sea Level Rise — From 2009 Through October 2015, Global Oceans Have Risen by 5 Millimeters Per Year

The evidence that a human-forced warming of the globe is hitting a much higher gear in terms of both added heat and ramping impacts just keeps streaming on in. Today, an update in the satellite monitor tracking global sea level rise provides yet one more ominous marker. The world’s oceans are rising at an unprecedented rate not seen since the end of the last Ice Age. A rate that appears to be rapidly accelerating.

Greenland Melt Zachariae Isstrom

(Surface melt visible across the Zachariae Isstrom Glacier in Greenland on July 20th of 2015. Melt like that occurring on this glacier has become more and more widespread over Antarctica and Greenland. It’s an ongoing heat accumulation in the world’s great ice mountains that is contributing to increasing melt water outflows into the rising world ocean system. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

It’s a tough bit of evidence that the world is swiftly accumulating heat. For aside from atmospheric temperature readings, the rate of sea level rise is probably the best marker for how fast the world is warming. It’s a sign of heat build-up that’s thermally expanding the ocean. And, far more ominously, it’s a sign that the great glaciers of the world are starting to accumulate enough heat to go into a more and more widespread melt and destabilization.

Ocean Rise Begins with Ramp-up in CO2 Emissions

Ever since the Holocene climate era began about 10,000 years ago, ocean levels and shorelines have remained remarkably stable. At the close of the 19th Century, and in conjunction with a build-up of heat-trapping gasses in the atmosphere through the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, sea levels began a rise that would start to mark a departure from the stable coastlines human civilizations had enjoyed for so long.

hansen-sea-level-rise

(Global sea level rise has ramped higher and higher — an upward curve that follows increasing volumes of CO2 in the atmosphere and rising global temperatures. Image source: Dr. James Hansen.)

At first the rise in global waters, driven by a then slow accumulation of heat in the world ocean system, was slight and gradual. Beginning in 1870, and continuing on through 1925, sea levels across the world increased by about 0.8 millimeters per year. The increase was likely driven by heat accumulating in the atmosphere and then transferring to the surface waters of the oceans. From 1870 through 1925, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels had increased from around 280 parts per million to 305 parts per million — into a range about 25 parts per million above the typical interglacial peak CO2 level of the last 2 million years. A volume of heat trapping gasses that began to slowly upset the Holocene’s relative stability.

If scientists and researchers at the time were paying closer attention, they would have noted this mild but consistent increase in the height of global surface waters as the first hint that the human emission of greenhouse gasses was starting to alter the Earth environment. Sadly, it took many more decades to begin to understand the profound changes that were starting to take place.

The First Acceleration — 1925 to 1992

While climate science was still in its infancy during 1925, a human forced warming of the globe was starting to kick into higher gear. A signal of atmospheric warming since the 1880s was beginning to develop. Though unclear, it was becoming apparent that the airs of the world were building up heat. But the waters of the world were providing a strong signal that the Earth was accumulating that heat more and more rapidly.

Sea level rise, at that time driven by thermal expansion and by a later small but growing contribution from glacial melt, took its first leap higher. And from 1925 through 1992, the average rate of sea level rise more than doubled to 1.9 millimeters per year. It was a sign that the Earth was warming more and more rapidly and that the heat was showing up in still more thermal expansion of the world’s waters.

The Keeling Curve

(Globally, CO2 began to increase in the atmosphere starting with the widespread burning of coal in England during the 17th and 18th Century. As new fossil fuels like natural gas and oil were added to the mix and as fossil fuel based burning greatly expanded during the 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries, concentrations of this key greenhouse gas sky-rocketed. By the decade of the 2010s, the rate of atmospheric greenhouse gas accumulation was about 6 times faster than at any time in the geological record. A human emission that, if it continues for just a blink in geological timescales, is the equivalent to multiple clathrate guns firing off at the same time. Image source: The Keeling Curve.)

During the same period, atmospheric greenhouse gasses increased from 305 parts per million in 1925 to around 350 parts per million (entering the bottom range of the Pliocene 2-5 million years ago) by 1992. This jump by 45 parts per million in just 67 years pushed the Earth’s climate well outside the range of past interglacials — exceeding the previous peak of 280 parts per million CO2 by more than 70 parts per million overall. Atmospheric temperatures, by 1992, had also increased into a range about 0.5 C above 1880s values.

We had started to enter a period where the context of the human-driven warming (primarily enforced by a monopolization of energy markets by fossil fuels) was being pushed far outside the range of the Holocene and into time periods tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years in the geological past. The Earth System, in other words, was entering a period of increasingly dangerous imbalance.

The Second Acceleration 1992 to 2009

During the 17 years from 1992 through 2009, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose by 40 parts per million to about 390 parts per million in total. That’s a rate of accumulation nearly four times faster than the entire period from 1925 through 1992. An accumulation that by 2009 had pushed the world into a climate context more similar to the warmest periods of the Pliocene of 2-5 million years ago, than of the geological epoch in which human civilization emerged and thrived. For the Holocene was then starting to look like some fond memory fading off into an increasingly murky and smoke-filled far horizon.

Rate of ocean heat uptake has doubled since 1997

(The amount of heat contained in the world ocean system has doubled since 1997. This raging ocean heat uptake has been fueled by a heat accumulation at the top of the atmosphere that is now equivalent to lighting off 5 hiroshima type bombs on the surface of the Earth every single second of every single day. 90-95 percent of this heat goes into the world ocean system. Image source: Dr PJ Gleckler — Industrial Era Ocean Heat Uptake Doubles. See Also: Skeptical Science.)

Rates of sea level rise again increased — hitting a ramp up to around 3 millimeters per year. More ominously, scientific studies were beginning to indicate that the Greenland Ice Sheet and West Antarctica were starting to significantly contribute to the rising waters. The great glaciers were showing their first signs of a mass seaward movement called a Heinrich Event. And with the world hitting 0.8 degrees Celsius above 1880s temperature values and rising, such an event was starting to look more and more likely.

Sea Level Rise at 5 Millimeters Per Year Since 2009

Now, by early 2016, with the world at 1.1 C warmer than 1880s averages and with CO2 levels likely to peak at around 407 parts per million this year, it appears that rates of sea level rise have again jumped markedly higher. For according to satellite altimetry data from AVISO, global sea levels rose by 36 millimeters from the end of 2009 through October of 2015. That’s an annual rate of around 5 millimeters per year and one far above the longer term range of 3.1 mm per year established from 1992 through 2012.

Sea level rise AVISO

(Global sea level rise as measured by satellite altimetry hits a noticeably higher ramp from 2009 through late 2015. Image source: AVISO.)

We can clearly see the departure from the trend line starting post 2011 in the above graph. And if we were to cherry pick that particular departure zone, the rate from trough-to-peak would be 7 millimeters per year. However, since a La Nina occurred during 2011-2012 and a record strong El Nino is occurring now, that particular trend line is probably a bit exaggerated. The reason being that La Nina tends to dampen rates of sea level rise through variable cooling and El Nino tends to spike rates of sea level rise as world surface waters warm during such events.

However, even when correcting for La Nina and El Nino variation, it appears that sea level rise since 2009 is tracking in a range of 4 to 5 millimeters each year — which is yet another significant departure from the trend. A rate that, if it were to further solidify, would be 5 to 6 times faster than initial rates of sea level rise at the start of the 20th Century or two and a half times faster than the sea level rise rates from 1925 through 1992.

Open water and no snow in south Greenland on February 2, 2016

(Open water and no snow in Southern Greenland on February 2 of 2016. Zero sea ice and no snow in southern Greenland during Winter is a strong sign that the island is falling deeper and deeper into the grips of a severe warming event. Image source: Greenland Today.)

Spiking rates of heat accumulation and related thermal expansion of the world’s oceans is likely playing a part in the current increase. But, all-too-likely, the numerous destabilized glaciers now rushing seaward — which in total contain at least enough water to raise seas by 15-20 feet — are also starting to add greater and great contributions. And, unfortunately, with global temperatures now pushing into a very dangerous range between 1 and 2 degrees Celsius above 1880s averages, we are likely to see more and more of these glaciers go into a rapid seaward plunge. It looks like we’ve already locked in a ramping rate of sea level rise for decades to come and at least 15-20 feet long term. But that pales in comparison to what happens if we keep burning fossil fuels.

Links:

AVISO Sea Level Rise

Climate Monsters We Want to Keep in the Closet

Greenland Glacier Rapidly Losing Mass

Dr PJ Gleckler — Industrial Era Ocean Heat Uptake Doubles

Skeptical Science

Collapsing Greenland Glacier Could Raise Seas by 1/2 Meter

Dr. James Hansen

Contribution of the Cryosphere To Changes in Sea Level

The Keeling Curve

LANCE MODIS

Greenland Today

Hat Tip to Catherine Simpson

Hat Tip to Wili

 

Leave a comment

173 Comments

  1. Robert – I suggest you enter this into a contest for the most lucidly written, accessibly understandable climate article of the year. If there is not such a contest, well, let’s make one up! Step-by-step; undeniable and powerful!

    Reply
    • This one took a bit to put together. So it means a lot that you think the effort paid off. Thanks for the kind words. As ever, I promise to keep doing my best for you!

      Reply
      • Yeah, a lucid cause and effect textbook well documented synopsis that should be widely read.
        Indeed.
        Thanks, Robert.
        DT

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  February 4, 2016

        I agree, Robert,this was a great piece. You really put things into perspective, and proper context. The history of how we’ve gotten to this point is really important. When we jumped to 3mm per year of SLR I was concerned things had gone exponential. Now, I feel so even more strongly.

        It makes one think, with this kind of dramatic, undeniable data just how much longer they’ll be approving 30 year mortgages in places like Miami Beach. I have a feeling when things do unravel, it will be much more swiftly than anybody expects. Once mortgages cannot be obtained, property values will crash. Tax revenue will eventually decline. The city is already struggling to pay for pumps to keep the place dry. And beyond that, Florida itself sits on limestone so sea walls are not an option anywhere in that state. That also means the salt water will contaminate groundwater supplies. They are already having to battle with salt water intrusion into their aquifers, which supply 90% of South Florida’s water. What bulls**t could Marco Rubio or Rick Scott tell people to keep them in a place that’s no longer viable? Maybe the climate change deniers are stupid enough to stay, but half the residents are certainly bright enough to see water rising in the streets on sunny days.

        And that’s just one place. What’s more important is the vast areas susceptible to sea level rise that are currently growing food for millions and millions of people throughout the world. The seas are infiltrating the Mekong Delta and threatening the ability to grow rice, which is a staple crop of the region. It’s a slow, but relentless assault, and every year it creeps further inland.

        This is a serious problem that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. So thank you for covering this issue so accurately, Robert.

        Reply
        • For places like Miami, sea level rise has hit up to 1 inch a year due to current change + base sea level rise + subsidence. My home region faces similar issues.

          In any case, thanks so much for the kind thoughts, Ryan. I’ve been refreshed and honored to have you as a reader. In addition, it seems you’ve gotten pretty amazingly sharp in the comments as well. It’s great to have another pair of unclouded, discerning eyes out there. It’s a powerful thing. Don’t sell yourself short.

      • Ryan in New England

         /  February 5, 2016

        Thank you for the kind words, Robert. You’ve done an incredible job with this site, and it seems like it just keeps getting better. I’ve noticed we have lots of new commenters, and every one of them is amazing. The links, the information, the insights from every corner of the globe is breathtaking. Much in the same way that an athlete can be inspired to excel and improve by training with better and more experienced teammates, our fellow Scribblers feed a fire inside me that makes me want to learn and share as much important information as I can. This is the biggest threat to ever face humanity and it deserves our attention.

        And I will give credit to Colorado Bob for first bringing me here. It was years ago, and I was in the comments section at Jeff Master’s blog, and followed a link that lead me to this wonderful place. I imagine many people have the same story.

        Reply
    • Updated — Feb 5 at 1220 PM EST.

      Reply
  2. Jeremy Jackson has said that when the West Antartic Ice Sheet breaks, we could have a 4 meter sea level rise in a couple of years.

    Sent from my iPad 🙏🏻

    >

    Reply
  3. Re: ‘Heinrich Event’, you might want to add this link from 0813:

    ‘The Greenland Ice Sheet is Starting to Slip

    Unfortunately, it seems we may have already begun to let one Heinrich monster off its leash. For reports coming in over the past decade show that the vast two mile high Greenland ice sheet is starting to slip.’

    https://robertscribbler.com/2013/08/08/climate-monsters-we-want-to-keep-in-the-closet-heinrich-events-superstorms-and-warming-the-deep-ocean/

    Reply
  4. Reply
    • RRR + TTT returns.

      Reply
    • ummmm…loving it here in oregon!

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  February 5, 2016

        Here in Newfoundland too.🙂

        Reply
        • Hate to say it. But that’s not some warm, soothing light at the end of your tunnel… If you pay attention, you can sense the tracks starting to vibrate.

      • Cate

         /  February 5, 2016

        RS, yes of course. Those charts speak volumes. It’s just that after two of the longest, coldest winters in living memory in Newfoundland, the recent warmth offers a welcome break, even though we know it’s for all the wrong reasons. And why, in January, did the sun feel as strong as a typical March, for example? Something weird is going on.

        Reply
  5. Great job Robert! Thank you.

    Reply
  6. NA Ice Cover Lake Superior
    Great Lakes Percentage Total Ice Cover Year
    71.6 for 2014
    50.1 for 2015
    5.7 for 2016

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  February 5, 2016

      I realize it’s far too short to establish a trend, but plot those three years on a graph and next year looks like they will be ice free year round. A remarkable change in so short a time.

      Reply
  7. GLCFS Annual Comparison
    Lake Superior, Feb 04, 2016 (DOY 035

    http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/glcfs/compare_years/

    Reply
    • Looks like we are starting to set up for a big drought for a region just east of the Mississippi late spring through summer. At least that’s what some of the trends are pointing toward now. Heat dome …

      Reply
  8. John McCormick

     /  February 4, 2016

    Robert, The Gulf Stream slowdown will pump more heat into an already warm North Atlantic. Where will that heat be transported? Inland, I presume. Greater precipitation onshore. As Florida loses its freshwater aquifer, the real estate crash and exodus will unravel America. We are watching a mid or end of century impact today.

    Reply
    • OK. So the Gulf Stream slowdown redistributes heat in the North Atlantic. It generates a warm pool off the US East Coast. And a cool pool forms off Greenland due to both melt outflow and slow of tropical warm water propagation northward. Meanwhile, you have a new warm pool in the Barents due to sea ice loss, warm water transport from increased river outflow in the warming near Arctic, warm sub sea currents, and substantial loss of albedo through summer.

      The Gulf Stream heat backs up off the US East Coast where it becomes fuel for powerful coastal and oceanic storms.

      The impact is starting now and ramping up through the coming years. The speed of change will start to become very disruptive within the next 10-20 years. It’s a rough ride ahead. The entire North Atlantic basin is experiencing the early, easy outliers now.

      Reply
  9. Meanwhile, this is happening too:

    “Over the past 10 years, the Atlantic Ocean has soaked up 50 percent more carbon dioxide than it did the decade before, measurably speeding up the acidification of the ocean, according to a new study.”

    and

    “Climate change is altering ocean chemistry in other ways as well. Scientists announced on Tuesday that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet is not only releasing huge amounts of fresh water into the Atlantic Ocean—slowing down an important heat-carrying ocean current—but also may be carrying about 441,000 tons of phosphorous into coastal waters.”

    http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/02/03/atlantic-ocean-now-acidifying-at-a-rapid-rate

    Reply
    • Wow. If that’s a net total increase, it’s equivalent to a jump in global fluvial P flux by about 2-3 percent. It would be twice that but the human P contribution to soils has basically doubled the rate at which Phosporous enters the ocean.

      Reply
  10. Colorado Bob

     /  February 4, 2016

    (Global sea level rise as measured by satellite altimetry hits a noticeably higher ramp from 2009 through late 2015. Image source: AVISO.)

    Every time this graph gets updated , that 2010 rain event in Australia get’s more impressive. It really highlights just how much water left the oceans and fell into the interior of Australia.

    Another gem of a post. As always.

    Reply
  11. Colorado Bob

     /  February 4, 2016

    Climate science to be gutted as CSIRO swings jobs axe

    Fears that some of Australia’s most important climate research institutions will be gutted under a Turnbull government have been realised with deep job cuts for scientists.

    Fairfax Media has learnt that as many as 110 positions in the Oceans and Atmosphere division will go, with a similarly sharp reduction in the Land and Water division.

    It’s a catastrophic reduction in our capacity to assess present and future climate change
    Andy Pitman, UNSW

    Total job cuts would be about 350 staff over two years, the CSIRO confirmed in an email to staff, with the Data61 and Manufacturing divisions also hit.

    Read more:
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/climate-will-be-all-gone-as-csiro-swings-jobs-axe-scientists-say-20160203-gml7jy.html#ixzz3zFMOKu4G

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  February 5, 2016

      I just saw this story and was about to post a link. Terrible news. Just when we need to be increasing our capacity to predict and anticipate future changes in store for us.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  February 5, 2016

        The Murdoch curse.
        Ignorance is a virtue.

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  February 5, 2016

        Ignorance is spreading and infecting the population that is subject to Murdoch propaganda like a virus. They do view ignorance as a virtue. And they’re hostile to intellectuals, as if spending your life mastering and understanding a specific topic is unworthy of respect, but being a complete idiot (like Sarah Palin or Trump) is the highest ideal one can strive to achieve. It’s repulsive and downright scary. The Walking Dead doesn’t necessarily require dead zombies to become real life. We have living zombies taking over right now as we type these words.

        Reply
      • DMZ

         /  February 6, 2016

        Can’t go past Isaac Asimov when thinking on ignorance, “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”

        Reply
        • The term they are using now to justify anti-intellectualism and an active peddling of ignorance is ‘dissenting voices.’ Actual dissent requires a provable premise. There’s a word for what they’re doing — this active spreading and assertive repeating of falsehoods — and that word isn’t dissent, it’s propaganda.

      • dmz

         /  February 7, 2016

        Good point RS,for those disseminating I’ve always thought denialist was too kind,dishonest is more fitting.

        Reply
    • Turnbull is just a cookie cutter of Abbott. Remember when this happened in Canada. Well, now it’s Australia. This global conservative (they call themselves liberals in Australia where it’s distopian 1984 all over again) movement is a plague on all our houses.

      Reply
      • Phil

         /  February 5, 2016

        Apparently, the newly appointed head of CSIRO (one of our peak scientific institutions) is a venture capitalist from the USA. A new board was also recently chosen – probably of the same ‘business elk as the boss.

        Certainly on climate change issues, Turnbull would have to be regarded now as a fraud. In fact, Abbott must be jealous of Turnbull’s achievements in gutting both science and also climate change science and research.

        Reply
    • Spike

       /  February 5, 2016

      War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

      George Orwell

      Reply
    • So Morocco plans to get 42 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2020. Why not the US too? Oh yeah — republicans. Thanks to this backwards party of fossil fuel cronies we are now falling behind Morrocco in renewable energy development.

      Reply
    • Spike

       /  February 5, 2016

      A few nations are showing the rest the way. Sure there are some on the list with abundant hydro, but in the UK we have the best wind resource in Europe and yet have turned back on it, except offshore, due to conservative politicians and a hostile media. Yet the latest public survey by DECC showed over 70% support for renewables and about 4% opposed. Note most of the leading countries are not bedevilled by right wing ideologue governments.

      Reply
      • Kevin Jones

         /  February 5, 2016

        We’re Number Zero! We’re Number Zero!

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  February 5, 2016

        Kevin Jones, that’s funny! I was just going to type the “U.S.A. We’re number one!” chant that mindless Republicans always shout. The only thing we’re number one at is obesity rates, incarceration rates, wealth inequality, and percentage of adults who deny that both evolution and climate change are myths created by God-hating liberals.

        Reply
  12. Ryan in New England

     /  February 5, 2016

    Here’s some great news that shows we can grow economically (although I think endless growth is a fundamentally flawed paradigm) without growing energy consumption, which is a common argument against action on climate change. Opponents claim if we decrease our use of fossil fuels the economy will crash. Well, that argument was based on the relationship between growth in energy usage and growth in the economy and the fact that traditionally they were closely linked together, through ups an downs.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/02/04/3745923/economic-growth-decouples-energy-electricity-use/

    Reply
    • The notion that economies could not grow without fossil fuels was always just deceptive self aggrandizement by the fossil fuel industry. It’s similar to their ridiculous meme that only fossil fuels count as energy.

      In any case economic growth is just an abstract term. If you have reductions in materials and net energy consumption, then the overall impact is reduced. If you can have abstract economic growth while doing that, then the traditional concept of growth has been altered. That’s basically what sustainability does. It dematerializes growth and substitutes quality for quantity. More importantly, it removes the most harmful materials consumption and gives room for continued progress over time.

      Reply
    • Spike

       /  February 5, 2016

      Yesterday I read UK carbon emissions were down 35% since 1990 and that is without an all out push or an especially effective EUETS. We could do a hell of a lot more and quicker if our politicians, press, and public would snap out of denial.

      Reply
      • There’s renewable energy denial too. But just like climate change denial, it’s a minority that seems louder due to their omni-presence in climate and energy forums and discussions.

        The national laboratories say we can do it, the IEA says we can do it, the scientists say we basically must do it, and a huge majority of the people support it. What stands in the way? Fossil fuel industry and those few people they’ve misinformed or paid to misinform others and given a loud megaphone.

        We outnumber them, we have scientific proof, so my question is why let them bully us? They shouldn’t be in power. They have no moral precedent. And they’re enforcing an unconscionable and ongoing harm. Time for the sack.

        Reply
  13. Ryan in New England

     /  February 5, 2016

    Found this to be interesting. A Boston startup has outfitted shipping containers to be self-contained farming units that replicate 2 acres of farmland but use less water per day than the average American uses to shower. It’s outfitted with vertical hydroponics and LED lighting systems, so that anyone can buy one and get started without being an expert in plumbing, electrical, etc. They cost $80,000 as opposed to 1-2 million to start a rooftop greenhouse.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/02/04/3742678/freight-farms-local-urban-farming/

    Reply
    • Someone needs to design a modular sunroom type extension similar to this that you can add on to the back of your home.

      Overall, I can see this as an excellent innovation for places like Vegas and Pheonix. It beats farming out in that drying environment. The Middle East might want to pay attention as well.

      The big sell for these systems is the reduction in water usage. Eventually the hydroponics will give way to more efficient mist systems.

      Reply
  14. Colorado Bob

     /  February 5, 2016

    Wolverine Lake Thermokarst Timelapse

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  February 5, 2016

      Long after tundra wild fire flames have been extinguished the permafrost continues to rapidly thaw

      A recent study published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports examined the effects of the 2007 Anaktuvuk River Tundra Fire, North Slope, Alaska, an enormous tundra wildfire which was triggered by a bolt of lightning striking a hillside and burning 400 square miles of tundra. With the insulation gone, gullies, pits, and cracks have formed. In, addition, underground chunks of ice that were thousands of years old are now melting, and the Anaktuvuk River hills are rougher than they were before the fire. This fire released half as much carbon in smoke as all other arctic plants worldwide sucked in that year. Arctic Wire summarizes the study.

      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/02/02/1446660/-Long-after-tundra-wild-fire-flames-have-been-extinguished-the-permafrost-continues-to-rapidly-thaw

      Reply
      • We’ve had fires all over Alaska, the Northwest Territory, and Siberia during recent years. They all put pressure on the permafrost below. Activating frozen permafrost in this way is a pretty terrifying problem. That’s one of the climate monsters you really don’t want to get out. We see it sporadically now. But we just don’t want to get it fully involved. Imagine large sections of the Arctic as giant, ever-burning peat fires. That’s a risk if you accelerate warming too rapidly. It’s possibly something you could see as an event unique to human warming primarily due to the pace of permafrost carbon liberation coupled with the velocity of our warming scenario.

        And just because I said this, I’d appreciate it if people didn’t go all doomer on me. We just need to be aware of this risk. Because even if there’s no-one really talking about it. Even if some who are talking about it have intentionally or unitentionally polarized the issue — we need to stay aware and keep an eye out. Because this is one of those worst case events you don’t ignore.

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  February 5, 2016

        Everything we’ve been seeing in the Arctic in recent years is extremely troubling. Things are happening faster than anybody expected.

        Reply
    • The permafrost is turning into an activated carbon cocktail. 1,300 billion tons of carbon on its way to being added to the system. The more fossil fuels we burn, the more it’s unlocked. That’s global warming with compounded interest there.

      Reply
  15. Ryan in New England

     /  February 5, 2016

    And here is some really positive news, investments in renewables now exceeds spending on fossil fuels. It’s happening guys!! Even with oil being cheap as ever, renewables are being embraced. A monumental change is occurring, and the way we’ve been getting energy for centuries is now transitioning to the power of the 21st century.

    http://climatenewsnetwork.net/investors-tip-balance-towards-renewables/

    Reply
  16. Andy in SD

     /  February 5, 2016

    This dovetails into the situation that Robert has written about. It is the change in the permafrost temperature in the Mackenzie Delta.

    This image shows the near surface temperature, late 1960’s through early 70’s.

    Reply
  17. Andy in SD

     /  February 5, 2016

    Some great data (real time / near real time) from the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost.

    You can go to any region, and pick data right off of a permafrost sensor. Their main site has gobs of data.

    http://gtnpdatabase.org/boreholes

    Reply
  18. Colorado Bob

     /  February 5, 2016

    Face of northern Alaska pitted by tundra fire studied
    November 18, 2015
    Eight summers ago, a bolt of lightning struck a dry tundra hillside in northern Alaska. Fanned by a warm wind that curled over the Brooks Range, the Anaktuvuk River fire burned for three months, leaving a scar visible from the International Space Station. The charred area was larger than Cape Cod.

    While northern Alaska’s treeless terrain has not seen a repeat of the largest tundra fire in modern times, researchers have kept their eyes on the Anaktuvuk River site. They watched green plants return in great number. Zooming out a bit, they watched the smooth face of the landscape is become pocked with thaw-pits.

    http://www.valdezstar.net/story/2015/11/18/main-news/face-of-northern-alaska-pitted-by-tundra-fire-studied/1046.html

    Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  February 5, 2016

    RS –
    You seem to be driving conversation now :

    Absurd January Warmth in Arctic Brings Record-Low Sea Ice Extent

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/absurd-january-warmth-in-arctic-brings-recordlow-sea-ice-extent

    Reply
  20. wili

     /  February 5, 2016

    Nice work. Another important piece to this is the accelerating rate of ocean warming–ocean heat has doubled in the last ~ 20 years and quadrupled in the last ~ 40.

    https://www.skepticalscience.com/Industrial-era-ocean-heat-uptake-has-doubled-since-1997.html

    Some nice graphs and stats there perhaps to add to this important and well crafted piece?

    Reply
    • wili

       /  February 5, 2016

      Oh, and note the last paragraph: “Hiroshima bombs per second and rising

      The findings of Gleckler et al will be no great surprise to regular Skeptical Science readers as it affirms, and is consistent with, a whole bunch of prior scientific research, but it does provide some quantitative analysis of industrial-era ocean warming and allow us to crunch some simple numbers. Since 1997 the climate model simulations indicate the oceans are now warming at 5 Hiroshima bombs per second, up from the 4 per second used in the global warming widget. It also throws into stark contrast the absurdity of contrarian claims of a pause in global warming, as 93% of the Earth’s climate system has doubled its heat content since 1997. It should be obvious that ocean warming won’t stop until humans get a handle on carbon emissions. “

      Reply
    • Excellent thoughts, Wili. I’ll see if I can add one.

      Reply
  21. redskylite

     /  February 5, 2016

    Very well tracked, narrated and observed by RobertScribbler . . . .

    National Snow & Ice Center : News February 4, 2016

    January hits new record low in the Arctic

    January Arctic sea ice extent was the lowest in the satellite record, attended by unusually high air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean and a strong negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) for the first three weeks of the month. Meanwhile in the Antarctic, this year’s extent was lower than average for January, in contrast to the record high extents in January 2015.

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    Reply
  22. redskylite

     /  February 5, 2016

    Looks more & more like no more near-linear sea level rise . . . . deniers are going to find it hard to explain this impending event.

    University of Alaska Fairbanks – Glaciologists anticipate massive ice shelf collapse

    University of Alaska Fairbanks glaciologist Erin Pettit said that an ice shelf about 1,000 feet thick and a third the size of Rhode Island is on the verge of shattering into millions of icebergs during February or March, the end of Antarctica’s summer. If it does, the lead researcher and her team will be within viewing distance in a place they hope doesn’t live up to its name — Cape Disappointment.

    Pettit, an associate professor in the Department of Geosciences, said studying ice shelves nearing disintegration is necessary because the climate is rapidly changing in Antarctica and Greenland and melting ice caps contribute to changes in sea level. The question is no longer if sea level is going to rise; the questions are how much and how soon.

    http://news.uaf.edu/61609-2/

    Reply
    • redskylite

       /  February 5, 2016

      and a great comment at the bottom of the article in answer to a blog from Meghan Murphy (The technical author of the entry ?)

      If the scientists are able to witness the break up, they’ll be able to collect a lot more data that can eventually help them understand and possibly create models that can predict how these break-ups contribute to rising sea level and by how much. This in turn could possibly help coastal communities plan for rising sea level and respond to it. “The prize” is being able to witness an event that will yield data that can help communities in the future respond to significant environmental change and make better informed decisions. And since the ice shelf collapse is more of a recent phenomenon, getting this data early on will really advance their knowledge of these very dynamic processes. For more info about their past journey to the area, there is a good Scientific American article about their and other scientists’ research: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/scientists-trek-collapsing-glaciers-antarctica-meltdown/

      Reply
    • Good catch. Anyone get word on how much SLR worth of ice outflow this particular behemoth locks in?

      Reply
  23. Interesting blog post here about the fires around Bogota:

    http://thellamadiaries.com/2016/02/05/the-mountains-are-on-fire/

    “The last few months have been so hot and dry that people in my office have been talking about coming to work in sandals. It feels strange to think that weather can shift so drastically that Bogotanos would change their footwear. Perhaps even stranger is how thankful we are for yesterday’s rain, something that used to seem as ever present as leather boots.”

    Reply
  24. Colorado Bob

     /  February 5, 2016

    RS –

    A new cold spot south of Greenland –

    Scientific Visualization Studio/Goddard Space Flight Center 2015

    Sorry I can’t find the exact link. It’s west of the one we’ve been watching. I saw at

    101. Grothar
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3239#comment_111

    I don’t like this at all.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  February 5, 2016

      Greenland without ice –

      Link

      Now go look at Gothars post at 101. The only cold spots in the entire northern hemisphere is just where Greenland’s big southern drains are.

      Reply
    • Ha! Starting to get to the point where I have trouble keeping up with you guys. Fantastic job, everyone!

      In any case, this cool pool is a big weather wrecker. It’s one of those proverbial rocks in the stream that produces impacts on down the line. It’s intensity will flicker for a bit. But once glacial melt outflow from Greenland really becomes involved, it turns into a beast.

      You’re staring into the cracking eye of a dragon waking up from slumber. Now just a slit.

      Reply
  25. Colorado Bob

     /  February 5, 2016

    Cape Disappointment (Antarctica)

    Cape Disappointment (65°33′S 61°43′WCoordinates: 65°33′S 61°43′W) is a cape which marks the tip of the ice-covered Akra Peninsula lying between Exasperation Inlet and Scar Inlet, on the east coast of Graham Land. It was discovered in 1902 by the Swedish Antarctic Expedition, under Otto Nordenskiöld, and so named by him because he encountered many difficult crevasses in approaching the cape.

    Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  February 5, 2016

    RS –

    Let’s make a News show. . A web based News show. Once a week.

    Reply
    • Well, I’d need a little set. But that may be doable. I have zero skill with graphics. Maybe a podcast? This week’s climate news.

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  February 5, 2016

        I think that’s a great idea! You have an incredible audience already, and this may be another way to reach a broader swath of the population. I find many “young people” heavily favor video mediums as opposed to having to read anything.

        I’ll refrain from grumbling and shaking my cane at the depressing fact that literacy seems to be declining.

        Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  February 5, 2016

        Maybe a small co operative venture, Some CSIRO scientists and ABC Aust video production people (CSIRO also have production skills, been producing films and video’s for years)

        Reply
  27. – Southwestern Mexico, Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Pacific coast.
    It seems to have a shallow water coast, low lands between mountain ranges — then a short distance to Gulf of Mexico.

    Anthony Sagliani ‏@anthonywx 6h6 hours ago

    Very strong gap wind event ramping up in Gulf of Tehuantepec.

    Reply
  28. Matt

     /  February 5, 2016

    A possibly ridiculous question here from someone who really has not studied much in relation to sea level rise and ocean temperature..(please forgive if this has been covered before)

    When reading a lot of articles about contributions for sea level rise i.e. what % is thermal expansion and what % is contributed from ice sheets etc, wouldn’t it be possible to quantify the cumulative amount of energy gained by the oceans given that we know the formulas for thermal expansion?
    And further, could we not then be able to make an estimation of the amount of additional heat take up or loss within the ocean depending on the amount of SLR in any given year?
    Or…..🙂 has this already been done and I have missed it?

    Reply
    • redskylite

       /  February 5, 2016

      University of Bonn have just put out a study on this . . .

      Effect is twice as large as the melting ice masses in Greenland

      This might help . . . .

      Until now, it was assumed that sea levels rose an average of 0.7 to 1.0 millimeters a year due to this “thermometer effect.” According to the new calculations, however, the ocean’s expansion contributed with about 1.4 millimeters a year – in other words, almost twice as much as previously assumed. “This height difference corresponds to roughly twice the volume from the melting ice sheets in Greenland,” says Dr. Rietbroek.

      https://www.uni-bonn.de/Press-releases/climate-change-ocean-warming-underestimated

      Reply
    • See Wili’s link to Skeptical Science above. And, yes. The answer is yes. 5 Hiroshima bombs worth of heat every second goes into the Earth system — 90 to 95 percent of which is entering the ocean.

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  February 5, 2016

      The only ridiculous question is the one you don’t ask.😉

      And a side note to all the “lurkers” browsing through the comments, don’t ever feel intimidated or hesitate to ask questions, or just add your thoughts. I can’t speak for Robert, but feel like he would agree, this is a site dedicated to informing and educating. We’ve all had to start at the beginning in regards to learning about this subject, and any other topic for that matter. The comments section is usually in that sweet spot between highly technical and dumbed down for Americans, the Goldilocks zone of climate change discussion. But if it seems too complicated, just ask “us” and I’m sure many commenters (and Robert) will be more than happy to answer your query. This site welcomes comments…unless you’re trying to spread ridiculous denier disinformation. That nonsense is not tolerated, and rightly so.

      Reply
  29. Colorado Bob

     /  February 5, 2016

    Now the tonic to all is grim news. The founder of Earth, Wind, and Fire died today.

    Fittingly he had a message for us :
    “That’s The Way of The World”

    Reply
    • wili

       /  February 5, 2016

      “Child is born
      with a heart of gold
      way of the world
      makes his heart grow cold’

      great to see a lot of tattered souls here who have managed somehow to keep their hearts warm enough to keep looking at the sad old world and keep caring about it…please do all y’all keep hangin’ in there–we need ya.

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  February 5, 2016

        C.B
        The final conflict has started and you are on the side of the light in fighting for the world and it’s inhabitants in every way you can.
        Stand strong, when you are knocked down and feeling like all is lost , rise again and keep on giving it all you have and you have much

        Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  February 5, 2016

      I saw them in March of last year. It’s always sad to lose someone who has touched so may with their words and music.

      Reply
  30. – Something for Bob — and Huck Finn…

    Lawmaker proposes aqueduct to bring water to NM from Mississippi River

    It’s Albuquerque Republican Bill Rehm’s legislation.

    “When we look at the Missouri and the Mississippi River, every year, we have a large storm that comes in and floods,” Rehm said. “So why don’t we build an aqueduct – like the Rio Chama project – that runs those rivers west?”

    One reason why not might be the cost. A study on a similar idea in Colorado had a price tag of $14 million. Then there’s the politics. You’d have to build it across Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas before it gets to New Mexico.

    “What I’m afraid of is all the states along the way are going to steal water,” Rehm said. “We’ll have a drop that’ll come out at the end of the pipe, you know?”
    http://www.kob.com/article/stories/s4038805.shtml#.VrQ3euZWiSr

    Reply
  31. Colorado Bob

     /  February 5, 2016

    Matt

    I read your post and thought of someything else . SLR is going jack up every ice shelve on the planet. That let’s more new warm water in. Nobody has a paper on this feed back loop. The Monsters Behind the Door –

    Reply
  32. Colorado Bob

     /  February 5, 2016

    Looking for a metaphor in my old dusty files, and I found this.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  February 5, 2016

      Professor Smartass

      Blind obedience and leader worship is patriotic….

      (if you live in North Korea).

      http://professorsmartass.blogspot.com/

      I’m proud to say Professor Smartass changed my life. .

      And after all these tears , I’m at the top of his links list.

      Reply
      • I’ll say it because I indulge myself about once every year or so. She may look funny. But she’s one hell of a fast ship and can outmaneuver most that’s out there. Set a number of first time precedents. And her captain is a lucky bastard who’s damned tough to predict😉. Plus, the crew is the best that’s out there — able to keep her running on her own in a fix, with many able to take the helm.

        Yeah. She’s a small ship. But she’s a devil in a fight. I wouldn’t trade her in for the world😉.

        Reply
  33. Colorado Bob

     /  February 5, 2016

    Images matter. If one is making a point. Text moves little. but images move the message.

    Reply
    • On the Internet, words are permanent. One article from last month drew 110,000 page views. That was a few pictures and 1,300 words. For a lone blogger in a remote corner of the Internet, the words did OK.🙂

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  February 5, 2016

        Yep, but sound beats print and pictures beat sound.

        Let’s start a web channel . Once a week at first Where we pool these great items coming in from all over the Earth.

        Reply
        • Speaking of which — hurricane force winds are just offshore SE Greenland now. 39 foot seas and a hurricane force low entrained in a 4,000 mile long frontal system. I wouldn’t call that thing anywhere near normal for the North Atlantic even during an El Niño year when you would tend to get strong lows near Iceland.

  34. Colorado Bob

     /  February 5, 2016

    “I can’t do this Bob”

    Yes WE can . You have brightest pool of people I have ever seen , And they are all dying to do more.

    Grow or die , Amigo.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  February 5, 2016

      Grow or die , Amigo.

      Reply
      • Hah! Part of why I’ve gotten this far is I know both my capabilities and my limitations. So, for example, look at Peter Sinclair. Now there’s a guy who does great videos. Who has the real talent for that medium. How many people watch them? A few thousand. Now that’s pretty damn good given all the hundred bazillion other people out there doing videos. These videos are top quality though. They should be on the nightly news. Peter moves them well. And it’s the quality that does it.

        It’s not the medium, it’s the content and the infrastructure. Medium goes nowhere if you don’t have the legs to move it. And it goes nowhere if you’re not putting out top quality work. Now I know my work and that’s scribbles. And that’s where I have an edge. And I know how to cultivate expertise. Which I think we’ve done here pretty well. But if you think I somehow have the chops for a web TV program in addition to everything else I do, then, well let me tell you a thing or two about time management and optimizing to your strengths …

        Now if Jeff Masters wanted me to help with a segment of Weather Underground TV, then I’d be game. But building something like that from the ground up given my particular skill set and making it work without cannibalizing what we already have here …

        Reply
        • redskylite

           /  February 5, 2016

          RS. You are a great writer and make climate related matters alive, understandable and interesting to people like me (non scientists). You are also a talented SF writer and I doubt that you have enough time now to pursue that career, you have sacrificed a lot more than we have a right to expect from you. I agree that Peter Sinclair is brilliant in making short informative videos. You are both doing a great job interfacing between science and the ordinary person (like me). I for one am very grateful that people like you have stepped forward and inspired others, hopefully we can change before it is far too late. God Bless you.

      • Ryan in New England

         /  February 5, 2016

        Robert, you’re correct in everything you say. Peter Sinclair does do great videos, and to add that to what you already provide would be a very large undertaking. And as redskylite points out, you are incredible at taking a complicated subject and making it accessible and understandable to basically anybody that wants to learn about it. It’s not too technical, but not dumbed down either. And your ability to stay on top of, and often ahead of, current events makes you a must-visit site.

        Reply
      • Robert, your site here and Sinclair’s climatecrocks are my daily go to sites, between you and him that’s some great climate communication.

        Reply
    • Paul PNW

       /  February 5, 2016

      I saw Bobs post last night & really wanted to reply to it but it was 1.30am & I didn’t wanna try and have to hammer out a post on my tablet in bed so I put the tab down… and kept myself awake until gone 3 thinking about it😆.

      For my part I *think* the point is

      “WE”

      this is not something you need to do on your own Robert, you carry a heavy load (see: a couple of months back [when you put yourself in hospital, in case anyone needs reminding]) but it’s not something you need to shoulder solo, this is the internet after all. Network. Collaborate. Delegate. Tell me there’s not 10 (100? 1000?) people reading this or who will pick it up from twitter/FB/etc who have the skills and passion to make this a reality. I prolly wouldn’t believe you.

      Earlier up the thread when Bob mentioned this before you replied with something about a weekly podcast, well, if you were thinking of a roundup based on the previous weeks posts how much involvement would you really want/need? The articles are already written… I’m trying to remember, I have some vague recollection of you posting in a previous comments thread that you’re ok with people re-reporting (? prolly not the correct term) your work… hmm, maybe that was re: blog translations into another language, a translation to another medium feels closely related… my apologies ofc if my memory is faulty, but if that’s the case, the articles are written, podcasters/vloggers are abundant, say “have it you folks” and let the internet go to work.

      If the end result is a dozen (a hundred? A thousand?) podcasts, vlogs and streams reporting and translating your work… well, that seems like a good thing?

      Beyond that if there was a branded RS podcast/vlog/stream/whateverthekidscallitthesedays that might entail more involvement on your part but I don’t see that it *has* to be you presenting, provide some editorial direction or whatever you feel is required and let the team (I’m pretty sure there would be a team) do their thing –

      “Hello everyone, I’m [name] and welcome to the Robert Scribbler [whatever]cast, Robert’s busy, as usual, working on a new post for the website but here’s a roundup of the weeks previous articles, afterwards we’ll be talking with Naven from the Arctic Sea Ice Blog about conditions in the, not so cold these days, north followed by a report from our collaborators in Brazil about the worsening conditions surrounding…”

      Not knowing anything about what would be involved maybe my POV is too simplistic, but this doesn’t seem like an insurmountable issue, I’ll say it again. Network. Collaborate. Delegate.

      On a slightly related note, it occurred to me a few months ago that there really should be a (24/7?) news channel covering climate change, there’s almost certainly enough new information to fill the air time… tho ofc such a thing is never going to exist in the corporate MSM, I even came up with a name, CNN (duh)😀 Climate News Network, tho I think soulless people representing soulless “people” would soon be in touch… as an alternative I think RSCN has a nice ring to it though…😉 From little acorns…

      Funding might be an issue I suppose, but isn’t that what kickstarter/indiegogo/ etc are for?

      Well anyway, that’s what was keeping me awake until the wee small hours of the morning, I hope some of it still makes sense in the cold light of day.

      Reply
      • So, if anyone has the time or chops to do a round-up of all the major news pieces posted in comments — the points that I don’t have the time to hit in the longer blog posts, then I would be more than happy to post it as scribbler climate news on this blog. If you’re a blogger, as thanks, I’d link to your site or youtube. So any V-loggers out there, this may be a good way to collaborate.

        Also, if any V-logger wants to turn my posts into a video blog, please feel free so long as you reference back to this site with links and give full attribution for this site in the intro, I’m good.

        Also, RE attribution of comment based news feeds, I’d appreciate it if a mention was also give to the news researchers here. For example — special thanks to Colorado Bob, DT Lange, Ryan in New England, Wili and Andy in San Diego who are regular expert commenters on the Robertscribbler site.

        Your idea is a good one and I’m giving out an open call now. As I said before, I’m primarily interested in a Vlog news summary of climate change, renewable energy, protest action, holding fossil fuel industry accountable, and related.

        So this is my open call.

        Reply
      • Nice, I like it. Be aware. though, that there already is an entity called the Climate News Network. I believe it is affiliated with the Guardian.

        Reply
        • Hmm. I think scribbler climate news and climate news network are different enough. Perhaps scribbler’s hot climate news.

      • Paul PNW

         /  February 6, 2016

        Well now, it’s one thing to mull over things halfway through the night, it’s quite another when the boss says, “Let’s give that a shot” … don’t make a fool out of me internet (I’ve managed that well enough in the past :lol:).

        One more thing occurred to me, this message could easily get lost in the comments, until it gains some traction might it be worth adding a logline or something at the end of a post (after the links? As a first comment?) reiterating your stance on this?

        Ah, thanks for pointing that out CH, I visit the Guardian site often enough & I’m a little mad at myself for not remembering that. Ofc my use of the name CNN was inspired by that cable channel & my memory of an English industrial rock group ~20 years ago (where does the time go?) who started out with the same name (Clearly Nothing New, if my memory serves me correct) but were quickly renamed XC-NN after some lawyers made contact. I’ve no idea why I bothered mentioning that…

        Anywho, I’m very curious to see where this road leads…

        Have a good weekend one and all.

        Reply
  35. Colorado Bob

     /  February 5, 2016

    RS-
    I’ve spent my whole life being a jackass . It is what I do.

    Reply
  36. Colorado Bob

     /  February 5, 2016

    As Lone Wati said –
    “Now spit”

    Reply
  37. Colorado Bob

     /  February 5, 2016

    Well then, keep grinding .

    As Lone Wati said –
    “Now spit”

    Reply
  38. Colorado Bob

     /  February 5, 2016

    RS –

    So I’m at end of the world, Alone .

    Reply
  39. Colorado Bob

     /  February 5, 2016

    Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb

    Reply
  40. Colorado Bob

     /  February 5, 2016

    RS –
    So long.

    Reply
  41. wili

     /  February 5, 2016

    Love has found a way

    in my heart tonight…

    Reply
  42. wili

     /  February 5, 2016

    Reply
  43. wili

     /  February 5, 2016

    Eight miles high and when you touch down
    You’ll find that it’s stranger than known
    Signs in the street that say where you’re going
    Are somewhere just being their own
    Nowhere is there warmth to be found
    Among those afraid of losing their ground
    Rain gray town known for its sound
    In places small faces unbound
    Round the squares huddled in storms
    Some laughing some just shapeless forms
    Sidewalk scenes and black limousines
    Some living, some standing alone

    Reply
  44. Ryan in New England

     /  February 5, 2016

    So this Winter has been ridiculously warm in Connecticut. We had plants blooming in December, and now have daffodils appearing in February. They’re getting covered in wet snow as I type this, but the fact that they are there to be covered in snow is disturbing. The plants and wildlife around here are going to be really confused when the real Spring actually arrives.

    Reply
    • – “wildlife around here are going to be really confused when the real Spring actually arrives.’

      – One cannot possibly imagine damage we have done to the hormonal urges and processes of these many creatures who have evolved and have embedded in their genes these survival and productive urges and processes.
      A most horrific crime against nature.
      One we will never reconcile.
      DT

      Reply
    • Pretty much the same here in east central Vermont. However, I see the coming weekend will feature highs of around 10F (-12C). Comforting to know there are still at least a few cold Vermont February days left in the climate system we are busily trashing.

      Reply
  45. Ryan in New England

     /  February 5, 2016

    A horrific energy bill has been introduced in the Senate, which would provide coal technology with huge subsidies and fund research to find a way to access methane hydrates. This is complete insanity. It goes to show the power that fossil fuels still have over our government. We need to leave the fossil fuels in the ground, yet our government wants to find ways to retrieve every last pocket of fossil fuel on the planet. It’s like suicide with a gun isn’t enough. Apparently we need to kill ourselves with a freaking hydrogen bomb.

    http://www.desmogblog.com/2016/02/04/lobbyists-lng-exports-methane-hydrates-coal-senate-energy-bill

    Reply
  46. What happens if we burn all known fossil fuels?

    Reply
  47. Abel Adamski

     /  February 5, 2016

    One just posted on The Guardian

    http://www.nationalobserver.com/2015/09/29/news/exclusive-inside-harper-governments-trashing-research-library

    At first, the closing of the library at the Lethbridge Agricultural Centre looked methodical. Staff were informed of the closure in July. Then in early August they were told they could help themselves to items from the collection.

    And then it all went south from there: in mid-August summer students began filling an extra-large dumpster with journals and reports. Reportedly, one scientist jumped into the dumpster to rescue a set of journals. Distressed staff began to select more and more books from the collection in order to rescue them.

    The dumped books turned into news, bringing more embarrassment upon the federal government. The Conservatives have attracted international negative attention for closing down research stations, and muzzling scientists.

    Harper has shut down 16 research libraries during his time in government. While the closures have attracted some media attention and news stories, there have been few detailed reports.

    Now an anonymous source familiar with the Lethbridge closure has stepped forward and provided National Observer with an inside perspective on exactly what happens when the government shuts down a science library.

    National Observer very rarely uses anonymous sources, but fear of reprisal appears to have silenced federal researchers and employees, in this and many other stories.

    Even with an unprecedented inside look at how the Lethbridge library closure was handled, more questions than answers remain. What has happened to the collection? What was kept and what was discarded? What, if anything, is being digitized and how will scientists access those documents?

    By way of example, the library held a number of historical journals and diaries, some dating back to the early 1900s. It’s believed these documents are still on site, but no one appears to know for certain.

    Reply
    • As a Canadian, I’m still ashamed and disgusted we managed to let Harper keep power for 10 long long years. So far it looks like our new govt is a mostly positive with respect to climate, but we’ll still have to see the actions match the words.

      Reply
  48. Kevin Jones

     /  February 5, 2016

    With the month of May being the peak of the annual seasonal cycle of CO2 at Mauna Loa, NOAA’s ESRL GMD reports what appears to be the highest daily mean ever recorded of 405.66 ppm. Feb. 4, 2016.

    Reply
  49. In The Netherlands (you know that country that is famous for lying beneath sea level) the official estimate is that the dikes can hold up to 4-5 meters of sea level rise. They think they can pull this of by means of sand suppletion. From what I can estimate there is a possible chance we could reach this already in the next century. And if not by then soon there after.

    I my self live at -1m. When I’m on the bus and look at the landscape I’ve been looking at all of my life, I’m often sad thinking it’s all going to go. The same goes for Amsterdam, I’ll be there tomorrow, but that will go as well. Yet there is nothing on this subject in the Dutch media! It’s time for us to wake them up!

    Reply
    • I wonder if we’ll be living in a world with dikes. The Netherlands have the best experience doing this. I’m pretty amazed that even they can manage a 4-5 meter rise. Pretty much everywhere else, that’s catastrophic. Any word on costs?

      Reply
      • There’s some scepticism if The Netherlands can really hold an amount of water of up to 4-5 meters. But there’s no doubt that they will do what ever it takes to get there. The coastal defences costs over 1 billion Euro’s each year. But that’s not the only threat we have our eye on. We are at the end of a bunch of rivers including the Rhine. So inland we’ve got lots of dikes as well to prevent these rivers from flooding. It’s a serious threat that’s expected to increase as well. So the danger in The Netherlands comes from both sides.

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  February 5, 2016

        Sorry, I can’t remember where I read this, but I do know that experts from the Netherlands have been being consulted by governments of major cities to determine the feasibility of dike projects holding back the rising seas in their cities. New York can do it with three walls/dikes in key locations, but at very significant cost.

        Reply
    • Jonzo

       /  February 5, 2016

      That’s ridiculous. Even if it was true, A terrorist act or act of “god” could end up flooding the ENTIRE country and the Netherlands would no longer exist.

      Reply
      • You can’t flood the whole of The Netherlands with a terrorist attack. It’s made up of many compartments so at best you can only flood parts of it. Dangerous flooding circumstances are also pretty rare (for now). The major cities lie behind thick dunes and the dikes are pretty big and can’t be easily breached. I don’t think they can pull that one off.

        Reply
  50. PlazaRed

     /  February 5, 2016

    What a good blog article, plenty to think about over the weekend and into the future.

    An interesting bit of simple arithmetic based on the sometimes proposed 1 meter sea level rise by the end of the century is that we have 84 years left.
    So if we divide the one meter or the 1000 millimetres by 84 years, we get approximately 12. This would then mean that we must average 12 mm of sea level rise per year to achieve the 1 meter rise.
    I personally think that the rise will be more than a meter by 2100 but even at the necessary 120 mm in the next 10 years that’s going to be a lot. About 5 inches in USA terms and that per decade.
    If we imagine a 2 meter rise that’s an average of about an inch per year!
    Things are starting to look very grim even before we start to factor in the possible methane and other hidden products getting out of the ground.
    I don’t think people can protect themselves against such a rapid rise, given also that it possible will carry on rising for a very long time, eating into heavily populated land areas.

    Things can’t carry on like this! There’s going to be major problems on a global scale with such massive amounts of people living at or very near sea level.

    Reply
    • We are pushing things pretty hard now. The climate system is bending pretty rapidly. Let’s hope that things don’t start breaking.

      Reply
  51. wili

     /  February 5, 2016

    Hey, I got a Hat Tip!! (Now when can I expect to get the _rest_ of the damn hat!!?? ‘-))

    Reply
  52. PlazaRed

     /  February 5, 2016

    Over many years I have spoken to a lot of ordinary people in and around Europe about the sea level rises, along with other climate related potential changes.
    Mostly their reactions have ranged from “it wont affect me, to I’ll be dead before we see if any of this comes true.”
    With an open mind on the matter. I have to try and see it from their point of view. After all what difference does a 2 cms rise make to the average person?
    The problem faced by any climate change awareness person is a lot of the time avoiding being ridiculed by their fellow people.
    Eventually I am now more or less convinced that there will have to be some major irreversible catastrophe before the ears of the ordinary person in the street can be gained.
    Unfortunately with an expanding population and a contacting land mass, at some point, somewhere, something will have to break.

    Hat Tip to Robertscribbler from everybody for the blog post above.

    Reply
    • Cheers, Red.

      I often wonder how catastrophic. We’ve had quite a bit going on recently from the Russian heatwave to the Pakistani floods to all sorts of extreme events pretty much everywhere else. I think what’s important is how clear we our in our understanding that this event or that event is caused by climate change.

      My other concern regards developing an understanding of effective responses. I find that as often as climate change is attacked by misinformed but passionate deniers, renewable energy and sustainability related advances I find meet with a similar level of misinformed opposition.

      Reply
    • Cate

       /  February 5, 2016

      Most people won’t take climate change seriously until it hits them or their family/friends directly in the pocketbook or affects their personal lifestyle: water quality/availability, rising food prices, unavailability of food items, tourism destinations (eg, tropical vacation spots in the Zika crisis), price of energy (eg carbon taxing), etc. When it comes home to them, then they’ll start to worry. Until then, out of sight is out of mind.

      Reply
      • It’s worth noting that my parents are now developing a 5-10 year plan to move out of Virginia Beach. It’s kinda sad really. But I don’t think that’s a stable environment long term for them.

        Reply
      • Cate,

        “Most people won’t take climate change seriously until it hits them or their family/friends directly” – its worse. Maybe not even then. I even think its higly likely, given my experience with human behaviour…

        Alex

        Reply
  53. NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 11h11 hours ago

    ASCAT wind retrievals reveal storm structure, expansive wind field with intense HF low near Iceland #SatWind

    Reply
  54. Oil Industry Group’s Own Report Shows Early Knowledge of Climate Impacts

    A report the American Petroleum Institute commissioned in 1982 revealed its knowledge of global warming, predated its campaign to sow doubt.

    A Columbia University report commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute in 1982 cautioned that global warming “can have serious consequences for man’s comfort and survival.” It is the latest indication that the oil industry learned of the possible threat it posed to the climate far earlier than previously known.

    The report, “Climate Models and CO2 Warming, A Selective Review and Summary,”…
    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/04022016/oil-industry-report-shows-early-knowledge-climate-change-impact-api-american-petroleum-institute

    Reply
  55. Good article. I think the dip in sea level in 2011 was due in part to heavy rains falling in Australia and the water taking a long time to get back into the ocean.

    Some readers may misunderstand your wording on the El Nino when told that the surface areas on the Pacific equator warmed. They may think that solar energy did this somehow. Of course, the waters didn’t warm, but rather warm water was pushed in a deep Kelvin wave eastward from the hotter waters of the west Pacific. Those waters didn’t warm but instead gave up some warmth into the atmosphere causing the El Nino atmospheric heating effect.

    It is worth noting that accelerations in sea level rise are occurring more frequently. Due to the factors you cover well, further and still more frequent accelerations are very likely to occur. Another fact of concern is that the Mauna Loa CO2 level increased by the largest amount ever in a single year, 3.0 parts per million, in the December, 2015 report.

    Reply
    • Thanks Tom. Looking at ESRL now and we have 3.2 ppm average increase for 2015. That’s a pretty big jump. 2016 might be worse, though.

      I’ll think about possible wording to clarify the El Nino language. Thanks for the feedback.

      Reply
  56. climatehawk1

     /  February 5, 2016

    Tweeting.

    Reply
  57. nwkilt

     /  February 6, 2016

    Thanks Robert, your work is greatly appreciated. Here is an interesting article about Dutch Coastal Defence:
    http://www.waterfrontsnl.com/integrated-waterfront-development-process/sea-levels-rising/

    Reply
  58. the rate of heat content increase is closer to 9.4 Hiroshoma bombs per second, not 5 The top of atmosphe energy imbalanced as determined by the first-order derivative of the ocean heat accumulation curve / 0.93 is ~ 1.1 Watts per meter squared.

    Reply

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