Abnormal Antarctic Heat, Surface Melt, Giant Cracks in Ice Shelves — More Troubling Signs of a World Tipping Toward Climate Chaos

Around its edge zone, and from glacier top to ice shelf bottom, Antarctica is melting. Above-freezing surface temperatures during the austral summer of 2016-2017 have resulted in the formation of numerous surface-melt ponds around the Antarctic perimeter. Large cracks grow through Antarctic ice shelves as warmer ocean currents melt the towering glaciers from below. The overall picture is of a critical frozen region undergoing rapid change due to the human-forced heating of our world — a warming that has brought Antarctica to a tipping point, for such fundamental alterations to Antarctic ice are now likely to bring about a quickening rate of sea-level rise the world over.

Surface Melt Visible From Satellite

During 2016-2017, Antarctic surface temperatures ranged between 0.5 and 1 degree Celsius above the already warmer-than-normal 1979 to 2000 average for most of Southern Hemisphere summer. While these departures for this enormous frozen continent may not sound like much at face value, they’ve translated into periods of local temperatures up to 20 C above average. As a result, measures around Antarctica along and near the coastal zone have risen above the freezing mark on numerous occasions. These periods of much-warmer-than-normal weather have in turn precipitated widespread episodes of surface melt.

antarctica-ice-shelf-melt-rates

(This Antarctic volume-change melt map, which tracks thinning along various coastal ice shelves from 1994-2012, provides a good geographical reference for ice shelves experiencing surface melt or severe rifting. The Amery Ice Shelf [AME], King Baudouin Ice Shelf [BAU], and the Lazarev Ice Shelf [LAZ], stable through 2012, all showed extensive surface melt this summer. Meanwhile the Larsen C Ice Shelf [LAC] and Brunt Ice Shelf [BRU] both feature large rifts that threaten destabilization. Image source: Volume Loss from Antarctica’s Ice Shelves is Accelerating/Sciencemag.org.)

This year, one region in particular has seen temperatures hitting above 0 C consistently: the valley into which the Lambert, Mellor, and Fisher glaciers flow into the Amery Ice Shelf. There, warming has resulted in the formation of multiple large surface-melt ponds. The below image is a January 22nd NASA satellite shot of an approximate 100-by-40-mile section of this glacial outflow zone. The blue areas are melt ponds, some as large as 3 miles wide and 20 miles long.

The Amery Ice Shelf is one of East Antarctica’s largest. Like many of Antarctica’s ice shelves, Amery is melting, with about 46 billion tons of ice lost from this shelf alone each year. As with other Antarctic ice shelves, Amery’s melt is mostly below the surface, caused by warming ocean waters. However, in recent years, considerable surface melt on Amery’s feeder glaciers likely also contributed to significant volume losses in the shelf.

east-antarctic-surface-melt

(Large melt ponds up to 20 miles long cover glaciers flowing into the Amery Ice Shelf on January 22, 2017. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

Surface melt for Amery has become an increasingly prevalent feature since 2013, with 2017 melt for January 22 the most widespread for any of the past five years in this region. East Antarctica rarely saw large surface melt events prior to the 2000s, and this year’s warming and large melt ponds are a considerable feature. While basal warming is often the cause of the greatest mass losses, surface melt can act like a giant wedge driven into ice shelves, helping to break them up. Melt wedging in glaciers can also increase their forward rate of movement as heat content rises and as the points at which glaciers contact the ground become lubricated.

Moving north toward Dronning Maud Land along the East Antarctic coast, we find another region of surface melt ponding on the King Baudouin Ice Shelf. Nearly as widespread and extensive as the melt on the Amery Shelf’s glaciers, the King Baudouin melt is no less impressive and concerning.

king-baudouin-ice-shelf-melt-summer-2017

(King Baudouin Ice Shelf shows extensive melt ponding along a 40-mile swath of its southwestern corner in January 2017. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

The largest melt zone shows nearly continuous ponding along a 40-mile-wide diagonal near the ice shelf’s southwestern contact point with East Antarctica’s mainland. A smaller section of melt appears as light blue splotches about 60 miles to the west of the larger melt zone in the image above (for reference, bottom edge of frame represents about 250 miles).

Unlike glacial surface ponding near Amery, melt on King Baudouin occurs directly over the floating ice shelf. This form of melt adds greater stresses as the heavy pools of water can act as wedges that drive gaps in the ice apart. Past instances of widespread surface ponding have occurred in conjunction with the rapid break-up of Larsen ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula. Taking a look at past years in the satellite record, we find that this region of King Baudouin has been susceptible to melt since at least 2013. However, the extent of 2017 melt is the greatest in the record for this time of year.

The next ice shelf to the west of King Baudouin, the Lazarev Ice Shelf, shows extensive melt along what appear to be various rifting features streaming out from an open ocean gap where the ice shelf contacts land:

lazarev-ice-shelf-melt-2017

(Ten-mile-long melt ponds visible on the surface of the Lazarev Ice Shelf. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

Over recent years, the ocean gap — visible as a dark section in center-bottom frame of the image above — has slowly grown larger. There, open ocean water has gradually taken up a larger and larger section of Lazarev’s land-contact point. Meanwhile, from 2013 to 2017, melt ponds have tended to radiate out from this open gap region along rifts in the ice shelf structure during summer as air temperatures have risen above freezing.

This year, melt appears to be quite extensive with two parallel 10-mile-long melt ponds filling in rift features with many smaller melt ponds interspersed. The open ocean gap combined with rifts filling with what is now seasonal melt water gives the overall impression of a rather weak structure.

Ice Shelves Cracking Up

Though regions on or near the Amery, King Baudouin and Lazarev Ice Shelves show the most obvious surface melt features, large melt ponds also formed near the Fimbul Ice Shelf. Ponds also formed during a Föhn wind event near the Drygalski Ice Tongue. Even as such instances of surface melt became a more obvious feature across Antarctica, at least two large ice shelves were run through by growing rifts that threatened their stability.

One such rapidly-expanding rift forced the British Halley VI research team to evacuate their base of operations on the floating Brunt Ice Shelf. This rift, which had until late 2016 been growing only gradually, doubled in length in less than three months. Its gaping chasm threatened to cut the expedition off from the Antarctic mainland and set it adrift at sea — forcing an early evacuation as a precaution.

(Drone footage of Brunt Ice Shelf’s rapidly growing crack. From October through early January, the crack doubled in size from 22 kilometers in length to 44 kilometers. Video source: Antarctic Survey.)

Meanwhile, a large crack that will soon result in a 2,000-square-mile iceberg breaking from the Larsen C Ice Shelf recently grew by another six miles to 100 miles long. The Connecticut-sized ice chunk now only hangs by a 15 to 20 mile thread. With the loss of this very large segment of ice, researchers are concerned that Larsen C may destabilize and ultimately succumb to the fate of Larsen A and Larsen B — breaking into thousands of separate icebergs and floating away into the Southern Ocean.

Signs of Melt, Destabilization as More Above-Freezing Temperatures are on the Way

With so many large melt ponds and melt-related rifts forming in Antarctica’s ice shelves, it’s worth considering that these shelves serve as a kind of door jam holding large glaciers back from flooding into the ocean. And as more ice shelves melt and destabilize, the faster these glaciers will move and the faster the world’s oceans will rise.

So much widespread melt and rifting of Antarctica’s ice shelves is a clear warning sign. And if enough of the ice shelves go, then rates of sea-level rise could hit multiple meters this century.

antarctic-warming

(Many locations along the coast of Antarctica will see 5-15 C above-average surface temperatures this week, a continuation of a strong surface melt pressure for the austral summer of 2016-2017. Image source: Climate Reanalyzer.)

This week, another spate of near- or above-freezing temperatures will run along the coastal regions of both east and west Antarctica, so the amazing atmospheric melt pressure that we are now seeing should continue to remain in play at least for the next seven days as austral summer continues. As for the melt pressure coming from the warming ocean beneath the ice shelves — that is now a year-round feature for many locations.

Links:

Climate Reanalyzer

Volume Loss from Antarctica’s Ice Shelves is Accelerating

LANCE MODIS

Antarctic Survey

Rapidly Growing Crack in Brunt Ice Shelf Forces Evacuation of Halley Research Station

Larsen C Ice Shelf Crack Just Grew By Another 6 Miles

Did Föhn Winds Just Melt 2 Miles of Antarctic Surface Ice in Just One Day?

Hat tip to Shawn Redmond

Hat tip to Jeremy in Wales

Hat tip to Colorado Bob

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167 Comments

  1. Shawn Redmond

     /  January 23, 2017

    Starting to get interesting isn’t it!

    http://www.climatecodered.org/2017/01/antarctic-tipping-points-for-multi.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ClimateCodeRed+%28climate+code+red%29

    [In the followup 2016 paper cited above, an updated model produces an 11.3-metre contribution to global mean sea level rise, reflecting a reduction in its sensitivity of about 6 metres relative to the formulation in this paper of ~17 metres, but within the range of plausible sea-level estimates.]
    Phipps, Fogwill and Turney (2016) “Impacts of marine instability across the East Antarctic Ice Sheet on Southern Ocean dynamics”, The Cryosphere, 10:2317–2328
    This research concludes that local melting from the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica “could potentially destabilise the wider Antarctic Ice Sheet” as meltwater rapidly stratifies surface waters so, whilst the surface ocean cools, the Southern Ocean warms by more than 1°C at depth. “The temperature changes propagate westwards around the coast of the Antarctic continent with increasing depth, representing a positive feedback mechanism that has the potential to amplify melting around the continent… Thus, destabilisation of large sectors of the EAIS could arise from warming and melting in just one area.” As well: “Our results suggest that melting of one sector of the EAIS could result in accelerated warming across other sectors, including the Weddell Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet” (emphasis added).

    Some good satellite shots of the Amery and Cape Ann by Tealight at:

    http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1827.msg0.html#new

    The thread is a good read as well

    Reply
    • Erik Frederiksen

       /  January 24, 2017

      The thing is we know these marine ice sheets can go fast. Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica can expose marine terminating ice cliffs taller than El Capitan (1000m) and ice cliffs over 100m in height have been observed to collapse at Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland.

      When a calving front opens at Thwaites the warming oceans can follow that front all the way to the Trans Antarctic Mountains, entraining the retreat of the rest of the WAIS in time scales of centuries to decades. Maybe less . . .

      Reply
    • Interesting and more than a little bit scary… Thanks for the links, Shawn.

      Reply
  2. Erik Frederiksen

     /  January 24, 2017

    Regarding time scales for ice sheet retreat, here is Richard Alley, the glaciologist who the MIT atmospheric physicist Kerry Emanuel described as the world’s foremost expert on the relationship of ice and climate, discussing recent ice sheet model results in 2016.
    At Thwaites Glacier, West Antarctica, “once you get off of the stabilizing sill, whenever that is in West Antarctica, the time scale of getting rid of the West Antarctic [3.3m GMSLR, 4m in the Northern Hemisphere], it’s not centuries, it’s multi-decadal. This is not maybe the best case, it’s not the worst case.”
    At 31:40 in this recommended presentation

    And when might Thwaites get off its stabilizing sill?

    From the NY Times: “When I asked Richard Alley, almost certainly the most respected glaciologist in the United States, whether he would be surprised to see Thwaites collapse in his lifetime, he drew a breath. Alley is 58. ‘‘Up until very recently, I would have said, ‘Yes, I’d be surprised,’ ’’ he told me. ‘‘Right now, I’m not sure. I’m still cautiously optimistic that in my life, Thwaites has got enough stability on the ridge where it now sits that I will die before it does. But I’m not confident about that for my kids. And if someday I have grandkids, I’m not at all confident for them.’’”

    The thing is that’s West Antarctica alone. You’d also have thermal expansion, mountain glaciers and Greenland. 
A more distant problem is the much larger EAIS.

    Reply
    • miles h

       /  January 24, 2017

      really interesting talk… thanks

      Reply
    • I think that once you hit a certain heat loading in the atmosphere and the ocean, then these glaciers really start to get moving. I think this range is probably 1.5 to 2 C above 1880s which is well beyond the Holocene Thermal Maximum and is probably at the top range of the Eemian. The problem is that on the energy imbalance side of the equation, we are moving toward approx 3 C warming long term at present when you consider an approx 430 CO2e total forcing including aerosols and probably 4 C long term warming without the aerosol negative forcing at 490 ppm CO2e approx.

      Alley is an amazing researcher and his movement on the issue has been a confirmation for a number of concerns that have been addressed here over the years. Alley’s generational discussion hints that he’s concerned Thwaites won’t last over the 20-90 year time horizon. If that’s true, and I don’t think he wanted to make such a definitive statement directly at this time, but it’s worth thinking about for the purpose of discussion, then we’re talking about 2-3 meters of sea level rise from just this one glacier over that period. Problem is, you’ve got a number of other glaciers that could double or triple that number (or more) over a similar period.

      Down-thread, the glacial front collapse issue becomes very serious when ice cliff faces exceed 100 meters in height. Ice just can’t hold structural integrity as such a tall cliff face for very long. It is quite brittle to pressure or temperature change and just tends to break. 1 kilometer high ice cliffs falling into the ocean are probably in our future and that is not a comfortable climate condition.

      As bad as ice front collapse is, it’s not the only physical pressure acting on these big glaciers and ice shelves that tends to move them more rapidly. At a certain point, surface conditions also produce amplifying feedbacks for ice movement. Rainfall over glaciers should be a concern, for example. Such a feedback would be tough to model. But it’s another strong forcing. Add in water as ice wedge, the formation of permanent subglacial and supra-glacial lakes behind the ice front, and the fact that large volumes of water held at high altitude facing possible intense future rain events is not something I think we should entirely ignore. The nightmare issue for me is a kind of potential for a cascade of glacial outburst flood events up-glacier to down-glacier. Add in how brittle ice is, and it’s not a fun potential worst case scenario to entertain.

      To be clear, that discussion is speculation at this time. But I think we should be honest and say that there are a lot of risks associated with ice loss and warming over glaciers that present the possibility for the kind of singular events IPCC talks about but doesn’t define, because such events are very tough to pin down in the science for various reasons.

      Reply
  3. coloradobob

     /  January 24, 2017

    Hell of a post.

    Reply
    • Thx, Bob. I was beating myself up to write this one.

      Reply
    • You, Shawn and Jeremy had this in discussion for weeks. Was doing my best to keep tabs on the situation through MODIS analysis and by keeping up on all the news. Putting all the pieces together is where the work always comes in. So thanks for your amazing help, my friend.

      Reply
      • Shawn Redmond

         /  January 24, 2017

        Your more than welcome Robert, great post as always.

        Reply
      • coloradobob

         /  January 24, 2017

        Shawn and Jeremy are doing all the heavy lifting on this observation , I’m just tossing peanuts from the gallery.

        Reply
        • All the research is extraordinarily helpful. So huge thanks to you three. I’ve also probably drawn from a few that I didn’t mention because I might have seen an article or piece of research posted, but failed to recall who dropped it into the forum. So I also want to leave a general big thanks to everyone for continuing to pitch in and make this forum such a useful exchange.

      • Bonjour Robert
        I will publish your article in French on my log, a friend just sent me the translation 🙂
        My latest article was about Jennifer Francis new feedback she and her team in the Arctic
        See it here in a short video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_EzF4k9_QY
        As usual, I will give you credit and link to your blog.
        Thank you very much

        PS. I now get thousands of visitors from the US ever since I joined this rather large G+ community
        https://plus.google.com/communities/103573721476890866382?hl=fr

        Take care

        Jack

        Reply
        • Thanks so much for the note, RandomJack. Glad that you’ve found an outlet for this essential information. Warmest regards and best wishes.

  4. coloradobob

     /  January 24, 2017

    Ice shelves work like backstops, slowing the flow of the glaciers that feed them. When an ice shelf collapses, those glaciers speed up, meaning they send more ice from land to ocean, raising sea levels. In the case of Larsen B, the glaciers that fed it flowed six times faster after its demise.
    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/rift-speeds-up-across-antarctic-ice-shelf-20752

    Reply
    • Erik Frederiksen

       /  January 24, 2017

      According to Richard Alley the glaciers behind Larsen B sped up by a factor of eight, and that if we did likewise to all of Antarctica’s glaciers, sea level rise rates would reach several cms per year. That would mean a retreat from the coastal areas where most of our large cities are located.

      Reply
      • It’s also worth noting that ice loss in Antarctica produces a faster relative rate of sea level rise for the U.S. East Coast in particular…

        The article Bob linked showed a x6 rate of relative velocity change.

        Reply
        • Erik Frederiksen

           /  January 24, 2017

          Thanks, it’s at 23:30 in this recommended video by Alley where he says they sped up eight times.

    • coloradobob

       /  January 24, 2017

      In the case of Larsen B, the glaciers that fed it flowed six times faster after its demise.-

      The pdf of the paper that backs this up –

      Evolution of surface velocities and ice discharge of Larsen B outlet
      glaciers from 1995 to 2013

      Reply
  5. FYI, at the press cconference witn Trumps press secretary , Sean Spicer, a woman reporter near fhe end of the press conference,asked him question about the deteriorating climate situation. She asked something along the lines of the increasingly frightening climate situation and how ths is leading some people to see a threat to human civilisation. It was clearly spoken and easy for me to understand. However, I cant tell you what the answer was if there wasan answer. I was surprised by the question but ws glad she got it out. I dont know what agency she reported for.

    Anotherweek of cold rainy weather in Phoenix. In California, lots of rain and tne NBC eveningnews said it will be a record wet winter for the state. I can believe it but …WTFdid they say after the last 4 years ???????
    Marvelous and riveting report, Robert. Grettings to all the Scribblers.

    Reply
    • That was Sean Spicers MONDAY press conference not the speech he gave to the press on Sunday.

      Reply
    • Thanks for this, Sheri. It’s good to see members of the press starting to ask tough questions on the issue. I hope that more follow suit.

      So a record wet winter follows years of record drought. It’s tough to find a more appropriate anecdote for the kinds of weather extremes that climate change is capable of producing.

      Reply
  6. utoutback

     /  January 24, 2017

    Here’s a fairly comprehensive video on “Charting Irreversible Climate Change with Jason -3” from the NASA video collection.

    Well done. Clear presentation for a general audience.

    Reply
  7. coloradobob

     /  January 24, 2017

    “We keep you live to serve this ship , so row well and live”

    Reply
  8. coloradobob

     /  January 24, 2017

    Quoting 102. Xyrus2000:

    “alternative facts”

    When I watched that it took an incredible amount of self control not to put my fist through my screen.

    It’s the mushroom theory …………….

    “Keep them in the dark and spread lot’s of horse manure on them”

    Reply
  9. coloradobob

     /  January 24, 2017

    Now that we’re all “down the rabbit hole”. Kelly Ann Conway is surely “Alice” , in some porno rip off of the book she’s still eating mushrooms long after she gets “Wonderland”, She paid $3600 , for a coat and a hat that made me think she was going to serve corn dogs last Friday.

    Reply
  10. June

     /  January 24, 2017

    This study is about Arctic melt ponds, but I assume the same mechanism applies to the Antarctic as well.

    “Arctic melt ponds form when meltwater clogs ice pores”

    “The freezing point of the fresh meltwater from snow is zero Celsius,” Golden says. “But the ice itself is maybe -1 or -1.5. The freezing point of seawater is -1.8. So basically, you’re getting this infusion of fresh water and there’s enough cold there to clog up the pores. You’re lowering the permeability of the ice by this process of freezing freshwater plugs into the porous microstructure.” With lowered permeability, the meltwater can form a pool on top of the ice.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170123145213.htm

    Reply
  11. coloradobob

     /  January 24, 2017

    As the mercury soars in Sydney today, spare a thought for the people of Moree in northern New South Wales, who are in the midst of a record-breaking heatwave.

    The town’s residents have sweltered through 27 consecutive days where the temperature has exceeded 35 degrees Celsius — a state record.

    The previous benchmark was 17 days, and the bad news is, there is no respite in sight.

    Link

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  January 24, 2017

      Rob Taggart from the Bureau of Meteorology said the string of sweaty weather in Moree was unprecedented, even for summer.

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  January 24, 2017

      “We’re also forecasting 35 degrees out at Moree for the remainder of the week so it looks like this new record will run out to 34 days in a row.”

      That’s crazy, the new record of consecutive days above 35 is twice as long as the previous record!

      Reply
      • Spike

         /  January 24, 2017

        Yup but when you think of the effect of shifting the normal distribution of temperature to the right it doesn’t surprise as much. Folk generally haven’t twigged that a small change in average means big changes in extremes. We have lots of these surprises coming down the track.

        Reply
      • Nailed it, Ryan and Spike. For reference here is Hansen’s recent extremes graph:

        5 sigma events are now as common as 3 sigma events were in the recent past. The probability of a 3 sigma event is typically 0.03 percent or about 1 in 300. The probability of a 5 sigma event is about 1 in 3.5 million.

        Under Hansen’s estimation, a previous 3 sigma event has moved to about a 14 percent probability or about 1 in 7.

        So a 1 in 3.5 million event has moved to about 1 in 300 and a 1 in 300 event has moved to about 1 in 7.

        Now that’s some loaded climate dice!

        Reply
  12. coloradobob

     /  January 24, 2017

    I fall back to a California fire fighter over a decade ago , who said , “We’ve never seen this before. We used to have a fire season, we burn year round now.”

    For over a decade I intensely followed this man’s words , “We’ve never seen this before”.

    We hear every day now. Pouring in all over the Earth. We hear the same phrase, “We’ve never seen this before”.

    Hell of a book title.

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  January 24, 2017

      Sri Lanka hit by worst drought in decades
      Dry spell affects more than a million people, with authorities warning of more water shortages.
      http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/sri-lanka-drought-170122092517958.html

      Reply
      • coloradobob

         /  January 24, 2017

        These lines of wet and drought seem to getting deeper. More stuck, More fixed. So when they do change, one gets slammed by the polar opposite. California being the prime example.

        One other thing after that , “We’ve never seen this before”.

        “As a system nears a tipping point , it tends to move to the extremes. There it get’s “stuck”, before wildly swinging back to the other extreme. “

        When the tipping point comes, you are stuck . We are in a new world. And that thing is coming like a cross town bus.

        Reply
      • And the hydrological crises have just shifted to a different distribution. Wet extremes where it was dry before with new dry extremes popping up.

        Reply
    • Great title. I think you’ll probably see it, Bob. 😉 Lots of lurkers here looking for a scoop.

      Reply
  13. coloradobob

     /  January 24, 2017

    When the tipping point comes, you are stuck . We are in a new world. And that thing is coming like a cross town bus.

    Reply
  14. coloradobob

     /  January 24, 2017

    The step out of the Holocene into the Anthropocene is not going to be easy .

    If I was younger , I would be chewing , now I gum it.

    Reply
  15. coloradobob

     /  January 24, 2017

    The most important things I know , go with me. And I know so much. I surely hope I sparked some of you.

    Reply
    • My bet is you outlast all of us, Bob. I, for one, am very happy to see your continuous reminders of things that should have been widely communicated decades ago. It’s refreshing to me. We need more of humanity to be like you, Bob. Too bad you’re one of a kind. But those of us here who have an ounce of wisdom know how lucky we are to share this space with you.

      Reply
  16. coloradobob

     /  January 24, 2017

    When the tipping point comes, you are stuck . We are in a new world. And that thing is coming like a cross town bus.

    Reply
  17. coloradobob

     /  January 24, 2017

    Simon & Garfunkel – Save The life Of My Child

    Reply
  18. coloradobob

     /  January 24, 2017

    “Save the life of my child , cried the desperate mother. “

    Reply
  19. coloradobob

     /  January 24, 2017

    Simon & Garfunkel – America

    Reply
  20. coloradobob

     /  January 24, 2017

    In 1967 I was a house boy for art students at Taos. I was a terrible house boy . But I was living in Taos. I learned every thing I could . We were ahead of Dennis Hopper, and way behind of Maybel Dodge.

    Reply
  21. Andy_in_SD

     /  January 24, 2017

    Another aspect of the melt water ponds and their intrusion into the ice through pores and cracks. Water, being the fascinating material that it is, contracts as you coll it, until it hits 4 degrees Celsius. Then as you cool it further, it expands.

    In the cracks, nooks and crannies, it behaves as a wedge as it cools below 4C.

    Reply
  22. Andy_in_SD

     /  January 24, 2017

    Henry Louis Mencken, a prominent newspaperman and political commentator during the first half of the 20th century writing for the Baltimore Evening Sun on 26 July 1920 on the position of President:

    “As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

    Reply
  23. coloradobob

     /  January 24, 2017

    This is what i learned since then ,

    Taos had great trade fair for hundreds years . In !777 the Comanches came , with Spanish slaves.

    Then and I when and looked at the .
    Pecos , the king of the old world in New Mexico

    The Pecos rules .

    Reply
  24. sidd

     /  January 24, 2017

    Amery is one of my fears for East Antarctica. The surface of the ice sheet is concave in that basin, which is indicative of weak bed and fast sliding. A paper by Fogwill et al. (2014,doi:10.1002/jqs.2683) states:

    “We propose that the sensitivity of these sectors of the ice sheet relates to two major factors: firstly the coincidence of EAIS basins with concave ice-sheet surface profiles; secondly, the basins’ connectivity to the ocean. The basins’ bed topography and ice-sheet geometry control the mass flux from the ice sheet; those which have a weak or sliding bed have a faster flow regime, resulting in a concave surface profile (Cuffey and Paterson, 2010). In contrast, basins where ice is flowing slowly with little or no basal sliding exhibit a parabolic, or convex, surface profile and much lower ice fluxes. Our results imply that basins with concave surface profiles are particularly susceptible to ocean forcing, bringing about greater rates of surface lowering than in other areas …”

    “Similarly, the extensive Lambert/Amery Basin is connected to the open ocean through the Amery Ice Shelf into Prydz Bay and, as with the EAIS outlets in the eastern Weddell Sea, the basin has a concave profile which continues deep into the interior of the ice sheet …”

    link to a comment on the arctic sea ice forum Fogwill(2014) fig 7 from Amery:

    https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=263.0;attach=12265;image

    But Thwaites will probably go first, i think.

    sidd

    Reply
  25. Gillian M Arnot Smith

     /  January 24, 2017

    I’ve been lurking and enjoying your blog since doing the MOOG course on Climate Science, and recently watching polar ice with dismay. Thanks for the coherent narrative, though I.d rather the long melt pools were a figment of the imagination.
    Small point – has anyone looked at the Ross Ice Shelf front? It appears to be developing a rift halfway across. Compare Jan 21 & 22.
    GillianMAS

    Reply
  26. Moderator

     /  January 24, 2017

    Ocean rise means weight redistribution and more earthquakes happening now. Fluid does not compress.

    Reply
    • It does add stress to the continental margins. This can tend to increase some forms of earthquake risk. Slope collapse along the continental margin is one geophysical issue that has been raised in relation to sea level rise.

      Reply
      • trillions of tons of Ice melt in the past 5 years and the five before and the five before that is more than continental shelf margin pressure, remember the earth is only <8000 miles in diameter

        Reply
  27. Reblogged this on ObsessedwithBirds Writing and commented:
    Not good…

    Reply
  28. coloradobob

     /  January 24, 2017

    Cheetoe Boy is not a fool, he is a pathological narcissus . A much stranger animal.

    Reply
  29. Abel Adamski

     /  January 24, 2017

    https://www.inverse.com/article/26784-cdc-climate-change-summit-cancel-donald-trump

    The Center for Disease Control and Prevention was supposed to hold a big summit on climate change next month in Atlanta, but the CDC suddenly and silently cancelled the event without much in the way of explanation or fanfare on Monday.

    Reply
  30. Shawn Redmond

     /  January 24, 2017

    I don’t know if this will work or not but the the map below was posted by logicmanPatrick at ASIF and shows average summer sea ice extend in the Arctic in 1939. You gotta wonder what the Antarctic looked like then?

    /Users/shawnredmond/Downloads/Arctic map_1939.jpg

    Reply
  31. Shawn Redmond

     /  January 24, 2017

    Bingo!

    Reply
  32. Shawn Redmond

     /  January 24, 2017

    Again I draw attention to the insurance industry. They have the biggest stake in CC and the coming SLR. They are in no rush to lose their shirts. This thing is very real for them and we’ll feel their pain in our wallets soon enough.

    http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2016/04/12/405089.htm
    Davidson said recent data that has been collected but has yet to be made official indicates sea levels could rise by roughly 3 meters or 9 feet by 2050-2060, far higher and quicker than current projections. Until now most projections have warned of seal level rise of up to 4 feet by 2100.

    These new findings will likely be released in the latest sets of reports on climate change due out in the next few years.

    “The latest field data out of West Antarctic is kind of an OMG thing,” she said.

    Reply
    • So this relates to a previous reply I made to Mulga. My point is that I think it’s likely the base scientific estimates for the amount of sea level rise that’s coming will jump a bit higher in the coming assessments — even by IPCC.

      Reply
  33. Ryan in New England

     /  January 24, 2017

    Really well done post, Robert.

    Just want to point out that since the calendar has changed from 2016 to 1984, we fellow Scribblers need this precious space now more than ever (not that this place hasn’t been a treasure from day one). We have our new Propaganda Minister informing the public that our eyes and ears cannot be trusted and we need to rely on the President to tell us what to believe. We have the administration telling us that they have alternative facts, and that sources like CNN are not to be trusted because they are “fake news”. Things have become so bizarre and Orwellian that I desperately need the validation I get from coming here and being reminded that objective reality still exists. And I feel less alone when I am among fellow concerned citizens and friends who still live here in the real world. It’s a sad state of affairs when simply acknowledging reality is cause for celebration.

    Lately I feel like I’m the last sane person left on Earth…until I come here.

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  January 24, 2017

      Well said, Ryan. Ditto me.

      Reply
    • So the worst thing that could happen to us at this time is to become isolated. You are not alone, Ryan. In fact, I think you are in the majority. It’s just that the forces that divide us and confuse us have become so strong that this kind of quiet desperation is becoming more and more common.

      When civilization comes under threat, it’s critical to have a safe place where knowledge can be freely exchanged and an unobstructed observation of history — as is — can be made. You are a part of that. Everyone who comes here brings a piece of that critical resiliency along with them. So thank you, Ryan.

      Reply
    • humanistruth

       /  January 24, 2017

      It’s a sad state of affairs when Cracked and The Onion and are more trustworthy than the Office of the President.

      Reply
    • Ailsa

       /  January 24, 2017

      A sign of growing awareness, “Sales of George Orwell’s 1984 surge after Kellyanne Conway’s ‘alternative facts’.

      “Comments made by Donald Trump’s adviser have been compared to the classic dystopian novel, pushing it to become the sixth best-selling book on Amazon.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jan/24/george-orwell-1984-sales-surge-kellyanne-conway-alternative-facts

      Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  January 25, 2017

      Ryan, Trumpismo will fail, quickly and catastrophically, because he is plainly not in his right ‘mind’. If you believe in the ‘mind’, that is. However he was programmed, his seeming belief that his gargantuan ego can simply cancel out the laws of physics and the reality of climate destabilisation, is plainly insane, as an earlier Croesus could tell the current one. Certainly he has surrounded himself with similar loons, and the Democrats are doing their best not to impede his regress so far,but reality has a tendency to render egomaniacal delusions null. The very extremity of his actions will provoke a reaction, not just in the USA, but abroad. It might even cruel the chances of Trump clones in European elections, which Le Pen et al will regret.
      One beneficial effect will be to encourage people to gather together and finally do something concrete themselves, like communal gardens, tree planting, community renewable energy resources, permaculture blitzes to redesign gardens to produce food and sequester carbon. car-sharing etc, etc, etc.. Waiting for politicians who are owned by Big Business to do something concrete to affect the biggest industry on Earth, fossil fuels, upon which the whole capitalist superstructure rests, was always a losing strategy. The time has come to do away with such foolish diversions, like arguing for ‘market mechanisms’ to solve our problems, or appeal to the good graces of ‘progressive’ billionaires. The whole system is implicated in this calamity, and has to be restructured from top to bottom. Anything less will repeat the efforts of the last forty years, which have achieved bugger all.

      Reply
      • nwkilt

         /  January 25, 2017

        References to Croesus’ legendary power and wealth, often as a symbol of human vanity, are numerous in literature. An example is the following by Isaac Watts from the poem titled “False Greatness”:

        “Thus mingled still with wealth and state,
        Croesus himself can never know;
        His true dimensions and his weight
        Are far inferior to their show.”

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

        Reply
        • mulga mumblebrain

           /  January 26, 2017

          Odd that later, Crassus, so similar in sound to Croesus, was the richest Roman, until he found the Parthians rather tougher nuts than Spartacus’s slaves. I’d hate, really, Trump to suffer a fate similar to that of Crassus. Really.

  34. Spike

     /  January 24, 2017

    More worrying sea level projections beginning to creep in:

    “In order to bound the set of GMSL rise scenarios for year 2100, we assessed the most up-to-date scientific literature on scientifically supported upper-end GMSL projections, including recent observational and modeling literature related to the potential for rapid ice melt in Greenland and Antarctica. The projections and results presented in several peer-reviewed publications provide evidence to support a physically plausible GMSL rise in the range of 2.0 meters (m) to 2.7 m, and recent results regarding Antarctic ice sheet
    instability indicate that such outcomes may be more likely than previously thought.”

    https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/publications/techrpt83_Global_and_Regional_SLR_Scenarios_for_the_US_final.pdf

    Reply
    • Thanks for this, Spike. Very relevant to previous discussion.

      Reassessing my own ranges… Looking at 3-9 feet for mid Century and 6 to 18 feet for end Century at this time. It’s worth noting that since the science is starting to take measure of rapidly changing conditions, that we need to change to forecast to include the more likely higher range estimates.

      Reply
  35. Cate

     /  January 24, 2017

    Stunning work, as ever, Robert. Thanks to Shawn, Jeremy, and Bob for finding the pieces, and to you for fitting them all together into a coherent picture. What a team! 🙂

    Interesting report out today of a study carried out in the Bering and Chukchi in the fall of 2015, into refreeze processes and in particular the effects of wind and wave action. The purpose was to improve weather forecasting as well as “long-term climate scenarios.”

    I also like that this rather technical piece is quite accessible for those of us who lack a strong science background.

    https://eos.org/project-updates/the-balance-of-ice-waves-and-winds-in-the-arctic-autumn

    Reply
  36. Spike

     /  January 24, 2017

    Nice visualisation of Svalbard’s permafrost warming https://twitter.com/ketil_isaksen/status/823788018213552128

    Reply
    • Going to try to post the animation here:

      The 2016 line is pretty crazy. Unfortunately, there are many locations that are experiencing a similar rate of permafrost thaw. Not really a good set of instances. We probably get at least a measurable and warming-contributing carbon feedback coming from this thaw when added together throughout the Arctic.

      Reply
  37. climatehawk1

     /  January 24, 2017

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  38. June

     /  January 24, 2017

    Thanks for this, Cate. This is the kind of research needed to improve scientists’ understanding of arctic sea ice dynamics, which should lead to improved climate models.

    Reply
  39. June

     /  January 24, 2017

    I’m so glad to see this…it will be an essential tool in the fight.

    “Climate Regulations Under a Watchful Internet Eye”

    Bracing for a rollback, website run by Columbia Law School alerts any time President Trump or Congress change a rule involving climate change or energy.

    https://insideclimatenews.org/news/23012017/climate-change-regulations-donald-trump-columbia-law-school

    Reply
    • Fantastic! Very important tool and one that the media should use as fodder for watchdog articles on this administration. We should have a lot of those coming.

      Reply
  40. Suzanne

     /  January 24, 2017

    Hi fellow Scribblers. Just wanted to tell you all how absolutely fantastic the March on Washington was on Saturday. It was so healing and energizing. I am so glad that I went (though the 17 hours on the bus wasn’t exactly my favorite part…LOL). It was just so amazing..something I will remember until the day I die. My husband went to our local rally which he reported was just as great, with thousands more than they expected. In Miami, they filled Bayfront to the max, 10,000, with hundreds left outside where they marched in the streets…YEAH!!

    Now, it is time to turn this “March into a Movement”. I am sharing the website where the mission is “10 Actions in 100 Days” https://www.womensmarch.com/

    The funniest part was because it was so, so crowded I never saw the speakers. We couldn’t get close enough to the stage or the mega screen, but it didn’t matter. There were mini parades..and I mean dozens of them marching with chants and signs all around the Mall. Everyone was smiling..relaxed and happy. I did not see one ugly incident, which is saying a lot since we were crowded in like sardines and moving through the crowds where accidentally stepping on toes was met with “no problem”. Just a phenomenal experience.

    Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  January 24, 2017

      I had to come home to see the rally I attended on youtube..LOL. One interesting fact, the elderly man at the beginning, was the man who had up until this year been the M.C of the Presidential parades since Eisenhower. He was told in a email by the Trump Transition team that his services were not required. They replaced his with a Trump donor.
      It was great that the Women’s March got him to introduce the rally.

      Reply
      • Ailsa

         /  January 24, 2017

        I watched online – incredibly inspiring, so great to see such a huge turnout, such positivity and possibility, wish I could have been there. Here’s what the wonderful Sandi Toksvig said in London:

        Reply
      • Cate

         /  January 24, 2017

        Suzanne, I watched it all on TV, switching between Canadian and American stations. It looked amazing but even more astonishing were the feeds coming in from all over the planet as similar crowds poured out onto the streets of cities and towns everywhere, in the name of equality and justice and democracy and all the other issues we little folks have always had to fight for. It must have been truly wonderful to be there and be part of that. I’m glad and grateful for the “march into movement” project which I hope will harness all the positive human energy and good will that’s been stirred into action against this madman.

        Reply
        • mulga mumblebrain

           /  January 25, 2017

          It is vital that the outrage at Trump’s rise be turned into a victory in 2018 to stymie him in Congress, and the election of Democrats who’ll fight, not ‘reach out’ to the lunatics. I’d like to see the Democrats declare that all public lands sold off by the Republicans will be compulsorily re-acquired, too, and a continuing legal assault of questionable Trump policies and actions. That’s where the billionaires might prove useful, in financing such ‘grit’ in the wheels of the juggernaut. And the MSM Trump enablers and climate disinformers must be targeted, with boycotts of advertisers, I would say, being the most likely tactic to succeed. It’s time to fight as if our lives depend on it-because they do.

    • See. When millions of compassionate, caring people get together, it can make a difference. Thank you for being one of them, Suzanne. I understand that 5 million are estimated to have participated around the world. So the 1 million woman march is now the 5 million person march for women 🙂

      Reply
  41. Suzanne

     /  January 24, 2017

    Trump to advance Keystone, Dakota Access pipelines…
    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/01/trump-to-advance-keystone-dakota-access-pipelines-administration-official/

    U.S. President Donald Trump will sign two executive actions on Tuesday to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, an administration official said, rolling back key Obama administration environmental policies in favor of expanding energy infrastructure.

    Reply
    • Ailsa

       /  January 24, 2017

      Yep, here it is, he’s done it.

      Signed onto starting DAPL again, also building the pipes in the US, streamlining the regulatory process, and cutting back environmental planning…

      Reply
    • So the fight over DAPL is on again. And the national situation has just gone into a much higher gear. Here we can see that the real Trump agenda is — wrecking the climate and critical U.S. water and land resources along with it.

      Reply
      • The DAPL fight was never over. From the NY Times: US District Court Judge James Boesberg denied DAPL attorneys’ request for a Temporary Restraining Order to block publication in the Federal Register of the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) Notice of Intent for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Lake Oahe crossing. Therefore, the one-month public comment period is open until 20 February. ACE asks for comments on 1)alternative locations for the pipeline crossing the Missouri River; 2)potential risks and impacts of an oil spill, and potential impacts to Lake Oahe, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s water intakes, and the Tribe’s water, treaty fishing, and hunting rights; and 3)information on the extent and location of the Tribe’s treaty rights in Lake Oahe. Stand with Standing Rock. Water Is Life!

        Reply
        • Thanks, Panda. I agree. The last weeks of Obama provided a brief respite in what many of us thought would be a long-term struggle. Now the fight is back and more dire than before.

  42. islandraider

     /  January 24, 2017

    EPA Freezes Grants, Tells Employees Not To Talk About It, Sources Say

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/environmental-protection-grants-staff_us_5886825be4b0e3a7356b575f?

    EPA staff has been instructed to freeze all its grants ― an extensive program that includes funding for research, redevelopment of former industrial sites, air quality monitoring and education, among other things ― and told not to discuss this order with anyone outside the agency, according to a Hill source with knowledge of the situation.

    An EPA staffer provided the information to the congressional office anonymously, fearing retaliation.

    Reply
    • Again, yet one more reason why you don’t want a climate change denier who supports polluting industries as President… With the freezing of these grants, the U.S. just became a less healthy place to live for us all. Less clean water, less clean air, increasing rates of chronic illness, increasing environmental toxicity, more harm to wildlife and forests, more choking crap emitted from coal and gas plants and tailpipes. Heart attacks, cancer, and emphysema all voted for Trump and Trump is now about to deliver to that particular special interest group…

      Reply
    • Cate

       /  January 24, 2017

      Eric Holthaus tweeted: “This is the emergency we were all worried about.”

      Reply
      • The man is a walking, talking atrocity generator. My response is here:

        Please feel free to post any of your own comments to this forum.

        Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  January 25, 2017

      That’s real police state territory, already, silencing people as if they were slaves. Arresting journalists at the Women’s March, after ‘kettling’ demonstrators, in order to provoke violence, is another sign of things to come. The good, bad, thing is that Trump’s egomania is so huge that resistance will inflame his rage so that he must over-reach. It’s written in his DNA and upbringing.

      Reply
    • Hugh Campbell

       /  January 25, 2017

      This tactic was used earlier by Canada’s Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party, along with the destruction of some science libraries. It was reversed within days of the Liberal Party taking power, under current PM Justin Trudeau.

      Reply
      • Dan Taylor

         /  January 26, 2017

        And the library data is gone for good. I read that the destruction was a criminal event and harper was never arrested.

        Reply
  43. Dan Taylor

     /  January 24, 2017

    Robert, I was wondering if I could ask a question?
    Sea surface temperatures are rising (supposedly overall they should be 17 degrees celsius) and thus dissolved oxygen decreases. Numerous stories about fish migrations can be found. Big alga blooms are being reported. Thus one gets the impression that the seas are being stressed.
    I am reading a book called ” Four billion years and counting. Geologic History of Canada”. Not an easy read. In a section on the Eocene when things are really warm and sea surface temperatures maybe 20 to 30 degrees celsius, it talks about the seas being full of life.
    This is the opposite of what I would expect. I do have a degree in chemistry but I am certainly unqualified in the many fields of science needed to answer this question. I was hoping that you may have thought about this oddity and found an answer among your many contacts.
    As an aside note, when the world was much warmer, one has to wonder what the storms would have been like. Another interesting book on mass extinctions is “Rivers in time”.

    My wife goes to earthquake.usgs.gov every day. She was wondering if you or others had noticed the increase in earthquakes in the central USA in the last month or so. I believe the fracking drillers have increased their activity now that oil is rising in price.

    Thank you Robert for your blog. I pass it on to a number of Canadian politicians but I doubt it even gets read.
    It is also sad that world wide we have poor governance. Syria had a severe climate change driven drought and poor governance and look how that turned out. Climate change and poor governance is a bad combination. Finally at the age of 65 I fully realize just how corrupt and poorly governed we are and that it has always been so. I have been a slow learner.
    Thank you again and hopefully you can answer my question.

    Reply
    • miles h

       /  January 24, 2017

      the seas were full of life until very recently. even to the early 20th century fishermen would talk of the entire seas to the visible horizon being so dense with fish that it would shimmer…. it was said that you could literally walk across the sea on the backs of large cod shoals in the grand banks off newfoundland.
      perhaps the extinction in the oceans is largely a product of our own rapaciousness, with current climate-induced declines merely mopping up the last remnants? perhaps a non-ravaged ocean could take quite a climatic battering over a much slower period of change and still be abundant? the timescale of the eocene changes might even allow for populations to move or evolve sufficiently to cope with a changed oxygenation and chemistry.
      im speculating… perhaps someone here actually KNOWS!? 🙂

      Reply
    • So the Eocene followed an ocean mass extinction event called the PETM at the Paleocene/Eocene boundary. After the event, it took the oceans tens of thousands of years to recover to previous diversity of ocean bottom dwelling foramanifera. As the world cooled slowly through the Eocene, more life was able to take hold. The mass extinction had already winnowed out the life that was vulnerable to heat and low oxygen bottom conditions. So once life took hold again, it entered non-competitive environments and diversified. Anoxic bottom conditions faded through the period — which opened pristine habitats for adventurous organisms.

      The primary mechanism for PETM extinction appears to be anoxic bottom water conditions due to warming which wiped out 35 to 50 percent of the benthic foraminifera over the course of approx 1,000 years.
      According to research, this group suffered considerably more than during the dinosaur-slaying K-T extinction.

      On the other hand, planktonic foraminifera diversified, and dinoflagellates bloomed. The microbes appeared to thrive in the warmer waters and this likely contributed to stresses to higher ocean organisms as various algae blooms proliferated. And this is a key point for warming — microbial organisms that thrive in low oxygen environments and that tend to be more toxic to higher life forms expand through the oceans during warming events. This is not a ‘good’ result from the point of view of advanced organisms — as larger microbial blooms include life, but a form of life that tends to kill off present life. In other words, during major ocean warming events, the microbes win and the advanced life loses.

      As ocean extinctions go, the PETM was not a major extinction event. But ocean stress, due to loss of oxygen, and loss of bottom dwelling creatures was very widespread in the fossil record.

      The potential stress to the global ocean system is likely worse than during the PETM overall under continued fossil fuel burning in the present context. You have anoxic blooms due to human-based run-off, you have changes in ocean circulation due to glacial melt, you have falling ocean oxygen levels already, and you have the potential to acidify the ocean at a rate never before seen. In addition, you have the potential under BAU fossil fuel emissions to see the same amount of warming that occurred during the PETM in just 1-3 Centuries and greater amounts of warming long term. Glaciated start states at the terrestrial level will tend to add to the eutrophication pressure due to a shut-down of ocean overturning circulation as fresh water lenses spread out over the surface. Switch to a stratified ocean state could occur by as soon as mid 21st Century and the potential to transition to a Canfield Ocean state over as little as 1-3 Centuries is a risk. This was not the case during the PETM.

      I’ve argued that a better parallel can be drawn to the Permian than to the PETM for present potential warming under BAU fossil fuel burning. Factors that support this hypothesis are the fact that the Earth would transition from a glaciated state to a deglaciated state in rather short order — adding to anoxic stress, the fact that present rates of warming are ten times faster than during the PETM, the fact that ocean acidification will be worse than during any past period in the geological record, the fact that deglaciation will put a lid on oxygen exchange through the ocean surface and mixing with the deep waters, and the fact that human activity has already stressed key ocean systems and gotten the destructive eutrophication process started.

      My personal opinion is that we do not want to travel down this path. It was the path that led to the worst of the worst extinctions in the deep past. And the likely killing mechanisms are terrible and nasty.

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  January 25, 2017

        Robert, thank you for your clear and informative answer (to this and any question you answer). It doesn’t matter who asks the question, when you provide the answer we all become a little more informed 😉

        Reply
    • Tigertown

       /  January 25, 2017

      Wastewater disposal at conventional oil wells cause most of the quakes, as opposed to fracking.

      https://earthquake.usgs.gov/research/induced/myths.php

      Reply
  44. My fellow scribblers, we are not the only sane ones left, I know at least 5 outside this blog. there have got to be more but we might be afraid to talk to just anyone for fear of being shot down or just the general insanity about everthing these days. With the orders given tomthe EPA I feel and hear the ripping sounds of the underpinnings of the human world, as opposed to the earth, coming apart. Obviously, the earth is suffering, too, but it will still be here after we are gone. Treat yourselves with compassion and what living things are within your reach.
    Yes, it is kind of Eastern philosophy but it exists in all the spiritual practices am familiar with.

    My brother came to visit for a week and wealways get along so well, but this week I have to face reality and it seems very heavy especially today. Hecertainky is with us here about climate change but thinks it is still very far away, after he and I are gone.

    Sheri

    Reply
    • I think there are many who are like your brother. It’s primarily due to a failure to communicate risk. I think we are getting better at it. Not just here, but in many places. And I think that the level of concern is rising.

      Reply
  45. Why storms are becoming more dangerous as the climate warms. January 24, 2017
    U. of Houston. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170124111330.htm

    “Now we can investigate the Lorenz energy cycle of the global atmosphere during the past 35 years, using satellite-based observations,” he said.
    While the researchers reported that the total mechanical energy of the global atmosphere remains constant over time, there has been a significant increase in what they describe as “eddy energies,” or the energies associated with storms, eddies and turbulence.
    Li said the positive trends for eddy energies were especially pronounced in the southern hemisphere and over parts of Asia, and the researchers point out that intensifying storm activity over the southern oceans and increasing drought in Central Asia contribute to the positive trends.

    “This is a new perspective to explain global warming from an energy standpoint,” he said.

    Reply
  46. Reading Robert’s article and watching the video of Richard Alley, it’s like getting old… Past a certain age, a certain point, you begin to see how it all ends. We may discuss the details, but general truths become obvious. ((On that cheery note…!!))

    Reply
  47. Shawn Redmond

     /  January 24, 2017

    If John Feffer’s view is anywhere close to right, and it probably is, things are going to get even more interesting fast:

    As Donald Trump settles into the Oval Office this week, say goodbye to the one-worlders of the Obama-Clinton years and say hello to a new era of the one-percenters. America’s oligarchs will profit handsomely from the administration’s infrastructure program, its reconfigured trade deals, and its accelerated emphasis on resource extraction.

    For the rest of us, much pain will accompany the birth of this new nationalist world order, this confederacy of oligarchs. The world urgently needs a new generation of democratic internationalists — or there won’t be much of a world left when Trump and his cronies get through with it.

    http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176234/tomgram%3A_john_feffer%2C_a_globalism_of_the_1%25/#more

    Reply
    • So I think that they’ll have a hard time with the resource extraction piece. Oil, gas and coal prices are low, the competitors are multiplying, and the resistance is intensifying. Risk for the extractive industries has never been higher than it is today.

      Reply
    • Shawn Redmond

       /  January 24, 2017

      As I watched the news this evening,( Trudeau mentions FF and CC in the same sentence and no Q&A about that paradox), and read the entries and links here it becomes unnervingly clear that things have basically gone down the shitter. I’m sitting here thinking that our best hope is for a long line of severe and devastating storms to cause enough damage to basically bankrupt our governments as our only hope at saving the biosphere. Great post Robert should be required reading for every freshman on the planet. Yeah I know, go get a scotch!

      Reply
      • mulga mumblebrain

         /  January 25, 2017

        Trudeau is the fake ‘alternative’ that produces Trumps, and keeps the oligarchs in control. The secret of ‘capitalist democracy’ is that the system is egalitarian-every dollar has an equal vote.

        Reply
  48. islandraider

     /  January 24, 2017

    To those of us that are feeling frustrated, angry and/or powerless:

    Action is the antidote to despair.

    Pick a topic & call your US Senators and Representatives today. Ask them (the staffer you get to talk to) questions, make your expectations clear. It could go something like this:

    “Hi. My name is ** and I live in ** (make sure it really is your rep). I wanted to leave a message for Senator **. I want to encourage the Senator to block and obstruct the Trump administration in every way possible! It makes me very upset with the Democratic Party when I see 14 Democratic Senators have signed on with all but one Republican to confirm Mike Pompeo as CIA chief. The man wants to expand torture & surveillance, and I do not want him in control of one of our intelligence agencies. I want to see my Democratic Party acting as one united front to block and obstruct any actions that the Trump administration puts forth. Take a page from old Mitch McConnell’s playbook! Remember on Barack’s first day in office, McConnell publicly stated that his goal was to make Obama a one term president & block anything he tried to do. Well, Barack got his two terms, but was able to accomplish little. If the Democrats are united, we can maybe avoid some of the damage! The Democrats need to block & obstruct the Trump administration. Get creative & if necessary, get nasty. Thank you for your time & thank you for all the good work you do.”

    Be polite & professional. If your rep is an ‘R’, your conversation will look much differently than this example, but make the call nonetheless. Find something to call about every day. Call every day. With the Women’s March fresh in the minds of many of us, it is my hope that the phone lines are clogged every day!

    *****I would welcome other ideas… We need action. Chronicling our descent is really pissing me off.

    If you don’t know how to contact your representatives, this link will help (at least until Trump comes up with the idea to take it down; don’t want to hear from the pesky people, ya know):

    https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials

    Reply
    • cushngtree

       /  January 24, 2017

      Thank you for that link! Just created contacts for both my senators in NH

      Reply
    • Thanks for this, Raider. It’s worth noting that we can all be a lobbist for the causes near and dear to us. It just takes action — often just picking up the phone. If you feel helpless — don’t be. Do something. Speak out. If you speak to a politician, you are being heard. And the more of us that speak, the more the politicians will realize that we are active. That we are sitting up and paying attention. That we have become a part of the process. And that there will be an accounting for their actions — good, bad, or otherwise.

      Reply
  49. Cate

     /  January 24, 2017

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/dinograndoni/trump-usda

    “The US Department of Agriculture has banned scientists and other employees in its main research division from publicly sharing everything from the summaries of scientific papers to USDA-branded tweets as it starts to adjust to life under the Trump administration, BuzzFeed News has learned.”

    Reply
    • The war on science has just escalated to a never before seen level. This is the very real new McCarthyism. But instead of the Russians Trump is involved in a witch hunt against knowledge itself.

      Reply
      • mulga mumblebrain

         /  January 25, 2017

        At least the Chinese and Indians won’t go down this path. We are lost in obscurantism and irrationality in Australia, alas, with a regime of bunyip Trumps ecstatic at his rise, and (does this sound familiar) an Opposition that refuses to oppose or make a principled stand, apparently frozen into immobility by the threat of a Murdoch MSM hate campaign.

        Reply
    • Greg

       /  January 25, 2017

      Governmental Crysis

      Reply
  50. Cate

     /  January 24, 2017

    Bill McKibben again, in Rolling Stone this time, at full rolling boil. Move over, Denial, and welcome Fossil Fuel Infatuation! Good writing is a beautiful thing. Bill, this rocks.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/bill-mckibbens-battle-plan-for-the-planets-climate-crisis-w462680

    Reply
  51. Jeremy in Wales

     /  January 24, 2017

    Blimey! Thanks for the hat-tip, sure it was induced out of pity for my poor computer skills – 4 attempts to post a link!

    Brilliant post by the way, I do not know how you gather the facts and publish so quickly.

    While Antarctica is the greatest threat, the problem is that most people do not think in terms of decades and so a sea-level rise of 10ft by 2050 and 25ft by 2100 just seems distant and almost esoteric to the majority. The question, to which I have no answer ,is how do you warn and then engage the immediate population at risk. Insurance (or lack of) and lowering property values are likely to be the only triggers to actually initiate action to my mind. Possibly aiming the technical info at professionals in this sector , especially estate agent (realtors?) may be useful and even that is a gigantic task .

    The other area of risk, that can have major impacts in N. Europe, is Iceland. The melting glaciers there, 2.7% in 10 years, is being caused by climate change, rainfall and volcanic action. While the glaciers there have only 1cm of global sea level rise built in, the removal of mass from volcanic systems may result in future major eruptions. Laki in in 1783/84 caused some 20,000+ excess deaths in England.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1268405/And-thought-THIS-eruption-nasty-When-Icelandic-volcano-erupted-1783-feared-end-world-.html

    (sorry not the best source – Daily Brexit!)
    The volcanic systems in the Antarctic Penisular may have a similar potential but with fewer people to immediately affect.

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264889388_Icelandic_glaciers

    This paper suggests that Icelandic glaciers will reduce by 25% by 2050 and will be gone in 200 years.

    The potential combination of climate change, sea level rise, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes is very worrying.

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  January 25, 2017

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL062446/abstract

      Climate-driven vertical acceleration of Icelandic crust measured by continuous GPS geodesy

      Earth’s present-day response to enhanced glacial melting resulting from climate change can be measured using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. We present data from 62 continuously operating GPS instruments in Iceland. Statistically significant upward velocity and accelerations are recorded at 27 GPS stations, predominantly located in the Central Highlands region of Iceland, where present-day thinning of the Iceland ice caps results in velocities of more than 30 mm/yr and uplift accelerations of 1–2 mm/yr2. We use our acceleration estimates to back calculate to a time of zero velocity, which coincides with the initiation of ice loss in Iceland from ice mass balance calculations and Arctic warming trends. We show, through a simple inversion, a direct relationship between ice mass balance measurements and vertical position and show that accelerated unloading is required to reproduce uplift observations for a simple elastic layer over viscoelastic half-space model.

      The follow up to that research and similar research re Antarctica is best covered in another following article.

      Iceland: Volcanic eruptions could be a consequence of melting glaciers
      Environment, Iceland, Science
      Zoom Out Zoom In

      Researcher Kathleen Compton explained that as the glaciers melts, the pressure on the rocks beneath lessened, and that rocks at a high temperature could remain solid if the pressure was high enough. She further explained that as the pressure was reduced, the melting temperature was effectively lowered.

      According to Compton, this means that Iceland could expect more volcanic eruptions like the Eyjafjallajokull one in 2010.

      Reply
  52. At least the melting glaciers and ice shelves are not causing climate chaos yet. Based on the results reported by NASA through October, it doesn’t appear that the satellite record will show much of a rise in sea level in 2016. http://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/sea-level/ However, it would not surprise me if 2016 is the last year during this century with a moderate rise in sea level. Do we have years or decades before melting ice cause the uptrend in sea level rise to go parabolic?

    Reply
    • During recent years, the rate of rise has tended to lift above the 1990s to present baseline. Average rate of rise since early 90s is 3.26 mm per year. Average rate of rise since 2010 is 3.6 mm per year. We are completing a La Nina period which tends to pull SLR rates lower. The increases are still largely driven by thermal expansion. However, it appears that glacial melt is starting to become more of a factor. Rates should tend to bump up through the late 2010s and 2020s. I think that by the mid to late 2030s, we’ll start to see some pretty considerable annual rates of rise. Outlier events notwithstanding…

      Reply
  53. Jan

     /  January 25, 2017

    Hello I´m Jan and I read your blog every day for about 3 years now.I´m big fan of your work and effort to bring serious issues about our climate system to ordinary people like me.O.T-is this normal?https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/chem/surface/level/overlay=co2sc/orthographic=52.37,20.40,297/loc=20.399,51.223

    Reply
    • Hello, Jan. Thanks for the post. Looks to me like the base layer changed for this measure sometime yesterday. I don’t see any confirmation in the other monitors so it’s likely a glitch.

      Reply
  54. Abel Adamski

     /  January 25, 2017

    The Murdoch Scum can occasionally print a valuable article.
    It would have been of interest to DT

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/fertilisers-found-to-reduce-plants-resistance-to-fungal-diseases/news-story/03d7f4dd61f57ba918f9eca70f4667ad

    Fertilisers found to reduce plants’ resistance to fungal diseases

    Fudan University’s project leader Professor Shurong Zhou said the latest research found one of the main mechanisms of this disease dilution effect.

    “Adding fertilisers makes certain species out compete others, leaving overall biodiversity of a system lower and more susceptible to disease,” he said.

    “While some species benefit from adding nitrogen, the overall effect at the community level could be worse because the surviving species end up being more diseased.”

    The findings were released today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences.

    Reply
  55. June

     /  January 25, 2017

    Go Park Rangers!

    National Parks Service ‘goes rogue’ in response to Trump Twitter ban

    One of its initial tweets read: “Mr Trump, you may have taken us down officially. But with scientific evidence & the Internet our message will get out.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/news-blog/2017/jan/25/national-parks-service-goes-rogue-in-response-to-trump-twitter-ban

    Reply
  56. Syd Bridges

     /  January 25, 2017

    Thanks for a great post, Robert. The sleeping 700 pound gorilla in the corner is waking up. When he gets into destructive mode he’ll make that baboon in the Arctic look like a toddler’s tantrum.

    I am strongly reminded of John Wyndham’s “The Kraken Awakes” which I read as a teenager in the sixties. Fireballs from outer space land in Earth’s oceans and soon the aliens (colloquially known as “the Bathies”) make shipping over the ocean deeps impossible. Then they attack coastal settlements with sea tanks. When these attacks are thwarted, they create huge pumps, which direct warm ocean waters at the poles, causing massive sea level rise. Calls from the popular press to “Bomb the Bathies” lead to a few nuclear strikes, which speed the melting further. He describes watching the collapse of flood defences in London at a spring tide. The government is moved to Harrogate in Yorkshire but total chaos seen follows. Finally, after Britain’s population has been reduced by 90 percent, the Japanese discover a way of defeating the Bathies.

    In reality, the Bathies are big Coal and Oil and their whores in the legislatures of the world. We didn’t need aliens to do it: we’ve done it all by ourselves!

    Fortunately, Trumpolini and his sidekick, the posterior kissing Teresa Mayolini, my glorious Prime Minister, will come to the rescue. Though, somehow, methinks, if we are saved from this catastrophe, the saviours will, as in the book, come from Asia.

    Reply
  57. …regarding the other pole:

    Reply
  58. Interesting! Great post!

    Reply
  59. I saw a twitter for the alternative EpA , is there sucn a website?. Saw it at Climate crocks of the week website.

    Reply
  60. Cate

     /  January 25, 2017

    Bill McKibben is scathing in The New Yorker. “There is… a new day dawning, and we’re sure as hell not going to use any of that sunlight for energy.”

    http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/a-bad-day-for-the-environment-with-many-more-to-come

    Reply
  61. islandraider

     /  January 25, 2017

    And then… there is this:

    Trump administration mandating EPA scientific studies, data undergo review by political staff before public release

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-administration-mandating-epa-scientific-studies-data-undergo-review-by-political-staff-before-public-release/2017/01/25/fab190b8-e348-11e6-a419-eefe8eff0835_story.html?tid=twisira&utm_term=.b542b758db4e

    2017-01-25. The day science died.

    Reply
  62. Shawn Redmond

     /  January 25, 2017

    Ok and this just isn’t helping with my insomnia. 4.24!

    January 24, 2017

    407.69 ppm

    NOAA-ESRL

    January 24, 2016

    403.45 ppm

    NOAA-ESRL

    Reply
  63. coloradobob

     /  January 25, 2017

    As Trump ignores record temperatures, taxpayers are footing the (huge) bill for climate change
    Last year, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences issued a report stating that, in many instances across the country, climate change is increasing the likelihood and scope of extreme weather events. One example is the storm that produced record floods in Louisiana in August. In a study released the following month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that climate change had made these August floods — which destroyed or damaged more than 100,000 homes and cost taxpayers $15 billion — at least 40% more likely. The storm was so expensive that the federal government had to cover 90% of the emergency costs, rather than the usual 75%, because Louisiana simply didn’t have the money.

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-bledsoe-climate-costs-20170126-story.html

    Reply
  64. Cate

     /  January 25, 2017

    Robert mentioned this a post or two ago–and here he is!

    “Alex’s guest is Risk analyst, published author, & host of Robert Scribbler’s Blog. From the worst to glimmers of hope, the hunt for climate truth. Plus 2 short clips: Michael Mann: when money buys anti-science; Jennifer Francis on new Arctic feedback. Radio Ecoshock 170125”

    Reply
  65. coloradobob

     /  January 26, 2017

    The Southwest’s crucial winter water infusion is currently the richest for this point in the season since drought started afflicting the Colorado River basin in 2000.

    January snowstorms in both the Rocky Mountains and above Arizona’s Mogollon Rim have lifted river flow outlooks above 2010 and 2011, years when those critical watersheds got pounded with precipitation that temporarily halted dropping reservoir storage.

    Water in the Rocky Mountain snowpack, which feeds the Colorado River, is currently the highest on record for January since 1997, and federal river forecasters currently project that Lake Powell, the reservoir on the Utah-Arizona boundary, could capture 37 percent more water than the 30-year average when the snow melts in spring.

    On Arizona’s other big surface-water producers — the Verde and Salt rivers — the high-country snowpack totals vaulted from 80 percent to 180 percent of normal (on the Verde) and from 40 percent to 100 percent of normal (on the Salt) just this weekend.

    http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-water/2017/01/24/wet-january-promises-southwest-drought-relief/97002116/

    Reply
  66. Hatrack

     /  January 26, 2017

    Cross-posting to Democratic Underground. As always, great article, and thank you, Robert!

    Reply
  1. L’Antarctique fond, menace notre avenir et nous regardons si la croissance se porte bien… – Docuclimat, comprendre pour mieux agir!
  2. Abnormal Antarctic Heat, Surface Melt, Giant Cracks in Ice Shelves — More Troubling Signs of a World Tipping Toward Climate Chaos – ecophilosopher

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