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Extremely Warm Cyclone Predicted to Drive 50-60 F Above Average Temperatures Across North Pole

Our lexicon of what’s considered to be normal weather does not include February days in which temperatures at a North Pole shrouded in 24-hour darkness cross into above freezing ranges. But that’s exactly what some of our more accurate weather models are predicting will happen over the next five days.

Another Unusually Warm and Powerful Storm

During this time, a powerful 950 to 960 mb low is expected to develop over Baffin Bay. Hurling hurricane force gusts running from the south and digging deep across the North Atlantic, Barents, and Arctic Ocean, the low is projected to drive a knife of 50-60 F above average temperatures toward the North Pole by February 5th.

(20-25 foot surf heading for the increasingly fragile sea ice in this February 4 wave model forecast. Note the 30-40 foot waves off Iceland and associated with the same storm system that is predicted to bring above freezing temperatures to the North Pole on February 5th. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

These warm winds are predicted to bring above freezing temperatures to areas that typically see -20 to -30 F readings in February. They are expected to rage over a sea ice pack that is at record low levels. And if the storm emerges, it will hammer that same dwindling ice pack with 20 to 25 foot or higher surf.

Fragile Arctic Sea Ice Faces a Hammering

Presently, Arctic sea ice extent is trending about 200,000 square kilometers below record lows set just last year for the period of late February. And recent scientific research indicates that warm winter storms like the one that is now predicted to form can have a detrimental impact on sea ice.

(Arctic sea ice extent is presently at around 13 million square kilometers [bottom red line] — a new record low for this time of year. It should be around 15 million square kilometers and would be if the world hadn’t warmed considerably since the 1980s. Image source: JAXA.)

Not only do the storms bring warmer temperatures with them — a kind of heat wave that interrupts the typical period of winter freezing — they also drive heavy surf into a thinner and weaker ice pack. The surf, drawn up from the south churns warmer water up from the ocean depths. And the net effect can dissolve or weaken large sections of ice.

The presently developing event is expected to begin to take shape on February 4th, with warm gale and hurricane force winds driving above freezing temperatures near or over the North Pole on February 4th – 6th. To say that such an event, should it occur, would be practically unprecedented is the common understatement of our time. In other words, this is not typical winter weather for the North Pole. It is instead something we would expect to see from a global climate that is rapidly warming and undergoing serious systemic changes.

(February 5 GFS model run shows above freezing temperatures crossing the North Pole. Temperatures in this range are between 50 and 60 degrees [F] above average for this time of year. If the extremely warm cyclone event occurs as predicted, it will be a clear record-breaker. It will also further harm Arctic sea ice levels that are already in record low ranges. Image source: Climate Reanalyzer.)

Extreme Cyclone Beneath an Extreme Jet Stream

In the predicted forecast we see more of the extreme jet stream waves that Dr. Jennifer Francis predicted as an upshot of human-forced polar amplification (a condition where the poles warm faster than the rest of the globe under a larger warming regime). The particular wave in question for the present forecast involves a high amplitude ridge running very far to the north over Svalbard and knifing on into the high Arctic. The facing trough over Baffin Bay, Greenland, and North America is also quite pronounced and elongated. A feature that appears to want to become a cut off bubble of displaced polar air in a number of the model forecasts.

High amplitude Jet Stream waves during Northern Hemisphere winter as a signature of global warming are predicted by Francis and others to generate greater temperature and precipitation extremes in the middle latitudes. They are a feature of the kind of stuck and/or upside down weather we’ve been experiencing lately where temperatures in the Northeast have been periodically colder than typically frigid locations in Alaska. These flash freezes have, at times, faded back into odd balmy days in the 50s and 60s (F) before plunging back into cold. But the overall pattern appears to get stuck this way for extended periods of time.

(Very high amplitude ridge and trough pattern at the Jet Stream level of the circumpolar winds is thought by a number of scientists to be a feature of human caused global warming. One that is related to polar amplification in the Arctic. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

Heat in the Arctic is driving sections of cold air south even as warm air invades through places like Alaska, Northeast Siberia, and the Barents Sea. But the main variables of this story are global heat, global warming, fixed extreme temperature and precipitation patterns, and warm air invasion. The winnowing streamers of cold air driven out over places like the U.S. Northeast are just a side effect of the overall warming trend. One that is starkly apparent in the very odd western warmth that has grown more and more entrenched with each passing year.

For Now, It’s Still Just a Forecast

As with any five day forecast, we can take this one with more than just a grain of salt at the present time. But such an extreme event is entirely possible during the present age of human-forced climate change. During late December of 2015, we identified a predicted major storm that ultimately drove North Pole temperatures to above freezing. At the time, that storm was considered unusual if not unprecedented. However, since February is typically a colder period for the North Pole region, a warm storm drawing above freezing air into that zone would be even more unusual. It would also be a feature of the larger trend of loss of typical seasonal winter weather that we’ve been experiencing for some time now.

5 FEB UPDATE: Storm and Heat a Bit Further South and East Than Predicted

A powerful warm storm in the 952 mb range did form and track across Greenland to exit over the Greenland Strait earlier today. The storm drove warm air far north, pushing above freezing temperatures past Svalbard and over the dark and frozen sea ice. It hurled gale force winds, hurricane gusts, and massive swells into the ice. But it did not push temperatures to above freezing at the North Pole as some models had earlier predicted.

(Warm cyclone hurls much warmer than normal temperatures across the Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean on 5 Feb, 2018. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

It did, however crank temperature there up to -4.3 C or about 26 C above average for this time of year.

The storm is now predicted to drive above freezing temperatures across the Barents Sea, over Novaya Zemlya, through the Kara Sea and ultimately into Northern Siberia over the next 24-48 hours. In numerous regions, temperatures are already hitting near 30 C (54 F) above average. This extremely warm spike relative to typical conditions — associated with a high amplitude Jet Stream wave and related cyclone — will continue to ripple through the Arctic over the next few days.

Overall, total Arctic region temperature anomalies are predicted to range from 2.5 to 3.5 C above the 30 year average for the next few days. These are very warm departures. But not so warm as recent spikes in the range of 4 to 5 C above average for the region. In addition, there appears to be a tendency for powerful warm storms to continue to develop near Svalbard in the longer 5-15 day model runs. So the North Pole isn’t out of the woods yet for potential above freezing temperatures this February.

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96 Comments

  1. DJ

     /  January 31, 2018

    The arctic is in big trouble. Temperatures have been regularly 3 – 4 degrees C above average all winter, extent is at record lows, and, worst of all, there is no volume to speak of.

    https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=2141.0;attach=96379;image

    If the weather is sunny this summer (which thankfully, due to possible complete phase shift in the arctic climate, it might not be) then this will be a very bad year for arctic ice. The Arctic Sea Ice Forum has lots of high quality information on Arctic sea ice (but no good news, unfortunately)

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  2. Greg

     /  January 31, 2018

    “The winnowing streamers of cold air driven out over places like the U.S. Northeast are just a side effect of the overall warming trend” repeat, repeat, repeat.

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    • I’ve been trying different angles on this one. Hopefully something will stick. Many meteorologists seem hyperfocused on whatever cool pool develops, but for whatever reason don’t mention the global or Arctic contexts. That said, some major pubs ARE starting to point out that context. This is to their credit.

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  3. Jeremy in Wales

     /  January 31, 2018

    UK Met Office has issued a 5 year forcast suggesting warming will continue (no real surprise) and that temperatures will break the 1.5°C Paris Agreement limit
    https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/2018/decadal-forecast-2018

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    • Spike

       /  February 1, 2018

      Mentioned in this very interesting write up by David Spratt http://www.climatecodered.org/2018/02/quantifying-our-faustian-bargain-with.html

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    • 1.5 C in five years? For a single year, perhaps… This would be pretty rapid, IMO. Bad news as well.

      Worth noting that 2016 was 1.22 C above 1880s. If they’re using a base line that’s further back, then it was closer to 1.3 C. A 0.2 C jump in just 5 years after the large jump we’ve already experienced would be a little outside of the present trend. If the present trend holds you’re looking more at 2025 to 2035. It would also require a pretty strong El Nino.

      Of course, the Met may be banking on an acceleration in atmospheric temperature increased due to continued positive PDO increased rates of heat forcing accumulation, etc. Will give this a read and a think.

      Just want to add that the above is my own speculation/shared thoughts as part of an evolving and moving understanding of the present issue. Not meant to be taken as the final word in any respect.

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    • OK. Looked at this.

      The Met is saying that there’s a 10 percent chance we hit 1.5 C by the early 2020s with a 90 percent confidence that we hit around 1.3 to 1.4 C over the same period. That looks about right to me.

      Likely we are about two El Ninos away from 1.5 C. Could be 1, could be 3.

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      • Jim

         /  February 1, 2018

        Looks like we’re pretty much locked in to an ultimate 1.5 degree increase this year according to the Mercator Research Institute, using their middle of the road probability estimate. Of course, this is just saying we’ve added enough radiative forcing to ultimately take us to 1.5C, rather than predicting when we actually reach that threshold.

        I hate the way the mainstream media essentially fools people into thinking limiting global warming to 1.5 is a realistic goal, when we’re on track to go way past that….

        https://www.mcc-berlin.net/en/research/co2-budget.html

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        • Halting fossil fuel burning as soon as possible gives us the best chance of missing 2 C. 1.5 C is probably a lock within 5-17 years. Maybe a bit longer if we very rapidly respond. But we are not yet on a pathway that’s set to slow the present rate of warming at 0.15 to 0.20 C per decade. And whether we avoid some acceleration (0.20 to 0.25 C per decade or a bit more) is dependent on us rapidly plateauing carbon emissions and getting reductions soon. Each year of delay pushes a high bar higher.

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  4. wharf rat

     /  February 1, 2018

    California wildfire insurance claims near $12 billion

    SACRAMENTO — Insurance claims from last year’s deadly California wildfires have reached $11.8 billion, making it the most expensive series of wildfires in state history, an official said Wednesday.

    The staggering number exceeds the total insurance claims from the top 10 previously most costly wildfires in California.

    Until last year, California’s most expensive single fire was the 1991 Oakland Hills fire that prompted $2.7 billion in claims in today’s dollars, according to data from the Insurance Information Institute….
    ….The figures do not reflect losses suffered by people who were uninsured or at schools and other public buildings
    https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/01/31/california-wildfire-insurance-claims-near-12b/

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    • wharf rat

       /  February 1, 2018

      Climate Signals

      California Increased Wildfire Risk
      Extreme heat, years of ongoing drought, and tree die-off — all fueled by climate change — are increasing wildfire risk in California. There is a significant, increasing trend in the number of large fires and the total area burned per year in the United States. The trend is most significant in the western mountainous regions and the Southwest. Looking at the records extending back over the 20th century, 13 of California’s 20 largest wildfires burned since 2000. And the fingerprint of global warming has been formally identified in California’s wildfires

      http://www.climatesignals.org/climate-signals/california-increased-wildfire-risk

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    • Thanks for these.

      I think we’re kinda stuck in freeze mode (as in fight, flight or freeze) when it comes to climate change damage assessments right now. 2017 was so bad for the U.S. RE climate that we’re just beginning to take stock. It doesn’t help that the republican party and Trump are doing their best not to respond to the various climate change related disasters in certain areas. Head in the sand denialism by that party is leading to the abandonment of certain regions to both climate change and to the ravages of vulture capitalists. There is also this cloud of constant distraction that appears to cover up reporting on the issue. It’s pretty bad. But it’s what many of us expected if republicans were again in power.

      I think it will take many months or years for people to come to grips with all that’s happened. The problem for us as a civilization is that we are facing a higher likelihood of more of these events continuing to come down the pipe. To be effective, we need both a change in leadership (republicans to democrats) and a whole lot more after that.

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    • Andy_in_SD

       /  February 1, 2018

      Fire season never ended, it appears be be turning into a year round danger. We had extreme fire danger warnings last week (mid January).

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  5. Kiwi Griff

     /  February 1, 2018

    Some potentially good news .
    Eco Marine Power Testing Solar Sails For Ocean Going Cargo Ships
    Japanese company Eco Marine Power is moving ahead with plans to equip ocean-going cargo ships with rigid sails embedded with solar panels. Called Energy sails, they will allow the ships to take advantage of both wind and solar power at sea and while in port to provide emissions-free loading and unloading energy capability. The EnergySails can be stowed during rough weather to avoid damage from wind and waves.
    …….
    Coastal and ocean going cargo ships are major sources of global carbon emissions. Anything to lower their environmental impact will be welcome. Beyond territorial waters, ships are virtually unregulated and free to ignore governmental directives and emissions policies. Only if renewable energy reduces costs for shipping companies, will they invest the money needed to convert ships to low emissions strategies. If the data collected by Eco Marine Power can promise such reductions, interest from the shipping industry will increase dramatically.

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  6. Jeremy in Wales

     /  February 1, 2018

    I left a few comments on the previous thread and have reposted them with some further thoughts as potentially this could threaten all low lying coasts with a slow disaster,

    A piece of iceberg B44 has drifted back into the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf and knocked a further ice berg lose, some 5km X 1Km (guesswork). Hope the following picture is accessible

    Tweet confirming new berg suggesting near a new rift which may result in more calving soon. Gif shows calving and shows rift not visible on EOSDIS Worldview.

    #sentinel1 shows that Pine Island Glacier just lost a small iceberg (4.5km2) close to the newly developing rift. Probably this rift will result in more calving soon. pic.twitter.com/jtgEk5Ocz6

    — Stef Lhermitte (@StefLhermitte) January 30, 2018

    I tweeted Prof Stef Lhermitte “Is the Pine Island Glacier showing a new form of calving behaviour along crevasses? Pattern now smaller numerous bergs? The past seemed to be advance, calving of a single berg and retreat to the same point” .and he kindly replied “There is certainly a change in behavior with the calving events since 2015. We are now trying to better understand these changes”

    As this is one of the proverbial canaries in the coal mine and a potential cause of a substantial sea level rise I find this change extremely worrying. Certainly worthy of a lot of investigation and if a rapid retreat is commencing then consideration of a geo-engineering mitigating, sand and boulder bars on the sub-sea surface to limit ingress of warmer waters is a possible priority to slow the change.

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    • It’s a swirling maelstrom of gigantic floating ice shards. Something to factor into larger instability features, I would think. That said, probably shouldn’t be overstated either.

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      • Jeremy in Wales

         /  February 1, 2018

        BAS In a study in 2016 revealed that the thining of the glaciers ice shelf started by 1945 but that for 68 years calving resulted in large bergs that returned the ice shelf to its starting point.
        Pine Island Glacier (PIG) is the fastest melting glacier in Antarctica—one that’s responsible for a quarter of the frozen continent’s ice loss, around 45 billion tons of ice each year. This accounts for 10% of sea-level rise worldwide.
        Any change in this glaciers behaviour, or its neighbours is important as with a retrograde bed there is a potential for a runaway break-up of the PIG (Thwaites etc also). This is a back door into the heart of the west Antarctica and a potential 3-5metre sea-level rise. The behaviour has now apparently changed.
        So while we need a lot more research in this isolated area, which is difficult and expensive, we can also start to plan for action to mitigate any melt to delay it while we try to put CO2 emissions on a downward and hopefully eventually in a negative path.
        30/01/2018
        https://go.nasa.gov/2GE7y6j
        28/01/2003
        https://go.nasa.gov/2GBJj8u

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        • So far no significant change in the long term SLR rate since the 1990s (3.3 mm per year as opposed to 3.1 mm per year circa 2010). Although if this trend continues, we should start to see a few bumps.

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  7. bostonblorp

     /  February 1, 2018

    EASAC – the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council – just released a 45-page report titled “Negative emission technologies: What role in meeting Paris Agreement targets?”

    The findings are not optimistic. From the summary “Having reviewed the scientific evidence on several possible options for CO2 removal (CDR) using negative emission technologies
    NETs), we conclude that these technologies offer only limited realistic potential to remove carbon from the atmosphere and not at the scale envisaged in some climate scenarios”

    https://easac.eu/fileadmin/PDF_s/reports_statements/Negative_Carbon/EASAC_Report_on_Negative_Emission_Technologies.pdf

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    • I think a rational net removal from both land management and active atmospheric carbon capture could realistically aim for around 1 billion tons carbon per year. Enhanced weathering and other means could add to it. It’s a part of the solution. It can’t be the only solution, however. We really need to stop emitting carbon first. Otherwise all other responses are basically moot.

      Worth noting that there’s a big push for solar radiation management coming again. In short, it’s harmful stopgap that doesn’t address all issues from carbon emission and creates serious problems all its own. Again, yet one more reason why carbon emission reduction should be prioritized as #1.

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      • Mblanc

         /  February 2, 2018

        As the scientists say, it is no silver bullet. It is back to Kevin Anderson’s point that it was a cop out to rely on it at Paris. At least this work puts more meat on the bone, even if the news is mainly bad.

        On geo-engineering, we are already doing it in a way. that’s why it’s the Anthropocene, but it is going to take a very brave government/s to actually start throwing giant umbrellas about. As RS says, emission reductions are the focus.

        Hats off to you Robert, it’s a great body of work you have here, a real credit to your nation.

        Producing good work in the teeth of a roaring gale of denial, even if that is starting to ease off, is no easy thing.

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        • eleggua

           /  February 2, 2018

          ‘Geostorm’. Ridiculous, science- and story-wise, however the basic concept of global weather modification on display may be of interest vis-a-vis how it’s promoted therein as a saviour.

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  8. Syd Bridges

     /  February 1, 2018

    I thought that the early date and low maximum last year was bad enough, but this threatens to “better” both this year. We will be very fortunate if we get another cold summer which saves us from another record low in September.

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    • So the regime appears to have shifted to cloudy summers in the Arctic. This might, and I emphasize might, buy us a little time on the summer side. That said, what happens in winter (and there’s quite a lot going on) is probably what ultimately ends up tipping the scales.

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    • 10 percent chance. More likely during El Nino #2 following the 2015-2016 event. Say, 8-12 years at highest probability with the 90 percent confidence interval covering the range of 5-17 years.

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  9. Reblogged this on Move for Change and the Brooklyn Culture Jam and commented:
    thanks for the info. Sharing with some of my readers.

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    • eleggua

       /  February 2, 2018

      BCJ, are you familiar with Don Joyce? He came up with the term ‘culture jamming’. Adbusters get it from him. Don died a few years ago.

      Crosley Bendix aka Don Joyce

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  10. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    ‘Climate change melting pre-Viking artifacts out of Norway’s glaciers
    Reindeer hunters, traders, and the earliest Vikings all left artifacts on the ice.’
    Kiona N. Smith – 1/24/2018
    https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/01/climate-change-melting-pre-viking-artifacts-out-of-norways-glaciers/

    “…With climate change shrinking ice cover around the world, glacial archaeologists are racing the clock to find these newly revealed artifacts, preserve them, and study them….

    “Fieldwork is hard work—hiking with all our equipment, often camping on permafrost—but very rewarding. [You’re] rescuing the archaeology, bringing the melting ice to wider attention, discovering a unique environmental history and really connecting with the natural environment,” said Barrett….

    …Barrett and his colleagues radiocarbon dated 153 of the artifacts and compared those dates to the timing of major environmental changes in the region—such as periods of cooling or warming—and major social and economic shifts—such as the growth of farming settlements and the spread of international trade networks leading up to the Viking Age. They found that some periods had produced lots of artifacts, which indicates that people had been pretty active in the mountains during those times. But there were few or no signs of activity during other periods. The most surprising thing, according to Barrett, was the timing.

    Oppland’s mountains can be daunting terrain at the best of times, but in periods of extreme cold, glaciers could block the higher mountain passes and make travel in the upper reaches of the mountains difficult. Archaeologists would have expected people to stick to lower elevations during a time like the Late Antique Little Ice Age, a short period of deeper-than-usual cold from about 536-600 CE.

    But it turned out that hunters kept regularly venturing into the mountains even when the climate turned cold, based on the amount of stuff they had apparently dropped there.

    “Remarkably, though, the finds from the ice may have continued through this period, perhaps suggesting that the importance of mountain hunting (mainly for reindeer), increased to supplement failing agricultural harvests in times of low temperatures,” said Barrett. A colder turn in the Scandinavian climate would likely have meant widespread crop failures, so more people would have depended on hunting to make up for those losses.

    “In times of increasing demand for mountain resources,” Barrett and his colleagues wrote, “activity probably continued in the face of adverse or variable climatic conditions.”…”

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  11. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    ‘Is this the end of civilisation? We could take a different path’
    24 Jan 2018 George Monbiot

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/24/end-civilisation-take-different-path

    “…today there is nowhere to turn. The wild lands and rich ecosystems that once supported hunter gatherers, nomads and the refugees from imploding early states who joined them now scarcely exist. Only a tiny fraction of the current population could survive a return to the barbarian life. (Consider that, according to one estimate, the maximum population of Britain during the Mesolithic, when people survived by hunting and gathering, was 5000).In the nominally democratic era, the complex state is now, for all its flaws, all that stands between us and disaster.

    So what we do? Next week, barring upsets, I will propose a new way forward. The path we now follow is not the path we have to take.”

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  12. Hilary

     /  February 2, 2018

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/349521/nz-must-prepare-for-climate-change-impacts-says-pm

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/thepanel/audio/2018630487/storm-fehi-aftermath

    All the national news reports tonight I hear post the recent storm here include mention of climate change as a contributing factor. I’ve never heard it quite so clearly stated so soon after a major weather event before!!!

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    • eleggua

       /  February 2, 2018

      Good news within the bad.

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      • eleggua

         /  February 2, 2018

        Thanks for that.

        From the piece.

        “January 2018 was officially the hottest month ever recorded in New Zealand.”

        “It should now be clear that climate change has become an aspect of everyday life, and this is a moment where what will one day seem ordinary still seems exceptional.”

        “In October, the Ministry for the Environment released a report concluding that some climate change impacts in New Zealand were locked in and irreversible. Those impacts are helpfully listed in the recently released ‘Adapting to Climate Change in New Zealand’ draft report, written by a technical group advising the Government.

        Among them are stronger ex-tropical cyclones; more frequent extreme rainfall events, particularly in the west; more frequent fires, particularly in the east; higher storm surges and increased coastal erosion, and more days with extreme high temperatures.

        That report also says that despite knowing these impacts are here and will worsen, New Zealand’s response to them is reactive, not proactive. The report found “few examples of anticipatory action on adaptation” and “no evidence that climate change risks to New Zealand have been reduced by the actions taken by central Government.” In simple words, there was “no coordinated plan”.”

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  13. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    Long piece, likely of interest to readers here.

    ‘Can Planet Earth Feed 10 Billion People?
    Humanity has 30 years to find out.’
    Charles C. Mann March 2018 Issue

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/charles-mann-can-planet-earth-feed-10-billion-people/550928/

    “This article is adapted from Charles C. Mann’s most recent book, The Wizard and the Prophet. It appears in the March 2018 print edition with the headline “How Will We Feed the New Global Middle Class?””

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    • Shawn Redmond

       /  February 2, 2018

      So the age old question still goes unanswered. The fossil fuel spin offs (Monsanto, Bayer, Cargill, etc.) are working hard with someone else’s money to show they can do it better, so long as you don’t count the externalities or the tax incentives.
      http://saveoursoils.com/userfiles/downloads/1351256188-Comparative%20analysis%20of%20organic%20and%20non-organic%20farming%20systems%20a%20critical%20assessment%20of%20farm%20profitability%20FAO.pdf
      From the executive summary……..
      Nevertheless, the analysis of the compiled studies demonstrates that, in the majority of cases, organic systems are more profitable than non-organic systems. There are wide variations among yields and production costs, but either higher market price and premiums, or lower production costs, or the combination of these two generally result in higher relative profit in organic agriculture in developed countries. The same conclusion can be drawn from studies in developing countries but there, higher yields combined with high premiums are the underlying cause for higher relative profitability.
      Finally, this paper draws attention to the fact that existing economic comparisons are heavily biased becaused they do not internalize externalities neither account for the the fact that non- organic farms receive higher governmental support and better research and extension services. This paper argues that the profitability of a farming system must balance economic costs against environmental, social and health costs, as these costs have delayed impacts and indirect implications on farm economics.

      CONCLUSION
      Generally it is hard to conclude that one system is more profitable than the other – it depends on site and crop specific factors, availability of marketing opportunities, labour availability, agronomic factors, etc. Several variables could impact overall farm performance, thus a multi-disciplinary approach that involves the whole farm (with livestock operations if there are) and takes into account the management skills and objectives of the farmers is a more favourable option.
      Dozens of studies have been analyzed in terms of their research on farm profitability, and though methodological differences prevent us from comparing them systematically, the similarities between the studies from many countries and contexts allow us to draw some general conclusions.
      Profitability certainly depends on the crop choice, which of course is determined partly by environmental conditions and partly by the demand for products and available governmental programmes supporting those crops. Selection of the comparison group seems to have a strong influence on profitability. Farm size, farm type, location are all important factors in selecting the suitable candidate farms for a comparison. The availability of price premiums seem to be a crucial factor in good economic performances of organic systems and in most cases, make organic farms more profitable.
      However, as at least a dozen studies showed that price premiums are not always necessary for organic systems to be more profitable than conventional systems. If higher prices are not available to compensate for the organic yield loss, than financial profitability depends entirely on achieving cost reductions. Overall, the complied data suggest that organic agriculture is economically more profitable, and even though yields decrease in developed countries, higher premiums and lower production costs compensate for these losses.
      Increased profitability of organic agriculture very much depends on consumer demand, market prices and the availability of premiums. One of the biggest potentials to further improve the profitability of organic farms in developing countries lies in establishing organic markets for staple crops (organic soybeans, wheat, chilies, etc) that are part of the rotation; if these crops could be sold with a premium price, incomes of organic farms would further increase. In developed countries, premiums are most often available, so besides the market prices which farmers are unable to influence, the further reduction of production costs (energy, fuel, feed) and the use of better varieties (in terms of resistance, yield, etc.) could result in an increase of relative profitability in organic farms.
      Still to date, organic agriculture faces an unfair competition in the marketplace due to: the current subsidy schemes that favour conventional production; the unequal availability of research and extension services; and the failure to capture the real environmental, social and health externalities in market prices of conventional foods. Besides directing much more research and extension investments into organic agriculture and shifting the bulk of public support from polluting activities to sustainable practices to give an equal footing to profitability studies, such studies need to take the differences in external costs and benefits into account to capture the real and multiple profits of agriculture.

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      • Shawn Redmond

         /  February 2, 2018

        One more:
        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2017WR020448/full
        Abstract

        We estimate the global anthropogenic phosphorus (P) loads to freshwater and the associated grey water footprints (GWFs) for the period 2002–2010, at a spatial resolution of 5 × 5 arc min, and compare the GWF per river basin to runoff to assess the P-related water pollution level (WPL). The global anthropogenic P load to freshwater systems from both diffuse and point sources is estimated at 1.5 Tg/yr. More than half of this total load was in Asia, followed by Europe (19%) and Latin America and the Caribbean (13%). The domestic sector contributed 54% to the total, agriculture 38%, and industry 8%. In agriculture, cereals production had the largest contribution to the P load (31%), followed by fruits, vegetables, and oil crops, each contributing 15%. The global total GWF related to anthropogenic P loads is estimated to be 147 × 1012 m3/yr, with China contributing 30%, India 8%, USA 7%, and Spain and Brazil 6% each. The basins with WPL > 1 (where GWF exceeds the basin’s assimilation capacity) together cover about 38% of the global land area, 37% of the global river discharge, and provide residence to about 90% of the global population.

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  14. utoutback

     /  February 2, 2018

    Looking for Colorado Bob……..
    Ya out there mate?

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  15. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    From a few weeks ago, in case anyone missed it.
    From hurricane and flood to deadly ice storm; Houston’s taken a beating the past few months.

    ‘As ice storm fades, Houston region tallies cost in lives, dollars, time’
    January 18, 2018

    https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Storm-over-but-roads-treacherous-12503741.php

    “…as many as seven dead, hundreds of traffic accidents, two days of lost school for 1.1 million students, countless busted water pipes, and a deepening hole in Houston’s budget.

    …The low temperatures forced residents – many made homeless by Harvey – to again seek refuge at emergency shelters.

    Alexis Lewis-McMillian, 24, who said she normally stays with her husband in a tent in an encampment near Almeda Road and Cleburne Street.
    By Tuesday, her sweat started to freeze, and the couple piled sleeping bags on top of their tent, to little effect.
    “The tent, with that weather, didn’t protect us at all,” she said.
    Then, Lewis-McMillian, who is more than seven months pregnant, had a seizure.
    She arrived at the shelter in hospital scrubs, having stopped first at a hospital.
    “If it’s too cold to go back to my tent, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” she said.”

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  16. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    Incredibly insightful and inspirational bit by Brian Eno from 10 years ago. Adapted from his piece in the 2007 book, ‘ What Are You Optimistic About?
    Today’s Leading Thinkers on Why Things Are Good and Getting Better’.

    http://www.moredarkthanshark.org/eno_int_edge-jan07.html

    ‘What are you optimistic about?’
    Brian Eno January 2007

    “And Now The Good News

    Things change for the better either because something went wrong or because something went right. Recently we’ve seen an example of the former, and this failures fill me with optimism.

    The acceptance of the reality of global warming has, in the words of Sir Nicholas Stern in his report on climate change to the British government, shown us ‘the greatest and widest ranging market failure ever seen’.

    The currency of conservatism for the last century has been that markets are smarter than governments: and this creed has reinforced the conservative resistance to anything resembling binding international agreements. The suggestion that global warming represents a failure of the market is therefore important. Technical solutions will hopefully be found, but the process will need to be primed and stoked and enforced by legislation that would be regarded as big government socialism in the present climate. The future may be a bit more like Sweden and a bit less like America.

    If a single first instance of global governance proves successful, it will strengthen its appeal as a way of addressing other problems – such as weapons control, energy management, money-laundering, conflict resolution, people-trafficking, slavery, and poverty. It will become increasingly difficult for countries to stay outside of future treaties like Kyoto – partly because of international pressure but increasingly because of pressure from their own populations.

    Which brings me to my main reason for optimism: the ever-accelerating empowerment of people. The world is on the move, communicating and connecting and coalescing into influential blocks which will move power away from national governments with their short time horizons and out into vaguer, more global consensual groups. Something like real democracy (and a fair amount of interim chaos) could be on the horizon.

    The Internet is catalyzing knowledge, innovation and social change, and, in manifestations such as Wikipedia, proving that there are other models of social and cultural evolution: that you don’t need centralised top-down control to produce intelligent results.

    The bottom-up lesson of Darwinism, so difficult for previous generations, comes more naturally to the current generation. There is a real revolution in thinking going on at all cultural levels: people comfortably cooperate to play games for which the rules have not yet been written with people they’ve never met, listen to music and look at art which is emergent, not predetermined, and accept the wiki model of the open-source evolution of knowledge.

    All these represent dramatic and promising changes in the way people are thinking about how things work, how things come into being and how they evolve.”

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    • eleggua

       /  February 2, 2018

      Total lunar eclipse earlier this week.

      Eno did the soundtrack for Al Reinert’s amazing documentary from 1989 about the Apollo project, “For All Mankind.” It’s an uncommon documentary: ambient cinéma vérité.

      In its entirity, ‘For All Mankind’

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  17. Andy_in_SD

     /  February 2, 2018

    THE EXTINCTION CRISIS

    It’s frightening but true: Our planet is now in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals — the sixth wave of extinctions in the past half-billion years. We’re currently experiencing the worst spate of species die-offs since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Although extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural “background” rate of about one to five species per year. Scientists estimate we’re now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every day [1]. It could be a scary future indeed, with as many as 30 to 50 percent of all species possibly heading toward extinction by mid-century [2].

    http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/elements_of_biodiversity/extinction_crisis/

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    • eleggua

       /  February 2, 2018

      A different take to consider on this aspect of our crisis.

      ‘Inheritors of the Earth review – embrace the biological revolution
      The human age is one of extinction, but Chris D Thomas’s book paints a provocatively optimistic picture of new species diversity’
      2 Sep 2017

      https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/sep/02/inheritors-of-the-earth-chris-d-thomas-review-gaia-vince

      “…..It is into this miserable melee of biodiversity loss and habitat destruction that biologist Chris Thomas enters, with his book, hopefully subtitled “How nature is thriving in an age of extinction”. Decades of ecological research and travels in some of the most biologically interesting parts of the world, from Borneo to New Zealand (via Yorkshire), have revealed to him the scale of our impact on indigenous wildlife. But in the midst of this global extinction event, he was also discovering how our human changes were encouraging new life: immigrant species; newly emerging hybrids; and subspecies exhibiting freshly evolved adaptations. Such discoveries, which in many cases pertain to increased biodiversity under our influence, have been either ignored or dismissed as valueless by his fellow environmentalists. This thoughtfully argued book, full of rich examples, is Thomas’s attempt to “throw off the shackles of a pessimism‑laden, loss-only view of the world” we are creating and to embrace our Anthropocene ecosystems…..”

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  18. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    Irukandji drifting into new territory Queensland, Australia, due to warming waters, as posted here a few weeks ago by another commentor.

    Meanwhiile, in the Northern Hemisphere, in Southern California, appearances of vagrant yellow-bellied sea snakes are increasing.

    ‘Discovery of rare, venomous yellow-bellied sea snake in Newport Beach could mean trouble for sea lions ‘
    January 11, 2018

    https://www.sbsun.com/2018/01/11/discovery-of-rare-venomous-yellow-bellied-sea-snake-in-newport-beach-could-mean-trouble-for-sea-lions/

    “….“The discovery of the rare pelagic snake is only the fifth ever recorded in the history of California,” said Greg Pauly, associate curator of herpetology at the museum. “But it is the first discovered outside an El Niño year.”

    Most recently the snake species — which is typically only found in tropical waters and never comes ashore — was discovered on a beach in Coronado in January 2016. Another one was found in December 2015 at Bolsa Chica State Beach and another was discovered on Silver Strand Beach in Oxnard in October 2015. Oxnard is the farthest north one of these snakes has ever been found, Pauly said. The first yellow-bellied sea snake to show up in California was found on a beach in San Clemente in 1972.

    Officials at PMMC worry that the discovery of a snake this week could signal trouble for sea lions.

    In 2015 and early 2016, El Niño conditions resulted in elevated water temperatures. That was also the third year of mass sea lion strandings along the California coastline.

    Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration attributed the strandings to a warming ocean and lack of food for these marine mammals birthed by the thousands each year on the Channel Island rookeries. The mass strandings were declared an “unusual mortality event” by federal officials. PMMC rescued more than 600 sea lions that season.

    So far, the center has rescued 10 sea lion pups since Sept. 30 — the most recent, from an Orange County beach, on Wednesday, Jan. 10 — an increase from the same period last year, said PMMC spokeswoman Krysta Higuchi. PMMC rescued 124 sea lions for the 2017 season.

    The fact that the yellow-bellied sea snake was found in what climatologists are calling a weak La Niña has staff at the sea lion center and Pauly asking questions. The El Niño climate pattern results in warming water and higher surface pressures; La Niña creates colder water and lower surface pressures.

    “We are having to totally re-assess what we’re thinking,” Higuchi said, adding that she is comparing notes with Justin Viezbicke, marine mammal coordinator at the NOAA…..”

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  19. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    Reference source for those interested in the specific topic.

    ‘NOAA Coral Reef Watch Satellite Monitoring and Modeled Outlooks ‘

    https://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/index.php

    “The NOAA Coral Reef Watch program uses satellite data to provide current reef environmental conditions to quickly identify areas at risk for coral bleaching. Bleaching is the process by which corals lose the symbiotic algae that give them their distinctive colors. If a coral is severely bleached, disease and death become likely.

    Coral Reef Watch also offers a modeled Outlook that predicts the likelihood of coral bleaching heat stress on a week-by-week basis, up to four months in the future (the typical length of a bleaching season).

    Continuous satellite monitoring of sea surface temperature at global scales and modeled predictions of approaching bleaching-level heat stress provide resource managers, scientific researchers, and other coral reef ecosystem stakeholders with tools to understand and better manage the complex interactions leading to coral bleaching. When bleaching conditions occur, these tools can be used to trigger bleaching response plans and support appropriate management decisions and communication with the public. “

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  20. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    In case ya missed it, a cold day in hell last month.

    ‘It snowed in one of the hottest places in the world ‘
    January 9, 2018

    http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/09/africa/sahara-snow-trnd/index.html

    “It’s quite a time for weird weather, and it doesn’t get much weirder than snow falling in one of the hottest places in the world.

    On Sunday, Ain Sefra, a desert town in Algeria known as the “Gateway to the Sahara,” experienced a substantial amount of snow for reportedly the third time in 40 years. Some reports say parts of the area got nearly 15 inches of snow, but Ain Sefra officially reported less than one inch….

    …it’s not uncommon for the temperature across even the hottest of deserts to plunge tens of degrees Farenheit at night, meaning any unusual snow could stick around for a while. But photographers at the scene said the snow actually stayed intact for a good portion of the day.
    “We were really surprised when we woke up to see snow again,” photographer Karim Bouchetata told Shutterstock. “It stayed all day on Sunday and began melting at around 5 p.m.”

    While snow is historically scant in the desert area, a similar snow phenomenon happened just last year. Before that, it had been 37 years since Ain Sefra’s last snowfall. ”

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  21. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    Vaguely optimistic piece.

    ‘Global Warming Predictions May Now Be a Lot Less Uncertain’
    Jan. 17, 2018

    https://www.wired.com/story/the-dizzying-science-of-climate-change-gets-a-bit-clearer/

    “…The frustrating bit about studying climate change is the inherent uncertainty of it all. Predicting where it’s going is a matter of mashing up thousands of variables in massive, confounding systems. But today in the journal Nature, researchers claim they’ve reduced the uncertainty in a key metric of climate change by 60 percent, narrowing a range of potential warming from 3°C to 1.2°C. And that could have implications for how the international community arrives at climate goals like it did in Paris. Bonus: The new numbers paint a not altogether terrifying picture of humanity’s response to a climate crisis. Hell, you might even call it vaguely optimistic.

    The metric is called equilibrium climate sensitivity, but don’t let the name scare you. “It’s essentially the amount of global warming we would predict if we just doubled the atmospheric carbon dioxide and let the atmosphere and climate come to equilibrium with the carbon dioxide,” says lead author Peter Cox, who studies climate system dynamics at the University of Exeter.

    …what Cox and his colleagues did was actually ignore the warming trend to date. “You might imagine the most obvious thing to do to get an idea of future climate change is to look at climate change to date,” says Cox. “But it turns out that’s a really poor constraint on the equilibrium climate sensitivity, and it’s basically because we don’t really know how much extra heat we’ve put in the system.”

    …The researchers’ approach to this study was to combine models, and more models, and then some more—16 total—not with warming trends, but how temperature fluctuated from 1880 to 2016. “Essentially, the models tell us the relationship between temperature variations and climate sensitivity, and the observations tell us the temperature variations in the world,” says Cox. “Together they allow us to get better estimates of climate sensitivity for our planet.”

    What the researchers landed on was an ECS range of 2.2 to 3.4°C, compared to the commonly accepted range of 1.5 and 4.5°C. Admittedly, 2.2 on the low end isn’t ideal for the future of our planet. (For each degree of warming, for example, you might expect up to a 400 percent increase in area burned by wildfires in parts of the western US. Very not ideal.) And the researchers say this means the probability of the ECS being less than 1.5°C—the Paris Climate Agreement’s super optimistic goal beyond the 2°C goal—is less than 3 percent. The upside, though, is they say this new estimate means the probability of the ECS passing 4.5°C is less than 1 percent.

    But hold up, says Swiss Federal Institute of Technology climate scientist Reto Knutti, who wasn’t involved in the research. “What’s the chance of something fundamentally being wrong in our models?” he asks. “Is that really less than 1 percent? I would argue there’s more than a one in a hundred chance that something has been forgotten in all of the models, just because our understanding is incomplete.”…..”

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    • Sorry eleggua
      That Cox study was preceded by the Brown Caldeira study in Nature with completely different methodology and approach. They both lift the lower limit to 2.2, however the Brown Caldeira study showed that the models that most accurately represented the Satellite measured earth energy imbalance and atmospheric differentials since the advent of satellite measurement were the more extreme models placing the upper limit well over 4C.
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/12/06/the-most-accurate-climate-change-models-predict-the-most-alarming-consequences-study-claims/?utm_term=.fad3e1a71038

      The research found the models that do the best job capturing the Earth’s actual “energy imbalance,” as the authors put it, are also the ones that simulate more warming in the planet’s future.

      Under a high warming scenario in which large emissions continue throughout the century, the models as a whole give a mean warming of 4.3 degrees Celsius (or 7.74 degrees Fahrenheit), plus or minus 0.7 degrees Celsius, for the period between 2081 and 2100, the study noted. But the best models, according to this test, gave an answer of 4.8 degrees Celsius (8.64 degrees Fahrenheit), plus or minus 0.4 degrees Celsius.

      Overall, the change amounted to bumping up the projected warming by about 15 percent.

      Cox Brown and Caldeira et al are looking closely at this to evaluate why the major difference between their studies

      A possible factor is the modulation by smog and pollution and volcanic activity.
      The last Solar warm cycle was 1920’s to 1980’s and from the mid 50’s until the the mid 80’s air pollution was building and causing acid rain – also a degree of global cooling (masking AGW) (part of the reason for the coming ice age meme of the time)
      The Accord to reduce air pollution removed it’s masking effect allowing the planet to warm fairly rapidly for a few years.

      However late 80’s , really becoming serious from 2000 approx, China, India and Asia in general began serious industrialization and began producing increasingly copious pollution in the Northern hemisphere thus masking the global warming once again.
      As we know for economic, political and regime security and stability reasons, China and India especially are seeking to redress this harmful pollution which will once again reduce the masking effect.
      The increase in Global Shipping with its Sulfur rich bunker fuel has also been a growing issue and the UN is mandating a massive reduction in sulfur content – I will provide a link for that as well as a link for Solar sunspots (Solar intensity)

      The Cox study by focusing on global weather variations fails to take these factors into account (ties in with cloud effects which are poorly represented in the models due to uncertainties)

      So as much as I would love to be heartened, on balance I am not

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      • https://www.technologyreview.com/s/610007/were-about-to-kill-a-massive-accidental-experiment-in-halting-global-warming/
        We’re about to kill a massive, accidental experiment in reducing global warming

        A forthcoming UN regulation will slash shipping industry pollution but may also speed up climate change.

        Studies have found that ships have a net cooling effect on the planet, despite belching out nearly a billion tons of carbon dioxide each year. That’s almost entirely because they also emit sulfur, which can scatter sunlight in the atmosphere and form or thicken clouds that reflect it away.

        In effect, the shipping industry has been carrying out an unintentional experiment in climate engineering for more than a century. Global mean temperatures could be as much as 0.25 ˚C lower than they would otherwise have been, based on the mean “forcing effect” calculated by a 2009 study that pulled together other findings (see “The Growing Case for Geoengineering”). For a world struggling to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 ˚C, that’s a big helping hand.

        And we’re about to take it away.

        In 2016, the UN’s International Maritime Organization announced that by 2020, international shipping vessels will have to significantly cut sulfur pollution. Specifically, ship owners must switch to fuels with no more than 0.5 percent sulfur content, down from the current 3.5 percent, or install exhaust cleaning systems that achieve the same reduction, Shell noted in a brochure for customers.

        There are very good reasons to cut sulfur: it contributes to both ozone depletion and acid rain, and it can cause or exacerbate respiratory problems.

        But as a 2009 paper in Environmental Science & Technology noted, limiting sulfur emissions is a double-edged sword. “Given these reductions, shipping will, relative to present-day impacts, impart a ‘double warming’ effect: one from [carbon dioxide], and one from the reduction of [sulfur dioxide],” wrote the authors. “Therefore, after some decades the net climate effect of shipping will shift from cooling to warming.”
        Related Story
        Here’s the reason we’d never halt a geoengineering project midway through
        Suddenly stopping geoengineering would be dangerous. Which is why doing so is unlikely.

        Sulfur pollution from coal burning has a similar effect. Some studies suggest that China’s surge in coal consumption over the last decade partly offset the recent global warming trend (though coal does have a strong net warming effect).

        It’s difficult to estimate how much the new rule could affect temperatures. We don’t know enough about cloud physics and the behavior of atmospheric particles, nor how diligently the shipping industry will comply with the new rule, says Robert Wood, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

        Another wrinkle is that ships emit other particles that can sometimes also stimulate cloud droplets to form, including black carbon, a major component of soot. Removing the sulfur from the fuel could alter the size and quantity of these particles, which could affect clouds as well, says Lynn Russell, a professor of atmospheric science at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

        “So we can’t really say exactly what the change will be,” says Russell, though she adds that the rule change is “likely” to produce a warming effect on balance.

        The upcoming change does offer a different way of thinking about intentional efforts to cool the climate, known as geoengineering, according to some proponents of research in this area. Rather than some radical experiment, deliberate geoengineering could instead be seen as a way of continuing to do what we’ve been doing inadvertently with ships, but in a safer way.

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      • https://www.spaceweatherlive.com/en/solar-activity/solar-cycle/historical-solar-cycles
        Historical solar cycles

        The chart on this page shows the sunspot numbers since 1749. That’s when the extensive recording of solar sunspot activity began. You can zoom in on this plot by selecting a time period that you wish to view. Every dataset can be toggled on or off by clicking on the corresponding description under each graph and it can be exported as a JPG, PNG, PDF or SVG file.

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      • eleggua

         /  February 3, 2018

        No reason to be sorry; I’m not a proponent of the study; just sharing. Glad that it encouraged discussion. Thanks for the info above; helped get why Cox’ work is “vaguely optimistic”.

        “Cox Brown and Caldeira et al are looking closely at this to evaluate why the major difference between their studies”

        ^^^Great!

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  22. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    “And Windy has stormy eyes….
    And Windy has wings to fly”

    ‘199-MPH Sierra wind gust sets California record’
    January 11, 2018

    https://www.sfgate.com/weather/article/California-wind-record-fastest-gust-Ward-Peak-199-12488795.php

    A gust that blasted the summit of a peak at Alpine Meadows in February was the fastest non-tornado wind recorded in the United States in 2017.

    The 199-mph gust was also the fastest ever recorded in California, according to the National Climate Data Center’s Extremes Committee, which sanctioned the mark last week.

    For comparison, 140-mph winds have been known to pick up and hurl baseball-sized rocks.

    “Even in winds of 120 mph you can’t stand under your own force,” says Tom Padham, a meteorologist with the Mount Washington Observatory. “You’re knocked over pretty quickly. You wouldn’t be able to stand back up.”

    New Hampshire’s Mount Washington holds the record for fastest wind speed on U.S. soil — 231 mph.

    The powerful 199-mph gust whipped Ward Peak in Alpine Meadows ski resort at about 11 p.m. Feb. 20 during a fierce storm driven by an atmospheric river that pummeled the northern Sierra Nevada mountain range.

    Eric Kurth, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Sacramento, was working that night when he noticed the astounding wind reading.”’

    “I’d never seen anything like that,” says Kurth who has been working at the Sacramento office for 10 years. “These are the types of winds we see up in the jet stream. To see that in the Sierra is extraordinary.”

    Wind data can be unreliable as it’s a challenge to find instrumentation that can survive the extreme gusts, but in this case two anemometers, devices that measure wind, in the same geographical area survived the storm and had similar readings.

    Mike Anderson, the state climatologist who chairs the State Extremes Committee and made the final call on putting the gust in the record books, calls the data “impressive.””

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    • eleggua

       /  February 2, 2018

      Record wind gust of 199 mph at Ward Peak, Alpine Meadows, CA, Feb 20, 2017.

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    • wharf rat

       /  February 2, 2018

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    • bostonblorp

       /  February 2, 2018

      What most don’t know is that wind force is derived from the *square* of its speed. 140 vs 170MPH winds might sound like they’re the same in intensity. The latter delivers almost 50% (almost exactly) more pounds per square inch.

      This gusty new world is going to have some surprises.

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      • eleggua

         /  February 3, 2018

        Extreme effects, apparently.

        ‘Possible Impacts of Climate Change on Wind Gusts under Downscaled Future Climate Conditions: Updated for Canada ‘
        https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00020.1

        ” the modeled results indicated that the frequencies of the wind gust events could increase late this century over Canada ”

        ‘Global warming will weaken wind power, study predicts ‘
        11 Dec 2017
        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/11/global-warming-will-weaken-wind-power-study-predicts

        “…Wind farms are key to tackling climate change but warming will significantly cut the power of the wind across northern mid-latitudes, including the US, the UK and the Mediterranean, according to new research. However, some places, including eastern Australia, will see winds pick up.

        The research is the first global study to project the impact of temperature rises on wind energy and found big changes by the end of the century in many of the places hosting large numbers of turbines. …

        …“We found some substantial changes in wind energy,” said Kristopher Karnauskas at the University of Colorado Boulder, US. “But it does not mean we should not invest in wind power.” It does mean such changes need to be taken into account in planning future wind farms, he said, and also in assessing how much wind farms overall can cut global emissions….

        …Karnauskas acknowledges the uncertainties and said the work provides a starting point for more focused work: “It points to places that need detailed studies. Until now, we were really missing a consistent global view of the issue.”

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  23. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    Good news source from South Africa, for anyone interested in keeping track of the Cape Town H2O crisis.

    https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica

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  24. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    Ca-ching.

    ‘The tax cut is a $6 billion gift to Exxon’
    February 2, 2018:

    http://money.cnn.com/2018/02/02/investing/exxon-earnings-tax-law-oil/index.html

    “… The tax windfall helped Exxon’s (XOM) net profits surge fivefold, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company said on Friday.

    Excluding the tax bonanza, Exxon’s results left Wall Street wanting more. Adjusted earnings unexpectedly declined and revenue missed the mark by a wide margin. Exxon shares slumped about 5%.

    One problem: Exxon isn’t pumping as much oil as it used to following years of budget cuts forced by the crash in crude prices. The company’s overall production dropped 3% in 2017.

    Exxon said the federal tax law enacted by President Trump in December gave the company a non-cash earnings gain of $5.9 billion. That’s because the corporate tax rate has been lowered from 35% to 21%. Like other companies, the reduced rate allowed Exxon to write down the amount of money it owed Uncle Sam in the future, known as deferred income taxes. …

    CEO Darren Woods said the tax overhaul “strengthens our commitment to further grow our business” in the United States.

    Exxon promised this week to invest more than $50 billion in the U.S. over the next five years, a move that the company said will create “thousands of jobs” and boost the economy.

    Specifically, Exxon said it plans to invest “billions of dollars to increase oil production in the Permian Basin” of West Texas and New Mexico, expand existing operations, enhance infrastructure and build new manufacturing sites.

    Woods said the investment is “supported by the improved business climate created by tax reform.” ”

    ^^^As expected from the moment Tillerson was selected.

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  25. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    Mike Farb, ‘unhackthevote’: was Nunes hacked?!

    ‘Devin Nunes and the Trojan Horse’
    January 19, 2018

    https://www.unhackthevote.com/our-research/devin-nunes-trojan-horse-website/

    “In May of 2017 vulnerabilities were discovered on one of Devin Nunes’ campaign websites. The campaign website devinnunes.net had apparently been infected with a virus that caused some internal pages to be indexed by Google, in Russian.

    The full report on this discovery is here: https://www.slickrockweb.com/devin-nunes-russian-cyberattack-problem.php. The author of the report notified the Nunes campaign of these vulnerabilities on May 19, 2017. Shortly thereafter, it seemed as if the problem had been resolved. The url devinnunes.net was redirected to SquareSpace, here: devinnunes.com. The devinnunes.net site was apparently gone.

    But was the problem resolved, really? We had a closer look……

    Did Nunes’s emails get hacked? Did his address book get hacked? Were emails then sent out to other GOP in a Spear Phishing campaign, being that Nunes was a trusted contact to these people? The damage that could have occurred as this spread is deeply concerning.

    The continued existence of this file brings up some serious questions. How could this have happened to Devin Nunes’ campaign website? Who was managing this site? Why did the malicious code stay in place, nearly nine months after it was reported to the campaign?

    To answer these questions we dug even deeper. We had a look at the computer hosting the devinnunes.net website. Its IP address comes back to an Microsoft Azure server. Who controls this server? What else is hosted there? This is what we found.

    North Star Campaigns? Drink Stocks? Who are these people? What do they have to do with Devin Nunes?

    Stay tuned. This rabbit hole is about to get crazy deep.”

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  26. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    50th anniversary of the publication of ‘Desert Solataire’.
    Long piece, worth reading. ‘Desert Solataire’ is also worth reading, well worth it.
    ‘Monkey Wrench Gang’, too; Abbey’s spanner-in-the-works novel that inspired Earth First.

    “…..But fear not, lovers of the Utah canyon country, for the ghost of free-spirited eco-warrior Edward Abbey once again gallops to the rescue via his eloquent and funny memoir “Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness,” first published 50 years ago this month and reviewed by The Times on this exact day in 1968. Set among the very Colorado Plateau ecosystem targeted by Trump’s executive orders, every gleaming page of Abbey’s autobiography virtually shouts out the necessity of protecting our public lands from desecration, and sings the nobility of wilderness defenders whose intrinsic value system rejects the “sweating scramble for profit and domination.” While at various junctures Abbey delineates on John Wesley Powell’s Geographic Expedition of 1869, the history of Mormonism and the night life at bars from Moab to Mexican Hat, it’s his fierce stewardship of the desert environment that continues to shine brightest……”

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  27. hatrack

     /  February 2, 2018

    I can’t help thinking that “President Trump, Please Read” might be a more practical suggestion . .

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  28. Jeremy in Wales

     /  February 2, 2018

    Another large coal generating plant to close in the UK. Eggborough near Selby in Yorkshire will close September 2018 after losing out in a capacity auction. They are mainly losing to gas generating plant although some battery back-up get contracts for first time.
    The closure of Eggborough will leave the UK with just seven coal-fired power plants: Drax, Cottam, West Burton, Fiddlers Ferry, Aberthaw, Uskmouth, and Ratcliffe-on-Soar.
    https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news-analysis/3025919/nail-in-the-coffin-eggborough-to-close-after-losing-out-in-capacity-market-auction
    It’s not the final blow for coal, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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    • entropicman

       /  February 2, 2018

      Kilroot in Northern Ireland, also coal fired station, lost out in the Irish capacity auction and will close soon.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-42826175

      The older coal power stations have become uneconomic.

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      • So this is a very positive trend. Lets hope it keeps picking up.

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        • eleggua

           /  February 2, 2018

          ‘UK government spells out plan to shut down coal plants ‘
          5 Jan 2018

          https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jan/05/uk-coal-fired-power-plants-close-2025

          “One of the UK’s eight remaining coal power stations is expected to cease generating electricity this year, the government has said as it laid out new rules that will force all the plants to close by 2025….

          …However, the plan reveals the sector will continue to be propped up by hundreds of millions of pounds in backup power subsidies for several years, paid through consumer energy bills.

          Experts said allowing coal operators to continue receiving capacity market subsidies had thrown the sector an unnecessary lifeline.

          …Ministers will also retain emergency powers to suspend the phase-out in the case of an emergency shortfall in electricity supplies.

          …But officials said it was unlikely those powers would be called on, because the gap created by the coal plants’ closure would probably be filled by old gas power stations staying open longer.

          …The government rejected calls by campaigners and industry groups for the deadline of 2025 to be brought forward, citing cost and energy security grounds. It also rebuffed suggestions of a gradual phase-out before 2025, arguing coal use was low enough to make that unnecessary.

          Coal’s fall has been swift and dramatic, with power generation from the polluting fuel plunging by more than 80% since 2012. …”

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  29. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    Ursula K. Le Guin passed 10 daze ago. Touching rememberance by John Wray here.

    From wikip:

    “Environmentalism

    Elizabeth McDowell states in her 1992 master’s thesis that Le Guin “identif[ies] the present dominant socio-political American system as problematic and destructive to the health and life of the natural world, humanity, and their interrelations”. This idea recurs in several of Le Guin’s works, most notably The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), The Word for World Is Forest (1972), The Dispossessed (1974), The Eye of the Heron (1978), Always Coming Home (1985), and “Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight” (1987). All of these works center around ideas regarding socio-political organization and value-system experiments in both utopias and dystopias. As McDowell explains, “Although many of Le Guin’s works are exercises in the fantastic imagination, they are equally exercises of the political imagination.”

    In addition to her fiction, Le Guin’s book Out Here: Poems and Images from Steens Mountain Country, a collaboration with artist Roger Dorband, is a clear environmental testament to the natural beauty of that area of Eastern Oregon.”

    “Left Hand of Darkness”, “The Disposssed” and the Earthsea books are well-known; not as well remembered but a favourite here, “The Word For The World is Forest”, also a Hugo Award winner.

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  30. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    ‘Come to this island before it disappears’

    “…Already much of Kutubdia (Bangladesh) has been swallowed by rising seas, leaving countless families with nothing. Nurul Haque, a farmer who lost all his land to the ocean, told me that he may have to pull his daughter, Munni Akter, 13, out of eighth grade and marry her off to an older man looking for a second or third wife, because he has few financial options left to support her.

    “I don’t really want to marry her off, because it’s not good for girls,” he said glumly. “But I’m considering it.” He insisted that if it weren’t for the rising waters and his resulting impoverishment, he wouldn’t think of finding a husband for her.

    One of the paradoxes of climate change is that the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people — who contribute almost nothing to warming the planet — end up being most harmed by it…..”

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    • This made me think of Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay.

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      • eleggua

         /  February 2, 2018

        Discussion a week from Sunday; $20 admission. Avalon Theatre, Easton, MD.

        ‘Avalon to hold discussion on disappearing islands’
        2.1.18

        http://www.stardem.com/news/local_news/avalon-to-hold-discussion-on-disappearing-islands/article_c167895f-ab27-5d4d-a11e-172c26b70d4d.html

        “In the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, there are two islands steeped in history, tradition and the Eastern Shore way of life. Smith Island and Tangier Island, home of generations of watermen and the famous Smith Island Cake, are faced with being washed away by the very Bay that shaped that lifestyle.

        Within a matter of decades, these islands, along with their culture, could vanish. In an effort to better understand the future of the islands, the Upstream Alliance, Salisbury University Environmental Studies Program and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum will host “Disappearing Islands: A Culture at Risk,” a discussion about the impact of rising seas levels and increased erosion on Tangier and Smith islands.

        The discussion will take place from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, at the Avalon Theatre.”

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  31. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    “….One photo …. captured the cover sheet of a confidential “action plan” that Mr. Murray brought to the meeting last March calling for policy and regulatory changes friendly to the coal industry…..

    …The meeting started, the complaint said, with Mr. Perry giving Mr. Murray “a deep bear hug.” Once they got down to business, Mr. Murray presented the memo. “This needs to be done,” the complaint says Mr. Murray insisted.

    Mr. Perry replied, “I think we can help you with this,” according to the complaint.

    Rattled by the exchange, Mr. Edelman said he stayed for about 15 minutes to keep listening, until he drew the attention of an agency official. “How much does a photographer need of us just sitting around?” the complaint quotes the agency official as asking….”

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    • eleggua

       /  February 2, 2018

      The hug.


      “Mr. Perry hugs Robert E. Murray, the head of one of the country’s largest coal mining companies, Murray Energy, on March 29, 2017, at the Department of Energy headquarters in Washington, D.C.”

      The cover sheet.


      “The cover sheet, left, of a confidential “action plan” that Mr. Murray brought to the meeting last March calling for policy and regulatory changes friendly to the coal industry; and right, details of the plan calling for replacement of members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.”

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  32. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    Maybe someone already posted this, perhaps umbrios27. Just in case, though…

    ‘Brazil raises hopes of a retreat from new mega-dam construction ‘
    4 Jan 2018

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/04/brazil-raises-hopes-of-a-retreat-from-new-mega-dam-construction

    “…In a surprise statement, a senior government official said hydropower policy needed to be rethought in the face of environmental concerns, indigenous sensitivities and public unease.

    Anti-dam activists welcomed the apparent shift, despite scepticism about the declared motives, which they believe mask a drying up of bribes from the construction industry. The decision could reprieve the Tapajos and free-flowing rivers from a plan to open half the Amazon basin to hydro-development….”

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  33. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    Kiss chocolate goodbye?

    ‘Chocolate is on track to go extinct in 40 years’
    Dec. 31, 2017

    http://www.businessinsider.com/when-chocolate-extinct-2017-12

    ” – Cacao plants are under threat of devastation thanks to warmer temperatures and dryer weather conditions.
    – Scientists at the University of California are teaming up with Mars company to try to save the crop before it’s too late.
    – They’re exploring the possibility of using the gene-editing technology CRISPR to make crops that can survive the new challenges.

    … Cacao plants occupy a precarious position on the globe. They can only grow within a narrow strip of rainforested land roughly 20 degrees north and south of the equator, where temperature, rain, and humidity all stay relatively constant throughout the year. Over half of the world’s chocolate now comes from just two countries in West Africa — Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

    But those areas won’t be suitable for chocolate in the next few decades. By 2050, rising temperatures will push today’s chocolate-growing regions more than 1,000 feet uphill into mountainous terrain — much of which is currently preserved for wildlife, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. …”

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  34. eleggua

     /  February 2, 2018

    With Ursula and “Word for the World is Forest” in mind, highly recommending this book.

    The Living Forest: A Visual Journey Into the Heart of the Woods
    By Robert Llewellyn and Joan Maloof
    Timber Press, 2017

    It’s retails at $40. Check for it at your local library, and if they don’t have it, put in a purchase request (if your library offers that option).

    Sierra Club review.
    https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/slideshow/how-see-living-forest-for-trees

    “…What would it be like to step out into a forest and look around without epistemology? Instead of looking for what it all means, we might just see, a little more clearly, the world for what it is.

    …a testament to just this kind of looking and seeing. From soaring heights up above the tree canopy down to the finest filigree of a root stem, and all the connective tissue in between, biologist Joan Maloof and photographer Robert Llewellyn take us on an adventure into the biosphere we call home. With precise, stunning photographs and a distinctly literary narrative that tells the story of the forest ecosystem along the way, The Living Forest is an invitation to join in the eloquence of seeing.

    “They all have a plan,” (photographer) Robert Llewellyn said in an interview from his home in Virginia when asked what struck him the most about making the book. “All the trees have a plan; all the plants have a plan. I’ll give you one example: the blackberry lily of the forest. It gets pollinated and it drops the flowers. It forms a seedpod that looks exactly like a blackberry, and guess what? Bears like blackberries. So the plan is to distribute their offspring through the hungry bears that come along. There are hundreds of stories like that, and they are all different plans.” ”

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  35. Kurt Grove

     /  February 3, 2018

    Will you have next weeks data to show how this plays out? I hope it will provide a teaching tool for our elected leaders.

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  36. Dave McGinnis

     /  February 10, 2018

    Kurt, I watched it happen. Melting temps reached past Svalbard close to the pole. Robert, thanks for hipping us to the scene.

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  1. NEWS UPDATE #172 - Ecologise
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