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Messages - wili

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Thanks for the clarification, Chris.

Policy and solutions / Re: China to lead the way?
« on: May 17, 2013, 06:23:43 PM »
"yet with 1.4 billion people - by no means equivalent to the western nations (yet)"

I'm pretty sure they surpassed EU percapita emissions sometime last year, but I'd have to do some searching to verify that.

What we all have to learn from places like China is how pre-modern (and some current) farmers there and elsewhere sustained productive fields for over four millennia (see see the excellent book:
Farmers of Forty Centuries: Organic Farming in China, Korea, and Japan).

This, to me, is the main truly amazing achievement of the East, and an astounding example of real-world, long-term sustainability (even if intensive early farming in China did probably wipe out some local eco-systems at first). That book, by the way, has just recently been translated into Chinese, and may, somewhat ironically, help the Chinese themselves recognize the value of these earlier practices, and perhaps help move them away from the worst practices of industrial farming.

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: May 17, 2013, 06:07:53 PM »
"astroturf opposition to Geo-E"

Lewis, I agree with most of your positions, here and elsewhere. I would just point out that not all opposition to Geo-E can be properly characterized as "astroturf."

Policy and solutions / Re: China to lead the way?
« on: May 17, 2013, 06:03:29 PM »
"Europe and the US had an easier time hitting peak CO2.  We had our dirty plants on line so as we replaced the ones that wore out we got "credit".  We exported some of our dirtiest manufacturing.


I think we need to recognize the role played by those opposed to renewable energy in countries #11, #12 and #14.  How about we focus our anger on those who are actually slowing our progress? "

Well, we can certainly agree on these points. I did not intend to express any anger in my last post, and I apologize if it came off that way.

China's environmental problems are certainly gargantuan, and, as I said, there are certainly people high up in the power structure that recognize crucial features of these problems and have been trying to come to terms with them. There, like here, they are facing powerful competing interests.

My brother (head of a major international env/ag/trade organization) is on his way to China to interview leaders and academics about many of these issues, so I may have more to report on their plans and progress soon.

Policy and solutions / Re: China to lead the way?
« on: May 17, 2013, 03:57:53 PM »
Historically, the US has been responsible for about 28% of all ghgs, higher than any other single country, iirc. We were at the forefront of research on solar in the '70's then pretty much dropped the ball. Recently our (and EU's) official carbon use has been going down, but some of that is because we export coal and manufacturing. Without going into more off-topic discussion, Jim is mostly on target, but note that no one is saying that the US has never done anything important on the environmental front.

As A4R pointed out, China is now the highest emitter as a country (but not per capita--thanks for that list, Bob. What the hell is going on with Luxemburg??).

China built thousands of coal-fired power plants in the last couple decades, and whatever "leadership" they may take now, unless they rapidly close these, they are going to continue to be major contributors to the problem. They are also greatly increasing their meat consumption, mostly through huge industrial operations that are major sources of CO2 and methane.

There are certainly people near the top of the power structure there that want to start moving in the direction of doing something more like the right thing. They took serious steps toward incorporating environmental considerations in their computation of their GDP, but then this effort was suddenly dropped, probably as they realized that incorporating environmental damage would take a big bite out of their much-touted growth rate.

Cheap solar is a major part of what China is offering the world, but even here, many think it would ultimately be better and lower-carbon for different areas to develop their own solar manufacturing capacity and supply their own local areas.

The format was fine for me, too.

What accounts for the increase in the speeds of the currents? Does this further support the idea that more warm Atlantic water is getting into the Arctic?

Science / Re: Mauna Loa CO2
« on: May 15, 2013, 09:56:55 PM »
The average from the most recent week may well exceed the previous two reported weeks, but it doesn't look like it is going to be above 400. That leaves next week as probably the last one that could break that weekly record. I'm kinda doubting it at this point. The leaves are really coming out, finally, here in MN, so I think the Northern Hemisphere CO2 uptake cycle is really about to go into full gear. I'm not sure what type of lag time there is for that signal to reach Mauna Loa.

Pmt, thanks for the graphic, even with your caveats.

That looks like a pretty reasonable probability spread--a wide range of possibilities, but with a fattish tail on the low end and a sharp drop off on the high end. My own inclinations would be to make the low tail a bit fatter yet, but maybe that is what you are saying a proper statistical approach would do?

Arctic background / Re: Arctic climate sensitivity: 8C/400ppm CO2
« on: May 14, 2013, 12:39:39 PM »
This is also being discussed over at CP:

In the video, she discusses the march of shrubs and trees into the previously treeless parts of the tundra. How much of a factor is this biological response in the temperature lag time?

I know here in MN, the forested eastern part of the state can be as much as 20 degrees F warmer than the relatively treeless eastern half sometimes in winter, even when no weather front divides them, and that difference has been attributed to difference in albedo.

Science / Re: Mauna Loa CO2
« on: May 14, 2013, 12:29:09 PM »
Thanks, AD.

The most recent weekly figure is down slightly from the previous one--399.52 vs. 399.58 iirc:

That's still for the week of May 5, so we have another week or maybe two of further growth.

The spike the Jim pointed out has been followed by another gap in the data.

Does anyone know if the 'sequester' is hampering the ability of these stations to keep up repairs, etc?

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: May 14, 2013, 12:19:46 PM »
The fact is that you were right the first time. If we had seriously rethought and right-scaled modern society after the first earth day, that was likely about the last time we could have put any kind of effective breaks on the juggernaut we are now riding into hell. Just because it wasn't visible to you, doesn't mean the following decades were benign. They set in place the dynamics--especially in the oceans and in the Arctic, for changes that are now profound and unstoppable.

As Hansen pointed out in his TED talk, we are now dropping the equivalent of nearly a half a million Hiroshima-obliterating atomic bombs of energy on the planet every day. Most of that energy is going into the ocean. It is not possible to get that energy back out of the oceans, nor to de-acidify it. It is not possible to stop the melt of the Greenland Ice Sheet or the permafrost or the Arctic sea ice or the seabed spite of some pretty wild schemes that have been proposed.

It might have been possible to avert these things if we really started thirty, forty, fifty years ago to mightily scale back the amount of carbon (and other nasties) we were spewing into the system.

But instead we spewed ever more every year and every decade.

Now there is no way of putting the genie back in the bottle, and there is lots more global heating to come just from the CO2 and methane we've already crammed into the system. As Richard Alley put it, Greenland is still responding to the level of CO2 increases from decades ago.

In a way, the fact that the system has this lag time from cause to consequence has helped trick us into thinking that we can just merrily go on crapping in our own nest and nothing bad will happen, at least not within our life time.

But as others have pointed out, bad things now are happening.

Modern industrial civilization has grown by dumping most of it's problems onto future generations--essentially it has been a society at war with its own future, a war it has overwhelmingly 'won.'

We are now in the process of moving from the side that won the war against the future, into that conquered, decimated, annihilated future.

It's not getting any prettier from here.

Science / Re: Carbon Cycle
« on: May 13, 2013, 07:12:11 PM »
This from Boa05att at the blog:


A new paleoclimate study in Science suggests that climate sensitivity in the arctic is even higher than previously thought, and that the GIS was likely to have frequently been in an almost ice free state.

' “One of our major findings is that the Arctic was very warm in the Pliocene [~ 5.3 to 2.6 million years ago] when others have suggestedatmospheric CO2 was very much like levels we see today. This could tell us where we are going in the near future. In other words, the Earth system response to small changes in carbon dioxide is bigger than suggested by earlier models,” the authors state. '

Press release:

See this excellent talk for a presentation of the results:

This is also being vigorously discussed over at CP:

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: May 13, 2013, 11:20:43 AM »
I agree with SH that this is a great discussion and I'm learning a lot. Just a couple whiny nit-picks for now :)

Above Jim said:

"I had decided that we only had about 20-25 years before there were going to be catastrophic problems if we didn't act.  Well, largely, we didn't."

The logic of:

"Because something didn't happen in the past at them quick pace one thought it would, means that it won' happen soon in the future"


"Still waiting for those building problems to over take us."

As others have pointed out, this depends largely on who we mean by "us."

Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic Ocean 'acidifying rapidly'
« on: May 13, 2013, 10:59:23 AM »
Since this is, after all, an Arctic Sea Ice Forum, I was wondering if anyone knew how acidification of sea water by carbonic might effect ice formation and melt? I could find nothing on the web in my first feeble attempts. (This is not, of course, to downplay the role it is likely to have on the food chain there.)

Consequences / Re: US Drought Monitor
« on: May 11, 2013, 04:43:31 AM »
Great graphic, L.

It looks as if the US drought continues it's pattern of weakening on the east side, while spreading and strengthening in the west--with drought and abnormally dry conditions now almost all the way up the Pacific coast, even into Washington state.

El Nino's persistent refusal to show up this year presumably means that relief for the drought in the West will not come any time soon?

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: May 11, 2013, 04:33:04 AM »
Jim, I hope you're right about timing and resilience. Old farm equipment can be quite long lasting and easily repaired. Is this also true of most modern equipment?

The Ogallala is already running low in some areas, irrc. The last two years were only a tiny taste of the mega-droughts that are on our doorstep.

Keep in mind that, contrary to what denialists may say, most scientists are extremely reticent, and tend to down play dire predictions. Also, in some famous cases, models of future developments turned out to be universally and enormously optimistic--Arctic Sea Ice Death Spiral, anyone?

Specifically, models have not been incorporating a soon-to-be essentially ice free Arctic. Nor do they factor in carbon cycles. So there is plenty of reason to assume that most published projections of time-frames for an increasingly chaotic climate are optimistic.

ccg, please don't assume that I consider my self worthy of pretty much anything. And certainly, the young and the poor generally don't deserve what we have handed to them. But as a species, we certainly seem to have done a remarkably effective job of smashing everything up. Perhaps it should be posed as whether Industrial Civilization has deserved the right to be perpetuated.

Science / Re: Mauna Loa CO2
« on: May 11, 2013, 04:09:46 AM »
NPR just reported on the milestone. Has anyone else heard any MSM coverage?

On a separate note, up thread there was discussion of CO2 readings being higher in the Arctic. Is this primarily due to higher levels of methane in the area, since methane so rapidly oxidizes into CO2? Or is it because of melting permafrost yielding large quantities of carbon dioxide? Or other reasons?

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: May 10, 2013, 04:56:24 PM »
Like many others, I mostly agree with Agres' well worded post. (Any relation to '03 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Peter Agre?)

Few doomsteads or local areas are truly self-sufficient, and when supply chains break down as they will, repairs of crucial components (not to mention any new purchases of tech) become...problematic.

We have already seen large occasional weather extremes--mega-heat waves, mega-droughts, mega-floods, massive crop loss--some of which were arguably cemtral causes of major political disruptions (Russia heat wave '10 with consequent stoppage of wheat export--Egypt was their largest importer, iirc > Arab Spring).

These weather extremes will become essentially permanent features, with political consequences that will be predictable in being more and more disruptive to a larger and larger part of global society, but unpredictable in exactly where, when and how hard they fall.

ccg, the numbers for most of the rest of the Middle East / North Africa are comparable to Egypt's figures; some worse (Yemen, iirc), some better. South Asia is another region that has very high populations and major future problems with falling aquifers, rising sea levels, probable shifts in monsoon patters that will prove catastrophic...

Is Europe going to absorb the potentially billions of climate refugees from these regions? Russia? Canada? US?

Jim, you may be right, but those projections seem a tad optimistic to me. Most of the plains states in the US are already in long-term drought. Perhaps they will get some relief later this year. But at some point the stalled systems that caused this drought will stall even longer, and will remain in place for more than one growing season over much of the most productive ag areas of the US (and elsewhere). As a former farmer, perhaps you can enlighten us city-dwellers about what happens when farm fields get essentially no rain for over two years.

A larger point we might consider is whether we as a species have earned the right to be one of the few species to squeeze through the mass extinction bottle neck we have created. Do we deserve to survive the sh!t storm we have created?

These are not questions we generally want to consider, of course.

Science / Re: Mauna Loa CO2
« on: May 08, 2013, 02:42:27 PM »
Thanks, c. That's pretty much what I figured, though it is interesting that it sometimes peaks that early.

In North America, at least, the spring is quite late, so land-plant uptake may be a bit later than normal, though I haven't been following the timing of spring in Eurasia this year.

Science / Re: Mauna Loa CO2
« on: May 08, 2013, 12:56:51 AM »
Is there an average date for the yearly peak? It looks like one happened on the 3rd at about 399.9, with a gradual lowering in the following couple days. But I know that this could just be random variation.

Science / Re: Mauna Loa CO2
« on: May 03, 2013, 01:50:55 PM »
Hourly and daily average continue to hover north of 399, so the next weekly average will certainly be in this range. We have one to two more weeks before the usual highest week, so a 400+ weekly average still seems very possible.

Permafrost / Re: Modelling permafrost carbon feedback
« on: May 03, 2013, 01:40:54 PM »
Thanks for the added info and links. It is my (feeble) understanding that it is uncertain exactly how much of the carbon released from permafrost will be as methane rather than CO2. The MacDougal study only considers CO2.

Permafrost / Modelling permafrost carbon feedback
« on: May 02, 2013, 08:16:06 PM »
I don't know if this should be here or in the 'Science' thread, but it strikes me that this is a very important recent paper that was discussed on a number of climate science forums, and would be worthwhile discussing here.

Significant contribution to climate warming from the permafrost carbon feedback

    Andrew H. MacDougall,   
    Christopher A. Avis   
    & Andrew J. Weaver

    Nature Geoscience
    5, 719–721


Permafrost soils contain an estimated 1,700 Pg of carbon, almost twice the present atmospheric carbon pool1. As permafrost soils thaw owing to climate warming, respiration of organic matter within these soils will transfer carbon to the atmosphere, potentially leading to a positive feedback2. Models in which the carbon cycle is uncoupled from the atmosphere, together with one-dimensional models, suggest that permafrost soils could release 7–138 Pg carbon by 2100 (refs 3, 4).

Here, we use a coupled global climate model to quantify the magnitude of the warming generated by the feedback between permafrost carbon release and climate. According to our simulations, permafrost soils will release between 68 and 508 Pg carbon by 2100.

We show that the additional surface warming generated by the feedback between permafrost carbon and climate is independent of the pathway of anthropogenic emissions followed in the twenty-first century.

We estimate that this feedback could result in an additional warming of 0.13–1.69 °C by 2300. We further show that the upper bound for the strength of the feedback is reached under the less intensive emissions pathways. We suggest that permafrost carbon release could lead to significant warming, even under less intensive emissions trajectories.

I would appreciate it if someone with greater skills than I have in that direction could cut and past the figures from the article linked above.

Here is the coverage by Skeptical Science of the piece (from which I stole my subject headline):

It was also covered nicely by Kathy (whose very appropriate imho response was "oh shit!") at Climate Sight:

The otherwise-staid Tamino used "Oh Shit" as the title for his entry on this same article (and maybe is the one I should have used here):

If people have other links to discussions on the topic, please include them. I will just give a bit of a summarizing quote from Kate here:

As a result of the thawing permafrost, the land switched from a carbon sink (net CO2 absorber) to a carbon source (net CO2 emitter) decades earlier than it would have otherwise – before 2100 for every DEP. The ocean kept absorbing carbon, but in some scenarios the carbon source of the land outweighed the carbon sink of the ocean. That is, even without human emissions, the land was emitting more CO2 than the ocean could soak up.

Concentrations kept climbing indefinitely, even if human emissions suddenly dropped to zero.

This is the part of the paper that made me want to hide under my desk.

This scenario wasn’t too hard to reach, either – if climate sensitivity was greater than 3°C warming per doubling of CO2 (about a 50% chance, as 3°C is the median estimate by scientists today), and people followed DEP 8.5 to at least 2013 before stopping all emissions (a very intense scenario, but I wouldn’t underestimate our ability to dig up fossil fuels and burn them really fast), permafrost thaw ensured that CO2 concentrations kept rising on their own in a self-sustaining loop...
As if that weren’t enough, the paper goes on to list a whole bunch of reasons why their values are likely underestimates...

This paper went in my mental “oh shit” folder, because it made me realize that we are starting to lose control over the climate system.

No matter what path we follow – even if we manage slightly negative emissions, i.e. artificially removing CO2 from the atmosphere – this model suggests we’ve got an extra 0.25°C in the pipeline due to permafrost.

(My emphases.)

(Mods, please move this to science, if that is the appropriate thread.)

I'm not sure how permanently people have to be displaced from their homes to be considered refugees. Certainly many refugees from wars do or intend to eventually return to their homes (if there is anything left of them).

Your comments on Phoenix made me think about how they might adapt to such conditions. In an energy constrained world, I imagine it would mean living mostly underground--so do refugees from the surface of the planet into caves or under-ground dwellings count?


Meanwhile, we seem to be having climate whiplash here in MN--snow fall records for this time of year have just been smashed in many places--up to 15 inches of heavy snow in a few hours. Could there be an Arctic connection?

Science / Re: Mauna Loa CO2
« on: May 02, 2013, 02:28:45 AM »
Latest recorded week average at Mauna Loa: 398.68, but as Crandle notes, that is based on only two day's worth of data.

The daily and hourly data from the last week in April (presumably the title is supposed to read "Week Ending April 30" not "...May 30") suggests that the average for that week will be well above 399.

But again, there is a large data gap from noon on the 26th to noon on the 29th.

Too bad that they are having such (instrument, I presume) problems at such a crucial moment.

Consequences / Re: Sea Level Rise by 2100 (POLL)
« on: April 30, 2013, 05:25:24 PM »
I put over 3m, mostly for reasons similar to those A4R states above.

The most likely  (rather than max) rise I would put at 2 m (global average, much higher in some places.) It turns out CO2 actually weakens ice structures, so it is not just the warming we have to worry about, and studies based just on warming or on past warming events are going to be conservative.

But I do think that Vergent and John are right about increased precipitation of snow from an increasingly ice-free Arctic. It is already happening, imho. In Minnesota, we have had the longest and snowiest winter in a long time, and more snow is predicted for Thursday--that will be record matching or breaking late snow in many places. This after years of earlier and earlier melt off, culminating in last year's "Summer in March."

I have to assume that this is because the vast new areas of melt in the Arctic set up a pattern of increasing snow, that worked its way down to our latitude. I can't help but assume that the expected even-greater Arctic sea ice loss this September will lead to an even longer and snowier winter next year. That may push snow falls into June. Would a totally ice free Arctic push snow fall all the way into July and August? I don't know. I tend to assume that the very high sun would quickly melt everything away by the time we got that late. But the sun is as high now as it is in mid-August, and yet there are still piles of snow here and there.

This is a climate tug of war, and I expect that over-all gw will eventually win, and we will return to summers in March and winterless winters. But, as always, predicting the timing is difficult.

And, as they say, winter is coming.

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: April 30, 2013, 04:49:44 PM »
"We may be protesting a little as we murder current and future generations by our actions, but we are not fundamentally changing our actions."

Nicely put, ccg.

Sorry to be late getting back to you on the civilization collapse thing. I used to be quite convinced that peak oil would bring about pretty instantaneous civilization collapse. But it looks like it hasn't. Instead, it has priced oil at a high enough price that really dirty sources, such as tar sands, are now economically viable.

I expect that something like this is how it will go all the way down, though 'civilization' may more and more devolve into merely the industries that extract and refine oil, and the military that protects their oil (and of course the industries that support the military--MIC...)

All the rest of us, with perhaps the exception of some .1% folks, will more and more be excluded from access to any sort of power (in any sense).

To what extent such a configuration could be considered 'civilization' is I guess a matter of definition. And we may well have a more universal type of civilization-wide collapse soon, for any number of reasons. The political and financial realms do not seem to have a strong ethic of self preservation (except to come to each others aid when needed). But the military and most of the ff industry do (though not a long-term enough sense when it comes to global warming). Essentially, the MIC will do whatever it needs to do to survive, including taking over the ff industries. The rest of us will have to fend for ourselves.

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: April 25, 2013, 09:31:27 PM »
cgg wrote:

"I certainly do not see human emissions continuing unabated for centuries (or even decades, though opinions vary)."

Vary, indeed.

It does not take a very advanced civilization to extract fossil fuels. The Greeks probably were doing it.

FF provide power, and humans are driven to maximize their own power.

As we have seen with tar sands, price is not a barrier to extracting these things. Once the price gets high enough, every dirty, low-EROEI source will be exploited.

Coal plants have been shut down, but have any still fully producing coal mines, or still rich oil wells, or gas fields been abandoned because the companies or countries decided it was bad for the planet?

I know of no such case, and I have heard of no such calls (except for new ventures, like tar sands) to shut down mines and wells that are still producing at a good rate over GW concerns.

I would be happy to be shown otherwise.

So I think it is highly likely that every molecule of extractable ff will eventually be dug up, pumped out, or fracked away, and we will see resulting gw eventually that are worse than nearly anyone is predicting at this point.

When that happens is always hard to say exactly, but things are spinning pretty rapidly out of kilter in the Arctic, and that is the area where many of the strongest feedbacks are primed to erupt.

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: April 23, 2013, 05:02:13 AM »
Bruce said: " Rate of change it critically important."

Thanks you.

Rate of change is the difference between me slowly and gently turning your head with my hand, and me putting my hand in a cannon and blowing of your head off with it.

Especially for species adaptation, the faster things change the surer it is that they will be left stranded, with no possibility of adaptation.

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: April 17, 2013, 02:02:03 PM »
gge, I'm afraid that the more you write, the less sense I can make out in it.

You claim that we can know for a fact that the current warming will behave exactly as past warming events. But apparently you don't think using proxies is science, which should mean that we can't know anything about past warming events. Then you admit that CO2 and aerosols are different in this warming event than in previous ones, which again would seem to undermine your original claim (or as you put it, 'fact').

Perhaps I'm missing something, or you aren't stating clearly what you intend to state, but you seem to be absolutely certain about things that we can't be absolutely certain about (that this warming will behave like every other warming), and completely dubious about things that are actually probably reasonably reliable (using various proxies to reconstruct temperature in earlier periods). And to top it off, the very things you call unreliable and "not science" are the things upon which you base the things you are absolutely certain about "facts."

Unless you have a brief (please!) response to clarify your position, I'm afraid I'll have to forgo reading any more of your posts. Life is too short to bother with long-winded, self-contradictory opinion-stated-as-absolute fact.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Sep 1963 SIE from Nimbus I satellite data
« on: April 16, 2013, 07:15:07 PM »
Thanks, Chris. But I was wondering if there were any approximations of volume before that.

Wasn't thickness measured at various times by various explorers or submarines that could be combined with extent measures to get a ball-park figure for average volume in, say, the 1960's?

It seems to me that I have seen graphs of volume that go back well before the '80's, but I can't remember where I was viewing them, and I haven't been able to track them down.

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: April 16, 2013, 06:01:10 PM »
Apologies, ccg. Yes, it was fishmaboi that brought up the Southern Hemisphere.

gge, I'm still not sure what your point was about bringing up the Holocene Thermal Maximum (unless you mean the current one). We have already blown past any reconstructed global temperatures set for much longer than the Holocene, and we're on our way toward much, much higher temperatures; and all this is happening at much, much faster rates than anything since long before humans evolved.

There are now well over 7 billion humans living on this planet, the fundamental nature of which is changing very rapidly, far more rapidly than very many very smart folks though possible just a few years ago. Past performance is important to consider, but not any guarantee of how things will go down this time.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Sep 1963 SIE from Nimbus I satellite data
« on: April 16, 2013, 07:52:58 AM »
Yes, thanks for this. I have read the abstract you posted but not the entire article.

I there any indication of what the total ice volume was during that time period? That seems a much more important measure than extent or area, when considering long term trends.

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: April 16, 2013, 07:45:51 AM »
I kind of assumed that ccg meant "Northern Hemisphere," but I'll let him correct it if it was a typo.

"Those things were different during the last Holocene Thermal Maximum, so they should change back to that in the next thermal maximum."

Care to elaborate for those of us not up on the latest research on HTM? Last I looked, we just passed any temp records that were set over the entire Holocene. And we're on our way to much higher temps.

Again, none of us really knows what's coming down the pike as things spiral further out of any thing remotely resembling 'whack.' (What exactly does 'whack' refer to in the phrase 'out of whack,' one wonders.)

Here  in Minnesota, we are having the latest spring in memory of all but some of the oldest coggers such as yours truly. I thoroughly expect this to be followed soon by a truly scorching summer, then an even colder and longer winter. But who knows what our new planet, one without a mostly ice-covered for the first time in probably millions of years will yield us?

As someone pointed out (probably on this blog, but I forget who), the fluctuations between El Nino and La Nina--that have major influence on weather patterns around the world--only involve a slight shift in the temperature of one part of one ocean; we now have an entire new ocean on top of the world. How could that fundamental change not have very major impacts on the world's climactic system??

We are in unexplored, uncharted, and very warm waters here, and anyone who states confidently that it will not have major, immediate impacts on essentially everything...well, their prognostications are worth about as little or as much as mine, or as much as anyone else's bloviating on the net.

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: April 15, 2013, 07:23:00 PM »
I haven't read all posts on this thread. But I think it is important to point out that major disruptions from GW are happening already regionally, and these can have major impacts beyond the the immediate region.

Russian wheat is an obvious example. The heat wave of 2010 that crashed wheat production levels and caused Russia to restrict export had a huge effect on Egypt and neighboring countries that import most of their wheat, much of it from Russia.

So one season's impact in one location arguably sparked revolutions in many countries far from the location. It is hard to see how this kind of scenario would nor occur more and more frequently with more and more severity in more and more areas.

So at what point do you call it a global crisis?

Probably at the point that you personally feel threatened, and that will happen to different people at different stages, depending on their location, circumstances, and dumb luck.

No one knows what exactly the effect of a virtually (or even nearly virtually) ice free Arctic Ocean in September will mean for global weather patterns and longer-term climate trends.

But they are almost certain to be disruptive, probably massively so, at least for some areas in the Northern Hemisphere.

In short, I expect the disruptions we have already seen to take a fairly sharp upward trend in the coming years (since I see essentially no chance of a long-term recovery of Arctic sea ice, or a near term end to GW and it's other consequences). When this will lead to, for example, global premature deaths rising so far that they greatly exceed global birth rates...that is harder to say, but it would not surprise me at all if it happened in the next few years.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Volume Predictions.
« on: April 11, 2013, 05:02:00 PM »
Thanks for those maps, W. Keep in mind that even that thickest ice is cracking, so it is probably not quite as solid ice as it used to be. I think this is likely to be true throughout the icepack. Everything is newer, saltier, and less solid.

Another point that neven highlighted on the blog, Tremblay (iirc) in the fourth video on the recent blog post, at about the 20th minute, points out that the evaporation and heat loss from leads leads to a kind of chimney effect that draws heat up from over 100 m below. That is this phenomenon draws the warm Atlantic water, that is usually stratified far below the ice, up next to the bottom of the sea ice, thus weakening the ice further, leading to more cracking, and more 'chimneys'...a classic feedback.

What I'm wondering if anyone knows whether there are measurements of how much warmer that under-layer of  warm water of ultimately Atlantic origin is than it used to be. Should this mechanism play a role in models for ice loss?

Science / Re: Mauna Loa CO2
« on: April 07, 2013, 10:59:55 PM »
Chris, that does sound about right for annual average. What do your calculations say about monthly or weekly averages?

Consequences / Re: Gut Check Only: Are we F'd?
« on: April 01, 2013, 04:37:21 AM »
AM, the answer is pretty clearly "yes."

The Arctic is going to be essentially ice free if not this summer then in the next very few.

The last year gave us a taste of what a more-than-half ice-free Arctic does to the weather patterns:

--stalled high over North America causing flash droughts and record-smashing heat in summer,

--stalled lows over Britain and other areas causing endless rains and flooding;

--and all that evaporation from a newly-opened Arctic Ocean in the early fall causing heavy snows and cold deep into the continental interiors while the jet stream looped high to the north over the Atlantic causing extreme warm anomalies over Greenland.

Best guess is that the even deeper minimums of sea ice extent we will see this summer and fall will cause these extremes to go into hyper-drive--More fires and crop failures around the world followed by a very bitterly cold and snowy winter for most continental interiors--too wet for ag elsewhere.

An El Nino may change some of the distribution of rainfall patterns, but, given what we have learned about the huge amount of warming going on in the deep oceans, it would likely unload huge amounts of that stored energy into the atmosphere leading to even more extreme extremes.

I will be very surprised (though certainly not disappointed!) if within the next two years we don't see widespread famine spreading to most of the earth's population, especially in the Northern Hemisphere.

Perhaps there is some "unknown unknown" mega-negative feedback that will come along and save our butts in spite of ourselves for a while, but that will likely just postpone what certainly looks like the inevitable.

None of this means we shouldn't stop fighting the good fights on various fronts. (Not all are frozen by depression from confronting the likely realities facing us.)

But a realistic assessment of the facts on the ground (and in the oceans) must lead one to rather grim conclusions about prospects for most of us in the not-at-all distant future.

(And of course the distant future looks utterly horrific at this point.)

 Thusly resultantly hence we strong apes must all face our humanoid history, avoid flailure, grab sticks, and found a Yukonian paradise eating aureate spuds. ;D  :P

Neven, do you have the absolute temperatures to go along with those shocking anomalies? Is it actually melting now around Baffin Bay?

A4R, am I seeing that right? Does that crack essentially cut off much of the thickest ice from the land?

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