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Messages - aperson

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Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: July 16, 2020, 09:53:44 PM »
I feel like we go through this every year with melt pond draining. A spike of over-excitement when area figures drop precipitously initially, followed by all the contrarian posts and posters about 1-2 weeks later when they drain.

We know the mechanism behind the numbers and there is plenty of published literature on how it works. The area drop (and albedo changes) were right in line with that literature. A big drop, a recovery, plateau, slow decline as it thins, then a precipitous decline when thickness gets very low. We're in stage 3/4 right now across most of the basin. The ESS and Chukchi are closer to end-stage. Nobody can seriously posit that this big block has somehow been "great for the ice" or even good under high insolation. That's not how any of this works.

Don't believe it? Just pan through MODIS images on Hudson Bay every year and you'll see it go through all the stages listed above. Pack looks really bright/white after the initial set of ponds drain and it's compacted on one side of the bay.

If you want another indicator, pan in over Severnaya Zemyla and observe the the extensive ablation and snowpack retreat up the ice caps with time since the blocking event began. You'd be hard pressed to find another event so prominent.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: July 05, 2020, 12:53:23 PM »
Сan see how quickly the large ice floe of fast ice 30 km in size disappears into the Laptev Sea.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 05, 2020, 12:20:39 AM »
IDK, then why are black people dying en masse / at a rate higher than any other minority in the US?
Black people in the USA and the UK have less social mobility (i.e. racial discrimination).

So they end up in jobs that by their nature mean they are more exposed to possible infection.

So they end up in poorer neighbourhoods and have been exposed to greater air pollution (vehicles, smokestack industries). Thus there is a far greater prevalence of existing health conditions (asthma, lung conditions etc etc etc).

A double whammy - more chances of being exposed to the virus, and more likely to be badly affected.

The Office for National Statistics have done the study showing which occupations have the highest risk (not Doctors & Nurses) and which racial groups have those occupations. Demonstrating the obvious.
Public Health England also did a study, but their Terms of Reference excluded looking at air (and other) pollution - howls of outrage fro academia.

Covid-19 has exposed yet more reasons for the "Black Lives Matter" movement.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: May 22, 2020, 09:17:50 PM »
Khatanga's anomalies the past 6 days have all been +10 C or more. Today 22nd May the mean was +17.8 C above normal.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: May 22, 2020, 01:26:55 PM »
Here's one for you Friv.

Khatanga, Russia at 72 North was an incredible 25.4 C at 9Z today.

Going by our usual Russian source it looks like it shattered the date record and the May record there.

and the max maybe even higher than I've shown here.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: April 11, 2020, 01:26:38 PM »
I thought this was kind of cool. The low in the Barents sea currently has four mesovortices, creating a kind of fidget-spinner pattern:

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 09, 2020, 12:15:36 PM »
For people here following the science side of this virus, the best two resources are biorxive (hasty preprints) and pubmed (final peer-reviewed), not so much press releases from know-nothing campus publicists or pharma marketing promotions of pre-existing repurposed miracle drugs (possibly with rush-rush clinical trials and carcinogenic side effects).

While PubMed is a known quantity familiar to anyone in biomedical research, Biorxive's specialty is serving early-release manuscripts that may or may not ever be submitted to a journal. It's well-suited to fast-breaking events like covid-19; researchers get a permanent dol and a priority claim in exchange for open collaboration. Quality varies; it's strictly caveat emptor but then so is peer-reviewed.

The search portal at biorxiv is quite clever but short on explanation. The rules (wild cards? caps? hyphens?) can be worked out though by simply searching repeatedly. This virus is nasty in that its nomenclature is poorly conceived, isn't informative, doesn't scale and hasn't stabilized. In contrast, human genes are assigned unique names (no aliases) with homologs numbering, enforced by journals and strict rules on acronym formatting (eg all caps, no superscripts, no italic, no greek or latin).

420 results for term "coronavirus"
114 results for term "2019-nCoV"
054 results for term "SARS-CoV-2"
001 results for term "HCoV-19"
050 results for term "COVID-19" or "covid-19"
170 results for term "coronavirus AND spike"
028 results or term "coronavirus AND TMPRSS2”
027 results for term "coronavirus AND furin"
009 results for term "remdesivir"

The clever bit is that you can combine search results adding/removing checkboxes on the promising items and biorxiv remembers this through multiple searches as long at the tab stays open. After refining your list via zooming down titles -> abstracts -> free full text or pdf, biorxiv will save it out to any of the common journal citation standards.

These can be sorted in reverse chronological order so if someone later fault-finds on an earlier article, you don't have to read it. Biorxiv can't search forward in the manner of GoogScholar to find all articles citing a given article. It does however provide a twitter search for comments on a given article. These are highly repetitive, usually self-promoting or otherwise annoying but sometimes kick out a useful resource.

The bottom line after all this is a level playing field: if there was any time left to actually read the filtered articles, you have a good idea of what's known and what's not and can pursue a research angle being fairly sure it's of community interest, a known unknown.

To summarize search results, almost all current research is looking at preventing the coronavirus from entering the cell via vaccines targeting the activation and fusion domains of the spike protein.

This decidedly won't work in the short term (first round of pandemic) and may never work as the spike protein is massively shielded by glycans ubiquitous in host proteins and exposed parts of it are rapidly evolving in many directions.

The reason for spike protein emphasis is two-fold: targeting say a human protease co-opted into helping the virus complete its life cycle could have a kazillion normal functions of its own all over the body, often only partly known. Knocking down virus production in this way then results in serious side effects.

Secondly, the patient has to be at a fairly advanced stage of diagnosed covid-19 disease before the drug can be administered whereas the vaccine protection can be cheaply done in advance on a population-level scale suppressing even emergence of the disease.

Of the couple hundred articles I looked at, the most useful was this slow-moving meander of 10 Feb 2020 that gets to the good stuff around page 26, doing well a lot of what needed to be done in terms of feeding supercomputer bioinformatic tools, leaving me with ideas for the next step, and providing all the start-up resources to do that. This virus is evolving very unevenly along its length and even within individual proteins. Adding to the 240 micro-variant genomes available today isn't going to address this.

Structural modeling of 2019-novel coronavirus (nCoV) spike protein reveals a proteolytically-sensitive activation loop.. André, JK Millet, GR Whittaker

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 07, 2020, 10:55:04 AM »
Continuing on from #1993 and #2020, covid-19 viral activation and invasion of lung pneumatocytes has unusual and undesirable features that reflect rapid recent evolution of its genome.

The research action centers on the spike protein because it seems to have acquired aggressive new properties from a specific upstream 12-base insertion (creating a 4 amino acid furin-like cleavage site motif) that greatly facilitates adhesion to the ACE2 receptor which facilitates fusion (mediated by a downstream spike domain) with the host cytoplasmic membrane, the entry point of viral RNA into the cell interior where it reproduces.

There are 182 complete covid-19 genomes as of today being studied with both wet lab and dry lab (bioinformatic) approaches. NextStrain collects all these and presents them as a branching phylogenetic tree that grows every day and sometimes gets rearranged.

This tree clusters closely related covid-19 genomes the same way that your desktop organizes related files into a nested folder hierarchy but using advanced statistical methods such as maximal likelihood models that have been under intense algorithmic development for half a century. However these trees can be made under many different assumptions and parameter sets. A tree that aligns amino acids (rather than nucleotides), eg those from the upstream half of the spike protein, might give a rather different topology from a whole genome nucleotide tree.

On the data side, the 182 genomes are mostly not the ones we want: the early ones. Many are just chains of descendants: A in Wuhan gave it to B in Milan and C in Vatican City, B gave it to D in Austria and E in Spain, C gave it to F, G and H in Dubai with 0-2 mutations at each step along the way. The real information lies in more covid-19 genomes from Wuhan but not descended from A.

This is useful early on in a pandemic for the tracebacks and self-quarantining that buy some (mostly squandered) preparedness time but as Sam documents above, that train left the station a month ago.

Molecular biologists want the genomes from the very earliest stages of viral spread in late Nov 2019 for five principal reasons:

-1- to work out the ancestral genome that first crossed the species barrier.
-2- to determine the carrier species because it may harbor many other coronavirus strains.
-3- to determine what adaptive changes took place that caused covid-19 to spread so virulently.
-4- to better understand mutational processes in covid-19 and future properties may evolve.
-4- to resolve whether mutational gain/loss of nucleotides represents an insertion or deletion.

However the epicenter of spread, which is not necessarily the epicenter of origin, has been bulldozed to the ground, its entire stock of wildlife incinerated and its infected denizens cremated without any genetic sampling. Under the circumstances, the focus was eradication; public health mandarins would hardly be bowing to requests for viral agent preservation from scientists.

Prior to the outbreak, Wuhan had two institutes (not one) collecting coronavirus genomes from wild bat populations and requesting isolates from other virology labs around the world, for example the Manitoba, Canada BSL-4 facility.

Assembling such a resource makes research sense in a country like China with strong science and a costly history of viral outbreaks in both livestock and humans. For its part, the US maintained a massive collection of anthrax strains until the FBI autoclaved the entire set after a rogue worker mailed a weaponized one around.

In summary, only a few of the 182 genomes originated early on in Wuhan but because of privacy considerations neither preprints, GenBank annotations or GISAID metadata make clear if any of the people were affiliated with the two corona virus laboratories.There is very little specific clinical information about the eight original ICU patients that triggered the ophthalmologist's alert. We don't know if any of the covid-19 genomes represents the transmitting patient with acute angle glaucoma.

Regardless, the genomes at NextStrain fall into two early-diverging clades (strains) that split early on and never later hybridized (through RNA recombination). These were noticed back in February and denoted L and S clades (for distinguishing mutations that affected leucine and serine codons). The topology of that branch of the tree has been stable ever since.

The original authors were careful to say of the two strains, the L type “MIGHT be more aggressive and spread more quickly”. However nobody since has honored that cautionary statement. Because of transmission chains, subsequent internal mutational divergences in both clades, and lack of healthy human volunteers, this idea is very difficult to pursue. Note that every node on the tree defines, through its descendants, its own clade or strain.

The NextStrain tree is unrooted, meaning that deep ancestry is not indicated by outgroups (closely related corona and other viruses). This is so bizarre that other researchers immediately added a variety of outgroups and recomputed the tree to see which of L and S is closer in genomic sequence to the first covid-19 to escape its initial animal host. And that the 'more ancestral' sequence is said to be the smaller clade, S. That needs to be revisited now that the data set is so much larger.

The phylogenetic tree unambiguously resolves the upstream spike protein mutation as an insertion. This was correctly inferred in the ‘uncanny’ preprint where it is called the 4th ‘HIV’ region. That’s not entirely off the mark but it’s better called the putative gain-of-function furin-like cleavage site resulting from the new four basic amino acid motif.

This preprint was withdrawn by author request; it was not retracted (shame on you FAS) and could conceivably resurface after massive revisions. It never mentions weaponization. The pdf is still offered at biorxiv; there’s a good discussion of its myriad problems too by others in the field:

To date, there’s still no good explanation for how the furin-friendly insertion arose in the spike protein. Some of the better spike protein analysis is provided in the links and images below. 21 Jan 2020 discovery of furin site (in Chinese) images and structural analysis AC Walls et al French paper on furin site real furin motifs are longer GISAIS metadata for 93 genomes RNA recombination remdesivir L and S clades early paper

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 01, 2020, 09:02:16 PM »

ohanian at PeakOilForums started this graph of cases outside China on the 20th, with an exponential curve that best fit the growth at that time. (I'll see if I can track down the original formula/equation)

I post this here to supplement the bar graph of new cases outside China posted above.

The change in growth rate here though quite apparent is only an increase from 1.20 fold/day growth to 1.25 fold/day. China saw average growths of 1.62 and 1.42 prior to the quarantine.

Exponential growth is still exponential even with lesser growth factors.

These two growth rates can also be expressed as contact rates R of 3 and 3.8 respectively based on a generation time of 5.9 days as observed in China. If the generation time is 7.2 days as reported later these become 3.8 and 5.1 respectively. This is well inside the range observed on China.

Though it isn’t obvious yet, the outbreak is now out of control in both Washington and Oregon States in the US, and likely in Northern California as well.


Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: February 22, 2020, 04:13:12 AM »
It’s actually ok to be an atheist or none and not mock those who practice their version of faith, whether they are sincere or hypocritical.

I am a very content atheist, but understand and respect the need for more traditional spiritual outlets that draw multitudes.

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: January 27, 2020, 01:43:02 PM »
Instantaneous CO₂ equivalent is basically why NOAA/ESRL created AGGI.  The AGGI is made up of all the major GHGs and even the 15 minor GHGs.

2019 data hasn't been added yet but through 2018, radiative forcing is currently 3.1 Watts/m² above pre-industrial.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019/2020 freezing season
« on: December 27, 2019, 01:52:07 PM »

To the "old hands" out there ... wondering if this is what the "old normal" used to look like...? 
A glimpse of the past, for a week at least...?

This present NH mean sea level set-up reminds me very much of December 1988. That was the month that began a very mild winter in western Europe and the time when I first started to take notice of "global warming" or whatever it was called back then.

Here is the Dec 1988 pattern and the current GFS 10 mean forecast.

Arctic sea ice / Re: "Smart" and "Stupid" Questions - Feel Free To Ask
« on: November 30, 2019, 01:04:16 PM »
By stating that SkS and Jo Nova are two sides of the same coin, KK proves that he/she is 0% serious about AGW, and so is banned.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic Image of the Day
« on: October 08, 2019, 01:02:32 PM »
Here is a timelapse I made 9 years ago. The quality is not much to cheer for, but the movie has its moments.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Latest PIOMAS update (October 2019)
« on: October 06, 2019, 10:20:00 PM »
I like using both the maximum and the minimum to glimpse into the future of the ice. Attached is an animation using the intersection of the trendlines of maximum volume and volume loss from 2007 to 2019.  Date of intersection estimated by sight, but it shouldn't be off by more than 1 year.

2032 has indeed been remarkably stable.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Latest PIOMAS update (October 2019)
« on: October 05, 2019, 09:04:04 AM »
The volume and volume-anomaly graphs.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019/2020 freezing season
« on: October 04, 2019, 08:15:54 AM »
Winter Hype

Consequences / Re: Floods
« on: October 03, 2019, 04:42:17 AM »
Thusly, if Greenland melt has an impact on oceanic currents (and it definitely does) one would think the impact of seasonal meltflux across North America and Eurasia is actually even greater than that of Greenland.
One would think so, but as usual one would have to ignore the much bigger size of the North American continent (not to mention Eurasia), the various directions the meltwater can take due to the topography of the continental divides and of the surrounding seas, the sublimation, ground infiltration, and evaporation (and even damming and irrigation) that work to reduce the amount reaching the sea, the much higher temperatures of the meltwater, and probably other factors that diminish the effect of NA SWE, and make it not comparable to the Greenland figure which is a net figure of surface mass lost.
One could, if one desired so, to prove one's claims by analyzing river discharge into the various surrounding seas, and quantifying the effect. I hope one does so at some point.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019/2020 freezing season
« on: September 27, 2019, 08:24:44 PM »

More snow = more sunlight reflected = cooling. 

Not cooling but less or later warming, that's not the same.

Cooling would happen if temps would generally be lower than before but as they are generally higher (AGW!) we have reduced/later/ warming over snow covered area than over not snow covered area.

The biggest problem with more snow is that it makes it harder for the permafrost to refreeze, and that would lead to warmer landmass during summer, and more methane in the air.

Early snow traps heat in the ground and in the ice. Instead of the surface being able to radiate heat directly to and through the atmosphere (say - 40°C) it has to conduct the heat through all those nice air pockets in the snow. On sea ice it would effectively lower the number of FDDs

Early snow = slows down heat loss (insulator)
Late snow = slows down heat gain (albedo, specific heat of melt to overcome before ice and ground heat up, insulator)

Of course and model would depend on the latitude and time of year

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019/2020 freezing season
« on: September 27, 2019, 09:16:02 AM »
Can anyone verify AAM is dropping

Nevermind, I found one.

From the looks of things, going to be one hell of a cold dunk into winter for Northern Hemisphere civilization.  All at once.

The Arctic will stay fed by high pressure parcels every 4 days for the first half of October.

Here's a year of AAM

Antarctica / Re: The Amery Ice Shelf Thread
« on: September 25, 2019, 09:11:07 PM »
Big claving at Amery!

Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic Ocean salinity, temperature and waves
« on: September 21, 2019, 07:53:31 PM »
It's hard to match the ITP buoys temperature & salinity profiles with their location using the standard plots provided, so I practiced my R and took a stab at it.

Because of the constraint of one type of value displayed per location point, I started with the average temperature of the 0-60 dbar ocean layer. I'd like to animate it based on date with a fading trail, but if anyone has suggestions for a better calculated value to display, let me know please.

L3 data was available for years 2005-2014

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019 melting season
« on: September 21, 2019, 08:45:06 AM »
In Kane Basin, refreeze becomes obvious.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019 melting season
« on: September 16, 2019, 03:31:20 PM »
Hey folks, sorry I've been away for a bit. Unfortunately, discussing the CAA ice here is necessarily low on my list of obligations. There's been some question about how the current ice regime will interact with the traditional "garlic press" process of the CAA. Short story: there's not much garlic left to press.

The way the garlic press is supposed to work, thick MYI at the southern boundary of the CAB gets forced into the steep channels of the CAA resulting in additional ridging and compaction. Over a number of years, that ice is eventually delivered south into melt-accessible areas. All of this works because the average prevailing wind pattern in the region forces that ice into the archipelago and then south (and, to some extent, southeast). This process is the primary reason why the ice in the CAA has traditionally behaved very differently from fast ice elsewhere (although the channel size and bathymetry of the archipelago would otherwise suggest that CAA ice is comparatively uninteresting fast ice).

This melting season did a lot of damage to these assumptions. Most of the season was spent with an atypical wind pattern that forced ice from the CAA/CAB boundary north against the CAB and west into the Beaufort. Thus, the Crack was born. Additionally, while this wasn't a record-setting year for CAA melt, it was pretty devastating nevertheless. Massey Sound was a killing field for ice. The Peary and Sverdrup Channels have some ice only by dint of latitude. In the Perry Channel, the surviving ice (primarily associated with the Viscount Melville Sound) has been forced by late storms to the southwest into areas that are frequent melt-out traps. The region that has been the temperature "cold core" of the archipelago in historical data wasn't actually very cold; ice in the PGAS is badly fragmented and exceptionally mobile, and even the sheltered ice in Wilkins Strait looks more than a little roughed up.

More importantly, what remains of the MYI -- the tiny, thin line of red on the age maps -- has been displaced north into the CAB, away from the CAA boundary. The Crack has filled as the wind patterns return to their expected directions, but the ice that filled the Crack is not that MYI stopgap, but an assemblage of broken bits transported in from elsewhere, including no small part of relatively young ice from the Lincoln Sea area. This is not robust garlic for the press. It's reasonable -- one hopes -- to assume that wind flow will indeed push ice south into the CAA. But this ice has demonstrated considerable structural weakness. So I expect floe disintegration rather than ridging as the disparate floes are forced together. Winter's cold will mitigate some of this, and the whole mess will freeze into a matrix of FYI (effectively fast) ice.

The overall trend for the Arctic is, of course, hotter with more melt. But as we've seen this year and the past couple, that melt is not always distributed in the same pattern year over year. If we get a year or two where the melt focus turns away from the CAA, and we don't see Crack 2 in 2020, the garlic press will likely crank back up for awhile anyway. Otherwise, within a couple of years, we may very well see what happens when the CAA explores a new modality (as we're already seeing with Bering/Chucki mechanics).

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2019 sea ice area and extent data
« on: September 16, 2019, 05:38:13 AM »
September 15th, 2019:

     4,006,036 km2, a drop of -19,682 km2.
     2019 is 2nd lowest on record for this day.

P.S.: 2019 is now the second lowest year for extent on record, now 11,228 km2 below the 2016 minimum of 4,017,264 km2 and behind only 2012.

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2019 sea ice area and extent data
« on: September 16, 2019, 05:36:08 AM »
Filling in for Mr. Juan Garcia :)

September 15, 2019:
4,006,036 = A decrease of -19,682 km2.

Passed 2016's minimum of 4,017,264 km2

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019 melting season
« on: September 15, 2019, 09:08:14 PM »
Just take a look at the poll-results year on year and you will see that weatherdude88 is not alone in his inaccuracy of prediction AND that the data is invariably weighted toward lower-than-actual prediction (though i suspect this year may buck that trend).

That being said he did take a risk coming out with what he did.
He is a denier troll and it was not a risk, it was a lie designed to further obfuscate and derail the discourse on this forum.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019 melting season
« on: September 15, 2019, 10:30:02 AM »
The more scientifically inclined amongst us might be interested in taking a look at this news received via Don Perovich:

At long last some more ice mass balance buoys are "awaiting deployment" across the Arctic Ocean, including four at the MOSAiC expedition.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: September 14, 2019, 10:13:19 PM »
It's a 'target-rich' environment ...


Iran’s Threat to Saudi Critical Infrastructure: The Implications of U.S.-Iranian Escalation

... This report argues that while Saudi Arabia has vulnerabilities in its oil, desalination, electricity, SCADA, shipping, and other systems, Iran has thus far adopted a calibrated approach. Tehran has conducted irregular attacks to infrastructure using offensive cyber weapons, naval ships to impede oil tankers, and partners like the Houthis in Yemen. The United States should focus on deterring further Iranian escalation, refraining from actions that threaten the regime’s survival, and providing a political “off ramp” for Iran to de-escalate.


Oil Infrastructure Risks

... From Gas Oil Separation Plants (GOSPs) the majority of Saudi oil is moved to stabilization plants, which offer a potentially more vulnerable target in the event of escalating hostilities
. Saudi oil is mostly “sour,” which means that it contains significant amounts of hydrogen sulfide that must be removed prior to shipping.42 This process occurs at one of five stabilization facilities, located in Abqaiq, Juaymah, Jubail, Qatif, and Ras Tanura.43 Of these, Abqaiq is the most vulnerable. It is the world’s largest oil processing facility and crude oil stabilization plant, with a capacity of more than 7 million barrels per day (bpd).44 Though the Abqaiq facility is large, the stabilization process is concentrated in specific areas highlighted in Figure 3—including storage tanks and processing and compressor trains—which greatly increases the likelihood of a strike successfully disrupting or destroying its operations.

Figure 3: Abqaiq Processing and Stabilization Plant

Saudi Arabia’s export mechanisms are also potentially vulnerable, including its system of pipelines and its ports along the Persian Gulf and Red Sea. Its primary domestic pipeline is the 746-mile Petroline (also known as the East-West Pipeline), which connects processing facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia to export facilities along the Red Sea like Yanbu, thus allowing crude oil exports to bypass the Strait of Hormuz.48 The Petroline’s capacity is currently 5 million bpd, but expansion is currently underway to significantly increase that capacity over the next several years.49 To move oil to Red Sea ports, which are located at a higher elevation than eastern processing facilities, the Petroline operates using a series of pumping stations. An attack on any of these pumping stations could halt the flow of oil in that direction.

... Natural renewable water resources are scarce in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. Limited rainfall and excessive consumption have depleted groundwater to unsustainable levels.53 As a result, water desalination is vital to acquiring potable water.54 Gulf Cooperation Council countries host 43 percent of the world’s total desalination plants (7,500 of 17,500) and account for about 70 percent of the global total production capacity for desalinated water.55 In Saudi Arabia, desalination accounts for over 70 percent of the potable water used in cities, and desalinated water has replaced groundwater as the primary source of drinking water throughout the country.56

The world’s largest desalination plant is Ras al-Khair, located on the Persian Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia just north of Jubail. The plant was commissioned in 2014 and has a daily production capacity of 1.025 million cubic meters of desalinated water.57 The majority of the water produced (some 800 [million] cubic meters per day) goes directly to Riyadh, while the other 200 [million] cubic meters is distributed to neighboring regions. Ras al-Khair is a hybrid plant, which uses multistage flashing and reverse osmosis technologies to remove salt from the water pumped in from the Gulf. The eight multistage flashing units heat the seawater   to produce steam, then condense the steam to form desalinated water, while the seventeen reverse osmosis units force seawater through semi-permeable membranes to remove the sodium and chloride.58 The multistage flashing units and other components of the desalination process are highlighted in Figure 6.

... In 2009, leaked U.S. State Department diplomatic cables suggested that a hostile act against Saudi Arabia’s desalination plant at Jubail would force Riyadh to evacuate “within a week,” as the plant at that time provided Riyadh with over 90 percent of its drinking water.59 Ras al-Khair is now Saudi Arabia’s (and the world’s) largest desalination plant and is also vulnerable to an Iranian attack. In one assessment, analysts noted that “every desalination plant built is a hostage to fortune; they are easily sabotaged; they can be attacked from the air or by shelling from off-shore; and their intake ports have to be kept clear, giving another simple way of preventing their operation.”

Cyberattacks also present a serious threat to Saudi desalination plants like Ras al-Khair. Beyond these types of attacks, Saudi Arabia and its neighbors need to worry about the water quality itself. An intentional (or even an unintentional) oil spillage near Ras al-Khair, for example, would render the water unusable for desalination, a concern which was realized during the Gulf War after Iraq deliberately opened the valves at a Kuwaiti oil terminal and created a massive oil slick in the Gulf.

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Iluliagdlup Tasia
« on: September 13, 2019, 03:44:23 PM »
Another one bites the dust. A lake this time. Lots of sediment gone from downstream too. The days inbetween were cloudy on Sentinel-Hub playground.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019 melting season
« on: September 12, 2019, 11:55:14 PM »

This makes a big assumption - that system behavior will be consistent as we reach that limit.

Based on the surprising end of season slowdown this year, I'm not sure that's safe. I'm still mulling hypotheses for what we are seeing and why the dynamics are not falling more in line with your assumptions. 

"Blue Ocean" is a boundary condition, and the retreat of the ice to where it stands now - post 2007 - suggests to me that the dynamics for the ice north of 80 are significantly different from those of the peripheral seas, which is were most significant visible changes in the Arctic have unfolded.

This is my thought too; that there isn't enough insolation to melt the ice N of 80°N with the current FDD thickness increase, even in a sunny year. To melt the ice there has to be less FDDs. Increased oceanic heat isn't going to effect the high Arctic sea ice while vertical mixing is prohibited by the halocline. The latter isn't likely to disappear completely because of the input of fresh water from rivers and ice melt. Mixing can occur during big storms, but they seem to be rare in the summer. If that's the case, then seeing the high Arctic ice free is likely to require a warm, cloudy winter as well as a bright summer.

Did I just state the obvious?

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019 melting season
« on: September 12, 2019, 10:28:22 PM »
Thanks Jim. Animation for (most of) this melting season from week ending mar25-sep2

My pleasure Oren!

Note in particular all the red stuff disappearing down the Nares Strait this year.

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2019 sea ice area and extent data
« on: September 12, 2019, 07:49:13 AM »
Distance from Sep 11 to the 2007 minimum of 4,065,739 km²: 44,825 km²
Distance from Sep 11 to the 2016 minimum of 4,017,264 km²: 93,300 km²

Consequences / Re: Prepping for Collapse
« on: September 10, 2019, 05:02:13 AM »
I think some of you are confusing liberal denial with "left-wing denial".

Antarctica / Re: Antarctic Icebergs
« on: September 09, 2019, 08:25:21 AM »
A68A from 4th without 1 cloudy day.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019 melting season
« on: September 08, 2019, 01:35:04 AM »
It's not the model that I take seriously

it's the physics that causes it to do this

Ill believe that forecast when i see it

You don't think November can be +7C in the entire Arctic?  sheesh, tough crowd

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019 melting season
« on: September 07, 2019, 08:30:22 AM »
It's not the model that I take seriously

it's the physics that causes it to do this

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019 melting season
« on: September 07, 2019, 06:10:42 AM »
September CanSIPS results are out

It is getting away from the quadrupole

Yes, you can say Quadrupole.  It's in Mitchell 2013 -- I recall the late July block over Europe and Greenland to be a slow moving what you describe as Dipole.  The rest of these AO weakening events have been more dynamic and quadrupole.  Look at Jan 4-6, 2014 and of course, the last 5 months.

the pattern is changing away from two distinct polar cells into something more diffuse and more mixed with blocking pressure.  good or bad who knows

I do expect the US corn belt will be under similar rain pressure during planting season in 2020.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019 melting season
« on: September 06, 2019, 11:44:13 AM »
Sum of forces is definitively not the same. Ice and water does not respond in the same way to winds. And there is also hydrostatic equilibrium, 100 hPa is worth one meter of sea level, but zero point zero meter of ice level. And of course in the end gravity would even out the sea level if the winds stop blowing.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019 melting season
« on: September 06, 2019, 10:25:02 AM »
That's a low pressure system so it causes dispersion -- the opposite of compaction.

On your figure, I suggest you redraw your arrows at 45 degrees to the right of the actual wind directions displayed -- which is the direction the ice goes (Coriolis) -- and then you will see the dispersion.

It's pretty trippy how a low-pressure system which should intuitively drag stuff inwards to fill the void, actually ends up pushing things away instead.
It actually isn't... A low pressure system creates a bulge on the ocean surface, so ice would have to travel up a slope to get to the center of that bulge. High pressure systems create a dent in the ocean surface, so the ice falls into that pit towards the center...

I'm pretty sure this is completely inaccurate, but can there be some truth to this?

Try reading this article about Ekman Transport

Movements on a spinning sphere aren't always intuitive

Consequences / Re: Places becoming more livable
« on: September 04, 2019, 08:09:27 AM »
Mmmm ... one effect i did not expect, on the upside: coastal dunes actually greening and stabilizing

doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2019.103026

"Initial large areas of bare mobile sand within the main dune field are broken into isolated basins separated by vegetation. These basins then gradually reduce in size as vegetation colonises the margins, creating a predominantly stable dune landscape. "

"Worldwide, continental wind speeds have decreased by 5–15% during the last 30 years, and are generally expected to continue decreasing during the 21st-century "

"Our analysis points to a clear ‘greening’ of coastal dunes over the past three decades"

"The synchronous period of global wind stilling reduces fluxes of wind-blown sand and creates the stability necessary to enable vegetation to colonise bare dune sand. "

"This ironically may have implications for how coastal erosion scenarios play out in the future with sediments not being allowed to migrate inland and some dune fringed coasts may accumulate more sand at their seaward edge than normal, effectively lessening their erosional potential as a result of buffering up dune erosion response to storms."


Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: The Nares Strait thread
« on: August 31, 2019, 02:05:18 PM »
Played around with the gain and gamma a little. This is the clearest i could get.

Let's go crazy and proclaim you can even see a helicopter flying around.

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: The Nares Strait thread
« on: August 30, 2019, 05:52:43 PM »
Hero of the day: Zxy

With their help, i think i found Oden.

Pic 1: A bright spot on 27th where Oden was supposed to be.
Pic 2: A bright spot on 28th where Oden was supposed to be.
Pic 3: A bright spot on 29th where Oden was supposed to be.
Pic 4: Oden location logs (via

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: What's new in Greenland?
« on: August 19, 2019, 11:10:01 PM »

Here's a map of the ups and downs.

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: August 19, 2019, 06:11:15 PM »
When a hurricane approaches, the air tingles. The sea does strange things. In minutes, the sky can turn from azure blue to slate gray. Turbulence comes out of nowhere. You can picture what follows, and many photographers do, but you will find no images of catastrophe in Anastasia Samoylova’s “FloodZone.” She is looking for other things, the subtler signs of what awaits the populations that cluster along shorelines. What is it to live day by day on a climatic knife’s edge? What psychological state does it demand? Hurricanes are sudden and violent; sea-level rise is insidious and creeping. The low-level dread of slow change, and the shock of sudden extremes. Climate and weather.

AUG 20
What U.S. Cities Facing Climate Disaster Risks Are Least Prepared?
New studies find cities most vulnerable to climate change disasters—heat waves, flooding, rising seas, drought—are the least prepared.

Residents of Central America’s Dry Corridor are at a crossroads: stay in the drought-stricken region, where food insecurity and violence are rampant, or migrate.
Running along the Pacific Coast, the Dry Corridor includes parts of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. According to the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP), climate change is causing increasingly severe dry spells in the drought-prone region.

Antarctica / Re: PIG has calved
« on: August 13, 2019, 02:12:01 PM »
minor calving.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic Image of the Day
« on: July 30, 2019, 03:13:52 PM »
Oh, I was just being a little too strong in my sarcasm.  I was positive it was a glacial terminus, having boated around a few in Alaska.  It did get me to register after lurking for several years!

Arctic background / Re: Arctic Maps
« on: July 22, 2019, 09:07:57 PM »
Thanks again everyone.
johnm33, I occasionally get incomplete contours, so I suppose I will try again, although if I zoom in that far it will be tricky to patch all the images together.
mitch, I've seen the letter sized map, I was hoping for something larger. Though it is pretty good when zoomed using acrobat. I'll try patching that together too.

I tried heavy contrast on the previous compilation and surprise, the contours are there. They are nearly all the same colour though. Here is the heavy contrast version, which satisfies me for now.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019 melting season
« on: July 05, 2019, 11:51:38 PM »
ECMWF is now hinting towards weak dipole. I'll await tomorrow's forecast.

This isn't entirely surprising. Medium range guidance typically underforecasts block stability. It's been a long standing bias for as long as I can remember while doing forecasting. The EC is no exception, although it's a bit better than others. Interestingly, the CMC/GEM generally agrees.

In perusing some of the forecaster's discussions in Alaska (with the record smashing heat wave there), NWS Anchorage mentions this as well:

In general, we prefer the Canadian solution for the ridge to break
down slower, given the lack of any strong mid or upper level
disturbances to break down the ridge or displace it as fast as
some models suggest. Typically, when one of these weather
patterns gets "locked in place" the models struggle with pattern
change and are all too often too quick to make said change. This in
turn keeps temperatures warmer for a longer period of time.

The ensembles have generally moved towards longer block duration over the past few runs as well and that kind of dprog/dt is usually a warning sign.

"I would also guess that in the southeastern USA wet bulb temps would approach the 94ºF unsurvivabe mark as well."

Perhaps, but most of the highest wbt/heat index records set in the US have been in the Midwest or even  upper Midwest:

"...during the July heat wave of 1995 that the highest dew point of all was measured in the Upper Midwest: 90° at Appleton, Wisconsin at 5 p.m. on July 13th of that summer. The air temperature stood at 101° in Appleton at that time leading to a heat index reading of 148°, perhaps the highest such reading ever measured in the United States..."

Crop transpiration seems to be a major factor here.

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