Arctic Entering Its Hottest Period in 2.5 Million Years as Last Remnants of Laurentide Melt Away

“This is the disappearance of a feature from the last glacial age, which would have probably survived without anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.” — Adrien Gilbert

*****

There are many ways to tell the Earth’s temperature. One is by measuring how warm the atmosphere is near the surface. Another is to track the heat content of the world’s oceans. Still another is by taking account of melting glaciers and comparing thaw lines with times in the geological past.

And according to new research, the present state of the Barnes Ice Cap — which is the last tiny remnant of the once vast Laurentide Ice Sheettells a tale of heat not seen in 2.5 million years.

(NASA satellite shot of the last melting remnant of the Laurentide Ice sheet on August 30 of 2016. Want to see a time lapse of Barnes Ice Cap melt from 1984 to 2015? Take a look at this GoogleEarth time lapse, zoom in on Baffin Island, find the ice cap, and watch the edge lines retreat. It’s a bit uncanny..)

Over the past 2.5 million years, the Laurentide Ice Sheet has swelled and shrunken as cold ice ages were followed by warm interglacials. During the height of each ice age, the glaciers of Laurentide expanded to cover most of present day Canada and parts of the Northern United States. And during warmer interglacials, the ice sheet retreated to its final stronghold of the Barnes Ice Cap on Baffin Island.

But now, scientists have found that the Barnes Ice Cap, and with it the last remains of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, is about to disappear. Projections indicate that the considerable warming the Arctic is now experiencing, due primarily to fossil fuel burning, will completely melt this half-a-kilometer tall mountain of ice in just 200 to 500 years.

Once that happens, the Laurentide Ice Sheet will be gone. And this will be the first time such a thing has happened in 2.5 million years.

(Recent decline of the Laurentide Ice Sheet during the end of the last ice age to 1,000 years before present. Soon, this once great mass of ice will be completely lost. Yet one more casualty of human fossil fuel burning.)

Though the Barnes Ice Cap may now be rather small compared to the larger ice masses of Greenland and Antarctica, its melt serves as a further sign that glaciers in those regions are also at risk. Gifford Miller, the associate director of CU Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research who has conducted research on Baffin Island for many decades notes:

“I think the disappearance of the Barnes Ice Cap would be just a scientific curiosity if it were not so unusual. One implication derived from our results is that significant parts of the southern Greenland Ice Sheet also may be at risk of melting as the Arctic continues to warm.”

Which is why many researchers are now saying that the imminent loss of Barnes serves as a kind of glacial melt canary in a coal mine.

The study authors further note that even if fossil fuel burning were to stop now, the total loss of the Barnes Ice Cap would still occur. What this means is that some parts of the Arctic are now likely as hot or hotter than they were at any time in the last 2.5 million years — the time when Barnes first formed. And, as the World Meteorological Organization noted so cogently this week, it also means that we’re heading deeper and deeper into an uncharted climate.

(UPDATED)

Links:

Last Remnant of North American Ice Sheet Set to Vanish

Climate Change Has Pushed Earth Into Uncharted Territory

NASA

GoogleEarth time lapse

Hat tip to Colorado Bob

Hat tip to Keith Antonysen

Hat tip to Kevin

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73 Comments

  1. withoutfeathers

     /  March 23, 2017

    Reblogged this on things I've read or intend to.

    Reply
  2. Kevin

     /  March 23, 2017

    Zoom in on it in Google Earth Engine, (Big white spot in middle of Baffin Island, can’t miss it) you can see its edges receding, scary stuff.

    https://earthengine.google.com/timelapse/

    Reply
  3. DJ

     /  March 23, 2017

    The whole melting of the arctic is such an obvious, gigantic canary in the coalmine regarding the dangerous path we’re on.

    Reply
  4. Whachamacallit

     /  March 23, 2017

    I will be honest, I’m a bit surprised it’ll take that long for that remnant to melt away. Won’t the far larger Western Antarctic Ice Sheet melt away in 200-300 years in a BAU scenario?

    Reply
    • So the forcing on WAIS includes warm ocean waters as well as air/precipitation. The forcing on Barnes is primarily air. That said, these model estimates may be conservative. But it’s worth noting that previous interglacials saw substantial losses from both Greenland and WAIS and even bits from East Antarctica without the full loss of Barnes.

      In this case, I’m reporting on the science as-is without further discussion or comment. And I’d like to note that Barnes is absolutely a canary for southern Greenland and large chunks of West Antarctica.

      Reply
    • redskylite

       /  March 24, 2017

      We used to take the Antarctic ice sheets for granted until quite recently, then discovered they too were going the way of the Arctic.

      Telling piece in the Conversation by the lead scientist on RRS James Clark Ross, Boaty’s parent ship, which just set sail from Chile. (Alberto Naveira Garabato.
      Professor, National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton).

      “Around the world, deeper ocean waters have been steadily warming over the past few decades, faster than we would expect simply through overall climate change. This suggests that global warming has triggered some sort of a change in deep sea circulation, which has sent extra heat into the lowest layers of the ocean. On its maiden voyage, Boaty will help us investigate why this is.”

      http://theconversation.com/mcboatface-lead-scientist-how-famed-submarine-will-help-unlock-the-causes-of-deep-sea-warming-74797

      Reply
    • Erik Frederiksen

       /  March 24, 2017

      “Won’t the far larger Western Antarctic Ice Sheet melt away in 200-300 years in a BAU scenario?”

      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 presentation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7MNA44RMNA

      And when might Thwaites get off its stabilizing sill?

      From the NY Times recently https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/15/magazine/the-secrets-in-greenlands-ice-sheets.html?_r=0: “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.’’

      Reply
      • Whachamacallit

         /  March 24, 2017

        @Erik Frederiksen
        Yes, I’ve actually watched that presentation a while ago and found it very interesting. I also got the “200-300” timeline from that presentation, although maybe I misinterpreted what Richard Alley was saying; I thought he meant that there could be large losses that occur on a multi-decadal level, but a few tiny bits of the WAIS would take a few centuries to fully disappear.

        Reply
        • Erik Frederiksen

           /  March 24, 2017

          Thanks for the clarification, sounds right, small parts of the sheet don’t have their feet in the ocean and would go slower.

  5. coloradobob

     /  March 23, 2017

    Wind speeds in the Texas Panhandle today were 50 mph . This fire started around 3 PM .

    Forest Service: 5,500 acres burned, containment levels still at 0

    ROBERTS COUNTY, TX (KFDA) –
    The Texas A&M Forest Service said Thursday evening that 5,500 acres have been burned in the Rankin Ranch Road Fire, a large blaze burning near Miami in Roberts County.

    Reply
  6. coloradobob

     /  March 23, 2017

    Good news for the Great Barrier Reef.

    Cyclone preparations step up as tropical low expected to strengthen off north Queensland

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-24/cyclone-preparations-tropical-low-expected-strengthen-north-qld/8382734

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  March 24, 2017

      Upon reflection ………..

      And band-aid on a sucking chest wound.

      Reply
      • Hasn’t had too much cooling effect yet. I suppose it depends on how deep those warm waters are. Worth noting that cyclones are also harmful to reefs — especially when they’re weakened by bleaching.

        Reply
  7. coloradobob

     /  March 24, 2017

    Google Says Its Job Is to Promote Climate Change Conspiracy Theories

    Yesterday, I wrote a short post about Google’s Top Stories module. If you googled “great barrier reef” on Wednesday, you’d be presented with a Breitbart article filled with insane ravings about how climate change isn’t real, featured at the very top in the site’s highlighted “Top Stories” box. When I went to the company’s press team to see what was up, they assured me it was perfectly normal for an article written by a noted climate change denier to get pinned to the top of Google’s results.

    Link

    Reply
    • From the article:

      “It’s irresponsible for Google to carelessly attach some implicit credibility to a story that is pushing bullshit climate denial.”

      Spot on.

      Reply
  8. Erik Frederiksen

     /  March 24, 2017

    When the Laurentide Ice Sheet contributed to Meltwater Pulse 1A 14,400 years ago sea level rise went up by 4m per century for centuries.

    So a good question is can our current ice sheets do anything like that?

    The thing is, Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica is a threshold system, when it goes, it apparently could go fast, in multi-decadal time scales or less according to Richard Alley.

    Reply
    • Spike

       /  March 24, 2017

      Yes 14 to 18m in less than 350 years, Earth has shown it’s quite capable of this.
      http://research-information.bristol.ac.uk/files/91241946/Gregoire_et_al_2016_Geophysical_Research_Letters.pdf

      Reply
    • We should also consider that the rate of warming when pulse 1A hit was and average of .05 C per Century. We’re warming 0.15 to 0.2 C per decade. 30 to 40 times faster. Any rational constraints to melt water rates due to less ice coverage should also take into account the accelerated rate of warming.

      As noted, there are numerous threshold systems capable of producing multi-meter sea level rise. So the velocity of SLR will, in larger part, be constrained by how rapidly we hit thresholds in multiple such systems. And the more rapid present rate of warming is a trigger we should keep our eye on.

      Finally, it appears that these systems tend to destabilize more rapidly once you hit a 1.5 to 2.5 temperature delta above baseline. These deltas are such that average years and even cooler years will tend to be warmer than previous record warm years at the holocene baseline. In other words, once temperatures hit that range, there’s no variable respite in which systems can make counter-trend recoveries and the risk of cascading effects becomes higher. Pulse 1 A really lit off as the temperature delta vs the ice age baseline hit around +2 C.

      Reply
  9. Erik Frederiksen

     /  March 24, 2017

    “One implication derived from our results is that significant parts of the southern Greenland Ice Sheet also may be at risk of melting as the Arctic continues to warm.”

    “Describing the tendency among scientists to avoid speaking bluntly about ice-­sheet collapse, Rignot told me: ‘‘You can fiddle around and say, ‘It’s going to take a long time’ or ‘We don’t know.’ But even the most conservative people in our community will tell you: ‘We warm the climate by two or three degrees C? Greenland’s ice is gone.’ ’’ He was suggesting to me, in other words, that the Paris targets of two degrees Celsius would not halt the glacial decline. Rignot continued: ‘‘And five degrees? There’s no way Antarctica is going to stay if we warm up by five degrees.’’”

    Reply
  10. coloradobob

     /  March 24, 2017

    Katharine Hayhoe
    Atmospheric Scientist
    air date: March 23, 2017

    In this episode of Overheard, scientist Katharine Hayhoe talks about the intersection of science and faith, climate change and what we as citizens can do to help.

    Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist who studies climate change. In 2014 Time Magazine recognized her as one of the top 100 Most Influential People in the world. Dr. Hayhoe is currently a professor and directs the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. She also hosts the PBS Digital Studios web series Global Weirding.

    Link

    Reply
    • To some, religion is a spirituality of convenience and self-validation. ‘God is on our side,’ ‘if we prosper, then it is because we are the few who were chosen,’ ‘those who are not like us should be feared,’ ‘my wrongdoing has been erased by God and therefore my actions don’t matter so long as I believe.’ But if we approach religion from this perspective, then we have destroyed the very basis of religion and spirituality — which is to enable morality and benevolence. Religion, in this case, has become a mirror for the vain narcissist. A religion, in practice, of taking the Lord’s name in vain.

      Religion should be about service to others, not about what one can get from religion, but how religion can enable us to become more giving — to learn to work to strengthen our honor, our sense of justice such that we do not foresake the world or those we love who live in it. To instill in us the courage to do what is moral, to trouble us to the point that we hunger and thirst for justice.

      So what I’m saying is that if you’re going to follow a religion, it should be to advance your morality, your benevolent nature, to inspire good acts in the world, to enable you to do the right thing. And the right thing right now is to not wreck the world and destroy its creatures by continuing to burn fossil fuels. The right thing right now is to do the work to transform civilization and put it on a path that does less harm and ultimately helps.

      Reply
  11. redskylite

     /  March 24, 2017

    Since taking some online climate courses in 2008, I now spend considerable hours each day trying to keep abreast of the latest climate news and research. Robert Scribbler (and the faithful post commentators) is a fine place to keep informed. Seems such an important news topic is greatly neglected by much of the popular media . WHY ? its does not make any kind of sense.

    “In 2016, evening newscasts and Sunday shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC, as well as Fox Broadcast Co.’s Fox News Sunday, collectively decreased their total coverage of climate change by 66 percent compared to 2015, even though there were a host of important climate-related stories, including the announcement of 2015 as the hottest year on record, the signing of the Paris climate agreement, and numerous climate-related extreme weather events. ”

    https://www.mediamatters.org/research/2017/03/23/how-broadcast-networks-covered-climate-change-2016/215718

    Reply
  12. coloradobob

     /  March 24, 2017

    (KUTV) It’s been a very wet day across the state of Utah and some parts of the state will experience flooding.
    By 3 p.m., a record 1.98″ of rain was reported in Salt Lake City. This reading broke the record for the wettest day in March on record. The rainfall also beat out the normal precipitation for the entire month of March, which is 1.79″.

    Link

    Reply
  13. coloradobob

     /  March 24, 2017

    Numbers trickling out of Peru –

    MORE than 75 people have been killed, and more than 100,000 left homeless, as Peru’s coast has been battered by the strongest rains seen in decades. Millions are without running water; more than 2,000km of roads and at least 175 bridges have been destroyed. The devastation has been caused by a “coastal El Niño”, a localised version of the global El Niño weather cycle that brings warm currents from Australia to the Pacific coast of the Americas. Peru had been braced for a big El Niño in 2016, but it did not arrive. It was not expecting a coastal version, especially of such magnitude.

    Link

    Reply
    • It’s odd for a number of reasons. The warm Kelvin wave was rather weak. But the anomaly signal at the surface is quite strong.

      Reply
    • redskylite

       /  March 24, 2017

      I just read an interview in Deutsche Welle with climatologist Mojib Latif discussing the impact of Climate Change on the Peru flooding. Included for interest.

      Peru floods in line with climate change models, says climatologist Mojib Latif

      No, absolutely not. You can’t explain the warming of the oceans without taking into account anthropogenic (human-caused) carbon dioxide emissions. The oceans are warm down to 2,000 meters, and that is a giant volume. Actually, the oceans have taken more than 90 percent of the heat that has been trapped in the earth’s system in response to the increase of greenhouse gas emissions. This ocean warming also leads to a sea level rise. So about half of the sea level rise we have observed over the last century is actually due to ocean warming due to thermal expansion.

      http://www.dw.com/en/peru-floods-in-line-with-climate-change-models-says-climatologist-mojib-latif/a-38045642

      Reply
  14. Robert E Prue

     /  March 24, 2017

    There’s a really odd debate happening on the Arctic sea ice forum. “Negative Feedback of Positive Snowfall Anomalies” where sea ice melt increases water vapor leading to more snowfall over Siberia and Canada. This extra snow then causes a cooling globally. I know, this is probably ridiculous but I went full curious George on it. Even though there was more snow, it’d still melt off during spring and early summer and with a large ghg presence in the atmosphere it’d have more time to melt at night as nights wouldn’t cool as fast. ?

    Reply
    • wili

       /  March 24, 2017

      Yeah, the extra snow falls in winter mostly within 200 k of the Arctic Ocean, so it’s pretty much dark up there–no albedo effect there. And of course the extra snow occurs because there’s extra water vapor in the atmosphere up there, keeping it warmer than it would be otherwise. Most areas in somewhat lower latitudes are seeing much less snow cover most years. I can vouch for that for Minnesota this year. Precipitation mostly came as rain. Very weird by standards of just a few years ago.

      It sounded like an honest question over there, but some of the follow up is making me think bbr is something of a troll, though a rather coy one.

      Reply
  15. Robert E Prue

     /  March 24, 2017

    I know. Barely snows at all here in Kansas anymore. We get rain in December and January instead of snow. The last March blizzard was in 2009. Used to get them frequently. Did have an ice storm middle of January. Tore up the trees pretty bad.

    Reply
    • I wonder if there are numbers showing how often rain in winter happened 5 years ago compared to this winter..Not too long ago I would go out and sit on the porch to watch the rain in winter cause it was so weird..Now weather people on tv make it sound like all is “Normal”

      Reply
  16. The melting of glaciers and mountain ice, bad as it is, has also led to the development of a new archaeological discipline – glacial archaeology, which is my work field. The melting ice releases artifacts which have been stored in a deep freezer, sometimes for thousands of years. The combination of exciting archaeological finds and climate change has created a lot of interest.
    However, almost every time we are in the media, the finds gets misused to propagate climate science denial. For this reason I have had to read up on climate science (including following this blog for quite a while, without posting), both for putting the finds into a proper context, and to be able to explain, why the finds cannot be used to disprove global warming:
    http://secretsoftheice.com/news/2016/10/07/climate-science-denial/

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  March 24, 2017

      Lars Pilø –

      Great stuff , and thanks for commenting .

      Reply
  17. Spike

     /  March 24, 2017

    Another “worse than we thought” article. Reefs damaged severely because local changes magnified the impact of global warming.Most future projections for coral reefs in a 2°C global warming scenario only take into account background ocean warming, rather than local weather effects on reefs, says DeCarlo. “They may be overly optimistic.”

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2125630-shock-mass-coral-die-off-in-asia-sounds-alarm-for-worlds-reefs/?utm_campaign=RSS%7CNSNS&utm_source=NSNS&utm_medium=RSS&campaign_id=RSS%7CNSNS-

    Reply
    • It’s easy to forget that humans already provide stresses. It’s also worth considering that many out of ocean experiments — in tanks and artificial environments — don’t include other natural stresses as well. We tend to test for ideal and simplified circumstances. Nature is a bit rougher.

      The same can be said for deforestation + climate change stress to forests as we’ve seen in the Amazon, for example.

      Reply
  18. coloradobob

     /  March 24, 2017

    I watched Katharine Hayhoe last night being interviewed by Evan Smith. She had a great retort for the old , “It snowed so CC isn’t real”, argument .

    ” The guy at the back of Titanic was sure it wasn’t sinking , because his end was going up. “

    Reply
  19. coloradobob

     /  March 24, 2017

    Roberts Co. fire burns 60,000 acres

    In less than 15 hours.

    Reply
  20. coloradobob

     /  March 24, 2017

    On listening to the Arctic

    The Arctic has something to tell us … And I’m getting perhaps a bit spiritual here, but the Inuit especially believe that there are spirits of their ancestors, there are spirits that live in the sea, that walk the land, and if you disrespect them, you will suffer greatly for it. …

    ‘Ghosts’ In The Arctic: How The Long-Lost Franklin Expedition Was Found

    Reply
  21. coloradobob

     /  March 24, 2017

    Angola floods kill 11, cause widespread destruction
    Deadly floods after heavy rainfall in the north of the country have left thousands homeless.

    In common with many other parts of southern Africa, Angola has been in the grip of a drought which has persisted for several years. This partly due to climate change, but population growth and increased agricultural demand for water have also played their part.

    The current floods have left much of the farmland in Luanda province under water and communications have been cut off.

    Link

    Reply
  22. Shawn Redmond

     /  March 24, 2017

    This was a tuff one to pick a paragraph out of for a sample, so the first one is the opener and the next three are from further down.
    ahttps://systemicdisorder.wordpress.com
    World Bank declares itself above the law
    The World Bank has for decades left a trail of human misery. Destruction of the environment, massive human rights abuses and mass displacement have been ignored in the name of “development” that works to intensify neoliberal inequality. In response to legal attempts to hold it to account, the World Bank has declared itself above the law.

    Financing projects that facilitate global warming had already been on the rise. A study prepared by the Institute for Policy Studies and four other organizations found that World Bank lending for coal, oil and gas reached $3 billion in 2008 — a sixfold increase from 2004. In the same year, only $476 million went toward renewable energy sources. Oil Change International (citing somewhat lower dollar figures) estimates that World Bank funding for fossil fuels doubled from 2011 to 2015.

    Destructive logging projects across the Global South funded by the World Bank accelerated in the 1990s. Despite a January 2000 internal report finding that its lending practices had not curbed deforestation or reduced poverty, Southeast Asia saw a continuation of illegal logging and land concessions, and untimely deaths of local people blowing the whistle, as has Africa.

    Similar to its report on curbing global warming that ignores its own role, the World Bank shamelessly issued a 2012 report calling for international law enforcement measures against illegal logging. Perhaps what is illegal are only those operations not funded by the bank?

    Reply
  23. Andy_in_SD

     /  March 24, 2017

    U.S. imports coal ash while it struggles to clean up it’s own dirty deposits

    The U.S. has more than 1,100 coal ash dumps threatening to contaminate water sources or create an environmental disaster, yet imports the waste material for use in roads and concrete

    http://www.canadianmanufacturing.com/exporting-and-importing/u-s-imports-coal-ash-while-it-struggles-to-clean-up-its-own-deposits-189108/

    Reply
  24. Connecticut Gordon

     /  March 24, 2017

    Thanks again for the clearly presented updates, Robert.

    I just noticed today that the link to 50 day forward ice [previously done by Andrew Slater] has been updated and is working. It has to be one of his close colleagues that has taken it on.

    http://cires1.colorado.edu/~aslater/SEAICE/

    Nice tribute by them.

    Reply
  25. coloradobob

     /  March 24, 2017

    Mar 24, 2017
    Cyclic drought threatens to destabilise Amazon

    Researchers have identified a climate feedback mechanism that could have catastrophic consequences for one of the world’s great rainforests.

    They report that a dangerous mix of human-induced devastation and cyclic drought in the Amazon could launch a vicious circle of forest dieback. The drought that killed the trees could intensify because of the intricate relationship between the rainforest and the rainfall, in which trees play a role in maintaining a pattern of precipitation by pumping fallen water back into the atmosphere.

    “We already know that, on the one hand, reduced rainfall increases the risk of forest dieback, and, on the other hand, forest loss can intensify regional droughts. So more droughts can lead to less forest, leading to more droughts, and so on,” says Delphine Clara Zemp, of Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who led the international team of scientists behind the finding.

    Link

    Reply
  26. coloradobob

     /  March 24, 2017

    H.R.861 – To terminate the Environmental Protection Agency.
    115th Congress (2017-2018) | Get alerts

    Sponsor: Rep. Gaetz, Matt [R-FL-1] (Introduced 02/03/2017)
    Committees: House – Energy and Commerce; Agriculture; Transportation and Infrastructure; Science, Space, and Technology
    Latest Action: 02/10/2017 Referred to the Subcommittee on Environment.

    https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/861

    Reply
  27. coloradobob

     /  March 24, 2017

    In a watershed moment, more than half of the population now oppose drilling in the American wilderness — although this likely has more to do with cheap gas prices than a sudden embrace of environmental sensitivity.

    According to poll data released by Gallup on Friday, the same day Donald Trump approved construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, 53 percent of Americans oppose opening federal lands for oil exploration, compared with just 34 percent who were against the idea five years ago.

    Link

    Reply
  28. coloradobob

     /  March 24, 2017

    Earth’s worst-ever mass extinction of life holds ‘apocalyptic’ warning about climate change, say scientists

    Runaway global warming saw the planet’s average temperature hit about double what it is today about 250 million years ago

    Researchers studying the largest-ever mass extinction in Earth’s history claim to have found evidence that it was caused by runaway global warming – and that the “apocalyptic” events of 250 million years ago could happen again. ………………….. Now a team of researchers from Canada, Italy, Germany and the US say they have discovered what happened and that their findings have “an important lesson for humanity” in how we deal with current global warming.

    According to a paper published in the journal Palaeoworld, volcanic eruptions pumped large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, causing average temperatures to rise by eight to 11°C.

    This melted vast amounts of methane that had been trapped in the permafrost and sea floor, causing temperatures to soar even further to levels “lethal to most life on land and in the oceans”.

    Link

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  March 24, 2017

      Methane Hydrate: Killer cause of Earth’s greatest mass extinction

      Abstract
      The cause for the end Permian mass extinction, the greatest challenge life on Earth faced in its geologic history, is still hotly debated by scientists. The most significant marker of this event is the negative δ13C shift and rebound recorded in marine carbonates with a duration ranging from 2000 to 19 000 years depending on localities and sedimentation rates. Leading causes for the event are Siberian trap volcanism and the emission of greenhouse gases with consequent global warming. Measurements of gases vaulted in calcite of end Permian brachiopods and whole rock document significant differences in normal atmospheric equilibrium concentration in gases between modern and end Permian seawaters. The gas composition of the end Permian brachiopod-inclusions reflects dramatically higher seawater carbon dioxide and methane contents leading up to the biotic event. Initial global warming of 8–11 °C sourced by isotopically light carbon dioxide from volcanic emissions triggered the release of isotopically lighter methane from permafrost and shelf sediment methane hydrates. Consequently, the huge quantities of methane emitted into the atmosphere and the oceans accelerated global warming and marked the negative δ13C spike observed in marine carbonates, documenting the onset of the mass extinction period. The rapidity of the methane hydrate emission lasting from several years to thousands of years was tempered by the equally rapid oxidation of the atmospheric and oceanic methane that gradually reduced its warming potential but not before global warming had reached levels lethal to most life on land and in the oceans. Based on measurements of gases trapped in biogenic and abiogenic calcite, the release of methane (of ∼3–14% of total C stored) from permafrost and shelf sediment methane hydrate is deemed the ultimate source and cause for the dramatic life-changing global warming (GMAT > 34 °C) and oceanic negative-carbon isotope excursion observed at the end Permian. Global warming triggered by the massive release of carbon dioxide may be catastrophic, but the release of methane from hydrate may be apocalyptic. The end Permian holds an important lesson for humanity regarding the issue it faces today with greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, and climate change.

      Link

      Reply
  29. coloradobob

     /  March 24, 2017

    Weird Coastal El Nino Clobbers Peru: 80 Killed, $1.4 Billion in Damage
    By: Bob Henson and Jeff Masters , 6:00 PM GMT on March 24, 2017

    https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3586#commenttop

    Reply
  30. Bill H

     /  March 24, 2017

    Banging the drum here for Nick Stokes’ very erudite “mohyu blog”, but global temperatures really have been amazingly high for non-el Nino conditions over the last couple of months.

    Reply
  31. DJ

     /  March 24, 2017

    While the arctic continues to set daily records for lowest extent ever at this time of year (with the melt season barely underway), the antarctic is so far refusing to re-freeze, resulting in the continuation of a disturbing global trend, illustrated by Wipneus here

    https://sites.google.com/site/arctischepinguin/home/global-sea-ice

    Reply
  32. Magma

     /  March 24, 2017

    I recognized the Barnes Ice Cap from the first photo run by a news agency article but left unnamed except in the body of the story. Almost 20 years ago I carried out field work not too far from it, but never thought enough to fly to it… I didn’t realize at the time that some of the features of Arctic geography that I was taking for granted might turn out to be ephemeral.

    I disagree with one forecast by the researchers involved, though… I think their projected 200 to 500 year lifetime may greatly overestimate how much time the BIC actually has left.

    Reply
  1. Arctic Entering Its Hottest Period in 2.5 Million Years as Last Remnants of Laurentide Melt Away – MI-VU

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