El Nino is Basically Over — But this Global Coral Bleaching Event Just Won’t End

Back in 2014, an unsuspecting world was on the verge of a major global temperature increase. But despite warnings from scientists like Dr. Kevin Trenberth that deep ocean warming had sped up and would eventually result in rapid surface warming, the big media meme at the time was that global warming had ‘paused.’ Originating in The Economist, and swiftly spreading to numerous other news outlets, this particular blast of bad information fed the public a big helping of false sense of security.

In 2014 through 2016, maximum global temperatures jumped from around 0.65 degrees Celsius to around 1 C above the 20th-century average. In just three years’ time, the whole of the Earth’s surface had warmed by about 0.35 C. This is like cramming all of the warming from 1880 to 1980 into the three-year 2014-to-2016 period. Never before in all of the global climate record starting in the late 19th century has the Earth warmed so much in so short a time.

Leaving 20th Century Climate Behind

(Huge jump in global temperatures over the past three years has probably passed a number of climate thresholds — including temperature thresholds for key sea creatures like corals. Data Source: NOAA. Image source: Mashable.)

Global warming hadn’t paused at all. It was just getting ready to hit the accelerator.

Global Heat Spurs Bleaching, Mass Coral Mortality

All this newly-added surface heat represents a big step up into much warmer conditions for the global climate. What this means is that even the coolest months now will probably approximate the warmest months during the big super El Niño of 1998. Such a large temperature increase in so short a period means that the world has likely hit a number of tipping points for geophysical and ecological harm. One of the most visible of these tipping points involves an ongoing ecological crisis — a global coral bleaching event.

Perhaps the most vivid and heart-wrenching example of what is a very wide-ranging coral mortality situation is the bleaching-related damage to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. In a terrible blow to one of the world’s most stunning natural wonders, about a quarter of the Great Barrier Reef’s corals have already been killed off — an event that some scientists say may eventually lead to 100 percent mortality of the Reef’s corals. (see a related report in The Guardian).

American Samoa Bleaching

(Coral bleaching events like this one in American Samoa during 2015 have been happening around the world since 2014. It’s a global event that’s still ongoing despite a turn toward La Niña conditions in the Pacific. This is the longest global coral bleaching event ever recorded, and one that could continue into 2017 or beyond. Image source: Nature.)

The Great Barrier Reef is not the only reef system to suffer. In fact, the added heat due to human-forced warming of the atmosphere and oceans has generated bleaching-induced heat stress and mass coral mortality the world over. And some of the world’s other great reef systems, including Kiribati, which lost 80 percent of its live corals in 10 months, have been hit so hard it’s doubtful they’ll ever recover.

The Seemingly Never-Ending Global Coral Bleaching Event

At issue is the fact that all this added global heat is creating a situation where reefs bleach year after year and, in some cases (as was the case with parts of the Great Barrier Reef this year) even bleach during winter. It’s a coral mass mortality that falls under the definition of a global bleaching event. But it’s also happening with an intensity, persistence, and duration that we’ve never seen before.

Beginning in 2014 with the big warm-up that preceded the 2015-2016 El Niño, the present global coral bleaching event is now, according to NOAA, the longest-running and the most extensive such event to have occurred in the modern record. NOAA notes:

…the current global coral bleaching event is the longest ever recorded. It has affected more reefs than any previous global bleaching event and has been worse in some locales (e.g., Great Barrier Reef, Kiribati). Thermal stress during this event also has caused mass bleaching in several reefs that never bleached before (e.g., northernmost Great Barrier Reef).

Global coral bleaching event continues

(Global coral bleaching event extent as of July 20 according to NOAA. Note that sections of bleaching watch and warning conditions now extend across the northern edges of NOAA’s map, an indication that latitudinal extent of bleaching is expanding beyond typical ranges even as bleaching due to rising ocean temperatures appears to be becoming a near-constant issue for world corals. Image source: NOAA.)

NOAA had initially forecast that this very-long-duration bleaching event would end sometime in 2016 as El Niño faded out. However, with sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific hitting the cool side of natural climate variability in the form of La Niña-like conditions during recent weeks, and the current global coral bleaching event still going strong, one has to wonder if oceans have now become hot enough to spur widespread bleaching at almost any time.

NOAA now predicts a possible end to the current global bleaching event in 2017, giving the event a four-year duration. But with global temperatures continuing to warm, what we may be seeing is the start of an unbroken or nearly unbroken period of expanding coral bleaching, a time when global stress to corals due to high ocean temperatures is practically continuous.

Links/Attribution/Statements

NOAA

NOAA El Nino

Sections of the Great Barrier Reef Suffering Complete Ecosystem Collapse

Kirubuti Loses Almost all its Corals Due to Bleaching

Nature

Great Barrier Reef Catastrophe Laid Bare

Leaving 20th Century Climate Far Behind

Hat tip to June

Hat tip to Colorado Bob

Hat tip to DT Lange

Leave a comment

95 Comments

  1. Joel Carter

     /  July 21, 2016

    It is sad that the Mother Earth’s ecology is now suffering because of human forced carbon emissions feed into the atmosphere. The future is now looking bleak for the humankind including animals and plants.

    Reply
  2. Kalypso

     /  July 21, 2016

    Hurricane intensity to increase as increased CO2 forcing overcomes aerosol forcing in the near future.

    “The fact that global warming’s fingerprints don’t yet jump out at us when we look at hurricanes isn’t surprising — it’s what current science tells us we should expect,” said lead author Adam Sobel, a professor at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and School of Engineering. “The same science tells us that those fingerprints will show up eventually in more ultra-powerful storms.”

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160714151858.htm

    Reply
  3. Colorado Bob

     /  July 21, 2016

    The corals in the Caribbean are next, given this boiling heat we are seeing . I wonder just how all these creatures will respond, I expect many will be like that poor manatee in Florida trapped in that toxic sludge.

    https://weather.com/news/weather/video/manatee-in-florida-algae

    Reply
  4. Colorado Bob

     /  July 21, 2016

    A few excerpts from the 2016 Republican Platform:

    https://prod-static-ngop-pbl.s3.amazonaws.com/media/documents/DRAFT_12_FINAL%5b1%5d-ben_1468872234.pdf

    “The Administration now requires the Department of Defense, operating with slashed budgets during a time of expanding conflict, to use its scarce resources to generate 25 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2025. Climate change is far from this nation’s most pressing national security issue. This is the triumph of extremism over common sense, and Congress must stop it”

    “The Endangered Species Act (ESA) should not include species such as gray wolves and other species if these species exist elsewhere in healthy numbers in another state or country.”

    “Information concerning a changing climate, especially projections into the long-range future, must be based on dispassionate analysis of hard data. We will enforce that standard throughout the executive branch, among civil servants and presidential appointees alike. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a political mechanism, not an unbiased scientific institution. Its unreliability is reflected in its intolerance toward scientists and others who dissent from its orthodoxy. We will evaluate its recommendations accordingly. We reject the agendas of both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.”

    “We demand an immediate halt to U.S. funding for the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)”

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  July 21, 2016

      The Republican contempt for Nature knows no bounds, it should all be covered into money as fast as possible.
      They say this as if they have a spare planet in their back pocket.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  July 21, 2016

        converted

        Reply
      • – They are also showing contempt for their children and any meaningful prospects for longevity.

        Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  July 23, 2016

        They want the ecological catastrophe to happen-there’s no doubt about it. The only question left is ‘Why?’

        Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  July 22, 2016

      Just some more fill in. Talk about scary

      http://www.vox.com/2016/7/20/12233454/christie-trump-purge-federal-employees
      Donald Trump and Chris Christie are reportedly planning to purge the civil service

      Reuters’s Emily Flitter reports that Christie told a donor meeting on Tuesday that Trump will try to purge the government of Obama appointees, out of “fear that Obama may convert these appointees to civil servants, who have more job security than officials who have been politically appointed.”

      To make that process easier, Christie reportedly said, “One of the things I have suggested to Donald is that we have to immediately ask the Republican Congress to change the civil service laws. Because if they do, it will make it a lot easier to fire those people.”

      In other words, Christie and Trump would seek to replace the current civil service system, which involves extensive protections meant to keep workers from being fired for political reasons, with a system specifically designed to make it very easy to fire workers for political reasons.
      Revolving door government, but without actual revolving

      Flitter also reports that Christie and Trump want to “let businesspeople serve in government part time without having to give up their jobs in the private sector.” Ostensibly, the purpose of this would be to allow the government to recruit better private sector talent.

      But the problems with this idea are pretty clear. Regulatory capture — in which regulatory structures are dominated by people sympathetic to or with ties to the industry they’re regulating — is a major problem in federal agencies, particularly with financial and environmental regulators, and most analysts place some of the blame on the ease with which, say, oil company employees can get jobs regulating the oil sector and then go right back to oil companies after their time in government is over.

      The Christie/Trump proposal would allow that kind of revolving door to take place without actual revolving. Regulators could be working for the companies they’re regulating as they’re regulating them.

      Trump, for instance, has promised donors that he wants to appoint former Goldman Sachs banker and movie producer Steve Mnuchin as Treasury secretary:
      The Trump/Christie proposal could allow someone like Mnuchin to serve in the Cabinet part time, in which capacity he’d be charged with regulating the banking sector while engaging in banking work in his day job simultaneously.

      “Patronage is typically characterized as a malignant system of graft, corruption, and undemocratic politics,” University of Richmond historian Eric Yellin writes in his history of racism in government employment,

      Reply
    • 1. Defense Department — the Pentagon wishes to pursue alternative energy. They consider this a matter of national security. This is something the DoD has pursued for years to the point of now practically lobbying Congress. The republicans are unwilling to listen.

      See also the green fleet initiative: http://greenfleet.dodlive.mil/energy/

      See US Pacific Fleet Commander sees Climate Change as biggest threat: https://climateandsecurity.org/2013/03/12/admiral-locklear-climate-change-the-biggest-long-term-security-threat-in-the-pacific-region/

      See how republicans in Congress are preventing the military from purchasing the alternative fuels that it wants:
      http://mediamatters.org/blog/2012/05/30/15-military-leaders-who-say-climate-change-is-a/184705

      2. Endangered Species Act

      It is well known that a species forced to rely on a smaller and smaller range or fewer ranges grows more and more under threat. A pillar of the Endangered Species Act was to provide species with healthy ranges and multiple population centers in order to increase species resiliency. The republican view would result in gradual and increasing extinction pressure as endangered species were relegated to ever smaller and more remote locations. As a result the incidence of extinction would increase.

      3. Information Concerning Climate Change

      Apparently republicans are unwilling to make their own dispassionate analysis of what the global climate monitors such as NASA, the Met Office, NOAA, and Japan’s Meteorological Agency are saying. Apparently, republicans are unwilling to accept base facts and widely available observational data. Apparently republicans cannot look out the window and see with any normal human set of eyes — the melting glaciers, the increasing wildfires, the affects of rising heat, the receding shores, the rising tides, the worsening weather. Apparently, republicans are unwilling to listen to the strongest scientific consensus on a scientific issue that has ever existed.

      There’s a word for this. It is not dispassionate analysis. It is base and rank denial.

      Reply
  5. Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  July 21, 2016

      Time for some music –
      DAVID CROSBY AND GRAHAM NASH – To The Last Whale

      Reply
      • June

         /  July 22, 2016

        Thanks, CB. Hadn’t listened to this one for a long time…beautiful, but makes me tear up.

        Reply
    • Does Jennifer Francis have a twitter feed? If not, it’s unfortunate.

      Reply
  6. NA- USA – As a new heat wave sets in, this bit about ‘corn sweat’.
    (Much of this corn growing is for things other than ‘eating corn’ but the botany is revealing.)

    ‘Corn Sweat Will Make the Midwest’s Abysmal Heat Wave Even Worse’

    Plants are in a bit of a bind in the heat. They need to keep their pores, called stomata, open long enough to suck in enough CO2 from the air to meet their daily energy requirements. But when the air is too hot, this means losing lots of water vapor. They start to sweat.

    And in the midwest, it’s corn sweat that matters, because there’s a lot of corn. According to the USDA, more than 90 million acres of land—mostly in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, eastern South Dakota and Nebraska—are planted with this single crop.

    When plants transpire, they increase the humidity of the air, which raises the dew point, or the temperature at which water vapor condenses. Our bodies cool off by evaporating water in the form of sweat, and a higher dew point makes this process less efficient. As a result, the heat index, or effective temperature we feel, starts to soar.
    http://gizmodo.com/corn-sweat-is-about-to-wreak-havoc-on-the-midwest-1784028046

    Reply
    • – Also keep in mind corn things like starch, sugar, carbohydrates — all are basically forms or manifestations of ‘heat’ or its byproducts.

      Reply
    • Hmm. Seems even corn respiration becomes an issue with climate change. Don’t know what’s more concerning — possible impacts to corn crops or possible impacts to health. Stay safe everyone. This one’s going to be tough.

      Reply
    • dt, thank you for the reference.

      Reply
  7. Reply
  8. kay

     /  July 22, 2016

    This makes me cry. It is so frustrating that so much more could have been done and our leaders could not/would not do what was necessary to transition to clean energy. Our planet is ill and we have caused it. Republicans have to go. We are running out of time.

    Reply
  9. Jay M

     /  July 22, 2016

    Sorry, finding the most recent post is a challenge chasing a scribbler. Thought this was an accessible post describing how analyzing O2 isotope ratios is a large part of the description of climate by paleoclimatology
    Short paper on Oxygen isotope ratios that are important in paleoclimatology. Wonder if there is a “Keeling curve” in contemporary isotope ratios? Climate does seem to march up the latitudes.
    http://academic.emporia.edu/aberjame/student/tinsley1/webpage1.html

    Reply
    • Jay M

       /  July 22, 2016

      big rotation over mid continent

      Reply
    • No worries, Jay. Been a bit busy here of late. Good points. Seem like O2 cycles between the upper teens and low 20s, but it would be nice to see links with climate change and various hothouse periods.

      Reply
  10. Andy_in_SD

     /  July 22, 2016

    I ran across this subject today and dove a bit into it. We are not seeing this on the highlight reels at all, as it is not picture perfect beaches for the beautiful being sludged. Perhaps less journalists there to push the news as far, or state leaders who are not as loud.

    Utah Lake, Jordan River, various canals and other water sources in Utah is now a source of cynobacteria in high concentrations.

    Bascially it is “bad” algae, the harmful stuff. Water sources for households is being questioned by residents, agriculture is still watering with this water.

    Taken from article:

    https://www.ksl.com/?sid=40725118&nid=148&title=effects-of-algal-blooms-continue-to-spread-throughout-wasatch-front

    The blooms contain harmful levels of toxins that in high enough concentrations can be deadly, especially for pets and livestock given more chance of inadvertent exposure. Humans can begin experiencing physiological responses to cyanobacteria at 20,000 cells per milliliter. Samples taken Saturday show a count of 737,924 cells per milliliter at Jordan River and Bangerter Highway, and nearly 260,000 at Big Cottonwood, according to the state.

    Reply
    • Andy_in_SD

       /  July 22, 2016

      The algae is bubbling up in the roadways via storm drains.

      BLUFFDALE — An area has been cordoned off while health department officials investigate a mysterious green foam that came out of a Bluffdale roadway drain Thursday, according to Bluffdale officials.

      https://www.ksl.com/?sid=40754058&nid=148

      Reply
    • Andy_in_SD

       /  July 22, 2016

      People are getting sick

      This is the first known instance in which a bloom originating in Utah Lake has affected the Jordan River and other downstream systems. And concentrations within the bloom are exceptionally high, with some samples surpassing tens of millions of cyanobacteria — the so-called toxin-producing algae — per milliliter. According to the state Department of Environmental Quality, cyanobacteria numbering in excess of 1 million cells per milliliter are present as far north as Murray.

      http://www.sltrib.com/home/4134873-155/additional-waters-closed-as-unprecedented-utah

      Reply
    • Andy_in_SD

       /  July 22, 2016

      Neurotoxic algae bloom that shuts down Utah Lake can affect brain, liver

      Symptoms that will show up within three to five hours of exposure include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration is the biggest concern. If you can’t hold fluids down for 24 hours call your doctor. Rare symptoms are liver toxicity that can cause death.

      Symptoms can include gastrointestinal symptoms, skin rashes, an allergic reaction. The DEQ says exposures is at its worst if you are in the water.

      “We are talking about exposure through water itself. Some of the toxins can be aerosolized, so if you are out on the water skiing, or breathing in the water, particles can be a concern.”

      The toxic bloom is fed by nutrients flowing into the lake mixed with low water levels and high temperatures. DEQ said “the largest source of nutrients to Utah lake come from waste water treatment plants that distribute into the lake itself or tributaries into the lake or the lake itself.”

      Reply
    • Great points here, Andy. That northern end of Great Salt Lake looks like hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria in anoxic waters. Pretty toxic stuff there. But cyanobacteria alone can get pretty nasty when stressed.

      See cyanotoxins:

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

      Reply
    • Robert in New Orleans

       /  July 22, 2016

      I think the problems in Utah will get really bad in a decade or two when Utah Lake and The Great Salt Lake start to completely dry up. Then the residents along the Wasatch Front will be blasted by dust storms consisting of salt and toxic lakebed deposits. This is a very analogous situation to what is occurring now in the Salton Sea in California except that Salton Sea is located in a relatively low populated area. The counties of Weber, Davis, Salt Lake and Utah where the vast majority of Utah residents reside, border the Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake.

      Reply
      • ICYMI A link I posted a few days ago:

        DEAD SEAS:
        Great Salt Lake faces ruin
        Greenwire: Monday, July 11, 2016

        ‘Lake of paradoxes’

        The Great Salt Lake is a remnant of Lake Bonneville, which formed during the glacial age 32,000 years ago and covered 20,000 square miles of what is now Utah, Nevada and Idaho.

        The modern Great Salt Lake — a sprawling, extremely shallow water body whose lake level can fluctuate dramatically — formed about 11,000 years ago. It is the country’s largest lake outside of the Great Lakes, despite being nestled in an area with the country’s driest climate.

        Historian Dale Morgan in 1947 called it a “lake of paradoxes.”

        “In a country where water is life itself and land has little value without it,” he wrote, “Great Salt Lake is an ironical joke of nature — water that is itself more desert than a desert.”
        http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060040048?utm_content=buffer15d56&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

        Reply
  11. Andy_in_SD

     /  July 22, 2016

    This just keeps getting worse….

    Siberia

    http://www.arctic.io/explorer/8/2016-07-20/7-N60.85632-E78.66736

    Reply
  12. – So much is happening at a rapid pace — I don’t recall a past reference to this January 21 YouTube of ” Glen Gerberg – Weather and Climate Summit Day 3 with Dr Jennifer Francis”

    Published on Jun 5, 2016

    Reply
  13. – Wildfire science:

    Reply
  14. – Pavement – Heat – (And metal rail lines are vulnerable as rail kind of warp/bend into something less that straight.)
    – All is physics — heat being the guiding force… all is heat.🙂

    Very high temperatures, combined with recent rainfall, could result in pavement buckling the next few days

    Reply
    • Metra Verified account ‏@Metra Jul 19

      When temperatures rise to 95 degrees or above, speed restrictions go into effect on all rail lines. Think ahead and plan accordingly!

      Reply
      • NWS Little Rock Verified account ‏@NWSLittleRock 53m53 minutes ago

        At midnight, Little Rock Adams Field (KLIT) was at 85° with a 79° dew point. Heat index: 98°! #ARwx #ArkansasHeat
        ###
        Los Angeles Times Verified account ‏@latimes 39m39 minutes ago

        ‘Heat Dome’ stretches to Southern California, causing temperatures to soar over 100
        ###

        Reply
      • – Kees van der Leun Retweeted Graham Readfearn

        “If verified, this would be Earth’s hottest temperature ever reliably measured outside of Death Valley, California”

        Eastern Hemisphere’s All-Time Temperature Record: Kuwait Fries in 54°C (129.2°F) Heat

        By: Jeff Masters , 3:01 AM GMT on July 22, 2016

        Reply
      • Andy_in_SD

         /  July 22, 2016

        We’re a couple of miles from the ocean so we’re not too bad. I was in Poway yesterday, 98 degrees.

        But 129? How can one survive outside?

        Reply
      • This was all over the meteorological twitterverse last night. 53 and 54 C readings popping up in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait regions.

        Reply
  15. Reply
  16. redskylite

     /  July 22, 2016

    Again Robert thanks, this is where I come for the real news on the Climate, enriched by the excellent and caring regular people who post here. I just read the BBC world home news page, seemed full of Trump news items (overall painting him in a positive light),nothing good at all on Hillary. Had to remind myself it was the “British” Broadcasting Corp (not the Republican B.C).

    Interesting release from Springer on what the Climate may have been like if we had a lower CO2 concentration before the industrial revolution. Food for thought.

    We’re lucky climate change didn’t happen sooner . . .

    “Luckily, the natural atmosphere already contained carbon dioxide, enough that the human-induced changes were relatively small, for a long time. Had these concentrations been even slightly lower, the effects of the emission of harmful greenhouse gases would have been felt much earlier, at a time when mankind was not yet ready or knowledgeable enough to face up to mitigation efforts. “

    http://www.springer.com/gp/about-springer/media/springer-select/we-re-lucky-climate-change-didn-t-happen-sooner-/10507882

    Reply
    • Seems to me we’re still not ready to ” face up to mitigation efforts” – even if we have the knowledge.
      Therein lies the problem…

      Reply
    • Thanks, Redsky. Much appreciated.

      Sorry to see the BBC going the way it has. Only in bizzaro land… Well, I think it’s pretty clear we’re living there now.

      RE migration… It appears to me that the US dealt a lot better with migration in the 19th Century than it is now. Chinese and Irish were welcomed here by the US government. There was none of this talk of walls.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  July 22, 2016

        “US dealt a lot better with migration in the 19th Century” Perhaps at times, but then there were these guys: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_Nothing

        It would be accurate on all sorts of levels for the current Republican Party to just rename themselves the Know Nothing Party, actually.

        Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  July 23, 2016

      I’m very much afraid that I see little evidence, even now, that humanity is ‘…ready or knowledgeable enough to face up to mitigation efforts’. In my country, Australia, it is very much the opposite, at least in the corridors of power and the MSM.

      Reply
  17. Jeremy

     /  July 22, 2016

    I’m an avid diver and in 2000 I went to the Andaman Islands (mea culpa) specifically to dive.
    I had read of the amazing coral to be found there.
    It’s a long haul from the UK to Calcutta, and then a flight across from there to the Indian islands located just off the coast of Burma.

    When I arrived I discovered that all the coral had been bleached due to three consecutive years of high water temps.

    That’ll teach me to fly so much!

    Reply
  18. Abel Adamski

     /  July 22, 2016

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/07/22/world/science-health-world/russian-wildfires-put-key-climate-change-resource-risk/#.V5IFEBL6na8

    A good article on the Russian Forest fires

    Russian wildfires put key climate change resource at risk

    AFP-JIJI, Reuters
    Jul 22, 2016

    MOSCOW – Russia’s practice of leaving massive wildfires to burn out of control in sprawling stretches of Siberia puts at risk a key global resource for absorbing climate-warming emissions: its trees.

    The blazes are consuming millions of hectares of pristine Boreal forests in Russia, which are second only to the world’s tropical jungles in capturing planet-warming carbon emissions.

    At the same time, the drier and harsher conditions associated with a warmer climate — June was the hottest ever recorded — are contributing to the fires becoming ever bigger and more common.

    The World Meteorological Organization said Thursday that not only is the Earth on track for its hottest year on record, it is warming at a faster rate than expected.

    Temperatures for the first six months of the year, coupled with an early and fast Arctic sea ice melt and “new highs” in heat-trapping carbon dioxide levels, point to quickening climate change, it said.

    Russia’s forests annually absorb a net 500 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere, said Anatoly Shvidenko, who spent decades in the Soviet forestry system and served as an expert for the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC).

    Reply
    • If you look at the earth.nullschool CO2 images, the Siberian and Canadian boreal forests seem to be huge carbon sinks, right now. They are dark in the images, with CO2 levels down to 350 ppm or even below. The Siberian fires show up as small light spots with CO2 levels up to 450 ppm and above. But the overall balance seems to be strongly negative, with the dark CO2 levels indicating CO2 absorption dominating, especially this time of year. To my eye, Siberia still looks like a net carbon sink.

      But the African tropical rainforests in the Congo region are very light, right now, with CO2 levels up to 430 ppm and above. Manually editing the earth.nullschool url to go back in time it looks like the African tropical forests are really seriously burning. At a guess, it looks like the African tropical rainforests are now roughly carbon neutral, and are no longer net carbon sinks.

      There has been a huge increase in African tropical rainforest fire activity in just the last month or two.

      This paper seems to indicate that old growth tropical forests may not be very effective in storing carbon, and that CO2 fertilization doesn’t have much effect on tree growth – possibly due to nutrient shortages in tropical forests. But they say that new forest growth will be strongly carbon negative, and help the tropical forests remain carbon sinks.

      https://www.carbonbrief.org/new-paper-raises-question-of-tropical-forest-carbon-storage

      Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  July 22, 2016

    Historical records miss a fifth of global warming: NASA

    A new NASA-led study finds that almost one-fifth of the global warming that has occurred in the past 150 years has been missed by historical records due to quirks in how global temperatures were recorded. The study explains why projections of future climate based solely on historical records estimate lower rates of warming than predictions from climate models.

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-historical-global-nasa.html#jCp

    Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  July 22, 2016

    It’s getting worse in Russia –
    Terra/MODIS
    2016/204
    07/22/2016
    06:25 UTC

    Reply
  21. miles h

     /  July 22, 2016

    aside from the obvious precipitous rise, i notice that in the chart at the top of the article that the current consecutive 6 year period of warming oceans is the longest rise without break on the entire chart. other rising sequences can be seen with 4 or 5 year durations, but not 6.

    Reply
  22. WJ Long

     /  July 22, 2016

    Another Great Article…..Thanks

    For most people the destruction of Coral reefs may seem a bit abstract as their only connection to this underwater wonder world has been through pictures and news articles.
    As an avid diver for decades I’ve had the sad experience of watching the destruction of tropical reefs across the planet but mostly from Florida to Tobago.

    Back in the early 80s I was diving on a reef off Florida, a most spectacular reef, 12 miles of underwater fascination, these living organisms are the beginnings of life in our Oceans, this I witnessed on this reef. As I was gliding along in these coral canyons with maybe 10 to 12 ft of vertical relief and a 20ft wide fairway between the coral cliffs I was just amazed by the variety and quantities of life. Fish always have an agenda, their looking for or eating food, interacting with other fish, always moving, although at night I’ve seen them sleeping with their eyes open. Anyway, gliding along I saw a smallish fish just hovering not moving at all this peaked my interest and I adjusted my BC to slowly drift down for a better look at this 2inch tropical fish that was doing nothing. I soon saw the reason, there were 20 or so tiny, tiny fish in a small cut in the reef just below my inactive fish. So I watched and waited in doing so I saw the tiny fish undulating back and forth and each new pulse of water, brought new oxygen, and nutrients, the reef was suckling her young. Overhead the guardian fish would violently dart at any fish that dared to encroach to closely. It was at that moment I realized that this must be occurring millions of times each day across the planet, this was the beginnings of life, it was a deeply moving experience.

    Fast forward to 2010 I was back diving on the same reef it was nothing but a pile of ugly gray mush and all the beautiful fish….gone, just gone…..heart breaking it was.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/la-na-coral-bleaching-20151004-story.html

    Reply
  23. WMO: Global Warming Happening Faster Than Predicted
    Reported by Voice of America
    http://www.voanews.com/content/who-global-warming-happening-faster-than-predicted/3429127.html

    Sorry, I just love the idea that DJT is not the sole Voice of America : )

    Reply
  24. Historical records miss a fifth of global warming: NASA

    More information: Mark Richardson et al. Reconciled climate response estimates from climate models and the energy budget of Earth, Nature Climate Change (2016). DOI: 10.1038/nclimate3066

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-historical-global-nasa.html#jCp

    Even this does not consider loss of “anchor ice” around Antarctica, or warming of the various ice sheets, or deep water warming. 25 years into the IPCC and they are still finding warming, that was not previously reported!

    Reply
  25. Shawn Redmond

     /  July 22, 2016

    This quote is from Charles Hugh Smith regarding economics but it could well be applied to ACD “Denial is not a solution, and neither is acting like the problem doesn’t exist. But this is our short-term default setting in all scales of human life.” Here is the post if anyone’s interested http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.ca/2016/07/if-we-cant-be-honest-no-solution-is.html

    Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  July 23, 2016

      Shawn, in Australia, denialism is well organised and still absolutist and fanatical. It is centred on the Murdoch MSM apparatus, the more Rightwing elements in the ruling parties, and Rightwing, neo-liberal, propaganda tanks. As I long suspected, now that evidence is not just irrefutable, but battering down the ‘Cone of Ignorance’ around the masses, the denialists are becoming truly deranged, and I suspect will soon become quite dangerous (eg the manically insane Republican platform). Here, in a by no means extreme example, the Murdoch MSM flag-shit, the ‘Australian’, is running a campaign to deny that the bleaching is even a problem on the GBR. In doing so they concocted a fraudulent ‘scientific dispute’ between one reef scientist (but NOT a coral expert) and an amateur recruited from ‘Watts Up With That’ with an expertise in bird-song, and 2,500 coral scientists at a Conference in Hawaii. You couldn’t make this stuff up!

      Reply
      • Shawn Redmond

         /  July 23, 2016

        I sit in awe as I take this in. I can’t believe we have let this happen. The more I learn the less I know.

        Reply
  26. What I found absolutely missing in the stump speech by Trump was mention of the growing environmental calamity approaching mankind due to global warming. There is also a poisoning concurrently happening as witnessed in the toxic blooms when water bodies heat up. Someone has to start taking REAL action. I’m calling out to address, by writing reps and senators, to do something besides agreeing to maybe follow the Paris accords. I fear that’s already too late but that remains to be seen. Thanks again, Robert for keeping us well informed of current events. Everyone reading this needs to write their reps and senators to try to sound alarm bells to do something before it’s too late for everybody.

    Reply
    • Thank you, John. Every action possible, right now, is needed in my view. Calling reps and giving them an ear-full will certainly help. But the current republican stance is universally unhelpful and retrograde to dealing with the problem.

      We face a stiff challenge in that though dems push good policies, the net effect given the intensity of the problem is currently equivalent a half-measure (something that would help to mitigate the situation but is not the full mobilization that we probably need). And we can’t even get those through b/c republicans want to drive us in exactly the wrong direction. The political and media environment is such that it is practically impossible to gather enough political capital for a strong opposition. But the silver lining is that we have morality and scientific observation on our side.

      The compulsion now is for politicians to act or to be on the absolute worst side of history — contributing to a crisis that could easily wreck human civilization. Something that is ultimately far more harmful than any war.

      Reply
      • “… we have morality and scientific observation on our side.” !

        Reply
      • AND: ‘Oil Lobby Paid Washington Post and Atlantic to Host Climate-Change Deniers at RNC’
        We can’t be bought!

        Reply
  27. climatehawk1

     /  July 22, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  28. Colorado Bob

     /  July 22, 2016

    Oil Lobby Paid Washington Post and Atlantic to Host Climate-Change Deniers at RNC

    At the award-winning seafood restaurant in downtown Cleveland that The Atlantic rented out for the entire four-day Republican National Convention, GOP Rep. Bill Johnson turned to me and explained that solar panels are not a viable energy source because “the sun goes down.”

    Johnson had just stepped off the stage where he was one the two featured guests speaking at The Atlantic’s “cocktail caucus,” where restaurant staff served complimentary wine, cocktails, and “seafood towers” of shrimp, crab cakes, oysters, and mussels to delegates, guests, reporters and, of course, the people paying the bills.

    The event was sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, the lobbying arm of fossil fuel giants like ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhilips.

    Johnson, a climate denier and influential member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, spoke of a future when American scientists “solve these big problems” and “figure out how to harness the sun’s energy, and store it up, so that we can put it out over time.” His hypothetical invention, of course, is called a battery, and was invented over 200 years ago.

    Link

    Reply
    • WaPo accepts money from the oil lobby… Great.

      Reply
      • WaPo operates in a ‘company town’ that is run by ‘you know who’…

        Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  July 23, 2016

        Fossil fuels are valued as assets in the tens of trillions. They underpin capitalism, not just in the fossil fuel mega-corporations, but the financial apparatus. The people who own the WaPo are the same caste who own fossil fuels and banks. QED. And it won’t ever change.

        Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  July 22, 2016

        On whether climate change is behind the gas release, he told The Siberian Times: ‘It is worth mentioning global warming. ‘There is neither warming nor cooling in the Belyy island if you look at the average temperatures. But this figure isn’t very representative.

        ‘It’s just like in a famous joke about average temperature in a hospital: some people have fever, some are dead, this number doesn’t really make sense.

        Reply
        • It’s absolutely warmed there. It’s one of the regions that experiences the greatest temperature anomalies in the Arctic.

  29. Colorado Bob

     /  July 22, 2016

    This stunning time-lapse video shows an algae bloom seeping into Utah Lake late last week, turning the popular boating destination a sickly shade of green. The bloom is being fueled by a mixture of high heat, calm conditions, and phosphorus-loaded runoff from eight nearby wastewater treatment plants. In other words, it’s from our toilets.

    http://gizmodo.com/gross-algae-bloom-engulfs-a-lake-full-of-human-shit-1784141317

    Reply
  30. Colorado Bob

     /  July 22, 2016

    The melt map shows another big spike.

    Get satellite images and information about melting on the Greenland ice sheet. Images are updated daily, and we post analysis periodically as conditions warrant.

    http://nsidc.org/greenland-today/

    Reply
  1. El Nino is Basically Over — But this Global Coral Bleaching Event Just Won’t End | robertscribbler | AGR Daily News Service
  2. It’s Not Just Subtropical Cornwall — Climate Zones Everywhere are on the March Poleward | robertscribbler

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