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Messages - Lynn Shwadchuck

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Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: July 20, 2018, 08:28:46 PM »
Hi all, Long time no comment. But in my quick search on news re: Siberian methane, I found this very recent paper about measuring methane flux. They've realized that there are short duration bursts that get eliminated from steady-state measurements as 'outliers', so they've adapted  software from another application to include bits of bubbling-out and sweeping-up of permafrost methane. My point is that this as-yet-unreviewed paper is only proposing that this new method be implemented on all the measuring stations. That this is an indication to me that we really have so little information about how bad things are today. (Sorry if this is old news. I'm out of touch here.)

Characterisation of short-term extreme methane fluxes related to non-turbulent mixing above an Arctic permafrost ecosystem

The rest / Re: Arctic Café
« on: November 21, 2014, 07:54:57 PM »

Just wanting the spread the work about this climate related fund-raising project.
The doco 'Thin Ice' has already been very well received and beyond New Zealand's shores.
The movie's website has all sorts of clips & the trailer if you want more info:

Thanks for spreading the word about this Clare. Looking forward to getting my MP4.

Policy and solutions / Re: Is this the Nuclear Fusion we are looking for?
« on: October 17, 2014, 03:18:57 PM »
I completely forgot I already got all excited about this last year. I watched the lead inventor talk about it and he said 'power for the world in twenty years'. Too late, for sure.

Policy and solutions / Re: Fusion
« on: October 16, 2014, 04:33:05 PM »
The Lockheed Martin project head gave this fifteen minute talk on Google Solve X last November:

Recent Forbes article takes it dead seriously. I think it's the best news in forty years!

Permafrost / Re: This is not good.
« on: September 04, 2014, 01:33:49 PM »
I'm reading Fernand Braudel's Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century, Vol. I: The Structure of Everyday Life. Once populations got too high to support hunting & gathering, they lived on almost no meat, growing field crops – wheat, rice and maize. Turn that around the other way and once agriculture is unsupportable, the number of acres of foraging land needed per person becomes very high. After plague and/or famine reduced a population, wild plants and wild animals repopulated the area, but not immediately.

The rest / Re: Cli Fi
« on: August 31, 2014, 10:45:42 PM »
Here's a writer who's trying:

Benjamin Dancer has written Patriarch Run.

He saw my review* of Blood Meridian on Goodreads and asked me to read and review his novel. Another character like the scientist in Oryx and Crake, who thinks the best thing for the human race is total collapse. This one has a piece of software that will destroy the power grid across the US.

Quite a good read, especially for a buck on Amazon. (The e-book)


The rest / Re: Cli Fi
« on: August 31, 2014, 10:35:26 PM »
The Channel 4 series "Utopia" deals with a cabal of Big Pharma scientists who decided thirty years ago that the only solution to the coming chaotic future would be a 90-95% population cull. (There was a dark thread here a few months ago where F Tinoli wanted to discuss how to go about this.)

Interestingly, the few mentions of the reasons for the coming dark times were cited to be resource and soil depletion and the end of oil. The cabal is decidedly evil, so perhaps the writer decided not to mention climate change, which might have complicated the predictions.

Anybody watching Season 2? I'm just going to start it.

Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: August 29, 2014, 03:13:16 PM »
Asparagus bugs were a scourge I didn't even know I had this year till a friend identified the problem last week. But I refuse to be out there with a tub of soapy water knocking them off for hours. I did that with rode chafers one summer. Turned out the blackberry canes I was fussing over were a crap species anyway.

My garden will shrink next year. Moving berries into two of the five main beds. I'm growing only what's pretty much guaranteed based on experience here. Or fun (but a gamble) like canteloupe.

Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: August 23, 2014, 02:20:58 AM »
Yes, the snap peas kept producing till last week, very unusual. Zucchini is great.

Yesterday I happened to meet the raspberry farmer from whom my friend got the canes whose daughters fizzled in this, their third, season. He think they were a planned-obsolescence hybrid, good for heavy production for one or two years. He suggested getting new canes next spring from Strawberry Time in Simcoe Ontario. Apparently they supply farms all over the world. And I'm not to plant them in the same place as the old canes. Roger that.

Walking the walk / Re: Manure - Hazards for Gardeners
« on: August 22, 2014, 03:07:19 PM »
I used one bag of garden centre sheep manure on the rhubarb and it was fine. I mostly only use it on my flowers. We make a lot of compost for the food beds.

I don't understand why animal manure would have weed killer in it. They graze on weeds.

Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: August 22, 2014, 03:03:03 PM »
Yes, I've figured out in the last couple of years, both too rainy, this one too cool – gardening is not a triumph over climate disruptions. It will be what it will be. My tomatoes didn't ripen and the chipmunks ate them anyway. Great year for kale. Kale could be the Answer. Crepes stuffed with cooked kale and feta cheese with fried onions over top. Deeee-lish.

My onion and garlic crops were fabulous. The berries were a bust.

Permafrost / Re: Major Arctic Methane Research - SWERUS-C3
« on: August 21, 2014, 12:25:55 AM »
Good one, Viddaloo.

Permafrost / Re: Major Arctic Methane Research - SWERUS-C3
« on: August 20, 2014, 05:40:13 PM »
Well, then. That's more than I hoped for.

Permafrost / Re: Major Arctic Methane Research - SWERUS-C3
« on: August 15, 2014, 01:23:51 AM »
Neven's right. Carana has separated from the team he used to be part of, as I understand it.

Permafrost / Re: Major Arctic Methane Research - SWERUS-C3
« on: August 14, 2014, 01:08:52 AM »
Naaah, there are 100 scientists on that ship. Let's allow them time to compile and consolidate. There will be a paper in the fall, I'm sure. Shakhova's glad to have this mission, but what she really wishes for is hundreds of monitoring stations beaming out info all the time. Running across a plume is something, but it's not the whole picture. They're looking for patterns, not incidents.

Permafrost / Re: Major Arctic Methane Research - SWERUS-C3
« on: August 13, 2014, 02:37:08 PM »
From looking at the crew blogs occasionally, it seems they've struggled around ice and fog, been busy with all sorts of difficult measuring equipment. They're gathering data. I haven't expected conclusions.

Permafrost / Re: Major Arctic Methane Research - SWERUS-C3
« on: August 07, 2014, 05:08:26 PM »
Is there a written transcript of her interview. Ive tried to listen to a couple of different sites and I can not understand alot of what she says.

Cross-posting this, but it may be helpful. I think my bit of Ukrainian study helps me understand Shakhova. We've been discussing it on the 'This is not good' thread, too.,484.msg30626.html#new

My synopsis of the 45 minute interview:

Very interesting that she argues clearly against geoengineering, going so far as to joke about it. She said, what are we to do, flip the poles so we get the climate of Antarctica in the Arctic? I suspect she's succeeded in talking AMEG out of pushing this idea. I see all the links to their 'strategic plan' are dead now.

It all sounds seriously 'not good'.

Surprises to me (and I've been following her and Semiletov since 2010):

    The part of the East Siberian Arctic Sea closest to shore has only been under water a geologically short time. On this winter's expedition they were surprised to find the permafrost there at the thawing point rather that at the expected minus 7. It should be more stable than the deeper areas.

    Shakhova and Semiletov were doing research on the ESAS in 1998 when they found a single highly concentrated plume of methane. This is what started their dogged search for the answers about the methane that's supposed to be sealed under permafrost.

    She seems to be frustrated that other scientists don't understand that methane hydrates in southern oceans release themselves through oxidation slowly and through a deep water column, where in the case of the ESAS the pure methane gas is released straight to the atmosphere thorough physical pathways (openings in the thawing permafrost) and a shallow water column over the shelf.

    There is a fault/rift that makes catastrophic release a possibility, which would immediately raise the global average temperature 3 degrees.

    They've been very conservative in their estimates of just how many gigatonnes of methane there may be trapped under the permafrost, basing it on the equivalent area on the land-based permafrost. It could go a few kilometers deep or MANY.

    The expedition this summer is making a single line across the arctic. She wishes the international scientific community would share in a project to continuously monitor the vast expanse with observation stations.

The gist of the interview is that things have been changing very fast.

Not sure I trust Hank Paulson, "named in Time Magazine as one of the "25 People to Blame for the [2008] Financial Crisis" to sincerely be in favour of a carbon tax. We'll see how that unfolds after the next US election, I guess. Not happening in Canada, for sure.

Permafrost / Re: Major Arctic Methane Research - SWERUS-C3
« on: July 23, 2014, 02:14:55 PM »
It's exciting that in the first two days they already have a new hypothesis for what's been happening in the ESAS:

"It has recently been documented that a tongue of relatively varm Atlantic water, with a core at depths of 200–600 m may have warmed up some in recent years. As this Atlantic water, the last remnants of the Gulf Stream, propagates eastward along the upper slope of  the East Siberian margin, our SWERUS-C3 program is hypothesizing that this heating may lead to destabilization of upper portion of the slope methane hydrates. This may be what we now for the first time are observing. "

Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: July 21, 2014, 11:44:21 PM »
Well said, Neven. Resilient communities are a more realistic goal than self-sufficient families. The sooner we start buying local producers' goods, the more likely we'll be ready for extremely expensive fuel. Gardening is good for the soul and keeps us close to the ground and out of trouble.

This year the rain has the weeds going nuts. You can tell by looking at gardens who's been away for three days.

Permafrost / Re: This is not good.
« on: July 18, 2014, 03:35:26 PM »
Thanks, Terry, I got this 200 business wrong because I watched Shakhova on video and I think her English was unclear. I did have trouble understanding how it could be so recent. I'm vividly clear on all the decomposed flora and fauna under there. I'm lucky I can sleep at night!  ;)

Permafrost / Re: This is not good.
« on: July 18, 2014, 01:54:13 PM »

I'm out of my depth when it comes to these historical specifics. (Ha! I made a funny.) Laurent seems to be on top of the facts.

If anything is confusing to me it's that Shakhova said the ESAS shelf was tundra 200 years ago.

Permafrost / Re: This is not good.
« on: July 17, 2014, 12:09:40 AM »
Doesn't sound good, Laurent.

Permafrost / Re: This is not good.
« on: July 17, 2014, 12:00:45 AM »
More detail at the original link.

"Anna Kurchatova from Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Centre thinks the crater was formed by a water, salt and gas mixture igniting an underground explosion, the result of global warming. She postulates that gas accumulated in ice mixed with sand beneath the surface, and that this was mixed with salt - some 10,000 years ago this area was a sea.

"Global warming, causing an 'alarming' melt in the permafrost, released gas causing an effect like the popping of a Champagne bottle cork, she suggests.

"Given the gas pipelines in this region such a happening is potentially dangerous."

Permafrost / Re: This is not good.
« on: July 15, 2014, 02:19:17 PM »
This is the sort of thing Natalia Shakhov meant in the video interview about how interdisciplinary the work on the ESAS methane is.

China sticks with coal gasification to curb smog despite potentially big rise in CO2 emissions

Coco Liu, E&E Asia correspondent
ClimateWire: Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"Last month, when China's National Energy Administration called experts for their opinions on coal gasification, how to mitigate the impact of carbon emissions and other environmental problems were among discussed topics. The administration later said in an online statement that it will revise its policy on coal-to-liquid and coal-to-natural-gas, though no information was made available on what change will come, on which aspect, and how.

"Unless China requires carbon capture and storage for synthetic natural gas, which seems unlikely now, the environmental regulations in China do not put any limit on carbon emissions at all," Yang said.

"The potential increase of carbon dioxide emissions from synthetic natural gas could be so huge and disastrous," he said, adding that "the interest groups are still completely ignoring the problems."

Permafrost / Re: This is not good.
« on: July 13, 2014, 09:16:11 PM »
Thanks for the homework, Terry. So, possibly the pressure of methane on a weak spot creates the PLF, or the PLF allows the escape of methane, whichever form it takes.

Either way it only reinforces my artist's mental image of the ESAS as a brewing abscess on the behind of our planet.

Since the numbers say arctic methane is a very long-term threat unless the worst happens – the rift opens up. But maybe that's not a separate risk. Maybe these PLFs caused by a warming bottom are to that catastrophic release S&S fear as horizontal drilling is to earthquakes.

Another bit of hope here, although listening to Tom Steyer lay out the extent of the political resistance is discouraging.

This talk is worth watching: Confronting Climate Change: A Political Reality Check

Tom Steyer, Nextgen Climate

Steyer is working with Hank Paulsen and other heavy hitters, campaigning to make innovations in sustainable energy a political priority at the local level by addressing particular climate impacts likely in various US constituencies. Voters have to care enough to make it a voting issue.

People say, what about China and India! Well, the US has to do it first, then go to China and India to continue. The US has to walk the walk in order to have the credibility to lead the world in lowering emissions.

Thanks GD2, I watched the whole lecture. I gleaned three places for optimism:

1. Methane leaks from extraction and old infrastructure could quickly be fixed.

2. Individual people could be persuaded that eating vast amounts of industrially produced meat has to stop.

3. Developing countries could quickly reduce their unhealthy pollution to benefit their populations and have the side effect of improving albedo in places like Greenland and the Himalayas where soot accumulates.

A fourth area which he doesn't discuss seriously (he makes fun of biofuels) is green crude made from algae grown in unusable water on un-arable land. I've just been looking at this the past week and it gives my optimism a big boost. It can quickly replace fossil fuels without changing the transportation infrastructure at all.

UC at San Diego is a big participant in work on this.

Sapphire Energy is using engineered algae to make green crude oil (and has already gone to scale on this selling to Tesoro for refining and marketing) and make it profitable by using byproducts in pharmaceutical applications. It's also got China started with an "algae-derived renewable crude oil project has been selected for the U.S.-China EcoPartnerships program, announced today [Dec. 6, 2013] in Beijing, China, by the U.S. Secretary of State and the People’s Republic of China State Councilor."

The rest / Re: Arctic/AGW humour and satire
« on: July 13, 2014, 02:05:56 AM »
I feel sick.

The rest / Re: Consequences of using plastics
« on: July 13, 2014, 02:03:19 AM »
Wow, Laurent, that is a horror story! I vividly recall the 2007 Harper's article on the plastic garbage in the Pacific Gyre. I'm appalled that there's evidence that it's just plain gone.

(Article — From the January 2007 issue
Moby-Duck Or, the synthetic wilderness of childhood By Donovan Hohn

'Davison and Law say there are a number of other potential places the plastic could be ending up. It could be washing ashore, and a lot of it could be degrading into pieces too small to be detected. Another possibility is that organisms sticking to and growing on the plastic are dragging the junk beneath the ocean’s surface, either suspending it in the water column or sinking it all the way to the sea floor. Microbes may even be eating the stuff.

'Best-case scenario for the fate of the missing plastic? It’s sinking from the weight of organisms sticking to it or in animal feces and getting buried on the ocean floor, Law says. “I don’t think we can conceive of the worst-case scenario, quite frankly. We really don’t know what this plastic is doing.”'

Permafrost / Re: This is not good.
« on: July 12, 2014, 07:32:37 PM »
Terry, what are pingo features?

Permafrost / Re: This is not good.
« on: July 12, 2014, 01:34:47 PM »
Adam, I'm glad you posed that question. I didn't find an answer, but I did find a blog post by Robert Scribbler, an ASI regular. My conclusion from this is it seems the real wild card is the fault line.

"A 17 megaton emission, though double previous estimates and outside the range projected by GCMs, represents about 2.8% of the global total methane emission from all sources (or 10% the total US emission). This puts ESAS on the map of very large single sources, but it does not yet provide enough methane to overwhelm the current methane balance. To do that, yearly rates would have to rise by an order of magnitude, reaching about 150 megatons a year or more.

"Ironically, about a 150 megaton per year emission, averaged over thousands of years, is what climate models currently project (although the models show larger emissions happening much later). So it is worth noting that even getting on this track would be a bad consequence while exceeding it by any serious margin this century would be a very, very bad consequence indeed.

"To put the size of the ESAS methane store into context it is worth considering that should the ESAS emit 1 gigaton of methane each year, it could continue that emission for more than a thousand years. Such a rate of emission would about effectively double the current forcing from human CO2 emissions and extend the time-frame of that forcing for up to 15 centuries."

Permafrost / Re: This is not good.
« on: July 11, 2014, 02:16:39 PM »
SH, that's exactly what I'm hoping. Once the science is communicated, the urgency should spur more action that there has been to date.

Shakhova wishes there were an international initiative to dot the whole 2m with observation stations.

Permafrost / Re: This is not good.
« on: July 11, 2014, 02:04:24 AM »
Yes, this is sixteen years of single-minded seeking by S&S and this cruise makes me think more scientists than ever are on board, so to speak. Up until now we thought the worst fault line in the world would let LA and SF fall off the US. The ESAS fault line is truly scary.

My take is that this methane is being widely ignored because if the worst release should happen, none of our other plans would matter. So everyone carries on as if there was no possibility.

Permafrost / Re: This is not good.
« on: July 10, 2014, 04:32:29 PM »
Well, Adam, that's a dark thought. I believe they send inflatable boats out. You can read lots of details in the blogs of crew on their site.

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: July 10, 2014, 03:42:45 PM »
From the Game Changers video:

10 years till there's commercially available in vitro meat

Marketing insect flour as a 'super food' like kale and quinoa

Beats the heck out of Soylent Green.

December Forbes article on methods of extracting green crude from algae and sewage. Still concerned about the energy balance:

More promising, though – "In Minnesota, the Algae Biomass Organization announced that a peer-reviewed paper, published in Bioresource Technology, has shown that algae-derived biofuel can reduce life cycle CO2 emissions by 50 to 70 percent compared to petroleum fuels, and is approaching a similar Energy Return on Investment (EROI) as conventional petroleum."

I've just been eliminating my ignorance about green crude. Not to be confused with algal biodiesel or ethanol. Just last year Sapphire Energy started selling its crude through Tesoro, a big company. So this isn't a pipe dream. My husband's taking a course in energy. One lecturer was a key scientist from Sapphire. He made the point that the oil biz is worth trillions, so we're not going to retire that infrastructure any time soon. It does make sense that the best way to take a lemon and make lemonade is to do this carbon-neutral production of algal crude and keep everything running as is.

It appears that Sapphire is benefiting from California's plan to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 10% quite quickly, so this would help.

When you think about it, green crude is a kind of solar power, using photosynthesis to convert sunlight into something our existing system can use. I'm not seeing the downside of this.

Since it has become clear that increasing this number does not necessarily increase happiness, this clearly is where we should be making the most and fastest changes, with some care to do so in ways that do the least substantial harm.

This business of substituting happiness for growth as a measure of prosperity is gaining legs, at least there's plenty of talk about it. I'm reading the Skidelskys' book, How Much is Enough. It's pretty disturbing to read an analysis of how our insatiability is a cog in the wheels. And then there's Simon Anholt's Good Country Index. ("The idea of the Good Country Index is pretty simple: to measure what each country on earth contributes to the common good of humanity, and what it takes away. Using a wide range of data from the U.N. and other international organisations, we’ve given each country a balance-sheet to show at a glance whether it’s a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, or something in between.")

I'm so afraid it's too little too late to be talking about big ideas. Very worrisome that the IPCC warns of such a high temperature by 2100.

'Future Weather' – a surprising indie film, fiction, about a 13 year-old girl who's really worried (and very articulate) about global warming. It would be excellent if lots of teachers stirred up students. The movie's not that optimistic about the effect this could have, though.

Permafrost / Re: This is not good.
« on: July 07, 2014, 04:46:20 PM »
If I suspected that Russia had suppressed S&S's findings and concerns, so they had to go elsewhere to find support for expeditions, I was mistaken. All eighty scientists are on the same mission.

From the chief scientist's blog on Saturday,

"SWERUS-C3 has several objectives centered in the “C3” and we have good hopes to return massive new knowledge on central topics, including on the sources, fluxes and functioning of the extensive releases of the strong greenhouse gas methane from the thawing subsea permafrost and collapsing frozen methane (hydrates), which earlier findings of SWERUS-C3 scientists have documented."

So, this is a big international initiative. We can only hope what they do with the copious data makes waves.

Arctic sea ice / Re: siberian arctic coast
« on: July 07, 2014, 02:49:39 PM »
What Shakhova said in her recent video interview is that this warm river water would be OK if it just sat on top and melted ice, bit when the wind churns it down (which is happening more now) it warms the short water column of the shallow sea and exposes the permafrost to unusual melting.

Sorry if I'm being a Master of the Obvious.

Consequences / Re: Tar sands and Keystone pipeline
« on: July 07, 2014, 04:33:38 AM »
After seeing Elizabeth May's well-informed speech on the Northern Gateway Pipeline, I'm glad to hear there's an external reason it may never be built. She described the solvent that has to be pumped through the pipeline from ships at the coast toward the tar sands before the bitumen is pumped back to the coast. A nightmare.

But that Alaska Dispatch article will give me multiple nightmares! There's no end to the carbon dioxide headed for the atmosphere.

Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: July 07, 2014, 01:13:47 AM »
Here's a slug-proof partial solution to salad decimation. Shiso. I bought two seedlings at our farmer's market. Three big leaves chopped into a two serving lettuce salad adds sort of a spicy flavour. It's already bigger than we can use. (Not my photo)

Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: July 06, 2014, 02:43:26 PM »
We're having our second wet summer running, so it's a slug year. Ghoti's in Ontario, too, I think. The tomatoes are already splitting. 2012 was a drought year.

Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: July 06, 2014, 03:39:47 AM »
Cutworms toughened me up early in my present incarnation as a gardener. I save cream cartons all year for collars for anything that's individual and likely to be felled like a tree by beavers. Not just transplants like tomatoes, eggplants and peppers; but also broccoli and kale seeds, squashes, and melons. Even brown paper taped into a sleeve works.

I think your lettuce method is brilliant, ghoti!

Arctic background / Re: Psychology of Climate Change Denial
« on: July 06, 2014, 03:10:37 AM »
Episode 4 of Years of Living Dangerously, "Ice and Brimstone" covers Katherine Hayhoe speaking to a major commercial evangelist whose daughter hopes to use her to help convince him so he can set his congregation straight on climate change. He would be a major brick in the wall. At the end of the episode he remains stubbornly unconverted.

Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: July 06, 2014, 02:53:49 AM »
I suspect if I had gone to look at the right time I would have caught slugs red-handed mowing down row after row of tiny sprouts. (It also could have been mice.) Apparently farmers are quite used to planting some things a second time. We who buy our seeds in tiny precious packets can't imagine that. Instead we're indignant.

So, ducks don't eat young vegetables the way chickens do? My friends who keep a couple of dozen chickens and three ducks have built an elaborate fence around a huge expanse of lilac bushes because the chickens were eating their spring veggies. The lilacs keep them from getting a run at the fence, so they can't fly over it.

The organic strawberry farm where I get my berries every year has a flock of geese whose job it is to eat the weeds. Apparently they don't like strawberry plants. One year a rodent chewed through a connection on the electrified poultry fence and coyotes killed the entire flock of geese.

So, the upshot is, why are you so sure the ducks will take care of the slugs? We've always heard that beer will attract and drown slugs. You embed a can in the earth and fill it with beer. I have not tried this myself. I don't grow lettuce, which I suspect encourages slugs.

Permafrost / Re: This is not good.
« on: July 05, 2014, 06:49:10 PM »
There are a lot of scientists on that icebreaker concerned about exactly the same thing, so this may be a bigger deal that it seems.

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