Human Hothouse Spurs Longest Coral Die-Off on Record

The big coral die-off began in the Western Pacific as a massive ocean temperature spike built up during 2014. Back then, ocean heat accumulation had hit a very high ramp. A vicious, century-and-a-half long increase in atmospheric greenhouse gasses re-radiated greater and greater portions of the sun’s energy hitting the Earth — transferring the bulk (about 90 percent) to the world ocean system.

Major Coral Bleaching Event

(A report out today from AGU finds that the world is now experiencing its longest coral die-off event on record. Image source: AGU.)

By 2015, as one of the strongest El Ninos on record began to extend its influence across the globe, a broad region stretching from the Western Pacific, through the Central Pacific and on into the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean were all experiencing mass coral die-offs. Into early 2016, die-off events again expanded taking in Australian waters and sections of the Indian Ocean off East Africa and Western India.

After 20 months of ongoing coral mortality, we are now in the midst of the longest coral die-off event on record — one of only four such events that the world has ever experienced.

The Fourth Major Coral Die-Off

Researchers have long known that corals are sensitive to changes in ocean temperature. A rise in ocean water readings by as little as 1 degree Celsius above average peaks over the period of a month can be enough to set off a life-threatening condition called a coral bleaching event. According to a recent report in AGU:

The bleaching, or whitening, occurs when the corals expel the symbiotic algae that live in their tissues. Without the algae, corals lose a significant source of food and are more vulnerable to disease. In a severe bleaching event, large swaths of reef-building corals die. This causes reefs to erode, destroying fish habitat and exposing previously protected shorelines to the destructive force of ocean waves.

The typical bleaching threshold for most corals tends to be in the range of 29-30 degrees Celsius or about 84-86 degrees Fahrenheit over an extended period. And with the world ocean surface approaching a range near 1 C above 1880s averages, this threshold is hit more and more frequently — putting corals at greater and greater risk.

(World Resources Institute Published the above video in 2012 as a survey of, then current, threats to global coral reef systems. By 2030, heating of the world ocean system, ocean acidification and global warming related dead zones will provide an extreme existential challenge to the world’s beautiful and diverse coral reef systems.)

Prior to the 1980s, widespread coral bleaching events were unheard of. Though isolated events occurred, the world ocean system had not yet warmed enough to put corals at major risk. However, by the 1980s global ocean temperatures had begun to rise into ranges at which peak ocean warming periods could put corals in the firing line for major, globe-spanning die offs.

The first such major, global coral die-off occurred during the, then record, 1982-1983 El Nino. At the time this event was unprecedented. And it held the dubious standing as the only such event until the 1997-1998 Super El Nino set off a similar, though longer-lasting mass die off. By the late 2000s, global ocean temperatures had again risen — hitting marks high enough to enable a weak 2010 El Nino to set off the third mass coral die-off.

The fourth mass die off began in 2014 prior to the most recent super El Nino — which has only exaggerated and lengthened its impact. It is now the longest lasting coral die-off ever recorded. And researchers expect it to continue on through at least much of 2016 and possibly into 2017.

Corals Entering a Period of Killing Heat

As the oceans are predicted to continue warming over the next few decades, corals are expected to come under ever-worsening stress. A recent report by the World Resources Institute (WRI) found that regions experiencing the current mass die-off were 70-90 percent likely to experience similar events at a frequency of once every two years by 2030. And a much larger region was expected to have a 50 to 70 percent risk of experiencing a bleaching event over a two year time-frame.

future_bleaching_web_low-res-preview1

(World Resources Institute in 2012 found that mass coral bleaching and related die-off would occur with extraordinary frequency post 2030. Image source: The World Resources Institute.)

By the 2050s, under business as usual fossil fuel burning, WRI expects that much of the world’s temperate and tropical oceans would experience coral bleaching events bi-annually.

Taking this stark prediction into account we find that the threat to corals over the coming decades will eventually exceed El Nino periodicity and become common during most ocean climate states. The current, likely two year to 30 month, coral die off should serve as a warning for the worse and more frequent hits to corals that will, sadly, be stacking up over the coming decades. Eventually, mass coral die-offs in the continually warming world ocean will become continuous and ubiquitous unless the current trend somehow draws swiftly to a halt.

In addition, given an expanding ocean acidification proceeding southward from the poles and more and more widespread zones of ocean anoxia (areas of water containing very little oxygen), what we are seeing is that threats to coral health are rapidly multiplying due to influences directly related to human-forced climate change.

Links:

El Nino Prolongs Longest Coral Bleaching Event

NOAA: Coral Bleaching Background

World Resources Institute Shows Widespread Coral Bleaching by 2030

The World Resources Institute

Hat Tip to TodaysGuestIs

Hat Tip to DT Lange

 

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169 Comments

  1. It’s all so very depressing. Our beautiful world is dying before our eyes, and it seems that the best we can do is provide hospice care, if that.

    I used to love exploring the coral reefs in Hawaii and admiring the fish and other critters that swirl around their wondrous nooks and crannies. But I have pretty much hung up my snorkel and fins now. Here is the peak experience that I want as my enduring memory of coral, not the sinking feeling of hunting around some bone-white corpse of a reef for a few lingering bits of color and life: http://blog.edsuom.com/2013/08/coral.html

    Reply
    • Looks like a glorious day. I never feel so alive as when I’m in an environment like the one shown above. So sad that fossil fuel burning will be wrecking so much of the beauty and the life in our oceans. I think, more than anything, our shared love for the ocean should compell us to act. Raise your hands — all of you who wanted to be a marine biologist when you were a kid. Now let’s give a good hard think about how much and the kinds of marine biology we want to have for our future, for our children and their children. If we’re still investing in fossil fuels, it can’t be very much.

      Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  February 25, 2016

      https://robertscribbler.com/2016/02/22/a-monster-2016-arctic-melt-season-may-have-already-begun/#comment-69393

      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.

      Corals may survive long term, but not necessarily the species most common in our oceans

      Reply
      • That’s a little encouraging. But the issue is the new species will have to become very widely established over a rather short period of time. In addition, the other impacts such as ocean acidification and anoxia are likely to affect them — at least retarding some of the ability to repopulate lost zones. In context, it’s the end for corals as we know them in very short order if things don’t somehow, very rapidly, change.

        Reply
  2. Another great article. Corals went extinct for 10 million years during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum 55 million years ago when temperatures went up 5C-8C due to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 and a second pulse, probably of methane clathrates (Bowen et al. Nature Geoscience 12/15/14). Since CO2e is already almost at 500 parts per million and atmospheric CO2 is still accelerating at record rates, it appears to me that we may have already crossed the tipping point for saving coral.
    Unfortunately, humans are quite selfish and self-centered. I wish researchers would start publishing even very rough estimates of how many humans will die this century because of the human-induced emissions and how many humans will die due to our 2016 emissions. Hansen once said that the Earth might only be able to sustain 1 billion people next century. Mike Berners-Lee in his excellent carbon footprint book How Bad Are Bananas? conservatively guesstimates that one human will die later this century for every 150 tons of CO2 emitted now. If Berners-Lee is correct, that means that we humans will be responsible for causing 25 million deaths later this century due to our 2016 emissions alone and it may be a lot worse than that.
    I know that these are very rough projections. But climate scientists have already made dire projections of what will happen to U.S. farmland and the farmlands of other nations. More objective analysis of what this means to human death rates might wake people up. We need to make people realize that they personally bear a responsibility for their carbon footprint. Yes, we need lots of governmental action, but individuals decide who to vote for, whether to buy an EV, whether to install solar panels, eat beef and dairy, fly an airplane, etc. I think that more development of human death rates, not just coral and animal extinction rates, would have a more motivating impact. Massive disaster and death is rushing at us like an almost unstoppable locomotive. What each of us does this year will have an impact.

    Reply
    • rustj2015

       /  February 24, 2016

      Very concise view. Be here now.

      Reply
    • So we’ve already emitted about 1,500 billion tons of CO2. If that 150 ton per human mortality is true, then we’ve locked in 10 billion deaths. If it just counts for CO2 emitted since 2000, say. Then we’ve emitted about 450 billion tons of CO2 since then, equaling 3 billion human deaths. The current annual CO2 emission is 39 gigatons or 50 gigatons CO2e including other greenhouse gasses. That’s an annual rate of loss equal to roughly 250 million to 330 million respectively. These numbers seem a bit high to me. I suppose we could extrapolate a total human population collapse with a 50 percent probability of extinction (PE 50) at around 1,000 to 1,200 ppm CO2. Using the current human population as a baseline, that would be about 700,000 deaths per gigaton CO2 emission.

      This might be worth some further work. But it’s a pretty amazingly grim subject.

      Reply
  3. Reblogged this on GarryRogers Nature Conservation and commented:
    It’s like a bad dream from which one cannot wake.

    Reply
  4. Andy in SD

     /  February 24, 2016

    When J. Robert Oppenheimer quoted Bhagavad Gita and said “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” he probably didn’t realize that it was not the atom bomb which would fulfill the quote, but rather the human condition.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  February 24, 2016

      Ka:la actually means ‘time’ not ‘death.’

      Reply
      • wili

         /  February 24, 2016

        And the Sanskrit in that verse (11:32) actually says ‘destroyer of all beings in all worlds.’
        In that sense, the verse is actually talking about the natural cycles of things. All beings must die so new being can come to life. Basically, not species can survive if death doesn’t help eliminate those that have gone before.

        But we are beyond being that kind of death. We are utter annihilators of entire species, of entire ranges of species, of entire ecologies (as we see here above), nearly of the entire planetary community of complex life (not to mention lots of the not-so-complex life).

        Reply
  5. climatehawk1

     /  February 24, 2016

    Tweeting.

    Reply
  6. Scott

     /  February 24, 2016

    I had the good fortune to experience a day of diving on the Great Barrier Reef in 2000. It just, by blind luck, was the day the coral spawned. Our guide was going crazy, looking at all the amazing creatures, and sharing with me the amazing creatures, that were flocking all over that reef. I’ll never forget that amazing day.
    It breaks my heart that children born today, those who might be better divers than I could ever hope to be, will never be able to see the beauty, the life, the vibrancy, that I saw on that day of nothing but pure, dumb, luck.

    Reply
  7. Mark from OZ

     /  February 24, 2016

    It’s ominous all right and the bleaching is yet another result of the increasing average kinetic energy (another way of defining ‘ temperature’) of the earth’s water.

    What’s frequently overlooked (likely ignored) is water’s enormous ability to absorb thermal energy (heat capacity). Water and ammonia (amongst the common liquids we all tend to use) are the ‘heavy hitters’ here due to their hydrogen bonds and to put some numbers on water really helps to show how ‘marvellous’ it is.

    Here, one (1) calorie is the amount of thermal energy required to heat one gram of liquid H20 one (1) degree centigrade. Hence why H20 ‘gets’ a heat capacity (HC) of one (1).
    Note: That same calorie applied to one (1) gram of mercury would increase its kinetic energy by 33 degrees! (HG’s HC is 0.3).

    For ‘heat of fusion’ ( the amount of heat energy required to change a solid (ice) to a liquid (H20) without increasing the ‘temperature’ is an impressive 80 calories/ gram!
    Following on, as ‘temperatures’ increase, the ‘heat of vaporization’ ( liquid to gas phase) requires an astonishing 540 calories/gram .

    Is why ‘steam’ is so dangerous; as it moves from ‘gas’ back to ‘liquid’ all that energy gets liberated during that process.

    In the context of our collective examination of the Earth’s average kinetic energy (land, sea and air) it helps to appreciate the extraordinary ability of H20 to absorb (and release) thermal energy and to respect that though it may have ‘seemed’ to offer an infinite capacity to absorb, most life forms (humans and coral included) are ‘designed’ for very thin temperature ranges. When these temps are exceeded (hi or low),’ trouble’ begins to compound.

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  February 24, 2016

      So picture, thanks Mark, that next single relentless solar calorie, after it melted that gram of ice in the arctic, can now raise that gram of water 80 degrees! Picture the arctic after it melts and all that energy now putting that newly liquid water into overdrive. It’s already happening but when it all melts a tremendous shock will occur to the system and most of us here will be alive to bear witness.

      Reply
      • Greg

         /  February 24, 2016

        more precisely, that last 80 calories it took to melt that gram, when received again, now raise it 80 degrees.

        Reply
  8. redskylite

     /  February 24, 2016

    First corals I saw first hand were off Key Largo in Florida, in the early 1970’s during a holiday of a life time and the corals were truly a spectacle. Climate Change is largely a story of the oceans and the state of our corals reminds us how valuable they are to so many people and lively hoods. Another thing that is largely out of sight, never out of mind.

    Many scientists are repeatedly warning us about the plight of the Australian great barrier reef, some have even jeopardized their academic careers, in an unsympathetic political atmosphere.

    The latest study on accelerating sea level rise from Rutgers/Potsdam has made front page news and has been well accepted in several leading newspapers (including the New York Times and Al Jazeera). Maybe the penny/pfennig has finally dropped and truth is at last being aired to the public by conventional media outlets.

    I sincerely hope so . . . . . .

    “Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR), the world’s largest coral bank, is at greater risk than previously thought of dissolving as climate change renders the oceans more acidic, researchers said Tuesday.

    A decline in aragonite—the mineral that corals use to build their skeletons—is likely to accelerate, they found, as oceans absorb carbon dioxide spewed by mankind’s burning of fossil fuels.

    This disturbs ocean chemistry, leading to a drop in the pH level and less aragonite, a crystal form of calcium carbonate.

    Without this life-sustaining mineral, corals cannot rebuild their skeletons and will disintegrate over time.”

    http://phys.org/news/2016-02-australia-barrier-reef-greater-thought.html

    Reply
    • The sea level rise study was darn good science. It’s worth noting that though we can’t get a clear picture of SLR rates prior to 800 BC, what we’re seeing now in the form of rising oceans is probably the fastest since the end of the last ice age. If we hit 3 cm per year, our resolution from 10,000 years BP to 20,000 years BP is enough proof. Right now rate of rise is probably 0.4 to 0.5 cm per year global (hindcast over last 24 years is 0.334 mm per year or more than twice the average rate of rise for the 20th Century with a steepening slope at the end).

      Reply
      • wili

         /  February 24, 2016

        “we can’t get a clear picture of SLR rates prior to 800 BC”
        Perhaps, but there are a lot of people trying to sharpen that picture.

        “what we’re seeing now in the form of rising oceans is probably the fastest since the end of the last ice age”
        Again, perhaps, but the following and other studies are finding quite a rapid pulse at about 7200 before present of about four meters in just a few years/decades. See figure 2 in the following article:

        http://people.rses.anu.edu.au/lambeck_k/pdf/262.pdf

        Reply
      • wili

         /  February 24, 2016

        Sorry, I was eyeballing it. He gives figures for estimated rates here:
        ” For example, a sea-level rise of ~4 m
        during the time span 7900–7600 cal yr B.P. has
        been documented offshore along the German
        North Sea coast (Behre, 2007); the rise is related
        to a similar rise in southern Kattegat Sea dated
        to 7700–7400 cal yr B.P. (Christensen, 1997), as
        well as to a ~6 m rise in the southwest Baltic Sea
        dated as 8000–7700 cal yr B.P. (Lemke, 2004). ” p. 893

        It seems to me that Hansen and others have talked about increases about this time that were even faster than this. In any case, 4 – 6 meters over 300 years adds up to a lot more than your current estimate of ~.5 cm / year. I think we may well get there, but not yet.

        Reply
        • I think we can’t perterb the climate system as much as we have now without seeing some pretty unexpected and outlandish consequences. Rapid sea level rise is one of the top suspects from a list that will probably include more than one perp.

      • wili

         /  February 24, 2016

        “Hansen (2007) suggested that a 10-year doubling time was plausible, and pointed out that such a doubling time, from a 1mm per year ice sheet contribution to sea level in the decade 2005-2015,would lead to a cumulative 5 m sea level rise by 2095” (p.22)
        http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1105/1105.0968.pdf

        Reply
        • What we will probably see is melt pulses. The talk of doubling times can be helpful when looking at trends. But, in reality, these things seem to give way in big surges and the curves we see in the ice age graphs have been rounded out by more than a little bit.

      • wili

         /  February 24, 2016

        Robert, good points, all. Thanks for another excellent and timely post. I hope you are doing well.

        Reply
        • Warmest regards to you, Wili and thanks for asking. I’m hanging in there. This is my period of winter presentations which tends to get me all piled up with things to do. But I think I’ve navigated it a little bit better than in the past. You guys, as ever, are kicking some serious butt. Fantastic comments all.

  9. redskylite

     /  February 24, 2016

    500 million folks live on the world’s river deltas, a latest study finds serious erosion increasing at a rate even higher than the current sea level rise. What sort of future will we experience ? How will we adapt ? Will we adapt ?

    CU-Boulder Professor James Syvitski said more than two-thirds of the the world’s 33 major deltas are sinking and the vast majority of those have experienced flooding in recent years, primarily a result of human activity. Some 500 million people live on river deltas around the world, a number that continues to climb as the population increases.

    http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2016/02/23/worlds-large-river-deltas-continue-degrade-human-activity

    Reply
  10. Corals are some of the first agriculturalists, living in limestone houses, and growing a plant monoculture: http://ocean.si.edu/ocean-photos/what-coral-coral-polyp-and-zooxanthellae

    Sent from my iPad 🙏🏻

    >

    Reply
  11. Spike

     /  February 24, 2016

    A very poignant article – I’ve never seen a reef and never will as it would involve flying huge distances in the very near future, but their fate still matters to me in a strange way.

    At times I lapse into pessimism on reading such stuff, however beautifully and compassionately written and explained. Well over time to really get our act into gear and transition to a new way of living along these lines:

    http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/life-after-oil/100-renewable-energy-what-we-can-do-in-10-years-20160222

    Your next election over the pond is crucial. Please don’t screw it up. Yours sincerely.

    A Brit.

    Reply
    • We’re doing our best not to. Problem is, well, billionaires like Kochs and Buffets and Murdochs and the masses they’ve misinformed.

      It seems there’s a huge amount of Bernie Sanders suppression going on now. The angle appears in the form of a direct attack on our understanding of systemic inequities in our system and how that creates distortions in both the financial world and in politics. Sometimes, we’ll get bad information even from traditional ‘liberal’ media.

      As an example, Stiglitz and a number of top economists indicated early on in the financial crisis of 2008 that the effective repeal of Glass Steagal from 1975 through 1999 (GLBA) laid the groundwork for Banks becoming too big to fail even as an earlier weakening in the law allowed non-financial institutions to trade in financial assets.

      Stiglitz was basically right. If Glass Steagal regulations had not been weakened over the decades and suffered a final blow in 1999, then the 2008 crash would not have happened. Banks would not have formed these massive too big to fail conglomerates, mortgages would not have been commoditized, and the government would not have been forced to bail too big to fail corporations out in order to save the economy.

      Bernie Sanders has been correct in pointing out that this structural inequality — with too much money concentrated in too few places — continues. Dodd Frank provides added protections after the 2008 crisis. However, there is still risk of widespread failure, of booms and busts and malinvestment and crashes given these inequalities.

      He’s pushing for a Glass Steagal of the 21st Century that would bust these big financial institutions up, spread their holdings out to more distributed pots, generate rules that prevent the generation of shadow banks and funny financial products like derivatives.

      My opinion is that what Bernie says now is particularly relevant when it comes to the current malinvestment of fossil fuels. In essence, the banks are bloated with fossil fuel risk. Huge loans they made to capitalize things like fracking, pipelines, and tar sands. Now that those assets are unprofitable and the risks have been commoditized in the form of Wall Street paper held, primarily, by a few huge too big to fail banks, we have a similar risk of structural collapse when these oil and gas and coal companies start to fail.

      Now it might not be quite as bad as 2008 due to Dodd Frank and the deleveraging that was required post collapse. But the fact that we still have this risk is a clear sign that we didn’t fully learn the lessons of 2008.

      I think the problem is that we still have a huge number of people who irrationally believe in the magical free market. That an unregulated market can self-govern. That those holding money are somehow virtuous and make good decisions and don’t need direction from the public in the form of government rules and laws.

      Well, what has that gotten us? Again, we have a malinvestment in the form of fracking and oil and gas infrastructure bloat at exactly the time when those assets should be winding down due to an entirely moral and appropriate response to worsening climate change. This bloat created a structural weakness. One the markets may pay dearly for.

      Reply
  12. Ryan in New England

     /  February 24, 2016

    Really great job on this and the previous post, Robert. We are witnessing a host of unprecedented events and changes in the biosphere/climate, and it seems like they’re happening with ever increasing frequency. I’ve been really busy for a few days and haven’t had much of a chance to check in here, but when I finally did I was overwhelmed by the amount of information in your posts and subsequent comments and links from all the Scribblers here. This place has grown into something really special, and is an amazing resource for information on all things climate related.

    Fantastic job, Robert! And thank you. A million times, thank you. For your hard work and tremendous efforts🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks, Ryan. I really appreciate everyone’s kind words and thoughts. The thing I’m trying to keep impressing on people is that we really can’t survive and live healthy, wealthy lives without the amazing services that the living world provides. That burning fossil fuels is now, and ever more rapidly, taking that life and wealth away. The story of the coral reefs is, perhaps, one of the hardest tales to hear. It’s tough because their rapid decline is imminent and our best hope for them now, since we have waited so long to stop burning fossil fuels, is that some of them will survive if we act fast enough.

      I think it will be the same thing for many coastal cities and a good number of nations of this world. Because we didn’t act fast enough, even if we do now, some of them will be lost.

      The point now is to do our best to save coral as a species and to prevent as much further harm as possible. The irresponsibility — primarily of a number of wealthy individuals and fossil fuel dependent nations who lacked the imagination and moral fortitude to see a way out — has cost us dearly.

      Reply
  13. Ryan in New England

     /  February 24, 2016

    A new study shows that deniers are impervious to facts and data that demonstrate the reality of climate change, which I’m sure every reader here has found out if they’ve ever tried to debate with a denier about whether or not AGW is real. It doesn’t matter how much education they have, how much they’ve read about the subject or even if they’ve been experiencing exactly the type of extreme weather that scientists have been warning about for decades. The one thing that will determine their interpretation of reality is their political ideology.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/02/23/3752548/climate-denial-linked-to-politics/

    So, that naturally leads to the question, how do you prove something to somebody if they automatically dismiss all forms of proof? How do we convince half of Americans to not destroy the future of all life on Earth? Democracy no longer works in America because the sane half of America that resides in demonstrable reality has the impossible task of convincing the other half that they live here too…and the Republican nuthouse has shouted back that they live in Republicanland, where the laws of nature are different, and they won’t listen to anything any liberal scientist might try and tell them. We are stuck in a stalemate, and physics isn’t backing down.

    Reply
    • Jean

       /  February 24, 2016

      I think that people need to be bombarded w repeated info ,like the car ads,to catch on.After more and more catch on the herd will follow..the Corporate media will not let that happen.No free press no democracy

      Reply
    • JPL

       /  February 24, 2016

      Ryan,

      A few deniers may come around of their own accord, most likely by having their lives turned upside down courtesy of the latest once-in-a-thousand-year storm, but mostly they will not be convinced by us. They are unwilling to open their eyes and thus they won’t. I think time is better spent working towards ensuring that the generation currently in school is learning the real science and truth of our situation. Here in the US, there are powerful interests at work right now attempting to introduce doubt about human-caused climate change in science classrooms across the US.
      Here is an article from last November: http://phys.org/news/2015-11-textbooks-inaccurately-science-climate-uncertain.html

      I’m sure once upon a time students were being taught both sides of the gravity debate or the earth-is-round debate. It would not surprise me if it took a few generations to put those faux debates to bed. I think we’re in the same boat now. When I talk to my teenage kids about what is happening, they don’t like the subject matter much, because of the implications for their adults lives, but they get the science. That is what matters.

      John

      Reply
      • Reading this I think about my relationship with my father and how lucky I was to be raised by a man who appreciated and held a great sense of awe for the beauty of the natural world. If we can see the precious thing that we are losing, we realize how worthwhile and necessary it is to fight to preserve it, to keep it safe, to somehow manage to rewrite the laws of the human world so that we become protectors and revitalizers of the amazing place that has so nurtured our race, that has given the precious gift of life in abundance.

        Reply
    • We have to, in the broader effect, win this debate and/or outmaneuver those who hold these outmoded beliefs. Otherwise, we collapse. The republican politicians are like the high priests sacrificing children to appease the gods they worship. In this case, money. That’s what happens in societies whose belief systems become so calcified that they can’t change to face reality. The future is sacrificed for perceived and yet all too hollow powers of an ever more ephemeral present.

      The problem here, as with many collapse contexts, is that these beliefs are based on the short-term pursuit of wealth and power. Republicans, and primarily republican leaders, believe their way of thinking is a Monty-Haul get rich quick scheme. God is the Santa Clause of their insatiable desire for wish-fulfillment. If you just believe, or in this case, lie hard enough — then they seem to think it will all come true. They’ve been convinced of this by irresponsible, amoral billionaire campaign financiers and related wealthy corporations invested in harm and who continue to madly grasp for political power. So what we have is people suffering under a political and spiritual ponzi scheme. One that increasingly dominates media and public outlets through the polluting influence of money. And, enabled by this supply of good money going after bad, the republican politicians are leading the charge off the cliff.

      Reply
      • JPL

         /  February 24, 2016

        “We have to, in the broader effect, win this debate and/or outmaneuver those who hold these outmoded beliefs.”

        We’ll need people on the inside, so to speak, to make that happen. People armed with the science who can take deniers through a Socratic questioning of their beliefs on this subject.

        As I indicated in my post just above, scientifically literate kids may be our only shot at pulling this off. Who else would those rooting for a Chump presidency listen too?

        Maybe if we can get Exxon or the other oil majors to admit their responsibility for obfuscating the scientific truth in court, that might have an impact too, but I’m not holding my breath

        John.

        Reply
        • The fact that state Attorney Generals are taking them to court now is already a part of history. We should realize now that we’re embroiled in the most important economic and moral conflict since the demise of the legalized slave trade in the 19th Century. The Clean Power Plan, the Supreme Court’s stay, Warren Buffet fighting to kill renewables in the west, responsible people blocking pipelines in the same region, people paying extra to install solar and batteries to gain energy independence from fossil fuels, markets and big banks strained by fossil fuel malinvestment, political systems polarized around the world over the issues of energy and climate, climate growing ever worse, coral reefs dying off, the great glaciers melting away, Arctic sea ice apparently in terminal fall, storms like we’ve never seen before blowing up everywhere, droughts like we’ve never seen before and the threat of famine again expanding, millions and millions at risk of displacement due to climate impacts, the southwest drying out on a decadal basis, the Amazon falling to fires and deforestation, and on and on and on.

          We live in an age of conflict. This is your world at 1.1 C hotter than 1880s averages.

      • Cate

         /  February 24, 2016

        Here’s one thing that’s never going to change: the minds of corporate billionaires. Psychopaths cannot be remediated. Period. We are heading for the cliff and they are fully and firmly in control. It will take nothing short of a global revolution to stop them. Vive la revolution.

        Reply
        • Then that control must be wrested from their grasping hands. Fin. There is not greater moral calling. The polluting power of money must fail.

      • Mblanc

         /  February 24, 2016

        It took the Great depression and WW2, arguably, to get control for the only previous time it has really happened. But that was in the context of Keynesian economics being fashionable.

        I’m sure we will eventually wrest control back again, but it won’t be until massive damage is locked in, and terrible events are commonplace.

        Historians might well see Reagan/Thatcher clearly for what they were, neo-liberal counter-revolutionaries, with the worst timing imaginable.

        Reply
        • Yeah. That about sums it up. As for Reagan and Thatcher — you got that right. Although both would be relatively liberal by today’s standards.

  14. Ryan in New England

     /  February 24, 2016

    This is horrible, infuriating, but at the same time not surprising to those familiar with the enormous influence multinational corporations have in crafting policy and eliminating barriers to create unobstructed access to the world’s resources. Exxon-Mobil was assured that the TTIP (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) would eliminate obstacles to devolopment in third-world countries.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/23/eu-told-exxonmobil-that-ttip-would-aid-global-expansion-documents-reveal

    Reply
    • If trade deals can’t manage to be something other than tools for fossil fuel company dominance and continued expansion of burning of harmful gasses, then we shouldn’t have trade deals in the first place. We should be crafting trade deals to expand renewables into new markets and phase out the fossil fuels. That’s what a responsible world economic system would look like.

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  February 24, 2016

        Responsible world economic system? RS, the only thing our world economic system is responsible to is the demands of the corporate psychopaths, all of whom, by the way, huddle every January at Davos with their political lackeys, ie, presidents, prime ministers, heads of state, etc. Davos is where the world’s leaders answer to their masters, every single year.

        Vive la revolution.

        *crazy as a bag of hammers*

        Reply
  15. Kevin Jones

     /  February 24, 2016

    More Arctic unraveling:

    Reply
  16. Kevin Jones

     /  February 24, 2016

    Sorry. 2nd attempt:
    exp-studies.tor.ec.gc.ca/ozone/images/graphs/o3_hrmaps_dev/current.gif

    Reply
  17. wili

     /  February 24, 2016

    [image]exp-studies.tor.ec.gc.ca/ozone/images/graphs/o3_hrmaps_dev/current.gif[/image]

    Reply
    • wili

       /  February 24, 2016

      OK, I give up. How do you upload images here?

      Reply
      • Kevin Jones

         /  February 24, 2016

        Thanks for trying, wili. It’s a map of arctic ozone depletion from Environment Canada World Ozone Monitoring and Mapping. It shows a region of up to 50% depletion underway.

        Reply
        • Added your image, Kevin. Posted how to link it. I’ll take a screen shot of the code, upload it here, and post it later for ease of use.

      • Ok phonetically then

        open pointy bracket space img src equal sign open quotes image html close quotes alt equal sign open quotes description close quotes front slash close pointy bracket

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

        Reply
      • wili

         /  February 24, 2016

        Thanks, rs. Sorry we’re so helpless with these things. This is what I found online. I’m adding extra spaces between each symbol so it doesn’t actually create an image (I hope):

        In your instruction, the first ‘space’ should be between ‘img’ and ‘src’ right, not before?

        Reply
      • -wili. an image link must end in gif, or .jpg, or .png — dotpng etc with nothing after that file type.

        Reply
      • – correction: .gif

        Reply
  18. dnem

     /  February 24, 2016

    So let’s review: Global temperature records have unambiguously left the cherry-pickers’ favorite, 1998, far, far behind. Winter is ending in the arctic, after months of insanely anomalous temperatures, leaving the ice in its most perilous state ever heading into melt season. The strongest cyclones ever recorded in each ocean basin have occurred in the past two years. Major new studies confirm that sea level is rising at its fastest rate in 3000 years, and the rate is accelerating. The most widespread and devastating coral bleaching event ever recorded is currently underway. I could go on.

    And still the penetration of the depth of our predicament into the general consciousness is close to zero. And so it goes…

    Reply
    • I think that’s a pretty good summation. Although I think the public is a bit concerned. If the republicans run in the broader election on climate change denial, or if the democratic candidate does a good job pinning climate change denial on the republican candidate, then they will loose. It’s become an issue of top importance even if the pollsters haven’t figured that out yet.

      Reply
  19. Searing Heat Waves Could Become Annual Threat

    The scorching, deadly heat waves that today strike only about once every 20 years could become an annual occurrence for more than half the world if nothing is done to curb emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, a new study reported Tuesday.

    “Even under more dramatic mitigation scenarios . . . future heat wave frequency and intensity increase very dramatically,” Wehner said in an email. But “we do have a choice about how dangerous the future will be.”

    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/searing-heat-waves-could-become-annual-threat-20066

    Reply
  20. Vic

     /  February 24, 2016

    The bleaching’s now underway on the Great Barrier Reef too.

    Reef scientist Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg says it’s too early to say what will happen with the Great Barrier Reef and whether it will be as bad as 1998 or not. He was recently at Heron Island and saw the bleaching begin. “I was quite surprised by how advanced it was,” he said.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/23/global-coral-bleaching-event-threatens-great-barrier-reef

    TC Winston’s on his way up there too, flapping his leathery wings.

    Reply
    • That’s bad news. Worth noting that as of 2012 more than 50 percent of the reef had already been lost. There may have been some recovery from 2012 to 2016. But damage of that kind can take decades to fully repair and conditions around the reef have continued to remain marginal. So base on this report, it looks like an already substantially damaged reef system is about to take another strong hit.

      https://robertscribbler.com/2012/10/02/global-warming-storms-starfish-take-out-half-of-great-barrier-reef/

      Reply
      • Vic

         /  February 25, 2016

        Yet another timely, accurate and prescient piece there Robert, thanks.

        The growth in your readership since then is quite remarkable and certainly testament to the quality of your work here. Well done I say.

        I think Joe Romm steered his juggernaut into the doldrums. I hope yours doesn’t end up there too. That exponential growth thing’s a real doozy I hear. Good luck.

        Reply
  21. Vic

     /  February 24, 2016

    Australian icebreaker the Aurora Australis has run aground in blizzard conditions at Mawson Station in Antarctica.

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/icebreaker-aurora-australis-runs-aground-at-mawson-station-in-antarctica-20160224-gn2t5f.html

    I swear I can hear Watts tap, tap, tapping away.

    Reply
    • Andy in SD

       /  February 24, 2016

      And the oxymoronic statement he will make will not consider that “run aground” implies rocks, rocks that probably would not have been exposed or reachable in the past.

      Reply
    • Yep, it snowed in Antarctica, so obviously global warming is a hoax.

      Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  February 25, 2016

      Update
      The ship was moored and gale force winds in a blizzard snapped the moorings, blowing it onto rocks.

      http://www.smh.com.au/environment/australia-looks-to-us-china-for-help-after-icebreaker-damaged-in-antarctica-20160225-gn3tpd.html

      Australia is looking to the US and China for help after discovering damage to the national icebreaker, the Aurora Australis, which remains stuck on Antarctic rocks in gale force winds with 68 people aboard.

      The crew found the hull of the ship had been breached, flooding water into an area used for ballast water. The Australian Antarctic Division said there was no risk to the icebreaker’s stability, or of it leaking fuel.

      The ship ran aground in Horseshoe Harbour at Mawson research station on Wednesday afternoon after its moorings broke in winds that reached 176km/h.

      Yes it is a wild and woolly area weather wise, still rather mean blizzard. Good video of it in the article

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  February 25, 2016

        Interesting piccy of Mawson Station, note the ice/snow free rocky peaks in the background

        Reply
  22. Reblogged this on Rhya's Place.

    Reply
  23. Greg

     /  February 24, 2016

    Poseidon is angry. Lake Ponchartrain, New Orleans yesterday. System still hammering the Mid-Atlantic today:

    Reply
  24. wili

     /  February 24, 2016

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/feb/24/earth-is-warming-is-50x-faster-than-when-it-comes-out-of-an-ice-age

    >> Earth is warming 50x faster than when it comes out of an ice age

    A major new study includes some scary implications about how rapidly humans are changing the Earth’s climate<<

    "Recently, The Guardian reported on a significant new study published in Nature Climate Change, finding that even if we meet our carbon reduction targets and stay below the 2°C global warming threshold, sea level rise will eventually inundate many major coastal cities around the world.

    20% of the world’s population will eventually have to migrate away from coasts swamped by rising oceans. Cities including New York, London, Rio de Janeiro, Cairo, Calcutta, Jakarta and Shanghai would all be submerged.

    The authors looked at past climate change events and model simulations of the future. They found a clear, strong relationship between the total amount of carbon pollution humans emit, and how far global sea levels will rise. The issue is that ice sheets melt quite slowly, but because carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for a long time, the eventual melting and associated sea level rise are effectively locked in.

    As a result, the study authors found that due to the carbon pollution humans have emitted so far, we’ve committed the planet to an eventual sea level rise of 1.7 meters (5.5 feet). If we manage to stay within the 1 trillion ton carbon budget, which we hope will keep the planet below 2°C warming above pre-industrial levels, sea levels will nevertheless rise a total of about 9 meters (30 feet). If we continue on a fossil fuel-heavy path, we could trigger a staggering eventual 50 meters (165 feet) of sea level rise…"

    Nothing new to folks here, and some of the estimates seem a bit low. But good to see this getting some msm coverage.

    Reply
    • dnem

       /  February 24, 2016

      Has anyone looked at the predicted impact on the coastal zone of abandoning coastal cities to rising seas? Just imagine the toxic stew that would well out from a major modern city going under water. I suppose we could make an effort to strip some of the worst material in advance, but I doubt the retreat will be orderly enough to do so, at least in many instances.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  February 24, 2016

        One very good reason that evacuations should be planned and carefully executed long before we get a (inevitable and now completely predictable) ‘surprise.’

        Probably no city will go slowly under centimeter by centimeter. Sea levels will rise higher and higher and then on top of that there will be a huge, AGW-exacerbated storm surge, and the place will go underwater all at once. Think Sandy or Katrina but with more permanent damage. Or a Sandy or Katrina hitting with more and more frequency.

        But no, as you say, and in spite of the fact that a large range of these inundations are now inevitable and predictable (even if we can’t pin down the exact timing quite yet), in most places, little to nothing will be done to prepare and retreat in an organized matter. So much life and goods will be lost, and much pollution will flow into the rising waters, making them even more dangerous for all involved, and more toxic for any marine life still trying to eke out an existence.

        Reply
      • Kevin Jones

         /  February 24, 2016

        dnem. I have often thought of this. Just what the surviving oceanic biota will not need….

        Reply
    • So I’ve been beating this drum that the world is warming many times faster than at the end of the last ice age and about six times faster than even the worst warming events for some time. The information is available in many places — including the very accessible Skeptical Science. But the reason why I’ve been beating this drum is that it’s important to understand how dire our predicament is and how swiftly we need to respond. You can’t warm the world at 50 times faster than at the end of the last ice age — covering basically 5,000 years of ice age warming in one Century — without dire consequences to the geophysical system of the Earth.

      I’m glad to see this meme has caught on. It will make communicating the intensity of our plight easier.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  February 24, 2016

        This is one thing I try to get across to my students: Rate of change is everything. I hold a piece of chalk (or whatever else is handy) near my head and slowly move it toward my temple and ask people if my life is in danger from this object. Everyone says no, or looks at me as if I have lost my mind (not an unusual response to my teaching style ‘-)).

        Then I say, what happens if I put the same object in a gun and shoot it point-blank into my head. Everyone admits that this is likely to be lethal.

        The only difference between the two scenarios is rate of change.

        And for very similar reasons, very fast rates of CC are going to be lethal to a wide range of species that won’t be able to move out of the way, any more than I could move my head out of the way in the above demonstration. (By the way, don’t worry: I don’t actually blow my head off in front of the class, though I suppose that may make an even deeper impression! 8-O)

        Reply
  25. Cate

     /  February 24, 2016

    The billionaire-psycho’s solution for climate change: a miracle. (Bill Gates)

    Reply
  26. Ocean acidification already slowing coral reef growth

    The team manipulated the alkalinity of seawater flowing over a reef flat off Australia’s One Tree Island in the southern Great Barrier Reef. They brought the reef’s pH closer to what it would have been in the pre-industrial period based on estimates of atmospheric carbon dioxide from the era. They then measured the reef’s calcification in response to this pH increase. They found that calcification rates under these manipulated pre-industrial conditions were higher than they are today.

    “Our work provides the first strong evidence from experiments on a natural ecosystem that ocean acidification is already slowing coral reef growth,” Albright said. “Ocean acidification is already taking its toll on coral reef communities. This is no longer a fear for the future; it is the reality of today.”

    https://carnegiescience.edu/node/1994

    Reply
  27. wili

     /  February 24, 2016

    “…the 54 warmest days since 1994 were all found in the last 141 days…”

    http://moyhu.blogspot.com

    Not a good sign.

    (Thanks to Wouter at neven’s site for this.)

    Reply
  28. During Meltwater Pulse 1A at the end of the last ice age 13,800 years ago, sea level rose 57 feet in 340 years or 17 feet per century or an average of 2 inches a year. So, we know that ice can melt this fast, since it has already done so in the recent past. With warming 50 times faster and atmospheric and ocean temperatures much higher now, we should be reaching that rate of melting this century or at the latest next century I would think. I doubt that there will be any ocean beaches to visit. I would think that the remaining humans would want to move far away from the shore. Today, the Earth set another modern heat record at 0.97C above the 1980-2010 average.

    Thanks for your wise comments on human death rates. Three billion human deaths from AGW this century seems modest. There are 7 billion alive today with probably at least 20 billions more expected to be born this century. Tobacco will kill 1 billion at current rates. Air pollution will kill 500 million. Of course, all humans eventually die, so we are talking about years of life lost. Since starvation will likely be the major killer and since many of the deaths in famines are of the very young, the years of life lost per death may be worse than tobacco or air pollution.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  February 24, 2016

      Tom, thanks for mentioning the 1A pulse. I was going to do so above, but was focused there on rates in the last stages of the decay of the North American ice sheet. An increase of 20 inches per decade would really turn the world upside down.

      I’m confused by your comment on population death rates, though. I though the lead article was just about the death of coral reefs. Did I miss something?

      Reply
  29. Wharf Rat

     /  February 24, 2016

    The other day, in the Arctic melt post…
    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?
    =
    Today, the World is up to 0.97C, but the Arctic is “only” 6.61.

    http://cci-reanalyzer.org/DailySummary/

    Reply
  30. June

     /  February 24, 2016

    Insanity at work…if you don’t want to accept the truth, just don’t gather the data and you can pretend nothing is amiss. This story is about the Argo floats.

    Critical global ocean monitoring program struggling to stay afloat without funding promises, warn scientists

    The commentary predicts it could be only two years before the number of floats drops below a critical threshold of 3200, which would “considerably undermine the ability of the observing system to monitor and measure the global ocean.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/planet-oz/2016/feb/24/critical-global-ocean-monitoring-program-struggling-to-stay-afloat-without-funding-promises-warn-scientists

    Reply
    • I suppose that’s another thing republicans would list as ‘wasteful government spending’ because of their ideological bent toward climate change denial. What’s next cancer denial and cancer research as ‘wasteful government spending?’ But climate change denial is worse — more deadly in the long run.

      Reply
      • Seems like a joke, doesn’t it? Until you read this from Jane Mayer’s DARK MONEY: “The clash between Koch Industries’ corporate interests and David Koch’s philanthropic work surfaced publicly in 2009. While David Koch sat on the advisory board of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institutes of Health was concluding that formaldehyde should be treated as a “known human carcinogen,” a top executive at Georgia-Pacific [Koch subsidiary–CH1] protested the government’s findings. Traylor Champion, the company’s vice president of environmental affairs, sent a formal letter of protest to federal health authorities stating that the company “strongly disagrees” with the NIH’s conclusion that formaldehyde should be treated as a “known human carcinogen.” David Koch neither recused himself from the NCI’s advisory board nor divestged himself of his company’s stock while the carcinogenic properties of formaldehyde were evaluated.

        “When questions were raised, Koch, who had undergone rounds of advanced treatment for prostate cancer, was incensed that anyone could question his integrity. But James Huff, deputy director at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a division of the NIH, said it was ‘disgusting’ for Koch to be serving on the advisory board. ‘It’s just not good for public health,’ he said. ‘Vested interests should not be on the board. Those boards are very important. They’re very influential as to whether NCI goes into formaldehyde or not. Billions and billions are involved in formaldehyde.”

        So in answer to your rhetorical question, yes, if the profiteers could obstruct (or shut down) cancer research, they absolutely would.

        Reply
    • esuttor

       /  February 25, 2016

      First time poster, after lurking and benefitting from the comments as well as the well written and informative articles on this site.

      If the US contribution (specifically, Republicans) to the Argo program is the roadblock to continuing to gather critical data, then a possible solution is to bypass the roadblock of the US political system by leveraging existing (or organizing new) private charitable sources. The amount of funding needed for the Argo program, given the article’s estimate of $25,000 per device and replacing about 400 per year, is in the neighbourhood of USD 10M annually. Stated in charity terms and allowing for administrative costs, that means getting about 300,000 people to contribute about $50 per year.

      I give twice that much to Wikipedia, and many times that to other charities. I’d gladly contribute as long as I think it will be effective. Do any of the commenters know of a good, well-run charity that could spearhead funding the operations of critical projects for collecting environmental data?

      Reply
      • I think this may be necessary. But it continues to separate those who responsibly participate from those who do not or will not. I think that is a bad overall precedent.

        Reply
      • cushngtree

         /  February 26, 2016

        Maybe get organizations to “adopt” an Argo—perhaps generate a greater interest in the science behind it.

        Reply
  31. – As we know:: Parallel to coral bleaching due to warming oceans, algae growth is also aided. Coastal algae is often nourished by N and phosphate runoff. Fresh water bodies, even the remote ones, suffer from atmospheric fallout of N.

    -Below: the new meets the old in Florida, USA.

    Green algae joins brown tide in the Indian River Lagoon.

    The green algae that caused the Indian River Lagoon’s worst-known seagrass collapse is back, alongside a brown algae that’s already been smothering the estuary’s most vital plant for months.
    – floridatoday.com/story/news/local/environment/2016/02/23/green-algae-joins-brown-tide-destruction

    Reply
  32. – California

    So far, the current El Nino has brought the majority of storms ashore above Monterey, or San Francisco Bay. Further south, not so many.

    – 0223 A major reservoir pumping station in Santa Barbara now has to be relocated in order to reach the current water level. Late Feb. or March often brings rain to SB in El Nino. They were called ‘March Miracles’.

    As Water Levels Drop, Santa Barbara Pushes for Quick Relocation of Cachuma Pumping Barge

    El Niño rainfall so far has been a letdown, and Santa Barbara city water managers are warning of continued drought danger ahead.

    Lake Cachuma has dropped to 14.8-percent capacity, so low that officials need to move a pumping barge that is now surrounded in mud to a part of the lake where there’s still water, an action that needs to happen now, said Joshua Haggmark, the city’s water resources manager.
    “We need to move that barge and it needs to move immediately,”​ Haggmark said.
    “There’s too much talk going on right now … and not enough action. It is absolutely paramount that this get done.”

    Crews must reroute more than a mile of pipe to get to the new, deeper barge location.

    http://www.noozhawk.com/article/santa_barbara_cachuma_barge_relocation_water_levels#at_pco=cfd-1.0

    Reply
    • Wharf Rat

       /  February 25, 2016

      Daily Reservoir Storage Summary For selected reservoirs in Northern and Southern California
      http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/reservoirs/RES

      Last year, the Sierra snowpack was at 5% of normal on 4/1. This year, 99% of normal in the Northern Sierra, 91% statewide in mid-Feb. Won’t help Santa Barbara, tho.
      Overall, it’s been more like a normal season than El Nino.

      Reply
  33. – USA

    Reply
  34. – USA OK Senator “Snowball’ Inhofe.

    Reply
  35. June

     /  February 24, 2016

    An interesting study in thermal biology. Apologies if it’s too long an excerpt.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160223074238.htm

    The newly-exposed edges of deforested areas are highly susceptible to drastic temperature changes, leading to hotter, drier and more variable conditions for the forest that remains, according to new research.

    “When you chop down trees, you create hot spots in the landscape that are just scorched by the sun,” said Kika Tuff, a PhD candidate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at CU-Boulder and the lead author of the new paper. “These hot spots can change the way that heat moves through the landscape.”

    In some cases, this creates a phenomenon known as the ‘vegetation breeze,’ where low air pressure in the cleared areas pulls the cool, moist air out of the forest and feeds hot, dry air back in.

    “So now the cleared areas get all the rain and the forests gets sucked dry,” said Tuff.

    Increased temperature variation near forest edges could affect species’ ability to regulate their body temperatures, resulting in behavioral changes that could alter the local ecosystem.

    Reply
  36. Kevin Jones

     /  February 24, 2016

    Arctic sea ice extent lower than its’ seasonal highest for 15 days now, NSIDC, and CT area took a big dump. Looking like freeze season peak may be behind us and at record low extent, area and earliest…..we’re losing the Northern Hemispheres’ air conditioner. Lovelock once estimated ice-free arctic sea would approximate 100ppm CO2 increase….through albedo loss. (i can’t keep up….!)

    Reply
    • We have one last period of the Arctic cooling down from current 5-7 C anomalies to 2-4 C anomalies over the coming week. As we’re hitting the period when the High Arctic is typically at its coldest time of year this minor dip may present a bit of a bump in some of the sea ice measures. The next two to three weeks, really, are the last, best hope for a later start to melt season. In any case, this melt season appears to be setting up at record lows.

      The Cryosphere Today numbers are pretty amazingly bad. Today at 460,000 square kilometers below 2006 which is the previous record low. They’re consistent with open water formation over the Beaufort and into the above 80 North Line poleward of Svalbard.

      Reply
      • Oldhippie

         /  February 25, 2016

        While it has been warm in the Arctic it has been quite cold in far eastern Siberia. Ice in the Sea of Okhotsk has spiked upwards over 400,000 square kilometers in the month of February. Total Arctic ice on either area or extent measures is at record lows in spite of that large spike.

        Peripheral seas always mess with simple assessments early in melt season. The anomaly in Okhotsk is conspicuous and large. Okhotsk always melts out completely, the new ice from the past month should melt quickly. Also worth noting that Bering Sea would have a lot less ice than it currently does were it not for continuous export through the Strait all through December and January. Very easy to see that export in the archived Navy HYCOM charts.

        Reply
    • Correction tornado watch. Very energetic storm, though.

      Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  February 25, 2016

      From Day 41 to Day 53 Cryosphere Today reports 240,000 sq. km. drop in area. 92,000 sq. miles. Just shy of 10 New Hampshires in area…. In February.

      Reply
  37. Kevin Jones

     /  February 24, 2016

    Washington, DC under tornado watch ’till 11pm EST. Congressmen?

    Reply
    • I am hearing thunder at my location. CAPE rising.

      Reply
    • Very energetic cell just passed this location. Got some video. Not the best quality, though. Will post to Youtube.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  February 25, 2016

        Is that a _little_ bit unusual to have tornado watches there this time of year?

        Reply
      • Reply
      • Greg

         /  February 25, 2016

        Wow. I heard your reference to a freight train but could not hear it in video. Haven’t seen detailed tornado tracks yet but the sound would indicate possibility:

        Reply
        • It was pretty loud and intense. In retrospect, though, it was probably just a strong downdraft coupled with pretty intense winds. They weren’t straight-line, though. There was a lot of twist with the winds coming in from one direction powerfully and then shifting to the opposite direction before rapidly falling off.

          I probably over-reached a little bit while taping. That can happen when you’re out in it.

          BTW, just completed one hell of a post. I feel like I have jumper cabled attached to my ears. Will probably catch some flak for making predictions. However, I think it’s worthwhile to look at the trend in context of the extreme climate events we’ve recently seen and make some informed comments based on what we’ve learned so far.

  38. labmonkey2

     /  February 24, 2016

    And as global temps rise, this will be more the norm:
    https://www.minds.com/blog/view/549002987712815104

    Article does not give much background as to why one of the caste groups is in protest, but I can only imagine that it has something to do with their caste system. Certainly brought attention to the matter, although I do not see much in the MSM in this yet.

    Reply
  39. Reply
  40. JPL

     /  February 25, 2016

    Here’s some good news (about 1/2 way through) from a new Ted Talk by Al Gore

    I tried to post this earlier but I think my post evaporated, so this might be a dupe…

    Reply
    • Vic

       /  February 25, 2016

      Thanks for posting that JPL. He’s extremely good at what he does that guy.

      I think I can hear him channelling Robert Scribbler’s work at 9:55, but perhaps I’m biased. 😊

      Reply
    • Greg

       /  February 25, 2016

      Thx, JPL “When any great moral challenge is ultimately resolved into a binary choice between what is right and what is wrong the outcome is foreordained because of who we are as human beings, 99% of us…It is why we are going to win this. We have everything we need. The will to act is a renewable resource.”

      Reply
  41. Vic

     /  February 25, 2016

    David Pocock’s emergence as one of the most-influential rugby players in the world has earned him the title of Australian sports personality of 2015.

    The Wallabies and Brumbies back-rower was bestowed the honour, voted by the public, at the AIS Sport Performance Awards (ASPA) on Wednesday night in Sydney.

    Here he is about a year ago, just prior to being arrested for protesting against a new coal mine in northern NSW.

    “I would be doing this regardless of what career I had,” he said in a statement.

    “It is part of being a human being and taking on the challenges we face as a society.

    “It is about giving back and getting the conversation going.”

    Reply
  42. Vic

     /  February 25, 2016

    A new climate is emerging in Australia, according to new maps released by the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC).

    AEGIC analysed data from more than 8000 Bureau of Meteorology stations around the country and discovered that traditional rainfall zones have changed significantly since 2000.

    Most rainfall zone boundaries have typically shifted 100-400km over the last 16 years.

    http://www.aegic.org.au/media/news/2016/02/new-australian-climate-developing.aspx

    Reply
  43. Ryan in New England

     /  February 25, 2016

    The Arctic isn’t the only place that didn’t have Winter this year. As I type this, in Connecticut (41N< 72W) it is in the low 60s (F) at 5 in the morning. We had severe thunderstorms roll through last night, the kind we might see during the Summer months. I've seen a few honeybees over the past week, and the sound and smell that greats me every morning as I step outside is very much like April…birds singing, thawed and wet Earth and not a bit of cool air. We didn't have a single month where it wasn't possible for me to go for my run outside wearing shorts. But these bursts of warmth are interspersed with isolated cold days, with wild single day temperature swings. For example, today is in the 60s, but tomorrow we will be seeing wind chills below zero, before we shoot back up into the 50s for Sunday and Monday.

    Everybody is talking about the weather. The phrase "I've lived here all my life and have never seen this" has become cliche in recent years. Everybody notices the remarkable changes, but except for my friends here there isn't a single person I've talked to who has noticed that the changes are exactly what we were warned would happen from global warming. 30 years ago Hansen told us we would be seeing exactly the conditions we are seeing, but everyone seems to dismiss the crazy weather as an isolated occurrence. What's worse, many are proclaiming how lucky we are to be experiencing Spring and Summer conditions year round. It's like being thankful you have cancer because you like to visit hospitals. Drives me freaking crazy!

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  February 25, 2016

      Baaa, Baaa
      What else can you say.?

      Reply
    • Cate

       /  February 25, 2016

      Ryan, it’s cold comfort, I know, but you’re not alone. General popular reaction to this mild winter here in Newfoundland is exactly the same as in New England, along the lines of “If this is climate change, bring it on!” The unseasonal arrival of huge icebergs has folks rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of all the tourists that will be flocking here to see them and spending lots of money to prop up our poor old economy. Money is what people worry about most. The idea that something is up with the weather, that something is up with Greenland, doesn’t make the radar.

      Reply
      • Wait til summer. The Northeast could see its hottest summer on record if the models are right and if the Gulf Stream doesn’t cool down.

        Reply
    • I try to keep it out of my tone. But it drives me crazy too.

      Reply
  44. Abel Adamski

     /  February 25, 2016

    Meanwhile in Sydney a new weather record
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/sydney-weather-record-run-of-warmth-and-a-scorcher-to-come-20160223-gn1vto.html

    The city on Wednesday fell just shy of 30 degrees – but enough to make it a record 20 days in a row of at least 26 degrees, the first time the mark has been recorded in Sydney for any time of the year, Ben McBurney, a meteorologist at Weatherzone said.

    The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a scorcher for Thursday, tipping the mercury will climb to 38 degrees in the city and 41 degrees in Penrith and Richmond.

    The run of 26-degree days beat the record of 19 set in March 2014, Mr McBurney said.

    On current forecasts, the streak could run for at least another seven days.

    February is all but certain to record just one day of below-average maximum temperatures, easily eclipsing the previous record low of five such days for the month set most recently in 2000, according to the bureau.

    Reply
  45. Tom Bond

     /  February 25, 2016

    Sea level rise for the whole of the 20th century was about 140mm (5.5 inches).
    See chart at
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/feb/24/earth-is-warming-is-50x-faster-than-when-it-comes-out-of-an-ice-age

    NASA data shows that for the 21st century to November 2015 the sea level rise is already 64mm (2.5 inches) with 36mm (say 1.5 inches) occurring in just the past 5 years (since January 1st 2011) suggesting a large acceleration in sea level rise is currently under way.

    See ‘sea level’ then ‘source files’ at http://climate.nasa.gov/

    Reply
  46. wili

     /  February 25, 2016

    Meltwater Pulse 1A, at the end of the last ice age 13,800 years ago, raised sea levels over 5 meters per century. People seem to look at that as some kind of an upper limit of what we can expect.

    But shouldn’t it really be more like a lower limit?

    If we’re going to be raising temperatures 50 times faster than any rate of temperature increase seen at the end of any ice age, why would we just do the ‘stupidest thing’ (as Richard Allen likes to say) and multiply 5 x 50 for our expected rate of slr at some point in the future?

    Discuss.

    Reply
  47. For those who believe we are running out of time to mitigate/stave off the worst affects of climate change/biosphere degradation.
    For those who fear a Trump presidency and are afraid Bernie Sanders can’t win here is an excellent analysis:
    http://static.currentaffairs.org/2016/02/unless-the-democrats-nominate-sanders-a-trump-nomination-means-a-trump-presidency

    Reply
    • wili

       /  February 25, 2016

      “Tomorrow come trouble, tomorrow come pain
      Now don’t think too hard baby, ’cause you know what I’m saying”

      Reply
    • nwkilt

       /  February 25, 2016

      Thank you Caroline, I sent that article to MANY people. Consider the ramifications of Trump picking the next Supreme Court Justice!

      Reply
    • Well, I don’t agree with that kind of inevitability. But it would be terribly, terribly bad if we ended up with Trump.

      Caroline, I just wanted to thank you for your recent very informed comments and questions. I’ve missed you a little in the flow of things and wanted to let you know that I’ve read your posts. Particularly, I hope the recent article answers some of your questions about what may be coming down the pipe post El Nino. I’ve given it my best shot. But considering the fact that human-forced warming really changes the basis for model prediction, the oracle is a bit murky.

      Best to you, warmest regards, and hopes for something other than a disastrous Trump presidency.

      Reply
  48. Unusually high winds spread radioactive waste at site in Washington state:

    RICHLAND, Washington — The uncontrolled spread of small amounts of radioactive waste at Hanford after a Nov. 17 windstorm is alarming, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a letter to the Department of Energy.

    The high winds pushed specks of contamination beyond Route 4, a public highway in Richland to the Wye Barricade entrance to Hanford.

    Windy weather, common at Hanford, was forecast for Nov. 17 and workers prepared for it by applying more fixative — what they call “rhino snot” — to the soil before the storm arrived.

    But winds were worse than usual, hitting 70 to 75 mph at the burial ground, and Hanford officials knew they were going to have issues.

    http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanford/article61710052.html#storylink=cpy

    Reply
    • wili

       /  February 25, 2016

      Hanford…what a total…I’d rather not swear in mixed company, but that place has been a disaster since they first started using it, from all I’ve heard. Nothing good can come of it.

      Reply
  49. Greg

     /  February 25, 2016

    This storm system the U.S. Eastern Gulf and Atlantic States just received certainly is full of evidence and signatures of climate change. Robert’s video posted above is just one anecdotal example. Large Hail in North Carolina, in February no less, is another:

    Reply
    • wili

       /  February 25, 2016

      Holy cow, greg! I hope no one was hit in the head by one of those things!

      Reply
    • It was a spring-like system hitting the Eastern US in February. An April type storm pattern occurring in Winter. But this one pumped up by a very, very warm Gulf Stream. It does look like climate change in many respects.

      Reply
  50. wili

     /  February 25, 2016

    Has anyone found any analysis or prediction of what has been happening as the Chinese turned away from coal, and what will happen as they continue to do so more and more in the future (assuming they carry through on plans)?

    Of course it’s a great thing for them to peak their emissions, but the aerosols those also produced also provided an aerosol ‘umbrella’ that has prevented further heating. I’ve seen a range of estimates, most around .5 C, but, iirc, some up to 2 C (perhaps the latter is old and not accepted any more?). http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-19/here-s-what-china-closing-coal-power-plants-means-for-emissions

    Could some of the extreme spikes in rates of global warming in the last few months be associated with them closing ” 3.3 gigawatts of the facilities in 2014″ of their dirtiest coal plants, and more in 2015, I presume.

    What does this bode for the future, as they plan to close another 1000 plants in the coming months/years, and continue at even higher rates thereafter?

    Again, long term, it’s better to close them than keep them spewing CO2. But short term, it is likely to mean many very warm chickens are coming home to roost.

    Reply
  51. Greg

     /  February 25, 2016

    Peter Sinclair’s latest video interview of the not to be ignored Dr. James Hansen. Worry you should, about non-linear sea level rise. “Hard to see how the planet will be governable”

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  February 25, 2016

      Thanks, Greg. James Hansen is a Global Hero and a National Treasure.

      Reply
    • He’s absolutely right.

      That ocean lid he talks about is what I’ve been calling the Fresh Water Wedge. It has implications across the spectrum. That concentration of heat at the basal zones of melting glaciers is one rather bad geophysical impact. But it also puts more stress on marine clathrates. Reduced ocean over turning is also comes with severe impacts to ocean health.

      It’s one of the mechanisms of a warming planet you really don’t want to get going faster and faster. We’re doing that right now.

      Reply
  52. Colorado Bob

     /  February 25, 2016

    This from CNN :

    Packing up because of climate change

    Miami Beach, Florida (CNN)Dan Kipnis — a retired fishing captain on Miami Beach — has a home office so cluttered with sea creatures that it feels like a drained aquarium. ………………………… But Kipnis is taking the science of global warming to heart in a way that relatively few of us do, even in a “ground zero” location for climate change such as Miami Beach.

    When I met him last week, he was packing up the white, two-story house, near the center of the island, about a 10-minute walk to shore, and planning to put it on the market.

    He, the wife and the sea creatures are moving to higher ground. ………………………………………. “It’s hard to overstate the importance of who is in the White House when it comes to dealing with climate change,” said Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center. This is the presidential election that “will matter for 10,000 years,” Vox’s David Roberts wrote.

    It truly will matter for generations or millennia.

    “How old are you,” Kipnis asked me before we left his home office.

    “33.”

    “You’re in for a s*** ride, you know that?”

    Link

    Reply
    • I really, really hate to say this, Bob. But the first climate migrants — the one like this guy who’s packing up house and heading for the hills. They’re the smart ones.

      We’re not doing anywhere near enough to protect coastal cities and the people who live in them. Even in the better case scenarios we have vast property losses, increases in flooding tides, and disruption of coastal infrastructure. But the more realistic scenarios based on even the amount of greenhouse gasses we’ve already injected into the atmosphere are just terrible.

      This is a national emergency. It should be one of the top priorities of any incoming president to protect our coastal cities. Right now, the silence is ensuring that these precious human habits are sitting right now in the sacrifice zone. And no-one at the national level is doing anything to address this.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  February 25, 2016

        Kipnis says he’s moving now so he doesn’t lose his investment , smart fellow.

        Reply
        • It is smart. But it’s also a real problem for these cities. Once they start losing people that will result in real estate and property value collapse pressures.

  1. As a Titanic El Nino Begins to Fade, What Fresh Trouble Will a Record Warm World Bring? | robertscribbler
  2. El Nino Começa a Esmorecer - Quais as Previsões Climáticas?

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