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Topics - jai mitchell

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Arctic change and mid-latitude weather
The Arctic is warming much faster than the rest of the planet, a phenomenon called Arctic amplification. The enhanced warming results in a massive loss in sea ice and snow cover, which in turn interact with the atmosphere. These changes can have consequences beyond the Arctic region and they have been related to an increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events across the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes.
The possible link between Arctic change and mid-latitude climate and weather has spurred a rush of new observational and modelling studies. While there are some arguments for a causal relationship between Arctic amplification and mid-latitude weather extremes, the significance of an Arctic influence is still discussed. To reflect on this vivid debate, this Nature Research collection combines commentary and reviews articles with primary research articles published in Nature Communications, Nature, Nature Geoscience and Nature Climate Change. show less

Policy and solutions / Direct Air Capture (of Carbon Dioxide)
« on: November 26, 2018, 07:28:56 PM »
Surprised this thread doesn't yet exist since it will be absolutely necessary to remove between 800 and 1,000 Giga-tonnes of Carbon from the Earth's atmosphere by 2100.  This, largely due to the shift of land, southern oceans, tropic peats and boreal systems into carbon sources. (this process is starting already)

so lets continue to post new developments regarding the process of direct air capture of carbon dioxide.  This is through agriculture, ocean nutrient seeding, reforestation/preservation and industrial activity.  Maybe we will find others too along the way.

This group advocates for a response to the climate emergency that is on scale with the massive effort required to prevent civilization collapse.  They just released 8 demonstration plans for U.S. cities which are pretty much the same policies and technologies but applied to different populations that have different availability of renewable energy resources.

The 36 page plans demonstrate how specific policies and technologies to reduce emissions have been done in other states and countries.  It also promotes urban regenerative agriculture as a way to help sequester greenhouse gasses and increase local resiliency. 

There is a lot of stuff in these documents, a lot of activities and technologies that work together and will fundamentally change the look and feel of a city that adopts such a plan.   I do not understand all of the complex interactions and synergies that something like this can produce.  The biggest unknown in my mind is how a local citizenry will respond when they see their government taking on this level of activity, the inherent local economic benefits that green jobs, manufacturing and the replacement of imported gasoline and natural gas with locally-generated solar and wind power.

I wonder how, for example, the rapid reduction in private vehicle ownership and the development of 'park and charge' lots in cities for electric vehicles will reduce street-level parking in cities?  Do they simply expand the lanes for cars? Or do they put in functional bike and walk paths? both?  What happens when a local city government finances a 'green bank' and the entire city decides that they want to divest their mortgages away from banks that fund oil and gas pipelines?

Anyway,  something new.  I don't think I have seen anything else like these plans out there to date.

check it out here:

Science / Beaufort Gyre Reversal and a Return to 1960's Level SIE
« on: December 13, 2017, 05:18:30 PM »
This interesting presentation about the potential for a long-term reversal of the Beaufort Gyre under a warming Arctic is very provocative.  While being unable to hear the actual presentation that these slides are associated with (link: ) the image below is almost magical in its projections. 

Fuller discussion of this can be found here.

Wouldn't that be wonderful???

The rest / Mark Jacobson Lawsuit
« on: November 02, 2017, 01:35:56 PM »
Background here:

Mark Jacobson of Stanford is relatively famous in the climate mitigation world for developing a national, state by state and (is working on) a global energy resource analysis that shows that is is 'possible' for a state, country or even the whole world to switch all energy consumption to non-fossil fuel (and nuclear) sources. 

Last year the National Academy of Sciences published a response paper co-written by 20 authors to take apart his work.  He claimed that their assertions in the paper (peer reviewed) were intentionally misleading and akin to libel.  It looks like he REALLY believed what he was saying.

Some climate scientists have stated that this is not the correct way to treat scientific debate.  That the conversation should be done through the peer reviewed, refereed literature.  Mark Jacobson did this with a very lengthy response to the paper, which was published.

He is suing for $10 million dollars.

My thoughts,

First off, I am not a big fan of scientists suing people, except when the targets of these lawsuits are actively working, either through ideological insanity or for simple monetary gain, to intentionally suppress good work that is going to help us to get off of fossil fuels and preserve some kind of non-dystopian future for our children.

However, some interesting things about the authors that wrote the paper.

Did there really need to be 20 authors for a response paper?  There is no real core datasets that required field research, why so many authors except to make the paper seem more authoritative.  This is akin to saying, "I win because me and my friends are louder than you are".

Which lends itself to Mark Jacobson's argument that they are intentionally trying to discredit his work, not discuss the scientific merit of his work.

Secondly, Mark Jacobson asserts that most of the 20 authors have ties to Nuclear industry, nuclear support organizations, fossil fuel interests (I think) and/or geoengineering.  He implies that they are trying to suppress his work intentionally to protect their own interests.

In any event this could get interesting.

Mark Jacobson's Paper from 2015:

Christopher Clack (and 20 authors) paper:

Mark Jacobson's Reply: 

AEVs are autonomous electric vehicles.  Self-driving Uber type ride-share technology called Transportation as a Service (TaaS).

This is a wonderful lecture to see what has happened in the past with these kinds of disruptive technologies where asset utilization goes from 4% to 40% while operational costs drop 10X below the costs of incumbent technologies.  Then he shows how these emergent technologies are actually doing this right now and that they have a synthesis of support for each other creating a massive disruption to ALL fossil fuel infrastructure - in other words, it is ALL stranded costs, today.

Since this addresses multiple technologies and current threads are only looking at specific tech, I though this new thread could address they synthesis of these technologies and their impacts on the economy (massive increases in household personal consumption spending) and the fossil fuel industry (i.e. petroleum refinery margins when global gasoline consumption drops by 30% in the next 10 years).

Published on Jun 9, 2017
Stanford University futurist Tony Seba spent the last decades studying technological disruptions. He argues that the Electric Vehicle, battery storage, and solar power, along with autonomous vehicles, are a perfect example of a 10x exponential process which will wipe fossil fuels off the market in about a decade. –

He is the author of several books, including most recently “Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation: How Silicon Valley Will Make Oil, Nuclear, Natural Gas, Coal, Electric Utilities and Conventional Cars Obsolete by 2030”, and “Solar Trillions: 7 Market and Investment Opportunities in the Emerging Clean-Energy Economy”

Tony Seba spoke in Boulder, Colorado, where he was awarded the 2017 Sunshine Award by Clean Energy Action (

Filmed and edited pro bono by Martin Voelker with the Colorado Renewable Energy Society (

In the absence of geoengineering activities, when do you think the Arctic will experience its LAST year with a Sept minimum sea ice extent ABOVE 1 million square km? 

This is looking at human lifetime scales, not century or epoch scales so no, it won't be the absolute last unless the sun explodes.  Just global warming impacts, not nuclear winter etc.


Scalable-manufactured randomized glass-polymer hybrid metamaterial for daytime radiative cooling
Yao Zhai et al.


Passive radiative cooling draws heat from surfaces and radiates it into space as infrared radiation to which the atmosphere is transparent. However, the energy density mismatch between solar irradiance and the low infrared radiation flux from a near-ambient-temperature surface require materials that strongly emit thermal energy and barely absorb sunlight. We embedded resonant polar dielectric microspheres randomly in a polymeric matrix, resulting in a metamaterial that is fully transparent to the solar spectrum while having an infrared emissivity greater than 0.93 across the atmospheric window. When backed with silver coating, the metamaterial shows a noon-time radiative cooling power of 93 W/m2 under direct sunshine. More critically, we demonstrated high-throughput, economical roll-to-roll manufacturing of the metamaterial, vital for promoting radiative cooling as a viable energy technology.

more here:

The research team estimated that 20-square-meters of the film placed on top of an average American house would be able to keep the internal temperature down to 68 degrees on a day when it is nearly 99 degrees outside.

Preventing something warming up is not, though, the same as cooling it. The key to doing this is the glass beads. Temperature maintenance is not a static process. All objects both absorb and emit heat all the time, and the emissions are generally in the form of infrared radiation. In the case of the beads, the wavelength of this radiation is determined by their diameter. Handily, those with a diameter of about eight microns emit predominantly at wavelengths which pass straight through the infrared “window” in the atmosphere. Since the source of the heat that turns into this infrared is, in part, the building below, the effect is to cool the building.

That cooling effect, 93 watts per square metre in direct sunlight, and more at night, is potent. The team estimates that 20 square metres of their film, placed atop an average American house, would be enough to keep the internal temperature at 20°C on a day when it was 37°C outside.

Quoted discussions about the December 2015 Winter Storm (called "Frank")
Reference NASA page here:

Subjects covered:  how much impact to sea ice from these warm atmospheric pulses into the Arctic.  Their Causes and quantification of how much heat/water pushed into the Winter CAB.  Do they draw heat from the surrounding ocean or bring heat in from mid-latitudes?  Do they cause significant melt in winter or do they prevent sea ice growth (or both?), Freezing Degree Day (FDD) Anomalies this season.

series of posts copied from 2017 Freezing Season thread


how much electricity can you generate with a constant supply of +500C supercritical steam?  Guess we will find out!
Iceland Is Drilling a 3-Mile Hole to Tap Magma Power
The project could increase the output of geothermal wells by a factor of 10

In 2009, the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) accidentally drilled into a magma reservoir about 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) below the surface when it was planning to construct a conventional geothermal well. As an experiment, the IDDP poured water down the magma well to see how much energy it could generate, and they ended up creating the most powerful geothermal well ever drilled, generating some 30 megawatts of power.

Now the project is hoping to do the same thing, except intentionally and on a larger scale. The drilling of a hole that will be 5 kilometers (3 miles) deep in southwestern Iceland began in August at a geothermal facility dubbed Thor. The IDDP intends to tap a landward extension of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where two of Earth's tectonic plates meet, and create the hottest hole ever drilled. In this subterranean zone, magma that is released from volcanic activity heats seawater up to temperatures between 400 and 1000 degrees Celcius (750 to 1800 degrees Farenheit).

the BBC reports that this project's drilling phase should be completed within a couple of weeks.


With an unlimited supply of naturally-sourced heat power, this technology has the potential to allow Iceland to become an energy exporter of carbon-free electricity to the EU.

Science / AMOC Behaviour Post Arctic Sea-Ice Free Conditions
« on: October 19, 2015, 02:15:14 PM »
Something I have been thinking about lately, It seems that the increased freshwater supply from Greenland and (I presume) early snowmelt of the northern hemisphere is currently impacting the AMOC, causing a measured 33% slowdown (or so) over the last 5 years.

This trend is obviously going to continue in strength as the arctic moves to a september ice free condition.

However, once it does, and the arctic becomes Ice free.  What will be the impacts on the AMOC during the next re-freeze period?  Significant volumes of latent heat will be extracted, much warmer sea surface temperatures, increased melt rates in Greenland during that previous melt season.  .  .

many changes that will both inhibit the Overturning circulation and will also act to strengthen it.

I am currently of the opinion that the year we have full Arctic Sea Ice loss will be the year that the AMOC goes to about 20% of the 1980 median.  And that the refreeze period will still have so much freshening that it will not be able to create enough increase in overturning to restart the AMOC, this will lead to semi-permanent (multi-decadal) shifts in the atlantic basin currents (strengthening of the Atlantic Gyre) which will then produce a complete shutdown of the AMOC (probably by 2019 but no later than 2025) with a resultant Sea Level Rise of 80cm on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

But I am still thinking about it. . .


Global warming is causing rain to melt the Greenland ice sheet

They found that cyclonic weather led to extreme surface runoff – a combination of ice melt and rain – that overwhelmed the ice sheet’s basal drainage system. This drive a marked increase in ice flow across the entire western sector of the ice sheet that extended 140 km into the ice sheet’s interior. According to Dr. Doyle,

    It wasn’t just rainfall. We saw 10 to 15% of the total annual surface melt occur in this event in late summer 2011. When this water reached the bed, the ice sheet lifted up and moved faster towards the sea.

Paper Here:

Doyle et. al
Amplified Melt and Flow of the Greenland Ice Sheet Driven By Late Summer Cyclonic Rainfall
DOI: 10.1038/NGEO2482

Intense rainfall events significantly affect Alpine and Alaskan glaciers through enhanced melting, ice-flow acceleration and subglacial sediment erosion, yet their impact on the Greenland ice sheet has not been assessed. Here we present measurements of ice velocity, subglacial water pressure and meteorological variables from the western margin of the Greenland ice sheet during a week of warm, wet cyclonic weather in late August and early September 2011. We find that extreme surface runoff from melt and rainfall led to a widespread acceleration in ice flow that extended 140 km into the ice-sheet interior. We suggest that the late-season timing was critical in promoting rapid runoff across an extensive bare ice surface that overwhelmed a subglacial hydrological system in transition to a less-efficient winter mode. Reanalysis data reveal that similar cyclonic weather conditions prevailed across southern and western Greenland during this time, and we observe a corresponding ice-flow response at all land- and marine-terminating glaciers in these regions for which data are available. Given that the advection of warm, moist air masses and rainfall over Greenland is expected to become more frequent in the coming decades, our findings portend a previously unforeseen vulnerability of the Greenland ice sheet to climate change.

Arctic sea ice / When Will We See <1,000 km^2 Arctic Sea Ice Extent
« on: May 25, 2015, 10:03:20 PM »
To get a sense of the expected future forcing rates of sea ice albedo feedbacks under 2XCO2 scenarios.  Please pick which you think is most likely.  By selecting on of the Sept. Minimum choices you are saying that you do not believe a June 21 ice free condition is likely this century.

leave a comment if you want another option or have a different scenario.



Findings showed that during the first pulse of CO2, the Earth's oceans were highly alkaline, protecting them from the release of carbon. But the second pulse triggered a widespread ocean acidification event – probably eliminating most of the heavily calcified marine life from the sea.

Clarkson said their findings are concerning because the carbon was released at a similar rate to modern emissions, helping scientists understand the possible threat posed to marine life by modern-day ocean acidification.

"Scientists have long suspected that an ocean acidification event occurred during the greatest mass extinction of all time, but direct evidence has been lacking until now," he said. "This is a worrying finding, considering that we can already see an increase in ocean acidity today that is the result of human carbon emissions."

Paper here:

Ocean acidification and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction

    M. O. Clarkson et. al.

ABSTRACT:  Ocean acidification triggered by Siberian Trap volcanism was a possible kill mechanism for the Permo-Triassic Boundary mass extinction, but direct evidence for an acidification event is lacking. We present a high-resolution seawater pH record across this interval, using boron isotope data combined with a quantitative modeling approach. In the latest Permian, increased ocean alkalinity primed the Earth system with a low level of atmospheric CO2 and a high ocean buffering capacity. The first phase of extinction was coincident with a slow injection of carbon into the atmosphere, and ocean pH remained stable. During the second extinction pulse, however, a rapid and large injection of carbon caused an abrupt acidification event that drove the preferential loss of heavily calcified marine biota.

EDITOR'S SUMMARY:  Ocean acidification and mass extinction

The largest mass extinction in Earth's history occurred at the Permian-Triassic boundary 252 million years ago. Several ideas have been proposed for what devastated marine life, but scant direct evidence exists. Clarkson et al. measured boron isotopes across this period as a highly sensitive proxy for seawater pH. It appears that, although the oceans buffered the acidifiying effects of carbon release from contemporary pulses of volcanism, buffering failed when volcanism increased during the formation of the Siberian Traps. The result was a widespread drop in ocean pH and the elimination of shell-forming organisms.

Science / Recent Slowdown of AMOC Possibly Linked to Greenland Melt
« on: March 24, 2015, 07:37:55 PM »

Now, a new study in Nature Climate Change argues the Atlantic overturning already seems to be weakening dramatically. The researchers, led by Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research, created a novel reconstruction of the AMOC's behavior going back centuries. They conclude the system hasn't been this weak in 1,100 years, perhaps due to an influx of freshwater from Greenland's melting ice sheet. (This contrasts with previous research suggesting the AMOC was still fluctuating in natural cycles.)

So how worrisome is this? For now, most scientists remain confident we won't see a sudden shutdown anytime soon. Mainstream climate models have long predicted that the AMOC would eventually weaken as the Earth warms, but those models don't forecast huge, abrupt changes this century.

In their study, Rahmstorf and his co-authors point out that Greenland has been melting significantly in the past few decades. That influx of cool freshwater can reduce the surface density of ocean water in the North Atlantic and, in turn, weaken the AMOC. If that's true, then the AMOC is already slowing down due to climate change, not fluctuating naturally:

Policy and solutions / Google-X Makani Wind Turbine Kite
« on: March 18, 2015, 06:32:21 PM »

Google X is putting giant wind turbines in the sky next month

AUSTIN, Texas -- For its next trick, Google will begin flying 84 foot-long airborne wind turbines, said Astro Teller, the head of Google X, the company's lab of moonshot projects.

Google has been working on Project Makani, as these wind turbines are called, since buying a company of the same name in 2013, but until now, the search company has only been testing 28-feet long test models. The new kite turbines set to be introduced next month will be full scale

The Project Makani kites look like the wingspan of a large airplane minus the cabin in the middle. Each kite has eight propellers that it uses to take off and a tether that keeps it attached to the ground. After the kite ascends to the limit of the tether, which is more than 1,400 feet, the propellers stop climbing, Teller said. At that point, they begin serving as flying wind turbines and the kite starts doing large circles in the sky. Combined, this generates 600 Kilowatts of energy that is continuously sent down the tether.

A good concept video with demonstration of the prototype made by Makani in 2011 is here:

600kw of continuous power sounds pretty good to me, I wonder why they don't go higher than 1,400 feet elevation?

Science / 800,000 Hiroshima Bombs per Day
« on: March 15, 2015, 10:28:01 PM »
I posted this today over at the Daily Kos,

In February 2012, renowned climate scientist James Hansen gave a TED talk.  In it he shocked the world by explaining how global warming was heating planet Earth on a scale that was equal to 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs every day!  However, recent work by several scientists has shown that his estimates were significantly understated.  And the heat rate is going up much faster than we thought!

In it I assert that our current top of atmosphere radiative energy imbalance is now 1.2 Watts per Meter squared.  This is double the amount estimated by Hansen and Sato in 2010 for an average value that was reached sometime around 2007 (see attached graphic).

Please review the diary and let me know what you think.  I am certain that we will be experiencing rapid warming in the near future and that even this rapid warming will not be enough to reduce the trajectory of the top of atmosphere heat accumulation. 

This is especially true once the arctic summer sea ice is melted out completely and economic collapse and/or Chinese pollution controls reduce the cooling effect of the atmospheric aerosol loading forcing factor by 50%

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Baffin Island
« on: March 13, 2015, 01:14:41 AM »
Interesting story found here:

Greenland Reels: Climate Disrupting Feedbacks Have Begun

Across Baffin Bay to the west of Greenland is Baffin Island. This is the largest of the islands in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, and ranked the fifth largest in the world; it is almost as big as Texas (Greenland is the largest). Baffin Island has its own ice cap as well as satellite ice caps to the main body of ice. It is these satellite ice caps that attracted the attention of researchers.

The plants were dated with carbon-14 dating techniques to a time period 44,000 years ago that was in the depths of the last 100,000-year-long ice age. (3) At that time, the ice was growing and temperatures in the Arctic were 25 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit colder than the warmest time of our current interglacial era - the time between ice ages. The average temperature across the globe was 9 to 14 degrees colder than today. (4)

To find temperatures similar to today's, we would have to go back nearly 120,000 years ago to the previous warmup between glacial periods, so it is virtually certain from these findings that the plants that these researchers found have not seen daylight in over 100,000 years. One of the amazing things this work reports is that some of the mosses at the 145 sites surveyed began to regrow once the ice melted away. (5)

Since the global thermal maximum temperature that occurred after the end of the last ice age about 5,000 years ago, Baffin Island cooled nearly 5 degrees Fahrenheit, but since the 1960s, this area has warmed nearly 7 degrees Fahrenheit, and the snow line has increased in altitude over 2,700 feet (half a mile). (6) This research definitively puts to rest the talking point that Greenland was warmer than today at any time in the past 100,000 years. The warming has also taken place entirely in the last 50 years, and during this entire 5,000-year-long period the natural cycles have been cooling, not warming.

Associated video here: 

Antarctica / East Antarctica Surface Melt - Meteor Crater/Lake
« on: January 27, 2015, 08:40:36 PM »
It turns out that the recent satellite image of a potential meteor crater was actually a melt lake that recently drained.

The ring of sunken ice, nearly 2 miles (3 kilometers) wide, was spotted a few days before Christmas on the Roi Baudoin Ice Shelf in East Antarctica, north of Belgium's Princess Elisabeth research station.

The collapsed circles of ice commonly appear in West Antarctica and Greenland, where prodigious surface melting results in scores of lakes, but ice dolines aren't widely known even among glaciologists.

Policy and solutions / The Solar Justice Movement
« on: January 17, 2015, 11:39:46 PM »
This innovative new product provides security, economic stimulus and comfort potentially to billions of people.

It is also an excellent product for disaster preparedness and should be incorporated into every home's preparedness kit.

It is called the 'luci'.

Here are a few vidoes and the manufacturer's website.

website here:

I am purchasing 5 and will provide them as gifts to my family members.

Consequences / Collapse of the Arctic Cell - What it looks like
« on: January 08, 2015, 12:03:49 AM »
Here is a model run with massive inputs of mid-latitude warmth pushing up into the Arctic from both the Pacific and Atlantic sides at once.  Notice what happens to the polar vortex.

Link to animation here:

Walking the walk / Homemade passivehaus/earthship guide available
« on: December 23, 2014, 05:44:20 PM »
looks very promising, using multiple new inexpensive building designs.  It looks to be completely self-contained but with solar panels located off structure it would be a plus-house (generating more energy than used).

here is the website for the project.


In the past decade, there has been a massive growth in the horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing of shale gas and tight oil reservoirs to exploit formerly inaccessible or unprofitable energy resources in rock formations with low permeability. In North America, these unconventional domestic sources of natural gas and oil provide an opportunity to achieve energy self-sufficiency and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions when displacing coal as a source of energy in power plants. However, fugitive methane emissions in the production process may counter the benefit over coal with respect to climate change and therefore need to be well quantified. Here we demonstrate that positive methane anomalies associated with the oil and gas industries can be detected from space and that corresponding regional emissions can be constrained using satellite observations. On the basis of a mass-balance approach, we estimate that methane emissions for two of the fastest growing production regions in the United States, the Bakken and Eagle Ford formations, have increased by 990 ± 650 ktCH4 yr−1 and 530 ± 330 ktCH4 yr−1 between the periods 2006–2008 and 2009–2011. Relative to the respective increases in oil and gas production, these emission estimates correspond to leakages of 10.1% ± 7.3% and 9.1% ± 6.2% in terms of energy content, calling immediate climate benefit into question and indicating that current inventories likely underestimate the fugitive emissions from Bakken and Eagle Ford.

These estimates of leakage show that between 3% and 17% of all natural gas produced within the united states is leaked from production facilities.  Alvarez et. al. 2012  showed that leakages of 3-5% would make the 20-year climate impacts of modern combined cycle natural gas electricity production equivalent to new coal-fired power plants.

Alvarez (2012)

The implications here are that, besides current EPA emissions inventories being much lower than reality, the effects of switching from coal to natural gas, under the regime of current industry practices, is likely MUCH worse for the environment on a 20-year timeline and, if the high end estimates are correct, even worse on a 100-year timeline.

Consequences / Arctic Summer Sea Ice transition
« on: October 12, 2014, 06:09:53 PM »
Topic Moved from PIOMAS October thread:

Science / Quantifying underestimates of long-term upper-ocean warming
« on: October 06, 2014, 11:30:28 PM »
Paul J. Durack,   
 Peter J. Gleckler,   
 Felix W. Landerer   
 & Karl E. Taylor   


Nature Climate Change (2014) doi:10.1038/nclimate2389 Published online  05 October 2014

The global ocean stores more than 90% of the heat associated with observed greenhouse-gas-attributed global warming1, 2, 3, 4. Using satellite altimetry observations and a large suite of climate models, we conclude that observed estimates of 0–700 dbar global ocean warming since 1970 are likely biased low. This underestimation is attributed to poor sampling of the Southern Hemisphere, and limitations of the analysis methods that conservatively estimate temperature changes in data-sparse regions5, 6, 7. We find that the partitioning of northern and southern hemispheric simulated sea surface height changes are consistent with precise altimeter observations, whereas the hemispheric partitioning of simulated upper-ocean warming is inconsistent with observed in-situ-based ocean heat content estimates. Relying on the close correspondence between hemispheric-scale ocean heat content and steric changes, we adjust the poorly constrained Southern Hemisphere observed warming estimates so that hemispheric ratios are consistent with the broad range of modelled results. These adjustments yield large increases (2.2–7.1 × 10^22 J * 35 yr−1) to current global upper-ocean heat content change estimates, and have important implications for sea level, the planetary energy budget and climate sensitivity assessments.

Here are implications of the rates of future warming derived from the original Nucitelli et. al. 2013 data

full sized graphic here:

The rate of heat accumulation is higher than previously understood.  The increased rate of accumulation indicates that future emissions projections (RCP 8.5 BAU) will lead to 30% higher heat accumulation by 2039 than thought previously.

Please note that this analysis does not include step-change albedo declines due to loss of Arctic Sea Ice in 10-30 years.  These should be considered lower bound estimates.

Policy and solutions / Salinity Depth and Seeding
« on: June 16, 2014, 06:50:03 PM »
A response to the math challenge, how much salt would move how much water (at the Indonesian warm pool) how far into the ocean?


I wasn't asking you I was challenging you.  It is often the case that people will throw out ideas before looking at them because they don't fit with their preconceived notions.  In fact, this is what basically determines human understanding of everything from butterflies to politics (

the 1916 Helland-Hansen curve of Temperature Salinity;;doc.view=print shows the equilibrium temperature and Salinity profiles for the Gulf Stream between 20 and 180 meters of depth.

In a very clear correlation between this depth range the salinity drops (roughly) from 27.5C to 22C at 180 meters.  The corresponding Salinity for these depths are 36 0/00 (units are kg Salt/1000 kg of H20)  which increases to 36.6 0/00

Therefore, an increase of 6/10th of a kg of salt per 1000 kg of water is enough to equal a temperature differential of 5.5C

so lets increase the surface salinity of 1000 kg of water by adding 100 grams of salt, what is the associated change in temperature and where would the new equilibrium be found at depth?

answer:  (.916 k per tenth of 0/00 = 36 meters depth)

So if you injected 60,000 kg of salt into the 20m depth profile (where surface evaporation/wind mixing meets equilibrium) then you would move 600,000 cubic meters down an additional 18 meters (accounting for temperature differentials = -50% penalty).

If even a thin slice of water 1 cm was spread out and moved at this volume it would still only be 680 X 680 meters.   However, the contribution of this effect to the already strong evaporation/vertical mixing in the region would certainly push the equilibrium mixing layer (now at 20 meters depth down an additional several meters.

At this point though one must realize that we are talking about  hygroscopic cloud seeding, a process where salt water is sprayed over cumulus clouds to generate a "hot rain"  this rain is coming down at temperatures that are significantly warmer (approximately 7-10C warmer) than the ocean surface temperature, causing a regional warming and salinity increase.  This process will increase the rate of heat deposition into the lower layers (via wind mixing) by an amount that is significantly greater than the increased mixing caused by the introduction of salt. 

While the amount of down welling caused by salting is small (in relative volume to the incident mass) the amount is significant if considered with the rates of surface mixing normally found in this region due to evaporation and wind.  (effectively pushing the mixing layer to a new depth profile)

So, the answer is:

Yes the amount of down welling is (relatively) small.

It looks like the increase in surface temperature, mixing rates and the expansion of the subsurface mixed layer depth profiles will have a much larger effect (of heat deposition)

unfortunately, I cannot quantify the actual additional heat deposition values since I do not know the current regional surface mixing rates from 0-20 meters of depth.

However, the amount is not negligible.  This region has observed an increase in heat=depth profiles recently that are extremely unusual.

Pity the poor puffin and razorbills. . .

Something Is Seriously Wrong on the East Coast—and It's Killing All the Baby Puffins

But Kress soon noticed that something was wrong. Puffins dine primarily on hake and herring, two teardrop-shaped fish that have always been abundant in the Gulf of Maine. But Petey's parents brought him mostly butterfish, which are shaped more like saucers. Kress watched Petey repeatedly pick up butterfish and try to swallow them.

Hake and herring, meanwhile, got the hell out of Dodge, heading for cooler waters. In all, at least 14 Gulf of Maine fish species have been shifting northward or deeper in search of relief.

In recent history, the average ocean surface temperature of the Gulf of Maine has hovered around 44 degrees Fahrenheit. 2013 was the second-warmest year in the Gulf in three decades, with an average surface temperature of 46.6 degrees. But it was nowhere near the freakish spike to 47.5 degrees in 2012

For 40 years, Stephen Kress has traveled to the same Maine islands each spring, has watched the same puffin couples return year after year to raise their chicks. Now he doesn't know what to think. "I've seen colonies go up and down, and I know one year doesn't make a pattern, but you can't help but wonder. We've worked decades to build those populations up, and in 2013 we lost a third. That's pretty dramatic."

Current regional Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly,43.69,3000

Policy and solutions / Ryden Battery
« on: May 23, 2014, 03:23:12 PM »

The Ryden battery recharges 20X faster than its lithium based cousins. It lasts through many thousands of discharge cycles. It does not run at high temperatures, so no cooling system is required. All its components are organic and recyclable. Most importantly of all though, it should be cheaper than lithium-ion batteries once full-scale production begins.

apparently this new carbon battery uses very little rare elements, this would allow for mass production of grid-scale battery systems that would be used in conjunction with the intermittent sources of solar and wind energy and allow these renewable sources to be the sole sources of power in future generations.

they have an identical power density as lithium-ion batteries but with a charging time on the order of 12 minutes vs. the typical 4 hours needed to charge the Nissan LEAF car battery.

combining this technology with mid-lane charging capability and electric vehicles will have an unlimited driving range.

when batteries are fully discharged and then re-charged they experience a higher level of breakdown and they lose their useful life much quicker.  These batteries have a much better response to full-discharge/recharge cycle stresses.

using mid-lane charging, while the vehicle is operating will allow for these batteries to only fully discharge very rarely, increasing their effective lifetime by 10X.

Power Japan Plus will begin benchmark production of 18650 Ryden cells later this year at the company’s production facility in Okinawa, Japan. This facility will allow the company to meet demand for specialty energy storage markets such as medical devices and satellites. For larger demand industries, such as electric vehicles, Power Japan Plus will operate under a licensing business model, providing technology and expertise to existing battery manufacturers to produce the Ryden battery.

here is the video of the battery:

These are potent claims, from a startup company.  It is not clear if this is real but benchmark performance testing is supposedly starting this year.   We shall see.

Consequences / Sea Level Rise and Social Cost of Carbon
« on: May 20, 2014, 09:51:45 PM »
Now that we have determined that the likely contribution to sea level rise from WAIS will be 1 meter or so:

and the previous AR5 projection says that the Antarctic contribution was supposed to be about 5 cm


What will be the real sea level rise by 2100 under RCP 6.0 now?

1 meter?
2 meters?
3 meters?

Since the DICE model used to determine the costs of climate change only projects 1 meter of sea level rise

and it now looks like we will have 2.5 to 3.5 meters of sea level rise.  What is the new social cost of carbon?  is it now double what it would be without this new information?

Consequences / 2014 - California Wildfire Apocalypse?
« on: May 14, 2014, 10:59:24 PM »

With the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge of 2012/2013 formed in the north pacific, the state of California experienced its driest 13 months in 165 years of records.  Up until February/March of 2014 the state was in a severe drought.

Then, in February we had a significant rainfall event that thankfully restored most of our reservoirs to a manageable level.  However, this late winter/early spring rain, after a year of bone-dry drought created an explosion of late-season grass growth.

Fires this spring will exhibit behavior seen more typically in fall. (Even after the recent rains, several burn projects last month have shown a high of consumption of fuels.) Expect fires to grow rapidly in continuous fuels, even during weather conditions not normally associated with fire growth. More fires will also be possible in alpine areas as melt out will be much earlier than average this year.

Indeed, we have already had a series of wildfires in the last 2 days that have caused over 30,000 evacuation notices to be sent, this one today, more serious than the event yesterday, as these forced evacuations have immediately been issued.

More than 11,000 homes and businesses were ordered to evacuate on Wednesday and power was cut off to many residents as a wind-lashed wildfire roared out of control in San Diego County, authorities said.

This is just the start, the projected heat intensity and drought increase for the state of California is extremely dire.  With a combination of 3 years of intense drought, with the last year being the absolute driest on record, a significant amount of tree mortality has produced vast areas of dry fuel for wildfires. 

Consequences / Cyclone Ita - Class 5 hitting Queensland Australia
« on: April 11, 2014, 04:12:41 AM »,-16.59,1306


Over the last several hours, Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita has rapidly intensified to a Category 5 beast of a storm. Official estimates from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology have the storm slightly stronger than Cyclone Ian, which hit Tonga earlier this year and was previously the strongest storm of 2014.

Now, it’s still early in the year, sure. But only a handful of tropical cyclones ever reach this strength, fewer still in the Coral Sea off Australia’s tropical north coast.

Ita could also prove to be one of the worst in Australia’s history, bringing storm surge, heavy rain, and strong winds to a large swath of the Queensland coastline. Flooding from both rain and rising seas are especially a concern with Ita, because it’s relatively slow-moving and will arrive near the time of local high tide. Ita is one of the latest-forming Category 5 storms in Australian history, whose tropical cyclone season runs from November to April.

According to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, it’s only the second time since 1918 a storm of this magnitude has struck Queensland. The other time was three years ago, when Tropical Cyclone Yasi struck just south of Ita’s anticipated landfall. Yasi was Australia’s costliest tropical cyclone in its history, causing an estimated $3.6 billion in damage.

Consequences / Changes in Mid-Latitude Hydrology
« on: March 17, 2014, 08:01:42 PM »
Greetings Earthlings!

I have decided to start this thread to document the shifts in the pacific hydrological cycle.   I deem this to be worthwhile as we move into an El Nino cycle and the increase in regional relative humidity and sea surface temperatures are likely to drive significant regional climatic shifts

Specifically this will be looking at changes in Jetstream paths and the movement of tropical moisture and sea surface temperatures into northern climes.

For instance, in a region that produced an extratropical cyclone with hurricane force winds last week,, today has created a significant low pressure cyclone now located in the north east of Hawaii.  It is projected to remain stationary for the next 4 days and will likely persist longer as it is now entraining moisture from the Intertropical Convergence Zone. 

Here is the windmap for 3/17 showing its formation,33.31,1227

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