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May Arctic Warming Event Follow-up — Not So Bad as Predicted, But Worries Remain for Early June

There are many reasons why we monitor Arctic sea ice melt during summer. First, sea ice is a key climate indicator. Second, we are in a period of time where ice-free Arctic conditions are becoming more possible as global temperatures keep rising. And third, falling levels of Arctic sea ice have knock-on effects for a number of climate systems that we all rely on.

(Will we see a warmer than normal early June for the Arctic Ocean? If we do, it could seriously impact the Arctic Ocean’s remaining and thinning sea ice.)

Last week, we pointed out that GFS models were predicting a very warm spike to around 3.5 C above average temperatures for the Arctic come late May. Thankfully, due to the model running a bit hot, such extreme readings did not emerge. However, temperatures over the Arctic Ocean remained about 0.85 C above average overall for the past 7 day period.

Consistent, though somewhat mild, warmer than normal temperatures for this time of year over the Arctic during 2018 are still somewhat worrisome. Recent very warm winter years have experienced ‘saving grace periods’ during May and June in which temperatures near the pole returned to near average or slightly below average.

(Above freezing or near freezing temperatures predicted for most of the Arctic Ocean on June 4, 2018 in the GFS model. Sea ice tends to start melting at around -2 C due to the salt content in surrounding ocean waters. During recent years, the Arctic sea ice has been far weaker and thinner than historic norms. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

This is not the case for 2018 so far. Temperatures have tended to remain warmer than average for the Arctic Ocean and near the pole throughout May. Moreover, short range forecasts indicate that the critical time period of early June could see continued above average temperatures — providing a potential kick for sea ice losses come late season.

Overall, GFS model runs indicate that temperatures will remain in a range between 0.5 and 1.3 degrees Celsius above average for the Arctic over the next five days. These above normal temperatures pose increased risk for sea ice losses during the crucial June window. June weather tends to greatly influence late season sea ice totals. A warmer than normal June will produce higher numbers of melt ponds and greater impetus for melt to continue with force through July, August, and September. Cooler and often cloudier Junes have tended to protect late season sea ice from hitting new all time record lows.

(Weekly averages for the Arctic Ocean during early June are expected to range near 1 C warmer than normal — extending what has already been a warmer than normal May. Image source: Global and Regional Climate Anomalies.)

2018, so far, has seen a warmer than normal May for the Arctic Ocean. And so we see ice getting swept back behind traditional lines in the Chukchi Sea, in the Beaufort Sea, and in the region north of Svalbard. Peripheral areas like Baffin Bay, Hudson Bay, and the south Kara Sea have seen slower ice melt due to their co-location with trough zones. But it is Central Arctic melt that we should be more concerned about. So we’ll be closely monitoring this region as May runs into early June.

 

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50 Comments

  1. Jim

     /  May 30, 2018

    OT, but relevant to climate change – Justin Trudeau’s government purchases Kinder Morgan pipeline for C$4.5B. For that amount solar could be added to 180,000 Canadian Homes. The opposition is going to be fierce as 22,000 people in British Columbia have already pledged to put their bodies on the line to stop the construction, a number that is certain to grow.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/mike-hudema/trudeau-buy-kinder-morgan-pipeline_a_23446963/

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    • Brian

       /  May 30, 2018

      Jim, how much is a reasonable cost to save the country?

      If we’re not a nation of laws and we can’t build national projects and we’re not willing to defend our borders, what are we? Are you suggesting we sacrifice our country on the altar of “eco-friendly”?

      BC opposition so far has been one giant Pyrrhic victory that socialized / nationalized the cost of the project while antagonizing their neighbors without any measurable longterm benefits.

      It’s time to ask the followup questions:

      1. What will happen if the pipeline doesn’t get built?
      2. What will happen if the pipeline gets built?

      Maybe also, what are the ulterior motives of the Tides Foundation and all the other groups that preach to Canadians without practicing what they preach back home in their land of Trump?

      I think that human-caused climate change is very real and very dangerous, but without action from China, India, and the United States, it’s counter-productive to kill our own economy and future when it won’t make a measurable difference in the grand scheme of things.

      My answers to the questions I posed above are as thus:

      1. If the pipeline doesn’t get built, life will continue, but the US, China, and India will continue their actions with Business-As-Usual consequences. Further, a large number of Canadians will suffer as the economy stagnates, and that stagnation will be a vicious circle that slows down innovation and adoption of new technology in Canada that could potentially act to mitigate the ongoing damage to our planet. Finally, there exists a non-zero possibility that Canadian unity is threatened as the mentality of scarcity overwhelms the attitude of abundance that we’ve enjoyed for many decades.

      2. If the pipeline does get built, life will continue, but there will be risks to the environment in BC in the event of accidents and / or sabotage. The economic activity will be noticeable in Canada, but the environmental harm in terms of CO2 and eCO2 emissions from activity in Alberta won’t be more than noise for at least a decade, whereby enough time will have past to hopefully come up with viable economic and ecological solutions for carbon capture and storage AND for a mass transition to electrical vehicles that reduces demand for oil.

      These benefits outweigh these risks. It’s not even close.

      Kinder-Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will increase capacity from 300k BPD to 890k BPD (source Google). World demand is 99.3M BPD in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency Oil Market Report (Mar 2018). So, I think 0.59% is noise, and $4.5B is a small price to pay for national unity.

      Remember, this pipeline does NOT add to world oil demand. Rather, it changes who gets paid for the oil that will be used anyways. Do you want your money to go to tyrants and dictators in the Middle East and elsewhere, or would you rather try to keep it in Canada?

      [And now for the tinfoil hats – I think Tides Foundation is purposefully trying to sabotage Canadian companies so that they can come in and buy out our land and our assets for cheap. I do not believe that they are utopian environmentalists; I don’t have source material for this hypothesis though.]

      Please, let’s keep fighting with words before we change our weapons of choice.

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      • Matt

         /  May 31, 2018

        Brian….” but the environmental harm in terms of CO2 and eCO2 emissions from activity in Alberta won’t be more than noise for at least a decade, whereby enough time will have past to hopefully come up with viable economic and ecological solutions for carbon capture ”
        What a load of utter rubbish – this is exactly the attitude that has put humanity in this mess in the first place. The Australian Government here is expertly trained in this kind of diatribe!
        Make it look like we are so insignificant that what we do will make no difference. We are at a time where we cannot afford ANY more oil and coal to be burnt and you are suggesting what? That we should “hopefully” wish that an “economic and ecological solutions for carbon capture” will emerge? Talk about bury you head in the sand bollocks!
        “Remember, this pipeline does NOT add to world oil demand. Rather, it changes who gets paid for the oil that will be used anyways”
        No it means that production of dirty oil which is more carbon intensive than renewable energy will remain cheap, given that their will be more oil in the market, not providing the required cost signals needed for change.
        Never been more saddened by such an ill informed comment on this forum before.

        Liked by 4 people

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        • +1000 — Well said!

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        • Brian

           /  June 1, 2018

          >Never been more saddened by such an ill informed comment on this forum before.

          You must be new here. Welcome! The most-saddened I’ve been from comments on this forum were from posts by coloradobob at the height of his troubles, before he was banned.

          I’ll now address the rest of your post.

          Let’s start with electric vehicles. Last year was awesome for electric car sales; their best year ever, with a year-over-year increase of about 25%. With this massive increase in sales, electric vehicle sales are now 1.8% of the entire US car market (light vehicle retail sales, for the purpose of this example).

          https://www.statista.com/statistics/199983/us-vehicle-sales-since-1951/

          Let’s try a thought experiment (Scenario A) with parameters:
          – EV sales grow 30% year on year until they are 100% of the market. This would be a new record.
          – Vehicle sales shrink 15% year on year due to sharing economy, shift away from personal vehicles, etc.
          – In this scenario, for all of the cars being sold to be EV, we’re looking at about 2027 with about 3M car sales. Sales of cars haven’t been that low in over 40 years, but hey, that’s what thought experiments are for, right?
          – Half of car sales in this scenario are EVs sometime between 2025 and 2026.

          Scenario B parameters:
          – EV sales grow 25% year on year until they are 100% of the market.
          – Vehicle sales shrink 5% year on year.
          – In this scenario, all sales of vehicles are of EVs sometime in 2033.

          Scenario C parameters:
          – EV sales grow 25% year on year until they are 100% of the market.
          – Vehicle sales average about 15M units per year.
          – In this scenario, all sales of vehicles are of EVs somewhere about 2036.

          Now let’s ask the question what percentage of cars on the road are EVs?

          Under 8yr average lifespan for all vehicles, the percentage of EVs of all Vs on the road is:
          2020 (scenario A, 1.46%)
          (scenario B, 1.29%)
          (scenario C, 1.31%)
          2025 (scenario A, 8.78%)
          (scenario B, 4.53%)
          (scenario C, 4.13%)
          2030 (scenario A, 51.39%)
          (scenario B, 17.85%)
          (scenario C, 12.62%)
          2035 (scenario A, 100%)
          (scenario B, 61.25%)
          (scenario C, 38.50%)
          2040 (scenario A, 100%)
          (scenario B, 99.14%)
          (scenario C, 84.14%)

          Now let’s assume that EVs never break and have an infinite lifespans, and regular vehicles still have an average lifespan of 8 years. For scenario A, the percentage of EVs out of all Vs is:
          2018 1.21%
          2019 1.49%
          2020 1.89%
          2021 2.50%
          2022 3.41%
          2023 4.82%
          2024 7.02%
          2025 10.57%
          2026 15.97%
          2027 24.19%
          2028 35.07%
          2029 47.86%
          2030 62.92%
          2031 80.63%
          2032 100.00%
          Now, this is only retail vehicles for personal use, etc etc etc, so it’s just a thought experiment rather than a prediction, but running this math, I’m guessing the oil demand for gasoline remains strong through 2025. I’m further guessing that, using this proxy, oil demand remains strong for quite some time.

          [In my opinion, this shows that we should regulate the sales of ICE Vehicles to phase them out sooner that 2030, but there will still be a lag where ICE-V represent a large portion of vehicles on the road.]

          The oil production exists today and the demand for oil exists today. The difference is the method of transport. The oil that does NOT move via pipelines will be moved by trucks, tankers, and by rail. Keeping it in the ground is just not a reality.
          So now that this math is out of the way, let’s talk about your reply to my post.
          You suggest “utter rubbish”. Do you honestly believe that shift in demand fulfillment from the Middle East to Alberta of 0.59% world production & demand exacerbates the problem we find ourselves in? Or should this demand fulfillment remain in the Middle East with all the concurrent problems that that brings?

          You suggest that I “make it look like we are so insignificant that what we do will make no difference.” If I truly believed that, I wouldn’t be posting here.

          You suggest that “we are at a time where we cannot afford ANY more oil and coal to be burnt and you are suggesting what?” I am suggesting we curtail and shift away from bad actors. To stop all oil and coal consumption all at once, today, before we have replacement systems in place for transportation would result in a total collapse of western society as we know it, as food requirements need these transportation systems to get to market. Without transportation of foodstuffs, millions of people will starve. How many hundreds of millions of lives will be lost under your scenario?

          It’s fine to imagine a future 50 years out where everything has changed, where we’ve moved away from capitalism and wealth inequality and all the other ills of modern society. When talking about the next 10 years though, we can’t just snap our fingers and it “just works”. We need realistic and viable solutions for a transition.

          Today, that means we need oil for transportation, and as I’ve shown above, realistic scenarios that include a transition to EVs still require lots of oil for at least the next 10 years to come.

          I’m all for a power grid with plentiful solar and wind power. Coal is definitely on the way out for power consumption (even though it will still be required for steel production). In my estimations, we will still need oil for at least the next 10 years.
          Now to address the “cost signals” argument. This has already happened to a great extent, as I do not believe that there will be more oil sands projects in the future. However, I’m talking about on-going operations. As we’ve seen in North Dakota these past few years, the bankruptcy of the companies does NOT lead to the end of the oil operations; rather, it leads to new structures of ownership where the debt is wiped clean and the operations continue without debt-servicing costs. This, for better and for worse, is one of the “features” or “bugs” of capitalism. The oil still flows. We saw that in North Dakota, and we saw it just these past few years in Alberta. Even if the price of oil collapses to $20/barrel USD worldwide, the oil from the oil sands will still flow.

          [Let’s be clear, the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline is for existing production; I’m absolutely opposed to developing oil resources in Arctic Sea or along the McKenzie Valley up in northern Canada.]

          I am open-minded. Please show me a realistic scenario where:
          a) We can cut out oil altogether.
          b) We should be sending money to Middle East tyrants rather than to our fellow countrymen.

          For Robert: Yes, the oil sands will one-day be a stranded asset. Ignoring all of the economics, and the environmental benefits from shifting the transportation of this oil from trucks & rail over to pipelines, this pipeline, even if it never moves a single drop of oil, is absolutely required for Canadian national unity. (On time, no sabotage.) The Federal Government absolutely devastated the Province of Alberta during the 1980s with the National Energy Program. Just 3 days ago here, there were rallies for people to come out and SUPPORT the building of pipelines. I would ask that you not be so cavalier in your assumptions about the stability of Canada, and the importance of building national projects, defending borders, and respecting laws. The oil is being produced; all that changes is how it’s transported and where the money goes.

          For Shawn: Yes, someone has to be first, but it has to be someone big enough to make a difference. I had hoped it would be the US during President Obama’s administration. Now we’re basically left hoping for China, or under the next administration in the US government. As we’ve seen, Germany under Merkle hasn’t been enough; Canada isn’t big enough either. Yes, this is a pessimistic view, but I believe it’s also realistic. I’m still hopeful that accumulating damage can be slowed, mitigated, and then reversed, but I do not believe Canada can do it alone.

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      • Jim

         /  May 31, 2018

        Hi Brian,

        Thanks for your candid views and comments. I think I understand your argument – that the pipeline is necessary for economic and national unity reasons, and the economic benefit can be used for a transition to EV’s and possible carbon capture 10 years or so hence. I understand the argument and while I disagree, it’s not an unreasonable position.

        While we concur that climate change is a problem that needs to be addressed, we seem to differ on what’s the proper speed and perhaps approach. That’s not unusual with technological transitions. You look out 10-years and rightly point out that EVs will be considerably more widespread and affordable than today, but I contend that will also be the case in 5 years as most global automakers have significant rollout plans for 2021-2022. And renewably generated power (wind + solar) are already significantly cheaper than fossil fuel (FF) generated electricity generation. As such, more than 67% of new global generation capacity is now renewable rather than FFs.

        So what’s the best policy for nations to pursue – both economically and environmentally? We’re in agreement that energy independence is preferable to cash transfers to middle east countries. But while the US is doing worse than nothing and Canada is doubling down on oil, China is actually sprinting ahead fast on renewables and EVs – adding them at a rate that equals or surpassed the rest of the world combined – and India will not be far behind also having announced a pending ban on internal combustion engines possibly as soon as 2030. And since renewably generated energy is already cheaper than FF produced energy, they will have an inherent economic advantage over FF fueled economies, the US included, thanks to Trump.

        So my belief is that we’re already in the midst of a substantial and significant shift to lower cost power and that’s only going to accelerate leading to massive write-offs in FF assets, especially upstream assets, including tar sands, but also deep-water and Arctic developments. We all seem to be hard-wired to not appreciate the rate of technological change (the so-called Kodak moments), but we are undoubtedly in the midst of one right now. My money is on the new technologies precisely because the economics already make sense, it’s the public awareness that is lagging.

        ~ Jim

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        • Matt

           /  June 1, 2018

          Brian, thanks for the additional information and analysis you put forward…. Unfortunately it makes no difference to the argument you made in your original post. It does not matter what proportion of EV’s are sold into the future if they are being powered via coal/gas/oil generation.
          The most effective way of fixing the mess we are in now is by immediately implementing a carbon tax (proven in its limited time in operation here in Australia to be incredibly effective), redirecting all the hidden subsidies given to FF companies into massive upscale of renewables, and becoming more energy efficient.
          The justifications you utilise to defend your stance are abhorrent ” Without transportation of foodstuffs, millions of people will starve. How many hundreds of millions of lives will be lost under your scenario?” – the same trolled argument used by the fossil fuel industry, written directly for conservative Governments around the world. I ask you Brian, how many lives have already been lost to the dirty wars created by our “responsible” FF companies in places like the Middle East, Nigeria, Timor…. I could go on for ever, what about the lives lost due to the effects already being seen by climate change now from weather events and displacement? or the massive environmental damage such as the Gulf of Mexico spill, or the recent Borneo spill or the Exxon Valdez and the livelihoods lost, the suicides? do those not matter Brian?
          Your argument in relation to cost signals, you state “However, I’m talking about on-going operations. As we’ve seen in North Dakota these past few years, the bankruptcy of the companies does NOT lead to the end of the oil operations; rather, it leads to new structures of ownership where the debt is wiped clean and the operations continue without debt-servicing costs” and further more “The oil still flows. We saw that in North Dakota, and we saw it just these past few years in Alberta. Even if the price of oil collapses to $20/barrel USD worldwide, the oil from the oil sands will still flow.”
          How you can’t see the simple contradictions in your arguments with these statements leads me to believe you must be a fossil fuel apologist. You were arguing in you first post that “Further, a large number of Canadians will suffer as the economy stagnates” if the pipeline is not built…. however in the next post openly admit that they will sell the oil for what ever the global price dictates regardless of whether it sends the company to bankruptcy, or in this case cost the Canadian taxpayers a fortune.
          I think there are a few simple facts you are conveniently missing and or ignoring when you are supporting the FF industry.
          1. The commitments contained in the Paris agreement will not contain the planet to +1.5C or even +2C above preindustrial levels.
          2. The modelling used to achieve these utopic outcomes already factor in an incredible amount of carbon capture, which at present simply does not exist at a scale remotely close to what is required.
          3. The quickest way to reduce emissions in the short term is by reducing demand via energy efficient homes, cars and industry. energy transmission is where most energy is lost in the system, hence reducing usage has a multiplying effect on production.
          The linked lecture (and others by Professor Kevin Anderson) really quantifies what the current state of play is between what is being proposed and what is required, your beloved pipeline does not fit in with what is required no matter what angle to try to twist.

          P.S Robert Scribbler – I apologise for my rant and totally understand if you wish to remove.

          Like

        • Brian

           /  June 1, 2018

          The most effective way of fixing the mess we are in now is by immediately implementing a carbon tax (proven in its limited time in operation here in Australia to be incredibly effective).

          We have a carbon tax in Alberta, and wind power plants. The world was not saved by these actions. We do get lots of hours of sunlight, but I don’t know how the efficiency is affected by our relatively high latitude. I’m curious as to the metrics for effectiveness of Australia’s carbon tax. I honestly don’t know how to measure this.

          Without transportation of foodstuffs, millions of people will starve. I’m not trolling here; I honestly believe that people in cities in North America are so removed from food production that without an efficient and effective delivery mechanism for the food on our plates, many of us would indeed starve. Yes, this is absolutely horrible, but I believe it to be true.

          I absolutely want to stop dirty wars too. Remove the foreign corporations from resource extraction in foreign lands altogether. Canadian companies in Canada. American companies in the US, North Slope, and Gulf. British companies in the North Sea. Venezuela with their national company, Brazil with Petrobras, Indonesia with Petronas, etc etc. I think part of the solution to the challenge of reducing these dirty wars and civil wars and the tyrants who make life miserable for millions of people is to stop aiding and abetting them, and we do that by both reducing excess production that we won’t need in the future as efficiency gains kick-in, and shifting baseline production that we will need to maintain society, to more responsible areas that respect human rights and the rule of law.

          And yes, there’s millions of lives at threat where climate change is either the only factor, the most significant factor, or a strong contributing factor. Drought in Syria is top of mind for that, but I think I’m most worried about how SLR is going to affect Bangladesh.

          Let me be clear – if today Saudi Arabia is selling 10M BPD of oil, and Alberta is selling 1.2M BPD of oil, I want that 1.2M BPD from Alberta to be shipped by pipeline. Stopping the pipeline does NOT curtail the 1.2M BPD from Alberta. In the absence of the price normalization since 2014, it would have discouraged future resource development, but that has already happened with the economics we’ve experienced these past 4 years. Stopping the pipeline does NOT curtail the existing extraction. Stopping the pipeline also does NOT reduce the 10M BPD from SA. The pipeline is to meant to capture more of the money that leaves Canada for foreign lands and keep it home. This oil that Alberta produces today gets shipped. The question is how – is it shipped by trucks, rail or pipeline. [Oil tankers are not relevant for oil from Alberta or Saskatchewan.]

          As a blanket statement, I refuse any responsibility whatsoever for anyone who commits suicide anywhere in the world. [Death is different than suicide – there are many reasons and causes for death, and it is the fate that awaits us all. Suicide is merely one path to death, and it’s a personal choice with terminal consequences.] I share in the global community society’s blame for the deaths that result from the damage we are doing, but I am NOT personally to blame for the suicide of any individual person.

          Later in your post you state that there are contradictions in my argument:

          You were arguing in your first post that “Further, a large number of Canadians will suffer as the economy stagnates” if the pipeline is not built…. however in the next post openly admit that they will sell the oil for whatever the global price dictates regardless of whether it sends the company to bankruptcy, or in this case cost the Canadian taxpayers a fortune.

          There is no contradiction in my argument, and the last 4 years in Alberta has proved this be true. You can have people suffer in economic stagnation while companies sell at market prices. QED.

          1. The commitments contained in the Paris agreement will not contain the planet to +1.5C or even +2C above preindustrial levels.

          I agree.

          2. The modelling used to achieve these utopic outcomes already factor in an incredible amount of carbon capture, which at present simply does not exist at a scale remotely close to what is required.

          I agree. I am hopeful that widespread effective and efficient CCS will be possible in 10 years. I will go further and suggest that even if CCS is widespread effective and efficient CCS is not only possible, but deployed and working in 10 years, I still do not think we can contain to max +1.5C or max +2.0C even, but I think we have to try, and I think that even when we overshoot, we as a species have a moral obligation to come back down to not +2.0C, not +1.5C, but about +0.8C or below if it’s feasible. My personal position is that, as a species, we should stay within the temperature boundaries of past inter-glacial periods, while staying above the boundaries of the next interglacial period, attempting to minimize SLR. I’m worried about how much SLR is already “baked into the cake” so to speak, due to the lag that exists between CO2 / CO2e in the atmosphere and temperature rise. The linkage relationship 100% exists; we just don’t know what the lag is before the hockey-stick of the temperature line catches up.

          3. The quickest way to reduce emissions in the short term is by reducing demand via energy efficient homes, cars and industry. energy transmission is where most energy is lost in the system, hence reducing usage has a multiplying effect on production.

          I disagree. However, I think the most humane way, as we currently define ‘humane’, is to reduce demand for energy in homes, cars, and industry. This is a distinction from your statement in that I think we can reduce demand by having LESS homes & cars etc than having more energy-efficient versions in the same (or increasing) quantities as today. For example, multi-generational homes instead of every twenty-something couple being ‘entitled’ to own their own home, moving towards mass transit and a sharing economy. It’s a complex problem, and energy efficient is just one aspect of the solution(s).

          While I think you are correct about losses in transmission systems, the lag between usage and production prevents the efficient linkage between usage reduction and the production reduction. You can access installed batteries to use more power if you have a solar-powered home with a battery system, but you CANNOT instantly install more batteries if you suddenly find that your installed capacity is not sufficient for your needs; you’ll have to go and order them, have them delivered, installed, etc.

          The same analogy is true for this pipeline. The installed pipeline capacity we have today is not sufficient to efficiently and effectively transport the oil being produced today to market. [The retort to just lower production to meet pipeline capacity is a red herring; as explained above, all of the private & public companies will continue to sell (in a race to the bottom) as a ‘feature’ of capitalism; only nationalized companies Saudi Aramco have the ‘luxury’ of shuttering production (when their primary shareholders want them to).]

          The linked lecture (and others by Professor Kevin Anderson) really quantifies what the current state of play is between what is being proposed and what is required, your beloved pipeline does not fit in with what is required no matter what angle to try to twist.

          It’s a good lecture. (I watched to the 42.5min mark.)

          Jeremy Rifkin’s lecture is also a good lecture, talking about how to implement some of the changes talked about in Dr. Anderson’s lecture.

          I’m gone for a week and a half starting tomorrow, but I’ll be back and look forward to your thoughts, replies and rebuttals. I want to know more.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Matt

           /  June 4, 2018

          Hi Brian,
          I think we will have to agree to disagree on many points here. it is great to know we do however agree on many of the issues, in fact I agree on most of what you commented on above.
          My areas to which we will just have to disagree are:
          1. “We have a carbon tax in Alberta, and wind power plants. The world was not saved by these actions”
          Who ever said it would? But it has to occur in every country, simply using the argument that an individual countries emissions are not enough on a world scale to justify not implementing a carbon pricing scale is the exact argument being peddled by the FF industry. The simple fact is that someone has to take the lead and for those which have, it has not resulted in economic ruin.
          Australia’s Carbon Tax was implemented, working well and reducing emissions after such a short period of time, the money raised was used to off-set low income earners power bills and to finance a clean energy fund which in turn provided finance for renewable energy projects (and by funding, I mean loans which were being repaid with interest providing even a greater pool of money to further invest into renewables). Since our far right party got in and dismantled the tax, emissions have gone up each year. Now regardless of how small a percentage of world emissions this represents, it still represents a major step backward for the planet.
          2. “Without transportation of foodstuffs, millions of people will starve”.
          I agree, where I disagree is with linking the pipeline with this statement. We as a global community have the recourses and transportation systems now to alleviate starvation but yet is still occurring in ever increasing numbers. This is a political problem that the western world can hold its head in shame, nothing to do with a transportation network issue. I put a challenge to you that if this pipeline goes ahead, you can post on here a year afterwards and demonstrate to me the improvement in global starvation rates due to improved transportation networks, and I will unreservedly apologise.
          3. “There is no contradiction in my argument, and the last 4 years in Alberta has proved this be true. You can have people suffer in economic stagnation while companies sell at market prices.”
          I don’t understand how your statement does anything to discredit my point. We have the same ridiculous arguments run here that shovelling money into a project, no matter how much money is lost is somehow a good thing because it created some jobs in a particular area. It is dodgy economics ant best and in reality is downright fraudulent and irresponsible economic management.
          4.”Let me be clear – if today Saudi Arabia is selling 10M BPD of oil, and Alberta is selling 1.2M BPD of oil, I want that 1.2M BPD from Alberta to be shipped by pipeline. Stopping the pipeline does NOT curtail the 1.2M BPD from Alberta”
          O.K. so say this is true, and for the case of this argument it is, then what is the need for the pipeline? If it coming from Alberta now then how the royalties flow to the Canadian people is a matter for the Canadian government. The only reason is to make the transportation less expensive and hence more profitable, again this is the exact reason it shouldn’t occur, as it is the opposite to what is required to force the transition away from our addiction to FF.
          5.”I disagree. However, I think the most humane way, as we currently define ‘humane’, is to reduce demand for energy in homes, cars, and industry. This is a distinction from your statement in that I think we can reduce demand by having LESS homes & cars etc than having more energy-efficient versions in the same (or increasing) quantities as today”
          Why would we not strive for both?

          I think we are talking about different things with this statement of yours… “While I think you are correct about losses in transmission systems, the lag between usage and production prevents the efficient linkage between usage reduction and the production reduction. You can access installed batteries to use more power if you have a solar-powered home with a battery system, but you CANNOT instantly install more batteries if you suddenly find that your installed capacity is not sufficient for your needs; you’ll have to go and order them, have them delivered, installed, etc”
          I agree with what you are saying, but it is the physical leakage of power getting the power from generation to the end user that I am referring to, not from generating time to time of use. As an example a typical coal powered power station…
          Coal has to be mined = energy use + GHG emissions
          Coal has to be transported to power station = energy use + GHG emissions
          Coal is burnt for power = massive energy loss + GHG emissions
          Power distributed across large networks = power loss
          Again not to harp on Professor Andersons lectures but here..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KumLH9kOpOI from minute 19 explains how a small drop in consumption saves a huge amount of generation and hence emissions.
          The single most efficient way of addressing this issue is obviously reducing demand and then the adoption of smart grid technologies utilising power from small scale production such as rooftop solar with battery storage and excess flowing into the grid.

          Like

      • The fight against the pipeline is a fight for Canada’s future. In 10 to 20 years time, either the tar sands will be a stranded asset, or the impacts from climate change will cost many times more the development cost of all these pipelines and oil extraction projects.

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        • The effect of Paris would be to limit warming to around 3 C. If countries stuck with Paris pledges, it would move the world off BAU (RCP 8.5) — which would be a positive result. But it wouldn’t be enough to achieve Paris’s stated aims. That would require additional work beyond country NDCs — in other words, escalating climate policy.

          Canada continuing to build pipelines and tar sands infrastructure is not compatible with Paris goals nor is it compatible with peaking warming near 2 C. Canada, as a nation needs to be more aggressive with ghg reductions to include planning to transition away from oil industry investments and winding down new pipeline development.

          BC is doing the right, moral thing here.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Brian

           /  June 1, 2018

          Robert, I agree and disagree.

          The fight against the pipeline is a fight for Canada’s future.

          As I’ve stated above, if we can’t build national projects, if we can’t defend our national borders, and if we can’t live by our nation’s laws, then we are not a nation. This is a national unity problem. I respect that you are not a Canadian, and therefore I appreciate that you can be emotionally-detached from this aspect of the issue, but it’s not a trivial matter to be brushed aside. This is a fight FOR the Canada’s future.

          In 10 to 20 years time, either the tar sands will be a stranded asset, or the impacts from climate change will cost many times more the development cost of all these pipelines and oil extraction projects.

          I’m not sure you need an “or” there.

          I think in 20 years time, if the oil sands are not yet a set of stranded assets, it won’t be much longer until they are.

          I also think that the impacts from climate change will cost many times more than the development cost of all these pipelines and oil extraction projects. The flood in Calgary & area in 2013 cost $5B CAD if I remember correctly, so to me this seems like a reasonable assessment.

          Not building the pipeline:
          a. Threatens the national unity of Canada.
          b. Does NOT stop the extraction of oil from Canadian lands, nor does it curtail the extraction from current rates, and therefore doesn’t help solve the human-caused climate change problem we have made for ourselves.

          Like

    • Shawn Redmond

       /  May 31, 2018

      Brian someone has to be first.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    • Check out what The Guardian thinks if happening: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/31/justin-trudeau-kinder-morgan-pipeline-china-did-he-fear-being-sued

      “The logic to Trudeau’s action may lie in an obscure and often overlooked agreement called the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (Fipa).
      This agreement, ratified in 2014, was negotiated by the previous Harper government. It was passed without a vote in Parliament. Fipa, which remains in place until 2045, was signed to ensure that China got a pipeline built from Alberta to BC, among other benefits… this Fipa is the sort of agreement that undermines the sovereignty of nations to the benefit of private interests. Fipas are Canada’s name for bilateral investment treaties, which are frequently used by corporations around the world to challenge public policies or community decisions that interfere with their ability to make money…In the case of the Fipa with China, it notably allows Chinese energy companies to challenge local, provincial and federal policies or laws that interfere with their “right” to make a profit from energy projects. So any environmental regulations, or halted pipelines, or First Nations land claims, could be subject to lawsuits brought by Chinese corporate interests. ”
      Trudeau is desperate to keep China happy. In 2016, his government began negotiating a free trade agreement with China. At the time, the Globe and Mail reported, “a senior Chinese official said this will require Canadian concessions on investment restrictions and a commitment to build an energy pipeline to the coast”.

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  2. Erik Frederiksen

     /  May 30, 2018

    “There is also concern that polar climate feedbacks may accelerate.” James Hansen regarding 2017 global surface temperature.

    In the past, when Earth’s orbital cycles tilted the planet, so that more sunlight fell on the North, the whole planet warmed, including the Southern Hemisphere which received less sunlight.

    Because when the North warmed, processes like ice melt caused the release greenhouse gasses. Well now the North is warming about twice as fast as the rest of the planet and it’s sea ice is rapidly disappearing.

    We are turning off the planet’s air conditioner by melting that ice, while we’re cranking up the heat by thickening the blanket of CO2.

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Sheri

     /  May 30, 2018

    I have tried 3 times now to post something and my tablet is behaving very badly. Anyway, I need an answer to a climate change question. What is the baselne year preindustrial temps and we are comparing present temps to? And is there a temperature that is preindustrial, like 54 degrees C or 76 degrees C that we are increasing over?

    Phoenix Arizona has a frenzied building of houses and apartments going on all over the north central part of town I live in. Our condo prices have increased a lot in the past two years and are actually about 20,000 to 30,000 dollars over what our prices were just before the crash i 2008. I have seen these wild swings in home prices in the past 10 yrs here, prices before the crash , a 60 percent dive in six months and slowly then fast increasing to what they are now. The feeling is very similar to the nuttiness before the 2008 crash. It’ s nuts! And residential properties go very fast one they are on the market. I am told theh same stuff is going on in Vegas, by someone who lives there.

    Also, after our terribly dry winter and a very bad drought in the southern Arizona area the past few months, I see so much vegetation and trees, even some very large trees that have survivied in my neighborhood for 20 or so years, dying by inches from the ends of their branches. It is soul killing ….

    Thank you all for your reports and comments as they are always informative. and helpful.

    Sheri

    Liked by 2 people

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    • Brian

       /  May 30, 2018

      There are a few baselines for various data points, and they are all used for various valid reasons as far as I can tell. I don’t have my sources handy for this, but these are off the top of my head.

      For temperatures:

      1750s – used for pre-Industrial
      1880s – used for widespread Industrial Revolution
      1900 to 2000 – a bookended century that had widespread (geographically) and frequent (daily?) temperature measurements by reputable sources
      1979 – beginning of satellite observations

      Whenever I hear “the temperature is +1.5C above baseline”, I immediately look for the followup that explicitly states what baseline is used. If it’s not stated, it raises a red flag for me. [That doesn’t mean it’s not valid, but that you’re going to have to do a little more digging.]

      I do not remember what baseline the IPCC reports use.

      If I remember correctly, the “baseline” global average temperature for the 1900-2000 period was thought to be 15C, and if I remember correctly, the global average temperature during the last ice age was thought to be maybe 10C or 12C, and the during the PETM (56M years ago) was thought to be about 25C (mass extinction event).

      The final number to remember, if I remember it correctly, is the wetbulb temperature of 35C, above which the human body can no longer be cooled by sweating. Robert has written about that on previous posts. It is thought to be fatal beyond a few hours, although I never want to test this. Also note that the wetbulb temperature is not something that the media reports in regular North American weather reports over your standard TV or radio news broadcast.

      Liked by 2 people

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      • Sheri

         /  May 30, 2018

        Thank you soooo much
        Sheri

        Like

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      • Abel Adamski

         /  May 31, 2018

        I have noted that it appears that RS uses the industrial baseline of the 1880’s which was the baseline used in the mid to late 20th Century when the IPCC was planned and formed – so take that as a default on this site unless stated otherwise

        Liked by 2 people

        Reply
        • I use that as default due to the fact that most major monitors also use it as default. It’s also far enough out of the Little Ice Age that it’s closer to Holocene average.

          Liked by 1 person

      • rhymeswithgoalie

         /  May 31, 2018

        “Also note that the wetbulb temperature is not something that the media reports in regular North American weather reports over your standard TV or radio news broadcast.”

        Heat morbidity will probably first be a problem in India.

        Just as weather reporters now regularly point out that most hurricane damage is from surge and rain events, rather than wind, eventually they will get into the habit of reporting wetbulb.

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    • Abel Adamski

       /  May 30, 2018

      This is very OT on the subject, but will have a major impact as the Climate weather situation ramps up in relation to disaster recovery and economics and that feeding through to actions required to limit global warming.
      There are cycles in the financial world and this Government has cut taxes mainly for the very well off and has repealed the financial regulation brought in after the GFC to provide some protection against a reprise, the Dodds Frank act.
      It will continue hypeing up for a while longer then be worse than the GFC as the governments and financial system do not have the same room to move due to debt and low interest rates, watch debt and always have some cash reserves.
      The UK and Eurozone and China all have issues as well.
      The UK and Brexit – an interesting article/analysis as pressure grows to have a new vote and reverse it.
      For context, the Sage of Omaha just invested I think 400 Billion into Apple, why.? – the options of where to invest that amount of money profitably are very limited. And note with the last GFC and recovery , the wealthiest made a killing as they always do with economic meltdowns (approx every 10/11 years)
      https://www.globalresearch.ca/how-brexit-was-engineered-by-foreign-billionaires-to-bring-about-economic-chaos-for-profit/5614194
      How Brexit Was Engineered by Foreign Billionaires to Bring About Economic Chaos – for Profit
      “In this truly alarming story I connect three significant articles to show that Brexit, far from being the result of representative democracy, is in fact a campaign of covert intervention by foreign billionaires to bring about economic chaos in Britain in order create the circumstances for making huge profits. This is not the stuff of mere conspiracy theories. Clear evidence has emerged that Brexit was engineered and is already proving to be a catastrophe, as confirmed by the mainstream media frenzy over Theresa May’s political mis-management of the greatest post-war challenge of our time”

      China, Russia, Iran, Turkey and some other smaller countries have been buying up physical gold at very high volumes to have the resources to bypass financial sanctions which will be baserd on nthe petrodollar (US) and China has been the worlds largest Gold producer for some years, but very little leaves it’s shores.

      Bear in mind when things go really bad, there will be strict controls on cash withdrawals and limits on financial transactions for the general public.
      Note that in Sweden for example cash is vanishing fast – due to bank branch closures, even coffee shops and bistro’s require electronic payment as there is no close bank to process cash deposits at days end

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    • So the global average surface temperature of the Earth via the NASA 1951-1980 baseline is about 15 C or 59 F. Extrapolating for 1880 brings this down about 0.22 C. Extrapolating for present brings this up about 0.9 C.

      1880 is the primary start date for most major global temperature models. It is also relatively close to Holocene average and is a bit out of the Little Ice Age. Starting at 1750 is rather close to the Little Ice Age, which pulls start point temps rather further below the Holocene average. Unless some other standard is established, the 1880 baseline works rather well for comparative climate purposes.

      https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalWarming/page2.php

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  4. Looks like NOAA updated their 2017 AGGI: 493 CO2e.
    https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/aggi/aggi.html

    Liked by 2 people

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  5. wili

     /  May 30, 2018

    “There’s a tropical cyclone about to make landfall on Chicago. …”

    Liked by 2 people

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    • wili

       /  May 30, 2018

      “Only 8 known tropical cyclones have passed within 100 miles of where #Alberto is at as of 1930Z today. None have ever passed over #LakeMichigan, but the closest was Candy 1968 (~40mi away). Will Alberto be the first to make lakefall there?? @UMiamiRSMAS @capitalweather ”

      Radar GIF at the link.

      (Thanks to sig at asif for these)

      Liked by 3 people

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      • Robert in New Orleans

         /  May 31, 2018

        Alberto still has a very impressive presentation on radar. I just don’t know if that is just an anomaly or a harbinger of the future. :-/

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      • Maintaining strength over land is more possible as atmospheric moisture levels increase.

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  6. Jim

     /  May 31, 2018

    More bad news for Elon Musk, pity really.

    (inaccurate click bait removed by moderator — although I think Jim intended this as a joke)

    Like

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  7. Back to oil development in Canada versus renewables. Britain failed to successfully transition to oil from coal, and the US, being less committed to coal did transition to oil and superseded Britain as a world power. How is that different from the US failing to transition to renewables, and China doing so and becoming the next candidate for “the” world power? Renewables are getting cheaper, and oil will be getting more expensive (irregularly in a boom and bust fashion) as conventional oil depletes. Why should Canada hitch it’s horse to this problem for the sake of a few more quarters of good economic numbers? Climate change notwithstanding! Further, as renewables get cheaper vis a vis FF, not only will a lot of FF reserves become stranded assets, the oil infrastructure may in effect become stranded as well. Now if we put climate change into the picture, the law of large numbers still applies: If you add up a lot of small numbers, you get a large number.

    Liked by 3 people

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    • Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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    • Brian

       /  June 1, 2018

      Not building the pipeline:
      a. Threatens the national unity of Canada.
      b. Does NOT stop the extraction of oil from Canadian lands, nor does it curtail the extraction from current rates.

      Canada has more than one horse. In addition to conventional, shale, and oil sand deposits (all fossil fuels), there are alternatives for electricity:
      – hydroelectricy
      – solar
      – wind
      – tidal
      – geothermal
      – nuclear

      Fossil fuels burned for electricity are a waste in my opinion, but I think we need oil for other purposes:
      – Fuel for long-tail distribution of goods and services (ie, delivering food from farms to cities, rural workers, farmers, etc).
      – Fuel for food production on farms. Can Tesla build tractors & combines? (Or partner with John Deere to do so?) I don’t know.
      – Plastics. (And not straws or bottles.) And yes, plastics in the oceans definitely need to be cleaned up / removed. This is disrupting the food cycle.
      – Fertilizer for food.

      Are there more that I’ve missed? Am I wrong in thinking we NEED oil for these? Please let me know!

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  8. Ridley Jack

     /  May 31, 2018

    Isn’t august also a huge month that determines how the season will play out didn’t sea ice melt really get going in 2012 in august and that set the tone for September?

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  9. Does global warming make tropical cyclones stronger?
    By Stefan Rahmstorf, Kerry Emanuel, Mike Mann and Jim Kossin
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2018/05/does-global-warming-make-tropical-cyclones-stronger/

    Liked by 1 person

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  10. The acceleration in just a few years is staggering.

    => Melting Arctic sends a message: Climate change is here in a big way

    Liked by 1 person

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  11. kassy

     /  May 31, 2018

    Earth Hits 400 Straight Months of Hot

    Planet Earth just hit an unfortunate milestone. The evidence is clear: Human activities — like the burning of fossil fuels — are the main driving force behind modern climate change. A disturbing piece of trivia about the scale of this problem was included in a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). As noted in the document, April 2018 was the 400th consecutive month with above-average global temperatures. That streak began more than 33 years ago and it isn’t likely to snap anytime soon.

    more on:

    https://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/climate-weather/atmospheric/earth-hits-400-straight-months-hot.htm#mkcpgn=rssnws1

    \o/ <- celebrating this impressive feat.

    Liked by 1 person

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  12. Is oil an amazing substance? The answer is a resounding yes. It’s energy density and lightweight and versatility are unmatched. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Earth could not possibly have reached 7.6 billion people without oil. I agree that oil is wasted on electricity generation. Even without our climate change crisis, the oil age is coming to an end for the simple reason that oil depletes, and is becoming more expensive than society can afford to produce (in fits and starts). The situation has become so much more desparate that we are now producing more and more amounts of oil where the energy required to produce the oil is creeping closer and closer to the amount of energy produced. The amount of energy required to produce offshore oil, fracked oil and tar sands oil is immensely greater than the $10 a barrel it takes to get oil out of the ground in Saudi Arabia. The oil industry may approach the agriculture business 150 years ago where a large percentage of the population is required to produce the oil, thus taking workers away from other pursuits that society may need. Some day, not too far in the future, all of the evils that you describe, Brian, that may occur if the pipeline is not built are going to happen anyway – with severe withdrawal symptoms experienced by society. Many say that tar sands and fracked oil are proof that peak oil was phony. On the contrary, the fact that we had to go to these lower quality, much more costly produce forms of hydrocarbons actually proves the point. Unfortunately the miracle substance, oil, has this little drawback called climate change. The cost of globalism, luxuries, billions of people, meat for the billions, airplane travel, strawberries in the middle of winter, etc etc is an environment where our societies may not be able to survive in any form approaching what we have now. Will there be problems in discontinuing oil? Absolutely! Investment in renewables will be a great thing, but never forget that investment always comes out of current consumption. Will there be problems growing food if the climate in the breadbaskets of the world becomes too irregular to feed billions no matter how much fertilizer we have? Absolutely. We are between a rock and a chuck of rotten ice. We need to cut our losses as soon as we can, if we are to survive as anything but hunters and gatherers. We have ample evidence now that our children and grandchildren will not live as we do (or even close). If we give just a passing thought to posterity maybe the next hour, the next quarterly report or the next election will seem to be just a little less important.

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  13. I was just watching a youtube video featuring Dr Peter Wadhams. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skilmEHMsMc
    He was complaining that his latest book, Farewell to Ice, had only sold 15,000 copies worldwide in a variety of languages. I have probably read, maybe, about 18-20 climate change books through the years, and for those who have not read Farewell to Ice, I feel that I can say that it is the best of all the books that I have read. Beautifully written and jam-packed with solid information. If you are thinking about giving the book to someone who doesn’t quite get the climate change problem, I would recommend having the person watch a video where Dr Wadhams is presenting or being interviewed. He strikes one as being kind, grandfatherly and sincere. I have met him in person and that image is well deserved, and it is clear that he has a profound understanding of the issues.

    Liked by 2 people

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    • One of those 15,000 is in my possession and in a second reading. If anyone should have a good idea of what is happening, and will happen, to the Arctic, their qualifications don’t get any better. (I’m jealous because I was never one of those who got to explore Arctic ice in submarines. Or took a 6 month stint in Antarctica, either, for that matter.).

      Liked by 2 people

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  14. Ronald

     /  June 3, 2018

    Slightly OT, but possibly very relevant for the Arctic, increased methane release from the Pacific NW sea floor.
    I wonder, could the same thing be happening on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf? And this as a result of recently increased warming, tipping point and so?
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180531102812.htm

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    • https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180117164022.htm

      “We found that very little ancient methane reaches surface waters even in the relatively shallow depths of 100 feet. Exponentially less methane would be able to reach the atmosphere in waters that are thousands of feet deep at the very edge of the shallow seas near continents, which is the area of the ocean where the bulk of methane hydrates are,” Sparrow says. “Our data suggest that even if increasing amounts of methane are released from degrading hydrates as climate change proceeds, catastrophic emission to the atmosphere is not an inherent outcome.”

      Sparrow and Kessler’s results on the role of ancient methane sources are consistent with the findings of their Rochester colleague Vasilii Petrenko, an associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, who also radiocarbon dated methane. However, while Sparrow and Kessler dated methane found in modern-day seawater, Petrenko radiocarbon dated methane from the ancient atmosphere that was preserved in the ice of Arctic glaciers.

      “Petrenko and his co-authors studied a rapid warming event from the past that serves as a modern-day analog,” Sparrow says. “They found that the emissions of methane from ancient methane sources during this warming event were minimal relative to contemporary sources like wetlands.”

      Kessler adds, “Our results agree with this conclusion, showing that ancient methane emissions to the atmosphere in an area that is experiencing some of the greatest warming today, is actually quite small, especially when compared to more direct emissions from human activities.”

      This study was primarily funded by the National Science Foundation with additional contributions from the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the University of Minnesota.

      ****

      Ocean hydrate release, even in shallow waters, appears to present more risk of increased ocean carbon content, acidification, and health decline and less risk of large scale atmospheric release. Particularly in the near term.

      The primary issue for climate change is human based carbon emissions, which are presently higher than any anolog in the geological past.

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