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Messages - Xulonn

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And where might "here abouts" be located?

Consequences / Re: Hurricane season 2018
« on: May 27, 2018, 01:46:18 AM »
I'm a retired American expat who has lived in Boquete, Panama for nearly 6.5 years.  Boquete sits in a rainforest valley at about 3,200' (975m) elevation on the eastern slopes of 11,400' (3,474m) Volcan Baru, the tallest mountain in Panama.  We are also about halfway down from the ~8,000' (2,438m) peaks of the Cordillera de Talamanca mountain range - the "continental divide" that separates us from the Caribbean side. 

I've been trying to get a handle on our climate/weather by monitoring the local Weather Underground Palmira/Boquete PWS (Personal Weather Station), which is owned by a friend who lives just up the hill from my casita.  I also monitor the nullschool dynamic global wind map, Atlantic tropics synoptic chart, and satellite IR cloud images.  It appears that the north-south seasonal movement of the ITCZ and it's Monsoon Trough is not the only factor that controls our rainy season (April - November) and dry season (December - March) . 

The biggest clue for me for when we get a really wet spell is the "bending" of the trade winds to the northwest rather than blasting over the mountains from Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean is a major factor.  I think it is possible that if the patterns of the number and intensity tropical of tropical cyclones originating in the western Caribbean changes due to AGW/CC, that will affect weather patterns and climate here in central America.

The trades in the western Caribbean have been flowing to the NW for a couple of weeks now, and are now feeding STS Alberto, which is even drawing in Pacific moisture over Nicaragua.  Pacific moisture is flowing over Panama from the SW, bringing heavy rains and T-storms almost every day lately.   

In the past two weeks, we've had over 30" (768mm) of rain here, but fortunately, with the rugged topography, porous volcanic soil in this area, and many big roadside drainage ditches, we barely have puddles, much less flooding.

The politics / Re: Presidential poll for US citizens on the forum
« on: November 25, 2016, 06:06:53 PM »
Trump's approval rating is now 44%....the lowest of any incoming president since Gallup has done polling on it.

I would NOT BE SURPRISED....if that were to slip into the 30ish area (mid 20's to low 30's) over the next 12 months...

Buddy,  I am a 75 y/o American living as an expat in Panama. I have lived in good times and have few regrets.  Although I am not wealthy, it appears that I will be able to live out my life in relative comfort.  I had a mild heart attack earlier this year, and realize that my time on this planet is limited - but I fear for the next generations.
I agree on the likelihood that Trumps ratings will drop steadily. I believe that less than 1/4 of the "eligible" U.S. voters actually voted for him, and he lost the popular vote by over 2 million.   

The American right wing - a corporate funded and run sector - has used hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the finest persuasive propaganda and media techniques money can buy.  With the new and very persuasive powers of the internet, they pushed propaganda like the highly successful "Put Hillary the liar in Jail" meme.  This Hillary and jail meme is a "huge" obsession with Trump fans, and he will lose support as he abandons this and other campaign promises.  Also, Trump is not "draining the Washington DC swamp of insiders and lobbyists" as he promised to do, but rather he expanding the boundaries of that swamp and increasing it's influence.

Trump cannot "bring the jobs back" because many of them don't exist.  He believes in stiffing workers and not honoring contracts, tries to cheat the unions at his hotels, and is not likely to support increasing the minimum wage requirements.  He buys foreign goods instead of buying U.S. made products.  Based on such facts, it is illogical - even insane - for people to believe that he would bring good-paying manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.  He can't - and he won't do these things - but how will his supporters react when he tries to pass the blame for his failures?

More and more semi-skilled and skilled manufacturing and repetitive jobs continue to disappear due to replacement by robotics and automation.  There are many people in the U.S. and elsewhere with less than average IQ - after all, and IQ of 100 is "average" and about one-third of the population is between 85 and 115 IQ.   (Like population issues, this topic is uncomfortable for many people to discuss.)  Many modern technology jobs require higher intelligence and sitting in a cubicle.  But even high-tech jobs are not immune to pay degradation.  I went from $55/hour as senior desktop support tech for Windows, and senior Novell network administrator in 2000 - to leaving the field when I couldn't get a job above $12/hr in 2001.  (And of course, being 60 y/o and slower and les efficient than the young hot-shot techies didn't help.)

People of "less than average" intelligence could in the past work at well-paying union and non-union manufacturing jobs, buy nice cars and houses, and live as friends and neighbors of many of the "more intelligent" segments of human societies.  In the futurist and utopian novels and books I read in my youth, the "workers" - who did the hard, dangerous and often boring manufacturing jobs - would be replaced by robots and automation - and that is exactly what is happening.  The fatal flaw in the reasoning of those futurist writings was that they expected the working class to be freed to pursue art, poetry and other intellectual and cultural pursuits - which requires that the "system" (governments?) would have to provide incomes to the displaced workers, because the wealth would be created by the machines, not the labor of humans. 

We all know how that turned out - rather than supporting the displaced workers, the wealth flowed - and continues to flow - into the bank accounts of the uber wealthy - the real "elites."  And while their accumulation of wealth continues to grow, they have managed to deflect the logic and reason about blue-collar job losses towards blaming "trade agreements" and ethnic and racial hatred.  The very people who have been duped and robbed of their livelihoods believe that they can and will be rich and successful themselves - if only they work with the Tea Party folks and elect and support the very people who took their jobs away - the corporate interests.  This is freaking insane - and I don't know what can be done about it - especially since the concept of politicians and judges as public servants rather than corporate toadies has been pretty much lost.  Do those rare remaining dedicated public servants like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, and some of the new incoming Democratic women senators stand a chance of holding back the tide?  If their job performance is strong as they oppose the policies and practices of Trump and his incoming administration, will they inspire voters to send them "reinforcements" two years from now in the next election cycle?   

I could go on with the details, probably for many, many pages, but I will stop and summarize thusly: 

In the past few decades, there have been fundamental changes in the financial, manufacturing, and communication sectors of modern western society.  These changes have caused permanent  job losses for large numbers of people and the reduction or elimination of reasonable income for this segment.  Those people cannot - or will not - face reality and recognize the true causes of manufacturing job losses and the redistribution of wealth to the already wealthy.  Plus, human psychology hinders the ability of many to recognize the present and future threats of environmental degradation and AGW/CC. 

With narcissism and greed dominating politics more and more, sacrifice and a reduction in energy and resource use are not popular ideas.  Right-wing and nationalist liars are ascending to positions of power in many democracies around the world, leaving those who rely on reason, science, and logic to chart a course into the future with a very difficult task.  The legend of Sisyphus has taken on new meaning as I watch the Trump and other nationalists and greedy monsters replace leaders who at least tried to make even a small bit of progress towards dealing with the problems that we humans face.  Even if the U.S. turns the politics around a bit in two and four years, the boulders of positive progress are right now rolling back down the hill. 


Cross-posted at Dr. Ricky Rood's Wunderground Climate Change Blog

Policy and solutions / Re: Underwater suspension tunnels
« on: June 28, 2016, 09:46:39 PM »
"Sam Carana" is not a real person.  The name is suspected as being a front for a collective of bloggers with unspecified qualifications and experience.  This prevents people with opposing views - including the AGW/CC denialist community - from attacking the credentials and qualifications of the anonymous authors.  Better to be challenged and be forced defend one's position rather than hiding behind anonymity.  Many who support the non-person "Sam Carana Collective" also disparage scientific peer-review - just like the denialists. 

You should refer to that source as the "Sam Carana Collective."  Blogging entries and other postings on the internet attributed to "Sam Carana" range from good to idiotic, and you cannot challenge him or her directly, because there is no singular him or her. 

The "Sam Carana Collective" response to your tunnels proposal is vague, without substance and detail, and therefore worthless on it's face.  Moving heat around does not solve the problem of massive amounts of heat entering the earth's biosphere. 

Do you plan to subject the regulars at the ASI blog to the same non-scientific, non-engineered idiotic blather and claptrap that got you perma-banned from commenting Wunderground blogs?

AGW/CC is a serious problem.  Those studying its science and political aspects don't need the distraction of unsupported, unscientific speculation.  Such blather belongs with the tin foil hat groups. 

The rest / Re: Europe - Collapse dynamics
« on: June 28, 2016, 09:10:48 PM »
Scribblers' writing style makes him sound like a fear-mongering rabble-rouser.

But what if he is correct? 

Policy and solutions / Re: Underwater suspension tunnels
« on: June 22, 2016, 03:58:39 AM »
Changing the name of a bad idea does not make if a good idea.  It's kind of like wrapping a dog turd in gold foil and calling it a candy bar!!

This promotion of this 15-year old pipe-dream (gulf stream underwater suspension tunnels), which has zero engineering to support it, and has received no interest or support from the scientific and engineering communities, is nothing more than Duning-Kruger-based blather from a layperson.  The promoter of the "idea" has been thankfully been permanently banned from Dr. Ricky Rood's climate science blog at Weather Underground where he used the handle "cyclonebuster."   He complains about his Wunderground perma-ban on his Facebook page, but there he is free to babble as much as he likes about how humanity is destroying the biosphere because they will not listen to him. 

I know that over the past couple of years, OLN, you and I tried to engage him in discussions and prod him to support his idea with logic and engineering at Dr. Rood's blog.  Your challenges to his ideas are here in this thread for all to see.  Unfortunately, we never seemed to get anything in response except superficial comments and attempted put-downs for our failure to recognize his brilliance.  I hope he doesn't focus his monomania on this forum now, but it's likely that we will only see an occasional pop-up promo for his Facebook group.

Glaciers / Re: Glaciers worldwide decline faster than ever
« on: April 26, 2016, 09:07:26 PM »
Although mountain glaciers are not that important with respect to SLR, they have their own set of serious consequences coming for human civilization.  I don't think that many people - even those who accept the reality of rapid AGW/CC - realize the dire implications of mountain glacier melt and average snowpack reduction as in California's Sierra Nevada mountains. 

I have not found a paper or study with a detailed analysis of world-wide human dependency on these water sources and the implications of the dynamics of the involved hydrology  trends.  However, a post at the the Seametrics blog (,although without citation, states that: 

"More than one-sixth of the world population relies on glaciers and seasonal snow packs for water resources." 

That's more than one billion people! 

The origin and primary flow of water for many South American and Asian rivers depends on Andes and Himalayan glaciers respectively, although countries in the lower elevation rain-forest regions of some watersheds can be lightly to heavily supplemented by monsoonal and other tropical rainfall patterns. 

In a warming world, river flow in some regions will likely increase as glacial melt increases, but eventually decrease as glaciers shrink  - lose volume - past a certain point.  The temporary increase will encourage population growth and development, but then slam the affected areas later with water shortages.  Coupled with "water grabs" via new dams on rivers such as the Mekong, permanent and irreversible flow reductions may already be happening, especially in places such as  in China, Pakistan, India, and SE Asia. 

With a significant increase in atmospheric moisture content capacity with each degree rise in average global temps (7%?), and a likely shift to more frequent heavy regional precipitation events alternating with droughts that are likely to be severe and extended, we may be on the threshold of some serious civilization-impacting weather events and short-term climate changes.     

Although SLR will be easy for everyone to see as it kicks into high gear, the quantification of glacier melt on river flows, coupled with the impacts of weather patterns and drought cycles, will be much more difficult to quantify and assign attribution. 

Consequences / Re: Hansen et al paper: 3+ meters SLR by 2100
« on: April 16, 2016, 06:50:57 PM »
Going from the current SLR rate of 36mm (1.4") per decade to a total of 3m (10') by 2050 would require a very serious acceleration of the rate.   

3m (118") cumulative by 2050 (34 years from now) years is an average of almost 823mm (32") per decade or 82mm (3.2") per year. 

(Recent SLR of about 8" to date is factored in.) 

3 inches per year would be noticed very quickly by all in low, flat coastal regions - such as  Annapolis, a city on Chesapeake Bay in the eastern U.S. 


That is the best glacier/calving front animation I've seen here yet, Wipneus.

I really appreciate your efforts and continuously improving skills. 

The Jakobshavn calving event in James Blalog's documentary film "Chasing Ice" is riveting and spectacular on my 40" LCD TV, and must have been even more incredible in a movie theater. 

I don't think anyone who has seen the video of that long, drawn-out event event will ever forget it.  The camera angles,excellent sound and the ponderous slow-motion visual effect of that event makes every other calving event video I have watched seem insignificant.  For me, Jakobshavn has become an icon that represents the significance of the melting of the world's land ice. 

Here is a link to the official YouTube clip from the film. 

Excellent image, Wipneus, but it is an optical illusion for me.

When I first looked at it, my brain interpreted the icebergs as depressions, and not the raised objects that they really are - and that illusion was persistent. 

Assuming the the bright side of each iceberg is the southern "hillside" which is illuminated by the high-latitude, low-angle sunlight, I know intellectually how the icebergs should appear. 

Like classic optical illusion illustrations, when I stared at it long enough, I finally saw the icebergs as raised objects.   Does anyone else suffer from the same visual misinterpretations?

The forum / Re: Firefox is blocking the Arctic Sea Ice Forum
« on: March 22, 2016, 03:08:13 PM »
I was able to track down the problem for my laptop - Windows 7 running the free Avast virus + internet security application. 

The problem wasn't just with the Firefox browser - it occurred with Chrome as well.  It turned out to be an Avast HTTPS scanning issue.  I disabled HTTPS scanning by Avast, and everything works again.   

Here's a link to the Avast settings tweak from Firefox:

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2016 sea ice area and extent data
« on: March 21, 2016, 02:59:07 PM »
I am curious about the relationship between area and extent as the seasonal melting begins.  Currently, sea ice area is at a record low, and extent is not. 

When solid sheets of ice are broken up, it is intuitively obvious that the pieces would move about, open water would separate them, and extent would increase, as would the melting rate due to the increases in the total area of ice exposed to sea water.  (I am aware that the most common ice concentration cut-off point is 15%, meaning an "area" of "extent" might contain up to 85% open water.) 

Therefore if a 100km2 piece of contiguous ice fractured into small bits, and 40% of it melted, a theoretical maximum extent of 400km2 could replace 100km2 of area.  Would this mean that area would have decreased by100km2 and net extent could have increased by theoretical maximum of 300km2? (400km2 of new extent minus 100km2 reduction in area, which is included in extent.)

Of course, such a theoretical maximum would never be seen, because the ice would not all magically spread out and stop at 15% concentration.  Which is why I asked if anyone has graphed the actual relationship between area and extent.   

And a bonus question - how is the difference between "slush" and solid ice determined?  Is slush included in extent but not area?

The USA denialists have been so effective that now we are suppose to be grateful that the USA public appreciation of climate change risk is approximately back where it was in 1989.  At this rate of progress we will be at AR10 before we muster sufficient public support to get USA policy makers to take effective (carbon pricing combined with regulations) action:

Interesting that the graph seems to indicate that heat and weather disruptions of El Niño are apparently triggering public concern about AGW/CC again now as it did after the 1997-98 El Niño.  The current steep rise in concern might continue for a bit, but if things calm down somewhat after this El Niño, could opinions shift to less concern again? 

Of course, the next major hurricane-related storm surge affecting Miami or any other low-lying Eastern U.S. region will probably also trigger a rise in public concern. 

I don't a lot of detail about the dynamics of the Miami area salt water/fresh water boundaries, but is is possible that rising sea levels could reduce that ability of "natural processes" to flush the salt water out of fresh water systems after a major hurricane storm surge?

The forum / Firefox is blocking the Arctic Sea Ice Forum
« on: March 17, 2016, 04:21:31 PM »
While reading new replies this morning, Firefox suddenly decided to block my return to the unread replies page as an "HTTPS" site.  It was the familiar "connection is not secure" error, but now the option to override or bypass the error is no longer there. 

Firefox then would not allow me to access the main page as well   I got around the problem by removing the "S" and loading as "HTTP"

Why are there problems with the Arctic Sea Ice Forum HTTPS security certificates?

Consequences / Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« on: March 06, 2016, 05:43:45 PM »
Looking at NOAA's California Nevada River Forecast Center interactive map [], the only red dot (indicating flooding) I see in the entire included region is near the mouth of the Navarro River at the central Mendocino County coast.  This is one of those local, short north coast redwood/douglas fir forest rivers in rugged terrain that is not dammed, and not important with respect to the state's drought.  Most other NorCal rivers are predicted to rise significantly, but remain well below flood levels. 

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2015 melting season
« on: July 27, 2015, 04:13:02 AM »
Unfortunately, "ice cap' is not a scientific term, and I have seen it used in different ways.  Indeed, definitions found via Google are not consistent, although it seems that more refer to an ice cap as ice on land.  But - try to convince someone who is talking about the "Arctic ice cap" that they are wrong if they are talking about sea ice.   

The "polar ice caps" are generally used to describe the Antarctic ice sheets and Arctic sea ice...(I have even seen the term"polar sea ice cap" used.)

The "great northern and southern hemisphere ice caps" are the Antarctic ice sheets and the Greenland ice sheet. 

I try to use the terms "ice sheets", "sea ice", and "glaciers" and avoid using the term "ice cap".

So in this thread, we talk about Arctic sea ice, and the Greenland ice sheet and glaciers.   

Policy and solutions / Re: Underwater suspension tunnels
« on: July 22, 2015, 01:05:17 AM »
This idea has been bandied about since 2007 by Patrick McNulty (Patrick12 here and Cyclonebuster at Wunderground).  I mention his name, because today he has been bugging the regulars at Dr. Ricky Rood's Weather Underground climate blog to help him identify Neven by his full name, found it, and published it.  He claims it is important to know a blogger's full name.  I think he is trying to get you to "promote his idea."

From my perspective, I cannot see that the infamous Cyclonebuster "tunnels" idea has merit at this time.  He spammed Dr.Rood's blog with it many times, and is no longer allowed to do that.  In eight years, there have been no engineering studies, feasibility studies or anything else that could remotely be referred to as rigorous research and analysis. 

The only "testing" of the concept was a simplistic "prototype" gadget with a few PVC pipes in a local creek.  ()  Yet it is touted as "THE SOLUTION" to global warming.  The purveyor of this primitive and untested scheme gets upset when challenged and asked for more information or evidence of serious development.  After eight years, it is still at ground zero. 

I see underwater suspension tunnels as an interesting basic principle, but its feasibility is supported only by an extremely primitive prototype.  Such a large marine geoengineering project based on a floating monstrosity in the Gulf Stream would be massive, complex and expensive, and require constant expensive maintenance.  I cannot see it surviving major hurricanes.  No real engineer seems interested in pursuing it after eight years of promotion on blogs. 

Below is the only graphic of the proposal - the only document that goes beyond generalized  discussions of the concept.  I am not aware of any additional "engineering" for this proposal which is touted as a sure way to reverse global warming: 

If anyone sees merit in this "tunnels"proposal, I will listen to any rational and logical arguments. 

Consequences / Re: 6 meters of SLR?
« on: July 17, 2015, 09:37:16 PM »
Jester, are you familiar with ecomodernism and it's relationship to AGW/CC?  Ecomodernism is a new concept to me, and I think I am beginning to understand it.  A recent blog post by Sou at HotWhopper disusses it with respect to AGW/CC and denialism. 

The basic premise seems to be that ecomodernists are anthropocentric, and still believe that humans are superior to nature.  Therefore, via the application of modern science and technology, we can manipulate the planetary environment to maximize the utilization of natural resources, ignore nature and biodiversity, and by so doing, benefit modern civilization.

I feel that such a illogical and egotistical philosophy is not much better than AGW/CC denialism.  Rather than refusing to recognize the problems associated with AGW/CC, ecomodernists believe that humans and their technology can rectify and control the situation. 

Unfortunately, I also believe that they will be able to convince many people around the world who are clinging to their desire for a "thriving modern technological society"  that technological fixes are the way to go.  This is what many people want to hear, and the worship of technology in modern societies will allow that to trump efforts to reduce carbon emissions significantly.   Embracing attempts at massive-scale technological fixes (geoengineering) will probably be the final actof futility before humans cross thresholds into disastrous warming and climate change.

We don't know the timing of the approaching harmful effects to humans and their civilization, but sea level rise in the 21st century will probably finally drive the reality home.  Especially when regions and cities are flooded, recognized to be not practical to rebuild, as was discussed up thread, are abandoned.  Associated economic disasters will mean at that at some point, there will not be funds or an economy to deal with the situation.  The ecological side-effects will be large. 

I see a real life dystopian future ahead for humans, including massive dieoffs.  But I also see hope in that I believe the human race will survival and evolve.  There is no way our current civilization can survive, and I understand why scientists such as Jason Box are fighting depression and struggling to maintain their mental health. 

(After Jason's recent tweet about humans being f..k'd if methane emissions kick into high gear, the despair and depression among climate scientists has been brought to light.  And that is a whole 'nuther story that is beginning to surface and be discussed.) 

Consequences / Re: General Drought Stuff
« on: July 01, 2015, 08:06:26 PM »
I enjoy miscalculations getting propagated  ::) 
96.3°F (34.6°C)
I presume the 34.6°C is correct (from context); the equivalent should be 94.3°F.

Good eye, Tor. 

However, Dr. Masters corrected the quote - even before you typed your comment.  He's a "typical" scientist - mistakes are made, pointed out, accepted, and corrected. 

Thanks, I fixed it to say:

The mercury hit 96.3°F (35.7°C) at Kew Gardens, the nearest recording site, topping the previous record of 94.3°F (34.6°C) on June 26, 1976.

Dr. M.

This is unlike the tactics AGW/WW deniers that infest the blogosphere, where wrongs are seldom corrected - even after nearly half of a century as with the misinterpretation of the "global cooling predictions".)

Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic Sea Ice Loss--Reversible?
« on: April 29, 2015, 05:49:28 PM »
I wasn't aware that science was telling us that if the ice went away, it would never return, even if we mitigated AGW/CC and global average temps went back to their more suitable (for human habitability) recent historical levels.

I thought that the Arctic sea ice had melted and returned at the end of warm periods in the past, and I had no reason to believe that it wouldn't recover again if the current AGW/CC event was reversed.  (However, I don't see mitigation and a warming trend reversal as likely in the near future.   

As expected, the findings presented in this paper were quickly - and grossly - cherry-picked and misinterpreted by Anthony Watts at his WUWT denialist website.  His fraudulent gloating ignored the fact the the paper stated that mitigation and a reversal of the current warming trend was required for ice to recover.  However, his b.s. was joyously celebrated as true by his dumbed down denialist minions, and as expected, Sou at HotWhopper quickly demolished this latest WUWT idiocy.   

Although I have not read the paper, I don't really see significance or controversy here.

The rest / Re: New Nicaragua and Panama canals
« on: December 05, 2014, 04:29:10 PM »
Hola Anne.  Good post with links about an important subject, but please change the title to reflect that your topic is the new Nicaragua Canal, and not about the new Panama Canal, which is a different project. 

The new Nicaragua Canal is a provocative geo-political gambit by the Chinese working in secret with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his ruling party, the Sandinistas. 

Edit:  The Nicaragua Canal is also referred to as the "Nicaragua Grand Canal", or the "Nicaragua Interoceanic Grand Canal"

My handle is Xulonn, a name that I associate with my woodturning hoppy and my website - but my identity is not a secret.  My name is David van Harn, and I am a retired American - a pensionado in the local lingo - who lives a modest life here in the cool, green Western Panamanian town of Boquete not far from the Costa Rica border.  My academic background is a BS from U.C. Berkeley in Conservation of Natural Resources that I earned in 1976 at the age of 36. Conservation and ecology are subjects that I have been interested in all of my adult life, so I view the Nicaragua Canal project from that perspective. 

The widening, new locks, and new water conservation measures for our canal near Panama City are an "upgrade" - but they still call it "the new Panama Canal." 

The Nicaragua Canal project is unrelated to Panama, except as a source of concern - Panama could lose revenue to traffic using the Nicaragua Canal. 

The new Panama Canal will be competed in a year or so, and is simply a widening of the current canal to handle larger ships - the "post-Panamax" class.  There's a good page on container ships on Wikipedia.

The monster gates for the locks are arriving and currently being installed.  Also new is a system of new water-conserving ponds that will make the "upgraded" canal more water efficient, because everything depends on Lake Gatun having enough water to operate the locks. 

The New Panama Canal will accommodate the much larger post-Panamax ships, but not the "Ultra Large Container Vessels (ULCV's). 

The Spiegel article on the Nicaragua canal is excellent, and it covers most of the issues - political environmental, and technical - associated with this important project.  The Nicaragua Canal will have a global impact. 

I plan to monitor this thread and participate in it because it concerns the country in which I live - and the environmental, social and political issues are of concern to many people around the world. 

It could get ugly.     

PS:  Don't forget that Mother Nature, responding to the massive release of CO2 by humans, is preparing to open her own Atlantic <-> Pacific water transit route - the Arctic Ocean's northwest and northeast passages - for at least a couple of months per year in near future.

Policy and solutions / Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« on: November 07, 2014, 06:21:22 PM »
There are massive U.S. subsidies for the FF industry, so I don't really think lower carbon emitting alternatives have much chance without massive matching government support. 

And alternatives won't get subsidies with the FF mega-corporations controlling the Republicans who control the budget. 

Only a large number of expensive and destructive weather and climate-related disasters that are clearly AGW/CC enhanced will change the opinions of the denialist and "climate's not important" segments of the American people.  Then they will panic, and the country will likely respond emotionally - and not logically - as the right wing "blame game" hucksters play them like fiddles. 

I fear what might happen if things get crazy now that the local, county and state police forces of the U.S. are essentially paramilitary organizations with powerful weaponry, and they are trained to use hard-core, heavy-handed tactics.  (Much of that is due to corporate military equipment manufacturers looking for new markets, and persuading the U.S. federal government to finance the militarization of local and regional police forces.

I grew up in the 1950's in the U.S. Midwest - the "Eisenhower era."   In spite of the cold war and its nuclear war threat in those days, I never thought I would live to see the U.S. move in the current direction it is taking, which is more typical of military dictatorships.  Much of the militaristic enhancement of American police forces was facilitated by politicians and right-wing fear-mongers playing up to and enhancing an irrational fear of "terrorism."

As the American Founding Father Ben Franklin said:  "Those who give up their liberty for more security neither deserve liberty nor security."  The much celebrated wisdom and insight of those founding fathers has been lost as materialism and the "me, me, me" complex dominate the American peoples' motivations.

As an 72 y/o retired expat living in high in the beautiful cool mountains of western Panama, I watch with dismay as I see the U.S. falling behind Europe and the developed nations of the far east in many areas.  The world doesn't "respect" the U.S. military as many right-wingers like to say - they fear it - and for good reason.  The U.S. has historically vacillated between being a bully and being a leader, but it's leadership as a nation at the moment is non-existent. 

It pains me to write these words - but that is an honest description of what I see. 

Some criticisms of scientists supposedly advocating policy often involves a confusion or failure to distinguish between advocacy for policy outcomes and for policy methods.

Thanks Glenn, for clarifying that distinction. I believe that anyone should speak out (raise the alarm?) when they see danger ahead - especially danger of the magnitude of AGW/CC.  I see advocating for the mitigation of that danger as an ethical action and a moral duty. 

Whether someone involved in formally studying the source of that danger should advocate for specific policy is debatable, and will always end up as an opinion with no "absolute" and "correct" outcome. 

Philosophy and ethics are not subjects where absolutes and certainties are ultimate goals, but they are intertwined with science and the lives of the people who work in the sciences.   

Of course, science, even though it is evidence-based, is not always "certain" of outcomes,and particularly the details of outcomes.  Science-speak is full of probabilities and likelihoods, but the results of scientific research should ultimately be evaluated based on evidence and not beliefs and feelings.  And separating evidence from emotional reactions can be a very big challenge. 

I don't "believe in" or "promote" AGW/CC, but rather I accept the evidence that science provides.

OTOH, I "believe" that scientists have a moral obligation to raise the alarm about the dangers of AGW/CC. 


Your condescending and patronizing tone ignited me again.

I am not sure if you have had read this article.
Your link is not to an "article", but rather an opinion piece by a contrarian climate scientist. 

I thought you had a shot at objective, rational postings, but now my "opinion" is that I was wrong.  An obscure climate scientist / climate modeler with an point of view that is not balanced believes that scientists should not advocate for policy, and you agree with her. 

Tamsin Edwards positions herself with her contrarian cohorts such as Dr. Judith Curry, Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., Dr. Roy Spencer (who puts creationist religious beliefs above scientific evidence and), and others.  These people have done some good science in their time, but have recently been soundly criticized for their bad science, and non-science-based political opinions that support the FF industries and AGW/CC denialist entities.

Your arguments have nothing to do with science, but are rather about silencing scientists, which you don't deny.  You are criticizing people who chose to be good citizens and do what they see as their civic duty to stand against what is ultimately an extremely harmful level of global CO2 emissions by the "maximize profit at any cost" FF industry and their bought and paid for politicians.  The scientist advocates are brave citizens who choose to try to counter the propaganda of the transnational fossil fuel companies, the very villains who would destroy human civilization for greed and profit, and facilitate and fund the AGW/CC denialist industry to try to crush those who resist them.

Try reading some of Dr. Naomi Oreskes work if you really want to see what these denialist industry is up to.   It is my opinion that Dr, Tamsin Edwards and her supporters are unwittingly aiding the attempts of the FF industry to silence their critics. 

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2014 Melting Season
« on: August 13, 2014, 10:47:48 PM »
This is from Aqua modis about 5 days ago.  It was a pretty clear image so it will work well. 

We also have access to GIS products based on the modis data itself.  like the one below. 
It really doesn't need to be precise to be analytically effective.  We can just throw it into 3-4 categories.  Brighter lighter blues = high reflectivity(75%+)  Semi darkening = medium reflectivity(65-75%) average darkening = 50-65% reflectivity(bigger range potentially compensating for pooling water or melt ponds).  Strong darkening = 30-50% reflectivity.

Again that is just rough ballpark estimates.  Sometimes when snow melts in earnest there is water trapped on the top of the ice so much so it's almost like one large melt sea at times and albedo plummets until the water drains and then there is a rebound when the bare ice is left exposed but drained. 

I would just use the modis images as a general guide. 

Thanks, Friv - extremely helpful and just what I was looking for regarding albedo = I should have been paying attention as I read posts here this summer.

What's your take on winds and currents as the "missing elements" for a major ice loss this season?

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2014 Melting Season
« on: August 13, 2014, 07:59:25 PM »
I read all of the posts here (and didn't understand the intrusion of the methane discussion in a 2014 melt thread).  I appreciate everyone's input and am becoming more familiar with the complex set of Arctic sea ice melt dynamics.  My current feelings after reading the projections vs. actual numbers for extent, area and volume, with the projections ranging from cautious and reasoned to hyperbole and excitement can be summarized as:

1. There seems to be a conflict between hoping for a big melt to deny the denialists another talking point and year of gloating and blathering, and a more deep-seated hope for a recovery.  (Which science tells us is virtually impossible.)

2.  Insolation and general weather conditions have been conducive to "damaging" the ice, and indeed, much of the ice looks to be in "bad shape."

3.  The primary conditions preventing a massive melting event seem to be a lack of favorable winds and currents that could lead to mixing and melting - and transport of ice southward via the Fram   

Another factor that some people are getting excited about at other AGW/CC websites is soot and smoke from the massive area of wildfires around the globe in the high latitudes.  I have only seen a couple of references to that factor here, and it seems that winds are not favorable for bringing smoke and soot to the Arctic sea ice.  I posited in a post at the WUnderground climate blog that even if there was a lot of soot darkening and lowering the albedo of the sea ice, when the ice melts, through, the soot goes into the ocean, and next year's FYI would be high albedo and soot free.  However, compacted and layered MYI could contain soot to varying levels at various depths, and be a factor in future melting seasons.

I'll close with a question.  Is there satellite data available that regularly updates sea ice albedo?  (I assume that the complex interactions of snow and ice transparency, surface roughness and irregularities, combined with sun angle and satellite line-of-sight angle, would make albedo difficult to quantify via measurement, since the data would need to be adjusted to compensate for these factors.)

(I accidentally posted this at the 2014 area and extent thread, and just moved it here after only a few minutes.)

Thank you. I agree about the poor articulation and that I should read further and not start just with what I feel. My linguistic limitations didnt help either. And i couldnt agree with u more about the intimidating nature of rushing to post a thread here. Next time Ill do my homework first, I hope it will help. Thx again.
Participating at a forum frequented  and dominated by hard-core science types is different than hanging out at a site where only laypersons participate. 

There was good evidence that you thought a bit about your posts, but knowing what the experts in the field say, and what their disagreements are can give you a better foundation for your arguments.  You referenced one publication without knowing the general positions of other professionals.  That can get you boxed into a corner. 

Don't give up - I'll look for your next thread, and see how you do.  In addition to my interest in the science (psychology and sociology) of AGW/CC denial, I am also interested in the academic involvement in climate change communication.  Your posts had a lot to do that second listed interest.

Seattlerocks, you should perhaps separate the distinct types of activism as in warning of an impending disaster vs. activism as in promoting a carbon tax.  (However, as a citizen, anyone - including scientists - has a right, at least in the U.S. to do that.  Good luck in finding a way to silence those with a passion for truth and justice.) 

Yielding to the desires of the polluters will not solve the problem - and they would love it if people like Michael Mann and James Hansen would shut up which would allow their propaganda to be unopposed.

Activism in the form of simply saying that carbon pollution (e.g., increasing a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere) is an externality that should be "internalized" into the economic systems is less direct than promoting policy, although almost every university program on climate science encourages and promotes the recommendation of policies. 

You seem to be arguing from a personal perspective and your own "feelings" without having done any homework.  That will get you sarcasm and hard rebuttals here at a science-based forum - and this forum even intimidates me. 

May I suggest that you actually research the subject of climate change communication? 

In addition to Google searching, read the works of science historian and climate communication expert Dr. Naomi Oreskes.   

Visit some websites of the rapidly growing set of climate change communication centers at universities such as the Yale University and the George Mason University

Your weak and poorly articulated reasons for stifling climate policy activism by scientists goes against recommendations of the majority of university-level academia research and recommendations and academic the entire.  Like AGW/CC itself, there is a growing consensus about climate change communication.  Find some recommendations at these sites with which you disagree, and then reference them.  Finally, articulate your arguments about how and why you disagree with them.   

When you come here with your "feelings" and try to argue with those who are familiar with the current academic positions on the subject, you are not going to have fun.  And it's part of the reason why your position was called "bizarre" in one reply.

For the record, I basically concur with Xulonn and notjonathon's perspectives.  But when I try to write like they wrote, I take forever and 'always' write things I later regret!
Tor, I'm a retired expat living in the mountains of western Panama.  My education was in conservation/ecology at U.C. Berkeley in the mid 1970's.  I trained and worked as a psychiatric technician in the early 1960's.  I recently took an online course in climate science from the University of British Columbia to help understand AGW/CC science. 

I visit Neven's blog and forum daily, and am impressed by the high level of scientific knowledge and critical thinking here.  This place can be a bit intimidating, so I haven't participated much here, but this thread is one which is more familiar in content and purpose to me. 

I participate more at Dr. Ricky Rood's climate blog, where a couple of years ago, I joined the discussion of science and the battles against AGW/CC denialism there.  They recently stepped up moderation to reduce trolling to a minimum, so I will spend moretime here and learn more about the cryosphere. 

This thread includes denialist rhetoric ("Michael Mann should shut up and do science"), so I jumped in.  Being retired, I have the luxury of taking time to write, read, and edit my posts multiple times before hitting the "post" button.  I do sometimes regret things I say at climate blogs and forums, but not often. 

David van Harn
a.k.a. Xulonn
Boquete, Panama


That might lead to bad science.

Bad science, even if it gets past peer review (which happens upon occasion) will eventually be exposed by other scientists. 

Your concern trolling for Michael Mann's possible future embarrassments is laughable and the suggestion that he hide in a hole to prevent future embarrassment is a strange concept. 

There are tens of thousands of climate / earth systems scientists around the world, and they will pick up the slack when someone dies or goes over to the "dark side" of AGW/CC denialism like a scientist equivalent of Darth Vader. 

if a scientists earlier work is overturned, that's reality and the way life sometimes happens.  If people cannot deal with setbacks and failures, that's unfortunate.  Some scientists recover and move on, and others go to their grave defending their early work. 

Michael Mann is a brilliant scientist with excellent communication skills, apparently a tough fighter with a thick skin, and I find it strange that you are sooo.. concerned about his mental health and fear for his ability to do objective science. 

I know the world of science quite well, and I am not worried about such possibilities.  The scientific community will support Mann or criticism him as appropriate, and the AGW/CC denialist community/industry will continue to attack him. 

I am a veteran of countering anti-AGW/CC denialist trolling at Dr.Ricky Rood's blog at the Weather Underground, and I see many similarities with past trolls in your comments.  I don't know your motivations in this thread, but it very clearly contains elements of classic denialist troll techniques.  It may be that you have boxed yourself in and are simply being defensive, but your arguments are weak and quite frankly, a bit strange with little apparent grounding in logical and critical thinking.   

"I care more about restoring trust in science than about calling people to action"[/i]

Quote frankly, that is a call for inhumanity.  Not advocating for mitigation of the reversible dangers that scientific your research uncovers borders on the criminal.  If you are a climate scientist with good communication skills, to be aware of an existential threat the survival of human civilization and not actively work to promote true, deep awareness of the urgent need for mitigation of that threat, is a de facto indicator that you are facilitating the destruction of our children's future. 

To suggest that scientists should go to their graves smiling about how they maintained some weird set of irrational ethics while millions of people were harmed is just plain weird to me.  Your argument is purely philosophical, with no basis in common sense related to the dangers we humans face.

The huge, highly profitable FF companies who are earning their obscene profits at the expense of "lesser" humans are not held to such high "standards."  Independent scientists, university scientists, and government scientists around the world reveal the evidence - and then the transnational corporations - particularly the FF (fossil-fuel) industry -  spends hundreds of millions of dollars on propaganda and lies to dispute or ridicule that evidence. 

Yet you claim that scientists must be pure and untainted to pursue their priestly work.  Wouldn't the FF companies be delighted if your wishes were granted and they could continue to profit as they accelerate toward the cliff of self-destruction - without those pesky scientists tripping them up. 

I think that your perspective is immoral and invalid from a humanistic perspective.  Your arguments make you a perfect and witting tool of the FF monsters who are destroying us.  All intelligent, educated persons - including scientists - who are aware of a situation that could destroy human civilization in less than a century should be active in calling for mitigation.  A truly passionate scientist who is aware of the danger of AGW/CC, if he or she has any sense of morals and ethics, should feel obligated to double their efforts in both their pursuit of science, and to counter the lies of the multimillion dollar AGW/CC denialist "industry." 

The Heartland Institute - the organization that spent millions lying and trying to convince the public that smoking tobacco was not harmful, and that climate change is not happening - or if it is, it's good thing -  couldn't find a better spokesperson for silencing the AGW/CC science community than you.  Your perspective supports the agenda of those I consider to be the representatives of unbridled and unregulated capitalism.

Sorry for the harshness, but I consider activism against causing the future unwarranted deaths of millions and the likely destruction of civilization to be more important than shoving scientists into ivory towers and locking the doors.  The peer review system, the natural skepticism of scientists, and the competitiveness of the scientific community combine to make fraud and bad science very difficult to promote.  Your proposition that activism by scientists promotes bad science is pure speculation and mental games, and has no evidence to support it. 


Permafrost / Re: Major Arctic Methane Research - SWERUS-C3
« on: July 31, 2014, 01:10:06 AM »
Just a link to SWERUS-C3's home page.

Thanks Terry.  The science crew's blogs look interesting, and I am just starting to read them.  It will be an interesting look into the daily workings of a major scientific expedition on what I see as a critical aspect of the AGW/CC event. 

David van Harn, a.k.a. Xulonn
Retired Expat.
Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama   

Permafrost / Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« on: July 31, 2014, 12:39:46 AM »
I'm seeing a lot of hype and hysteria attached to the Siberian Tundra holes, particularly from some blogs written by non-scientists.  Many of the comments at some of these blogs sound truly hysterical and not at all grounded in logical, scientific reasoning.  People are running off with all kinds of hypotheses based on superficial examination of holes and seem to be assuming that methane "explosions" created them. 

Were there "blowouts" of burst-type ventings of methane gas during sudden events that caused the huge "WTF" anomalous peaks in Dr.Box's graphs?  Or are there other explanations?  I haven't a clue!

The fact that Jason Box's general comments about methane issues was jumbled in with the story of the holes seems to me to be really bad journalism, which also makes me skeptical about the all hype and unconfirmed conclusions in some of the links in this thread

I thought that A-team's comments in this thread on the geology of the holes and a likely burp or what other's have suggested could be a process related to some components of pingo-building activity seemed to be reasonable alternative hypotheses.  This would obviously include some drainage and melting of permafrost in the sides of the holes, or they would be water filled lakes like the other round-hole lakes in the region.  If there were explosions, it would seem that the topsoil component of the ejects would be blown away and scattered, and not mounded around the hole with years-old tundra plants growing on it. 

A-Team's suggestion that the dark sides of the holes were possibly manganese or other oxides, and that the years-old slow-growing plants on the shoved out earth bumps around the perimeter indicates a longer creation/event process, also makes sense to me.  There is not sufficient ejecta visible to account for the volume of the holes, although ice would be ejected and melt.  Of course, all speculation on the possible mechanisms and processes that formed these holes are still at best, only hypotheses. 

I am aware that that methane could be an AGW/CC trigger event, but that is what the 80 scientists and technicians are working on as part of the SWERUS-C3 American/Russian/Swedish expedition aboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden.  Perhaps there will be soon be comprehensive expeditions to study the holes in detail. 

Speculation is part of human nature, and I do it myself.  But there are far to many variables and possibilities at this point in time to draw any conclusions about the tundra/permafrost holes.     

Permafrost / Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« on: July 19, 2014, 08:38:52 PM »
Excellent posts, A-Team.  Logical and science-based - unlike the sensationalist crap I've read elsewhere.  Also appreciate the heads-up on the name translation - lands' end makes sense.

The biggest takeaway for me is that this phenomena may have not been common in recent times, but was more common in previous warmer periods.  I'm sure there will be some interesting research and papers published on these landscape features in the next few years.

Permafrost / Re: This is not good.
« on: July 19, 2014, 08:07:49 PM »
Edit:  I just read A-Team's comments on the subject in the dedicated thread, and most of my questions have been answered,and speculations put to rest.

Although I have no experience and knowledge about tundra/permafrost soil dynamics, I would speculate that with the rich stew of organic materials, reactions other than combustion could cause high pressure in a chamber sealed from the atmosphere by impervious, mucky soil, and eventually "pop."   The holes they leave behind could be ringed by close-falling ejecta, unlike meteor hits which often have rays of ejecta extending for some distance, and often in a lop-sided elliptical pattern depending of the angle of the strike.   

These tundra holes seem to be common, eventually becoming filled with water.  It would be interesting if such ponds and lakes, like others in the northern latitudes that I am aware of, develop methane bubbles under the ice in winter. 

Although it's south of the tundra in the taiga, here's good video with Professor Katey Walter Anthony of the University of Alaska Fairbanks talking about Alaska lakes and methane.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2014 Melting Season
« on: July 19, 2014, 07:25:20 PM »
I am primarily a lurker who visits this site at least once per day.  I agree that Friv's hyperbole often seems a bit silly and entertaining, but there is always useful and interesting information in his posts.  Your enthusiasm and willingness, Friv, to do lots of internet research, is obvious and appreciated.

I get the impression from several commenters here that there is little consideration in the hard science given to the "condition" of the ice.  However, there is a fair amount of speculation about that aspect of potential major melting here. 

It seems to me that a serious episode of cyclonic or regular wind could mix the "slush" with water and accelerate melt very quickly to high levels, and/or push ice south through the various straits and melt it. 

However, if the winds remain light for the next two months, the "slush" - which accounts for area and extent just as much as harder, thicker ice - could simply harden into winter ice and thicken some starting in September.

I think some of you share my sentiment that I would be very happy if Arctic sea ice began to grow in extent, area and volume annually, but I think that is extremely unlikely. 

AGW/CC denialists will have another field day this year if area and extent remain relatively high through the and of the melt season, and grow a bit more next winter.  If that happens, and we will spend another year fending off their b.s., and that is not fun. 

Friv, what's your take on "torching" (temps) vs. wind and storms, and the relationship of the two in determining major melt episodes?  Have you (or anyone else) seen any data quantifying any aspects of that relationship? 

Arctic background / Re: Psychology of Climate Change Denial
« on: July 05, 2014, 06:57:31 PM »
Dr. Katharine Hayhoe is a breath of fresh air among evangelical Christians, and I hope that she can be effective in convincing some of her fellow conservative Christians that AGW/CC is not a "liberal conspiracy" and a hoax.


I am an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, part of the Department of Interior’s South-Central Climate Science Center. My research focuses on establishing a scientific basis for assessing the regional to local-scale impacts of climate change on human systems and the natural environment. To this end, I analyze observations, compare future scenarios, evaluate global and regional climate models, build and assess statistical downscaling models, and constantly strive to develop better ways of translating climate projections into information relevant to agriculture, ecosystems, energy, infrastructure, public health, and water resources.

I am also the founder and CEO of ATMOS Research, where we bridge the gap between scientists and stakeholders to provide relevant, state-of-the-art information on how climate change will affect our lives to a broad range of non-profit, industry and government clients. We are currently working with the state of Delaware, the cities of Cambridge and Austin, and Boston Logan Airport to assess the potential impacts of climate change on their infrastructure and future planning.

My work has resulted in over 100 peer-reviewed papers, abstracts, and other publications and many key reports including the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Second National Climate Assessment; the U.S. National Academy of Science report, Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia; and the upcoming 2014 Third National Climate Assessment. In addition to these reports, I have led climate impact assessments for a broad cross-section of cities and regions, from Chicago to California and the U.S. Northeast. The findings of these studies have been presented before Congress, highlighted in briefings to state and federal agencies, and used as input to future planning by communities, states, and regions across the country.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2014 Melting Season
« on: June 12, 2014, 06:25:10 PM »
JD, I see that your graphic is SST anomalies, and that brings up a couple of questions. 

1.  Do the SST measuring methods accurately capture the surface temp of ice in it's various forms, snow, and melt ponds of various depths as compared to open areas of sea water?

2.  Is there any significant relationship between SST's and air temps at 2m height?  Do they measure SST via satellite?  Do they do correlate the buoy readings with satellite data?   And how do the measure the surface temps at 2m height?  Buoys and interpolation?

My mind is boggled by the complexity of these ocean and climate systems and their interactions, from the micro to the macro, and the apparent high level of chaos in the larger aspects systems. 

If I'm getting any of my basic info wrong, please correct me. 

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2014 Melting Season
« on: June 12, 2014, 05:28:48 PM »
I post mostly at Ricky Rood's Wunderground climate blog, but follow this thread and the 2014 extent and El Niño threads closely.  I really appreciate the detailed and lively discussions here.

I just wanted to say that the Arctic temp graph that Neven just posted demonstrates an excellent use of color which would make Edward Tufte proud.  The abrupt transition from bright cool colors to bright warm colors at the 0°C/32°F boundary is great for me - especially since my color vision is not great (green acuity deficiency.)

Although my DSL connection is miserably slow (0.5mbps) here in the mountains of Western Panama, I was able to see a bit of the animation at the ClimateReanalyzer website, but the low skill at 6 days out makes me skeptical about that forecast warm blast over the Beaufort.

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