November of 2017 was the Third Hottest on Record Despite La Nina

According to NASA GISS, November of 2017 was the third hottest such month in the 137 year global climate record. This continues a trend of warming that began with fossil fuel burning at the start of the Industrial Revolution and that has recently hit new intensity during the 2014 – 2017 period.

NASA warming trend growing more extreme

(NASA color coded warming trend since 1901. Note the very extreme departures in the recent period since 2014. Image source: NASA GISS.)

Counting in November, 2017 is now solidly on track to be the second hottest year in the global climate record — trailing 2016 and edging out 2015. This new record was achieved despite the fact that La Nina emerged later in the year.

La Nina is a periodic cooling of Equatorial Pacific surface waters that also has a cooling influence over the Earth’s atmosphere when it emerges. The fact that we are on track to be experiencing the second hottest year on record, despite La Nina the cooling influence of La Nina which has been largely over-ridden, should be setting off at least a few warning lights.

Overall, temperatures for November were 0.87 C warmer than NASA’s 20th Century baseline and 1.09 C warmer than 1880s averages. Taking into account temperatures during early to middle December — which show a continuation of November ranges — it is likely that 2017 overall will average around 1.1 C warmer than 1880s averages once all the tallies are counted. Edging out 2015 by 0.01 to 0.03 C (see Dr Gavin Schmidt’s graph above).

By contrast, 2015 was a year in which the Pacific was ramping up toward a strong El Nino. So the La Nina signal for 2017 is important by comparison — validating numerous observations from climate scientists and climate observers that global temperatures have taken another step up (one of many due to human based heat forcing, primarily due to fossil fuel burning) without any indication of a step down.

(November 2017 sea surface temperature [SST] anomaly map at top shows evident La Nina pattern over the Equatorial Pacific. This should be creating a relative cooling signal. November 2015 SST anomaly map shows build up to El Nino type conditions. The fact that we will likely experience a warmer year in 2017 than in 2015 despite this contrast is a notable indicator for human-forced climate change and a continuing warming trend. Image source: NOAA.)

Regional analysis for November (see NASA map below) shows a very strong polar amplification signal with the highest Latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere displaying the most extreme temperature departures. Latitude 80-90 N showed the greatest zonal anomaly at around 5.5 C above average. While the global hot spot in NE Siberia hit an amazing 9.3 C above average for the month. Polar amplification was also more evident over Antarctica during the month with temperatures ranging from 1.5 to 2 C above average in the region of 75 to 80 S Latitude. This was significant given the fact that anomalous polar warming relative to past temperature trends tends to take a step back during late spring and summer months (it was late austral spring in November).

(Global anomalies map shows very extreme polar warming during November of 2017 with few regions of the globe experiencing below average temperatures. Image source: NASA GISS.)

It is worth noting that very few regions experienced temperatures below NASA’s 20th Century baseline. That regions experiencing temperatures below 1880s averages were even more scarce. And that the global cool spot at 4.1 C below average was less than half the amplitude of the most extreme warm departure (9.3 C).

The last time temperatures were globally below average during any month was in 1985. Which means that if you’re younger than 32, you’ve never experienced a below average month globally. Presently temperatures are so extreme now that globally below average single days are almost entirely a thing of the past. Warming has thus thrust us well outside the typical range of variability. And as a result, we are experiencing temperature, rainfall, fire, drought, snow, sea level, and storm conditions that are increasingly outside the norm, that are increasingly difficult to manage and adapt to. A trend that will continue so long as we keep burning fossil fuels. So long as the Earth keeps warming.

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  1. Matt Kegerreis

     /  December 20, 2017

    Why are talking about 1880s as baseline. Pre-industrial is 1750 or before???

    • 1880s is NASA start point. It is also more relevant to Holocene averages since 1750 was during the Little Ice Age. I understand that some like to use 1750. For the reasons described above, I’m sticking with 1880s unless NASA and NOAA agree on that as the start point.



      • Allan Barr

         /  December 22, 2017

        Interesting that Richard Muller had no problem going back to 1750, yet Nasa, NOAA and the IPCC appear to have problems doing so. Have to wonder why? Going back to the generally recognised start of the industrial revolution 1750 gives us around .3 C higher temp than is currently recognized and is far more true.

        • So I’ve got this dead horse I’ve been beating for a while. Why doesn’t it ride, I wonder?

        • So for some context here… Muller was among the first attackers of Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick. He has expressed views sympathetic of climate skeptics (deniers). And he is a proponent of fracking.

          So if you’re saying we should take him over IPCC, I’m saying he’s had this tendency to mistreat the data until it’s sitting on Mt. Kilimanjaro and staring him in the face. Not really begging much confidence from this perspective.

        • In any case, a cherry picked data set is far less true not far more true.

        • eleggua

           /  December 23, 2017

          Happy Holidaze, Robert. Your responses here remind me how much I’ve learned and am learning from you. Thank you for making the info both palatable and easily digested.

    • coloradobob

       /  December 20, 2017

      Because the !880’s was when instruments and record keeping really began to take hold world wide. In 1750 the only people keeping records were Ben Franklin, and some rich English gardeners.

      • kassy

         /  December 21, 2017

        Not just English gardeners but also Crucius and Noppen (early dutch metereological key figures). Crucius was a member of the Royal Society which was a scientific organisation so the english interest went beyond gardening:

        1880 being after the LIA is more important though. Depending on how you look at it there are many points you can take (see Ruddiman – The anthropogenic greenhouse era began thousands of years ago) but 1880 is a good choice.

        If you look at carbon/temps over time the real shocker is the huge increase in carbon use in the nineties and for temperatures the way all the hottest years are recent years and for those facts 1750 or 1880 is not really relevant.

        • IPCC uses 1850 to 1900, NASA uses 1880, NOAA uses 1880. Part of the reason is, as Bob states above, that comprehensive records begin at that time. But the other reason is that starting in the middle of the little ice age amounts to cherry picking. And honest science and investigation tries to avoid cherry picking because it can throw analytical and predictive values off. Because 1880 is closer to Holocene base line, for example, we can get a more accurate comparison between 1880 values, the related temperature rise, and conditions consistent with past climates. 1.1 C warmer than 1880s roughly jibes with the Eemian range of 1 to 2 C warmer than the Holocene average. But cherry picking from 1750 makes it look like we are presently more into the Eemian temperature range than is actually true.

          There are some groups who are lobbying that we cherry pick on global temps. I think this is a very bad idea. 1880 or 1850 to 1900 are good baselines when considering the Holocene average. And it gives us a more accurate view of the situation. And for this reason baseline date matters.

          My opinion is that one of the reasons this keeps coming up is an attempt to cloud the discourse and blur definitions. 1750 is the date that doomers like to use, for example, again, for cherry picking reasons. If we used that date, climate change deniers would have more fodder for accusing us of being unscientific. Mainstream science isn’t ignorant enough to make this mistake. Or at least if they used 1750, they would describe the fact that 1750 is a low point in Holocene temps and would adjust baseline impact estimates upward by the difference between 1750 and Holocene averages. But targeting climate journalists, meta-analysts, or individual scientists with this kind of messaging might reap the reward of sowing some more confusion and complication into the discourse.

          There is thus a tendency to generate a harmful dialectic between two innacurate extremes. I developed the term doomer to move away from the term alarmist. Because in some cases, in more cases these days, climate alarm is appropriate. Doomer is one who inaccurately believes that human extinction due to climate change is both inevitable and imminent. But one that has no factual basis for this conclusion. Doomer offsets denialism by creating a false dialectic between those claiming climate change isn’t happening and those claiming it’s the end of the world and there’s nothing we can do about it. And, more importantly, it confuses an accurate and needed alarm signal. Both denialism and doomerism are appeals to apathy. Both are harmful. Both rely on assumption, distortion of science, and inaccuracies to make their arguments.

          It is for this reason that we should strive for accuracy. That we should strive against becoming polarized in this way. A way that removes evidence finding and science based exploration from the discourse. A way that takes away an opportunity to educate the public and instead plays exclusively to the emotions of fear, apathy, and confusion.

          I’m not going to blame the 1750ists on all of this of course. But I will reinforce the fact that this is cherry picking and a less accurate data set and more generally confusing and, in my opinion, we should avoid it. If the mainstream science changes the baseline to 1750 and does all the explaining about Holocene averages and the little ice age and how we are going to have to adjust the 2 C threshold to 2.2 C (because we moved the baseline down), then fine. I don’t think they’ll do this, however, because it doesn’t make any sense from the point of view of temperature.

          Now, as for the start of the industrial revolution and atmospheric CO2 accumulation, we can put the start point at 1750. But in all the time from 1750 to 1880 we added about 13 ppm of CO2 to the atmosphere or about 0.1 ppm every year. This accumulation is not enough to account for the temperature difference between 1750 and 1880, though heat forcing was being added (albeit far more slowly). To gain perspective, it would have taken 1,300 years at that rate of accumulation to achieve present levels of CO2. The vast majority of the heat forcing accumulation occurred from 1880 onward.

          Considering the fact that full warming influence of CO2 tends to lag somewhat, and considering the fact that 1750 is a low point for the Holocene temperature-wise, 1880 or 1850 to 1900 are better start points overall if you are attempting to generate an accurate warming context relative to past values. One that doesn’t miss very much of the CO2 emission in total. And one that takes into account the lag factor for warming response.

  2. That NASA pixel chart is very effective – looks like some more colors will be needed….
    Robert, people always speak of small actions sclaing up to a big effect, but we know we can do so much more if we pull together. I’ve been thinking about unifying large numbers of folk thru an app (or other distributed msging sytem). Do you know anyone doing this? Needs to work across nation/ state lines

  3. coloradobob

     /  December 20, 2017

    Playing musical hand grenades –

    ” At a cocktail hour after a conference on the Economic Impact of Sea Level Rise in Miami, Goodell talked to a real estate broker about whether real estate brokers should be required to disclose flood risks related to sea-level rise. “That would be idiotic,” she told me, gulping down a gin and tonic. “It would just kill the market. ”

    That’s the current game in South Florida , at some point the music will stop, and a hell of a lot of folks will be holding hand grenades, with no pins in them .

    • Jim

       /  December 20, 2017

      It would be a pity to see Mar-a-Lago under water…..

      • coloradobob

         /  December 20, 2017

        Well a hurricane ain’t gonna do it . Mrs. Post built the crap out of it.

    • eleggua

       /  December 21, 2017

      “That would be idiotic,” she told me, gulping down a gin and tonic. “It would just kill the market. ”

      The bold pull quote’s from Jeff Goodell’s
      ‘The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World’.
      The speculative bit in the UK Guardian about the destruction of Miami in 2027 by hurricane that a couple of us posted here yesterday is extracted from that same book.
      It was published in the US a couple of months ago.

      NYT review:

      “…He opens “The Water Will Come” with a fictional hurricane whipping through Miami in 2037. It sweeps the Art Deco buildings of South Beach off their foundations, disgorges millions of gallons of raw sewage into Biscayne Bay and eats the last of the city’s beaches. Thousands scramble for bottled water dropped by the National Guard. Zika and dengue fever start to bloom (so much moisture, so many mosquitoes). Out rush the retirees and glamour pusses; in rush the lawyers and slumlords. Within decades, the place is swallowed whole by the ocean. What was once a vibrant city is now a scuba-diving destination for intrepid historians and disaster tourists.

      The whole scenario seems indecently feasible by the book’s end.

      …After this year’s calamitous flooding in Houston and the Caribbean, “The Water Will Come” is depressingly well-timed, though I’m guessing all good books about this subject will be from now on. Political time now lags behind geological time: If we don’t take dramatic steps to prepare for the rising seas, hundreds of millions could be displaced from their homes by the end of the century, and the infrastructure fringing the coast, valued in the trillions of dollars, could be lost.

      …Goodell has been writing about climate change for many years. (His previous books include “Big Coal” and “How to Cool the Planet.”) He’s the real deal, committed and making house calls. In “The Water Will Come,” partly built on stories he’s written for Rolling Stone, he visits cities in peril around the globe: New York; Lagos, Nigeria; Norfolk, Va.; Miami; Venice; Rotterdam. He speaks to a great many politicians, including Barack Obama, eventually asking some version of, “Given what you know, aren’t you scared out of your wits?” (Obama’s response: “Yeah.”) At an art event, Goodell buttonholes an influential developer in Miami, Jorge Pérez, and asks several variations of the same question. Pérez insists he’s unworried. “Besides,” he adds, “by that time, I’ll be dead, so what does it matter?”

      The full exchange is worth reading. It plays out like something from a Carl Hiaasen novel. All that’s missing are the twin blondes in the hot tub…..”

    • Just another version of stranded assets.

      This is a pretty old story RE the real estate folks. They started out by building on spits of sand that were periodically wiped out by Hurricanes. Building codes got better and losses were reduced. But now sea level rise adds a whole new factor to the equation.

      Pretty clear that the real estate industry has no incentive to talk about sea level rise. They want to build cheap and en masse in terraformed paradise and sell both the illusion and tickets. If some agency is going to inform the public on this, it will have to be a public interest agency.

  4. coloradobob

     /  December 20, 2017

    Arctic Experienced 2nd Warmest Year & Lowest Winter Sea Ice Extent On Record In 2017

    The Arctic region experienced its second-warmest year (by air temperature) and its lowest winter sea ice extent on record in 2017, according to the 12th edition of NOAA’s Arctic Report Card.

  5. coloradobob

     /  December 20, 2017

    Disappearing sea ice could lead to collapse of vital polar food chain
    Algae on the underside of the ice makes a chemical that has been found throughout the food chain – and it’s under threat.
    Disappearing sea ice in the Arctic could lead to the collapse of a vital polar food chain, scientists have warned.

    New research has shown algae that grow on the underside of the ice are the ultimate food source and can be traced through animals all the way up to the polar bear.

    • coloradobob

       /  December 20, 2017

      This is also true at the South Pole. Krill feed on algae on the underside of the ice.

    • Allan Barr

       /  December 22, 2017

      Doubling of retained solar energy due to loss of arctic sea ice, then issues with clathrates and permafrost, over a trillion tons of carbon emitted mostly as methane, one would assume that its going to get hot faster than expected.

  6. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2017

    Something I made in my old better days.

    Bear #339 and The Bear A Tones Join Dona Nobis Pacem

  7. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2017

    One more thing when I was really firing on all pistons.

    His guy is Dave Nordal , Micheal Jackson’s “court painter” the top is one I gave to his wife nearly 40 years ago. It’s deer skin. And Magpie feathers.

    • eleggua

       /  December 21, 2017

      Here’s an article you’ll enjoy, Bob.

    • eleggua

       /  December 21, 2017

      Bob, that’s a sharp top. Great leather work; yeah, that stiching on the back is something else.
      Very sweet.

  8. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2017

    Being such pale shadow of who I am , I guess I grab at straws , and yams.

    • eleggua

       /  December 21, 2017

      The guy up front playing with Cat is none other than a young Neil Young.

  9. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2017

    Those days are gone forever, over a long time ago.

    Steely Dan – Pretzel Logic

  10. Back in OZ
    ‘Terrible tragedy’: Golfer dies during Sydney Heat”
    Paramedics have warned heatstroke “can be a killer” after a man collapsed and died on a golf course during sweltering temperatures in Sydney this afternoon.
    The man was at Woolooware Golf Club at about 12.48pm on Wednesday when he collapsed in the heat and went into cardiac arrest.
    At the time, a nearby weather station recorded the temperature to be 38 degrees.

    Golf club staff and paramedics were unable to revive the man, aged in his 60s, who was one of dozens of people needing an ambulance after they were overcome by heat.
    Chief Superintendent Alan Morrison from NSW Ambulance said the man’s death was “a terrible tragedy”.

    “People need to understand heatstroke can be a killer and not to take their health for granted,” he said. “We really want the public to stay inside, drink water and avoid physical activity.”

    Temperatures climbed past 40 degrees in parts of the city’s west, driven by north-westerly winds, with the city itself reaching a maximum of 38 degrees.

    • kassy

       /  December 21, 2017

      The real tragedy is the Indian poor. They have to work to feed the family so staying at home is not an option unlike skipping golf.

  11. eleggua

     /  December 21, 2017

    Bill McKibben writing good news for the NY Daily News.
    New York City and New York State both announce complete divestment in fossil fuels.

    ‘Gov. Cuomo puts New York center stage in climate fight with bold divestment pledge’
    BY Bill Mckibben NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
    Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 3:18 PM

    “…on Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a fair bid to top him as the nation’s greenest governor, when he announced New York would begin divesting its massive pension holdings from oil and gas — a move that will not only protect the assets of retirees, but help protect the planet they will retire on to.

    The remarkable pledge, which he said he will elaborate on during his State of the State address, immediately prompted New York City’s controller Scott Stringer to take similar steps, announcing a committee to oversee the process of “decarbonizing” the city’s pension portfolio.

    Together the two pledges cover $390 billion, one of the largest pools of money on planet Earth. They won’t actually sell the stocks immediately (among other things, state treasurer Tom DiNapoli will have to be persuaded to move at a greater than glacial pace) but that’s not important.

    What’s crucial is the signal they send: that the world’s financial capital has begun to sense the permanent decline of the fossil fuel industry…..”

    • wili

       /  December 21, 2017

      That is rare good news. We all do have to find ways to ‘just walk away’ from fossil-death-fuels…

      • eleggua

         /  December 21, 2017

        Not so rare as it was just a year ago. Divestment is trending; it will become commonplace relatively soon. No doubt, we’re in an perpetual series of extreme weather events; they’re strong catalysts of divestment.

        Article by Mr.McKibben in the New Yorker today. Here’s the entire piece.

        ‘The Movement to Divest from Fossil Fuels Gains Momentum’
        By Bill McKibben 2:00 P.M. 12.21.2017

        “Tuesday should have been a day of unmitigated joy for America’s oil and gas executives. The new G.O.P. tax bill treats their companies with great tenderness, reducing even further their federal tax burden. And the bill gave them something else they’ve sought for decades: permission to go a-drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But, around four in the afternoon, something utterly unexpected began to happen. A news release went out from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, saying that New York was going to divest its vast pension-fund investments in fossil fuels. The state, Cuomo said, would be “ceasing all new investments in entities with significant fossil-fuel-related activities,” and he would set up a committee with Thomas DiNapoli, the state comptroller, to figure out how to “decarbonize” the existing portfolio. Cuomo’s office even provided a handy little Twitter meme of the type that activists often create: it showed three smoke-belching stacks and the legend “New York Is Divesting from Fossil Fuels.” The pension fund under Albany’s control totals two hundred billion dollars, making it one of the twenty largest pools of money on Earth.

        Not to be outdone, half an hour later the comptroller of the city of New York, Scott Stringer, sent out a similar statement: he, too, was now actively investigating methods for “ceasing additional investments in fossil fuels, divesting current holdings in fossil-fuel companies, and increasing investments in clean energy.” Stringer’s pension funds add up to a hundred and ninety billion dollars—that’s in the top twenty, too.

        Climate advocates—many of them at, the nonprofit that I founded—have been working for years to spur divestment from fossil-fuel stocks, and this was perhaps the biggest single day of that campaign, which in turn is the largest divestment campaign in history. With Tuesday’s announcements, the endowments and portfolios engaged in the process collectively manage more than six trillion dollars in assets. More important, Cuomo and Stringer sent the signal that, in the very center of world finance, sentiment is turning sharply against fossil-fuel investing. Activists have urged divestment for what you might call moral reasons: if it’s wrong to wreck the planet, it’s wrong to profit from the wreckage. But pension funds are willing to divest because they’ve come to believe that the future is not about coal and oil and gas—that these are now on the decline. The future lies elsewhere.

        These divestments won’t happen overnight; Cuomo will have to persuade DiNapoli to coöperate, and in any event no one wants a fire sale of stocks at depressed prices. But the announcements offered an encouraging echo of other recent developments. Norway, for instance, last month began work to divest its giant sovereign-wealth fund, which is bigger even than New York’s combined pensions. The World Bank, last week, said it would no longer be lending money for oil and gas exploration. It’s not that the fossil-fuel industry will go bankrupt overnight; its supporters, including Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, will give it all the love they can. But the shift in the Zeitgeist has been dramatic. The same day that Cuomo was pumping out divestment memes, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, sent out a tweet announcing that his country would no longer grant any licenses for oil and gas exploration in its various territories. He concluded with “#keepitintheground,” a hashtag until now confined to campaigners.

        Tuesday’s news is also a reminder that, as thoroughly as Trump and the G.O.P. have captured D.C., there are other arenas in which to fight them. New York State is, obviously, smaller than the federal government, but it’s not that small. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, for instance, has been using state statutes to bedevil ExxonMobil, investigating the company’s sordid coverup of our climate peril. It’s likely that the actions of the pension funds will prove contagious to some degree. Other states and cities will begin to wonder whether they’re going to be left holding the bag.

        It would make the most sense, of course, to have a concerted global battle against climate change—it is, after all, the first truly global problem we’ve ever faced. But this Administration will not fight it, as Trump’s recent pullout from the Paris climate accords showed. So if the battle, instead, is going to be local, three hundred and ninety billion dollars is a pretty good haul for one day. New York may be an empire in name only, but on Tuesday it demonstrated a global reach.”

    • Another major player joins the divestment trend. It really is becoming a mega-trend. But we have 49 states in the U.S. left to go. I think Puerto Rico would be well served to join up.

  12. eleggua

     /  December 21, 2017

    NY state put Exxon on notice earlier this year.
    They’re the bathtub plug; now that they’ve pulled out, lots of other big investers will follow.

    “…Preliminary results announced at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday put the results at 62.3 percent in favor, up from the 38 percent a similar resolution garnered last year.

    The resolution, which the company’s directors opposed, is nonbinding. But Darren W. Woods, the chief executive, said the board would consider the result because it reflected the view of a majority of shareholders.

    Investors and groups concerned about climate change submitted similar proposals in the last few years, but Exxon resisted.
    Continue reading the main story

    Increasingly, though, Wall Street and large investors, including fund managers like BlackRock and Vanguard, two of Exxon’s largest investors, have signaled concerns about the risks to companies whose assets were based in fossil fuels that could lose significant value as climate policies and market forces reduce demand.

    Exxon would not say how specific funds voted their shares on Wednesday, and Vanguard would not disclose its own vote. A person briefed on BlackRock’s decision said the fund voted with the majority on the proposal.

    BlackRock voted for a similar proposal earlier this year at Occidental Petroleum, the first time it had opposed company management on such a measure.

    Three years ago, a group of investors withdrew a similar resolution after Exxon agreed to report details of the risks that stricter limits on carbon emissions would place on its business, becoming the first oil and gas producer to do so. But that report lacked the detail that the resolution’s proponents were seeking.

    This year, the resolution was led by the New York State Pension Fund and the Church of England investment fund and included dozens of backers like the New York City Retirement Systems….

    “The burden is now on Exxon Mobil to respond swiftly and demonstrate that it takes shareholder concerns about climate risk seriously,” said Thomas P. DiNapoli, the New York State comptroller and trustee of the state’s Common Retirement Fund……”

  13. eleggua

     /  December 21, 2017

    “….The global movement that was founded upon the statements in the Paris agreement is about people, citizens’ concerns, economic expectations and technological development. It is not a technocratic legal document, nor about abandoning national sovereignty. We are working toward a shared vision of a common future, with the goal of safeguarding the planet for all.

    Laurence Tubiana is C.E.O. of the European Climate Foundation and a professor at Sciences Po, in Paris. She was appointed the French ambassador to the 2015 COP21 climate change conference, where she was a key architect of the landmark Paris agreement.

    This is an article from Turning Points, a magazine that explores what critical moments from this year might mean for the year ahead.”

  14. eleggua

     /  December 21, 2017

    “…“We’re saying that if the climate warms a little more, things don’t get a little different, they get very different,” said Henry Adams, a plant biologist at Oklahoma State University and lead author of a new paper, published in Environmental Research Letters in a special edition of the journal titled “Focus on Tree Mortality in a Warming World.” “You get an acceleration in the rate of mortality.”

    “Long droughts are what it takes to kill trees,” Dr. Adams said. “As you crank up the heat though, the time it takes to kill trees is less and less.”

    This study is significant because rather than looking at the effects of a single temperature increase, it examines the effects of multiple increases that provide a more realistic forecast.
    Continue reading the main story

    “The confidence we’ve developed about our forests being at great risk is really high now,” said David D. Breshears, a professor of natural resources at the University of Arizona and a co-author on the paper. “Warming makes droughts more lethal.”

    Dr. Breshears said that the research shows that warming temperatures and drought alone could cause 9 or 10 additional forest die-offs per century during this century by killing seedlings. “It’s not sustainable if you knock out a forest every ten or twelve years,” Dr. Breshears said. “We are at a big risk of losing lots and lots of forest.”

    The researchers also say that they believe the results of this study apply to many other types of forests around the world…..

    Because of the complexity of these systems, many scientists think forest mortality has been underestimated. Even this study only looks at mortality caused by temperature and not the added death toll from pathogens, wildfires or pests, which are expected to expand as temperatures warm. In fact, an unparalleled forest die-off caused by bark beetles has already taken place in the Rocky Mountains, where below-zero bug killing temperatures, once common, have become rarer….

    Europe too is seeing an increase in drought in its forests. Switzerland, for example, expects to lose its iconic spruce forests because of hotter and drier weather….

    While the study raises alarm, there is good news, Dr. Breshears said. The study showed that reducing carbon dioxide levels would help the situation substantially. “Any reduction in warming will reduce tree die-off,” he said.”

  15. eleggua

     /  December 21, 2017

    ‘France bans fracking and oil extraction in all of its territories ‘
    20 Dec 2017

    “France’s parliament has passed into law a ban on producing oil and gas by 2040, a largely symbolic gesture as the country is 99% dependent on hydrocarbon imports.

    In Tuesday’s vote by show of hands, only the rightwing Republicans party opposed, while leftwing lawmakers abstained.

    No new permits will be granted to extract fossil fuels and no existing licences will be renewed beyond 2040, when all production in mainland France and its overseas territories will stop.

    Socialist lawmaker Delphine Batho said she hoped the ban would be “contagious”, inspiring bigger producers to follow suit…..

    ….centrist president Emmanuel Macron has said he wants France to take the lead as a major world economy switching away from fossil fuels – and the nuclear industry – into renewable sources.

    His government plans to stop the sale of diesel and petrol engine cars by 2040 as well.

    Above all the ban will affect companies prospecting for oil in the French territory of Guyana in South America, while also banning the extraction of shale gas by any means – its extraction by fracking was banned in 2011. “

    • France — the country that divested. They’re moving full bore on this. Speaking the language of divestment. It’s amazing. Macron is really rocking it.

  16. eleggua

     /  December 21, 2017

    A bit of relativity.

    ‘What if the Thomas Fire burned the Bay Area?’
    December 19, 2017

    “If the Thomas Fire was burning in the East Bay it would have burned from Richmond all the way down through Oakland and Hayward to Fremont, then east to Dublin and Walnut Creek.

    The area burned would include the entire city of San Francisco, everything east of I-280 on the Peninsula, and basically the entire city of San Jose.

    If the fire was burning in San Diego, the entire city would be wiped out from Del Mar down to the Mexican border.”

  17. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2017

    The deniers have always lived in a world where tiny changes mean nothing , that the Earth is punching bag. And she will never punch back.

    Well , she’s beating The Energy Capital of the World. brains to a pulp.

  18. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2017

    This is the new normal –

    These events smack us in the face, and only much, much later does the bill come trickling in.

  19. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2017

    Fungal disease poses global threat to snakes

    • eleggua

       /  December 21, 2017

      Bats: white-nose syndrome = fungus.

      Amphibians: cytridiomycosis = fungus.

      Bees: colony collapse disorder = fungus related.

      • eleggua

         /  December 21, 2017

        That BBC article re: snakes notes the chytrid fungus and white-nose syndrome.

        I’ve seen garter snakes and rat snakes in the wild with that sort of fungal disease, even many decades ago. They’ve been close to or in flowing water, in my experience, and as the article notes, only in the Eastern US.

  20. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2017

    The end of the Earth it’s not about curling your toes over the nose of despair. It’s about realizing we are the smartest thing in the neighborhood.

    • eleggua

       /  December 21, 2017

      Smartest? Really? I don’t know about that. Cetaceans brains are way more evolved that human brains.


    • eleggua

       /  December 21, 2017

      A decent piece by Paul Watson of the Sea Shepard.

      ‘The cetacean brain and hominid perceptions of cetacean intelligence’
      Captain Paul Watson | 22nd August 2014

      “…..whereas the human brain shares three segments with all other mammals, the cetacean brain is uniquely different in its physiology.

      Humans have the rhinic, limbic, and supralimbic, with the neocortex covering the surface of the supralimbic. However, with cetaceans we see a radical evolutionary jump with the inclusion of a fourth segment.

      This is a fourth cortical lobe, giving a four-fold lamination that is morphologically the most significant differentiation between cetaceans and all other cranially evolved mammals, including humans. No other species has ever had four separate cortical lobes.

      This well-developed extra lobar formation sandwiched between the limbic and supralimbic lobes is called the paralimbic. Considering neurohistological criteria, the paralimbic lobe is a continuation of the sensory and motor areas found in the supralimbic lobe in humans.

      According to Dr. Sterling Bunnell, the paralimbic lobe specializes in specific sensory and motor functions. In humans, the projection areas for different senses are widely separated from one another, and the motor area is adjacent to the touch area. For us to make an integrated perception from sight, sound, and touch, impulses must travel by long fiber tracts with a great loss of time and information.

      The cetacean’s paralimbic system makes possible the very rapid formation of integrated perceptions with a richness of information unimaginable to us……”

  21. Yeah, because we’re going to have to be the smartest. I was wandering around the ruins of Christchurch the other day thinking about climate response and the implications and had an epiphany / realisation that while we know so very little about Earth we will have to start actually gardening our planet, a horrifying thought was we will have to choose who to protect and who to not (I’m speaking of animal, plants and micro life here). I taped this aloud when I realised it and cannot listen to it again as I broke down speaking it – but I won’t forget.

    • coloradobob

       /  December 21, 2017

      Anyone who understands this is one bubble of madness.

    • I understand. He’s talking about an end to nature as we know it.

      I don’t think gardening the planet is entirely necessary if you move to indoor vertical farming on a mass scale and allow for forests to reclaim larger and larger portions of the farmland that is freed up.

      But if you’re talking about gardening, wild farming isn’t really all that bad. Take Tikopia, for example. They did it. It was still mostly nature. Just that there was a preference for food bearing plants.

      • Thanks, What I’m getting at is the threat to natural species from increasing heat, and that we should consider ourselves responsible for natural life. I stumbled on the topic below while working on manipulating microclimate for one of my landscapes.

        Recent research shows many species are moving to colder local habitats (and conservationists seeking potential cold habitats). This new topic is called ‘cold spots’ or ‘cold refuge’ research – hard to search as terms also used in biodiversity research and spatial disease modelling. An approachable article is ‘How to shelter mountain streams in a changing world’ High Country News – Also –

        I have a list of articles on this if anyone interested.

      • eleggua

         /  December 21, 2017

        “He’s talking about an end to nature as we know it. ”

        That’s what it is but not in a bad way. Humans, for the most part, consider themselves extant from nature. Nature is “out there”; people even say, “going out into nature”.

        A gift of climate change will be the rapid evolution of human awareness as being a part of nature rather than apart from it. Essentially, biophilia; it’s essential and inevitable.

        • Yes, well I agree with that . . totally. The words we use to describe our home especially ‘environment’ (also innocuous words like ‘surroundings’) place us as separate from our home (ecology from oikos in Greek for home ), our habitat. For many now living separated from nature this transition to becoming part of nature threatens their sense of being and belief – this is what I believe the leading deniers are tapping into.

        • eleggua

           /  December 22, 2017

          “For many now living separated from nature this transition to becoming part of nature threatens their sense of being and belief – this is what I believe the leading deniers are tapping into.”

          Yes! Very well stated, nigel64.

  22. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2017

    Yo to combat all that old music.

    John Lennon – So This Is Christmas

  23. Bob

     /  December 21, 2017

    Nigel, the horrifying part is that we are not capable of protecting most of them in situ. Most don’t even have names. We are not Gods. We can kill them but not save them.

  24. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2017

    Shout – Tears For Fears

  25. redskylite

     /  December 21, 2017

    Thanks for the remarkable and alarming facts as the upward climb continues relentlessly, after the PDO index turned positive and the over-hyped buzz about the short lived plateau died out. Wonder if the PDO index will turn again and we will relax a little or will the upwards climb continue unabated. The journey continues.

    “The deep Pacific is a climate time capsule from the ‘little ice age,’ 19th century ship records show.

    A global cooling trend known as the “little ice age” ended centuries ago, but it lives on in the deepest parts of the Pacific Ocean, researchers reported here last week at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union. What’s more, this oceanographic time capsule could be helping blunt some of today’s human-driven warming, at least for now.

    The oceans are a massive heat reservoir, absorbing some 90% of the warming from human-caused climate change. But this modern heat doesn’t penetrate evenly—or quickly—into their vast depths. As part of a network of global ocean currents called the thermohaline circulation, chilled surface waters in the North Atlantic Ocean dive into the deep and, over the course of many centuries, wind their way to the deep North Pacific, which is in many ways Earth’s cold storage locker.

    That means the deep waters of the Pacific, unlike the relatively young Atlantic depths, should reflect surface temperature trends that are hundreds of years old. “From 1350 to the present day [those depths are] expected to be cooling,” says Jake Gebbie, a physical oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, who presented the work. “Cooling—despite the fact that the surface is warming.”

  26. Andy_in_SD

     /  December 21, 2017

    Our point of reference is usually as an individual and our lifetime. We don’t stop to consider that cities have been abandoned throughout history. It will continue to occur. We look at Miami, New Orleans, Downtown Vancouver BC, Amsterdam, London etc… as permanent locations. In reality, they are not, and will become “ruins”. And we as a civilization are accelerating this eventuality.

  27. coloradobob

     /  December 21, 2017

    Why we play music –
    Anyone who understands this is one bubble of madness.

  28. Just one to be aware of
    The EPA Is Using Taxpayer Dollars to Track the Press
    Scott Pruitt’s office has hired a Republican opposition-research firm to monitor the media’s coverage of the agency.

    The company also specializes in using the press and social media to “validate your narrative.” According to the company’s website, one of the tools to help do this is its “Definers Console” media-tracking technology. Reed said his firm contracted with Pruitt’s office at the EPA, which is the first governmental client to pay for the Definers Console. The technology promises “war room” style media monitoring, analysis and advice, according to marketing materials. A brochure for the Console assures users that they will be able to “monitor for potential crises, as well as to track their message dissemination, relevant responses to their messaging, and what competitors’ actions have been.”

    Besides monitoring media, users will get analysis and input from their employees whose experience in political campaigns and the business world helps create a unique approach “to intelligence gathering and opposition work. This experience informs the way we gather, synthesize, and disseminate information.”

    “Definers has been contracted to provide media monitoring services through our Console by the EPA,” Reed says. “We provide the same service to a number of corporate and non-profit organizations.”

    • To sum up —

      Scott Pruitt is dismantling EPA and using it as a clearing house of fossil fuel special interest legislation. He just hired an opposition research firm to figure out how to suppress a narrative that tells the truth about what he’s doing. The firm claims to be able to identify the narrative in real time and respond to it rapidly. In other words, this is an information suppression campaign.

      • eleggua

         /  December 21, 2017

        Coming in 2023, The Nuremburg Climate Change Enabler Trials.

        • Amazing how many people associated with Trump are in legal jeopardy of some kind or another. Pruitt is definitely a bad actor with legal exposure. A good deal of what he’s done rises to the level of corruption and possible abuse of power. That’s a running theme, I think.

        • eleggua

           /  December 22, 2017

          Lying about lies.

          ‘Trump’s ambassador to the Netherlands just got caught lying about the Dutch’
          By Amanda Erickson December 22, 2017

          “A Dutch journalist just asked new U.S. Ambassador Pete Hoekstra why he said there are “no go” areas in the Netherlands, where radical Muslims are setting cars and politicians on fire.

          Hoekstra denied it, and called the claim “fake news.”

          The reporter then showed Hoekstra a video clip of himself at a congressional hearing in 2015 saying: “The Islamic movement has now gotten to a point where they have put Europe into chaos. Chaos in the Netherlands, there are cars being burned, there are politicians that are being burned.”

          “And yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands,” he added in the clip.

          Then things got extremely weird.

          When the reporter pressed, Hoekstra denied using the term “fake news,” which he’d uttered moments before.

          “I didn’t call that fake news,” he said. “I didn’t use the words today. I don’t think I did.”

          Hoekstra was being interviewed by reporter Wouter Zwart for current affairs program Nieuwsuur. The interview is not playing well in the Netherlands. (One sample headline: “The new Trump Ambassador to the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, lies about his own lies.”)….

          ….he adopted several positions that are at odds with core Dutch values. Hoekstra is opposed to same-sex marriage and gay rights. In Congress, he voted repeatedly to limit women’s rights to abortion. He supports the death penalty and has argued passionately that refugees are a threat to European security.

          Hoekstra has given several talks at the anti-Islam American Freedom Alliance, which has also hosted Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders. In 2015, Hoekstra blamed a “secret jihad” for the “chaos” in the Netherlands.

          After Trump announced Hoekstra’s appointment, Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant observed that Trump “put a Dutchman in the Netherlands — but it is a Dutchman from the Netherlands of the ’50s.”

          Of the appointment, liberal politician Sophie in ’t Veld said: “We are looking forward with interest to cooperating with Mr. Hoekstra. We will certainly remind him his roots lie in a country that values tolerance, equality and inclusion.… We expect the representative of our friend and ally the United States to fully and wholly respect our values and to show that respect in all his acts and words.””

          So much for ^that^.

        • Thanks for this, Eleggua. Similar to a coversation I had on twitter recently. Trump is just full of distractions and red herring statements. They’re as pervasive as his outright lies.

          Also, please see my little contest at the top :). A bit of a game in the spirit of the holidays. But with a learning point.

  29. A clip from a Documentary aired in 1981
    Mentioned on Carbon Breif’s Annual Review
    Is this the first documentary about climate change? In 1981 a UK TV channel broadcast an hour-long programme called “Warming Warning”. The footage has sat in archives largely unseen ever since. … Now Carbon Brief has persuaded the copyright holder to release a number of key clips into the public domain, providing a poignant insight into what scientists knew about climate change almost four decades ago (comment if you know of an earlier example!). … #archive #1980s #80s #1981 #science #scientists #climate #globalwarming #warmingwarning #documentary #footage #unseen #climatechangeisreal #globalwarming #sealevelrise #icecap #meltingicecap #film #analogue #oldfilm #TV #ITV #climatescience

    • From a comment
      7 months ago (edited)
      IS OUR CLIMATE CHANGING?Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 – 1926) Saturday 23 January 1897
      Is the Climate Changing.Port Pirie Recorder and North Western Mail (SA : 1898 – 1918) Saturday 2 March 1901
      IS THE CLIMATE CHANGING?The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933) Tuesday 24 February 1903 p 5 Article
      IS THE CLIMATE CHANGING?Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1889 – 1915) Tuesday 31 July 1906
      Is Our Climate Changing?
      Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 – 1954) Saturday 23 November 1907
      IS OUR CLIMATE CHANGING?Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 – 1954) Wednesday 27 January 1909
      and in 1910-
      WORLD’S CLIMATE CHANGING.Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 – 1931) Saturday 25 June 1910 p 13 Article
      IS THE CLIMATE CHANGING?Darling Downs Gazette (Qld. : 1881 – 1922) Saturday 29 November 1919
      IS OUR CLIMATE CHANGING?The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) Saturday 2 October 1926
      WORLD CLIMATE CHANGING Scientists PuzzledThe Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954) Friday 21 April 1939
      Is The Climate Changing?Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954) Wednesday 19 February 1947
      Is The Climate Changing?Brisbane Telegraph (Qld. : 1948 – 1954) Monday 18 July 1949
      Is Climate Changing?The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950) Friday 1 September 1950
      and on and on and on and on.

      • Jeremy in Wales

         /  December 21, 2017

        Back in the 1970s & 1980s one of the best known popular science writers was John Gribbin and my first introduction to the possibility that CO2 could lead to a warmer world was his 1978 book “The Climatic Threat”. While this largely focussed on natural processes and a cooling world it had one chapter “The Joker in the Pack” specifically looking at anthropogenic influences. Part of this summarised the work of Professor Will Kellogg of Boulder, COL. and said “the natural background level of carbon dioxide is estimated as about 290 parts per million of air by volume; already man’s activities have raised this too 320ppmv, and some estimates suggest the concentration will double by the middle of the next century. Such an increase should increase the surface temperature of the globe by between 1 1/2°C & 3°C, other things being equal. But alas other things may not be equal.”
        He then mentions other greenhouse gases such as chlorofluorocarbons, There is no doubt that global warming as a possibility was gaining traction in the popular public sphere in the late 70s and of course that was running well behind the latest scientific thinking of that time.

        By 1982 his book “Future Weather” dedicated the second half the book to CO2 with the first half concentrating on the historical perspective, the Milankovitch Model (with Fred Hoyle being a dissenting voice postulating a impact model – which can be seen reflected in Richard Firestones work).

        However even in 1980, as the book makes clear, there were scientists who believed that the other scientists were overstimating the effect of CO2 on temperatures in particular Sherwood Idso of the US Water Conservation Laboratory, Phoenix who in that year published in “Science” based upon real world measurements of forcing effects. So some debate as to the actual effects of CO2 where still being undertaken at that point.

        These books were published in paperback in the UK by Fontana and Penguin, they were not scientific tracts and must have sold in the thousands. They must have made an impression as I still have them now even though the paper is now a bit brown!

    • Definitely not the first, see this clip from the 1958 episode of The Bell Laboratory Science Series called The Unchained Goddess:

    • See also this document which contains a critical chapter (Energy Patterns of the Future) of a 1960 a symposium called Energy and Man. The Columbia University Graduate School of Business and the American Petroleum Institute collaborated in the preparation and presentation of the symposium in Nov. 1959. The knowledge presented in the symposium is very damning in comparison to the later activities of the American Petroleum Institute, for example through the Global Climate Coalition (industry disinformation / denier group), of which the institute was a leading and founding member.

      The speeches recorded in the report were presented directly to the oil industry at a conference in Columbia University in 1959 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the global oil industry.

      Here is an excerpt:

      “Carbon dioxide has a strange property. It transmits visible light but it absorbs the infrared radiation which is emitted from the earth. Its presence in the atmosphere causes a greenhouse effect in that it will allow the solar rays to enter, but it will to some extent impede the radiation from the earth into outer space. The result is that the earth will continue to heat up until a balance is re-established. Then the earth will be at a higher temperature and will radiate more. It has been calculated that a temperature rise corresponding to a 10 per
      cent increase in carbon dioxide will be sufficient to melt the icecap and submerge New York. All the coastal cities would be covered, and since a considerable percentage of the human race lives in coastal regions, I think that this chemical contamination is more serious than most people tend to believe.”

      By positing the 10% figure, he implied that the energy industry must move past the exploitation of fossil fuels well before 1990. That the message was clearly received was well demonstrated by this followup question recorded on page 70:

      “Dean Brown: Here is another clarifying question. Would you please summarize briefly the danger from increased carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere in this century,

      Dr. Teller: At present the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 2 per cent over normal. By 1970, it will be perhaps 4 per cent, by 1980, 8 per cent, by 1990, 16 per-
      cent, if we keep on with our exponential rise in the use of purely conventional fuels. By that time, there will be a serious additional impediment for the radiation leaving the earth. Our planet will get a little warmer. It is hard to say whether it will be 2 degrees Fahrenheit or only one or 5. But when the temperature does rise by a few degrees over the whole globe, there is a possibility that the icecaps will start melting and the level of the oceans will begin to
      rise. Well, I don’t know whether they will cover the Empire. State Building or not, but anyone can calculate it by looking at the map and noting that the icecaps over Greenland
      and over Antarctica are perhaps five thousand feet thick.”

      This leaves absolutely no doubt as to whether or not the oil industry was aware of the reality and dangers of anthropogenic global warming and climate change stemming from their industry and the impending dangers of business as usual. Yet, stunningly, they continued (and still continue) to deceive and downplay these dangers in the pursuit of incredibly selfish short-term profits to our global peril.

      I’ve uploaded the document here:

  30. From the latest update on the state of climate science (Ryoal Society):

    “There are a number of possible thresholds, but unless warming significantly exceeds
    expectations it is not expected that the most dangerous ones discussed here will be
    crossed this century.”


    • So this particular statement is in the context of Atlantic overturning circulation and is heavily related to Greenland melt rates. In my opinion, on a BAU burning path, this statement is likely to become less confident. However, if we can halt fossil fuel burning rapidly, we can certainly avoid worst impacts to AMO this Century.

      You didn’t provide context and this created some confusion. So I’m clearing it up a bit.

      We should be clear that the RS, which is relatively in line with the more conservative consensus has made movement on a number of key issues. It is now accepted that sea ice may be changing NH weather, that rainfall extremes is an issue, and that increasing intensity of the most severe tropical storms are an issue. IPCC consensus and related RS findings have not yet moved on sea level rise. In my view, this will be dependent on when fossil fuel emissions peak and when we reach net zero and net negative.

      Other statements:

      “In 2013, the IPCC report stated that a doubling of pre-industrial carbon dioxide concentrations
      would likely produce a long-term warming effect of 1.5 to 4.5°C; the lowest end of that range
      now seems less likely.”

      “The long-term decrease in Arctic sea ice extent continues and the effect of ice loss on weather
      at mid-latitudes has become a subject of active scientific research and debate.”

      “In the 2000s the rate of surface warming was slower than in some previous decades, but the
      ocean continued to accumulate heat. Globally, 2015 and 2016 were the warmest years on record
      and seen in this context the multi-decadal warming trend overwhelms shorter term variability.”

      “Global mean sea level will likely rise by no more than a metre by 2100, but if warming is not
      limited, then its effects on the ocean and ice sheets could make a rise of several metres
      inevitable over centuries to millennia.”

      (Note– this is still in line with IPCC consensus. However, recent findings also make this a subject of active debate.)

      “Climate change has increased the frequency of heatwaves. The effect on rainfall and tropical
      storms is more complex and harder to detect, but there is strengthening evidence that
      warming may increase the intensity of the strongest tropical storms.”


      In the broader context, it’s a situation of ratcheting impacts racing against mitigation.

      We’ve already exceeded one dangerous threshold — 1 C. And we’re seeing accelerating sea level rise and worsening extreme weather as a result.

      1.5 C is the next level, at least as a milestone.

      2 C is pretty bad. Pretty amazingly bad in my view.

      RS is right in that we probably won’t see the worst of climate change this Century. However, climate conditions during the 21st Century will be arguably worse than during any period in the past 10,000 years and probably worse than at the end of the last ice age in some metrics even if we halt fossil fuel burning relatively soon.

      Continued fossil fuel burning is tantamount to setting off a mass extinction in the biosphere and providing forcings that risk severe civilization collapse pressure by end century and very serious civilization collapse pressure in as little as a couple of decades.

      We have heightened civilization collapse pressure due to climate change now.

      It’s worth noting that RS includes scenarios in which fossil fuel burning peaks soon. And, if this does happen, then we will avoid the worst impacts. The issue is that we need to stay on that path. Or better, accelerate it.

      • Alexander Ac

         /  December 21, 2017

        Thanks Robert,

        In fact that statement is annoyingly IMHO. Jim Hansen has similar opinion as he reslonded in e-mail. I am not sure if the next IPCC report will be much better than the last one. I think not. Scientific reticence seems stronger than ever! Best,


        • I wonder. It does appear to be shifting a bit. Do you have the communication with Hansen available? If he’s willing to let you post it, it would be enlightening to myself and others here.

          Best and thanks for the clarification.


  31. Beavers. It’s those damned beavers. Probably infiltrating Canadian beavers.

    Beavers Emerge as Agents of Arctic Destruction

    New York Times, December 20

    Even as climate change shrinks some populations of arctic animals like polar bears and caribou, beavers may be taking advantage of warming temperatures to expand their range. But as the beavers head north, their very presence may worsen the effects of climate change.

    The issue isn’t just that the beavers are moving into a new environment — it’s that they’re gentrifying it.

    Take the dams they build on rivers and streams to slow the flow of water and create the pools in which they construct their dens. In other habitats, where the dams help filter pollutants from water and mitigate the effects of droughts and floods, they are generally seen as a net benefit. But in the tundra, the vast treeless region in the Far North, beaver behavior creates new water channels that can thaw the permanently frozen ground, or permafrost.

    [no doubt shifting some of the carbon output from CO2 to methane, too].


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