A Monster 2016 Arctic Melt Season May Have Already Begun

“Hell is empty… all the devils are here.” William ShakespeareThe Tempest.


We have never seen heat like this before in the Arctic. Words whose meaning tends to blur due to the fact that, these days, such events keep happening over and over and over again.

Ever since at least the 1920s, the Arctic has been warming up due to a destructive and irresponsible human greenhouse gas emission. And, over recent years, the Arctic has been warming more and more rapidly as those dangerous emissions continued to build on into the 21st Century. Now the Earth has been shoved by those emissions into realms far outside her typical Holocene context. And it appears that the Winter of 2016, for the Arctic, has been the hottest such year during any period of human-based record-keeping and probably the hottest season the Arctic has experienced in at least 150,000 years.

Extreme Arctic heat February 22

(Climate Reanalyzer hits a stunning 7.06 C above the already hotter than normal 1979 to 2000 baseline for the entire region above the 66 North Latitude Line on February 22nd of 2016. It’s a very extreme temperature departure — one this particular analyst has never seen before in this record. For reference, a 3 C above baseline temperature departure for this region would be considered extraordinarily warm. What we see now is freakish, outlandish, odd, disturbing. Image source: Climate Reanalyzer.)

It’s just the most recent marker on a path toward an ever-worsening polar heat that is becoming all-the-more difficult to ignore or deny. For at current greenhouse gas levels, that polar zone is hurtling toward temperatures not seen in 15 million years. A heat pressure that will push for warming not seen in 20, 30, 50 million years or more, if a nightmarish fossil fuel burning continues.

Nothing in the recent geological past can compare to the danger we are now in the process of bringing to bear upon our world. Not the Great Flood. Not the end of the last ice age. Those were comfortable, normal cataclysms. Human beings and life on this world survived them. But the kind of geophysical changes we — meaning those of us who are forcing the rest of us to keep burning fossil fuels — are inflicting upon the Earth is something entirely new. Something far, far more deadly.

Extreme Arctic Heat Ramps Up Yet Again

At the start of 2016, we find ourselves experiencing a year during which our world is steepening its ramp-up toward this kind of catastrophic global heat. During January of 2016, the Arctic experienced its most extreme temperature departures ever recorded. February, it appears, was at least as bad. Today, daily temperature departures for the Arctic in the Climate Reanalyzer measure were a stunning +7.06 above an already hot 1979-to-2000 baseline (see graphic above).

To put this in perspective, a region larger than 30 million square kilometers or representing fully 6 percent of the Earth’s surface was more than 7 degrees Celsius hotter than average today. That’s an area more than three times larger than the United States including Alaska and Hawaii. A region of the world that includes a vast majority of the remaining frozen Northern Hemisphere land and sea ice. And since an extreme heatwave is typically defined as temperature departures at about 3 C above normal for an extended period of time over a large region — the Arctic appears to be experiencing some ridiculously unseasonable temperatures for this time of year.

80 North Temperature departures February 22 NOAA

(A seemingly unstoppable period of record warmth continues for the High Arctic on February 22nd. Readings for this zone have consistently remained in the warmest 15 percent of readings on up to record warmest readings for each day since January 1, 2016. Image source: NOAA.)

Above the 80 North Latitude line, departures were even more extreme — hitting about 13 C or about 23 F warmer than normal for the entire High Arctic surrounding the North Pole today (see above graphic). Temperatures that are more typical for late April or early May as we enter a time of year when this region of the Arctic is usually experiencing its coldest readings and sea ice extents would normally continue to build.

Unfortunately, today’s extreme heat was just an extension of amazing above average Arctic temperatures experienced there since late December. So what we are seeing is consistently severe Arctic warmth during a season that should be Winter, but that has taken on a character more similar to a typical Arctic Spring. Warmth that is now enough to have already propelled the Arctic into its warmest ever yearly temperatures when considering a count of below freezing degree days.

Arctic Degree Days Below Freezing Anomaly

(Degree Days below Freezing [or Freezing Degree Days, FDD] shows a 670 FDD departure below that seen during a typical year. If the current trend continues, the Arctic may see degree days below freezing lag by between 900 and 1,500 — knocking off about 15 to 25 percent of below freezing days from a typical Arctic year. Note that the departure line steepens rapidly after the first major warm wind event hits the Arctic during late December of 2015 — driving temperatures above freezing at the North Pole for the first time ever so late in the year. Image source: NOAA.)

Freezing degree-days (FDD) or thawing degree-days (TDD) are defined as departures of air temperature from 0 degrees Celsius. The less FDDs during an annual period, the warmer the Arctic has become. Under the current trend, the Arctic is now on track to hit between 15 and 25 percent less FDDs than it experiences during a typical year in 2016.

Looking at the above graph, what we see is an ongoing period in which Winter cold has been hollowed out by a series of warm air invasions rising up from the south. These warm wind events have tended to flow up through weaknesses in the Jet Stream that have recently begun to form over the warming Ocean zones of the Bering, Northeast Pacific, Barents, and Greenland seas. Still more recently, warm wind events have also propagated northward over Baffin Bay and Western Greenland — even shoving warm air into the ocean outlets of a typically frozen Hudson Bay.

Perhaps more starkly, we find a steepening in the rate of Freezing Degree Day loss following the freakish series of storms that drove the North Pole above Freezing during late December of 2015 — the latest during any year on record that the North Pole has experienced temperatures exceeding 0 C.

Arctic Sea Ice Declining Since February 9th

Overall, a rapid heat uptake by the world ocean system appears to be the primary current driver of extreme Arctic warming. Atmospheric heat from greenhouse gas warming swiftly transfers through the ocean surface and on into the depths. During recent decades, the world ocean system has taken in heat at a rate equal to the thermal output of between 4 and 5 Hiroshima-type bombs every second (with some individual years hitting a much higher rate of heat uptake).

Since thousands of meters of warming water insulates better than the land surface and diaphanous atmosphere, this added heat is distributed more evenly across the globe in the world ocean system. As such, ocean warming is a very efficient means of transferring heat to the Northern Hemisphere Pole in particular. The reason is that the Pole itself sits atop the warming and globally inter-connected Arctic Ocean. In addition, the warming surface waters, as noted above, provide pathways for warm, moist air invasions of the Arctic — especially during Winter.

For 2016, these kinds of heat transfers not only resulted in an extreme warming of airs over the Arctic, they have also shoved the Arctic sea ice into never-before-seen record lows for area and extent.


(NSIDC shows Arctic sea ice entering a new record low extent range from February 2 through February 21 of 2016. A peak on February 9 and decline since concordant with record warmth building throughout the Arctic begs the question — did the sea ice melt season start on February 9th? Possible — but too early to call for now. Image source: NSIDC.)

Off and on throughout January, but more consistently since early February of 2016, Arctic sea ice has continued to hit new daily record lows. For Arctic sea ice extent, the record lows entered a streak that has now been unbroken since February 2nd. By the 21st, extent measures had hit 14.165 million square kilometers in the National Snow and Ice Data Center measure. That’s about 200,000 square kilometers below the previous record low extent value for the date set during 2006.

Perhaps more ominously, the current measure appears to have fallen off by about 50,000 square kilometers from a peak set on February 9th. And with such extreme heat driving into the Arctic over recent days, it appears that this departure gap could widen somewhat over the coming week.

Overall, radiation balance conditions for the Arctic are starting to change as well. The long polar night in the Arctic is beginning to recede. Sunlight is beginning to fall at very low angles over the sea ice, providing it with another nudge toward melting. Finally, the greatly withdrawn ice has uncovered more dark ocean surfaces that will, in turn, absorb more sunlight as the Arctic Winter proceeds on toward Spring.

With sea ice declining slightly since February 9, with record warmth already in place in the Arctic, and with the sun slowly beginning to provide its own melt pressure, it appears risks are high that we see a record early start to Arctic melt season. Seven day forecasts do show high Arctic temperature departures receding a bit from today’s peak at around 6-7 C above average to between 4 and 5 C above average by the start of next week. But heat at the ice edge in the Bering, Barents, Greenland Sea and Baffin Bay are all likely to continue to apply strong pressure on sea ice extent and area totals. In addition, recent fracturing within the Beaufort has generated a number of low albedo zones that will face a wave of unseasonable warmth riding up over Alaska during the coming days which will tend to slow rates of refreeze even as Western Alaska’s waters feel the heat pressure of off and on above freezing temperatures.

So it appears we may have already begun, in early February a melt season that will last through mid-to-late September. It’s too early to make the call conclusively, but the Arctic heat and melt trends necessary to set up just such an ominous event do appear to be in place at this time. In other words, “all the devils are here…”


Climate Reanalyzer

No Winter For the Arctic

The Keeling Curve

The Arctic Sea Ice Blog

NOAA: Mean 2 Meter Temperatures North of 80 North Latitude

NOAA: Frequently Asked Questions About the Arctic

Grasping at Uncorrected Straws

The Oceans Warmed by a Rate of 12 Hiroshima Bombs per Second in 2013

The Polar Science Center

Trends in CO2 Emissions

Warm Arctic Storm to Unfreeze the North Pole

Congress Members Call for Investigation of Shell over Climate Change Lies

Could Lawsuit Against Exxon Mobile Force Fossil Fuel Industry to Pay for Lies about Climate Change?

William Shakespeare Quotes


Hat Tip to Planet in Distress

Hat Tip to DT Lange

Leave a comment


  1. climatehawk1

     /  February 22, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

  2. Hey Ladies and Gents,

    There’s some other important papers in that PNAS issue…

    Antarctica could be more vulnerable to major melting than we thought

    …the climate modeling study that was published at the same time as the study of the deep ocean drill core found that by adding several new processes and features to the simulation which speed up the rate of Antarctic ice collapse, it was possible to reproduce the presumed ice loss from Antarctica during the Miocene with only 500 parts per million or so of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    Those factors include so-called “hydrofracture” — in which Antarctic ice shelves, which stabilize inland ice, shatter and fall apart as water pools on their surfaces, much as happened in recent memory with the Larsen A and Larsen B ice shelves — and “cliff collapse,” in which the sheer walls of ice that linger behind after hydrofracturing also crumble, due to the relative weakness of ice as a material.

    We’re adding and including new physical processes in these models, and the result of that is we’ve begun to be able to simulate with these models the kinds of changes in the ice sheets that the geologists see,” says DeConto. He continued: “We were able to generate sea level going up and down again, on the order of tens of meters, like 30 meters, without having to go to extremely high levels of CO2.”


    • I want to say it’s great to see that the modelers are starting to get simulations that capture what we’ve seen in the paleoclimate record. It’s great to see the science advance. But this looks like the end for a huge number of coastal cities.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  February 23, 2016

        Which in and of itself signals the end of human civilization. We will not cope with hundreds of millions, even billions, fleeing sea level rise and uninhabitably high wet bulb temperatures.

        • The collapse pressure increases the more you warm and burn. But it’s not like flipping a switch. It gets worse by degrees. 2035 through 2070 will be rough years. If we keep burning fossil fuels, I doubt many nations will exist as they are now by 2100.

  3. Henri

     /  February 22, 2016

    Some years back US Navy predicted we’d see arctic free of sea ice in 2016. Compared to that outcome we are still doing pretty great.

    • It’s setting up to be a bad year. Huge amount of post El Nino heat heading north. That’s the nightmare scenario we were worried about.

      I can’t say at this time that it’s blue ocean. But the summer of 2016 and probably 2017 will be very bad for sea ice and probably Greenland too.

      • Henri

         /  February 22, 2016

        Well if i’m reading the graph correctly, the typical sea ice extent maximum comes early to mid march. Compared to that the recent trend is troubling to say the least but i’m hoping it means we could still see some substantial late gains.

        Obviously US Navy doesn’t mean absolutely zero ice when they talk about ice free arctic but rather some threshold value. If it isn’t set deceptively high then i’d dare to claim their prediction went wrong.

        Last spring i made a purely mathematical prediction of zero ice extent minimum. I got the likeliest year to be 2032 but it doesn’t take into account any climate models or anything like that.

        • Yeah. The typical maximum comes in mid March. The graph shows only the sample of lowest years on record. And it’s worth noting we saw a late February maximum last year.

          I’d say your trend fitting is probably close to the most likely track. That said, we may get a lot of wag from feedbacks as we approach near zero.

      • Henri

         /  February 22, 2016

        More reason to be cautiously optimistic then.

        • I’m not too optimistic for sea ice resiliency this year or next. There’s too much heat in the Arctic at this time. 2016 and 2017 will be bad years for Arctic sea ice.

      • DaveW

         /  February 22, 2016

        @ Henri
        “Obviously US Navy doesn’t mean absolutely zero ice when they talk about ice free arctic but rather some threshold value. ”

        I believe the “ice-free” value is considered to be less than 1 million sq. kilometers. It is expected that a bunch of ice will hang on in the CAB (Canadian Arctic Basin) – where what little remains of the thick multi-year ice hangs on – and in the narrow passages of the Canadian Archipelago. Even in this state, with some remaining ice, the vast majority of Arctic Ocean surface will be BLUE OCEAN.

      • Entropy101

         /  February 23, 2016

        @ Henri
        The graph is a nice mathematical approach, but real life collapse events will not play out like that. At some point we will reach a threshold and a progressive collapse will take place in a blink of an eye, since the remaining ice will just not have the structural integrity to remain sort of cohesive. Also, the less ice there is, the more melt pressure the Arctic will experience. We will get to a cliff and whether that is at 3, 2 or 1 million square or do not pretend to know, but I expect the ice free conditions well before 2025.

        The Arctic is like a house on fire, it is still standing, but no one is extinguishing the flames. It will remain standing until the moment it is not and the transition will be fast and spectacular.

        Long time lurker.

    • DaveW

       /  February 22, 2016

      I believe that prediction included “error bar” of +/- 3 years – we still have until 2019 to firt the prediction…and things are starting to look pretty scary…

    • redskylite

       /  February 23, 2016

      The paper does say NEARLY ice free and gives 3 years leeway, the way things are looking now the projection is much nearer to the likely date than the official models of the time. It is truly bad news, we have left it perilously late.

      “Given the estimated trend and the volume estimate for October–November of 2007 at less than 9,000 km3, one can project that at this rate it would take only 9 more years or until 2016 ± 3 years to reach a nearly ice-free Arctic Ocean in summer. Regardless of high uncertainty associated with such an estimate, it does provide a lower bound of the time range for projections of seasonal sea ice cover”.


      • We did have a bounce back in volume during 2014 which held somewhat through 2015. The trend line will have moved onward a bit from the Navy study. New record lows certainly possible for 2016-2017 given the heat related trends post El Niño and related human heat forcing. Blue Ocean is a rather long shot.

    • Jim Lovejoy

       /  February 23, 2016

      The US Navy predicted that the Arctic ‘could’ be ice free ‘as early as’ 2016, and mentioned that this was ‘highly uncertain’ and provided a ‘lower bound’.

      So not so much of a prediction as you stated. More like a worst case scenario.

      • Good context and commentary. The 2013 study was a trends analysis post 2012. A worst case based on the possibility that 2012 losses had resulted in passing an unrecoverable tipping point for sea ice. We did bounce back a little. But the trend is down overall. The most likely scenario is still probably blue ocean by the mid 2020s through mid 2030s so long as negative feedback from Greenland melt doesn’t get too involved.

  4. Call me a cynic, but I think there’s plenty of devils yet to come. It’s too early to forecast total sea ice loss this year, though it seems possible if the weather continued to be this unfavourable to sea ice? A new record low extent seems rather likely, presuming the weather doesn’t switch into an exceptionally favourable state for a big chunk of the melt season.

    However you look at it, our luck has to run out sooner or later. Each year the odds of it doing so are higher. How much further can things go before we get a food production crisis globally speaking? That’s one relevant question, I feel. Things will slide down much faster and more obviously once we reach that point.

    • Well, for winter-time impacts to the Arctic, I’d definitely say the devils are here. El Nino teleconnect to Actic is a big deal that will have some significant long-term impacts. I’ve seen some bad winter heat in the Arctic. But I’ve never seen anything like this.

      • Well, Arctic winter time wise I’d agree – it’s been pretty crazy seeing these massive temperature excursions – something obviously broken in the system… counter intuitive in the context of El Nino. I’ve been thinking that it would be an exceptional melt season that took out the summer ice the first time, and now I’m forced to re-evaluate that thought.

        Vulnerability in the ice pack at the start of the season is a bad start – if one can use melt ponding mid season to extrapolate the final outcome (to some extent), what if the initial extent is way below par? That’s a lot of darker water present for a lot more time than just melt ponding (even if it is spatially distributed differently).

        I think one key question is what state the remaining ice is in – it’ll be interesting to see if PIOMAS volume shows anomalously low as well when the next couple months come through (I’d expect it to, don’t see what else would make sense in terms of the current conditions).

        • My opinion is that this coming melt season will be bad. It’s based on observations of an already established Arctic warmth and an already active south to north transport of atmospheric heat and moisture coupled with record low sea ice extent and area in Winter. Post El Niño, these features have tended to intensify in the 1-2 year timeframe. But now, they are already ongoing. So my opinion is that these already established features represent a strong melt threat beyond what we have seen in past years.

          I think the early season melt pond analysis is certainly helpful. And, of course, my particular opinion may be incorrect. But my view is that the larger trends described above will tend to dominate.

    • I think it was Robin who noted that an optimist is one who knows things can get worse. Well, I think that applies here too. In any case, I’ll agree — things can get worse. But for the Arctic, for what we thought may be the worst case scenario for this Winter — yes all the devils are here.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  February 23, 2016

      Central, southern and eastern Africa are heading for a food crisis right now.

      • John McCormick

         /  February 23, 2016

        Mulga, I am pleased to be reading your comments again after you cut the cord with ClimateProgress…Robert’s blog is a masterwork compared to that of CP.

      • Scott

         /  February 23, 2016

        I had an on-the-ground report from Ethiopia just a few minutes ago. My regular cab driver just got back from Wedding Season. The situation is grim. No significant rains for three years now, and areas that are always green have turned brown. Farmers are selling off their herds because they can no longer afford to buy feed, and the pastures have turned brown. Starvation hasn’t yet started because the government’s response so far has been competent. There is a lot of fear, however. Many of his relatives are U.S. citizens who have returned to Ethiopia to retire, but they are making contingency plans to return to the U.S. soon. Others are figuring out how they can leverage relationships to move to the U.S. if they need to flee.
        This has been largely reported as an El Nino phenomenon, to the degree it’s been reported at all. But if it really is a three year drought, that’s not El Nino. I fear we may be getting ready for the next wave of post-Holocene climate refugees to begin washing over Europe (and if there are many Europeans who follow R.S., they are getting ready a little sooner then most of their fellow continent-mates).

      • Right, but that’s predictable and on a limited (relatively) scale. I’m really talking about a bigger scale and in areas that don’t typically experience food insecurity. It’s ony a matter of time in my view until we see what I call the second iteration of collapse, the Arab Spring representing the first iteration.

        I’d expect it to be bigger than the first, especially as there’s multiple countries still stressed by the first (in various ways).

  5. redskylite

     /  February 22, 2016

    Thanks for providing this narrative, and putting the state of our vulnerable polar north into plain and understandable English, the clear picture is unfortunate but much appreciated.

    A new paper published today from Rutgers confirming what our fossil fuel frenzy has done to sea levels . . . .

    Sea level rise in 20th century was fastest in 3,000 years, Rutgers-led study finds

    “Without global warming, global sea level would have risen by less than half the observed 20th century increase and might even have fallen.”


  6. Jean Schanen

     /  February 22, 2016

    I don’t know about your computer, but on my computer it opens the latest Robert Scribbler article about the freakish heat in the arctic

    On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 12:54 PM, robertscribbler wrote:

    > robertscribbler posted: “”Hell is empty… all the devils are here.” > William Shakespeare — The Tempest. ****** We have never seen heat like > this before in the Arctic. Words whose meaning tends to blur due to the > fact that, these days, such events keep happening over and ov” >

  7. Colorado Bob

     /  February 22, 2016

    “Hell is empty… all the devils are here.” William Shakespeare — The Tempest.

    “Get ready little lady, hell is coming to breakfast” Lone Wati — The Outlaw Josey Wells

    Que the methane craters next fall.

    • Good to see you around, Bob. I thought you might like this one 😉

      I’ve been kicking around the Copernicus/Metop methane reading discrepancies for a few months now. I’d be open to hearing any thoughts on the matter. In general, I think sensor biases should be part of disclaimers in publicly available data. In any case, I’ve got a few months more before I think I’ll be ready to make comments on the matter.

      But it looks like some of the NOAA scientists may have been spot on regarding some of the observations. More coming.

    • Mblanc

       /  February 23, 2016

      Right. Time to join this party.

      “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant, and fill him with a terrible resolve.” attributed to Admiral Yamamoto.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  February 23, 2016

      There were a couple of devils on ABC National radio on Sunday. The Mark Steyn and Tom Switzer daemons, screeching that there had been ‘no warming since 1998’, that Michael Mann’s ‘hockey-stick’ was a fraud based on the spurious examination of ‘one tree in Canada’, and that the death of judicial fascist thug Scalier was a tragedy because Steyn was relying on him if the libel suit launched by Mann against him reached the US Supreme Court. And that sort of evil lunacy is still the majority opinion of our MSM, particularly the 100% denialist Murdoch cancer. But, mostly, as with this story, the MSM here simply takes NO interest at all.

      • Spike

         /  February 23, 2016

        “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”

        Søren Kierkegaard

        They score on both.

  8. redskylite

     /  February 22, 2016

    I guess it is a quirk of science that you have to keep reiterating an already well proven and well accepted point until it is fully understood as fact (to the very best of our knowledge). I wonder if accepting the world was round and orbited our sun took so much proving.

    Anyway here it is from the European Commission Joint Research Centre,

    New evidence confirms human activities drive global warming

    “A new statistical technique, analysing data records since measuring started 150 years ago, independently confirms that man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) emissions have led to global warming, according to a JRC-led article published on 22 February 2016 in Nature Scientific Reports. The analysis also shows that the most pronounced consequences of such emissions are being felt in localised regions around the globe, such as Europe, North America, China, Siberia, the Sahel zone in Africa, and Alaska. ”


  9. Epic post, Robert, and thanks for the kind hat tip — my first. I’m not sure it was deserved, but I’ll take it.

    Looking at today’s Climate Reanalyzer from the folks at UMaine (go Black Bears!), you can see the El-Nino/Arctic tele-connect pretty clearly in several screens, including temperature anomaly, precipitation and clouds, mean sea level pressure, and jet stream. The storm between Greenland and Canada’s archipelago that is pulling the heat and moisture up is most clearly visible in the “mean seal level pressure” screen.

    I think what we are seeing is a broad and accelerating collapse of the northern cryosphere. And since none of our earth systems operate in isolation, this means there are implications for everywhere on earth in what we are seeing. I’m keen to see what Jennifer Francis makes of all this.

    Thanks, as ever, for your amazing work on this.

  10. – Impressive, Robert — and rather ominous numbers here.
    Thanks also for the perspective on them.

    ‘… a region larger than 30 million square kilometers or representing fully 6 percent of the Earth’s surface was more than 7 degrees Celsius hotter than average…’

    ‘Above the 80 North Latitude line, departures were even more extreme — hitting about 13 C or about 23 F warmer than normal for the entire High Arctic surrounding the North Pole…’


    ‘… warm wind events … flow up through weaknesses in the Jet Stream.. to… Ocean zones of the Bering, Northeast Pacific, Barents, and Greenland seas. … northward over Baffin Bay and Western Greenland…’

    ‘ … ocean warming is a very efficient means of transferring heat to the Northern Hemisphere Pole…’

    ‘ … globally inter-connected Arctic Ocean. – [Very relevant descriptor. Thx RS.]

    – (These are why I post significant ocean storms or weather action in those regions as most are en-training a lot of warm air and moisture — south to north.)

    Ps Robert, I passed on this post to some journos in the know.

  11. redskylite

     /  February 22, 2016

    Kiribati. My own country turned down a recent request for accepting a climate refugee family from Kiribati, and the said family returned to the low lying Pacific atoll group. The extent of the groups plan so far is the purchase of 20 sq. kms of a Fiji Island 2000 kms away, purchased from the Church of England. As far as I know they have had no promise of Fiji passport, citizenship or rights, and the government of Fiji has some history of instability, and overthrow.

    Population is around 110,000 so distributed around 20sq kms would put them on a density level just below Hong Kong, (lot of skyscrapers there).

    Hope they can improve on this plan, and others like Bangladesh are progressing well in planning for the future.

    With today’s news on the Arctic (and news of the Antarctic featured in the Washington Post) the time such things become a live event is getting frighteningly close, we have seen the sad plight of panicked refugees from Syria (some lucky and accepted, some drowned, some in camps).

    RealClimate: Excellent commentary/analysis from Stefan Rahmstorf on the recent sea level paper released. . . . .

    The fact that the rise in the 20th century is so large is a logical physical consequence of man-made global warming. This is melting continental ice and thus adds extra water to the oceans. In addition, as the sea water warms up it expands. (A new study has also just been published about the size of individual contributions derived from satellite data: Rietbroek et al 2016).

    The paleoclimatic data reaching back for millennia can be used to better separate the natural variations in sea level and the human impact. With near-certainty at least half of the rise in the 20th century is caused by humans; possibly all of it. From natural causes alone sea level might also have fallen in the 20th century, instead of the observed rise by close to 15 centimeters.


    • Bill H

       /  February 24, 2016

      Good catch, Redskylite.

      This is a very impressive paleo reconstruction. Apart from Rahmstorf and co-worker from Potsdam, there are quite a few co-authors from Rutgers – Jennifer Francis’ institute. What struck me is the fact that sea levels appear to have been going down during the “mediaeval warm period, beloved of “skeptics”. They were also low during the still less credible, but nevertheless venerated by “skeptics”, “Roman Warm Period”. Will these “skeptics” provide an explanation as to the correlation between rising temperatures and falling sea levels?

  12. A lot to take in….

    Seas are now rising faster than they have in 2,800 years, scientists say

    A group of scientists says it has now reconstructed the history of the planet’s sea levels arcing back over some 3,000 years — leading it to conclude that the rate of increase experienced in the 20th century was “extremely likely” to have been faster than during nearly the entire period.

    The new research also forecasts that no matter how much carbon dioxide we emit, 21st-century sea level rise will still greatly outstrip what was seen in the 1900s. Nonetheless, choices made today could have a big impact. For a low emissions scenario, it finds that seas might only rise between 24 and 61 centimeters. In contrast, for a high emissions scenario — one that the recent Paris climate accord pledged the world to avert — they could rise as much as 52 to 131 centimeters, or, at the very high end, 4.29 feet.

    However, Kopp notes that the methods used to project these totals may not fully capture what happens over the course of this century. “We have a model that’s calibrated against a period when a certain set of processes, largely thermal expansion and glaciers, were dominant,” he says, “and we’re looking forward to a period when other factors will be dominant.”

    The new paper emerges even as another study, also published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, produced very similar 21st-century projections of sea level rise. That paper, led by Matthias Mengel of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, also calculated that with unconstrained emissions, the Earth could see a maximum of some four feet of sea level rise by 2100. But it too acknowledged that the approach “cannot cover processes” like the possible collapse of the oceanfront glaciers of the West Antarctic ice sheet, which, it said, “is hypothesized to be already underway.”

    Capping a major day for sea level rise news, Kopp also released a report Monday along with Benjamin Strauss of Climate Central and two other researchers, using the current study’s approach to determine that thousands of coastal “nuisance” floods in the United States over the 20th century would not have happened without human-caused global warming.

    Based on just four inches of sea level rise attributed to humans in the 20th century, and another two inches so far in the 21st, Strauss said he “was really surprised to see that there are human fingerprints on thousands of coastal floods that we’ve already had in the United States.” The reason is that such nuisance floods — King Tide flooding in Miami would be a good example — represent what Strauss calls a “threshold” phenomenon, which is caused after sea level rise reaches a certain level.


  13. Nancy

     /  February 22, 2016

    Locally, here in New Hampshire, it’s officially “mud season” since the snow has melted and the roads are a muddy mess. There was no cross country skiing this winter, and no ice fishing on local ponds. The birds are singing like it’s Spring and a neighbor saw the first crocus poking thru the dirt.

    I don’t think people think about the importance of maintaining a frozen Arctic like they should, but this warm and wacky winter in New England has made an impression on folks. Seems like every conversation is about the warmth we’re experiencing. And those who farm are wondering what the summer will bring.

    I am shocked and saddened that the presidential campaigns (except Bernie’s campaign) have mostly ignored the climate crisis. The most important issue facing mankind and nobody’s talking about it.

    Thanks, Robert, for all the hard work you put into this blog!

    • Bernie is the only one not MAINSTREAM, and not complicit in this developing mess (and, frankly, IMHO odds are fairly high that within the next five years, ‘disaster’ will prove to be a more appropriate word than ‘mess’ or even ‘crisis’). Hillary would still be advocating Keystone and TPP, if not for Bernie’s progressive pressure.

      • I certainly prefer Bernie. I’m glad he’s managed to move Hillary left. Gotta wonder if it will stick. I see her as right of Obama and rather too corporate for my liking. But there’s still a pretty big gap between her and the quite frankly now insane republicans.

        • Agreed. One only has to look at the recent Supreme Court action prematurely staying the Clean Power Plan, and Scalia’s subsequent death, to be reminded of what’s at stake with the appointment of future justices.

      • Yes indeed reformfaanow.
        Bernie Sanders on Keystone and climate change in this video says it all. We are not going to find a more fierce, unwavering advocate for the earth and it’s inhabitants. He is a viable candidate and the one (not HRC) who— according to many polls—- can beat Trump, Cruz, Rubio
        A must watch (imo):

    • Nancy,
      Thanks for sharing what is happening in your part of the world. Similar story here in the Midwest.
      For decades I’ve been in various states of grief, anger, advocacy, denial, hope, sadness when trying to grapple with human destruction of the beautiful biosphere of earth. This latest piece by Robert turns my stomach—-everything is impacted by the Arctic. For the first time I’ll admit I’m frightened —-if not terrified— for my daughter, for all of us and for all those that have no voices and are suffering (i.e. dolphins, whales, seals, polar bears, ALL bears . . . in essence all nonhuman life forms).

      RE your mention of Bernie:
      What appeals to me about Bernie (among many other things) is he knows he can’t be a savior. He knows it takes a movement (bottom up and top down) and he knows we are running out of time.

      Friends of the Earth endorsement of Bernie Sanders:
      Erich Pica, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Friends of the Earth U.S. and Friends of the Earth Action says: “we encourage anyone who values a nation that prioritizes the rights of its citizens and health of our planet over the profits of its corporations to support Sen. Sanders for President of the United States.”

      Robert, sorry for 2 posts related to politics. I don’t want to be part of any devolution of the excellent dialogue here. That can happen when discussing politics! 😱
      Thanks again for your work on behalf of the planet.

    • Stephen

       /  February 23, 2016

      For many years I visited NH 2-3 times a year as my best friend lived there (Newmarket and Newfields). He has since passed but I was wondering which part of the state you are from, for example, closer to Portsmouth, near Lake W, further North? Just wondering

    • Nancy

       /  February 23, 2016

      Stephen, I live near Mount Monadnock in the Southwestern part of NH. We’re not too far from the Massachusetts border. It’s very beautiful out here in the country. Please visit if you’re in the state!


  14. Colorado Bob

     /  February 22, 2016

    Planet In Distress / February 22, 2016

    Epic post, Robert, and thanks for the kind hat tip — my first. I’m not sure it was deserved, but I’ll take it.

    Take it, you deserve it. As does everyone who drives this forum . We may all end up a spit in the ocean . But the alternative is lay down and die. And human beings do not just lay down and die.

    • Thanks Bob. I appreciate all of your comments here. Not only your technical mastery of earth systems, but it is amazing how you can pluck a lyric or movie line to fit the moment.

  15. Colorado Bob

     /  February 23, 2016

    RS –
    Neven took on Watts –

    Grasping at uncorrected straws


    I advised him –

    “Never wrestle a pig, you get muddy , and the pig enjoys it.”

  16. – Please delete after reading — please.

    Robert, FYI: This is the second time this Feb the word ‘Monster’ was used in the headline to describe the theme of the post.
    Feb 10: “Even a Monster El Nino Can’t Beat the Southwest Drought”

    Ps As I have tweeted today’s post and headline directly to journos, I have the omitted the ‘A’. It goes directly to the thrust of the subject.

    Sample of ‘monster’ (A threatening force to most of us.) synonyms:
    – giant, mammoth, colossus, leviathan, titan, humongous, massive. epic, enormous


    • Dec 10, 2015:
      ‘Monster El Nino Hurls 43+ Foot Waves at US West Coast’

      (The ‘Godzilla’ El Nino…)
      – Quibble, quibble, quibble… 🙂

    • Got it DT. Thanks for the thoughts. Edit changed to Hellish.

      I’d been using Monster in the theme of ‘climate monsters in the closet.’ But over-use is a concern. We will need about a thousand new words to describe the coming climate events if we don’t stop burning fossil fuels soon. As is, we’ve probably got a hundred locked in.

      As ever, thanks for the diligent updates and for passing these on!



      • Cate

         /  February 23, 2016

        “What’s that coming over the hill?
        Is it a monster, monster??”

        RS and DT, I’m playing devil’s advocate here—in its defence, “monster” does convey not only size, power, evil, and horrific menace—it also connotes more clearly than some of its synonyms the central sense of freakishness and wrongness in the context of natural law. The threat of a monster originates in the contradiction and defiance of natural law germane to its creation. Interestingly, in the prototypical monster story, “Frankenstein”, the monster is a human creation. So, entirely apropos. 🙂

        . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gELlSl5dSRk



  17. Reply
  18. – This is an example of the collateral ‘crimes against nature’ inherent in AGW.
    “[interferes the ability and necessity to] … communicate with one another to find food and to reproduce. ”

    Noise Follows Heat as Arctic Wildlife’s Woes Mount

    Less ice makes for more shipping and industrial activity.

    “The melting ice opens everything up for more shipping, more oil, and gas exploration,” Lindy Weilgart, a bioacoustics researcher at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, told the single-issue news site Arctic Deeply. “At the same time, because of climate change, the storms are getting worse, and so you’ve got more wind and wave noise.”

    Noise pollution has long been identified as harmful to marine life. The nonprofit Ocean Conservation Research likens the noise pollution to putting a bucket over animals’ heads: The man-made sounds make it difficult for marine animals to hear the natural ones and communicate with one another to find food and to reproduce.


  19. Colorado Bob

     /  February 23, 2016

  20. pccp82

     /  February 23, 2016

    its too early IMO to say this is going to be a monster melt season.

    but the bases are loaded….

  21. Cate

     /  February 23, 2016

    This story is all over Canadian mainstream news today: the slow-down or possible shut-down of tarsands development. Not that it’s imminent, but the writing is on the wall for fossil fuel production in Canada.


    • The hour is late. We should be leaving it all in the ground.

      So they’re looking at ‘only’ adding 800,000 barrels per day of the dirtiest, highest carbon polluting, liquid fuel imaginable by 2021? Oil is at 30 dollars a barrel and these projects are still pushing to expand. Well, In my view, the problem is that they still receive so much in the way of capitalization in the face of so many obvious headwinds. The investors for these projects must be nuts. Although, according to recent reports, Warren Buffet is apparently one of those nuts buying up or recapitalizing failing oil and gas projects. Just goes to show that being super rich and having a high moral and intellectual standing aren’t necessarily a coupling criteria. This guy, right now, is locking in billions of tons of carbon emissions over the long term. That’s all carbon we just can’t afford to emit.

      Canada could have a highly diverse economy. Or it could suffer from the resource curse as fossil fuels fall into decline. Or Canada could go into a collapse situation mid to late Century due to a rampant climate disaster it helped force into place. These are the possible futures for Canada. So the question is — which path will Canada choose?

      What I see in the article above is a short-sighted and unhelpful lament about a necessary and moral action. If the Canadian government were responsible, they’d be adding a price to carbon, pulling the plugs on these pipelines while also also providing transition jobs pathways for oil industry workers and investments for economy diversification in the Tar Sands region. Things like wind and solar would certainly be helpful on the jobs front, for example.

      But the political and media pressure now appears to be to ‘save Canada’s oil industry. Save it why? So it can emit a nation wrecking level of greenhouse gasses on and on until doomsday? All more evidence that the age we currently live in is one where government is too often gummed up by a neo-liberal (conservative) ideology that views markets and, primarily billionaire individuals and corporations as the supreme arbiters of policy. If the policy isn’t involved in concentrating wealth and power into the hands of established industries, no matter how destructive (and this can even be somewhat true of the NDP, apparently), then the policy is actively targeted by those very same corporate and media forces. The larger attempt appears to be to turn government into a corporate proxy — which is vastly destructive when the corporation involved is externalizing a mass extinction level of greenhouse gas emission.

      I’m curious if the sentiment of the Canadian people is generally for or against the oil corps. The comments below the article are not inspiring. However, given my experience here, I wouldn’t be surprised if some were seeded by fossil fuel based think tanks.

      • Abel Adamski

         /  February 23, 2016

        Excellent comment RS.
        The larger attempt appears to be to turn government into a corporate proxy

        Unfortunately that has become a reality currently in Australia, courtesy of certain media organisations and think tanks

      • Cate

         /  February 23, 2016

        Spot on. RS.

        “..short-sighted and unhelpful lament about a necessary and moral action” sums up the mood generally, I think. Many folks are in shock with the industry collapse—we are hearing of skyrocketing bankruptcy and suicide rates in oil patch areas. A fearsome human toll. The comments reflect the general shock and outrage.

        And you’re right, Canada has so many other options for our economy. We just don’t see them because the oil agenda has blinded us since the 1970s.Watch the new federal budget arriving on March 22, and the reaction to is. This should afford some inkling of the vision this new gov’t has for a greener, more diversified economy. Canada has the economic and human resources to lead the world in green energy, but there are huge political decisions to be made in the face of immense corporate pressures.

        Speaking of which, yes, Mussolini’s definition of fascism is a truism now, but everywhere we look in Canada after so many years of Harper, we see the alignment of corporate and public policy, and government policy in the service of corporate agendas.

        Yet we live in hope: the millennials seem to be tuning in…..they may yet be the ones who will demonstrate—and demand—the necessary solutions. Vive la revolution.

      • Robert, speaking as a Canadian, I think those of us who have an opinion might be fairly evenly split about the tarsands development. There’s a fairly sizeable percentage of us who want to see the pipelines blocked and the development shut down, but there’s another sizeable percentage who only see ‘economy’, so they’re willing to accept the heavy advertising from tarsands and pipeline companies that they’re somehow doing it responsibly. As far as the current Liberal govt goes, I think they understand the scope of the problem and are intending to do something about it, evidence being all the public pronouncements from our minister of Environment and Climate Change. Even adding ‘Climate Change’ to the name of the ministry is an important signal, because they’ve staked part of their mandate to climate change, and they can’t be seen to have done nothing by the next election.

        That being said, I think they’re trying to ease the transition as much as possible, much like the NDP government in Alberta. The backlash if they were seen to be responsible for shutting down the tarsands and costing thousands of high paying jobs would be enormous and would likely cost them in the next election. There are a thousands and thousands of Canadians who went from hardscrabble places with really lousy life and job prospects and made a lot of money working in the tarsands, so they could go home and buy a house and make a better life. Those people are not going to give that up very easily. If our levels of government can figure out a way to transition those jobs from tar sands to renewables, then we stand a chance of slowing and even shrinking the tarsands.

        • Thanks for the commentary RE the Canadian political situation and sentiment surrounding tar sands. It’s worth noting that renewable energy creates about twice as many jobs as traditional fossil fuels. I know tar sands is work intensive so it might be closer to renewables on the jobs front. But the externalities of this particular energy source are just horrific and unconscionable.

      • 12volt dan

         /  February 23, 2016

        As I understand it the tar sands are loosing money now http://oilprice.com/Energy/Oil-Prices/Forget-20-Oil-Prices-At-8-Per-Barrel-In-Canada.html so it might stay there (for as long as oi prices are depressed any way) for some time. I’m hoping long enough that renewables take over and leave the oil in the ground.

        I’ve been off grid for 20 years and have seen the dramatic falls in solar pricing and combined with the industry behind solar expanding exponentially we could quite possibly be witnessing the death of the sands.

        here’s hoping

      • Ailsa

         /  February 23, 2016

        12volt dan – I am wondering how being off grid for that length of time has worked for you? Some experts/commenters like Kevin Anderson consider solar to be a potential ‘game changer’, whereas others like John Michael Greer think its rather a red-herring and only promoted by those who don’t have personal experience of the challenges of being off grid.

        • Solar is already a game changer. It’s replacing coal and diesel and competing with gas now. It doesn’t have to go off grid to change the game. However, off grid is becoming an ever more viable option as solar and battery storage costs fall while ease of use keeps rising.

      • Ailsa

         /  February 24, 2016

        Thanks for the reply Robert. I may not have done JMG’s position justice – he is pro small solar but with one major drawback: as one of the commenters on his blog says, “a small [solar] system can power: radios; water pumps; lights; air compressor; soldering iron; refrigerator; fans even a television or computer. You name it, it can do it – no worries. Just don’t expect heating.”

        And as for the big grid-tied solar projects, Greer considers them to be very inefficient, and ultimately only viable under the current regime of subsidies, which will in a few years show signs of being the next energy ‘bubble’ to pop (like biomass or fracking), once it’s clear the numbers don’t add up.

        • Well, Ailsa, hate to say but that’s utter and complete bunk. Grid tied solar powers hundreds of thousands of electric heaters across this country. A typical home solar system could easily power a central electric heater (like the one powered by solar in this home, for example).

          Today solar energy is a top source, providing as much electricity as wind did a few years ago and, during many months of recent years, out-installing gas in new production capacity (solar out installed natural gas for all of 2015, for example). In one state, Hawaii, 1 in 7 homes got all electricity from solar even as utilities and government put forward plans for 100 percent renewable energy over coming decades. For the US, solar installations grew by 17 percent year on year to 7.3 gigawatts in 2015 while residential solar grew by a stunning 66 percent.

          This is not the record of a power source that can’t provide ‘heat.’ It’s the record of an energy transformation.

          To this point, most major utilities across this country were planning to install record levels of solar even as residential installation continues to surge. If there’s a problem solar companies have — it’s accessing the needed capital to keep up with demand. This is opposed to falling demand for coal and questionable futures for oil and gas.

          Please see:


          Your JMG apparently isn’t keeping up with current events. Instead he spreads yarns, nonsense, and is totally painting an unrealistic picture of what is now a revolutionary energy source. What you just posted above is like an anti-solar fairy tale — based on no facts whatsoever. I’ve never heard of him before, but based on what you post here I’d consider him an unreliable source.

      • Ailsa

         /  February 24, 2016

        Thanks Robert, for the interesting reads and your positive opinion of solar. I have come to respect your analysis greatly over the last few months since coming here. Muddling through in tricky times!

        • No worries. I just find it outrageous that someone who’s considered an expert can look at solar energy — which is used to power space craft — as some kind of boutique energy source. In the end, 99.9 percent + of energy on Earth comes from the sun. Solar just goes direct to the source. Cut out fossil fuels and you cut out the middle man.

        • I’m with RS on this also. Anyone who talks about solar subsidies is not appropriately mindful of the massive hidden subsidy we all give to fossil fuels by allowing them to use our atmosphere as a free waste dump–a subsidy that is resulting in the premature deaths of tens of thousands of Americans each year from air pollution, and also in the destruction of our planet’s biosphere. That pretty much disqualifies that source right off the bat, IMHO.

      • Scott

         /  February 24, 2016

        It isn’t that much more expensive to build a home that is not only energy neutral, but even energy positive – it generates more than it uses. I’m building one soon, in Minnesota. If you can do it in Minnesota, you can do it anywhere in the US. It’s insulated amazingly well, and requires only the equivalent to three small space heaters to heat a 1,800 square foot home in the winter and cool it in the summer (heat pumps in reverse). The rooftop solar panels will cover that easily, with excess power sent to the plug-in hybrid or electric car sitting in the garage. The premium for the extra insulation, the imported German windows and doors, and the imported German ventilation system (ventilation is separated from heating/cooling – the house will need so little heating or cooling that you would suffocate if you only moved air when it needed to be warmed or cooled) is about $50/sf, or $90,000. Our architect thinks about 1/3 to 1/2 of that premium would be eliminated if the standards to which we are building were the code requirements – there would be more manufacturers of high-standard windows and doors, and of the specialized heating and ventilation systems, and contractors would be more familiar with insulation installation and elimination of thermal bridging.
        The house will also be engineered to support a 700 watt eggbeater style wind turbine. They are currently forbidden by zoning, but I suspect that rule will change eventually, and I want to be plug and play ready.
        The utility savings should be about $4,000 per year, motor car fuel savings is another $1,000, and the building envelope is maintenance free for about 100 years, which should save another several tens of thousands of dollars over the 30 years we hope to live there. Not a great financial investment, but not horrible. If government regulations required everybody to do this, and the cost differential dropped by 33 to 50 percent, a passivhaus becomes a good financial investment very quickly – even if it didn’t facilitate completely eliminating my carbon footprint, which it does.

    • The U.S. government, if it was lead by real ‘leaders’, would take advantage of the current low oil prices to implement a steep revenue-neutral carbon tax. And I mean steep, like $1 or $2 per gallon, and on all fuels (diesel, car, leaded avgas, jet-A). This would disincentivize fossil fuel consumption, strongly encourage conservation, and thus would push down demand – and that might be the last straw needed to making tar sands no longer worth the cost of extraction. Being revenue-neutral, it would produce a substantial revenue source for the lowest fossil fuel consumers … who tend not to fly their own planes, drive hummers, etc.

      But, no, we are too busy trying to elect Hillary and trying to delay seating an empty seat on the Supreme Court. Never mind. 😉

      • I agree…though I would say a great of our fellow citizens are busy trying to elect “climate deniers”…which are ALL of the GOP candidates. That I would think would be even scarier to you. I know it scares the hell out of me.

  22. Robert, if there is any comfort, it is in knowing that someone else out there has come to the same conclusion and used the same words that you, yourself independently discovered. At certains times humans may find themselves at a central event in history, and here we are witnessing such an event. In plain english, your information is right on. I’m with you.

  23. Jimmy

     /  February 23, 2016

    One of my concerns is rice production that takes place within a few feet of sea level. I understand the Mekong Delta accounts for 30% of Vietnams rice production. That puts 30% of Vietnams rice production within a few feet of sea level. The Red River Delta is in a similar situation. I suppose it’s possible that long before our coastal cities start feeling the pressure of eroding property values due to sea level rise we’ll see storm water surges that thrust sea water into the rice growing deltas of the world and cause an increase in rice costs.

    Does anybody have any data on what percent of global rice production takes place within a few feet of sea level? I understand there is both upland and lowland rice production. I feel that storm surges of sea water into lowland rice paddies is a somewhat uncalculated risk.

  24. Vic

     /  February 23, 2016

    Gustave Doré’s depiction of Dante’s Satan, trapped in the frozen central zone in the Ninth Circle of Hell.

    • Cate

       /  February 23, 2016

      Excellent catch—I’d forgotten this. What a powerful and premonitory image for our times—what a timely warning: It’s not about hell freezing over. Hell (Hel), as the Norse well knew, is a region of perpetual deep freeze. Dante shows us Satan safely stuck and immobilised in those frozen depths. But what happens when the thaw comes….what happens when the warming sets him loose…..?

    • Vic

       /  February 23, 2016

      Thanks Cate.

      With his wing beats of frigid air he’ll probably blow sulphates all the way up into the stratosphere – for starters.

      Dance with the Devil by Choboroy

      • Eric Thurston

         /  February 23, 2016

        For some reason that picture reminds me of Poe’s story ‘Masque of the Red Death’.

  25. Colorado Bob

     /  February 23, 2016

    I dreamed about my mother tonight. She found a slave that was worth a penny. An old man who could not leave his cabin.

    One penny, on the rolls. Slaves were going for $ 800 to $ 900 for a young man.

    I learned all this from my mother.

    I’m worth about 7 cents.

  26. Oldhippie

     /  February 23, 2016

    It is not necessary to guess about the condition of the ice. The sun has come up to about 80 degrees north latitude. The modis Arctic mosaic page is back up. All you have to do is look at photos of the ice to know that this year is different.

  27. Colorado Bob

     /  February 23, 2016

    “Mystery Train” is a song recorded by American blues musician Junior Parker in 1953. Considered a blues standard

  28. Colorado Bob

     /  February 23, 2016

    • Loni

       /  February 23, 2016

      Thank you, Col. Bob, “East, West”, the Paul Butterfield’s Blue band is one of those I’m going to smuggle out of this life into the next.

  29. Colorado Bob

     /  February 23, 2016

    The list of people I miss is bigger than I ever dreamed. This had me crazy as a 2×4 .

    • Bob — I saw this comment and then my internet died. So sorry for the late reply.

      What I wanted to say was that I can get where you’re coming from. My step grandfather is on his deathbed now. He’s 93 and has had one heck of a life. Was a major exec with one of the baby Bells. So, yeah, one of those guys. But a good guy all the same. I’ll miss him deeply and add him to my own list of lost. Each person that dies kills a bit of me when they go. Death is a real bastard. We have enough of it without making it worse.

  30. Colorado Bob

     /  February 23, 2016

    This has me crazy as a 2×4, when I took up wood working a 2×4 was a 2×4. Then it was down sized to 1,5 x 3.5 , But we still call it a 2×4.

    I’m not crazy as a 1.5 x 3.5 , I/m crazy as a 2×4,

    • Cate

       /  February 23, 2016

      2 x 4s are metric now. All the better to decimate you with, my dear.

      Crazy as a bag of hammers. 😉

  31. Vic

     /  February 23, 2016

    Ruptures in Peru’s main oil pipeline have spilled thousands of barrels worth of crude oil into two rivers that native villages rely on for water in the Bagua province of Amazonas.

    State-owned oil firm Petroperu, the operator of the pipeline, said in a statement that the first breach was caused by a landslide. The company set up walls in the area to contain the oil, but heavy rains strengthened by the El Niño climate phenomenon overflowed the barriers. The cause of the second spill is currently under investigation.

    The Amazonas province of Bagua was the setting of the 2009 “El Baguazo” protests against oil exploration which pitted natives against police officers in bloody confrontations which left dozens dead from both sides.

  32. Double, Double, Toil and Trouble: Annotations for the Witches’ Chants (4.1.1-47)

    A dark cave. In the middle, a boiling cauldron. Thunder. Enter the three Witches

    First Witch Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d.

    Second Witch Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.

    Third Witch Harpier cries “‘Tis time, ’tis time.”

    First Witch Round about the cauldron go; In the poison’d entrails throw. Toad, that under cold stone Days and nights has thirty-one Swelter’d venom sleeping got, Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.

    All Double, double, toil and trouble; (10) Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

    Second Witch Fillet of a fenny snake, In the cauldron boil and bake; Eye of newt and toe of frog, Wool of bat and tongue of dog, Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting, Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing, For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

    All Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

    Third Witch Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf, Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark, Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark, Liver of blaspheming Jew, Gall of goat, and slips of yew Silver’d in the moon’s eclipse, Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips, Finger of birth-strangled babe (30) Ditch-deliver’d by a drab, Make the gruel thick and slab: Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron, For the ingredients of our cauldron.

    All Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

    Second Witch Cool it with a baboon’s blood, Then the charm is firm and good.

    Sent from my iPad 🙏🏻


  33. Abel Adamski

     /  February 23, 2016

    Some better news.

    Researchers in New Caledonia have uncovered a new type of coral ecosystem that may already be genetically adapted to global warming conditions.

    This has sparked fresh hope for the future survival of coral reefs, after warnings from Pacific Island leaders in recent years about the impact of climate change on these important ecosystems.

  34. Abel Adamski

     /  February 23, 2016

    Not so good
    Public Release: 22-Feb-2016
    Nearly all US forests threatened by drought, climate change

    Risks include wildfires, major diebacks in the west; emerging risks in the east

    Duke University

    DURHAM, N.C. — Forests nationwide are feeling the heat from increasing drought and climate change, according to a new study by scientists from 14 research institutions.

    “Over the last two decades, warming temperatures and variable precipitation have increased the severity of forest droughts across much of the continental United States,” said James S. Clark, lead author of the study and Nicholas Professor of Environmental Science at Duke University.

    “While the effects have been most pronounced in the West, our analysis shows virtually all U.S. forests are now experiencing change and are vulnerable to future declines,” he said. “Given the high degree of uncertainty in our understanding of how forest species and stands adapt to rapid change, it’s going to be difficult to anticipate the type of forests that will be here in 20 to 40 years.”

    Drought-induced forest diebacks, bark beetle infestations and wildfires are already occurring on large scales across the West, and many models predict droughts are likely to become more severe, frequent and prolonged across much of the United States.

    There is also mounting evidence that climate is changing faster than tree populations can respond by migrating to new regions. Clark said that as conditions become drier and warmer, many tree populations, especially those in Eastern forests, may not be able to expand rapidly enough into new, more favorable habitats through seed dispersal or other natural means.

    Clark and his colleagues published their paper today (Feb. 22, 2016) in the Early View online edition of the peer-reviewed journal Global Change Biology.

    • Scott

       /  February 23, 2016

      “…the type of forests that will be here in 20 to 40 years.”
      “20 to 40 years?”
      That isn’t how this was supposed to work. Everything was supposed to be okay for 50 to 75 years, until I had time to enjoy all the modern conveniences and then die an affluent, comfortable, peaceful death, leaving the consequences to the next generations. This is suddenly becoming very, very real, now, today, and I don’t like it, no I don’t, not one little bit, it’s not fair!
      How did I do at my best middle aged oil executive/Congress-critter, conservative white guy impersonation?

  35. Kevin Jones

     /  February 23, 2016

    Climate Reanalyzer : Surface Temperature World 0.90C Arctic 7.84 Feb. 23 Dear Arctic, what in the world’s come over you?

  36. Abel Adamski

     /  February 23, 2016

    Sorry R.S for the double link
    It isn’t just the Arctic Sea Ice

  37. Kevin Jones

     /  February 23, 2016

    World Ozone Monitoring and Mapping Environment Canada is showing rapid stratospheric O3 depletion centered over northern Novaya Zemlya. 35-50% deviation. 225-200 Dobson Units at center. Not sure how to link maps. Someone?

  38. Abel Adamski

     /  February 23, 2016

    Posted on previously, however Peter Sinclair’s take

  39. BDev

     /  February 23, 2016

    Sorry – off topic – but I cannot easily find any other way to contact Robert:
    Robert, I am hearing and reading a lot about the possibility of Regenerative Agriculture (RA) to not only halt Global Climate Change, but to actually reverse it. No doubt you are aware of it. Can you, or any other commenters here, please comment about this, and/or point me toward links that discuss RA from a Big Picture POV, rather than solely rah-rah POV. Thanks very much.

    • In my part of the world (and in the US) this is termed ‘biological farming’ e.g. biologicalfarmers.nz, I’m not a farmer but many of my clients are. This is not organic farming (although some farmers use it to transition to organic where premiums make it worthwhile) but rather a low-input approach combined with correcting the soil.

      Correct me if I’m wrong but a fundamental of biological farming is in NOT using superphosphate (P) as it leads to so many problems (in NZ Cadmium and Uranium buildup). One impediment to ‘biologic’ is that the standard accepted P test only detects some superphospate forms of P – in NZ (at least) many banks require this test (Olsen P), else they will not loan to you – catch 22.

      Another aspect is that many biologic farmers use fewer agrichemicals (many of which have a fossil oil base), this has a positive impact on the bottom line when oil price is so volatile

      These methods do dramatically increase soil carbon storage (and many farmers aim for this as high carbon means higher water holding, minerals and nutrients capacity.

      Minimum tillage is often a big part of this this but can lead to weeds shifting towards perennial types (which tends to result in >herbicide use) – there’s no free lunch. Diesel savings with diff methods.e.g. Different Tillage Systems on Fuel Savings ( .pjoes.com/pdf/18.4/711-716.pdf)

      There’s more, lots more: farming is a science and an art

    • Scott

       /  February 23, 2016

      There was a big article on this in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago.

      Pretty interesting, and encouraging.

    • Overall, if you switch from industrial farming in which you’re forcing minerals into dirt to farming that rejuvinates the soil, then you turn a carbon emitting process into a carbon sequestering process. In total you might reasonably capture between 50-100 billion tons of carbon over the course of a Century by making a widespread switch to this kind of sustainable farming practice. It’s one of the mitigations that will be necessary if we’re to eventually draw the excess carbon out of the atmosphere.

      It’s worth noting that switching to this form of agriculture without halting fossil fuel emissions (total emissions are now on the order of 13 billion tons of carbon every year) only slightly slows down the rate of greenhouse gas accumulation. The switch is most effective if net human industrial, commercial, generation and transportation emissions are brought to near zero.

  40. dnem

     /  February 23, 2016

    Pretty interesting discussion with Bill Gates on Revkin’s DotEarth today: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/02/23/bill-gates-the-impatient-optimist-lays-out-his-clean-energy-innovation-agenda/

    As usual, I find Gates’ techno-optimist take lacking. I submitted this comment to DotEarth:

    “Mr. Gates, assume tomorrow you identified a technology that could produce zero CO2 electricity and produce a zero CO2 liquid fuel. Are you confident that technology could be rolled at, at scale, across the planet, in time to avoid catastrophic consequences. There is the “bootstrap” problem, in that the massive infrastructure will need to be built largely using current fossil fuel energy. There are resource constraint problems including rare earth elements, the environmental consequences of obtaining even abundant resources needed for the buildout, etc. Finally, do you believe that a fully modernized, high-consumption world of 8 billion people is sustainable, even with low carbon energy? Is there a role for a new paradigm of low consumption lifestyles in solving the problems facing the planet?”

    • Spike

       /  February 24, 2016

      Same with the so called eco-modernists, ceaselessly wanting to carry on making the same mistakes over and over, filled with human hubris and lacking any vestige of humility.

      We all know research is needed for full decarbonisation especially the last few tens of percent. But we have adequate means of making a huge dent in emissions within the next decade. Energy saving alone could have a huge impact if we did it as though we meant it, or had to – for example:

    • Spike

       /  February 24, 2016

      And here is another critique of the magic innovations tree, well argued.


      • What kills me here is that Gates apparently missed the fact that we already have wind, solar, biofuels, electric vehicles, hydrogen and electric propulsion for aircraft, high efficiency appliances and light bulbs, mass transit, bicycles, a new form of concrete that takes carbon out of the air, nuclear (though not popular for good reason), hydro, geothermal, wave power, high efficiency power lines, lighter than air craft, hemp materials and biofuel, rejuvination farming, vertical farming, indoor vertical farming, vertical urbanization, biochar, carbon fiber, biofuel based carbon capture and storage, landfill plasma, biogas, organic farming, soil rejuvination and so, so many more.

        We are swimming in solutions. What we lack is the policies and capital that push those solutions to broader and broader applications. Bill Gates, instead of copping out, with another quest for the holy grail while oil, gas, and coal companies keep trying to dominate markets, could instead push markets toward these already available solutions.

        If rational 16 year olds did a good study, what they’d find is that people like Bill Gates have failed us by not putting the solutions we already have into broader use.

  41. Jack Arnold

     /  February 23, 2016

    I noticed this on reanalyzer on the bottom:

    * 2/23/2016 — NEW GFS MODEL BIAS CORRECTION FACTORS calculated from winter (DJF) GFS-CFSR estimates: 0.7 (World), 0.75 (Northern Hemisphere), 0.5 (Southern Hemisphere), 1.1 (Arctic), 1.0 (Antarctic) and 0.5 (Tropics). GFS model bias appears to vary with the seasons due to snow/ice and albedo processes, and therefore season-specific correction terms will be applied from now on. As stated below, refer to the CFSR/CFSV2 Daily Reanalysis Maps interface for the most reliable daily temperature anomalies. CFSR/CFSV2 daily reanalysis maps are current as of 2/22/2016, and updated manually every couple weeks.

    What does this mean exactly?

  42. islandraider

     /  February 23, 2016

    The following study was referenced (and commentary provided) by AbruptSLR on Neven’s forum. Another positive feedback, more clearly defined:

    The linked reference confirms that microbial accelerated permafrost ecosystem respiration exceeds gross primary productivity, resulting in a net positive emission of carbon from the associated soil; which is a positive feedback for global warming that was not included in the AR5 projections:

    Kai Xue, Mengting M. Yuan, Zhou J. Shi, Yujia Qin, Ye Deng, Lei Cheng, Liyou Wu, Zhili He, Joy D. Van Nostrand, Rosvel Bracho, Susan Natali, Edward. A. G. Schuur, Chengwei Luo, Konstantinos T. Konstantinidis, Qiong Wang, James R. Cole, James M. Tiedje, Yiqi Luo & Jizhong Zhou (2016), “Tundra soil carbon is vulnerable to rapid microbial decomposition under climate warming”, Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate2940


    Abstract: “Microbial decomposition of soil carbon in high-latitude tundra underlain with permafrost is one of the most important, but poorly understood, potential positive feedbacks of greenhouse gas emissions from terrestrial ecosystems into the atmosphere in a warmer world. Using integrated metagenomic technologies, we showed that the microbial functional community structure in the active layer of tundra soil was significantly altered after only 1.5 years of warming, a rapid response demonstrating the high sensitivity of this ecosystem to warming. The abundances of microbial functional genes involved in both aerobic and anaerobic carbon decomposition were also markedly increased by this short-term warming. Consistent with this, ecosystem respiration (Reco) increased up to 38%. In addition, warming enhanced genes involved in nutrient cycling, which very likely contributed to an observed increase (30%) in gross primary productivity (GPP). However, the GPP increase did not offset the extra Reco, resulting in significantly more net carbon loss in warmed plots compared with control plots. Altogether, our results demonstrate the vulnerability of active-layer soil carbon in this permafrost-based tundra ecosystem to climate warming and the importance of microbial communities in mediating such vulnerability.”

  43. Greg

     /  February 23, 2016

    Thun, Switzerland yesterday:

  44. Greg

     /  February 23, 2016

    The kind of Republican we can wrap our heads around is creating a SuperPAC to support Clean Energy Republicans. ““If we expand our clean energy technologies, we’ll create more jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy … and reduce carbon pollution,” he said. “You would do this on its merits even if you believed that climate change was not a threat. … Who’s not for more innovation and less regulation?”

    • Good to see there’s one republican doing this. However, remind me, who among the current republicans running is a clean energy candidate?


      Also, we’ll need regulation to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The more of that kind of regulation, the better.

  45. – As a subject here is more to be said about this topic but I post it now as it is an important aspect (one of many) of our atmospheric inventory and air pollution crisis..
    – Sripps: a great (understatement) asset.

    Cutting Aerosols Will Help Secure World’s Water Supply
    UC San Diego scientists outline policy solutions to reduce atmospheric dimming

    “Whereas greenhouse gas emissions will bring about relatively distant and diffuse danger, aerosols cause immediate and localized harm,” the authors write. “As states sharpen their pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years, they should also make distinct pledges to cut aerosols.”

    They explain how many of the pollutants that affect the climate also dim the planet. Some of these pollution particles — known as aerosols — reflect sunlight back to space. Others absorb sunlight before it reaches the Earth’s surface. Dimming has a profound effect on the water cycle, leading to decreased rainfall and even drought. In societies that depend heavily on agriculture, much of which is fed by natural rainfall, the result can be threats to food security and increased poverty.

    “Many of the activities that cause greenhouse gas emissions … also yield ultra-small particles known as aerosols, which blanket vast areas in a haze that blocks and scatters sunlight,” the authors write. “By reducing the solar energy that reaches the earth’s surface, aerosols reduce evaporation and slow the water cycle that governs where, when, and how much rain falls..

    … The authors recommend that the reduction of pollutant aerosols — diesel soot and black carbon, as well as sulfates and nitrates formed from fuel emissions…”


    • – – – – It is important to note that many of these aerosols contain, or are made of, toxic matter.
      —- The thing about these aerosols, is that one can see them, or smell them, or feel them.
      Nothing to debate here — no particular data skill-set required.
      Much are human induced — and many known to kill.

      • Foreign Affairs is the official magazine of the Council on Foreign Relations, which is funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

        The Rockefeller family still arguably controls ExxonMobil, the merger of two fragments of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil monopoly. Certainly the Rockefeller Family seems to win all the stock voting proxy fights and as recently as 2006 sent Lee Raymond CEO of ExxonMobil home with his 300 million dollar plus golden parachute, after an apparent fight for control of the corporation

        So, Foreign Affairs is tied to Rockefeller oil money, and seems to say things that benefit that old money, in my opinion. In this case, they may be attempting to shift the blame for global warming from CO2 (fossil fuel combustion) to aerosols (uncontrolled burning of any sort). This shifts the blame for global warming away from ExxonMobil and the Rockefeller family to people in general and natural processes.

        I’ve come to the conclusion that anything coming from Foreign Affairs is BS, meant to guide public opinion for the benefit of the Rockefeller financial empire. I tend to tune it out.

        Likely there is a factual basis for the article, but there is also a payload of conceptual and semantic frames that influence the reader to a point of view sympathetic to the Rockefellers and ExxonMobil.

        So, my opinion, take anything from Foreign Affairs with a grain (or a wheelbarrow full) of salt.

    • The first half of the first sentence is rather a false statement. Greenhouse gas emissions result in short term harm and long term catastrophe would be a better way of putting it. That said, the aerosol impact, particularly on health, is pretty egregious all on its own without the added issue of a hothouse extinction toxin added in with it all.

      How about “While greenhouse gasses produce wide ranging and long term harmful effects, aerosols generate an acute, immediate toxic impact.” No need to arbitrarily downplay one to note the importance of the other.

      • “The first half of the first sentence is rather a false statement. Greenhouse gas…”

        Good point.
        (Like I said earlier: “– As a subject here is more to be said about this topic…”

  46. – Posted as area has concentrations of petrochemical facilities — an dense populations.

  47. Reply

      Global warming and the intense El Niño now underway are prolonging the longest global coral die-off on record, according to NOAA scientists monitoring and forecasting the loss of corals from disease and heat stress due to record ocean temperatures. The global coral bleaching event that started in 2014 could extend well into 2017, researchers report at the Oceans Sciences Meeting here this week.


      The length of the event means corals in some parts of the world have no time to recover before they are hit by another bleaching event, Eakin said. The current global bleaching event is hammering some reefs repeatedly. Reefs bleached in 2015 in the Caribbean and Florida Keys, for instance, have just started to recover, but may start bleaching all over again as early as July, according to Eakin. In the Pacific, reports are just coming in that corals in Fiji’s nearshore waters are bleaching with lots of dead coral.

      “This is now two years in a row for Fiji and it’s looking like 2016 may be worse than 2015,” Eakin said.


  48. Cate

     /  February 23, 2016

    The robins are back: this is central Newfoundland. “Normal” arrival time is late March to mid-April. Six weeks early. Whew.

    • Q: How’s their nesting material, tree foliage cover, and food supply for rearing their young?

      • Cate

         /  February 23, 2016

        DT, good question. There’s not much snow cover left and will be even less after the “big warm push” in the forecast for Thursday to Friday. No leaves or greenery yet—trees typically leaf out here towards the middle/end of May, but until then there is plenty of coniferous shelter, of course. Sunshine on warm ground and the thawed ground around foundations will help produce surface bugs and worms to tide them over, but it’s worrisome to see them so early, as we can have our worst winter weather right through March to mid-April. The real return of spring here always depends on drift ice and wind-direction. Lots of ice and NE winds can keep things pretty cold and damp…….Then again, in the 1983 El Nino, we had the most glorious summer-like April anyone can ever remember.

        Short answer: it varies. 🙂

      • Thanks Cate:
        I’ve been various insect hatches take place before arrival of avians — very sad.
        Robins, besides, worms etc. need the timely leaf cover to hide their nests from predators — usually crows.

  49. 12volt dan

     /  February 23, 2016

    OT but good for a chuckle. denial depot is up and running again. Using satire to discredit the denialotti and using denial tricks to the max laughter effect.


  50. Climate ‘carbon budget’ soon maxed out: study

    Earlier estimates of our “carbon budget”—the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide we can still put into the atmosphere without warming Earth by more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)—have ranged from 590 billion to 2.4 trillion tonnes.
    The new research says the upper limit is actually half that, some 1.24 trillion tonnes of CO2.
    “We have figured out that this budget is at the low end of what studies indicated before,” said lead author Joeri Rogelj, a climate scientist at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria.
    “If we don’t start reducing our emissions immediately, we will blow it in a few decades.”

    Rogelj and half-a-dozen colleagues sought to understand why previous estimates of the carbon budget vary so widely.
    Part of the gap stems from different methods and scenarios that project trends into the future.
    Another factor is that many studies looked only at the dominant greenhouse gas CO2, using it as a proxy for all others, including methane and nitrous oxide.
    Carbon dioxide accounts for more than 80 percent of global warming.
    “Neglecting the warming from other greenhouse gases leads to larger carbon budgets,” Rogelj explained.

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-02-climate-carbon-maxed.html#jCp

  51. Goldman Sachs Says 40% of Its Oil, Gas Lending to Junk Firms

    Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said about 40 percent of its oil and gas loans and lending commitments are to junk-rated firms.

    The figure, which counts both loans made and future promises to lend, accounted for $4.2 billion of a total $10.6 billion as of the end of December, the New York-based bank said Monday in its annual regulatory filing. Goldman Sachs has $1.5 billion in loans to energy companies rated below investment grade and $2.7 billion in unfunded commitments.


    • And we wonder why the financial institutions are again in trouble. Why is it that Wall Street seems to just want to throw money away in mad, irresponsible profit-seeking schemes that are just destined to fail? Whoever sold this notion that high cost, high polluting, high climate impact fracking was something worthy of receiving massive capital flows when we already had so much in the way of low polluting, falling cost renewable energy options was just an utter fool. And we still have people on Wall Street throwing money at propping this industry up (yeah, you — Warren Buffet).

      The message needs to go through loud and clear. We vote for our future with the dollars we send to these bad actor corporations. And the future too many of our billionaire investors have been voting for is something awful. Ruined economies and wrecked climates. That’s what happens with this particular malinvestment. If there was a textbook definition of epic resource curse — this would be it.

      • – “epic resource curse”, I had to look that one up. I like it. Another word for lunacy or suicide pact?

        What is a ‘Resource Curse’

        A paradoxical situation in which countries with an abundance of non-renewable resources experience stagnant growth or even economic contraction. The resource curse occurs as a country begins to focus all of its energies on a single industry, such as mining, and neglects other major sectors.

        As a result, the nation becomes overly dependent on the price of commodities, and overall gross domestic product becomes extremely volatile. Additionally, government corruption often results

        • Epic in the sense that Wall Street appears to believe that it’s dependent on the high price of oil (gas and coal) in order to make economic headway. At this point, it’s not a resource curse that impacts just one country, it’s a curse that has afflicted (at least in perception) the whole of the financial markets.

          I can’t say I’m too surprised given the near complete lack of vision by far too many in the financial world these days. But there’s something underlying all this. Too many people made bets that high oil prices (gas and coal) would continue. Too many made bets that demand would keep going up and that renewables and efficiencies would only be marginal players. And many more believed that there wasn’t enough in the way of fossil fuels in the ground or that technology could not rapidly tap unconventional fossil fuels. Too many denied climate change and its impact on global politics — to the point now that billionaires overly invested in fossil fuels and related, dangerous legacy infrastructure, are now fighting with everything they’ve got to suppress the burgeoning wave of renewable energy and efficiency.

          Well, demand is flat or stagnant. Renewables and efficiencies are growing into more and more markets each day despite the vast effort by powerful monied interests to suppress them (which also results in market volatility). People are very concerned and increasingly concerned about climate change — policies at the global, federal, state and city level keep pushing for an energy transition and a shift away from fossil fuels. Some of the policies are blocked or delayed. But the momentum is on the side of renewables. Now all that capital in oil, gas and coal threatens to become a stranded asset. All those claimed trillions of dollars in reserves threaten to come to nothing. The global market is suffering because it invested in wrecking the world. In essentially making money off of wrecking the climate and all the severe damage and harm that goes along with it. Now it’s becoming clear to many that it was a bad choice. And as the base of fossil fuel support destabilizes, the resource curse rears its head.

          That’s what happens when you throw all the money after a bad idea. You get these bubbles and these bursts. Why did it happen? Well, monied interests prevented us from generating an effective signal — a direction for the market to follow. They blocked effective regulation and a carbon tax. If these policies had been in place we wouldn’t have all this capital bloat in fossil fuels. But billionaires, apparently, pursued the curse. Those like Buffet and the Kochs DECIDED to throw caution to the wind and double down on a dreadfully harmful set of investments. So now the market suffers from the resource curse. In spades.

      • Reply
    • Bill H

       /  February 24, 2016

      Good catch. So Goldman-Sachs are admitting to the scale of the problem, especially natural gas. Many people actually engaged in extraction of fossil fuels (as opposed to the “energy analysts” wheeled out by the MSM) have been pointing this out for years.Quite apart from its environmental effects nat-gas fracking has been an economic disaster. See for instance:
      Basicially, fracked gas cost over $6 per 1000 cubic feet to produce, yet the price of gas has been well below this level throughout the “fracking boom”. Investors are being fleeced after falling for a load of worthless claims by the fossil fuel industry.

      • This is similar to the 2008 crash in that risk in the fracking industry had been transferred wholesale to the investment banks. The level of capitalization of these assets by investors was just egregious especially considering what we already knew about their environmental impact. Add in the fact that fracked gas cannot economically exist in a world where the cost of solar and wind is so low, provides yet more proof that this was a terrible malinvestment.

        In other words, if these people had instead invested in wind and solar, the price of natural gas would still be high, solar and wind would be holding larger portions of the market, and both sets of companies would be far more solvent — with the marginal gas players falling off but not crashing wholesale and risking taking the TBTF banks down with them.

        Now, the market is paying the price for high cost to extract gas, we have a glut of a fuel that’s environmentally destructive, and wind and solar have to compete in a way that they shouldn’t — due to market structural distortions created by an artificial and irrational capital bubble. The same can be said for unconventional oil and electric vehicles.

        I don’t know what else to say but — dear god are some of these billionaires really, really harmful and just basically (when it comes to broader vision and thinking) stupid (Buffet, Kochs).

  52. The Biggest Oil Leak You’ve Never Heard Of, Still Leaking After 12 Years

    Far away from TV cameras and under the radar of the nightly news, oil has been continuously leaking from a damaged production platform located just 12 miles off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico—causing an oily sheens on the surface that stretch for miles and are visible from space.

    The Risks of Offshore Oil Production

    In September 2004, Hurricane Ivan slammed into the Gulf and unleashed an underwater mudslide which toppled the Mississippi Canyon 20 (MC20) oil platform. The offshore platform was located in 450 feet of water near the outlet of the Mississippi River. After the mudslide, the platform ended up on the seafloor, 900 feet from its original location and plumes of oil began seeping from the broken well casings of more than 20 wells that had been connected to the platform.


  1. A Monster 2016 Arctic Melt Season May Have Already Begun | Damn the Matrix
  2. links | keep resisting!
  3. As a Titanic El Nino Begins to Fade, What Fresh Trouble Will a Record Warm World Bring? | robertscribbler
  4. Como um Titanic o El Nino Começa a Esmorecer, Que Problemas Frescos Trará um Mundo Quente Recorde? - Aquecimento Global

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