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New Crack Found in Delaware-Sized Chunk of Larsen C Ice Shelf as it Heads Toward Southern Ocean

A 2,000 square mile section of the Larsen C Ice Shelf is hanging by a thread as it continues to drift toward the Weddell Sea.

(A second crack develops in Larsen C Ice Shelf. Image source: Project MIDAS.)

The break-off section represents fully 10 percent of all the ice contained in the Larsen C system. It has been divided from the larger ice shelf by a 180 kilometer long crack that began to develop in 2009 and that swiftly lengthened during recent years. Now only a 10 kilometer wide bridge links the breaking section to the larger ice shelf. And considering the enormous stresses now being placed on this break-off section it is expected to go at any time.

Since January, according to researchers at Project MIDAS, the large crack has been widening but its length growth has stalled. However, recent reports out this week from MIDAS found that a new crack had developed at the ice-bridge end of the break-off section. The new crack appears to be rounding the corner of the bridge to begin a quicker path to segmenting the massive ice berg away from Larsen C. A testament to the powerful forces that are inevitably forcing this enormous section of ice to relinquish its hold.

(Large section of Larsen C is moving far faster than the rest of the ice shelf toward the Southern Ocean. Image source: Project MIDAS.)

At issue is the fact that the break-off section is moving toward the Weddell Sea considerably faster than the rest of the Larsen C ice shelf. Much of this large section of ice is proceeding away from the Antarctic mainland at 3 meters per day. Surrounding sections of Larsen C are moving at only 1-2 meters per day. As a result, the toe end of the break-off mass is tipping out into Weddell’s waters and the crack separating it from Larsen C is widening.

It’s not really a question of if this massive block of ice will separate from Larsen C. More an issue of how soon.

Loss of so large a section of ice from Larsen C threatens the entire ice shelf’s stability. And some scientists are questioning whether the whole ice shelf will destabilize and eventually splinter — as happened to Larsen A and Larsen B during recent years.

(Rapid loss of buttressing ice shelves like Larsen C lock in higher and higher ranges for sea level rise. A worrying risk for rapid sea level rise occurs as global temperatures warm to between 1.5 and 2.5 C. A level we are fast approaching. Scientists like James Hansen identify a significant risk for multi-meter sea level rise this Century if 2 C warming thresholds are breached. Video Source: Carbon Freeze.)

Warming ocean waters due to human-forced climate change are the primary driver for loss of ice shelves around the world. These ice shelves hold back land glaciers — preventing them from more rapidly sliding into the world’s oceans. Larsen C alone holds back glaciers capable of lifting global ocean levels by 4 inches. But there are numerous such ice shelves and many are now facing thinning and increasing instability due to warming ocean waters. As a result, a growing number of scientists are concerned about the possibility for multi-meter sea level rise this Century if fossil fuel burning is not swiftly halted.

Links:

Project MIDAS

Carbon Freeze

Second Giant Crack Appears on Larsen C

Crack in Larsen C Forks

Larsen C Destabilization Could Trigger 4 Inch Sea Level Rise

Hat tip to June

Hat tip to Andy in San Diego

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124 Comments

  1. coloradobob

     /  May 4, 2017

    The path of least resistance.

    Reply
  2. coloradobob

     /  May 4, 2017

    Study: Believe you can stop climate change and you will

    If we believe that we can personally help stop climate change with individual actions – such as turning the thermostat down—then we are more likely to make a difference, according to research from the University of Warwick.

    Dr Jesse Preston in the Department of Psychology has demonstrated that people are often negatively affected by climate change helplessness—the belief that climate change is so massive and terrifying, as to be out of our personal control, and that our actions are too small to help.
    This feeling of helplessness, however, makes people less likely to bother with individual eco-friendly actions – and actually leads to higher energy consumption.

    Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-climate.html#jCp

    Reply
    • There’s a bit to that whole power of positive thinking thing — as long as you can be practical and realistic about it.

      Reply
  3. coloradobob

     /  May 4, 2017
    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  May 4, 2017

      You may hear “town is gone” hyperbole in news after a tornado hits. Rarely happens, but we came close 10 yrs ago in Greensburg, KS. Awful.

      Reply
  4. coloradobob

     /  May 4, 2017

    Intensifying Donna Approaches Vanuatu in Southwest Pacific

    Meanwhile, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre in Hawaii,
    global forecast data suggests the system was likely to undergo a period
    of rapid intensification.
    “The cyclone could reach a severe category 4 system with very
    destructive wind gusts as high as 260km/hour,” the Joint Typhoon Warning
    Centre warned. …

    https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/intensifying-donna-approaches-vanuatu-southwest-pacific

    Reply
  5. climatehawk1

     /  May 5, 2017

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  6. coloradobob

     /  May 5, 2017

    I found a new picture of the tar sands from Green Peace tonight .
    Really gives a scale to what it is .

    Reply
    • I don’t think most people would get the true scale of that pit because they don’t know how huge those trucks are.

      Reply
      • Brian

         /  May 5, 2017

        Each of those trucks is about the size of a McMansion. (A McMansion is a 2- or 3-story house about 2500sqft to 4000sqft that is way-larger than required for the small family living there – coined during the lead-up to the 2008 housing bubble and the subsequent crash.)

        Reply
    • Loni

       /  May 5, 2017

      Diggin’ our own grave.

      Reply
      • Steven Blaisdell

         /  May 6, 2017

        Straight into the black pits of hell.

        Reply
  7. coloradobob

     /  May 5, 2017

    I was poking around in some of my old articles , and as the fire season begins in the NH .
    Here are 2 that seem very timely…………

    The Words of Fire Fighters
    By Colorado Bob
    Sun Aug 5, 2007 5:18 AM

    One thing that has emerged from this fire season are the words of the people who have been fighting them, and the people who have been caught by them. Consider these accounts :

    From Montana Saturday :

    The Jocko Lakes Fire west of Seeley Lake blew up Saturday afternoon, displaying “tremendous fire activity,” fire information officer Pat Cross said, “activity firefighters haven’t seen before in this part of the world.”

    From Utah in July :

    Royce Stevens, a 32-year-old wildland firefighter from Holden, on Sunday called the Milford Flat blaze “pretty amazing.” “It’s fire behavior like I haven’t seen before,”

    From a fire fighter at the South Lake Tahoe fire in June :

    “We don’t have a fire season in California any more, we burn year around now.”

    From the relative of one of three people killed at the North Neola Fire in Utah at the end of June :

    It’s hard to put into words,” he said after touring his father’s property. “It was a phenomenon, a combination of circumstances that created a cyclone that came down on them, but it was a cyclone of fire.”

    From HOT SPRINGS South Dakota at the beginning of July:

    “This thing blew up because of extreme hot temperatures and the winds,” said Joe Lowe, South Dakota wildland fire coordinator. “It came out of the canyon with a vengeance.”

    From a fire near Inyo, California :

    In his 20 years working in the Inyo National Forest, Louth said he has never seen such dry conditions. Before the fire started Friday, he said he was walking outside and “the pine needles were crunching under me rather than bending and giving way to my weight.”

    Nancy Upham Inyo National Forest :

    “Fire fighters are seeing fire behavior they have never seen before – things are just igniting with a single spark”

    Last year in Texas :

    “We were burning from border to border for over 400 days,” said Les Rogers, Texas Forest Service assistant chief regional fire coordinator for the Abilene area.

    https://coloradobob1.newsvine.com/_news/2007/08/05/878712-the-words-of-fire-fighters

    And the update –

    The Words of the Fire Fighters – An Update
    By Colorado Bob
    Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:58 AM

    Scott Pelley did a report last night on 60 Min. that had a very interesting quote at the end. It was made by the man who is :

    Tom Boatner, who after 30 years on the fire line, is now the chief of fire operations for the federal government.

    Mr. Boater is America’s #1 wild land fire fighter, consider this exchange between Scott Pelley, and our #1 fire fighter :

    “You know, there are a lot of people who don’t believe in climate change,” Pelley remarks.

    “You won’t find them on the fire line in the American West anymore,” Tom Boatner says. “‘Cause we’ve had climate change beat into us over the last ten or fifteen years. We know what we’re seeing, and we’re dealing with a period of climate, in terms of temperature and humidity and drought that’s different than anything people have seen in our lifetimes.”

    https://coloradobob1.newsvine.com/_news/2007/10/22/1040975-the-words-of-the-fire-fighters-an-update

    All of this was 10 years ago.

    Reply
  8. coloradobob

     /  May 5, 2017

    RS –
    I’m in the spam can .

    Reply
  9. coloradobob

     /  May 5, 2017

    10/10 /2006 –

    Reply
  10. coloradobob

     /  May 5, 2017

    There are diseases hidden in ice, and they are waking up
    Long-dormant bacteria and viruses, trapped in ice and permafrost for centuries, are reviving as Earth’s climate warms
    BBC, May 4, 2017

    http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170504-there-are-diseases-hidden-in-ice-and-they-are-waking-up

    Reply
  11. coloradobob

     /  May 5, 2017

    Barb –
    My entire thinking about climate change is this –
    The small things made the jump first They rotate their genetic material in hours They own the Earth. From the the very beginning . To see them eat the paint on our walls , is perfectly logical.

    The really scary thing is, now we have done the 52 card pickup . They will come after us , not because they hate us , but because we are a ripe target. In a new world.

    The 52 card pickup

    That’s what climate change means All the cards in the are spewed into the air. And we are not going to find every card.

    Reply
    • Another fine analogy I’ve read; the climate is a huge angry animal and we’re poking it with lots of sharp sticks. The Ol’ Hippy

      Reply
  12. coloradobob

     /  May 5, 2017

    This new world wild grind our souls , And toss us alone into worlds we’ve never known.

    The only thing I can say , kiss your friends everyday.

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  May 5, 2017

      You are going to need them , and they are going to need you.

      I promise .

      Reply
  13. coloradobob

     /  May 5, 2017

    Reply
  14. coloradobob

     /  May 5, 2017

    we blew a gasket on thr grapevine /

    Reply
  15. coloradobob

     /  May 5, 2017

    Reply
  16. Connecticut Gordon

     /  May 5, 2017

    Hi Robert, Bleak news from you, but as is now all too common.
    I don’t know whether you saw this in the New York Times last week. It is by someone who used to be fairly skeptical, but no more. I’m sure you know of Curt Stager. The real shocker for me was the report mentioned in the article that 30% of Science teachers in USA mention ‘global warming’ in class WITHOUT mentioning the man-made aspects of climate change. The report was a year old, so things may be different, I presume not though. I suspect some are stopped by their local governments or States from doing so, for political reasons, but many must be truly ignorant, which is astonishing. No wonder America is full of people totally uneducated on the issue, or in total denial, compared with the rest of the developed world.
    The fact that the Heartland Institute is exploiting this makes matters worse.

    Reply
  17. Genomik

     /  May 5, 2017

    Most citizens ignore or downplay the warnings; many of our intellectuals indulge in wishful thinking; and some influential voices declare that nothing at all is happening, that the scientists are deceiving us. Yet the evidence tells us that so powerful have humans become that we have entered this new and dangerous geological epoch, which is defined by the fact that the human imprint on the global environment has now become so large and active that it rivals some of the great forces of nature in its impact on the functioning of the Earth system.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/05/the-great-climate-silence-we-are-on-the-edge-of-the-abyss-but-we-ignore-it

    Reply
    • entropicman

       /  May 5, 2017

      Regrettably this is why I am a pessimist.

      Those interested in the Drake Equation tend to estimate the survival time of a technological civilisation as 300 years until one or other of the Great Filters destroys it.

      Counting from the invention of railways and machine technology in1835, we might expect to last until 2135.On current performance our global civilisation is unlikely to last that long.

      Reply
  18. June

     /  May 5, 2017

    Here we go with the omega-block pattern…

    Early May weather pattern will be especially extreme in Northern Hemisphere

    During the course of the next 10 days or more, the weather pattern across the Northern Hemisphere will feature an undulating, wavy jet stream that will be stuck in place, with storms backed up like cars on an interstate highway at rush hour.

    http://mashable.com/2017/05/03/extreme-weather-pattern-early-may-wavenumber-6/#BLsMSCXokmqZ

    Reply
    • June
      Now that is interesting, I had not heard about Wavenumber-6. So what if the pattern really gets stuck and there is rain for . . . forty days and forty nights. (Sorry, couldn’t resist).

      Reply
  19. Cate

     /  May 5, 2017

    Flooding and flood warnings throughout eastern Canada. Lake Ontario so high that Toronto Island is on evacuation watch. The Don Valley Parkway, a key arterial route for TO, is on closure watch. Rain is forecast to persist, as a slow-moving system moves very slowly into the Maritimes. Up to 90mm of additional rain is forecast for some areas.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/eastern-canada-rain-flood-warnings-1.4100856

    ….and it’s a hard rain’s a gonna fall…..

    Reply
  20. Genomik

     /  May 5, 2017

    In your face Trump and GOP!
    “Unsubsidized renewables have become the cheapest source of new power — by far — in more and more countries, according to a new report from the United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

    In just one year, the cost of solar generation worldwide dropped on average 17 percent, the report found. The average costs for onshore wind dropped 18 percent last year, while those for offshore wind fell a whopping 28 percent.

    “It’s a whole new world,” Liebreich said. “Instead of having to subsidise renewables, now authorities may have to subsidise natural gas plants to help them provide grid reliability.”’

    https://thinkprogress.org/renewables-cheapest-new-power-globally-74910c78bbbe

    Reply
  21. Decades of data on world’s oceans reveal a troubling oxygen decline
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170504104346.htm

    “the data showed that ocean oxygen was falling more rapidly than the corresponding rise in water temperature. The trend of oxygen falling is about two to three times faster than what we predicted from the decrease of solubility associated with the ocean warming,” Ito said. “This is most likely due to the changes in ocean circulation and mixing associated with the heating of the near-surface waters and melting of polar ice.”
    . . . “In an earlier study, Ito and other researchers explored why oxygen depletion was more pronounced in tropical waters in the Pacific Ocean. They found that air pollution drifting from East Asia out over the world’s largest ocean contributed to oxygen levels falling in tropical waters thousands of miles away. Once ocean currents carried the iron and nitrogen pollution to the tropics, photosynthesizing phytoplankton went into overdrive consuming the excess nutrients. But rather than increasing oxygen, the net result of the chain reaction was the depletion oxygen in subsurface water.”

    Reply
  22. Ed

     /  May 5, 2017

    The Economist published an article today about the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef. I am encouraged by the tenor of the article, which emphasizes global warming as a root cause, and does not try to downplay or dismiss GW and its anthropomorphic cause. I am heartened that the sane centre-right (supporting the classic liberal ideology of free markets) not only understands GW, but is also in full-throated agreement about taking strong action. Specifically, recent editorials by The Economist have voiced strong support for carbon taxes.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2017/05/economist-explains-3

    However, while the article is very good, avoid the comments unless you feel like wading through the usual denier trolls. I am less hopeful that TE will be able to drag a plurality of their readers into the 21st century of climate challenges.

    Reply
    • Genomik

       /  May 5, 2017

      I’ve been subscriber for 20 years and I love the Economist. I’m fine w center right as their center right is about 180 degrees from trump. Nonetheless I love that they take this tone. I use the Economist in debates w right wing friends and urge others to do so. I feel it has a good amount of credibility with intelligent people on both sides of political isles. How can a so called capitalist say it’s a liberal rag? They can’t.

      Reply
  23. “At issue is the fact that the break-off section is moving toward the Weddell Sea considerably faster than the rest of the Larsen C ice shelf. Much of this large section of ice is proceeding away from the Antarctic mainland at 3 meters per day. Surrounding sections of Larsen C are moving at only 1-2 meters per day. As a result, the toe end of the break-off mass is tipping out into Weddell’s waters and the crack separating it from Larsen C is widening.

    It’s not really a question of if this massive block of ice will separate from Larsen C. More an issue of how soon.”

    I looked at the second figure, started thinking about how best to explain it, then read further down in your post and found I had nothing to add. Well done, RS; your technical interpretation is completely sound. The Larsen C fragment is rotating or pivoting about the western attachment section and the crack will grow and widen. Short of strong and sustained onshore winds, I expect the breakaway may happen before June.

    Reply
  24. Decades of data on world’s oceans reveal a troubling oxygen decline

    “The trend of oxygen falling is about two to three times faster than what we predicted from the decrease of solubility associated with the ocean warming,” Ito said. “This is most likely due to the changes in ocean circulation and mixing associated with the heating of the near-surface waters and melting of polar ice.”

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170504104346.htm

    Reply
    • utoutback

       /  May 6, 2017

      “Changes in circulation and mixing” sounds like clogging of the arteries. You know what that leads to in an animal body.
      Back in Washington, DC the Republicans are patting themselves on the back over an incomplete repeal of health care and an impending tax cut, while the house is burning down.

      Reply
  25. Ed

     /  May 5, 2017

    “Oil company Santos admits business plan is based on 4C temperature rise”

    I’m speechless

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/05/santos-admits-business-plan-based-4c-global-temperature-rise

    Reply
    • Andy_in_SD

       /  May 6, 2017

      At +4C, there is no Santos Oil Company. What a twat.

      Reply
    • And then there’s this. They are simply not going to stop.

      ExxonMobil betting heavily in developing Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale gas.
      http://en.mercopress.com/2017/04/22/exxonmobil-betting-heavily-in-developing-argentina-s-vaca-muerta-shale-gas

      Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  May 8, 2017

      You beat me to posting it, also in that article it refers to the Shell advice in 2015
      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/17/shell-accused-of-strategy-risking-catastrophic-climate-change

      Royal Dutch Shell has been accused of pursuing a strategy that would lead to potentially catastrophic climate change after an internal document acknowledged a global temperature rise of 4C, twice the level considered safe for the planet.

      A paper used for guiding future business planning at the Anglo-Dutch multinational assumes that carbon dioxide emissions will fail to limit temperature increases to 2C, the internationally agreed threshold to prevent widespread flooding, famine and desertification.
      ‘Don’t mention the Arctic’: Shell embarrassed by video competition row
      Read more

      Instead, the New Lens Scenarios document refers to a forecast by the independent International Energy Agency (IEA) that points to a temperature rise of up to 4C in the short term, rising later to 6C.

      Reply
  26. Eric Thurston

     /  May 6, 2017

    From the NYTimes. Notice that they make no mention of the state the rest of the industrial world will be in by the time all this ice has melted. Talk about tunnel vision!

    As Arctic Ice Vanishes, New Shipping Routes Open

    Reply
    • Unfortunately, this short sighted view has been systematically promoted by members of the Council on Foreign Relations. The CFR has immense influence, and some members of the CFR have apparently been promoting this idea that the Arctic Ocean can become a sort of paradise while the rest of the planet goes to hell:

      https://energeopolitics.com/2013/06/28/go-north-young-man-go-north/

      “Scott Borgerson writes in the current issue of Foreign Affairs on the economic bounty that awaits as the Arctic warms and opens its international shipping routes. Borgerson envisions a not-too-distant future in which Anchorage and Reykjavik become as dynamic and nearly as important as Singapore and Dubai are today.”

      Borgerson was a David Rockefeller Visiting Fellow at the Rockefeller Brother’s Fund financed Council on Foreign Relations. The Rockefeller family arguably still controls ExxonMobil, the union of two of the fragments of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil monopoly. Borgerson testified before both houses of Congress about this opening of the Arctic, was interviewed by Dan Rather for CBS news, and wrote a series of op-ed articles in major newspapers. He participated with then Senator John Kerry in round table discussions about the Arctic, and I believe he was instrumental in forming the Arctic Council, an organization that promotes relocation of native peoples to aid in the organized peaceful exploitation of Arctic resources. He waxes poetic in his articles about the amazing economic opportunities for oil, gas, and shipping and so on, and compares the Arctic Ocean to a new Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by peaceful well run countries (except for Russia).

      He leaves out the part where the Arctic Ocean will likely become a hypoxic cesspool, covered by mats of green and purple photosynthetic bacteria, producing clouds of poisonous hydrogen sulfide gas, punctuated by methane geysers from dissociating methane hydrates. Onshore, exploding Yamal type craters and melting permafrost will possibly make permanent construction very hazardous, and clouds of hungry mosquitoes will likely prowl the land, carrying diseases now common in the tropics. Anthrax from the melting permafrost may compete with disease organisms we have never heard of from plagues of the past preserved by the permafrost.

      The fossil fuel corporations and our own Department of Energy routinely expect continued exploitation of fossil fuels, with no regard for the potentially catastrophic effects of dissociating Arctic methane hydrate a couple of decades from now. As you say, these articles, including your New York Times article, make no mention of the effects of the economic exploitation of the Arctic on the rest of the planet. And all of these articles are way too optimistic about the effect of all this abrupt warming on the Arctic Ocean itself, I think.

      Reply
  27. Henri

     /  May 6, 2017

    United Arab Emirates planning to alleviate their problems with drinking water by towing icebergs from Antarctica. Interesting scheme but hopefully it will not be executed.

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/science/800325/UAE-to-DRAG-ICEBERG-from-Antarctica-water-shortage

    Reply
  28. Genomik

     /  May 6, 2017

    Standing Wave 6!!!

    Beginning this weekend, the atmosphere will take on an alignment that has been linked to extreme weather events like the devastating heat waves and wildfires in Europe (2003), Russia (2010) and the United States (2011).

    We call this setup “wavenumber 6.” The name originates from the six distinct “dips” in the jet stream when you look at it across the entire Northern Hemisphere. These dips are troughs of low pressure, and they are associated with cool and stormy weather.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2017/05/04/the-jet-stream-is-about-to-get-weird-and-it-could-lead-to-extreme-weather/?utm_term=.88ce5280b5bc

    Reply
  29. Suzanne

     /  May 6, 2017

    And here is the latest PIOMAS from Neven: http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2017/05/piomas-may-2017.html#more

    His concluding remarks:

    If this year’s melt is equal to the average of the last 10 years, there will be around 2500 km3 left in September (mind you, the 2012 record low minimum is 3673 km3). If there’s as much melt as in 2010 or 2012, this year’s minimum will barely go above 1000 km3. I don’t want to know what the Arctic looks like if that should happen.

    There’s nothing else to do but hope that PIOMAS has it completely wrong, or else pray for lots of cold and cloudy weather in the Arctic this summer.

    Reply
    • Unfortunately, looks like its setting up for clear, sunny skies for the balance of May – specially on the North American side. Not good for the Beaufort with its lack of thick ice.

      Reply
      • Big warm up projected for most of the Arctic over the next 7 days. Could be a bit of positive bias in the models. But if shows up it looks really warm for this time of year.

        Reply
    • Erik Frederiksen

       /  May 6, 2017

      There was a paper in 2013 which analyzed satellite data going back to the 80s.

      They found the increased warming from Arctic sea ice loss alone was equal to 25 percent of the forcing from increased CO2 since the 80s.

      That feedback will roughly double over the next several decades.

      And there’s loss of snow cover as well …

      Reply
  30. utoutback

     /  May 6, 2017

    Burning down the house

    Reply
  31. Erik Frederiksen

     /  May 6, 2017
    Reply
  32. Andy_in_SD

     /  May 7, 2017

    Fires by Balkal, What a mess like last year, and the year before…

    http://www.arctic.io/explorer/8/2017-05-06/8-N53.24896-E104.49256

    Reply
  33. These persistent sea surface temperature anomaly hot spots near Svalbard have lasted all winter. They are still an amazing 10 degrees C above normal water temperatures:

    https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/ocean/surface/currents/overlay=sea_surface_temp_anomaly/orthographic=7.08,72.91,3000/loc=31.265,75.749

    These persistent hot spots keep sea ice from forming. It seems probable that similar hot spots will grow and multiply in the future and act as a kind of positive feedback ratchet mechanism, ratcheting down Arctic sea ice area and volume.

    Reply
  34. Spike

     /  May 7, 2017

    Jason Box recommended you read this – there are some jaw dropping projections in there.

    http://www.amap.no/documents/download/2888

    Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  May 7, 2017

      Really worth the time to download and read. Thanks for sharing Spike.

      Reply
    • A very good read thanks Spike.

      Still being a little optimistic though. “The Arctic is expected to be largely free of sea ice in late summer within the next few decades, possibly as early as the 2030s”. Should say 2020s, the 2030s is so far in the future to most politicians to be relatively meaningless.

      Reply
    • Thanks for this, Spike. Jaw-dropping indeed.

      Reply
  35. Spike

     /  May 7, 2017

    This caught my eye – unprecedented drop in SW US river flows since 1980s with a notable temperature component. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2017GL073253/abstract

    Reply
  36. coloradobob

     /  May 7, 2017

    Melting Arctic underwater permafrost layer may lead to climate disaster

    This year, Far Eastern scientists are set to organize three Arctic expeditions for studying underwater permafrost melting processes that could lead to major climate change, Interfax reports, quoting the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
    This research will be to evaluate the scale of underwater permafrost and hydrate degradation, as well as methane migration volumes in the eastern Arctic. …………….. The expeditions will be organized by the Ilyichev Pacific Oceanological Institute of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
    “If current underwater permafrost melting trends, accompanied by large-scale methane emissions into the atmosphere, persist, this may cause even more substantial emissions. These emissions could cause hard-to-predict climatic consequences, including a hypothetical climate disaster,” said Oleg Dudarev, a leading research associate with the Laboratory of Arctic Research at the Pacific Oceanological Institute of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
    The first gas emissions were detected in 2011 in the northern part of the Laptev Sea, with methane accounting for up to 70 percent of these emissions. Several hundred gas emissions called mega-seeps were recorded over one square kilometer of the seabed.
    The results of the 2012, 2014 and 2016 expeditions show that seabed methane emissions continue to increase in the vicinity of the mega-seeps, with the diameter of some “torches” reaching several hundred meters.

    http://arctic.ru/environmental/20170427/597399.html

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  May 7, 2017

      Something very telling about this article , all previous reports were done by single expeditions, the fact the Russians are sending 3 this season is very telling.

      Reply
    • Hi Bob-

      One of the arguments of the methane hydrate gradualists was that the methane being emitted in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf may have been emitted all along, for thousands of years. Nobody was looking for methane, so nobody noticed this constant methane emission, that argument went.

      But according to the Russian expeditions in 2016, the size of these methane “torches” is continually increasing. This argues that this methane emission is intimately connected to global warming.

      Another argument of the methane hydrate gradualists was that the amount of methane emitted would have to increase x number of times to be significant. But if the increase is exponential, as many processes in nature are, we could have only decades, or even only years before we have a full blown methane catastrophe in the Arctic, I think.

      Hopefully, the information gathered by the Russians will be freely available to the international community. Putin is essentially a dictator and and Russia is an oil and gas kleptocracy. Putin’s net worth is approximately 80 billion dollars, a lot of it oil and gas money, according to Rachael Maddow. So scientific openness seems unlikely.

      I’ve seen papers on modeling by the IMPACTS group of national labs and universities that showed it would take about 30 years for a pulse of heat to work its way down into hydrate deposits and for the maximum rate of methane dissociation to be reached.

      We could be in for a bumpy ride, man.

      Reply
    • I guess the hydrate dissociation curve modeled by the IMPACTS group was actually a logistic curve – a curve that starts off steeply and then gradually reaches a plateau. Unfortunately, they were using one and two dimensional models, that may not completely account for mass flow, convection, gas driven pumping, and taliks (unfrozen regions within the permafrost).

      Reply
      • Logistic curves start out slowly, then reach a maximum rate of change, then plateau, was what I meant to say. So, they are sort of S shaped. That’s the sort of curve we will likely see from methane hydrate dissociation: a long slow buildup, a period of maximum rate of increase, and a sustained release. We’re in the long slow buildup period, I think.

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

        One danger from the ESAS (East Siberian Arctic Shelf) permafrost and hydrates is that they are relatively shallow, so the bubble plumes can reach the surface. So, as the subsea permafrost cap melts, free methane gas can escape.

        As the oxidation mechanisms of the ocean become exhausted by the methane, basin scale anoxia and increased rates of methane breakthrough to the surface are predicted to occur, depending on how large the methane releases are.

        Another danger that has recently started to become clear is that there appear to be large amounts of metastable (meta-stable) methane hydrate under Siberia, onshore and offshore. This is hydrate formed under the pressure of ice sheets or ocean, inside the methane hydrate stability zone. Ice sheets have receded so the high pressure is gone, but the layer of metastable methane hydrate persists for thousands of years at low temperatures. Now, it is being heated by global warming. Since this methane hydrate is only metastable, it is very vulnerable to sometimes explosive dissociation. This methane hydrate layer appears to be the source of the Yamal style crater blowouts, explosive pingos on land, and explosive pingos and craters offshore.

        Reply
  37. Suzanne

     /  May 7, 2017

    Climate & Extreme Weather News for May 1st thru May 6th (includes the Larsen Shelf Event:

    Reply
  38. coloradobob

     /  May 7, 2017

    One hell of a map that Bob Henson put up –
    Figure 2. Total precipitation estimated from radar, satellite and ground reports for the 14-day period from 12Z (8:00 am) Friday, April 21, 2017, to Friday, May 5. Image credit: NOAA/NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service

    https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/billion-dollar-cyclone-human-element-week%E2%80%99s-us-floods

    Reply
  39. mr elastomeric

     /  May 7, 2017

    when he say the larsen c ice shelf is holdingback land glaciers that could raise oceans by 4 inches how big of an area are we talking thanx

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  May 7, 2017

      See the small black and white inset map above with the article at the top . As Antarctica goes it’s an ice tray .
      But it’s the most Northern part , and the heat is marching South

      Reply
  40. coloradobob

     /  May 7, 2017

    One sunny summer day real soon, some poor Russian ship is going to be crossing the Laptev Sea, and they are going to see the surface of the ocean fizzling like warm can of shaken ginger ale.
    3 things may happen –
    A. The wind is up they log it, and make their port of call.
    B. It’s dead calm , and the crew is overcome because there isn’t enough O2 at sea level .
    C. It’s dead calm , and they provide an ignition source . The search parties see only wreckage , and flames dancing on the water.

    Sounds crazy don’t it ?
    This is the largest , and most swallow continental shelf on the planet , and all of it is paved with permafrost.
    This gold rush idea about a thawing far North , where shipping, farming, and more drilling can bloom , is a bit like when Nazis open the Arc of the Covenant .

    “Don’t look Marian , don’t look”

    Reply
  41. coloradobob

     /  May 7, 2017

    RS

    If I am Spam pleading for release from spam aidios.

    Reply
  42. coloradobob

     /  May 7, 2017

    I don’t need you all , I have maddness now.

    Reply
  43. coloradobob

     /  May 7, 2017

    The entire library of stupid. Is at my finger tips.

    Reply
    • If you’re crazy, Bob, what does that make Trump and most of his party, so deeply in denial about global warming that they want to make the whole problem worse? Then, build a wall to keep people migrating northward under climate change pressure out of the country? And all the time they build their wall, pretending that global warming does not exist?

      Now, that’s some crazy.

      Reply
  44. wharf rat

     /  May 7, 2017

    BART’s going green…

    Several mornings a week, I leave my home in sunny Oakland, board a Bay Area Rapid Transit train and shoot underwater to work at Greentech Media’s San Francisco bureau. In time, that commute to write about clean energy will be powered by clean energy as well.

    The BART board of directors just passed an electrical portfolio policy that requires half of the organization’s power to come from renewables by 2025, and 100 percent by 2045. That has broader implications for the region, because the electric train system consumes roughly 400,000 megawatt-hours annually — equivalent to a small city like Alameda. And, due to a unique legislative carve-out, BART will procure this power itself.

    https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/bay-area-rapid-transit-will-run-on-100-renewable-energy

    Reply
  45. wharf rat

     /  May 7, 2017

    Tropical Cyclone Donna Batters Vanuatu and May Impact New Caledonia Early This Week

    Donna has become the strongest May Southern Hemisphere tropical cyclone on record.
    https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/tropical-cyclone-donna-vanuatu-may-2017?cm_ven=T_WX_BD_50717_2

    Reply
  46. Jimbot

     /  May 8, 2017

    My totally unqualified guess for September minimum Arctic Sea Ice is 1500 km3.

    Reply
  47. Erik Frederiksen

     /  May 8, 2017

    The Antarctic Peninsula where the Larsen C Ice Shelf is located has seen the fastest warming observed on the planet, and has lost 8-10 ice shelves over the last 25-30 years.

    Richard Alley said a rise of 1 degree C destroyed the ice shelf constraining Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland and that such a temperature rise is a big insult to an ice shelf almost anywhere on the planet.

    And ice shelves constrain 25m of sea level rise equivalent of ice in marine ice sheets.

    Reply
    • Erik Frederiksen

       /  May 8, 2017

      And as the ozone hole closes over the next several decades warming will increase over Antarctica.

      Reply
  48. Jimbot

     /  May 8, 2017

    And about 1,500,000 sq km extent.

    Reply
  49. Abel Adamski

     /  May 8, 2017

    Ritchie Valens, was there something you weren’t telling us. ?
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-08/cyclone-donna-upraded-to-cat-5-storm/8507836

    Tropical Cyclone Donna upgraded to a category five storm as it crosses New Caledonia

    A cyclone bearing down on New Caledonia in the South Pacific has been upgraded to a category five storm, the most destructive wind-speed level, authorities say.
    Key Points:

    The cyclone is now a category five storm
    It’s the third late-season cyclone to hit the Pacific
    Winds of up to 300kph are at the centre

    Gusts close to the centre of Cyclone Donna were estimated to be as strong as 300 kilometres per hour according to the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards department, with the storm projected to make landfall late on Tuesday.

    Reply
  50. Genomik

     /  May 8, 2017

    Macron wins in France and the populist right loses! Hurray! I gotta think the French saw what a catastrophe Trump is and they want to avoid that absurd humiliation.
    Here’s a video i found on Macron saying France believes in climate change and scientists fired by trump or who want to make a difference should move to France!
    I love it! In your face, Trump!

    Reply
    • Jeremy in Wales

       /  May 8, 2017

      Yes he believes the scientific evidence but turnout was the lowest in 40 years. “Any idea of a brave new political dawn will be tempered by an abstention rate on Sunday of around 25 percent, the highest this century, and by a record share of blank or spoiled ballots – submitted by more than 11 percent of those who did vote.” It was a choice between two right wing candidates one a populist the other a technocrat for the liberal elite.
      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-election-idUSKBN183003

      Reply
  51. Yet another “happening faster” event –

    Slow-freezing Alaska soil driving surge in carbon dioxide emissions

    “A lot of models were predicting this thawing would happen, but not for another 50 to 100 years – we didn’t think it would happen this quickly”

    Reply
  52. wili

     /  May 8, 2017

    Ooops, that link isn’t complete. Let’s give it another go: http://arctic.ru/environmental/20170427/597399.html

    Reply
  53. Vaughn Anderson

     /  May 8, 2017

    Meanwhile, the NHC is forecasting early tropical storm development in the Pacific southeast of southern Mexico:

    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/gtwo.php?basin=epac&fdays=2

    There is a 50% chance of development in 48 hours and 80% chance over 5 days.

    Reply
  54. Abel Adamski

     /  May 8, 2017

    Meanwhile the Barbarian mercenaries continue their pillaging and destruction

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/epa-fires-members-science-advisory-board

    Reply
  55. Spike

     /  May 9, 2017

    Very interesting quote in the Guardian’s article on the IPO and 1.5C of warming.

    Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, is a senior lead author on a chapter of the special report that will look at the impacts of 1.5C global warming on humans and natural environments.

    Hoegh-Guldberg, who was not speaking from an IPCC perspective, told me the research would “wake some people up to the fact that exceeding 1.5C will happen within the next decade, give or take a couple of years”.

    “One unknown that’s associated with the study is the effect that anthropogenic climate change might be having on these long-term climate patterns themselves. Some research groups have provided compelling evidence that patterns associated with El Niño, for example, may actually be amplified by warming.”

    He added: “Many scientists have increasingly pointed to the unmanageable ecological and human impacts as average global surface temperatures exceed 1.5°C, and great economic and environmental costs that are likely to be associated.

    “Unfortunately, past inaction means that we will exceed 1.5C no matter what we do. The key issue, however, is what we do next.

    “People speak of overshoots as being one of the scenarios that we are likely to face. This is not an escape clause as the overshoot is likely to be catastrophic.”

    Scientific reticence good riddance!

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/planet-oz/2017/may/09/planet-could-breach-15c-warming-limit-within-10-years-but-be-aware-of-caveats

    Reply
  56. Ryan in New England

     /  May 9, 2017

    Trump/Pruitt fire scientists on the EPA advisory board in favor of industry insiders.

    https://thinkprogress.org/epa-makes-room-for-industry-scientists-237f4038f1ab

    Reply
  57. John McCormick

     /  May 9, 2017

    Robert, on the first image of Larson C crevice I see three crevices just eat of the Larson C and not far behind the slide to the ocean. This is a certain end to the stability of the entire glacier.

    Reply
  58. John McCormick

     /  May 9, 2017

    Apology for the typo. East of the Larson C are four crevices and about 20+ miles apart in parallel.

    Reply
  59. Abel Adamski

     /  May 9, 2017

    http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2016/s4666295.htm

    A Podcast – from ABC Radio, once before their funding cuts they would publish transcripts for the hearing impaired

    Expert suggests climate warming phase could be under way in Pacific Ocean
    An Australian climate researcher is warning that a change may be under way in the Pacific Ocean that leads to a surge in global temperatures.

    If confirmed, models predict temperatures could hit the Paris agreement’s aimed maximum as early as 2024.

    Climate experts are urging governments to take swift action to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

    Featured:

    Dr Ben Henley, research fellow, University of Melbourne
    Dr Terry O’Kane, principal research scientist, CSIRO Climate Science Centre
    Olivia Kember, Acting CEO, The Climate Institute

    The IPO, El Nino and La Ninas benevolent Aunt La Tia and malevolent uncle el Tio,

    Reply
    • entropicman

       /  May 9, 2017

      That is ten years early.

      1.5C was locked in when we passed 395ppm five years ago.

      Most people, myself included, were not expecting it to appear in the temperature record before the mid 2030s.

      Reply
    • Stephen

       /  May 10, 2017

      Dr. Kevin Trenbirth warned about this in 2013/2014. I can’t find the link but basically he explained that large El Niño events can help flip the pacific decadel oscillation into a positive phase and that it will enhance global warming. If you look at the temperature graph on NASA’s vital signs of the planet web page the temperature graph for the planet looks like it’s starting to go vertical- nearly straight up. We’re undergoing a period of rapid warming just as scientists like Kevin Trenbirth had warned us about.

      Reply
      • I just found this while looking at the NASA site. It was from April 17th, but I don’t think I have seen it linked here. This could have grave implications on the methane front:

        ‘Detergent’ molecules may drive recent methane changes
        https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2577/detergent-molecules-may-drive-recent-methane-changes/

        “Previous studies of the renewed increase have focused on high-latitude wetlands or fossil fuels, Asian agricultural growth, or tropical wetlands as potential sources of the increased emissions. But in a study published today in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Caltech in Pasadena, California; and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, also in Pasadena, suggest that methane emissions might not have increased dramatically in 2007 after all.

        The researchers used long-term measurements of methane, its isotopes and methylchloroform (1,1,1,-trichloroethane, a chemical compound that serves as a proxy for estimating how long methane remains in the atmosphere) from numerous global ground stations. From these data, the scientists were able to determine sources of methane and how quickly it is destroyed in Earth’s atmosphere. They found that the most likely explanation for the recent increase has less to do with methane emissions than previously thought and more to do with changes in the availability of the hydroxyl radical (OH), which breaks down methane in the atmosphere. As such, the amount of hydroxyl in the atmosphere has an impact on global methane concentrations. If global levels of hydroxyl decrease, global methane concentrations will increase — even if methane emissions remain constant.”

        (Not sure how to format links, Robert please feel free to fix if it needs it.)

        Reply
        • Thanks for this. Definitely something to keep an eye on. The health of the OH sink is an important part of the climate system. Glad to see this new research.

  60. Abel Adamski

     /  May 9, 2017

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/05/these-people-want-you-to-know-climate-change-isnt-just-for-liberals/

    These people want you to know climate change isn’t just for liberals
    These conservative and religious voices work to get their communities on board.

    He doesn’t start with an apocalyptic description of future impacts when he talks to people about climate change, but, for some audiences, University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor of Environmental Studies Calvin DeWitt does turn to the book of Revelations. “I’ll have a white-out pen in my pocket, and I’ll have them read Revelation chapter 11, verse 18. It’s a description of the sounding of the last trumpet, as you hear in Handel’s ‘Messiah,’ and the end verse says, ‘The time has come for destroying those who destroy the Earth,’” DeWitt told me. “And so, I say, ‘I have a white-out pen here for anyone who would like to correct their Bible.’”

    DeWitt sees his faith as fundamental to, rather than in conflict with, his concern about climate change. He often finds common ground with fellow evangelicals by talking about stewardship of the wonderful natural world they have been given as a home. Put in these familiar terms, climate change seems more like an issue worthy of careful consideration.

    Reply
  61. Oversized landforms discovered beneath the Antarctic ice sheet
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170509093555.htm

    Former ice sheets occupying Scandinavia and North America left numerous landforms on today’s surface that witness of their hydrological system underneath them. However, most landforms have, so far, never been observed under contemporary ice sheets — not least because they are relatively small and buried under kilometer thick ice. A team of scientists led by the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB, Belgium) and the Bavarian Academy of Sciences (Germany) have now discovered an active hydrological system of water conduits and sediment ridges below the Antarctic ice sheet. Their study reveals that the scale of these subglacial features is five times bigger than those seen in today’s deglaciated landscapes. The newly discovered, oversized sediment ridges actively shape the ice hundreds kilometers downstream, by carving deep incisions at the bottom of the ice. This is of interest for the stability of the floating ice shelves, as numerous studies show that ice shelf thinning has major consequences for ice sheet stability.

    Reply
    • Erik Frederiksen

       /  May 10, 2017

      Ice shelves constrain ice sheet flow. When the Larsen B ice shelf disintegrated the glaciers behind sped up by a factor or 6-8. If we sped up all of Antarctica’s glaciers by a factor of 8 sea level rise rates would be several cms per year.

      Reply
  62. Greg

     /  May 10, 2017

    Another electric transportation milestone. Note speed of transition and that by end of next year whole district going electric.
    BYD Delivers First 60-Foot Electric Bus In US, Featuring 275 Miles Range
    http://insideevs.com/byd-delivers-first-60-foot-electric-bus-in-us-featuring-275-miles-range/

    Reply
  63. Vaughn Anderson

     /  May 10, 2017

    Tropical Storm Adrian has formed south of Guatemala.
    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov

    Reply
  64. Shawn Redmond

     /  May 10, 2017

    Robert has posted a little about this before, https://robertscribbler.com/category/sick-ocean/ However it would seem things may be worse sooner than later as most here suspect, I think.

    https://climatecrocks.com/2017/05/09/carbon-slowly-strangling-ocean/
    Scientists have long predicted that as carbon pollution warms the globe, the amount of oxygen in our oceans would drop, since warmer water can’t hold as much dissolved gas as colder water. And, Georgia Tech researchers point out, falling oxygen levels have recently led to more frequent low-oxygen events that “killed or displaced populations of fish, crabs and many other organisms.”

    But what is especially worrisome about this new research is how quickly it is happening. “The trend of oxygen falling is about two to three times faster than what we predicted from the decrease of solubility associated with the ocean warming,” said lead researcher Prof. Taka Ito. “This is most likely due to the changes in ocean circulation and mixing associated with the heating of the near-surface waters and melting of polar ice.”

    Reply
  65. A very informative articleon West Antarctica by Jeff Goodell in the RollingStone:

    The Doomsday Glacier

    Reply
  66. Robert in New Orleans

     /  May 10, 2017
    Reply
  67. Robert in New Orleans

     /  May 10, 2017

    Another article: Huge Hail Pummels Denver; More Severe Weather on the Way
    https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/huge-hail-pummels-denver-more-severe-weather-way

    Reply
    • Amazing dipole this week. Just add in all that moisture streaming in from the Gulf of Mexico and this is what you get. More heat, more convection, more instability, higher cloud tops, more intense storms and the opportunity for larger hail stones.

      Reply

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