“Climate Change in Your Face” — Great Barrier Reef Suffers Second Consecutive Mass Bleaching as Potential for Record Warm 2017 Looms

 

On March 2nd, 2017, the Great Barrier Reef was already starting to show signs of bleaching. After suffering a worst-ever coral bleaching event in 2016, concerns were high that warmer waters could again strike the reef — spurring a second consecutive mass die-off. Even worse, some scientists were concerned that 2017’s bleaching could exceed the intensity of the record 2016 event.

Now it appears that just such a catastrophe is underway. And scientists expect about 2/3 of the world’s largest reef to experience bleaching over the next couple of months.

According to reports from Eyewitness News in Australia — the Great Barrier Reef has been given a “terminal prognosis” by scientists unless the rate of global warming is slowed. The March 10 news report noted that “one of the world’s greatest natural treasures is losing its fight for life” as a second mass coral bleaching event impacts the reef in as many years. Richard Leck of the World Wildlife Fund expressed his shock stating “No scientists ever thought that we would have back-to-back mass coral bleaching events… This is climate change in your face.”

Aerial surveys found that 30 to 100 percent of corals visible from the air along large sections of the 2300 kilometer reef had experienced some level of bleaching.

Fourth Consecutive Hottest Year on Record?

Unfortunately for the reef and for the rest of world’s natural wonders, coastlines, biological diversity, cities and nations, the rate of global warming appears to be accelerating. A situation that will put most of life on Earth, including its corals and the crops human beings rely on for food, into a state of permanent heat stress.

A new scientific study showed that the rate of heat gain in the world’s oceans, due to heat trapping gasses like CO2 hitting the atmosphere at near record rates, is speeding up. Meanwhile a number of scientists are starting to worry that 2017 will be a fourth consecutive record hot year in a row.

(Fourth consecutive record hot year in a row? If it happens, it would be just one more unprecedented, unexpected event related to climate change to add to the a long and growing list. Image source: Zeke Hausfather.)

Zeke Hausfather of the Berkley Earth Surface Temperature group posted the above image on Twitter noting: “2017 has been weirdly warm so far despite a lack of El Nino conditions. If Jan/Feb temps were representative it would end up surpassing 2016.”

The team, which is ironically funded by the Koch Brothers (of climate change denial infamy) and was formed by climate skeptic Richard Muller, has done preliminary global temperature estimates and found that February of 2017 was the second hottest on record globally. If true, this would put the year on a very warm launching pad despite a recent weak La Nina event in the Pacific which should have resulted in considerably more cyclical global cooling. NOAA now shows the potential for a weak to moderate El Nino to form during the spring and summer. And the risk exists that warm surface waters in the Pacific will combine with an already very strong warming amplification in the polar regions brought on by climate change to spike global temperatures yet again.

We should note that such an occurrence would be very odd — flying in the face of traditional understanding of the El Nino/La Nina cycle. Usually, post El Nino years tend to cool somewhat (including the effect of follow-on La Nina events) even as the overall global warming trend has ramped higher. So if we do experience a record warm year post La Nina, then other factors are helping to drive the global climate system. And the chief suspects at this time appear to be positive Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a Polar Amplification associated with global warming, and spiking ocean temperatures associated with global warming.

Conditions in Context — Climate Tipping Points

To be very clear, what’s happening to the Great Barrier Reef at this time is terrible. But it is not an isolated event. Regions the world over are starting to feel increasingly worsening impacts from climate change. To name just a few of the major impacts now rippling across the globe: Parts of East Africa are getting pushed toward lower farm productivity and ultimate uninhabitability by the rising heat, Northern Hemisphere summer sea ice now has an expected lifespan of 1 to 15 years, growing seasons around the world are under assault from the rising temperatures, coastal cities are in peril from rising waters, and Antarctic and Greenland glaciers are lurching toward the sea.

 

(A graphic of potential climate tipping points produced by the University of East Anglia. We should probably now also add East Antarctic Ice Sheet, East Africa drought, and expanding ocean dead zones to the list. It’s worth noting that these identified climate tipping points included a degree of uncertainty — meaning that temperature levels needed to set off these events weren’t fully nailed down, nor were the timeframes under which such potential scenarios were likely to occur. But it was generally assumed that crossing any of these tipping points would result in very harmful and wide-ranging impacts. To this point, it appears that we are in the process of crossing the coral bleaching, Arctic sea ice loss, increasing crop stress, expanding ocean dead zones, increasing global wildfires, worsening floods and droughts, and glacial destabilization tipping points at this time.)

All these events are happening with the world at 1.2 C hotter than 1880s averages and warming at what appears to be a rather swift rate. So we appear to be at a threshold now where dangerous and very harmful climate events are starting to occur. In other words, we’re starting to cross some of the forewarned climate tipping points. And these events can arise quite suddenly to produce wide-ranging impacts to human populations and the biodiversity of life on Earth.

The imperative to act by cutting human fossil fuel emissions as rapidly as possible couldn’t be more obvious or urgent. And as part of that imperative, it appears that the removal of fossil fuel backing politicians (like Trump, Scott Pruitt, James Inhoffe and other climate change denying republicans in the US) will be necessary to achieve any kind of rational response to this very real threat to pretty much everyone and everything living on Earth.

Links:

Eyewitness News in Australia

Zeke Hausfather

Widespread Coral Bleaching Strikes Great Barrier Reef Again in 2017

NOAA El Nino

Weirdly Warm 2017

University of East Anglia

Hat tip to Vic

Hat tip to BJ

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123 Comments

  1. Here in Canada, it is time to start asking Justin Trudeau – what kind of world does he want for his children?

    Another speech in which he shows 2 faces – and demonstrates that he speaks with a forked tongue.

    Reply
    • Some people still seem to think of oil and gas in the ground as a kind of big pile of money. They should instead see it as a gigantic pile of poison.

      Trudeau oddly seems to be talking up oil and gas while establishing policies that undermine it. Not to say that he’s anywhere near ideal. But better than Harper. I don’t really like his policies and I don’t think they’re agressive enough and I think he’s too influenced by oil and gas. But I’d still rather have him than Trump any day of the week.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/12/19/trudeau-says-judge-pan-canadian-climate-plan-on-emissions-trend-line-in-2019_n_13729982.html

      We have so much oil and gas contact with politicians it’s ludicrous. This recent article asserted that oil and gas campaign contributions and lobbying should be outlawed:

      https://cleantechnica.com/2017/03/12/fossil-fuel-companies-get-campaign-investments/

      I tend to agree.

      Reply
      • Vaughn Anderson

         /  March 14, 2017

        I have not though enough about pipelines “locking in” carbon emissions. This article suggests exactly that:

        http://priceofoil.org/2016/09/12/the-dakota-access-pipeline-will-lock-in-the-emissions-of-30-coal-plants/

        What if all the money spent building new pipelines was spent on developing renewable resources?

        *Mother Nature does not take IOUs.

        Reply
        • So the global governments of the world subsidize fossil fuel development to the tune of 500 billion dollars per year. We could absolutely transition off fossil fuels if we invested the same amount in renewables.

          RE pipelines — consider it an investment that creates a vested interest in extraction. Investors ante up money for these pipelines with an expectation of returns and profits. So you end up with this block of people expecting said profits. This means that they’ll push hard to get that oil out of the ground and investors in these companies expect that the oil will be removed and sold, otherwise the values of their investments would crash.

          We call this the carbon bubble because there’s no way all the fossil fuels that are expected, by investors, to be extracted can be if we are to maintain a liveable planet. But it’s one of the reasons why the issue of climate change has become so political. People have literally invested trillions of dollars with the expectation that oil, gas, and coal will be extracted and that profits will be made. These are fantasy profits, in essence, because civilization reliant on a vital natural world and a rich biosphere collapses long before the full expectation of profits are realized.

          In addition, you have various nations who have bet their future prospects on the fossil fuel reserves they control. These nations, for the most part, have failed to diversify their economies and suffer from a resource curse in which they are dependent on inherently deleterious fossil fuels.

          In the end, the world is much healthier, safer, and wealthier without fossil fuels. But the existential crisis that is climate change lends urgency to overcoming economic and political interests vested in fossil fuels and to move investments toward more benevolent and helpful economic activities. Of course, there will be resistance to this change as future prospects for fossil fuel investments become threatened and we see it at all levels today.

    • DJ

       /  March 13, 2017

      I get the feeling that we are all so conditioned (politicians, business, general public) to ‘perception management’ as a means of addressing issues – ‘jawboning’ by central banks to manage perceptions about the economy, platitudes and promises to address social issues with minimal actual action, that there’s a sort of default, ingrained expectation that this approach will work with the climate issue as well – that we’ll somehow get points from the climate system for our stated good intentions and that the laws of nature won’;t be applied as long as we mean well and say all the right things. I hate to be so gloomy, but this is looking like we’re getting set up for a really rude awakening from our civilization’s hubris.

      Reply
      • mulga mumblebrain

         /  March 14, 2017

        DJ, if you put psychopaths in total control of your polity, economy and ‘society’, as occurs, inevitably, under capitalism, then you must self-destruct. Sane people have seen this catastrophe coming for millennia, but certainly in the last few decades as the evidence of a global cataclysm of Life destruction and pollution has become apparent. Yet the capitalists drive on, and under the most toxic form, so-called ‘Free Market’ capitalism (as here in Australia) a devilish death cum cargo-cult prevails in every aspect of life, predicated on the implicit belief that human existence is driven, motivated and mediated by GREED, and nothing more. The ‘economics’ produced by this ‘monoculture of the mind’, is ludicrous beyond belief, its predictions of a grand Arcadia on Earth NEVER come to pass, yet its adherents, like all true cultic fanatics, only ever assert that we need more and more and more of the very poison that is killing us.

        Reply
  2. Shawn Redmond

     /  March 13, 2017

    This study shows even short term exposure can be problematic. Levels reached in offices and classrooms or long trips in the car with the air on recirculate. As we all are aware some of us will be more sensitive than others. The study suggests that ” in extreme cases lifespan could become shorter than the time required to reach reproductive age”. Note that in the one chart it states that at 400 ppm there is “no known effect over a life time”. I’d like to point out that other than some insects nothing has spent a ” lifetime in 400 ppm” yet. Just another possible nail in our collective coffin.

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311844520_Carbon_dioxide_toxicity_and_climate_change_a_serious_unapprehended_risk_for_human_health
    1 Carbon dioxide toxicity and climate change: a serious unapprehended risk for human health. P.N. Bierwirth, PhD Emeritus Faculty Australian National University First draft – Web Posted 25 February, 2014 Current Version – 23 Dec 2016 Web Published: ResearchGate DOI:10.13140/RG.2.1.3297.9368 Abstract As atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide continue to escalate and drive climate change, the issue of CO2 toxicity is not recognised as a global risk. The toxicity of CO2 for breathing has been well defined for high concentrations but it remains effectively unknown what level will compromise human health when individuals are perpetually exposed for their lifetime. There is evidence from the few studies of long-term low-level exposure that permanent exposure, to CO2 levels predicted by the end of the century, will have significant effects on humans. Other studies of slightly higher CO2 levels may offer clues to effects, not yet observed, that may occur when humans experience lifelong exposure. Although humans and animals are able to deal with elevated levels of CO2 in the short-term due to various compensation mechanisms in the body, the persistent effects of these mechanisms may have severe consequences in a perpetual environment of elevated CO2. These include threats to life such as kidney failure, bone atrophy and loss of brain function. Existing research also indicates that as ambient CO2 increases in the near-future, there will be an associated increase in cancers, neurological disorders and other conditions. Research is urgently required to clearly identify the severity and proximity of this risk, associated with the primary human function of breathing, being a potential major aspect of climate change.

    Reply
    • Shawn Redmond

       /  March 14, 2017

      http://www.monbiot.com/2017/03/05/car-sick/
      Here is what we now know about the harm that traffic pollution can do to children:

      It can damage the growth of their lungs. This means that the lungs of children who have been affected don’t work so well. The damage can last for the rest of their lives.

      It raises the risk of asthma and allergies. For children who already have asthma, pollution can make it worse.

      It can damage the development of their brains. Air pollution can reduce children’s intelligence, making it harder for them to learn.

      It can change their behaviour and reduce their happiness. Air pollution has been linked to anxiety, depression and Attention Deficit Disorder.

      It raises the risk of heart disease later in their lives.

      It can cause cancer, both in children and when they become adults.

      Unborn children can also be affected by the pollution their mothers breathe. Air pollution is linked to babies being born prematurely and small.

      Pollution inside your car can be much worse than pollution outside, because the fumes are concentrated in the small space.

      Reply
  3. DJ

     /  March 13, 2017

    I find the temperature chart REALLY disturbing, especially coupled with the arctic sea ice volume and global ice extent and area graphs, because it’s really starting to look like we’re in the midst of a state change in the system.

    Reply
    • If we get another record high as indicated by the chart, we’ll be entering new territory when it comes to rate of temperature change. It’s worth noting that summer averages above baseline tend to be lower than Jan/Feb. So the chart doesn’t tell the whole story. I still think it’s more likely that we’ll hit closer to 2016 (probably slightly below) even if we get a weak to moderate El Nino this year. If that doesn’t happen, it would appear that the climate change related drivers are producing a stronger and stronger signal.

      Reply
  4. Keith Antonysen

     /  March 13, 2017

    Northern areas of Australia were hit hard last year, 2017 is not looking better. BOM is suggesting the possibility of a 50/50 percent chance of an El Nino in 2017.

    From Sydney Morning Herald:

    “The death of mangrove forests stretched over 1000 kilometres of Australia’s northern coast a year ago has been blamed on extreme conditions including record temperatures.

    About 7400 hectares of mangroves strung along the Gulf of Carpentaria died in early 2016 because of the unusual warmth, a prolonged drought and an El Nino that reduced local sea levels by about 20 centimetres, said Norman Duke, head of the Mangrove Research hub at James Cook University.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/they-died-of-thirst-extreme-conditions-wipe-out-forest-over-1000-kilometres-20170313-gux252.html

    Reply
  5. Abel Adamski

     /  March 13, 2017

    http://www.theage.com.au/comment/i-saw-the-great-barrier-reef-die-last-weekend-and-i-wept-20170308-guu0r0.html

    I saw the Great Barrier Reef die last weekend, and I wept

    This is not a crime against humanity. This is a crime by humanity. We have sentenced to death the largest living structure on the planet: the Great Barrier Reef. The sentence is being carried out slowly and painfully before our eyes.

    Yes, the catastrophic bleaching of the 2015-16 summer got some media attention and got a bit of playing down, too. But in some ways, the 2016-17 summer was worse for the reef. Not in what happened but in what didn’t happen.

    There has been no discernable recovery from 2015-16 and whole new areas have now been bleached. Moreover, soft corals are succumbing in greater numbers.

    I’m not a scientist and I’m not a Great Barrier Reef expert. As a journalist, sailor and frequent diver and snorkeller, I can only report what I see and combine it with what I read and whom I talk to.

    There are several reasons for the underplaying of this gruesome life-denying event. It’s no longer news. “Yep, we have done coral bleaching on the reef. Next.”

    Tourists are taken to places least affected so they feel the operator has given the tourist value for money. So the word goes south: “The reef looked okay to me.”

    Vested interests play it down. Businesses that rely on the reef want business as usual. Politicians don’t want to be blamed for their criminal inactivity.

    People who go to the reef every day become like frogs in water that is slowly brought to the boil. An apt metaphor in this case. They don’t notice the change until it’s too late.

    As we drove in the dinghy across the reef at mid-tide looking for the drop-off, we could see that every bit of reef in water shallower than three metres was bleached. Underwater, it was bleached as far as the eye could see.

    It was as if a gang had gone into the Californian national park and ring-barked half the giant sequoia trees, and governments and people said the gang’s coming back next year to ring-bark half of what’s left – and we are doing nothing.

    The reef last weekend was a palpable contrast to the vibrant colours I saw there two years ago. And what a palpable contrast to the first time I dived on the reef in 1985 with my then 14-year-old daughter, who had just got her diving certificate. Alas, this is now no longer about the legacy we hand to our children and grandchildren. At this rate, the reef will die in the lifetime of us grandparents.

    Reply
  6. coloradobob

     /  March 13, 2017

    Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising at the fastest rate ever recorded

    For the second year in a row, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have climbed at a record pace. According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, carbon dioxide levels jumped by three parts per million in both 2015 and 2016 and now rest at about 405 parts per million.

    It’s the biggest jump ever observed at the agency’s Mauna Loa Baseline Atmospheric Observatory in Hawaii, where the measurements were recorded. Similar observations have been recorded at stations all over the world, said Pieter Tans, who leads the Carbon Cycle Greenhouse Gases group at NOAA’s Greenhouse Gas Reference Network.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/03/13/carbon-dioxide-in-the-atmosphere-is-rising-at-the-fastest-rate-ever-recorded/?utm_term=.92e86aaef132

    Reply
  7. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    Rex Tillerson Allegedly Used An Alias Email To Discuss Climate Change While At Exxon

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used a second alias email address to discuss climate change while he was chairman and CEO of ExxonMobile, according to a letter filed in court Monday by the New York Attorney General’s Office.
    New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman alleges that from “at least 2008 to 2015” Tillerson, whose middle name is Wayne, used the “Wayne Tracker” pseudonym email “to send and receive materials regarding important matters, including those concerning to the risk-management issues related to climate change.”
    Schneiderman is investigating whether ExxonMobile made “significant misrepresentations” about the risks posed by climate change to its shareholders.
    “Despite the company’s incidental production of approximately 60 documents bearing the ‘Wayne Tracker’ email address, neither Exxon nor its counsel have ever disclosed that this separate email account was a vehicle for Mr. Tillerson’s relevant communications at Exxon,” the letter, which was filed in New York Supreme Court as part of a fraud investigation into the company, states.

    Link

    Reply
    • Pretty much all the Trump government is under investigation for some form of corruption or another. I don’t think there’s ever been an American executive branch that was so on the hook for bad practices, malfeasance, and overall corruption. They are now transparently holding many of the levers of power. But since the U.S. has a strong separation of powers, there are various tools for holding the executive body accountable. We are going to see lots of fireworks going off as this conflict ramps up. Flynn and Sessions weren’t the tenth of it. These Exxon allegations have legs and the implications will be long-lasting.

      Reply
  8. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    Half Of World’s Coral Reefs Lost In 3 Decades, 90 Percent Expected To Die By 2050 –
    Australia’s famous Great Barrier Reef is experiencing a massive coral bleaching, second time in a row for the last two years as reported. It comes as a shock to all nature lovers that due to this unfortunate event, many exotic species of plants and animals are being wiped out.

    This natural wonder is not the only one which is under threat as the Maldivian reef is also a vitim of coral bleaching. The reef now lies dead and grey as it succumbed to rising Ocean water temperatures.
    Scientists reveal that what was an array of starling colors just a year ago, now lies barren and dead under the ocean waters. Researchers reveal that the almost half of world’s coral reefs have been lost in the last 30 years and they are now trying frantically to protect the remaining few.
    If proper action is not taken, nearly 90 percent of the Earth’s coral reefs are expected to die in the next four decades.
    – See more at: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/201356/20170313/half-of-worlds-coral-reef-lost-in-3-decades-90-percent-expected-to-die-by-2050.htm#sthash.zewqXh5r.dpuf

    Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  March 14, 2017

      More bulldust about the Reef dying by 2050 ie in thirty-three years. It is dying NOW, and no amount of soft denialism will hide that fact. Between the soft and hard deniers there is very little difference.

      Reply
    • So scientists have been warning about this for decades now. Especially the ones that have been closest to the reefs. No one listened. It’s not their fault that climate change is moving slightly faster than the broader community expected. But the research I tried to highlight back in 2012 and have been continuing to report on since pointed toward severe losses by 2050 with staggering rates of loss starting around 2030.

      https://robertscribbler.com/2012/03/15/world-resources-institute-shows-widespread-coral-bleaching-by-2030/

      What was unclear was how rapidly coral losses would start to ramp up in the decade of the 2010s. And what we see now is another example of the ‘faster than expected, more severe than expected’ meme.

      As we’ve pointed out so many times before, it’s the synergy of rapidly rising water temperatures (rising too fast for corals to reasonably adapt and evolve to new conditions) combined with rapidly rising acidification (something that almost no corals could be expected to survive) that pose this threat. It’s pretty much an impossibly high bar for corals to cross without experiencing a mass extinction. The oceans have never warmed so fast, nor have they ever acidified so fast.

      The cause for this velocity is the rate of carbon hitting the atmosphere. There has never been 30 billion tons of CO2 and 50 billion tons of CO2e hitting the atmosphere every year. Not once in the history of Earth. And certainly not as an initial forcing. There are many creatures that cannot handle such a rapid rate of change. And the end state of the warming that BAU brings about is a devastating blow no matter the velocity at which such warming occurs. The fact that we are moving so fast, warming so fast, adding carbon so fast, is an additional stress on top of it all. And the corals are acting like a canary — telling us that the Earth environment is becoming too toxic for many key species.

      Reply
      • mulga mumblebrain

         /  March 14, 2017

        We are having what passes for a ‘debate’ here in Austr-falia over energy policy. The Right, led by the Murdoch hate-machine, and the Federal Liberal regime, are waging a ferocious hate campaign against renewable energy and for more coal burning. The debate, as all are in this country, is utterly biased to the Right and the interests of Big Business, the real rulers of the country. Lies are ubiquitous eg the need for ‘clean coal’, the future for ‘carbon capture and storage’, the ‘unreliability’ of renewables, gas as a ‘transition fuel’ (the reality of gas being worse, when fugitive emissions of methane are taken into account seems unknown to our ‘leaders’)etc.
        However, most indicative of the moral insanity and intellectual vacuity of our ‘leaders’ is the absolute refusal to acknowledge climate destabilisation as it occurs right before our eyes. The Great Barrier Reef is dying before our eyes, but that is ignored. Gigantic storms are ravaging various areas, just weeks after record heat, yet that is ignored. Mangroves die over hundreds of kilometres and the kelp forests of the southern seas die, but no-body cares. Renewable energy is treated as some sort of Green lunacy, imposed for ‘ideological’ reasons, and the Federal regime is actively campaigning on energy prices (the result of privatisation and investor greed, but that is Holy Market work, so unimpeachable)and against renewable energy, while insanely claiming that we will ‘reach’ our ludicrously inadequate emissions reduction target by 2030, even though they are rocketing upwards. Magical thinking-black magical.

        Reply
  9. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    There were startling colours here just a year ago, a dazzling array of life beneath the waves. Now this Maldivian reef is dead, killed by the stress of rising ocean temperatures.

    What’s left is a haunting expanse of grey, a scene repeated in reefs across the globe in what has fast become a full-blown ecological catastrophe.

    Read more at http://www.9news.com.au/world/2017/03/14/09/14/scientists-race-to-prevent-wipeout-of-worlds-coral-reefs#ezZqKOstyyzlS8ju.99

    Reply
  10. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    3D-Printed Reefs Offer Hope in Coral Bleaching Crisis

    But—and here’s the hope—fake reefs may be less vulnerable to climate change and more durable in the changing ocean chemistry than natural reefs. Scientists are using 3D-printing technology that enables them to create fake reefs mimicking the texture and architectural structure of natural reefs in ways that haven’t been achieved in prior restoration efforts.

    Experimental installations of these 3D-printed reefs are now going on in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Persian Gulf, and Australia. If they succeed in the coming years in luring not only fish but also baby coral polyps, which attach themselves to structures and multiply, they can grow into new reefs and reestablish some of the most important habitats on Earth.

    Link

    Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  March 14, 2017

      Total and utter malignant insanity. Are they going to 3D print sequoias, or giraffes, or whales etc, next? We have entered the ‘Those who the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad’, stage.

      Reply
      • lesliegraham1

         /  March 14, 2017

        Pretty much what I was thinking.
        Problem solved.
        All we have to do is 3D print 1500 miles of new reef.
        Take that alarmists.
        Jesus wept.

        Reply
        • mulga mumblebrain

           /  March 14, 2017

          Jesus could get angry, too-eg the money-changers in the Temple, and they were saints compared to the denialists and their Rightwing allies.

      • Josh

         /  March 14, 2017

        Insanity that this is required, yes. Or call it collective human insanity. But if you had the ability to do this to help corals reestablish after bleaching, wouldn’t you do it?

        It does feel like the elephant in the room (our emissions are *too high*) is looming over stories like this more and more these days though…

        Reply
        • Hatrack

           /  March 15, 2017

          No, having finished off the trees and shrubs on the front lawn, the elephant is coming through the front door, muscling aside drywall and window glass as it comes.

          It’s a big house, so complete wreckage will take a while, but we’re not watching it. We’re in it.

    • This might help us create a few protected coral sanctuaries. But, as mentioned above, you’d need billions of dollars to print a large reef structure. And that’s still no guarantee that the live corals could survive the heat or acidity long enough to take root.

      My other thought is what is the base material? If plastic, then you’re not doing ocean health much good at all with the stuff.

      Reply
      • entropicman

         /  March 14, 2017

        Has anyone realised that fish cannot eat plastic coral? Lose the coral and you lose everything above it in the food chain.

        Reply
        • Shawn Redmond

           /  March 14, 2017

          More hubris.

        • mulga mumblebrain

           /  March 14, 2017

          Print some plastic fish, silly. You gotta believe, if we just get the ‘price signals’ right, the Market Utopia will magically appear. But you gotta believe!!

    • Hatrack

       /  March 15, 2017

      No reflection on you, Bob, but this 3d printing “concept” is 24-karat BULLSHIT. Here have some bright green hopium. Here, have some E85. Here, have a press release from an investment bank that shows how much they care – really care – about the environment.

      Reply
  11. redskylite

     /  March 14, 2017

    Thanks for another wonderfully illustrated narrative, reminding us of the great Earth systems and known vulnerable tipping points. I remember a few years ago there was talk about creating an Early Warning System, but nothing seems to have emerged and we are getting reports daily of nearly every one known being in danger.

    Today a reminder from Potsdam on the great rain-forest of the Amazon, one of the great lungs of our Earth often forgotten.

    “Even if average rainfall might not drastically change, extended drought events might tip parts of the Amazon forest into self-amplifying forest loss, eventually turning them into a savanna. “Projected rainfall changes for the end of the 21st century will not lead to complete Amazon dieback,” says co-author Carl Schleussner from Berlin-based scientific think tank Climate Analytics and PIK. “But our findings suggest that large parts of it are certainly at risk.”

    https://www.pik-potsdam.de/news/press-releases/vicious-circle-of-drought-and-forest-loss-in-the-amazon

    Reply
    • redskylite

       /  March 14, 2017

      This National Research Council (National Academy of Science) report is where I read about the promising Early Warning System. There is a detailed PDF on the meeting (that included the learned Profs R. Alley and D. Archer) that recommended that the EWS was set up. That was back in December of 2013, I have been scanning the news since, nothing read WHY the heck not ?. We need an Early Warning System body urgently, don’t rely on just reading the excellent column of Robert Scribbler (far too much responsibility on one person). Anyone heard of this body being set up ??????????????.

      http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=18373

      Reply
      • redskylite

         /  March 14, 2017

        The PDF can be downloaded Free of Charge (as a guest) from the National Academies Press, I found it very interesting reading, and was enthusiastic for the recommendations to be enacted. Very disappointed that no follow up appears to have materialized or have I missed something.

        Link to download . . . .

        https://www.nap.edu/download/18373

        Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  March 14, 2017

      It is vital to keep up to date with our extermination as it proceeds.

      Reply
    • Well, the Amazon is already under pretty severe stress. We already have wildfires multiplying. We already see losses due to drought and fire. Human development is hitting the region hard as well. Given the stresses we already see, I don’t like the prospects for the Amazon at 1 C hotter than now or even 0.5 C hotter than now much less 1.5, 2, 3 or 4 C+ hotter.

      Reply
  12. If this is a test, we have truly failed as a species. Failed an entire Epoch. How sad for the future of all life for the next million years or so. 😦

    Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  March 14, 2017

      We failed the test ten thousand years ago when we began our war on Life on Earth. This is just the inevitable climax, and we’re lucky enough to be alive, for a while, to see it.

      Reply
    • So our failure has been constraining self-interested parties to the point that they don’t act in a way that’s destructive to human civilization and the natural environment (which are linked) to the point that neither can function. This tends to happen in civilizations that fail. It’s just that our civilization is global and so the impacts are global. So to be very clear, if we are unable to constrain and roll back the fossil fuel interests, then we will experience collapse (and possibly worse).

      Reply
  13. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    Eastern Australia hit by drought and floods

    Australia can be a country of great extremes, and this is certainly proving to be the case in terms of the weather at the moment.

    Parts of Queensland are in drought. Meanwhile, New South Wales is being pummelled by violent storms.

    Elsewhere, there’s a heatwave in Victoria. Temperatures in the state capital, Melbourne, are currently running around 6 degrees above average, with highs nudging above 30 Celsius.

    Parts of Queensland have just experienced their driest ever 12 months on record. That has left 87 percent of the Sunshine State officially drought-stricken.

    There are concerns that conditions could get even worse in the short term. Queensland’s Agricultural Minister, Bill Byrne, said this means that producers in the affected regions are now eligible for drought assistance, including relief from water and electricity costs.

    Link

    Reply
  14. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    For years I have thought we would see these ever stronger highs very slowing drifting along. And these ever deepening lows racing around them , as the system gains more and more energy. And that the lines between them would become ever sharper. The desert Southwest will be in the 90’s this week, late May numbers for them . That’ll make short work of that super bloom.

    The “murder of winter” , and the birth of the “super summer” .

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  March 14, 2017

      Wisdom from CB. Sharper lines indeed.

      Reply
    • So I’ve been working on this book for a few years called “The End of Ice.” Apparently, there will be another book by the same title from another author… Dahr Jamail — who already borrows heavily from this blog in his own writing. The borrowing doesn’t bother me, because Dahr has often and considerately attributed my work. But the borrowing plus the publishing of a book with the exact same title of a book I’m working on and have mentioned frequently here in comments is a bit much.

      I was recently made aware of this fact when Kevin Hester (who was a very disruptive and shameless self promoter on my facebook page) began plugging the new work (which he apparently worked on with Dahr) on this blog page.

      Of course there have been other books published under this title. But my work is original and doesn’t borrow heavily from these earlier works nor do I borrow heavily from their authors on a consistent basis.

      I would ask Dahr to seriously reconsider his title as a courtesy.

      Reply
  15. Abel Adamski

     /  March 14, 2017

    From an article not long ago
    https://extranewsfeed.com/the-climate-doomsday-is-already-here-556a0763c11d#.ap076xglt

    The Climate “Doomsday” is Already Here

    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.

    Would you believe me?

    Reply
    • What happened in the Sahel could barely even be described as a dress rehearsal for what is starting to happen and isn’t even a tempest in a teapot compared to what will happen if we keep burning fossil fuels.

      Reply
  16. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    March and April have always been big months in world history , mainly because armies can once again begin to move in the field. The roads dry out, and the cannon don’t get stuck in the mud up to their axles.

    So here’s one from 1933 –

    The Enabling Act (German: Ermächtigungsgesetz) was a 1933 Weimar Constitution amendment that gave the German Cabinet – in effect, Chancellor Adolf Hitler – the power to enact laws without the involvement of the Reichstag. It passed in both the Reichstag and Reichsrat on 24 March 1933, and was signed by President Paul von Hindenburg later that day. The act stated that it was to last four years unless renewed by the Reichstag, which occurred twice. The Enabling Act gave Hitler plenary powers. It followed on the heels of the Reichstag Fire Decree, which abolished most civil liberties and transferred state powers to the Reich government. The combined effect of the two laws was to transform Hitler’s government into a legal dictatorship.

    Link

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  March 14, 2017

      The Reichstag Fire Decree (German: Reichstagsbrandverordnung) is the common name of the Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State (German: Verordnung des Reichspräsidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat) issued by German President Paul von Hindenburg on the advice of Chancellor Adolf Hitler in direct response to the Reichstag fire of 27 February 1933. The decree nullified many of the key civil liberties of German citizens. With Nazis in powerful positions in the German government, the decree was used as the legal basis for the imprisonment of anyone considered to be opponents of the Nazis, and to suppress publications not considered “friendly” to the Nazi cause. The decree is considered by historians to be one of the key steps in the establishment of a one-party Nazi state in Germany.

      Link

      Reply
    • So the Reichstag Fire was a self inflicted wound that allowed Hitler and his sympathizers to claim victim status and demonize the opposition. We should be alert to similar manipulations in the present day.

      Reply
      • Agree, especially starting another war, which allows Trump to claim, as W did, “we’re a nation at war” (even while life goes on as usual), so criticism/opposition is unpatriotic.

        Reply
  17. wharf rat

     /  March 14, 2017

    ‘Ides Of Trump’ Protesters Look To Flood White House With Postcards

    Letting President Trump know what you think is as easy as walking to a mailbox, said Zack of Berkeley, who came up with the idea for “The Ides of Trump.”
    His goal? A million or more postcards, all mailed to the White House on March 15th, the Ides of March.

    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/02/16/the-ides-of-trump-postcard-protest-white-house/

    Reply
  18. wharf rat

     /  March 14, 2017

    VICE – Season 5 Episode 3 When the Earth Melts & The Displaced
    When the Earth Melts” – VICE Correspondent Ben Anderson travels across the Arctic to examine the devastating impact of thawing permafrost–and the astonishing solution that might keep it frozen.

    http://watch.fullguidetvseries.com/?action=series&id=48552-5-3

    Reply
    • There’s been a lot of talk about preserving grasses. Well, that would help. But there’s no way that just grass is going to keep the permafrost frozen if the Arctic warms by 6-12 degrees C.

      Reply
  19. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    Those who forget the past, are doomed to repeat it. We are lucky, these clowns don’t have an army of orange shirts. And their army needs a motor pool of stretch limos. But the Jews, that age old target are being attacked once again.

    Those who forget the past, are doomed to repeat it.

    Reply
  20. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    The Super Summers are coming. Fall eats Winter . Spring eats Winter. Summer eats them all.

    Reply
  21. mulga mumblebrain

     /  March 14, 2017

    The reaction in Australia to the second bleaching in a row has been near zero. The fake-stream media does not report it, or relegates it to the far rear of attention. And the media continues its intense jihad against renewable energy and in favour of coal or gas. The fake-stream media 95% of the time addresses the subject entirely in monetary terms, and climate destabilisation is NOT mentioned. Or, very occasionally, a Federal regime droog comes up with some idiocy like asserting that ‘clean coal’ will bring ‘energy security’ and lower emissions, a falsehood far off the chart in Big Lie terms, but one ALWAYS accepted without hesitation by the attendant presstitute.
    As I realised, and probably said many times, starting at least ten years ago, this doubling down on omni-denialism is only to be expected, and WILL NEVER change-not in the Anglosphere at least, while fossil fuel interests control the governing regimes. Fossil fuels represent tens of trillions in assets, the greatest pile of ‘material wealth’ ever. The ruling capitalists will NEVER surrender that wealth and consequent power, and will crush any attempt to make them do so. At present that is restricted to an intense and increasing propaganda campaign, the corruption of Universities and research and the mobilising of swarms of sub-moronic Rightwing foot-soldiers. Later will come the cosh, if required. The capitalist kill thousands of environmentalists, defenders of forests and tribal leaders in the poor world, every year, already, so any existential threat ‘at home’ will not be treated lightly. Political change is vaguely possible, but not with the Reptilians’s doppelgangers, the Demoncrazies, just as we have no hope here with Labor instead of Liberal. As an old blackfella said of a cosmetic change to racist legislation-‘Different skin, same old snake’.

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  March 14, 2017

      mulga mumblebrain ………
      Excellent report.

      We are clearly in the “War of the Fools” . We all here see it. We all are in debt to our friends all over the Earth. who report it.

      How do we stop it?
      Everyday reports from all over the world come here. How do we stop it ?

      We elect new people to government ,

      The Clean Air Act is our template. And the Dirty Dozen . All these laws in the US flowed from this. They picked off 12 fools. they beat 9, These days pick 4 . Pour all your efforts into the worst. Focus , focus, focus.

      Reply
      • mulga mumblebrain

         /  March 16, 2017

        Good luck with that, Bob. You must get rid of the Reptilians in Congress in 2018-it’s The Last Chance Saloon-then elect a sane President in 2020, for all our sakes.

        Reply
  22. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    The Super Summers are coming. Fall eats Winter . Spring eats Winter. Summer eats them all.

    The Murder of Winter

    The Super Summers eat at Spring and Fall. They are weak sisters of our yearly trial.

    Winter doesn’t have a snow balls chance in Hell.

    The Super Summers are coming.

    Reply
  23. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    Robert , you’ll want to write on the Clean Air Act . That changed the our world. That is our way our way forward.

    Reply
  24. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    Attacking grass at Trump at the Palos Verdes. Is really stupid. And they said a really stupid comment.
    The Palos Verdes
    I had a girlfriend there , she raised macaws , chinchillas, and made porcelain dolls.

    If we are going prank Trump. Don’t say Stupid stuff.

    Reply
  25. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    I had a girlfriend there , she raised macaws , chinchillas, and made porcelain dolls.

    I can not remember her name.

    This is what fear is.

    Reply
  26. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    Free Man In Paris – Joni Mitchell

    Reply
  27. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    Reply
  28. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    Joni Mitchell – Woodstock (Live In-Studio 1970)

    Reply
  29. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    In a time of darkness we seek our better angels.

    Reply
  30. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    CROSBY, STILLS, NASH Woodstock 1971

    Reply
  31. redskylite

     /  March 14, 2017

    In my working life I always had access to top expert early warning systems, and even if a problem was difficult or impossible to surmount at least you knew it was coming.

    I am not ready to throw in my lot with Prof. Guy R. McPherson and still hold out hope for humanity.

    Looking at the voting demographics of two recent elections, I wonder if my generation of baby boomers (I am touching 70) are the best to grapple with the problem, and this article I encountered today reaffirms my thoughts one hundred percent.

    Do we really have to wait for the zero generation plus to grow up and adapt to our mess ? – it seems so.

    “Climate science faces a challenge to become more effective by thinking harder about the human ability to change, researchers say. Our descendants are likely to be better able to adapt to a warmer world, and climatologists need to acknowledge this.”

    http://climatenewsnetwork.net/humans-earn-survive-climate-change/

    Reply
  32. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    “Going up the Country” – Canned Heat / WOODSTOCK ’69

    Reply
  33. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    50 years ago I read about what was going on in California. I was so far away . I was dieing to be cool. The world back then was Mars and Earth, Marrs was cool the Earth was Lubbock.

    We still hated Buddy Holly. , He was still a nigger loving fag that rode a Harley.

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  March 14, 2017

      I couldn’t run fast enough. The first time I had 40 bucks.

      Reply
  34. Promised this collection of cartoons in January which were posted last year by CB and others. 8 out of 12 were drawn by Ron Cobb in the 60s and 70s and only one specifically mentions climate change but all still seem relevant.

    My favourite is the last one, where the historian sums our sorry situation up perfectly “Ya know, this all makes lousy history”

    Reply
  35. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    The next year I crossed the desert with nothing.
    8 years latter I did the same thing ,

    i crossed the desert twice with no money, And I mean No money.

    This is why I am what I am. I have a very good handle on :”Broke”, liars.

    Reply
  36. Andy_in_SD

     /  March 14, 2017

    Global population of humans over the past 12,000 years.

    Reply
  37. Andy_in_SD

     /  March 14, 2017

    We are consuming the planets renewable resources at a rate or 160% of replenishment (1.6 years worth of Earth’s production consumed each year at our present rate).

    Reply
    • Remove the carbon portion if you want to survive the 21st Century.

      Reply
      • Shawn Redmond

         /  March 14, 2017

        It’s more than just carbon. Most here know this but for the new or casual reader I post the following:
        http://www.overshootday.org
        3800million years ago life first evident on Earth
        95%increase in world population since 1970
        52%decline in average population size of vertebrate species since 1970
        60%of humanity’s Ecological Footprint is carbon
        1.6 planets needed to support humanity’s demand on earths ecosystems

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Overshoot_Day
        1987 December 19 2010 August 21
        1990 December 7 2011 August 27
        1995 November 21 2012 August 22
        2000 November 1 2013 August 20
        2005 October 20 2014 August 19
        2007 October 26 2015 August 13
        2008 September 23 2016 August 8
        2009 September 25

        Reply
        • Shawn Redmond

           /  March 14, 2017

          Sorry that chart from wikipedia didn’t copy well. However, as I was staring at it trying to figure out what I did wrong. It hit me, and kinda hard, August 8th is day 220, July 1st is day 182, half way, 50% is the recognized tipping point for a lot of things in the natural world. From ’07 to ’08 we jumped 33 days in one go. There are only 38 between us and half way!

        • Removing carbon emissions is the fastest way to get back to less than 1 world resource impact. And, as you can see from the graph above, it’s the primary cause of the present overshoot. Moreover, burning that carbon produces an unmanageable externality over very short time frames. Without carbon burning/fossil fuel burning, the lifespan of human civilization dramatically increases and it becomes much easier to care for the natural environment. That’s why fossil fuel burning is the center of gravity to the present crisis.

          After we deal with fossil fuel burning, there will be other sustainability challenges that we will need to manage. Absolutely. But, again, the lion’s share of the harm is coming from fossil fuel burning.

        • Bill Everett

           /  March 14, 2017

          Sorry, Shawn, but I take these Overshoot Day calculations with a huge grain of salt. Maybe my thinking is wrong, but if we are consuming natural resources much faster than they can be renewed, then I would expect an overall decrease in available resources (for example, a decline in fish population biomass from overfishing).

          I was recently interested in considering how much of our overshoot problem is population increase and how much is a result of past depletion of natural resources (overconsumption). If you go down the page on the Earth Overshoot Day link you gave, then you will find “CLICK TO EXPLORE INTERACTIVE MAPS” (takes you to http://www.footprintnetwork.org/content/documents/ecological_footprint_nations/). Clicking on a country image brings up a graph for that country. Eyeballing the green line on the graph to pick off the biocapacity per capita for the starting and ending points and getting the population at those points (hover on the graph line), I calculate the total national biocapacity for those two years by multiplying the biocapacity per capita times the total population. I then calculate the percentage change (increase or decrease). The results are rough (I got old eyeballs), but probably reasonably indicative.

          I found a 27.5% increase in total national biocapacity for the United States from 1961 to 2012. A friend in Thailand in a recent Facebook discussion calculated a 22.6% increase (he eyeballed 5.2 for 1961 compared with my 5.0 biocapacity per capita in 1961).

          Similarly, from 1961 to 2012, the total national biocapacity for China increased 87.7% and for India increased 158.9% by my eyeball.

          You can use your own eyeball measures and come up slightly different percentages, but I don’t think there is anyway you can find a decrease in total biocapacity. In other words, top soil and aquifers for food production must have been increasing on a significant scale. If you believe that, let me tell you about a bridge for sale.

          Bottom line: I suspect the real situation is MUCH worse than portrayed by Earth Overshoot Day based on the Global Footprint Network data.

        • So I will say that there’s a decent amount of flex in the human system IF we don’t completely wreck our support base on a rather short timescale. Lots of excess right now. Lots of innovation that creates flexibility. The big issue is that if the natural supports go away and you basically render whole regions uninhabitable then you end up with a serious crisis. One whose scale just isn’t really comparable with anything we’ve seen in the modern age. Add in the fact that this kind of crisis multiplies human destabilizing factors like ‘fear of other’ and gives demagogues and bad actor politicians like Trump a whole wide range of issues to exploit, and you’ve got a real age of trouble. My opinion is that we can manage if we work together and start swiftly moving forward to cut carbon emissions and switch to renewables now. Right now there’s a lot of resistance to that movement. And that’s a big problem.

        • Shawn Redmond

           /  March 14, 2017

          Hey guys this is the optimistic blog for CC. I believe things are a lot worse. The co2 has to be stopped for sure but I personally don’t think we can remove what has already been produced in a timely fashion. As for the overshoot, having watched the cod collapse here and seeing fall mackerel now no bigger than the small summer run from decades ago. I watched our forests be stripped away faster than they can regrow. The big pulp companies replanted, (not near the acreage they raped), with fast growing lesser species and still close up shop and leave because depletion comes faster than the new forest. Yeah we’re on the back side of the bell curve, or should I say cliff.

        • God save us if I am somehow the optimistic blog…

        • Bill Everett

           /  March 15, 2017

          In today’s world, I am no longer interested in the optimism-pessimism spectrum. Realism is needed, bearing in mind the adage “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”

          It seems to me that this is a blog for realists. It is not possible to make good decisions in ignorance of the actual situation. Contemporary science is not helpful in this regard. It provides information about how things were and how they were changing from one to five years ago on average. THis blog is the best single source I know of for information about how things are now (or at least very recently).

          We have many problems, and climate change is only one of them. But in my opinion, climate change is the most urgent problem for two reasons. First, the climate sets the basic constraints for solving all the other problems and is therefore most important. Second, our actions regarding climate change generally have extremely long-term consequences and quick action (like yesterday?) are needed. The combination of important and short time to act means urgent in my book.

          Almost four years ago, a friend asked permission to reformat an email I sent to a small group of about 30 people and put it on his blog. If you google for “wagon trains and white water rafting” (in quotation marks), then you can find that blog post. Unfortunately, the link for the embedded YouTube video is no longer valid, but that is not critical. I also note that that four years later, I no longer think a WWII-scale global effort will suffice. The times have been a-changin’.

          I have a daughter now in the third year of a five-year school of biology. At the beginning of her second year, she choose field work as her general area. Toward the end of her second year, despite strong discouragement from her adviser, she succeeded in choosing coral reefs as her specialty area for her diploma work in the last two years. The professor for her diploma work has developed a technique for successfully transplanting reefs. If she succeeds this year in getting her diving license and in mastering the taxonomy of corals (in addition to the regular third-year course work), then she will be spending some time working on the reefs in Vietnam for her diploma research. I don’t know whether this will happen. I hope.

          Maybe I will stop hoping about things after I am dead. Don’t know. I’ll just have to wait and see.

  38. redskylite

     /  March 14, 2017

    A century ago, one in three children died before age five. That number has been cut by 90 percent because of global investments in public health. Climate change, unchecked, puts these gains, and lives, at risk.

    The gains we have made in saving the lives of children are fragile – and unlikely to withstand the challenges created by climate change unless we act now.

    The effects of climate change on health will not stop with agriculture. Burning fossil fuels release a wide array of air pollutants that are a leading cause of asthma, heart disease, and strokes in our country and around the globe. Children are particularly vulnerable, and so are the elderly. The increasing number of heat waves is dangerous, but the interaction between high temperatures and air pollution becomes especially deadly.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/health-and-climate-change-an-urgent-need-for-action_us_58c6f1d6e4b081a56dee7b88

    Reply
  39. lesliegraham1

     /  March 14, 2017

    If you haven’t seen this new study (just published in Nature) yet you soon will.
    It will appear as headlines in the Daily Mail, Breitbart and a hundred denierblogs in the next few days.

    Influence of high-latitude atmospheric circulation changes on summertime Arctic sea ice

    Abstract.
    The Arctic has seen rapid sea-ice decline in the past three decades, whilst warming at about twice the global average rate. Yet the relationship between Arctic warming and sea-ice loss is not well understood. Here, we present evidence that trends in summertime atmospheric circulation may have contributed as much as 60% to the September sea-ice extent decline since 1979. A tendency towards a stronger anticyclonic circulation over Greenland and the Arctic Ocean with a barotropic structure in the troposphere increased the downwelling longwave radiation above the ice by warming and moistening the lower troposphere. Model experiments, with reanalysis data constraining atmospheric circulation, replicate the observed thermodynamic response and indicate that the near-surface changes are dominated by circulation changes rather than feedbacks from the changing sea-ice cover. Internal variability dominates the Arctic summer circulation trend and may be responsible for about 30–50% of the overall decline in September sea ice since 1979.

    I can see the headlines now.
    ARCTIC ICE MELT IS NATURAL!!!

    So far as I understand it – which admittedly isn’t very far as I can’t afford to read the full paper – the changes to the jet stream are causing warm air to enter the Arctic and melt the ice.
    Therefore it has nothing to do with global warming.
    Except, of course, that the changes to the jet stream are caused by global warming in the first place.
    Would someone who knows more about this subject ( which is probably just about everyone else who comments here) care to comment on this paper and what it signifies?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • lesliegraham1

       /  March 14, 2017
      Reply
    • redskylite

       /  March 14, 2017

      It’s a bit above my humble labour grade to critique a science paper. But every now and again I see counter consensus papers hitting the media and am very wary. Let’s hope an eminent Climate Scientist can comment on this one (in plain everyday language). Real Climate Science does a great job here especially with papers from certain famous anti-consensus quarters.

      “Surprising
      There is a curious remark in Curry’s report about the climate models’ inability to match the phase and timing of the natural variations. Yes, it is true, but it is also a well-known fact.

      The way it is stated in the report makes me think that Curry has not understood what the climate modelling community is trying to do, however. My suspicion is strengthened when she makes a point about the model simulations not including future changes in the sun and volcanic eruptions.

      The elementary misconceptions revealed by Curry’s “Climate Models for the layman” surprise me. Does she really not understand the flaws presented here or is she trying to sow confusion?”

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2017/03/predictable-and-unpredictable-behaviour/

      Reply
    • redskylite

       /  March 14, 2017

      This simpler summary from the University of Washington seems quite plausible and it is a respectable source. Quite possible that variability has amplified the Arctic situation, but the report does indeed attribute part to climate change. I can imagine Watts Up With That , Breitbart and the Daily Mail will exaggerate and have a field day. They just spread ignorance to the ignorant. (should we even care about the closed minded ignorant unchangeable souls in this world?).

      “Anthropogenic forcing is still dominant — it’s still the key player,” said first author Qinghua Ding, a climate scientist at the University of California Santa Barbara who holds an affiliate position at the UW, where he began the work as a research scientist in the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory. “But we found that natural variability has helped to accelerate this melting, especially over the past 20 years.”

      http://www.washington.edu/news/2017/03/13/rapid-decline-of-arctic-sea-ice-a-combination-of-climate-change-and-natural-variability/

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  March 14, 2017

        It has been a constant factor in discussions here and on ASIF. It is the RRR and the storms from the Pacific etc, the crazy antics of the Vortex and the crossovers into the Southern hemisphere.

        However it all comes back to warmer oceans and land and and Albedo , i.e Sea Ice extent and permafrost extent.

        Not long ago it was pointed out the Stratosphere is shrinking – yes the sky is falling to coin a phrase, due to cooling caused by the GHG’s in the Troposphere blocking the warmth from rising to the troposphere (good old IR block)

        Reply
        • Too much analysis and not enough holistic systems thinking. The warmer Arctic, and world generally, is causing the atmospheric changes. Then those changes exacerbate the warming – its called a positive feedback! The deniers will love the paper.

    • Dave Person

       /  March 14, 2017

      Hi,
      The paper describes a circumstance similar to cases in which natural variation is amplified by global warming. For example, we frequently discuss how warming sets the stage for longer more intense droughts and more severe weather patterns that are initiated by natural variation but made much worse or more frequent by warming. To my mind, the paper reveals a much more distressing situation in which there are natural processes at work in melting the arctic that are amplified by GHG and because the needle from both forcings points in the same direction (warming) we have events happening much more quickly than we anticipate from GHG forcing alone. The end result is the same – an ice free arctic- with all that implies. I also suspect as stronger linkages between ocean and atmospheric circulation, and warming are revealed, components now considered “natural” will be attributed to GHG.

      dave

      Reply
    • So I think this study is trying to be cautious. It’s like IPCC saying that we are 95 to 100 percent certain that more than 50 percent of warming is attributed to humans when most studies show that more than 100 percent of warming was attributed to humans over the past 50-65 years.

      But when you consider that more than 100 percent of global warming has been the result of human fossil fuel emissions, when you consider that polar amplification is an upshot of human caused climate change, when you consider that ice weakening happens year round (warmer winters produce weaker summer ice packs), and when you consider that Arctic weather patterns are governed by global trends, then it’s pretty certain that a ‘warming of the troposphere and moistening of the lower atmosphere’ was likely driven by climate change as well.

      So we could honestly say that there’s a very high probability that 100 percent of the summer melt was caused by human warming.

      Reply
  40. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    MARCH FOR SCIENCE

    EARTH DAY
    APRIL 22, 2017
    https://www.marchforscience.com/

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  March 14, 2017

      How do small places march ? I have an idea . You ask facebook friends to show up . at a place where everyone knows, and loves.

      Reply
    • My wife, my father-in-law and I will be there. There’s a climate march on the 29th we’ll be attending as well. Hope to see you guys 🙂

      Reply
  41. redskylite

     /  March 14, 2017

    “If organisations like Nasa and the NOAA are prohibited from putting up new satellites, that could be really detrimental for the entire international science community. We urgently need these data sets to be able to monitor and understand climate change.”

    Like many scientists Forster fears a cull across a number of US government laboratories concerned with climate change. “Our one biggest concern is the loss of raw talent,” he says. “The loss of people we collaborate with and the people producing this data that we rely on.”

    He says the Trump administration is already making scientific collaboration across the Atlantic more difficult. “Quite a lot of the academics we work with in America are immigrants and some of them are concerned about leaving the country in case they don’t get back in. We’ve certainly seen instances where people have pulled out of coming to scientific conferences. Four or five people I know of, speakers and so forth, have pulled out of their commitments to come here.”

    In a recent example a key scientist from Princeton University pulled out of a climate change workshop that Forster co-organised at Imperial College London.

    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/mar/14/british-scientists-us-climate-change-research-trump

    Reply
  42. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    MARCH FOR SCIENCE

    EARTH DAY
    APRIL 22, 2017
    https://www.marchforscience.com/

    Get up stand up .

    Reply
  43. coloradobob

     /  March 14, 2017

    Reply
  44. Abel Adamski

     /  March 14, 2017

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/mar/13/the-fossil-fuel-industrys-invisible-colonization-of-academia

    The fossil fuel industry’s invisible colonization of academia

    Corporate capture of academic research by the fossil fuel industry is an elephant in the room and a threat to tackling climate change.

    One way or another, the colonization of academia by the fossil fuel industry must be confronted. Because when our nation’s “independent” research to stop climate change is in fact dependent on an industry whose interests oppose that goal, neither the public nor the future is well served.

    Reply
  45. climatehawk1

     /  March 14, 2017

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  46. Andy_in_SD

     /  March 14, 2017

    Free book download:

    World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse
    Lester R. Brown

    We are facing issues of near-overwhelming complexity and unprecedented urgency. Our challenge is to think globally and develop policies to counteract environmental decline and economic collapse. The question is: Can we change direction before we go over the edge?

    You can DL the book (pdf).
    http://www.earth-policy.org/books/wote

    Reply
  47. It was my hope to read, “…it appears that the forceful removal of fossil fuel backing politicians (like Trump, Scott Pruitt, James Inhoffe and other climate change denying republicans in the US) will be necessary.” But no, delete “forceful”.

    Reply
  48. Robert E Prue

     /  March 14, 2017

    You know how on “Game of Thrones” they are always making the statement “winter’s coming”? Thinking that should be changed to “summer’s coming”

    Reply
  49. Patrick deligny

     /  March 15, 2017

    Nothing is going to change unless people take charge. We rely on our politicians who only care about their term in office and the golden pension at the end.

    Reply
    • Welcome, Patrick. We all have to take charge and we absolutely need to open up communications with our politicians. They’ve been cornered by special interests. We need to remind them that their #1 job is to serve the American people — not fossil fuel companies, not overseas interests, certainly not their pocketbooks, and definitely not Russia.

      Reply

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