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Messages - Juan C. García

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Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: January 17, 2020, 11:59:45 PM »
I have spent the last five years introducing climate change to my now 11 year old.
I did it slowly because it is an unpleasant topic.
I also homeschool my kids, so they avoid the propaganda being spouted in Australian schools.

Sometimes he because despondent about life, but for the most part a few things have happened.

1 - he is very pissed off with the Govt inaction. He has been to multiple protests about climate change and will be doing more the older he gets.
2 - he wants to see as much of the world as possible to document the changes. But he will only travel by bike, foot or boat.
3 - we debate every purchase based on environmental impact. This is a total pain in the ass to be honest because according to him we should be living in a self container farm, we cant do that at the moment.
4 - his approach to life is fairly basic.... he has made an assumption based on reading and gut instinct that our civilization only has ten years left. So he has mapped out his life to only be ten years long. Which sound depressing except that his plans involve doing as much as possible in those ten years in terms of climate, doing things like seeing the Barrier Reef, in fact a lot more than some people people do in a life time. Every year he spends the first week updating the ten year plan.
5 - while he gets upset with what is coming, it has lit a fire in his belly as well.

To me, based on what other kids who have good knowledge of climate change, most of them get depressed at some point, then anrgy, then motivated. I suspect this is the case more and more often. In the coming ten years, I suspect there will be an explosion of youth activism and demands that will need to be met or the older generations are going to get booted off the power structure.

After the fires, I have been informed that we are doing a bike tour of SE Australia to take photos, talk to people and document it to share with the public. His concern is that after the fires are out, the spin doctors will ensure we forget about it..... it has happened too many times here already. Too many times to list in fact.
He wants to do something to remind people that this is not a one off event, it is one of a series of events that are worsening year on year.

So, personally, I dont stress how it affects the kids, I only stress that we have left it too late to get angry enough to demand the changes of our Govts and take massive, radical, personal action.
I know my son thinks we dont do enough, and we ride bikes, eat bugger all meat, have a tiny car for my wife to get to work because there is no public transport at 5am in the morning and the car only gets used for work. (12km each way) and more.

Give kids the information, be blunt about it, make a plan they control, then watch the change happen. Greta is only the beginning of youth activism.

This is a major and popular misconception

1) Real goods can not be borrowed from the future only nominal assets. Borrowing can temporarily push up the nominal price of stocks, housing, etc but won't change the amount of real goods available
Very much not true. When you overfish the oceans leading to much lower fish output later, you borrow/steal from the future. When you deforest the Amazon for cattle and soy farming, leading to a much smaller carbon sink later, you borrow/steal from the future. When you overfarm leading to topsoil loss and poisoning of the ground with chemicals, leading to lower farming output later, you borrow/steal from the future. When you drain aquifers at much higher rates than their natural refill rates, leading to much lower water output later, you borrow/steal from the future. There are many other examples, too many to list unfortunately.

3) Forecasting the end of the world is always a very attractive psychological position as it proves me that I am cleverer than everybody else and when they realize their doom I will be standing there, telling everyone: "I told you so"
I am not a psychologist but it seems from reading this forum that "debunking" dire long-term forecasts using a variety of techniques is a very attractive psychological proposition for some members.

Policy and solutions / Re: Greta Thunberg's Atlantic crossing
« on: January 14, 2020, 07:14:11 PM »

From my clinical experience I consider that children and adults with Aspergers Syndrome have a different, not defective, way of thinking.

The person usually has a strong desire to seek knowledge, truth and perfection with a different set of priorities than would be expected with other people. There is also a different perception of situations and sensory experiences. The overriding priority may be to solve a problem rather than satisfy the social or emotional needs of others.

The person values being creative rather than co-operative.

The person with Aspergers syndrome may perceive errors that are not apparent to others, giving considerable attention to detail, rather than noticing the “big picture”.

The person is usually renowned for being direct, speaking their mind and being honest and determined and having a strong sense of social justice.

The person may actively seek and enjoy solitude, be a loyal friend and have a distinct sense of humour.

However, the person with Aspergers Syndrome can have difficulty with the management and expression of emotions.

Children and adults with Aspergers syndrome may have levels of anxiety, sadness or anger that indicate a secondary mood disorder. There may also be problems expressing the degree of love and affection expected by others. Fortunately, we now have successful psychological treatment programs to help manage and express emotions.

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: January 11, 2020, 12:39:01 AM »
The World is 'Running Out of Sand', and It's Fuelling Murders, Mafias and Ecological Devastation

... Sand from the desert is unsuitable for construction, so instead we mostly use sand found at the bottom of rivers, lakes, oceans and on beaches.

Beiser says the world uses 50 billion tonnes of this kind of sand every year — more than any other natural resource, "except for water".

"When you are talking about quantities that large, sooner or later you're going to run into shortages, and that is in fact what is happening in a growing number of places around the world," he says.

"We are running out, believe it or not."

"No sand, no modern civilisation."

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: January 05, 2020, 09:49:35 AM »
I am over 2,000 km across open ocean from the fires and have been in twilight all day from the smoke.
Tomorrow is projected to be worse.
These fires will impact  the climate on a global scale.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Latest PIOMAS update (January 2020)
« on: January 04, 2020, 09:59:48 AM »
Here are the updated volume and volume-anomaly graphs. Click for full size.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Latest PIOMAS update (January 2020)
« on: January 04, 2020, 09:31:31 AM »
PIOMAS gridded thickness data was update. On the last day, 31st December, volume is calculated to be 14.52 [1000km3], which is fourth lowest behind 2016, 2012 and 2017.

Here is the December animation.

NWS WPC (@NWSWPC) 1/3/20, 8:44 AM
*Preliminary* Precipitation Analysis for 2019 shows much of the country experienced a wetter than average year. The northern and central Plains in particular experienced an unprecedented amount of precipitation. Some areas broke previous annual records by more than 20 inches! [508mm!]
Maps below.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: January 02, 2020, 05:03:19 PM »
Aerosol optical depth at 550 nm (provided by CAMS, the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service),24,2020010200&projection=classical_global&layer_name=composition_aod550

True color wide view acquired by #Sentinel3 this morning at  23:21 UTC (11:21 local)
The image is focused on southern #NSW and #Victoria because the area up north was cloudy

This Himawari satellite picture shows smoke (brown colour) from the #AustraliaFires extends thousands of kilometres into the Pacific, well past New Zealand.
Meanwhile, the fires continue: More smoke pours off the Australian coast.

Ken Feldman:  Like Tom, I see ASLR's posts as trying to understand what possibility we have of climate change proving far worse than generally accepted.  Clearly that does not mean it definitely will be far worse, but it does show that there is more than zero chance of it being far worse.

Your charts of human CO2 emissions based on stated policies suggest that the emissions will flatten, but will remain at roughly the current levels, i.e. CO2 will increase linearly. 

As a simple thought experiment of what this might imply for the future climate, I looked at the CO2e data from NOAA  Pre-industrial was 275 and CO2e was 496 at the end of 2018.  Taking the values for the last 10 years of CO2e and projecting them to 2100 with a simple linear projection I get a value of 778 for CO2e (assuming CO2e increases linearly if CO2 increases linearly)

778 is 1.5 doublings above pre-industrial.  At 3C per doubling this gives 4.5C temperature rise and clearly into the catastrophic territory for the impact on human civilisation.  So based on your charts I would say catastrophic climate change looks possible and even likely.

ASLR's posts have documented lots of issues that indicated this 4.5C projection may be too low. 
  • Climate sensitivity may be 5C per doubling, which would give a 7.5C temperature rise, way into catastrophic territory. 
  • CO2e in the atmosphere may increase at a faster rate than recently, even with the same CO2e emissions from humans (reduced %absorbed by the oceans, increased CO2e from permafrost melting, etc.) so the simple linear projection may be too low, again moving us way into catastrophic climate change territory.

So I can't see the point of worrying whether RCP8.5 is feasible or not, when it is clear that we have the potential to cause catastrophic climate change with our current policy.

ASLR: Thank you for all the hard work you do!

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2019 sea ice area and extent data
« on: December 31, 2019, 09:55:30 AM »
[ADS NIPR VISHOP (JAXA)] Arctic Sea Ice Extent.

December 30th, 2019:
    12,287,365km2 an increase of 37,861km2
    2019 is 6th lowest on record.

Graph attached.
Self calculated so if there's any any errors please point them out, thanks :)

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2019 sea ice area and extent data
« on: December 31, 2019, 05:43:04 AM »
I will be traveling on the next 7 hours, so I will appreciate if someone else updates the ADS JAXA data.

Thank you.

JAXA 12/30 Extent 12,287,365 sq. km.
Gain of 37,861 sq. km.

I used the same years as Juan has been using in the graph ... table will have to wait for the man himself eh ...  8)

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: What's new in Greenland?
« on: December 23, 2019, 09:26:00 PM »
Greenland’s Nearing a Climate Tipping Point. How Long Warming Lasts Will Decide Its Fate, Study Says

Past meltdowns occurred with temperatures only slightly higher than today's, suggesting the world is overestimating the ice sheet's stability, scientists say.

Inside Climate News, By Bob Berwyn, December 23

There's new evidence that, in past geologic eras, much of Greenland's ice melted when Earth's temperatures were only slightly warmer than today's, and that human-caused global warming will push the ice sheet past that tipping point in the next few decades.

Exactly how much of the ice melts, and how fast, depends in large part on how long temperatures stay above that threshold, scientists write in a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings are a warning that we are probably overestimating the stability of the Greenland Ice Sheet, said University of Bergen paleoclimatologist Ulysses S. Ninnemann, the study's lead author.


A low climate threshold for south Greenland Ice Sheet demise during the Late Pleistocene

PNAS, Nil Irvalı, Eirik V. Galaasen, Ulysses S. Ninnemann, Yair Rosenthal, Andreas Born, and Helga (Kikki) F. Kleiven, December 23


The Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) has been losing mass at an accelerating rate over the recent decades. Models suggest a possible temperature threshold between 0.8 and 3.2 °C, beyond which GIS decline becomes irreversible. The duration of warmth above a given threshold is also a critical determinant for GIS survival, underlining the role of ocean warming, as its inertia prolongs warmth and triggers longer-term feedbacks. The exact point at which these feedbacks are triggered remains equivocal. Late Pleistocene interglacials provide potential case examples for constraining the past response of the GIS to a range of climate states, including conditions warmer than present. However, little is known about the magnitude and duration of warming near Greenland during these periods. Using high-resolution multiproxy surface ocean climate records off southern Greenland, we show that the previous 4 interglacials over the last ∼450 ka all reached warmer than present climate conditions and exceeded the modeled temperature threshold for GIS collapse but by different magnitudes and durations. Complete deglaciation of the southern GIS in Marine Isotope Stage 11c (MIS 11c; 394.7 to 424.2 ka) occurred under climates only slightly warmer than present (∼0.5 ± 1.6 °C), placing the temperature threshold for major GIS retreat in the lower end of model estimates and within projections for this century.

The rest / Re: Article links: drop them here!
« on: December 23, 2019, 11:27:43 AM »
A surprise finding:

Researchers Link Declining Dementia Rates to Less Lead Exposure

To the medical community’s surprise, several studies from the United States, Canada, and Europe point to a downward trend in the incidence of dementia. Since important risk factors for dementia, such as mid-life obesity and mid-life diabetes, have been increasing rapidly, the decline in dementia is particularly perplexing.

A new hypothesis by University of Toronto Professor Esme Fuller-Thomson suggests that the declining dementia rates may be a result of generational differences in lifetime exposure to lead.


Leaded gasoline was a ubiquitous source of air pollution between the 1920s and 1970s. As it was phased out, beginning in 1973, levels of lead in citizens’ blood plummeted. Research from the 1990s indicates that Americans born before 1925 had approximately twice the lifetime lead exposure as those born between 1936 and 1945.

“The levels of lead exposure when I was a child in 1976 were 15 times what they are today,” said Fuller-Thomson. “Back then, 88 percent of us had blood lead levels above 10 micrograms per deciliter. To put this number in perspective, during the Flint, Michigan, water crisis of 2014, 1 percent of the children had blood lead levels above 10 micrograms per deciliter.”

more see:

AbruptSLR, you are a treasure.
Can you tell us your secret for finding these papers, in case something happens to you?

Since 2012, I have kept a Word file with links to sources of relevant research that I scroll through regularly.  The climate scientists do all the hard work and I merely curate it in one place so that this information is less diluted by all the noise of daily life. ;)
Yeah, but how do you find all those links in the first place?

When I read various references and posts in this forum I generally practiced Bayesianist rather than Frequentist thinking.  Have you started your own Word file with links yet? If not here are three links that you can get started with.

... the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, which are currently largely dominated by special interest groups like the fossil fuel industry.  ...

What's the evidence for your claim (bolded by me)?

The quote was referring to the governments that form the IPCC as cited below:

"… confirm the reality of specific right-tail forcings and feedbacks indicate that AR5 erred on the side of least drama in order to satisfy the concerns various governments that form the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, which are currently largely dominated by special interest groups like the fossil fuel industry."

In this regard, the linked Nature Climate Change editorial assesses the influence of special interest lobbyists on government policy, and as the fossil fuel industry is one of the largest special interest groups it can buy a lot of influence over government behavior:

Lobbying for and against climate solutions. Nat. Clim. Chang. 9, 427 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41558-019-0499-4

Extract: "New voices in the climate movement appear keenly aware that they face well-funded, long-entrenched interests inhibiting sensible climate change policy. Getting a grip on when and how lobbying impacts policy is key to translating calls for ‘climate action’ into feasible policies.

One such political barrier is organized lobbying. Extensive lobbying has emerged around climate policies in the United States, as well as the European Union. While climate change politics is generally depicted as occurring between an anti-climate industrial lobby and a non-governmental pro-environmental lobby, the distributional consequences of policies means that businesses adopt a variety of political strategies. Certainly, fossil-fuel companies, utilities and transportation-related businesses have reasons to lobby against climate policy in the broad sense, but the reality is more nuanced. For example, BP and other UK power firms were influential in mobilizing support for the European Emissions Trading Scheme1. Nonetheless, it is often difficult to explain why a particular mix of policies has been enacted or what policy design changes might increase the likelihood of enactment. Rarely is there enough information available to quantify the impact of corporate lobbying expenditures on specific policies.

Recent research has estimated that in the United States, between 2000 and 2016, more than US$2 billion was spent on lobbying around climate issues."

It is reasonable to believe that firms who stand to lose (or gain) the most are the biggest lobbyers, but in the case of climate policy it may not be obvious who gains and who loses from firm characteristics alone."

Edit, see also:

Title: "A Major but Little-Known Supporter of Climate Denial: Freight Railroads"

Extract: "For nearly 30 years, America’s four biggest rail companies—which move the majority of the country’s coal—have spent millions to deny climate science and block climate policy."

Edit2, see also:

Title: "How the Fossil Fuel Industry is Attempting to Buy the Global Youth Climate Movement"

I think we must keep in mind that ASLR mainly writes about extreme right tail risks that are unlikely to occur, and are not part of the mainstream assessment of climate risk that we find in AR5.
If you read the fine print of the mainstream assessments, even very basic feedback mechanisms like the Arctic albedo are not included in the model calculations. Then the consensus of all the calculations is that there will be no hysteresis effects, that we can emit a bit more now. Just suck it up later and everything will be fine.

But I do not need supercomputers to know that there will be no hysteresis without feedbacks.

And I find it highly misleading when the IPCC then states that consensus of such limited models could be expressed in ordinary language as "conclusions with high confidence". In fact, I find that infuriating and totally irresponsible.

A little thing called scientific reticence:

The updated volume and volume-anomaly graphs.

PIOMAS gridded thickness data was updated. last day 15th December. Calculated volume on that day was 12.345 [1000km3]. That is still third lowest for that day after 2016 and 2012.

Here is the animation for the first half of December.

Permafrost / Re: Permafrost general science thread
« on: December 19, 2019, 02:44:48 AM »
Thawing Permafrost Affecting Northern Alaska's Land-to-Ocean River Flows

A new analysis of the changing character of runoff, river discharge and other hydrological cycle elements across the North Slope of Alaska reveals significant increases in the proportion of subsurface runoff and cold season discharge, changes the authors say are "consistent with warming and thawing permafrost."

First author and lead climate modeler Michael Rawlins, associate professor of geosciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and associate director of its Climate Systems Research Center, says warming is expected to shift the Arctic from a surface water-dominated system to a groundwater-dominated system, with deeper water flow paths through newly thawed soils.

... The researchers observed significant increases in cold season discharge, such as 134% of the long-term average for the North Slope, and 215% in the Colville River basin, for example. They report a significant increase in the ratio of subsurface runoff to total runoff for the region and for 24 of the 42 study basins, with the change most prevalent across the northern foothills of the Brooks Range. They also observed a decline in terrestrial water storage, which they attribute to losses in soil ice that outweigh gains in soil liquid water storage. The timing of peak spring freshet discharge, the flow of snowmelt into the sea, also has shifted earlier by 4.5 days.

"Our model estimates of permafrost thaw are consistent with the notion that permafrost region ecosystems are shifting from a net sink to a net source of carbon," he says.

Open Access: Michael A. Rawlins et al, Changing characteristics of runoff and freshwater export from watersheds draining northern Alaska, The Cryosphere (2019)

Consequences / Re: Sea Level Rise and Social Cost of Carbon
« on: December 18, 2019, 01:32:36 AM »
Unusual Glacier Flow, First-Ever Look at Ice Stream Formation

Scientists have captured the birth of a high-speed ice feature for the first time on top of a Russian glacier.

In a remote archipelago of the Russian Arctic, Vavilov Ice Cap had been moving at a glacial pace for decades. Then, in 2013, it suddenly started spewing ice into the sea, flowing in what scientists call a glacial surge. But a new study suggests this surge has now become something entirely different.

The authors of the new study published in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters have documented what they believe is the first observation of a transition from a glacial surge to a longer-lasting flow called an ice stream.

Ice streams and glacial surges were believed to be separate phenomena driven by different mechanisms.

... if the authors of the new study are correct, glacial surges could instead be an early stage of an ice stream. If surging ice can form an ice stream on a glacier like Vavilov, then other ice caps (... Greenland, Antarctica) might also experience similar rapid ice loss

 ... "If that's true, we probably have to revise our predictions for the impact of global sea level rise in the future,"

- Whyjay Zheng, Ph.D. - lead author of the new study.

Glacial surges transport massive amounts of ice in a short amount of time, typically a few months to several years. On the other hand, ice streams can maintain a constant, rapid flow for decades to centuries.

From the time the surge at Vavilov began in 2013 until the spring of 2019, the ice cap lost 9.5 billion tons of ice, or 11 percent of the ice mass of the entire glacier basin. ...

Open Access: Whyjay Zheng et al, The Possible Transition From Glacial Surge to Ice Stream on Vavilov Ice Cap, Geophysical Research Letters (2019)

Goldman Sachs is first big US bank to rule out loans for Arctic drilling
London(CNN Business) Goldman Sachs (GS) is the first big US bank to say it won't finance new oil projects in the Arctic.

On Sunday, the bank announced a raft of changes to its environmental policies, including a pledge not to finance drilling in the Arctic. The restrictions also rule out projects in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which President Donald Trump has sought to open to development.

The funding freeze extends to new thermal coal mine and power plant development around the world, as well as projects that "significantly convert or degrade a natural habitat," Goldman Sachs said on its website.

The bank also announced a commitment to invest $750 billion over the next 10 years into areas that focus on climate transition and inclusive growth.

The company said it will "phase out" financing of thermal coal mining companies that do not have plans to diversify away from coal. ...

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2019 sea ice area and extent data
« on: December 14, 2019, 10:13:16 AM »
No post on JAXA extent today yet, so ...

Dec 13 extent: 11,318,287 km², up 65,746 km² from Dec 12.

Third lowest, practically tied with 2012 which is only 201 km² higher.

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: December 13, 2019, 05:45:00 PM »
NSW (Australia) considering evacuating up to 90 towns if they run out of water

"The NSW state government is considering evacuating the residents of as many as 90 towns that are seriously affected by drought if they completely run out of water.

For months, many towns in rural NSW have been relying on water being trucked in but that is only a short-term solution, and bore water is only available to some towns.

Prime7 News Central West late last month reported that the government would make the drastic move of relocating populations from towns without any water supply.


Asked by Prime TV how many towns were facing the prospect of completely running out of water, the state’s regional town water supply co-ordinator, James McTavish, said: “We have about 90 towns and communities that we have substantial concerns about now”."

Arctic sea ice / Re: What's new in the Arctic ?
« on: December 12, 2019, 05:12:40 PM »

M 4.7 - North of Severnaya Zemlya

2019-12-12 03:18:24 (UTC)
83.323°N 115.124°E
10.0 km

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: What's new in Greenland?
« on: December 10, 2019, 06:37:07 PM »
Greenland Ice Losses Rising Faster Than Expected

Greenland is losing ice seven times faster than in the 1990s and is tracking the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's high-end climate warming scenario, which would see 40 million more people exposed to coastal flooding by 2100.

... The findings, published today in Nature today, show that Greenland has lost 3.8 trillion tonnes of ice since 1992—enough to push global sea levels up by 10.6 millimetres. The rate of ice loss has risen from 33 billion tonnes per year in the 1990s to 254 billion tonnes per year in the last decade—a seven-fold increase within three decades.

In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that global sea levels will rise by 60 centimetres by 2100, putting 360 million people at risk of annual coastal flooding. But this new study shows that Greenland's ice losses are rising faster than expected and are instead tracking the IPCC's high-end climate warming scenario, which predicts 7 centimetres more.

Mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2018, Nature (2019)

Antarctica / Re: PIG has calved
« on: December 09, 2019, 03:42:44 PM »
 “Merde” (nice French word), even side NSM it does not go too well!!

What to watch

Click to move !

Policy and solutions / Re: Greta Thunberg's Atlantic crossing
« on: December 09, 2019, 09:34:53 AM »
If you're interested.

In 1 hour time (at 10.30 in Madrid): LIVESTREAM

"Fridays For Future" with Greta and others

Arctic sea ice / Re: Latest PIOMAS update (December 2019 )
« on: December 04, 2019, 11:39:10 AM »
Updated volume and volume-anomaly graphs. Click for the better picture.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Latest PIOMAS update (December 2019 )
« on: December 04, 2019, 11:29:36 AM »
PIOMAS has upgraded the gridded thickness data. Last date, 30th Nov, the calculated volume was 10.35[1000km3]. That is third lowest for the day (behind 2016 and 2012).

Here is the animation for November 2019.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 02, 2019, 09:14:29 PM »
Grandmother dumps burnt remains of home at Parliament House in climate change protest

A woman has brought the charred remains of her bushfire-ravaged home to Parliament House in Canberra, accusing both major political parties of failing to act on climate change.
Ms Plesman, who is now living in a Grafton hotel, said she was furious when Mr Morrison offered prayers for victims.

"I lost my house, I lost my way of life — my whole community has — and while that was happening, the PM said that he didn't want us to talk about climate change, that this wasn't the time," she said.

"We weren't allowed to mention climate change and then [Mr Morrison] said that he was praying for us.

"I got really upset and really angry because I just felt that we needed a hell of a lot more than that.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Agreement - Paris 2015 and beyond
« on: November 26, 2019, 09:28:59 PM »
The UNEP emissions gap report includes projections for fossil fuel production based on IEA and other projections (for the US, EIA) that are very friendly to the fossil fuel industry and not based in reality.

The chart for oil shows US oil production growing from the current record rate of 12.8 million barrels per day to almost double, 22 million barrels per day in 2030.  Meanwhile, frackers are going bankrupt as quickly as they can get to a courthouse to file papers.  Natural gas has such a huge supply glut that suppliers are talking about cutting production.

And less than a week after the doom and gloom report was published, we see a record drop in coal use for the year.

Global electricity production from coal is on track to fall by around 3% in 2019, the largest drop on record.

The UNEP Emissions Gap report assumes that electricity demand will continue to increase as much as it has in the past few years.  Meanwhile, China and India are seeing drops in electricity demand, in part because much of their investment in the past decade has been in coal plants, which are increasingly sitting idle.

In China, electricity demand growth has slowed to 3% this year, down from 6.7% over the past two years. Non-fossil energy sources have met almost all this demand growth.

However, 2019 has so far seen strong nuclear, wind and hydro power generation and relatively weak overall electricity demand growth, with coal use in electricity flatlining.

At the same time, Chinese power firms have been continuing to add new coal-fired power plants to the grid at a rate of one large plant every two weeks. This has driven coal-fired power plant utilisation rates – the share of hours in the year when they are running – back down to record lows of 48.6%. This is the fourth year in a row that the Chinese national average has been below 50% – and also below the global average, which stands at 54%.

Electricity demand growth in India has continued to slow dramatically across the first ten months of 2019. In October, electricity demand actually fell by 13.2% against the same month last year.

The average thermal power plant utilisation rate in India is below 58%, meaning substantial idle coal capacity.

Note that the UNEP Emissions Gap report assumes that once a fossil fuel plant is built, it will be used.  As China and India have shown, they instead sit idle while the electricity is generated from lower cost suppliers, like hydropower, solar and wind plants.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Agreement - Paris 2015 and beyond
« on: November 26, 2019, 02:36:34 PM »
UNEP have issued their 2019 emissions gap report.

Executive Summary -
Full Report -

Press release -
Geneva, 26 November 2019 – unless global greenhouse gas emissions fall by 7.6 per cent each year between 2020 and 2030, the world will miss the opportunity to get on track towards the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.

UNEP’s annual Emissions Gap Report says that even if all current unconditional commitments under the Paris Agreement are implemented, temperatures are expected to rise by 3.2°C, bringing even wider-ranging and more destructive climate impacts. Collective ambition must increase more than fivefold over current levels to deliver the cuts needed over the next decade for the 1.5°C goal.

“For ten years, the Emissions Gap Report has been sounding the alarm – and for ten years, the world has only increased its emissions,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
“There has never been a more important time to listen to the science. Failure to heed these warnings and take drastic action to reverse emissions means we will continue to witness deadly and catastrophic heatwaves, storms and pollution.”[/size]

I think we are well and truly screwed.

Antarctica / Re: Thwaites Glacier Discussion
« on: November 26, 2019, 08:42:12 AM »
Here is one series of Sentinel-1 radar images of Iceberg B22-A.  This one has huge gaps, and I can probably find a longer series, but I think it makes a good representation.

There is a lot of back-and-forth motion from East to West.  It's almost like the iceberg is caught between the two shallow areas and is just drifting back and forth between them, with currents or the tide.  That movement is minor, roughly a kilometer, but it does seem to imply that B22-A is no longer firmly grounded.

Over time there is also a gradual counter-clockwise rotation to the North.  One could imagine that as B22-A bounces back and forth in a tight space it is also slowly working its way lose, although I still think it was a long way to go if it is going to work free without breaking up.

If it does break in two, the smaller halves might be less constrained and will have more freedom of motion to drift off.

This GIF has one image from March 8, 5 images from September 16 through October 10, and 5 more images from October 28 to November 21.  There is a pause before each gap and at the end.  The things to note are the gradual movement to the North (right to left) and small back-and-forth motions East and West (up and down.)  Also, it tends to pivot counter-clockwise around the Western (bottom) end.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Agreement - Paris 2015 and beyond
« on: November 25, 2019, 03:02:05 PM »
Our 2018 ´hindcast´:

Climate change: Greenhouse gas concentrations again break records

 in 2018 concentrations of CO2 reached 407.8 parts per million (ppm), up from 405.5ppm a year previously.

This increase was above the average for the last 10 years and is 147% of the "pre-industrial" level in 1750.

Methane is now at 259% of the pre-industrial level and the increase seen over the past year was higher than both the previous annual rate and the average over the past 10 years.

Nitrous oxide is emitted from natural and human sources, including from the oceans and from fertiliser-use in farming. According to the WMO, it is now at 123% of the levels that existed in 1750.

Last year's increase in concentrations of the gas, which can also harm the ozone layer, was bigger than the previous 12 months and higher than the average of the past decade.

What concerns scientists is the overall warming impact of all these increasing concentrations. Known as total radiative forcing, this effect has increased by 43% since 1990, and is not showing any indication of stopping.


"It is worth recalling that the last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was three to five million years ago. Back then, the temperature was 2-3C warmer, sea level was 10-20m higher than now," said Mr Taalas.

For details see:

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: November 21, 2019, 11:13:53 AM »
  Massive Mildura dust storm leaves Victorian town 'unliveable' amid 40C heat

Residents say such storms now occur on a weekly basis, as topsoil from drought-ravaged farms is blown through the town
  by Naaman Zhou

Residents told Guardian Australia it was like a “wall of dust”, a danger to asthmatics, and “unliveable”. And, for many, it is not even the worst dust storm this year. In May residents reported a storm as the town’s worst in 40 years.

“This is bad but recently there have been probably been three or four a week.”

“I have been here for 10 years and have never experienced anything like this. We used to have a dust storm a year, this is now a weekly basis. At its worst I couldn’t see across the road. This time the heat, because it is 40C, coupled with the dust just made it unliveable. You couldn’t go outside.

“It is really concerning to have young children and to feel like you can’t leave your house. You’re kind of trapped.”

Appleby said the extended drought had devastated farming communities and made the dust storms more frequent.

“We haven’t seen rain in months. It is absolutely climate-induced. The drought in this region is crippling farmers. And the dust in the sky is that farmers’ topsoil. When you put it into perspective like that it is terrifying.”

Appleby, who also has a six-year-old in school, said it was scary to think that this would be the future for her children.

edit: added author

Policy and solutions / Policy and solutions in the Netherlands
« on: November 13, 2019, 03:41:41 PM »
I think it will be interesting to report on the current situation in the Netherlands.

For a long time we were not really doing to much to help the climate. Politicians preferred paper solutions to real hard caps because well that is easier for them. Then someone fought the specific law and the law in general won.

1 Nitrogen policy

A while ago, around 2015 IIRC they had to craft a new law to protect nature from nitrogen pollution. This was required because of a European Union law that had to be translated into national law.

Our genius politicians wrote a law were current emissions were compensated by fictitious future gains in controlling the pollution. This would not work as the EU law states that you actually have to do something and that is not the same as kicking the can down the road. We have some institute that advises about laws and they said then that the law was not good enough but it still got voted into an official law.

A lawsuit followed and off course the dutch government lost.

The courts decision meant that most nitrogen permits for building were invalid.
This meant that all kind of building projects can not start so this costs tons of money.

And the real solution is not easy.

They appointed a commission with Remkes as chairman. He is VVD (right liberals, dominant party now) and a former interior minister.

Some of the proposed solutions they came up with:
1) Big reduction in cattle breeding. We are very big in this. Worldwide number 2 exporter for some products which is ridiculous since we are so small. Or if you look at it in a different way that means we are hugely succesfull and efficient at it. It also makes us a lot of money.

Meausures could include buy outs of the less efficient (old) farms.

The farmers felt threatened so they went to the Hague to protest on the Malieveld (veld is field and malie is an old game, it is basically croquet-field and now the place were big protests go).

The CDA our christian centrist party which is also the traditional farmers party and the one with the minister of agriculture hated this off course.

2) A reduction of the speed limit. It is (or was but we get to that next post) 130 km/h for no good reason and reducing it is a sore point for the VVD. They got to raise the speedlimit as a reward for an election victory while it only costs money for new signs and killed some more people and contributed to more congestion overall. Lowering it is seen as a defeat. They should just frame it as finally doing something sensible.

Some weeks ago the construction workers also collected at the Malieveld for a demonstration.  And since not building costs a lot of money and leads to big problems later since much of the projects are for sorely needed housing something needed to be done. And they did lower the speed but more about that in the next post.


Just lowering the speed limit is probably not enough so we will have to do something with farming too.

But there are many other developments at the same time.


The court case of the kids vs the dutch government
is in the appeal stage. Dutch government lost the first round. They are appealing because they think they need some freedom to solve issues. You can read above how well that goes so it would be nice if they lose the appeal too.

Currently i have no idea about the timeline off that.


Closing the gas fields.

After years of extraction the earthquake damage in Groningen lead to the early closure of the big gas fields. This means we will have to compensate (NAM is already scouting small fields) and we will have to change much of our infrastructure. Basically almost everyone is on the gas net and we use it for heating and cooking.

We will have to build the new houses differently and we have to adapt many of the old ones.

There will be test areas and one of them should be near me.

4 Something with PFAS 

This is sort of the same problem as the nitrogen thing with a EU law an a local norm iirc but i will get back to that.

5) Adapting the grid

The grid is built to where the power was needed historically which means that it is not strong enough in the periphal regions to tie up all solar projects that people want to develop.


I have quite a collection of newspaper articles and reactions by the readers so i will have to sort them by time and by issue.

All kinds of interesting things pop up. For example at the german side of the border they get a subsidy to convert from coal to gas while on the dutch side we are removing the gas.

It will be interesting to see how the debate goes in this stamp of a country.
Plenty of action (hopefully helpful) up ahead.


Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: November 13, 2019, 11:54:47 AM »
Venice Underwater as Exceptional Tide Sweeps Through Canal City

Venice was hit by the highest tide in more than 50 years late Tuesday, with tourists wading through flooded streets to seek shelter as a fierce wind whipped up waves in St. Mark's Square.

The exceptionally intense "acqua alta," or high waters, peaked at 1.87 metres (six feet) as the flood alarm sounded across the Italian city of canals, the tide monitoring centre said.

Only once since records began in 1923 has the water crept even higher, reaching 1.94 metres in 1966.

The exceptional flood, which he blamed on climate change, was "a wound that will leave a permanent mark".

... Water taxis attempting to drop people off at the glamorous and historic hotels along the Grand Canal discovered the gangways had been washed away, and had to help passengers clamber through windows.

At the sumptuous Gritti Palace, which has played host to royals and celebrities over the decades, including Ernest Hemingway, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, the decadent bar was largely underwater.

Rich tapestries were piled onto tables, while the waters lapped around velvet sofas and leather-bound books.

... Pierpaolo Campostrini, a member of St. Mark's council, said the scale of the flooding on Tuesday had only been seen five times in the long history of the basilica, where construction began in 828 and which was rebuilt after a fire in 1063.

Most worryingly, Campostrini said, three of those five episodes occurred in the last 20 years, most recently in 2018.

Permafrost / Re: Permafrost general science thread
« on: November 11, 2019, 01:58:17 AM »
Arctic Shifts To a Carbon Source Due to Winter Soil Emissions

A NASA-funded study suggests winter carbon emissions in the Arctic may be adding more carbon into the atmosphere each year than is taken up by Arctic vegetation, marking a stark reversal for a region that has captured and stored carbon for tens of thousands of years.

The study, published Oct. 21 in Nature Climate Change, warns that winter carbon dioxide loss from the world's permafrost regions could increase by 41% over the next century if human-caused greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current pace. Carbon emitted from thawing permafrost has not been included in the majority of models used to predict future climates.

"These findings indicate that winter carbon dioxide loss may already be offsetting growing season carbon uptake, and these losses will increase as the climate continues to warm," said Woods Hole Research Center Arctic Program Director Sue Natali, lead author of the study. "Studies focused on individual sites have seen this transition, but until now we haven't had a clear accounting of the winter carbon balance throughout the entire Arctic region."

Researchers estimate a yearly loss of 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon from the permafrost region during the winter season from 2003 to 2017 compared to the estimated average of 1 billion metric tons of carbon taken up during the growing season. ... "The warmer it gets, the more carbon will be released into the atmosphere from the permafrost region, which will add to further warming," ... . If fossil fuel use is modestly reduced over the next century, winter carbon dioxide emissions would increase 17% compared with current emissions. Under a scenario where fossil fuel use continues to increase at current rates through the middle of the century, winter carbon dioxide emissions from permafrost would rise by 41%.

Reposted here because it is a rather significant find about permafrost.


Stuff that was bolded not long ago.

We predict that the PCF will change the arctic from a carbon sink to a source after the mid‐2020s

Well that failed.

Furthermore, there is high confidence that climate scenarios that involve mitigation (e.g. RCP4.5) will help to dampen the response of carbon emissions from the Arctic and boreal regions.

What really helps if you force the world onto that path. Or something even better.

Basically there is only one important scenario, the one we call the world.

We should go zero quicker and more coordinated and employ a bunch of cheap sensible carbon capture techniques ASAP which is ofc not going to happen.

The earlier 2020 date triggered me because one of the goals always was to prevent things like this from happening and now it is already here.

Eyeballing Mauna Loa CO2 anything over 370 is bad. So that is an interesting challenge.

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2019 sea ice area and extent data
« on: October 30, 2019, 08:06:16 AM »
I attach three tables which show the number of days sea ice extent has been below 5M, 6M and 7M km2 around the minimum in a year.
  • 2019 extent was < 5M km2 for 64 days, which is the second highest amount, just 1 day behind 2012.
  • 2019 extent was < 6M km2 for 86 days, which beats the old record of 77 days set by 2007 & 2012 by a big margin.
  • 2019 extent was < 7M km2 for 100 days, which is the tied record together with 2016.

Antarctica / Re: PIG has calved
« on: October 28, 2019, 05:13:53 AM »
Here are two close-up Sentinel-1 radar images of the margin between Pine Island Glacier (PIG) and the Southern Ice Shelf (SIS) from April 11 and October 26, 2019, and a GIF comparing the two so movement can be more easily seen.

I've labeled the first image to show the areas that are considered to be the PIG, SIS, and the South West Tributary (SWT.)  They are all part of one big ice shelf, but they move relative to one another so it is important to make the distinction.  The Southern Shear Margin (SSM) rift is the continuation of a rift that started 60km upstream in 1999.  I show that the rift ends short of the ice front.

There is calving from the SIS where it meets the SSM rift.  I think it is reasonable to assume that when the rift reaches the ice front that the "melange" of ice from the calving will eventually float off and we may see additional calving from the SIS causing a retreat of the calving front into the SIS.

I do think that Stephen is correct to call the terminal iceberg a cork, although if the PIG calves it will become a moot point.   It is probably safe to say that within the next six months that either the PIG will calve or the cork will "pop."

But I do not see the SSM rift or the SIS calving as a threat to PIG since the northern margin is faster that the southern and it drives the calving of PIG.  It is however potentially a threat to the SIS and the South West Tributary.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: October 27, 2019, 01:19:00 PM »
Thousands of Homeowners in Fire Zones are Losing Their Insurance

ORINDA, Calif. (KGO) -- It's getting harder for thousands to find fire insurance. The disastrous blazes have insurance companies dropping customers living in wildfire areas-- and many new homeowners can't buy a policy in a wildfire area.

The state Department of Insurance released some astonishing figures. Insurance companies refused to renew more than 167,000 homeowner policies last year.

That's up six percent statewide -- and up 10 percent in wildfire areas alone. Statistics show about nine thousand residents in disaster zones lost their homeowners insurance in 2018. They were living in or near one of the major fires of the past two years. Also, state officials say an estimated 88,000 homeowners living in fire-prone areas -- that is rural, wooded, hot and windy -- lost their coverage last year even if there was no actual fire near them.

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2019 sea ice area and extent data
« on: October 20, 2019, 08:35:38 AM »
Compared to the 2010s average 2019 is 10 days behind, compared to the 2000s average 2019 is 31 days behind. A comparison with the 1990s and the 1980s is not possible, because their minima are higher than today's value.

Climate crisis will not be discussed at G7 next year, says Trump official

The climate crisis will not be formally discussed at the G7 summit in June next year in Miami, Donald Trump’s acting White House chief of staff said on Thursday.

“Climate change will not be on the agenda,” Mick Mulvaney told reporters, without elaborating.

... “It’s deeply ironic that the US state most vulnerable immediately to climate change impacts will host a meeting at which global leaders will be forced by the US to largely ignore the topic”

Mulvaney announced that the 2020 summit of seven of the world’s most powerful industrialised countries will take place at the National Doral Miami, one of the president’s golf resorts in Florida, despite widespread ethics concerns and an ongoing impeachment inquiry into Trump’s conduct.

Consequences / Re: Hurricane Season 2019
« on: October 15, 2019, 09:20:15 PM »
2,667 Bags of Radioactive Waste From Fukushima Nuke Disaster Washed Away by Typhoon Hagibis

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As Typhoon Hagibis hammered Japan on Saturday (Oct. 12), thousands of bags containing radioactive waste have reportedly been carried into a local Fukushima stream by floodwaters, potentially having a devastating environmental impact.

According to Asahi Shimbun, a temporary storage facility containing some 2,667 bags stuffed with radioactive contaminants from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was unexpectedly inundated by floodwaters brought by Typhoon Hagibis. Torrential rain flooded the storage facility and released the bags into a stream 100 meters away.

Officials from Tamara City in Fukushima Prefecture said that each bag is approximately one cubic meter in size. Authorities were only able to recover six of the bags by 9 p.m. on Oct. 12, and it is uncertain how many remain on the loose while the possible environmental impact is being assessed.

... In Hakone, in Kanagawa Prefecture, 37.1 inches of rain fell in 24 hours on Saturday, setting a record for that location, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. In addition, 27 inches fell in heavily forested Shizuoka Prefecture southwest of Tokyo. In higher elevations just west of downtown Tokyo, 23.6 inches of rain fell, which was also a record.

Consequences / Re: Hurricane Season 2019
« on: October 14, 2019, 11:04:44 PM »
Global Warming and Hurricanes
An Overview of Current Research Results
F. Summary for Atlantic Hurricanes and Global Warming
In summary, neither our model projections for the 21st century nor our analyses of trends in Atlantic hurricane and tropical storm activity support the notion that greenhouse gas-induced warming leads to large increases in either tropical storm or overall hurricane numbers in the Atlantic. While one of our modeling studies projects a large (~100%) increase in Atlantic category 4-5 hurricanes over the 21st century, we estimate that such an increase would not be detectable until the latter half of the century, and we still have only low confidence that such an increase will occur in the Atlantic basin, based on an updated survey of subsequent modeling studies by our and other groups.    A recent study finds that the observed increase in an Atlantic hurricane rapid intensification metric over 1982-2009 is highly unusual compared to one climate model’s simulation of internal multidecadal climate variability, and is consistent in sign with that model’s expected long-term response to anthropogenic forcing.   These climate change detection results for rapid intensification metrics are suggestive but not definitive, and more research is needed for more confident conclusions.
Absence of  95% conclusive  evidence that it is happening is not the same as evidence it is not happening.
The physics of tropical cyclones  suggest warmer seas will result in stronger storms .
Physics  also suggests we will see warm core storms migrate poleward as the oceans warm .
Both of these effects are already apparent in what reliable data we have.
Waiting for such effects to hit an arbitrary level of statistical significance before we act means we would be  to far along to halt the changes. 


Antarctica / Re: Thwaites Glacier Discussion
« on: October 14, 2019, 08:45:51 PM »
I think it's time for an overview of the whole ice front of Thwaites Glacier so the discussion of various areas can be put in context.  The image below is from October 4 and I discuss the major sections from top to bottom (East to West.)  The image size is 112 km on a side and the width of the front as a whole is about 120 km.

Eastern Calving Front:  This is my designation.  It is usually considered to be part of the Eastern Ice Shelf, but this section does not seem to be directly pinned to the offshore ridge.  However it is slow moving because the ice behind it is probably affected by the pinned ice shelf.

Eastern Ice Shelf:  Ice that is caught directly between the glacier behind it and the undersea ridge in front of it.  This shelf was found to have thinned from 10 to 33 percent between 1978 and 2009 after early films of ice penetrating radar were recently digitized.

Melange:  Irregularly shaped ice that has calved from a transition zone between the slow moving Eastern Shelf and the fast moving Tongue.  It tends to stay trapped between the shelf and the tongue before reaching open water after 5-10 years.

Tongue:  Ice that calves from the fasting moving part of Thwaites Glacier, often called the Main Trunk, and tends to stay in formation until it passes over the submerged offshore ridge.  The trunk and the tongue move at about 5 km/year.  The ice tends to calve in long transverse pieces about 10 km long and 1 km wide, which then breakup into roughly 1km squares and get glued to each other with sea ice over many winters before finally breaking up.

Western Calving Front:  This used to be a slower moving part of the Tongue, but now the calving ice tends to float free although it doesn't always move away quickly.  There is usually a lot of ice just offshore combined with ice from the neighboring Haynes Glacier and the Crosson Ice Shelf fed by the Pope and Smith Glaciers.  The Western Calving Front is very close to the Thwaites grounding line in this sector, about a km at points.  The worst case scenario for Thwaites would be if the entire front were to degrade into a calving front like this sector, just dumping icebergs out near the grounding line and providing no buttressing to the glacier.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: October 09, 2019, 05:00:33 PM »
The Guardian reports on a major study into oil and gas companies' CO2 emissions since 1965.
35percent emitted by 20 companies and their products.

And they knew about climate damage by CO2 from c. 1960-1965.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The caa-greenland mega crack
« on: October 09, 2019, 01:06:57 PM »
Today's worldview viirs brightness temperature, band15, night with yesterday's amsr2-uhh inset.
click for full resolution

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