Atlantic Tropical Storm Bonnie May Become Second 2016 Cyclone to Form Before Hurricane Season Start

Ocean temperatures off the East Coast of the US are extraordinarily warm for this time of year. A region of water in the Gulf Stream 100 miles off Virginia Beach now features sea surface temperatures of 81 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees (F) above average. To the south and east, in a stormy zone between Bermuda and the Bahamas, temperatures are around 77 degrees Fahrenheit or 4 degrees above average. Readings more typical of July and not at all usual for May in this region of the world ocean.

image

(Extremely warm sea surface temperatures ranging from 75 to 82 Fahrenheit off the US East Coast contain enough heat potential energy to support tropical storm and hurricane development during late May. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

Ocean heat is a primary driver of tropical cyclone formation. And record warm 2016 land and ocean surfaces contributed to the January formation of hurricane Alex in the Northeastern Atlantic this year. An unprecedented January-forming hurricane that organized five months before the typical start of hurricane season on June 1.  Now, a low pressure center swirling between the Bahamas and Bermuda on Thursday appears to be developing tropical or subtropical characteristics in what may become Bonnie — the second named tropical cyclone of 2016 — over the next few days.

Weather statements from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) at 2:55 PM Eastern Standard Time noted that conditions would become more favorable for tropical cyclone development over the next 24-48 hours. And the Center predicted that a tropical cyclone was 60 percent likely to form over the next two days and 70 percent likely to form over the coming five. The NHC also warned that all coastal interests from Georgia to North Carolina should monitor the progress of this developing low.

Bonnie Begins to Organize

(An area of disturbed weather in the lower right hand portion of this image may form into tropical storm Bonnie over the next two to five days. Image source: The National Hurricane Center.)

Current satellite imagery indicates high, cold cloud tops associated with thunderstorm formation north of the low’s center of circulation. Forecast models indicate a west-northwest storm track that ultimately brings the low on shore near the North Carolina – South Carolina border on early Sunday morning. Models then predict that the low will stall out, hovering over the coastal Carolinas for the next 3-4 days.

If Bonnie does reach tropical storm strength it will only be the fifth time two tropical storm or hurricane strength cyclones have ever formed before June 1 since record keeping began in 1794. It’s also worth noting that the January formation of Hurricane Alex already makes the 2016 season one for the record books. Increasing ocean surface temperatures across almost all basins due to a fossil-fuel emissions based warming of the world is likely to result in a higher likelihood of such out-of-season storms all while increasing the potential maximum strength of the strongest storms. And recent events in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans seem to bear out these predicted trends.

Links:

The National Hurricane Center

Earth Nullschool

Alex Now an Unprecedented Atlantic Hurricane in January

List of Off-Season Atlantic Hurricanes

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82 Comments

  1. climatehawk1

     /  May 26, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  2. Andy in SD

     /  May 27, 2016

    How does an impending La Nina play into this present change? As La Nina are more prone to cyclones in the Atlantic coupled with such a SSTA it could get interesting.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  May 27, 2016

      Good point. Isn’t there less windshear in La Nina years?

      Reply
    • So El Niño / La Niña historically have had the greatest impact on seasonal storms (summer). Off-season storms aren’t frequent enough for trend determination. That said, El Niño was in full swing when Alex formed and El Niño is now technically present but fading.

      This summer, a trend toward La Niña conditions will tend to reduce wind shear and increase the frequency of low pressure system formation. This has traditionally increased the number of Atlantic basin storms. Near average water temps off Africa (if slightly cooler in some areas) may slightly suppress initial formation of trans Atlantic storms. But above average SSTs near the US East Coast and in the GOM will tend to kick storm strength higher as systems approach. These far above normal SSTs would also tend to enhance formation in the western Atlantic. We’ve already had two storms. And I think 15-19 is a good estimate overall for 2016.

      Reply
      • Andy in SD

         /  May 27, 2016

        Thanks,

        That was very helpful!

        Andy

        Reply
        • So a bit OT, but it looks like Exxon is taking some pretty serious flak. Well deserved, certainly. But it’s really something to see. We’re kinda at a media tipping point if big pubs like the Guardian are willing to take on Exxon.

      • Ryan in New England

         /  May 27, 2016

        Thanks for the El Nino/La Nina effects clarification, Robert. And you’re right about Exxon-Mobil, they have been taking serious heat both in the news and by attorney generals across the US. I’ve linked quite a few articles in recent days on just this topic. Former Exxon employees blowing the whistles about what they knew, and buried, about climate change. Attorney Generals investigating them about their efforts to suppress information about climate change and manufacture doubt about the science. Major publications openly criticizing them. The writing is on the wall, and I feel like things are really starting to change in regards to the power that oil companies wield in order to shape policy and control markets.
        This is one of the biggest companies in the history of mankind, with the power to shape domestic policy and influence global events throughout the 20th century. And now they are vulnerable enough for a state Attorney General to feel comfortable investigating them for their suppression and manipulation of climate science.

        I love this!

        Reply
        • The debate is becoming mainstream. The various suppression efforts are failing. I kinda find it funny that the Exxon CEO is claiming that humanity needs oil when all the company efforts have been aimed at forcing dependence on oil. It’s not that humanity needs oil at all. Pretty much everything coming out is showing that these guys have been trying to remove people’s choices for alternative energy sources from jump. That’s where the fraud comes in. It’s not just lying about climate change. It’s lying and generating myths about the importance of a single energy source in order to keep markets captive. With wind and solar and low cost batteries and EVs, we don’t need to burn oil. And the oil companies know that it’s just a matter of economies of scale before those sources are in position to fully replace fossil fuels. They’ve probably known this since at least the 1970s and pretty much all communication and political effort has been aimed at denying and delaying just such a rapid scaling up.

          And since that such a scale-up would be difficult and require major investments and large-scale political effort, the oil companies like Exxon were in an excellent position to sabotage that process. The first act of sabotage was supporting climate change denial. But the second act of sabotage is in the active attempts to deny access to renewable energy sources.

  3. Jay M

     /  May 27, 2016

    Intense weather mid-continent, it seems:

    Reply
    • Apparently as 70,000 foot high T storm produced the longest duration tornado on record. 50,000 foot cloud heights at temperate Latitudes is pretty amazing. 70 K is just insane.

      Reply
      • Whitley Streiber predicted this very thing in his book, “The Coming Global Superstorm”. Whitley is a science fiction writer.

        Reply
        • So Streiber’s book was an interesting work of science fiction that hit on a few basic truths about climate change. One is that increasing temperatures increase the height of the troposphere and coordinate storm heights.

          Where Strieber was dead wrong is that there’s no way we get another ice age. We’ve already pushed the ice ages back by hundreds of thousands of years. In human terms its likely that we’ll never see an ice age again.

  4. Anne

     /  May 27, 2016

    OT: And if a report contains an inconvenient truth, just get it deleted.
    Quote:
    ‘Every reference to Australia was scrubbed from the final version of a major UN report on climate change after the Australian government intervened, objecting that the information could harm tourism.

    ‘Guardian Australia can reveal the report “World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate”, which Unesco jointly published with the United Nations environment program and the Union of Concerned Scientists on Friday, initially had a key chapter on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as small sections on Kakadu and the Tasmanian forests.

    ‘But when the Australian Department of Environment saw a draft of the report, it objected, and every mention of Australia was removed by Unesco. Will Steffen, one of the scientific reviewers of the axed section on the reef, said Australia’s move was reminiscent of “the old Soviet Union”.’

    More at the link
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/27/australia-scrubbed-from-un-climate-change-report-after-government-intervention

    Reply
    • Anne

       /  May 27, 2016

      And here’s the redacted chapter:
      (Extract
      The biggest long-term threat to the GBR today, and to its ecosystems services, biodiversity, heritage values and tourism economy is climate change, including rising sea temperatures, accelerating rates of sea level rise, changing weather patterns and ocean acidification. (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 2012). Coral reefs worldwide are being directly impacted by warming waters and ocean acidification and climate change is exacerbating other localized stresses (Hoegh-Guldberg et al 2007). Ocean acidification is occurring because of increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A significant portion (about 25-30%) of this CO2 is being absorbed by the oceans and the resulting increases in seawater acidity reduces the capacity of some marine life, such as corals, to build their calcium carbonate based skeletons. Significant drops in coral growth rate have been recorded in the last two decades for massive Porites corals on the Great Barrier Reef.
      /Extract)

      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/27/revealed-the-report-on-the-great-barrier-reef-that-australia-didnt-want-the-world-to-see

      Reply
    • Just unbelievable to read that the Australian government wielded that kind of power over the report…and that there are so many climate deniers running things down there…
      Very sad. To the best of my knowledge, Australians have always been protective of their reef..I am actually surprised there aren’t huge protests about their governments climate denial policies.

      Reply
    • It just blows my mind that acts of self-sabotage these fossil fuel supporting politicians are willing to undertake. By not talking about the potential wreckage to the Great Barrier Reef due to climate change, they essentially signed its death warrant. If people are not aware of the threats, then there is no way to build consensus to prevent them. That’s the sickness of denial. Deniers are essentially ensuring that the harmful consequences come to pass.

      Reply
  5. Ryan in New England

     /  May 27, 2016

    Off topic, but I think this must be discussed at every opportunity because this could quite possibly be our last chance to preserve a climate that can support the global civilization we have engineered over the millennia. We absolutely cannot let Donald Trump (or any Republican) win the Presidency in the fall. They flat out deny objective, observable reality in favor of some ignorant, magical-thinking view of the world from the 1800s. They are hostile to science and intellectuals in general, and climate science in particular. They will do everything they can to enact policy that will not only fail to address climate change, but will exacerbate the problem and increase emissions further. And this isn’t a projection of my fears, this is what Donald Trump has promised to do.

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/26/donald-trump-environmental-policy-climate-change-keystone-xl

    Never before has one election had the potential to alter the future of the entire planet in such profound and irreversible ways. What happens in the coming decade will determine the kind of lives that generations born a thousand years from now will have. Legends and myths will persist for hundreds of generations about the time before the storms, or the cooler days, or whatever central theme emerges. What is happening now will affect cultures and communities the world over, and influence their lives far more than any event from Biblical times, and The Bible, The Koran and The Old Testament are still central to the lives of billions of people. What will be passed on and saved from the times we live in? What will survive? What will our ancestors think of the greed and apathy of our culture?

    We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change, and the last generation that has the ability to prevent the worst of it from becoming reality.

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  May 27, 2016

      Here’s DeSmog Blog’s take on why Trump would be a disaster for the planet if elected.

      http://www.desmogblog.com/2016/05/26/donald-trump-lays-out-disastrous-energy-plan

      Reply
    • Agree completely…Hair Trump is a disaster and a demagogue. I have made it my mission to convince everyone in my orbit who say they will either not vote or will do a write in…that that is the same thing as a vote for Trump…especially in my swing state…Florida. I am absolutely horrified at the prospect of a President Trump.
      (And for those I know who don’t make CC a priority…I am focusing my anti-Trump arguments on the economists who say he will also be a disaster to the stock market..which should make anyone in my age bracket with a 401K quake in their boots).

      Reply
      • labtekjen

         /  May 27, 2016

        Suzanne.. I like the way you are wording for the audience. I am in NH which has an alarming amount of Trump support. With one co-worker who is impressed with the tough no nonsense aspect, I say that Trump is too “thin skinned” and “delicate” to be president. I speak of him as if he is a 16 yr old drama queen. Anything to change the perception.

        Reply
      • That’s excellent, Suzanne! Keep it up!

        Reply
      • Thank you both for your words of support. I feel grateful to have an “island of sanity” here on this site..surrounded as we are by the “dangerous waters of CC news”.

        Reply
    • So there’s been this theater that the republicans have been engaged in that’s generated this impression that Trump is not a republican. I find this to be complete and utter bunk. Trump supports the harmful republican policies pretty much across the board with the added insult that he’s pretty much purely isolationist and xenophobic. These responses are maladaptive to climate change — they will generate more conflict and put more stresses on nations and civilizations. And Trump’s push to return to fossil fuels would be equivalent to the shift back to coal that has been so disastrous for Australia. We’d jump back to something worse than the Bush years — because even Bush funded renewable energy development programs. From Trump’s rhetoric, and the various policies that the republican Congress is attempting to put out, it appears that the goal is to crush the current and wide-ranging advances we are now experiencing in renewables. It would be an utter and complete disaster.

      Reply
  6. Ryan in New England

     /  May 27, 2016

    Here’s a piece from DeSmog Blog about Exxon-Mobil and their efforts to suppress and distort climate science.

    Back in 1978, almost four decades ago, Black made ominous warnings about the potential perils of climate change to come if humanity did not stem fossil fuel usage and reverse course.

    “In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels,” Black told Exxon higher-ups, according to InsideClimate News’ reporting, in a presentation titled “The Greenhouse Effect.” “Present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to ten years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical.”

    As Kalinsky alluded to, Exxon spent $31 million dollars funding the climate change denial machine between 1998 and 2014 — by conservative estimates.

    http://www.desmogblog.com/2016/05/25/granddaughter-former-exxon-climate-scientist-they-chose-to-mislead

    Reply
    • Here’s a link to the Conservative Transparency database, for those who would like to explore funding for the Heartland Institute or other climate change denial think tanks:

      http://conservativetransparency.org/recipient/heartland-institute/page/3/?order_by=year%20DESC

      The above link is for a search on the Heartland Institute funding.

      The impression I got was that ExxonMobil directly funded only a small amount of the climate change denial machine. Most of the funding was from conservative charitable foundations, that jumped in to do the majority of the funding, as is common for most of the causes the the Right wants to fund in an deniable way, I think.

      The whole structure was designed to be deniable and immensely complex, I think. Investigations are going to be difficult.

      The majority of the funding comes from the Koch associated foundations (Donor’s Capital Fund, Donor’s Trust, Koch, and Lambe). The Donor’s foundations do not disclose their funding sources, making them a sort of legal money laundering operation. More funding comes from the Scaife foundations (Carthage), the Bradley foundation, the Walton family (WalMart), and others I don’t know much about.

      Looking these funding sources up on the SourceWatch website can be informative, and bewildering.

      As a publicly traded corporation, ExxonMobil is subject to more public scrutiny than Koch Industries, which is privately held. The conservative foundations like Bradley, Koch, and Scaife, are subject to very little public or tax scrutiny at all because these are “charitable” tax free foundations.

      I personally think that the Rockefeller financial establishment, of which ExxonMobil is only a part, used their immense influence to get climate change denial funded in a deniable way, but that is just speculation on my part.

      Certainly, if ExxonMobil wanted to use the Kochs as funding cutouts, for example, there are lots of ways ExxonMobil could arrange to legally pay the Kochs for goods or services – just speculation on my part of course.

      Reply
    • Good to see the grandaughter calling them out. But I agree with McKibben on this one — Exxon is a bad actor corporation that is beyond reform. The best thing to do is to pull all investor support out of the company. They’re incapable of doing anything that doesn’t involve plans to extract and burn oil and gas on into infinity. Such actions are incompatable with the health, well-being, and survival of human civilizations. We would be right to view this entity as an existential threat. Because that’s basically what it is.

      Reply
      • Oh, no doubt. Yes, an existential threat, responsible for maybe 4% of all the CO2 produced during the industrial revolution, and apparently utterly incapable of change.

        Reply
  7. Donald Trump’s energy plan….”More Fossil Fuels and Less Rules”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/27/us/politics/donald-trump-global-warming-energy-policy.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

    Again, anyone who sits this election out..or does a write as a “protest”…is voting for Hair Trump.

    Reply
    • From the article:

      “But developing nations, including India, have made clear that their ability to cut emissions depends largely on financial help from other countries. And as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton pledged that rich countries, including the United States, would commit $100 billion annually by 2020 to help poor countries adapt to the ravages of global warming. A clear signal that the United States would back down from its commitments to reduce emissions and provide financial assistance could undermine the political will in other countries, such as India and China, to take action.”

      Trump pledges to reinvigorate coal, shut down renewables, kill the Paris deal, kill the clean power plan, and expand drilling. Welcome to climate change game over. If we elect this guy, then that’s what we’re going to end up with.

      Reply
        • David —

          I’ve taken your post down. You may feel this is unjust, but it’s simply just not true to state that democrats are the same as republicans (that’s what we call false equivalency) or that electing Trump is what we need for a wake up call (that kind of bad thinking may well have given us 8 years of Bush). What we need is a democratic party invigorated to positive action, a candidate that will continue the good work that democrats have already done to reduce carbon emissions, and a candidate that will not give us a pro worst corporate policies possible supreme court. Electing Trump now fails these goals in every respect. Any rational person would realize this.

          If Chris Hedges is telling you to vote for Trump, then it may be a good Idea to stop reading Chris Hedges. Sounds to me like you’ve had your brain shrunken.

          I remind you that posting here is not a given. This is not an open forum. That posts must rise to a standard of accuracy and honesty and not be aimed at degrading the effort that we are undertaking here. The above post, which I deleted, did all of these things. Consider this a warning. If you can’t join in a positive effort here, then you are welcome to take your opinions, as divisive and unhelpful as they are, elsewhere.

      • Respectfully David…I could not agree more with your statement. I just don’t see how 4 years of a climate denier President could be anything but a catastrophe. I think that kind of thinking is naive and dangers..IMO.

        Reply
      • Edit: “I could not disagree more with your statement”.

        Reply
      • Robert,

        Thank you for the explanation. I sincerely regret that the reasoning I presented came off as divisive and unhelpful. That’s the opposite of my intent, and I certainly don’t mean to undermine the good work you’re doing here.

        While I stand by my original post, I won’t attempt to argue any further about the issue. However I would like to clarify two points in your response: 1. I did not (and do not) claim that democrats are the same as republicans. 2. Hedges does not advocate voting for Trump.

        Best regards.

        Reply
  8. labtekjen

     /  May 27, 2016

    OT: A bit of good news from my neck of the woods in NH. Last month the NED pipeline for natural gas by Kinder Morgan was suspended. This week it was pulled! Even better, a solar company out of Maine went to our towns selectmen to propose a solar array.

    http://www.energycentral.com/news/en/39194555/Massive-solar-array-pitched-in-Fitzwilliam?

    If it is installed it will be the largest one in NH with potential to supply the needs of 18 – 24K worth of homes! I could not be happier!

    Reply
    • Good news on top of good news.

      There’s a dynamic at play that most energy analysts miss and it’s this — natural gas prices are low and that’s hurting coal all while solar and wind prices are low and falling and that’s hurting natural gas. The more solar rooftops, the more wind turbines running, the less demand for the gas the flows through the pipelines. This is the kind of economic process that needs to rapidly happen if we’re going to have a chance of dealing with climate change.

      Reply
  9. Robert

     /  May 27, 2016

    Just want to make you aware that current temperature at 4 PM in Hammerfest, Norway is 64F.

    Reply
  10. Robert

     /  May 27, 2016

    86.4F reading at Chellsea West 28th Street Station NYC presently. FYI.

    Reply
  11. Not to sound like Eeyore (or Debbie Downer!) again . . but it’s hard to look forward to summer with all that is happening including: possible ice free Arctic, dire wildfire forecast, the presidential “election” process which epitomizes pathology, the possible spread of vector borne diseases such as Zika (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/05/27/congress-leaves-town-with-no-zika-resolution-lengthy-negotiations-ahead/) as well as the latest antibiotic resistant superbug.
    To say that it will be an interesting summer is an understatement. The events unfolding are alarming (five alarm level), inexcusable and highlight the fact that humanity (and the whole of the biosphere) has reached a precipice . . .

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  May 27, 2016

      Caroline, but have you saved 15 % on your auto insurance?🙂

      Reply
    • The republicans have turned Zika into a poltical football, essentially deciding to hold the health of American citizens hostage for concessions to their corporate overlords. Anyone voting republican in this coming election has just got to be insane or uniformed. These guys are incapable of managing government in an effective manner. The whole process for them is one of corporate wish fulfillment gone horribly and maniacally awry.

      Reply
    • Well, you know the old slogan: “This time, vote like your whole world depended on it.” This time, it does.

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  May 27, 2016

        It really really does, America. You have the fate of the world in your hands this time round.

        Reply
  12. Greg

     /  May 27, 2016

    A last posting. Yesterday. Texas. Don’t drive in flooded roads which are becoming all too common.

    Reply
  13. Greg

     /  May 27, 2016

    When the power goes out:

    Reply
  14. Greg

     /  May 27, 2016

    Jeff Master update on probable storm Bonnie “the system will have too little time over water to become anything stronger than a 55-mph tropical storm. Thus, heavy rain is the main concern from this system.”
    https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/tropicalsubtropical-depression-could-form-today-in-northwest-atlantic

    Reply
  15. LAM78

     /  May 27, 2016

    Nice job Mr Scribbler! However, I might be wrong but wasn’t it in 1851 the records of tropical cyclones started? According to NOAA the odds for a tropical cyclone is now upgraded to 90%. For reference, I managed to find out that the previous four years that had two storms before 6/1 were 2012, 1951, 1908 and 1887. Cheers, LAM

    Reply
  16. LAM78

     /  May 27, 2016

    NOAAs seasonal forecast is out. They are calling for near average activity: http://www.noaa.gov/near-normal-atlantic-hurricane-season-most-likely-year

    Reply
  17. LAM78

     /  May 27, 2016

    19,14 inches of rain in Texas!!! Feels like it can’t be far away from an all time for the entire US wrt 24 hours.Massive flooding there. https://www.wunderground.com/news/flash-flooding-texas-severe-weather-forecast-plains-may27

    Reply
  18. Greg

     /  May 27, 2016

    They are still getting hammered. Current weather radar:

    Reply
    • Yeah. Looking at GOES now. It’s just nuts.

      Great catch here, Greg.

      Reply
      • Greg

         /  May 27, 2016

        Robert, there is a story in here I would think. Models are missing many of these record breaking events. From a liability and credibility standpoint would any meterologists talk about this publicly or am I just not doing my homework?

        Reply
  19. LAM78

     /  May 27, 2016

    Eric Blake retweeted this from Victor Murphy who had found what the CocoRAHS observer 0,7E east of Brenham in Texas reported: https://twitter.com/ahuser630/status/736209542887903232

    He wrote “Then about 4:35 all HELL broke loose! I’ve never seen it rain so hard for so long.” for reference, the CocoRAH station got 19,14 inches.

    Reply
  20. Cate

     /  May 27, 2016

    A little good news? Maybe methane from the Arctic seabed won’t reach the atmosphere in the levels sometimes predicted. It’s seeping and bubbling up from the seabed, but for some reason it’s not all breaking the surface as expected.

    >>>”We are talking about 250 active methane seeps found at relatively shallow depths: 90 to 150 meters” says oceanographer Benedicte Ferré from CAGE.

    According to her, it is the sea itself that adds obstacles to methane emissions to the atmosphere in the summer. The weather is generally calm during summer, with little wind. This leads to stratification of the water column whereby layers of different density form, much like oil over water.

    This means there is no or low exchange of water masses between the surface layer and the layers below. A natural barrier occurs, acting as a ceiling, preventing the methane from reaching the surface. But this condition does not last forever: wind blowing over the ocean can mix these layers, causing this natural barrier to disappear. Thus the methane may break the surface and enter the atmosphere. <<<<<

    http://phys.org/news/2016-05-arctic-ocean-methane-atmosphere.html

    Reply
    • Hi Cate-

      I read articles like that one, and I really desperately emotionally want to believe that things will be OK.

      Unfortunately, my logical head tells me that things won’t be OK, at all.

      “”Estimates on how much methane gas is stored beneath the seabed as hydrates vary enormously. A recent calculation suggests that we are talking about 74 000 gigatonnes, and one gigatonne is a billion tonnes”, says professor Jürgen Mienert, director at CAGE.”

      That’s about 74 trillion tons of carbon as methane stored as methane hydrates – on the order of 10 times the recoverable amount of all the other conventional fossil fuels combined, not including oil shales and tar sands, if this estimate is correct. This estimate by Klauda and Sandler has been questioned in the deep ocean, but just on the continental shelves they estimate 29 trillion tons of carbon as methane, worldwide. That’s a lot of carbon, stored in a form of water ice that will inevitably melt when exposed to heat, sooner or later, faster or slower. A calculated 12 trillion tons of carbon as methane apparently came out of the hydrates during the End Triassic,suggesting that the high estimates are more realistic than the low ones.

      It’ s been known for a long time that the oceans will act as a barrier to methane transfer into the atmosphere. But, according to modeling by the IMPACTS group of national labs and universities, resource shortages will make whole ocean basins anoxic, and add increasingly to direct transfer of methane into the atmosphere, as the oceans’ capacity to oxidize methane becomes increasingly exhausted. They calculate direct transfer of methane into the atmosphere of 60% in methane release hot spots by year 30 of their methane release scenario.

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2011JG001725/full

      Right now, methane is very potent, with a global warming potential over 20 years of roughly 80 times that of CO2. As methane concentrations increase, this will tail off, and methane itself will in fact end up less potent than CO2, when methane concentrations become equal to CO2 concentrations. But methane has added atmospheric and oceanic chemistry effects that will increase its lifetime, from 8 years now to maybe 40 years or more, increasing it’s potency. And methane oxidation directly injects water vapor – the strongest greenhouse gas – into the stratosphere. And methane ultimately ends up as CO2, adding to global warming for thousands of years.

      The methane does not “get chewed up” by bacteria in the oceans – it gets oxidized into CO2 or bicarbonate. So, even as the oceans act as a barrier to atmospheric transfer of methane, they become increasingly acidic and anoxic in doing so, and eventually methane releases locally overwhelm the oceans’ ability to oxidize methane, as methane increasingly is released directly into the atmosphere,

      Reply
    • Hi Cate-

      A further complicating factor in methane consumption by bacteria – ocean currents. From another article on the site you link to:

      http://phys.org/news/2015-05-ocean-currents-disturb-methane-eating-bacteria.html

      “Future methane release from the ocean to the atmosphere will depend on ocean currents.

      “We were able to show that strength and variability of ocean currents control the prevalence of methanotrophic bacteria”, says Lea Steinle from University of Basel and the lead author of the study, “therefore, large bacteria populations cannot develop in a strong current, which consequently leads to less methane consumption.””

      So strong ocean currents can sweep methanotroph bacteria away from the vents, allowing more direct transfer of methane into the atmosphere.

      Reply
  21. Climate Progress’s take: “On Climate, Trump Promises to Let the World Burn”: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/05/26/3782434/trump-let-the-world-burn/

    Reply
  22. Reply
  23. – Zika

    Reply
  24. June

     /  May 27, 2016

    Latest article from Inside Climate News Exxon series.

    Exxon’s Donations and Ties to American Geophysical Union Are Larger and Deeper Than Previously Recognized

    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/26052016/agu-american-geophysical-union-exxon-climate-change-denial-science-sponsorship

    Reply
  25. June

     /  May 27, 2016

    When the deniers say how good more CO2 will be for crops…not even close. Another in the endless research showing consequences we never anticipated.

    “Poison Packed – Crops are becoming toxic to withstand extreme weather conditions”

    That is the dire message the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has delivered through a report released during its second general assembly this week. Scientists who wrote the report say extreme weather conditions and rising temperatures will make 70 percent of the world’s agricultural production toxic to animals and humans across the globe.

    http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2016-05-27/poison-packed.html

    Reply
    • mlparrish

       /  May 28, 2016

      Say what? CB we need a song.

      Reply
    • redskylite

       /  May 28, 2016

      Thanks for the alert – there is a lot of emerging issues in that UNEP report . . . . . . . . .

      Changes in climatic patterns also have serious implications for food safety and security. Toxin accumulation in a variety of crops
      is one manifestation of climate change impacts that presents further challenges to agriculture and food production. Prolonged
      drought and high temperatures can trigger biophysical reactions in plants leading to an accumulation of chemical compounds
      toxic to animal and human health. Environmental stressors associated with climate variability can also make plants become more
      susceptible to infection by toxin-producing pathogens that, again, lead to toxin accumulation.

      http://web.unep.org/frontiers/sites/unep.org.frontiers/files/documents/unep_frontiers_2016.pdf

      Reply
  1. Atlantic Tropical Storm Bonnie May Become Second 2016 Cyclone to Form Before Hurricane Season Start | robertscribbler | GarryRogers Nature Conservation

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