Support the Arctic Sea Ice Forum and Blog

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - kassy

Pages: [1] 2 3
The rest / Re: Article links: drop them here!
« on: February 19, 2019, 03:38:19 PM »
'Grandfather of Climate Science' and populariser of 'global warming' Wallace Smith Broecker dies aged 87

The Columbia professor's work warned the world about the "devastating" impacts of climate change as far back as the 1970s.

As far back as 1984, Professor Broecker told a House of Representatives subcommittee that urgent action was required to stop the build-up of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere because the climate system could "jump abruptly from one state to another" with "devastating effects".

Consequences / Re: The Holocene Extinction
« on: February 19, 2019, 02:52:54 PM »
Great Barrier Reef rodent becomes 1st official ‘climate change extinction’

Australia’s government has declared the Bramble Cay melomys extinct, making it what is believed to be the first mammalian casualty directly attributed to man-made climate change.
The official declaration on Tuesday by Australia’s Environment Ministry was long-expected, as a wide-ranging survey of the critter’s habitat in 2014 found no traces of the species. The rat was last seen by fisherman almost a decade ago with no officially registered sightings since.

Just for the record...

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: February 19, 2019, 02:48:13 PM »
Arctic Bogs Hold Another Global Warming Risk That Could Spiral Out of Control

Increasing spring rains in the Arctic could double the increase in methane emissions from the region by hastening the rate of thawing in permafrost, new research suggests.


"Our results emphasize that these permafrost regions are sensitive to the thermal effects of rain, and because we're anticipating that these environments are going to get wetter in the future, we could be seeing increases in methane emissions that we weren't expecting," said the study's lead author, Rebecca Neumann, a civil and environmental engineering professor at the University of Washington. The study appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

In the new study, Neumann and colleagues tracked rainfall, soil temperature and methane emissions at a thawing permafrost bog approximately 20 miles southwest of Fairbanks, Alaska, from 2014 through 2016.

In 2016, a year marked by early spring rain, the team saw soil temperatures at the edge of the bog begin to increase 20 days earlier than usual. Methane emissions across the bog were 30 percent higher than in the two previous years which did not have early spring rains.

The study projects that as the temperature and precipitation in the region continue to increase, the rate of increase in methane emissions from the region may be roughly twice that of current estimates that don't account for rainfall.

and more:

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency
« on: February 16, 2019, 08:01:23 PM »
The link is about the alternative 11 cities tour (200km iceskating).

The quote at the end there is weird because any dutch skater would love to do it in Friesland with no mountains in sight.

The rest / Re: Astronomical news
« on: February 16, 2019, 07:46:38 PM »
First evidence discovered of a gigantic remnant around an exploding star

A San Diego State University astrophysicist has helped discover evidence of a gigantic remnant surrounding an exploding star--a shell of material so huge, it must have been erupting on a regular basis for millions of years.

When a white dwarf, the core of a dead star, is in a close orbit with another star, it pulls gas from the other star. The gas becomes heated and compressed, eventually exploding to create a nova. This explosion causes the star to brighten by a millionfold and eject material at thousands of miles per second. The ejected material forms a remnant or shell surrounding the nova.

Allen Shafter and former SDSU postdoc. Martin Henze, along with a team of astrophysicists led by Matthew Darnley at Liverpool John Moores University in England, have been studying a nova in the nearby Andromeda galaxy known as M31N 2008-12a. What makes the nova unusual is that it erupts far more frequently than any other known nova system.

"When we first discovered that M31N 2008-12a erupted every year, we were very surprised," said Shafter. A more typical pattern is about every 10 years.


Type Ia supernovae are among the most powerful and luminous objects in the universe and are believed to occur when a white dwarf exceeds its maximum allowable mass. At that point, the entire white dwarf is blown apart instead of experiencing explosions on the surface as other novae do. These are relatively rare and unseen in our own galaxy since the early 1600s.

Theoretical models show that novae experiencing frequent explosions surrounded by large remnants must harbor massive white dwarfs that are nearing their limit. This means M31N 2008-12a is behaving precisely the way astronomers believe a nova does before it potentially explodes as a supernova.

and more on:

So there is a thin line between being blown apart and blowing huge bubbles. The donor star must be huge and the process gradual enough to not cross that line.

The rest / Re: Astronomical news
« on: February 16, 2019, 07:35:15 PM »
Nice GIF.  :)

The method the researchers use is pretty interesting.

From the article above:

In GRT, the Earth is not hit by asteroids but it is a source of them. Many rocks are launched (in a simulated environment) into thousands of directions in the sky and with different speeds, from a certain geographical location (a beach in the northwest of Cuba or a valley on the moon). The rocks that end up in orbits around the sun, similar to already discovered asteroids, are flagged as potential impactors. The rocks with orbits that are not typical of near-Earth objects (NEOs) are flagged as unnatural objects.

Read more at:

Tunguska and Chelyabinsk impact events occurred inside a geographical area of only 3.4 per cent of the Earth's surface. Although two events hardly constitute a statistically significant demonstration of a geographical pattern of impacts, their spatial coincidence is at least tantalizing. To understand if this concurrence reflects an underlying geographical and/or temporal pattern, we must aim at predicting the spatio-temporal distribution of meteoroid impacts on Earth. For this purpose we designed, implemented, and tested a novel numerical technique, the ‘Gravitational Ray Tracing’ (GRT) designed to compute the relative impact probability (RIP) on the surface of any planet.


Locations at 60–90° from the apex are more prone to impacts, especially at midnight. Counterintuitively, sites close to apex direction have the lowest RIP, while in the antapex RIP are slightly larger than average. We present here preliminary maps of RIP at the time of Tunguska and Chelyabinsk events and found no evidence of a spatial or temporal pattern, suggesting that their coincidence was fortuitous.

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency
« on: February 16, 2019, 06:54:57 PM »
On tv he said ‘I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.’ so that should help with the lawsuits...

Consequences / Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« on: February 15, 2019, 04:36:18 PM »
When we are quoting a source we are using their words.

Poor orcas.  :(

Consequences / Re: Weird Weather and anecdotal stories about climate change
« on: February 13, 2019, 09:35:58 PM »
That´s great. It is something very different and noticeable.

The article quotes another similar event or two if you count the swamp:

"We are seeing more and more unusual expressions of fire in the landscape," he said.

"Here in Tasmania, we've seen incredible dry lightning storms igniting dried-out vegetation, in Victoria an old disused lake bed used for dairy farming catching on fire, in Tasmania drained swamps catching on fire.

Arctic sea ice / Re: What's new in the Arctic ?
« on: February 13, 2019, 09:11:33 PM »
Fossil Fuels, Not Wildfires, Biggest Source of Arctic Black Carbon, Study Finds

Five years of testing at sites across the Arctic tracked seasonal fluctuations and sources of a climate pollutant that contributes to global warming and ice melt.


Some people think it's biofuels and wildfires, but our main takeaway is that fossil fuels are the main source of black carbon in the Arctic," said Patrik Winiger of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the lead author of a study published today in the journal Science Advances.

His team found that about 70 percent of the black carbon in the Arctic currently comes from fossil fuel burning in Northern countries. They tracked changes in black carbon levels in the atmosphere through the seasons over five years and used chemical analyses to determine the pollution's origins.

During winters, they found that emissions from fossil fuel burning made up the majority of black carbon accumulations.

During the summer, when overall black carbon concentrations are lower, emissions from wildfires and agricultural burning were bigger sources.

for details see:

The rest / Re: Astronomical news
« on: February 13, 2019, 11:19:38 AM »
G-objects may have come from supermassive black hole, study reports

Strange celestial structures that look like dust clouds but act like stars may have been created by the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, according to unpublished research set to be presented at the American Astronomical Society.

Scientists have spent a lot of time studying the odd bodies -- known as G-objects -- in order to figure out how they operate. In the recent analysis, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles discovered three additions to the class and may have shed light on how the odd objects first formed.

Scientists first noticed two of the objects in 2004 and 2012. Further study revealed the bodies, which produce red light and appear to be quite cool, are likely surrounded by dust.

However, the first two G-objects have wandered near the Milky Way's supermassive black hole without being torn apart. As a result, they have to be denser than a dust cloud. That property is why scientists believe they are actually stars surrounded by gas.

"They're weird because they are not gas nebulae, they're not stars, so we think they're something in the middle, a stellar object surrounded by gas and dust," study author Anna Ciurlo, an astronomer at the University of California Los Angeles, told Newsweek, "like a star that's been puffed up."

As the objects sit so close to the black hole, astronomers also believe that is where they came from. Previous research suggests black holes can encourage closely-paired stars to collide more quickly than they would normally. It is possible such collisions create G-objects.

and more on

A interesting new class of objects.

Earth Is 'Missing' at Least 20 Ft of Sea Level Rise. Antarctica Could Be The Time Bomb

Some researchers, including DeConto, think they have found a key process - called marine ice cliff collapse - that can release a lot of sea level rise from West Antarctica in a hurry.

But they're being challenged by another group, whose members suspect the changes in the past were slow - and will be again.

General article about Marine Ice Sheet Instability vs Marine Ice Cliff Instability. Might be useful to link to people as an introduction on the subject.

The rest / Re: Article links: drop them here!
« on: February 12, 2019, 02:35:02 PM »
Earth Is 'Missing' at Least 20 Ft of Sea Level Rise. Antarctica Could Be The Time Bomb

Some researchers, including DeConto, think they have found a key process - called marine ice cliff collapse - that can release a lot of sea level rise from West Antarctica in a hurry.

But they're being challenged by another group, whose members suspect the changes in the past were slow - and will be again.

General article about Marine Ice Sheet Instability vs Marine Ice Cliff Instability.

For articles about this see,2205.450.html

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency
« on: February 12, 2019, 02:23:24 PM »
It is also not near the money he wants and he is not wired for compromises so it might be a 1.7B rope.

Consequences / Re: Decline in insect populations
« on: February 12, 2019, 01:44:24 PM »
Those scorpions eat cockroaches so they have a bright future ahead...

The rest / Re: Good music
« on: February 11, 2019, 03:43:21 PM »
That´s both great and hilarious. Thanks!

Consequences / Re: Decline in insect populations
« on: February 11, 2019, 03:06:29 PM »
On the upside not all insects are effected...  ::)

But researchers say that some species, such as houseflies and cockroaches, are likely to boom.


"Fast-breeding pest insects will probably thrive because of the warmer conditions, because many of their natural enemies, which breed more slowly, will disappear, " said Prof Dave Goulson from the University of Sussex who was not involved in the review.

"It's quite plausible that we might end up with plagues of small numbers of pest insects, but we will lose all the wonderful ones that we want, like bees and hoverflies and butterflies and dung beetles that do a great job of disposing of animal waste."

The rest / Re: Article links: drop them here!
« on: February 09, 2019, 03:24:15 PM »
Activists demand answers after alleged suicide of Macarena Valdés

Some 200 environmental activists are murdered each year, many from Latin American indigenous communities. One Chilean village is searching for the truth about the death of a young mother who protested a hydropower dam.

The rest / Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
« on: February 06, 2019, 11:08:58 AM »
A taste for fat may have made us human

Long before human ancestors began hunting large mammals for meat, a fatty diet provided them with the nutrition to develop bigger brains, posits a new paper in Current Anthropology.

The paper argues that our early ancestors acquired a taste for fat by eating marrow scavenged from the skeletal remains of large animals that had been killed and eaten by other predators. The argument challenges the widely held view among anthropologists that eating meat was the critical factor in setting the stage for the evolution of humans.


"The reservoirs of fat in the long bones of carcasses were a huge calorie package on a calorie-poor landscape. That could have been what gave an ancestral population the advantage it needed to set off the chain of human evolution."


A meat-centered paradigm for human evolution hypothesizes that an ape population began more actively hunting and eating small game, which became an evolutionary stepping stone to the human behavior of hunting large animals.

The paper argues that this theory does not make nutritional sense. "The meat of wild animals is lean," Thompson says. "It actually takes more work to metabolize lean protein than you get back."

In fact, eating lean meat without a good source of fat can lead to protein poisoning and acute malnutrition. Early Arctic explorers, who attempted to survive on rabbit meat exclusively, described the condition as "rabbit starvation."

Eco-Author i was restating the ´the "critical last stand" is here, now´ with an example.

I did miss (or dismiss) the 75mm guns. There is also a picture of a Star Trek bridge. Is the starship (Intripid class?) included too?


I still think it must be option 2.

There was an article a while back about futurist who was hired for a private talk with some millionaires. He assumed it was about tech stocks or something like that but it wasn´t.

The people who can afford their own islands plus whatever palace/bunker hybrid they want to build there and have an army of guards to keep people out had a nagging problem... how would they keep their guards from murdering them?

Article is linked somewhere on the forum probably in Places becoming less liveable thread.

Consequences / Re: The Holocene Extinction
« on: February 03, 2019, 09:51:23 PM »
Bruce thanks for your reply and the link.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2018/2019 freezing season
« on: February 03, 2019, 09:31:58 PM »
The last colder year is 2008. 2016 is the anomalous one so this could just be a regression to the mean.

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: February 03, 2019, 09:27:58 PM »

Quote: "We do not seek to assess the practical feasibility of this transition, but merely to report on the consequences in the context of keeping global mean temperature rise below 1.5 °C."

Then their paper is pretty much a waste of space, time and effort. It's more like hypothesizing how many angels can fit on the end of a pin than anything really practical or useful imo. It should be ignored as not having much relevance to anything useful or insightful beyond 'purist acadmic' mind experiments.

But that is just another subject about which other people publish studies for example citations 16 -20 in the line above the quote.

The rest / Re: The Media: Examples of Good AND Bad Journalism
« on: February 02, 2019, 06:02:32 PM »
What we are observing is not most accurately described as the subversion of American democracy by a hostile power.

It´s 2019 and american democracy has long been subverted by hostile powers from within. Do keep worrying about russians and never ever wonder why there were no intercept fighters on standby on 9/11 or why most metal was scrapped in record time which is technically destruction of evidence.

Oh and also never think clearly about the amount of dollars you spent in the military compared to the social budget or meaningful infrastructure (also compare to the amount the rest of the world spends). What can you do with billions of missing dollars? Nothing...they are gone and that should piss people of but you prefer your political soap opera.

The politicians won´t care until the people do. You don´t get democracy for free.

The forum / Re: Arctic Sea Ice Forum Humor
« on: February 02, 2019, 05:22:38 PM »
That´s a pretty powerful picture, thanks!

Consequences / Re: The Holocene Extinction
« on: February 02, 2019, 05:03:38 PM »
I only missed this which is pretty frightening:

If you recall, we’ve also recently reported on the findings showing that phytoplankton levels are down 50% (these are a prime source for thiamine, by the way).

Thanks Cid_Yama for the additional info on this problem.

Antarctica / Re: Glossary of Key Terms and Acronyms
« on: February 02, 2019, 04:37:55 PM »
MISI - Marine ice sheet instability

MICI - Marine Ice Cliff Instability

Also see #472 on this thread:,2205.450.html

The rest / Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
« on: January 31, 2019, 02:45:47 PM »
Neanderthals and Denisovans Shared a Siberian Cave for Thousands of Years, New Research Suggests

Results from this work showed that Denisovans first occupied the cave around 287,000 years ago, and continued to live in the cave until around 55,000 years ago. Neanderthals arrived at the cave around 193,000 years ago, and they continued to live there up until around 97,000 years ago—an overlap of 96,000 years. The bones of 27 animals, including mammals and fishes, along with 72 species of plants, were also analysed, pointing to a variable climate in the region during the millennia of occupation at the cave. At times, the region was relatively warm, featuring forests of broad-leaved trees, but at other times it was a harsh and desolate tundra-steppe habitat.

for the details see:

Science / America colonisation ‘cooled Earth's climate’
« on: January 31, 2019, 01:20:40 PM »
Colonisation of the Americas at the end of the 15th Century killed so many people, it disturbed Earth's climate.


"The Great Dying of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas led to the abandonment of enough cleared land that the resulting terrestrial carbon uptake had a detectable impact on both atmospheric CO₂ and global surface air temperatures," Alexander Koch and colleagues write in their paper published in Quaternary Science Reviews.


What does the study show?
The team reviewed all the population data it could find on how many people were living in the Americas prior to first contact with Europeans in 1492.

It then assessed how the numbers changed in following decades as the continents were ravaged by introduced disease (smallpox, measles, etc), warfare, slavery and societal collapse.

It's the UCL group's estimate that 60 million people were living across the Americas at the end of the 15th Century (about 10% of the world's total population), and that this was reduced to just five or six million within a hundred years.

The scientists calculated how much land previously cultivated by indigenous civilisations would have fallen into disuse, and what the impact would be if this ground was then repossessed by forest and savannah.

The area is on the order of 56 million hectares, close in size to a modern country like France.

This scale of regrowth is figured to have drawn down sufficient CO₂ that the concentration of the gas in the atmosphere eventually fell by 7-10ppm (that is 7-10 molecules of CO₂ in every one million molecules in the air).


There is a marked cooling around that time (1500s/1600s) which is called the Little Ice Age, and what's interesting is that we can see natural processes giving a little bit of cooling, but actually to get the full cooling - double the natural processes - you have to have this genocide-generated drop in CO₂."

lots more on:


I find this really interesting because i always had a hunch this played a role (there are older papers on the effects of the black death had on reforestation).

The rest / Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
« on: January 27, 2019, 04:48:46 PM »
Neanderthals Were Intelligent Enough To Make Spears That Could Kill Animals At A Distance


The 300,000-year-old Schöningen spears are throwing spears from the Palaeolithic Age that hold the record as the oldest known wooden artifacts in the world. They are also the oldest completely preserved hunting weapons from prehistoric Europe so far discovered.


To find out if the Schöningen spears could hit a target at a distance, Annemieke Milks, from University College London, and colleagues made replicas of the prehistoric weapons. They also asked six javelin athletes to throw the spears.

The researchers chose javelin athletes for the study because they have the skill to throw at high velocity, which can match of the capability of Neanderthal hunters.

Hunting Prey At A Distance
The athletes showed they could hit a target at a range of up to 20 meters, and with significant impact that could translate into killing a prey.

This means the wooden spears would have allowed the Neanderthals to use them as hunting weapons and kill at a distance.

The Neanderthals have long been known as hunters but the finding is significant since earlier studies suggest these archaic human species could only hunt and kill their prey at a close range. The demonstrated range was, in fact, double the distance scientists previously thought the spears could be thrown.

and more on:

One of my pet peeves is scientists painting Neanderthals as primitive brutes (which they did to make modern us more special). Of course nowadays we know they and Homo Sapiens mixed so they could probably communicate.

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: January 25, 2019, 07:43:23 PM »
Lets ban cigarette filters too:

Cigarette butts are the most common form of anthropogenic (man-made) litter in the world, as approximately 5.6 trillion cigarettes are smoked every year worldwide.[23] Of those it is estimated that 4.5 trillion cigarette butts become litter every year.[24] The cellulose acetate fibers used as the predominant filter material do not readily biodegrade because of the acetyl groups on the cellulose backbone which in itself can quickly be degraded by various microorganisms employing cellulases.[25] A normal life span of a discarded filter is thought to be up to 15 years.

Especially since they have no positive effect (see link)

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency
« on: January 25, 2019, 10:19:51 AM »
The hidden costs of the government shutdown
35 ways the shutdown is affecting America, from small-business loans to alcohol labels.

The shutdown is making life miserable for a lot of people and of course it is the people in need that suffer the most.

If they keep up the closure something will break. Most workers can´t miss a lot of paychecks so maybe they will be pissed off enough to shut down air traffic? (would be the best area for some action?)

Consequences / Re: The Holocene Extinction
« on: January 25, 2019, 09:55:10 AM »
Tiny killer threatens giant clam, aquatic emblem of the Med


French marine biologist Nardo Vicente, of the Paul Ricard Institute of Oceanography, has monitored a field of noble pen shells off the coast of Corsica since the early nineties.

Nestled on the seabed between 26 and 40 metres underwater, the clams are around 30 years old and have grown to around 80 cm.
"In 2017 the field was in perfect health," he said.
"This year, everything was dead, absolutely a hundred percent!"

Tiny assassin

The parasite, found in the digestive systems of several of the dead noble pen shells, is from the haplosporidium genus, blamed in the United States for the mass die-off of oysters in Delaware Bay in the 1950s.

It is not yet clear what brought the tiny killer to the Mediterranean or how it is spreading so fast, although it could have arrived on the hulls of merchant ships.

But the disease appears to thrive in warming waters.

Vicente said global warming was acting to stimulate "a bunch of germs, viruses and parasites" that had lain dormant but "act fully with the rise in temperature".

The waters around the Corsican field he monitored were 20 degrees C even at 40 metres, when normally they would be 13 or 14 degrees C.

"It's completely abnormal," he said.

The rest / Re: Astronomical news
« on: January 23, 2019, 08:18:10 PM »
Mysterious Galaxy Measured Exquisitely, And Contains No Dark Matter At All


DF2 is strange, even for a dwarf galaxy. For starts, it’s ultra-diffuse, with no central core, no spiral arms, and no beehive-like elliptical structure. An instrument like Dragonfly is optimized for finding structures like this one with such low surface brightnesses; DF2 is one of only three or four known ultra-diffuse galaxies. It looks like a puffed-up ball of stars, and nothing more.

It is surrounded by a halo that’s populated with globular clusters, except its globular clusters are weird: they’re twice as large as the globulars we see in other galaxies. They’re also old: at least 9 billion years have passed since new stars have formed in them. But the strangest thing of all is that the motions of the stars inside of it, as well as the motions of the globular clusters around it, are so small. If dark matter were abundant, they’d move around at speeds of ±30 km/s, give or take a little. But that’s not what we see at all.


The stars and the globular clusters aren’t moving at ±16 km/s, as the prior team indicated, but at a mere ±7-or-8 km/s. By measuring the stars directly, they found a stellar velocity dispersion of ±8.4 km/s, while the globular clusters gave a slightly lower value of ±7.8 km/s. These values are consistent with what you’d expect from the mass of stars inside the galaxy alone; there appears to be no dark matter present inside this galaxy at all.

The globular clusters are found farther out than the stars by about a factor of 4, which is where the effects of a dark matter halo should be more significant. The fact that the the velocity dispersion remains unchanged between the stars and globular clusters, at least to the best resolution of our instruments, indicates that this galaxy may be the first example of a new population whose existence was predicted by theory: of ultra-diffuse, dark-matter-free galaxies.

For details and pictures:

Consequences / Re: Decline in insect populations
« on: January 22, 2019, 02:21:20 PM »
The way they explain it in the article:

“If you go a little bit past the thermal optimum for tropical insects, their fitness just plummets,” he said.

As the data came in, the predictions were confirmed in startling fashion. “The number of hot spells, temperatures above 29C, have increased tremendously,” he said. “It went from zero in the 1970s up to something like 44% of the days.”

The temperature data linked by Klondike Kat only cover the last 26 years of the period. Their old count was 35 years ago (so 1983)

However it is a problem that this is just two snapshots. We don´t know what species started disappearing at which years so all we have left is a scary number.

Then again someone else must have done some insect counting there in all the time in between.

Science / Re: 2018 Mauna Loa CO2 levels
« on: January 22, 2019, 01:46:54 PM »

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: What's new in Greenland?
« on: January 22, 2019, 01:34:59 PM »
Greenland ice melting four times faster than in 2003, study finds


Scientists concerned about sea level rise have long focused on Greenland's southeast and northwest regions, where large glaciers stream iceberg-sized chunks of ice into the Atlantic Ocean. Those chunks float away, eventually melting. But a new study published Jan. 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the largest sustained ice loss from early 2003 to mid-2013 came from Greenland's southwest region, which is mostly devoid of large glaciers.

"Whatever this was, it couldn't be explained by glaciers, because there aren't many there," said Michael Bevis, lead author of the paper, Ohio Eminent Scholar and a professor of geodynamics at The Ohio State University. "It had to be the surface mass—the ice was melting inland from the coastline."


The key finding from their study: Southwest Greenland, which previously had not been considered a serious threat, will likely become a major future contributor to sea level rise.


Bevis' team used data from GRACE and from GPS stations scattered around Greenland's coast to identify changes in ice mass. The patterns they found show an alarming trend—by 2012, ice was being lost at nearly four times the rate that prevailed in 2003. The biggest surprise: This acceleration was focused in southwest Greenland, a part of the island that previously hadn't been known to be losing ice that rapidly.

Read more at:

Consequences / Re: Decline in insect populations
« on: January 20, 2019, 10:16:11 AM »
What 88 Bee Genomes and 10 Years of Studying Apples Tell Us About the Future of Pollinators

The team surveyed bees in 27 orchards in New York for over 10 years, identifying over 8,700 individual bees. We’re not talking domesticated honey bees — they found an amazing 88 different species of wild native bees.

Over those years, they watched the landscapes around the orchards become more and more cultivated. Natural spaces like woodlands were replaced by alfalfa, corn and soybeans. And they saw fewer and fewer bee species in the orchards as the habitat around them disappeared.

Then they sequenced the genomes of all the species to make a phylogeny — an evolutionary family tree — to see how related the different bees were. They learned that the species that disappeared weren’t a random pick from the 88. Instead, the species lost were closely related to one another. Likewise, the species left behind were closely related to one another. Habitat losses had led to entire branches of the tree of life being pruned away — meaning phylogenetic diversity took a major hit.

The researchers estimate that for every 10 percent of land area that gets converted to agriculture, 35 million years of evolutionary history are lost from the bee community.


They found that the number of bee species didn’t matter for pollination. But the phylogenetic diversity did. Their giant dataset allowed them to learn that although more agriculture in the landscape decreases both, the latter is what really hurts the fruit. Cutting away whole branches from the tree of life hurts the whole ecosystem.

Consequences / Re: The Holocene Extinction
« on: January 19, 2019, 05:18:30 PM »
‘A sad day’: two more B.C. mountain caribou herds now locally extinct


Human disturbances, including clear-cut logging, mining and oil and gas development, have given natural predators like wolves easy access to caribou whose habitat has been destroyed or fragmented right across the country, with disastrous consequences for once-robust herds.


Thirty of B.C.’s 54 caribou herds are at risk of local extinction, and 14 of those herds have fewer than 25 animals.

Science / Re: ICESAT-2
« on: January 19, 2019, 05:15:30 PM »
Shutdown imperils NASA’s decadelong ice-measuring campaign

IceBridge, a decadelong NASA aerial campaign meant to secure a seamless record of ice loss, has had to sacrifice at least half of what was supposed to be its final spring deployment, its scientists say. The shortened mission threatens a crucial plan to collect overlapping data with a new ice-monitoring satellite called the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat)-2.

This year’s 8-week Arctic campaign was set to start 4 March from Thule Air Base in Greenland. But the shutdown has delayed maintenance and outfitting of the aircraft NASA uses—a low-flying P-3 Orion—forcing a later start date.

Researchers are crestfallen. The measurements are among IceBridge’s most important because they will be simultaneous with those made by ICESat-2, which launched in September 2018. That will help ensure the satellite’s accuracy and calibrate its results with past records. “We expected to be in an ideal position this spring,” Sonntag says. (He can talk to the media, he noted, because he is a NASA contractor who is still getting paid. Many NASA employees on his team are furloughed.)

and more:

Shutdown imperils NASA’s decadelong ice-measuring campaign

IceBridge, a decadelong NASA aerial campaign meant to secure a seamless record of ice loss, has had to sacrifice at least half of what was supposed to be its final spring deployment, its scientists say. The shortened mission threatens a crucial plan to collect overlapping data with a new ice-monitoring satellite called the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat)-2.

This year’s 8-week Arctic campaign was set to start 4 March from Thule Air Base in Greenland. But the shutdown has delayed maintenance and outfitting of the aircraft NASA uses—a low-flying P-3 Orion—forcing a later start date.

Researchers are crestfallen. The measurements are among IceBridge’s most important because they will be simultaneous with those made by ICESat-2, which launched in September 2018. That will help ensure the satellite’s accuracy and calibrate its results with past records. “We expected to be in an ideal position this spring,” Sonntag says. (He can talk to the media, he noted, because he is a NASA contractor who is still getting paid. Many NASA employees on his team are furloughed.)

and more:

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: January 18, 2019, 10:50:10 AM »
Mass pollution at Texas coal plants poses major threat to human health and the environment
New report shows coal ash leaking from 100% of reporting Texas coal plants.

According to a new report published Thursday by the non-profit, non-partisan Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), toxic coal ash pollutants from coal-fired power plants in Texas are leaking into groundwater around the state. Arsenic, cobalt, lithium, and a range of other pollutants are seeping from 100 percent of Texas power plants coal ash sites for which reports are available.


in Texas, 13 of 16 reporting coal plants have unsafe levels of arsenic in nearby groundwater, with levels at ten times the EPA Maximum Containment Level amount. Ten plants reported unsafe levels of boron — which is deadly to humans and aquatic life — while 14 reported unsafe levels of cobalt and 11 reported unsafe levels of lithium.

Paul Voosen. Antarctic ice melt 125,000 years ago offers warning

Did he give any time-line for the collapse in the article?

Permafrost / Permafrost general science thread
« on: January 16, 2019, 02:42:56 PM »
I decided to make a new thread for general science on permafrost because the other threads are about either methane or snow cover or really specific issues.


The pace at which the world's permafrost soils are warming

As the new global comparative study conducted by the international permafrost network GTN-P shows, in all regions with permafrost soils the temperature of the frozen ground at a depth of more than 10 metres rose by an average of 0.3 degrees Celsius between 2007 and 2016 - in the Arctic and Antarctic, as well as the high mountain ranges of Europe and Central Asia. The effect was most pronounced in Siberia, where the temperature of the frozen soil rose by nearly 1 degree Celsius. The pioneering study has just been released in the online journal Nature Communications.


The complete dataset encompasses 154 boreholes, 123 of which allow conclusions to be drawn for an entire decade, while the remainder can be used to refine calculations on annual deviation. The results show that, in the ten years from 2007 to 2016, the temperature of the permafrost soil rose at 71 of the 123 measuring sites; in five of the boreholes, the permafrost was already thawing. In contrast, the soil temperature sank at 12 boreholes, e.g. at individual sites in eastern Canada, southern Eurasia and on the Antarctic Peninsula; at 40 boreholes, the temperature remained virtually unchanged.


The researchers observed the most dramatic warming in the Arctic: "There, in regions with more than 90 percent permafrost content, the soil temperature rose by an average of 0.30 degrees Celsius within ten years," reports first author Dr Boris Biskaborn, a member of the research group Polar Terrestrial Environmental Systems at the Potsdam facilities of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. In northeast and northwest Siberia, the temperature increase at some boreholes was 0.90 degrees Celsius or even higher. For the sake of comparison: the air temperature in the respective regions rose by an average of 0.61 degrees Celsius in the same period.

Farther south, in Arctic regions with less than 90 percent permafrost, the frozen ground only warmed by 0.2 degrees Celsius on average. "In these regions there is more and more snowfall, which insulates the permafrost in two ways, following the igloo principle: in winter the snow protects the soil from extreme cold, which on average produces a warming effect. In spring it reflects the sunlight, and prevents the soil from being exposed to too much warmth, at least until the snow has completely melted away," Biskaborn explains.

Significant warming can also be seen in the permafrost regions of the high mountain ranges, and in the Antarctic. The temperature of the permanently frozen soils in the Alps, in the Himalayas and in the mountain ranges of the Nordic countries rose by an average of 0.19 degrees Celsius. In the shallow boreholes in the Antarctic, the researchers measured a rise of 0.37 degrees.

for full details:

Arctic sea ice / Re: "Stupid" Questions :o
« on: January 16, 2019, 01:34:40 PM »
We have one this year and had one last year so that looks like an increase in frequency although our data-set is still on the smallish side.

They could increase in severity too since they always happened but many were small.

Since the ice is so much weaker or in some places not event present the polar vortex is weaker now and because of the ongoing rise in global temperatures the incoming air will probably be warmer too.

On a slightly different note....they do bring cold weather to Europe but todays cold winter weather is a joke. During last years cold weather i heard so many complains but it was not that cold or long compared to the winters of my childhood (nor was the wind as nasty, the winter easterlies used to really bite) but they were before 1986.

Science / Re: Ocean temperatures
« on: January 16, 2019, 12:36:16 PM »
Record-breaking ocean temperatures point to trends of global warming
2018 continues record global ocean warming

An international team, released the 2018 ocean heat content observations in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences on January 16, 2019. The newly available observations show that the year 2018 is the hottest year ever recorded for the global ocean, as evident in its highest ocean heat content since 1950s in the upper 2000m.

Compared to the average value that was measured 1981 - 2010, the 2018 ocean heat anomaly is approximately 19.67 x 1022 Joules, a unit measure for heat. This heat increase in 2018 relative to 2017 is ~388 times more than the total electricity generation by China in 2017, and ~ 100 million times more than the Hiroshima bomb of heat. The years 2017, 2015, 2016 and 2014 came in just after 2018 in order of decreasing ocean heat content. The values are based on an ocean temperature analysis product conducted by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) at Chinese Academy of Sciences.

and more on:

Consequences / Re: Decline in insect populations
« on: January 15, 2019, 02:48:46 PM »
Those numbers are scary...and to think that even a relatively untouched rainforest does not escape.

“If you go a little bit past the thermal optimum for tropical insects, their fitness just plummets,” he said.

As the data came in, the predictions were confirmed in startling fashion. “The number of hot spells, temperatures above 29C, have increased tremendously,” he said. “It went from zero in the 1970s up to something like 44% of the days.”

I guess this will also spells trouble for a whole bunch of plants that lose their main pollinators.

Arctic sea ice / Re: "Stupid" Questions :o
« on: January 15, 2019, 02:22:44 PM »
The SSW events are rather normal with big ones every 2 years.

 One reason for major stratospheric warmings to occur in the Northern hemisphere is because orography and land-sea temperature contrasts are responsible for the generation of long (wavenumber 1 or 2) Rossby waves in the troposphere. These waves travel upward to the stratosphere and are dissipated there, decelerating the winds and warming the Arctic.

Pages: [1] 2 3