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Messages - Sebastian Jones

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Consequences / Re: Places becoming more livable
« on: January 07, 2020, 07:18:44 PM »
Vineyards have reached the southern city limits of Hamilton within the last 10 years, and that's a ways north of Lake Erie.
I wouldn't be surprised if the newer vineyards are even further north.

The palm trees at Port Dover and Turkey Point are a nice addition to the Beach Resorts, and I saw an ornamental banana tree in Vancouver yard last time I was out west.

The crops seem to be rushing north faster than many urbanites are aware.

Crops can move as fast as people plant them. Forests will only move north if nations embark on an all out effort to move entire ecosystems north. It would be messy. Mistakes would be made but this kind of mitigation should already be occurring.

I'm not sure that it's possible here in Canada. We've lost millions of trees to pine beetles & will lose millions more. Our tree line is constrained in part by winter insolation, & it's hard to grow trees in the dark.

More southern climes may see alpine tree lines increase in elevation but increased desertification will more than undermine those gains. I think that fires, drought and flooding will have the greatest "natural" effects on forests. If we continue burning forests and bulldozing them for agriculture & industry the natural losses will never be mitigated.

According to this research, there is another constraint on tree lines moving north. They do not identify the constraint, but I rather suspect it may have something to do with mycorrhiza- or rather their absence.

Consequences / Re: The Holocene Extinction
« on: December 25, 2019, 02:27:51 AM »
But from around 1500, hunting dramatically intensified when Europeans discovered the rich fishing grounds of Newfoundland. Within 350 years, the last great auks ever reliably seen were killed to be put in a museum, and the species was lost forever.

Civilisation arrived  >:(.

Even had we not hunted the Great Auk to extinction by the early 19th century, it would likely be facing the same fate now because we have so depleted the oceans of fish that most of the Great Auk's relatives are rapidly declining.

The rest / Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
« on: October 03, 2019, 07:35:17 AM »
Thanks Vox
Just as with Continental Drift, or the astronomic solution to the dying off of dinosaurs, we'll have to wait until most of the doubters have died off before the new Younger Dryas Asteroid theory finds acceptance. In the meantime the evidence just keeps building.

We might get our heads around the idea that Paleo Hunters killed the last Mammoth, but imagining people with spears killing the last pride of Saber Toothed Cats, or the last pack of Dire Wolves, takes a fevered imagination.

Terry - hoping I outlive the doubters. ;)

Asteroid impacts coincident with the Younger Dryas event do not have to supersede the conventional theory that a mass outflow of fresh water from the already collapsing Laurentide ice sheet drove the temperature change.They could however have exacerbated the effect. Further, it is much more likely that the end of the Clovis culture was driven by the anthropogenic extinction of ice age mega fauna than by an asteroid- unless it was awfully, awfully big. And, mega predators did not have to be hunted or killed by humans to go extinct once their prey had been killed off. In my not entirely uneducated opinion, the denialism that resists the idea that humans caused the mass extinctions at the end of the last glaciation is similar in nature to that which resists the idea that human caused carbon emissions are changing the climate today.

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: September 17, 2019, 04:51:07 AM »
Savoonga is a Yupik village on the north shore of St. Lawrence Island, just south of the Bering Strait. Its residents have made a living from the sea, and the ice, since the rising seas formed St. Lawrence Island at the end of the Pleistocene. Alert members of the forum will be aware that the Bering Sea has failed to freeze normally the past two winters. We also know that this  lack of sea ice has had ecological consequences- the ice hosts algae, which feed phytoplankton which feeds zooplankton and which sustains the extraordinarily rich marine life of the Bering Sea. Without the ice, the algae struggle and the consequences reverberate up the food chain until even the people of Savoonga face uncertain, even troubling times. The linked article is intended to part of a series that examines the effects of climate change in this exquisitely sensitive region.

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2019 sea ice area and extent data
« on: September 13, 2019, 08:33:46 PM »
NSIDC Total Area as at 12 September 2019

To repeat, once again, it is the Beaufort, Chukchi, and ESS that refuse to let the melting season die.

SST Anomalies still + 3 or +4 celsius at the Pacific end.

Indeed. My cousin just logged 9.5C sea temperature off Icy Cape. That will take considerable cold weather to freeze.

Consequences / Re: Hurricane Season 2019
« on: September 03, 2019, 07:30:09 AM »
24 hours of Dorian sitting motionless at 150-180 mph over Grand Bahama.
I can't imagine the horror.

Policy and solutions / Re: Greta Thunberg's Atlantic crossing
« on: September 02, 2019, 12:27:55 AM »
An interesting article that explores the connection between those who attack Thunberg with climate deniers, misogynists and the right wing:

The rest / Re: Systemic Isolation
« on: August 26, 2019, 05:12:44 PM »
Researchers Develop Way to Control Speed of Light, Send it Backward

Hahaha! Good one!
Clearly I need to spend more time on this thread...

Consequences / Re: Decline in insect populations
« on: August 20, 2019, 05:24:59 PM »
500 Million Bees Died in Brazil
Things aren't looking good for bees around the world.

In the United States, beekeepers lost four in 10 of their honeybee colonies in the past year, making it the worst winter on record.

In Russia 20 regions reported mass bee deaths, with officials also warning it could mean 20% less honey being produced.

At least one million bees died in South Africa in November 2018, with fipronil being blamed.

And countries such as Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Turkey have all also reported mass die-offs of bees in the last 18 months

Bees are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Domesticated honey bees are easy to monitor, and of course their loss has an economic  impact. The same poisons that are killing honey bees are almost definitely killing other bees and other insects and the flora and fauna that depends on them.
No wonder we cannot get a grip on GHGs if we cannot even see that literally spraying poisons into our environment is a bad idea.

The forum / Re: Forum Decorum
« on: August 15, 2019, 07:25:11 AM »
I think I know where the designations came from:
New ice, nilas and young ice[edit]

Nilas in Baffin Bay
New ice is a general term used for recently frozen sea water that does not yet make up solid ice. It may consist of frazil ice (plates or spicules of ice suspended in water), slush (water saturated snow), or shuga (spongy white ice lumps a few centimeters across). Other terms, such as grease ice and pancake ice, are used for ice crystal accumulations under the action of wind and waves.

Nilas designates a sea ice crust up to 10 centimetres (3.9 in) in thickness. It bends without breaking around waves and swells. Nilas can be further subdivided into dark nilas – up to 5 cm (2.0 in) in thickness and very dark, and light nilas – over 5 cm (2.0 in) in thickness and lighter in color.

Young ice is a transition stage between nilas and first-year ice, and ranges in thickness from 10 cm (3.9 in) to 30 cm (12 in), Young ice can be further subdivided into grey ice – 10 cm (3.9 in) to 15 cm (5.9 in) in thickness, and grey-white ice – 15 cm (5.9 in) to 30 cm (12 in) in thickness. Young ice is not as flexible as nilas, but tends to break under wave action. In a compression regime, it will either raft (at the grey ice stage) or ridge (at the grey-white ice stage).

First-year sea ice[edit]

Distinction between 1st year sea ice (FY), 2nd year (SY), multiyear (MY) and old ice.
First-year sea ice is ice that is thicker than young ice but has no more than one year growth. In other words, it is ice that grows in the fall and winter (after it has gone through the new ice – nilas – young ice stages and grows further) but does not survive the spring and summer months (it melts away). The thickness of this ice typically ranges from 0.3 m (0.98 ft) to 2 m (6.6 ft).[5][6][7] First-year ice may be further divided into thin (30 cm (0.98 ft) to 70 cm (2.3 ft)), medium (70 cm (2.3 ft) to 120 cm (3.9 ft)) and thick (>120 cm (3.9 ft)).[6][7]

Old sea ice[edit]
Old sea ice is sea ice that has survived at least one melting season (i.e. one summer). For this reason, this ice is generally thicker than first-year sea ice. Old ice is commonly divided into two types: second-year ice, which has survived one melting season, and multiyear ice, which has survived more than one. (In some sources,[5] old ice is more than 2-years old.) Multi-year ice is much more common in the Arctic than it is in the Antarctic.[5][8] The reason for this is that sea ice in the south drifts into warmer waters where it melts. In the Arctic, much of the sea ice is land-locked.

Which makes perfect sense!

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: August 13, 2019, 07:56:12 PM »
Our agri-food systems perversely discourage ecologically beneficial behaviour, but despite this, some farmers are persisting in doing the right thing.
One caveat about No-Till farming: No-Till facilitated by RoundUp ready cops is of no help.
No-Till combined with mulching during harvest is most definitely a good thing.
"It's not the cattle, it's our management that's the problem. To concentrate them all into a huge feedlot, that's an ecological disaster."

Hjertaas said farmers tend to be traditional and slow to change, but financial incentives could go a long way to making the switch and overcome cost and uptake challenges.

"I'm all for a carbon tax, we need to tax bad behaviour. But what's missing is we need to reward the good behaviour."

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: August 13, 2019, 07:47:23 PM »
I think the beef ban is a huge mistake although I have not eaten any meat or fish in 30 years.
First, animals (cattles as well) do have an important place in regenerative agriculture and they can be bred without any adverse effects on the climate or the planet in general.
Second, it is always very harmful to ban things. Economic incentives are always better (see the historic example of taxes on alcohol vs. total abolition; or the current insane war on drugs). Create a carbon tax, or even a beef tax if you will but do not ban.
Yes, livestock can have an important place in regenerative agriculture. However, the vast majority of meat consumed in the developed world plays no role in regenerative agriculture, quite the contrary.
Yes, taxes designed to shift behaviour away from harmful practices is a preferred method over regulation, usually. However, Canada's carbon tax specifically exempts agriculture....

Consequences / Re: Decline in insect populations
« on: August 13, 2019, 06:47:55 PM »
Bolsonaro approves 290 new pesticide products.
Also, 1,942 registered pesticides were quickly reevaluated, with the number considered extremely toxic dropped from 702 to just 43.
I think it is important to bear in mind that ALL pesticides are toxic. The reason is because they are literally designed to be toxic, so that they can kill things.

It is difficult to imagine that the liberal spraying of poisons all around the world could happen without actually killing a whole lot of organisms, and stupid to think that only the organism that has been condemned to death will be killed and naive to think that there will not be unintended consequences from removing a species from the biosphere.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: August 13, 2019, 06:35:30 PM »
I read recently- somewhere, maybe even here- that because we have altered most of the very fire prone savanna around the world, that total annual area burned has declined over the past few centuries.
This surprised me- probably mostly because I live in the boreal and fire season is definitely getting longer.
So I noodled around  to look for evidence, pro or con and what I found's complicated.
Yes it does appear that global fire incidence is lower now than a couple of hundred years ago, but there are strong regional variations.
Complicating my search is the fact that the denier-sphere has, naturally, latched onto this trend as evidence for whatever thing it is that they are denying.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society is pretty legit.

"Thus, while there are clearly some noteworthy trends in area burned for specific recent periods and regions, the general perception of increasing fire around the world is not supported by the data available to date. This does not withstand the observation of increasing fire season length in some areas [50], which is an important contributor to the increase in area burned during this century in the northwestern USA [43,46], boreal Canada and Alaska [51,52]. A future lengthening of the fire season is also anticipated for many other regions of the globe, with a potential associated increase of fire activity [19,53–56]. It is, however, important to recognize that in addition to direct climatic factors, other factors such as fuel availability and human influence will also strongly affect future fire activity [57,58].

Thus the widespread use of limited datasets or excessive extrapolation of short-term regional trends may go some way in explaining the widely held view of generally increasing fire around the world. The wider impacts of fire on society examined in §3b–d, however, may be even more relevant in driving the overall perceptions of fire trends."

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: August 10, 2019, 06:54:09 AM »
The 1.5 degrees UN IPCC report is politicized soft-denial, as have all such reports been for at least 10 years. They assume gargantuan amounts of carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere, use a ridiculously low risk tolerance (i.e. 66% and 50% confidence intervals vs. the 95% and 99% ones used in most risk management), make too-low assumptions for Earth System sensitivity to GHGs, and ignore non-linear possibilities (e.g. a Blue Ocean Event), etc.

AbruptSLRs posts are a great source of education on the overly-conservative assumptions of the UN IPCC. It does seem that for the next report (2022) even they may have to accept some of the failings in their take on climate science. I won't hold my breath though, they have been failing since 1990 while making such optimistic prognostications.

Hard Denial: Anthropocentric Climate Change Is Not Happening
Soft Denial: Anthropocentric Climate Change Is Happening BUT We Can Spin Fairy Stories About How We Can Fix It Whilst Keeping Growing the Global Economy At 3% Per Year.

I will now go back on topic to renewable energy (before the topic police notice).

AbruptSLR posts a lot about studies based on the RCP8.5 emissions scenarios.  Given that renewables are now cheaper than coal, renewables plus batteries are cheaper than peaker natural gas plants and renewable powered ICEs are projected to be cheaper than gasoline powered cars by 2024, there's no way we'll burn enough fossil fuels to generate the emissions for RCP8.5.

You can deny the IPCC reports.  Keep in mind that that makes you a climate science denier though.

Ken we all hope you are correct! However while energy use is increasing faster than renewable energy generation, I'll stick with AbruptSLR.

Consequences / Re: Pathogens and their impacts
« on: August 01, 2019, 07:58:00 AM »

And you shouldn't shower every day. A healthy skin organ is a great defence, having many beneficial microorganisms. I haven't showered in >3 months and my skin is healthy, soft and doesn't smell (clothes get smelly after a while). What kind of food you eat is also important. I had to go to hospital for a check on my ears, so for that occasion I washed my hair with soap. I tried to find a soap without any crazy additives and found "Aleppo soap".
You should be aware that statements like this will lead many to assume that you do not wash at all.
Under the assumption that you do cleanse yourself from time to time, I'm curious about your preferred method- I live off grid so I have to be creative about bathing, and I've gone considerably longer than 3 months without showering, while washing most every day. I also love a weekly sauna.

Consequences / Re: The Holocene Extinction
« on: July 30, 2019, 09:54:07 PM »
Pacific salmon pushed towards the brink:
While this article is concerned with the American West coast, salmon in Canada and Alaska are also being affected.
Here in the far north, we did not expect salmon to be killed by water conditions similar to those in California.
But they are dying in the rivers before they get to spawn.
Salmon are vital everywhere they exist naturally, but in the nutrient poor north, salmon runs provide a critical flush of nutrients to the interior of Alaska and the Yukon.
It is not only bears, birds, and humans that depend on the salmon. Stream ecology exists on the back of spawned out salmon and the very forests themselves need to be fertilized by carcasses dragged into the woods by bears.
Without salmon we are facing an imminent ecological collapse.
I don't want to sound hyperbolic, but it is really, really bad.
And so, so sad.

The forum / Re: How many of you are scientists?
« on: July 23, 2019, 07:31:17 AM »
Citizen Scientist.
And I'm not being funny.
My thesis topic was on how we use citizen science.
Many citizen scientists have zero academic credentials, yet know a tremendous amount and are highly respected by lettered scientists.
So, I'm not sure how useful a question this thread poses.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: July 21, 2019, 06:14:12 PM »

Soon enough no wildcatters will have access to capital to drill expensive wells like at the Arctic. The push comes from the desire of Alaska for income. It wont be long before the "guaranteed" income they have gets slashed...

Alaska is becoming a very interesting social experiment. It firmly hitched its wagon to fossil fuels in the 1970s and appeared to prosper for decades as the largest pool of conventional oil in the U.S. produced a steady stream of royalties. The State eliminated income and sales taxes. So much money was sloshing around that a "Permanent" fund was set up to manage the unspent surpluses. This fund is broadly designed to be a savings account for the state and a portion of the interest is disbursed to all residents of Alaska. The amount varies, recently it has been around two thousand dollars a year.
As time went by, inevitably the State became more and more dependent on the oil industry, and, just as inevitably, the main oil field at Prudhoe Bay  started to run out. It is now at the point where if its flow drop much more, there will not be enough oil to fill the trans Alaska pipeline and the tap will literally be turned off. There are several options available to Alaska at this time; it has chosen to pursue the "stealing jewels from it mother" route. It is slashing all state services,  including policing, health care, education ( notoriously the University of Alaska may shut entirely) and transport. Much of coastal Alaska is dependent on ferries- including the capital Juneau. The ferries are being taken out of service and for the first time in memory, there will be no scheduled ferry service to coastal Alaska, including its capital this winter.
Alaskans have voted for an increased permanent fund dividend and a reduced level of government. If the 1002 lands of the Arctic Refuge are developed and prove to contain abundant oil and if oil prices rise and remain high, a few more years of abundant dividends await Alaskans. Otherwise, and eventually, we are witnessing a post petroleum petroleum state.

While methane emissions from past, present and projected future human bodies, is a minor source of GHG in the atmosphere, it is still interesting to note that it is increasing nonlinearly through at least 2100:

Daniela Polag et al. (2019), "Global methane emissions from the human body: Past, present and future", Atmospheric Environment,
Volume 214, 1, 116823,
You forgot the plain language summary AbrubtSLR:

Methane from farts is increasing faster than human population rise alone would indicate. While the article does not speculate on the reasons for increased fartification, it does point to the importance of considering all factors when assessing fart rates.

Consequences / Re: Sea Level Rise and Social Cost of Carbon
« on: July 14, 2019, 06:09:21 PM »
And that is with us on the downslope of the 18.6 year tidal cycle.
This cycle, while real, is pretty insignificant, generating less than a half mm of difference in tide heights between lowest and highest parts of the cycle.

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: July 13, 2019, 07:47:10 PM »
Here they age some of the permafrost at 700K- although there is some scepticism and ice could have persisted through so many interglacials, the evidence seems credible. Not that it matters much, but I've met many of these researchers and Froese is conservative, not given to hyperbole.
The relict ice wedge overlain by the Gold Run tephra represents the oldest ice known in North America and is evidence that permafrost has been a long-term component of the North American cyrosphere. Importantly, this finding demonstrates that permafrost has survived within the discontinuous permafrost zone since at least the early-Middle Pleistocene. This age range includes several glacial-interglacial cycles, including marine isotope stages 5e and 11, both considered to be longer and warmer than the present interglaciation

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: July 13, 2019, 05:09:12 AM »
Made a new video. Soil layers of permafrost that scientists expected to remain frozen for at least 70 more years have already begun thawing.


Excellent video Prokaryotes! I live on the boundary of continuous/discontinuous permafrost; monitoring retrogressive thaw slumps and living with warm permafrost is everyday life here. There are permafrosts dated to 400K BP here- and they are thawing.

The rest / Re: Cli Fi
« on: July 07, 2019, 06:01:42 PM »
Hello fellow ASIF posters,

I am looking for new reads which help me imagine the consequences of the oncoming crises. Especially fiction. I have found some books which I thought were good:

The Road - Cormac McCarthy
The Wall - John Lanchester
Water Knife - Paolo Bacigalupi

I know there's even a wiki entry for the genre, but I did not find the list of examples very interesting.

As far as non-fiction goes, I guess I have read quite a few of the most popular books. I did find 'six degrees' by Mark Lynas very helpful in imagining different futures.

Anyway, suggestions for further reading much appreciated.

living at the bottom of a former sea

You have already listed this author, Paulo Bacigalupi, I recently read his "Windup Girl" and liked it more than I expected to. I find that as one learns more about potential climate futures, as is inevitable for regulars on this Forum, fewer and fewer CliFi writers stand up. Bacigalupi does. IMHOP.

Arctic sea ice / Re: "Stupid" Questions :o
« on: July 06, 2019, 07:30:13 PM »
binntho on July 05, 2019, 03:06:44 PM

    "But I doubt very much if the ice stays in the air when the tide goes out."

I saw a documentary where the Inuit made a hole in the ice and went foraging along the shore beneath the ice whilst the tide was out. So it can.
It happened to me once: I was breaking trail up the Yukon in December and my dogs got on the trail of a wolverine. Wolverines leave a wonderful trail for a dog- a compacted trench. The trail went along the shore, where the ice was sloped, because the river level had dropped since freeze up (kinda like the tide went out). At one point, the shelf ice had cracked and fallen down The wolverine simply went on into the space beneath the ice. So too did my dogs. The trouble was that the space was only about a metre high. Plenty for a wolverine, plenty for a dog. But not even close enough for a dogsled, or its driver. So I got stuck and had the "interesting" exercise of extricating a string of nine dogs from the cave in which they were convinced they should travel. It's funny now, in retrospect....

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: Greenland 2019 Melt Season
« on: June 30, 2019, 05:42:33 PM »
Thanks...both of you.
I want to take this opportunity to thank particularly the venerable ( meant respectfully) Gerontocrat and those that support his analyses- for not just keeping us informed on what is happening on Greenland almost in real time- but also for adding to our understanding of the processes involved. Thanks!

In a stunning display of cognitive dissonance, Canada has approved the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion less than 24 hours after declaring a climate emergency.
The pipeline is intended to facilitate the growth of production from the bitumen mines (Tar sands) in Alberta. Alberta is already the source of close to half Canada's carbon emissions.
Not that Canada was on track to meet its Paris commitments of carbon reduction, but this decision slams the door firmly shut.
If the pipeline actually gets built- there is considerable opposition and this is the third time Canada has approved the pipeline. Previous attempts to get it built have been stymied by lack of social licence and the courts.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019 melting season
« on: June 18, 2019, 05:08:38 PM »
An insight as to why the NSIDC chart is flattening out as we approach solstice?

It is indeed a graph showing the NSIDC chart flattening out  as we approach solstice.

Unless I am looking at something very different than you, I see no insight as to why.

I think she is looking for insights, not providing them.

KK, the explanation for the flattening of the extent loss curve is attributed, in many places in the Forum, to dispersing of ice in the Beaufort and Barents seas, primarily.
The ice in these places is spreading out as a result of local weather conditions.
This makes extent appear to increase.
Note that at the same time, Area is dropping as per expectations.
Neven posts compactness graphs that illustrate this neatly.
Soon, this dispersed ice will melt out, and or the winds will shift and extent will play catch up and fall off a cliff.
It will be interesting to see how far it falls.

Today Canada's House of Commons passed a motion to declare a national climate emergency.
The motion was put forward by Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, and it passed with 186 votes to 63.

It declares a national climate emergency, and supports the country’s commitment to meeting the emissions targets outlined in the Paris Agreement.

The motion described climate change as a “real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity, that impacts the environment, biodiversity, Canadians’ health, and the Canadian economy.”

The motion declares that “Canada is in a national climate emergency which requires, as a response, that Canada commit to meeting its national emission target under the Paris Agreement and to making deeper reductions in line with the agreement’s objective of holding global warming below two degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

All parties voted for the motion, except the two far right parties, which take their cues from America's Republicans.

Policy and solutions / Re: Carbon tax
« on: June 16, 2019, 06:17:03 PM »
Alberta to reimpose carbon tax:
Well, not exactly. Alberta is having a carbon tax reimposed on it by the federal government. Canada decided to institute a national minimum carbon tax, but did not impose a particular tax on the provinces, allowing them to decide precisely how to build in a price on carbon. Canada is the referee, deciding if a provinces actions are effective. Some provinces have a carbon price that satisfies Canada- such as B.C., some, in a fit of pique, removed a satisfactory carbon tax so Canada had to impose a tax on them This is what Alberta did. It removed its carbon tax, now its government can blame Canada for the carbon tax. The province has hitched its wagon firmly to some of the most carbon intensive fossil fuels on the planet (coal, fracked O&G, bitumen mining), and single handedly making it impossible for Canada to achieve its Paris commitments.

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: June 14, 2019, 05:26:23 PM »
More chemicals in our vegetables ...

Bayer to Invest $5.6 Billion in New Weed Killing Methods

German chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer says it plans to invest some 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) over the next decade in developing "additional methods to combat weeds."

Friday's announcement came as Bayer is engaged in legal battles in the U.S. in which plaintiffs claim that subsidiary Monsanto's Roundup weed killer caused cancer. Rulings in three cases have gone against it.

Yeah, well, how is chemical company going to monetize regenerative agriculture?

Consequences / Re: The Holocene Extinction
« on: June 11, 2019, 05:58:46 PM »
Talking about the Holocene Extinction, what finished off the poster child for it, Ectopistes migratorius? From the descriptions of the flocks, it couldn't have been would have had to give a Gatling gun to every man, woman, child, dog and cat on the continent. You would not be able to dig up a spadeful of dirt without getting a handful of bullets.
Was it habitat destruction of some small breeding area? Something else?
Extinction ecology- if there could be such a thing- is an interesting field. We commonly find it hard to accept that we can have as large an effect as seems to be required to drive major extinction events, such as the one you point to. Imagine if you will what it was like for the first people when they arrived in the Americas, a land teeming with gigantic animals. I'm quite certain that the last thing on the minds of these people was the imminent danger of their driving dozens of species and several entire genera extinct. Nonetheless, it happened. For an examination of how, and of extinction theory in general, you can do a lot worse than to read Dr. Peter Ward of the University of Washington. His theories do explain how passenger pigeons could be driven over a cliff, once certain tipping points are reached. Similar to climate effects, these tipping points are rarely visible except in retrospect. To a certain extent, many on this forum- think ASLR- are mostly concerned with seeing these tipping points before they happen.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: June 07, 2019, 07:24:13 PM »
US to relabel nuclear wastes as less dangerous:

Perhaps because.....
Cost of Nuclear Waste Clean-up in the U.S. estimated at $377 Billion
A new report by the United States General Accounting Office (GAO) estimates the total cleanup cost for the radioactive contamination incurred by developing and producing nuclear weapons in the United States at a staggering $377 billion (USD), a number that jumped by more than $100 billion in just one year.

$377B is almost certainly a gross underestimate of the cost to clean up and remediate all the nuclear waste and nuclear sites in America. In fact, the figure quoted is just for cost of nuclear weapons production/research- which is muddied by the fact that some power plants exist to make weapons grade fissile material. So, let's double the cost to $754B? Now let's consider the chronic mis-underestimation of costs that is standard in the nuclear world and lets triple that amount to about $2.2Trillion. Now let's extrapolate that to the rest of the world and....we really screwed up when we let the nuclear genie out of hell.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019 melting season
« on: April 17, 2019, 07:56:30 AM »
OK, here is my crappy graph- many thanks to Oren for explaining how to attach it...Advance apologies that the April dates appear as negative May dates....Nonetheless, the trend is clear, breakup is a week earlier than a century ago. Something similar is evident regarding freeze up too, but freeze up is way more complex because it is affected by river height, which drops during fall.

Glaciers / Re: Glaciers worldwide decline faster than ever
« on: March 25, 2019, 02:45:14 PM »
A multi- year glacier monitoring program conducted by an environmental studies class in Iceland provides a record of glacier retreat.

The rest / Re: Relative sanity of fringe groups
« on: March 05, 2019, 04:26:11 AM »
It is difficult to choose between the anti-vaxxers and the climate denialists for the most harmful group.
The anti-vaxxers are causing death and disfigurement every day, but one hopes this fad will fade away or be legislated out of existence.
Climate denialists are threatening the very future of life on earth, but their influence wanes with every fire, flood, storm and drought.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: February 24, 2019, 04:48:45 AM »

Now I wonder why so often the ox is preferred over the horse. What I found on the internets is a bit contradictory. The horse can exert more power in short time (in fact you can work them to death quickly - I've once seen one sweating like hell and almost collapsing after half an hour of timber pulling.). The ox is slower and can work longer (contradicted by ). I guess the major point today is the price. A horse collar nowadays is way more expensive than the simple ox yoke.

Back in the 1980s I found myself unemployed and at a loose end in the Yukon one fall. So I went to Edmonton where I heard there was plenty of work. I wound up getting an interview at a show jumping and dressage stable because I had a fair bit of experience working with horses (and dogs). The interview however took place in a dark stall where I was informed I had to be acceptable to the biggest animal I've ever seen that was not an elephant.
"Mosquito" was a Holstein ox that was taller than my 6 feet at the withers, and beef to the knees as they say and must have topped a ton easy.
In the dark, Mosquito rose and rose and rose to his feet in the way that anyone who has watched a cow stand up will recognize.
He snuffled me with his wet nose and I scratched him in the 18 inches of space between his eyes and thereby got the job.
I worked with him for six months, mostly mucking out horse stalls.
The advantages of an ox over a horse (which is really the point of this post) are that they have a really low gear- so they can shift a stupendous load at a really slow speed, and their patience- they are really happy to stand and chew the cud for ten or fifteen minutes while one shovels shit into the pick-up sized sledge he pulled.
The main reason Mosquito had a job was his emissions were non-toxic to the very expensive horseflesh whose shit we were hauling.
One day we got to haul a Mac truck out of the ditch in our lane way- very satisfying!

Consequences / Re: Weird Weather and anecdotal stories about climate change
« on: February 08, 2019, 04:21:55 AM »
Regarding the issues around meteorological stations moving, I worked on a climate adaptation plan for our community a few years back. Part of our work involved climate projections. We wanted to start with base lines. This proved really problematic because the station moved multiple times, and is now 14km from the original location, in a narrow valley perpendicular to the original wide open location. The new location is prone to summer frosts, colder cold snaps, much lower winds and more precipitation. So we were really handicapped. The meteorological records did not line up with records else where- ya know, the ones that show a warming in the early 20th century, cooling until the 60's and warming since then. The best record we found, which turned out to be a perfect match for global trends, was the dates of the ice break up on the river, which has been recorded annually in exactly the same way since the 1890s because locals bet on the exact time of breakup.

It is minus 33 degrees here in Dawson City Yukon this evening. I'm teaching a Wilderness First Aid course, which involves a certain amount of rolling around in the snow simulating injuries, and of course, rescuing the ill or injured "casualties". My students are Canadian Rangers, probably about the most competent outdoors people in Canada. We are all complaining about the cold snap. When I check the weather forecast for the next five days of the course, it will continue in the minus 30s. We are all not very happy  about this. Brrr! However, also in the forecast are the climate norms for this season. Guess what the normal low for this date is? Yup, minus 30. 20 years ago, we would have found minus 33 to be quite pleasant, and would never have dreamed of complaining about temperatures above minus 40. Now THAT is an indicator of global warming.
The biggest change we are seeing here is the loss of the coldest temperatures.
The link is subject to change as the day progresses.
I see it is now minus 34....

Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic Image of the Day
« on: December 05, 2018, 09:05:41 PM »
Am I the only one that checks in with the webcam in Utqiagvik to see if the house on the left hand side of the image has its door wide open again?  It's cold up there.  Why is the damn door open so often?  Maybe we should call them to let them know?

no your not alone, perhaps that shack is used as a dog shelter or for other animals or perhaps they store something there that should not warm/melt but at the same time should stay protected from precipitation and/or winds.

even though i'm curious like yourself, i'm quite sure that they have a good reason to do things how they do them. people that far up north have learnt early not to neglect protecting their home and stuff. let's see, perhaps we get an answer one day.


It is an arctic entryway, it is designed to stay below freezing but out of the snow and wind. It is a good place to leave gear that will suffer if it thaws. The door will probably get closed when it get colds enough so that the inside temp stays below freezing. If it has a door...

Science / Re: Early Anthropocene
« on: October 21, 2018, 06:03:08 PM »

The "megafauna extinction" by immigration of early hunter-gatherers, as pointed out in Terry's post indeed seems very flawed.
There is a similar one for Australia which seems to match chronologically but has little else going for it as well.
In America, we're talking a handful of primitive people wiping out 37 species, predators and prey, species of no interest whatsoever to humans.
Highly unlikely and not, as often thought happening overnight but over thousands of years.
The other main argument against this theory being of course, that if arrival of a few primitive people could have such massive effect then why is this not the case everywhere?
Why are there elephants, hippo's and lions in Africa when it is the cradle of mankind?

I hesitate to wade into this topic, as, for some reason, folks get really worked up over it. Probably because it speaks to something fundamentally unsavoury about our species and poses serious issues about how we can achieve true sustainability.
But, well, here goes.
While we may never have real time video of early humanity causing mass extinctions whenever they arrive in a new place, it beggars belief that EVERY TIME a new land is colonized, the indigenous mega fauna is decimated.
Forest Dweller characterizes early Americans as primitive. In actual fact, early Americans were no more primitive than all of us on this forum.
Also, a very small amount of ecosystems science education shows us that the animals that are characterized as being of little interest to humans are dependent on an ecosystem disrupted by the removal of the easy prey.
And, finally to answer the question about why mega fauna persisted (until modern times) in Africa and South Asia- that is where humanity evolved, and so the animals were able to learn coping strategies over hundreds of thousands of years.
I could bang on but I shan't!
For a deeper yet accessible examination one could do a lot worse than read "The Call of Distant Mammoths " by Professor Peter D. Ward, University of Washington.
ISBN 0-387-98572-7

Science / Re: ECS is 2.5
« on: October 19, 2018, 08:15:33 PM »
Witnessing the science being developed on this thread is the reason I was initially attracted to the Forum .
Fascinating stuff, thank you very much Ned W - and to Sidd, FooW et al.who contributed.

Arctic sea ice / Re: What's new in the Arctic ?
« on: August 21, 2018, 08:51:14 PM »
A disturbing development in the Bering Sea- historically the north Bering has been divided from the south by a pool of cold water that is a result of ultra cold brine sinking from the sea ice to the bottom. The location of this cold barrier varies from year to year, but in 2018 it is entirely absent for the first time in the 37 year record.
This means that more southern species such as pollock are moving into the Bering Strait area, displacing indigenous species such as capelin and sand lance, disrupting the food web and is probably the cause of hitherto unexplained die-offs of sea birds. While the physical conditions in the Bering are unique, and very different to the arctic ocean in general, the vanishing of this latitudinal stratification has troubling implications for the retention of sea ice, not just in the Bering but in the wider arctic as well.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2018 melting season
« on: August 16, 2018, 08:16:37 AM »
It looks like a miserable evening in Barrow- Utqiaġvik officially-even though all the ice seems to have gone:

Consequences / Re: 2018 ENSO
« on: May 25, 2018, 04:29:05 AM »
NOAA predicts a better than even chance of El Nino developing in 2019. Story and links to the studies:

Arctic sea ice / Re: Land snow cover effect on sea ice
« on: April 21, 2018, 05:35:24 PM »
Bbr2314 makes a definite prediction a few posts upthread: " I think despite snow melt you will still see more snow this year, and June will feature record cold." Despite the vagueness about what is meant by record cold in June (where? just in the the N.E. of N. America? Northern hemisphere? Globally?), we shall, by June, be able to test his hypothesis empirically.   

Policy and solutions / Re: Bikes, bikes, bikes and more...bikes
« on: April 20, 2018, 12:55:22 PM »
Check out this Canadian company that has cracked the nut of self driving bikes:

A Canadian company, inspired by the move towards self driving cars and trucks has developed a self driving bike:

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: December 20, 2017, 09:17:52 PM »
Bob Wallace asks why we cannot have sustainable growth so long as the inputs are sustainable.
I do suspect he is asking rhetorically, but on the off chance he is not, I'll take a crack at his question.
Systems cannot grow indefinitely because they would eventually consume everything else, which is not sustainable....
Consider an organism: it goes through a period of rapid growth until it matures when growth essentially stops.
The global human economy will either follow this trajectory, or copy that of a cancer which never matures but overshoots its resources and crashes/dies/kills its host.
Bob further asks if stopping continued growth is dooming countless millions to abject poverty.
There is plenty of wealth in circulation currently, enough to provide every inhabitant of the planet an average 1950s American lifestyle. We have a problem of distribution, not a shortage of wealth.
There is a powerful argument to be made that we have already overshot our sustainable footprint and that we are now faced with the much more difficult task of managing shrinkage.

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