New Report: ‘Blowtorch’-Like Ocean Warming Advances Killer Seas, Shifts El Nino, Heats Hydrates

Tampering can be dangerous. Nature can be vengeful. We should have a great deal of respect for the planet on which we live. — Carl-Gustaf Rossby

But as the [IUCN] study points out, 90% of the extra heat that our greenhouse gases trap is actually absorbed by the oceans. That means that the upper few meters of the sea have been steadily warming more than a tenth of a degree celsius per decade, a figure that’s accelerating. When you think of the volume of water that represents, and then try to imagine the energy necessary to raise its temperature, you get an idea of the blowtorch that our civilization has become. — Bill McKibben

The scale of ocean warming is truly staggering with the numbers so large that it is difficult for most people to comprehend. — from the IUCN report Explaining Ocean Warming: Causes, scale, effects and consequences

*****

If there’s one simple fact about past Earth climates that should keep you awake at night, it’s this — warming the world ocean eventually produces a killing mechanism that is unrivaled by any other in Earth’s deep past. Great asteroids, gamma-ray bursters, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanism — none of these can rival the vast damage to life on planet Earth that is resulting from ocean warming.

As a study of the sciences, this assertion would be merely an academic one if the human race weren’t now involved in a great injection of an unprecedented volume of greenhouse gasses into the Earth’s airs. As a critical new ocean report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) points out, these gasses are trapping an extraordinary amount of heat at the top of the world’s atmosphere. In turn, the atmosphere is transferring the lion’s share of this heat — more than 90 percent — into the waters of our world.

The Extreme Amount of Heat Energy Piling up in Our Warming Ocean

As a result, the surface of the world ocean is warming by 0.1 degree Celsius per decade. That may not sound like much, but it takes about four times the amount of energy to warm one gram of water by 0.1 C as it does one gram of air. This property, called specific heat, is a defining aspect of water. Water has the highest specific heat of any common substance.

heat-accumulation-human-forced-zillions-of-joules

(Since the 1970s, about 300 zettajoules’ (ZJ) worth of heat energy has accumulated in the Earth System due to fossil-fuel burning and related greenhouse gas emissions. That’s about 5 Hiroshima bombs worth of heat accumulating every second. Most of that energy has gone into the world’s oceans. So much heat is bound to have consequences, and these impacts are starting to show up in the form of declining ocean health, melting sea ice and glaciers, shifting climate zones and weather patterns, worsening droughts and storms, and threats of Earth System carbon feedbacks. Image source: Explaining Ocean Warming.)

Liquid water is also far denser than air. And this density generates an even higher impact heat energy transfer multiplier. So not only does it take four times more energy to warm a similar weight of water vs air, once warmed, that water contains that higher level of specific heat energy in a much more tightly concentrated package. And when that high heat concentration liquid water comes into contact with other substances — like ice in the form of ocean contact, or air in the form of evaporation, or frozen hydrates on the sea bed — it can pack a serious heat punch.

The vast volume of water in our oceans, therefore, serves as a kind of heat and energy regulator. It takes a lot of energy to warm it up, but once it does, serious environmental changes start to happen as a result. In other words, the temperature of the global ocean could be viewed as the point on which the whole of the Earth climate system pivots. Once the oceans are set in thermal motion, serious changes to the rest of the world are going to take place. To get an idea how much energy the oceans now contain, of how much potential they now have to dramatically alter our world, consider that if these vast waters were not present, the atmosphere now would have already warmed by 36 degrees C due to the heat-trapping effect of greenhouse gasses already in our atmosphere.

Fossil-fuel blowtorch indeed.

Heating Seas Ultimately Become Killer Seas

There’s a starker message to convey here, one that focuses on this simple yet dire question — how do warming oceans kill? In basic terms, they become toxic and anoxic. Warming oceans melt ocean-contacting glaciers. The glacial melt forces seas to rise and forms a freshwater lid on the global ocean, breaking down ocean conveyor belts and preventing mixing. This freshwater lid also deflects heat toward the ocean bottom. This process in turn helps to thaw methane hydrates. Warm waters that don’t mix and that are filled with bubbling hydrates become very oxygen-poor.

barents-algae-bloom

(Massive algae bloom covers tens of thousands of square miles of open water in the Barents Sea during August of 2016. As glaciers melt, oceans stratify and warm; as water oxygen levels drop, and as hydrates vent due to warming, such blooms result in significant reductions to ocean health and a related global mass-extinction threat. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

As the land glaciers bleed out into the oceans, the stratified, oxygen-deprived waters become less and less able to support advanced life. The kinds of life warm, oxygen-deprived waters do support are poison-producing microbes. These microbes thrive in the warm, oxygen-poor waters. If ocean heating continues to progress, the warming seas will eventually fill up with their deadly byproducts. Among the most nasty of these is hydrogen sulfide. If enough of it is produced, it will spill out from the ocean into the nearby air, resulting in land animal mortality as well.

In microcosm, we saw a mild taste of some of these effects this past year in Florida as toxic algae blooms filled the warming state’s waterways and coastlines, even forcing some riverside marinas to close due to toxic gasses wafting up from the purple-green, oxygen-starved waters. These effects are a snapshot of a possible future for Earth’s oceans if we don’t get our act together yesterday.

El Niño Shifted, Ocean Hydrates Threatened

As alluded to earlier in this post, a new report, Explaining Ocean Warming, provides some pretty hard evidence that the oceans are on the move toward a much more harmful global climate state. The study, which has rightly received a great deal of media attention, issues a ‘shot across the bow’ warning to pretty much everyone living today. And it finds serious impacts to the ocean and linked climate systems due to a very rapid human-forced global warming.

These hard findings are worth reading directly:

  1. Sea-surface temperature, ocean heat content, sea-level rise, melting of glaciers and ice sheets, CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations are increasing at an accelerating rate with significant consequences for humanity and the marine species and ecosystems of the ocean.
  2. There is likely to be an increase in mean global ocean temperature of 1-4 degrees C by 2100. The greatest ocean warming overall is occurring in the Southern Hemisphere and is contributing to the subsurface melting of Antarctic ice shelves. Since the 1990s the atmosphere in the polar regions has been warming at about twice the average rate of global warming.
  3. There is likely to be Arctic warming and ice loss, and possibly the essential removal, in some years, of the summer Arctic sea ice within the next few decades.
  4. Over the last 20 years there has been an intensification and distinct change in the El Niño events, with a shift of the mean location of sea-surface temperature anomalies towards the central Pacific.
  5. Currently 2.5 Gt of frozen methane hydrate are stored in the sea floor at water depths of 200 to 2000 m. Increasing water temperature could release this source of carbon into the ocean and ultimately into the atmosphere.

These are all Earth-shattering scientific statements. For those who frequent this blog, points 1 through 3 are probably pretty familiar. The last two, however, require more in-depth explanation.

global-warming-el-nino

(Some scientific studies have pointed out that warming the world ocean will result in a shift of El Niño toward the central Pacific. A new ocean report finds that it’s already happening. Image source: Global Warming May Dent El Niño’s Protective Hurricane Shield, Increase Droughts.)

For a long time now, scientists have believed that El Niño wouldn’t be affected by climate change until the end of this century. But as with sea ice, it appears that such impacts may well be advancing faster than expected. As we’ve alluded to here, there’s been an apparent shift in El Niño toward the central Pacific over recent decades. This may well be a climate change-related shift. The fact that the IUCN report highlights this change is a sign that the broader sciences are starting to tackle the notion of early alterations to El Niño due to climate change as well.

However, the most ominous language here centers around methane hydrate. For years, there’s been adamant push-back against potential risks to hydrates coming from well-respected sections of the climate sciences. Nonetheless, those downplaying the threat of warming to hydrates have yet to produce any conclusive proof as to why warming the ocean bottom and applying heat to hydrates won’t result in at least some feedback from these carbon stores (especially under the higher-range warming scenarios). The IUCN report reiterates this risk by identifying 2.5 billion tons of frozen seabed methane at shallow and mid-ocean depths that will ultimately be exposed to warming — risking both an ocean and an atmospheric release.

These last points serve to underline some pretty basic facts, the chief of which is that pushing Nature, and heating up her life-blood world ocean waters, is a very, very dangerous game. And if this poignant new report sends any message at all it could simply boil down to this — turn back before it’s too late.

Links:

IUCN Report: Explaining Ocean Warming

Specific Heat

Ocean Warming

Awakening the Horrors of the Ancient Hothouse

LANCE MODIS

Slimy Green Algae Invades Florida

The oceans are heating up. That’s a big problem on a blue planet.

Global Warming May Dent El Niño’s Protective Hurricane Shield, Increase Droughts

Hat tip to Cate

Hat tip to George Hayduke

Leave a comment

112 Comments

  1. wili

     /  September 8, 2016

    Thanks for another well crafted post about a development whose significance cannot be overstated. Since you mention the hydrogen sulfide menace, I thought I’d point out to those who don’t know that Peter Ward has an excellent book on how these deadly conditions arise and their horrific consequences: “Under a Green Sky.”

    Reply
  2. climatehawk1

     /  September 8, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  3. Jim

     /  September 8, 2016

    Great post! One minor error. If the same amount of heat that went into the ocean were to have gone into the atmosphere, the equivalent air temperature warming would have been 36 C (not Fahrenheit). That’s a staggering 64.8F.

    Reply
    • Got it. Someone helping me with copy edits is looking at the post now. I’ll add in the fix once she’s done.

      Reply
      • Jim

         /  September 8, 2016

        Here’s the original Grantham post with the 36C figure. Most of earth would already be unihabitable were it not for the vast oceans. It reached 121 in Phoenix this year. Imagine 186 F ! ~ Jim
        figurehttps://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/grantham-institute/public/publications/briefing-papers/Ocean-heat-uptake—Grantham-BP-15.pdf

        Reply
        • Thanks for this, Jim. It’s just flat ridiculous what fossil fuel based industry has done. But as bad as these temp projections seem, this notion of ocean warming scares me quite a bit more. The climate monsters are lurching out of the closet. The world, meanwhile, dithers.

  4. David Otness

     /  September 8, 2016

    “A useful analysis undertaken by the Grantham Institute in 2015 concluded that if the same amount of heat that has gone into the top 2000m of the ocean between 1955-2010 had gone into the lower 10km of the atmosphere, then the Earth would have seen a warming of 36°C.”
    (I’m looking for the link from Grantham) 36 F is scary enough, but 36 C….?
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/08/the-sick-ocean/

    Reply
  5. David Otness

     /  September 8, 2016

    Sorry, I didn’t see the above comments.

    Reply
  6. Thanks for flagging up this important paper RS (& Cate & George)!

    Reply
    • Cheers, TDG. Hell of a paper. Spent the past three days reading it.

      Reply
      • George W. Hayduke

         /  September 9, 2016

        Thanks for the hat tip and excellent article Robert. The deep ocean hydrates have been a subject of concern for me for some time. Thank you for taking the time to explain and link to current events.

        Reply
  7. John McCormick

     /  September 8, 2016

    This is the diagnosis we will endure. Slowing it down is the only action we can take.

    There are deniers of climate science as there are believers that deny the urgency to do something.

    Reply
  8. A blind layman’s observations:

    This ocean heat & it’s environmental implications, reminds me of trying to “grow an economy” that’s awash in over-heated global debt(with LOTS of plastic!), for both banks & nations.

    Really liked when someone stated: “Nature DOESN’T do bail-outs!”

    – Economics, jobs(lack thereof) & increasing necessity/desperation
    – Socio-political (war). Bombing & destroying urban infrastructure. Same as it ever was.
    – Mother Nature (when she’s been ignored)

    Let’s keep ADDING 1.5 million Folks weekly,(births minus deaths) to this debacle, shall we?

    Do computer projections take into account the effects(& interplay) as ALL these things spiral outa’ control? I’ve grown so skeptical when experts(sic) lay claim to such omniscient-excellence.

    May’s well use them same computers to predict next wk’s Superjumbo-jackpot.

    Not trying to just be a smarta$$..but I’ve seen scant(Hell, almost nothing) attn paid, to how these various realms will feed off of each other. Likely impossible to predict. But maybe if we consider the gravity of this potentially unfolding tragedy, our silly leaders(elite, over-privileged politicos & big-biz) might grow up(so-called media too), & start to address these matters with the seriousness they deserve?

    They’ve run outa’ road to kick this can further.

    Reply
    • “The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”

      — Winston Churchill

      Reply
      • Apropos, Robert.

        On ol’ Winnie, don’t know a lot of his quotes, but heard he said something to this effect:
        “The best argument against democacy, is a 5 min conversation with the avg voter!”

        (Love how this simultaneously casts doubt on the masses, yet holds the mirror up to the arrogant elite)

        Reply
        • Which begs the question — why are so many voters so misinformed. *Through the money-compromised media looking glass.*

        • Jacob

           /  September 9, 2016

          Robert, not only misinformed, but preoccupied with, or distracted by “better”, more important (but ultimately trivial things) things … or perhaps, for many, without the resources to make impactful meaningful efforts to initiate positive change.

    • labmonkey2

       /  September 8, 2016

      We can only hope that when it comes to this:
      electoral campaign

      things will finally change. I seriously doubt it, though.

      Reply
  9. Kalypso

     /  September 8, 2016

    New source oil and natural gas found in Texas. It’s almost surreal reading the CNN article about the find. People are acting like we can just go on burning oil and natural gas like nothing is happening.
    http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/08/investing/apache-huge-oil-discovery/index.html

    Reply
  10. Cate

     /  September 8, 2016

    Turn back before it’s too late, indeed. Masterful piece, Robert, very challenging and galvanizing. Thanks for the hat-tip.🙂

    Further to a discussion Suzanne and I were having on the previous post about the different kinds of climate change denial, here—by happy chance—is a manifesto on that very subject.

    Michael Hoexter is advisor to The Climate Mobilization organisation so his piece must be read in that context, ie, he is not a fan of “market-based carbon gradualism” etc!

    He describes two kinds of denial: hard and soft. Soft may well be harder to combat!

    Hard denial is refusal to “believe” or accept the fact of climate change. Soft denial is acceptance of the fact while neglecting, for any number of reasons, to address the nature, size, and scope of the threats it poses.

    Soft denial has all sorts of psychological, political, and economic implications for policies and actions favoured by neo-liberal establishment which may not be in the best interest of life on earth and human existence.

    http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2016/09/living-web-soft-climate-denial.html

    Reply
    • Both support business as usual.

      At the policy level, in order to effectively tackle the problem, we’ll need cuts in fossil fuel subsidies to zero, subsidies for renewables, active consumption restrictions whose centerpiece would be a carbon tax, public education programs on the dangers of fossil fuel use similar to anti-smoking government ads back in the 80s and 90s, a ban on fossil fuel advertising and political campaign donations, far more extensive subsidies and fast tracking for renewables, big mandates for cuts in energy and materials consumption related to unsustainable practices, and a full effort to help countries of the world who will be hardest hit by climate change. That’s just a snapshot, not fully comprehensive. You’d also need a complete set of climate monitoring and related response planning.

      Individually, and outside of government circles, we need a peaceful yet forceful John Brown moment for climate change. A point where the public is made to fully understand how ugly and unconscionable the effects of fossil fuel burning have become. That any non-violent action to stop it is now justified.

      Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  September 9, 2016

      The soft denialists are everywhere. They are particularly represented among scientists, who seem a generally spineless lot. The worst are full of passionate intensity, and those who ought to know, indeed do know, better, lack all conviction, as Yeats observed. Perhaps it is Thanatos triumphing over Eros in certain psyches. Life is a great burden that our species is in the process of throwing off.

      Reply
  11. I’ve also read through this new Ocean paper, compiled some of the points in a new production, you can check out


    http://climatestate.com/2016/09/08/the-top-10-devastating-effects-of-climate-change/

    Reply
  12. Greg

     /  September 8, 2016

    Robert, another excellent work. More scary stuff. I might humbly make a suggestion or two. The description of energy for most folks resonates well with examples. The number of Hiroshima bombs of energy entering the oceans per second hits hard. I’ve seen figures between 3-10. Also, you compared a gram of water and air heat capacity. I would add that the density of water is so much more for that same gram which raises the energy concentration by more than 800 times. That’s where that 0.1 C gets us in big trouble.

    Reply
  13. Mark from OZ

     /  September 8, 2016

    ‘”The first amendment doesn’t give you the right to commit fraud”
    NY AG Eric Schneiderman on ExxonMobil.

    As expected, a fierce, expensive and no holds barred and protracted legal ‘battle’ is underway. What is encouraging is that powerful and effective ‘body shots’ are being landed against EM in the early ’rounds’ and though a formidable opponent, they are unsuccessful in their attempt to hide their grimaces and obvious strain.

    The ‘supreme’ supreme court where this is certainly headed is Earth’s physical science building and sufficient ‘exhibits’ have already been inventoried; and now just waiting for introduction along procedural protocol or more likely, with the awe-inspiring force that Mother Nature prefers when following her book of ‘laws’.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-07/will-exxonmobil-have-to-pay-for-misleading-the-public-on-climate-change

    Reply
  14. coloradobob

     /  September 9, 2016

    “we need a John Brown moment for climate change.”

    The raid on Harper’s Ferry galvanized the South, it scared the crap out of them, militias began forming shortly there after.

    But it was the match in the powder magazine.

    Reply
    • Among those who have spent their lives profiting through the unjust exploitation of others, revelation of harms done all too often elicits a violent response. Covert violence, in this way, bends toward overt violence. And you have to face that down too if you want a better world.

      Reply
      • coloradobob

         /  September 9, 2016

        I don’t disagree with your premise , I just don’t like having breakfast with hell at the table.

        Reply
        • To be very clear, our John Brown moment needs to be nonviolent. The allusion was meant to shot that we need a historic moment to pivot on. Something that gets into people’s heads and generates a synthesis of action. We’ve had numerous events that have acted as a gadfly. It’s just that the public still seems pretty lackadaisical. Industry is still dragging feet. The usual suspects are still sabotaging positive change. And governments are still moving too slowly. There’s been positive change, now we need a big shift.

  15. coloradobob

     /  September 9, 2016

    Louisiana flood toll tops 100,000 vehicles

    The historic floods that battered Louisiana last month damaged an estimated 100,000 insured vehicles.

    The National Insurance Crime Bureau said the number of uninsured vehicles damaged by flooding may be even more than those that are insured because owners may have chosen to drop coverage of aging vehicles.

    Link

    Reply
  16. Shawn Redmond

     /  September 9, 2016

    Watched a show last evening on the blue holes in the Bahamas. Looked like some good examples of canfield oceans. Sorry don’t have a link. It was on Love Nature.

    Reply
  17. coloradobob

     /  September 9, 2016

    Dr Roods site –

    135. Xulonn
    12:01 AM GMT on September 09, 2016
    2 +
    Skeptical Science website founder John Cook has completed his graduate work at Australia’s Queensland University with a PhD in cognitive psychology, based on “researching how people think about climate change.”

    In January, he will relocate to the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, a Virginia State University in Fairfax County.

    Congratulations, John. It will be a big change from Australia, and I look forward to following your efforts in a critical area of research.

    Reply
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    • After what appears to be an abnormally warm August, the Antarctic appears to have briefly flipped back to ‘cold.’

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  September 10, 2016

        Just musing, warm pulses followed by intense cold, an issue with meltwater draining into cracks in the ice sheets and then refreezing enlarging and extending the cracks. Happens seasonally, but this increase in interseasonal , especially during “cold” phases.
        An acceleration. ?

        Reply
  21. The heated ocean then becomes rain falling.

    Reply
  22. It certainly worries me, and anyone else who relies on Salmon for some of their indigenous diet, that the North Pacific is looking like this in a La Niña cycle:

    https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/ocean/surface/currents/overlay=sea_surface_temp_anomaly/orthographic=-172.00,42.23,793/loc=-152.088,44.085

    Reply
    • I’ve been following the N.Pacific for quite some time now – yes… Another worrisome area that’s been rapid are temp anomalies in the East Siberian Sea… Try comparing early August to today – in just five/six weeks!! Hello, methane! Additionally, check out the warming as it progresses all the way from the Barents Sea into the Kara Sea, as well, over the last few months. (( “Houston-Houston; we ARE having problems!”))

      Reply
  23. coloradobob

     /  September 9, 2016

    More about the walrus.
    They used to stash their pups on the in shore ice and dive in shallow waters. to gather clams, and all the sea bed food. That is why we have seen them haul out in such great numbers these last 4 years. Their young can’t just float while mom goes shopping.
    Ironically , that may help the polar bears. A walrus pup has a lot more fat than grown ring seal.

    Reply
  24. Marcusblanc

     /  September 9, 2016

    That is a juggernaut of a report, thank you for the excellent update RS.

    First thing that strikes me is the name Fondation Total on the first page. How ironic that oil money has gone into this.

    The next page covers the what I’m guessing are the numerous contributing institutions, and its a role call contains some big names. Its a massive work.

    One thought I had was the methane hydrate point reminded me that even if much of the methane released (particularly at greater depth) is absorbed by the oceans, it is still going to end up in the atmosphere. Does anybody recall/know how long it takes methane to come out of the oceans? and does it affect the ph balance?

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  September 9, 2016

      Marcusblanc

      As methane rises in the water column it oxidizes into Co2. This robs the ocean of O2 , and still puts a greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

      Reply
    • A good portion of a deeper methane release remains in the water and is oxidized to CO2 which adds to both ocean acidification and anoxia even as it degrades the ocean’s ability to act as a carbon sink. In very low oxygen regions, a greater portion of the methane hits the air. Shallower methane seeps also see higher portions hitting the air. However, a good chunk still breaks down in the water column.

      Ranges of estimates vary from as little as 20 percent to more than 50 percent. Local conditions also play a factor as does the strength and concentration of the seep.

      The science at this point is still very murky. However, I do expect a reply from Archer and others RE this recent ocean report. It’s kind of taken the lid off the whole methane discussion all over again.

      Total, apparently, is in the process of transitioning its business model away from fossil fuels. Among other things, it’s a big investor in solar farms. It also breaks with the oil company pack in that it acknowledges climate change.

      We’ll see how this report is received by the broader science community. But after the read, it seems pretty significant to me.

      Reply
      • Marcusblanc

         /  September 10, 2016

        Thank for the replies, I think I’ve been mentally writing off the methane that doesn’t actually surface, and when I looked for info, I struggled to find anything snappy.

        Its a pretty subjective statement, this, but I think the methane subject is slowly coming in from the cold, a bit like my pet interest in earthquakes/AGW/volcanoes linkages. Individual papers and references are starting to pop up more regularly.

        One more thing on the report, you certainly couldn’t call it an industry funded whitewash, that is for sure.

        Reply
      • It’s interesting that they are claiming 2.5 gigatons of methane in the hydrates from 200 to 2000 meters in depth- when a more likely number is 2.5 trillion tons. This could easily be a typo – some well meaning editor mistaking 2,500 gigatons for 2.500 gigatons (replacement of a comma with a period).

        It’s interesting that there is oil industry involvement in this report. That’s a big red light, right there.

        If Archer replies to this report, will he reply to the typo or to the more likely 2.5 trillion ton number?

        I think that the oil industry all along has been trying to inject confusion into the debate, and minimize the total global methane hydrate inventory. The more methane hydrate, of course, the bigger the methane catastrophe if one occurs.

        Another thing I have seen in the past in scientific papers coming from questionable sources is to issue a correction – long after the incorrect figure has been widely used and circulated.

        Archer also works for the University of Chicago, a private university founded and endowed with Rockefeller (now ExxonMobil) oil money. The University of Chicago has been used in the past to spread the message of disaster capitalism, according to Naomi Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine. Archer also co-authors scientific papers with ExxonMobil Chief Scientist Haroon Kheshgi. Is Archer a climate science version of Naomi Klien’s “Chicago Boys” referring to the group of University of Chicago economists that were used to spread free market economic theory around the world?

        Reply
  25. Marcusblanc

     /  September 9, 2016

    Sp and it’s a role call that contains

    duh!

    Reply
  26. coloradobob

     /  September 9, 2016

    Years ago , long before this . I thought a great novel would start with millions of tons of dead sea creatures washing up on the beaches of LA.

    Now, it seems we are waiting for that.

    Reply
  27. coloradobob

     /  September 9, 2016

    Something to clear the plate –

    Reply
  28. Cate

     /  September 9, 2016

    After the Fort Mac fire, Alberta endured a soggy summer, with its wettest July in 89 years. Senior climatologist at Environment Canada, David Phillips, said it had no connection to El Nino, but if he offered any speculation as to the cause of such “unusual” and “extreme” weather, it certainly didn’t get reported.

    This is because for mainstream media in Canada, the words “climate change” are still simply too dirty and too hot to utter.

    http://globalnews.ca/news/2881526/there-isnt-any-connection-to-el-nino-alberta-suffers-through-damp-soggy-summer/

    Reply
    • So sad to see Canadian media engaging in this kind of active issues suppression. Also broader global media has been pretty guilty of this as well. Lots of stuff going on still that doesn’t get a peep. Though it’s gotten a bit better, I think.

      Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  September 9, 2016

      As a system nears a tipping point it moves to the extremes.

      Reply
  29. labmonkey2

     /  September 9, 2016

    I believe this was a topic of discussion several threads ago – and worthy of review as now there are more data on the phenomenon – changes in the QBO.

    The normal flow of air high up in the atmosphere over the equator, known as the quasi-biennial oscillation, was seen to break down earlier this year. These stratospheric winds are found high above the tropics, their direction and strength changes in a regular two- to three-year cycle which provides forecasters with an indication of the weather to expect in Northern Europe. Westerly winds are known to increase the chance of warm and wet conditions, while easterlies bring drier and colder weather.

    http://phys.org/news/2016-09-unprecedented-atmospheric-behavior-disrupts-earth.html

    Reply
    • Atmospheric waves, or gravity waves, broke down the typical upper level atmospheric wind pattern at the Equator during the past winter. This has an impact on seasonal weather. But it also affects our ability to forecast. Given the suspect and likely link between amplified wave patterns and polar warming, this is a likely a climate change related influence.

      Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  September 9, 2016

      Nice catch.

      Reply
    • It may be more complex than just warming. Can direct weather manipulation combined with primary air freight routes and mysterious HAARP experiments create a butterfly effect on the QBO?

      Reply
  30. coloradobob

     /  September 9, 2016

    52 card pickup .

    One takes the deck and squeezes between the thumb and fingers. At certain point all the cards spew out of the hand.

    That’s our problem/

    Reply
  31. June

     /  September 9, 2016

    Great post, Robert. This is so important to help people understand. I’m glad the report is getting a lot of media attention. It needs to be emphasized over and over again, because I don’t think the general public understands the implications of the inertia in ocean warming.
    Unfortunately, these days so many people either distrust science or have no interest in it that it’s a huge task just to get them to pay attention at all, let alone understand the urgency.

    Reply
  32. coloradobob

     /  September 9, 2016

    Bob Dylan – Man Of Constant Sorrow

    The Deeper than we know .

    Reply
  33. coloradobob

     /  September 9, 2016

    Man of Constant Sorrow – Soggy Bottom Boys – O Brother Where Art Thou

    Reply
  34. coloradobob

     /  September 9, 2016

    The 100,000 dead car post . This means everyone is afoot in the flood zone.

    There’s real test at work there.

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  September 9, 2016

      Your house is full of mud, and your truck is totaled. You still have payments due.

      Reply
      • coloradobob

         /  September 9, 2016

        American Climate Change bites Louisiana in the ass once more. This help is about to die.

        Because even worse storms are coming.

        Reply
        • coloradobob

           /  September 9, 2016

          Louisiana we’re not save you as you melt into the sea.

        • Greg

           /  September 9, 2016

          Meanwhile a lot of money being spent on outer space, $60 billion for the SLS… Dating back to before the United States gained its independence, a succession of Royal French soldiers, merchants, and eclectic art dealers struggled to squeeze money from plantations covering the steamy swamplands of southern Louisiana. Some grew sugar. Others trapped muskrat.Mobilization came during World War II, when the US military eyed the open land and easy access to the Gulf of Mexico. With no use for muskrat, the Department of Defense built a massive factory to produce C-46 cargo planes and military tank engines. After the war, as America sought to assert its superiority in space, NASA took control of the Michoud Assembly Facility and its cavernous interior to manufacture the mighty Saturn rockets
          http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/09/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-big-nasa-rocket/

  35. coloradobob

     /  September 9, 2016

    Louisiana zika is coming . Your folks what to defund everything that natters.

    Reply
  36. coloradobob

     /  September 9, 2016

    35,000 Beached Walruses Still Can’t Convince The Daily Caller On Climate Change

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/10/02/35000-beached-walruses-still-cant-convince-the/200991

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  September 10, 2016

      Nothing will convince them or their readers, that change in perspective would be a serious risk to their personal identity and sanity.

      Reply
  37. Henri

     /  September 9, 2016

    Costa Rica has gone over two months without using any fossil fuels for electricity.

    http://www.vox.com/2016/9/8/12847160/costa-rica-renewable-electricity

    Reply
      • BJD

         /  September 10, 2016

        Well, isn’t that because of the excess rains seeing that most of the Costa Rica’s renewables are hydroelectric? Sort of the silver lining for these increasingly dark clouds….

        Reply
    • Good news, but guarded, because almost all of that was hydro-generated. We could wish a much larger percentage were solar or wind, but not so (,yet)…

      Reply
  38. Kalypso

     /  September 9, 2016

    The Pacific isn’t the only ocean basin experiencing and increase in stronger tropical cyclones. It looks like the Atlantic is as well.

    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/atlantic-hurricane-season-major-storms-20682

    Reply
  39. Kalypso

     /  September 9, 2016

    Since La Niña is a no show until further notice could 2017 be warmer than 2016? Is it possible the fast pace warming trend will continue? I know Kevin Trenbirth predicted that (in then 2013/2014) the next big El Niño would shift the PDO to a positive phase and ramp up global warming. He also discussed that Earth warms in a ‘stair case’ fashion jumping to the next high temperature, plateauing for a few years then jumping up again. We definitely began the jump in global temperatures in 2014 and its continued through 2016. But could we see more warming before this jump is over?

    Reply
    • I think the big jump will be 2016. Considering the current rate of ghg emissions, however, I think the following ‘plateau’ will be canted upward a bit more than the 1998-2014 period. This will be due to various feedbacks starting to kick in.

      We’re on the ramp up to 2 C by 2035 to 2050 right now. At some point near 2 C the glaciers probably get involved enough to slow warming rates for a time. But then we’re dealing with serious weather and sea level rise issues.

      Reply
      • It seems like the biggest jumps in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere come during El Nino years. This suggests CO2 coming back out of the oceans, to me.

        I don’t think that would be good news, if it’s true.

        Reply
  40. Greg

     /  September 9, 2016

    Another one:
    kansasdotcom Verified account@kansasdotcom
    WOW: @NWSWichita employee reports measuring 10.19 inches of rain in past 36 hours 4 miles NW of Clearwater
    https://o.twimg.com/2/proxy.jpg?t=HBhlaHR0cDovL3d3dy5rYW5zYXMuY29tL25ld3MvbG9jYWwveWEyODNpL3BpY3R1cmUxMDA4MTE1NDcvQUxURVJOQVRFUy9MQU5EU0NBUEVfMTE0MC8wOTA5MTZmbG9vZGluZ190aDEU6BEUqAkcFIQGFJQDAAAWABIA&s=77jzhjClwC8iezrJ_md6eN6hIDaETu7bES-oTn2xknQ

    Reply
  41. Greg

     /  September 9, 2016

    The landscape you knew can disappear in the blink of an eye

    Reply
  42. June

     /  September 9, 2016

    If only local TV meteorologists would take advantage of the opportunities they have to educate people. The number of local daily news reports has increased significantly. It used to be one half hour segment 4 times a day. Now there are two or three early morning news segments and 3 or 4 evening segments, each one with a weather forecast segment. If they would take even one minute to talk about some climate related report or a graph like the one below showing the increase in summer minimum temperatures, that adds up to a lot of education potential, especially because it would be in small enough chunks to keep people’s attention, and people tend to trust their own local forecasters.

    Reply
  43. humanistruth

     /  September 9, 2016

    I don’t argue that violent climate activism would bring “ecoterrorism” branding and violent crackdown. But revolutions seldom proceed without a flashpoint. Case in point Stonewall. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_riots

    Reply
    • So here’s one way to think about it.

      Exxon Mobile, while committing alleged fraud on the people of the world and lying about climate change also paid proxies to attack climate scientists like Michael Mann and accuse him of fraud.

      When you start to see labeling like ‘ecoterrorist’ start to be bandied about. Then it’s a pretty clear indication of the intention coming from the other side.

      Reply
  44. June

     /  September 9, 2016

    Millions of Gallons of Raw Sewage Dumped Into Tampa Bay Since Hermine

    According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection via WTSP, tens of millions of gallons of sewage has been released into the waters of Tampa Bay and into watersheds all over Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties…

    A similar scenario took place in June when the aging Tampa Bay area sewage infrastructure was overwhelmed by Tropical Storm Colin.

    https://weather.com/science/environment/news/sewage-dump-tampa-bay-hermine

    Reply
  45. This statement (below) is wrong by a factor of at least a thousand, I think:

    “5. Currently 2.5 Gt of frozen methane hydrate are stored in the sea floor at water depths of 200 to 2000 m. Increasing water temperature could release this source of carbon into the ocean and ultimately into the atmosphere.”

    2.5 trillion tons of carbon as methane is a more reasonable figure, I think. Even that figure is likely a little low, I think.

    This article in Science talks about 16,000 gigatons of methane (about 12,000 gigatons of carbon) coming out of the methane hydrates during the End Triassic mass extinction, for example:

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/43481438/Atmospheric_carbon_injection_linked_to_e20160307-8909-9983ux.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ56TQJRTWSMTNPEA&Expires=1473664547&Signature=wJnyEBypNW98cnJXMO3Pkd2ZYsU%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DAtmospheric_Carbon_Injection_Linked_to_E.pdf

    “The magnitude and rate of this carbon-cycle disruption can be explained by the injection of at least ~12 × 10^3 gigatons of isotopically depleted carbon as methane into the atmosphere. ”

    Klauda and Sandler estimate something like 75,000 gigatons of carbon as methane in the methane hydrates, today. This number is an outlier on the high side of the current range of estimates, that ranger from 0.4 gigatons of carbon (Burwicz) to ~ 75,000 gigatons of carbon as methane in the hydrates (Klauda and Sandler). Klauda and Sandler etimate 29,000 gigatons of carbon on the continental shelves alone.

    We really need to know how much methane there is in the hydrates.

    Reply
    • Wow, that link doesn’t work – it’s probably too long. To read the paper go to this Google Scholar page, and click on the pdf file from academia.edu.

      https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cluster=1678664838643214162&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5

      It’s an interesting paper. The highest such shift in C13/C12 carbon isotope ratios I’ve seen was during an event that apparently broke us out of a “snowball earth” state back in the Cambrian. Several papers I have read conservatively estimate methane releases in the 5 trillion ton range. But this paper on the End Triassic gives the largest calculated methane release I am aware of – 16 trillion tons of methane equivalent to 12 trillion tons of carbon.

      Reply

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