Why Antarctic Sea Ice Has Increased…
October 11, 2014

 

Hint: it’s because of global warming climate change… so it’s not a good sign as some would crow.

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Get Out Your Waders and Forget About Seafood. Hot Seas Are Here.
October 6, 2014

Maybe one of these days the scientists will stop making estimates that are conservative and safe and start stomping their feet and raging at the idiot politicians pushing civilization into that not-so-good night.

Here’s a good start…

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Ban Ki Moon Nails The Climate-Change-Global-Warming Dilemma
September 22, 2014

During yesterday’s global warming parade in New York, Secretary General Ban Ki Moon of the United Nations said, “There is no Plan B, because there is no planet B.”

From an earlier post on Grumpy Lion:

image

From a NASA collection of photos of Earth from space.

The rings are Saturn’s.  The photo was shot by the Cassini spacecraft in 2006, and shows Earth as seen from Saturn.

Earth is the small white dot in the upper right quadrant of the picture. In the detail photo at the upper left the moon is a hazy bulge at the upper left of Earth.

We are small, we are insignificant in the scheme of the universe, nothing out there gives a damn, and we have no place to go.

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“The laws of physics are non-negotiable.”
March 24, 2014

That phrase should be ringing in everyone’s brain, all day, all night, 24/7.  It means you and the politicians can’t sit down at a big table across from the laws of physics and reach a sensible compromise. There’s no discussion, there’s no give-and-take, there’s no compromise possible. And given that humanity is doing, for all practical purposes, absolutely nothing to mitigate its role as primary contributor and cause of global disaster, you might as well consider yourself screwed, fucked, and the walking dead. If you have children or grandchildren you may rest assured they will die miserably and they will curse you and your generation for its greed and its stupidity and its arrogance.

Have a nice day.

Published on Monday, March 24, 2014 by Common Dreams

Most Extreme Weather ‘Virtually Impossible’ Without Man-Made Warming

13 of the 14 warmest years on record occured in 21st century

– Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

Satellite image of Typhoon Haiyan prior to landfall (NOAA)

Extreme weather systems wreaking havoc across the world would have been "virtually impossible" without man-made climate change, says a report released Monday by the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

This year’s report, released annually by the WMO, also states unequivocally that the world has warmed dramatically over the last one hundred years and continues to heat up.

According to the report, 13 of the 14 warmest years on record all occurred in the 21st century. 2013 was the sixth warmest year on record, in a tie with 2007. Over the last 30 years, each decade has been warmer than the last, "culminating with 2001-2010 as the warmest decade on record," said the WMO.

While natural disasters would occur regardless of climate change and have been historically exacerbated my natural changes in weather patterns, this human-induced warming is quickly magnifying those events and making them far worse than they would have been without anthropogenic causes, explained Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the WMO.

A primary example given by the scientists is the record hot Australian summer of 2012/13. "Comparing climate model simulations with and without human factors shows that the record hot Australian summer of 2012/13 was about five times as likely as a result of human-induced influence on climate and that the record hot calendar year of 2013 would have been virtually impossible without human contributions of heat-trapping gases, illustrating that some extreme events are becoming much more likely due to climate change,” the study concludes.

"Many of the extreme events of 2013 were consistent with what we would expect as a result of human-induced climate change," Jarraud said. "We saw heavier precipitation, more intense heat, and more damage from storm surges and coastal flooding as a result of sea level rise — as Typhoon Haiyan so tragically demonstrated in the Philippines."

Among the list of events ‘consistent’ with human-induced climate change, the scientists list:

  • Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), one of the strongest storms to ever make landfall, devastated parts of the central Philippines.
  • Surface air temperatures over land in the Southern Hemisphere were very warm, with widespread heat waves; Australia saw record warmth for the year, and Argentina its second warmest year and New Zealand its third warmest.
  • Frigid polar air plummeted into parts of Europe and the southeast United States.
  • Angola, Botswana and Namibia were gripped by severe drought.
  • Heavy monsoon rains led to severe floods on the India-Nepal border.
  • Heavy rains and floods impacted northeast China and the eastern Russian Federation.
  • Heavy rains and floods affected Sudan and Somalia.
  • Major drought affected southern China.
  • Northeastern Brazil experienced its worst drought in the past 50 years.
  • The widest tornado ever observed struck El Reno, Oklahoma in the United States.
  • Extreme precipitation led to severe floods in Europe’s Alpine region and in Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, and Switzerland.
  • Israel, Jordan, and Syria were struck by unprecedented snowfall.
  • Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere reached record highs.
  • The global oceans reached new record high sea levels.
  • The Antarctic sea ice extent reached a record daily maximum.

Additionally, “there is no standstill in global warming,” said Jarraud, in response to claims that global warming has slowed down, or paused in recent years. "The warming of our oceans has accelerated, and at lower depths. More than 90 percent of the excess energy trapped by greenhouse gases is stored in the oceans. Levels of these greenhouse gases are at record levels, meaning that our atmosphere and oceans will continue to warm for centuries to come. The laws of physics are non-negotiable.”

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To clarify that last item on the list, from Scientific American: “Antarctica experienced its second-largest minimum sea-ice extent during the melt season in 2013 and, during the growth season, the largest sea-ice extent since records began in 1979.”

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda. Didn’t. Please Pay The Piper.
March 20, 2014

 

Published on Thursday, March 20, 2014 by Common Dreams

40 Years On: ‘It’s Time We Start Listening’ to Global Warming Prediction

Paper written four decades ago warned of global warming, accurately predicted temperature rise

– Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

NOAA handout satellite image of Hurricane Sandy taken on October 27, 2012 (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce)

Citing a peer reviewed scientific paper written over 40 years ago that clearly demonstrated the dangers of human-made carbon pollution and accurately predicted it would create a future of global warming, Dana Nuccitelli at the Guardian points out Thursday that "perhaps it’s about time that we start listening" to climate scientists.

The paper, written by renowned British meteorologist John Stanley Sawyer and published in the journal Nature (pdf) in 1972, estimated that carbon dioxide levels would increase 25 percent by 2000 from 1850 levels and that global average surface temperatures would rise by 0.6°C.

Sawyer’s numbers were just about dead on, Nuccitelli reports.

The rise in human-made carbon pollution and increase in temperature were undeniably related, Sawyer warned, and would cause changes in weather and wind patterns around the world.

A recent reading from the he carbon dioxide monitoring program at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography showed atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide temporarily surpassed 400 parts per million two months earlier than last year. Ralph Keeling at the institute warned it is only a matter of time before the atmosphere permanently maintains those levels, which climate scientists have long said the earth cannot withstand without tipping the scales against human life once and for all.

Sawyer and his colleagues saw this coming four decades ago.

"Bolin has estimated that the concentration of carbon dioxide will be about 400 ppm by the year 2000," wrote Sawyer. "A recent conference put the figure somewhat lower (375 ppm)."

The year 2000 saw carbon around 370 ppm, which has gone up since, and, as Keeling warns, may soon permanently surpass the tipping point.

"Industrial development has recently been proceeding at an increasing rate so that the output of man-made carbon dioxide has been increasing more or less exponentially," wrote Sawyer. "So long as the carbon dioxide output continues to increase exponentially, it is reasonable to assume that about the same proportion as at present (about half) will remain in the atmosphere and about the same amount will go into the other reservoirs."

While half of the carbon adds to the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere, the rest is absorbed in the ocean and biosphere, Sawyer accurately noted. Hence, this relentless excess of carbon has also led to what scientists are now calling global warming’s "evil twin"—the acidification of the world’s oceans.

"All in all, Sawyer’s 1972 paper demonstrated a solid understanding of the fundamental workings of the global climate, and included a remarkably accurate prediction of global warming over the next 30 years," writes Nuccitelli. "Sawyer’s paper was followed by similarly accurate global warming predictions by Wallace Broecker in 1975 and James Hansen in 1981."

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Get Your Fresh Dead Scallops Here! With A Tasty Side Of Carbon!
March 18, 2014

 

Published on Monday, March 17, 2014 by Common Dreams

Mass Scallop Die Off a ‘Red Flag’ for the World’s Oceans

Rise of carbon in the atmosphere raising acidity in oceans and causing ‘cascading effect’ at all levels of the food chain

– Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

(Flickr / thumeco / Creative Commons License)

An increase of acidity in the Pacific Ocean is quickly killing off one of the world’s most beloved shellfish, the scallop, according to a report by the British Columbia Shellfish Grower’s Association.

“By June of 2013, we lost almost 95 per cent of our crops,” Rob Saunders, CEO of Island Scallops in B.C. told Canada’s CTV News.

The cause of this increase in acidity, scientists say, is the exponential burning of fossil fuels for energy and its subsequent pollution. Oceans naturally absorb carbon dioxide, a byproduct of fossil fuel emissions, which causes acidity to rise.

An overdose of carbon in the atmosphere subsequently causes too much acidity in the world’s oceans, Chris Harley, a marine ecologist from the University of British Columbia, told CTV News. Overly acidic water is bad for shellfish, as it impairs them from developing rigid shells. Oyster hatcheries along the West Coast are also experiencing a steep decline, CTV News reports.

“This is a bit of a red flag,” said Harley.

And this red flag has a much bigger impact than one might imagine. “Whenever we see an impact at some level of the food chain, there is a cascading effect at other levels of the food chain,” said Peter Ross, an expert in ocean pollution science.

A recent study warned that ocean acidification is accelerating at a rate unparalleled in the life of the oceans—perhaps the fastest rate in the planet’s existence—which is degrading marine ecosystems on a mass scale.

"The current rate of change is likely to be more than 10 times faster than it has been in any of the evolutionary crises in the earth’s history," said German marine biologist Hans Poertner upon the release of a recent study published in the journal Nature.

Ocean acidification has been referred to as the "evil twin" of climate change.

Poertner says that if humanity’s industrial carbon emissions continue with a "business as usual" attitude, levels of acidity in the world’s oceans will be catastrophic.

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The Call of the Walking Dead
February 28, 2014

Published on Friday, February 28, 2014 by Common Dreams

Through the Climate Portal: Humanity’s Tragic Flaw

by David Goldstein

The planet is sick and we’re ignoring all the signs at our own peril. (Image: Getty)In the autumn of 1992, I was alone in my studio apartment in Philadelphia, puking my guts out. Something bad had happened inside; it felt like a bomb had gone off in my belly. Just how bad was it? Was I bleeding internally? Was I dying?

I suspected what needed to be done: I had to call for an ambulance. But still, I hesitated. I just couldn’t believe it — I was not the sort of person who needed an ambulance. I was only 29-years-old. I’d been a three-sport athlete in high school. This sort of thing only happened to "other people" — people I read about in newspapers.

Fortunately, my survival instincts won out and I made the call. If you had asked at the time, even as the paramedics loaded me onto the stretcher, to name my strongest sensation, it would not have been the pain (though that was considerable); it would not have been the fear (ditto). It would have been this: I felt utterly stunned.

Stunned, because the doctor’s warnings had finally come to pass. I’d been diagnosed with an inflammatory disease of the large intestine called ulcerative colitis in 1984. The disease essentially directs excess heat/inflammation toward the walls of the colon. Over time, this can result in scarring, narrowing and, eventually, obstruction of the passageway.

Though doctors had repeatedly warned me of this scenario. I had refused to follow their treatment prescriptions. Why had I refused? For my own (in retrospect, quite unwise) personal reasons, I did not trust the doctors and so ignored their advice. Now there I was on the stretcher, my life unnecessarily put at risk.

Stunned, because even though the symptoms of the disease had been progressively worsening, I had not, until that very point, crossed "that line" where things become suddenly different, where the system suddenly flips into a different state of functioning. What had been manageable, though increasingly challenging, was, in an eye-blink, no longer manageable at all.

Looking back, I realize that a part of me simply had not been able to imagine this to be possible. It was as if I had stepped trough a portal. Up to that moment, I had been "David," living my familiar "David" life, with its ups and its downs. On the other side of the portal, a single train of thought crowded out all other motivations and desires: "Please, make this stop, please make it better. Please make it go back to the way it was before."

We find ourselves in a similar situation in 2014. The scientists are telling us that every second our planet is accruing excess heat equivalent to the heat generated by four Hiroshima atomic bombs. The physics is elementary and beyond dispute: The heat-trapping greenhouse blanket in our atmosphere is thickening primarily due to fossil fuels. The solution is, though hugely challenging, equally elementary: Stop thickening the blanket!

At the rate we are going, one thing is certain: A day will come when we will be stunned. Perhaps temperatures will cross a threshold beyond which our staple crops cannot grow. Perhaps the glaciers that provide water for hundreds of millions will shrink beneath a critical level. Perhaps storms of warming and rising oceans will make life in our many coastal megalopolises untenable. There are many candidates: We are moving ourselves out of our climate "Goldilocks Zone."

We will have crossed through the portal (in actuality, in the vast and complex climate system, there will be multiple lines to cross with multiple portals) and a single train of thought will crowd out all other motivations and desires: "Please make this stop, please make it better. Please make it go back to the way it was before."

But it’s even worse than that. I was one person with one specific problem, a problem that had been addressed by doctors thousands of times before. I was rushed to the hospital where, for three weeks, they pumped me full of cooling (and chock full of harmful side effects) prednisone and antibiotics. They stabilized me but, a couple years later, had to surgically remove my entire colon. The damage was just too much.

It won’t be like that for us as a species. The hotter we get, the less likely it will be that we can prevent further warming. The Arctic is recognized as the canary in the coalmine and the canary is doing even worse than we had thought. The Arctic has already warmed 2 degrees centigrade (3.6F) since 1970, three times faster than the planet overall. Over 40 percent of its summer sea ice cover has melted away. As the heat reflecting "mirror" ice is replaced by dark heat-absorbing sea water, the region warms which, in turn, melts more ice which leads to more dark water and more heat… and so on.

Scientists already knew about this classic feedback effect. But until now, they hadn’t realized how bad it truly was. A recent study finds that the ice-melt is absorbing two to three times more heat than estimated. It is, in fact, absorbing extra heat equivalent to fully one-quarter of the amount of heat being held in by atmospheric carbon dioxide. This is where we are headed: more heat creating more heat, to a point where further warming will simply take the situation out of our hands.

Theoretically, we can still pull back via a World War II level green energy mobilization together with rapid and permanent fossil fuel reduction. But we are not stopping. In fact, we are accelerating the process. We can’t imagine it. It is our tragic flaw. We’re still on the good side of the line. Yes, the symptoms are becoming more challenging, but things are still fundamentally manageable. They won’t stay that way for too much longer.

There is no prednisone for the planet short of enormously risky geo-engineering interventions. And, of course, if the damage is too much, we can’t just "cut out" human civilization. Well, more accurately, human civilization and many millions or billions can be "cut out," but that would suck.

Go to any climate blog and you will see scientists and "lay" people who profess alarm being ridiculed as "Chicken Littles." But sometimes the sky is actually falling. It happens. It is happening now and in rapidly shrinking time frames. We show every sign that we will simply have to cross over multiple lines, through multiple portals. Then, assuming our survival instincts kick in, we will act — at least more of us will. Will it be enough? Will it be too late? Time will tell.

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A Note To The Fools Who Think Global Warming Is Over
October 2, 2013

From an article by Richard Heinberg at Common Dreams:

The threat of climate change needs no introduction—it’s the mother of all impending environmental crises. And we are already seeing serious impacts, including superstorms, droughts, and the melting of the north polar ice cap. Nevertheless, it’s all not as bad as it might be, were it not for the fact that the warming of Earth’s surface air temperatures has slowed since 1998 (which was an anomalously hot year).

"Global warming hasn’t really ‘paused’; it’s just gone to the depths."

Climate change deniers have seized upon evidence of this “pause” to argue that global warming has essentially stopped. After all, if the greenhouse-gas-laden atmosphere were in fact trapping more heat, where could all that heat be hiding?

Turns out, very little of Earth’s trapped heat warms the atmosphere and land surface; most of it (over 90 percent) is absorbed by the oceans. Part of the explanation for the slowdown in surface warming lies in the heating of deep ocean waters.  Global warming hasn’t really “paused”; it’s just gone to the depths. At the same time, there has been a downswing in the Pacific Ocean’s natural temperature cycle, which has also correlated with a cluster of La Nina years (usually associated with a cooling of ocean surface waters). This temperature cycle masks the underlying warming trend. So it appears that, for now at least, Mother Earth herself is playing “The Hero of Haarlem.”

There’s no way to know how long this current cool cycle will last, though the previous Pacific cool phase, which started in the 1940s, continued for about 30 years. If the present cycle is of the same duration, then in about 15 years much of the heat currently being dumped in deep oceans may begin instead to remain in the atmosphere. At that point we will likely see unprecedented rates of climate warming, and far worse episodes of extreme weather.

Deniers have seized on this one bit of information, that surface warming has paused, as their proof that global warming is not a threat. Conveniently, they ignore reading deeper that the heat is going into the deep ocean for now. Temporarily.

Thousands of scientists, qualified in climatology, educated, trained in research, working on the subject for decades, can point this out, but the idiots claim that they are smarter than all those people because they read one data point somewhere by someone, and then the idiots declare it to be ultimate truth about warming.

They’ll even claim that since it appeared on a reputable science site it must be true and therefore global warming is over. Funny how they don’t read the rest of it.

I’ve been accused of being uncivil to people who make these sorts of claims. It’s true. I am and will continue to be uncivil towards stupidity in these matters.

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Abilene, My Abilene… But Nobody Wants To Go There.
September 15, 2013

When I went out on the back porch to look for Sammy this morning I looked up at the stars and saw a satellite passing, traveling northeast. Maybe it was the space station.

NASA confirmed in the last couple of days that Voyager I left the solar system last year, thirty-six years after it was launched.

The stars were bright and hard. I said to myself that I would give anything to be able to travel among them, to visit worlds in the deep reaches of space.

But we can’t even take care of the one world we can live on, much less reach others beyond our little solar system.

The Abilene Paradox at work. Everyone, except the nutcases, agrees that we have to do something about stopping global warming, and yet we do just the opposite. Generally speaking, nobody wants to exacerbate warming, but everybody finds reasons to exacerbate warming. Nobody wants to go to Abilene, but we go to Abilene because we think everybody else wants to go to Abilene.

I don’t know if I’ve got that quite right. Yesterday was the first time I’d heard of the paradox. It was part of the Coursera social psychology course. But as a group, humanity is doing the opposite of what it should be doing. Instead of cutting back on the use of fossil fuels, we dig for more and we use more. Instead of subsidizing renewable energies, like solar and wind and tide, we subsidize fossil fuels, the very things that are killing the planet. Instead of cutting the birth rate, we fantasize about ten billion people living on a world that cannot support the seven billion on it now.

But maybe it’s nothing as clever as the Abilene Paradox. Maybe humanity is simply a stupid species, driven by greed, lusting for ease, unwilling to do the hard things, to make the hard choices, to do what it needs to do to survive.

The stars aren’t out of reach because we haven’t found the physics that will get us there. They’re out of reach because we want air conditioning.

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Meet Frank, Who Lives In My Garden
February 19, 2012

 

DSCN0034 (800x600)

That’s Frank, known otherwise among polite people as St. Francis of Assisi.

He used to live in my mother’s bedroom, on top of a dresser, where she draped his arms with her gold chains. I doubt that Frank saw his mission in life was to drape himself in gold and hang out in women’s bedrooms. He was her favorite saint but I never understood her using him as a jewelry stand.

Anyway, she’s gone and I decided that Frank needed to renew his vows and such. His big saintly concept was to love animals, if you recall correctly. So I put him out in the back yard, in the bushes along the fence where cats skulk and rabbits hide and skunks amble and possums root for grubs. Frank’s a homey there.

Every morning when I  step out for a breath of fresh air, or rain, I look at him and say, “Hi Frank. Well, we’ve really screwed up the planet, dude. Enjoy it while you can.” Or words to that effect. Sometimes it’s just, “Hi Frank.” I figure he knows the rest by now.

He never says anything. He just stares up into the sun. I figure he’d rather be blind than look at what we’ve done.

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Ah well, better sun and rain than gold chain, Frankie. Right?

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