On How The Planet's Going To Shit: The Undeniability Of Climate Change

Rambo

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http://www.theverge.com/2016/7/8/12130582/kelp-forests-australia-climate-change-indian-ocean

Rising sea temperatures are destroying Australian kelp forests at a 'rapid' pace

Climbing sea temperatures along the coast of Australia has led to massive deterioration of underwater kelp forests, New Scientist reports. In a study published in Science this week, researchers at University of Western Australia in Perth found a correlation between rising temperatures in the Indian Ocean and changes in kelp populations. Last year, the researchers found no signs of kelp recovery in the area following a record-breaking 2011 heatwave.



NO SIGN OF RECOVER

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), kelp requires temperatures between 5 and 20 degrees Celsius to survive. In 2011, temperatures at sea surface level off the coast of Western Australia reached more than 2 degrees Celsius above average. About 90 percent of Australia's kelp forests were destroyed between 2010 and 2013, The Guardian reports. As New Scientist points out, it's the most "extensive and rapid" loss of kelp forests ever documented.

Kelp forests provide oxygen and a habitat for marine life, and as temperatures rise, the kelp will continue to retreat south. Tropical fish and coral reefs that fare better in warmer water will take over the old kelp forest locations, New Scientist reports.

"It was quite a shock to come back to these diving locations and all of a sudden realize, ‘Wow – this is completely different’," lead researcher Thomas Wernberg told New Scientist. "When we went up to the northern regions and saw that everything was gone, it was devastating."
 

John Lee Pettimore III

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Tropical fish and coral reefs that fare better in warmer water will take over the old kelp forest locations, New Scientist reports.

I thought all the coral reefs were going to be destroyed in the next few years?
 

Rain Man

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The experts are now saying we're in for a long, cold, wet winter with a high probability of a La Nina. Thank Christ. Temps are back to normal around here for now -- 60's and 70's and cloudy.

Of course, now all the Silicon Valley Amazombie transplants are bitching about "Where'd the nice weather go?" and "It was looking like such a nice summer."

Leave me to my gloom, already. There are plenty of hot places where you can move, I hear.
 

doghouse

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http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/ma...bs-md-ellicott-city-flood-20160731-story.html

2 dead, emergency declared after historic Ellicott City ravaged by flash flood


doghouse doghouse since when does Maryland get flash flooding like this?
Never really, though I seem to recall maybe last year there was another. We had a rain yesterday that the NWS said is a 500 to 1000 year event. 6+ inches in 90 minutes.

I do know that our rainfall total for the year is 250% above average. It's killing us at work.
 

Rambo

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https://arctic-news.blogspot.nl/2016/08/arctic-sea-ice-getting-terribly-thin.html

Arctic Sea Ice Getting Terribly Thin

Temperature Rise

A temperature rise (from preindustrial levels) of more than 10°C (18°F) could eventuate by the year 2026, as illustrated by the image below and as discussed in an earlier post.



The high temperature anomaly that occurred in February 2016 was partly caused by El Niño. Nonetheless, there is a threat that the February 2016 anomaly was not a peak, but instead was part of a trend that points at what is yet to come.

Ocean Heat

As the image below shows, 93.4% of global warming goes into oceans. Accordingly, ocean heat has been rising rapidly and, as the image below shows, a trend points at a huge rise over the coming decade.



Ocean temperature rise affects the climate in multiple ways. A recent study confirmed earlier fears that future increases in ocean temperature will result in reduced storage of carbon dioxide by oceans.

Arctic Sea Ice Thickness & Volume


[ click on images to enlarge]
Importantly, ocean temperature rises will also cause Arctic sea ice to shrink, resulting in albedo changes that will make that less sunlight gets reflected back into space, and more sunlight instead gets absorbed by the Arctic Ocean.

Arctic sea ice is losing thickness rapidly. The image on the right shows that the thicker sea ice is now almost gone (image shows sea ice on August 6, 2016, nowcast). The image below gives a comparison of the years 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 for August 6.



The situation looks even more threatening when looking at the Naval Research Laboratory image below, produc ed with a new model and run on August 3, 2016, valid for August 4, 2016.




The image below, by Jim Pettit, shows Arctic sea ice volume.


animated version of this graph
Sea Surface Temperatures



[ click on images to enlarge ]
The Arctic Ocean is feeling the heat carried in by the Gulf Stream. The image on the right shows sea surface temperature anomalies from 1971-2000.

Note that the anomalies are reaching the top of the scale, so in some areas they will be above that top end (i.e. 4°C or 7.2°F) of the scale.

Sea surface temperatures off the coast of North America are very high, with anomalies reaching as high as 33.1°C, as the image below shows. Much of the heat accumulating in the Gulf will be carried by the Gulf Stream to the Arctic Ocean over the coming months.





The image on the right shows Arctic sea surface temperature anomalies on August 7, 2016, as compared to 1961-1990. Note the black areas where sea surface temperature anomalies are above 8°C.

Similarly, the image below shows global sea surface temperature anomalies.

Note that sea surface temperatures in the Arctic Ocean will remain around freezing point as long as there is sea ice present. Once the sea ice is gone, though, surface temperature will rise rapidly.





Sea surface temperature was as high as 18.1°C or 64.6°F close to Svalbard (green circle) on August 6, 2016, 13.1°C or 23.6°F warmer than in 1981-2011, which gives an idea of the ocean heat underneath the sea surface.




Methane

There's a danger that, as the temperature of the Arctic Ocean keeps rising, huge amounts of methane will enter the atmosphere due to destabilization of hydrates at its seafloor.


Links

- A Global Temperature Rise Of More than Ten Degrees Celsius By 2026?
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/201...of-more-than-ten-degrees-celsius-by-2026.html

- Ocean Heat
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2015/11/ocean-heat.html

- Implications for Earth’s Heat Balance, IPSS 2007
http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch5s5-2-2-3.html

- World Ocean Heat Content and Thermosteric Sea Level change (0-2000 m), 1955-2010, by Levitus et al.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012GL051106/abstract

- Attenuation of sinking particulate organic carbon flux through the mesopelagic ocean, by Marsay et al.
http://www.pnas.org/content/112/4/1089
 

Rambo

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doghouse doghouse will appreciate this one

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...-having-babies-bioethicist-travis-rieder-says

Want to Slow Climate Change? Stop Having Babies
The alternative? "Give up your toys."


Carbon dioxide doesn't kill climates; people do. And the world would be better off with fewer of them.

That's a glib summary of a serious and seriously provocative bookby Travis Rieder, a moral philosophy professor and bioethicist at Johns Hopkins University.

When economists write about climate change, they'll often bring up something called the Kaya identity—basically a multiplication problem (not an espionage novel) that helps economists estimate how much carbon dioxide may be heading into the atmosphere. The Kaya identity says the pace of climate pollution is more or less the product four things:


  • How carbon-heavy fuels are
  • How much energy the economy needs to produce GDP
  • GDP per capita
  • Population
After years of policymakers' yammering about carbon-light or carbon-free this-or-that, Rieder basically zeroes in on the fact nobody wants to acknowledge: The number of people in the world—particularly in affluent countries—is literally a part of the equation.

Think of Rieder's as the argument waiting in the wings should the 195-nation Paris Agreement, which came within a shade of enactment this week, fail to address the problem.

An edited transcript of an interview with him follows.


Q: So. What seems to be the problem?


A: There are 19 million adoptable orphans, and there's catastrophic climate change on the horizon. Contributing a child to the world both makes climate change worse and, if we don't get our act together, it might actually not be all that great for the child either.

You have two tracks. You could say climate change is a big structural problem, so it requires a structural solution; that's a policy question. Or you could say a problem like climate change requires that we change our culture of individual obligation, and everybody needs to think about having small families.

Q: That seems like a pretty heavy ask. People don't even want to think about having small bags of movie popcorn.

A: Well, the argument goes like this: Okay, humans have shown me that they're just not willing to give up their toys. And so we need another option on the table. You want to continue to live in your 10,000-square-foot house? You know, fly private jets around, and that kind of thing? Well, that would mean a lot fewer people on the Earth.


Source: Amazon.com
Q: At least in the carbon-heavy countries? Do you think that would actually ever happen?

A: Mostly I want to put it on the table. Population is a central part of the equation for total emissions, but that gets kind of looked over because people don't like to talk about it.

Total emissions is per-capita emissions times population, minus technological advances. We've been trying to get you to give up your toys—to change per-capita emissions. So if you're really going to continue to show reluctance, well, here's the other option: We'll start putting pressure on families. If that pressure's really, really, really undesirable, then, well, maybe people decide to start doing the other thing.

If we could fix everything through decarbonizing our economy, then it's likely that the population variable wouldn't be a real concern.

Q: It does have the distinct unpleasant feel of a moral gun to the head.

A: Here's my actual suspicion, though: Most people don't find it that undesirable. Demographic trends the world over show when you give women choice, you educate them, you give them power in the household, and you start to fight back against patriarchal society, then fertility rates go down.

Q: People are helpful to have around, though, if you want to have an economy. China may learn that the hard way.

A: This is the most infamous example, but it turns out there's been a lot of countries with pretty influential fertility-reducing policies and strategies. What we found is that some of them are really, really good. That's one of the reasons people balk at this sort of argument. They say, 'Look what happened in China.' None of those are arguments against any kind of strategies; those are arguments against the ways the Chinese government employed them.

We put policies on a kind of spectrum of invasiveness, what we call a coercion spectrum. There are things we obviously should never do. You should never violate basic human rights by forced sterilization or forced abortion. That's off the table. We're not going to talk about that. Nobody's going to talk about that.

But this is actually really good fertility policy: Provide family planning. Provide your people with health care. Educate women, and empower women within the home.


There have been media policies, poster campaigns. Some of them are a little nasty, showing lots and lots of poor people reaching through gates and saying, 'Don't have too many kids, we don't have enough jobs.' And stuff like that. That feels a little nasty. Some of them are just, like, happy pictures of a couple with one child saying, 'Please stop at one.' A lot of these media campaigns had verifiable success. Data was collected and fertility rates dropped.

Q: Pope Francis wants to fight climate change, but I'm not sure he'd be down with your full argument here.




A: Religion—not only Catholicism but Mormonism, ultra-orthodox Judaism, that sort of thing—probably is a really good reason to think about using population as a way to raise the stakes. If you're Catholic, and you're really going to stare climate change in the face, refuse contraception, and continue to have sex anyway, there's the foreseeable outcome that you will have more children than average. Well, then you really better be doing your darnedest in all sorts of other ways. When you make that choice, there's a cost. You have to pay for it in some way.


Q: How's the reception to this work been?

A: The far-right hate machine is in full swing, and I'm getting hate mail. All that good stuff.
 

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http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/09/hundreds-new-dams-could-mean-trouble-our-climate

Hundreds of new dams could mean trouble for our climate

Using rivers and dams to make electricity is often touted as a win for the climate, a renewable source of electricity without the greenhouse gases that come from burning fossil fuels. But it turns out hydropower isn’t quite so squeaky clean—and with countries around the world poised to erect hundreds of new dams, that could have big implications for future emissions.

Reservoirs already contribute roughly 1.3% of the world’s annual human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, the study finds—about as much as the entire nation of Canada. It also suggests future reservoirs will have a bigger impact than expected, largely because they emit much more methane, a potent warming gas, than once believed. The methane is produced by underwater microbes that feast on the organic matter that piles up in the lake sediments trapped by dams.

At a time when nations have as many as 847 large hydroelectric dams in the works, the finding “suggests that the impact of that global impoundment will be greater than previously thought,” says John Harrison, a biogeochemist at Washington State University, Vancouver, and one of the authors of the paper, scheduled to be published next week in BioScience.

Harrison and colleagues compiled and analyzed the findings of more than 100 studies of emissions from more than 250 reservoirs around the world. They also took account of a factor some previous studies of reservoir emissions had overlooked: bubbles. Some greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, readily dissolve in water and then diffuse into the atmosphere in a fairly uniform way. Methane, in contrast, often surfaces in sporadic bubbles. That’s made it hard to get a clear picture of how much of the warming gas—which is 34 times more powerful than carbon dioxide—is rising off a reservoir.

But new tools, such as special bubble-tracking sonar, have turned up a lot more methane. On average, studies that included methane bubbles found more than double the amount of the gas coming from reservoirs. Overall, the researchers concluded that each square meter of reservoir surface exhaled 25% more methane into the atmosphere than previously thought.

For existing reservoirs, the new study found a slightly lower total amount of greenhouse gases—770 megatons per year—than previous studies. That’s because the researchers used a new, lower estimate for the total size of the world’s reservoirs, Harrison says. But the higher methane emissions per unit area mean that the impact of future dams could be larger than expected.

Vincent St. Louis, a biogeochemist at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, in Canada and lead author of a 2000 BioScience paper that was the first to gauge global emissions from reservoirs, praised the new study for highlighting the importance of this particular greenhouse gas. “Methane's the story, and we need to get a better handle on the methane part of things,” he says.

The focus on methane could help guide decisions about where to put a dam, Harrison says. Dams on river systems with fewer nutrients to feed algae growth could produce less methane, for instance, than dams on higher nutrient streams. St. Louis adds that the new study also shows the potential cost of siting dams in dry landscapes, which can absorb and break down methane, but might become methane producers if drowned beneath a reservoir.

The results also highlight the importance of adding reservoirs to the calculations that countries make to gauge their overall greenhouse gas emissions, Harrison says. Today, greenhouse gases coming from those water bodies aren’t counted, though activities that produce comparable amounts of planet-warming gas, such as growing rice, are. But the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, an arm of the United Nations’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is weighing whether to include reservoirs in a new set of guidelines to be released in 2019.

“Dams provide a lot of important services,” Harrison says. “They’re often considered clean, renewable sources of power, and the greenhouse gas emissions are not considered. The work that we and others are doing helps to tell the whole story.”
 

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http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016...ll-fields-worth-arctic-sea-ice-every-30-years

The average U.S. family destroys a football field's worth of Arctic sea ice every 30 years

By Warren CornwallNov. 3, 2016 , 2:00 PM

The jet fuel you burned on that flight from New York City to London? Say goodbye to 1 square meter of Arctic sea ice.

Since at least the 1960s, the shrinkage of the ice cap over the Arctic Ocean has advanced in lockstep with the amount of greenhouse gases humans have sent into the atmosphere, according to a study published this week in Science. Every additional metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) puffed into the atmosphere appears to cost the Arctic another 3 square meters of summer sea ice—a simple and direct observational link that has been sitting in data beneath scientists' noses. "It's really basic," says co-author Dirk Notz, a sea ice expert at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany. "In retrospect, it sounds like something someone should have done 20 years ago."

If both the linear relationship and current emission trends hold into the future, the study suggests the Arctic will be ice free by 2045—far sooner than some climate models predict. The study suggests that those models are underestimating how warm the Arctic has already become and how fast that melting will proceed. And it gives the public and policymakers a concrete illustration of the consequences of burning fossil fuels, says Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. "Concrete information is always more engaging than abstract information," he says.

According to the new calculations, for instance, the average annual carbon emissions from a U.S. family of four would claim nearly 200 square meters of sea ice. Over 3 decades, that family would be responsible for destroying more than an American football field's worth of ice—a tangible threat to ice-dependent creatures such as polar bears. The study also makes for vivid comparisons between nations: Each person in the United States, for instance, is responsible for the destruction of 10 times as much ice each year as someone in India.

On thin ice
Based on CO2 emissions in 2013, each U.S. resident led to the melting of 49 square meters of Arctic sea ice—nearly 10 times as much as someone in India.



J. You/Science

Sea ice retreat is already a poster child for global warming, and some earlier studies had shown that the retreat closely tracks atmospheric CO2 levels. But Notz and co-author Julienne Stroeve, an expert in sea ice satellite measurements at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, identified a tighter link to human activity by compiling annual human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and comparing those numbers with historic observations of Arctic sea ice coverage during September—when sea ice is at its smallest. To avoid problems with year-to-year ice fluctuations, they used a 30-year moving average of ice coverage, allowing them to study the years from 1968 to 2000.

To see whether the linear relationship they found between emissions and sea ice also emerged in computer simulations, they checked 36 of the world's major climate models. In simulations in which CO2 levels rose 1% every year, they found the same telltale pattern every time, Stroeve says. Yet the models' sensitivity was off: They tended to underestimate the amount of ice loss. "Models are not perfect," Stroeve says. "And if you can use observations by themselves to forecast when Arctic ice will go away maybe that's in some ways better."

By tracing the trajectory of their observations into the future, Stroeve and Notz estimate that another 1000 gigatons of CO2 would push summer sea ice coverage to below 1 million square kilometers, an area the size of Texas and New Mexico combined. That's essentially ice free, because the remaining ice would be tucked into pockets around places like the northern edge of Greenland, where winds concentrate ice. If today's carbon emissions of 35 gigatons per year persist, that translates to an ice-free ocean, at least in summer, by about 2045. Scientists say the same 1000 gigatons that would erase sea ice would also warm the world by 2°C—the threshold that the Paris climate agreement intends to stay below.

Stroeve and Notz aren't certain why the shrinking of the sea ice tracks emissions so neatly. But they point to a simple potential explanation: As rising emissions warm the Arctic air, the ice retreats to more northerly latitudes, where there is less heat from incoming direct sunlight. Notz thinks that climate models tend to downplay the amount of sea ice lost to each ton of CO2because they're underestimating how warm the Arctic is getting. Although that might seem easy to check, data for air temperature over the Arctic sea ice is quite sparse, says Gregory Flato, a sea ice scientist at the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis in Victoria.

Alexandra Jahn, a sea ice modeler at the University of Colorado in Boulder, says Stroeve and Notz's mechanism "finally explains this linear relationship that people have been seeing, but didn't have a physical explanation for." But she thinks further studies are needed to rule out other factors that might influence sea ice decline, such as changes in cloud cover. Stroeve and Notz say the impact of clouds and ocean temperatures aren't significant.

They do acknowledge, however, that sea ice half a world away in the Antarctic doesn't track emissions as faithfully. There, forces including wind and ocean temperatures have a stronger impact on sea ice behavior, they say.

François Massonnet, a sea ice modeler at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center in Spain, cautions against assuming that what happened in the recent past will last into the future. A curveball, such as a shift in the amount of CO2 the oceans can absorb, could upset the pattern by breaking the correlation between emissions and Arctic warming. "It's tempting, but it's very dangerous to be too confident that we can extrapolate linear relationships," he says. "We know that the Arctic climate is very nonlinear."

U.S.A WE'RE NUMBER 1!!!
 

Fwiffo

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The city where you can't escape smog: Beijing

"Even our double-glazing doesn't keep out the smog. The most dangerous constituent, particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter - or PM2.5 as it's known - finds a way through the tiniest of gaps where the windows close.

So the only solution there is duct tape.

Even now on highly polluted days, we struggle to get our PM2.5 count much below 25 micrograms per cubic meter, the World Health Organization's maximum standard for safe air."

That strikes Beijing off my list of potential offices to transfer to.
 

Arnathor

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My premier is doing everything possible to shut off the power in Ontario, soon there will be no pesky pollution coming out of province.
 

Lord Buckley

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The city where you can't escape smog: Beijing

"Even our double-glazing doesn't keep out the smog. The most dangerous constituent, particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter - or PM2.5 as it's known - finds a way through the tiniest of gaps where the windows close.

So the only solution there is duct tape.

Even now on highly polluted days, we struggle to get our PM2.5 count much below 25 micrograms per cubic meter, the World Health Organization's maximum standard for safe air."

That strikes Beijing off my list of potential offices to transfer to.
Truly the smog in Beijing is unbearable and by Friday afternoon the air is extremely toxic and the sun is this watery nicotine yellow stain in the sky that looks like its been painted by Turner. You feel like you can't take a deep breath and are reduced to short inhales.

Still, good restaurants and bars, quite a bit better than Shanghai for choice and the women are a lot more attractive. Whether it would sustain you longer than a year, I have my doubts. But both Beijing and Shanghai are good on the company pay check.
 
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