NCAR: Global Temperature Increase To Lower Oxygen Content of Most Ocean Zones by the 2030s

A reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans due to climate change is already discernible in some parts of the world and should be evident across large regions of the oceans between 2030 and 2040. — The National Center for Atmospheric Research in a press release on April 27th.

*****

Loss of oxygen in the world’s oceans. It’s one of those really, really bad effects of a human-forced warming of our Earth. One of the those climate monsters in the closet that Steve Pacala talks about. The kind of thing we really don’t want to set loose.

Deoxygenated Oceans as Major Killing Mechanism During Hothouse Extinctions

The damage caused by ocean oxygen loss is multi-variant and wide-ranging. The most obvious harm comes in the form of generating environments in which oxygen-dependent life in the oceans can no longer breathe. Any living creature that filters oxygen out of the water for respiration falls under threat due to lowered ocean oxygen levels. A group that includes pretty much all the advanced, multi-cellular life in the seas.

A press statement from the new NCAR study notes:

Scientists know that a warming climate can be expected to gradually sap the ocean of oxygen, leaving fish, crabs, squid, sea stars, and other marine life struggling to breathe.

namibia-hydrogen-sulfide-emission-2007

(Hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria blooms off the coast of Namibia during 2007. Hydrogen sulfide is a highly toxic gas. One that is produced by microbes that live in waters containing little or no oxygen. Image source: Earth Observatory.)

But a second, less immediately obvious hit comes in the form of generating expanding anoxic environments that favor the proliferation of toxin-producing microbes. Called dead zones, these oxygen-poor regions not only provide a suffocation threat to sea life, but they also form areas of water in which environmental toxins can build up. The result is a long-lasting negative impact to the health of life in the ocean and, in the most extreme cases, on land and in the airs as well.

The worst of these toxin-generating microbes are the hydrogen-sulfide producing bacteria. An ancient organism that is incompatible with oxygen-dependent life. A horror out of deep time that has tended to crop up again and again on the list of usual suspects of major hothouse extinction killers. A likely perpetrator of the big ocean and land die offs during pretty much all global warming based extinctions. An organism that dominated the world’s seas and likely vented its deadly gasses into the airs of the world of the Permian — during the worst die-off Earth has ever seen.

In short, hydrogen sulfide is deadly to almost all forms of life that currently dominate the world’s oceans, lands, and airs. And the bacteria that produces hydrogen sulfide requires oxygen-poor environments in which to grow and thrive. A world ocean high in oxygen keeps these little killers hidden away in the deep, dark corners of our Earth. But heat the world ocean up. Deprive it of oxygen. And they start to come out and become a threat (see more in Awakening the Horrors of the Ancient Hothouse).

Oxygen Loss to Become Widespread by the 2030s

Already today we see regions of the world ocean that are experiencing oxygen loss. Some of this oxygen loss is due to a process called eutrophication. In eutrophication, nutrients overload the ecosystems of water-based environments. As nutrient content rises, large bacterial blooms emerge. Eventually, these blooms overpopulate the waters and devour all the food sources. When the microbes then die en masse, their decay robs the surrounding waters of oxygen — generating a dead zone.

Eutrophication has been sapping the world’s oceans of oxygen over wider and wider regions due to both agricultural run-off (fertilizers and top soils flushed into rivers, lakes and oceans that feed large microbial blooms and related dead zones) and due to nitrogen fall out from fossil fuel burning. But human forced global warming also plays a key roll in the loss of oxygen to the world ocean system.

Ocean Deoxygenation Map

(According to a new study from NCAR, ocean oxygen levels are already starting to fall in some regions due to global warming. If warming continues, NCAR finds that most of the world’s oceans will experience some level of oxygen loss due to this warming and due to a related increased stratification of surface waters. Image source: NCAR.)

The new NCAR study provides an excellent description of how warming the world’s surface waters can reduce ocean oxygen levels:

The entire ocean—from the depths to the shallows—gets its oxygen supply from the surface, either directly from the atmosphere or from phytoplankton, which release oxygen into the water through photosynthesis. Warming surface waters, however, absorb less oxygen. And in a double whammy, the oxygen that is absorbed has a more difficult time traveling deeper into the ocean. That’s because as water heats up, it expands, becoming lighter than the water below it and less likely to sink.

Waters that are less likely to sink are less likely to mix. And waters that are less likely to mix transfer less of the atmosphere’s oxygen to the global ocean. It’s a process called ocean stratification. A set of circumstances triggered by warming that can sap the world’s waters of their ability to support life even as it enhances their ability to generate environments favorable to toxin-producing microbes. And in the absolute worst cases, a stratified, oxygen-deprived ocean can transition into a dead, life-on-Earth-threatening Canfield Ocean.

Mobile Ocean Dead Zone

(Mobile ocean dead zones, like this one seen off the West African Coast during 2015, may grow more widespread as the world’s surface waters are depleted of oxygen due to a fossil fuel emission based warming. A new study from NCAR both explains how warming waters can hold less oxygen and notes that loss of oxygen to ocean surface waters becomes very widespread by the 2030s. Image source: Biogeosciences.)

In the NCAR study, which is well worth reading in full, scientists used model runs to determine when and where climate change would start to deprive the world ocean system of oxygen. The study found that regions off the coast of West Africa, regions west of South America, an area to the west of Australia, and a section of the Beaufort Sea were already experiencing lower levels of ocean oxygen due to global warming. West African seas were the first and hardest hit by warming in the models. This is interesting due to the fact that Namibia on the West Coast of Africa is one of the only regions of the world now observed to experience blooms of hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria that extend into the surface waters. West African waters have also generated a number of mobile, low-oxygen dead zones that have spiraled on off into the North Atlantic.

The fact that the NCAR study indicates that global warming has already reduced ocean oxygen levels in a region that is producing both dead zones and, in the case of Nambia, periods during which hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria appear at the surface, is cause for some concern. For by the 2030s, the NCAR model study indicates that global warming will be actively reducing ocean oxygen levels across the vast majority of the North Pacific, a majority of the South Pacific, most of the South Atlantic, and pretty much all of the Indian Ocean region covered in the new research. This raises the risk that open water dead zones like the ones seen off Africa and even hydrogen sulfide producing hot spots like Nambia may begin to creep into other regions of the world ocean — generating further threats to sea life, to fishing industry, and to human beings who depend on healthy oceans for livelihood and for life.

Links:

Widespread Loss of Ocean Oxygen (due to Climate Change) to Become Noticeable by the 2030s

Steve Pacala

Earth Observatory

Awakening the Horrors of the Ancient Hothouse

Biogeosciences

Mobile Ocean Dead Zones

Eutrophication

Ocean Stratification

Canfield Ocean

Hat Tip to Colorado Bob

Hat Tip to June

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80 Comments

  1. climatehawk1

     /  April 28, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  2. This is particularly bad for those creatures that spend their entire lives in the depths or on the ocean floor, and do not come up to surface.

    Reply
    • Peter Ward, in Under a Green Sky, as mentioned below by Loni notes that death in the hothouse extinctions starts at the bottom of the world’s oceans and progresses toward the surface.

      Reply
  3. Loni

     /  April 28, 2016

    Again, my friend, I hope you have a comfortable office chair……and a cast iron digestive tract.

    In ‘Under a Green Sky’, Peter D. Ward Ph.D. goes into depth on the wonders and delights of the Canfield Ocean, which apparently has been the condition of the worlds oceans in our past, for many, many years, and oddly, no waves.

    Why we insist on messin’ with the world’s thermostat is beyond any comprehension.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the kind sentiments and for the very relevant Peter Ward mention, Loni.

      I will tend to do some exercises — calisthenics, jogging etc, before or after posts to keep from having to sit for too long and to help keep the old noodle sharp. The chair is relatively uncomfortable, but that’s OK. As for the stomach, well, I find that it doesn’t complain so much during the work as bite me back at a later time during the day after all the tension bleeds out.

      Reply
      • Loni

         /  April 29, 2016

        Well Sir, your ardent fans are interested in the care and feeding of Robertscribbler, and happy to hear that both are being tended to.

        Reply
  4. dnem

     /  April 28, 2016

    I think the tip o’ the hat is due June, not Jean?

    Reply
  5. Ryan in New England

     /  April 28, 2016

    Another oil company fighting against electric vehicles, Shell and VW have joined forces to fight against electric vehicles as a way for the EU to work towards emissions reductions targets.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/28/vw-and-shell-try-to-block-eu-push-for-cleaner-cars

    Reply
    • I wonder how they’re liking those 400,000 model 3 preorders? I’m thinking the EV cat is out of the bag. Sorry to see VW continuing to backslide after its recent corruption issues regarding emissions. Shell apparently has had its hooks in that company for a long time.

      Regardless of my sentiments about Space X, I must say that I wholeheartedly support Musk’s all-out push to transform the vehicular transport market to electric. If we had more billionaires putting such a huge effort into an energy transition like Elon, then we’d be much better off. I think it will take everyone working together on this — enviros, people at the grass roots, governments, and investors too. In the end we’re all in this together. We need everyone pitching in to keep the fossil fuel special interests from wrecking things more than they already have.

      Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  April 29, 2016

      I did pop it in before, but there is also a growing grass roots do it yourself poor mans EV solution
      Maybe the cars are limited range, but still perfect for the daily commute, far less energy/fuel costs especially with rooftop solar and negligeable servicing costs.

      http://motherboard.vice.com/read/old-volvos-last-forever-so-this-guys-x-ray-auto-making-them-electric?trk_source=recommended

      Old Volvos Last Forever, So This Guy’s Making Them Electric

      The Low-Cost, DIY Romanian Tesla

      What do you do if you can’t afford a Tesla? You build one yourself. Marc Areny did just that, for only $13,000.

      In 2011, the half-French, half-Catalan engineer sold his property in France and moved to Pitesti, Romania, planning to make “an electric car anyone could afford, not just elites,” he told me in flawless Romanian.

      He started with his foster country’s national car, a 2005 Dacia Logan, Renault’s low-cost brand. He got rid of the petrol related parts and replaced them with batteries and an electric motor.

      The car doesn’t have Tesla’s huge touchscreens and gizmos, but it’s reliable, as fast as a gas-powered car, and will take you to your destination, he said. It has since taken him 12,500 miles, he told me, no repairs needed, and will run for 100 miles on just $1.80 and a six-hour charge.

      But while he had no trouble getting his car certified by the Romanian Automotive Register (RAR), he had a different experience in France.

      In 2010, Areny was unable to get approval to drive his DIY electric Porsche 944 on French roads.

      After months of phone calls and emails, he gave up. “They tld me I had to do a frontal and a lateral crash test in order to certify the car,” he said. In other words, he’d have to destroy two cars in order to certify a third one.

      Reply
  6. Ryan in New England

     /  April 28, 2016

    Robert, this topic is seriously frightening. More than the typical dire eventualities of climate change. I picture things getting away from us and Canfield Ocean conditions becoming more prevalent through next century, causing devastation to current life on Earth (what remains after we’ve ravaged the globe). Is this scenario too outlandish? Or could we really bring the oceans to that point?

    Reply
    • This Century, I think we’ll see more the effects of increasingly stratified Ocean states overall. The Canfield Ocean would take longer to develop and would require about 8 C worth of warming overall. That’s not to say that a stratified ocean wouldn’t produce some issues that look similar to a Canfield Ocean. But these instances would be isolated while the terrible impacts of a Canfield Ocean would be largely unbiquitous.

      Reply
    • I just want to add that the Canfield Ocean is absolutely something we can avoid by halting fossil fuel emissions ASAP.

      Reply
  7. DrFog

     /  April 28, 2016

    No doubt the Netherlands has plenty people with vision and enough courage to fight for it:

    “Dutch politicians have voted through a motion calling on the country to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars starting in 2025.”

    Netherlands-parliament-electric-car-petrol-diesel-ban-by-2025

    I wished the same could happen in the UK, Germany and France but the car users and manufacturers lobby is so powerful in those countries that I see no chances of that happening, unfortunately.

    Reply
  8. Judith

     /  April 28, 2016

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151201094120.htm
    Atmospheric oxygen may also be an issue according to this article.
    What do you think?

    Reply
    • There’s no evidence in paleoclimate of an atmospheric oxygen crisis at 6 C warming. In other words, the world has been 6 C warmer many times in the past and not experienced mass land animal die offs due to atmospheric oxygen depletion.

      That said, warming by FF is likely to degrade total atmospheric oxygen content and increase CO2 in ways that makes the atmosphere more hostile. Overall, I’d say this single bit of research requires a lot of confirmation to prove this rather extraordinary claim. Confirmation that we don’t currently see.

      But by any measure, 6 C warming would be absolutely terrible and probably not something that current human civilization could survive. Regardless of threat of atmospheric oxygen depletion, we need to do everything possible to avoid hitting 6 C warming. In fact we should be fighting as hard as we can to avoid the 1.5 and 2 C marks (multi-year average) even though that, in the end, may not be possible.

      Reply
      • Judith

         /  April 29, 2016

        Many thanks, Robert. I deeply appreciate your efforts and would love to see this kind of work in all the major newspapers. Surely then we would see some major change. I also understand something of the forces working against it…………….

        Reply
      • wili

         /  April 29, 2016

        On the surface, it would seem to make sense that burning some ten billion tons of carbon every year–for each carbon atom of which, two atoms of oxygen get bound up–would be depleting some atmospheric oxygen.

        But there is a huge pool of ‘fossil oxygen’–20 some % of the atmosphere.

        So it would take some thousands of years, iirc, even at our current break-neck rate of ff burning, to seriously deplete all that oxygen. I’m not sure there is actually enough carbon fuel on the earth to go that far.

        Not a road we want to go too far down, of course. But lots of other huge crises will assault us long before we get close to serious atmospheric depletion of O2, it seems.

        Reply
        • There’s a bit of a tipping point if you deplete the ocean of oxygen enough that it starts drawing it out of the atmosphere. But the effect has to be enormous just to knock out 1 percent of atmospheric oxygen. You’re definitely getting lower air quality though. And rising CO2 has bad effects. But yeah, there are many larger and more immediate threats from systemic warming.

  9. – Ps Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego have take on this for the Pacific.

    – Yesterday (Time is ‘flying by now.). I added it to your comment string of “That’s one hell of a report. Will be taking a closer look tonight. ” It may be appropriate for this post.

    Deep-Sea Biodiversity Impacted By Climate Change’s Triple Threat
    Researchers find a key effect of oxygen loss and that climate change impacts vary by region
    Apr 27, 2016

    A new study found that vulnerability of deep-sea biodiversity to climate change’s triple threat – rising water temperatures, and decreased oxygen, and pH levels – is not uniform across the world’s oceans.

    The analysis by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego used responses to natural variation in temperature, oxygen, and pH to reveal that deep-sea biodiversity from Baja California to San Francisco may be highly susceptible to projected climate changes in the future.
    https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/deep-sea-biodiversity-impacted-climate-changes-triple-threat

    Reply
  10. Robert Schmidt

     /  April 28, 2016

    Thank you Robert. You are almost alone in the attention you are giving this dire subject. H2S is the frosting on the Sixth Extinction Cake. Amazing that it is starting to appear in more and more locations already and getting so very little play in the MSM. MSM ignored methane as long as they could, time will tell how much longer they can ignore H2S.

    Reply
    • It’s still very early days for H2S. We have a few suspect zones but it’s more a deep ocean and over the horizon issue right now for the surface environment. It’s worth talking about because, well, we don’t want to end up in a situation where you have severely expanding H2S zones. Methane is still nowhere near a settled issue and science should definitely be taking a closer look at that.

      Reply
  11. Austria’s Treasured National Resource, Its Glaciers, Are Melting Fast

    Glaciers across the country retreated an average of 72 feet in 2015, more than twice the rate of the previous year, finds an annual survey.

    VIENNA—Nearly all of Austria’s 900 glaciers retreated last year amid record-setting heat, according to Austrian scientists. The rapid melting mirrors a trend across the Alps and underscores scientists’ warnings of accelerating, extreme climate impacts caused by human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/27042016/austria-glaciers-melting-fast-climate-change-global-warming-alps-pasterze

    Reply
  12. – Antarctica – Subglacial lakes etc
    From Scripps

    Three recent publications by early career researchers at three different institutions across the country, including Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, provide the first look into the biogeochemistry, geophysics, and geology of Subglacial Lake Whillans, which lies 800 meters (2,600 feet) beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

    The findings stem from the Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD) project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

    Collectively, the researchers describe a wetland-like area beneath the ice. Subglacial Lake Whillans is primarily fed by ice melt, but also contains small amounts of seawater from ancient marine sediments on the lake bed. The lake waters periodically drain through channels to the ocean, but with insufficient energy to carry much sediment.

    The new insights will not only allow scientists to better understand the biogeochemistry and mechanics of the lake itself, but will also allow them to use that information to improve models of how Antarctic subglacial lake systems interact with the ice above and sediment below. These models will help assess the contribution that subglacial lakes may have on the flow of water from the continent to the ocean, and therefore to sea-level rise.
    https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/what-lies-beneath-west-antarctica

    Reply
  13. Cate

     /  April 29, 2016

    Ice loss is accelerating in Greenland’s glaciers. Study out today:

    “The Dartmouth team studied a fast-flowing West Greenland tidewater glacier, using time-lapse photography, modeled runoff estimates and ground and satellite imagery to determine how much of the glacier is experiencing melt and when meltwater exits the glacier and enters the fjord. The timing between melt onset and when the meltwater emerges shows how the meltwater travels through and below the glacier.

    Their results show that multiple intense plumes of sediment-rich meltwater can occur across a glacier’s terminus, which hasn’t been documented previously, and can increase calving and melting; sediment plumes can break apart the mélange, which weakens the stability of the glacier terminus; and meltwater is being stored under the glacier, which can speed up the glacier’s velocity.”

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/dc-ila042816.php

    Reply
  14. Cate

     /  April 29, 2016

    The Canadian public broadcaster: report weather, but don’t mention climate change. Don’t mention reasons, causes. That’s just theory, anyway. Let readers gather what they will from the fact that the north is now a lot hotter, a lot earlier, than it used to be. David Phillips, Environment Canada: “I always say: ‘enjoy the weather, but be concerned by the climate. So maybe in the long run it’s not a good thing, but I don’t think anyone would take that away from you.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/pangnirtung-heat-record-1.3553971

    Reply
  15. Jay M

     /  April 29, 2016

    the outburst was like an explosion from lower LA

    Reply
  16. Steven Blaisdell

     /  April 29, 2016

    Great post, Robert.

    Reply
  17. – Radio Alert – PDX – KBOO – also on the web will have an hour long interview with journalist Dahr Jamail, who thinks highly of Robert’s work, tomorrow 0429 3-4pm PDT. Later it will be available for download.

    Dahr Jamail on War, Peace and Climate Disruption

    http://kboo.fm/media/49404-dahr-jamail-war-peace-and-climate-disruption

    Reply
  18. redskylite

     /  April 29, 2016

    RS – Thanks for this very detailed and clear narrative on this sad news, this year more than ever I feel I’m witnessing history being made, but unfortunately not good history. Some of those books by academics and learned scientists on times long ago are beginning to ring true for today. Glad we have some idea of what could happen and what has happened in the past.

    More foreboding in this rather alarming news reported in the Sydney Morning Herald . .

    So in early April, signs that the giant ice sheets were melting at least a month earlier than during the years since reliable records began stunned scientists at the Danish Meteorological Institute.

    “We had to check that our models were still working properly” Peter Langen, a climate scientist at DMI, told Polar Portal earlier this month.

    And they were.

    Warm air sweeping in from the south-west of Greenland had prompted more than 12 per cent of the ice sheet to register melting.

    Weather stations 1840 metres above sea-level reported temperatures of above 3 degrees, conditions that would be considered a warm day in July, let alone April.

    “Everything is melting”, said Aqqaluk Petersen, a resident of Nuuk, Greenland’s capital.

    The heatwave, Greenland style, added to other evidence that the top of the world continues to warm about twice as fast as the rest of the planet.

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/greenland-ice-sheet-melting-has-started-early-20160429-gohx1z.html

    Reply
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  21. redskylite

     /  April 29, 2016

    NOAA on the very early Arctic melt . . .

    While these omega-block atmospheric patterns occur naturally, bringing warmer than average air to the Arctic, there is no doubt that these patterns are occurring in a world warmed by climate change. And there is no place on earth that is warming as fast as the Arctic.

    https://www.climate.gov/news-features/event-tracker/greenland-melt-season-very-early-start

    Reply
  22. USA – CA – Politics – Trump in Los Angeles/Orange County 0428

    Protests rage outside Trump rally in Orange County: police car window smashed, roads blocked

    … One group of protesters carried benches and blocked the entrance to the 55 Freeway along Newport Boulevard, with some tossing rocks at motorists near the onramp.

    Officers clad in riot gear from the Costa Mesa Police Department lined up across a roadway…

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-gays-for-trump-crowd-gathers-at-costa-mesa-rally-20160428-story.html

    Reply
  23. Tiny Ocean Animals Get ‘Drunk’ on Algae, Act Crazy

    Plankton that slurp up poisonous algae put themselves at risk of getting eaten by predators, a new study says.

    A common species of plankton in the northern Atlantic Ocean becomes intoxicated when it slurps up toxic algae, a new study says.

    And just like drunk partygoers, “drunk” plankton take questionable risks. (Related: “Do Animals Get Drunk?”)

    In contrast to the wobbly gait of inebriated people, plankton under the influence swim faster and on a straighter path, making them more susceptible to predators.

    The plankton’s reaction to the algae is the exact opposite of what Rachel Lasley-Rasher and her team expected.

    “We honestly thought we would see [the plankton] slow down,” she says, but by speeding up and becoming less loopy, “they are encountering predators at a much higher rate,” says Lasley-Rasher, a marine ecologist at the University of Maine in Orono.
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160426-plankton-animals-science-oceans-predators/

    Reply
  24. redskylite

     /  April 29, 2016

    Another effect of warmer winters in the U.K – slugs stay active over the winter – likely population explosion and plethora of slugs to come .

    ‘Sleepless slugs’ on rise, say experts

    Last year’s wet summer, followed by one of the warmest winters on record, has helped to create a generation of sleepless slugs, wildlife experts have warned.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36166774

    Reply
  25. redskylite

     /  April 29, 2016

    NASA on pollution detection from space and it’s efforts to monitor this killer.

    On the trail of a hazy global killer

    Air pollution causes an estimated 152,000 deaths a year across the Americas and more than 2 million deaths in the Western Pacific, according to the United Nations. Some parts of the world have a detailed view of local air quality from ground sensor networks and forecast models that generate public alerts. But for much of the world this type of information and warning are not available.

    Space offers a tantalizing global solution.

    http://climate.nasa.gov/news/2435/

    Reply
  26. Abel Adamski

     /  April 29, 2016

    Interesting CO2 atmospheric extraction by a rock
    http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/oman/rocks-found-in-oman-could-help-fight-global-warming-1.1810841

    Muscat: A professor in Oman has come up with a discovery that promises a breakthrough solution to the issue of carbon emissions on a global level: a rock commonly found just under the crust of the earth could soak up the planet’s entire carbon dioxide emissions, even without being mined.

    Subhi Nasr, Director of Earth Science Research Centre at Sultan Qaboos University, says that when the peridotite rock — made up mostly of silicate minerals olivine and pyroxene — reacts with carbon dioxide, it converts the gas into calcite, a solid mineral. This interaction only requires that holes be drilled into the peridotite rock.

    Reply
    • Hi Abel-

      Thanks for all the great links. Very interesting stuff.

      About the peridotite rock, there have been ideas similar to the one in your link published in the past. This 2008 paper points out that the in situ carbonation of peridotite is an exothermic (heat producing) process, so the larger the scale of the operation, the more heat generated by the process, and the faster the reaction goes. So by pumping supercritical CO2 into a basalt or peridotite mass, we could possibly get it “cooking” and the elevated temperature could speed up the reaction. Steam injection or pumping in heated supercrictical CO2 might also speed things up.

      http://info.ornl.gov/sites/carboncapture/Shared%20Documents/Background%20Materials/Alternative%20Methods/P.%20Kelemen.pdf

      I think myself that if we start with the right rock as a raw material – basalt, peridotite, olivine, serpentine – we could possibly make a true CO2 sequestering cement. Portland cement now starts with limestone carbonate rock and drives off the CO2 – exactly the opposite of what we need, I think.

      What we really need, I think, is to be able to make Portland cement or something very similar starting with a basalt rock. Klaus Lackner and his collaborators investigated this sort of mineral carbonation chemistry for years, and perhaps some of that knowledge could be useful in making a true carbon sequestering cement.

      By the way, below something like 2.3 kilometers in depth, hydrostatic pressure and the compressability of CO2 makes supercritical CO2 denser than water. So, it seems possible that we could drill deep injection wells for supercritical CO2, below 2.3 kilometers in depth, start pumping in heated supercritical CO2, and then accelerate the exothermic (heat producing) reaction by operating it at an elevated temperature. So we could have gravitationally, physically, and chemically trapped masses of rock sequestering CO2 as carbonate, cooking at an elevated rate, if this line of research gets implemented. The Juan de Fuca plate off of the Oregon and Washington coast has sometimes been imagined as an ideal place to get large scale in situ mineral carbonation of CO2 going.

      Reply
  27. Cate

     /  April 29, 2016

    Susan Hassol on the NASA climate blog: “Look, I know it’s really hard to be optimistic when you’re down. So the best antidote to fight off the climate blues….is to take action. I do more work, give more talks, work with more scientists, get out there, and give people real hope. I also balance my reading,” she continued. “For every couple of articles I read in science journals about the melting poles, the hottest year on record, the worst fire season on record, the flooding, I try to look at what’s happening on the solutions side: the growth in solar and wind, the improvements in the economics of renewable energy, the ambitious action taking place in cities, states and countries around the world.”

    I seek out the good news stories too, lest I go crazy. NASA feeds are full of chin-up, can-do spirit. It’s what they do. Because let’s admit it, folks, no-one does can-do like Americans do can-do, and NASA is the can-do flagship. 😉

    So, crumbs of hope, such as this—

    •Scotland generated nearly 60 percent of its electricity with renewables in 2015 and is aiming for 100 percent.

    It CAN be done. Well done, Scotland.

    http://climate.nasa.gov/blog/2438

    Reply
  28. Colorado Bob

     /  April 29, 2016

    The body count in India is rising –
    Extreme heat claims hundreds of lives in India, daytime cooking is banned

    http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/04/29/463147/India-heat-Bihar/

    Reply
  29. Colorado Bob

     /  April 29, 2016

    Obama declares disaster as Marshall Islands suffers worst-ever drought

    Heine declared a state of emergency in February after the Marshall Islands, a collection of atolls south-west of Hawaii, received just a quarter of its usual rainfall during the November to February period.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/28/obama-marshall-islands-drought

    Reply
  30. Colorado Bob

     /  April 29, 2016

    From NASA Earth Observatory — In late April 2016, record rainfall fell in the Houston area, and some areas received nearly a season’s worth of rain in one night. The deluge led to deadly flooding, and nine counties were declared to be in a state of disaster.

    The map above shows a satellite-based estimate of rainfall over Texas on April 15-18, 2016. The data come from the Integrated Multi-Satellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG), a product of the Global Precipitation Measurementmission. The brightest shades on the maps represent rainfall totals of at least 300 millimeters (12 inches) during that period. Blue areas saw less rain, and gray areas received no rain. These regional, remotely-sensed estimates may differ from the totals measured by ground-based weather stations.

    http://kxan.com/blog/2016/04/28/nasa-satellite-shows-record-houston-rain-in-april/

    Reply
  31. Colorado Bob

     /  April 29, 2016

    Streets and waterways flooded throughout South Mississippi when a storm system dumped up to 12 inches of rain over five hours, beginning about 4 a.m. Thursday.

    Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/news/weather/article74474307.html#storylink=cpy

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  April 29, 2016

      And this after Tuesday’s flooding in the neighborhood. Hell or High water.

      Reply
  32. Greg

     /  April 29, 2016

    Senator Boxer and Durbin introduce the Climate Change Adapt America Bond Act, legislation that gives every American the opportunity to make a difference in the fight against climate change designed to create “war” bonds for Climate Change battles ahead:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sen-barbara-boxer/americans-want-to-fight-c_b_9797628.html

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  April 29, 2016

      Reply
    • Good idea. Climate resiliency absolutely needs funding. But I’m surprised they didn’t also use this notion for aid to fund an energy switch, to help fossil fuel workers gain jobs training for renewable energy systems, to fund land reclaimation, to plan for sea level rise, to provide aid to those displaced by drought and extreme weather, and to fund a wide variety of sustainable farming practices that aid in atmospheric carbon draw down.

      Reply
      • Greg

         /  April 30, 2016

        I know. I wonder if this is a way to start with a workable wedge- a new revenue stream (that isn’t about taxes) that appeals to patriotism, can cross the aisle, and still shift the focus towards climate related needs. I would love to be a fly on the wall in her office.

        Reply
        • I really hope so. Heck, I may just give her office a call and see if we can be more than just a flu on the wall. This is a great tool and I’m surprised no-one has thought of it before.

  33. Colorado Bob

     /  April 29, 2016

    Siberian erosion, river runoff speed up Arctic Ocean acidification

    As Siberian permafrost thaws, crumbling Russian coastlines and big rivers flowing north along eroding banks are dumping vast loads of organic carbon into marine waters there, causing much quicker acidification than had been anticipated and signaling future danger for the entire Arctic Ocean.

    So says a newly published study by a team of scientists from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Russian Academy of Sciences and other institutions in Russia and Sweden.

    http://www.adn.com/article/20160424/siberian-erosion-river-runoff-speed-arctic-ocean-acidification

    Reply
  34. Greg

     /  April 29, 2016

    Texans are getting so accustomed to hail that they are preparing for it regularly now:

    ?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

    Reply
  35. June

     /  April 29, 2016

    Relating to the heat wave in India. It’s always the most vulnerable who suffer the most.

    Rising Heat at work is major new climate threat: U.N.

    “Imagine working in a shoe manufacturer in Vietnam or a clothing factory in Bangladesh when it is 35 degrees Celsius,” said Philip Jennings, general secretary of UNI Global Union.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-temperature-labour-idUSKCN0XP2I8

    Reply
  36. Colorado Bob

     /  April 29, 2016

    Coal-tar based sealcoats on driveways, parking lots far more toxic than suspected

    The pavement sealcoat products used widely around the nation on thousands of asphalt driveways and parking lots are significantly more toxic and mutagenic than previously suspected, according to a new paper published this week by researchers from Oregon State University.

    Of particular concern are the sealcoat products based on use of coal tar emulsions, experts say. Studies done with zebrafish — an animal model that closely resembles human reaction to toxic chemicals — showed developmental toxicity to embryos.

    Sealcoats are products often sprayed or brushed on asphalt pavements to improve their appearance and extend their lifespan. Products based on coal tar are most commonly used east of the U.S. continental divide, and those based on asphalt most common west of the divide.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160427151028.htm

    Reply
    • – Yup.
      Both leave a very black heat absorbing coat which are extremely efficient for promoting urban heat islands.
      My PNW street was ‘Fog Sealed’ last year but already degrading and losing cohesion.

      I have photos and hope to involve a news org IJ reporter in exposing the problem.

      – Powerful air blowers worked the area first which just suspended the asphalt particulate and all all the related VOCs and hydrocarbons (wet and dry) etc. some of which fell back where the new seal was put down — the rest came down on the ‘fresh’ coat. All components tend to remix or reattach. Some pull apart if contaminated with wet or dry material. My street got a very light sprinkle of rain between last ‘blow’ job and the ‘Fog Seal’ which added to the problem. But the movement of traffic ASAP is the goal.

      – Santa Barbara,Ca had a big problem a few years ago which I documented.
      The whole asphalt/coal tar process is mostly a scam rife with incompetence and corruption. The only goal is to keep traffic and commerce moving.

      Below is a freshly sealed Santa Barbara parking lot located very near County and City offices. Many spots are failing. My PDX street looks like this.

      Reply
      • More examples SB:
        Urban Asphalt
        Asphalt, a relatively stable semi-solid paste of black petroleum used as paving material.
        A slurry seal emulsion is often used in urban areas to coat, repair, or reseal existing asphalt paved roads, streets, driveways, and parking lots…
        http://windspiritkeeper.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_4207.html

        Reply
        • I’ve taken a closer look and I think the Scripps paper probably needs its own post. It covers oxygen depletion, acidification and temperature rise in the deep ocean. That’s a pretty big ball of yarn that will need further explanation. I hope I can get to it soon.

    • – Robert, I think so too. Thx. Good luck.🙂
      “the Scripps paper probably needs its own post.”
      Scripps rocks.

      Reply
      • Yeah, Scripps absolutely rocks. I’m working on an Shell vs EVs report now. Hope to get the Scripps work in along with a sea ice update today or possibly some time this weekend.

        Reply
    • – Addendum to SB asphalt
      Also, this was a time when the heavier elements of black carbon SLCPs were falling out of the sky, which was likely due to slackening of nominal regional air currents due to altered jet stream.
      Layer upon layer it accumulated as it fell from the sky. It congealed and it mixed. Blowers that prepped the streets just blew the dry particulate back up for a few minutes.Then it fell back. It’s that simple.
      By my estimation, all that was needed in order for it to become some form of ‘asphalt’ was some sand or rocky aggregate.
      It was/is an unstable mix.

      Reply
      • – Important point to add: much of the black carbon ‘fallout’ described above is debris from incomplete combustion. You could say that it is close to being, or is, in it’s original volatile form. It’s still viable. When it falls to earth it’s ready to gel or remix.
        Also streets, parking lots, and driveways are coated with various gas-oil crankcase drippings.
        We end up with the same combustible material (benzene, etc.) in varying degrees of solid, liquid, and vapor form.

        Reply
      • – This another reason that power blowers should be banned outright – forever.

        Reply
  37. – USA – PNW- WA – North Okanagan Region – Methow Valley – Air Pollution – Snowmelt

    – While on the trail of unhealthy levels CODE RED of PM2.5 particle air pollution I came across I came across some news of early snowmelt in the area. This local news article tells a lot about the region’s snowpack health. Various possible reasons for Ap: a local fire at a pub in a valley location is one, wood stoves, no sign of wildfire but that would have attendant PM10…

    ‘High temperatures melt previous optimism about summer water supplies’
    0428
    The hefty mountain snowpack that blanketed mountains around the Methow Valley at the beginning of April has rapidly melted away during the warm weather of recent weeks.

    On April 1, the snowpack in the upper Columbia River basin, which includes the Methow Valley, was 134 percent of normal. As of Monday (April 25), the snowpack — in terms of the water contained in the snow — had dropped to only 63 percent of normal.

    “We lost more than half of what we had” at the beginning of the month, said Scott Pattee, water supply specialist for the National Resources Conservation Service.

    “The majority of Snotel [snowpack measurement] sites in the upper Columbia have melted out,” Pattee said Monday. “Two weeks ago when we had that heat wave it really tipped the bucket over.”
    http://methowvalleynews.com/2016/04/28/high-temperatures-melt-previous-optimism-about-summer-water-supplies/

    Reply
  38. Reply
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  40. Reply
  41. – Another impact of AGW caused drought?

    Reply
  42. June

     /  April 30, 2016

    Jeff Masters has a very good post on impact of extreme weather events on global food production in the next 40 years.

    Food System Shock: Climate Change’s Greatest Threat to Civilization

    https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3294

    Reply

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