Friday, May 27, 2016

Arctic Sea Ice - The Beautiful People

Hey you, what do ya see?
Something beautiful or something free?
Hey you, are you trying to be mean?
You live with apes man, it's hard to be clean

The worms will live in every host
It's hard to pick which one they eat the most
The horrible people, the horrible people
It's as anatomic as the size of your steeple
Capitalism has made it this way
Old-fashioned fascism will take it away

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Burning all fossil fuels could lead to global warmth not seen in 65 million years

Burning all known reserves of oil, gas and coal would inject about 5.5 trillion tons of heat-trapping carbon into the atmosphere, mainly in the form of carbon dioxide, a team wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change. This number is about ten times the 540 billion tons of carbon emitted since the start of industrialization and would be reached near the end of the 22nd century if fossil fuel trends go unchanged.

The world could heat up by as much as 18 degrees in the next three centuries. This would be as warm as when dinosaurs roamed the Earth about 65 million years ago. In that scenario, most of the planet would be unlivable for humans, and all of the major coastal cities of the world would disappear into the ocean. Global sea levels would rise as much as 60 meters (200 feet)

A 60m sea level would certainly submerge the Statue of Liberty
Even if humanity manages to drastically curb its use of oil, gas and coal, Nature could add massive amounts of greenhouse gases all by itself. Hundreds of billions of tons of carbon, mostly in the form of methane, are locked in the increasingly misnamed permafrost of the sub-Arctic region.

Beyond a certain threshold - and no one knows what that is - global warming could irretrievably unlock these methane reserves. This is just one of many 'tipping points'.

Friday, May 20, 2016

India records its hottest temperature ever

A city in northern India has shattered the national heat record, registering a searing 51C – the highest since records began – amid a nationwide heatwave. The new record was set in Phalodi, a city in the desert state of Rajasthan, and is the equivalent of 123.8F.

It tops a previous record of 50.6C set in 1956.
The weather office has issued warnings of “severe heat wave” conditions across large parts of India’s northern and western regions through the weekend.

Several hundred people are thought to have died during this year’s heatwave and some areas have banned daytime cooking in order to limit the fire risk. Rivers, lakes and dams have dried up in many parts of the western states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat, and overall officials say that groundwater reservoirs are severely depleted. In some areas, the situation is so bad the government has sent in water by train for emergency relief.

A NASA satellite image shows the land surface temperature in Thailand, center, and surrounding countries between April 15 to April 23, 2016. Yellow shows the warmest temperatures.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Anthropogenic Climate Disruption (ACD) - blue ocean event - Update

Arctic sea ice extent on May 15, 2016 was 11,262,361 square km, 1.11 million square km less than it was on May 15, 2012. Since April 2016, sea ice has fallen far, far below anything we've seen in earlier years.

It is the rate of change that is the most frightening. NOBODY saw this coming.

The Arctic could likely be ice free by September.
Climate scientists tracking anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) have long feared what is referred to as a blue ocean event. A blue ocean event means a complete absence of Arctic sea ice, allowing the heat of the sun to fully penetrate the open waters of the Arctic, which would then dramatically accelerate the rate of warming in the Arctic.

80 percent of the sunlight that strikes sea ice is reflected back into space. As sea ice melts in the summer, it exposes the dark ocean surface. Instead of reflecting 80 percent of the sunlight, the ocean absorbs 90 percent of the sunlight. The oceans heat up, and Arctic temperatures rise.
New research finds that Arctic sea ice loss is causing the jet stream to weaken and high-pressure systems to get stuck in places like Greenland, leading to accelerated melt of the land-locked ice that drives sea level rise.

Changes are taking place to the jet stream. As the Arctic warms up more rapidly than the rest of the world, the temperature difference between the Equator and the North Pole decreases, which in turn weakens the speed at which the north polar jet stream circumnavigates the globe.

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

April hottest on Record

Information released by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration on Saturday showed that April 2016 was the sixth month in a row to be more than one per cent above the 1951-1980 average.

Increases measured by experts around the world meant that within the last year, global temperatures had increased by 25 per cent of the total increase since the 1880s. Experts predict sea ice levels will be at an all time low this summer. Meanwhile, within the last 18 months, around one quarter of all coral colonies in the oceans had suffered bleaching as a result of warmer water and increased acidification.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Insane Temperatures over entire Arctic

By May 20, 2016, most of the Arctic Ocean is predicted to see near-freezing or above-freezing temperatures. There will be surface melt of the ice pretty much everywhere and across all basins. Readings for the entire Arctic region are predicted to be a whooping 5C above average. That is one hell of a large and frightening anomaly. Rapid thaw conditions that were typically only experienced in the middle of summer during previous record warm years have already arrived.

If such a pattern of extreme heat continues, it may wipe out practically all the Arctic ice by the end of this melt season. An event most scientists thought wouldn’t even be possible until the 2070s or 2080s could be a reality for 2016.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Fires Increasing Globally - ' harbinger of things to come'

Fort McMurray's early and large fire is just the latest of many gargantuan fires on an Earth that's grown hotter with more extreme weather. Large wildfires have hit spots on opposite ends of the world from Tasmania to Kansas. Last year, Alaska and California pushed the U.S. to a record 10 million acres burned. Massive fires hit Siberia, Mongolia and China last year and Brazil's fire season has increased by a month over the past three decades.

It has gotten so bad that in 2009 Australia added a bright red "catastrophic" to its fire warning index. Worldwide, the length of Earth's fire season increased nearly 19 per cent from 1979 to 2013.
An extreme heatwave and drought in East Asia is now sparking extraordinarily large wildfires in mostly unsettled regions of Northeast China near the Russian border. The massive fires are plainly visible in the LANCE-MODIS satellite shot and include at least four contiguous fire zones.

Numerous fires are burning in the Lake Baikal region of Russia. Representing the furthest southern extent of the Northeast Asian permafrost zone, heat and thaw in the region have resulted in increasing fire hazards. As with Northwest Canada, an unholy relationship exists between fires and thawing permafrost.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

'Triple Whammy' in Fort McMurray

David Phillips, climatologist at Environment Canada discovered a disturbing trend: winters are dramatically drier and warmer. The past few months, meanwhile, pulverized winter records. The conditions in northern Alberta created the perfect environment for a massive conflagration.

The first factor was lack of precipitation. The winter months from October to April were the driest on record, recording just 61 mm of melted snow and rain. The normal is more than double that, at 132 mm, while the previous record low was 84 mm.

The second factor was temperature. The seven months since October 2015 were the second warmest on record, with an average temperature of –4.5 degrees Celsius. The normal is –7.9 degrees Celsius.

Then came the third factor: the “spring dip.” It’s the time between the disappearance of snow on the ground and when the trees gain their leaves. The spring dip is when the moisture content in trees is at its lowest point. There was no snow since February, letting the forest floor dry out March and April. The stage was set for fire.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Co2 – Ralph Keeling, director of Scripps CO2 Group

We are now witnessing the fastest growth rates of the entire record of CO2 measurements. This record-breaking growth is an expected consequence of the near record-breaking fossil fuel usage combined with the largest El Niño event in several decades.

The very recent bump up in CO2 levels recorded at Mauna Loa Observatory is not entirely unexpected because there is often significant uptick in CO2 near the beginning of April before concentrations peak in May. This bump presumably reflects the fact that soils start to warm well before vegetation greens up in spring. The soil warming allows CO2 to be emitted as organic matter such as compost decomposes. In a matter of weeks this soil emission will be offset by photosynthetic uptake, as the vegetation starts to turn on.
The bump is also getting a boost from the El Niño phenomenon, which is causing additional anomalous emissions from tropical forests through drought and fires. Still, the levels last week were a bit higher, maybe by a part per million or two, than I would have projected even taking El Niño into account. I’m frankly not sure what is causing this, but I would not expect it reflects anything other than an unusual blob of air that temporarily settled over the central Pacific. It is clear that other sites around the world where CO2 is measured are showing the El Niño boost, but I haven’t consulted the most recent data to see if they show anything special over the last few weeks. The bump last week was seen on both the NOAA and Scripps analyzers at Mauna Loa.

Dr. Charles Keeling at MLO
The larger story remains that Earth hasn’t seen levels this high in at least several million years. Unless fossil fuel emissions soon drop significantly below current levels, I expect CO2 levels will surpass the 450 mark by around 2035 and the 500 mark around 2065.

Barring some major breakthrough that allows excess CO2 to be scrubbed from the air, it is currently an impossibility for us to reach the target of 350 ppm that many consider the threshold of dangerous climate change effects. I expect it will take at least 1,000 years before CO2 drops again below 350 ppm. – Ralph Keeling, director of Scripps CO2 Group
Co2 Levels exceeded 409 parts per million for the first time in recorded history this month.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Canada is Burning

More wildfires have been reported. Multiple communities have been evacuated as two massive forest fires rage in eastern Manitoba Friday. The first started Thursday evening northeast of Caddy Lake in Manitoba. It’s grown in size to 700 hectares and expanded into Ontario.
The second fire lies east of Beresford Lake along the Manitoba, Ontario border and is advancing into Ontario. The wildfire has grown to approximately 10,000 hectares.
Two wildfires in northern B.C. near Fort St John merged Thursday night and a state of emergency has been declared.

An evacuation order has been issued for about 45 homes near the Alaska Highway in northeastern British Columbia because of wildfires in the area.

A helicopter flies past a wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, on Wednesday.
This was the hottest four-month start of any year on record, and this followed the hottest year ever recorded.

The Arctic continues its multi-month trend of off-the-charts warmth. Arctic sea ice continues to melt at a record pace. New research finds that warming-driven Arctic sea ice loss is causing the jet stream to weaken and high-pressure systems to get stuck in places like Greenland, leading to accelerated melt of the land-locked ice that drives sea level rise.
Climate models have always predicted that human-caused warming would be at least twice as fast in the Arctic as in the planet as a whole thanks to Arctic Amplification — a process that includes higher temperatures melting highly reflective white ice and snow, which is replaced by the dark blue sea or dark land, both of which absorb more solar energy and lead to more melting.

Persistent weather can result in extreme events, such as prolonged heat waves, flooding, and droughts. What happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic.
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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Fort McMurray Burning - "catastrophic" wildfire destroys 1600 homes

A state of Emergency has been declared in Fort McMurray. The "catastrophic" wildfire has now destroyed 1,600 homes and buildings and has consumed more than 10,000 hectares.

It is expected to rage out of control through the rest of the day.
Fort McMurray has always been about the oilsands, one of the largest deposits of fossil fuels on the planet. Abasands Oil was the first to successfully extract oil from the oil sands through hot water extraction by the 1930s.

In 1967, the Great Canadian Oil Sands (now Suncor) plant opened and Fort McMurray's growth soon took off. More oil sands plants were opened up, especially after 1973 and 1979, when serious political tensions and conflicts in the Middle East triggered oil price spikes. The population of the town reached 6,847 by 1971 and climbed to 31,000 by 1981, a year after its incorporation as a city.
Through booms and bust the city continued to grow. The oil price increases since 2003 have made oil extraction profitable again and today upwards of 80,000 reside in Fort McMurray.
This winter the area experienced virtually no snowfall, and an unusually dry and hot spring made the forest tinder dry.

Temperatures remain exceptionally hot.
The largest evacuation in Alberta history is ongoing as people flee and their homes burn.

As global temperatures soar into uncharted, record territory, Fort McMurray is the new normal. Northern British Columbia and Saskatchewan are experiencing the same conditions and these scenes are very likely to be repeated.