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Consequences / Past Extinction Events, as an Analog for Today
« on: July 15, 2019, 09:03:38 PM »
Study the parallels between hyperthermals and current climate change is by finding a suitable analogue – that is, the hyperthermal that was most similar to the kind of global warming that we’re seeing today.

Carbon input during the PETM was likely still 10 times as slow as in the modern era. Indicators of PETM ocean acidification demonstrate strong dissolution, but modern rates are faster.

The build up period that led to the PETM, in which around 3tn tonnes of CO2 was released into to the atmosphere, may have taken thousands of years. In comparison, the onset of current climate change has taken less than two centuries.

Research suggests that the rate of carbon release as a result of human-driven climate change, and its resultant effect on the world’s oceans, could be “completely unprecedented”.[3]

The Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum has become a focal point of considerable geoscience research because it probably provides the best past analog by which to understand impacts of global climate warming and of massive carbon input to the ocean and atmosphere, including ocean acidification.–Eocene_Thermal_Maximum

Killing models during the Permian–Triassic mass extinction

Ocean acidification (Reduced PH)
Deoxygenation (extreme condition in Ocean, leading to hydrogen sulfide production)
Mercury loading
Increased dissolved seawater CO2

Multiple stressors can have synergistic impacts For example, high temperatures increase an organism’s oxygen demand and reduce its aerobic scope, while lower pH may reduce the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood pigments and seasonal hypoxia can reduce oxygen availability.

Likewise, temperature can have variable effects on susceptibility to metal pollution, and metal pollution can in turn reduce thermal tolerance.[1]


Flood Basalts and Mass Extinctions - Assessing volatile release, environmental change, and biological extinction at finer temporal resolution should be a top priority to refine ancient hyperthermals as analogs for anthropogenic climate change
  • Flood basalts, the largest volcanic events in Earth history, triggered dramatic environmental changes on land and in the oceans.

    Rapid volcanic carbon emissions led to ocean warming, acidification, and deoxygenation that often caused widespread animal extinctions.

    Animal physiology played a key role in survival during flood basalt extinctions, with reef builders such as corals being especially vulnerable.

    The rate and duration of volcanic carbon emission controlled the type of environmental disruption and the severity of biological extinction.


A new model from MIT indicates that previous consensus climate models have underestimated the atmospheric CO2 levels required to push the ocean beyond a tipping point that would lead to mass extinction in the coming millenia:

Title: "Breaching a “carbon threshold” could lead to mass extinction"

We find that the observed pink noise behavior is intrinsic to Earth’s climate dynamics, which suggests a range of possible implications, perhaps the most important of which are ‘resonances’ in which processes couple and amplify warming


1. What role played hydrogen sulfide in past extinction events?

2. What can we exactly conclude about the rate of emissions today vs past events? What does it mean for ecosystem resilience, and planetary boundaries?

3. How will Earth's geomorphology respond to uptake in weathering, deglaciation - mass balance changes at the poles?

4. Why were some events characterized by extensive anoxia and widespread black shale deposition whereas other events were dominated by warming and acidification?[1]

5. What were the most important environmental kill mechanisms responsible for eliminating marine and terrestrial organisms?[1]


1. The hydrogen sulfide at the Permian (and other extinctions) likely reflects an extreme development of the coastal "dead zones" that we see today. In terms of the cause, the consensus appears to have shifted somewhat towards nutrient runoff (and eutrophication) as the primary driver, rather than slowing ocean circulation as might have been proposed 10-15 years ago.

2. The rate of emission, and therefore the rate of environmental disruption, likely provides a first-order constraint for extinctions/adaptation - modulated by duration.

5. Species extinction and survival were likely rooted in their physiological responses to temperature, pH, oxygen, and related stressors, and a growing understanding from extant organisms provides clues to understand biotic vulnerability during hyperthermals.


Oceanic Anoxic Event (OAE) and mass extinctions are considered to be hyperthermals - usually associated with flood basalt eruptions.[1]. Phases of rapid global warming, known collectively as hyperthermals.[3]

Flood basalts are a subset of large igneous provinces (LIPs), the terms flood basalt and LIP are often used interchangeably, although the former should be reserved for the extrusive component of an LIP. Flood basalts are giant volcanic eruptions or series of eruptions that cover large stretches of land or the ocean floor with basalt lava.


Hydrogen sulfide and environmental stresses / H2S is produced in response to numerous plant stresses, including heavy metal exposure, temperature, drought and salt stress.

Ammonium intoxication is a previously unexplored killing mechanism for extinctions.


1. Flood Basalts and Mass Extinctions, Matthew E. Clapham and Paul R. Renne 2019

2. Hyperthermal-driven mass extinctions: killing models during the Permian–Triassic mass extinction, Michael J. Benton 2018

3. Hyperthermals: What can they tell us about modern global warming?

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: July 13, 2019, 04:27:50 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.

The Current State of Arctic PERMAFROST THAW

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: July 09, 2019, 02:35:52 AM »
New study, Direct observation of permafrost degradation and rapid soil carbon loss in tundra

Evidence suggests that 5–15% of the vast pool of soil carbon stored in northern permafrost ecosystems could be emitted as greenhouse gases by 2100 under the current path of global warming.

However, direct measurements of changes in soil carbon remain scarce, largely because ground subsidence that occurs as the permafrost soils begin to thaw confounds the traditional quantification of carbon pools based on fixed depths or soil horizons.

This issue is overcome when carbon is quantified in relation to a fixed ash content, which uses the relatively stable mineral component of soil as a metric for pool comparisons through time. We applied this approach to directly measure soil carbon pool changes over five years in experimentally warmed and ambient tundra ecosystems at a site in Alaska where permafrost is degrading due to climate change.

We show a loss of soil carbon of 5.4% per year (95% confidence interval: 1.0, 9.5) across the site. Our results point to lateral hydrological export as a potential pathway for these surprisingly large losses. This research highlights the potential to make repeat soil carbon pool measurements at sentinel sites across the permafrost region, as this feedback to climate change may be occurring faster than previously thought.

“This study was novel because we used new methods to directly track the soil carbon losses, and they were much higher than we previously thought,” Schuur said. “This suggests that not only is carbon being lost through greenhouse gases directly to the atmosphere but also dissolved in waters that flow through the soil and likely carried carbon into streams, leaves and rivers.”

Thawing permafrost affects plant and soils in tundra ecosystems, and ultimately the storage of carbon in permafrost soils. The surface of tundra subsides as ice in permafrost melts and drains. This can mask the loss of soil carbon through time that occurs as a result of soil microbial activity converting soil organic matter into greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane. Accounting for ground subsidence as a result of thaw revealed that substantial quantities of soil carbon were loss both directly to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, but also dissolve in water that drained from this site. Soil carbon loss from permafrost ecosystems that ends up in the atmosphere at greenhouse gases can ultimately accelerate climate change

Antarctica / Re: Sea Ice Extent around Antarctica
« on: July 09, 2019, 12:27:33 AM »

Made this video on recent Parkinson et al. PNAS paper, feedback is welcome. Though the more extended version posted here goes into more details with the ozone hole, and includes a brief segment from this 2018 talk by NASA's Andy Thompson, who elaborates on grounding line - slope vortexes, eddies, models, and SAM.

The main take-away from Parkinson et al, for me is, that the Amundsen current feeds into the WAIS region, while sea-ice there also most extensively in decline.

Get an idea about upcoming production quality, just published this feature film

Watch full version 40 mins length

YouTube forces us to remove hundreds of videos from our channel, just because they were posted before, or only slightly edited, deeming them as having no educational value. Subsequently, setup a new Netflix-style streaming platform this week,

There are over 300 videos so far, many classics, many videos no longer available on YouTube, or only available on small channels with little views.


About 30 percent of videos are freely available, however to cover the monthly costs of $149 some videos require a subscription. If you find a video missing or want something added please contact me As I add more content, people signing-up, and tweak settings, more videos will become public.

Everybody can watch any video when using the 7-Day trial of the Monthly Plan. Your suggestions and feedback is welcome, thank you.

Arctic sea ice / Re: SMOS
« on: June 21, 2019, 11:03:38 PM »
Just curious, but can this pickup on flaw polynyas?

Areas of flaw polynyas in the ESAS increased dramatically (by up to five times) during the last decades, and now exceed the total area of Siberian wetlands.

Consequences / Re: Heatwaves
« on: June 20, 2019, 09:39:11 PM »
Srini Swaminathan took the video of Lake Puzhal as he left Chennai on a flight.
"I intentionally paid for and chose a window seat to see the drought situation of my city from above," he told CNN.

Some more context, though
The drought, which officials say is worse than the 1972 famine [..] The village of Hatkarwadi, about 20 miles from Beed in Maharashtra state, is almost completely deserted.
[..] Groundwater, the source of 40% of India’s water needs, is depleting at an unsustainable rate, Niti Aayog, a governmental thinktank, said in a 2018 report. Twenty-one Indian cities – including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad – are expected to run out of groundwater by 2020, and 40% of India’s population will have no access to drinking water by 2030, the report said.

From a 2017 news article..
Chennai's Drinking Water Cut By Half Amid Worst Drought In 140 Years

An interesting article on the OMG project from the Nasa Earth Observatory.

Turns out the glacier is getting thicker...
My guess...

This anomaly, the Cold blob (North Atlantic) … It appears possibly related to global warming-induced melting of the Greenland ice sheet. Which suggest that at least it has a slight negative feedback on marine terminating glaciers.

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: June 20, 2019, 03:13:09 PM »
The existence of vast quantities of CH4 under the ESAS and other areas currently covered by permafrost is well known.  The question is how much CH4 will be released and how quickly it will be released as the permafrost thaws.  And it appears that S&S vastly overestimate both the amount and timing of the release, as they assume that methane plumes they observed in 2014 will continue releasing methane at the same rate.  Other observers have noted that the amount and rate of methane released drops quickly.

I think what bothers Shakova is that there's up to 22km thick overburden of sediment beneath the ESS with a thinning capping of permafrost, the overburden may all be permeated with methane hydrate deposits. We may have tapped only those deposits which are closest to the surface so far. Yamal is equally problematic with 65mt deep 'pingo' type features appearing on a wholly permafrost peninsular which does not reach 50mt above sea level anywhere.

Perhaps, the smoking gun is increases in salinity?

New Mechanism for Methane Hydrate Dissociation Discovered

Includes Shakova 2017 & 2019 finds.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic Ocean salinity, temperature and waves
« on: June 20, 2019, 03:01:55 PM »
Possibility of another injection of warm salty water north of Greenland with the upcoming weather.
Mercator(model) salinity 34m jan1-jun16
Are people aware that higher salt content affect the stability zone of subsea permafrost deposits?

Made a post yesterday New Mechanism for Methane Hydrate Dissociation Discovered

Evaporation in the Arctic, historically been low due to the lower temperatures there, but with amplifications up there, likely a profound uptake in rains too from permafrost thaw, there is the question how the Arctic Water Cycle (AWC) will contribute to saltiness as well.

Are there ESAS region specific salt buoys? 

Update, googled a bit more..

Seven Years of SMOS Sea Surface Salinity at High Latitudes: Variability in Arctic and Sub-Arctic Regions

The Potential and Challenges of Using Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Sea Surface Salinity to Monitor Arctic Ocean Freshwater Changes

Stability of the arctic halocline: a new indicator of arctic climate change

A reduction in upward oceanic heat flux. This reduction in heat flux is due to increased precipitation that leads to fresher ocean surface waters and, hence, to more stable stratification of the upper Arctic Ocean. This stratification results in cooling of the ocean surface and warming of deeper ocean layers.

"While glaciovolcanism (defined as “the interactions of magma with ice in all its forms, including snow, firn and any meltwater”), may still be in its infancy; nevertheless, I provide the following links to relevant information (& two images about geomagnetism), and I note that there is more information in the 'Antarctic Tectonics' thread in the Antarctic folder; for those who are interested in learning more about this topic:

J.L. Smellie (2018), "Chapter 10 – Glaciovolcanism: A 21st Century Proxy for Palaeo-Ice",
Past Glacial Environments (Second Edition), Pages 335–375,

Abstract: "Glaciovolcanism is a young science that has undergone a major transformation during the last 15 years. It is important for a variety of reasons but it is set to play a major role in deriving critical parameters of past ice sheets and thus greatly improve the accuracy of their reconstruction. Glaciovolcanic studies can deduce a wider range of parameters than any other methodology currently existing, including: establishing the presence of ice, its age, ice thickness, ice surface elevation, and basal thermal regime. These attributes can be acquired routinely for many glaciovolcanic sequences and, uniquely, several are quantifiable. Most glaciovolcanic terrains provide punctuated rather than continuous records of the coeval ice sheet, i.e., with numerous time gaps. Despite the gaps, glaciovolcanic studies of ice sheets have been completed successfully in the three major glaciovolcanic regions of the Earth: mainly Antarctica, but also Iceland and British Columbia (Canada). Future studies in these and other glaciovolcanic regions will considerably improve our knowledge of Earth’s water inventory and contribute to a better understanding of past ice dynamics and the impact of the cryosphere on global climate."


Title: "Antarctic Glaciovolcanism:
A dedicated topic would be great, but where would it fit in?


See attached image for potential glaciovolcanism hot spots, via 2018 REVIEW by Cooper etal. . However, active faults possibly with submarine landslides could become apparent too, hence not only about volcanoes.

See my recent blog here with related studies Study: Enhanced Seismic Activity Observed in Alaska Due To Climate Change

Attempt to capture this topic in video format, for sources see

Maybe this terminology should be dubbed


While the linked research, indicating more rapid bedrock uplift in Amundsen Sea Embayment, seems like good news, if one refers to projections from ice sheet models that do not include Pollard's & DeConto's ice cliff and hydrofacturing mechanism and which assume radiative forcing scenarios of RCP 4.5 or less.  However, if one assumes radiative forcing scenarios close to BAU for the next two decades and projections from Pollard & DeConto's recent work, then Barletta et al (2018)'s finding are actually bad news regarding the potential collapse of the WAIS this century.

V.R. Barletta el al. (22 Jun 2018), "Observed rapid bedrock uplift in Amundsen Sea Embayment promotes ice-sheet stability," Science,:
Vol. 360, Issue 6395, pp. 1335-1339, DOI: 10.1126/science.aao1447.
Because there is a volcano beneath Pine Island Glacier, and because

Evidence of an active volcanic heat source beneath the Pine Island Glacier and because there was a recent eruption

A recent volcanic eruption beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet Ancient Antarctic eruption noted the uplift may mean that the heat source also advances. 

The localization of mantle helium to glacial meltwater reveals that volcanic heat induces melt beneath the grounded glacier and feeds the subglacial hydrological network crossing the grounding line. The observed transport of mantle helium out of the Ice Shelf cavity indicates that volcanic heat is supplied to the grounded glacier at a rate of ~ 2500 ± 1700 MW, which is ca. half as large as the active Grimsvötn volcano on Iceland. Our finding of a substantial volcanic heat source beneath a major WAIS glacier highlights the need to understand subglacial volcanism, its hydrologic interaction with the marine margins, and its potential role in the future stability of the WAIS.

ps. can someone suggest a good open study on Marine ice cliff instability?

There is another new study on winds due to CO2 increase, causing more upwelling, and may cause through this mechanism warm water intrusion at Totten glacier -- holds more than 11 feet of sea level rise, located in East Antarctica

Press release

This is kind of a summary, though planning to publish a video on surface melt vs basal.

Rapid collapse of Antarctic glaciers could flood coastal cities by the end of this century. Based on an article written by Eric Holthaus.

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