As a Titanic El Nino Begins to Fade, What Fresh Trouble Will a Record Warm World Bring?

Today the globe is feeling quite a bit of backlash from a human-warmed sea surface and atmosphere. As it ends up, Dr. Kevin Trenberth was right. Deep ocean warming set off by heat-trapping fossil fuel emissions and building up through the first two decades of the 21st Century did re-surge from the depths to haunt us in 2014, 2015 and 2016. In that wrenching global climate system shift to the hot side of natural variability, a titanic El Nino emerged. It was one of the top three strongest such events in the modern record. One that by NOAA’s measure appears to have tied the extreme event of 1998 at its peak intensity.

ONI sea surface temperature anomalies in Nino 3.4

(Sea surface temperature departure from average in the benchmark Nino 3.4 zone shows surface ocean heat anomalies for the 2015-2016 El Nino equaled peak 1997-1998 values. Image source: NOAA/CPC.)

Expected Heat, Drought, and Storms Together With a Few Ominous Surprises

This event did push the world into extreme warmth even as predicted related severe weather flared in some of the typical regions. Annual average global temperatures rocketed to about 1.06 C above 1880s baselines during 2015 even as monthly departures hit 1.2 to 1.3 C or more higher than the same benchmark during December and January.

Amidst this great upheaval of global heat, the world also experienced yet one more wave of freak droughts (this time over Northern South America, the Caribbean, large swaths of Africa and Southeast Asia), heat-related mass casualty events, floods, and strongest hurricanes on record. Arctic and global sea ice measures are once again plunging to new record lows. A global coral bleaching event, perhaps the worst such instance ever experienced, was also set in motion.

The predicted patterns and potential worse-case events (such as heatwave mass casualties, coral bleaching, and sea ice loss) were also contrasted by a number of surprises. The first and perhaps most ominous was the failure of El Nino to bust the California drought. Though the West Coast of the US did experience a number of storms, the pattern was more typical of normal Winter moisture for the Northwestern US even as drought continued throughout the Southwest.  Moisture instead tended to split fire-hose fashion — with storms either cycling northward into Alaska, the Aleutians, or the Bering Sea, or south over Southern Mexico or Central America, up across the Gulf and on out into a particularly severe storm zone forming in the North Atlantic.

30 day precipitation anomaly shows southwest drought continuing

(Over the last 30 days the southwest drought re-emerged as a blocking pattern again began to take hold over Western North America and the Eastern Pacific. Image source: NOAA/CPC.)

This continued loss of moisture for the US Southwest despite a record El Nino is particularly apparent in the Climate Prediction Center’s most recent precipitation anomaly measure for the last 30 days. Here we find that large parts of Central and Southern California have received just 10 to 50 percent of typical rainfall for this period. Coupled with 1-3 C above average temperatures for the month, this loss of rainfall during what would typically be California’s wettest period has come as a disappointment to many who were hoping a strong El Nino would help break the state out of a crippling drought. Now, the window for late Winter and early Spring rains is starting to close even as the blocking pattern appears to be strongly re-established in both the present weather pattern and in the forecast model runs.

But perhaps the biggest surprise coming from this El Nino year was a set of weather events in the North Atlantic that were likely more related to climate change. There, severe storms hammered a flood-beleaguered UK as a greatly distorted Jet Stream heaved Equatorial heat and moisture northward — rushing it up over a ridiculously warm and apparently backed-up Gulf Stream before slamming it on into a likely Greenland ice melt-outflow related cool pool. There the heat and moisture collided with cold to produce the epic storms that then vented their fury upon the UK.

Warm Arctic Storm

(December 29th saw temperatures rise above freezing at the North Pole — the first time temperatures have warmed so much for this high Arctic region so late in the year. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

During one such event, a daisy chain of heavy-hitting North Atlantic lows hurled high winds, heavy rains and epic surf at the UK even as the meridional flow set up by these powerful beasts shoved above-freezing temperatures all the way to the North Pole during late December. Yet one more unprecedented and unexpected event during a record warm year. One that looks more like a human forced warming which has overcome the traditional influences of El Nino, rather than an El Nino related impact in itself.

As El Nino Fades, Equatorial Heat Tends to Move Pole-ward

Though we may see these two events — the failure of El Nino to provide heavy rains to the US West Coast, and the massive northward pulses of storms, heat and moisture hitting the North Atlantic — as unrelated, the twain patterns appear to be linked to an ongoing polar amplification. Overall, heat within the Arctic has tended to weaken the Northern Hemisphere Jet Stream over these two zones. And even during El Nino, when the Jet would have typically strengthened, we have continued to see high amplitude wave patterns forming over these regions.

But as El Nino weakens and the Equator cools, the Jet Stream would tend to slow even more. Such an atmospheric state would tend to further exaggerate already significant Jet Stream wave patterns — transferring still more low-Latitude heat poleward. In addition, the ocean gyres tend to speed up as El Nino fades or transitions to La Nina. The result is an amplified pulse of warmer waters emerging from southern Latitudes and entering the Arctic.

It’s for these combined reasons — tendency to amplify south to north atmospheric heat transfer into the Arctic post El Nino and tendency to flush warmer waters toward Arctic Ocean zones during the same period that it appears we are entering a high risk time for potential new sea ice melts and possible related Greenland land ice melts during 2016 and 2017.

Hot Blobs

(Northeastern Pacific Hot Blob remains at high intensity even as its size is predicted to expand through July. Meanwhile, very warm sea surface temperatures are predicted to remain in place off the Eastern Seaboard. The net effect of these two hot blobs may be to shove the Jet Stream far northward over North America during the summer of 2016 — potentially increasing the risk of widespread and potentially record heat and drought. Predicted very warm sea surfaces in the region of the Barents and Greenland seas — in excess of 3 C above average for a large region — is also cause for concern. This is not only due to risk for sea ice loss through this zone, but also due to its potential to set off blocking pattern and heat dome formation over Eastern Europe and Western Russia. Image source: NOAA/CFS.)

In addition, we are at serious risk of seeing the high amplitude blocks and wave patterns re-establish and persist, especially in the zone over Western North America were a related Northeastern Pacific Hot Blob is expected to restrengthen as El Nino fades. In fact, large regions of the US may fall under record to near record heat and drought this summer due to the combined influences of two very warm ocean zones surrounding her shores. Models now indicate a particular late spring drought risk for the Great Lakes region as well as an extended period of far above average temperatures for pretty much all of the Continental US during summer. Meanwhile, predicted above average spring-time precipitation for the Southwest appears less and less likely to emerge.

Finally, extreme above average sea surface temperatures are predicted to intensify over the Barents and Greenland seas through to end of Summer 2016. This is an area to watch. The added ocean heat would tend to pull the Jet Stream northward over Eastern Europe and Western Russia — generating risk of heatwaves and drought for this region even as Central Asia fell under risk of floods. Long range CFS precipitation and temperature model runs for Europe have not yet picked up this risk. However, given the intensity of heat predicted for Barents sea surfaces and the related tendency of warmth over oceans and in the far north to influence the formation of blocking patterns, heat domes, and high amplitude troughs, it’s worth keeping a weather eye on the situation.

El Nino to Weaken and Then Return; or is a Shift to La Nina Now Under Way?

Related to a polar and ocean warming-enhanced tendency to generate high amplitude Jet Stream waves — as well as associated persistent heatwaves, droughts, and floods — is the heat balance of the Equatorial Pacific. Strong El Ninos, or even a tendency to remain in or near an El Nino state, has historically aided in the breaking of new record global high temperatures when linking up to the greenhouse gas warming trend. Meanwhile, the shift toward La Nina has tended to enhance a range of global heating related issues including record rainfall events and large injections of heat toward the poles in the drop off from El Nino to La Nina.

The cause for increased risk of major precipitation events is due to the fact that El Nino is providing a massive moisture bleed into the atmosphere at times of peak intensity. With the current El Nino topping out near record levels and with global temperatures at above 1 C higher than 1880s averages, global atmospheric moisture levels are hitting new record highs at this time. If global temperatures subsequently drop by around 0.1 to 0.2 C during a transition into La Nina (into a range about 0.9 to 0.8 C hotter than 1880s values) then the atmosphere will be unable to keep a larger portion of that extra moisture in suspension and it will fall out as precipitation — primarily wringing out where the major trough zones tend to set up. We should be very clear here in saying that the drought risk related to a global warming intensification of ridge and heat dome formation is not reduced during such instances — just that the risk of extreme precipitation events is enhanced.

Russian Heatwave Pakistan Floods Jet Stream

(During 2011, as the 2010 El Nino faded into La Nina conditions, a high amplitude wave in the Jet Stream set off record heat, drought and wildfires over Russia even as Pakistan was hit by a month-long deluge that was the worst rainfall event for the region in the last 1,000 years. La Nina’s tendency to wring excess water out of the atmosphere can enhance the risk for such events to occur in a warming climate state. Image source: NASA.)

As for risks to sea ice, we’ve provided some of the explanation above. However, it’s also worth noting that the mobility of heat poleward tends to be enhanced during the periods when El Nino drops off toward La Nina. During these times, Equatorial heat tends to propagate in wave fashion toward the Poles — especially toward the Northern Hemisphere Pole which has already lost its strong Jet Stream protection warding away warm air invasions.

These two factors are major issues when considering whether La Nina or an ENSO Nuetral state will appear post El Nino during 2016. But there is a third — rate of global temperature rise. Though the primary driver of global warming is a massive human fossil fuel emission, the response of the world ocean system can significantly wag the rate of atmospheric temperature increases on a decadal time scale. If the ocean tendency is for La Nina, this would tend to somewhat suppress the overall decadal rate of temperature increase — and we saw this during the 2000s. But if the ocean tendency is to produce El Ninos (in a switch to a positive Pacific Decadal Oscillation, as appears to be happening now), then the overall pace of global atmospheric temperature increase would tend to be enhanced.

La Nina Emerges

( IRI/CPC consensus model runs show a drop off to a weak La Nina by late in the year. However, CFS model runs [image below] have shown a tendency to predict a resurgence of El Nino conditions by Fall. Image source: NOAA/CPC.)

To this point we find that the official model forecast consensus published by NOAA (IRI/CPC figure above) shows a transition to ENSO neutral states by May, June, and July which then proceeds on to a very weak La Nina by Fall. In such a drop off, we would likely still see record global high temperatures during the period of 2016 (in the range of 1.03 to 1.15 C above 1880s values).

However, the late 2016 and 2017 tendency for temperatures to recede from new record highs would be somewhat enhanced (likely dropping below the 1 C above 1880s mark in 2017 or 2018 before again making a challenge to the 2015-2016 record with the potential formation of a new El Nino in the 3-5 year time-frame of 2019 through 2021). It’s worth noting that this scenario shows an increased risk of a stronger warm air pulse heading toward the Northern Polar zone together with added fuel for extreme precipitation events as global temperatures would tend to drop off more swiftly from late 2015 and early 2016 peaks.

El Nino Continues

(CFSv2 model run — shows El Nino continuing on through the end of 2016. Over recent months, the CFSv2 series has shown a high accuracy. However, NOAA’s current forecast preference is for the IRI model set predictions [previous image above]. Image source: NOAA/CPC.)

In contrast, the CFSv2 model forecast from NOAA (above image) shows El Nino only weakening through to July and then re-strengthening in the October-November time-frame. This CFS model scenario would result in higher atmospheric temperatures in 2016 — practically guaranteeing a lock on an unprecedented three back-to-back-to-back record warm years for 2014, 2015, and 2016. But such a scenario — implying that the Pacific Ocean had entered a new period of El Nino tendency — would also tend to keep atmospheric temperatures nearer to the newly established record highs.

Under the CFSv2 scenario, we may expect annual average global temperatures to rise as high as 1.08 to 1.2 C above 1880s values during 2016 (a very extreme departure and one uncomfortably close to the 1.5 C warming mark). These extreme values would, perhaps, recede to around between 0.9 and 1.1 C during 2017 so long as the second El Nino pulse did not remain in place for too long. However, if the bounce back toward El Nino conditions was strong enough in late 2016, there would be an outside chance that the globe may experience not 3, but an absolutely obnoxious 4 back-to-back record warm years.

NASA temperature trend

(During 2015 global annual temperature rocketed to above 1 C hotter than 1880s values. There’s at least an even chance that 2016 will be hotter still. Considering the considerable heating tendency imposed by a fossil fuel-forced warming of the world, how much worse can it get during the 21st Century’s second decade? Image source: NASA GISS.)

Meanwhile, the warm air pulse heading toward the poles may be somewhat muted under this scenario. A statement that should be qualified by the fact that we’ve already seen a substantial amount of El Nino heat heading poleward during the present event. In addition, potentially heavy rainfall events may not receive the added oomph of a decent global temperature drop to wring out more moisture. A statement that requires the further qualification that overall atmospheric moisture loading is enhanced by rising global temperatures — so comparatively less heavy rainfall is a relative term here.

At this time, NOAA favors a transition to La Nina forecast stating:

“A transition to ENSO-neutral is likely during late Northern Hemisphere spring or early summer 2016, with a possible transition to La Nina conditions by fall.”

However, it’s worth re-iterating that the CFSv2 model forecasts have been quite accurate in predicting the path of the current record El Nino to date.

Links:

NOAA/CPC

NASA GISS

Hothouse Mass Casualty Event Strike Eqypt

Southern Hemisphere’s Strongest Storm on Record

Punishing Four Season Storm Grips US

A Monster Arctic Melt Season May Have Already Begun

Deep Ocean Warming is Coming Back to Haunt Us

Warm Arctic Storm to Unfreeze the North Pole

More Signs of Gulf Stream Slowdown as Floods Devastate Cumbria England

Deconstruction of Asia’s Wild Weather

Hat tip to Caroline

 

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128 Comments

  1. Greg

     /  February 25, 2016

    Bring on the predictions. Can’t wait to live another year and see how spot on RS is. While we are at it bring on the donations! I just made a modest one. Just click on the Raven. If we all did this as a tribute to this article we could send a big thank you. Robert will never ask for this but we should on occasion. As Peter Sinclair just stated (and Robert must whisper sometimes) “people say, ‘ why don’t you do more of those’ – dude, fund me. I’m working as hard as I can”

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  February 26, 2016

      Well said, Greg! Robert devotes so much of his time and energy to provide us with this fantastic blog, he truly appreciates whatever help we can provide. A good thing to keep in mind is the massive amounts of funding the denial industry has access to. We need to support this crucial weapon against ignorance (Robert’s blog) as much as we can. We owe it to Robert and the rest of the planet.

      And you’re absolutely right, Robert would never ask, which is why it’s important to raise this topic and be sure to donate from time to time if you can.

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  February 26, 2016

        Agreed, when you can what you can, but don’t forget others need support for their valuable services also.
        Much more important than subscribing to MSM disinformation rags

        Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  February 26, 2016

        P.S thank you so much R.S for the hard work and dedication. It is not yet the Final Battle but the great war has begun and you and the scribblers believe it or not are fighting on the side of the Angels regardless of your beliefs

        Reply
  2. Kevin Jones

     /  February 25, 2016

    Honest. Accurate. Thorough. Masterful.

    Reply
    • Cheers, Kevin. There’s a lot to take in at the moment.

      Reply
    • Second that Kevin. And much appreciation/thanks goes out to all who comment here—-from all over the world!

      Robert’s ability to put forth the facts in such a readable/accessible manner along with the intelligent, compassionate people who post here make it (imo) one of the best sites on the internet. And I’m not that keen on cyber world where people can be brutal—– not here.

      I will contribute when I can——can’t imagine the world without Robert “scribbling for environmental, social and economic justice”!! Banish that thought. This is my go to source for news (and music 😉 ) Thanks to all.
      p.s. Vic—if you find this—–thanks for that Trump/Game of Thrones vid.
      It was hilarious and followed by Hendrix/Wind Cries Mary—–brilliant. Great song.

      Reply
  3. There are a few bits on the radar going forward —

    1. New record low sea ice potential for 2016 and/or 2017.
    2. Enhancements of the meridional pattern due to coupled ocean and Arctic warming will likely increase extreme drought and flood risk in the Northern Hemisphere particularly.
    3. The summer suspect zones due to predicted ocean warming patterns and possible related teleconnections are Western North America (ridge), western Europe (trough), Eastern Europe/Russia (ridge), Central Asia (trough).
    4. Big heatwave drought risk for large parts of the US this summer due to the fact that we are now bordered by two very warm hot blobs (hot blob NE PAC, hot blob Gulf Stream), due to a failure of El Nino to deliver moisture to the southwest, and due to a persistently warm Winter over the Northern Tier.
    5. Risk of strong hurricane formation in zones near the Eastern Seaboard may be heightened due to very warm SSTs in the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Stream. Displacement of the Bermuda high may also be a factor.

    Working on a few other bits. But these are this is the emerging climate change related extreme weather and geophysical changes threat pattern I’m looking at now for the 6-8 month horizon.

    Reply
    • Steven Blaisdell

       /  February 26, 2016

      Thanks for the work, RS. Bad to the bone.

      Reply
    • Robert re: #4: there have been many articles over the past few months stating the blob in the pacific is either gone or dissipating (one example:
      http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2016/01/01/pacific-blob-breaking-up-but-that-may-not-be-good-news.html)

      Some articles conveyed blatant, damaging misinformation (example: Eric Simons with Bay Nature who dismissed the blob and said: “don’t worry about it. It’s a misplaced competition, like worrying about the threat sharks pose to cows. Even if it wanted to, The Blob is simply not capable of doing anything to El Niño.)

      The Blob has it’s own Wikipedia page (which needs to be updated as it states the blob is expected “to continue throughout 2015”).

      Excerpt:
      “Dan Cayan of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography is unsure about the ultimate cause of the phenomenon, but states “there’s no doubt that this anomaly in sea surface temperature is very meaningful”.

      Yes, “meaningful” ——-to say the least! Is the bottom line that there is no definitive answer to date on why/how the blob developed and when/if it will dissipate?
      To me the blob spells disaster to all life forms in the ocean and thus land as they are—-of course—- interconnected.

      And as an aside, perhaps someone can come up with a better name. “The Blob” sounds like a joke (a la the 1958 movie and later remake) ——-it is no laughing matter.

      Reply
      • My opinion is that the Blob is a feature of a positive PDO Pacific in a +1 C world. With polar warming, the northward movement of climate zones, and the way the trough and ridge zones tend to set up in the mid Latitudes (the trough zone near Greenland preferentially enables the ridge zone in the hot Blob region), the Blob was bound to form and persist.

        1-2 (with 3 C spikes) C above average SSTs over such a large region (that we still see now) coupled with sea ice and snow cover retreat directly north will change the weather. It will absolutely steer storms away, as we’ve seen. And it will absolutely generate a preference for ridging in this region.

        We may end this positive PDO cycle very close to 1.5 C. By its end, that particular feature may be quite extreme.

        As for the confusion/misinformation over the Blob — well the Blob did weaken a bit during the current El Nino. But it’s still there. Still deflecting weather. Still generating these amazing hot spots. The long range model forecasts have tended to underestimate blob strength a bit. So we may even see more resurgence post El Nino or during a weakening El Nino than the CFSv2 models indicate.

        Reply
  4. Greg

     /  February 25, 2016

    Looks good! Thanks for keeping the music playing:

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  February 25, 2016

      On the Titanic …………..here help me move these deck chairs.

      Reply
      • Kevin Jones

         /  February 25, 2016

        ‘No better bilge pump than a frightened man with a bucket!’

        Reply
      • Worth noting that the Arctic is now 700 freezing degree days behind the ‘typical’ average and is so far into the record warm range for the year that it’s would be laughable if it weren’t so worth crying about.

        Reply
  5. JPL

     /  February 25, 2016

    Tara Houska named Native American advisor to Bernie Sanders campaign.

    It is hard to overstate how important the upcoming presidential election is in terms of shaping America’s response to climate change.

    Houska and Sanders crossed paths last November as she recalls here:

    “Last Tuesday, I received a call from Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Senator Jeff Merkley were going to introduce a “Keep It In the Ground” bill and they wanted to include grassroots organizers.

    Less than 24 hours later, I was standing alongside Sanders, Merkley, Bill McKibben of 350.org, and Aaron Mair of the Sierra Club facing dozens of news cameras in front of the U.S. Capitol. These were the heavyweights.

    Senator Merkley discussed the need for the proposed legislation – it bans leases for fossil fuel extraction on federal lands, waters, and prohibits Arctic drilling. The International Energy Agency has stated that two-thirds of the world’s fossil fuels must remain in the ground to prevent irreversible climate change.”

    From:
    http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/11/10/pres-candidate-bernie-sanders-shares-stage-native-organizer-tara-houska-162382

    Reply
  6. In early January, we had a downpour that caused the worst street flooding I’ve ever seen (Ocean Beach / Point Loma — much of Catalina Blvd was kayakable, lots of businesses flooded on Newport Ave.).

    Since then, it has been almost freakishly warm and bone-dry. Much of the San Diego inland metro area saw repeated daytime high temps exceeding 90F, and the coastal strip made it well into the 80’s a number of times. Weather.com shows the nearest significant possibility of rain to be about two weeks off (and a *very* iffy forecast going out that far). That gets us well into March, near the end of a normal-year rainy season. The chances of getting normal to above-normal rainfall this year are fading fast.

    On the way back from Julian last weekend, I noticed that many of the California Live Oaks (evergreen trees that should be very green) were looking sick and grey. I wouldn’t be surprised to see massive die-offs of 200-year-old oak trees over the next year or two. They’ve been barely hanging on as it is; another nasty hot, dry year or two will almost certainly do a lot of them in.

    All in all, it’s looking downright ugly. If this is the best that a big-*ss El Nino can now deliver, we are in serious trouble out here on the Left Coast.

    Reply
    • Looks like blob beat El Niño. Given the overall warming pattern, it looks like the NCAR predicted shift in the climate zones is starting to happen.

      Reply
  7. Perhaps we will have more places where we can fry eggs on the sidewalk in summer, more often – if there are any birds around to lay the eggs.

    Sent from my iPad 🙏🏻

    >

    Reply
  8. Colorado Bob

     /  February 25, 2016

    The Fla water story rolls on –

    Florida Officials Drain Lake Full Of ‘Toilet’ Water To Coast

    With tourist season just around the corner, Florida’s beach communities would normally be preparing for a happy, healthy summer. Instead, they’re reeling from polluted water that is likely to inflict severe damage to the local economy and environment.

    Lake Okeechobee, a large inland lake in southern Florida, is experiencing its highest water levels in nearly a century due to heavy rains that fell during the month of January. This should not be suprising, because heavy rainfall events are increasing as the planet warms. But after water levels reached a foot above normal, public officials began to worry that the excess water was putting too much stress on the lake’s aging dike. Officials then made the decision to drain the lake out toward Florida’s coasts. There was one problem: Lake Okeechobee’s waters are toxic.

    Local industry has long been using Okeechobee’s waters as a dumping ground for an assortment of chemicals, fertilizers, and cattle manure. David Guest, managing attorney of the Florida branch of the environmental law group Earthjustice, called the lake a “toilet.” While the pollution was once confined to the lake, it now flows toward Florida’s coastal communities via local rivers. The water, which is flowing out of the lake at 70,000 gallons per second, will soon pollute the ocean waters in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

    Link

    Reply
  9. climatehawk1

     /  February 25, 2016

    Tweet scheduled. Nice work!

    Reply
  10. Syd Bridges

     /  February 25, 2016

    Thanks for another great post, Robert. I have to say that all the alternatives facing us look bad. Unfortunately, the laws of physics do what they do,

    “The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

    I notice that 24/02’s CT SIA anomaly is now 1.558 million sq Kilometers-just adding to our woes.

    When I was a child, I was told that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Now all our leaders fiddle while the Earth burns. And to cap it all, the clown car of the Republicans are fighting over who should become the Midwife to the Anthropocene Extinction.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  February 26, 2016

      Syd Bridges –
      I’ve been reading history for 60 years.
      Chest thumping got us out of the Olduvai Gorge. It saved us a Marathon, it saved Rome from Hannibal, it took the Gauls , it seized the walls of Constantinople, but when we invented the rifled barrel before the Civil War it died an unknown death.
      And we have never caught up.

      Watching Trump today, I’m thinking of my readings of Hitler . All your problems are brown people. Give me the power, and I will solve all your troubles.

      Hard times breed simple answers from jackasses. A river of blood soon follows.

      Reply
      • “Hitler” — and the part ‘spectacle’ played.

        Reply
      • -Photo: vintag.es/2013/01/1938-reich-party-congress-third-reichs

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  February 26, 2016

        I’m routinely struck by the similarities between Republican rhetoric this election cycle and 1930s Germany. It is terrifying. Of course Trump’s supporters know nothing about history (or anything for that matter) which is why they refer to Obama as Hitler. The irony is overwhelming.

        Reply
        • I’ve talked to a few Trump supporters. Unfortunately, it seems to me that they’ve been taught history, but they’ve willfully chosen to ignore it. Much like the climate change deniers, they have all the evidence before them. But they have decided to turn their eyes aside from what’s really happening. It’s this fearful turning away that is the heart of ignorance. Not not knowing. But deciding to refuse what you already know, what you can see before you with your own eyes. That, my friend, is the root of a force for political atrocity. It’s the tragic and wretched sin of self-inflicted blindness.

          Historically, when political figures have scape-goated minorities it has tended to result in government policies that produce atrocity and abuse. Hitler is one glaring example, but the world has been replete with those who have victimized the voiceless, blamed the innocent, and stoked hatred of the weak or those outside of the majority power structures as a means of establishing political power. Trump has already done this with Latinos, with Blacks, and with Women. A man of privilege, wealth and power, who has all the information before him, who has every opportunity for enlightenment, and who yet has willfully chosen to take the dark road of history. And given its own systemic and endemic abuses that it is now so desperately trying to cover up, it is no wonder at all to me that the fossil fuel industry is also supporting this candidate — all while trying to lock in a mass-extinction level of fossil fuel emissions.

      • Syd Bridges

         /  February 26, 2016

        Indeed, Colorado Bob. In 1933, the Nazis came to power despite the fact that they never won a majority in the Reichstag-44 percent being their share of the electorate. I was born in England in 1950. My Uncle Norman was killed by a German bomb in 1941, my Uncle Eddie had his eardrum blown out by a shell in 1942-both in North Africa-, my Uncle Jim’s house was destroyed in Coventry in 1940, and my other relatives suffered eleven years of rationing from 1939 to1950.My mother worked in a London hospital throughout the War and my grandparents lived in Kent, taking the brunt of the Battle of Britain and the V1 offensive. However, I do not blame the ordinary people of Germany for this, for few of them had any real understanding that Hitler would do all the outrageous things he said he would do. Furthermore, there was far greater hardship in Germany in the early ’30s than has been suffered by the Trumpers. But, after that glaring example, I would say that the American people have no such excuse. That example is writ in giant letters of the blood of the innocent for all to see. The same applies to all the other members of the clown car, or is it now the clown Panzer tank, or the clown Stuka?

        Nor will the excuse “Fox News never told me, so how could I have known?” stand up. Watching the corrupt channels of the Dirty Digger-as he’s been called in Britain since the late ’60s-is a deliberate choice to back away from truth and reality. Those who choose not to know are as guilty as those who know but still do the wrong thing.

        Reply
    • Steven Blaisdell

       /  February 26, 2016

      “…who should become the Midwife to the Anthropocene Extinction.”
      Nice.

      Reply
  11. Colorado Bob

     /  February 25, 2016

    Quoting 95. Sfloridacat5:
    This is a huge news story here in Fort Myers. The picture in the link from the Airplane is right off Sanibel Island here in the Fort Myers area.

    Many thanks for that .
    79. indianrivguy @ Dr. Rood’s site has been keeping all there a breast of the unfolding disaster. Your picture hammers home his comments. Please share it there with him . He’s a river keeper and is deeply knowledgeable.

    I looked at the comments section of the Thinkprogress article , of course the Corps of Engineers was blamed, but I knew that it was not the whole story –

    The SFWMD is the oldest and largest of the state’s five water management districts, managing water resources in a 16-county region that stretches from Orlando to the Florida Keys. The agency’s original mission was to provide flood control for South Florida residents by operating what has become one of the largest water management systems in the world. Today, our responsibilities have expanded to managing the regional water supply, improving water quality and protecting and restoring unique ecosystems, including America’s Everglades.

    They had a big hand in all this mess, and looking at their site I found this nugget :

    Dry Season Bringing Above-Average Rainfall to South Florida
    The first half of the 2015-2016 dry season, from November through January, was the wettest for this period across South Florida since record keeping began in 1932. January alone brought 9.18 inches of rain District-wide, 7.25 inches above average and also a record for the month. The dry season typically lasts through May and historically brings an average of about 18 inches of rainfall, or less than a third of the total in a normal year.

    Reply
    • Syd Bridges

       /  February 26, 2016

      I just hope-probably in vain-that all this sh*t gets into Jeb Bush’s water supply and makes him move. Then he can inflict himself on some other lucky neighborhood.

      Reply
  12. – Exemplary post Robert.
    All the major aspects explained and tied together.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • — I’ve been watching the northern split in the ‘fire hose’, myself. “Moisture instead tended to split fire-hose fashion — with storms either cycling northward into Alaska, the Aleutians, or the Bering Sea…”

      As I put it in a lead comment to another thread yesterday 0224:
      – 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.

      It’s good to see the sync.🙂

      Reply
  13. NWS Anchorage Verified account
    ‏@NWSAnchorage

    At 46°F, #Anchorage has tied the record high temperature for today, February 25. #AKwx #Toasty #Alaska

    Reply
  14. Colorado Bob

     /  February 26, 2016

    The last thread we saw a really large hail stone in Feb. Very far north. That is heat from the oceans seeking the shortest way to cold. And our new changed world is seeking solutions. No matter what the Republicans say , heat seeks cold.

    And these large hail stones are part of the new world. Hail is largest insurance loss in the US by far. If these numbers rise, and they will. We have a real example of climate change.

    Why ?

    Because the rising water vapor has to travel to the very of the troposphere before it condenses . Now. Then it falls and in these violent storms it’s blow right back up. And in these new storms. it get’s bigger and bigger,

    The hypotheses says that , “extreme precipitation events” will increase.

    Hail is a “extreme precipitation event” . Hail is largest insurance loss in the US by far.
    If this jacks up the cost insurance , and it will . Your paying for climate change.

    Reply
    • Several of my family members moved from Southern California to Denver a few years ago.

      In the past 3 years, my mom and sister have had two roofs trashed by hailstorms. My mom’s homeowners insurance storm-damage deductible went from 2.5K to 5K last year.

      While I was out visiting family there last year, I got to talking with an insurance adjuster who told me that in the last decade or so, hail damage claims have soared in the Denver area.

      During my visit, I noticed that nearly all the 20-30 year-old homes in my mom’s and sister’s neighborhoods had spiffy new roofs. Ditto for a bunch of old Denver neighborhoods we passed through when we took the Denver Metro light-rail downtown. I saw spiffy new roofs on *lots* of old houses all around the Denver metro area.

      And then there’s my niece’s car that was totaled in a hailstorm. She got to watch from her apartment doorway as the hail beat the crap out of her car in the complex’s open-air parking-lot.

      And during both of my two most recent visits there, local car dealerships were advertising deep discounts on “hundreds of hail-damaged cars”. One dealership advertised a big “Hail on Wheels” sale.

      Hail is *expensive*. And it looks like global warming may be increasing the price-tag.

      Reply
      • Syd Bridges

         /  February 26, 2016

        But, notice, all these hailstorms took place in Obama’s presidency, so we know they must be all his fault.

        Reply
  15. mlparrish

     /  February 26, 2016

    Global IASI Methane Shatters January 8 Spike – Hits 3096 PPB
    http://megiddo666.apocalypse4real-globalmethanetracking.com/

    Reply
    • Speaking of methane (those numbers are horrifying mlparrish) . . .

      Although it is not in the news much these days the effects of this manmade disaster will linger for many years:
      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/26/los-angeles-aliso-canyon-gas-leak-methane-largest-us-history

      I guess it’s a long shot to get SoCalGas to pay (human/nonhuman) damages that are commensurate with the level of harm (criminal) they caused?
      SoCalGas recently pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in this leak:
      “We do not believe a criminal prosecution is warranted here,” SoCalGas spokesman Mike Mizrahi said outside court.

      What is “criminal”?

      Reply
      • mlparrish

         /  February 26, 2016

        Yes, and that they could not locate a source, MethaneTracker being unavailable. Has the SoCal plume ridden those poleward winds?

        And small hydrocarbons, which include methane, are neurotoxic.

        Reply
  16. Griffin

     /  February 26, 2016

    Great post Robert. I have seen some interesting comments from otherwise unexpected sources online of concern regarding positive feedbacks getting underway in the Arctic. After reading your incredibly informative post on the same day, I am feeling a bit more concerned than usual. The poleward transfer of heat would be coming at a very vulnerable time for the Arctic. Although many of the areas exposed by the recent cracking in the Beaufort seem to have frozen over, it is only a relatively thin layer over the wide cracks. As the sun angle increases, the melt pressure will open those areas right back up. With the enormous ice-free areas on the other side already, the ability of the Arctic waters to absorb heat this season is especially high. It doesn’t take too much imagination to think that we may see some epic events take place in the Northern Hemisphere summer this year.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  February 26, 2016

      Griffin

      Last night I watched , “Snow Chick” . The Emperor Penguins walk 120 miles just to feed their young. The father doesn’t eat for 4 months.

      I knew all this , but this effort was really great

      “Snow Chick”

      http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/snow-chick-about/13848/

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  February 26, 2016

        I saw that episode last night too, Bob. It was well done. The emperor penguin is an amazing creature, and what they can endure is almost beyond belief. The conditions they encounter in the middle of a blizzard are literally unimaginable to me. Here in Ct we had -15F with wind chills in the -30 range, and that felt pretty chilly. -80 with hurricane force winds is something that very few organisms can survive.

        I too had learned about the emperor penguin before this, but still found the show to be thoroughly enjoyable. One fun fact I recall is that the center of the penguin huddle can reach 100 degrees. 100 degrees! In the middle of the coldest conditions this planet can produce.

        Reply
    • I’m gathering sensor data from multiple sources at this time. Getting a clearer picture of sources. The human sources appear rather large, as do wildfires, and the Arctic so long as you look at surface level overburden.

      We are getting some record spikes in the metop measure recently as well. I wonder if they coincide with the fracturing we’ve seen in the Beaufort? China is a huge source, US fracking is pretty terrible, and the Africa and South America wildfires light up pretty strongly as well. Aside from these, the Arctic overburden is also consistent and disturbing.

      Reply
    • In any case, I’m curious, who are the unexpected sources?

      Reply
      • Griffin

         /  February 27, 2016

        Sorry for the late reply Robert. The first was a tweet from Peter Gleick. I am sure that you know of him, his work is fantastic. Yesterday he tweeted about Arctic feedbacks seeming to be kicking in. It seemed to me to be out of the blue. He is usually single-handedly teaching me more about water usage than everyone else combined. Yet on the same day, the USGS tweeted that a sea-ice free Arctic was possible this summer. I just found it odd to be reading those tweets on the very same day as your post. Well, not odd, just very frickin disturbing because I know enough to realize that you all know what you are talking about!

        Reply
        • I really respect all those guys. They know what the hell they’re talking about. I can honestly say that I’m a bit floored RE current trends. Am trying to keep composure.

          Can you repost links to these tweets. There’s been quite a flurry to keep up with.

  17. Colorado Bob

     /  February 26, 2016

    I found the full link, why these people. make us rundown this bullshit really sinks.

    It’s Nature om PBS.

    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/snow-chick-full-episode/13921/

    Reply
  18. Andy in SD

     /  February 26, 2016

    Because we have so much water to waste in California, lets inject waste water from drilling into the aquifer.

    “The California Water Board has signed off on its sister agency’s request, saying that the aquifer is separated from local drinking water sources by an “impermeable barrier.” But residents and environmentalists are skeptical. ”

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/02/25/3753477/california-asked-epa-to-exempt-aquifer/

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  February 26, 2016

      This practice has always struck me as a completely insane. The amount of freshwater available is limited, and we need to be preserving what remains of freshwater sources. Instead, we are taking some of the most toxic concoctions known to man and injecting them into pristine water sources, thus rendering them unusable…FOREVER! Like I said, it is completely insane. It’s almost like the ones who are ok with this are trying to guarantee that our civilization won’t survive the century intact. You might as well dump plutonium into your local reservoir.

      Reply
      • Syd Bridges

         /  February 26, 2016

        They aren’t polluting the aquifer, they’re hastening the Second Coming of Jesus-otherwise known to the sane as the Anthropocene Extinction.

        Reply
    • Eric Thurston

       /  February 26, 2016

      I talked to a petroleum engineer who told me that the failure rate for the fracking fluid disposal wells runs about 50% within 15 years. Long enough for the fracking company to declare bankruptcy and disappear.

      Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  February 26, 2016

    If anyone ever needs courage , it’s the Emperor Penguins. They have it in spades. Nothing comes close to them.

    Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  February 26, 2016

    courage
    The wing nuts are prepared to shoot at the polling place , we must show up.

    We must show up.
    I don’t care what you think. We must show up.

    Reply
  21. Colorado Bob

     /  February 26, 2016

    We must show up.
    I don’t care what you think. We must show up.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  February 26, 2016

      Everyone of us. This is a lot bigger that the next 20 years . The one time that jackass from Texas is right.

      We must show up.
      I don’t care what you think. We must show up.

      Reply
    • We absolutely must, my friend. There is no future to wait for. Our moment of necessity is now.

      Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  February 26, 2016

    I invite everyone to read the history of the “Clean Air Act” . A hand full of people changed the congress, and Nixon.
    We have done this before .

    In fact, you may be reading this because mercury was not part, of your everyday diet.

    Reply
  23. Colorado Bob

     /  February 26, 2016

    Here;s our guts –

    Reply
  24. Colorado Bob

     /  February 26, 2016

    Reply
  25. wili

     /  February 26, 2016

    Richard Alley is always worth a full listen, but if you don’t have much time, start at about minute thirty when he’s discussing Thwaites. If you have hardly any time, start at about minute 36 when he concludes that Thwaites glacier is on the edge of a collapse that could raise Northern Hemisphere sea levels by FOUR METERS in a matter of DECADES. (Sorry to yell, but…wow…just…wow).

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  February 26, 2016

      Richard Alley is best teacher in the Western World,

      Reply
      • wili

         /  February 26, 2016

        Some people don’t like the sound of his voice, but I’ve grown rather fond of it.

        I do wish they had captured the screen a bit better in this video, but most of the stuff early in the lecture I already knew pretty well.

        Reply
        • Richard is a treasure. A sharp fellow with an honest willingness to look at tough problems. His presentation style, I think, is absolutely fantastic.

          Those bits about Thwaites — chilling.

  26. – 0225 Good News PDX

    There has been quite a bit of talk lately re the US Forest Service finding unhealthy levels of lead and cadmium in local moss. Am awaiting further release of other pollutants, etc.

    As a result I think that I found a valuable cohort (not US Forest Service) re air pollution in PDX — something I have been searching for.
    It is often local flora that shows the effects of AP — I have photo evidence, etc.

    Will keep all posted.

    OUT

    Reply
  27. – The waters of PNW are showing ominous signs of contamination from humans.
    Many are the result of corporate driven circumstance upon a gullible and vulnerable public.

    – Some highlights and a link:

    ‘Seattle-Area Salmon Are Loaded With Anti-Depressants and Other Drugs Thanks to Human Waste’

    The everyday chemicals that humans ingest to relieve pain, fight depression and diabetes, or treat infection are winding up in the tissue of fish in Washington’s Puget Sound.

    A study in the journal Environmental Pollution detected unusually high levels of drugs like Advil, Benadryl, Prozac, and even birth control pills, in the tissue of salmon
    .
    Over 4,000 pharmaceuticals are currently in use or in development in the United States. Many of them are finding their way into rivers, streams, and lakes, raising concerns about how exposure could impact wildlife, or even humans who consume fish.
    – news.vice.com/article/seattle-area-salmon

    Reply
    • – A paper released from NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center this week says the contaminants include drugs such as Prozac, personal care products such as hand sanitizer and much more. The most abundant pharmaceutical was a diabetes medication. The research was conducted through the University of Washington.

      “About 60% of the chemicals we analyzed for were detected. Some of the concentrations were fairly high,” explained NMFS Environmental Toxicologist James Meador.
      The scientists took samples from local waterways, such as the Puyallup Estuary in Tacoma, as well as salmon and other fish. The levels of some compounds in the fish were high enough to affect their growth and behavior, according to researchers.

      “Several species of salmon are endangered,” said Meador. “In the past we’ve looked at PCP and DDT. Pharmaceuticals are the next frontier.”
      – king5.com/story/tech/science/environment/2016/02/24/wastewater-entering
      #

      Reply
  28. Cate

     /  February 26, 2016

    This just in.

    Expedition to the North Pole by popular explorer to “expose the true extent” of climate change in the Arctic: route changed and schedule disrupted because of Arctic sea ice loss.

    http://stratfordobserver.co.uk/news/climate-change-setback-stratford-polar-explorer/

    Reply
  29. Abel Adamski

     /  February 26, 2016

    A good article re permafrost (not just arctic, but all melting land ice is involved
    http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/02/26/permafrost-thaw-boost-global-warming

    Reply
  30. Ryan in New England

     /  February 26, 2016

    Fantastic post, Robert! Really well done. The enormity of the changes we are witnessing is overwhelming. Which got me thinking about how to elucidate the scale of changes to friends and family who are unfamiliar with climate change. I think this example is clear, simle and easy to visualize and understand.

    I recently re-watched the episode of Nature about the Antarctic food chain and the crucial role krill play. But in recent years krill numbers have declined dramatically, mirroring changes in sea ice. Biologists were unsure how krill sustained themselves through the dark, plankton-free Winter, so they went to Antarctica in Winter, drilled through the ice and jumped in to find out. It turns out that the krill literally feed on the ice, grazing on the bottom of the sea ice by scraping off microscopic layers of a phytoplankton that are frozen in the ice. They are able to survive the Winter and the larvae can even grow at about 5% per molt, compared to 7-8% in the summer. This meager food supply is enough for the resourceful krill to thrive.

    Here’s the easy-to-understand role of climate change; the sea-ice-free summer season has grown by 90 days per year. So, what’s the big deal? Well, timing is everything in nature, and even small changes that are imperceptible to humans can have profound effects on the food chain. Sea ice is not just frozen water. It contains phytoplankton that was in the water column when it froze, which sustains the krill through Winter, and krill is the crucial link in the food chain between solar-grown organisms and those that eat them. Krill eat phytoplankton and everything eats krill. It turns out that when the sea ice freezes later it is during a time when sunlight is becoming unavailable, so there is no phytoplankton. So if a “small” change occurs, like sea ice forming later, it can literally lead to the collapse of an entire food chain. If the water freezes when there is no sunlight then there will be no phytoplankton in the ice. If there is no plankton in the ice the krill will not be able to eat, and will die. If the krill die, then the fish, penguins, whales and pretty much everything else will also die. Everything depends on the ice forming at a specific time of year.

    So next time someone you know is thankful for 60 degree days in February, point out to them that the beautiful creatures that we share this world with (and ultimately depend on) can’t just change into different clothes or adjust the thermostat.

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  February 26, 2016

      Very well put Ryan.
      As CB has said it is the little critturs , they are the ones we all ultimately depend on

      Reply
    • Very well said, Ryan!

      Reply
    • – ‘Change’.” the acuity of change”.

      A couple of words by JR Oppenheimer Reith Lecture re science caught my ear. though spoken in more of a social/political/historical vein: “… the acuity of change”.
      After watching nature and microclimatic changes I also appreciate the subtleties of change.

      – Nice comment Ryan.

      Reply
  31. Abel Adamski

     /  February 26, 2016

    And for a glimpse at the dark side
    http://www.wsaz.com/content/news/West-Virginia-House-amends-bill-over-global-warming-doubt–370220861.html

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Amid doubts of global warming, West Virginia lawmakers look to delay new science educational standards.

    The GOP-led House approved the amendment blocking science standards Thursday.

    Reply
  32. Abel Adamski

     /  February 26, 2016

    http://www.wateronline.com/doc/global-warming-means-stormwater-difficulties-0001

    Tidal flooding, which is becoming increasingly routine, is making stormwater management difficult in places like Miami Beach, Charleston, SC, and Norfolk, VA, The New York Times reported, citing the same research.

    “Between 2005 and 2014, a gauge at Kings Point in New York showed there were 157 days where the water reached above an established ‘nuisance’ level — double the total of the previous decade. A total of 96 of these flooding events are attributed to changes in the climate,” the report said.

    “In San Francisco, the number of human-caused flooding events is almost three times above the unaltered trend while Charleston in South Carolina endured 219 flooding days between 2005 and 2014, with the vast majority climate change-driven,” The Guardian reported.

    Here’s the picture of what stormwater managers face as a result, per The New York Times:

    Though these floods often produce only a foot or two of standing saltwater, they are straining life in many towns by killing lawns and trees, blocking neighborhood streets and clogging storm drains, polluting supplies of freshwater and sometimes stranding entire island communities for hours by overtopping the roads that tie them to the mainland.

    The problem is only getting worse. A new analysis from Climate Central, a news organization, shows that the number of coastal flooding days has doubled since the ‘80s. The report blamed the warming of the atmosphere and the oceans.

    Reply
  33. Cate

     /  February 26, 2016

    In Ottawa, the national capital of Canada, the 7.8 km Rideau Canal Skateway opened late and is closing early because of poor ice conditions. This makes 2016 the shortest skating season on record at 18 days—after the longest on record in 2015, at 59 days.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/canal-ncc-short-season-1.3463948

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  February 26, 2016

      Something about a hockey stick……

      Reply
    • oh, man, my daughter is going to be really disappointed. She was pleading to go skating on the canal this weekend, and we haven’t been able to go because everyone here has had the flu and I was out of town for work. Maybe some of the outdoor rinks are still being maintained, as we’re still having some cold weather, but I might have to take her to an indoor rink, which is really crappy. Outdoor skating is one of the best things about winter, and I know it’s a minor inconvenience compared to what so many other people will be facing due to climate change, but it’s just another one of the things of beauty that we’re losing, so it’s a sad thing.

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  February 26, 2016

        I’m sorry to have been the bearer of bad news, Marcel. Hope you can find somewhere else to take your little girl skating.🙂. Out here in Newfoundland we’ve had two days of near 10C with high winds and sunshine—great evaporation weather. The bit of snow we had is nearly all gone and the ground looks more like mid-April than the end of February.

        Reply
      • Cate

         /  February 26, 2016

        Marcel, I wasn’t stalking, I swear, just happened to click through and found your paintings. WOW!! I LOVE your work—it is so quirky and so cool.😀

        Reply
    • Oh man, that really sucks. My 6 YO daughter was pleading to go skating yesterday. We only made it out on the canal once, and she got skating without help for the first time ever, so she was eager to do it again. Outdoor skating is one of the best things about winter, and I know that losing it is a minor inconvenience compared to what most people in the world are going to be facing due to climate change, but it’s still really sad to be losing so many things of beauty. And being able to skate outdoors is a thing of beauty.

      Reply
  34. Abel Adamski

     /  February 26, 2016
    Reply
    • Cate

       /  February 26, 2016

      Great link, Abel, but to be honest, the first time I tried to read it, I couldn’t. The first two lines cracked me up. “Saudi oil minister……force for good….”??? ROFLMAO! And then you can see them rubbing their hands in glee at the trillions they’re planning to make from carbon capture. Dream on, little kingies. Does anyone honestly take these filthy clowns seriously?—-Oh wait……Yes. All our governments do.

      Beside the point: in Canada, we just signed a deal to sell the Saudis $15 BILLION in arms. We don’t know where the arms will end up. And we don’t care. Money has nothing to do with anything but money. I can’t get this through my thick head.

      Reply
      • Syd Bridges

         /  February 26, 2016

        That’s pretty ungentlemanly of Canada. I may be wrong but I suspect “Call me Dave” Cameron would have liked that profitable business. If he loses the referendum, and the UK leaves the EU, Britain will need all the sleazy arms deals it can get. What with very little manufacturing left-special thanks to Lord Lawson-, the North Sea Oil fields in decline-hat tip to Lord Lawson-, no Empire to rip off, the Taliban now dominating the Opium Trade, and the Ponzoliers of the City of London likely to stick the UK taxpayer with another massive bailout in a few years, Dave and his reptilian Chancellor will have to screw the poor even more viciously.

        Reply
  35. dnem

     /  February 26, 2016

    Excellent article, Robert! It will be fascinating, in a watching a train wreck sort of way, to see how the end game of this El Nino plays out. It’s crazy, but in what might be a very close election here in the US, the weather (and state of arctic ice) this summer and fall, and stories about weather and climate, might be enough to alter the course of the election.

    On another topic altogether, the NYT is running a story about a new UN report on global pollinator declines and food supply:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/27/science/decline-of-species-that-pollinate-poses-a-threat-to-global-food-supply-report-warns.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&viewport=desktop&module=more-stories&region=top-stories-below&contentIndexValue=7&subIndexValue=0&feedIndexValue=12&summary=true&_r=0

    While the report raises the alarm, it appears it is non-committal about neonics and GMOs.

    Reply
    • I guess a few more points need to be addressed as well. Given where the warm air is setting up the northern wildfire risk again looks most acute over Alaska and Northwestern Canada as well as in Northwestern Russia near Yamal and regions south. It never really got cold there this winter. So something to watch.

      Reply
  36. dnem

     /  February 26, 2016

    And on another ‘nuther topic, pharmaceuticals in PNW salmon:

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/drugs-flooding-into-puget-sound-and-its-salmon/
    From Prozac to caffeine to cholesterol medicine, from ibuprofen to bug spray, researchers found an alphabet soup of drugs and other personal-care products in sewage-treatment wastewater and in the tissue of juvenile chinook in Puget Sound.

    Reply
  37. Jean

     /  February 26, 2016

    In Oklahoma the Pro Bass shop is glad everything is out of sync…
    Warm winter makes early spring fishing abundant

    By John Kilgore Phoenix Outdoors Columnist 8 hrs ago

    0

    My version of the Sears Christmas Wishbook just arrived – the Bass Pro Shop Spring Fishing circular.

    I’m putting the wife’s honey-do list aside and spending time gazing at the journalistic wonder.

    While weathermen are blaming El Nino for keeping Old Man Winter at bay, fisherman welcome the early spring.

    They say records are made to be broken and there’s no better time to catch a lunker than the next few months.

    While crappie fishing gets its fair share of notoriety, it’s the largemouth bass that hogs the attention.

    Reply
  38. Setting aside one’s feelings about Paul Beckwith/Ameg connection ——anyone have thoughts on Paul’s latest videos?
    (love his Trump comments at the end—-but I would extend that to all repub candidates)
    On human’s perception of risk related to climate change:

    Reply
    • In keeping with the question posed above:
      University of Queensland latest research on climate change denial:
      http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/02/23/3752548/climate-denial-linked-to-politics/

      Reply
    • Greg

       /  February 26, 2016

      Thank you Caroline. At about 8 minutes he encapsulates the future of the arctic in terms that are sobering. He throws out 2020 as a year for the first blue ocean event there, in September. From that year or thereabouts within 2 years we have 2-3 months of ice free Arctic Ocean and within 10 years its is year round! Greenland then goes from doubling every 5-7 years or so to an order of magnitude greater in melt. All of this, most of us will see in our lifetime. Yes, Colorado Bob, buckle up. Yikes.

      Reply
      • Greg, yikes is right. I’ll admit that on some level it feels like I’m still in denial regarding the rapidity and severity of AGW. Don’t know if I could function if I thoroughly integrated the reality into my brain —– if that makes sense.
        Beckwith posted this video in conjunction with the one above replete with uncooperative felines (no surprise there given the nature of cats!).

        Again, setting aside the AMEG/geo-engineering aspect mentioned in this piece, there’s some important information which, if factual, pose serious problems for a habitable planet.
        How DO we get out through this? I hate the thought of geo-engineering (along with gmo’s, gm mosquitoes, genetically modified ANYTHING) but cessation of fossil fuel use isn’t going to be enough to keep life as we know it going on this planet—- is that correct?
        So, is it down to figuring out how to get CO2 and methane out of the air and de-acidify the oceans? But then . . . how do we fix the gulf and jet streams?
        Back to yikes.

        Reply
        • I agree with what he says about risk in general. I agree on Trump and Sanders. And I agree that the global community isn’t taking climate change seriously enough.

          However, when looking at a particular instance of risk, you’re not just multiplying probability by impact. You’re looking to identify the most likely scenario, the least likely scenario, and the most dangerous scenario. 1 and 3 are the ones to really keep in mind. Often 2 and 3 are the same (as with near-term, catastrophic methane hydrate releases). Of those three, you really don’t want to ignore any. Not 1. Not 3. But you need to be clear what is what. You don’t, for example, say you know an asteroid impact is imminent until you know that with a very high certainty.

          Curve fitting a pure exponential function to climate change is unlikely to result in high certainty. Back in 2012, some were curve fitting a 2015 date for complete loss of Arctic sea ice, for example. Back in 2007, similar groups were curve fitting a 2012 date for complete loss of Arctic sea ice.

          These systems don’t really behave exponentially, in my view. They’re stable and then they’re not. They melt linearly and then they hit a tipping point and they’re pretty much finished. It’s more like slope and cliff for some. Others will swing radically.

          Keeping this in mind, a pure exponential function applied to Arctic warming and global warming is unlikely to be accurate. There are thresholds, equilibriums, boundaries and acceleration. For example, if you rapidly melt Greenland, you have a negative feedback on the local environment due to a cooling ocean at the surface. This happens due to the expansion of fresh water from the melting glaciers putting a lid on ocean heat re-radiating to the atmosphere. So you get a negative atmospheric and ocean surface feedback from this kind of event which would tend to plateau Arctic warming beyond a point for a number of decades while Greenland melted out. However, you also get more heat transferring into the ocean bottom zone (where the hydrates lay dormant) and to the base of sea facing glaciers.

          As for Arctic methane — that particular issue is very annoying to me due to a total lack of open research on the subject. We have observations and a number of very unhelpful models. And we have a very polarized discussion which includes some claiming that the release will be massive, sudden and soon, some claiming the release will be very slow, and others taking more of a middle road. I’d say what Beckwith notes about siloing is probably correct. But I also think that it would help to start from a position of admitting that we basically know very little about how these systems will respond to heating and go from there to generate real science. I’d say the state of science surrounding hydrate is now more mysticism than anything else. Sure, we have some models and we have some observations and we have some exponential curve fits. We even have a few proposed mechanisms. But monitoring is just terrible. We need to find a system in destabilization and see how it happens. We need to identify periods in paleoclimate when destabilization may have happened and take cores and geological records to figure out how. We need clear and widely published papers on the subject.

          This might be difficult due to the fact that from 55 million years til now, the globe has been in a state of net cooling. Now, we are warming. My opinion is the real risk for hydrate destabilization starts to happen when you get to the point where you’ve exceeded the maximum interglacial temperature threshold. It’s then that you really start to unlock the old carbon. That place is probably near 2 C (which is the Pliocene boundary of 2-3 million years ago) and maybe near 1.5 C.

          There should certainly be concern and a serious sense of urgency. But we should be responsible and tamp down any doomerism. In addition, we should be very clear that solar radiation management shouldn’t be seen as any kind of real solution to this problem. That’s a dangerous and desperate gambit. The real solution is hard. And that involves rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to net negative.

          My concern with AMEG is their continued push for geo-engineering while attacking policy efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If they didn’t do that and if they actually got down to doing real science in this area, then I think they’d be helpful. The problem is this political position aligned with geo-engineering. Heck, if they wanted to stake out a helpful political position they could stop courting oil, gas, and coal and start working with the rest of us to keep it in the ground.

          As for Bernie — I wholeheartedly support him now. But if Hillary wins I will most certainly support her over Trump.

          There’s basically no consensus and really not much hard science. Just observations and some people chasing an exponential tail. I’d list large Arctic hydrate release in the near term as one of those low risk, high potential impact potential events. The risk increases as the world warms.

          I see one as good and helpful. The other as helpful but possibly harmful in some ways. The third as about as destructive and terrible as you can imagine.

          I do hope that if Hillary wins she will consider Sanders as a VP.

        • Nice idea, but I’m reasonably sure Bernie would never settle for VP. Hope I’m wrong. I think O’Malley more likely (kind of successor to Biden–eastern Catholic). MHO.

        • I think we need an outsider in this race to counter Trump. Bernie naturally fits the bill.

      • Hi everyone-

        I’ve posted here in the past about uncertainty surrounding the methane hydrate global inventory and it’s impact on the future. The estimates range from 74.4 trillion tons of carbon to .004 trillion tons of carbon – and that range is insane. Scenarios working from that range run from Diddly to Armageddon. Ominously, most of the low estimates seem to come from scientists with a one or two degrees of separation relationship with major oil corporations, and oil corporations have several motives to minimize these estimates. Some of those motives are public relations, desire to avoid government regulation, competition for natural gas leases, desire to exploit the hydrates as a future energy source, desire to minimize foreign encroachment on hydrate deposits, etc

        The high estimate comes from Kluada and Sandler and, reading what people say about this paper (the paper is inaccessible behind a pay wall) it seems like a serious effort, from serious scientists, with a possible error leading to an overestimation of deep ocean hydrates. But the continental shelves in their paper have something like 23 trillion tons of carbon as methane, and their modeling successfully predicts the presence of methane hydrate in more than 95 percent of known locations on the continental shelves.

        Estimates of methane release from the hydrates in past mass extinction events are variable but run to several trillion tons of carbon as methane, looking at the carbon isotope ratio excursions. The authors of this paper on the End Triassic mass extinction claim a minimum of 12 trillion tons of carbon as methane was released to the atmosphere during the End Triassic:

        http://973.geobiology.cn/photo/2011072478778489.pdf

        Hydrate stability is a function of both temperature and pressure, and an increase in water depth can compensate for warmer oceans during interglacial periods, if the icecaps are given sufficient time to melt. Still cold water temperatures during ice ages would seem to favor hydrate stability, and we have had a series of geologically recent ice ages. So, the global methane hydrate inventory should be high.

        If a minimum of 12 trillion tons of carbon entered the atmosphere (not counting the amount sequestered by the oceans) during the End Triassic, and we are coming out of a series of ice ages, with high hydrate inventories, and if Klauda and Sandler correctly predict more than 95 percent of known methane hydrate sites, and they say we have 23 trillion tons of methane in the continental shelf hydrates, wouldn’t this tend to suggest we have at least 20 trillion tons of hydrate in the global hydrate inventory right now? Dickens says an appropriate range is 5 to 20 trillion tons of carbon.

        The IMPACTS group of national labs and universities, modeling hydrate release, achieved some preliminary results before being de-funded, and those results suggest that resource shortages and oceanic anoxia will lead to around 60 percent release of methane directly into the atmosphere, after 30 years of hydrate dissociation, in their low to moderate methane release modeling.

        The IMPACTS group, by the way, was funded by the Department of Energy, through the National Energy Technology Laboratory – the same department responsible for promoting natural gas hydrates as an energy source. Was IMPACTS defunded because they did too good of a job, and predicted things the fossil fuel corporations and their revolving door minions within the DOE didn’t want to hear?

        So on the spectrum from Diddly to Armageddon, aren’t we likely looking at Armageddon, in the next few decades or the next few centuries?

        Reply
    • Speaking of Republicans, I have come up with a new hashtag on Twitter today, #GOPknew, mimicking the #ExxonKnew hashtag on ExxonMobil’s duplicity. Used it on two stories–1) West Virginia’s Republican House voted to stop educational science standards from going into effect based on “global warming doubt” and 2) Oregon’s Republican Senators stayed away from the legislature today to block an ambitious clean energy bill. If others on Twitter like it, I invite your usage.

      Reply
  39. – Short gif graphic:

    Reply
  40. Robert, thank you for you detailed response above.
    I feel like there should be a link to it on your new post as it is very informative and thought provoking.
    Excellent points, as usual. Agree with your sentiments about doomerism, geon-engineering, Ameg, Bernie and more.

    You say:
    “We need to find a system in destabilization and see how it happens. We need to identify periods in paleoclimate when destabilization may have happened and take cores and geological records to figure out how. We need clear and widely published papers on the subject”

    Isn’t James Kennett’s latest research(http://www.msi.ucsb.edu/news/paleo-climate-change) relevant to the challenge you pose?
    I’d like to get him back on the radio in light of your current piece—–anyone else you recommend? (you?😊)

    “Kennett noted that this remarkable record of paleoclimate changes also raises an important question: What process can possibly push the Earth’s climate so fast from a glacial to an interglacial state? The researchers may have discovered the answer based on the core’s geochemical record: The warming associated with the major climatic shift was accompanied by simultaneous releases of methane — a potent greenhouse gas.
    “This particular episode of climate change is closely associated with instability that caused the release of methane from gas hydrates at the ocean floor,” Kennett said. “These frozen forms of methane melt when temperatures rise or pressure decreases. Changes in sea level affect the stability of gas hydrates and water temperature even more so.
    “The clear synchronism of this rapid warming and the onset of the destabilization of gas hydrates is important,” Kennett concluded. “It suggests that methane hydrate instability and the warming are somehow linked, which is an interesting and potentially important observation. The beauty of these paleoclimate records from the Santa Barbara Basin is that you can actually determine these relationships at high fidelity.

    New research from UC Santa Barbara geologist James Kennett and colleagues examines a shift from a glacial to an interglacial climate that began about 630,000 years ago. Their research demonstrates that, although this transition developed over seven centuries, the initial shift required only 50 years.

    One of the most astonishing things about our results is the abruptness of the warming in sea surface temperatures,” explained co-author Kennett, a professor emeritus in UCSB’s Department of Earth Science. “Of the 13 degree Fahrenheit total change, a shift of 7 to 9 degrees occurred almost immediately right at the beginning.”

    Reply
    • I’d love to chat with Dr Kennett about this particular issue on your program, Caroline. Thanks for the suggestions as well. Will see what I can do.

      Reply
  41. Yet conservative politicians and Big Business that supports them will continue to deny. The ones who will suffer greatly are the animals, especially wild animals, and none of it is their fault.

    Reply
  42. John B Davies

     /  April 19, 2016

    Hello Robert,
    This is very informative, thank you so much for your deep thought. When I have something useful to say I will be in touch.

    Reply
  1. keep resisting!
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