A Flood of Warm Water the Size of 30 Amazon Rivers is Melting One of East Antarctica’s Largest Glaciers

If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that few of Antarctica’s submerged coastal glaciers are safe from the warming ocean. Places that we once thought wouldn’t be vulnerable to melt for decades or centuries are now starting to feel the heat of rising water temperatures.

The heat comes in the form of great floods of warmer than normal waters running beneath the ocean surface and then eating away at the undersides of ice shelves and sea fronting glaciers. These floods are provided by the warmth forced into the world ocean by rising global greenhouse gas concentrations. And such invasions are happening around Antarctica’s perimeter with increasing frequency. But perhaps the most disturbing such event now ongoing is the present warm water flood running in from the Southern Ocean toward East Antarctica’s Totten Glacier.

calving-front-of-the-totten-glacier

(The melting edge of the Totten Glacier. Image source: Antarctica.gov.)

Totten is a truly gigantic glacier. By itself representing an ice mass equal to that contained in all of West Antarctica’s many glaciers. If large sections of Totten and the associated Aurora Basin were to melt, seas could rise by 12 feet or more. During recent years, researchers identified a great canyon running between 2,000 and 3,600 feet below sea level and stretching six miles wide as a weak point for Totten — whose glaciers sit in an enormous, below sea level rift within East Antarctica.

Researchers recently found that the floating ice shelf buttressing Totten was melting from below. As of 2015, they hadn’t identified a mechanism for this melt. But they had a pretty short suspect list. This year, a new study led by Dr. Stephen Rich Rintoul found that a river of warm water flowing at a rate of 220,000 cubic meters per second was flooding into the vulnerable canyon entrance to Totten’s weak underbelly. The researchers determined that this volume of warm water — equaling a flow rate more than 30 times that of the Amazon River — was enough to account for the observed ice shelf losses over recent years in the range of 60 to 80 billion tons per year.

totten-glacier-basin

(The Totten Glacier of East Antarctica contains about as much ice mass as all of West Antarctica. Its catchment basin is roughly the size of the U.S. Southeast. Much of it sits below sea level. And an ice shelf buttressing the glacier’s largest outlet in a 6 mile wide and 3,600 foot deep canyon is rapidly melting. Once this ice shelf breaks apart, ocean water will flood inland along a reverse slope and the Totten Glacier will increase its rate of movement toward the ocean — significantly speeding rates of global sea level rise. Image source: Australian Antarctic Division.)

The study authors found that:

…several lines of evidence support the conclusion that rapid basal melt of the [Totten Ice Shelf] is driven by the flux of warm [modified circumpolar deep water] into the cavity: the presence of warm water at the ice front, the existence of a deep trough providing access of this warm water to the cavity, direct measurements of mass and heat transport into the cavity, the signature of glacial meltwater in the outflow, and exchange rates inferred from the heat budget and satellite-derived basal melt rates.

Presently, because the ice shelf floats, this melt is not adding to global sea level rise. But the shelf acts like a cork that’s stopping the rest of Totten from flowing into the ocean. And when the ice shelf weakens enough, it will rift and break apart — leaving the massive glaciers behind it exposed to the inrush of warm waters and removing the last major barrier preventing them from bursting out.

Links:

Ocean Heat Drives Rapid Basal Melt of Totten Ice Shelf

Scientists Confirm that Warm Ocean Water is Melting one of East Antarctica’s Biggest Glaciers

One by One, the Flood Gates of Antarctica are Breaking Open

Tottering Totten and the Coming Multi-meter Sea Level Rise

Antarctica.gov

Hat tip to Robert in New Orleans

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230 Comments

  1. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2016

    Arctic ice melt ‘already affecting weather patterns where you live right now’

    In November, ice levels hit a record low, and we are now in “uncharted territory”, said Prof Jennifer Francis, an Arctic climate expert at Rutgers University in the US, who first became interested in the region when she sailed through it on a round-the-world trip in the 1980s.

    “These rapid changes in the Arctic are affecting weather patterns where you live right now,” she said. “In the past you have had natural variations like El Niño, but they have never happened before in combination with this very warm Arctic, so it is a whole new ball game.

    “It is inconceivable that this ridiculously warm Arctic would not have an impact on weather patterns in the middle latitudes further south, where so many people live.

    “It’s safe to say [the hot Arctic] is going to have a big impact, but it’s hard to say exactly how big right now. But we are going to have a lot of very interesting weather – we’re not going to get around that one.” …………………………. “These northward jet stream swings are of course the reason California is having such a terrible drought,” said Francis. This effect was in fact predicted back in 2004, with those researchers now saying: “Reality is moving faster than we thought or hoped it would.”
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/19/arctic-ice-melt-already-affecting-weather-patterns-where-you-live-right-now

    Reply
    • So people often talk about upstream and downstream impacts regarding El Nino and other global weather/climate phenomena. But it’s more like a wave form in a fluid system. And any variation along the wave front can alter the system. So if the trough region (pole) changes, it changes the form. It’s just that in the previously more stable system peak variations in the tropics and related to ENSO have been the primary driver. At this point, it appears that there are some strong interactions between Equator and Pole and that the relationship is changing.

      Reply
  2. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2016

    This is the polar bear capital of the world, but the snow has gone
    Canada’s Hudson Bay is as ice-free in November as on a summer’s day and polar bears could be extinct here by mid-century. If the bears are in trouble, so are we

    Every year, York told us, the bears spend one day more on land and one day less on the ice. That does not sound much, but it’s one day less hunting, and over 30 years they are getting one months’ less food.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/20/churchill-canada-hudson-bay-no-snow-sea-ice-polar-bear

    Reply
    • That’s a pretty amazingly rapid rate of change from an adaptation/evolution standpoint. The bears are losing their habitat at the rate of one day per year in temporal space. How long can they last without access to that habitat is the hard question.

      Reply
    • Cate

       /  December 21, 2016

      “If the bears are in trouble, so are we.” And it’s not only bears. Large mammals, apex predators, are in trouble all over the planet.

      If you seriously consider the implications of this, how long can it take to conclude that as polar bears, giraffes, and tigers go, so go we? About two minutes, I reckon. If you’re a bit thick.

      RS, splendid work as ever. You are setting a blistering pace here, leaving us all huffing and puffing to catch up!

      Reply
      • I always feel like I should be writing more. Although I added up all the words from the 1,022 posts since we started back in 2012 and it looks like about 1.1 million or equal to 11 mid-length novels. Meh. I still feel like I should be writing more.

        Reply
        • Cate

           /  December 21, 2016

          You’re doing just fine, my friend. You set a shining example of how we must think, talk, and act wrt the huge crisis facing us.

        • Hear, hear! You’ve created a terrific resource, and those of us who share the information you provide are eternally grateful.

        • Yes, a great job, and a wonderful resource. It’s become the ‘go to’ place for climate change information for a huge number of people.

          It’s not broken- please don’t fix it. 🙂 You write just fine, and just often enough.

      • Hi Cate –

        And in the oceans as well:

        Decline of Pacific Bluefin Tuna at 97.4 percent:

        http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/analysis/2016/04/25/new-science-puts-decline-of-pacific-bluefin-at-974-percent

        This may be mostly due to over-fishing, but general populations of Tuna and Mackerel have also declined by about 75%, according to some reports. Global warming related loss of phyto-plankton working it’s way up the food chain? Over-fishing? All of the above, including global warming related acidification?

        Reply
  3. Cate

     /  December 21, 2016

    YESSS.

    US announces a permanent ban on oil and gas development in US Arctic waters (Chukchi and Beaufort), while Canada announces a similar ban on all new licensing, to be reviewed every five years. There will also be co-operation on identifying shipping corridors, fisheries, impacts on people and communities, etc.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-obama-arctic-1.3905933

    Reply
    • Fantastic! Thanks for this, Cate. Pretty sure Trump will try to undo this on the U.S. side.

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  December 21, 2016

        Hopefully it will take him years.

        Reply
        • I agree. Lets hope he’s bogged down. I’m also hoping for serious institutional resistance. And not just from DOE, NASA and such — CIA might be an issue for Trump. Given his current tac, I bet they leak like a 100 year old boat that lost all its hull fasteners.

          Looks like the word impeachment is already being bandied about in some corners. Considering the huge heap of wrong that’s already been done, the only impediment is a republican house and senate that are at least 50 percent insane.

        • Shawn Redmond

           /  December 21, 2016

          This may help to gum up the gears a little:
          In Tech, Trump Resisters and Collaborators
          The list of Silicon Valley companies who say they won’t help build a Muslim registry for the Trump administration keeps growing, and it now includes Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Uber (The Verge). Amazon and Oracle? They’re not saying. IBM? Maybe — CEO Gini Rometty has been promising cooperation with the incoming administration. More than 2,200 engineers, designers, and other tech employees have signed the “Never Again” pledge refusing to contribute to such a project. And more than 125 founders and CEOs have signed a similar pledge to protect civil liberties and not to contribute to projects that infringe on them (NewCo Shift).
          One company that stands decidedly on the other side of the fence: Palantir, a firm founded by Trump confidante Peter Thiel, named after J.R.R. Tolkien’s magical (and easily corrupted) surveillance stones, and heavily invested in government spying projects. The Intercept reports that Palantir is positively champing at the bit to pitch in with any and all Trump-era anti-immigration measures — and to cash in on the associated government contracts.

          https://shift.newco.co/business-cannot-fly-blind-through-the-climate-crisis-b5a3f6627be6#.ndf4uz7eu

        • Scott

           /  December 21, 2016

          I’m planning to find religion about 5 minutes after the registry gets launched. I suspect Islam will speak to me in a new way. Six weeks later, I think I’ll lose my religion. Six weeks later, a change of heart. Six weeks later…you get the idea.

          Rat-f*$@ing this administration in every way possible has become an obligation of every lover of freedom and democracy.

        • Shawn — that’s double reprehensible to me. Tolkien would have been on the large and growing list of people actively resisting these jackasses. Tolkien is well known for calling Hitler ‘a ruddy ignoramus’ (today we have the orange, not the red variety) and for stating that his German name was no longer a source of pride due to the racist actions of that state.

          As for the people refusing to work on such a registry — good for them. We should boycott Palantir now that the Sauron-inclined have a hold on it.

          Scott — if they do launch a registry, I will also log myself as Muslim. One with an Episcopalian/Unitarian background. My only regret being that I have no ‘ancestors among that gifted people.’

          Link: http://io9.gizmodo.com/5892697/whats-classier-than-jrr-tolkien-telling-off-nazis-absolutely-nothing

        • Shawn Redmond

           /  December 21, 2016

          Yah I know, but the whanabees 1%er’s will associate with anything that puts them or their company foremost in the eyes of potential clients. They really aren’t deep enough to see the paradox. Probably didn’t even read any of Tolkein to start with let history of the man.

        • “I’m planning to find religion about 5 minutes after the registry gets launched.”

          There’s another effort that MoveOn is running, a petition called “Register Me First.” Details here: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/register-me-first

          I’ve signed.

  4. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2016

    El Nino-linked Cyclones to Increase in Pacific With Climate Change, Scientists Say

    The Marshall Islands, Fiji and Palau were the first three countries earlier this year to ratify the Paris climate change agreement to limit global temperature rise to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius.

    http://www.voanews.com/a/nino-linked-cyclones-increase-pacific-climate-change/3644256.html

    Reply
  5. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2016

    Jim Hunt is guest posting at Arctic Sea ice –

    The 11th Key Science Moment of 2016

    Regular readers of the Arctic Sea Ice Blog will be aware that Neven has, not entirely successfully, been “on sabbatical” for a while. During that time assorted inaccuracies about Neven himself and about the state of sea ice in the Arctic have been propagating through both “social” and “mainstream” media.

    In this guest post, reproduced from the Great White Con blog, I endeavour to set part of the Arctic sea ice record straight, whilst wondering “Why?” so many wires were apparently crossed.

    A brief history of scientific “churnalism” in the age of social media. The “post-truth” of The Guardian’s 11th Key Science Moment of 2016.

    http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2016/12/the-11th-key-science-moment-of-2016.html#comments

    Reply
    • Excellent article by Jim H here. It’s worth noting that Faux News from the right also got NSIDC’s comment about ZLabe’s graph wrong as well. I had people over on twitter telling me that NSIDC was saying not to combine graphs from the north and south polar zones RE sea ice. Of course this was misinformation. NSIDC had simply cautioned, as Zack and I had earlier, that CAUSES for sea ice loss in each hemisphere could be radically different due to varying physical dynamics.

      Reply
  6. Greg

     /  December 21, 2016

    Thank you Robert, once again. The total additional heat energy added to our Earth system, by our ff’ing, is equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year mostly going into the oceans.
    https://thinkprogress.org/earths-rate-of-global-warming-is-400-000-hiroshima-bombs-a-day-44689384fef9#.5iuh6yubb

    Reply
    • That much energy is going to melt a lot of ice. It’s like Joe Romm said — Hell and High Water. Seems we’ve already got a dress rehersal for Hell in our political system and the water isn’t quite high yet, but it’s rising…

      Reply
  7. Cate

     /  December 21, 2016

    The daily mean above 80N does not want to have anything to do with 250K, and if the forecast for the North Pole is correct, it’s set for another upward spike.

    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

    Reply
    • Thanks, Cate. Much appreciated.

      I am thinking that we in the US are going to have to start forming local action groups networked at the state and national level. Communication at this point is certainly helpful. But we need an active, living, breathing resistance that leverages established groups but that also actively recruits and produces outreach.

      Edit: This should have been in reply to your post above ‘Thanks my friend…’ but somehow it migrated down to here. Hmm.

      Reply
    • So the next day or two or three should show a big spike in the 80 N zone. It should moderate a bit on the seven day horizon, though.

      Reply
  8. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2016

    Earth on Pace For Its Warmest Year on Record After a 5th Warmest November
    By: Jeff Masters , 8:18 PM GMT on December 19, 2016

    November 2016 was Earth’s fifth warmest November since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) on Monday. November 2016 was 0.73°C (1.31°F) warmer than the 20th-century November average, but 0.23°C (0.41°F) cooler than the record warmth of 2015. NASA reported that November 2016 was the second warmest November in its database, behind November 2015. The difference between the two data sets is, in large part, due to how they handle the data-sparse areas in the Arctic, which was record warm in November. NOAA does not include most of the Arctic in their global analysis, while NASA does.

    Link

    Reply
  9. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2016

    Reply
  10. Greg

     /  December 21, 2016

    Merry Christmas Philippines.

    Reply
    • … Looks pretty rough. Fiji getting hammered as well per Colorado Bob’s posts above.

      Reply
      • Matt

         /  December 21, 2016

        http://www.bom.gov.au

        One Cyclone (hurricane) about to form off the NW Australia coast, and look at the cloud presentation across land over the Pilbra! (NW section of the continent). Looks suspiciously like a well forming system to me?? here is what the BOM has to say….
        “A tropical low is forming in the Timor Sea, west of Darwin. The low is forecast to develop further and move southwest towards the north Kimberley coast on Tuesday into Wednesday. The likelihood of this system developing into a tropical cyclone increases during Wednesday however it only has a brief window of time before moving inland over the Kimberley. Although the most likely path from Wednesday is to remain over land through the western Kimberley, if the low was to move off the coast then the likelihood of tropical cyclone development increases”
        In the Timor Sea, really??? looks like the centre of that system is firmly over land? what am I missing?
        BTW this is just a link to the home page so the images will change over time (not sure how to post the static image 😦

        Reply
        • Matt

           /  December 21, 2016

          Sorry probably not clear enough! not that system, there is a second one they are watching (the one you are referring is now cyclone Yvette) the other is the circular formation way to the East of Yvette, over the Kimberley coastline. Unfortunately the BOM is not as detailed in their reporting as what we are all used to with the NHC 😦
          This is the link to their NW region discussion page:
          http://www.bom.gov.au/wa/forecasts/nwcyclone.shtml
          And yes, Yvette has formed exactly where you would expect a cyclone to appear in the region….

      • Here’s the present location:

        Yvette

        I take it this is not a usual location for Tropical cyclone formation. Indian Ocean and near Australia systems are not my strongest suit.

        Reply
        • Nathan Tetlaw

           /  December 21, 2016

          No, not uncommon, they form from the Coral Sea off Queensland in an arc across the waters north of Australia. Is slightly early this year, Like a June Hurricane.

        • That was my general sense. But I thought I’d ask as I’m working on a post at this time and didn’t have the minutes to look at my notes. In any case, thanks for the input and if anyone else has an assessment, please feel free to jump in. I think that Masters may be on this one soon enough as he usually includes tropical cyclones in his global reports.

        • Matt

           /  December 21, 2016

          Oops replied above your comment Robert, sorry…..

        • Matt

           /  December 22, 2016

          Ahhh and here is a link describing what I was talking about:

          So apparently the low pressure centre was just off shore, now onshore…. displaying a beautiful cloud presentation for a system with so much land interaction?

  11. Greg

     /  December 21, 2016

    Merry Christmas California

    Reply
    • The drought continues to be chipped away. Question for me is when, not if, it flips back to dry. Worth noting that a decent amount of tropical moisture has been entrained in these systems recently. Jet is flatter. Less of a consistent ridge or ridging more persistent in Bering/East Siberia.

      Reply
  12. Greg

     /  December 21, 2016

    Reply
  13. Greg

     /  December 21, 2016

    First wind energy to arrive in Saudi Arabia.
    General Electric Company GE recently secured a contract from Saudi Aramco to launch Saudi Arabia’s first wind turbine next month. The deal will allow Armaco diversify energy supplies and meet the increasing customer demand.
    https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/ge-secures-deal-launch-saudi-133301990.html

    Reply
    • So the total add for 2016 appears to be 70 GW solar, 65 GW wind for 135 GW combined. Pretty amazing. Needs to at least double, IMO.

      Reply
      • Greg

         /  December 21, 2016

        with the right support it could be many multiples of that….

        Reply
        • Absolutely. It seems to me that in the 1oo to 250 GW per year range is when it starts working as a direct replacement for existing fossil fuels. Depends on how much efficiency coincidentally increases. And there is some evidence to show that with renewable adds, this is in the range of 15 to 20 percent.

  14. Greg

     /  December 21, 2016

    Reply
  15. Tigertown

     /  December 21, 2016

    When talking about Antarctica, warm is a relative term. We also have to remember that salt changes the freezing point to -1.8 deg C. Just taking samples in the general area of Totten, we see that high salinity runs to depths mentioned.

    Reply
    • Yes. But there are a few explanations missing here and the foremost is that as depth and pressure increases melting points fall. So what we are also talking about is water that’s around 3 C warmer than what’s necessary to melt ice at this depth. This is a rather high water temperature delta.

      Reply
      • Tigertown

         /  December 21, 2016

        Not arguing about that. That is plenty warm enough to cause a lot of melt, especially with high salinity.

        Reply
    • Tigertown

       /  December 21, 2016

      I posted these charts straight from the site, but still just shows the links.

      Reply
      • I’ll fix the charts if I can.

        Reply
        • Tigertown

           /  December 21, 2016

          Thanks, and you are right,as I forgot to account for the pressure. That makes an even greater difference.

        • Tigertown

           /  December 21, 2016

          I think the best point you made in the article is the steady supply of the warmer water. If not for that, the ice melting would soon cool the water and melt would slow and stop.

        • It’s a changing environment for the ice. And the added energy is resulting in a state change. The warming ocean continues to gain a lot of energy due to heat transfer from the atmosphere. The physical mechanism of melt speeds the process of warm(er) water influx by generating a stratified fresh water layer at the surface which avects warm water downward creating a conveyor belt like process that pulls more warmer waters in. We think this was the same process that drove Heinrich Events in the past. And it appears we are witnessing its start at this time.

  16. Vic

     /  December 21, 2016

    Off the edge of the Totten Glacier about 30 metres down. Simply stunning.

    Reply
  17. Vic

     /  December 21, 2016

    A mass, multi-species marine life die-off in 2013 off the coast of South Australia is thought to have been caused by a measles related morbillivirus triggered by unusually warm waters.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-21/mysterious-dolphin-die-off-caused-by-virus-related-to-measles/8139932

    Reply
  18. Spike

     /  December 21, 2016

    Second named storm of winter for the UK. The Met Office hints at the root cause:

    Why has the weather changed?

    Recent conditions in North America – with cold Arctic air sinking far southwards – has brought unusually cold weather to parts of North America. This cold air encounters relatively warm air in the western Atlantic. This creates a strong temperature gradient along the boundary between the two air masses which will strengthen the jet stream – a high-altitude fast-flowing wind which often brings low-pressure systems and storms to our shores. As the jet stream then comes east across the Atlantic, it drives areas of low pressure towards the UK, with associated spells of strong winds and rain.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/2016/storm-barbara-is-on-the-horizon

    Reply
    • So the Atlantic Ocean is warming up relative to the Continent in winter. Warmth at the Pole drives cold air out and into North American. This cold air, then encounters the warmer air over the Ocean. This warmer air is more heavily laden with moisture due to global warming. The result is that a strong storm track develops over the North Atlantic where it did not develop before. This storm track is meridional in that it runs from southwest, originating off the U.S. East Coast, to northeast. It often runs over the British Isles and then tracks north into the Barents and Greenland seas. This same meridional storm track is also what is responsible for delivering these warm air outbursts to the pole.

      To be very clear, this kind of weather system is not normal. At least not if your meaning of the word normal is in the weather/climate parlance of the 20th Century. We did not then have a raging SW to NE storm track running across the North Atlantic with this intensity or possessing this degree of meridional variance. We did not have such strong storms developing so consistently and slamming into places like Britain. And we did not see the storms run all the way north past Svalbard and invade the polar region. The sea ice, which was more integral at that time helped to keep cold air centered in the Arctic and to nudge the Jet Stream south so that it was flatter. The Atlantic was cooler and drier and did not provide so much in the way of fuel for these storms. And the orientation of atmospheric circulation did not, in a larger sense, pivot around Greenland as it tends to today.

      Reply
  19. Cate

     /  December 21, 2016

    Link about the AMOC from Stefan Rahmstorf in my newsfeed today:

    https://eos.org/research-spotlights/major-ocean-circulation-pattern-at-risk-from-greenland-ice-melt

    “In its most recent report, the IPCC stated that although AMOC could weaken as a result of human-induced global warming, it is unlikely to collapse entirely in the 21st century. That report did not include factors such as the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, however, which has accelerated over the past several decades, or the basic uncertainty surrounding AMOC’s stability. Now Bakker et al. have included those factors in eight state-of-the-art climate models, projecting what is likely to happen under two separate climate scenarios up to and beyond the 21st century….(two scenarios detailed in the article)…
    Although the latter scenario may sound bleak, it suggests that aggressive action to reduce CO2 emissions could have a profound impact, according to the authors. Indeed, the likelihood of full collapse stays significantly smaller if global warming is limited to less than 5 K, they say.”

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  December 21, 2016

      Here is the Bakker et al paper referenced in the article. Published 13 Dec 2016.

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016GL070457/full

      Reply
    • So the issue here that appears to come up is what level of warming generates what associated level of glacial melt discharge from Greenland. And these models are finding that less than 5 C global warming does not produce enough melt discharge to fully halt overturning circulation over the period from now to 2100. That said, in lower level warming scenarios, AMOC still appears to be significantly impacted.

      For my own part, I’d caution that glacial discharge rates are highly uncertain and that, in the past, melt rates have tended to rapidly accelerate when warming hit a range of 1.5 to 2 C above baseline. If we take into account Hansen’s findings, it appears that 2 to 2.5 C may well represent a ‘danger zone’ for AMOC threatening discharge rates.

      That said, this paper is a good one, in my opinion. And we should applaud the work to more specifically define risks associated to glacial melt and ocean circulation change at a given level of warming. For my part, I absolutely appreciate this study and will include it in my own ‘working knowlege’ based tool-set. Kudos to Bakker et all.

      Reply
  20. Cate

     /  December 21, 2016

    Golden jackals, native to northern Africa and southern Eurasia, may be expanding their range northward into central Europe.

    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-12/pp-gjm122016.php

    “…..there are several factors that have likely facilitated the spread, including indirect human influence,” adds the researcher. “Ongoing global change is bringing about shifts in species distributions that include both the spread of populations of invasive species and range expansions or contractions of native biota. In Europe, this is typically reflected in species moving from the south-eastern part of the continent to the north-west, most often in response to increasing temperatures that allow organisms to colonize areas that were previously unsuitable. Other suggested factors are human-caused changes in the overall character of landscapes, the lack of natural predators, particularly wolves, and high adaptability of the species.”

    Reply
  21. Shawn Redmond

     /  December 21, 2016

    Take a peek at these two images a month apart. What appears to be ponding in the November shot moves toward the ocean in the todays shot and there appears to be a lot more melt over the whole glacier. This is the Amery ice shelf, Prydz bay almost dead centre of East Antarctica. This continent is starting to look like the GIS. Not a good thing at all with two solid months of potential melt ahead.

    Nov. 20th shot
    https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/?p=antarctic&l=MODIS_Aqua_CorrectedReflectance_TrueColor,MODIS_Terra_CorrectedReflectance_TrueColor,Coastlines&t=2016-11-20&z=3&v=1699651.4879920175,675292.3070278019,1832643.4879920175,763868.3070278019
    Today’s shot
    https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/?p=antarctic&l=MODIS_Aqua_CorrectedReflectance_TrueColor,MODIS_Terra_CorrectedReflectance_TrueColor,Coastlines&t=2016-12-21&z=3&v=1699651.4879920175,675292.3070278019,1832643.4879920175,763868.3070278019

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  December 21, 2016

      Shawn –
      Excellent catch .
      Your Nov. image appears to have a glacial stream flowing down glacier . The most recent image may be showing a lake forming as a result. Just spit balling this Can’t get a finer resolution to be sure of this.
      Again nice job.

      Reply
      • Shawn Redmond

         /  December 21, 2016

        Thanks CB. A finer resolution would be great, maybe? If it confirms ones suspicions than maybe not.

        Reply
        • Shawn Redmond

           /  December 21, 2016

          A little background on the Amery ice shelf. It is the out let of the Lambert Glacier. The following is from Wikipedia: “Lambert Glacier is a major glacier in East Antarctica. At about 60 miles (100 km) wide, over 250 miles (400 km) long, and about 2,500 m deep, it holds the Guinness world record for the world’s largest. It drains 8% of the Antarctic ice sheet to the east and south of the Prince Charles Mountains and flows northward to the Amery Ice Shelf.[1] It flows in part of Lambert Graben and exits the continent at Prydz Bay.”
          This from NASA: “The Amery Ice Shelf is an important dynamic system responsible for draining about 16 percent of the grounded East Antarctic ice sheet through only 2 percent of its coastline. Most of the mass input to the system occurs from the Lambert Glacier and several other glaciers. Mass loss from the system occurs through basal melting and iceberg calving.

      • So I was looking at this as a potential article due to the fact that surface temperatures rose to above freezing in the region of the Amory Ice Shelf both yesterday and today. The departures were 5 C to 10 C above average. This may not sound like a lot when we’ve seen much wider-ranging departures in the Arctic. But we should keep in mind that this is SH summer. And warm departures would tend to moderate. Surface melt in the Amory Ice Shelf region probably shouldn’t be seen as usual.

        Reply
        • Shawn Redmond

           /  December 21, 2016

          Yes the temps above the ice don’t look like they should cause any early abnormalities. I have no way of knowing, ( this area of the continent is the farthest north), I’m wondering if the circumpolar current isn’t being breached or perhaps just speeding up enough to create the extra energy required. The Indian Ocean is the next closest body of water and there is no shortage of heat there to help speed things along. Just musing because there seems to be something amiss.

  22. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2016

    2016 Will Be The Warmest Year, But This Is How Deniers Will Spin It
    When opponents of the scientific consensus on climate tell you that global temperatures are plummeting, this is how they are cherry-picking the data.

    Link

    Reply
  23. miles h

     /  December 21, 2016

    a little piece of (localised) good(ish) news from Alaska? ….methane outputs from melting permafrost are as much a product of moisture content as temperature, and the peat tends to dry as it warms.
    on the other hand it also appears to give out more CO2, but at least the methane emissions arent going up as strongly as expected.
    i do realise this effect may only be a small amelioration rather than a reason to breathe a big sigh of relief, but nevertheless, its good to have some non-catastrophic news to look at every now and then. ….though, ha ha, now i think about it, its not exactly good news is it? merely ‘better than terrible’.
    https://www.sciencenews.org/article/data-show-no-sign-methane-boost-thawing-permafrost

    Reply
  24. Cate

     /  December 21, 2016

    While we were applauding Obama’s permanent ban on Arctic drilling, the Council of Canadians (always the good guys, in my books) was taking a good hard look at the implications of Trudeau’s temporary ban.

    As usual with the PM of Selfies, it’s sleight-of-hand designed to impress and distract us. “Don’t look at Kinder Morgan, don’t look at Line 3, look over here, look, no drilling in the Beaufort! Don’t you love me now!!?”

    http://canadians.org/blog/trudeaus-weak-arctic-oil-gas-drilling-pledge-distraction-pipeline-approvals

    “The Canadian Press reports, “The federal government announced Tuesday plans to ban offshore oil and gas licensing in the Arctic, citing the need to protect the environment from future energy development, but the move was largely dismissed by industry observers as a weak gesture that won’t harm their interests. Experts pointed out that there are no drilling plans in the region now, suggesting that the ban is of little consequence. [University of British Columbia professor Michael] Byers said the move seems to be politically motivated and is designed to show that Trudeau is protecting the environment despite a recent decision to sanction two oil pipelines — the Trans Mountain expansion and Line 3 replacement project.”

    Reply
    • So we should be very clear that this is a high stakes political and economic ‘game.’ I say game, as it is used in political science game theory. On the positive side, from our perspective, the drilling bans do lock reserves in the ground over the long term. They do take oil off the table. And any instance where that happens should be applauded. That said, the nearer term pipeline efforts are really about tar sands viability over the 5-10 year time horizon. In the new energy ‘game’ we can reasonably expect to see some negative pressure on oil prices due to increasing vehicle efficiency and electric vehicles. Tesla and others are leading a charge that could easily put more than 1 million electric vehicles on the road each year within a 2 year time horizon. The present global rate of EV adoption is 600 to 700 K per year. Once this rate hits 1.5 to 2.5 million per year, it will likely start to have an appreciable marginal impact on oil when you add in the system efficiencies, the added pressure of wind and solar on gas and deisel generation, and a remaining relatively healthy biofuels industry. Since tar sands are expensive to produce from both an energy and capital expenditure standpoint, it is already vulnerable to negative demand pressures. Supply chain issues in such an environment would harm competitiveness to the point that core production could be economically threatened. In this game, Trudeau appears to be in the inevitable position of defending tar sands due to the overall Canadian investment. It is still harmful from our point of view. But we should step back and recognize that the situation, under Trudeau, is something we can manage. That we can probably still block these pipelines if we are smart about it, or at the very least put the industry even further behind the 8 ball by delaying their projects and imposing negative capital curves. And all this is why we should applaud the offshore drilling bans while vowing to continue to fight the pipelines.

      Reply
      • well said RS. We should indeed applaud. And every month that those pipelines are delayed is another month of lost profit for the oil industry before they run in to this inevitable downturn in demand. Even if we don’t stop them, slowing them down is still very valuable. And the downturn is Inevitable only if the petrostates of the world (Trump-Putin-OPEC-Exxon-etc) can’t figure out a way to get the electric vehicle genie back in the bottle. I’m not sure they can, if Tesla survives Trump and China continues to be as aggressive with their EV efforts.

        The one drawback about tarsands as I understand it is that they’re super capital intensive, so that once a facility is built,the costs to keep it running aren’t as high. Which means current projects + pipelines will probably be able to keep going for a while, unless oil drops quite a lot lower than it is right now.

        Reply
        • Good point, Marcel. I think the various oil producers are starting to recognize the reality that they’re probably involved in a race to the bottom. The responses, as we’ve seen, have been harsh on the political side of the spectrum. But even if there’s a total dictatorship in many of these countries due to the maligning influence of fossil fuels, there remain ways that we can affect resistance and continue to fight the beast, as it were. I am less inclined to believe this will happen in the U.S. without one heck of a fight. And my perspective right now is one of working for total resistance to Trump and the related republicans who are aligned with his interests.

      • Cate

         /  December 21, 2016

        Absolutely, RS. In the short-term, these pipelines face huge opposition that will slow them down and, hopefully, tie them up in court for years. Trudeau himself has said that govts give permits but communities give permission, acknowledging the power of the people to delay and derail these projects—-perhaps until such time as the global flight of capital away from oil is in full swing. How long will that take? Do we give it ten years?

        Reply
        • Maybe ten. Maybe sooner. We can’t look at Trump outside the lens of oil politics. The fact that we have this legislative and political backlash now is an indication that fossil fuel interests are getting a little desperate. That’s the most dangerous time historically RE economic conflict. To be clear, the oil interests are probably more powerful than the slave interests were in the U.S. during the civil war. So the situation is touchy. What is also different at this time is that NGOs, individuals, and communities have much more power now if they choose to stand up and act. We should be concerned about violence. But non violent resistance will still be the best avenue barring an actual state of open conflict in which people are forced to defend themselves. I wouldn’t rule that out in some nations. We have a very real and hot fight on our hands at this time and we can’t, in any kind of good conscience, back down.

  25. We have to identify all things that warm up! We should start with combustion engines working at high temperatures!

    Reply
  26. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2016

    Why cutting soot emissions is ‘fastest solution’ to slowing Arctic ice melt
    Reducing wood-burning, gas-flaring and global diesel emissions would be ‘quick win’ in combating irreversible climate change, scientists say

    Link

    Reply
    • + closing down the dirtier coal plants quick. That said, if you don’t bring down GHG emissions very fast, the Arctic is going to continue to get hit. It’s also worth noting that in the present climate state northern wildfires are now producing a very high volume of soot and black/brown particulate that is also reducing ice albedo. Worth noting that 405 ppm CO2 and 490 ppm CO2e is enough to probably produce ice free Summers within the near term time horizon even without the added albedo loss due to human soot. Further, that same range of radiative forcing is enough to eventually melt most, if not all, of Greenland. Soot is the low hanging fruit near term, but to seriously impact the trend, you need to bring base carbon emissions down very swiftly. We should be very clear on this matter.

      Reply
  27. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2016

    From the ” Daily Fail “-

    Russia goes nuclear to the North Pole: Reactor-powered ice-breaker will spearhead race to control Arctic in wake of global warming
    The craft, which has been named ‘Leader’, is designed to keep the Northern Sea Route open all year round
    The plans were unveiled by Dmitry Rogozin, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia
    It would be capable of ploughing through ice that is two metres (6.6 feet) thick at a speed of 29 kph (18 mph)
    Leader would allow tankers carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) weighing up to 300,000 tonnes to pass through the Northern Sea Route in any season

    Read more: It would have a working capacity of 110 megawatts and would be capable of cutting through ice up to 4.5 metres (14.8 feet) deep.

    Leader would allow tankers carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) weighing up to 300,000 tonnes to pass through the Northern Sea Route in any season.

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  December 21, 2016

      Reply
    • Under present conditions, this thing could operate for 6-9 months of the year. Not hard to find a part of ice 2 meters thick or less these days.

      Reply
    • Cate

       /  December 21, 2016

      Meanwhile in Canada:
      http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/Icebreaking/home

      We don’t come close to what the Russians have, and they are all over the Arctic. Bloggers sailing in the Canadian Arctic archipelago last summer mentioned Russian icebreakers (apparently fitted out for tourism) docked in Canadian ports.

      “The Canadian Coast Guard has a fleet of 15 icebreakers serving Eastern Canada: 2 heavy icebreakers, 4 medium icebreakers, 9 multi-purpose vessels and 2 hovercrafts.
      During winter, from about mid-November to the end of May, icebreaking services are provided on the Labrador Coast, East Coast, Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the Saint Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers and in the Great Lakes. During the summer months, from about July to November, icebreakers are deployed to the Canadian Arctic.”

      Reply
  28. June

     /  December 21, 2016

    The Guardian has a good article today on the forecast winter warming event for second year in a row that Robert mentioned earlier.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/22/ice-melting-temperatures-forecast-for-arctic-midwinter

    Reply
  29. Cate

     /  December 21, 2016

    “Airpocalypse” in China affects half a billion people.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/21/smog-refugees-flee-chinese-cities-as-airpocalypse-blights-half-a-billion

    From the article:
    Myllyvirta, the Greenpeace activist, said his group had been warning of a winter smog crisis since July when it began noticing the government was pumping economic stimulus into heavily-polluting industries such as cement and steel.
    “A big part of what happened is that the steel price went up when the government started a huge wave of construction projects to stimulate the economy,” he said.
    One consequence was that a large number of smaller, poorly-regulated steel producers had “gone on a tear” leading to increased emissions that were now blackening the skies over northern China.

    Reply
  30. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EarthDiameter/ feel free to join/post. I believe people really overestimate the size of our planet. As scientists, conceptually, this can really put things into perspective. If someone could put Trump on the spot and ask him what the earths diameter is, I’d love too have that picture!

    Reply
    • Welcome, Daelv.

      Reply
    • Scott

       /  December 21, 2016

      And if the earth were the size of a basketball, its atmosphere would be thinner than a dime (at least the part we think of as the atmosphere…the part with weather, where airplanes can fly, and where you can (at least sort of) breathe.

      Reply
  31. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2016

    Donald Trump’s 16 Obsessive Letters To ‘Mad Alex’ Salmond About Wind Turbine ‘Monsters’ In Scotland Revealed By FOI
    President-elect started polite, but didn’t take long for personal attacks to begin. ……………

    8. “Your economy will become a third world wasteland that investors will avoid”

    April 19, 2012: “Wind power does not work,” Trump muses.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/letters-donald-trump-alex-salmond-wind-turbines_uk_585908ede4b0acb6e4b90a9a

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  December 21, 2016

      Thursday 11 August 2016 07.37 EDT
      Scotland’s wind turbines cover all its electricity needs for a day
      High winds on Sunday boosted renewable energy output to provide 106% of Scotland’s electricity needs for a day

      Link

      Reply
      • coloradobob

         /  December 21, 2016

        It would appear the the Great Orange Maroon’s golf course is being powered by the wind already.

        The Scottish Government site –

        Energy in Scotland: Get the facts

        Renewables
        There are 21,000 jobs in the low carbon and renewable energy economy in Scotland across 9 renewable energy sectors. The largest single sector was onshore wind, followed by solar PV, and heat pumps. Source: The Size and Performance of the UK Low Carbon Economy

        Renewable electricity generation in Scotland made up approximately 26% of total UK renewable generation in 2015

        Renewables are the single largest contributor to electricity generation in Scotland—higher than both nuclear generation (33%) and fossil fuel generation (28%).

        The Scottish Government has an ambitious but achievable target for renewable energy in Scotland to generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of gross annual electricity consumption and 11 per cent of heat consumption by 2020.

        Link

        Reply
  32. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2016

    There were two notable Trumpworld headlines Wednesday morning. One was the news that Corey Lewandowski — Donald Trump’s former campaign manager who remained part of his inner circle long after leaving that job — had just opened a “full service government relations and consulting firm” half a block from the White House.

    The other was that the president-elect is apparently over “drain the swamp.”

    That’s according to Newt Gingrich, a top ally who told NPR in an interview that aired Wednesday morning that he was instructed not to use the phrase anymore because it has fallen out of favor with Trump.

    “I’m told he now just disclaims that,” Gingrich said on “Morning Edition.” “He now says it was cute, but he doesn’t want to use it anymore.”

    Gingrich said he had “written what I thought was a very cute tweet about ‘the alligators are complaining,'” but that “somebody wrote back and said they were tired of hearing this stuff.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/12/21/newt-gingrich-says-trump-is-done-with-drain-the-swamp/

    Reply
  33. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2016

    Drone Footage Captures Beijing’s Choking Smog
    WED, DEC 21

    Video from high above the Chinese capital captures the shrouded city landscape.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/video/drone-footage-captures-beijing-s-choking-smog-838348867596

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  December 21, 2016

      No pesky EPA in China , and none here either –

      Air Pollution Forces People Out Of India’s Capital

      New Delhi’s citizens are increasingly voting with their feet and leaving the city in search for less polluted air. India’s capital is thought to have some of the world’s most polluted air.

      NPR Audio 4:45 min.

      Reply
  34. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2016

    Trump says energy regulations are hurting economic growth. The evidence says otherwise.

    Far from being a prohibitive drag on economic growth, decarbonization, or making the way that we get energy less dependent on burning fossil fuels that release carbon emissions, has gone hand-in-hand with output growth in most of the United States, according to research by the Brookings Institution. From 2000 to 2015, U.S. GDP grew by 30 percent though emissions declined by 10 percent.

    Link

    Reply
  35. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2016

    It’s the small things that will gain the upper hand first –

    Bacteria, Methane, and Other Dangers Within Siberia’s Melting Permafrost

    FOR HUNDREDS OF thousands of years, the Siberian permafrost has been a giant freezer for everything buried within it. But global warming has put the frozen ground in defrost mode, and the tundra is now heating up twice as fast as the rest of the planet. “Permafrost is a silent ticking time bomb,” says Robert Spencer, an environmental scientist at Florida State University. As it thaws, the dirt could release a litany of horrors. Beware: The ice-beasts cometh.

    Link

    Reply
  36. climatehawk1

     /  December 21, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  37. As much as I’m all for cutting out coal burning in full, does anyone here ever consider the impact of the loss of global dimming as a result? As massive amounts of sulfates that only hang around in the atmosphere for a week or two- along with the carbon and other toxic pollutants- fall away? This leads to a loss of a large cooling mechanism presently ongoing (Dr. James Hansen has done research in the past too). BBC did a doc on this in 2005 and a study in the January 2016 issue of the International Journal of Climatology points out that there would be a ~2.5 C temperature increase if/when all the sulfates from global coal burning cease…My like-minded friend here in Seattle suggests we kind of sweep this under the rug ha… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh6iXh0y71s&t=659s
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/joc.4613/abstract

    (RS note — the impact is greatly over-stated here. The net impact of cutting off coal generation adds approx 0.1 to 0.2 C to the rate of warming over the next two decades. The fallacy here is four-fold. One, it assumes that all negative aerosol feedback is due to coal. Two, it doesn’t account for the reduction in coal mining associated methane emissions which mitigate, somewhat, the loss of aerosol negative feedback effect. Three, it does not take into account the loss of particulate negative feedback that has already occurred over the U.S. and Europe. Four, it does not account for the positive benefit provided by net reductions in carbon emissions.)

    Reply
    • Shawn Redmond

       /  December 21, 2016

      Josh this will happen anyway, far better now when we’re at 1.2C+/- than 2.2c or higher, don’t you think? Put everything in the mix now and get busy dealing with it. We just might have a shot at it sooner than later, or at least keep the damage down to a dull roar.

      Reply
      • Sure, but we must be cognizant that this will happen and if in theory- which it won’t and I fully suspect coal will be burning at 2.2 C above 1880 levels- we were to end all coal burning tonight, the human population needs to know that there will be a rapid increase to potentially near 4 C above baseline. A temperature which some (including a couple academics I’ve come across) say is incompatible to much of human/other complex life, as it seems that this is a threshold temp where grain crops stop growing; ‘denatured proteins,’ but that’s beyond my pay grade ha. And of course at 4 C, it won’t stop with the feedbacks.

        So many great reasons to immediately stop burning all coal including asthma, neurotoxin release, fouling of our air and waters, etc. But should we tell people that temperatures may rise to 2.5- 4 C above preindustrial very rapidly? An insane amount of harm to our living Earth will be done.

        (RS note: Incorrect. Consider that the decadal increase in contribution to RF from coal alone is in the range of +0.3 watts per meter squared projected under BAU for this century. Aerosol loss immediately provides approx +0.5 watts per meter squared. A net add of approx +0.2 watts per meter squared over a one decade timeframe does not immediately push the world to 2-4 C. This notion is asinine. The full RF from 490 ppm CO2e would struggle to warm the world by 4 C over 500 years timeframe and, as noted above, halting coal burning would pull some of the CO2e portion down. You’d need a very, very strong positive Earth System feedback in a range that is highly unlikely to occur to achieve that result. And that is not related to our current discussion. I am putting you under moderation.)

        Reply
        • Bluesky

           /  December 22, 2016

          Only 0,5 Watt pr. square meter warming robert? Nice, I thought it was at least the double or more from global dimming, we are at around 3,2 watt pr. square meter now right? So that’s 0,2c degree extra warming when we stop burning fossil fuels on top of the 1,25c.

        • That’s the approx portion of coal’s contribution due to aerosols. You can look at the radiative forcing chart to get a decent notion of the various factors at play:

          Cloud + NOx + SO2 + Dust Particulate + Other Particulate = -0.97. Coal is the larger factor involved. Other producers of NOx, particulate, and SO2 make up the balance. -0.5 for coal is an estimate. It could be closer to -0.6. But even if it were the total negative forcing (which it is not), shutting down coal burning produces what’s approaching an order of magnitude less radiative forcing than keeping it going. Further, human activities will still produce a degree of particulate even if all the fossil fuels are shut down, so the full negative feedback portion does not fall out.

          It’s not a question of damned if we do, damned if we don’t. We have a fighting chance if we do and we are absolutely screwed if we don’t. Hansen’s Faustian Bargain argument was for preventing entering a period where climate change impacts are realized. Unfortunately, the world has mostly ignored Hansen and some of the impacts that he warned about are now locked in. Not all, mind you, but some. We are past the period where we could avoid everything. But we are still in a period where we can avoid the worst. So I’d like to ask everyone here to stop taking Hansen out of context and actually listen to what he said. (And, yes, I know he supports nuclear. And from my point of view, nuclear is better than coal, oil or gas. But it’s still dangerous and it has a very low rate of add even in countries and regions that support it. So the nuclear argument, while being completely beside the point of this discussion, remains as somewhat of a divisive distraction in the current state of global energy markets. It’s an expensive, slow build power source that few environmentalists will support. So if you’re going to work on something that most people can agree on — you’re looking at renewables. And if you’re going to work on something that has a very real capacity to build out in a rapid, modular fashion, you’re going to be looking at renewables.)

          There is a reason why Hansen is out there fighting coal plants. And Hansen is absolutely right about coal. Coal plants, despite their particulate contribution, are the primary contributor to warming. They emit more CO2 than any other energy source on balance. And their total reserves imply at least enough to hit the higher RCP scenarios just through coal burning alone. Brown coal is the worst and it is sadly abundant.

          The negative feedback potential of coal is paltry by comparison. And we should note that it was volcanic inducement of coal burning in the Permian traps that set off the worst hothouse event in geological history. And it wasn’t the halt of volcanism that produced the heat spike as aerosol fell out. It was the direct burning of that coal. Again, basic math.

          From James Hansen:

          A year ago, I wrote to Gordon Brown asking him to place a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants in Britain. I have asked the same of Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Kevin Rudd and other leaders. The reason is this – coal is the single greatest threat to civilisation and all life on our planet.

          The climate is nearing tipping points. Changes are beginning to appear and there is a potential for explosive changes, effects that would be irreversible, if we do not rapidly slow fossil-fuel emissions over the next few decades. As Arctic sea ice melts, the darker ocean absorbs more sunlight and speeds melting. As the tundra melts, methane, a strong greenhouse gas, is released, causing more warming. As species are exterminated by shifting climate zones, ecosystems can collapse, destroying more species…”

          https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/feb/15/james-hansen-power-plants-coal

          From the Union of Concerned Scientists:

          Burning coal pollutes our environment with toxins, produces a quarter of U.S. global warming emissions, and accounts for a whopping 80 percent of all carbon emissions produced by power generation nationwide. It’s time to reduce our dependence on this polluting energy source.

          http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/decrease-coal-use#.WFwG2xsrLIU

          And, as noted above, the total estimated coal reserves are enormous:

          67 Scientists ask Bureau of Land Management to halt federal coal leasing:

          “We are scientists writing to urge the Department of the Interior to take meaningful action to fight climate change by ending federal coal leasing, extraction, and burning. The vast majority of known coal in the United States must stay in the ground if the federal coal program is to be consistent with national climate objectives and be protective of public health, welfare, and biodiversity.”

          https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/contattafiles/insideclimate/zXN_YnOEt37aySw/16%207%2026%20Scientist%20sign-on%20letter%20Coal%20PEIS_FINAL.pdf

          Coal is viewed as the low hanging fruit when it comes to preventing further emissions. Efforts to limit warming to 1.5 and 2.0 C hinge on a very rapid shutdown of coal powered generation capacity. Having much hope of hitting near 2 C this Century would require coal plant shut downs to complete by 2025. What is not noted in the below passage is that as fossil fuel industry (including coal mining) is shut down and as wells are capped the human methane emission falls and this produces a potential to remove a portion of the methane forcing portion from the atmosphere. This provides a potential to help counter the loss of aerosol negative forcing if methane emissions from agriculture are contained and if positive feedbacks from the Earth System do not make up the difference — which adds to the urgency of halting fossil fuel emissions as soon as possible:

          “If the world puts all its resources into finding ways to generate power without burning fossil fuels, and if there were international agreements that action must happen instantly, and if carbon emissions were brought down to zero before 2050, then a rise of no more than 1.5C might just be achieved,” said Dr Ben Sanderson of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. “That is a tall order, however.”

          Climate models are accurately predicting ocean and global warming. The problem was made particularly severe because moving too quickly to cut emissions could be also be harmful, added Field. “If we shut down fossil fuel plants tomorrow – before we have established renewable alternatives – we can limit emissions and global warming, but people would suffer. There would be insufficient power for the planet. There is an upper limit to the rate at which we can move to a carbon-free future.”

          The Paris agreement is vague about the exact rate at which the world’s carbon emissions should be curtailed if we are to achieve its 1.5C target. It merely indicates they should reach zero by the second half of the 21st century, a goal that was accepted as being ambitious but possible – until global temperatures increased dramatically this year.

          It means that by 2025 we will have to have closed down all coal-fired power stations across the planet,” said John Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “And by 2030 you will have to get rid of the combustion engine entirely. That decarbonisation will not guarantee a rise of no more than 1.5C but it will give us a chance. But even that is a tremendous task.”

          https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/aug/06/global-warming-target-miss-scientists-warn

          So the scientists who are most concerned about warming are all guns blazing to limit coal burning. They know the math. And they know that you have to stop burning coal to fight global warming. So my question to Josh is — why aren’t you listening?

          (Updated)

      • entropicman

         /  December 21, 2016

        Hansen called this the Faustian Bargain.

        Do we stop burning coal and get warming due to reduced albedo, or do we keep burning and get warming due to increased CO2?

        How did we get ourselves into this no-win situation?

        Reply
        • 0.5 watts per meter squared — that’s about the amount of radiative forcing increase you eventually get if you stop burning coal and the aerosol loading falls out. 5-7 watts per meter squared — that’s the amount of radiative forcing increase that happens if you keep burning coal long term. The math here is pretty simple. Halting coal burning is a must. And the sooner the better.

        • Shawn Redmond

           /  December 21, 2016

          We have to hope 4c is worse than what actually comes to pass. Still if she’s going to go better sooner. The FF will stop one way or another and the sulphates will fall. Maybe the 4c is the one prediction they get wrong in our favour. We have to get one, you know law of averages or some sort of thing.

        • Humans are fucking nuts is how, entropicman. haha. I mean, if there ever were an entity that ‘devilish’ could be applied to it has to be coal. global warming, global cooling, toxic byproducts. Still think we should cut coal dramatically but….sheesh.

        • Transform the coal fired power plants into BECCS power plants (Biomass Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage). Burn biomass as wood pellets or charcoal pellets. Add sulfur to the biomass to produce sulfate aerosols, maintaining global dimming at current levels. As BECCS draws the atmospheric CO2 levels down, ramp down the level of the sulfate aerosols and organic carbon aerosols. Use the electricity produced by BECCS to fuel a fleet of electric vehicles to reduce black carbon aerosols.

          The climate system is now out of control. BECCS could return the climate system to a state of control,I think. At least, it seems to be worth trying.

        • Some forms of BECCS, like oxyfuel combustion, are closed cycle and have no emissions. In those cases, some other way to keep the sulfate aerosols high would be necessary, like operating a few percent of the biomass energy plants with no carbon capture and with high sulfur additions. Or, use one of the proposed geoengineering schemes to keep sulfate aerosols at current levels, and maintain global dimming at current levels.

          Personally, I see no need to engage in any sort of Faustian bargain, in general. Maintaining sulfate aerosol concentrations at current levels is relatively easy, I think, technically. It’s the social and political constraints that might interfere with this solution.

          If we put too many constraints on solving the global warming problem, it cannot be solved.

    • Incorrect. Positive radiative forcing in the range of +0.5 watts per meter squared may add +0.1 to +0.2 C to the rate of warming over the next two decades.

      Reply
      • Shawn Redmond

         /  December 22, 2016

        Well done Robert, that’s a post within a post. I’ll be pulling my “Chemistry for Dummies” to the top of the pile this evening.

        Reply
        • Overstating the problem is just as much of an issue is understating the problem. On the finer points, there will always be disagreement. And to be very clear, my viewpoint is, from the scientific standpoint, among the more pessimistic. I err on the side of pessimism in order to communicate urgency and to allow for ‘unexpected outcomes.’ But if we get to the point where we are double-counting feedbacks and not taking into account negative feedbacks and carbon draw-downs due to human responses, then we are also not being honest.

          My baseline understanding comes from paleoclimate and not model assessments. The models, I believe, are still a little too conservative RE long term feedbacks. That said, I think the models do an amazing job getting this Century’s rate of warming correct (without adding in ice sheet responses). The model gray areas are ice sheet response rates and Earth System carbon feedback response rates. We can’t really model these fully because we do not yet know all the physical mechanisms that drive them. Though some major advances in the model assessments are now taking place. So the model scientists are doing an amazing job and I applaud them.

          That said, I think that paleoclimate does provide us with a decent idea of how the Earth responds to warming over longer time horizons. This is important not just because history doesn’t end in the 21st Century. It is also important because it implies a degree of carbon feedback even as it gives us a larger picture of what energy balance alterations due to albedo feedback take place.

          If my assessment is wrong and we are closer to 4.5 C total Earth System sensitivity and we respond to climate change sooner as a result — what have we lost? We’ve simply erred on the safe side. But given present Earth System changes, I am unhappy to see that it appears we have already failed to err on the side of being cautious enough.

          But it’s not this case of ‘we prevent all changes or it’s the total worst case.’ Nope. That’s not how climate change works. Failure to prevent all harm does not mean you still can’t prevent the worst of it. And we absolutely, for example, still have a shot at limiting warming to below 2.5 C this Century even if we’ve probably missed the boat on 2 C and almost certainly missed it on 1.5 C.

          We’ve screwed up. Bad stuff will happen. But it will be far worse if we hit 3 C or 4 C or 5 C. And we can still avoid those marks. And shutting down coal plants as fast as possible is central to that avoidance strategy.

        • Shawn Redmond

           /  December 22, 2016

          You have a much broader knowledge base than I will ever have for sure. I agree completely on erring on the side of caution, always have, which is what makes this slow turn away from FF so damned annoying. Oh and you’re an infinitely better word smith.

      • Vernon Hamilton

         /  December 22, 2016

        Thanks for the figure, I understand the absolute magnitude of the damnation is much less severe without continued burning of coal.
        fortunately, if we can use that term, it appears “the market” is pricing out coal rapidly.

        Reply
        • Vernon Hamilton

           /  December 22, 2016

          Allow me add, speaking specifically for the global energy proletariat, of which I am a card (and scar) carrying member, good riddance to coal.

        • In a true free market that accounted for health and environmental costs, coal would have vanished long ago.

  38. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2016

    Quoting 50. Sfloridacat5:

    But a lot of people (tens of millions) in the U.S. are not thinking about Climate Change.

    I quote Lone Wati one more time –
    “Get ready little lady, Hell is comin’ to breakfast”

    Everybody around Baton Rouge is teachable now. One who doubts this, becomes very teachable when their laptop, and their AR-15 is packed with mud.

    Van Jones is on a fools errand, Obama came to power with the same message. How did that work out ?

    These people met on Jan. 20 2009, and vowed to stop everything he proposed. And they went at it tooth and nail.

    This is the richest most right wing government in the history of the world coming to power. Me bonding with an out of work coal miner in West Virginia, ain’t gonna change that. Witch became the Reddest State in this cycle. But this came over the wires today –
    Drug Wholesalers Shipped 780M Pain Pills to West Virginia

    You think the Great Cheetoe is going to stop this ? I’ve got a condo in Aleppo for you . it’s fixer upper. low down pay

    Reply
  39. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2016

    A predatory capitalism takes hold.

    When one ships this into one of the poorest parts of our country :

    Drug Wholesalers Shipped 780M Pain Pills to West Virginia

    This entire free market will solve everything idea breaks down . And predatory capitalism takes hold. Much like Nigeria. they have the sweetest crude on Earth. No one makes better gasoline . We love it. Their world is a hell hole. And a predatory capitalism takes hold.

    No wonder he won in West Virginia ,

    Reply
  40. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2016

    Watch for this –
    Trump will form his own private army .

    He has that all ready, watch it grow.

    Others will say he can order people to break the law and give them a pardon . Newt did this on NPR this morning.

    Somewhere Hitler , and Stalin are smiling .

    The Battle of the Billionaires has begun.

    Reply
  41. I don’t disagree that we should stop burning coal, the sooner the better Robert. Do you disagree with Dr. James Hansen that the loss of global dimming is a Faustian bargain? Also, Do you dispute that the study I linked to in the International Journal of Climatology from January suggests a 2.5 celsius increase in global average temperature, quickly, with the loss of sulfates? If the temp increase is that extremely high, does the public have a right to know?

    Reply
    • In this context, Hansen was writing back in 2008 when the impacts of global warming were less clear and the net radiative forcing was not as high as it is today. Now the impacts are starting to hit and the aerosol negative feedback is a smaller portion of the whole. To this point, yes, you get a bump of 15 percent in the amount of heat hitting the Earth vs the total portion trapped by added greenhouse gasses. But the masking effect is a smaller portion of the overall heat forcing now. In other words, we get hit if we do. But it’s like 12 times worse if we don’t.

      Reply
      • Shawn Redmond

         /  December 21, 2016

        I may be well off on this but after a quick perusal of the paper it looks like they are pushing the temp up due to enhanced water vaporization. This is something that isn’t normally included in GHG forcing math as I understand it. (It falls out even time it rains or snows.)

        Reply
        • wili

           /  December 21, 2016

          Water vapor is in all GHG forcing maths, as far as I know. It’s a fast (Charney) feedback, so leaving it out would get everything wrong right from the start. I haven’t read the paper, but perhaps they propose a stronger feedback from water vapor than most models?

        • The total system forcing for each doubling of CO2 is, according to paleoclimate, enough to warm the Earth by between 5 and 6 degrees Celsius. The present forcing is enough to warm the Earth by between 3 and 4 degrees Celsius long term and between 1.5 and 2 C this Century barring large glacial outflows which will wag the atmospheric temperatures as they go release.

  42. Off-topic for this article, but…
    I once thought that the Zika epidemic *in Brasil* was more correlated to globalization than climate change, since diseases also transmitted via Aedes aegypt, like dengue and chikungunya are also endemic here, with epidemics every summer. I was wrong:
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161219151735.htm

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  December 22, 2016

      It’s the small things that gain the upper hand first. A warmer world sets them to work first. From Brazil to Siberia. And they make the change with little effort , and great opportunity when they due.
      .
      Here’s a excellent example with pine beetles. In Alberta –

      Whitehouse says for the cold weather to really help out it would need to get as cold as -35 and below as the Mountain Pine Beetles actually create and produce their own antifreeze to survive harsh winters.

      “They survive by producing and storing a natural antifreeze, and it’s this antifreeze that helps to keep the larvae (that’s the life form that beetles spend the winter in) alive.”

      The beetles are known to start producing their natural antifreeze in late fall and hit their peak cold tolerance in January. This means the cold weather would really have to last until Feb. or Mar. to make a big impact.

      https://okotoksonline.com/local/mountain-pine-beetles-still-beating-the-cold

      Reply
      • coloradobob

         /  December 22, 2016

        Who here knew that pine beetle larvae make their own antifreeze ?

        Not me. Nature races a head of our ideas.

        Reply
        • Not me either – but it would be impossible for them to survive so cold weather for so long…

        • 12volt dan

           /  December 22, 2016

          if the pine beetle is in Alberta that means its crossed the mountains and is now in the boreal forest. Not good

  43. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2016

    The Battle of the Billionaires has begun.

    I want full credit for this , coining phrases is one of the few things I have always done well.

    Bloomberg . and Apple aren’t like this .

    Reply
  44. Thanks a lot for posting the free article Shawn. And it looks like, even if Hansen was making his global dimming predictions in 2008, we have an updated, 2016 study showing a potential 2.5 C warming when all coal/substantial amounts stop burning. This is very new research out of Chinese meteorological agencies, etc. So my question still stands: does the public have a right to know that when all/a lot of the coal stops burning, that as far as we know as of January 2016, that temperatures will rise up to 2.5 C very quickly? The quick adaptation needed boggles the mind. Or do we just not say anything (assuming people believe it anyways)? No one really likes to answer this I’ve found ha. It may be wholly and terribly inconvenient, but I for one think we should put forth all facts; in fact, it would be unfair to the scientists who published the work Shawn and I shared from the International Journal of Climatology.

    Also, Robert, what is the difference between ‘total system forcing for each doubling of co2
    and our ‘present forcing’? Thanks for your hard work

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  December 22, 2016

      Hell comes to breakfast.

      Period.

      Reply
    • Josh, you really need to educate yourself before making definitive statements.

      1. Total forcing includes full Earth System response to include albedo, atmospheric physical composition, ice sheet, ocean physical composition, and land/water surface changes. It takes at least 500 years for full Earth System changes to occur.
      2. Earth System sensitivity in a glaciated world produces approx 1/3 warming in the 10 year timeframe approx 1/3 warming in the 1 Century timeframe and approx 1/3 warming in the 500-1000 year timeframe. Longer term impacts occur over 10,000 year horizons as well. But given our present frame of reference, these three temporal values are most relevant.
      3. Ice sheet response is part of the dynamic. And a big part of the dynamic is how oceans interact with the atmosphere. At times, ocean heat uptake is high and atmospheric warming rates lag. But during these times, total system heat gain is at its highest.
      4. Present forcing in the range of 490 ppm CO2e is probably enough to warm the Earth by 2 C this Century and 4 C over the 500-1000 year time horizon with full equilibrium not being achieved for at least 10,000 years. Other feedbacks will alter this basic calculation and we could probably expect a mid range add of 60 to 140 ppm CO2e from Earth System carbon feedbacks over the longer term. Human changes to mining and agriculture have the potential to pull down 60-105 ppm CO2e or more with atmospheric carbon capture added in. Ocean rebalancing post fossil fuel emissions shutdown could take down 10-20 ppm CO2 from the atmosphere. As you can see from these figures, we’re on a pretty fine line at this time.
      5. In the larger context, the aerosol feedback issue is important, but it is not critical. The primary issue is fossil fuel burning which is rapidly adding carbon and RF to the atmosphere.

      Reply
  45. Going to track the potential 50 F North Pole region temp anomaly in a few hours. Second time in two months this has occurred, and two years running at this time of year, according to Washington Post. Anyone else gonna check it out?

    Reply
  46. Matt

     /  December 22, 2016

    Meanwhile in Aus and India:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-22/adani-companies-facing-multiple-corruption-probes/8140100
    Oh Shock! Cannot wait for the blubbering defence of Adani from our own corrupt mob of politicians. The fight continues…………

    Reply
  47. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    This hair splitting amongst these great minds pains me deeply. You all miss the point , Hell comes to breakfast tomorrow.

    Reply
  48. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    That’s it …………….
    Hell comes to breakfast tomorrow.

    No debate , somewhere it comes.

    To fall back into this back and forth means zip. Who knows how this will fall out ?

    This future shit really , really sucks . So let’s all stop measuring the future . And measure tomorrow.

    Reply
    • I mean back and forth in any manner really amounts to zip in the context of own’s own inevitable mortality? So delve into as much back and forth as excites this insane brain of ours!

      RIP Levon Helm/Rick Danko

      Reply
  49. Cate

     /  December 22, 2016

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/record-breaking-arctic-warmth-extremely-unlikely-without-climate-change

    From the article:
    “Exceptionally high temperatures across the Arctic this winter are unprecedented in the modern record, and extremely unlikely to occur were it not for the influence of greenhouse gases, according to new research.
    A “heatwave” in mid-November caused some parts of the Arctic to be 15C warmer than usual, with average temperatures for November and December across the Arctic as a whole a full 5C above the long term average, according to the quickfire analysis of this year’s unusual winter.”

    Check out the quote from Jennifer Francis on the “interesting winter” in store for the northern hemisphere.

    Reply
  50. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    Josh Diamond

    You fuck with me . . I’ll beat you like an idiot step child.

    Reply
  51. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    “I mean back and forth in any manner really amounts to zip in the context of own’s own inevitable mortality? So delve into as much back and forth as excites this insane brain of ours!””

    What a pile of crap . This what passes for deep thinking these days.

    Reply
  52. Who said it was deep thinking? Certainly not me! Perhaps a bit too flowery but I consider this a statement of fact, not simply musing. I’m not trying to fuck with you Bob! I’m a fan of the Band. Though it was about 10 years before my birth that the Last Waltz occurred

    Reply
  53. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    Reply
  54. Cate

     /  December 22, 2016

    Beware.
    This is no ordinary comment thread.
    Metaphor lives here,
    crackling and flaring,
    flames searing.

    😉

    Reply
  55. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    Jackson Browne – Poor Poor Pitiful Me – Tribute to Warren Zevon (Enjoy Every Sandwich)

    Reply
  56. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    Reply
  57. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    Enjoy every sandwich.

    Reply
  58. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    Reply
  59. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    Enjoy every sandwich,

    Reply
  60. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    Reply
  61. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    Enjoy every sandwich,The Call ……………..

    Reply
  62. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    This is the end of our world.

    Reply
  63. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    This is the end of our world. Everyone lay down . and die.

    Reply
  64. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    Only the meanest, toughest. will cover all this , most of all you will die from all this. If you win.

    Reply
  65. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    Lay down and die.

    Reply
  66. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    I didn’t think so , never for a fraction of a second.

    Reply
  67. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    All of you kiss Trump’s toes . All of you lay down and quit. All of you lay down and die.

    Reply
  68. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    There’s our world.

    Reply
  69. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    In to the streets.

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  December 22, 2016

      zillions of us everywhere all at once. . The Woman’s March is coming . get up stand up with them. You want see the 70’s ? Well here comes a much crazier time. You want to go to jail ?
      Here’s your chance , for the next 4 years.

      Reply
  70. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    Now into the streets all over the world, Get Up Stand Up.

    Are you crazy Bob ? Yes , Yes I am . Get Up Stand Up.
    .

    Reply
  71. Tigertown

     /  December 22, 2016

    Franz Josef Land slideshow.

    Reply
  72. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    The Woman’s March is coming . get up stand up with them.

    Reply
  73. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    Get up stand up , don’t give up the fight. …………….. Bob Marley

    Long dead, but still right.

    Reply
  74. coloradobob

     /  December 22, 2016

    Reply
  75. Bluesky

     /  December 22, 2016

    Hi Robert, do you any links that describes why we are only warming 0,5 Watt pr. square meter if we stop burning all fossile fuels? I would really like to know, global dimming is propably what’s worrying me the most.

    Reply
  76. Mark in OZ

     /  December 22, 2016

    One for you CB and anyone else who might be feeling that soon, ‘action’ will be required by nearly every human to change the coordinates of where ‘this’ climactic vector is headed.
    Was a popular anti-Vietnam war protest song that reflected and also fed the sentiment of the times.
    Mason Profitt; Two Hangmen

    Reply
  77. Shawn Redmond

     /  December 22, 2016

    Question: Does erosion play into the glacial melt? 220,000 cubic meters per second along the ice face would wear away a lot of ice wouldn’t it? Even if the water was the same temperature this much friction should wear down a fair bit of ice. Just looking at what it does to the softer sedimentary rock over a few years wouldn’t it wear away ice even faster?

    Reply
  78. June

     /  December 22, 2016

    From ice to fire…

    California Forests Failing to Regrow After Intense Wildfires

    With high-severity fires, the seed source drops off,” said study co-author Kevin Lynch, a forest researcher at UC Davis. “We aren’t seeing the conditions that are likely to promote natural regeneration.”

    For the study, published Wednesday in the journal Ecosphere, the researchers surveyed 1,500 plots in burned areas at different elevations in the Sierra Nevadas, Klamath Mountains, and North Coast regions. There was no natural conifer regeneration at all in 43 percent of the plots, they reported.

    Alistair Jump, a forest ecologist in the U.K. who has studied forests on three continents, said recent forest die-offs around the world should be seen as part of a global forest crisis. The massive changes aren’t just a symptom of climate change—they could drive changes in the global carbon cycle that would speed the buildup of heat-trapping pollution.

    https://insideclimatenews.org/news/21122016/california-forests-wildfires-climate-change

    Reply
  79. labmonkey2

     /  December 22, 2016

    Looks like Dr. Mann defamation lawsuit against Nat Review & Competitive Enterprise Institute is going forward per linked article I spotted at Climate State.
    Hopefully this will get enough MSM coverage to make others notice…not holding my breath, though.
    http://mashable.com/2016/12/22/climate-scientist-defamation-lawsuit-mann/#mawtN7M8iPqb

    Reply
  80. Spiking Temperatures in the Arctic Startle Scientists

    Reply
  81. Jeremy in Wales

     /  December 22, 2016

    This really follows on from RS article yesterday on the changing economics of renewables and especially wind and solar. If India is planning such a drastic switch from coal it will strand a lot of assets and further accelerate adoption elsewhere.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/21/india-renewable-energy-paris-climate-summit-target

    Reply
  82. wharf rat

     /  December 23, 2016

    UK hits clean energy milestone: 50% of electricity from low carbon sources

    New wind and solar farms, alongside wood burning and nuclear reactors, helped to push low carbon power to a new high in the third quarter of 2016

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/22/uk-hits-clean-energy-milestone-50-of-electricity-from-low-carbon-sources

    Reply
  83. Syd Bridges

     /  December 23, 2016

    When I saw the 2007 IPCC projections of SLR of a maximum of 0.59 metres, my jaw dropped in disbelief. Now, it is all too obvious that the ice sheets are in play this century, which was terrible enough when it was only likely to be Greenland and the WAIS. Now it’s also East Antarctica, five metres of SLR by 2100 seems quite plausible unless urgent action is taken.

    Not that I expect the billionaire kleptocrats to give a fig if a few billion people die in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, while 90 percent of biodiversity is lost. They will control a world of cockroaches with their yachts stuck in a dying ocean bogged down by jellyfish. And it’s all to get even more money when they are already rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

    Reply
    • Depends on the emission scenario, really. We’re hitting 1.7 to 2.3 C before Century end in the best case. Probably at least 6 feet in that scenario. Glacial destabilization rates are looking pretty bad at the moment, though. I can’t think of a glaciated period during which RF rose as fast as it’s rising now. And to oceans are efficiently moving that heat toward glaciers. The next step is rain over glaciers. In the BAU scenarios, I definitely wouldn’t rule out multiple meters by 2100.

      Reply
      • marcel_g

         /  December 23, 2016

        After reading about Rignot’s research in West Antarctica, I made a crude mathematical model that came up with about 0.5 m by 2050 and 2.4 m by 2100.

        By crude I mean really crude: I assumed that ice sheets would melt slowly at first, then go faster in the middle part, and then slow down again as the mass reduction reduced the pressure on the outflow. So I used a tangent curve rotated 90degrees (I can’t remember what that ones called) and I adjusted the curves to represent the amount of SLR over time. Then added them together.

        I included the Pine Island and other glaciers in that embayment (150yrs), rest of west Antarctica (300 yrs?), Totten (500 yrs), Greenland (1000yrs). There were a couple more curves, but I think I put conservative time frames on most of them. And I didnt include east Antarctica aside from Totten.

        Reply

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