The Human World Has Never Experienced A Time When Global Sea Ice Was So Weak and Reduced

Neven — one of the world’s most beloved sea ice trackers — has again taken a break from his much-earned sabbatical to issue yet one more warning on the state of global sea ice.

His report, based on this month’s bombshell National Snow and Ice Data Center statement, can best be described as an urgent call for action on the part of the global community to redouble efforts aimed at reducing the wide-ranging and expanding harms caused by the terrible warming trend we have artificially forced upon our world.

Neven is a kind, honest, and open soul. He is also one of the smartest and decent fellow bloggers I have had the good fortune of encountering in my many travels during my last four years of covering the slow motion global train wreck caused by our widespread and vastly irresponsible burning of fossil fuels. In other words, the man, in my view, has the moral and intellectual authority that many lack. We should listen to him.

Before the World Warmed, This Would Have Been a 1 in 30 Billion Probability Event

For, sadly, on the crucial issue of sea ice, a general muting of the subject has tended to continue despite a jaw-dropping plunge in both the coverage and volume of a substance so crucial to maintaining a stable global climate:

global-sea-ice-extent-stunning-losses

(Global sea ice extent fell off a cliff during December of 2016. The measure has now bounced back a little. But the global average remains significantly below past record lows for this time of year. Loss of so much sea ice can be highly disruptive to the climate system and related atmospheric circulation and precipitation patterns. Image source: NSIDC.)

During December, global sea ice extent coverage fell to an amazing 4.4 million square kilometers below average. This is far, far outside the 2 standard deviation range — passing to fully 8 standard deviations beyond the typical yearly average.

Under past expectations of average, the statistical probability of such an event is approximately 1 in 30 billion. Of course, it’s pretty obvious at this time that a normal, natural variability is not the underlying cause of such a great loss of sea ice. That the warmth we added to the system has now greatly tipped the scales beyond anything representing what would have previously been considered a normal range. A range that since the year 2000 had already tended to dip below average more and more frequently. But one that has never seen so much ice lost.

Unprecedented Losses

This area of sea ice removed — enough to change how the face of our Earth looks from space — is approximately the size of two Greenlands (Note that sea ice loss does not directly contribute to sea level rise. But loss of protective sea ice can contribute to land ice melt — which does add to rates of sea level rise.). And it has been roughly split between the Arctic in the north and the Antarctic in the south.

If sea ice extent losses appear bleak, then sea ice volume losses seem even worse. Sea ice extent is a rough measure of the surface of the world covered by ice excluding gaps behind the leading ice edge. Sea ice volume, however, measures both the ice area — including gaps — and the ice thickness.

giomas-year-global

(Globally, we’ve lost about 1/3 of the total volume of sea ice since the 1980s. 2016’s record fall in the measure coincided with record hot global temperatures and an abnormal period of polar warming that continues on into 2017. Image source: Wipneus.)

Late 2016’s big drop included the approximate removal of 1/3 of the world’s sea ice volume when compared to 1981-2010 averages. In other words, 1/3 of all of the floating portion of the world’s cryosphere beyond the edge of anchored ice shelves had melted away during the period.

Record Global Temperatures as Prime Cause For North and South Pole Sea Ice Melt

In the north, extremely warm temperatures ranging from 2 to up to 7 degrees Celsius above average for the Arctic Ocean region have helped to drive these unprecedented fall and winter sea ice losses. In the south, warmer than normal surface conditions appear to have also helped to drive the amazing coordinate losses there. And overall, 2016 has shown warm to extremely warm conditions for both poles during a year in which global temperatures have spiked to around 1.2 degrees Celsius above 1880s averages.

2016-air-temperature-anomalies-north-and-south-pole

(Extremely strong polar amplification during 2016 is the likely primary contributor to sea ice loss in both the northern and southern polar regions. Image source: NSIDC.)

Under polar amplification — a condition associated with the human-forced warming of our world — scientists expected that the polar regions would tend to warm faster than the rest of the Earth surface. And during 2016, this global warming related condition presented effects writ large.  The damage to sea ice, so far, has been monumental. And these losses have continued into 2017 — even if they are somewhat less below the record low line than during their period of maximum departure this past December.

Albedo Losses and a Bad Set-up for Arctic Summer

Sea ice loss generates its own form of amplifying feedback — in which already prevalent polar warming can worsen further. Less ice coverage means that during summer more of the dark ocean surface is presented to absorb the sun’s rays. This replacement of a white, reflective surface with a dark blue, absorptive one means that still more heat will tend to be trapped in the polar environment. In addition, during winter, less ice cover means that the warmer ocean beneath will tend ventilate more heat and heat-trapping water vapor into the polar atmospheres. And it’s this kind of self-reinforcing cycle that can tend to lock in the dangerous changes like worsening severe weather, worsening heatwaves in the middle and lower latitudes, and the increasing rates of land glacier melt and sea level rise that scientists have been warning about for so long. And it’s this kind of disruptive longer term climate trend that we are being drawn into at this time.

freezing-degree-days-lag-during-freezing-seaons-80-n

(Freezing degree days for the crucial 80 N region have significantly departed into record low ranges. The less freezing degree days, the closer this region is to thawing. Image source: Tealight. Data Source: DMI.)

Nearer term, it appears that the polar heat which has already so greatly damaged the Arctic sea ice is set to stay. Over the next few days, the Arctic appears set to experience a powerful series of low pressure systems running in from the Barents side between Svalbard and Siberia. Neven warns that these storms will tend to push a considerable portion of the remaining thick ice out of the Arctic and through the Fram Strait. Over the next couple of weeks, global forecast models indicate that above freezing temperatures will tend to invade regions now covered by sea ice in Hudson Bay, Baffin Bay, and in the Chukchi Sea. Though the ice is trying to grow, such repeated insults will tend to keep ice coverage in record low ranges.

If this trend of warmth, storms and ice export continues through February, March and April — as it has during October, November, December and January — then the set up for the 2017 melt season would be about the worst we have ever seen. And that would tend to increase the likelihood of new record minimums being reached during September all while hastening the day when the Arctic experiences near ice free conditions. Lets hope that doesn’t happen. But, so far, the trends for the winter of 2016-2017, from pole to pole, have followed along the lines of a near worst case scenario.

Links:

Global Sea Ice Records Broken Again

National Snow and Ice Data Center Sea Ice News

Wipneus Sea Ice Graphs

NASA GISS Temperature Data

Polar Amplification

Tealight

DMI

Hat tip to Suzanne

Hat tip to Cate

Hat tip to Colorado Bob

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235 Comments

  1. NevenA

     /  January 13, 2017

    Neven is a kind, honest, and open soul.

    I bet you say that to all bloggers. 😉

    But seriously, thanks for the compliment. I appreciate it.

    One minor point: that freezing degree days graph in the final segment of the blog post is based on DMI data, but actually produced by Tealight, an Arctic Sea Ice Forum member who set up his own website with all kinds of interesting graphs (like Albedo-warming potential, which will be one to watch during the melting season): CryosphereComputing.

    Reply
    • No way, man. You’re the best and I’ve always had a huge heap of respect for the work you’ve done.

      Reply
    • RE Tealight — thanks for the distinction. I’ll go ahead and change the credit to note that the data is DMI based and used for additional meta analysis by Tealight.

      OT: Any news on when you’ll be back for more regular writing? I can certainly sympathize with how hard it is to keep writing on the subject. I think this has deeply affected us all. It’s kind of an Anne Frank type of reporting. I hope that changes. I really hope it does.

      Reply
      • NevenA

         /  January 13, 2017

        No news on that, and I’m not making plans. I just need to let go, take some time to give the work on my carbon footprint another push (I also want to make an assessment to see where my family stands now vs the past vs what is needed), and develop some new ideas to get more motivated/less stressed again.

        Of course, I’ll continue to moderate the Arctic Sea Ice Forum, I have just updated the Arctic Sea Ice Graphs page, and I’ll post monthly PIOMAS updates on the blog. I just won’t be covering the coming melting season as I have the past few years. But I hope to do so again in 2018. No promises though (as I need to let go).

        Reply
        • NevenA

           /  January 13, 2017

          PS I’m not expecting it will ever be easy to write about these things, as they are so darned serious, but that’s where the new ideas have to come in. I want to do more than just describe the train wreck.

        • Good point. For me it helps to work on contributing to solutions as well. That’s another escape hatch. It also helps to contribute as a member of a team that works on solutions. With your site you could certainly build out a related forum on that topic and interest area.

          It’s worth noting, though, that threat ID is the first step to dealing with a problem. So, yeah, describing it is useful as long as it doesn’t get spun out into doomerism and apathy.

        • I completely understand. I think my style is more one of furious activity after which I tend to jump out of the escape hatch for a week or two. It seems to have worked out OK.

          Moderation is what I find to be the more difficult part of the job. It can be really difficult separating out good info from bad and honest posters from dishonest hacks. Many people here seem to think the forum is well protected. But I feel like I dip my brain in a latrine in order to make it that way.

          Good luck with the fam and with working out your own sustainability program. I would love to hear what you’re doing on that front if you get the chance. A good number of folks here are solar/ev/vegan etc and there’s a lot mutual support to go around. Someone earlier said it’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. So I think you’re doing the right thing for you and yours.

          I did see your update earlier today on the Arctic Sea Ice graphs page. I like the water vapor monitor. It’s an important addition as a tool. One that helps to track all those pesky atmospheric rivers that have been dumping so much abnormal rainfall recently. So good call.

          I’ll look forward to what you do post. Best wishes and warmest regards!

          –R

        • JPL

           /  January 16, 2017

          Robert, when I was first reading your blog back in the fall of 2014, I posted this comment comparing your your site and comments section with the rest of the internet:

          In contrast, you have this site: an oasis of scientific discovery and information, fearlessly moderated. For that I am most appreciative, Robert!

          I get you on the ‘latrine brain’ experience. It must be frustrating and time-consuming, but man do we all still appreciate that effort. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned here (and Neven’s site as well). Jump out of the escape hatch as needed. We’ll still be here! 🙂

          For those readers here that get antsy when Robert takes those breaks, consider paying a visit to his black avian banker in the upper right corner of the site and say thank$!

  2. DJ

     /  January 13, 2017

    Great post. As I’ve said before, this should be making headlines in the mainstream media.

    Reply
    • Thx for the kind words, DJ. There is some coverage in the mainstream media. Every now and then there’s a mention on the nightly news now. It’s still just very muted relative to the overall impact.

      Reply
  3. Syd Bridges

     /  January 13, 2017

    Robert, I remember discussing with you in 2015 that the real collapse year for the Arctic ice following the last El Nino would be 2017, as it would take a while for the heat from that event to fully show up in the there. Unfortunately, our thoughts on the matter seem to have been correct. What I did not anticipate was the decline in the Antarctic sea ice would occur at the same time. I believed that freshwater melt from the WAIS and EAIS would sustain a fresh lens of easily frozen water for several years, thus maintaining SIA round the continent. But, as with everything else in this story, time seems to be disappearing much faster than expected. I do not know whether we have reached the tipping point yet, or whether our “feuertrunken climate”can stagger on for a few more steps before falling flat on its face, but it is not a pretty spectacle for anyone with some understanding of the risks involved.

    Reply
    • So the big heat pulse that starts at the equator moves poleward as El Nino progresses to La Nina. It appears that this effect has been compounded by climate change related polar amplification and the result is some pretty outrageous warmth in those regions.

      Reply
  4. utoutback

     /  January 13, 2017

    Oh, but that thinning ice makes it so much easier to drill for Oil. Rachel Maddow does a great job of tying the Tillerson story together. And, in case you didn’t already get it, follow the money.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/exxon-needs-us-policy-change-to-cash-in-on-big-bet-on-russia-853063747565?cid=sm_fb_maddow

    Reply
    • Ailsa

       /  January 14, 2017

      Excellent and scary watch ut, Thanks for posting.

      Reply
    • Rubio appears to be a hard core climate change denier, if his past statements are any guide.

      So, what is his motive in opposing Tillerson?

      Is he fishing for a really big bribe, maybe from Vladimir Putin, maybe from ExxonMobil, perhaps to finance a run for the Presidency in 2020? Or better yet, a gentleman’s agreement from Wall Street to fund such a campaign? Rubio certainly knows that there are hundreds of billions of dollars at stake in the ExxonMobil / Rostneft (Putin) deal, and maybe he wants his share?

      What he said about Putin is of course likely true, likely Putin did set up the Russian apartment bombings to justify an invasion of Chechnya. His popularity did jump in the polls as a result of his criminal actions. It could plausibly have been a false flag intelligence operation of the Russian intelligence services.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999_Russian_apartment_bombings

      But why is Rubio, of all people, pressing this attack?

      Just wanting attention and good press might be the best interpretation of Rubio’s motives. Could he actually be doing this out of principle? A Republican Senator?

      Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  January 16, 2017

        When I said “best interpretation” I should have said “most generous interpretation” of Rubio’s motives, above. Rubio is from Florida, that has a huge sea level rise problem and a huge algae bloom problem – he has to know that his position on global warming is BS. I don’t think he is stupid enough to really believe that global warming is not happening. Could he be that deeply in denial, personally?

        If he would lie about global warming, and sell himself to fossil fuel interests, would he be above a shake-down of those same interests for his vote on the Tillerson nomination, to see what he could shake down for himself personally or for his Presidential ambitions?

        Tillerson would be a climate disaster, I think, despite his engineering background, mostly because of his rationalizations about his past actions at ExxonMobil being so threatening to his self-image. Would he be a bigger disaster than anyone else Trump might nominate? Would he be a bigger disaster than a Rubio administration in 2020?

        All of this stuff is so strange and ugly, I think. It’s hard to believe..

        Reply
        • No real idea, but I was speculating that perhaps the conservative Cuban community in Florida is not too enthusiastic about Russia?

        • mulga mumblebrain

           /  January 19, 2017

          It is difficult attributing motivations to psychopaths, the type that the decrepit US system preferences.

  5. John McCormick

     /  January 14, 2017

    Robert, you and we have reached a place in our reality about global warming where we now have to tell the truth to our children. They will never to great grand parents.

    Dr. Peter Ward (UWA) has measured the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration at 1,000 ppm 250 million years ago when the first great extinction occurred. That was a 70 thousand year episode we are accelerating. At now a 3 ppm increase per year the world will know 500 ppm in 2050. Today’s new born could be a grandparent in 40 years — 2057 when concentration will then be 521 ppm…..at the 3 pp, rate, one thousand ppm in 2200 when hydrogen sulfide poisons all life forms.

    Reply
    • Hey John. So even with a rapid response, the climate system is in trouble and we are looking at some rough changes. But I’m pretty confident we can avoid a runaway to a Canfield Ocean state if we undergo a rapid energy switch. The safest course would involve a very rapid replacement of fossil fuel energy coupled with widespread decarbonization of agriculture, improved land use, and various practices and materials that pull carbon out of the atmosphere.

      Reply
  6. Ridley Jack

     /  January 14, 2017

    Hey Mr Scribble Regarding the Florida Coastline (or a coastline your more familiar with) how much sea level rise will there currently in addition to wants added along the way by the time 2050 comes around.

    Reply
    • 1-4 feet of additional SLR seems most likely with a caveat for more if glacial destabilization takes a more catastrophic turn. Higher emissions scenarios would tend to bias the higher end of this range and increase the risk of catastrophic events. This is a little bit ahead of NOAA predictions in the range of 2 feet approx by 2050.

      Worth noting that the present rate of SLR for portions of south FL are now in the range of nearly 1 cm per year.

      Reply
      • DrTskoul

         /  January 14, 2017

        It does not need much SLR for major disruptions. Look at the FL water table for troubles to begin…

        Reply
      • Ridley Jack

         /  January 14, 2017

        Thanks for the reply. Referring to the coastline of South Florida 1 cm according to Google equals 0.393701 inch so basically 0.3 now when 2020 comes around short term forecast sea level will approx be 1 inch higher then they will be presently (I’m sorry if I sound dumb lol I’m new to math and science) but to get to let say 2 feet sea level rise will have to start increasing pretty drastically (I’m not saying I want it to happen by no means) what I’m I missing? Is it that models are saying that at some point pretty soon sea level rise can from cms to inches?

        Reply
        • Basic math shows you that the present rate of SLR = approx 1 foot by 2050, Jack. For example .39 inch rate of SLR over 33 years from 2017 to 2050 = 12.87 inches. Under most scenarios, we expect that rate to accelerate.

  7. annielittlehawk

     /  January 14, 2017

    I haven’t read this yet but the headline is extremely depressing and people may have already seen this:
    Trump meets with Princeton physicist who says global warming is good for us

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/01/13/trump-meets-with-princeton-physicist-who-says-global-warming-is-good-for-us/

    Reply
    • Why should this surprise us? Trump’s always promoted falsehoods when it comes to climate change. The answer at this point is continuous, concerted opposition.

      Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  January 14, 2017

      I am not surprised. Horrified yes, surprised no, that the soon to be Lunatic-in-Chief…who is an Alex Jones Conspiracy theorist fan…an anti-vaxer…a Climate Change denier…and without a doubt, the greediest, least intellectual Sociopath that has ever run for President in my lifetime…would meet with, and probably believe that Princeton idiot. He will always, and I mean always…find someone to support his confirmation bias. He will now…”tweet” to his minions how the science is not settled on Climate Change…and they will believe him. And how our warming planet is going to be good for food production…and they will believe him.

      Like he said during the election…”I could shoot someone on 5th Avenue, and they wouldn’t care”. The “dumbing down of America” which has been going on for decades…is complete with the electing of Donald J. “Useful Idiot” Trump.

      Who was it that said….”In a democracy, people get the leaders they deserve”?

      Reply
      • So I think I should clairify my above statement a bit. There are some people that can’t be changed for the better. And I think of this as kind of a fatal allure of a narcissist. They tend to be very good at manipulating people’s emotions — particularly in preying on compassion. So compassionate people like Annie can tend to get caught in this loop. They believe in the good in people. It’s part of their compassionate nature. And they hope that the bad actor can change.

        Problem is, giving people like Trump a chance is the equivalent to giving them trust. And if they have trust, they have more of an ability to exploit.

        The cure for this is not to trust. Not to enable. To expect past behavior to be predictive of future behavior. So we can expect Trump to continue to be a bad climate actor. To occasionally try to distract us by appearing conciliatory, but by offering no positive change of substance. To attempt to game us. And if we give him an opening, to exploit it to the hilt.

        This is why I said what I said. We need to be armored up emotionally. We need to be aware that he is not one of us. He does not share our values. He will work to wreck our world. And that makes him our enemy.

        Reply
        • Steven Blaisdell

           /  January 14, 2017

          “This is why I said what I said. We need to be armored up emotionally. We need to be aware that he is not one of us. He does not share our values. He will work to wreck our world. And that makes him our enemy.”

          Exactly. Spot on. This goes beyond climate change. This is the fight of our time, or any time, the battle we’ve waged with ourselves since the dawn of consciousness, writ globally. We (us, the folks on this forum, and like minded others) are facing an existential threat, just as the transnational forces Trump represents face an existential threat. This is a zero sum game – either the forces of predatory narcissistic self interest (evolutionarily wired into the human) will prevail and drive humanity and the Earth into submission and destruction, or the (imperfect) forces of collaborative, cooperative, sustainable community will overcome, hopefully in time to save a livable biosphere. These two modes of functioning, however, can no longer share a saturated ecosystem. Massive and unmitigated exploitation of Earth’s resources, beginning with settled agriculture, allowed and engendered the myopic illusion that narcissistic self interest was ontologically viable for human functioning; it’s not, and in reality never was. Primary hunter gatherer tribal cultures had constraints to control predatory narcissistic behaviors, including ostracization and death. Western systems of justice barely recognize these behaviors for what they truly are – existentially threatening to the species and the ecology that supports us (and everything else). This distortion will have to change if we are to survive long term as a species, but that’s for down the road. Right now we have WWIII, a cold war that transcends borders and nations, a conflict immanent to the instinctive human drive to consume and reproduce, where without the constraints of resource scarcity and concomitant socio-cultural mores self interest has metastasized into a cancer poised to devour and destroy the fabric of our existence. Not to get dramatic or anything (!)

          So, yes. Trump, and everything he represents, is indeed the enemy. It’s important to remember that he’s just the unintentional Frankenstein produced by thirty years of increasingly authoritarian and reactionary ideology and policies, thirty years of concerted political and economic efforts to destabilize and delegitimize democratic processes and institutions in order to promote the interests of a very few at the expense of everyone else. The hunter wants to keep his catch to himself, naturally, and will only share the kill if forced to. The question is: do we, the people, have the strength to force change on such deeply entrenched and socially approbated, millennia in the formation, transnational, narcissistic self interest. I really hope so. Regardless, I think this quote from Graham Greene’s “The Quiet American” distills the situation nicely:

          “Sooner or later…one has to take sides, if one is to remain human.”

        • Suzanne

           /  January 14, 2017

          Steven…Thank you for such a thoughtful and cogent response. I, too, feel that we are at a critical juncture and the quote from Graham Greene is spot on.

        • Cate

           /  January 14, 2017

          Steven, nailed it. This crisis looks more and more to me like an evolutionary challenge to which we had better make the correct response if we expect to continue to exist as a species.

          The climate emergency challenges us to rise above our “inner chimp” with its values of self-interest, exploitation of the vulnerable (which includes our Mother Earth), hoarding, and competition, and to forge a new global way of living on and with the planet based on common interest, social justice, co-operation, and sharing.

          I know we CAN do this at the micro level because I see it everywhere in my community, in neighbourhoods, in church and service groups, for example. It can also be argued that some nations already aspire to live by principles of social justice in instituting some aspects of public policy such as medicare, pensions and benefits, and free education through university.

          So, can we rise to the challenge to take the next step up in our evolution? “Yes, we CAN.”

          But the question is, WILL we? Will we put aside our inner chimps and do what must be done on a global level? Will we work nation-to-nation for the most important cause in the common good ever to occur in our existence on this planet?

          And if not, why not? What is standing in the way, and how do we overcome it? How do we turn a global CAN into a global WILL?

        • mulga mumblebrain

           /  January 15, 2017

          Steven, that is in my opinion an excellent description of our predicament. This ‘WW3’ is, in fact, the eternal civil war within humanity between the psychopaths and the non-psychotic. Or, as religions usually put it, between Good and Evil.
          That the features of psychopathy, ie insatiable greed (always criticised strongly by nearly every religion and philosophy ever created)huge, usually totally unmerited, egomania, unscrupulousness, tendency to violence and lack, comparative or absolute, of human compassion and empathy, equate to moral and spiritual Evil is plain to all but the psychopaths.
          This type has bedeviled humanity, and Life on Earth in toto, throughout human history. But we might yet have followed the non-psychotic religions and philosophies, and followed the ubiquitous ‘Golden Rule’ and other humane, compassionate and co-operative paths to human perfectability, if it was not for capitalism.
          Where most people see capitalism as an economic and historical development, I see it as the manifestation in life of psychopathy. The psychopaths created capitalism, through barbarities like the slave trade, the Western imperial genocides that de-populated the New World, the massive and genocidal exploitation of India and China and the destruction of vast natural resources like the North American forests and the cod fisheries, and have used the system ever since to exploit mankind and the natural world, and entrench their dominance and power.
          In doing so they have projected their, capitalist, psychopathy onto societies, normalised it, and destroyed any and every attempt to create a different sort of society. Thus has greedy materialism become the prime, if not sole, raison d’etre for human existence. The greedy are admired, the boastful emulated and narcissistic monsters like Trump copied, no matter how comically. Reason, knowledge and science have all been sacrificed to ‘opinion’ driven by naked self-interest, nowhere more disastrously than in regard to the ecological crisis of crises.
          So, in order for humanity to survive, capitalism must be replaced by a system that does not, like the cancer, demand constant growth, at the highest rate possible forever. A cancer process that no longer even pretends to be for the common good, but which destroys the world simply to further stuff the pockets of the insanely avaricious. A new system where the narcissist is treated with respect and compassion, but not allowed to inflict his illness on others. A system where equality is real, and as great as possible, and where any manifestation of marked and unjust inequality in wealth, income or opportunity is remedied immediately. A system where the old maxim, ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs’, is pursued with vigour. And, above all else, a system that makes the preservation of Life on Earth, in all its glorious diversity, the highest priority of all, before which all other objectives must give way.
          Needless to say, those that benefit from the current system, in my opinion the worst of humanity, will oppose this change with every ounce of force, bribery, ‘Divide and Rule’ tactics and every dirty trick up their sleeves. That is what we will face, and soon, and we must work together with every ounce of strength and resilience we can muster, or they will win, keep their dominance, and humanity disappear from the cosmos.

    • Abel Adamski

       /  January 17, 2017

      For an analysis on the major Op Ed by our famous physicist
      http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/The-Real-Truth-About-Greenhouse-Gases-and-Climate-Change.pdf

      The Real Truth about Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change:
      Paragraph-by-Paragraph Comments on an Article by Dr. William Happer
      Michael C. MacCracken, Ph.D.
      Chief Scientist for Climate Change Programs
      Climate Institute
      Washington
      DC
      September 2011

      Dr. William Happer, the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton University, who also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Marshall Institute in Washington DC, has been a prominent and outspoken critic of the science of climate change, its impacts, and proposed policies to deal with it. In the June/July 2011 issue of First Things
      Dr. Happer published a summary of his views: “

      The Truth About Greenhouse Gases: The dubious science of the climate crusaders” (Link)
      The paper is so misleading that, in my view, it merits a paragraph-by-paragraph response.
      Indeed, being an alumnus of Princeton University and having devoted my career to study of climate change science, preparing a response almost seemed an obligation.

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  January 17, 2017

        Note in 2011 they were talking about a 2ppm increase in CO2 per annum, just 5 years ago

        Reply
      • mulga mumblebrain

         /  January 19, 2017

        ‘Cyrus Fogg Brackett’???!! Beyond parody.

        Reply
  8. Suzanne

     /  January 14, 2017

    Okay ….I am just going to say it. Not that I want this to happen…but I think it is going to take a catastrophic Climate/Weather event in this country to finally “wake” people up. Not something in a far away country….not tornadoes or hurricanes…but something like a wipe out of a season of crops because of a sustained heatwave. Or something like the heatwave that happened in France. An event that can’t be explained away as “oh, that’s just the weather”.
    I don’t usually succumb to “doom porn”…but between what is going on with the Arctic ice…. Antarctic ice…and with the election of this most dangerous man…I feel like it is going to have to be something “huge” to get people to finally have a “come to Jesus moment”.

    Hurricane’s Katrina and Sandy didn’t wake them up. The “others” suffering all over the globe due to CC certainly hasn’t gotten their attention. Maybe it is going to take a CC cataclysmic event here on our soil to wake them up from their slumber?? Something that affects tens of thousands on a up close and personal way?

    Okay…I am done raving. I don’t want bad things to happen…but I feel like we have had over 30 years of scientists warning us….Mother Nature telling us…and yet, we continue to bury our heads in the sands of our human denial and inertia. I could just scream.

    Okay…now I am done.

    Reply
    • I think people are starting to wake up. I think there are a majority of us who know and care. But for the kind of response you’re talking about, I think we need the media to fully cover and explain a big event that impacts a large number of the people living in the US. Sadly, such events are probably on the way. Whether they will be covered appropriately is another issue entirely.

      Reply
      • Tigertown

         /  January 14, 2017

        The media barely covered what has happened in California the last few days.

        Reply
    • bostonblorp

       /  January 14, 2017

      Pretty much my thinking as well. It will take something cataclysmic to finally shake the deniers out of their trees. Everything less is explained away with a “well these things happen.” When jaws drop and there is stunned silence we may finally get the wartime level resolve necessary. The rise of PV, EV, and the like are great, I just fear they are half measures.

      Reply
    • Steven Blaisdell

       /  January 14, 2017

      Suzanne
      I believe you are right. It’s been 80 degrees almost all ‘winter’ here in Austin and all folks are interested in is how “great” the weather is. Even the public radio station, even so-called “progressives” I know have nothing else to say about it. They, the dark side, have won the discourse. It’s going to take something immediate and very bad to break through the dissonance.

      Reply
      • cwlongway

         /  January 14, 2017

        Steve,
        You are not the only one to notice the “great” weather in Austin with foreboding. I live in Steiner Ranch (North West Austin) and work down town at Intel, and share your concern for taking action on saving our climate. I feel alone in an desert of ignorance. It would be my pleasure to treat you to lunch as is possible. My favorite is the Oasis, but may be far from where you live and work.

        Reply
    • Shawn Redmond

       /  January 14, 2017

      Suzanne I hear you loud and clear. You folks have had some major disruptions just last year with multi-billion dollar unnamed storms flooding vast areas. No noticeable change in behaviour. The size of the disaster that seems required would probably also bring down the global financial system. Should that happen things will just get worse fast. I’ve tried leading by example with subsistence farming and going off grid. I’ve had a few people who show some interest but then they just go back to the fold. The Transition Movement seems to be going in the right direction. Sudden SLR might do it but that will also take out Wall St. Present rate will take it out anyway but it is slow enough yet that the powers that be will try to mitigate, which means more resources will be put in harms way. I think finding ways to owe less in monthly expenses and using those gains to have more free time to enjoy your local surroundings is the one thing that the people around you notice the most. Which seems to get the message across best. When asked about my life style I usually start by asking who would you prefer to work for? 30 hours a week for yourself and 20 hours off property or 40+ in a cubical or warehouse plus commuting time? I have a small mortgage payment and all other expenses are controllable by my consumption rate. Needless to say I’ve never done the sunny vacation thing and I’ve flown commercially only once in my life time, Ireland. I have travelled a lot through out Canada and some in the U.S. always by ground.

      Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  January 14, 2017

        Thank you all for your supportive response to my “doom porn” comment. I hate making harsh comments because they are not always helpful, and can be hurtful. I guess I just needed to blow off some steam last night. I appreciate that I am not alone in my belief that it may take a cataclysmic event to create the change necessary to stop this CC train wreck. I guess after years of seeing so little real change and with the election…I am feeling more pessimistic than is in my nature.

        Having said that, it will take more, much more than the individual efforts like Shawn has undertaken and similarly, that most of us have done to lower our own carbon footprint and lead a less materialistic lifestyle. All good, of course, and we must continue with those efforts, but the crisis has gone way past those individual efforts IMO. I, like Shawn, I am sure others here also, have people in our orbits who believe in CC, but who are, for whatever reason, unwilling to make it a priority. That, for me, is as disheartening as climate deniers.

        It is going to take a global project with the best minds with nearly unlimited resources working together to make the impact necessary to stave off this runaway extinction event. And as of this moment, at least as an American, given what just happened to our politics, that will only happen if a CC 9/11 event happens here. I hope I am wrong in my assessment…I would loved to be proven wrong.

        Reply
    • Cate

       /  January 14, 2017

      Suzanne, agreed. I’ve always thought that, sadly, most people in North America will wake up to the reality of climate change only when it comes home to their dinner tables in the form of skyrocketing food prices and severe limits on food choice. Crop failures and shortages will hit the luxury crops first–coffee, chocolate, etc—and price increases can be explained away, but when wheat and other staples begin to falter, people may well come to their senses. I only hope it will not be too late at that point.

      Reply
    • miles h

       /  January 17, 2017

      i think the problem is that humans have such a short-term view; climate change and sea level rise are slow processes, almost devoid of events of short enough duration or large enough magnitude to get that “holy fuck!” moment which people respond to.
      it’s like the old ‘boiling frog’ tale…. the catastrophic event was getting in the water in the first place. now that we are in the water and the temperature gradually rises, there is no particular event that alarms us sufficiently.
      fires burn out; droughts end; floods drain away…. things just get forgotten and glossed over. and then, one day, its too late. systemic catastrophe kicks in and the frog boils.
      and now we’re (very, very nearly) at a point where the magnitude of the changes that are necessary are too big to make. can humans really let go of so much – all the shiny baubles of consumer life? the holidays, the cars, the big TVs, the air conditioning, the imported food, the meats, the STUFF, the whims…. the changes required need an enormously strong political will behind them, and i doubt that that degree of political force has an electable manifesto.
      there may still be time to make the necessary changes, but they are pretty much politically impossible.
      just look at us in europe – as things collapse we turn in entirely the wrong direction, to more consumerist ideologies, greater inequality, hard-right politics. (the US isnt looking so great there, either!). green party support is shrinking, not growing.
      will even an ice-free arctic (a truly catastrophic event, coming soon?) embolden us to change?…. i very much doubt it. we’re far more likely to view it as a good chance to just drill for more oil.

      Reply
  9. Meljay14

     /  January 14, 2017

    Robert, re your comment about dipping your brain into a latrine in order to keep this community free of… I’ll just call them trolls – just want to reiterate how enormously I appreciate this aspect of your wonderful blog. The spiritual ugliness of most comments sections, especially ones related to climate change and progressive activism, sickens me to my stomach. Thank you for making this place so different.

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  January 14, 2017

      AMEN ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      Reply
      • Ailsa

         /  January 14, 2017

        Meljay, absolutely agree. Robert, thank you for doing the incredibly difficult emotional job of keeping this place ‘clean’ and healthy. Most other sites comments shock and disgust me. I can come here safely (where just the facts shock and disgust me).

        Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  January 14, 2017

      I will second that AMEN. Finding this site has been empowering in so many ways.

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  January 14, 2017

        And I’ll chime in with another amen. Even when the news gets grim, the conversation here is always clear-eyed, sensible, passionate—yet dispassionate, and often uplifting and strengthening. That doesn’t happen by accident. Robert has made this place what it is—an oasis of reason—even a lifeline—in the vast deranged wasteland of social media. It can’t be an easy job to police this, but Robert, please know that your work to keep the scribblers on task is appreciated beyond measure!

        Reply
        • June

           /  January 14, 2017

          Absolutely! I think without this lifeline I’d be in total despair.

    • climatehawk1

       /  January 14, 2017

      +1.

      Reply
      • Ditto all.

        Reply
        • Yes, a conversation is actually possible. Great job, must be hard.

          If you ever need any help with that, please let me know. Maybe one of us could weed out the obvious cases, and leave the borderline decisions to you?

    • Thanks guys! 🙂

      Reply
  10. Vic

     /  January 14, 2017

    Last night Sydney experienced its highest ever minimum temperature for January in records that go back to 1858. It got down to 26.4C at about 11:00pm then unleashed a fresh burst of heat, rising to 31C by 1:00am. This comes four weeks after Sydney recorded its highest ever overnight minimum for December.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-14/sydney-heat-breaks-another-hottest-night-record/8182602

    Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  January 14, 2017

      And we in South Australia got another ‘unusual’ summer storm, not as bad as predicted, but the umpteenth ‘one in ten or one hundred years’ storm this year. It’s great for the garden-so far. But the MSM barely mentions climate destabilisation at all anymore, as if they all got the same instructions to consign it to the ‘Memory Hole’. And the insane jihads to drive coal-mining and kill renewable energy go on, even as the Great Barrier Reef dies right before our eyes.
      The chances of the public EVER waking up, even after it is definitively ‘too late’, are low as long as the country is totally controlled by capitalists. They don’t care whether humanity lives or dies, so long as they maximise profits and their own wealth. When a billionaire capitalist like Murdoch owns 70% of the print MSM and uses it, even to today, as an entirely biased engine of the most ferocious and total denial, and pursues vendettas of hatred against climate scientists and environmentalists, the public will remain brainwashed, and the worst segments riven by hatred of those telling the awful truth. We have no hope until the MSM propagandists are somehow -I’ll say ‘disempowered’ because the correct terms might seem uncomfortably harsh.

      Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  January 14, 2017

        Curious about something. What has been the response by the public to the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef? I would have thought that would have been the “event” to wake up Australians to the effects of CC…despite the Murdoch control of the media. Any sign of a grassroots movement in reaction?

        Reply
        • Vic

           /  January 15, 2017

          Suzanne, I would say the Australian public’s general response to the Great Bleached Reef event has been one of begrudged acceptance, a sense of powerlessness, a resignation to forces beyond their control. Which is exactly what the MSM has programmed them to feel. I think there was more concern for these issues a decade ago when the ‘millennium drought’ was in full swing, but the denialist movement has grown so much more powerful and insidious since then.
          That said, there is definitely a growing section of the community fighting back against the climate criminals, often successfully, and they won’t be backing down anytime soon.

          https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/14/adani-coalmine-activists-gear-up-to-fight-this-will-dwarf-the-franklin-blockade

        • Vic

           /  January 15, 2017

        • mulga mumblebrain

           /  January 15, 2017

          The Murdoch flag-shit, the ‘Australian’ simply denied the bleaching, taking the word of one reef ‘physicist’ and an expert in birdsong and ‘amateur’ reef scientist previously known from Watts up with That, in preference to all the reef scientists and extensive video evidence. That’s the level of psychotic denialism that Murdoch drives in his execrable rags.
          The hard Right cretin, Pauline Hanson, went swimming on a reef not badly affected, much further south from the worst destruction, and declared the whole bleaching reports some sort of Green/Commo ‘water-melon’ plot. She is predicted to win in the next Queensland state election, or come close.
          As for the MSM, if not denying the bleaching ever happened, they have long forgotten it. Standard Operating Procedure, and the ruling regimes, Federal And State, are forging on with coal-mining, and reject any link between coal-mining and the destruction of The Reef by cleverly pointing out that the mine is nowhere near the Reef??!! That, dear Suzanne, is the intellectual level of our ‘elected representatives’, and vast swathes of the populace. I’d say at least 50% will never wake up, no matter what happens.

        • Suzanne

           /  January 15, 2017

          Great links to the growing movement in Australia. Thanks. The seeds of hope…lets hope they continue to grow and raise consciousness.

      • Keith Antonysen

         /  January 16, 2017

        Here is an excellent article that I have found useful to challenge deniers with; it provides criteria with which to tear down they’re comments:

        https://extranewsfeed.com/what-climate-skeptics-taught-me-about-global-warming-5c408dc51d32#.joydizarj

        Reply
  11. Abel Adamski

     /  January 14, 2017

    Note todays JAXA 12.36 on 13/01. It was down yesterday for maintenance to be back Mon 15/01, but back today, maybe they had to double check everything was working correctly.

    https://ads.nipr.ac.jp/vishop/#/extent

    Reply
    • lesliegraham1

       /  January 14, 2017

      Does anyone know what caused the big drip in sea ice extent at this time of year back in 2012?

      Reply
  12. Hatrack

     /  January 14, 2017

    Cross-posting to Democratic Underground – as always, thanks to Robert, and good to see you out and about, Neven!

    Reply
  13. Shawn Redmond

     /  January 14, 2017

    Can a positive spin be somehow put on this? An interesting analogy with a fair bit of detail.

    (Link contains intentional misinformation. Removed by moderator.)

    Oil extraction costs have been shooting up and can only become higher as nearly all of the ‘easy oil’ has been found. Once more energy is used than gained, exploration and production end.

    For the average barrel of oil this may happen in 2022 — just 6 years away.

    So by 2022 half the oil industry is likely to be out of business. Oil production won’t end — there will still be “above average” barrels produced, but dramatically less and less as we fall over the energy cliff, with the tail end around 2095.

    The rapid end of the Oil Age began in 2012 and will be over within some 10 years. By 2022 the number of service stations in the US will have shrunk by 75%.
    The critical parameter to consider is not the million barrels produced per day, but the net energy from oil per head of global population, since when this gets too close to nil we must expect complete social breakdown, globally.
    We are in an unprecedented situation. As stressed by Tainter, no previous civilization has ever managed to survive the kind of predicament we are in. However, the people living in those civilizations were mostly rural and had a safety net, in that their energy source was 100% solar, photosynthesis for food, fiber and timber – they always could keep going even though it may have been under harsh conditions. We no longer have such a safety net; our entire food systems are almost completely dependent on the net energy from oil that is in the process of dropping to the floor and our food supply systems cannot cope without it.

    Reply
    • More fossil fuel centric world view BS combined with a pretty amazing failure to include the impact of innovation and adding in a few half-truths for good measure. It’s an attempt to appeal to the environmentalist mindset and then shrink it to serve fossil fuel special interests. The very kind of social engineering that has caused so much confusion and harm over the past decades.

      Oil is more difficult to reach but extraction tech is improving. What this means is that net energy is falling, but more slowly than the article indicated. All things being equal, if there was no big push for renewable energy (which the article completely ignores and apparently pretends doesn’t exist), by the early 2020s global liquids production would almost certainly have hit above 100 million barrels per day. The cost of producing this fuel would be relatively high. But civilization could churn on — very rapidly wrecking the climate in the process.

      Innovative extraction would tend to keep oil EROEI above 10/1 on a global scale. Furthermore, sans renewables, new fuels from other unconventional sources such as clathrates would be waiting in the wings by the early 2020s.

      Of course, the elephant in the room that the article ignores is renewables. The primary driver of oil’s demise, if it occurs, will come from clean energy and efficiency. And that trend is coming into play now. Lower cost energy under this most likely scenario would be out competing oil, coal, and probably gas by the early 2020s. This would tend to take out the marginal, high cost energy sources. Oil production would tend to fall as EVs + efficiency + biofuels and linked low cost wind + solar replace these marginal sources and drive market prices lower.

      Such a beneficial process is not inevitable. But the primary barrier comes from political, media, and economic interests aligned with fossil fuels. We see this in the US and around the world now in the form of Trump, Republican opposition to climate research and renewable energy and in similar fossil fuel protectionist retrenchment in places like Australia, the U.K., and Canada. The article is noticeably blind to the key policy impacts, pretending instead to assume that political decisions by leaders make no difference. Yet one more destructive mythology that exists in our age.

      The end of oil as energy, in this case, would not mean the end of civilization, but the hope for its salvation. Dirty fuels would be replaced with clean ones. Harmful practices with helpful ones. This is not a description of simple hope — but of necessary action if we are to avoid the civilization crushing harms posed by climate change. The article, in contrast, presents loss of harmful fossil fuels as a false crisis.

      If we act responsibly, we’ll have plenty of low-cost oil if we still decide to still use it as a basis for chemicals and materials. This won’t be as necessary, though, as we continue to improve our ability to substitute materials, recycle materials, and change practices so that petroleum based materials are less necessary.

      The oil interests want us to believe that life can’t go on without oil. Truth is the opposite. We keep burning oil and human civ gets crushed as the world enters a hothouse extinction crisis that keeps getting worse and worse.

      Reply
      • Shawn Redmond

         /  January 14, 2017

        Thank you RS that is the response I was hoping to get from someone that could process this info better than I. You have to be well schooled in multi disciplines to sort through some of this BS.

        Reply
        • I probably have less patience than I should. It’s probably due to the volume of bad or even unintentionally misleading information out there. There’s a lot of interest confirmation bias. For example, nuclear interests are now attacking joining the fray in attacking renewables as these energy sources significantly out compete nuclear on price and safety and as more energy storage options become available, wealthy elites continue to over-emphasize the population issue (which is an issue, but is less of an issue if systems become more sustainable and efficient) while ignoring their own harmful levels of consumption, and the oil interests are up to their old tricks — trying to convince environmentalists that all tech is equally bad, that civilization is doomed if it loses fossil fuels, that all renewables come from fossil fuels while actively continuing to promote climate change denial or to mute climate media messaging.

          Like anyone else, I am not a 100 percent perfect source. But one of my main goals is to be as honest as possible, to accept that current understandings are subject to continuous change and improvement.

        • Shawn Redmond

           /  January 14, 2017

          PS not that it would hurt my feelings to see the end of oil. The end of everything would!

        • Jeremy in Wales

           /  January 15, 2017

          Robert, it was the nuclear lobby back in the late 1970’s that stopped funding of research into wave energy and in particular the “Salter Duck”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salter's_duck
          This seems to work all the time as by the time the deception is exposed the limelight has moved elsewhere.

    • Keith Antonysen

       /  January 16, 2017

      A thoughtful video about abrupt change, beginning with the T Model Ford, fossil fuels will be superseded very quickly:

      Reply
  14. wharf rat

     /  January 14, 2017

    Climate Change Is the World’s Biggest Risk, in 3 Charts
    The rise of the machines isn’t the biggest threat to humanity. It’s climate change, extreme weather and other environmental factors.

    The World Economic Forum surveyed 750 experts on what the most likely and impactful risks facing humanity are in 2017. In a report released Thursday, they ranked extreme weather as the most likely risk and the second-most impactful, trailing only the use of weapons of mass destruction. Climate change is responsible for driving an increase in the likelihood and intensity of extreme weather events, notably heat waves.

    Failing to adapt to or mitigate climate change and a host of other climate-connected risks including water and food crises and involuntary migration also rank in the top 10

    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/climate-change-worlds-biggest-risk-charts-21050

    Reply
  15. coloradobob

     /  January 14, 2017

    Megastorms vs. megadroughts: Climate change brings a potentially devastating “atmospheric river” to California
    After years of drought, the Golden State is hit by epic storms — and it’s just the beginning of climate chaos

    A series of storms from the vicinity of Hawaii, known as the “Pineapple Express,” have drenched California and parts of Nevada, signaling a likely end to four years of severe drought. Just during the storm that hit Jan. 7 to 10, there were 52 reports of extreme precipitation (meaning more than eight inches of rain in a three-day period), with several measuring twice that. Strawberry Valley, on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevadas, got an amazing 20.51 inches of rain during that storm — more than Los Angeles typically gets in an entire year.

    Link

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  January 14, 2017

      In 2011, the U.S. Geological Survey did a study of what a 1,000-year atmospheric river storm — known as ARkStorm — would do. Projected losses were staggering, including property losses around $400 billion (more than three Hurricane Katrinas) with another $325 billion in losses due to business interruption, lasting as long as five years. So Californians are lucky today.

      Overview of the ARkStorm Scenario

      Reply
    • Scheduling tweet on this, thanks.

      Reply
  16. Suzanne, we’ll listen since we feel pretty much the same, I think.

    Phoenix weather winter bulletin: seasonal, cool weather here. Lots of grey overcast days with some rain, most of us natives love it though, I do! A small, but deep part of me is a fashionista who misses wearing sweaters, boots, etc, in our hot climate–forgive me for that totally consumerist sin, I blame it on my mom.

    We wll have he same kind of weather in our 7 day forecast for next week but with more sun than clouds.

    Best to you all, Sheri

    Reply
    • Here in east central Vermont, we’ve had more or less normal weather this winter, though of course a little warm. Now the 10-day forecast is popping out of normal, with highs in the 40s F from Tuesday the 17th on–about 15F above average for this time of year, or in other words, normal for early March.

      Reply
      • I’ve been thinking idly that a nice way to communicate climate to others is to say something like, “Today’s high is predicted to be 41. Average for this time of year is 25. 41 is typical of March 5-10. It’s also typical of January 15 in Louisville, Kentucky [or wherever], XXX miles south of here.”

        I did get as far as preserving a file of the average temps throughout the year at our local NWS weather station. Just not enough time to research the rest.

        Reply
  17. Suzanne

     /  January 14, 2017

    “Meet the Leaders of the Trump Resistance” at Rolling Stone:
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/meet-the-leaders-of-the-trump-resistance-w460844

    Donald Trump is riding into office on a make-believe mandate: Despite a possible assist from Vladimir Putin, Trump lost the popular vote by more than 2.8 million votes, and he’s taking command of the Oval Office with the lowest favorability rating in modern memory: 37 percent. “A normal politician would be chastened by that,” says John Weaver, a leading Republican Trump critic, who advised Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s presidential bid. “But the rules don’t apply to him.” Trump’s surprise victory, Weaver says, “emboldened him somehow.”
    But even as the 45th president takes the oath of office, a fierce resistance is rising to confront and constrain the Trump presidency. From the ACLU to the Sierra Club to Everytown for Gun Safety, civil society is girding for battle – reinforced by an unprecedented upwelling of activist support and donations. With so many groups facing “unprecedented assaults,” says Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, the progressive world is experiencing a moment of “enormous solidarity – our issues and, frankly, our activists are all connected.”
    ________________________
    This is what gives me hope…a consensus coming together against tyranny.

    Reply
  18. Cate

     /  January 14, 2017

    “Limits to growth” returns to the discourse.

    https://theconversation.com/limits-to-growth-policies-to-steer-the-economy-away-from-disaster-57721

    A thought-provoking and succinct piece on how we get to an “ethics of sufficiency”: enough, but no more, for all, in a way that is sustainable for the planet.

    “If the rich nations in the world keep growing their economies by 2% each year and by 2050 the poorest nations catch up, the global economy of more than 9 billion people will be around 15 times larger than it is now, in terms of gross domestic product (GDP). If the global economy then grows by 3% to the end of the century, it will be 60 times larger than now.
    The existing economy is already environmentally unsustainable. It is utterly implausible to think we can “decouple” economic growth from environmental impact so significantly, especially since recent decades of extraordinary technological advancement have only increased our impacts on the planet, not reduced them.”

    The author then looks at “government policies that could facilitate a planned transition beyond growth…and the huge obstacles lying in the way.”

    “….So if …“top-down” policies are unlikely to work, it would seem to follow that if a post-growth economy is to emerge, it may have to be driven into existence from below, with communities coming together to build the new economy at the grassroots level.”

    Over to us.

    Reply
    • The areas you need to focus on are growth in materials throughput, population restraint, and reducing and eliminating harmful externalities.

      Abstract growth should therefore be considered a separate feature. And it’s important to note that abstract growth can include helpful as well as impact neutral activity. Growth now, for example, is not measured in the same way that it was back in the early 70s. Economies have tended to reduce harmful materials throughput on a per capita basic while increasing abstract economic growth. Some of the ‘growth’ baked in is based on an improving chain of practices. So this aspect needs to be included in any honest discussion of growth.

      Humankind also needs to start adding in ecosystem services as a portion of its activity. Things like atmospheric carbon capture, soil and forest and land rejuvenation, ocean habitat rejuvenation and protection and so on. While such activities would be counted as positives on the growth ledger, they would reduce the net negative human impact. The footprint of a renewable energy infrastructure that increases abstract economic growth would also be much smaller than the present fossil fuel infrastructure. To this point, fossil fuel burning presently presents the largest negative human impact and is currently the center of gravity of the overshoot problem.

      So it’s not just the size of the human system that matters, but how it operates and what it does. The original limits to growth authors realized this. The follow ons have, sadly, tended to obfuscate this critical point. If we can reduce individual carbon impacts to zero or net negative, produce sustainable vertical farms indoors and return the land saved for forests, and bend the population curve down so that we peak at 9 billion and drop back to 6-7 billion far less impactful souls, if the materials we use are 90 to 100 percent recycled, if humankind provides ecosystem services, then an abstract growth rate of 2 percent is a sustainable figure especially when that ‘growth’ is coming from quality of life improvements and services as experiences and not from unsustainably consuming more and more stuff.

      Reply
    • It’s worth noting, though, that significantly increasing taxes on the wealthy would help to greatly reduce harmful consumption the world over. Maintaining multiple homes that are often vacant, watering gigantic lawns, and owning private jets are among the activities that produce a serious and unnecessary burden on the global resource system. It’s also another example of a policy under which technical/abstract growth would be maintained, but where harmful materials throughput and consumption would be reduced.

      Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  January 19, 2017

      Another sign that we have reached the Limits to Growth, as predicted by the Club of Rome, right on schedule (ie forty years or so after the Report)is the increasing number and size of mass mortality events afflicting animal populations, particularly in the rapidly warming oceans. Moreover fifty percent of wildlife has disappeared in the last forty years. Such mass death events are also affecting plant life, as the increasing rate and extent of tree deaths worldwide also shows.
      This Holocaust of Life on Earth is stark evidence that the ecological stability, diversity and life-enhancing and protecting services of the planet’s biospheres are on the point of a calamitous collapse. And that is very bad news indeed.

      Reply
  19. coloradobob

     /  January 14, 2017


    ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ legacy: 70,000 slain birds

    NEW YORK (AP) — Birds took the blame for bringing down the jetliner that “Sully” Sullenberger landed on the Hudson River eight years ago this weekend. They have been paying for it with their lives ever since.
    An Associated Press analysis of bird-killing programs at the New York City area’s three major airports found that nearly 70,000 gulls, starling, geese and other birds have been slaughtered, mostly by shooting and trapping, since the 2009 accident, and it is not clear whether those killings have made the skies safer.
    Federal data show that in the years after bird-killing programs LaGuardia and Newark airports ramped up in response to the gutsy landing, the number of recorded bird strikes involving those airports actually went up.

    Link

    Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  January 15, 2017

      Just like the badger cull in the UK, driven by the hatred of Life that is the Right’s salient feature, and in defiance of all the science.

      Reply
  20. coloradobob

     /  January 14, 2017

    Climate change shows in shrinking Antarctic snows

    Vast icy rock peaks tower above Argentina’s Carlini research base in Antarctica. But scientists who have worked here for decades say the glaciers are less icy than they once were. For international experts stationed at the base, the frozen southern continent is a good gauge of climate change. “When I used to come to Antarctica in the 1990s, it never used to rain,” said Rodolfo Sanchez, director of the Argentine Antarctic Institute (IAA). “Now it rains regularly — instead of snowing,” he told AFP during an Argentine government visit to King George Island, off the tip of the western Antarctic peninsula. Scientists monitoring conditions at the base say the average temperature here has increased by 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past century.
    “The glacier used to reach all the way to the shore,” Sanchez says. “Now there is a 500-meter (550-yard) wide beach.” Dark scars of rock are showing through what were once spotless sheets of white snow on the glaciers’ flanks. “Antarctica is a thermometer that shows how the world is changing,” said Adriana Gulisano, a physicist at Argentina’s National Antarctic Directorate.

    Link

    Reply
  21. coloradobob

     /  January 14, 2017

    The biggest threat to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago? Climate change

    PALM BEACH, Fla. — In recent years, George and Izabela Buff have watched as more tides climb the sea walls, seep across the manicured greens, and creep toward the hedgerows, ever closer to their columned home.

    Few places are as vulnerable to the rising seas as this tony barrier island, a narrow, 16-mile strip of sprawling estates and pampered gardens between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Worth. The advancing ocean has already cost residents here millions of dollars, and will probably exact a far greater toll in the years to come, town officials say. ……………………….To defend themselves, residents have stationed powerful pumps around the island, required higher sea walls, commissioned vulnerability studies, and most recently, launched a $100 million project to reduce beach erosion.

    Link

    Reply
  22. islandraider

     /  January 14, 2017

    A month or so ago, some of the commenters here (several of the wonderful ladies, if memory serves) suggested a book called ‘Lean Logic’. I was able to get a copy from my local library. They did not have it at the time, but the librarian was so intrigued by the book that she went ahead and purchased a copy for our library. I have only just started delving into this 700+ page tome, but this looks like a great and very deep look into a new way to live on our planet and a new philosophy on how we interact with each other. More at the link below. Highly recommended reading.

    http://www.leanlogic.net/

    Reply
  23. islandraider

     /  January 14, 2017

    Also, to RS:
    Think about getting some admin help around here so you don’t burn yourself out. I think it likely that one or two of the regular commenters around here could be trained up a bit to help you with admin tasks, hopefully freeing you up to continue to produce the leading articles.

    Just an idea…

    Reply
  24. Ailsa

     /  January 14, 2017

    I’ve been trying to keep abreast of the No DAPL developments, and came across this today – a very eloquent statement of purpose from one of the amazing people still Standing strong through the freezing temperatures. Send them your prayers, donations, and wood:

    Reply
  25. coloradobob

     /  January 14, 2017

    “Meet the Leaders of the Trump Resistance” at Rolling Stone:

    A little factoid making the rounds ………..
    On the day after the election , “Cheetoe Boy” the Putin orange poodle, had a 44% approval rating in the Pew poll.
    Today it’s 37% .
    It’s going to be a long, and very exhausting 4 years. Because he’s not house broken , and there’s going to be a lot of crap on the carpets.

    One more little factoid ………….
    The last time the Republicans pulled off this hat trick , both houses of congress, and the presidency , was the 1920’s. We all know how that worked out for them, and the world.
    As I said, It’s going to be a long, and very exhausting 4 years.

    Reply
    • The republicans are stunned. Many appear to not know what to do with themselves. And it seems that those with at least half a brain are starting to have second thoughts. The one thing to remember is that the republicans are generally good at wrecking things. So the more policies they get passed, the worse things will tend to be for most people in the U.S. Their removal of Obamacare right now appears to be on track to dump around 20 million people back into the emergency room and medical bankruptcy circuit. But it would be worse now considering the fact that prices have risen considerably and the politicians in the pockets of the medical industry won’t hear word one about much needed price controls.

      Reply
  26. Jay M

     /  January 15, 2017

    interesting jetstream with the polar ice volume drops:

    Reply
    • The high amplitude waves are tending to run up over the Ocean zones in the North Atlantic, through the Barents and Bering and more and more through western and central North America. The large moisture plume running in over the PNW appears to be aiding in the polar jet stream excursions. I kind of odd case where a powerful Pacific storm track is adding to Canadian warmth during winter. This looks more like a typical El Nino pattern for the Pacific Ocean than the pattern that we had last year, which is a bit odd. From a speculative note, the RRR still appears to be there. It’s just that the subtropical just moved north beneath it and linked into the big trans Pacific moisture feed.

      Reply
  27. coloradobob

     /  January 15, 2017

    Art , which leads to thinking.

    Reply
  28. coloradobob

     /  January 15, 2017

    218. daddyjames
    11:24 PM GMT on January 14, 2017
    3 +
    Quoting 214. Barefootontherocks:

    I for one, have thoroughly enjoyed this exchange. It has been a real tonic for us all.
    Now we we can all say we were at the :

    “2017 Oklahoma Ice Storm Love – In”

    Reply
  29. coloradobob

     /  January 15, 2017

    I never, stopped learning, I never lay down.

    Reply
  30. Andy_in_SD

     /  January 15, 2017

    If you have a moment, check out the broken slog in Hudson Bay. To the left is shattered ice (chunks), and on the right side is open water. Now consider the ice coverage maps that show and calculate the area as contiguous sea ice.

    http://www.arctic.io/explorer/8/2017-01-13/9-N56.07333-W81.37038

    Reply
    • Shawn Redmond

       /  January 15, 2017

      Andy this link is for the Canadian sea ice service for shipping. It gives ice coverage in tenths, also iceberg concentrations. However the Hudson Bay chart is unavailable at this time. These charts are usually up dated daily in waters of known marine activity. That may well be the reason for no up dates on the bay. The berg count is always interesting for the different zones.
      http://www.ec.gc.ca/glaces-ice/default.asp?lang=En&n=D32C361E-1

      Reply
  31. coloradobob

     /  January 15, 2017

    Quoting 236. Lagarto77041:
    Please enlighten me, as I am a geologist and not a meteorologist, but it seems like California has been getting more rain in this marginal La Nina winter that last winter when a strong El Nino was in force. I thought that the reverse should be true. Is a strong PDO associated with above normal rainfall in California? I believe that here in Texas, that droughts are usually associated with negative PDO’s.

    Buckle your chi strap.

    Reply
  32. coloradobob

     /  January 15, 2017

    Let’s us all taK

    Reply
  33. Vic

     /  January 15, 2017

    “A pioneering project has been launched which aims to design, build and sail the world’s first full-sized, fully autonomous unmanned ship across the Atlantic Ocean.
    At over 100ft in length The Mayflower Autonomous Research Ship will use state-of-the-art wind and solar technology for its propulsion enabling an unlimited range. The revolutionary trimaran vessel will carry on board a variety of drones through which it will conduct experiments during its voyage.
    Following a year-long testing phase, the planned Atlantic crossing in 2020 will mark the 400th anniversary of the original Mayflower sailings from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA.
    The project is being developed by a partnership of Plymouth University, autonomous craft specialists MSubs and Shuttleworth Design.”

    http://www.shuttleworthdesign.com/gallery.php?boat=MARS

    Reply
  34. Cate

     /  January 15, 2017

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/10/solar-panel-research-power-trains-imperial-college-london-1010

    As electrification expands in the UK transport system, problems arise that are associated with competing demands on the grid at peak periods. This project aims to address those problems, and the technology may well have other applications:

    Solar panel researchers investigate powering trains by bypassing grid

    “The renewable traction power project will see university researchers look at connecting solar panels directly to the lines that provide power to trains, a move that would bypass the electricity grid in order to more efficiently manage power demand from trains.

    It would also open up thousands of new sites to small- and medium-scale renewable developments by removing the need to connect to the grid,” Imperial College London said in a statement.”

    Reply
  35. Suzanne

     /  January 16, 2017

    “The Climate Doomsday is Already Here”
    https://extranewsfeed.com/the-climate-doomsday-is-already-here-556a0763c11d#.yfft8f6fw

    What would you say if I told you that the climate crisis already happened? That real-world ecosystem collapse takes place at different times in different places. Billions of people have already starved to death or been displaced by climate change. The future is here — it’s just not evenly distributed yet.

    What most people don’t realize is that this shutdown of the Sahel Monsoon is the result of human-caused climate change. We created apocalyptic conditions for roughly 1 billion people — and we did this fifty years ago!

    So when people dismiss global warming as “doomsday” they are doubly wrong. Firstly, they ridicule those who see how serious this situation is (using language of the absurd to dismiss it). And secondly, they presume the collapse-of-the-future won’t happen — when in reality it already did.

    Reply
    • Scheduling tweet on this, thanks. Great read.

      Reply
    • Some points:

      1. What’s coming will tend to be worse than what has already happened.
      2. The collapse pressure produced by the Sahel drought was regional with global impacts.
      3. This was not a global human civilization collapse event, but an event that produced collapse pressure in the regions affected.
      4. This event was no-where near the scale necessary to produce extinction pressure on humankind as a whole.
      5. Doomers are criticized not for their penchant for highlighting threats, but for their penchant to state that human extinction is inevitable and will happen on almost immediate timescales without providing hard evidence as to how such an event will inevitably occur. The assertion of near-term human extinction inevitability, therefore, is highly speculative, lacks hard scientific proof, and includes numerous blanket assumptions and logical fallacies.
      6. This is not to say that risks to human beings and civilizations due to climate change are not on the rise. This is absolutely the case. But dialing up the alarm to 1000 without adding proof is the very definition of muddying the waters by making outrageous claims.
      7. A more scientific approach to threat analysis is through a scenario-based understanding which includes best and worst and middle case scenarios and a probability based analysis that evolves as new events arise. Hyper-focus on singular outcomes is unlikely to produce an accurate threat analysis.

      The issue, therefore, is one of understanding the definition of ‘doomsday’ and, more to the point, understanding what level of event is necessary to produce collapse pressure, human population pressure, and human species extinction pressure. A number of people have asserted that human extinction is inevitable by the 2020s or 2030s. The kinds of events that are possible and likely by that timeframe due to climate change do not hit the scale of a human species extinction event. What we do see, however, is more widespread potential of collapse pressure events like the Sahel drought, but on a large scale and with worsening intensity. The human system as a whole will tend to be stressed and tend to see more collapse pressure and possible population pressure at that time. But the potential for human species extinction pressure remains low.

      The problem here is that those writing about ‘doomsday’ do not have good notion of the degrees of stress or a clear picture of what is necessary to bring about collapse pressure, population pressure, and extinction pressure. To be very clear, extinction pressure would come about due to multiple cascading failures that impact not just regions but the global support and response system. Single cascading events are more possible by the 2020s and 2030s. Multiple larger cascading events become more likely by mid century under BAU fossil fuel emissions. However, it does not appear that larger scale population pressure with the potential to bend down the global population by increasing the death rate becomes a likely issue until later in the century under BAU. Disease is a major wild card here. But to bring about global human extinction pressure through cascading collapse does not really become plausible until around 2100 even under BAU. Civilization collapse, however, does become more and more plausible for regions by the 2020s and 2030s under BAU and larger global civilization collapses become more possible by the late 2030s onward.

      To be very clear, extinction pressure for the global human animal requires multiple global civilization collapses and cascading failures or singular extreme events of nearly unimaginable scale. The Sahel event in Africa was not one of these.

      Reply
  36. John McCormick

     /  January 16, 2017

    Congressman John Lewis is the reason I feel hope and pride in what Americans have accomplished since 1968. President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act and knew the Southern Democratic Party was probably lost from now on. Yes, but Lewis benefitted.

    Rep Lewis said that Trump is an iligitimate President. He rightly blamed Russia for the election debacle.

    But, the reality is Trump rules and Lewis should take the man at his tweet. He asked for help in cleaning up the crime and fear in America’s inner cities. Lewis can own that fight in the Republican Congress if Trump will use the Oval Office to get what Lewis will need to clean up cities. Everything from school repair money, energy efficiency, vertical greenhouses, affordable housing…the long list to mend the neglect in South Chicago and elsewhere.

    While all the public interests are saddling up for a four year fight, Lewis has the stage because Trump invited him.

    Senator Sanders is building a new party and the Clinton Senators will fight to hold onto their Democratic National Committee. His partywill be the agenda of the neo-left.

    Trump party will feed his followers on the neo-right. He will lose the respect of many nations’ leaders because he will be conflicted and confused, on the one hand, and was taught how to operate by Roy Cohn.

    I pray Representative Lewis will give Trump enough rope to hang himself to the grief of millions of his followers. 1939 comes to mind.

    Reply
  37. Shawn Redmond

     /  January 16, 2017

    Scientists have identified a fearful lesson from the past. Some 14,700 years ago, the Antarctic continent experienced a warm phase, when ice sheets melted and the global sea level rose by three metres.
    http://www.uncommonthought.com/mtblog/archives/2017/01/16/antarctic-past-points-to-sea-level-threat.php#more-22035

    Reply
  38. From the 2016 AGU, a brief word from Jennifer Francis – A New Arctic Feedback

    And the ASI extent continues way low. As of Jan 15 – approximately 1,000,000 km² below the 2000’s average, and over 500,000 km ² below recent record low years. JAXA Sea Ice extent

    Reply
  39. Jeremy in Wales

     /  January 16, 2017

    Interesting article on the re-location of the Halley Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf due to the re-activation of a chasm and a new 22km crack to the NE(?). There is no mention of any link with climate change but the chasm reactivated in 2012 and it seems unlikely that the processes in operation here are different to those around the rest of the continent.
    Nice map down the column and cool pictures of the base on hydraulic skis.
    https://www.bas.ac.uk/project/moving-halley/

    Reply
  40. Suzanne

     /  January 16, 2017

    An interesting interview with Kevin Anderson, given on the day after the election. The whole interview is interesting, but listen around 41min 25 sec in when they ask him about Trump winning and how it may affect CC. What really got my attention is what he thinks the world should do if we pull out of the Paris agreement.

    Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  January 16, 2017

      Just a reminder ….this interview is before the Lunatic announced any of his appointments.

      Reply
    • To be very clear, the Paris Agreement was a big step in the right direction. It was a good policy and one that should be built upon, not deconstructed.

      Reply
  41. Suzanne

     /  January 16, 2017

    How “low” will the fossil fuel industry go to sell their product and accelerate CC?
    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/39106-while-oil-front-group-touts-cheap-fossil-fuel-to-low-income-families-industry-negotiates-deal-to-drive-world-oil-prices-up

    Fueling U.S. Forward, an oil industry PR group, has spent the second half of 2016 running an on-the-ground campaign targeting African-American communities and spreading a message focused on energy prices, a front-page New York Times investigation reported on January 5.

    The organization’s tactics included sponsoring a Richmond, VA gospel show where a few lucky families could win up to $250 off their household energy bills — though the music was paused mid-concert for a panel discussion about fossil fuels.

    “[A Fueling U.S. Forward rep] discussed what high energy costs could mean for households in Richmond, which has a large African-American population,” Times reporter Hiroko Tabuchi wrote. “And he encouraged audience members to contact their legislators to lodge concerns about energy costs, according to Clovia Lawrence, a local journalist and radio personality who helped host the show.”

    That Richmond event wasn’t the only event Fueling U.S. Forward threw with the same basic theme. “Since its start in the spring of 2016, Fueling U.S. Forward has sent delegates to, or hosted, at least three events aimed at black voters, arguing that they benefit most from cheap and abundant fossil fuels and have the most to lose if energy costs rise,” the Times added.

    Fueling U.S. Forward is funded by oil refinery and pipeline operator Koch Industries, as DeSmog reported this summer, and by an as-yet-undisclosed collection of other sponsors.

    Reply
    • Jeremy in Wales

       /  January 16, 2017

      This blog article by Gail Tverberg (I have been following her musings since she featured on The Oil Drum) explains why oil and gas producers want to raise prices, they are not making enough to invest in new projects or borrow to do so. But equally as you point out people cannot afford higher prices without driving the economy into recession.
      https://ourfiniteworld.com/
      I do not agree with all her comments but she outlines the wider problems the world economy faces ( although she ignores the continuing lower costs of renewables). Any collapse in the world economy is not good for CC or individuals.

      Reply
      • Shawn Redmond

         /  January 17, 2017

        Jeremy I’ve been reading her stuff on the same site. I, like you, don’t agree with some of her stuff and the more I read the more she’s not passing the sniff test. Can’t put my finger on it but I’d say take her with a grain of salt at least. Maybe Robert has an opinion on her angle.

        Reply
      • Predicted peak oil way too early… Does not take into account technology innovation. Tends to spread misinformation regarding renewable energy.

        That said, the assertion that oil producers are suffering due to low prices is probably accurate. New projects have tended to be sand bagged. That said, enhanced extraction efforts are well underway the world over and with oil hitting around 50-60 dollars per barrel even some of the marginal interests are looking at some new projects.

        The issue is that there’s still a general glut in oil. That tech is still well ahead of the depletion curve and when the price bumps up, new projects rush in. There are lots of risks to oil pressured toward the downside in the near to middle term. Demand is rising rather slowly and the threats to demand are multiplying. We’re getting into a situation where by the late 2010s or early 2020s oil demand may start falling due to renewables and efficiencies. Add in all this unconventional oil and the price pressure to the low end is pretty historically negative. There are a lot more energy options out there than there were in the past. If big projects lag and the price goes up you’ve got OPEC oil, Russian oil, US fracked oil, Canada tar sands, EVs, biofuels, and cheap wind and solar + cheaper storage vs diesel generation. The headwinds for oil higher oil prices are on the rise over the medium to long term.

        Reply
      • mulga mumblebrain

         /  January 18, 2017

        Jeremy, the Western economies are drowning in debt. That, and unprecedented and growing inequality means that the Free Market capitalist system is already collapsing-just ask any Greek or any victim of ‘austerity’ in the West. Trump, Brexit etc are not the sign of the malevolent Putin working his mesmerical marvels, but of populations fed up with forty years of neo-liberal ‘Reverse Robin Hood’ politics and economics where everyone else has been screwed to feed the insatiable greed of a tiny cabal of blood-sucking parasites. When just EIGHT (8)men control as much wealth as the bottom 3.6 BILLION, it is a moral and spiritual obscenity and a recipe for disaster. In the USA, unfortunately, enough were seduced by the carnival huckster to put him into power, and their wrath when they find that he is just another phony spouting bunkum to get elected, will be considerable.
        Not that the parasites are finished-not by a long way. Our current Federal regime, the vilest, cruelest, most destructive, most vicious and stupidest ever (so far) in our history is engaged in multiple psychotic projects, all at once. They are shaking down welfare recipients for money they don’t owe, with threats of gaol and added financial penalties, frightening many into coughing up despite the system being a fiasco with over 20% of threats being shown to be faulty because of poor algorithm design-or deliberate, depending on your view. This shake-down of the poorest is about to be extended to pensioners and the disabled, because the regime can depend on about 30% of the population to enjoy seeing others getting screwed. At the same time the Government is being rocked by scandals regarding rip-offs of expenses by MPs who billed the public for important duties like attending elite polo games.
        Of course, it gets better. As spending is slashed, the regime, led by a centi-millionaire former Goldman Sachs bankster, Turnbull, is proposing a fifty BILLION tax cut for corporations, much of which will just flow overseas. It’s meant, in the accompanying faery tale, to ‘create jobs’, the word ‘profits’ being, as ever, utterly forbidden to be mentioned. And there is much talk, reminiscent of a really impudent dog returning to its vomit and demanding that we tuck in too, of ‘trickle-down economics’, just like the 1980s all over again!!!!
        Sundry other obscenities prevail, such as the deepening attack on renewable energy, and the worship, nay the adoration of coal With one buffoon, portrayed as an ‘intellectual’ among his colleagues, asserting that only by burning coal will we reduce emissions of greenhouse gases??!!Lewis Carroll had nothing on these lunatics. Needless to say they are all ecstatic over Trump’s victory.
        Sure, Australia and the USA are just about the worst of the worst, but it is deeply shameful and enraging to be ruled by evil imbeciles. At least the economy is collapsing, which will probably concentrate minds, but most likely to ill effect. How Central Banks can imagine that they will be able to raise interest rates without the huge debt bubbles imploding is beyond me. I expect Trump will turn on the Federal Reserve if they raise rates by more than a smidgin, which will give his private security something to think about, if nothing else. JFK was determined to rein the Fed in, too, one of his many sins. He didn’t like the CIA either.

        Reply
  42. Suzanne

     /  January 16, 2017

    “Giant Middle East Dust Storm caused by a Changing Climate, Not Human Conflict:
    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-01/pues-gme011317.php
    In August 2015, a dust storm blanketed large areas of seven Middle East nations in a haze of dust and sand thick enough to obscure them from satellite view. The storm led to several deaths, thousands of cases of respiratory ailments and injuries, and canceled airline flights and closed ports.

    At the time, the storm’s unusual severity was attributed to the ongoing civil war in Syria by media outlets in the Middle East, Europe and the United States. Reports blamed the conflict for changes in land use and cover — and for activities like increased military traffic over unpaved surfaces and farmers reducing irrigation or abandoning agricultural land — that created extreme amounts of dust to fuel the storm.
    Now, a team of researchers including Elie Bou-Zeid an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton who experienced the storm while in Lebanon, have found a more likely cause for the unprecedented storm — it was not human conflict, but a combination of climatic factors and unusual weather.
    —————————-
    The team warns that if the Middle East becomes more arid in the long term due to climate change, extreme dust storms may become more common, and their impact unavoidable.

    Bou-Zeid and Assouline’s co-authors on the paper, “Climate, not conflict, explains extreme Middle East dust storm,” were Anthony Parolari from Marquette University, Dan Li from Boston University and Gabriel Katul from Duke University.

    Reply
  43. Suzanne

     /  January 16, 2017

    Someone posted this story about the guy living alone up in the mountains..who has kept records for 40 years on the snow pack ….But here is a video about his observations..in his own words. Worth the 5 minutes to watch…

    Reply
  44. Cate

     /  January 17, 2017

    Check out the DMI graph for 2017 to date and compare to 2016. Sun will soon be returning to the Arctic. Meanwhile, the conversation over at the ASIF “Freezing season” thread is focusing on a series of storms in the next week or so that is set to wreak havoc with whatever ice is left up there.

    Reply
  45. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    I am so glad I met all of you. I am so glad RS had the stones to create it.

    Reply
  46. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    I am so glad I met all of you.

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  January 17, 2017

      When I first came here. I was the seal eating the fish. A one act play. So glad to see so many seals.

      Reply
  47. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    You people have no idea, how much I love you.

    Reply
  48. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    Reply
  49. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    “I’m your huckleberry.”

    Reply
  50. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    We are not sheep.

    Reply
  51. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    Reply
  52. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    The movie , turns into a love in.

    Reply
  53. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    I am so alone. . I planned my death 39 years ago,

    Reply
  54. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    I am so alone.

    Reply
    • Bob, we’re with you, man. I know dealing with this stuff is hard, but try not to let it get to you. We’re all in this together.

      We need you to keep us from getting bummed out and browned off, with all the great music and stuff that you post. It makes dealing with this stuff, day after day, tolerable for the rest of us. The greatness of the music reminds us of what we’re fighting for – for all we know the only semi-intelligent life in the galaxy.

      Get some rest, take a break, do whatever you have to do to take care of yourself. Keep us updated on how you’re feeling. We’re in this fight together, and your input has helped make this space the interesting place that it is.

      Reply
    • Love you, man. Hang in there.

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  January 17, 2017

      I agree with Leland. Bob, while it may seem and feel like you’re alone, we are all here with you. I never met DT, but losing him was a crushing blow to my heart. And after years of reading your comments and thoughts day after day I’ve grown to appreciate your wit and wisdom, Colorado Bob. You may feel alone, but you have a lot of friends here that appreciate you and what you contribute to this world. You matter, Bob, and don’t you forget it!!

      Reply
    • labtekjen

       /  January 17, 2017

      Bob, as a constant lurker I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your posts. I often feel alone in my alarm at what is happening to our petri dish. This place reminds me that I am in good company even if on a screen.

      Reply
    • Bob, you are the beating heart of this forum. You bring a much-needed humanity, grit, and clear-minded honesty. We love you, man!

      Reply
  55. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    We live in a world of two hearts. One pumps our blood, one pumps our soul.

    Reply
    • utoutback

       /  January 17, 2017

      C Bob
      As one of my teachers once said: “you are a light in the world.”

      Reply
  56. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    Leland Palmer

    I am right on the edge of riding the little electric shopping carts. Surely little electric shopping carts will keep the bear from eating my ass.

    And little electric shopping carts, are not going to keep the bear off my ass.

    The bear on your ass.
    Just wink ago , not so long ago. The heath plan was , the bear ate your ass.

    This is the way it worked.
    The clan started packing, the old person just sat still.

    The Bear Ate Your Ass.
    The little electric shopping carts, I see fat old people in them everyday. Not one of them are Nobel Prize winners.

    When they talk about how smart we are.
    Only a fraction of us did this.

    Reply
  57. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    The Bear Ate Your Ass.
    The little electric shopping carts, I see fat old people in them everyday. Not one of them are Nobel Prize winners.

    Our health care is the bear that will eat our ass.

    Reply
  58. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    The Bear Ate Your Ass.

    This is why we are so smart.

    Reply
  59. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    Dancing with a bear.

    Reply
  60. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    Most of us are a little brighter than a carrot, As we Expand . Our stupid expands.

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  January 17, 2017

      Who would have thought that the Spoof Comedy “Idiocracy” would turn out to be a prophetic documentary

      Reply
      • There’s an old C.M. Kornbluth science fiction story called “The Marching Morons”, that might be the grandfather of all idiocracy stories. It does so remind me of the new Trumpian reality:

        http://mysite.du.edu/~treddell/3780/Kornbluth_The-Marching-Morons.pdf

        “In the American Senate Chamber, Senator Hull-Mendoza (Synd., N. Cal.)
        was saying: “Mr. President and gentlemen, I would be remiss in my duty as a
        legislature if’n I didn’t bring to the attention of the au-gust body I see here a
        perilous situation which is fraught with peril. As is well known to members of
        this au-gust body, the perfection of space flight has brought with it a situation I
        can only describe as fraught with peril. Mr. President and gentlemen, now that
        swift American rockets now traverse the trackless void of space between this
        planet and our nearest planetarial neighbor in space — and, gentlemen, I refer
        to Venus, the star of dawn, the brightest jewel in fair Vulcan’s diadome — now,
        I say, I want to inquire what steps are being taken to colonize Venus with a
        vanguard of patriotic citizens like those minutemen of yore.
        “Mr. President and gentlemen! There are in this world nations, envious
        nations — I do not name Mexico — who by fair means or foul may seek to wrest
        from Columbia’s grasp the torch of freedom of space; nations whose low living
        standards and innate depravity give them an unfair advantage over the citizens
        of our fair republic.”

        Reply
  61. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    Reply
  62. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    Save the life of my child.

    Reply
  63. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    Reply
  64. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    America…………. What a soup we are.

    Reply
  65. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    Reply
  66. coloradobob

     /  January 17, 2017

    Does anyone know, where love of God goes, when the waves turn the mins. to hours ?

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  January 17, 2017

      It is always there, the footprint in the sand beside you when you face your toughest challenge and your strength is gone he will support you

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  January 17, 2017

        Bob and Abel: my question too, and the answer I try to cling to. The universe is not only queerer than we imagine, it is queerer than we can imagine.

        Reply
        • mulga mumblebrain

           /  January 19, 2017

          JBS Haldane-have you ever read his poem, ‘Cancer is a Funny Thing’, about his own terminal illness? It begins, ‘I wish I had the voice of Homer, To sing of rectal carcinoma,….

  67. PlazaRed

     /  January 17, 2017

    Interesting article in which IKEA have a go at the British Government.
    “Ikea has said it won’t spend a single penny of its mammoth £524m (€600m) green fund in Britain until the government makes it easier to invest in renewable energy.”

    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/companies/ikea-issues-half-a-billion-pound-blow-to-uk-government-over-renewables/ar-AAlWagy?li=BBoPOOl

    Reply
    • Hmm. Looks like the pro-fossil fuel crowd in the British government is faced with a conundrum here. They’ve obviously just cut themselves off at the feet.

      Reply
  68. Vic

     /  January 17, 2017

    Republicans in North Dakota are attempting to introduce legislation that says a driver “who unintentionally causes injury or death to an individual obstructing vehicular traffic on a public road, street, or highway, is not guilty of an offense.”
    The chief proponent was completely candid in expressing that he created the legislation in response to protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline and that his opposition to the U.S. Constitution and its First Amendment-granted rights of free speech, is the result of his mother-in-law being inconvenienced while driving through protests.

    http://www.ecowatch.com/north-dakota-protester-law-2196014182.html

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  January 17, 2017

      Fits
      All about ME should be the Republican Slogan

      Reply
    • Another public view into the heart of darkness provided by our US republican reps…

      Reply
      • Seems pretty consistent with Stand Your Ground (“if I think you’re a threat to me, it’s OK to kill you”). I bet it was also dreamed up by ALEC, the radical right policy group bankrolled by the Kochs and others.

        Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  January 18, 2017

      Vic, these creatures long ago proved that they were psychopaths, but they are devolving downwards into ever more vicious forms. ‘I have seen the future, and it is murder’.

      Reply
  69. Abel Adamski

     /  January 17, 2017

    http://www.sciencealert.com/an-uncomfortably-large-carbon-deposit-has-been-discovered-in-the-congo

    An uncomfortably large carbon deposit has been discovered in the Congo

    Equivalent to 20 years of US greenhouse gas emissions.

    And if its water-logged soil begins to dry out due to land clearing and cultivation, that’s when carbon dioxide will start leaking out into the atmosphere.

    “It’s very remote, but what we’ve seen in south-east Asia is that these once-remote areas have been dried out and converted to oil palm plantations and rice plantations and other forms of industrial agriculture, causing a huge release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere,” Simon Lewis from the University of Leeds in the UK told Reuters.

    “If the Congo Basin peatland complex was to be destroyed, this would release billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.”

    The concern now is that, because the area has only just been mapped, there are currently no conservation plans in place to keep the developers at bay.

    And even if there were, rising global temperatures and reduced rainfall could trigger the drying-out process on their own.

    Reply
  70. Abel Adamski

     /  January 17, 2017
    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  January 17, 2017

      Better article on it here
      http://environmentalresearchweb.org/cws/article/news/67522

      Climate change, not conflict, was cause of Middle East dust storm

      Many newspapers touted the Middle East dust storm of September 2015 as caused by conflict in the region and a sign of an impending Dust Bowl. Now a team from the US and Israel has shown that the storm was instead largely due to historically unprecedented aridity and unusual weather conditions.

      Reply
  71. Abel Adamski

     /  January 17, 2017

    We are one world
    http://environmentalresearchweb.org/cws/article/yournews/52619
    Saharan and Asian dust, biological particles end global journey in California

    UCSD, NOAA study is the first to show that dust and other aerosols from one side of the world influence rainfall in another.

    A field study of aerosol impacts on clouds and precipitation in the Sierra Nevada shows that dust and microorganisms transported from as far away as the Sahara desert help to spur the precipitation that California counts on for its water supply.

    The CalWater field campaign, funded by the California Energy Commission and led by UC San Diego and NOAA, could help western states better understand the future of their water supply and hydropower generation as climate change influences how much and how often dust travels around the world and alters precipitation far from its point of origin.

    Besides dust, aerosols can be composed of sea salt, bits of soot and other pollution, or biological material. Bacteria, viruses, pollen, and plants, of both terrestrial and marine origin, also add to the mix of aerosols making the transcontinental voyage.

    Reply
  72. Abel Adamski

     /  January 17, 2017

    I don’t know if it has been mentioned previously
    http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/1/e1601207
    Assessing recent warming using instrumentally homogeneous sea surface temperature records

    Zeke Hausfather1,2,*, Kevin Cowtan3, David C. Clarke4, Peter Jacobs5, Mark Richardson6 and Robert Rohde2

    These results suggest that reported rates of SST warming in recent years have been underestimated in these three data sets.

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  January 17, 2017

      The more media friendly version
      http://www.businessinsider.com.au/new-study-debunks-strongest-argument-against-global-warming-climate-change-2017-1?r=US&IR=T

      A new study just blew a hole in one of the strongest arguments against global warming

      The oceans are warming up faster than we thought. While this is bad news for the planet, it’s good news for climate change scientists who have — for the last two decades — puzzled over warming trends in ocean surface temperatures for nearly 20 years.

      According to a big chunk of ocean surface temperature recorded by boat, the oceans were not warming nearly as quickly as the rest of the planet. This mystified scientists, but climate change sceptics used it as surefire, “scientific” proof that climate change either wasn’t as bad as scientists thought, or it didn’t exist, at all.

      Now, a new study, published in Science Advances, has confirmed what NOAA first discovered in 2015 — the oceans are indeed warming, and faster than we thought. So why the change? It comes down to what every scientist knows too well — analysing data collected by different methods, and at different times, is a tricky business because some methods of collecting ocean surface temperatures are more accurate than others.

      The new study confirmed that data collected by boats were slightly different than data collected by buoys and satellites. So, when scientists combined all of the data, it skewed the results. To identify what’s really happening, the new study analysed numerous data sets individually — instead of combing them all together.

      They discovered that oceans have been warming about 70% more per decade for the last 19 years than previously thought.

      Reply
  73. Regarding the crack in the Brunt ice shelf mentioned above, there’s a video with drone footage of the crack: http://news.sky.com/video/drone-footage-shows-scale-of-the-antarctic-ice-crack-10731897

    Reply
    • Just WOW. There’s something about the immediacy of that video that makes me physically unwell. And it’s just the beginning…

      Reply
      • Shawn Redmond

         /  January 17, 2017

        “Just wow” indeed. I believe we’ll see more and more of this sort of thing in the coming years. As the ice is undermined at the seaward front it will start to bend downward. This has to put a lot of strain at some point further back from the edge. I’m no engineer but I expect the shear point of ice is fairly low. When you look at the sizes involved here it’s not hard to imagine the forces at play a long way from the open ocean. Depending on where the thinning takes place the stress fractures could show up in places that aren’t intuitive just by looking at it from the sky. The movement of the water at the depths involved to melt the underside of the ice shelves would be determined more by the geography of the ocean floor than atmospheric circulation, I’d guess. At the end of the day this is an under studied area of the globe, mostly because we didn’t think it was going anywhere soon. Well guess again. So pour yourself a good single malt or whatever blows your hair back, and hold on, it’s gonna be one hell of a ride.
        P.S. it’s already quite exciting.

        Reply
        • Ice is a structurally weak substance that doesn’t abide thermal or physical forcing very well at all. Drop ice into a glass of warm water and it will crack. Shear ice cliffs over a height of a few hundred feet are unstable and are destined to collapse. It doesn’t really take much energy to cause ice to destabilize. That’s probably one of the reasons why sea level rise in the past has tended to move in big pulses once the ice sheets get involved.

  74. JoeT

     /  January 17, 2017

    Just a small correction. For a normal distribution, the probability of having a -8 sigma event or lower is 6.2e-16. That means you would have to make measurements of the global sea ice area daily for over 4 trillion years for one such event to occur. Since the age of the universe is under 14 billion years, this is not normal.

    Reply
    • Thanks. I’ll have to re-check my 8 sigma probability extrapolation. Do you get 1 in 6 billion for 6 sigma?

      Reply
      • JoeT

         /  January 17, 2017

        Close. For 6 sigma I get 1 in 1 billion for one-side. Twice that if you do both sides. But since we are looking for the probability that sea ice will be less than 8 sigma (that is the integral of the pdf from -infinity to -8), I’m only doing the one-sided probability. (I’m using MATLAB btw for the calculations).

        Reply
  75. JPL

     /  January 17, 2017

    Folks on one of the ASIF threads have been watching a big low headed into the arctic right now. Looks like it could be trouble for the weakened ice pack:

    http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1611.msg98943.html#msg98943

    Reply
  76. JPL

     /  January 17, 2017

    Global sea ice extent reaches lowest ever level in NSIDC satellite records going back to 1979

    http://greatwhitecon.info/2017/01/global-sea-ice-extent-reaches-lowest-ever-level/#Cyclone

    Reply
  77. That info on the Brits movingtheir research people in Antartica is pretty frightening and amzing. Thank you for that info.
    Not trying to lower morale, but is there anyone out there figuring out if there are signs of the next El Nino yet? This is the one place i can ask such questons and get an intelligent answer.

    Thanks to Robert and all the commentators here, Sheri

    Reply
  78. PlazaRed

     /  January 17, 2017

    The Arctic ice graph is starting to look like a staircase this year, step after step, as Bob would say like a “Staircase to Heaven!” or Hell?
    Meanwhile I think its got to be running about 2 million sq kilometres below average:-

    Reply
  79. PlazaRed

     /  January 17, 2017

    I notice that the serious nattering on the media news has started about the big crack in the Antarctic sea ice sheet. Not only on the “MSN UK,” of all things but on the BBC and the Spanish national news are moaning about it as well.
    Might be the start of the wake up time, just about on the media scene for the presidential over-take, or take-over.

    This is from the Guardian:-
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/17/british-antarctic-station-halley-vi-to-shut-down-winter-crack-in-ice

    Reply
  80. Genomik

     /  January 17, 2017

    I just LOVE that China is trying to aggressively attack pollution by stopping Mf coal even while Trump doubles down on it! China is engaged in a morality war with us and we are LOSING!

    Trump: “Make China Great Again”

    http://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/1/17/14294906/china-cancels-coal-plants

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  January 17, 2017

      I’m not critiquing China on coal, I’m just not so sure that China is in any way morally superior. Here’s how stuff works in China:

      “An air quality monitoring app has been told by Chinese authorities to stop displaying pollution levels that exceed an official cutoff point.” This is because China has decreed an official upper limit on its Air Quality Index. If actual air quality is worse than the prescribed limit, it is not to be reported.

      We all learned from Orwell that the first rule in authoritarian countries is to control information and decree what is true and what is false. Therein lie the cautionary lessons China can teach the West, surely??

      http://mashable.com/2017/01/12/china-caps-air-matters

      Reply
      • Not morally superior to Obama. Probably morally superior to Trump. Probably not morally superior to the U.S. as a whole unless Trump wrecks us completely. I would say that China has been moving in the right direction and that they appear to be putting their coal industry into a big slow-down with many plant closures and cancellations on the way.

        The U.S. is a free democratic country. And this is certainly more desirable than China’s authoritarianism. Russia shows us that authoritarianism is no guarantee of positive climate action. I wouldn’t conflate authoritarianism with effective climate action. That’s an apples and oranges kind of thing. But we should certainly celebrate the fact that China is making positive moves on climate.

        Reply
  81. Cate

     /  January 17, 2017

    Whoa. Check out the big upspike in the DMI mean temp above 80N today, and compare to 2016.

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

    Reply
    • Shawn Redmond

       /  January 17, 2017

      Just lovely, should be about -35 or so and it’s -15 with a series of storms set to pass through. This is shaping up to be some year.

      Reply
    • And we have just now exceeded the peak winter anomaly range for 2016. This winter just keeps getting nuttier and nuttier. All bets off for the summer…

      Reply

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