Posts tagged climate change
Study to focus on Arctic after Greenland Sea found to have warmed 10 times faster than global ocean
By Phoebe McDonald
Updated Sat 2 Nov 2013, 4:57pm AEDT
“Scientists have revealed plans to examine temperature changes in the Arctic Ocean after a long-term study found the Greenland Sea is warming 10 times faster than the global ocean.”
Sky: There are some troublesome by the by statements here that deserve special attention. Some 10 years or so ago, there was a report that the flow of the Atlantic Current at its northern edge was decreasing: Let me see if I can find the reference. Here we are:
01 December 2005
“The Atlantic Ocean overturning current that maintains Europe’s moderate climate has slowed by 30 per cent according to scientists from the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton in research published today in Nature (Thursday, 1 December 2005).”
Then there was a retraction that not enough data had been collected. Then there was an article about how many monitors had been strung along a horizontal line across the Atlantic to measure the flow. Then nothing. No reports. Nothing. Now, in this article I read:
“Until the early 1980s, the central Greenland Sea has been mixed from the top to the bottom by winter cooling at the surface making waters dense enough to reach to sea floor,” she said.
“This transfer of cold water from the top to the bottom has not occurred in the last 30 years.
“After the ’80s it seems that winter heat losses – how much heat is lost from the ocean to the atmosphere – has decreased.
“The waters at the surface are lighter during the wintertime than before. They don’t reach the necessary density to reach the bottom of the Greenland Sea.”
In the past, the Thermohaline Circulation Conveyor [Atlantic Current] was driven by the sinking of the cooled down, saltier [heavier] water having been mixed with the cooler water from the higher latitudes. This drove the circulation current as we all know keeping winter temperatures several degrees warmer in Europe, especially the British Isles. It has always seemed common sense to me that as the arctic ice melts, a greater and greater volume of cold water will push this overturning further and further south.
“She says if current trends continue the density, temperature and salinity levels of deep water in the Greenland Sea will reach the same levels of those in the Arctic Ocean.
“The Greenland Sea is getting lighter … It will reach the same density of the waters that are coming in,” she said.
“When they reach the same density we don’t know what will happen.”
Well, I think she has a good idea. This means the end of the conveyor effect at that latitude. Remember, It is only in recent times that the vast accumulation of ice of the Arctic Ocean has melted. Before that time, there was not nearly the volume of colder water mixing with southern currents at that latitude.
I would like to see a report from all the meters strung out to measure current flow across the northern Atlantic. If the Greenland see continues to warm and the warm saltier waters from the south are not cooled sufficiently to make them sink, then the conveyor will end. Period. How fast is unknown.
Naomi Klein: Why Science Is Telling All of Us to Revolt and Change Our Lives Before We Destroy the Planet
“But there are many people who are well aware of the revolutionary nature of climate science. It’s why some of the governments that decided to chuck their climate commitments in favour of digging up more carbon have had to find ever more thuggish ways to silence and intimidate their nations’ scientists. In Britain, this strategy is becoming more overt, with Ian Boyd, the chief scientific adviser at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, writing recently that scientists should avoid “’suggesting that policies are either right or wrong” and should express their views “by working with embedded advisers (such as myself), and by being the voice of reason, rather than dissent, in the public arena’”.
Naomi Klein, the author of “The Shock Doctrine” and “No Logo”, is working on a book and a film about the revolutionary power of climate change.
I was shocked by the quote above taken from a statement by Ian Boyd at DEFRA concerning his advice that scientists should not criticise (“’suggesting that policies are either right or wrong”) government policy. When I Googled “UK government criticism”, I found dozens of people and organisations from all walks of life offering criticism. Why not scientists? They are specialists and I suggest that many if not most are extremely well qualified. Are all climate scientists working for the government now?
“by being the voice of reason, rather than dissent, in the public arena.“
Thesaurus.com reveals that the word reason is a noun meaning mental analysis or explanation for an action. Therefore when a scientist comments on a climate event, it may well be an explanation for an action and thus perfectly reasonable. Without reference to a dictionary or the Thesaurus, I submit that dissent means to disagree. Quite obviously, disagreeing with an explanation and using reasonable arguments are neither synonyms nor antonyms. During a discussion, one can always offer reasonable dissenting opinions.
9 August 2013
Deadly floods hit central US with Missouri worst affected
“A family declined evacuation orders as a creek overtopped its banks in downtown Newburg, Missouri, on 7 August 2013”
Please, can we learn? We just cannot afford unlimited energy growth. This is one of the results. And it can only get worse as the CO2 climbs. We are looking at major, disastrous desertification throughout the US southwest. The grass dies, forest fires destroy the forests which means that they cannot expire water into the air, overgrazing is forced as ranchers attempt to maintain their living. The few rainstorms are gushes that carry the topsoil into the rivers and on to the coasts which then become stagnant.
And folks, who pays? Yes, you pay through higher taxes and higher prices whilst businesses attempt to hold on to their profits and the good life. It doesn’t add up and can’t add up.
UNCHARTED WATERS | A JOURNAL SENTINEL SPECIAL REPORT
Does Lake Michigan’s record low mark beginning of new era for Great Lakes?
Despite above-average precipitation, lake has seen below-average water levels for 14 years running. Less ice cover and more dark open water may explain why.
By Dan Egan of the Journal Sentinel staff
“Last year was indeed extremely dry. But the past 14 years, on average, have been wetter than usual for Lakes Michigan and Huron, which are actually one body of water connected at the Straits of Mackinac.
Even so, the lakes remain about a foot and a half below their average for this time of year.
So where did all the water go? This is not a story about climate change. It is a story about climate changed.”
“He eventually determined it’s not just warm summer weather driving the increase in water temperatures — it’s also what’s happening in winter. The air-temperature increase, however slight, has been enough to dramatically reduce Superior’s average ice cover.
And without a bright white cap to bounce solar radiation back into the sky, the lake begins to soak up heat in early spring. That jump-start on the annual warming process has a profound effect on peak surface water temperatures during the summer.”
“Paul Roebber, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee meteorologist and associate dean of its School of Freshwater Sciences, points to a weather buoy in the middle of southern Lake Michigan that shows a 3.4 degree increase in average summer surface water temperatures since 1997.
One day last summer, the thermometer at the mid-lake buoy 43 miles southeast of Milwaukee recorded a Caribbean-like 80 degrees. It was only the beginning of July. ‘There has been a change in air temperatures. It’s not dramatic, but it’s just enough to not produce the ice coverage we used to have,’ explained Roebber. ‘And that makes all the difference in a system like this.’”
Sky: Climate change skeptics are making heavy weather out of a slowing surface temperature change but the global warming is occurring in the lakes and oceans. It is not diminishing. I’m afraid there is just no good news anywhere and no indication of serious efforts to recover from the inevitable effect of increasing greenhouse gases. The Earth has no legal protection, no rights whatsoever.
This is my Darkest Day
Defeatism? Pessimism? Or a fair judgement and assessment of reality- the world as it is for those who make the decisions that affect us all. Part of being positive is the policy of knowing your enemy, studying the tactics and procedures that destroy that which you love and then feeling into a way to counter those policies.
Title: The U.S. will become energy independent by 2035 — but at what cost?
Annalee Newitz,Editor io9 blog
The International Energy Agency has released a report in which it’s predicting that the U.S. will become the world’s largest producer of oil by 2020 — surpassing even Saudi Arabia. The IEA report also predicts that the U.S. will be a net exporter of oil by 2030 and nearly self-sufficient in energy by 2035. This dramatic and unexpected change in fortune can be primarily attributed to the relatively new practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — an industrial process that’s not without its critics.
According to the report, by 2015, U.S. oil production is expected to rise to 10 million barrels per day and increase to 11.1 million barrels per day by 2020. And as the LA Times notes, this will put the U.S. in some serious company as it overtakes second-place Russia and front-runner Saudi Arabia:
“By around 2020, the United States is projected to become the largest
global oil producer (overtaking Saudi Arabia until the mid-2020s) and starts to see the
impact of new fuel-efficiency measures in transport. The result is a continued fall in US oil
imports, to the extent that North America becomes a net oil exporter around 2030. This
accelerates the switch in direction of international oil trade towards Asia, putting a focus
on the security of the strategic routes that bring Middle East oil to Asian markets. The
United States, which currently imports around 20% of its total energy needs, becomes all
but self-sufficient in net terms – a dramatic reversal of the trend seen in most other energy importing
“Most oil consumers are used to the effects of worldwide fluctuations in price (reducing its oil imports will not insulate the United States from developments in international markets), but consumers can expect to see growing linkages in other areas.
A current example is how low-priced natural gas is reducing coal use in the
United States, freeing up coal for export to Europe (where, in turn, it has displaced higher priced
gas). At its lowest level in 2012, natural gas in the United States traded at around
one-fifth of import prices in Europe and one-eighth of those in Japan.
Sky: Note that natural gas usage does not diminish or reduce the use of coal overall, just shift its location adding the cost of transportation. So, this is not an either/or but a both/and. Whilst energy spokespersons and government officials are trying to justify energy exploration and production as necessary for our economic survival, actually, this only masks the true raison d’etre which is profits through exports. So we pollute our atmosphere and water, deplete our natural resources, especially precious water which will inevitably cause widespread poverty and deprivation – all to line the pockets of the few – call them the 1% perhaps. Now, be assured that the “we” is not only Americans but the UK as well. It has already started with recent activity - “Tim Yeo, has since revised his personal opinion, however, and now argues shale gas is a “game changer” that could “transform the UK’s energy independence”. Interest in hydraulic fracking comes just as imports of gas to the UK have surpassed domestic production for the first time since the 1960s.* Emily Gosden (29 March 2012). “UK gas imports outstrip production for first time since 1967″. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 March 2012. Let there be no doubts, as The US goes, the UK will go, especially under the present administration. We now have precious food, maise, used to feed cars and trucks leaving the sickening CO and carbon particulates and soon we will have our precious fresh water poisoned in the process of forcing natural gas to the surface so we can expand our pollution, poisonous fumes and greenhouse gasses.
I’m reminded of an article I read in the early 1950s. The writer explained how all the gadgets [time savers] would free up time and people would then develop their interests in the arts, literature and improve their minds. Ha Ha. What happened was that the gadgets freed women from the, backbreaking and tedious household jobs. That’s nothing but good. But few used their extra time for literary and artistic pursuits – they simply got a paying job and left the children to the baby sitter. Companies used the labour-saving machines to lay off employees and increase profits. Our western society has a gadget for everything now but we suffer more mental illness, heart disease, stress and work longer hours than we did 50 years ago.
Just today the UK police arrested 18 protesters in the village of Balcombe, West Sussex, where Cuadrilla is poised to start test drilling. Police were reported to say ‘arrests were made to “ensure public safety”’ I’m afraid that it will take far more than 80 anti-fracking campaigners to make a significant impact on policy.
Going forward, price relationships between regional gas markets are set to strengthen as liquefied natural gas trade becomes more flexible and contract terms evolve, meaning that changes in one part
of the world are more quickly felt elsewhere. Within individual countries and regions,
competitive power markets are creating stronger links between gas and coal markets, while
these markets also need to adapt to the increasing role of renewables and, in some cases,
to the reduced role of nuclear power. Policy makers looking for simultaneous progress
towards energy security, economic and environmental objectives are facing increasingly
complex – and sometimes contradictory – choices.”
“As noted, however, the burgeoning oil boom will likely come at a price. It’s thought, for example, that the new influx of oil will de-motivate efforts to develop sustainable forms of energy.
The report warned that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will continue to escalate. Sky: Remember the coal will still be burned but by another country. The new gas will be burned but by another country.
Critics warn that the industrial practice — in which long, horizontal channels are drilled deep underground to draw oil trapped in rocks by applying high pressure — could result in contaminated water supplies, risks to air quality, the release of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, and surface contamination from spills and throwback. There are even concerns that fracking may cause earthquakes.”
Sky: As I said, this is not good news. How will our industrialists be willing to curtail growth and profits when that is the only way to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions?
Skeptical Science flattens deniers: 97% of peer-reviewed papers say humans causing climate change
This article is fully supported with links to the supporting data. Hopefully, John Cook has helped us all to utterly dismiss the misconstrued and sometimes utterly false claims of those anthropogenic climate change deniers. I for one am sick of hearing the drivel. I felt it necessary to read it in association with genetically modified food only to find that there were a few “scientists” who were paid to falsify and construe what they could find as detractions. I am aware that some of those same people are now employed to do the same shameless job with climate change. Much of the blame for the false impressions on this subject has to be placed with some of the “media” who give equal time to detractors as if there was an equal chance that they may be right. Most of us have learned that “the media” by and large are only interested in sales and care less about fairness, truth and the art of conveying news.
Unfortunately, so many people make up their minds based on false information and then proceed forever with a close mind on the issue. That’s why character assignation is accomplished with a lie that gets published and then an apology printed on page 16 in small print. People tend to remember the lie and either never see the retraction or apology or will not read further. They “know” because they read it in the newspaper or some magazine. A good friend of mine taught me that whenever reading something controversial, stop and look into just who is doing the assertions. Find out who finances them – who do they serve. Find out who tends to gain from their point of view. People with set opinions look for someone to agree with them and then crystalize on their false knowledge like a nut that must never be cracked to see if the kernel is edible.
Their lives are crammed with precious nuts that cannot feed them when the kernels are needed. By then it is too late and they have invested their vital energy in that which does not serve them. Surely it is normal that we change as we age, as we experience the new and different, as we suffer and recover from tragedy and disappointments. We learn to regularly examine our truth nuts, crack open a few to see if they are still serviceable. The most difficult student is one who already knows.
When you give people the impression that you are not completely sure about something then you get their take which, surprisingly, often reveals something you overlooked or misunderstood. Actually, most people feel positively stroked when they get an opportunity to explain their opinions. It is a win-win because they feel good about informing you and you might just learn something.
Hopefully, anthropogenic climate change deniers now lack an audience.
THU MAY 16, 2013
Skeptical Science flattens deniers: 97% of peer-reviewed papers say humans causing climate change
By Meteor Blades
Nowadays, television news shows and newspaper and magazine articles that mention global warming rarely resort to outright lies like this grotesque piece of propaganda from Forbes.
“In fact, not all scientists do agree that humans are causing global warming. As researchers under the guidance of John Cook at Skeptical Science discovered in a “citizen science” survey of 11,944 peer-reviewed articles, 1.6 percent of the authors expressing an opinion on the subject rejected or were uncertain about the consensus that the earth is undergoing anthropogenic (human-generated) global warming (AGW). And 97.1 percent of the nearly 4,000 articles in which the author(s) took a position endorsed the AGW consensus. (The survey was published May 15 in Environmental Research Letters as an open access article)”
Acidic oceans of the future show extinction
“Today the ocean’s pH is lower than anything seen in the historical record in the past 800,000 years, scientists say. As the acidity increases, organisms such as corals, oysters, snails and urchins have trouble pulling minerals from the seawater to create protective shells. The study released Monday buttresses ecologists’ fears that such changes could ripple through entire ecosystems – and that ocean acidification could prove as consequential and catastrophic for the globe as any changes in air temperature associated with climate change.”
Most Comprehensive Paleoclimate Reconstruction Confirms Hockey Stick
by ADMIN on JULY 9, 2013
Stefan Rahmstorf is Co-Chair of Earth System Analysis, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
By Stefan Rahmstorf via Scilogs
The past 2000 years of climate change have now been reconstructed in more detail than ever before by the PAGES 2k project. The results reveal interesting regional differences between the different continents, but also important common trends. The global average of the new reconstruction looks like a twin of the original “hockey stick”, the first such reconstruction published fifteen years ago.
The Phony ‘Debate’ Over Climate Change
For the past 21 years there’s been broad consensus among climate scientists that humans are significantly changing global temperatures.
June 11, 2013 John Cook
“This misperception has persisted for several decades and hasn’t happened by accident. There has been a deliberate, focused attempt to confuse the public about the level of agreement between scientists for over 20 years.
In 1991, Western Fuels Association spent half a million dollars on a campaign attacking the scientific consensus. Political pollster Frank Luntz advised Republicans to focus on casting doubt on consensus in a memo leaked in 2002. A 2012 analysis of conservative syndicated columns found that the number one climate myth promoted by conservative columnists was “there is no scientific consensus.”
Why such a focus on attacking the consensus? Studies in 2011 and2013 found that when the public correctly understands that scientists agree on climate change, it is more likely to support policy to do something about it.
Social scientists are coming to realize what opponents of climate action have known for decades. If you confuse the public about scientific consensus, you can delay meaningful climate action.”
Ignorance is a terrible thing but hiding the truth is even worse.
Methane leaks could negate climate benefits of US natural gas boom: report
Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 4 June 2013 16.38 BST
Reduction in carbon emissions triggered by America’s shift from coal to gas is being offset by a sharp rise in methane.
“Some 29% of America’s electricity came from natural gas last year – compared to just 14% a decade ago, the report said. But it comes at a high cost to the local environment, because of the risks to air and water quality posed by hydraulic fracturing.
There is also a growing body of evidence that the release of methane gas from well sites and pipelines is far higher than previously thought.
Methane is a far more powerful gas than carbon dioxide, even though it does not persist in the atmosphere for a shorter period.”
Sky: Most media articles emphasize that methane does not persist very long in the atmosphere. But what they don’t follow up with is the fact that methane breaks down in to components that contain CO2. Please note the references and quotes below. Although methane only persists in the troposphere around 8.5 years and in the atmosphere around 12 years, it is 20 to 25 times more effective as a greenhouse gas than CO2. CO2 persists between 100 and 500 years. As I have mentioned above, methane breaks down both in the troposphere and in the atmosphere into CO2 and water vapour; these are the two major greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, the hydroxyl radical that facilitates the breakdown is depleted gradually. As it depletes, then obviously, methane will gradually become more prominent as a greenhouse gas yet still breakdown into CO2 and water vapour. This is what may be seen as a “double whammy” in the greenhouse effect on global warming. To be more precise one must include that although water vapour is a positive factor for warming, if it increases cloud cover, then the greenhouse gas effect is diminished because clouds serve as a reflective component and thus consist of a negative factor.
“There is a bit of hope in all of this information. An equal amount of methane as compared to an equal amount of CO2 has an effect on global warming of 20 times greater than CO2. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) will stay in our atmosphere for around 100 years. With a half life of 7 years Methane last around 10 years in our atmosphere. It is estimated that 60% of global methane emissions are related to human activities. Some scientists believe that these green house gases are as significant as or greater than CO2 emissions from cars.” http://www.dulabab.com/climate-change/methane/
The atmospheric concentration of methane is thought to have increased by a factor of 2.5 since
pre-industrial times, reaching 1745 ppb in 1998.1 This rate of increase far exceeds that of carbon
dioxide, concentrations of which are only 30% higher than in pre-industrial times. In fact,
information is sufficient for the IPCC to assert that the current methane concentration has not
been exceeded in the last 420,000 years.1 http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/research/energy/downloads/methaneuk/chapter02.pdf
“The most effective sink of atmospheric methane is the hydroxyl radical in the troposphere, or the lowest portion of Earth’s atmosphere. As methane rises into the air, it reacts with the hydroxyl radical to create water vapor and carbon dioxide. The lifespan of methane in the atmosphere was estimated at 9.6 years as of 2001; however, increasing emissions of methane over time reduce the concentration of the hydroxyl radical in the atmosphere. With less OH˚ to react with, the lifespan of methane could also increase, resulting in greater concentrations of atmospheric methane.
Even if it is not destroyed in the troposphere, methane can usually only last 12 years before it is eventually destroyed in Earth’s next atmospheric layer: the stratosphere. Destruction in the stratosphere occurs the same way that it does in the troposphere: methane is oxidized to produce carbon dioxide and water vapor.”
“The duration period for carbon dioxide molecules in the atmosphere is somewhere between 100 and 500 years. Obviously, not all carbon dioxide molecules will stay in the atmosphere that long, but on average the duration may be around 200-300 years. Some scientists believe that it could be longer than that, others believe that the duration is shorter. Presently, there is some uncertainty in those figures.” http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/wea00/wea00296.htm