Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

topic posted Mon, November 21, 2011 - 10:51 AM by  Unsubscribed
These idiots who call themselves 'leaders' need to sit down in a room and LISTEN to what the top science people are telling them. But they won't because human politics and economics are just as immovable as physics...until the physics really start slamming down. Then of course there isn't any economics just hungry hordes of people wandering around like mad max wondering WTF.

Remember, the Titanic can't sink and it's all a liberal professor plot to get more federal grants and don't you be listening to those eco-trrrists and stupid green party hippy freaks.....what a bunch of losers, eh?

Published on Monday, November 21, 2011 by The Guardian/UK
Rich Nations 'Give Up' on New Climate Treaty Until 2020

Ahead of critical talks and despite pledge for new treaty by 2012, biggest economies privately admit likelihood of long delay

by Fiona Harvey

Governments of the world's richest countries have given up on forging a new treaty on climate change to take effect this decade, with potentially disastrous consequences for the environment through global warming.

Ahead of critical talks starting next week, most of the world's leading economies now privately admit that no new global climate agreement will be reached before 2016 at the earliest, and that even if it were negotiated by then, they would stipulate it could not come into force until 2020.
Ruth Davis of Greenpeace said: "Failing to agree a plan to tackle the climate crisis in Durban would be a disaster, but agreeing on a plan to do almost nothing for a decade would arguably be worse. (photo: Barnstormed)

The eight-year delay is the worst contemplated by world governments during 20 years of tortuous negotiations on greenhouse gas emissions, and comes despite intensifying warnings from scientists and economists about the rapidly increasing dangers of putting off prompt action.

After the Copenhagen climate talks in 2009 ended amid scenes of chaos, governments pledged to try to sign a new treaty in 2012. The date is critical, because next year marks the expiry of the current provisions of the Kyoto protocol, the only legally binding international agreement to limit emissions.

The UK, European Union, Japan, US and other rich nations are all now united in opting to put off an agreement and the United Nations also appears to accept this.

Developing countries are furious, and the delay will be fiercely debated at the next round of international climate talks beginning a week on Monday in Durban, South Africa.

The Alliance of Small Island States, which represents some of the countries most at risk from global warming, called moves to delay a new treaty "reckless and irresponsible".

Postponing an operational agreement until 2020 would be fatal to hopes of avoiding catastrophic climate change, according to scientists, economists and green campaigners.

Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA), and one of the world's foremost authorities on climate economics, told the Guardian: "If we do not have an international agreement whose effect is put in place by 2017, then the door to [holding temperatures below 2C] will be closed forever."

Lord Stern, author of a landmark review of the economics of climate change, said aiming for a 2020 deadline was "pessimistic and risks introducing lethargy" to the process: "It's not fast enough – this is a collective failure, and [leaving agreement to] 2020 is taking considerable risks with the planet."

However, he said he was hopeful that countries and companies would continue to try to cut carbon in the absence of a deal in the short term.

Sir David King, former UK chief scientist, said: "[A date of 2020] for an agreement is absolutely to be expected, and I am not at all dismayed by that."

He believes individual countries and industries taking action even without a global deal provides the best chance of cutting emissions.

Scientists say the only way to avoid catastrophic and irreversible climate change is to hold temperatures to no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels.

The new delay comes as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned on Friday of mounting evidence that global warming was leading to more extreme weather events such as floods and droughts, and fiercer storms.

Although the world's major economies made pledges to limit their emissions at the Copenhagen talks, there is little sign these are having an effect.

Last year, global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels rose by more than 5% despite the worst recession for 80 years, according to the IEA.

Voluntary pledges by individual countries might never be enough to effect the massive changes needed. Birol said: "Our analysis shows [what happens] if you do not change investment patterns, which can only happen as a result of an international agreement."

Scientists warn that even if current pledges are met, they would not be enough to hold the global temperature rise to 2C, so more ambitious cuts are needed. Participants in the talks say there is little chance of that happening.

Connie Hedegaard, Europe's climate chief, said the EU's roadmap was to aim for an agreement to be drawn up "by the first COP [UN meeting] after 2015", which would be December 2016, and this could then come into force in 2020.

A Japanese official told the Guardian that Tokyo was aiming for an agreement to come into force in 2020, which was "realistic", though he later said Japan was aiming for agreement "as soon as possible". The UK's negotiators are now fixed on 2020, and the US is understood to expect a similar trajectory.

Christiana Figueres, the UN's top official on climate change, did not disagree with this roadmap. She said: "Making an agreement is not easy. What we are looking at is not an international environment agreement — what we are looking at is nothing other than the biggest industrial and energy revolution that has ever been seen."

Ruth Davis of Greenpeace said: "Failing to agree a plan to tackle the climate crisis in Durban would be a disaster, but agreeing on a plan to do almost nothing for a decade would arguably be worse. Leaders in Durban must … agree to sign a binding global deal no later than 2015, which will re-establish the link between climate science and the pace and scale of action. Otherwise we risk sliding rapidly from climate crisis to climate catastrophe."

© Guardian News and Media Limited 2011
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  • Unsu...

    Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

    Mon, November 21, 2011 - 10:28 PM
    Beginning on December 3, 2011, some major international chemical companies will be facing a public tribunal dealing with their well-documented and systemic human rights abuses that have occurred all over the world.
    -------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    However, with the crimes of the Big 6 now being investigated by an international human rights tribunal, it is important for those of us who have dedicated so much of our time and effort to fighting corporations like Monsanto to guard against walking into a trap. We must become streetwise.
    Although the Big 6 absolutely need their crimes exposed to the world, we must be careful not to allow ourselves to be guided into a one-world government structure, regardless of the short-term outcome.
    We must remember that the PPT is working under the banner (unofficially) of the United Nations -- and it is international law to which the PPT is appealing.
  • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

    Thu, December 8, 2011 - 1:52 AM
    Although it shouldn't be a surprise, the new issue of Science suggests that the ice core is melting even faster than many scientists have predicted.

    Major implications for sea rise, climate, agriculture, habitability of the coastal lands. And the effect on weather patterns and natural disasters, who knows?
    • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

      Thu, December 8, 2011 - 3:40 PM
      Though we are not helping, climate is not as stable as we would like it to be and there have been radical changes through the history of the earth without us having anything to do with it.
      I am old enough to remember when Time Magazine was clamouring "The Ice Age is Coming, The Ice Age Is Coming" and then changed to "Warning - Global Warming...Warning - Global Warming.

      The buzz is that now, we may have saved our collective ass through our own stupidity.
      I don't think that's the first time it's happened either.
      • Unsu...

        Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

        Fri, December 9, 2011 - 10:41 PM
        Ah, you got sucked into that media hype. I also old enough to remember that tv talking head arm waving along with the NASA's James Hansen testifying in front of the US Congress about the rather odd, and extremely radical and fast, changes they were seeing happen worldwide to the climate that were unprecedented. In 1979 thereabouts.

        That corporate media blitz pushing that Ice Age rot was NOT what the science was saying, not by a long shot. As usual, a certain segment of the population took parts of a paragraph and turned it into front page news. Guess who spread that crap? You get two guesses and you only need one...

        Worldwide weather is flipping the fuck out, worse every year. Connect the dots means doing a lot of reading from worldwide sources and NOT from the fucking television! And, of course, following the money of who benefits from doing nothing while the world heats up... Sorry, at this point there is no 'saving our asses' with stupidity. It's going to take a hell of a lot more than that, and the inertia against doing anything is fucking A tremendous...

        Big sigh.
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          offline 135

          Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

          Sat, December 10, 2011 - 5:52 AM
          i'm a little fuzzy on the timing of this but seems like maybe the mid to late eighties that i started hearing about this "weather modeling progams" being used and the reason I don't recall so well is that when I heard it, I thought - right, the worldwide is far too complex for these computers to "model" - Ignore this

          but seems like what I heard was pretty much what is happening? And then, by the ninties, this here is very much what they were predicting!

          threshold threshold threshold and synergy synergy synergy - repeating these becuase in regards to this, they mean a whole bunch
          • Unsu...

            Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

            Sat, December 10, 2011 - 11:19 AM
            Nope, it was right at the start of the Alzheimer president's rule when Hansen testified. And the worst case scenarios considered possible then have long since been passed as being far too conservative. Hell, the worst-case thought possible with Al Gore's movie have also been far surpassed.

            Wonderful to think about on this non-snowy, 11'F, local ski hill-closing due to lack of snowfall day fifty miles south of the Canadian border in the Selkirk Mountain Range...
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              offline 135

              Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

              Sat, December 10, 2011 - 11:31 AM
              is there enough water to in any way under some weird circumstances on the plantic to cover the landmasses up to about 8,000 feet?
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                offline 135

                Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                Sat, December 10, 2011 - 11:37 AM
                oh and seal - don't think we've hit the full threshold effect which might resemble more the flipping of a switch instant dramatic-climate change ala "Shock N Awe" from the preposterous start of the last war - you know, kind of stuff that is video friendly, so to speak, kind of stuff that makes for outstandingly short tweets like - OMG I'm Dying! that whole synergy thing riden by a guy called, Murphys Law, all the while just whipping the hell out of the horsemen of the apocalypse and screaming - hippie ky yay and drill baby drill!

                No worries for Americans, though, we are ever protected by the fierce cloak of the American flag and the steady hand of God Almighty
                • Unsu...

                  Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                  Mon, December 12, 2011 - 1:09 AM
                  Nope, I think 8,000 feet elevation is a bit much for even the polar caps, Greenland, and the glaciers!

                  And as for the 'full threshold effect (that's kind of a cute term don't ya think?), the people in the new Dust Bowl of the Texas/Ok/KS-which by the way is DRYER than the 1930s one-might disagree with that concept if the area had critical thinking skills as to what the damn science is telling them. Wouldn't want to be in Thailand with all the floods, or anywhere in Tornado alley earlier this year, or Pakistan's flood last year along with Russia's great drought and fires or Oz's drought and fires then floods or or or...if ya get my drift?

                  What the FUCK is it going to take for people to actually read the goddam science, listen to what the goddam scientists are actually saying instead of dumbfucker radio and corporate television, and connect the weather dots all across the goddam planet? That flipping switch of instant dramatic shock&awe monstrous mega-disasters back to back is probably correct and still we be assured that all is well don't worry just a few natural-occurring nothing-to-see-here go shopping!

                  Yep, lots of those tweets "OMG I'm DY..........I'm sorry your party has disconnected. Please hang up and dial again bzzzzzzzzz

                  This is not a religious apocalypse thing. At this point it's just stupidity. Or that Ostrich Effect (which I'm sure Murphy had something to do with)! There were papers written by 1800's scientists that were talking about what consequences could come from the spewing of all the industrial age shit into the atmosphere. They knew what C02 was then!
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                    Mon, December 12, 2011 - 2:37 AM
                    Here's something quite fresh to chew on; actually three. Don't read it after eating. Um, actually, don't read before eating, either. Sorry, reality is often unpalatable.

                    The brutal logic of climate change
                    BY DAVID ROBERTS
                    5 DEC 2011 3:13 PM

                    The consensus in American politics today is that there's nothing to be gained from talking about climate change. It's divisive, the electorate has more pressing concerns, and very little can be accomplished anyway. In response to this evolving consensus, lots of folks in the climate hawk coalition (broadly speaking) have counseled a new approach that backgrounds climate change and refocuses the discussion on innovation, energy security, and economic competitiveness.

                    This cannot work. At least it cannot work if we hope to avoid terrible consequences. Why not? It's simple: If there is to be any hope of avoiding civilization-threatening climate disruption, the U.S. and other nations must act immediately and aggressively on an unprecedented scale. That means moving to emergency footing. War footing. "Hitler is on the march and our survival is at stake" footing. That simply won't be possible unless a critical mass of people are on board. It's not the kind of thing you can sneak in incrementally.

                    It is unpleasant to talk like this. People don't want to hear it. They don't want to believe it. They bring to bear an enormous range of psychological and behavioral defense mechanisms to avoid it. It sounds "extreme" and our instinctive heuristics conflate "extreme" with "wrong." People display the same kind of avoidance when they find out that they or a loved one are seriously ill. But no doctor would counsel withholding a diagnosis from a patient because it might upset them. If we're in this much trouble, surely we must begin by telling the truth about it.

                    So let's have some real talk on climate change.

                    For today's inconvenient truths (ahem), we turn to Kevin Anderson, a professor of energy and climate change who was, until recently, director of the U.K.'s leading climate research institution, theTyndall Energy Program. Anderson is a publishing researcher himself and, in his capacity as Tyndall director, was responsible for weaving together multiple lines of research and evidence into a coherent story. This year, with his colleague Alice Bows, he published a must-read paper called "Beyond 'dangerous' climate change: emission scenarios for a new world" [PDF]. If reading academic papers isn't your thing, he also delivers a digestible presentation here, or here with slides. (Discovered via Alex Steffen's excellent Twitter feed.)

                    Let's walk through Anderson's logic.

                    1. How much can global average temperature rise before we risk "dangerous" changes in climate? The current consensus answer is: 2 degrees C [3.6 degrees F] above pre-industrial levels.

                    The 2 degrees C number has been around for over a decade and was reaffirmed by theCopenhagen Accord just last year. Deciding on an "acceptable" level of temperature is a political and somewhat arbitrary judgment, of course, since it lets one number stand in for a wide range of heterogeneous considerations. But it's an important marker. And when it was first developed, it was based on the science of the day.

                    Here's a chart attempting to show, in simplified form, what amount of temperature rise will produce dangerous effects (the red zones) and what the 2 degrees C level means:

                    Seems sensible enough. But there's a hitch: Climate science has not stood still for the last decade. According to the latest research, the level of damages once expected at 2 degrees C is now expected at considerably lower temperatures. Here's a graph that shows science's evolving understanding:

                    As you can see, the 2 degrees C "guardrail" that separated acceptable from dangerous in 2001 is, in 2009, squarely inside several red zones. Today, the exact same social and political considerations that settled on 2 degrees C as the threshold of safety by all rights ought to settle on 1 degree C [1.8 degrees F]. After all, we now know 2 degrees C is extremely dangerous.

                    At this point, however, stopping at 1 degree C is physically impossible (we can thank our past inaction for that). Indeed, as we'll see, stopping at 2 degrees C is getting close to impossible as well. There is no longer any reasonable chance of avoiding "dangerous" climate change, so 1 degree C vs. 2 degrees C is a somewhat academic debate. At this point we're just shooting to avoid super-duper-dangerous. Regardless, the numbers that follow are based on 2 degrees C.

                    2. For the purposes of limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees C, what matters is the total accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere -- our "carbon budget."

                    Anderson is adamant that the familiar targets almost all politicians and many scientists use in public -- e.g., "80 percent reduction in the rate of emissions by 2050" -- are deeply misleading. As far as the climate is concerned, the rate of emissions in 2050 relative to the rate of emissions today is meaningless. CO2 stays in the atmosphere for over a century; the atmosphere doesn't care what year it arrives. (Though targets in the distant future are comforting to politicians, for obvious reasons.)

                    The only thing that matters in limiting temperature rise is cumulative emissions, the total amount we dump into the atmosphere this century. When the total concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere rises, temperature rises. That is the correlation that matters.

                    If we want to limit temperature rise to 2 degrees C or less, then there's only so much carbon we can dump in the atmosphere. That is our "carbon budget" for the century, the amount we have to "spend" before we're in the danger zone. As best we know, the global carbon budget for this century is between 1,320 and 2,200 gigatons (There are too many uncertainties in the science to be more precise than that.)

                    3. With a carbon budget, it's possible to develop a carbon reduction pathway.

                    Once the global carbon budget has been determined (and divvied up among countries -- more on that in subsequent posts), it's possible to conceptualize a way reduce carbon fast enough to stay under that budget. Here's a generic example of a carbon reduction pathway:

                    A key fact to remember: For a given carbon reduction pathway, the later emissions peak, the faster they have to fall to stay under budget.

                    4. Any carbon reduction pathway that limits temperature rise to 2 degrees C shows global emissions peaking extremely soon and declining extremely quickly.

                    Right now, global emissions are rising, faster and faster. Between 2000 and 2007, they rose at around 3.5 percent a year; by 2009 it was up to 5.6 percent. In 2010, we hit 5.9 percent growth, arecord. We aren't just going in the wrong direction -- we're accelerating in the wrong direction.

                    (Most climate modeling scenarios, e.g. the Stern Report, underplay the current rate of emissions growth, leading to sunnier-than-justified results.)

                    The growth of emissions is making the task ahead more and more difficult. The longer we wait to start shrinking emissions, the faster we'll have to shrink them to stay under budget. Here's a visualization of what that means -- some sample reduction curves with varying peak years (the four different lines are based on the four main IPCC scenarios):

                    As you can see, if we delay the global emissions peak until 2025, we pretty much have to drop off a cliff afterwards to avoid 2 degrees C. Short of a meteor strike that shuts down industrial civilization, that's unlikely.

                    How about 2020? Of the available scenarios for peaking in 2020, says Anderson, 13 of 18 show hitting 2 degrees C to be technically impossible. (D'oh!) The others involve on the order of 10 percent reductions a year after 2020, leading to total decarbonization by 2035-45.

                    Just to give you a sense of scale: The only thing that's ever pushed emissions reductions above 1 percent a year is, in the words of the Stern Report, "recession or upheaval." The total collapse of the USSR knocked 5 percent off its emissions. So 10 percent a year is like ... well, it's not like anything in the history of human civilization.

                    This, then, is the brutal logic of climate change: With immediate, concerted action at global scale, we have a slim chance to halt climate change at the extremely dangerous level of 2 degrees C. If we delay even a decade -- waiting for better technology or a more amenable political situation or whatever -- we will have no chance.

                    6. Jeez, 2 degrees C looks hard. Can we just do 4 degrees C [7.2 degrees F] instead?

                    It might seem that, given the extraordinary difficulty of hitting 2 degrees C, we ought to lower our sights a bit and accept that we're going to hit 4 degrees C. It won't be ideal, but hitting anything lower than that is just too difficult and expensive.

                    It's seductive logic. After all, to hit 4 degrees C we would "only" have to peak global emissions in 2020 and decline thereafter at the relatively leisurely rate (ha ha) of around 3.5 percent per year.

                    Sadly, even that cold comfort is not available to us. The thing is, if 2 degrees C is extremely dangerous, 4 degrees C is absolutely catastrophic. In fact, according to the latest science, says Anderson, "a 4 degrees C future is incompatible with an organized global community, is likely to be beyond 'adaptation', is devastating to the majority of ecosystems, and has a high probability of not being stable."

                    Yeeeah. You'll want to read that sentence again. Then you'll probably want to pour yourself a stiff drink.

                    Obviously, "incompatible with an organized global community" is what jumps out, but the last bit, "high probability of not being stable," is equally if not more important. One of the most uncertain areas of climate science today has to do with feedbacks -- processes caused by climate change that in turn accelerate (or decelerate) climate change. For instance, heat can melt the Arctic permafrost, which releases methane, which accelerates climate change, which melts more permafrost, etc.

                    Based on current scientific understanding, positive climate feedbacks -- the ones that accelerate the process -- considerably outweigh negative feedbacks. At some level of temperature rise, some of those positive feedbacks are likely to become self-reinforcing and effectively unstoppable, no matter how much emissions are cut. These are the "tipping points" you hear so much about.

                    But at what level? Will hitting 2 degrees C trigger runaway positive feedbacks? It's difficult to know; this is one of the most uncertain areas of climate science. James Hansen thinks 2 degrees C will do it. Others disagree.

                    But the situation becomes considerably clearer around 4 degrees C. At that level, there's good reason to believe that some positive feedbacks will become self-reinforcing. In other words, 4 degrees C would very likely be a way station on the road to much higher temperatures.

                    That makes the notion of "adapting" to 4 degrees C a bit of a farce. Infrastructure decisions involve big money and long time horizons. By the time we've built (or rebuilt) infrastructure suited to 4 degrees C, it will be 5 degrees C [9 degrees F]. And so on. A climate in which conditions are changing that fast just isn't suitable for stable human civilization (or for the continued existence of a majority of the planet's species).

                    Oh, and by the way: According to the International Energy Agency, we're currently on course for 6 degrees C [10.8 degrees F]. That is, beyond any reasonable doubt, game over.

                    So this is where we're at: stuck between temperatures we can't possibly accommodate and carbon reduction pathways we can't possibly achieve. A rock and a hard place. Scylla and Charybdis.

                    What does it mean for the way we think about climate policy? I'll address that in my next post.

                    In my last post, I discussed a new peer-reviewed paper by climate scientists Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows. It paints a grim picture:

                    The commonly accepted threshold of climate “safety,” 2 degrees C [3.6 degrees F] temperature rise over pre-industrial levels, is now properly considered extremely dangerous;
                    even 2 degrees C is drifting out of reach, absent efforts of a scale and speed beyond anything currently proposed;
                    our current trajectory is leading us toward 4 or 6 (or 8 or 10) degrees C, which we now know to be a potentially civilization-threatening disaster.
                    Like I said, go ahead and pour yourself a stiff drink.

                    So, what does this grim situation say about our current climate policy efforts? The paper also contains some important insights on that front. Here is how Anderson and Bows frame it:

                    Over the past five years a wealth of analyses have described very different responses to what, at first sight, appears to be the same question: What emission-reduction profiles are compatible with avoiding “dangerous” climate change? However, on closer investigation, the difference in responses is related less to different interpretations of the science underpinning climate change and much more to differing assumptions related to five fundamental and contextual issues.

                    (1) What delineates dangerous from acceptable climate change?
                    (2) What risk of entering dangerous climate change is acceptable?
                    (3) When is it reasonable to assume global emissions will peak?
                    (4) What reduction rates in post-peak emissions is it reasonable to consider?
                    (5) Can the primacy of economic growth be questioned in attempts to avoid dangerous climate change?
                    Keep question (5) in mind. It is almost never raised explicitly in these discussions, but it turns out to be central to how we answer the other questions.

                    Long story short, Anderson and Bows argue that we are systematically blowing smoke up our own asses. (Though, ahem, that’s probably not how they would put it.)
                    rest at


                    Scientists: Greenland’s land rises as ice melts
                    The State Column | Staff | Sunday, December 11, 2011


                    A new study released Friday finds that Greenland has risen in recent years as the rate of ice melting has increased, a startling revelation that scientists attribute to global warming.

                    Speaking at a conference on Friday, a team of scientists from Ohio State University said a network of 50 GPS stations measured the uplift as the ice loss, noting that the rate of ice loss has accelerated in southern Greenland by 100 billion tons. The study was lead by Ohio State University researcher Michael Bevis.

                    Mr. Bevis noted that an unusually hot melting season in 2010 accelerated ice loss in southern Greenland by 100 billion tons, which led to large portions of the island’s bedrock rising an additional quarter of an inch. The discovery was noted by the team in a paper released ahead of the conclusion of a key global climate change conference in Durban, South Africa.

                    “Pulses of extra melting and uplift imply that we’ll experience pulses of extra sea level rise,” said Mr. Bevis. “The process is not really a steady process.”

                    Mr. Belvis said the only explanation for the strange uplift is the rate of ice melt caused, in part, by global warming. The melting and the resulting rise in sea level is one of the hallmarks of global warming, which has force researchers to resort to using some novel methods to overcome different seasonal and regional signals that obstruct their ability to measure the effect of rising temperatures.

                    “Really, there is no other explanation. The uplift anomaly correlates with maps of the 2010 melting day anomaly,” Mr. Bevis said. “In locations where there were many extra days of melting in 2010, the uplift anomaly is highest.”

                    The team of scientists noted that a melting day “anomaly” refers to the number of extra melting days – that is, days that were warm enough to melt ice – relative to the average number of melting days per year over several decades. The occurrence of “melting day anomalies” have increased in recent years as global emissions continue to increase.

                    Speaking on Friday, Mr. Bevis noted that in 2010, the southern half of Greenland lost an extra 100 billion tons of ice under conditions that scientists would consider anomalously warm.

                    Previous studies have recorded measurements indicating that as that ice melted away, the bedrock beneath it rose. The amount of uplift differed from station to station, depending on how close the station was to regions where ice loss was greatest. Southern Greenland stations that were very close to zones of heavy ice loss rose one inch every five months. Stations that were located far away typically rose at least less than half and inch during the course of the 2010 melting season. The weight of ice sheets push down on the bedrock it rests on, scientists noted, and as the ice sheets lose mass, the bedrock rises. Scientists said the process is known as Glacial Isostatic Adjustment, adding that it has been happening since the planet came out of an ice age around 17,000 years ago.

                    The team that led the study said that is was conducted by using high-precision global positioning system (GPS) data that measure the vertical motion of the rocky margins around Greenland, Iceland and other regions of the island.

                    The study comes just two weeks after a series of global climate change meetings in Durban, South Africa. The meeting was set to concluded on Friday. The meetings have pitted the U.S. against emerging powers China and India over whether to hold each other accountable for greenhouse-gas emissions. The European Union has indicated that the world’s three biggest polluters, China, India and the United States, have been slowing down the pace of negotiations on a roadmap to a future agreement.
              • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                Sat, December 10, 2011 - 12:07 PM
                Don't think we can hit 8,000 feet even if all the ice melted. But all it takes is a few inches for major water/weather pattern changes. And just a few feet could be catastrophic in many places.
      • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

        Tue, June 5, 2012 - 11:14 AM
        We are definitely a major contributor to global warming this time around. Global warming is what will trigger the next ice age.

        In a nutshell the global thermostat is the gulfstream that runs around happily minding its own business in the Atlantic Ocean (there's a simular system in the Pacific--and if I remember rightly they are connected). These streams are dependent on a delicate balance of salinity in the ocean--enter global warming which causes the ice fields and ice caps around the North and South Poles to start to melt flooding the oceans with fresh water causing the engine that's running the thermostat to break down. Now we're going to have more supercells, more hurricanes and places that should be warm will freeze--all of our weather systems will be completely screwed up.

        It won't be as dramatic as the movie "Day After Tomorrow" that came out several years ago--the change will be much slower and more gradual. The bottom line is it will happen--in the Northeast, upper Midwest, in Europe and parts of Eurasia and Asia there will be a mini iceage and for the rest of us, we'll see very severe and screwy weather that will last for years.
        • Unsu...

          Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

          Tue, June 5, 2012 - 8:04 PM
          Yep. No doubt we have done ourselves and everything that lives on, above, below, or in the water some seriously dirty deeds. 200 living beings go extinct every single day with that number accelerating every year. And we caused it. Aren't we glad there isn't a Nuremberg tribunal run by the others that we share this spinning ball of dirt with? They'd hang us just like we did the Nazis...

          Actually, the paleo-science is starting to show that catastrophic climate changes have happened extremely quickly at times in the geological past. The conventional thought was in terms of thousands of years of slow changes; then of course somebody showed that it can happen in just a decade or two. Sent people's heads spinning!

          "The Day After Tomorrow" and instant glacier masses after McStorms (like the analogy?) blast their way through the northern hemisphere in a few weeks. What an entertaining global warming/climate collapse disaster flick that was. Great computer graphics (but I liked Avatar's better). Or how about "2012" when LA and the rest of the continents washed underwater? Sure make gadzillions of dollars off them, don't they? And not a dime goes towards mitigation of the causes...hmmmm.

          One disaster flick that really worried me was from the '80s and called 'The Day After,' which was a very serious anti-war get-rid-of-nukes where, bluntly, the planet lost and our species all died sometime after the movie ended, or at least that's what a logical conclusion the movie left one with. Can't win against nuclear winter...or a CO2-caused ice age, either, I guess. And as the limited resource base the planet has left rapidly depletes keeping our enormous and growing population and technological civilization going, I would assume the resource wars are going to intensify. Just how many wars are we actually fighting either by bombing, covert ops, regular troops? Want what we don't have here, other country's natural resources;Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Iran... Who's going to be the bright boy who suggests being the second country in nthe world to use them in war I wonder? Or will we since we can make up any excuse using fake date and lies, and now use the Nazis' "pre-emptive" war rationale maybe the USA will do it again. Hey, as long as our cell phone work and the cars have gas...

          Deep breath. Let it out slowly. Greenland broke records for having the highest May temperatures ever on the glaciers last month. In the 70s F. And it has broken apart very rapidly in the past according to geologic findings. That decades thing again...and that would raise the sealevel about 27 feet. It leaves one thinking 'that's fucking absurd, no way, holy shit! Last year in Oklahoma was just upgraded by NOAA to being the hottest summer ever, way worse than the Dustbowl 30s. Looks like the same going into this summer. Up here we cook deer jerky in my smokehouse at the temperatures the Southwest and southern Midwest are living in. In the 30s people left by the hundreds of thousands; now there are millions of people living there that won't have anywhere else to go because places are already all filled up eighty years later. Weird shit to think about but my granny used to talk about the 30s a lot. Raised my aunt and dad on a farm in Iowa...saw the road people walking by by the thousands...

          Funny how people think of there being 'different' oceans when the planet is one big ocean with scattered islands of dirt here and there on it. It's a world ocean but humans are very limited in the ability to see what they are looking at. Yep, if the North Atlantic Current stops AGAIN (read that it has stuttered a few recent years from all the uncounted gallons of fresh washing off the melting glaciers) you certainly wouldn't want to be living in the NE corner of this continent and most definitely NOT in Europe, both of which will turn into mile-high glaciers again. For that matter, where I am had a mile of ice above the elevation where my head happens to be at the moment.

          I'm rambling thinking I guess, rainy wet cold inside day here in the Inland Pacific Northwest...creates a climate for pensive thoughts!
  • Unsu...

    Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

    Sat, December 10, 2011 - 5:06 PM
    • D
      offline 135

      Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

      Mon, December 12, 2011 - 4:55 AM
      anonymous love it - wish they would just go nuts and tear everybody up to the max

      my take on the food accumulation law is that it is soo obvious that we need to do exactly this - one years worth of food and medicine and if you cannot do this than you MUST get at least a month's worth stored

      i sure did wish that most people at least could comprehend what we are up against here, no joke, no games, no conspriacy weirdness

      these mutherfuckers are gonna kill us people masses up this a plan a long term plant and it is about to be executed and OFF COURSE they don't want you hoarding food man because then you might actually LIVE
      • D
        offline 135

        Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

        Mon, December 12, 2011 - 5:04 AM
        Maybe if people could be made to realize that they are standing upon a killing field. That they drive their children to school along the roads that criss cross the killing field. The school the children attend sits squarely wtihin the killing field. Churchs, Hospitals, Country Clubs, Community Centers, Elder Care Facilities, amusements centers - the kiling field is crowded with life and all the profane and profound trappings of life
        • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

          Mon, December 12, 2011 - 7:24 AM
          We are not needed anymore. Technology is replacing the working person and technology makes it possible not to live in a capitalist society if you wish to.
          But wait, they are so greedy that they still need the cattle to buy their stuff and pile the money - it's also a psychology superior thing to make sure that the cattle does not rebel.
          • Unsu...

            Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

            Mon, December 12, 2011 - 10:44 PM
            Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have long been encouraged to have a year's supply of food and other needed items. President Ezra Taft Benson said,

            You do not need to go into debt … to obtain a year's supply. Plan to build up your food supply just as you would a savings account. Save a little for storage each paycheck. Can or bottle fruit and vegetables from your gardens and orchards. Learn how to preserve food through drying and possibly freezing. Make your storage a part of your budget. Store seeds and have sufficient tools on hand to do the job. If you are saving and planning for a second car or a TV set or some item, which merely adds to your comfort or pleasure, you may need to change your priorities. We urge you to do this prayerfully and do it now (“Prepare for the Days of Tribulation,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 32).
            • Unsu...

              Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

              Mon, December 12, 2011 - 11:42 PM
              Ummm, well, there's been some talking about this on another tribe I'm in. excepting the FBI/FEMA (which of course means the Ministry of Fatherland Security Pres. Cheney set up) is targeting mormon bulk food processing and distribution centers demanding lists of their customer names (both mormon and non for bulk sales). Some of these places have ceased selling to non-mormons, too. That was in the news just a few days ago...

              Now I wonder why the feds would want to know the names and addresses of people who are stockpiling food, hmmmm?

              Anybody else know how hard it is to grow and store a year's worth of food for one person? If the weather cooperates of course. I lived four years on a working 195 acre mormon farm in northern Utah as a poor student caretaker and saw how hard it was; and it was rich bottomland, too... Hell, I've had burned-up veggies in the garden here, and a season without apples because of a single night of frost at the end of June! And I'm still going to try growing the entire garden plot this coming spring (65x35 feet).

              Climate collapse and growing food isn't a real good combination to get back to the main topic!
              • Unsu...

                Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                Thu, February 2, 2012 - 6:32 PM
                There are excellent links below that connect you to the science sites that will give you truthful information, not oil company propaganda that you see on tv and hear from politicians in their pay every day. The reality of what is happening. Hard to argue with the physics and no, nobody that reads this is going to feel good. Too bad if you live in tornado alley, or along any coastline that gets hit by hurricanes, or flood zones, or drought zones. Spring is coming your way soon...

                Of course it is also too bad for those of us that live fifty miles south of Canada in the mountains where it forgot to snow this winter. Again. And it has been 50'F in January around here. What the corporate loggers aren't taking the bark beetles are because it isn't cold enough to kill the operations of either.

                A snip from one of the following three articles:
                "On our current path, the planet will get warmer and warmer and warmer and warmer with virtually no end in sight. It couldn't be more straight-forward. There are no real questions about the physics."

                So read on. After all, this is just whining from a bunch of pointed-head science pencil necks that want more funding from the government to spend.

                Published on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 by Common Dreams
                Wall Street Journal Slammed for Giving Platform to Climate Change Deniers
                - Common Dreams staff

                In response to an op-ed printed late last week in the Wall Street Journal, signed by sixteen 'scientists' and entitled, 'No Need to Panic About Global Warming,' thirty-nine climate scientists have penned a letter, printed in today's WSJ, arguing that taking advice on climate change from scientists who have either "no expertise in climate science" or "extreme views that are out of step with nearly every other climate expert" is akin to allowing dentists perform heart surgery.

                A letter from some 40 leading scientists, which the Wall Street Journal published, noted that 97% of researchers who publish on climate change agree the phenomenon is real and caused by humans. (Photograph: Mark Lennihan/AP)Suzanne Goldenberg reports for The Guardian:

                The Wall Street Journal has received a dressing down from a large group of leading scientists for promoting retrograde and out-of-date views on climate change.

                In an opinion piece run by the Journal on Wednesday, nearly 40 scientists, including acknowledged climate change experts, take on the paper for publishing an article disputing the evidence on global warming.

                The offending article, No Need to Panic About Global Warming, which appeared last week, argued that climate change was a cunning ploy deployed by governments to raise taxes and by non-profit organisations to solicit donations to save the planet.

                It was signed by 16 scientists who don't subscribe to the conventional wisdom that climate change is happening and is largely man-made - but as Wednesday's letter points out, many of those who signed don't actually work on climate science.

                Here's the full letter, along with the signatories:

                Do you consult your dentist about your heart condition? In science, as in any area, reputations are based on knowledge and expertise in a field and on published, peer-reviewed work. If you need surgery, you want a highly experienced expert in the field who has done a large number of the proposed operations.

                You published "No Need to Panic About Global Warming" (op-ed, Jan. 27) on climate change by the climate-science equivalent of dentists practicing cardiology. While accomplished in their own fields, most of these authors have no expertise in climate science. The few authors who have such expertise are known to have extreme views that are out of step with nearly every other climate expert. This happens in nearly every field of science. For example, there is a retrovirus expert who does not accept that HIV causes AIDS. And it is instructive to recall that a few scientists continued to state that smoking did not cause cancer, long after that was settled science.

                Climate experts know that the long-term warming trend has not abated in the past decade. In fact, it was the warmest decade on record. Observations show unequivocally that our planet is getting hotter. And computer models have recently shown that during periods when there is a smaller increase of surface temperatures, warming is occurring elsewhere in the climate system, typically in the deep ocean. Such periods are a relatively common climate phenomenon, are consistent with our physical understanding of how the climate system works, and certainly do not invalidate our understanding of human-induced warming or the models used to simulate that warming.

                Thus, climate experts also know what one of us, Kevin Trenberth, actually meant by the out-of-context, misrepresented quote used in the op-ed. Mr. Trenberth was lamenting the inadequacy of observing systems to fully monitor warming trends in the deep ocean and other aspects of the short-term variations that always occur, together with the long-term human-induced warming trend.

                The National Academy of Sciences of the U.S. (set up by President Abraham Lincoln to advise on scientific issues), as well as major national academies of science around the world and every other authoritative body of scientists active in climate research have stated that the science is clear: The world is heating up and humans are primarily responsible. Impacts are already apparent and will increase. Reducing future impacts will require significant reductions in emissions of heat-trapping gases.

                Research shows that more than 97% of scientists actively publishing in the field agree that climate change is real and human caused. It would be an act of recklessness for any political leader to disregard the weight of evidence and ignore the enormous risks that climate change clearly poses. In addition, there is very clear evidence that investing in the transition to a low-carbon economy will not only allow the world to avoid the worst risks of climate change, but could also drive decades of economic growth. Just what the doctor ordered.

                Kevin Trenberth, Sc.D, Distinguished Senior Scientist, Climate Analysis Section, National Center for Atmospheric Research

                Richard Somerville, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

                Katharine Hayhoe, Ph.D., Director, Climate Science Center, Texas Tech University

                Rasmus Benestad, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, The Norwegian Meteorological Institute

                Gerald Meehl, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research

                Michael Oppenheimer, Ph.D., Professor of Geosciences; Director, Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy, Princeton University

                Peter Gleick, Ph.D., co-founder and president, Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security

                Michael C. MacCracken, Ph.D., Chief Scientist, Climate Institute, Washington

                Michael Mann, Ph.D., Director, Earth System Science Center, Pennsylvania State University

                Steven Running, Ph.D., Professor, Director, Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group, University of Montana

                Robert Corell, Ph.D., Chair, Arctic Climate Impact Assessment; Principal, Global Environment Technology Foundation

                Dennis Ojima, Ph.D., Professor, Senior Research Scientist, and Head of the Dept. of Interior's Climate Science Center at Colorado State University

                Josh Willis, Ph.D., Climate Scientist, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

                Matthew England, Ph.D., Professor, Joint Director of the Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Australia

                Ken Caldeira, Ph.D., Atmospheric Scientist, Dept. of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution

                Warren Washington, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research

                Terry L. Root, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University

                David Karoly, Ph.D., ARC Federation Fellow and Professor, University of Melbourne, Australia

                Jeffrey Kiehl, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research

                Donald Wuebbles, Ph.D., Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois

                Camille Parmesan, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, University of Texas; Professor of Global Change Biology, Marine Institute, University of Plymouth, UK

                Simon Donner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Canada

                Barrett N. Rock, Ph.D., Professor, Complex Systems Research Center and Department of Natural Resources, University of New Hampshire

                David Griggs, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Monash Sustainability Institute, Monash University, Australia

                Roger N. Jones, Ph.D., Professor, Professorial Research Fellow, Centre for Strategic Economic Studies, Victoria University, Australia

                William L. Chameides, Ph.D., Dean and Professor, School of the Environment, Duke University

                Gary Yohe, Ph.D., Professor, Economics and Environmental Studies, Wesleyan University, CT

                Robert Watson, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Chair of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

                Steven Sherwood, Ph.D., Director, Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

                Chris Rapley, Ph.D., Professor of Climate Science, University College London, UK

                Joan Kleypas, Ph.D., Scientist, Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research

                James J. McCarthy, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Oceanography, Harvard University

                Stefan Rahmstorf, Ph.D., Professor of Physics of the Oceans, Potsdam University, Germany

                Julia Cole, Ph.D., Professor, Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona

                William H. Schlesinger, Ph.D., President, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

                Jonathan Overpeck, Ph.D., Professor of Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona

                Eric Rignot, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Professor of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine

                Wolfgang Cramer, Professor of Global Ecology, Mediterranean Institute for Biodiversity and Ecology, CNRS, Aix-en-Provence, France

                Some of the best sources of information are websites run by scientists or dedicated science journalists:

                Climate Progress
                Joe Romm has been the hardest working climate blogger out there for a long time. If you only have space for one climate bookmark, make it Climate Progress.

                Climate Central
                A very up-to-date, serious science journalism site. Many of the stories making the rounds show up first on Climate Central.

                Skeptical Science
                Reclaiming the true spirit of scientific skepticism, Skeptical Science is dedicated to debunking the deniers for all audiences, but also follows breaking news developments.

                The 11 contributors comprising RealClimate really are the smartest guys in the room - eminent climate scientists at the top of their craft. If you're interested in the technical details, there's no better source.

                Dr. James E. Hansen
                You may have heard of this guy. Many invaluable papers and opinion pieces are made available on his website (five from January alone).

                Open Mind
                Tamino's specialty is statistical analysis.

                The Green Grok
                Bill Chalmeides, Dean of Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment, posting several times a week on environmental happenings.

                The Discovery of Global Warming
                The definitive history - a free online book by Spencer Weart.

                Reagan's Road to Climate PerditionBy Sam Parry, Consortium News
                30 January 12

                he documentary "A Road Not Taken" chronicles the story of the 32 solar panels that President Jimmy Carter installed on the roof of the White House in 1979, the same solar panels President Ronald Reagan unceremoniously removed.

                After being taken down in 1986, the solar panels were stored away in a government warehouse, like that scene at the end of "Raiders of the Lost Arc." They were mostly forgotten until 1991, when Unity College, a small private school in central Maine that promotes sustainability, acquired them and put them to use on the roof of the school's cafeteria.

                Later, one of the panels was donated to the American History Museum in Washington, DC, and another found its way back to Jimmy Carter, given to the Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta, Georgia, where it was made a permanent exhibit in 2007, recalling Carter's early commitment to renewable energy.

                Yet, besides following the fate of these particular solar panels, the 2010 documentary reflects on the lost opportunity for the United States and the world in the change of direction that the solar panels represented, the fateful turn on energy issues from Carter's presidency to Reagan's.

                President Jimmy Carter's solar panels being installed.
                The documentary depicts the 1979 installation of the solar panels to heat water for the staff cafeteria at the White House as one of the most visible symbols of the energy policies of the Carter administration, which did more than any other before or since to promote the goals of alternative energy and conservation. And, for Carter, the dual causes of renewable energy and energy independence were always high on his agenda. In early February 1977, just two weeks into his presidency, Carter gave a national televised fireside chat, wearing a yellow wool sweater and promoting a national energy policy as a top priority for his administration.

                Over the next four years, Carter turned this commitment into a multitude of programs and initiatives. Carter created the Department of Energy, taxed oil company profits, improved automobile fuel efficiency, invested heavily in the Solar Energy Research Institute (the precursor to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory), cut America's oil imports in half, and increased U.S. use of renewable energy like solar power with a goal of generating 20 percent of all energy consumed in America from renewable sources by 2000.

                Carter laid out a route for America's energy future that - while still needing traditional fossil fuels - promoted cleaner alternatives and conservation. In his last State of the Union address, given just days before President Reagan's inauguration, President Carter reflected on what he hoped his legacy would be on this crucial issue of energy:

                "The Administration's 1977 National Energy Plan marked an historic departure from the policies of previous Administrations. The plan stressed the importance of both energy production and conservation to achieving our ultimate national goal of relying primarily on secure sources of energy. In 1978, I initiated the Administration's Solar Domestic Policy Review. This represented the first step towards widespread introduction of renewable energy sources into the Nation's economy.

                "As a result of the Review, I issued the 1979 Solar Message to Congress, the first such message in the Nation's history. The Message outlined the Administration's solar program and established an ambitious national goal for the year 2000 of obtaining 20 percent of this Nation's energy from solar and renewable sources. The thrust of the federal solar program is to help industry develop solar energy sources by emphasizing basic research and development of solar technologies which are not currently economic, such as photovoltaics, which generate energy directly from the sun.

                "At the same time, through tax incentives, education, and the Solar Energy and Energy Conservation Bank, the solar program seeks to encourage state and local governments, industry, and our citizens to expand their use of solar and renewable resource technologies currently available. As a result of these policies and programs, the energy efficiency of the American economy has improved markedly and investments in renewable energy sources have grown significantly. It now takes 3 1/2 percent less energy to produce a constant dollar of GNP than it did in January 1977. This increase in efficiency represents a savings of over 1.3 million barrels per day of oil equivalent, about the level of total oil production now occurring in Alaska."

                However, after Carter was out of the White House, President Reagan not only removed the solar panels from the roof, he systematically dismantled Carter's alternative energy and conservation initiatives. Reagan became the anti-Carter in almost every way on energy policy. Reagan slashed the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's budget by 90 percent, halved the Energy Department's conservation and alternative fuels budget, eliminated the wind investment tax credit, reduced spending on solar photovoltaic research by two-thirds, slashed energy tax credits for homeowners, and reduced fuel-efficiency standards for cars.

                Due largely to Reagan's policy reversals on alternative energy, the United States fell far short of Carter's goal of getting 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2000, achieving about only one-quarter of that target, even less than what Carter's policies had achieved by the early 1980s. In retrospect, it is clear that Reagan made reckless policy choices that had grave consequences for American energy security, for the environment and for the future survivability of life on planet Earth.

                Indeed, for those who understand the dire threat of catastrophic climate change and the curse of America's continued addiction to fossil fuels, "A Road Not Taken" can be a painful documentary to watch. It may be even more painful for our kids and grandkids to watch this film in a world that already is on its way to11 degrees F warming (or more) by the end of the century. Scratch that. It won't be painful to watch a movie. It will be painful to live in such a world.

                But first, some good news. America is currently in the midst of a mini-boom for renewable energy, the likes of which we haven't seen since, well, the Carter administration. In 2010, 8.21 percent of all energy consumed in America came from renewable energy - i.e. not fossil fuels and not nuclear. That's up from 5.37 percent in 2001. [See US Energy Information Administration.]

                Yet, before we start patting ourselves on the back, it should be noted that President Carter's energy policies (along with the oil crises of the 1970s) helped get the United States to 8.9 percent renewable in 1983. And all the way back in 1949, renewables accounted for 9.3 percent of our total energy consumption. So, the United States is not yet back to where it was in 1983 or 1949, but at least the nation finally is turning back onto the right road. The only question is, after such a long delay, is there any chance of getting to a carbon-free world - or even a low-carbon world - in time to avert the devastating threat of runaway global warming?

                The hard truth is the answer is probably not. It's hard to write those words. I have kids. I'd like to have a greater sense of hope. But I've read the science. Runaway global warming means the destruction of life as we have known it, probably not the destruction of all life on Earth, but the words "global catastrophe" is a soft way of putting it. Human civilization's inability to seriously confront this crisis is akin to knowing that a giant meteor is on a collision course with Earth in 50 to 100 years and doing nothing about it - besides questioning the mathematics that charts the trajectory of the meteor.

                Without doubt, the reality of climate change is difficult for people to accept. Numerous studies have examined the human mind to try to understand why we don't take seriously the demise of our entire way of life. These studies have achieved some interesting - though ultimately not very helpful - insights. Harvard Psychology Professor Daniel Gilbert has noted that global warming is not intentional, immoral, imminent or instantaneous, but that only makes it more insidious. "Global warming is a deadly threat precisely because it sneaks in under the radar that we've evolved," Gilbert said.

                At least that helps explain why, as Elizabeth Kolbert, journalist for The New Yorker and author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe, puts it, "a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself." But analysis is not action. And we need all-out action now.

                If you want to get a sense of what a planet that is 11∞ F warmer will look like, consider this: The planet has already warmed about 1.4∞ F since the Industrial Revolution. This level of warming has done this to the world's glaciers:

                (following charts & pics are on the link to this article)

                And it's done this to Arctic sea ice:

                And it's helped cause our seas to rise this much:

                This is what the warming looks like:

                But that's nothing compared to what's in store.

                At 11∞ F warming, the climate of New Hampshire looks something like the climate of the Carolinas. At 11∞ F warming, we'll be measuring sea level rise in feet and meters, not inches and centimeters. At 11∞ F warming, you can no longer grow corn in Iowa and the number of people around the world dying from starvation every year will increase from millions to hundreds of millions, possibly billions.

                The crisis won't be something that can be addressed through benefit concerts or even government aid programs. We will be facing a permanent dust bowl across most of the western half the U.S. - from Kansas to California. A third of Florida will be under water. We're talking about hundreds of millions of people around the world becoming environmental refugees. We're talking about Mad Max doomsday time.

                Why will this happen? Well, the physics are actually pretty straight-forward. Carbon dioxide is a heat trapping gas. We're emitting around 33.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. Carbon dioxide lingers in the atmosphere for decades. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere has increased from pre-industrial levels of around 280 parts per million (ppm) to about 392 ppm today. We're adding roughly 2 ppm per year to that total. And, in spite of the mountain of scientific warnings over the last 30 years, instead of reducing our CO2 emissions, we're increasing them.

                On our current path, the planet will get warmer and warmer and warmer and warmer with virtually no end in sight. It couldn't be more straight-forward. There are no real questions about the physics. But national and global policies are not made in the realm of physics or science. They are made in the realm of politics. And when it comes to politics, especially modern U.S. politics, it is infinitely easier to do nothing than to take even the smallest steps toward doing the right thing, especially when billions of dollars in profits from fossil fuel corporate behemoths are at stake.

                Especially when to this day you can go on Fox News and Rush Limbaugh's radio show - or even some of the so-called left-wing chat shows - and demonstrate how witty you are as you chuckle at Jimmy Carter's yellow wool cardigan sweater and his roof-top solar panels.

                As a nation, the United States may finally be turning back onto Jimmy Carter's road to renewables, but the painful reality is it may be too late. The three-decade detour begun by Ronald Reagan - and the continued slow pace of action even today - may guarantee that the road the United States remains on is the road to climate perdition.

                Southwest Turns Anxious Eye to Shrinking Lake Mead
                By Andrew Freedman

                In a dramatic reversal of fortune compared to last year, an unusually dry winter is causing the level of Lake Mead, Nevada, to decline, making water managers increasingly anxious about supplying water to the thirsty Southwest.

                During the past three years, the level of Lake Mead has followed a boom and bust cycle, dropping to a record low in 2010 during an intense drought, then recovering during 2011 thanks to record mountain snowfall, and now dropping again in the midst of a dry winter.

                According to an article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, water managers are forecasting the lake level to drop by about 13 feet due to the dry winter so far. As the newspaper reported:

                "In December, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation was predicting a roughly 11-foot rise in Lake Mead over the next year. Now the bureau expects the nation's largest man-made reservoir to shed about 13 feet by January 2013.

                One acre-foot equals about 326,000 gallons, which is enough water to supply two average valley homes for one year. At current consumption levels, the 2.45 million acre-foot reduction in Lake Mead's forecast since last month represents enough water to supply the entire Las Vegas Valley for a decade."

                During the past 11 years, a particularly dry and warm climate has lingered in Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Southern California, leading to reduced flow along the Colorado River. In fact, scientists have already shown that the stress on the water resources in the Southwest region is consistent with the effects of a warmer climate, and that increased emissions of heat-trapping gases are linked to recent changes in river flows and winter snow pack. Adding to the region's water challenges is the fact that cities that draw water from Lake Mead, such as Las Vegas, have grown in recent years and are further taxing the water supply.

                (This Climate Central chart shows how the demand for water from the Colorado River Basin has recently outstripped supply.)

                Last year, Climate Central ran an in depth series on water issues in the Southwest, as well as a story that explored how climate change may affect water supplies in the coming decades.
                • Unsu...

                  Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                  Fri, February 3, 2012 - 4:31 PM
                  Fire and water carbon, hydrogen, oxygen --- human beings must use them to keep alive!

                  <America's most abundant energy resource and a source of chemicals, fertilizer, and power worldwide.>

                  <The North American Water and Power Alliance—NAWAPA—is the most comprehensive of a series of plans developed during the 1950s and 1960s to capture and redistribute fresh water in Alaska and Canada. NAWAPA would deliver large quantities of water to water-poor areas of Canada, the lower forty-eight states of the United States of America, and Mexico.>
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                    Fri, February 3, 2012 - 4:42 PM
                    Sun God Activity vs Human Being Activity

                    <A fierce solar storm could lead to a global disaster on an unprecedented scale
                    (Image: SOHO Consortium / ESA / NASA)>

                    go off-grid?

                    From "Preppies" In the Eighties To "Preppers" in New Millenium: Survivalists Prepare For "The End"
                    • Unsu...

                      Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                      Sun, March 25, 2012 - 1:25 AM
                      Nobody will like this latest, either. Charts and maps are at the link.

                      March Madness: ‘This May Be An Unprecedented Event Since Modern U.S. Weather Records Began In The Late 19th Century’

                      By Joe Romm on Mar 22, 2012

                      March Heat Records Hit Incredible Ratio of 35 to 1 vs. Cold Records, Must-See Weather Channel Video Explains Link to Global Warming

                      Dr. Jeff Masters: A spring heat wave like no other in U.S. and Canadian history peaked in intensity yesterday, during its tenth day. Since record keeping began in the late 1800s, there have never been so many temperature records broken for spring warmth in a one-week period–and the margins by which some of the records were broken yesterday were truly astonishing. Wunderground’s weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, commented to me yesterday, “it’s almost like science fiction at this point.“

                      Yesterday, meteorologist Masters published a detailed statistical analysis that concluded, “It is highly unlikely the warmth of the current ‘Summer in March’ heat wave could have occurred unless the climate was warming.”

                      Based on satellite data, the map depicts temperatures from March 8–15 compared to the average of the same eight day period of March from 2000-2011. Image: NASA via Masters. (at link)

                      Among the stunning records set yesterday are:
                      Pellston, MI: record high broken by 32°F
                      Low temperatures beat the previous record high for the date at two stations
                      Multiple Canadian cites break all-time April records for warmth in March
                      This off-the-charts event is just what scientists have been warning to expect if we kept spewing billions of tons of heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the air (see Hansen et al: “Extreme Heat Waves … in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 Were ‘Caused’ by GlobalWarming”).

                      Meteorologists and science writers have been struggling to come up with words to describe this super-charged heat wave: “This is not the atmosphere I grew up with” and it’s “not just breaking but obliterating records” and “OFF THE SCALE WEIRD; even for Minnesota.” Climate

                      Central wrote:
                      In fact, the broad geographic scope of this heat event, along with the margins by which records are being broken, the time of year this is occurring, and the duration of the event are all indications that this may be an unprecedented event since modern U.S. weather records began in the late 19th century.
                      Like a baseball player on steroids, our climate system is breaking records at an unnatural pace. Weather Channel meteorologist Stu Ostro calls the current heat wave “surreal” and explained that “While natural factors are contributing to this warm spell, given the nature of it and its context with other extreme weather events and patterns in recent years there is a high probability that global warming is having an influence upon its extremity.”

                      There is a must-see interview of Ostro on the Weather Channel’s website, in which he explains how “data and science” — see this big PDF – switched him from being a skeptic on climate change to someone who understands that humans are changing the climate now:

                      Weather Channel meteorologists are stunned by “the sheer number of daily record highs either tied or broken over the past two weeks” as they explain in their post, “Perspective: More than 4,000 Record Highs Set!“:
                      If you pull out your calculator and add the numbers up from March 9 to March 19, the total exceeds 4,300!! This speaks to the widespread nature and longevity of this warm spell….

                      Through March 21, International Falls, Minn., self-promoted as the “Icebox of the Nation”, has tied or broken daily record highs 11 of the past 12 days!
                      … Chicago, Ill. set record highs eight days in a row through Wednesday! In this streak, seven of the days have been in the 80s, including Wednesday’s astounding 87 degree high! The National Weather Service in Chicago recently called the warm spell “historic” and something that is unlikely to be matched in our lifetime.

                      We have entered the age of the exclamation point.

                      But the notion that this won’t be matched in our lifetime is to miss the impact global warming is having on heat records, according to the scientific literature.

                      Yes, this March U.S. heat records have been outnumbering cold records by a stunning amount – an incredible 35-to-1 – as this chart from Steve Scolnik at Capital Climate makes clear:

                      Monthly ratio of daily high temperature to low temperature records set in the U.S. for every month of 2011 and the first half of March, seasonal ratio for summer and fall 2011, winter 2011-2012 to date, and annual ratio for 2011 and 2012, data from NOAA.
                      Scolnick notes, “For the year to date, the ratio is approaching 20 to 1, nearly 10 times the pace of the previous decade.”
                      I like the statistical aggregation across the country, since it gets us beyond the oft-repeated point that you can’t pin any one record temperature on global warming. If you want to know the historical ratios, see the 2009 analysis, “Record high temperatures far outpace record lows across U.S.,” which shows that the average ratio for the 2000s was 2.04-to-1, a sharp increase from previous decades. Gerald Meehl, the lead author and a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), explained, “If temperatures were not warming, the number of record daily highs and lows being set each year would be approximately even.”

                      The key point is that NCAR found:

                      The modeling results indicate that if nations continue to increase their emissions of greenhouse gases in a “business as usual” scenario, the U.S. ratio of daily record high to record low temperatures would increase to about 20-to-1 by mid-century and 50-to-1 by 2100. The mid-century ratio could be much higher if emissions rose at an even greater pace….
                      In fact, emissions are rising at a faster rate than expected. So business as usual means that by mid-century, the ‘normal’ ratio could be even higher than 20-to-1, which is just what we have seen this year to date. So what is an off-the-charts March now, could be a pretty common event by, say, the 2040s. A great many people alive today will see this happen again — and many will see even worse.

                      Here are some more remarkable records from Wednesday, via Masters:
                      Pellston, MI: record high broken by 32°F
                      Pellston, Michigan in the Northern Lower Peninsula is called “Michigan’s Icebox”, since it frequently records the coldest temperatures in the state, and in the entire nation. But the past five days, Pellston has set five consecutive records for hottest March day. Yesterday’s 85° reading broke the previous record for the date (53° in 2007) by a ridiculous 32°, and was an absurd 48°F above average.

                      Low temperatures beat the previous record high for the date at two stations
                      The low temperature at Marquette, Michigan was 52° yesterday, which was 3° warmer than the previous record high for the date! The low at Mt. Washington, NH yesterday (44°) also beat the previous record high for the date (43°.)

                      Multiple Canadian cites break all-time April records for warmth in March

                      Not only was yesterday the warmest March day in recorded history for many of Canada’s major cities, it was also warmer than any April day at many locations. St. John, New Brunswick hit 25.4°C (78°F.) Not only did this crush the record high for March (previous record: 17.5°C), it is well above any temperature ever measured in April (extreme April temperature on record: 22.8°C.) Halifax, Nova Scotia hit 25.8°C yesterday, beating their all-time March record of 25.6°, and their all-time April record of 26.3°C, set on April 30, 2004. Other major cities in Canada that set all-time warmest March records yesterday included Ottawa (27.4°C), Montreal (25.8°C), Windsor (27.8°C), Hamilton (25.6°C), London (26.4°C), and Fredericton (27.1°C)….

                      Summer in March warmth crushes records in Michigan

                      Yesterday, nearly every major airport in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula broke the record they set the previous day for their hottest March temperature, including Detroit (84°), Flint (86°F, just 2° below their all-time April record), Saginaw (87°F, just 2° below their all-time April record), Grand Rapids (87°), Muskegon (82°), Lansing (86°), Alpena (87°), Gaylord (83°, which was 26° above the average high for the date), Pellston (85°), Houghton Lake (85°), and Traverse City (87°, which was which was 45°F above the average high for the date, and was the fifth consecutive day they tied or broke their record for hottest March temperature, and just 3° below their record high temperature of 90° for April.) In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Sault Ste. Marie’s 83° (26° above the average high for the date) crushed the previous March record by 8°, and was only 2° shy of the warmest temperature ever measured in April.

                      Again, we’ve only warmed about a degree and a half Fahrenheit in the past century. We are on track to warm five times times that or more this century (see M.I.T. doubles its 2095 warming projection to 10°F — with 866 ppm and Arctic warming of 20°F ).

                      In short, we ain’t seen nothing yet!
                      • Unsu...

                        Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                        Tue, March 27, 2012 - 12:50 PM
                        Published on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 by Common Dreams
                        On the Brink: Planet Near Irreversible Point of Global Warming
                        Scientists issue dire call for action on climate change at conference; we must stop warming or "cross the threshold"
                        - Common Dreams staff
                        At the Planet Under Pressure conference going on now in London, scientists are giving a bleak view of the future of the planet due to human-caused global warming, stating that we may have already passed tipping points.

                        Will Steffen, executive director of the Australian National University's climate change institute, gave an urgent warning that humanity needs to act radically on climate change. "We can ... cap temperature rise at two degrees, or cross the threshold beyond which the system shifts to a much hotter state," he said.

                        Bob Watson, former head of the UN's climate panel and chief advisor to Britain's environment ministry, stated that the world has already passed any hope of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius, and stated that "we just have not acted. The need for action is becoming more and more urgent with every day that passes."

                        Martin Rees of the Royal Society, Britain's academy of sciences, stated this this century "is the first when one species -- ours -- has the planet's future in its hands."

                        * * *

                        Reuters: Global warming close to becoming irreversible - scientists

                        LONDON - The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned on Monday.

                        Scientific estimates differ but the world's temperature looks set to rise by six degrees Celsius by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are allowed to rise uncontrollably.

                        As emissions grow, scientists say the world is close to reaching thresholds beyond which the effects on the global climate will be irreversible, such as the melting of polar ice sheets and loss of rainforests. [...]

                        In a worst case scenario, 30 to 63 billion tonnes of carbon a year could be released by 2040, rising to 232 to 380 billion tonnes by 2100. This compares to around 10 billion tonnes of CO2 released by fossil fuel use each year.

                        Increased CO2 in the atmosphere has also turned oceans more acidic as they absorb it. In the past 200 years, ocean acidification has happened at a speed not seen for around 60 million years, said Carol Turley at Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

                        This threatens coral reef development and could lead to the extinction of some species within decades, as well as to an increase in the number of predators.

                        * * *

                        Agence France-Presse: Shadow of 'Anthropocene' falls over Rio Summit

                        Man's catastrophic damage to the environment and disparities between rich and poor head the daunting challenges facing the Rio Summit in June, experts said on Monday.

                        The summit must sweep away a system that lets reckless growth destroy the planet's health yet fails to help billions in need, they said.

                        "This century is special in the Earth's history. It is the first when one species -- ours -- has the planet's future in its hands," said Martin Rees of the Royal Society, Britain's academy of sciences.

                        "We've invented a new geological era: the Anthropocene," he said referring to an epoch shaped by Man, not nature. [...]

                        "Under a worst-case scenario, it's very likely, I think, that the Earth's system will move to a new state of some sort, with a very severe challenge to contemporary civilisation," said Steffen. "Some people have even talked about a collapse." [...]

                        The UN's goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) is already out of reach, said Bob Watson, former head of the UN's climate panel and chief advisor to Britain's environment ministry, as he presented the laureates' study.

                        "If you look at the commitments today from governments around the world, we've only got a 50-50 shot at a 3 C (5.4 F) world, almost no chance of a 2 C (3.6 F) world, and to be quite honest I would say it's not unlikely that we will hit a 5 C (9.0 F) world," said Watson.

                        "That is clearly a world with significant adverse consequences for ecological systems, for socio-economic systems and for human health."

                        He added: "We have to realise that we are looking at a loss of biodiversity that is unprecedented in the last 65 million years... We are clearly entering the (planet's) sixth mass extinction."

                        * * *

                        Welcome to the Anthropocene

                        A 3-minute journey through the last 250 years of our history, from the start of the Industrial Revolution to the Rio+20 Summit. The film charts the growth of humanity into a global force on an equivalent scale to major geological processes.

                        The film was commissioned by the Planet Under Pressure conference, London 26-29 March, a major international conference focusing on solutions.

                        The film is part of the world's first educational webportal on the Anthropocene, commissioned by the Planet Under Pressure conference, and developed and sponsored by

                        * * *

                        Richard Black: BBC
                        Welcome to the Anthropocene - what now?

                        This conference, Planet Under Pressure, has assembled several thousand delegates from academia, business, campaign groups, and the occasional government representative.

                        It's designed to get people from science and the policy field together three months before the Rio+20 summit in June, to discuss where we are, where we might be going, and how the supertanker workings of our global society can be turned round, if that's what needs doing.

                        Much of what I've so far read and heard, though, seems very familiar:

                        "we need" to adopt a different development model
                        "we have to" move to more efficient farming
                        "we have to realise that" current western consumption patterns aren't sustainable.

                        Will one more conference, one more set of reports and - in June - one more global summit bring about these changes?

                        At the end of Monday's morning session, conference host Nisha Pillai asked the packed hall of delegates for a show of hands on this most basic question - will the changes that "we need" happen?

                        The noes outvoted the ayes.

                        Best wishes for a balmy Anthropocene
                        • Unsu...

                          Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                          Tue, March 27, 2012 - 4:41 PM
                          what we worry? Supergov saving human beings from their using CO2 to stay alive:

                          Obama's Regulation Nation and A New Crackpot CO2
                          • Unsu...

                            Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                            Wed, April 18, 2012 - 2:13 PM
                            Graphs and vid are on the site but of course nobody is going to pay attention. Stupid species.


                            Must-See Video: Has Global Warming Caused A Quantum Jump In Extreme Weather?
                            By Joe Romm on Apr 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm

                            “The climate has shifted to a new state capable of delivering rare & unprecedented weather events,” explained Weather Underground director of meteorology and former hurricane hunter, Dr. Jeff Masters.
                            Increasingly, scientists and meteorologists are asking whether global warming is driving a quantum jump — a non-linear shift — in our extreme weather.

                            We now have enough observations and analyses that a scientific literature on this subject has begun to emerge:
                            Arctic Warming Favors Extreme, Prolonged Weather Events ‘Such As Drought, Flooding, Cold Spells And Heat Waves’

                            Is Climate Change Bringing the Arctic to Europe?

                            Hansen et al: “Extreme Heat Waves … in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 Were ‘Caused’ by Global Warming”
                            This is not your father’s climate, as Stu Ostro, senior director of weather communications at the Weather Channel has documented at great length (see this big PDF)

                            Peter Sinclair has put together an excellent video for the Yale Forum on why even the modest 1°C warming we’ve seen over the past century can cause a disproportionally large shift in our weather systems:

                            RealClimate ran an excellent, semi-technical explanation by Stefan Rahmstorf and Dim Coumou of Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. They explained how global warming sharply increases the likelihood of ‘outlandish’ heat waves (see charts below) and concluded:

                            So in summary: even in the most simple, linear case of a shift in the normal distribution, the probability for “outlandish” heat records increases greatly due to global warming. But the more outlandish a record is, the more would we suspect that non-linear feedbacks are at play – which could increase their likelihood even more.

                            Since this is an emerging field, it’s no surprise that not every climate scientist agrees. Martin Hoerling, who heads the “Climate Scene Investigators” at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, emailed blogger Andy Revkin a statement that included this truly remarkable sentence:

                            After all, the irony of extreme events is that the larger the magnitude the smaller the fractional contribution by human climate change.
                            This is the linear view of things: The modest amount of warming that we have had to date can have no more than a modest impact on any extreme event, large or small.

                            The emerging literature says otherwise. I asked for a comment by two leading climatologists, Michael Mann and Kevin Trenberth. Here is Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State:

                            Hoerling’s statement hopelessly confuses two very different things, modest shifts in the average, and the dramatic impact those shifts can have on the incidence of extreme events. The anomalous recent U.S. heat is a manifestation of the latter. It is a demonstration of that we have loaded the random weather dice toward producing far more “sixes” than we would expect from chance alone.

                            And here is Trenberth, former head of the Climate Analysis Section at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research:
                            When climate changes, the percentage changes in frequency are always greatest for some extremes (what are referred to as the tails of the distribution). No matter how much climate changes, there is always weather and natural variability such as El Nino, and this can be beguiling. Extremes are inherently rare events but natural variability can break records all by itself. But when the climate has changed, and we know it has, the odds of a particular extreme can easily be magnified many fold: what would be in an unchanging climate a 1 in 1000 or even 1 in 1,000,000 or more event becomes a 1 in 100 year event, as has been documented in some cases. What were 500 year storms become 50 year storms: still not common but with much amplified odds. So while natural variability plays a key role, the effects are amplified by climate change: when natural variability is moving in the same direction as climate change, we not only break records, we smash them. And this is what we have seen especially in the past 2 years.

                            The above are largely statistical statements and climate research is also involved in understanding how these actually come about. While harder to prove, nonlinear effects often come into play to compound the issues as the accumulated effects of global warming set the stage for amplified responses. For example the extra heat from global warming dries the land and removes evaporative cooling as an option for the subsequent heat wave. Or extra moisture triggers instabilities in storms that make them much more severe than otherwise expected. Yet the phenomena that cause the extremes — thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, drought, blocking anticyclones — are familiar and it is easy to be led astray and say they are natural. Their effects and impacts are not.

                            Again, Rahmstorf and Coumou put this well in charts at the end of their post:

                            IPCC (2001) graph illustrating how a shift and/or widening of a probability distribution of temperatures affects the probability of extremes.
                            For illustration, let’s take the most simple case of a normal distribution that is shifted towards the warm end by a given amount – say one standard deviation. Then, a moderately extreme temperature that is 2 standard deviations above the mean becomes 4.5 times more likely (see graph below). But a seriously extreme temperature, that is 5 standard deviations above the mean, becomes 90 times more likely! Thus: the same amount of global warming boosts the probability of really extreme events, like the recent US heat wave, far more than it boosts more moderate events.

                            This is exactly the opposite of the claim that “the greater the extreme, the less global warming has to do with it.” The same is also true if the probability distribution is not shifted but widened by a constant factor. This is easy to show analytically for our math-minded readers.

                            Graph illustrating how the ratio of the probability of extremes (warmed climate divided by unchanged climate – this increased likelihood factor is shown as a dashed line, scale on right) depends on the value of the extreme.

                            As Coumou and Rahmstorf concluded in a Nature Climate Change piece, “A decade of weather extremes” (subs. req’d):
                            It is very likely that several of the unprecedented extremes of the past decade would not have occurred without anthropogenic global warming…. The evidence is strong that anthropogenic, unprecedented heat and rainfall extremes are here — and are causing intense human suffering

                            The really worrisome part is we’ve warmed only about a degree and a half Fahrenheit in the past century. We are on track to warm more than five times times that or more this century (see M.I.T. doubles its 2095 warming projection to 10°F — with 866 ppm and Arctic warming of 20°F ).

                            In short, Mother Nature is just getting warmed up!
                            • Unsu...

                              Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                              Tue, May 15, 2012 - 10:29 AM
                              Published on Thursday, May 10, 2012 by The New York Times
                              Game Over for the Climate

                              The science of the situation is clear — it’s time for the politics to follow
                              by James Hansen

                              Global warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening. That is why I was so troubled to read a recent interview with President Obama in Rolling Stone in which he said that Canada would exploit the oil in its vast tar sands reserves “regardless of what we do.”

                              If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate.

                              Canada’s tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now. That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable. Twenty to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk.

                              That is the long-term outlook. But near-term, things will be bad enough. Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding. Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California’s Central Valley could no longer be irrigated. Food prices would rise to unprecedented levels.

                              If this sounds apocalyptic, it is. This is why we need to reduce emissions dramatically. President Obama has the power not only to deny tar sands oil additional access to Gulf Coast refining, which Canada desires in part for export markets, but also to encourage economic incentives to leave tar sands and other dirty fuels in the ground.

                              The global warming signal is now louder than the noise of random weather, as I predicted would happen by now in the journal Science in 1981. Extremely hot summers have increased noticeably. We can say with high confidence that the recent heat waves in Texas and Russia, and the one in Europe in 2003, which killed tens of thousands, were not natural events — they were caused by human-induced climate change.

                              We have known since the 1800s that carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere. The right amount keeps the climate conducive to human life. But add too much, as we are doing now, and temperatures will inevitably rise too high. This is not the result of natural variability, as some argue. The earth is currently in the part of its long-term orbit cycle where temperatures would normally be cooling. But they are rising — and it’s because we are forcing them higher with fossil fuel emissions.

                              The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen from 280 parts per million to 393 p.p.m. over the last 150 years. The tar sands contain enough carbon — 240 gigatons — to add 120 p.p.m. Tar shale, a close cousin of tar sands found mainly in the United States, contains at least an additional 300 gigatons of carbon. If we turn to these dirtiest of fuels, instead of finding ways to phase out our addiction to fossil fuels, there is no hope of keeping carbon concentrations below 500 p.p.m. — a level that would, as earth’s history shows, leave our children a climate system that is out of their control.

                              We need to start reducing emissions significantly, not create new ways to increase them. We should impose a gradually rising carbon fee, collected from fossil fuel companies, then distribute 100 percent of the collections to all Americans on a per-capita basis every month. The government would not get a penny. This market-based approach would stimulate innovation, jobs and economic growth, avoid enlarging government or having it pick winners or losers. Most Americans, except the heaviest energy users, would get more back than they paid in increased prices. Not only that, the reduction in oil use resulting from the carbon price would be nearly six times as great as the oil supply from the proposed pipeline from Canada, rendering the pipeline superfluous, according to economic models driven by a slowly rising carbon price.

                              But instead of placing a rising fee on carbon emissions to make fossil fuels pay their true costs, leveling the energy playing field, the world’s governments are forcing the public to subsidize fossil fuels with hundreds of billions of dollars per year. This encourages a frantic stampede to extract every fossil fuel through mountaintop removal, longwall mining, hydraulic fracturing, tar sands and tar shale extraction, and deep ocean and Arctic drilling.

                              President Obama speaks of a “planet in peril,” but he does not provide the leadership needed to change the world’s course. Our leaders must speak candidly to the public — which yearns for open, honest discussion — explaining that our continued technological leadership and economic well-being demand a reasoned change of our energy course. History has shown that the American public can rise to the challenge, but leadership is essential.

                              The science of the situation is clear — it’s time for the politics to follow. This is a plan that can unify conservatives and liberals, environmentalists and business. Every major national science academy in the world has reported that global warming is real, caused mostly by humans, and requires urgent action. The cost of acting goes far higher the longer we wait — we can’t wait any longer to avoid the worst and be judged immoral by coming generations.
                              • Unsu...

                                Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                                Tue, June 5, 2012 - 10:46 AM
                                Did anybody else catch the 'Heartland Institute' billboard with the unabomber on it saying 'I believe in global warming' anti-science campaign? Suck controversy it caused and now it has been pulled before the next two billboards went up; one with Charlie Manson saying the same thing and the last was going to be bin Laden saying it! How fucking ignorant can conservatives (why are they called conservatives when they DON'T conserve anything???) get isn't a question that can easily be answered.

                                All three of these people believe in a god, too, with two of them believing in some guy that was named Jesus. Funny how the billboards weren't going to mention that...

                                In answer to my last post (is anybody reading this horrible science?):

                                Dad, Seriously, WTF Is Up With ‘Game Over’?!
                                By Climate Guest Blogger on Jun 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm

                                by KC Golden, via Getting a Grip

                                Dad, isn’t Jim Hansen that NASA mega-whiz you call “America’s pre-eminent climate scientist,” which is like geezerese for the smartest guy in the room? And what is brain dude thinking when he says “Game over for the Climate”?

                                “Game”? You call this a game? When losing it means“billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilization will collapse”? K. Ceee, I know you’re super-busy but I need you to pay attention.

                                Which part of this sounds like a game to you? The billions? The people? The poverty? Thecivilization? The collapse? Daaad, back away from the smartphone. I mean it. Focus! You can’t just go “game over for the climate… New game!”… like there’s an app for what happens after you lose this one.

                                Dad, dude, Angry Birds is a game. Climate disruption is just dumping on your kids’ head. Are you laughing? Because if you’re laughing, I can find an assisted living facility in Siberia. Don’t push me.

                                Maybe it feels like a game, since you’ll probably kick the bucket before all this collapsing goes down. You’re kinda playing with other people’s money, huh? But when it’s your kids’ money, aren’t you at least supposed to act serious?

                                And even if it were a game, y’oldsters have a lot of nerve calling it “over.” Dad, you’ve been lacing up your shoes and picking your noses for decades. Did I miss the part where you actually got in there and started playing? ‘Cause sitting here thinking about the horror show of a future you’re cookin up, I’m seeing zero game.

                                What I do hear is a lot of yap: “It’s not happening.” “It’s happening but we’re not causing it.” “We’re causing it but soon it will be China’s fault.” “It’s too big, too complicated.” “Somebody’sgonna screw the future so we might as well get the jobs.” All kind o’ of bob and weave and shuck and jive. But “game”? You got some game Pops?. Well bring it then! Cuz “game over” just sounds like the beginning of your next lame excuse for failing to deal.

                                OK, yeah, I get it. Jim Hansen is warning about “game over” for the right reason – to kick your sagging kiesters into gear before it’s too late. ‘Preciate that.

                                But listen, Pop, you don’t have a cane to lean on when you start croaking “game over.” It’s no game, and it is never over. Whatever you do now to improve the situation is crap I don’t have to shovel later. So quit crying in your beer and DO STUFF.

                                Get in the game Dadddyyy, ’cause when it’s “over” for you, it’s on for me.

                                KC Golden is the Policy Director at Climate Solutions. This piece was originally published at the Getting a Grip on Climate Solutions blog and was re-printed with permission.
          • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

            Mon, July 9, 2012 - 7:28 PM
            Yep. we are expendable in the eyes of the technocrat/ industrialists. Greed and selfishness rule.
            • Unsu...

              Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

              Thu, July 12, 2012 - 1:36 AM
              Been hot enough for y'all lately? Haven't posted anything new because, well, it's fucking incredibly disheartening how terrified the climatologists are becoming.

              Six degrees of warming by 2030 perhaps but maybe there won't be a corn crop or soybeans this year anyway. 80% of our (processed) food has corn in it...and the middle grain belt is 100' of blisteringly hot dry desert heat without a speck of rain and the farmers around here tell me that's a very bad thing. Thermometer hit 102'F here today by the way. Guess our wet above below normal cooler temperatures right through June have changed to what the rest of the country has been experiencing for weeks/months. 105'F in March in Missouri according to Jani's family back there and it hasn't gotten any better since.

              This is not good.
              • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                Thu, July 12, 2012 - 6:37 AM
                Here's a real kick in the pants. I live in NC, and there is a bill (about to pass) in the house that forbids weather forecasters to use weather modes done post 1999. Because wait for it...... pre "99" models show a coastal raise of only 4" by 2020, post "99" models show a raise of 40" and our state elected nut jobs are afraid it will scare away developers from the coast !!
                I call this a, "head in the sand bill" !! Oh...and the Ostrich drowns.
              • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                Sun, July 15, 2012 - 3:12 PM
                I drive to the Midwest on a regular basis in my new job and I was told that it was hotter in Indiana on the 2nd of July than in Las Vegas.
                I don't see how the farmers will recover from this heat.

                But here is proof of the sea level rising:


                Unfortunately the Tea Partiers and other NeoRepubliCons won't believe it until it's too late.
                • Unsu...

                  Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                  Wed, July 25, 2012 - 10:44 PM
                  Ummm, anybody notice we've already lost 1/3 of the wheat, corn, and soybean crop with no end to the heat/drought in sight which of course every single day adds to that percentage and it's not even August yet. That means, to be blunt, a lack of food products on the shelves within, oh say 4-5 months out. Noticed corn, wheat, and soybean "futures" (read: gambling for money) have jumped 40%.

                  Oops. Of course then there's this to wrap your brain around; what do you do when the scientific experts are admitting to being "terrified" of what's coming?

                  Study predicts imminent irreversible planetary collapse


                  Using scientific theories, toy ecosystem modeling and paleontological evidence as a crystal ball, 18 scientists, including an SFU professor, predict the Earth’s ecosystems are careering towards an imminent, irreversible collapse.

                  In Approaching a state-shift in Earth’s biosphere, a paper just published in Nature, the authors examine the Earth’s accelerating loss of biodiversity, increasingly extreme climate fluctuations, its ecosystems’ growing connectedness and its radically changing total energy budget. They suggest these are all precursors to reaching a planetary state threshold or tipping point.

                  Once that happens, which the authors predict could be this century, the planet’s ecosystems, as we know them, could quickly and irreversibly collapse.

                  “The last tipping point in Earth’s history occurred about 12,000 years ago when the planet went from being in the age of glaciers, which previously lasted 100,000 years, to being in its current interglacial state,” says Arne Mooers, SFU professor of biodiversity. “Once that tipping point was reached, the most extreme biological changes leading to our current state occurred within only 1,000 years. That’s like going from a baby to an adult state in less than a year. Importantly, the planet is changing even faster now.”

                  Mooers is one of the paper’s authors. He stresses, “The odds are very high that the next global state change will be extremely disruptive to our civilizations. Remember, we went from being hunter-gatherers to being moon-walkers during one of the most stable and benign periods in all of Earth’s history.

                  “Once a threshold-induced planetary state-shift occurs, there’s no going back. So, if a system switches to a new state because you’ve added lots of energy, even if you take out the new energy, it won’t revert back to the old system. The planet doesn’t have any memory of the old state.”

                  These projections contradict the popularly held belief that the extent to which human-induced pressures, such as climate change, are destroying our planet is still debatable, and any collapse would be both gradual and centuries away.

                  This study concludes we had better not transform the Earth’s surface by more than 50 per cent or we won’t be able to delay, never mind avert, a planetary collapse.

                  We’ve already reached the 43-per-cent mark through converting landscapes into agricultural and urban areas, making Earth increasingly susceptible to an environmental epidemic.

                  “In a nutshell, humans have not done anything really important to stave off the worst because the social structures for doing something just aren’t there,” says Mooers. “My colleagues who study climate-induced changes through the earth’s history are more than pretty worried. In fact, some are terrified.”
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                    Thu, July 26, 2012 - 5:47 AM
                    So it seems that all is as it should be. Another cycle of cleansing and re growth. It amazes me that most humans think that we, as a civilized, "advanced" culture are somehow immune to these natural cycles. All societies fall without exception, how it happens is not important. How much time we waste worrying about it, instead of living with it is. So, the sky is falling, "Hey, what'cha gon'a do?"
                    • Unsu...

                      Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                      Thu, July 26, 2012 - 9:23 PM
                      Keep reading the batch of books I was given out under the apple tree in the canopied porch swing I scored two weeks ago, with a fresh batch of sun tea cooking in the sunlight while I drink the colder and older batch. Here in the Pacific Northwest the weather is mid-80s down to the mid-50s at night unlike the rest of the country. Had only one day of 102'F so far, bunch of high 90s here and there. This is the greenest end-of-July I've seen.

                      But I still read the science and keep track of what is actually going on. Can't help it, have the 'itch' to know (but what I'm reading under the apple tree ISN'T horrible reality!! :-)
                      • Unsu...

                        Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                        Tue, July 31, 2012 - 12:53 AM
                        OUR SUMMER OF CLIMATE TRUTH

                        For years, climate scientists have been warning the world that the heavy use of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) threatens the world with human-induced climate change. The rising atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, a byproduct of burning fossil fuels, would warm the planet and change rainfall and storm patterns and raise sea levels. Now those changes are hitting in every direction, even as powerful corporate lobbies and media propagandists like Rupert Murdoch try to deny the truth.

                        In recent weeks, the United States has entered its worst drought in modern times. The Midwest and the Plains states, the country’s breadbasket, are baking under a massive heat wave, with more than half of the country under a drought emergency and little relief in sight.

                        Halfway around the world, Beijing has been hit by the worst rains on record, with floods killing many people. Japan is similarly facing record-breaking torrential rains. Two of Africa's impoverished drylands – the Horn of Africa in the East and the Sahel in the West – have experienced devastating droughts and famines in the past two years: the rains never came, causing many thousands to perish, while millions face life-threatening hunger.

                        Scientists have given a name to our era, the Anthropocene, a term built on ancient Greek roots to mean “the Human-dominated epoch” – a new period of earth’s history in which humanity has become the cause of global-scale environmental change. Humanity affects not only the earth’s climate, but also ocean chemistry, the land and marine habitats of millions of species, the quality of air and water, and the cycles of water, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other essential components that underpin life on the planet.

                        For many years, the risk of climate change was widely regarded as something far in the future, a risk perhaps facing our children or their children. That threat would, of course, have been reason enough to act. Yet now we understand better that climate change is also about us, today’s generation.

                        We have already entered a new and very dangerous era. If you are a young person, climate change and other human-caused environmental hazards will be major factors in your life.

                        Scientists emphasize the difference between climate and weather. The climate is the overall pattern of temperature and rainfall in a given place. The weather is the temperature and rainfall in that place at a particular time. As the old quip puts it: “Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get.”

                        When the temperature is especially high, or rains are especially heavy or light, scientists try to assess whether the unusual conditions are the result of long-term climate change or simply reflect expected variability. So, is the current US heat wave (making this the hottest year on record), the intense Beijing flooding, or the severe Sahel drought a case of random bad weather, or merely the result of long-term, human-induced climate change?

                        For a long time, scientists could not answer such a question precisely. They were unsure whether a particular weather disaster could be attributed to human causes, rather than to natural variation. They could not even be sure that they could detect whether a particular event (such as a heavy rainfall or a drought) was so extreme as to lie outside the normal range.

                        In recent years, however, a new climate science of “detection and attribution” has made huge advances, both conceptually and empirically. Detection means determining whether an extreme event is part of usual weather fluctuations or a symptom of deeper, long-term change. Attribution means the ability to assign the likely causes of an event to human activity or other factors. The new science of detection and attribution is sharpening our knowledge – and also giving us even more cause for concern.

                        Several studies in the past year have shown that scientists can indeed detect long-term climate change in the rising frequency of extreme events – such as heat waves, heavy rains, severe droughts, and strong storms. By using cutting-edge climate models, scientists are not only detecting long-term climate change, but also are attributing at least some of the extreme events to human causes.

                        The past couple of years have brought a shocking number of extreme events all over the planet. In many cases, short-run natural factors rather than human activity played a role. During 2011, for example, La Niña conditions prevailed in the Pacific Ocean. This means that especially warm water was concentrated near Southeast Asia while colder water was concentrated near Peru. This temporary condition caused many short-term changes in rainfall and temperature patterns, leading, for example, to heavy floods in Thailand.

                        Yet, even after carefully controlling for such natural year-to-year shifts, scientists are also finding that several recent disasters likely reflect human-caused climate change as well. For example, human-caused warming of the Indian Ocean probably played a role in the 2011 severe drought in the Horn of Africa, which triggered famine, conflict, and hunger, affecting millions of impoverished people. The current US mega-drought probably reflects a mix of natural causes, including La Niña, and a massive heat wave intensified by human-caused climate change.

                        The evidence is solid and accumulating rapidly. Humanity is putting itself at increasing peril through human-induced climate change. As a global community, we will need to move rapidly and resolutely in the coming quarter-century from an economy based on fossil-fuels to one based on new, cutting-edge, low-carbon energy technologies.

                        The global public is ready to hear that message and to act upon it. Yet politicians everywhere are timid, especially because oil and coal companies are so politically powerful. Human well-being, even survival, will depend on scientific evidence and technological know-how triumphing over shortsighted greed, political timidity, and the continuing stream of anti-scientific corporate propaganda.
                        • Unsu...

                          Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                          Wed, August 8, 2012 - 11:35 PM
                          "except Washington State" where I didn't even start to water the apples until end of June...but it's certainly turned the switch up since. Been pretty dang hot but I'm glad I don't live around asphalt or concrete which makes life more miserable!

                          Published on Wednesday, August 8, 2012 by Common Dreams

                          NOAA: July Was Hottest Month Ever in US
                          Drought expands to cover nearly 63% as wildfires consume 2 million acres
                          - Common Dreams staff
                          (graphs and charts at link)

                          July was the hottest month on record in the continental United States, continuing the warmest January-to-July period since modern record-keeping began in 1895, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported Wednesday.

                          The average temperature for July across the continental US was 77.6 degrees F -- 3.3 degrees F above the 20th century average.

                          The last four 12-month periods have each successively established new records for the warmest period of that length.

                          In the 12-month span from August 2011-July 2012, every state observed warmer than average temperatures except Washington state, which was near average.

                          A record setting drought continues to plague 63 percent of the 48 contiguous states, according to NOAA's Drought Monitor, with near-record drought conditions in the Midwest.

                          According to Jake Crouch, a scientist at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, drought and heat continue to play off each other, as dry soils in the summer tend to drive up daytime temperatures.

                          "The hotter it gets, the drier it gets, the hotter it gets," Crouch told Reuters.

                          A statistical climate change analysis led by NASA's James Hansen, released Monday shows that recent extreme weather events are not anomalies, but rather the result of a systemic climate change patterns fueled by man-made global warming.
                          • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                            Thu, August 9, 2012 - 6:13 PM
                            I just saw that hottest-July-ever article and was about to post it - and then I saw you did it.

                            Scary stuff.
                            • Unsu...

                              Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                              Sun, August 12, 2012 - 2:29 AM
                              "In a paper published today in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Hansen and two colleagues argue convincingly that climate change is now not only upon us, but in fact we are fully immersed in it. Much of the extreme weather we have witnessed in recent years almost certainly contains a human-induced component.

                              Hansen, in his latest paper, shows that the increase in probability of hot summers due to global warming is such that what was once considered an unusually hot summer has now become typical, and what was once considered typical will soon become a thing of the past – a summer too improbably cool to anymore expect.

                              We need to view this summer’s extreme weather in this wider context."

                              Mann: We Must Heed James Hansen On Global Warming And Extreme Weather Since He’s Been Right For So Long
                              By Joe Romm and Climate Guest Blogger on Aug 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm


                              NASA’s James Hansen has been accurately warning about the dangers of global warming for more than three decades. In fact, 31 years ago this month, Hansen and six other NASA atmospheric physicists, published a seminal article in Science, “Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide.”
                              The paper has a number of caveats, as befits a major projection before modern climate models and modern supercomputers were available, before we had decades of verifying observations, and before we knew just how fast greenhouse gas emissions would rise.
                              Yet the analysis bears up unbelievably well — any one of us would be delighted if we published something three decades ago that was this prescient:
                              The global temperature rose 0.2°C between the middle 1960s and 1980, yielding a warming of 0.4°C in the past century. This temperature increase is consistent with the calculated effect due to measured increases of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Variations of volcanic aerosols and possibly solar luminosity appear to be primary causes of observed fluctuations about the mean trend of increasing temperature. It is shown that the anthropogenic carbon dioxide warming should emerge from the noise level of natural climate variability by the end of the century, and there is a high probability of warming in the 1980s. Potential effects on climate in the 21st century include the creation of drought-prone regions in North America and central Asia as part of a shifting of climatic zones, erosion of the West Antarctic ice sheet with a consequent worldwide rise in sea level, and opening of the fabled Northwest Passage.
                              The 1980s warmed, manmade warming has emerged from the noise, the Northwest passage opened, the drought prone-regions have emerged, and sea level rise is a top worry, in part because of erosion of WAIS (see Nature 2012: Antarctica Is Melting From Below, Which ‘May Already Have Triggered A Period of Unstable Glacier Retreat’). That’s five for five.
                              In 1990, Hansen coauthored a more detailed warning on the future of warming-driven drought in the Journal of Geophysical Research. It projected that drought would become increasingly common in the ensuing decades — another accurate prediction. The study warned that severe to extreme drought in the United States, then occurring every 20 years or so, could become an every-other-year phenomenon by mid-century. Many recent studies support that conclusion (see “James Hansen Is Correct About Catastrophic Projections For U.S. Drought If We Don’t Act Now“).
                              Now Hansen has published an analysis of how warming is driving the extreme weather we have been slammed by in recent years, including the off-the-charts heat waves and droughts (see Hansen: ‘Climate Change Is Here — And Worse Than We Thought’). The AP quoted a number of credible independent experts supporting Hansen’s analysis:
                              The science in Hansen’s study is excellent “and reframes the question,” said Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist at the University of Victoria in British Columbia….
                              Another upcoming study by Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, links the 2010 Russian heat wave to global warming by looking at the underlying weather that caused the heat wave. He called Hansen’s paper an important one that helps communicate the problem….
                              White House science adviser John Holdren praised the paper’s findings in a statement: … “This work, which finds that extremely hot summers are over 10 times more common than they used to be, reinforces many other lines of evidence showing that climate change is occurring and that it is harmful.”
                              … Granger Morgan, head of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, called Hansen’s study “an important next step in what I expect will be a growing set of statistically-based arguments.”
                              The NY Times article on Hansen’s study also quoted Weaver in support of the analysis, but managed to find some credentialed critics:
                              Martin P. Hoerling, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who studies the causes of weather extremes, said he shared Dr. Hansen’s general concern about global warming. But he has in the past criticized Dr. Hansen for, in his view, exaggerating the connection between global warming and specific weather extremes. In an interview, he said he felt that Dr. Hansen had done so again.
                              Dr. Hoerling has published research suggesting that the 2010 Russian heat wave was largely a consequence of natural climate variability, and a forthcoming study he carried out on the Texas drought of 2011 also says natural factors were the main cause.
                              Dr. Hoerling contended that Dr. Hansen’s new paper confuses drought, caused primarily by a lack of rainfall, with heat waves.
                              “This isn’t a serious science paper,” Dr. Hoerling said. “It’s mainly about perception, as indicated by the paper’s title. Perception is not a science.”
                              Nonsense, literally.
                              Having reviewed the drought literature (and talked to leading drought experts) for my Nature piece, “The Next Dust Bowl,” I was able to show in May that Hoerling’s attacks on Hansen do not reflect the scientific literature and are incorrect.
                              Indeed, given that Hansen’s 1990 study was titled, “Potential evapotranspiration and the likelihood of future drought,” we know that he and the community of drought experts have long understood that drought conditions are driven by more than precipitation changes. The whole point of that paper was to examine the impact of warming-driven evaporation on soil moisture and drought. You can actually worsen droughts in semi-arid regions that don’t see a net precipitation change just from the heat drying out the soils.
                              Let me also add, separate from any argument that Hansen has made, that there is increasing evidence we are in the midst of a step function or quantum change in the climate because of Arctic warming (see Arctic Warming Favors Extreme, Prolonged Weather Events ‘Such As Drought, Flooding, Cold Spells And Heat Waves’). If this research holds up, then all analyses of current droughts based on precipitation trends that predate the massive loss of Arctic ice in the past few years may well ultimately be overturned.
                              In any case, Hansen has scientific “street cred” because he has been right for so long. I’ve written that we ignore him at our grave peril because Hansen’s mastery of climate science is quite literally what gives him climate prescience.
                              One of the country’s top climatologists, Michael Mann, makes the same point in a recent Daily Climate piece that I repost below in its entirety:
                              Opinion: Ignore climate Cassandra at our peril
                              James Hansen’s latest findings linking extreme weather to climate change is science society cannot afford to ignore.

                              by Michael Mann, via The Daily Climate
                              The first scientist to alert Americans to the prospect that human-caused climate change and global warming was already upon us was NASA climatologist James Hansen. In a sweltering Senate hall during the hot, dry summer of 1988, Hansen announced that “it is time to stop waffling…. The evidence is pretty strong that the [human-amplified] greenhouse effect is here.”
                              At the time, many scientists felt his announcement to be premature. I was among them.
                              I was a young graduate student researching the importance of natural – rather than human-caused – variations in temperature, and I felt that the “signal” of human-caused climate change had not yet emerged from the “noise” of natural, long-term climate variation. As I discuss in my book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, scientists by their very nature tend to be conservative, even reticent, when it comes to discussing findings and observations that lie at the forefront of our understanding and that aren’t yet part of the “accepted” body of scientific knowledge.
                              Dire warning
                              Hansen, it turns out, was right, and the critics were wrong. Rather than being reckless, as some of his critics charged, his announcement to the world proved to be prescient – and his critics were proven overly cautious.
                              Given the prescience of Hansen’s science, we would be unwise to ignore his latest, more dire warning.
                              In a paper published today in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Hansen and two colleagues argue convincingly that climate change is now not only upon us, but in fact we are fully immersed in it. Much of the extreme weather we have witnessed in recent years almost certainly contains a human-induced component.
                              Hansen, in his latest paper, shows that the increase in probability of hot summers due to global warming is such that what was once considered an unusually hot summer has now become typical, and what was once considered typical will soon become a thing of the past – a summer too improbably cool to anymore expect.
                              We need to view this summer’s extreme weather in this wider context.
                              Not random
                              It is not simply a set of random events occurring in isolation, but part of a broader emerging pattern. We are seeing, in much of the extreme weather we are experiencing, the “loading of the weather dice.” Over the past decade, records for daily maximum high temperatures in the U.S. have been broken at twice the rate we would expect from chance alone. Think of this as rolling double sixes twice as often as you’d expect – something you would readily notice in a high stakes game of dice. Thus far this year, that ratio is close to 10 to 1. That’s double sixes coming up ten times as often as you expect.
                              So the record-breaking heat this summer over so much of the United States, where records that have stood since the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s are now dropping like flies, isn’t just a fluke of nature; it is the loading of the weather dice playing out in real time.
                              The record heat – and the dry soils associated with it – played a role in the unprecedented forest fires that wrought death and destruction in Colorado and New Mexico. It played a role in the hot and bone-dry conditions over the nation’s breadbasket that has decimated U.S. agricultural yields. It played a role in the unprecedented 50 percent of the U.S. finding itself in extreme drought.
                              Other threats
                              Climate change is also threatening us in other ways of course, subjecting our coastal cities to increased erosion and inundation from rising sea level, and massive flooding events associated with an atmosphere that has warmed by nearly 2˚F, holding roughly 4 percent more water vapor than it used to – water vapor that is available to feed flooding rains when atmospheric conditions are right.
                              The state of Oklahoma became the hottest state ever with last summer’s record heat. It is sadly ironic that the state’s senior senator, Republican James Inhofe, has dismissed human-caused climate change as the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” Just last week he insisted that concern over the impacts of climate change has “completely collapsed.” This as Oklahoma City has just seen 18 days in a row over 100˚F (with more predicted to follow), Tulsa saw 112˚F Sunday, and 11 separate wildfires are burning in the state, with historic Route 66 and other state highways and interstates all closed.
                              The time for debate about the reality of human-caused climate change has now passed. We can have a good faith debate about how to deal with the problem – how to reduce future climate change and adapt to what is already upon us to reduce the risks that climate change poses to society. But we can no longer simply bury our heads in the sand.

                              Michael Mann is a widely renowned and much-vindicated climate scientist at Penn State University. originally published at The Daily Climate
  • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

    Mon, August 20, 2012 - 9:49 PM
    I wasliving in Japan at the time of the first Kyoto talks, and there was a great political cartoon that they ran over there that was very appropriate. It showed Japan, the Asian nations, Canada, and a bunch of other countries as raccoons, squirrels, and other forest creatures hiding in a tree. On the ground, in front of the tree, Uncle Sam was was pulling the starter cord on a smoking power-saw, and the saw had the words "America First" written on it!

    It was true then and it's true now.
  • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

    Sun, August 26, 2012 - 8:02 AM
    A U.N. commission says it's virtually certain that climate change will dramatically affect food supplies, and that "food security" will be one of humanity's greatest challenges in the years ahead.

    Check this out:
    • Unsu...

      Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

      Wed, September 5, 2012 - 11:16 PM
      Oh yeah, things are just getting brighter by the here's another lovely piece of science news you all are just gonna love (if any are left on this site).

      As you read it realize that the extent of ice loss in the last four years equals about what is LEFT on the Arctic Ocean at this point; with radically accelerated melting even Romm is probably being conservative....

      Death Spiral Watch: Experts Warn ‘Near Ice-Free Arctic In Summer’ In A Decade If Volume Trends Continue

      By Joe Romm on Sep 5, 2012 at 7:46 pm

      The sharp drop in Arctic sea ice area has been matched by a harder-to-see — but equally sharp — drop in sea ice thickness. The combined result has been a collapse in total sea ice volume.

      Many experts now say that if recent volume trends continue we will see virtually ice-free conditions sometime in the next ten years. And that may well usher in a permanent change toward extreme, prolonged weather events “Such As Drought, Flooding, Cold Spells And Heat Waves.”

      It will also accelerate global warming in the region, which in turn will likely accelerate both the disintegration of the Greenland ice sheet and the release of the vast amounts of carbon currently locked in the permafrost.

      The European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 probe confirms what the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS) at the Polar Science Center has been saying for years: Arctic sea ice volume has been collapsing faster than sea ice area (or extent) because the ice has been getting thinner and thinner.

      In fact, the latest satellite CryoSat-2 data shows the rate of loss of Arctic sea ice is “50% higher than most scenarios outlined by polar scientists and suggests that global warming, triggered by rising greenhouse gas emissions, is beginning to have a major impact on the region,” as the UK Guardian reported last month:

      If the current annual loss of around 900 cubic kilometres continues, summer ice coverage could disappear in about a decade in the Arctic.

      I have focused on sea ice volume for the past 6 years, since I was fortunate enough to hear Dr. Wieslaw Maslowski of the Oceanography Department at the Naval Postgraduate School in a 2006 American Meteorological Society seminar. He reported that models suggested Arctic ice volume had dropped sharply since the mid 1990s. He then made an alarming forecast:

      “If this trend persists for another 10 years–and it has through 2005–we could be ice free in the summer.”

      That was in 2006, so he was talking about the possibility of being ice free in 2016.

      Looking at volume and thickness helped me avoid the mistake that so many others made in thinking that the sea ice “recovered” after the 2007 minimum in sea ice extent. The scientific literature and actual observations continued to vindicate Maslowski’s projection.

      Since Maslowski’s warning appears to now have been vindicated by the CryoSat-2 data, I asked him for a comment. He said he didn’t want to comment on that data specifically until he’s seen the published results — since there are many inherent uncertainties involved. But he then added:

      Regardless of all these uncertainties and for the record, if any of these estimates of arctic sea ice volume decline is close to reality, a near ice-free Arctic in summer can happen not in 2100, 2050 or 2037 but much sooner. One of the main reasons I believe it will happen sooner (i.e. the trend of sea ice volume decline will continue) is that with the shrinking sea ice cover in summer the Arctic Ocean increases its net annual heat content through absorption and redistribution, especially in the upper water column, below the surface mixed layer.

      This constitutes a positive feedback to sea ice melt in addition to ice-albedo and other feedbacks, mainly because it can affect the sea ice cover year around, including in winter through upward heat entrainment and reduction of ice growth. The warmer Arctic Ocean can also affect air temperatures and circulation, not only during freeze-up but also in winter and spring. Observational evidence (Jackson et al., 2010 and 2011) suggests increasing sub-surface temperatures and over increasing area in the Canada Basin through 2009, which independently of models supports the argument about the increasing upper ocean heat content.

      I do realize that the above sounds ‘alarmist’ and I’ve heard such criticism more than once before but I believe it’s my obligation to make sure that this message is heard by the policymakers and general public.

      Maslowski did not make a new timing prediction, but instead directed me to a recent article he was lead author on, “The Future of Arctic Sea Ice,” in Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

      That article estimated a loss of 1,120 cubic kilometres per year from 1996 to 2007, quite close to the recently reported CryoSat-2 measurements. It continued:

      Given the estimated trend and the volume estimate for October–November of 2007 at less than 9,000 km3 (Kwok et al. 2009), one can project that at this rate it would take only 9 more years or until 2016 ± 3 years to reach a nearly ice-free Arctic Ocean in summer. Regardless of high uncertainty associated with such an estimate, it does provide a lower bound of the time range for projections of seasonal sea ice cover.

      This is the same estimate Maslowski made in 2006, although he has couched it more conservatively here and has explained that he wouldn’t be surprised if some summer ice lingers above Greenland and Eastern Canada into the 2020s. That’s why he uses the term “nearly ice-free.”

      What’s interesting is that the volume trend has in fact continued according to PIOMAS and CryoSat-2. Many other experts are warning that we have effectively passed the point of no return and nearly ice-free are imminent. Fen Montaigne, senior editor of Yale e360, reports:

      Peter Wadhams, who heads the Polar Ocean Physics Group at the University of Cambridge and who has been measuring Arctic Ocean ice thickness from British Navy submarines, says that earlier calculations about Arctic sea ice loss have grossly underestimated how rapidly the ice is disappearing. He believes that the Arctic is likely to become ice-free before 2020 and possibly as early as 2015 or 2016 — decades ahead of projections made just a few years ago.

      Mark Drinkwater, mission scientist for the European Space Agency’s CryoSat satellite and the agency’s senior advisor on polar regions, said he and his colleagues have been taken aback by the swiftness of Arctic sea ice retreat in the last 5 years. “If this rate of melting [in 2012] is sustained in 2013, we are staring down the barrel and looking at a summer Arctic which is potentially free of sea ice within this decade,” Drinkwater said in an e-mail interview.

      Wadhams told the BBC how much warming is accelerated by just replacing the reflective white ice with the more absorptive open ocean:

      Prof Wadhams calculates that this increased absorption of the sun’s rays is “the equivalent of about 20 years of additional CO2 being added by man”.

      The Cambridge University expert says that the Arctic ice cap is “heading for oblivion.”

      Not every expert thinks the Arctic will be necessarily be nearly ice free by 2020. And Dr Seymour Laxon who has been working on the CryoSat-2 data said this of the 2020 projection:

      Laxon urged caution, saying: “First, this is based on preliminary studies of CryoSat figures, so we should take care before rushing to conclusions. In addition, the current rate of ice volume decline could change.” Nevertheless, experts say computer models indicate rates of ice volume decline are only likely to increase over the next decade.

      But whenever the nearly ice free conditions occur (and I’ve long been in the camp that says it’ll be by 2020), those who think we have not effectively crossed a point of no return — those who think we are not in a death spiral — are not paying attention to the thickness and volume analysis. As Yale e360 reported:

      Jay Zwally, chief cryospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and an observer of Arctic ice for 40 years, places little stock in the likelihood of a reversal of disappearing Arctic ice. New satellite technology has given scientists the ability to measure the height of sea ice above the water, and hence ice volume. Those measurements, he said, have vividly underscored that Arctic sea ice is in a swoon.

      For example, a recent analysis of data from CryoSat and NASA’s ICESat satellite estimates that the volume of sea ice in a large area of the central Arctic Ocean has plummeted in late winter — February and March — by nearly half in just eight years, from an estimated 13,000 cubic kilometers in 2004 to 7,000 cubic kilometers in 2012.

      “We’ve gone through a tipping point, and of all the things a tipping point applies to, sea ice is the most appropriate, because the idea is when it goes below a certain thickness it doesn’t go back under present conditions,” said Zwally. “People can get hung up on the specifics and lose track of the big picture, which is that it’s getting worse and it’s going to get [even] worse.”

      And that has serious consequences for every person on this planet and countless future generations.
      • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

        Thu, September 6, 2012 - 6:43 AM
        Here's YOUR chance to get in on the ground floor of the, "Arctic summer house" market ! Call today for choice lots!
        • Unsu...

          Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

          Tue, September 18, 2012 - 9:36 PM
          Keep in mind that:
          (1'C is almost 2'F)
          (Orlando, Houston, New Orleans etc is at 30' Latitude)

          MIT Study: For Every 1 Degree C Rise In Temperature, Tropical Regions Will See 10 Percent Heavier Rainfall Extremes

          By Climate Guest Blogger on Sep 18, 2012 at 4:27 pm

          by Jennifer Chu, via MIT News

          Extreme precipitation in the tropics comes in many forms: thunderstorm complexes, flood-inducing monsoons and wide-sweeping cyclones like the recent Hurricane Isaac.

          Global warming is expected to intensify extreme precipitation, but the rate at which it does so in the tropics has remained unclear. Now an MIT study has given an estimate based on model simulations and observations: With every 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature, the study finds, tropical regions will see 10 percent heavier rainfall extremes, with possible impacts for flooding in populous regions.

          “The study includes some populous countries that are vulnerable to climate change,” says Paul O’Gorman, the Victor P. Starr Career Development Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, “and impacts of changes in rainfall could be important there.”
          O’Gorman found that, compared to other regions of the world, extreme rainfall in the tropics responds differently to climate change. “It seems rainfall extremes in tropical regions are more sensitive to global warming,” O’Gorman says. “We have yet to understand the mechanism for this higher sensitivity.”

          Results from the study are published online this week in the journal Nature Geoscience.

          A warm rain will fall

          Global warming’s effect on rainfall in general is relatively well-understood: As carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases enter the atmosphere, they increase the temperature, which in turn leads to increases in the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. When storm systems develop, the increased humidity prompts heavier rain events that become more extreme as the climate warms.
          Scientists have been developing models and simulations of Earth’s climate that can be used to help understand the impact of global warming on extreme rainfall around the world. For the most part, O’Gorman says, existing models do a decent job of simulating rainfall outside the tropics — for instance, in mid-latitude regions such as the United States and Europe. In those regions, the models agree on the rate at which heavy rains intensify with global warming.

          However, when it comes to precipitation in the tropics, these models, O’Gorman says, are not in agreement with one another. The reason may come down to resolution: Climate models simulate weather systems by dividing the globe into a grid, with each square on the grid representing a wide swath of ocean or land. Large weather systems that span multiple squares, such as those that occur in the United States and Europe in winter, are relatively easy to simulate. In contrast, smaller, more isolated storms that occur in the tropics may be trickier to track.

          An intensity of extremes

          To better understand global warming’s effect on tropical precipitation, O’Gorman studied satellite observations of extreme rainfall between the latitudes of 30 degrees north and 30 degrees south — just above and below the Equator. The observations spanned the last 20 years, the extent of the satellite record. He then compared the observations to results from 18 different climate models over a similar 20-year period.
          “That’s not long enough to get a trend in extreme rainfall, but there are variations from year to year,” O’Gorman says. “Some years are warmer than others, and it’s known to rain more overall in those years.”
          This year-to-year variability is mostly due to El Niño — a tropical weather phenomenon that warms the surface of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. El Niño causes localized warming and changes in rainfall patterns and occurs independent of global warming.
          Looking through the climate models, which can simulate the effects of both El Niño and global warming, O’Gorman found a pattern. Models that showed a strong response in rainfall to El Niño also responded strongly to global warming, and vice versa. The results, he says, suggest a link between the response of tropical extreme rainfall to year-to-year temperature changes and longer-term climate change.

          O’Gorman then looked at satellite observations to see what rainfall actually occurred as a result of El Niño in the past 20 years, and found that the observations were consistent with the models in that the most extreme rainfall events occurred in warmer periods. Using the observations to constrain the model results, he determined that with every 1 degree Celsius rise under global warming, the most extreme tropical rainfall would become 10 percent more intense — a more sensitive response than is expected for nontropical parts of the world.

          “Unfortunately, the results of the study suggest a relatively high sensitivity of tropical extreme rainfall to global warming,” O’Gorman says. “But they also provide an estimate of what that sensitivity is, which should be of practical value for planning.”

          The results of the study are in line with scientists’ current understanding of how global warming affects rainfall, says Richard Allan, an associate professor of climate science at the University of Reading in England. A warming climate, he says, adds more water vapor to the atmosphere, fueling more intense storm systems.

          “However, it is important to note that computer projections indicate that although the rainfall increases in the wettest regions — or similarly, the wet season — the drier parts of the tropics … will become drier still,” Allan says. “So policymakers may have to plan for more damaging flooding, but also less reliable rains from year to year.”

          This piece was originally published at MIT News and was reprinted with permission.
          • Unsu...

            Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

            Fri, September 21, 2012 - 12:29 AM
            It is starting to look, you know, kind of in gee, maybe we will be alive when the climate goes completely haywire in a couple years when there's no Arctic ice cap left. Wow, conditions of a few million years ago. We are going to get to live like our ancestors...oh wait, there weren't any homo anythings then...just crocodiles living in swamps at the north pole under palm trees and sunny skies. How wonderful that will be?

            Got your bunker built up there yet? Bet there are a few wealthy enclaves already going in and you 'useless eaters' of the 47% aren't invited.


            Arctic "death spiral" leaves climate scientists shocked and worried
            Barry SaxifragePosted: Sep 19th, 2012
            A "radical shift" is plunging the Arctic Ocean towards an ice-free state for the first time in millions of years. One of the world's foremost ice experts, Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University, calls it a "global disaster"that will cause such a big boost in global temperatures that even such extreme measures as geo-engineering need to be considered urgently.

            Climate science has long understood that disappearance of summer sea ice in the Arctic would be a "tipping point" in the Earth's climate system, accelerating global temperatures and causing extreme weather and other climate changes far beyond the Arctic. Yet nearly every expert has been shocked by just how rapidly this "continent of ice" has been vanishing, and how dramatic the impacts have been already.

            Climate scientists and ice experts are now using phrases like"unprecedented", "amazing", "extreme", "hard to exaggerate", "incredibly fast", "death spiral" and "heading for oblivion".

            Arctic sea ice has been a permanent, year-round fixture of our planet since long before Homo sapiens first appeared on the savannas of Africa as a new species. Despite being robust enough to survive every change Mother Nature threw at it for millions of years, Arctic sea ice has proven to be shockingly vulnerable to a few decades of humanity's unrestrained fossil fuel pollution.

            The trillion tonnes of CO2 pollution that people have released into the atmosphere from burning oil, coal and natural gas has acted like a blow torch on Arctic ice. A dozen pounds of Arctic sea ice has disappeared for every one pound of CO2 we have released. This highlights the incredible heating power of CO2 which pumps 100,000 times more energy into our climate than was given off when the oil, coal or natural gas was burned.

            CO2 has been the "Energizer Bunny" of extreme weather, pumping energy into our climate non-stop for centuries.

            As my the chart above shows, three-quarters of the "permanent", year-round sea ice in the Arctic has been cooked away in just 30 years. Over half of it has disappeared in just the last eight years. A vast expanse of ice larger than the European Union has vanished. What's left is half the area and only half as thick.

            Now some ice experts are saying what remains could be gone in as little as ten years -- or even four.

            Worse than worst case
            This jaw-dropping acceleration of Arctic sea ice collapse is completely out-stripping the worst case scenarios of the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC reports are the primary source of climate science used by world leaders, policy makers, businesses and citizens to decide the urgency and level of action needed.

            The most recent IPCC report includesthis graphic on the right. It predicts summer sea ice surviving long after most people alive today will have died of old age.

            It is easier for decision makers to procrastinate on a difficult task if they don't think it will become critical for generations.

            And sure enough, humanity has procrastinated badly in tackling the climate threat. The amount of fossil fuel CO2 pollution the world is pumping out every year is still increasing, even as extreme weather and climate shifts are accelerating.

            The IPCC predictions come from a suite of the best global climate models at the time. Below is a chart showing the predictions of the IPCC global models used in their most recent report. For comparison I've added a bold orange line showing the best estimates -- based on multiple modes of observations -- for what has actually happened.

            These IPCC models are off by many decades -- whole generations, in fact. New models are being developed for the next IPCC report. They have been described as "less bad" in some ways but they still fail to offer any better guidance than the old models on how quickly summer ice will vanish. At this rate the ice will be gone before we can we can build models to tell us that.

            The orange "best estimate" values on the chart come from a University of Washington project called PIOMAS. For years many experts were sceptical of PIOMAS ice loss estimates because they were so extreme and because humans didn't have complete high quality data for ice volume. Could they be wildly wrong?

            Unfortunately, the answer is no. Two years ago, the European Space Agency launched a satellite (CryoSat-2) specifically designed to very accurately measure sea ice volume. The results from the first two years have confirmed the PIOMAS estimates. Three quarters of the summer ice volume really seems to have vanished.

            A recent CBC report on these CryoSat-2 results was blunt: "Arctic ice could vanish in 10 years, scientists warn … Arctic sea ice is melting at a pace so much faster than once thought that the latest projections say it might disappear by as soon as 2022."

            Professor Wadhams, whose predictions of rapid ice loss have so far been among the most accurate, told the Guardian he thinks summer Arctic sea ice could vanish within four years.

            Once again we are being caught off guard as the actual pace of climate change is unfolding far more rapid than the conservative IPCC estimates used by policy makers, businesses and citizens worldwide. These conservative estimates have encouraged a tepid policy response. Further encouraging foot-dragging on climate action has been a well-organized, well-funded campaign of fake climate skeptics attacking the science and scientists that sought to alert humanity to the need to act more quickly.

            Just how badly have we dithered in removing climate pollution -- and the economic risk that goes with it -- from the global economy? Take a look:

            The chart above shows the ever increasing amount of fossil fuel CO2 that humans are releasing each year. Not only are we pouring lots more fuel into global warming each year, we are also doing it at a rate that was considered a worst case scenario by the IPCC just a decade ago.

            Clearly we have persuaded ourselves that climate damages would unfold slowly over a century or more. But now in the Arctic we have again drawn the short straw.

            All that vanishing sea ice is amplifying global warming and extreme weather far beyond the Arctic. A series of global warming feedback loops --- outside of our direct control -- are emerging already. As one climate scientist put it: "What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic."

            As the meltdown continues the impacts are expected to get worse.

            Here is a quick overview of some of the big, currently known, impacts...

            Multiple feedback loops amplify global warming.
            As the sea ice disappears, a series of interconnected feedback loops are significantly increasing global warming. The stronger these feedback loops grow, the faster and deeper our cuts in fossil fuel CO2 emissions will need to be to compensate.

            New sources of global warming include:

            Albedo flip.
            Sea ice reflects sun's rays back into space keeping the planet cooler. As sea ice disappears the uncovered ocean absorbs this energy, making the planet hotter. One estimate says the extra heat gained equals the global warming from an additional 20 years of human CO2 pollution.

            As the Arctic rapidly heats up, the "permanently" frozen soils (permafrost) also have started to melt at any increasingly rapid pace. As permafrost thaws it releases methane and CO2 -- both potent greenhouse gases. A new study by University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver and others predicts that Canada's melting permafrost will accelerate global warming more than 0.5 C by the end of the century. That is about half the warming we still have left before most climate scientists predict dire impacts on humans.

            Methane hydrates melting.
            Tremendous amounts of methane are frozen on the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. As water temperatures increase, the threat of large emissions of methane bubbling out of the sea grows. Climate scientist James Hansen of NASA says the melting of methane hydrates in the earth's past has triggered rapid global warming leading to major extinction events.

            Dying forests.
            Rapid warming is causing the entire western boreal forest to start dying faster than it is growing back according to recent research. This gigantic swath of landscape has shifted from an absorber of CO2 to an emitter of CO2 in recent years. This is creating a feedback loop where over-heating forests release CO2 that then over-heats the forests even more. Forest fires are also increasing in the boreal and arctic, releasing ever more CO2. Meanwhile, the voracious mountain pine beetle that has been unleashed by warming temperatures has already eaten half the pine trees in BC and across large areas of western North America. These dying pine forests are releasing huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. Experts predict that with unchecked global warming the native pine beetles will expand in a few decades into the boreal forest and eat that forest down from coast to coast.

            More fossil fuels to burn.
            The Arctic Ocean has huge quantities of oil and methane that humans have not yet been able to turn into CO2. The sea ice has kept us from extracting and burning them. Now, as the sea ice vanishes, a black gold rush is kicking in. Shell Oil just put the very first drilling rig in. Scrabbling for more carbon to burn in an over-heating Arctic reminds me of people smoking cigarettes through their tracheotomy hole. It might not be illegal, but piling on more of what caused a crisis is likely to end badly.

            Vanishing spring snow cover.
            One of the most dramatic but least discussed climate changes on our planet has been the rapid decline in our spring snow cover. Warmer temperatures are melting snow earlier each year. In fact the area of missing snow cover is much greater than the area of missing sea ice. The snow cover is retreating northward at a rate of 60 km per year. This huge decline in snow cover is driving the same kind of global warming feedback loop as the vanishing sea ice. Instead of snow reflecting sunlight back into space in spring and summer, the snow-free land absorbs it, ratcheting up global temperatures.

            More extreme weather
            In addition to the global warming feedback loops mentioned above, the Arctic meltdown is also driving extreme weather in another surprising way -- by destabilizing the polar jet stream.

            The polar jet stream is a huge river of air that circles the globe. It pushes and steers the storm systems across much of Canada, USA, Europe, Russia and northern Asia.

            The speed of the jet stream is driven by the difference in air temperature between the Arctic and the tropics. This difference is shrinking as the vanishing sea ice pushes the Arctic to heat up faster than any place on earth. Similar to what happens when you remove a hot-tub cover, the removal of the sea ice cover allows heat from the water below to escape and warm the air above.

            Measurements show the polar jet stream has been slowing down andgetting "stuck" more easily. Weather patterns are staying stationary for longer periods. Also known as "blocking" patterns, this stuck weather phenomenon has been behind several of the worst extreme weather events, and crop failures, in recent years.

            Sunny weather that gets stuck can turn into extreme heatwaves and drought, as seen in Russia, Europe and the USA recently. Rainy weather that gets stuck can turn into weeks of extreme rain and flooding as seenaround the globe recently. Snowy weather that gets stuck can turn into "snowmaggedons".

            Arctic ecosystems unravelling
            The amplified warming in the Arctic is unravelling huge ecosystems. Animals that depend on summer ice like polar bears, walrus, seals and whales are struggling. Permfrost is collapsing, wave heights growing, shorelines eroding, sea level rising, wildfires increasing, temperature zones shifting, forests dying and a string of record-breaking storms pounding away on it all.

            NASA satellite image of an unusually powerful and long lasting Arctic storm in August 2012.

            Now what? More fossil fuel CO2?
            With extreme weather increasing, crops failing and a series of nasty feedback loops accelerating in the Arctic it seems like a prudent time to stop throwing fuel -- fossil fuel CO2 -- on the climate fire.

            In BC, the promising first steps towards removing carbon pollution -- and therefore carbon risk -- from our economy have faltered. The current Clark government is instead working to increase the amount of carbon flowing through the BC's economy. In addition they have frozen the carbon tax, exempted whole industries from paying it and are keeping most of our economy's carbon off the books.

            Pumping ever more carbon into our economy, while ignoring most of it when making policy decisions, seems increasingly reckless. It increases the pace of climate change while also increasing our economy's exposure to carbon risk.

            This kind of wilful ignorance of accelerating risk didn't work out well for Enron, dot-com shareholders or American mortgage holders. In the end, unsustainable bubbles pop.

            The rapidly destabilizing Arctic shows that we are already late in waking up to the carbon threats facing our climate and our economy.
            • Unsu...

              Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

              Tue, September 25, 2012 - 9:58 AM
              So, what do you think? We are creating a world that existed 55,000,000 years ago or the worse world of 300,000,000 years ago when the planet just about was swept completely clean of life? What's your bet?

              Published on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 by Common Dreams
              Is Climate Change Hell Now Inevitable?
              by John Atcheson
              "Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead," said Scrooge. "But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!" Ebenezer Scrooge, to The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, in “A Christmas Carol.”

              Although I spent most of my career involved in climate change, in the last year, I’ve resolved to try not to think about it much. Too stark; too grim. But from time to time, I screw up my courage, stare into the Eye of Sauron and face the reality of global warming futures. When I do, I write about it, and the articles have become increasingly dire. Good friends, relatives, commenters, and colleagues have been telling me to focus on solutions: to accentuate the positive; to avoid doom and gloom.
              A general view of the Artic Ocean in 2008. Methane is leaking into the atmosphere from unstable permafrost in the Arctic Ocean faster than scientists had thought and could worsen global warming, according to a 2010 study. (AFP/File/Slim Allagui)

              Of course, that advice assumes our actions will make a difference, that there is still a chance to avert catastrophe.

              Can we? If we depart from our present course will the ends change?

              Well, there’s a growing consensus that staying above atmospheric concentrations of 350 parts per million will permanently change our climate, and not for the better.

              We’re now at 392.41 ppm and rising. This year’s catastrophes are a mild preview of things to come.

              So regardless of what we do, we have already altered the climate in ways that will cost us a great deal of money, kill millions if not tens of millions, and create as many as a billion refugees by mid century.

              Bad as this sounds, there’s strong evidence it’s about to get a hell of a lot worse.

              Positive feedbacks can effectively double the amount of GHG released to the atmosphere, and the worst of these – methane releases from hydrates and permafrost -- is self-reinforcing. That is, once started, it feeds on itself. More methane means more heat which causes more methane and so on. This process is slow, but inexorable, once triggered.

              We know from the geologic record that runaway methane releases have occurred several times in the past. Some 55 million years ago, during what geologists call the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, temperatures soared, as clathrates (or as they are sometimes known, hydrates) released massive amounts of carbon, mostly in the form of methane. Many scientists believe this was triggered by volcanic releases of carbon. Other factors may have been at play, but the key takeaway is that methane releases caused runaway warming that lasted for more than 150,000 years, and that today, humans are releasing carbon at ten times the rate that is thought to have triggered the releases.

              Some 600 million years ago, geologists identified another, even more extreme event: the Permian Die-Off. The period came by the name honestly, as some 94% of the marine fossil record disappeared and biologic diversity plummeted. For a time, life itself teetered on the edge of extinction – all life. Again, massive methane releases triggered by volcanic releases of carbon are the prime culprit. And again, our current rate of releases is much faster than the one that started this devastating feedback.

              If we have triggered a self-reinforcing methane feedback – and there is growing evidence that we have – then there is little point in talking about solutions. What is needed is a strategy for maximizing the quality of life for those of our species who survive the coming catastrophe. There will be fewer of us, and we will consume far less, and the world will be a far harsher place. We will, quite literally, be inhabiting an alien environment, and our best bet is to prepare ourselves for the softest possible landing in this hostile new world.

              But let’s say we’re lucky, and we haven’t triggered this cycle of hellish warming, and “all” we have to deal with is our own emissions. Do we have the technical solutions to walk us back from the brink of the greatest disaster our species has ever faced?

              Yes. Just barely.

              The National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that we could provide 80% of our power needs using renewable energy by 2050, using today’s technologies.

              And there are a variety of policies that would not only make that affordable, it would make it one of our best opportunities for creating jobs.

              Strategies like lengthening the amortization period and lowering interest rates on renewable energy could make the cost per month to consumers less than conventional power in many states.

              Allowing efficiency and on-site renewables to bid into forward capacity markets makes clean energy competitive with even the cheapest and dirtiest fossil fuel power for utilities.

              Feed-in tariffs assure that renewables will pay for themselves.

              And fuel standards could be raised to 50 mpg – something that is achievable with several cars now available. And improved batteries have made EVs practical.

              Taxing embedded carbon on imports would force exporters to lower carbon emissions, eliminating the fear of foreign “free-riders.”

              Agricultural polices could make our farms and forests carbon sinks – actually removing carbon from the atmosphere – while improving the quality and sustainability of our food supplies and soils.

              So, yes, we can meet this challenge, if we haven’t bumbled into positive feedbacks like some planetary-scale Inspector Clouseau.

              What would it take?

              People often speak about mounting a Manhattan Project level of effort to achieve this.

              Wrong scale.

              How about a World War II magnitude endeavor?

              Too timid.

              The bottom line is, it would take an effort unlike any humanity has ever attempted for us to avoid catastrophic global warming and devastating ocean acidification. We would have to march in lock-step as a species, making carbon the obsessive focus of all we do, in every facet of our life, if we hope to awaken Scrooge-like, a changed species, filled with redemption, converted from history’s greatest villain, to its greatest hero.

              Solutions? Sure, they’re out there.

              But as I tell my friends, when it comes to actually using them, and using them in time, I am hopeful, but I am not optimistic.

              And of course, if we have triggered feedbacks …
              • Unsu...

                Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                Fri, October 5, 2012 - 11:49 PM
                Here's the latest. Lovely. Paragraphs 5-8 pretty much says it all. Oops. Everything is speeding up by decades. Not 2100 AD, not 2050, not 2030, but now. That's the poop in all its smelliest.

                Oops. Guess I'm not going to get to die of old age beforehand after all. My bad.

                Climate change may force evacuation of vulnerable island states within a decade

                Leading climate scientist warns that vulnerable island nations may need to be evacuated within a decade as evidence shows polar ice is shrinking at greater speeds than models predicted
                • Unsu...

                  Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                  Fri, October 5, 2012 - 11:52 PM
                  Didn't paste. Sorry.

                  Climate change may force evacuation of vulnerable island states within a decadeLeading climate scientist warns that vulnerable island nations may need to be evacuated within a decade as evidence shows polar ice is shrinking at greater speeds than models predicted


                  One of the world's foremost climate scientists has warned that vulnerable island states may need to consider evacuating their populations within a decade due to a much faster than anticipated melting of the world's ice sheets.

                  Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center atPennsylvania State University, said the latest evidence shows that models have underestimated the speed at which the Greenland and west Antarctic ice sheets will start to shrink.

                  Mann, who was part of the IPCC team awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2007, said it had been expected that island nations would have several decades to adapt to rising sea levels, but that evacuation may now be their only option.

                  His warning comes just weeks after the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder, Colorado disclosed that sea ice in the Arctic shrank a dramatic 18% this year on the previous record set in 2007 to a record low of 3.41m sq km.

                  "We know Arctic sea ice is declining faster than the models predict," Mann told the Guardian at the SXSW Eco conference in Austin, Texas. "When you look at the major Greenland and the west Antarctic ice sheets, which are critical from the standpoint of sea level rise, once they begin to melt we really start to see sea level rises accelerate.

                  "The models have typically predicted that will not happen for decades but the measurements that are coming in tell us it is already happening so once again we are decades ahead of schedule.

                  "Island nations that have considered the possibility of evacuation at some point, like Tuvalu, may have to be contending those sort of decisions within the matter of a decade or so."

                  Mann says the Pacific islands, which are only 4.6 metres above sea level at their highest point, are facing the imminent prospect of flooding, with salt water intrusion destroying fresh water supplies and increased erosion.

                  Suggesting evacuations would accelerate a change in public consciousness around the issue of climate change, he said: "Thousands of years of culture is at risk of disappearing as the populations of vulnerable island states have no place to go.

                  "For these people, current sea levels are already representative of dangerous anthropogenic interference because they will lose their world far before the rest of us suffer.

                  "I think it is an example, one of a number, where the impacts are playing out in real time. It is not an abstract prediction about the future or about far off exotic creatures like polar bears. We are talking about people potentially having to evacuate from places like Tvulu or the Arctic's Kivalina, another low lying island which is already feeling the detrimental impacts of sea level rise."

                  Mann, who is one of the primary targets for attacks by "climate deniers," said that there is still uncertainty about the speed of global warming as it is not clear what the impact of feedback mechanisms could be. In particular, he pointed to the release of methane that will come as the permafrost in the arctic melts.

                  "We know there is methane trapped and as it escapes into the atmosphere it accelerates the warming even further," he said. "But we don't know quite how much of it there is, but there is definitely the potential to lead to even greater warming than the models predict."

                  Mann said it was not only island states that were feeling the impacts of climate change and warned that the terrible drought and wildfires suffered by the US this year were just the precursor of far worse to come.

                  "If you look at the US, some of these things are unfolding ahead of schedule and we are already contending with climate change impacts that were once theoretical," he said.

                  "We predicted decades ago that this might eventually happen. We are watching them unfold and there are very real consequences to our economy and to our environment.

                  "The climate models tell us that what today are record breaking levels of heat will become a typical summer in a matter of 20-30 years if we carry on with business as usual. Not only will this become the new normal but we will have to change the scale because we will see heat and drought far worse than anything we have seen before."

                  The silver lining in all the bad news is that while the political system is gridlocked when it comes to confronting climate change, public attitudes are starting to change.

                  "It is going to take a little while to sink in," says Mann "but there is evidence of a dramatic shift in awareness and the public increasingly recognises climate change is real and if the public becomes convinced of this, they will demand action and they are connecting the dots because we are seeing climate change playing out in a very visible way.

                  "I think we are close to a potential tipping point in public consciousness and what will tip it, you never quite know, but another summer like the one we just witnessed we will see a dramatic shift in public pressure to do something about this problem."

                  One reason that attitudes are changing slowly, according to Mann, is that scientists are tending to be conservative in their forecasts out of fear that they will be attacked for overstating evidence.

                  He said the tactics of those who question climate change was not only to intimidate scientists already in the public arena, but also to warn off others from taking part in the public discourse.

                  But Mann believes the power of the Koch brothers and others in the fossil fuel lobby, whom he believes have been responsible for poisoning the whole climate change debate, is on the wane.

                  "I am optimistic," he says. "The forces of denial will not go down with a whimper and as the rhetoric becomes more heated and the attacks become more concerted, we see the last vestiges of a movement that is dying. The effort to deny the problem exists will have set us back decades but it is still possible to avoid breaching 450 parts of per million of CO2 if concerted action is taken."

                  While he is severely critical of those private business that are seeking to deny climate change exists, he said there were other businesses who were starting to wake up to the need to change behaviour.

                  "I personally don't believe captains of business are villains and who don't care about the legacy of the world, even though there are a few bad apples," he says. "Just look at the reinsurance industry where they face devastating losses if climate change moves.

                  "There are an increasing number of companies like Walmart which are ideologically conservative but have a real commitment to sustainability as they realise that as people become more concerned, they will reward companies that are part of the solution."
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                    Mon, October 22, 2012 - 12:37 PM
                    Gee, and to watch tv you'd think all the faked climate collapse stuff was happening all over the REST of the world. Oops.

                    Seminal Study Finds ‘Climate-Change Footprint’ In North America, ‘Continent With The Largest Increases in Disasters’
                    By Joe Romm on Oct 21, 2012


                    “Climate­-driven changes are already evident over the last few decades for severe thunderstorms, for heavy precipitation and flash flood­ing, for hurricane activity, and for heatwave, drought and wild­-fire dynamics in parts of North America.”

                    So concludes Munich Re, a top reinsurer, in a major new study that, for the first time, links the rapid rise in North American extreme weather catastrophes to manmade climate change.

                    At the same time non-climatic events (earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis) have hardly changed, as the figure shows.

                    Prof. Peter Höppe, who heads Munich Re’s Geo Risks Research unit, said:

                    “In all likelihood, we have to regard this finding as an initial climate-change footprint in our US loss data from the last four decades. Previously, there had not been such a strong chain of evidence. If the first effects of climate change are already perceptible, all alerts and measures against it have become even more pressing.”

                    The 274-page study, “Severe weather in North America” draws on “the most comprehensive natural catastrophe database worldwide,” though my favorite part is four words at the bottom of the back jacket:


                    This study builds on a September 2010 analysis by Munich Re, “Large number of weather extremes as strong indication of climate change,” which concluded:

                    … it would seem that the only plausible explanation for the rise in weather-related catastrophes is climate change. The view that weather extremes are more frequent and intense due to global warming coincides with the current state of scientific knowledge

                    At the time Höppe, explained to me what had persuaded him of the causal link:

                    For me the most convincing piece of evidence that global warming has been contributing already to more and more intense weather related natural catastrophes is the fact that while we find a steep increase in the number of loss relevant weather events (about tripling in the last 30 years) we only find a slight increase in geophysical (earthquake, volcano, tsunami) events, which should not be affected by global warming. If the whole trend we find in weather related disaster should be caused by reporting bias, or socio-demographic or economic developments we would expect to find it similarly for the geophysical events.

                    And that was before two years of off-the-charts extreme weather catastrophes, particularly in North America (see NOAA Chief 11/11: U.S. Record of a Dozen Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters in One Year Is “a Harbinger of Things to Come”).

                    It was also before multiple studies linking the surge in extreme weather to global warming, particularly in North America (see NOAA Bombshell: Warming-Driven Arctic Ice Loss Is Boosting Chance of Extreme U.S. Weather and links therein and below).

                    The new study finds:

                    Nowhere in the world is the rising number of natural catastrophes more evident than in North America. The study shows a nearly quintupled number of weather-related loss events in North America for the past three decades, compared with an increase factor of 4 in Asia, 2.5 in Africa, 2 in Europe and 1.5 in South America.

                    The study draws on a forthcoming journal article on how global warming is driving up “large-scale thunderstorm forcing”:

                    The results of the study indicate that climatic changes have driven up multi­year aver­ages of thunderstorm-­related normalized losses since 1970 and that anthropogenic climate change, most likely respon­sible for increasing levels of humidity over time, is fully con­sistent with this change.

                    Here’s a key figure on thunderstorm losses from the Munich Re study, “normalized to the current amount of destructible wealth exposed in the areas hit.” The “normalized annual overall thunderstorm losses displays a clear positive trend, even if the record­breaking year 2011 is ignored“:

                    No normalization is perfect. After all, while it’s certainly true that socio-­economic factors mainly drive up losses (and so must be accounted by some type of normalization scheme), it’s also true that there are factors typically not accounted for in these kind of analyses that would tend to reduce losses. For instance, building codes are better, and weather forecasting has improved, giving people more warnings of severe storms, and so on.

                    The scientific literature is also clear that we can expect an increase in thunderstorm intensity and destructiveness as greenhouse gas concentrations rise (see, for instance, here). And so the Munich Re study concludes:

                    Based on studies projecting the number of days with high thunderstorm poten­ tial to further increase with climate change, it can be expected that the number of large loss events will continue to rise. This translates into an imperative to take account of increasing losses over time in natural hazard risk management.

                    After all, we have warmed “only” about 1.4° Fahrenheit in the past century. We are poised to warm more than 5 times that this century. And that means — if we are foolish enough to stay anywhere near our current emissions path — we ain’t seen nothing yet.

                    Related Posts:

                    Nature: Strong Evidence Manmade ‘Unprecedented Heat And Rainfall Extremes Are Here … Causing Intense Human Suffering’
                    Hansen et al: “Extreme Heat Waves … in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 Were ‘Caused’ by Global Warming”
                    Study Finds 80% Chance Russia’s 2010 July Heat Record Would Not Have Occurred Without Climate Warming
                    NOAA: Human-Caused Climate Change Already a Major Factor in More Frequent Mediterranean Droughts
                    Arctic Death Spiral: How It Favors Extreme, Prolonged Weather Events “Such As Drought, Flooding, Cold Spells And Heat Waves”
                    • Unsu...

                      Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                      Fri, October 26, 2012 - 12:13 AM
                      There is so much (bad) going on that it's almost absurd that hardly any of it is getting into the extremely conservative wealthy-controlled corporate-owned press.

                      Oh wait. Beyond absurd. Ironic perhaps?

                      October 25 News: Changing Gulf Stream Destabilizing Frozen Methane Deposits Under The Sea Floor
                      By Stephen Lacey on Oct 25, 2012 at 8:07 am


                      A changing Gulf Stream off the East Coast has destabilized frozen methane deposits trapped under nearly 4,000 square miles of seafloor, scientists reported Wednesday. And since methane is even more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas, the researchers said, any large-scale release could have significant climate impacts. [NBC]

                      “It is unlikely that the western North Atlantic margin is the only area experiencing changing ocean currents,” [researchers] noted. “Our estimate … may therefore represent only a fraction of the methane hydrate currently destabilizing globally.”

                      … “We may approach a turning point” from a warming driven by man-made carbon dioxide to a warming driven by methane, Jurgen Mienert, the geology department chair at Norway’s University of Tromso, told NBC News.

                      “The interactions between the warming Arctic Ocean and the potentially huge methane-ice reservoirs beneath the Arctic Ocean floor point towards increasing instability,” he added.

                      Job growth in the U.S. solar industry, fueled by falling panel prices, will outpace employment in wind energy, which faces the looming expiration of a federal credit, according to a report from CleanEdison Inc. [Bloomberg]

                      In early October, E&E News and the MIT Energy Initiative held a wide-reaching energy and climate debate between surrogates from the two campaigns. The debate between Aldy and Cass was fascinating and substantive. [Wonk Blog]

                      Of the roughly 50,000 words spoken in this month’s three presidential debates, none were “climate change,” ‘’global warming” or “greenhouse gas.” [Associated Press]

                      PBS’ Frontline recently aired a documentary titled “Climate of Doubt,” examining how conservative groups, frequently funded by the fossil fuel industry, have pushed Republicans to reject the scientific consensus on manmade global warming. Media Matters looks back at how Fox News has contributed to that “Climate of Doubt.” [Media Matters]

                      Photographs of a dead Sperm Whale in the Gulf of Mexico offer a rare glimpse into how many whales came into close contact with the gushing BP well during the oil spill. They also show Obama administration officials tightly controlling information about whales and other wildlife caught up in the disaster. [Washington Post]

                      Hurricane Sandy made landfall in Jamaica on Wednesday afternoon, and it is increasingly likely to turn into a massive — potentially even historic — storm with the potential to spread hazards ranging from coastal flooding to high winds across a wide area from the Carolinas northward to New England. [Climate Central]

                      Lord Monckton had declared that he will shortly be presenting the results of a paper on climate economics, namely a hypothesis that it is up to 50 times more costly to try to prevent global warming today than to pay the cost of adapting to its consequences the day after tomorrow. [Gibraltar Chronicle]

                      The UK cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than any other European country last year, over-achieving on targets under the Kyoto protocol on climate change. [Guardian]

                      Major importers in Asia, including South Korea, Taiwan and top buyer Japan, have turned away from the United States as U.S. corn prices soared to record highs this summer, buying feed from South America and producers in the Black Sea region. [Reuters]

                      A project to help track Arctic climate change using volunteers to transcribe U.S. ship logs online was launched on Wednesday by the National Archives and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). [Reuters]

                      • Unsu...

                        Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                        Mon, October 29, 2012 - 1:02 PM
                        Having a little trouble with catastrophic climate de-stabilization hurricanes in the Atlantic today, are we? Oops. Just a little taste of what the East Coast is going to be like for the next thousand years I guess.

                        Of course it's all just a liberal plot to get money from the government....

                        Or not.

                        If Extreme Weather Becomes the Norm, Starvation AwaitsBy George Monbiot, Guardian UK

                        19 October 12


                        With forecasts currently based only on averages, food production may splutter out even sooner than we feared

                        believe we might have made a mistake: a mistake whose consequences, if I am right, would be hard to overstate. I think the forecasts for world food production could be entirely wrong. Food prices are rising again, partly because of the damage done to crops in the northern hemisphere by ferocious weather. In the US, Russia and Ukraine, grain crops were clobbered by remarkable droughts. In parts of northern Europe, such as the UK, they were pummelled by endless rain.

                        Even so, this is not, as a report in the Guardian claimed last week, "one of the worst global harvests in years". It's one of the best. World grain production last year was the highest on record; this year's crop is just 2.6% smaller. The problem is that, thanks to the combination of a rising population and the immoral diversion of so much grain into animal feed and biofuels, a new record must be set every year. Though 2012's is thethird biggest global harvest in history (after 2011 and 2008), this is also a year of food deficit, in which we will consume 28m tonnes more grain than farmers produced. If 2013's harvest does not establish a new world record, the poor are in serious trouble.

                        So the question of how climate change might alter food production could not be more significant. It is also extremely hard to resolve, and relies on such daunting instruments as "multinomial endogenous switching regression models". The problem is that there are so many factors involved. Will extra rainfall be cancelled out by extra evaporation? Will the fertilising effect of carbon dioxide be more powerful than the heat damage it causes? To what extent will farmers be able to adapt? Will new varieties of crops keep up with the changing weather?

                        But, to put it very broadly, the consensus is that climate change will hurt farmers in the tropics and help farmers in temperate countries. A famous paper published in 2005 concluded that if we follow the most extreme trajectory for greenhouse gas production (the one we happen to be on at the moment), global warming would raise harvests in the rich nations by 3% by the 2080s, and reduce them in the poor nations by 7%. This gives an overall reduction in the world's food supply (by comparison to what would have happened without manmade climate change) of 5%.

                        Papers published since then support this conclusion: they foresee hard times for farmers in Africa and south Asia, but a bonanza for farmers in the colder parts of the world, whose yields will rise just as developing countries become less able to feed themselves. Climate change is likely to be devastating for many of the world's poor. If farmers in developing countries can't compete, both their income and their food security will decline, and the number of permanently malnourished people could rise. The nations in which they live, much of whose growth was supposed to have come from food production, will have to import more of their food from abroad. But in terms of gross commodity flows the models do not predict an insuperable problem.

                        So here's where the issue arises. The models used by most of these papers forecast the effects of changes in averaged conditions. They take no account of extreme weather events. Fair enough: they're complicated enough already. But what if changes in the size of the global harvest are determined less by average conditions than by the extremes?

                        This is what happened in 2012. This is what seems likely to happen in subsequent years. Here's why. A paper this year by the world's leading climate scientist, James Hansen, shows that the frequency of extremely hot events (such as the droughts which hammered the US and Russia) has risen by a factor of about 50 by comparison with the decades before 1980. Forty years ago, extreme summer heat typically affected between 0.1 and 0.2% of the globe. Today it scorches some 10%. "We can project with a high degree of confidence," the paper warns, "that the area covered by extremely hot anomalies will continue to increase during the next few decades and even greater extremes will occur." Yet these extremes do not feature in the standard models predicting changes in crop production.

                        If the mechanism proposed by another paper is correct, it is not just extremes of heat that are likely to rise. I've explained this before, but I think it's worth repeating. The jet stream is a current of air travelling eastwards around the upper northern hemisphere. It separates the cold wet weather to the north from the warmer, drier weather to the south. Wobbling along this ribbon are huge meanders called Rossby waves. As the Arctic heats up, the meanders slow down and become steeper. The weather gets stuck.

                        Stuck weather is another way of saying extreme weather. If the jet stream is jammed to the north of where you are, the weather stays hot and dry, and the temperature builds up - and up. If it's lodged to the south of you, the rain keeps falling, the ground becomes saturated and the rivers burst their banks. This summer the UK and the US seem to have found themselves on opposite sides of stuck meanders, and harvests in both countries were savaged by opposing extremes of weather.

                        This is where we stand with just 0.8 degrees of global warming and a 30% loss of summer sea ice. Picture a world with two, four or six degrees of warming and a pole without ice, and you get some idea of what could be coming.

                        Farmers in the rich nations can adapt to a change in averaged conditions. It is hard to see how they can adapt to extreme events, especially if those events are different every year. Last winter, for example, I spent days drought-proofing my apple trees, as the previous spring had been so dry that - a few weeks after pollination - most of the fruit shrivelled up and died. This spring was so wet that the pollinators scarcely emerged at all: it was the unfertilised blossom that withered and died. I thanked my stars that I don't make my living this way.

                        Perhaps there is no normal any more. Perhaps the smooth average warming trends that the climate models predict - simultaneously terrifying and oddly reassuring - mask wild extremes for which no farmer can plan and to which no farmer can respond. Where does that leave a world which must either keep raising production or starve?
                        • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                          Tue, October 30, 2012 - 8:09 PM
                          What a read...I sometimes think that Seals head is blowing up with his knowledge, hat size must have increased somewhat, still I respect his drive to get people to wake up. Fact is either view in science is not required, we know we are going thru a change and what are we going to do about it, if its natural or man made, something has to be done.
                          The oil industry is the biggest polluter on the planet, that is a fact. Oil is the problem. Nuclear energy is the next biggest, yet the final cut will be nuclear insanity. We don't need to drop bombs, we build them next to cities. But the status quo reality of big business has all of us in handcuffs. Maybe science will help us, but who controls science.
                          Thing is, my buddy is a teacher (professor) at the local University, and he told me something that just moved me to understand more and more about the problems of global temperatures raising. We think about the cold water, droughts, food and so on. He pointed something very interesting out..the massive amount of weight that the polar caps have on a planet that has a liquid core and a crust. If that weight was to dwindle, that the crust of the earth will be effected also, that fault lines will move. Just imagine the amount of ice in weight that lays on the poles of the earth. This acts, as he said as a stabling, the weight in effect stops the crust from buckling. Once that weight is gone, the crust will move. We are seeing this now. Its beginning. Theres more to this than just temperature, ice age, no ice etc. The crust of the planet itself will be effected. If man made we can stop it, but I think the idea of drilling for oil in Alaska might be one of the reasons for this. Man can alter weather, Harrp is not an illusion. Chem trails might be the ability to warm the planet up in order to drill the north. Lots of talk about it. I don't know what to do. For me, its better to find a spot on the crust of this rock to sit it out, if I am lucky enough. We will see. Its for better men than me. Like John Lennon said back in the Sixties..."Sick people run this world".
                        • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                          Tue, October 30, 2012 - 8:12 PM
                          What a read...I sometimes think that Seals head is blowing up with his knowledge, hat size must have increased somewhat, still I respect his drive to get people to wake up. Fact is either view in science is not required, we know we are going thru a change and what are we going to do about it, if its natural or man made, something has to be done.
                          The oil industry is the biggest polluter on the planet, that is a fact. Oil is the problem. Nuclear energy is the next biggest, yet the final cut will be nuclear insanity. We don't need to drop bombs, we build them next to cities. But the status quo reality of big business has all of us in handcuffs. Maybe science will help us, but who controls science.
                          Thing is, my buddy is a teacher (professor) at the local University, and he told me something that just moved me to understand more and more about the problems of global temperatures raising. We think about the cold water, droughts, food and so on. He pointed something very interesting out..the massive amount of weight that the polar caps have on a planet that has a liquid core and a crust. If that weight was to dwindle, that the crust of the earth will be effected also, that fault lines will move. Just imagine the amount of ice in weight that lays on the poles of the earth. This acts, as he said as a stabling, the weight in effect stops the crust from buckling. Once that weight is gone, the crust will move. We are seeing this now. Its beginning. Theres more to this than just temperature, ice age, no ice etc. The crust of the planet itself will be effected. If man made we can stop it, but I think the idea of drilling for oil in Alaska might be one of the reasons for this. Man can alter weather, Harrp is not an illusion. Chem trails might be the ability to warm the planet up in order to drill the north. Lots of talk about it. I don't know what to do. For me, its better to find a spot on the crust of this rock to sit it out, if I am lucky enough. We will see. Its for better men than me. Like John Lennon said back in the Sixties..."Sick people run this world".
                          • Unsu...

                            Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                            Wed, October 31, 2012 - 1:31 AM
                            Nope, one of the items I make are winter hats for a living, and my hat size is still the same even with all the science that I read. Hell, I'm reading Asimov's 'The History of Physics" as a dinner book... But thanks for worrying about my head exploding! Can knowledge actually make your head explode when the brain gets too full, or does it just burn out the hard drive? :-D

                            And yes, I've read a number of papers on watching the 'egg' shape of the planet change with the weight of disappearing ice from both poles. Another ongoing 'event' that nobody really knows the consequences of.

                            The East Coast dodged the bullet this time, big time dodged, and got seriously lucky with this downgraded not-even-a-Category 1 storm instead of turning into a freaking 5. Little piddly ten feet of storm surge and a measly 80mph sustained winds? Sheesh, hardly worth mentioning. Try 30 feet of storm surge (that's about four stories tall with the entire ocean behind it) and 120-160mph winds screaming through the canyons of NY, Jersey, everywhere. Ever stick your head out the window doing 100mph? If you ever do, think about trying to stand on the hood... This was nothing, I mean hardly a rippled compared to the next one, and the next one, and the next one. I've been in hurricanes (us Baja surfers fear getting caught camping on beaches and cliffs by a Chibasco) and know exactly what the ocean and the wind does in these storms.

                            Think: just a taste, a little warning, a tiny nudge of the elbow, an 'a-hem' to get everybody's attention. Think anybody who has the power to make the necessary changes in our world are going to listen, or will it be Business As Usual by the plutocrats and their hired hands?

                            Let's see, wasn't it Irene that hit the NE this summer, then there was another a week later (forgot the name), now almost November and the largest in terms of size ever recorded rolls in and it's a wimp rather than a demon. Read somewhere yesterday recommending that hurricanes start being named after oil and coal companies...hehe sounds about right! When the storms start to get really intense we ought to name them after the owners/CEO/board of director names ya think?

                            VERY VERY LUCKY.

                            Disclaimer: my youngest brother is in N. Carolina on the coast somewhere, and Cousin Yvonne lives in Va Beach, Va and no I haven't heard a thing from either of them but neither do they 'believe (as if science and the Laws of Thermodynamics have anything to do with 'belief') that any of what I've talked to them about is happening because, well gee, wouldn't the government do something if it was real? And I live in a bug-killing-trees fire prone dry mountain forest that didn't see a measurable amount of rain from July 11-October 11 this year and who has the cash to just uproot and go somewhere else anyway? Where the hell does one go if you don't have access to a freaking spaceship, eh?? We're all floating in the same boat....

                            So I'll keep posting horrible Cassandra-like prognostications and/or condensing what I read into not-really sarcastic rambling discourses....
                            • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                              Sun, November 4, 2012 - 9:29 PM
                              I don't think NYC and NJ could survive a Category 4 storm. I just drove through their Friday and it's mayhem. No gasoline and these people are freezing their asses off. I deliver food for a living and a lot of trucks did not deliver to the grocery warehouses. 2 more days of that and NYC would be starving since we only have about 3 days worth of fresh food in the warehouses. After that it's canned goods and forget about your local store having any bottled water. Folks this is the new normal. And your gooberment ain't prepared!
  • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

    Mon, November 5, 2012 - 2:00 AM
    I just read an essay suggesting that we're entering a new ecological epoch - the Anthropocene epoch. It's an epoch created by humanity, which deliberately or not-so-deliberately alters the characteristics of the natural world.

    Think about this quote: "It's too late to save the world we live in today, but that's OK: this world is unsustainable. Let's consider the Anthropocene a clean slate, and look forward to making a a world that benefits not only humanity, but the Earth too." (Christian Williams, writing in Utne Reader).
    • Unsu...

      Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

      Mon, November 5, 2012 - 4:07 AM
      Old news, that term has been around a while. It is always used as a severe negative due to our continued misuse/destruction of every single ecosystem on the planet. Should be interesting when the climate reverts to 30 million years ago (the trajectory a number of scientists are starting to talk about). Remember 30 million years ago? No? Quite an interesting world it was.

      Damn it's late. No, it's early. Oops. Having the flu this whole week has really screwed up my sleep patterns!
  • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

    Tue, November 6, 2012 - 2:36 AM
    Muniche Re, the world's largest insurer, says in its annual report from two years ago: "The reinsurer has built up the world's most comprehensive natural catastrophe database, which shows a marked increase in the number of weather-related events. For instance, globally, loss-related floods have more than tripled since 1980, and windstorm natural catastrophes more than doubled, with particularly heavy losses from Atlantic hurricanes. This rise cannot be explained without global warming."

    I wonder if private industry (e.g. insurance companies) can influence government and corporate policy on weather ...
    • Unsu...

      Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

      Tue, November 6, 2012 - 11:45 AM
      And what we've been seeing in massive weather disasters across the planet for the last bunch of years is just the results of a little tiny 1'C rise. I read the book '6 Degrees' that was in our local library last year, it was way out of date being published in 2003 due to tipping points (the Arctic wasn't going to melt off before 2100 and now it's gone in maybe four?!), but you might want to read it. Of course the Arctic and Antarctic have hit 2'C, and the Polar Jet controls the US and northern hemispheric weather....oops.

      Study: Predicted 6ºC Rise by 2100 Should End "Business as Usual"

      'This isn't about shock tactics, it's simple maths' says global accounting firm
      - Common Dreams staff

      A new report by a global accounting firm announced Monday that businesses around the world are ill-prepared to meet the challenges of climate change and issued a warning, citing their extensive analyses of world economies, that global temperatures could rise by as much as 6ºC by the end of the century.

      "This isn't about shock tactics, it's simple maths," said Leo Johnson, a partner at Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PwC), which conducted the economic study. "We're heading into uncharted territory for the scale of transformation and technical innovations required. Whatever the scenario, or the response, business as usual is not an option."

      In 2007, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change determined that a rise in global temperatures of more than 2ºC would lead to catastrophic changes for planetary systems. Though binding agreements remain elusive, most of the world's nations have agreed—at least in principle—that preventing a more than 2ºC rise should be a key target to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change.

      The PwC report, however, says that limiting global warming to 2ºC would now mean reducing global carbon intensity by an average of 5.1% a year – a performance never achieved since 1950, when these records began. The report warns that "governments and businesses can no longer assume that a 2ºC warming world is the default scenario."

      "While we've reversed the increase in emissions intensity reported last year we're still seeing results that are simply too little too late," said Johnson. "We've now got to achieve, for the next 39 years running, a target we've never achieved before."

      "It's time to plan for a warmer world… We have passed a critical threshold," he said.

      Words like resilience, decarbonization and sustainability have long been key words among environmental campaigners and scientists warning about the current and coming impacts of human-induced global warming and climate change. The PwC report, now, puts some of those same words into the vocabularies of some of the the world's largest financial planners.

      "The risk to business is that it faces more unpredictable and extreme weather, and disruptions to market and supply chains," said Jonathan Grant, director of the PwC's sustainability and climate change program. "Resilience will become a watch word in the boardroom - to policy responses as well as to the climate. More radical and disruptive policy reactions in the medium term could lead to high carbon assets being stranded."

      "The new reality is a much more challenging future in terms of planning, financing and predictability. Even doubling our current annual rates of decarbonization globally every year to 2050, would still lead to 6ºC, making governments' ambitions to limit warming to 2ºC appear highly unrealistic."

      “Crowds have always undergone the influence of illusions,” wrote Gustave Le Bon, one of the first pioneers of the study of mass psychology. “Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim.”
      • Unsu...

        Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

        Wed, November 7, 2012 - 12:37 PM
        For Karin: Move. Here's a snip from the article linked below. The third paragraph should make you twitch a little.

        ...Sandy was profiled in the London Review of Books on Saturday, in an article by Mike Davis entitled “The repo girl is at the door,” referring to the repossession man sent by bankers to collect overdue debts. “The construction since 1960 of several trillion dollars’ worth of prime real estate on barrier islands, bay fill, recycled swamps and coastal lowlands has radically transformed the calculus of loss.” Given such “certifiably insane coastal overdevelopment,” Davis concludes, “Sandy is the beginning of the race for the lifeboats on the Titanic.”

        Last week’s storm also raised the bar on climate-chaos damage, with around $40 billion worth of property destroyed in a small section of the northeastern US, in the same cost range as the 2010 flooding of a third of Pakistan and as the droughts that wiped out world grain crops in between. And the toxic water coursing through New York City from leaky oil sources reminds South Durban residents of our port’s closure last month due to repeated petroleum leaks into the harbour.

        As oceans warm up, cyclones and hurricanes also intensify, with their impact soon to be exacerbated by sea-level rise. “The volume of Arctic sea ice has been reduced by 75 percent in just 30 years,” reported the world’s most respected climate scientist, James Hansen of NASA, to the Cornell University Global Labor Institute and Rosa Luxemburg Foundation last month. “There is a danger that the ice sheets will begin to collapse and we could get several meters of rising sea levels in one year.”

        Um, Dr. Hansen, excuse me but did you say that we could get several meters of rising seas IN ONE FUCKING YEAR? The ocean goes 3, 6, 9, 12 goddam feet of rise in ONE YEAR? The Arctic, the Antarctic, Greenland, and all the world's glaciers are freaking melting. Are you fucking kidding me?
        • Unsu...

          Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

          Fri, November 9, 2012 - 7:46 PM
          So my previous post about what Dr. Hansen said is probably correct. Great.

          Published on Friday, November 9, 2012 by Common Dreams

          Worst Case Climate Projections Likely: Study Global warming "likely to be on the high side of current projections," according to analysis from National Center for Atmospheric Research scientists
          - Common Dreams staff

          The worst case projections for global warming may be the most likely, according to an analysis from scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

          “When examining the impact of future increases in heat-trapping gases, we find that the simulations with the best fidelity come from models that produce more warming,” says study co-author Kevin Trenberth. (photo: Horizon2035 via flickr)
          The NASA-funded research by NCAR scientists John Fasullo and Kevin Trenberth was published Thursday in the journal Science.

          Fasullo and Trenberth analyzed how 16 leading climate models reproduce observed relative humidity, a major influence on global temperatures, focusing on the subtropics.

          "There is a striking relationship between how well climate models simulate relative humidity in key areas and how much warming they show in response to increasing carbon dioxide," said Fasullo. "Given how fundamental these processes are to clouds and the overall global climate, our findings indicate that warming is likely to be on the high side of current projections."

          The most common benchmark for comparing model projections has shown a range of global warming between 3 degrees F and as high as 8 degrees F by the late 21st century compared to late 19th century.

          “Because we have more reliable observations for humidity than for clouds, we can use the humidity patterns that change seasonally to evaluate climate models,” stated Trenberth. “When examining the impact of future increases in heat-trapping gases, we find that the simulations with the best fidelity come from models that produce more warming.”
  • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

    Sun, November 11, 2012 - 2:44 AM
    Climate changes are cyclical that never changes, I have always believed that because it is the truth. Where we are is where we have been and forgotten about long ago. Our earth has previously been mother to green house effects since the beginning of time on this earth and will be again, but yes it is a bunch of corporate buffoonery. They are all acting like abunch of baboons. But look who got hoodwinked, many of us did to a point. I like Obama but like my bro says, they all have someone elses hands up their butts. And they are all as_holes. Blessings, WBT
    • Unsu...

      Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

      Fri, November 16, 2012 - 12:44 AM
      Climate collapse has nothing to do with belief. It is Physics; there is no 'belief' involved in Physics.

      Here's a new one to chew on:


      Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reaching Upper Atmosphere, Canadian Space Satellite Finds
      CARL FRANZEN NOVEMBER 13, 2012, 10:32 AM

      Not only is the Earth warming at the high-end of predicted models, but now human produced carbon dioxide emissions are accumulating in greater amounts in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, according to the results of a new study of data captured by a Canadian satellite.

      That’s the key finding of a team at the University of Waterloo in Canada and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s Space Science Division, relayed in a new paper published Sunday online in the journal Nature Geoscience.

      The team analyzed eight-years worth of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) data collected by the Canadian Space Agency’s Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE), a satellite launched in 2003 and bobs around the Earth in a 74 degree orbit, taking spectra measurements and images of the atmosphere.

      What the scientists found from looking at the ACE’s data from 2004 through 2012 was troubling: Carbon dioxide levels in the upper atmosphere increased eight percent over the period, from 209 parts per million in 2004 to 225 parts per million in 2012.

      Check out the following graph from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL):

      As the NRL described in a news release on the findings on Sunday:

      “The scientists estimate that the concentration of carbon near 100 km [approximately 62 miles] altitude is increasing at a rate of 23.5 ± 6.3 parts per million (ppm) per decade, which is about 10 ppm/decade faster than predicted by upper atmospheric model simulations.”At lower altitudes, carbon dioxide emissions make the Earth warmer by trapping sunlight.

      But at higher altitudes, the reverse is true: In the mesosphere (between 31 miles and 55 miles up) and the thermosphere (above 55 miles up), carbon dioxide’s density is thinner and a less effective at trapping infrared radiation. In fact, CO2 at these altitudes is something of a heat sink, allowing infrared radiation to escape back out into space.

      But this isn’t a good thing. On the contrary, the thinning, cooling trend at this level due to increasing CO2 is likely to have detrimental effects on human spacefaring activity, something of a bitter irony given that a satellite was the reason we know about the increased CO2 levels in the first place. As the U.S. NRL explained:

      “The enhanced cooling produced by the increasing CO2 should result in a more contracted thermosphere, where many satellites, including the International Space Station, operate. The contraction of the thermosphere will reduce atmospheric drag on satellites and may have adverse consequences for the already unstable orbital debris environment, because it will slow the rate at which debris burn up in the atmosphere.”In other words, rather than trapping heat, the increased CO2 levels in the upper atmosphere are likely to result in longer-lasting debris, and thus, a greater proportion of debris over time as humans continue to launch objects into space.

      Already, NASA’s Orbital Debris Program, which tracks the overall amount of space junk around the planet, reports that there are at least 500,000 objects orbiting the Earth between 1 and 10 centimeters in size, another 21,000 larger than 10 centimeters. Other scientists have previouslywarned that Earth is collectively approaching a “tipping point” when it comes to space junk, where one piece of space junk colliding into another could set off a chain reaction of cascading collisions that would make it prohibitively risky to launch anything else into space, a phenomena known as the “Kessler effect” or the “Kessler syndrome” after the scientist who first proposed it in 1978.

      Space junk has become such a looming problem that the U.S. NRL has concocted a plan to reduce some of it by shooting clouds of dust into space to increase the drag on debris and bring them plummeting back to Earth, to burn up in the atmosphere. That idea remains just a proposal, for now.
      • Unsu...

        Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

        Wed, November 21, 2012 - 12:10 AM
        And here's yesterdays that goes right along with it...

        Published on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 by Common Dreams
        Greenhouse Gas Emissions Smash Records Again: UN
        - Common Dreams staff

        (WMO graphs at link)

        Greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere shattered all previous records in 2011,according to a new report by the UN World Meteorological Organization released Tuesday.

        The worst of the global warming gases -- carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide -- all reached new highs in 2011 the WMO said in its annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin report.

        "Between 1990 and 2011 there was a 30% increase in radiative forcing — the warming effect on our climate — because of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping long-lived gases," the group reports.

        Carbon dioxide alone reached 140 percent of the "pre-industrial level" (before 1750).

        In particular, planet-warming gas methane reached new highs in 2011, at 1813 ppb -- 259 percent above the pre-industrial level.

        "These billions of tonnes of additional carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will remain there for centuries, causing our planet to warm further and impacting on all aspects of life on earth [sic]," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement.

        "Future emissions will only compound the situation," he cautioned.

        The WMO report placed the blame squarely on human activities including fossil fuel use, cattle breeding, rice agriculture, landfills and biomass burning. Five major gases emitted in such practices account for 96 percent of the warming climate the groups said.
  • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

    Thu, November 22, 2012 - 10:00 AM
    A scientist named Klaus Lackner came up with a design for Synthetic Trees to purify the atmosphere. One synthetic tree could remove 90,000 tonnes of CO2 in a year - the emissions equivalent of 15,000 cars.

    Since politicians seem committed to doing nothing about CO2 emissions, why not start constructing devices to purify the air? Either that, or (an idea that politicians love) offer tax credits for people plant and maintain forests?

    Oh! I forgot! The ruling political elite say that Climate Change doesn't exist.
    • Unsu...

      Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

      Thu, November 29, 2012 - 3:26 PM
      I guess that beach cottage I was thinking about moving to wouldn't be a good idea (well, let's get real and call it a dumpster home instead)? When will the insurance companies stop insuring anyone who lives at sea level? It's coming I'm sure.

      Study: Sea Levels Rising 60% Faster Than Projected, Planet Keeps Warming As Expected
      By Joe Romm on Nov 28, 2012

      (removed graphs at link)

      A new study, “Comparing climate projections to observations up to 2011,” confirms that climate change is happening as fast — and in some cases faster — than climate models had projected. The news release explains:

      The rate of sea-level rise in the past decades is greater than projected by the latest assessments of the IPCC, while global temperature increases in good agreement with its best estimates. This is shown by a study now published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and his colleagues compare climate projections to actual observations from 1990 up to 2011. That sea level is rising faster than expected could mean that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) sea-level rise projections for the future may be biased low as well, their results suggest.

      As Dr. Rahmstorf notes, “the new findings highlight that the IPCC is far from being alarmist and in fact in some cases rather underestimates possible risks.”

      The oceans are rising 60 per cent faster than the IPCC’s latest best estimates, according to the new research. The researchers compared those estimates to satellite data of observed sea-level rise. ” Satellites have a much better coverage of the globe than tide gauges and are able to measure much more accurately by using radar waves and their reflection from the sea surface,” explains Anny Cazenave from LEGOS. While the IPCC projected sea-level rise to be at a rate of 2 mm per year, satellite data recorded a rate of 3.2 mm per year.

      The release notes, “The increased rate of sea-level rise is unlikely to be caused by a temporary episode of ice discharge from the ice sheets in Greenland or Antarctica or other internal variabilities in the climate system, according to the study, because it correlates very well with the increase in global temperature.”
      As sea level rises, storm surges worsen, coastal populations are put at risk, and salt water infiltrates rich deltas. For more on likely future sea level rise, see “New Studies on Sea Level Rise Make Clear We Must Act Now” and “JPL bombshell: Polar ice sheet mass loss is speeding up, on pace for 1 foot sea level rise by 2050.”

      On the subject of global warming, the release explains:

      “Global temperature continues to rise at the rate that was projected in the last two IPCC Reports. This shows again that global warming has not slowed down or is lagging behind the projections,” Rahmstorf says. Five global land and ocean temperature series were averaged and compared to IPCC projections by the scientists from Potsdam, the Laboratoire d’Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales (LEGOS) in France and the US based Tempo Analytics. To allow for a more accurate comparison with projections, the scientists accounted for short-term temperature variations due to El Niño events, solar variability and volcanic eruptions. The results confirm that global warming, which was predicted by scientists in the 1960s and 1970s as a consequence of increasing greenhouse concentrations, continues unabated at a rate of 0.16 °C per decade and follows IPCC projections closely.

      For more on the 2011 study, see “Study of ‘True Global Warming Signal’ Finds ‘Remarkably Steady’ Rate of Manmade Warming Since 1979.
      • Unsu...

        Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

        Thu, November 29, 2012 - 3:28 PM
        Forgot to add this one:

        New Scientist Special Report: 7 Reasons Climate Change Is ‘Even Worse Than We Thought’
        By Joe Romm on Nov 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm

        The NY Times isn’t the only major publication going apocalyptic on climate change. New Scientist has a new dedicated issue that makes the Times’ stories seem down-right Pollyannish.

        Nearly 3 years ago, the late William R. Freudenburg discussed in a AAAS presentation how new scientific findings since the 2007 IPCC report are found to be more than twenty times as likely to indicate that global climate disruption is “worse than previously expected,” rather than “not as bad as previously expected.” As he said at the time:

        Reporters need to learn that, if they wish to discuss ‘both sides’ of the climate issue, the scientifically legitimate ‘other side’ is that, if anything, global climate disruption is likely to be significantly worse than has been suggested in scientific consensus estimates to date.

        So it’s good to see New Scientist make just that point in its special issue on climate change:

        Five years ago, the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change painted a gloomy picture of our planet’s future. As climate scientists gather evidence for the next report, due in 2014, Michael Le Page gives seven reasons why things are looking even grimmer

        The 7 reasons are below, with links to their respective articles. Since they are all behind a paywall, I’ll provide links to Climate Progress articles on the same subject:

        The thick sea ice in the Arctic Ocean was not expected to melt until the end of the century. If current trends continue, summer ice could be gone in a decade or two. Read more (or see “Death Spiral Watch: Experts Warn ‘Near Ice-Free Arctic In Summer’ In A Decade If Volume Trends Continue“).

        We knew global warming was going to make the weather more extreme. But it’s becoming even more extreme than anyone predicted. Read more (or see “NOAA Bombshell: Warming-Driven Arctic Ice Loss Is Boosting Chance of Extreme U.S. Weather“).

        Global warming was expected to boost food production. Instead, food prices are soaring as the effects of extreme weather kick in. Read more (or see “Oxfam Warns Climate Change And Extreme Weather Will Cause Food Prices To Soar” and links therein).

        Greenland’s rapid loss of ice mean we’re in for a rise of at least 1 metre by 2100, and possibly much more. Read more (or see “Greenland Ice Sheet Melt Nearing Critical ‘Tipping Point’” and links therein).

        The planet currently absorbs half our CO2emissions. All the signs are it won’t for much longer. Read more (or see “Carbon Feedback From

        Thawing Permafrost Will Likely Add 0.4°F – 1.5°F To Total Global Warming By 2100” and “Drying Peatlands and Intensifying Wildfires Boost Carbon Release Ninefold“).

        If we stopped emitting CO2 tomorrow, we might be able to avoid climate disaster. In fact we are still increasing emissions. Read more (or see “The IEA And Others Warn Of Some 11°F Warming by 2100 on current emissions path”)

        If the worst climate predictions are realised, vast swathes of the globe could become too hot for humans to survive. Read more (or see “An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts“)

        And people say Climate Progress has too much gloom and doom! Still, if we didn’t add that all of the above impacts will be happening simultaneously and “largely irreversible for 1000 years,” then we wouldn’t be true to our name, would we? [Note to self: Look up "progress" in dictionary.]

        It’s too bad the articles are behind a paywall, but at least the accompanying editorial plea, “Obama should fulfil his 2008 climate promises,” isn’t. The editors’ bottom line is inarguable:

        What’s needed is very clear: emissions cuts, and soon. The best way to do that is to change our economic systems to reflect the true long-term cost of fossil fuels. That means ending the $1 trillion of annual subsidies for fossil fuels and imposing carbon taxes instead.
        • Unsu...

          Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

          Sun, December 2, 2012 - 12:14 PM
          So, in other words, expect the worst...

          Published on Sunday, December 2, 2012 by Institute for Policy Studies

          For United States and China, Mutually Assured Inaction at UN Climate Summit

          Update from Doha, Qatar: As countries (somewhat ironically) gather in the petro-state of Qatar for the annual UN climate summit, it's even more apparent that economic considerations trump concerns about severe environmental disruption, and even survival.

          by Janet Redman

          The 2012 UN climate negotiations are not expected to be a breakthrough moment in solving the unfolding ecological crisis, but these talks will set the course for a future deal that countries have agreed will enter into force by 2020.

          What’s at stake is more than a little overwhelming.

          Global warming has to be kept to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures if we want to avert climate disaster. Scientists say that means we can send 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Meanwhile fossil fuel companies are planning to burn enough oil, coal and gas to release 2,795 gigatons.

          And the impacts of a warming planet are already hitting home. Because of sea level rise the island nation of Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean is in negotiations to resettle its entire populationin Fiji. And in the United States we’ve just experienced a summer of record-busting heat waves followed by a super-storm the likes of which meteorologists have literally never before seen.

          From where I sit in Doha, however, any agreement to avoid predicted extremes in weather, economic disruption and loss of life that will accompany global warming looks a long way off.

          According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the experts group that provides the climate convention with the latest science — global greenhouse gas emissions would have to peak and start coming down by 2015. That’s right — in three years. Then, by 2050, the nations of the world would need to halve their overall climate pollution.

          For the United States that translates into something like a 50 percent reduction by 2020 and deeper than 80 percent cuts by 2050 — a quasi-political calculation based on our responsibility as far and away the greatest contributor to climate change and one of the economies most capable of adapting.

          Delivering serious emissions cuts won’t be easy for any country. Re-orienting a nation’s infrastructure to be climate smart — from energy to food to manufacturing to transportation — won’t be cheap.

          Not surprisingly, no country wants to be the only one — or one of only a few — that is obliged to overhaul its entire economy to be low-carbon and climate resilient. It would put them at a distinct competitive disadvantage, at least at first (of course, every dollar spent on prevention saves three in disaster cleanup later).

          And so the two largest economies and biggest polluters on the planet — the United States and China — have somewhat cleverly staked out positions that set them on the dangerous path ofMutually Assured Inaction. Neither of them will act on climate until the other does — but neither of them really wants to anyway.

          The U.S. climate team said in no uncertain terms before leaving Washington DC for Doha that a second Obama term doesn’t translate into a shift away from blocking a climate deal that big countries like China are not legally bound by.

          Lead negotiator Jonathon Pershing has repeatedly insisted that he can’t bring home a deal he can’t sell to Congress — and unfortunately Congress is still in the pocket of polluters (look no further for evidence than a recent letter to President Obama from 18 Senators who accepted more than $11 million from dirty energy companies urging him to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and unlock the Canadian tar sands).

          At the end of the first week of negotiations, with a fair and effective climate deal looking out of reach, it’s hard to see how developing countries — or civil society — can compel the industrial world to take bold action and live up to their responsibilities.

          © 2012 Institute for Policy Studies
          • Unsu...

            Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

            Tue, December 4, 2012 - 12:17 AM
            Well hell, anybody ready for more gloom and doom tonight? How about SuperTyphoon Bopha that is destroying the southern end of the Phillipines as I write? Makes Sandy look like a summer breeze. 175mph winds with storm surge that would make all the whiners in NY blush!

            Everyone have their 'holy shit' caps on? Here we go!

            (you might notice that the head of NASA is now having to publish in the UK? Funny, that)

            Climate Change Is Happening Now

            By NASA chief climatologist Dr. James Hansen, Guardian UK

            01 December 12

            The extreme weather events of 2012 are what we have been warning of for 25 years, but the answer is plain to see

            ill our short attention span be the end of us? Just a month after the second "storm of a century" in two years, the media moves on to the latest scandal with barely a retrospective glance at the implications of theextreme climate anomalies we have seen.

            Hurricane Sandy was not just a storm. It was a stark illustration of the power that climate change can deliver - today - to our doorsteps.

            Ask the homeowners along the New Jersey and New York shores still homeless. Ask the local governments struggling weeks later to turn on power to their cold, darkened towns and cities. Ask the entire north-east coast, reeling from a catastrophe whose cost is estimated at $50bn and rising. (I am not brave enough to ask those who've lost husbands or wives, children or grandparents).

            I bring up these facts sadly, as one who has urged us to heed the scientific evidence on climate change for the past 25 years. The science is clear: climate change is here, now.

            Superstorm Sandy is not the first storm, and certainly won't be the last. Still, it is hard for us as individual human beings to connect the dots. That's where observation, data and scientific analysis help us see.

            No credible scientist disputes that we have warmed our climate by almost 1.5C over land areas in the past century, most of that in the past 30 years.

            As my colleagues and I demonstrated in a peer-reviewed study published this summer, climate extremes are already occurring much more frequently in the world we have warmed through our reliance on fossil fuels.

            Our analysis showed that extreme summer heat anomalies used to be infrequent: covering only 0.1-0.2% of the globe in any given summer during the base period of our study, from 1951 to 1980. During the past decade, as the average global temperature rose, such extremes have covered 10% of the land.

            Extreme temperatures deliver more than heat.

            The water cycle is especially sensitive to rising temperatures. Increased heat speeds up evaporation, causing more extreme droughts, like the $5bn (and counting) drought in Texas and Oklahoma. It is linked to an expanding wildfire season and an increase by several fold in the frequency of large fires in the American west.

            The heat also leads to more extreme sea surface temperatures - a key culprit behind Sandy's devastating force. The latent heat in atmospheric water vapour is the fuel that powers tornadoes, thunderstorms, and hurricanes. Stepping up evaporation with warmer temperatures is like stepping on the gas: More energy-rich vapour condenses into water drops, releasing more latent heat as it does so, causing more powerful storms, increased rainfall and more extreme flooding. This is not a matter of belief. This is high-school science class.

            The chances of getting a late October hurricane in New York without the help of global warming are extremely small. In that sense, you can blame Sandy on global warming. Sandy was the strongest recorded storm, measured by barometric pressure, to make landfall north of Cape Hatteras, eclipsing the hurricane of 1938.

            But this fixation on determining the blame for a particular storm, or disputing the causal link between climate change and this or that storm, is misguided.

            A better path forward means listening to the growing chorus - Sandy, extreme droughts and wildfires, intense rainstorms, record-breaking melting of Arctic sea ice - and taking action. Think of it like taking out an insurance policy for the planet.

            We can fix this. The answer is a price on carbon. We must make the price of fossil fuels honest, reflecting their cost to society including the economic devastation wrought by storms like Sandy, the toll on farmland and ecosystems, as well as priceless human lives.

            Whether that price takes the shape of a carbon tax, as some in Washington are now willing to discuss, or a carbon fee, as I have advocated, a price on carbon lets the market find the most effective ways to phase out our reliance on fossil fuels. It also moves us to a sustainable energy future where energy choices are made by individuals and communities, not by Washington mandates and lobbyists.

            A carbon fee, collected from fossil fuel companies, will increase consumer costs. So the money that is collected should be distributed to the public. As people try to minimise their energy costs to keep money for other things, their actions will stimulate the economy, drive innovations and transition us away from fossil fuels.

            If we make our demand for action clear enough, I am optimistic that our leaders in Washington can look beyond the short-term challenges of today to see the looming, long-term threats ahead, and the answer that is right in front of them. We can't simply allow the next news cycle to distract us from the real task ahead.

            Back in the 1980s, I introduced the concept of "climate dice" to make clear the difference between natural variability and climate-change driven extremes. As I predicted, the climate dice in the 21st century are now "loaded". It's not just bad luck Sandy pummelled America's coasts, extreme drought devastated its midlands and wildfires scorched its mountains.

            We loaded the dice. We changed our climate.

            Will the West Survive Climate Change?By Mark Binelli, Men's Journal

            01 December 12


            This year, summer came on like a grudge, with record-breaking heat, inescapable drought, and the sense that the effects of climate change had arrived - and that life in America's mythic frontier might never be the same.

            omething looked off when I landed at Denver International Airport this past August. It had been about four years since my last visit, and I couldn't immediately put my finger on what was up. I bought a coffee, glanced at the 'Denver Post,' and wandered out into the main terminal, with its silly bedouin design, the domed white ceiling looking as flimsy and tarplike as ever. It wasn't until I was outside, riding in the shuttle bus to my rental car, that it struck me what had changed: The Rocky Mountains had vanished.

            "Oh, yeah," the shuttle-bus driver confirmed. "We haven't been able to see them from the airport for about a month." Colorado had been experiencing its hottest summer on record. In Denver, temperatures would hit 90 degrees or higher on 73 days, shattering the previous record of 61 days set in 2000. (The summer average over the past 30 years has been only 33 days.) Haze from the heat, along with lingering smoke from the wildfires that had been ravaging much of the West - including the 18,000-acre Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs - had conspired to erase metropolitan Denver's spectacular horizon. If you squinted and the light was just right, you could make out faint outlines of the Rockies' Front Range, looking like a tentative art-school etching, begun and then inexplicably abandoned.

            Record-breaking heat waves, a fire season run amok, sustained levels of drought unseen since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s: Throughout the summer of 2012, the weather came on like a grudge, as spiteful and relentless as an Old Testament plague. It was the hottest July ever in the United States, and the third-hottest summer in the history of the country. By September, 7 million acres had burned across the U.S.: 600,000 acres in Nevada; 144,000 in Idaho; 650,000 in Montana. The record for worst fire year in U.S. history had only just been set in 2006 (9.8 million acres burned), but it's likely that 2012 will surpass that number. In July, in Guthrie, Oklahoma, thermometers hit 114 degrees, breaking the previous record set in 1896. By August, 63 percent of the country was experiencing drought conditions, drying up wells across the Midwest. On a Navajo reservation in New Mexico, feral horses started dropping dead; horse-rescue organizations around the country couldn't handle the spike in business. Down in Texas, where the previous summer's drought had prompted an unprecedented cattle drive north - thinning the state's 5-million-head herd by 12 percent - an unusually mild winter (even by Texas standards) had allowed plague-carrying mosquitoes to survive and flourish, resulting in an outbreak of West Nile virus that killed at least 77 people.

            In Alamogordo, New Mexico, Bonito Lake, which provided water for the city, was declared a FEMA disaster site after being polluted with more than 40 feet of ash and silt from the Little Bear fire, "the odor of charred trees and rotting fish permeat[ing] the air," according to a July news report. Rivers in New Mexico and Colorado turned black from ash runoff, so threatening the endangered Gila trout that environmentalists had to transport the fish to hatcheries after stunning them with electric shocks.

            The governor of Missouri declared a state of emergency in July after 25 people died from heat-related causes; by August, 93 percent of the state was considered in "extreme" drought, battering corn growers and cattle ranchers. On a single day in July, the Department of Agriculture declared a state of emergency in more than a thousand counties in 26 states, the largest such designation in the history of the USDA. In an op-ed in the 'New York Times', a trio of scientists, noting that the Northern Hemisphere had just celebrated its "327th consecutive month in which the temperature exceeded the 20th-century average," warned of the possibility of a decades-long "megadrought" that would fundamentally change the American West. "Climate model projections," they wrote, "suggest that what we consider today to be an episode of severe drought might even be classified as a period of abnormal wetness [italics mine] by the end of the century."

            National temperature maps began to resemble nasty scabs: the bloodiest reds in the center, turning various bruised shades of purple and pink as the color indexing radiated outward, becoming fleshiest at the coastal fringes. My mother called from Michigan right before my Colorado trip. A neighbor up in the Thumb had just rung her to say the fish in their pond, which is about 40 feet across, had all died. Apparently the heat got them, too.

            A cliché began to circulate when people spoke of the extreme weather plaguing much of the United States: It might be a "new normal," sober commentators warned. Where had this term come from? Its popularity seemed yoked to its widespread malaise-era U.S. applicability, from unemployment numbers and outsourced jobs to shrunken pensions and austerity-hobbled local governments. Get used to the new normal, fuckers - it's going to suck! The new normal never seemed to refer to anything remotely desirable (delicious new ice cream flavors, say, or an unexplained barrage of suggestive text messages from Norah Jones) and now had extended its reach to the very elements: fire and drought and triple-digit heat waves. I wondered how the citizens of the West would adapt. Would they calmly dig in their boots like the pioneers of yore? Or had they already started bugging out?

            And would this new normal mean life out there might revert to the "old normal" - which, not so very long ago, before irrigation techniques and the widespread damming of rivers, prior to air-conditioning and Wal-Mart and overnight FedEx deliveries, had made the West incredibly inhospitable to all but the hardiest of human inhabitants? For so long, the West existed as a sort of heroic painting symbolizing the core aspects of American myth: Manifest Destiny, "frontier spirit," Yankee ingenuity, bullheaded never-say-die Reaganesque optimism. This persisted even after historians complicated simplistic early portraits of the West by giving voice to Native Americans and others. Now, though, at a time when our confidence was already deeply rattled on a geopolitical and macroeconomic scale, the frontier itself - this thing we thought we'd conquered - seemed to be rearing its head, like an animal roused from hibernation.

            It seemed like a good time for a road trip.

            Colorado: The Rockies Meet the Suburbs

            The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), one of the top climate laboratories in the world, is headquartered in Boulder, Colorado.Its spectacular Mesa Lab, modeled in part after Stonehenge by the architect I.M. Pei, looms in the foothills of the Rockies, the blocky, sand-colored towers looking like three-dimensional puzzle pieces cryptically arranged by ancient alien visitors. Just past a deer-crossing sign on the road leading to the Mesa Lab, an obviously newer sign reads danger: HIGH FIRE RISK.

            "In the U.S., the last 12 months have been, by far, the warmest on record," Kevin Trenberth, the head of NCAR's Climate Analysis Section, tells me over lunch. "All of the Dust Bowl-era records from the 1930s have finally been vanquished." The last one to go was the July record: July of 1936 had been the country's warmest until 2012.

            Trenberth is a trim New Zealander in his sixties. He's been living in the Boulder area for 28 years and very much looks the part, sporting cargo shorts and hiking sneakers as office attire. Trenberth spends his days synthesizing reams of climate data, and he says the evidence is stark. Earlier in the summer, he told the 'PBS NewsHour,' "You look out the window and you see climate change in action." He wasn't referring to individual weather events or naturally varying meteorological patterns, but rather to the sheer scale of the extremes. Offering a personal anecdote, Trenberth notes that a week or so before my visit, he'd been hiking around the Maroon Bells, a pair of peaks near Aspen, and, disturbingly, found no snow at all. "The heat from the sun was just coming down and heating the ground," he says. "Normally it would be, first, partly reflected by the snow, and second, all of the water - the melt from the snow - would be keeping things wet, and the heat from the sun would go into evaporating moisture. So there was nowhere for the heat to go other than to raise temperatures. These conditions set the stage throughout the Southwest for heat waves to develop, and the consequences have been wildfires."

            Back in his cluttered office, Trenberth takes a seat in front of a wall of bookshelves groaning with scholarly journals. "I'm quite alarmed," Trenberth says, "mainly because when it comes to reducing emissions - to cutting down on the fundamental cause of the problem - there's been no progress since 2009." He connects this lack of progress to the massive pushback and disinformation campaign that followed Al Gore's 2006 film 'An Inconvenient Truth' and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 report, the largest and most detailed climate study ever undertaken, which called global warming "unequivocal." Trenberth was one of the lead authors of the IPCC report, and he and the IPCC shared a Nobel Peace Prizethat year with Gore.

            In the past, despite an overwhelming consensus on the reality of climate change, scientists were reluctant to forensically link any single short-term climactic variation - a particular heat wave or series of hurricanes - directly to warming trends. Weather patterns, after all, vary naturally, which is why things like the Dust Bowl could happen in Al Gore's father's time, long before greenhouse gases had become a threat. But the accrual of harrowing data has begun to eat away the science community's circumspection. This summer, a paper in the 'Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society' co-authored by climate scientists from the U.S. and the U.K. stated that "scientific thinking on this issue has moved on, and now it is widely accepted that attribution statements about individual weather or climate events are possible." In other words, the fact that all of the crazy weather you've been noticing the past few years happens to have been predictedby every credible climate-change model is not just a wild coincidence. The authors use a baseball analogy: If a player begins taking steroids and suddenly his number of home runs skyrockets by an average of 20 percent each season, it might remain impossible to say that any one particular home run was the sole result of the doping - other factors, such as the player's skill, the opposing pitcher, or the layout of a particular stadium, would of course come into play. But one could say that, because of the presence of the steroids, that particular hit was 20 percent more likely to occur.

            Likewise with climate science. Droughts, heat waves, flooding, and tornadoes will always occur, but their frequency and severity are what makes climate change impossible to ignore. As one example, the authors cite the 2011 Texas drought, the worst single-year drought in the state's recorded history. While it was happening, meteorologists generally pointed to La Niña, a naturally occurring weather phenomenon over the Pacific Ocean that can affect rainfall worldwide. But in 2012, a statistical analysis by the authors of the BAMS report concluded that the Texas drought was 20 times more likely to occur today than during a comparable La Niña year in the 1960s, when greenhouse gases were much lower.

            A shy, slightly awkward speaker, Trenberth rarely made eye contact during our nearly two-hour conversation, often staring down past his silver mustache at his folded hands, looking pensive, or as if he might suddenly launch into desperate prayer. He says there's little reason to realistically believe that the total warming of the globe will remain below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees F), the target set by the Copenhagen Accord - which has been described as "the bottomest of bottom lines."

            "You continue to have some hope," he says. "But in order to address this internationally, the U.S. has to be a leader, and Congress has been absolutely hopeless on this whole issue. The environmental groups have hardly any money in comparison to the deniers." Trenberth's voice takes on a piquant edge for the first time during our conversation. "The vested interests are very clear in this game, and they're spending tens of millions of dollars every year," he concludes. "And most of them are on the denial side."

            After leaving Trenberth, I drive to my second appointment of the day, which happens to be in Colorado Springs. If Boulder, 40 minutes north of Denver, remains the state's liberal enclave (college town, home of the Naropa Institute, a kite store, and numerous jam-band-flyered kiosks), Colorado Springs, an hour and a half south of Denver, feels like Boulder's parallel-universe opposite world (bastion of conservative politics, home of Focus on the Family and the U.S. Air Force Academy, the place where the Taxpayer Bill of Rights was created, and, as one local political-science professor told 'Bloomberg News,' the "Tea Party before Tea Party was cool"). In 2009, Colorado Springs voters rejected the notion of raising property taxes, which had fallen 41 percent since 1990, to make up for revenue lost during the economic downturn, and so the city became a model of the new austerity, de-commissioning one-third of its streetlights, slashing the number of cops and firefighters, auctioning off both of its police helicopters, and halting maintenance of city parks. When the Waldo Canyon wildfire erupted in late June, jumping containment lines and flying down the slopes of the mountains at 65 mph, critics wondered if some of the destruction (and a rash of post-fire burglaries in the evacuation zone) might have been prevented by a properly staffed public-safety department. Police chief Pete Carey vigorously rejects this charge, describing the fire to me as a "once-in-a-lifetime catastrophic event."

            But when I bring up the shortage of officers during a tour of the decimated neighborhoods with Sgt. Mark DeVorss, a Colorado Springs native and 24-year veteran of the police force, he treats the conclusion as self-evident. "The department was already short on officers before the economy tanked," he tells me. "And we lost 50 or 60 more since then." DeVorss has a mild, kindly deportment and wears his pants high on his waist. He drives me out past the Garden of the Gods, a majestic 240-acre park of rock formations that looks like something out of a Road Runner cartoon, to the "upper-upper-middle-class" suburbs (DeVorss' words) that burned. Luckily, the CSPD had evacuated most residents before the fire spread. A sharp wind had caught everyone off guard, speeding the burn along four hours' worth of projected checkpoints in only 40 minutes. Chief Carey was holding an outdoor press conference when he noticed all of the cameras swing away from him and toward the direction of the mountain, at which point he recalls thinking, "Oh, this can't be good."

            Wildfires have become more dangerous not only because they are bigger and burn longer, but also because we've come to live differently. While the West of legend meant wide-open spaces and lonely homesteads, in reality, many aspects of today's West have become fairly indistinguishable from the rest of the country, particularly when it comes to the growth of cities and the attendant suburban sprawl that encroaches upon forests and exposes more and more homes and civilians to wildfire risk.

            The Colorado Springs subdivisions destroyed by this year's fires once offered spectacular views. "America the Beautiful" was written by Katharine Lee Bates, a vacationing Wellesley professor, from the summit of nearby Pikes Peak. But now many of the trees lining the purple mountain majesties are black and fossilized, like a haunted forest from a children's book. And of course the houses where upper-upper-middle-class folk once enjoyed those views while sitting at their breakfast nooks are mostly gone. DeVorss steers his police SUV along the gently curving lanes wending their way through formerly picturesque developments with names like Mountain Shadows. Often all that's left of the houses are the foundations, and occasionally an erect brick chimney standing embarrassingly exposed. Amid the piles of ash and rubble, I spot a stack of folding chairs fused together, a metal fan, what looks like a refrigerator turned on its side, or maybe a stove. I see a set of stairs going nowhere: The rest of the house is gone. Cars left in driveways look blown open like firecrackers.

            DeVorss squints at another melted, carlike object. "Looks like a Mustang," he says. He points out a home where an elderly couple who refused to evacuate both died. (They eventually attempted to flee, but their electric garage door wouldn't open.)

            DeVorss doesn't remember many fires growing up. He says blizzards were always the bigger issue. Chief Carey, who moved out from Philadelphia in the Eighties, agrees, recalling the "hellacious" winters of those early years. During especially gnarly storms, soldiers from Fort Carson would transport snowbound officers in their all-terrain vehicles.

            In the lobby of a hotel in downtown Colorado Springs, I meet Tim Leigh, a garrulous real estate broker and member of the city council. I'd reached out to Leigh because he's originally from Grand Forks, North Dakota, a city nearly wiped out by a flood in 1997. As with the Waldo Canyon fire, the flood had been precipitated by extreme weather events, but when I bring up climate change, Leigh grins broadly and asks, "First of all, do you believe in Area 51, aliens? Have you studied that stuff?" I confess that I have not. "My point is, when you say, 'Is it global warming? Is it the end of the Earth?' you might as well ask, 'Are there aliens in Area 51?' I'm not sure about that. I just read a report within the last week, and when you look at the data, at the actual temperatures, you can make a pretty compelling argument that we're not in a warming trend. We're in a cooling trend with an aberrant warm spot. But the long-term trend is generally down. That's really hard to get your arms around. I get that we're in a hot cycle, and I also get that we're dry, and viscerally, you want to say, 'Fuck yeah, it's hot out!' But the data doesn't trend that way, so do you believe the data or do you believe something else, just because your lawn is dry?"

            I wish I could secretly Skype this conversation to Trenberth and make his head explode. But instead I nod impassively. Leigh does not deny that the long-range weather forecast for Colorado is continuous drought, and acknowledges that the water levels in the local reservoir are down about 45 percent, enough to get the city through another year, though after that, Leigh concedes, they'll have to think about buying water.

            A waitress places a bowl of wasabi peas in front of us. Leigh grabs a handful, tastes one, makes a face, returns the rest to the bowl. He says he's going to tell me something people would probably kill him for saying: To a certain extent, he looks on the fire as an opportunity. The residents whose homes were destroyed would collect insurance money and get brand-new houses, while the Colorado Springs economy, which was devastated when the housing bubble burst, would receive a boost. "It's unfortunate, because you're drawing insurance proceeds from other parts of the country," Leigh says, "but that money is coming here, and it's employing local contractors, local laborers who need work, selling construction materials, all those folks who have to restock their houses. You hate to say it, but the tragedy creates a financial boon, to a certain extent."

            Leigh understands that a long-term drought will change life in the West. "Politically, what I tell everyone in this town is that we might have to build a moat around this city and become somewhat isolationist," he says. "You have to interplay with the global economy. But, really, you work to protect your constituents, the local people, your neighbors, that kind of stuff. That's a horrible model! But I don't know what else you do. We can sit here and have four glasses of wine and really talk deep. I think aliens landed at Area 51. I think they're causing this."

            It's worth noting that Leigh is willing to allow people to cross the moat on special occasions: By late June, for example, the 'New York Times' had reported that more than half of the federal firefighting resources had been sent to the state of Colorado.

            Wyoming: The Cattlemen's Last Stand

            One of the most resilient symbols of the West has been the cowboy, and I began to wonder how he'd been holding up in the heat. Again, of course, by this late date, the myth of the cowboy was largely that: myth, preserved, Renaissance Faire-style, on the rodeo circuit and on 'City Slickers'-style dude ranches. Actual working ranches in states like Wyoming have been in decline for decades, much like the family farm in the Midwest.

            That said, according to figures by the Wyoming Beef Council, the state still raised 1.3 million head of cattle per year - or 2.3 cows per human Wyoming citizen. Russell Bell, the former president of the Independent Cattleman's Association, laid out the dire math plaguing ranchers in this era of extreme weather. Bell raised cattle and sheep in Gillette, Wyoming, but his grazing land, where the grass normally hit 14 inches, never topped four inches in 2012. At this point, a rancher had to make a decision: He could put his cattle on hay or feed - the price of which had skyrocketed, again, thanks to the drought - or he could begin selling off cattle early (less fattened, for a cheaper price). An extended drought would put many of the small ranchers out of business.

            As I make the drive north from Colorado into Wyoming, Highway 25 cuts through brittle, yellowed pastureland stretched on either side of the narrow, lonely road like the pelts of dead animals, eventually meeting the preposterously massive sky at the horizon. After Cheyenne, I spot cows here and there, and in the distance, windmills. Wyoming, one of our flattest states, has the best wind in the country, and certain entrepreneurial-minded, forward-thinking types have been talking about transforming the state into the Saudi Arabia of wind energy, or something like that, buying up ranches and erecting those stark, modernist windmills that could appear either soothing or ominous, depending on one's mood. The problem is, Wyoming has already long been the Saudi Arabia of coal, a $1.2-billion-a-year industry that produces (by far) the largest amount in the United States. Wind proponents have charged that the state, controlled by mining, oil, and gas interests, has intentionally stymied wind-farm development with taxes and regulations.

            My ultimate destination is Douglas, an old ranching town (pop. 6,000) sitting about dead center and on the eastern edge of the perfect rectangle that is Wyoming. Every August, Douglas hosts the Wyoming State Fair, and the coal industry is one of the prime sponsors. The Cloud Peak Energy booth features a giant black chunk of coal that you can touch and oversize photographs of coal-laden dump trucks. I tell the woman behind the counter that I'm writing a story on how extreme weather might change life in the West and ask if the drought is affecting mining operations. I wonder if she thinks I'm messing with her, but she frowns and considers the question before saying no, she doesn't think so. Her partner, a young guy with spiky gelled hair, added, "We're digging into the soil, not trying to grow anything. But the heat probably makes it harder for the miners?" I said that made sense.

            Peabody Energy had an entire tent, with children's games and a flatscreen television showing a video about the benefits of coal power. "Want to answer a question?" one of the Peabody ladies asks me. Consulting a sheet of paper, she says, "Let's, that one's too easy. OK. 'Peabody ships coal to other countries: true or false?'"

            I say true.

            "You're right!" says her coworker, who is wearing a COAL JOBS cap, adding, "And 39 states!" She tells me I can choose from an assortment of Peabody knapsack-totes as a prize and asks what I'm doing at the fair. When I tell her about my story, she swats at the air and insists, "It hasn't been that hot!" She asks me where I live and then pulls out a map shading states by how much they spend on energy. "Places with coal always have lower costs," she insists. "You're in New York - see, that's much higher." She shakes her head sadly. "People say coal is dirty, but they have ulterior motives. Some people want energy to be expensive. I don't think that's good for America. I want to build things here."

            By the time the rodeo begins, I'm freezing. Though the clerk at my hotel told me it had been in the nineties "since June 1," by the time I arrived in Douglas, the temperature, in a serious blow to my preconceived narrative, had plummeted. For some reason, the cowboys are all wearing pink shirts. I wonder if it's an elaborate 'Brokeback Mountain' joke. Then the announcer explains the theme of tonight's rodeo: "Tough Enough to Wear Pink," some kind of breast-cancer-awareness thing. They release a bull that's been painted entirely pink. I continue to shiver. The special guests of the evening, a group of Canadian Mounties riding some of the largest horses I've ever seen, perform an elaborate synchronized dressage routine. I remember how a friend back in New York, an environmental scientist at Columbia University, had told me that climate change would end up shifting the Midwestern American "breadbasket" northward, to Canadian provinces like Saskatchewan. Suddenly, the once easily parodied Mounties take on the sinister aspects of a show of force by a conquering army, taunting my demoralized, vanquished people with their totalitarian precision.

            The next morning, I drive to the Torrington Livestock Markets, the largest cattle auction house in the state. The Torrington Livestock Market has been slammed all summer with ranchers desperately trying to sell off parts (or the entirety) of herds they simply cannot afford to feed.

            The auctions take place in a miniature arena: basically, stadium seating overlooking a cattle pen. The place is so old-school, there is still a pair of phone booths in the seated section, dating from the days when people called in bids on land lines. Down in the sawdust-covered pit, two wranglers stand beside protective metal railings, working the button-operated swing gates on either end of the bull pens. The one on the left punches his button, and the object of the bidding wanders out onto the stage like a Miss America contestant. After (literally) a few seconds, the guy on the right presses his own button, opening the second set of doors, through which he shoos the animal with what appears to be a giant flyswatter.

            "How you doing?" one cowboy near me asks another.

            "Droughty," his friend says.

            Only about 20 men, a mix of buyers and sellers, are spread out in the aging stadium seating, but the cattle stream through all morning, nonstop. An old-fashioned scoreboard displays stats like weight and price per hundred pounds. You can distinguish the bidders from the sellers because the bidders are mostly slumped back in their seats, looking deeply uninterested. To bid, they make the tiniest, barely discernible motions with their heads or fingers. Some of them jot notes on scorecards, like they're serious baseball fans or horse gamblers. The faint, sweet stink of manure permeates the entire building. Almost everyone is wearing some kind of hat, but there's a divide, roughly even, between caps and proper cowboy hats. The auctioneer has been doing that gibberishy, hyperaccented auctioneer thing, where the only words you can make out are numbers, and they jump out at you the same way as when a person speaking a foreign language you don't understand suddenly says "iPhone" or "Brad Pitt."

            An obese man wearing cut-off denim shorts and a black tank top that barely covers the awesomeness of his girth enters the arena and takes a seat on the steps. The auctioneer spots the man and interrupts his rap with a greeting.

            "Mr. Cress, you're up early! Did you come from your morning workout?"

            The big man grins and says, "Yup. I went or my run and then played some basketball."

            In the cafeteria adjoining the arena, I join the man (Bob Cress) as he tucks into a massive country breakfast (some kind of smothered meat over fried eggs and potatoes). When I ask how things are going this year, Cress says, "Bad. I've seen 10,000 cows coming through this sell barn in one week. There's no grass - it never did come alive. I got some good old pasture, so we're hanging in there." Cress ranches in La Grange, 40 minutes south of Torrington, on 65 acres he hasn't irrigated in a month. He wasn't selling today; he just stopped by to see what the market was like. He was planning on selling 140 calves the following month. "I'd figured, I got a well, so, shit, I can keep this hay wet," he tells me. "But the water evaporates before it hits the ground. It's gotten up to 110 degrees. Yeah, it sucks."

            I hear identical stories from buyers and sellers all morning. A kindly older cowboy in a white hat says if things don't improve by next year he'll have to "liquidate the factory," explaining, "That's what we call the cows. I've lived here all my life. Never saw nothing like this. When you're in agriculture, there's always hope. But if this doesn't change, there just won't be no cattle here. People will have to figure out something else to do." His son had landed a job at one of the wind farms, repairing the big turbines. But when I mention climate change, he just smiles and says, "Oh, that's something Al Gore started. I'm not an Al Gore fan."

            By this point in my reporting, I'd been on the road for a solid week, and Kevin Trenberth was basically the last person I met who, when asked, unequivocally believed greenhouse gases were causing global climate change. I hadn't been going out of my way to look for obvious cranks who'd make for a good story or confirm my coastal liberal stereotypes: This attitude was conventional wisdom in these parts. And in fairness, the defensiveness of these local deniers made a sort of contextual sense. Getting one's head around the hugeness of climate change, and what needs to be done to combat it, is an overwhelming proposition even for someone far removed from its front lines. Now consider how exponentially compounded the difficulty of such changes become when they're all tied up in history and culture and livelihood, when your great-grandfather ranched on the land you're ranching now, or your whole family has been employed by one of the coal or oil companies for generations, and suddenly you've got some outsider coming along and telling you not only that everything you've been doing needs to stop, but that it's also been destroying the planet. Taking offense, hunkering down, even engaging in Fox News-abetted magical thinking is not exactly the craziest of responses.

            Regardless of belief in causality, the ways in which these ranchers adapt to the changing West are worth studying, because they know the land better than anyone. One rancher I meet (who actually pulls out his own copy of the Constitution during our conversation and makes a joke about how the document's authors were smart men who raised animals, not "community organizers") tells me about how he's been genetically breeding cattle to "do more on less" - culling the more inefficient members of the herd so his new breed requires less feed and thus becomes more drought resistant.

            Down in the pen, the cows work the catwalk in a variety of styles. Some scamper nervously, like amateur singers shoved onto a stage from behind a curtain and blinking in front of an audience for the first time. The bulls tend to strut and flare their nostrils angrily; a giant black one won't leave the pen until the prodders whack it repeatedly on the side with their swatters. Some exhibit sudden bursts of anger, back-kicking the metal doors. I like when the bulls mess with the swatters. As the bulls exit, their giant balls shake at us from between their legs like angry fists.

            "This is the real American West, the last of it," Russell Bell tells me back at the state fair, where the Independent Cattlemen's Association has set up a tent. "This is it. We still tip our hats to ladies." He sounds worried that it's disappearing. "The last drought this big was in 1934. That lasted seven years and drove the farmers to the cities. If this goes for a few years, you could end up with starvation." Bell spoke in a quiet voice with a slightly melodious accent, so even when he was predicting apocalyptic events - mass destruction of family farms and ranches, a violently disrupted food chain - there was a gentle quality to what he was saying.

            We're sitting in folding chairs in the back of the tent, near a beautifully restored 1922 Model T with a FOR SALE sign propped on the running board. The sign, with its Home Depot font, looks anachronistic on the old Ford. "Hey, squirt!" Bell suddenly yells, spotting a little kid climbing onto the vehicle. "Don't hang on it." The Model T, it turns out, belonged to Bell's father, who liked to restore old cars. Bell hates to sell it, but he needs the money. "I'm trying to get $12,000," he says, "but probably the first guy who comes along and gives me $10,000 is gonna own it."

            Yellowstone: An Imperiled Icon

            En route to Yellowstone National Park, I pass through Casper, an ugly oil town, and pull over to check out a dried-up creek: It's all rocks and weeds now, the latter so brittle they crunch like insects under my sneakers. After leaving Torrington, I'd stopped by the Bureau of Reclamation, the Philip K. Dick-sounding name they'd come up with for the government bureau in charge of monitoring and doling out the extremely scarce water supplies in places like semi-arid eastern Wyoming. The friendly BOR chief told me about area conservation efforts, and how, especially during periods of drought, a farmer with junior water rights would threaten inspectors ("Don't you touch my head gate!") or actually steal water from his neighbors. An Environmental Protection Agency report says more than 30 states expect water shortages next year, including Oklahoma, where state officials, according to Reuters, are looking to "encourage increased processing of undrinkable 'brackish' water."

            As I drive westward across Wyoming, the horizon is flat and endless, right up to the distant mountains. At one point, a train runs alongside me, loaded up with coal. I wind up on one of those two-lane desert highways that always figure in road-trip movies, and then I realize I've neglected to fill up the tank of my SUV. Just as I've shut off the A/C and started to panic, a roadside gas station appears like a mirage. A handwritten sign in the window of the gas station warns: "This place is Gaurded [sic] by the Honorable Mr. 'Colt.'"

            I see cows biding their time in fields so yellow and dry they look like nuclear test sites. I see a fishing store called Lip Ripper Bait and Tackle. In Thermopolis, the lady in the coffee shop tells me they had to cancel this year's Fourth of July fireworks on account of fire risk. I've started carrying my stuff around in the Peabody Energy knapsack I won at the state fair, in hopes of blending in with the climate deniers, but for some reason, I foolishly chose an almost Day-Glo lime-green bag, so the cowboys still give me funny looks.

            I make it as far as Cody, a town on the edge of Yellowstone, named for William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, one of the West's most tireless (and financially savvy) mythologists. Cody is one of those uniquely American towns that's both an authentic place of historical interest and a hypermediated Epcot (or in this case, Frontierland) version of that place - like Yellowstone itself, where the epic, unspoiled nature and roaming packs of buffalo preserve an approximation of the "wilderness" part of the West that hadn't otherwise survived our invasion.

            I stay in the Irma Hotel, which was once owned by Buffalo Bill. The gorgeous bar and dining hall has an enormous chandelier made from antlers and all manner of mounted game. Out on the porch, tourists and locals have gathered to drink and watch the nightly fake gunfight, the verisimilitude of which is sort of ruined by the silver Ford Focus parked right in our line of vision. A fat biker with a long white beard knotted into a single tight braid spots a boy in a U.S. Army cap and asks, "You going into the military, young man?" The kid says he's thinking about it, and the biker advises him to join the Air Force. "It's the easiest," he says. "And you can fly planes. You can fly the president."

            "I wouldn't want to fly this president," one of the biker's buddies mutters.

            A third chimes in: "I would - right into a mountain."

            I ask the biker standing closest to me, a handsome, sunburned guy with a goatee, if he's from Cody. He says he moved out six years ago from St. Louis, and that he works for an oil company in North Dakota, repairing the wells. I ask about this summer's weather, and he chuckles and says, "Almost makes you believe in global warming, huh?" One of the side effects of climate change has been the migration north of bark beetles, which can now survive the less harsh winters of states like Wyoming and Montana, and which have wreaked havoc in places like Yellowstone, where they've killed acres of forest. "But even the beetles are leaving now," my new friend points out. "No more trees to eat."

            The next morning, as I drive into the park, I audibly gasp at the sheer scale of the dead forest around me. Once the bark beetles have killed a tree, it dries out and becomes, essentially, kindling, a phenomenon which has contributed to the frequency and severity of recent wildfires. I pull over and wander around a so-called "ghost forest" of dead trees - normally forest-green Douglas firs gone a spooky, antediluvian gray. The trees tower six stories or so, their pine needles clumped together, drooping like Spanish moss. No one else is around. The only sound is the insectoid hum emanating from these yellow flying bugs, which also have the ability to make insanely loud clicking noises, like someone knocking a couple of sticks together. One of the bugs buzzes my head, and I duck crazily and wave my arms.

            Driving on, I come to a cluster of parked vehicles and a surreal scene: tourists photographing an elk grazing amid an entirely burned wasteland. Since 1997, bark beetles have destroyed more than 40 million acres of Western forest; the U.S. Forest Service estimates that over the next decade, 100,000 dead trees will topple daily thanks to the beetle infestation.

            Because of all the dead trees, no campfires were allowed in Yellowstone this summer. People sat around their tents wearing headlamps, or just told each other stories in the dark.

            Montana: A Dry River Runs Through It

            Montana, one of our most beautiful states, is even more striking when you come via Yellowstone, simply because of the number of green trees. In Missoula, I get lunch with Tim O'Leary, a friend of a friend who now owns one of the most popular microbreweries in town, Kettlehouse. Before he began making beer, O'Leary studied environmental science and worked at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, not far from the Mesa Lab. He uses 100 percent local barley (along with ingredients like pelletized industrial hemp, for his Olde Bongwater Hemp Porter), though he says it's been harder in recent years for farmers in Montana to make a living growing crops, that they've been selling off their land to people he calls "gentlemen ranchers" - wealthy folk from the coasts looking for vacation properties.

            After lunch, O'Leary drives me back to his brewery, where I've left my car. It's about 90 degrees. "Ten years ago, on a day like today, I'd have the A/C on," he says, "but I've gotten more heat tolerant." We pass over the Clark Fork River, which cuts through town. "There's the effin' 'River that Runs Through It,'" O'Leary says drily. He's referring, of course, to the Norman Maclean short story (and, later, Robert Redford movie) about fly-fishing, set in Missoula, where Maclean grew up. In college, O'Leary himself used to lead fishing and rafting tours. "The Clark is an interesting story," he says. "Way back when, you'd dam a river for business reasons: to float logs or to generate power. Now they dam it to make the whitewater better, so people can recreate." I don't believe I've heard "recreate" used as a verb before, but in Montana, where tourism is such a crucial part of the local economy, it makes sense: Extreme weather could have a severe economic impact here. By late August, air quality had gotten so bad in parts of Montana, thanks to wildfire smoke, that the state recommended people "limit prolonged exertion outdoors," according to an article in the 'Missoulian,' and high school football teams began moving their practices indoors. Fishing restrictions were also placed on rivers and streams throughout Montana because of the heat. (When water temperatures reach 73 degrees or higher for three consecutive days, fish are far less likely to survive being caught and released.) "Even business Republicans understand," O'Leary says, "Montana is about blue skies and clean water."

            Later that evening, I wander along the banks of the Clark, stopping at a marker indicating where Lewis and Clark once crashed their raft, because the water was so rough. Tonight it's very placid. Some people lazily tube, others fish. Kids dive off a bridge, ignoring signs warning them not to dive off the bridge. I was expecting to see the corpses of boiled fish. Instead, a fat beaver swims by, mocking my unsavory journalistic appetite for bad news.

            The next morning, I fly out to Sacramento, where, a couple of hours north, the wildfires now cover 28,000 acres, and Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency.

            On the plane, I thought again about how the "new" West might begin to resemble the classic version, at least when it came to upping the barrier of entry. But what would the "end" of the West even mean at this point? The end of rampant overdevelopment in places like Nevada? The final nail in the coffin of "authentic" Western life, the sort embodied in ranchers like Russell Bell? A permanent-enough change in the natural world, drying enough creeks and reservoirs to return certain areas to desert, scorching other places with so much heat and fire they become essentially unlivable? The West has been such an important part of the American mystique for so long that the changes that might occur would certainly affect our collective psyche. For so long, we've had this vast place that was so much more than just a place: It was a tangible display of our country's bounty and near-boundlessness, a living symbol (in its very harshness) of our national character (our people brave enough to tame badlands and carve out desert oases, murderous enough to nearly wipe out an entire race), a trophy of an epic conquest. If that place becomes exhausted, or spoiled, or simply too unfriendly a landscape, well....what, exactly, will we have lost?

            I consider this question as I drive to Redding, California. I pass orchards, rice fields, farms, a billboard reading LOOK OUT CONGRESS! THE PEOPLE ARE COMING NOV. 7. The air in Redding, when I walk outside my hotel the morning after my arrival, feels thick and staticky, and though it's a hot, sunny day, a hazy scrim has been drawn over the sky, polluting the blue so it's more the color of a stepped-on eggshell, or a fading, grayish bruise. I can smell the smoke in the air, even though the fires are burning about 45 minutes away. It was 99 degrees in Sacramento yesterday. The woman sitting next to me on the plane told me that wasn't so hot for August.

            More than 2,000 firefighters have been mobilized from all over the state. My hotel is packed with them, as is every restaurant I visit. ("One thing about these fires," a firefighter tells me, "they boost the local economy!") As I drive toward the base camp - it's actually the fairgrounds of a little town called Red Bluff - I see a couple of helicopters parked on the grassy shoulder of the freeway. The birds flying in the haze look confused, but that might just be my projecting. How would I know what a confused bird flies like?

            Funnily enough, the firefighter assigned to show me around, Shawn Sternick, lives in Missoula. He knows who Tim O'Leary is, and loves his beer, and just got through making an annual rafting and camping trek on the Clark River with some buddies, which they refer to as their Lewis and Clark Trip. Sternick works in Los Angeles, though. He grew up in Orange County, but his wife is from Montana, and they wanted to raise their kids somewhere less hectic than L.A. Because firefighters must be on call at the firehouse 24-7, Sternick's schedule (5 days on, 13 days off) allows for such a commute, and he says he's not alone: Other guys in his firehouse commute as far as Idaho and Tennessee. "A lot of us can't afford to live in L.A.," he says.

            Budget cuts have also hit California hard. One fire chief, coming off the front lines, where his men had been hiking up the side of a mountain (while wearing heavy fire gear) to lay thousands of feet of hose, explains that his team of 15 would have been 20 in prior years. Sternick says he and his colleagues have had pay cuts and lost vacation days. By far the best bang for the California taxpayers' (literal!) buck are the men in orange pants and ankle bracelets I spot near the fairgrounds' tent city, prepping food for the mess hall: prison inmates, who get paid "something like a dollar a day," according to Sternick. "They do some of the hardest work - on the front line, cutting brush. It looks good for the parole board, so they all want to do it. We're not really supposed to talk to them."

            The Ponderosa fire in Lassen National Forest, finally contained, came close to destroying several towns, traveling seven miles in one night. Sternick drives me up to the front line, on top of a ridge. We pass hilly, yellow-grassed terrain dotted with short, gnarled trees and volcanic rock. As we approach the ridge, I see smoke pouring from the top of a not-so-distant mountain. It looks like a smoldering volcano we should be driving away from. Helicopters hauling buckets of retardant (a kind of reddish slime) fly over our heads to douse the fire.

            At the ridge, I see an entire slope of freshly charred mountain. "We call that 'clean,'" Sternick explains. Meaning, there's nothing left to burn, so no risk of a fire restarting. (Firefighters comb the area, making sure every stick is cold, even cutting into tree stumps and roots, which can sometimes hide red-hot coals.) Another part of the ridge still has some living vegetation left. "We call that 'dirty,'" Sternick goes on. "We like it when the fire burns everything, so there's no chance of reignition."

            The next morning, I drive up to another fire site, about an hour and a half north, to meet up with some smokejumpers. But by this point, there's not much else for me to learn. On my way home, I cut through a little valley, and the smoke is so thick, it's like mist. I switch my A/C to air-circulating mode, suddenly paranoid about choking or passing out. Then I pass a field of cows, chewing on grass, looking just fine. This makes me feel better. Then I begin to wonder if maybe the cows have powerful cow lungs, better equipped to breathe this stuff - who knows? - and I begin to panic again.

            But less than before. You get used to these things.
            • Unsu...

              Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

              Thu, December 6, 2012 - 3:24 PM
              Sydney Morning Herald

              ‘The End Of The World As We Know IT’


              This has a video segment on the website, of which is not going to shock any regulars here, but interesting it is on the front page now.

              A snippet:

              “The world is on track to see “an unrecognisable planet” that is between 4 and 6 degrees hotter by the end of this century, according to new data on greenhouse gas emissions.

              As United Nations climate negotiations enter their second week in Doha, Qatar, an Australian-based international research effort that tracks greenhouse gas output will release its annual findings on Monday, showing emissions climbing too quickly to stave off the effects of dangerous climate change.

              The new forecast does not include recent revelations about the effects of thawing permafrost, which is starting to release large amounts of methane from the Arctic. This process makes cutting human emissions of fossil fuels even more urgent, scientists say….

              Emissions are growing in line with the most extreme climate models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, according to a paper in the journal Nature Climate Change that explains the Global Carbon Project’s findings.

              The trajectory means a temperature range of between 3.5 and 6.2 degrees by the year 2100, with a “most likely” range of between 4.2 and 5 degrees.

              Although the climate has changed due to natural influences in the past, human emissions superimposed on top of natural variation is now driving change 20 times faster, according to NASA estimates. Civilisation evolved in a more moderate environment.

              The new data is beginning to confirm what scientists had been warning people about for decades, said Andy Pitman, director of the Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of NSW.

              “There are papers that should come with a warning: ‘do not read this if you are depressed’, or ‘please have a stiff drink handy as you read this’. [This] paper is one such example,” Professor Pitman said.

              The greenhouse gas emissions path the world is taking “is not a tenable future for the planet – we cannot be that stupid as a species,” he said.
              • Unsu...

                Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                Wed, December 12, 2012 - 1:53 AM
                Another from Down Under. Remember that temperatures elsewhere on the planet are measured in 'C not 'F, and honestly, this article is rather on the bright side compared to the latest science...but it is mainstream corporate-owned media. There are whispers in the dark corners of 9'C (which will pretty much make this planet uninhabitable for humans).

                Five degrees hotter?


                IT'S 2100. A sci-fi movie version of the future is finally here – flying cars, robots, choking pollution. Oh, and the planet is 5 degrees hotter than it was at the turn of the millennium. It’s nearly 90 years since scientists warned (again) that the planet could warm by between 4 and 6 degrees if we didn’t cut greenhouse gas emissions. We didn’t, and it did.

                The average global temperature, for night and day, is now 19 degrees, up from 14 degrees at the turn of the 20th century.

                The best scientific estimates suggest that the last time it was this hot was during the Eocene, more than 30 million years ago, and long before humans turned up. Back then, temperatures rose gradually over many thousands of years. We've watched it happen in 100.

                What is life like? Australia is both unrecognisable and strangely familiar. In the south-east, where the population is increasingly concentrated, it is hot and dry. If the average day is warmer, the warmest days are that much hotter again. Daily temperatures above 35 degrees are more frequent: there are twice as many of these scorchers in Sydney and Melbourne than a century ago.

                AdvertisementMeanwhile, the colder days have melted away like the snow at Thredbo and Mount Buller. This is a relief in winter, but not much fun in summer, unless you live in Tasmania, which has inherited Sydney's climate. Sydney is more like Rockhampton: too hot and humid for too much of the year.

                Weather similar to Victoria's summer of 2009 – when scientists estimated that 374 people, mostly elderly, died due to heat stress as the temperature topped 43 degrees three days straight – has become more common. And people now die because of heat-related stress throughout the year. Temperature-related deaths have jumped in Western Australia, tripled in Queensland and increased nearly sevenfold in the Northern Territory.

                Rainfall is down more than 35 per cent in Melbourne across the year, and has halved in summer. But when it rains, it rains harder. There are more floods, more severe wind storms, more bushfires and more frequent droughts.

                The warming has reduced the number of people that die in southern states in winter. But more Australians are dying due to extreme heat than are surviving because of warmer winters.

                Mosquito and water-borne diseases such as dengue fever have migrated south to New South Wales. The number of people hurt or killed during extreme weather events, and the amount of property damaged, has also increased.

                This hasn't escaped the attention of the insurance industry, which has escalated premiums at such a rate that it has priced most people out of the market, leaving more of the population reliant on governments to step in if disaster strikes. Taxes have been raised to foot the bill.

                Water has also become much more expensive. The desalination plants that seemed premature early last century are now used daily in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and southern Western Australia – and we've built more. We have also got used to drinking and bathing in recycled sewerage water.

                Lots of farms have shut down – more than 90 per cent of dairy and fruit and vegetable production from irrigated farms in the Murray-Darling Basin has ceased. Instead, crops previously grown in hotter areas such as sorghum are planted in winter. It had been hoped that the north of Australia could be transformed into the "food basin of Asia" as tropical weather spread south, bringing a more intense wet season. But an increasingly temperamental monsoon means these crops are also at risk of drying up when "the wet" doesn't arrive.

                The government has intervened to ban food exports, just as Russia was mocked for doing during droughts early last century. The states have started stockpiling food, fearing shortages will lead to riots. Countries are increasingly focusing inwards – other nations be damned.

                Food production has become more technical. Concerns about genetically modified foods largely evaporated as the need to feed people took precedence. As the World Bank predicted long ago, Australian farms no longer yield anything like what they once did. Those that have survived are bigger and (like everything) more mechanised.

                Wheat production has plummeted and the wine industry has shrunk, with fewer vineyards and poorer grape quality. Where mining was once Australia's fly-in, fly-out industry, now it is agriculture.

                Small towns in country Australia are on their knees. People are clustered more than ever in big cities. The divide between the wealthy, living in inner-suburban bubbles, and the poor in the disconnected outer suburbs, has been cemented.

                The economy has taken a hit as export markets have declined. Mining, and particularly fossil-fuel industries, has suffered as the world belatedly looked for new forms of energy. Australia's tourism industry, once worth $35 billion a year, has suffered from the disappearance of the Great Barrier Reef and the snowfields.

                Regions have also been hit by the rising intensity of bushfires. The lure of a "tree-change" is gone: now, the ideal is living in a secure, heavily insulated and airconditioned high-rise built from sturdy but light-weight and fire-resistant fibres.

                Where summer was once a season to be celebrated at the beach, for many people it is increasingly spent indoors, with outdoor work timed to avoid searing afternoon summer temperatures across most of the country.

                The Australian landscape has suffered: more than a third of native species have died, more of the outback has eroded to desert and more than half of all eucalypt habitat is gone forever. The tropics – once home to 700 species of plants, 13 species of mammals found nowhere else on the planet, a quarter of Australia's frogs, a third of its freshwater fish and nearly half of its birds – have been devastated.

                Along the coast, much of the country's iconic reef has been killed off by a combination of heat and changes in ocean chemistry. Oceans have become what is described as more acidic, but in reality the water is less alkaline. Ocean ecosystems have been ruptured, with scientists warning a mass extinction is under way. This has devastated commercial fishing and coastal regional communities.

                Meanwhile, coastal communities, suburbs and tourism have been further hit by sea-level rise, now approaching a metre this century. Metres more are locked-in for coming centuries as the guaranteed melting of major ice sheets slowly unfolds. An old rule of thumb says that for every centimetre of sea-level rise, the shoreline retreats by 50 centimetres to a metre.

                While the retreat of the shoreline has been inconsistent due to seawalls and other defensive projects, once cherished beaches such as Bondi and Bells have eroded away and bay and seaside suburbs have been regularly inundated following worsening storms surges . The damage from surges associated with rising seas reaches tens of billions of dollars. Eventually, authorities considered closing off Sydney Harbour and Port Phillip to protect coastal properties from the ocean.

                At Sydney airport, one runway and several taxiways are occasionally swamped.

                While Australia has felt the impact of rising seas, the damage is nothing compared with cities in Asia, where tens of millions – some say hundreds of millions – of people have been displaced by drought and rising seas and are looking for a new home. If you thought the public debate in Australia over asylum seekers in the early 21st century was acrimonious, you haven't seen anything yet.

                THIS scenario is, of course, just one possible vision of the future. Whether it is alarming, alarmist or conservative will depend on your perspective. It is drawn from studies by and interviews with a dozen experts from the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, leading Australian universities and major consultancies. Some of it is based on published research, some educated speculation about how people may respond.

                It does not factor in the potential for complicated and disastrous conflicts over resources between stressed nations. Nor does it consider the obvious solution that would head it off: that the world eventually agrees at meetings like the current United Nations summit in Doha to rapidly reduce emissions.

                Many scientists interviewed stressed that the biggest issue facing the planet may be the pace of warming and climate change – unlike anything the Earth has seen in tens of millions of years. They warned it could make climate systems increasingly volatile, with the potential for large and sudden regional changes.

                The 5-degree projection is drawn from a report released this week by a consortium of scientists calling themselves the Global Carbon Project. They found emissions have increased 54 per cent since 1990, putting the world on-track to be between 4 and 6 degrees hotter by 2100 unless action is taken.

                Published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the report found the current emissions trajectory was most likely to mean an average global temperature rise of between 4.2 and 5 degrees.

                It followed a separate, World Bank-commissioned study warning that a 4-degree leap was possible this century – even if current pledges to cut emissions are met.

                Although the studies were undertaken and backed by serious bodies, not all scientists have the same level of confidence in computer-model projections.

                As Australian National University Professor Tony McMichael, who studies the impact of climate change on health, notes: "This is an unusual task for science and it still draws the ire of some scientists, who say science is about learning from the past and present, not predicting the future."

                But he says it is a "folly to be held down by this orthodoxy". "One way or another, we have to address this issue and that includes making our best assessments of what the real-world evidence and complex computer models can tell us about the range of likely outcomes," he says.

                How do scientists assess the sensitivity of the climate to rising emissions? It is not as simple as just doing the sums on how much heat the extra gases will trap, and watching the land-based temperature record rise smoothly on a chart.

                The human-induced greenhouse effect that traps heat in the lower atmosphere, first discovered in the 19th century, must be considered in the context of a chaotic melange of weather patterns, changes in solar radiation and regional influences such as the El Nino, La Nina cycle.

                "If you look at a temperature chart, it is full of noise," says Professor Will Steffen, executive director of the Australian National University Climate Change Institute and a member of the government's Climate Commission. "You have to factor out the other influences . . . before you start seeing a clear trend line that relates to the carbon dioxide."

                While emissions are rising rapidly, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is increasing by about 2 parts per million a year.

                The average concentration over the 800,000 years before industrialisation – the period when modern humans evolved – has fluctuated between about 170 and 300 parts per million. Since industrialisation, it has risen to about 392 parts per million. On top of this, melting permafrost, farming and mining have released significant amounts of methane, another potent greenhouse gas.

                Complex computer climate models predict where this steady rise will take us within the range of variability possible due in part to natural factors.

                Most models used to estimate past and future climate change agree that doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide would raise average temperatures around the world by about 3 degrees. They add that the change could be 2 degrees higher than that, or perhaps 1 degree lower.

                Real-world observations, drawn from bubbles of air trapped in ancient ice or measuring the amount of heat the ocean has soaked up, give a slightly different value for doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide – a rise of between 1.8 and 3.5 degrees.

                Assessing the true measure of "climate sensitivity" is therefore an area of some uncertainty, though the gap between models and the geological record has narrowed. Unfortunately, there is no control group on which scientists can test possible scenarios – there is only one experiment, and we are living in it.

                According to David Karoly, an atmospheric scientist at Melbourne University and a lead author with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global projections may not give a true picture of how we will experience global warming.

                "The problem we have is that, even if our best estimate is 4 degrees of warming this century, that is a global average and most of the globe is water," he says. "Four degrees on average means probably 3 degrees over the oceans, and 5 or 6 degrees on average over the land."
                • Unsu...

                  Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                  Sat, December 15, 2012 - 10:55 PM
                  and these fucking idiots are ELECTED. hehe

                  How States Ignore Climate Change At Peril Of Coastal Residents
                  December 12th, 2012

                  Climate change-denying Republican governors and state legislatures are ignoring scientific consensus that man-made global warming is a serious threat to millions of coastal residents, and that unregulated development could mean the devastation seen up and down the Jersey shore because of Superstorm Sandy could happen again in other states, unless they start planning for rising sea levels and more frequent and intense storms.

                  These states are putting business interests ahead of the safety of their citizens living in coastal regions while at the same time putting taxpayers on the hook when the inevitable call is made to FEMA and other agencies for federal disaster relief. The Huffington Post recently reported that New Jersey governor Chris Christie has put businesspeople in place of environmental scientists and coastal management experts at the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. In New Jersey, denial about the extent of flooding and devastation from a storm like Sandy extended from the governor’s home at Drumthwacket to the decision makers at New Jersey Transit, who failed to move 300 rail cars from the floodwaters of Sandy, causing $100 million in damage.

                  From New Jersey to North Carolina to Florida, here are some quotes from climate change-denying GOP politicians, followed by the scientific predictions regarding rising sea levels and storm surges and how many millions of coastal residents are vulnerable to the flooding and devastation that will be caused by the next Sandy — and the many more to come due to global warming:

                  Tea Party favorite Scott runs a state where 95 percent of the population lives within 35 miles of its 1,200 miles of coastline, and where some scientists predict sea levels could rise over two feet by 2060. The consequences of this without proper planning right now would be the loss of almost 10 percent of land area and the displacement of 1.5 million people. One scientist told NPR that “the cost of inaction — doing nothing to slow climate change and sea level rise — would add up to $345 billion, or 5 percent of Florida’s total income, by 2100.”

                  Republican state senator Doherty is not only way out of touch with the scientific consensus regarding global warming (97 percent of climate scientists agree that global warming is real and caused by human activity), but is also, post-Sandy, on the opposite side of Republican governor Chris Christie, a former climate skeptic, who said that “climate change is real and it’s impacting our state. There’s undeniable data that CO2 levels and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere are increasing. This decade, average temperatures have been rising. Temperature changes are affecting weather patterns and our climate.”

                  While the devastation caused to the Jersey shore by Sandy is well documented, the future depends on smart planning right now. Climate Central’s Surging Seas sea level rise analysis predicts more than a 1 in 6 chance that the Jersey shore will experience over one foot of flooding by 2020, putting nearly 60,000 residents at risk.

                  North Carolina Representative Pat McElraft:

                  “You can believe whatever you want about global warming, but when you go to make planning policies here for our residents and protecting their property values and insurance rates … it’s a very serious thing to us on the coast.”

                  North Carolina Republican state representative Pat McElraft last summer drafted a law that bans scientific predictions of sea level rise. Ignorance is bliss in the Tar Heel State, that is, until the next Sandy cuts a path straight at the Outer Banks. As National Memo reported, the law making it illegal for scientists in North Carolina to predict sea level rise came after “a state-appointed board of scientists determined that a one-meter rise in sea level is likely by the year 2100.”

                  It’s no surprise McElraft drafted this misguided bill — her top campaign contributors are real estate agents and developers. While cynical politicians like McElraft deny science and put short-term profits above long-term sustainability, ABC News explains the inconvenient truth:

                  “According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), sea level rise along the portion of the East Coast between North Carolina and Massachusetts is accelerating at three to four times the global rate. A USGS report published in the journal Nature Climate Change in June predicted that sea level along the coast of that region, which it called a ‘hotspot,’ would rise up to 11.4 inches higher than the global average rise by the end of the 21st century.”
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                    Sun, December 16, 2012 - 4:28 AM
                    But it looks like the public is waking up to the dangers of climate change and resulting environmental catastrophe. According to a new poll, about 80% of Americans believe climate change is real - and serious.

                    • Unsu...

                      Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                      Tue, December 18, 2012 - 2:07 AM
                      When the train is running your ass over it's a little too late to start thinking about maybe moving off the track. Immediate radical mastectomy of industrial civilization may mitigate some of what is coming enough to save some humans. But then, maybe not. You can't change your mind after you've jumped off a cliff and it's looking like we've jumped off the cliff. Notice how well all these 'climate summits' have gone, eh?

                      Does the term irony mean anything any more?

                      Highways in Aussie land are melting off the roadbeds. Our new Dust Bowl and it looks like their's both really got ripping along in 2012...

                      War on Science: Evolution, Climate Change, and the Curious House Committee on Science
                      Saturday, 15 December 2012 00:00
                      By Ken Morris, Truthout | Op-Ed
                      "What do many Republicans in the House of Representatives have in common with the 17th century Spanish Inquisition? Both have waged a war on science."
                      In 1632, summoned by Pope Urban VIII, inventor of the telescope Galileo Galilei faced the notorious Catholic cardinals presiding over the Inquisition because he advocated new science (the Earth revolves around the sun) over old science (the earth is the center of the universe). The frail septuagenarian, justifiably terrified, denounced his own unequivocal findings by asserting, "I affirm . . . that I do not now hold the condemned opinion and have not held it since the decision of authorities." Despite his contrition, Galileo was deemed a heretic and spent the balance of his life under house arrest.

                      Today, the conflict between religion, commerce and science continues to hover over rational discourse like an unregulated acid rain cloud. Just last week when GQ Magazine asked Florida senator Mark Rubio the earth's age, he employed a bojangle-esque intellectual two-step and said, "I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that's a dispute amongst theologians . . . " Senator Rubio thinks this is best debated "amongst theologians?" Presumably, archeologists and paleontologists need not apply.

                      More frightening than Rubio's pandering is the assortment of nonscientific beliefs held by Republicans controlling the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. As the majority party during the 112th Congress (and soon to be convened 113th), the GOP occupied 23 of the 40 seats while also claiming the chairmanship and vice chairmanship.

                      With jurisdiction over federal scientific research and development, who did the Grand Old Party select as their representatives on the committee? To suggest this was a head-scratching list is an understatement.

                      On the origin of our species, member Paul Broun of Georgia said at Liberty Baptist Church, in September of 2012, "All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell." Another member, Sandy Adams of Florida, agreed when she said, "I'm Christian. I believe in the biblical terms of how we came about."

                      Then there's Todd Akin of Missouri, who was a committee member when hefamously suggested that in cases of "legitimate rape," women had a biological means to prevent pregnancy. Mr. Akin also claimed evolution was not "a matter of science" because of "all of the different things that have to be lined up" to create life.

                      Beyond ignoring dinosaurs and billion-year-old rocks is the commission's dismissive attitude toward global warming. None other than committee Chairman Ralph M. Hall of Texas said of climate change in an interview, "I don't think we can control what God controls." He then added that he is "pretty close" to Texas Governor Rick Perry's belief that climate science is a "conspiracy." Not to be outdone, the committee vice chairman at the time, John Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, referred in 2009 to a federal climate report as "at worst junk science." On his web page, member Lamar Smith of Texas, to be the next committee chair, claimed the major television"networks have shown a steady pattern of bias on climate change."

                      To make matters worse, the committee Republicans have acted on their weather-blindness in ways that seem well-suited for certain industries (like major GOP contributors oil and gas), but not the human species or their habitats. For example, in April of 2011, the committee passed bill H.R. 910 (Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011), which amends the Clean Air Act "to prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating any regulation concerning, taking action relating to, or taking into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change, and for other purposes." In other words, the bill asserts that greenhouse gases don't degrade air enough to be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. The bill passed in committee without a single dissenting Republican vote (all but two Democrats voted against). H.R. 910 subsequently passed the Republican House and now sits in the Senate awaiting their take on deregulating hydrocarbons. During debate, the fact that 97.5 percent of all climatologists (Doran, 2009) agreed that "human activity is a significant . . . factor in changing . . . global temperatures" fell on deaf GOP ears.

                      Unfortunately the stakes are far too high to tolerate a Committee on Science that, like Inquisitional cardinals, blithely ignores research. Sadly, while US students ranked 25th in math and 17th in science of 34 countries surveyed (2009, Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development), it is likely this subset of US politicians waging war on science would rank close to dead last in that same sample. Galileo lamented of his plight before the Inquisition, " . . . what would you say of the learned here who . . . have steadfastly refused to cast a glance through the telescope? What shall we make of this? Shall we laugh, or shall we cry?"

                      With more frequent hurricanes battering our coast, low-elevation islands drowning, and melting glaciers and polar icecaps disappearing, we require political advocates who embrace rather than reject sound policy based on empiricism. If not, we have only one of Galileo's choices, and it's not to laugh.
                      • Unsu...

                        Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                        Sat, December 29, 2012 - 12:32 PM
                        Error-Riddled Matt Ridley Piece Lowballs Climate Change, Discredits Wall Street Journal. World Faces 10°F Warming.

                        By Joe Romm


                        Leading Scientists Debunk Ridley Piece, Even Climatologist Cited By Ridley Says He “Is Just Plain Wrong About Future Warming”
                        Memo to media, deniers: “Climate sensitivity” is NOT the same as projected future warming!

                        Projected warming even with (an unlikely) low climate sensitivity of between 1.5°C and 2.0°C from Michael Schlesinger et al 2012. A WSJ op-ed that cites this work absurdly concludes “Evidence points to a further rise of just 1°C by 2100.” Not even close — one of the key math errors in the piece.

                        Every major projection of future warming makes clear that if we keep listening to the falsehoods of the anti-science crowd and keep taking no serious action to reduce carbon pollution we face catastrophic 9°F to 11°F [5°C to 6°C] warming over most of the U.S. (seeliterature review here).

                        The Wall Street Journal, however, has published a piece, “Cooling Down the Fears of Climate Change,” that (falsely) asserts observations suggest global warming will be so low as to “be benificial.” This risible piece by Matt Ridley is so riddled with basic math and science errors it raises the question of how the Journal can possibly maintain its reputation as a credible source of news and financial analysis.

                        Ridley and the Journal apparently don’t know the difference between water vapor and clouds. They don’t understand the basic concept of climate sensitivity. And they can’t do simple math. Naturally, the climate deniers have embraced this nonsense and spread it across the internet.

                        UPDATE: Ridley has made an even more self-defaming response at Bishop Hill’s blog and WattsUpWithDisinformation. He doesn’t actually refute any of my points– just repeats his mistakes. His piece proves once and for all that Ridley doesn’t know the first thing about climate science or the IPCC. As but the most astounding example, in my debunking below I explicitly quote the IPCC’s draft Fifth Assessment (AR5) — “the new IPCC draft report, upon which Ridley makes all his claims” — which summarizes the recent literature on clouds this way: “The net radiative feedback due to all cloud types is likely positive.” Ridley then absurdly asserts “He gives no backing for this dogmatic conclusion.” Seriously. It’s like he never read my piece — or the AR5! And he apparently thinks you can’t read either! I must say it is shocking that Bishop Hill would print such an easily falsifiable claim. It is not shocking Watts would.

                        I wasn’t going to waste time with the umpteenth debunking of the Wall Street Journal‘s nonsense — especially a piece written by someone whose “family leases land for coal mining”! But one of Ridley’s many basic mistakes is often seen in the media — the confusion of the “climate sensitivity” (to a doubling of CO2 levels to 560 parts per million) with projected warming (from actual greenhouse gas levels projected for this century plus carbon cycle feedbacks). That confusion needs clearing up (again).

                        First, though, let me start by quoting some of the country’s leading climate experts in an excellent debunking piece by Media Matters, “WSJ’s Climate ‘Dynamite’ Is A Dud“:

                        [A]s John Abraham, an IPCC reviewer and the director of the Climate Science Rapid Response Team, put it to Media Matters: the column “has such elementary errors in it that [it] casts doubt on the author’s understanding of any aspects of climate change.”

                        … Boston University’s Robert Kaufmann, lead author of a 2011 sulfur emissions study [wrote]:

                        I know of no evidence that would suggest that the temperature effect of sulfur emissions are small. This conclusion is totally at odds with my peer reviewed publication in the area, which indicate that sulfur emissions have a significant effect on temperature.

                        With regard to the feedback effect of water vapor: Kevin Trenberth, a scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told Media Matters in an email: “water vapor effects are well established as an amplifier (strong positive feedback).” Abraham further noted that Ridley has apparently confused water vapor with clouds, whose effects are not as well understood. He said, “it is very clear water vapor … is an amplifying effect. It is a very strong warmer for the climate” and challenged Ridley to name the anonymous scientist who gave him his information.

                        With regard to the rate of ocean heat absorption: Trenberth wrote: “On the contrary there is now very good evidence that a LOT of heat is going into the deep ocean in unprecedented ways, which completely undermines this sort of argument. OHC [Ocean Heat Content] keeps increasing at a fairly steady rate, just as sea level keeps going up.”

                        A good discussion of the latest science on ocean heat content can be found here.

                        To expand on what Abraham said, it is head-exploding and self-discrediting for Ridley and the Wall Street Journal to print this for millions to read:

                        And then, as one Nobel Prize-winning physicist with a senior role in combating climate change admitted to me the other day: “We don’t even know the sign” of water vapor’s effect—in other words, whether it speeds up or slows down a warming of the atmosphere.

                        Climate models are known to poorly simulate clouds, and given clouds’ very strong effect on the climate system—some types cooling the Earth either by shading it or by transporting heat up and cold down in thunderstorms, and others warming the Earth by blocking outgoing radiation—it remains highly plausible that there is no net positive feedback from water vapor.

                        An unnamed physicist? Seriously, WSJ? What’s next. “A guy I met in an underground parking lot”?

                        If Ridley did in fact talk to a Nobel prize-winning physicist then that person almost certainly did not make the mistake Ridley did and confuse “water vapor’s effect” — where we most certainly know the sign (it speeds up warming) — with cloud’s effect (where there is a tad more uncertainty). Yet even in that case, the new IPCC draft report, upon which Ridley makes all his claims finds:

                        Various feedbacks associated with water vapour can now be quantified, and together they are assessed to be very likely positive and therefore to amplify climate changes. The net radiative feedback due to all cloud types is likely positive.

                        UPDATE: Ridley wrote this transparent falsehood at Bishop Hill’s blog:

                        And this guy is a taken seriously by anyone? The “backing” — the draft AR5 — is here.

                        Memo to Ridley: You ought to actually read the assessments (and blog posts) you quote from! In case you didn’t know, the AR4 “consensus” was based primarily on the literature from before 2006. More recent science finds that the cloud feedback is positive:

                        Journal of Climate (11/2010): New cloud feedback results “provide support for the high end of current estimates of global climate sensitivity”
                        Science (7/2009): “Clouds Appear to Be Big, Bad Player in Global Warming” — an amplifying feedback (sorry Lindzen and fellow deniers)
                        Ridley and the WSJ cite on their behalf recent work by Ring and Schlesinger to help make the case that we face a warming of only another 1°C this century for a total cumulative warning of under 2°C:

                        Michael Ring and Michael Schlesinger of the University of Illinois, using the most trustworthy temperature record, also estimate 1.6°C [climate sensitivity].

                        The problem is that Ridley apparently doesn’t have the first clue what the climate sensitivity means, which is a key reason why Dr. Schlesinger has written a letter to the WSJ (below) explaining

                        “In his article, Mr. Ridley is just plain wrong about future global warming.”

                        It bears repeating that the amount of warming we are going to subject our children and countless future generations to depends primarily on three factors:

                        The so-called “equilibrium climate sensitivity” – the sensitivity of the climate to fast feedbacks like sea ice and water vapor — or how much warming you get if we only double CO2 emissions to 560 ppm and there are no major “slow” feedbacks. We know the fast feedbacks, like water vapor, are strong by themselves (see Study: Water-vapor feedback is “strong and positive,” so we face “warming of several degrees Celsius” and Skeptical Science piece here).
                        The real-world slower (decade-scale) feedbacks, such as tundra melt (see “Carbon Feedback From Thawing Permafrost Will Likely Add 0.4°F – 1.5°F To Total Global Warming By 2100“.
                        The actual CO2 concentration level we are likely to hit, which is far beyond 550 ppm (see U.S. media largely ignores latest warning from climate scientists: “Recent observations confirm … the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories are being realised” — 1000 ppm).
                        Given that the anti-science, pro-pollution forces seem to be succeeding in their fight to keep us on our current emissions path, it’s no surprise that multiple recent analyses conclude that we face a temperature rise that is far, far beyond dangerous (see links below).

                        Schlesinger’s full letter to the WSJ is:

                        In “Cooling Down the Fears of Climate Change” (WJS, 19 December 2012), Matt Ridley mentions the findings of my Climate Research Group’s paper “Causes of the Warming Observed Since the 19th Century” (

                        In his article, Mr. Ridley is just plain wrong about future global warming.

                        In our paper “A Fair Plan to Safeguard Earth’s Climate” ( we show that by the middle of this century the warming will exceed the 2°C (3.6°F) maximum allowed by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”.

                        In that paper and its sequel, “A Revised Fair Plan to Safeguard Earth’s Climate” ( we phase out the emission of greenhouse gases this century such that the cumulative greenhouse-gas emissions by the Developing and Developed Countries are equal. Both Plans keep global warming below the UNFCCC allowable maximum of 2°C.

                        Schlesinger sent an email around to some journalists and scientists that included a figure from his work, which I posted at the top. Schlesinger notes that an aggressive program of carbon mitigation can limit warming to 2°C and avoid the worst impacts.

                        It is worth pointing out that there is a healthy debate about Schlesinger’s low estimate (seehere). Kevin Trenberth, for one, says the analysis is not correct.

                        Indeed, Trenberth coauthored a major new study of actual observations of relative humidity finds “that warming is likely to be on the high side of current projections … projecting a global temperature rise for doubled carbon dioxide of more than 7 degrees F” — see “Science Stunner: Observations Support Predictions Of Extreme Warming And Worse Droughts This Century.”

                        And Schlesinger himself says it would be unwise to plan on a low sensitivity given the very real risks that it is not so low. I queried Schlesinger about whether his analysis included the feedback from the permafrost. He wrote me back:

                        What will most likely happen is … permanent outgassing of carbon dioxide from permafrost and methane from clathrates/hydrates. As you know, methane is a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more potent, molecule for molecule, than carbon dioxide. If we hedge not against this outgassing, it’s game over.

                        My Climate Research Group is now writing a paper about sea-level rise throughout this century.

                        You and the world want not to know about this.

                        In the scheme of things, we human beings are not a very intelligent species.

                        All species have a finite lifetime.

                        Most species do not self exterminate.

                        While this is a bit hyperbolic, it may not be far from the truth.

                        So I think it is quite safe to say that it is irresponsible and indefensible to quote Schlesinger’s work in an article that nonsensically concludes the “net effect [of global warming] on the planet may actually be beneficial.”

                        Ironically — or, rather, tragically — if the world listens to anti-science disinformation like Ridley’s piece in the WSJ, if it continues taking little action to reduce carbon pollution, then that would guarantee catastrophic impacts even in the unlikely event the equilibrium climate sensitivity is low.

                        Related Posts:

                        Hadley Center: “Catastrophic” 5-7°C warming by 2100 on current emissions path
                        M.I.T. doubles its 2095 warming projection to 10°F — with 866 ppm and Arctic warming of 20°F
                        Our hellish future: Definitive NOAA-led report on U.S. climate impacts warns of scorching 9 to 11°F warming over most of inland U.S. by 2090 with Kansas above 90°F some 120 days a year — and that isn’t the worst case, it’s business as usual!“
                        Climate Sensitivity Higher Than We Thought, Researchers Find
                        Yes, Deniers And Confusionists, The IEA And Others Warn Of Some 11°F Warming by 2100 If We Keep Listening To You
                        “The Copenhagen Diagnosis” warns “Without significant mitigation, the report says global mean warming could reach as high as 7 degrees Celsius by 2100.”
                        • Unsu...

                          Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                          Thu, January 3, 2013 - 11:52 AM
                          In a special message to Congress in February 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson noted: "This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through . . . a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels."

                          And fifty years later the poles are melting and the climate is going fucking nutz. Duh.
                          • Unsu...

                            Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                            Tue, January 8, 2013 - 11:22 AM
                            A hundred and twenty-nine degrees F? Are you fucking kidding me?

                            Burning 'Deep Purple': Australia So Hot New Color Added to Index
                            An 'unparalleled setting of new heat extremes' continues
                            - Jon Queally, staff writer
                            Wild fires continue to rage across Australia Tuesday and temperatures have become so hot the country's Bureau of Meteorology was forced to add a new color—deep purple—to show areas that have exceeded all-time heat records.

                            Previously the Bureau's heat index was capped at 48°C (118.4°F), but now recorded temperatures of over 50°C (122°F) have pushed the limit of the scale to an unheard of 54°C, which is equivalent to 129°F.

                            "The scale has just been increased today and I would anticipate it is because the forecast coming from the bureau's model is showing temperatures in excess of 50 degrees," David Jones, head of the bureau's climate monitoring and prediction unit, told reporters.

                            Indicating that the worst may yet to come, Jones added that, "The air mass over the inland is still heating up - it hasn't peaked."

                            Climate scientists in Australia—with Jones among them—say the fires and the heat are unprecedented in scale and intensity, but that Australians should understand the destructive temperatures and ensuing fires across Tasmania and southern sections of the country are the new normal of runaway climate change.

                            ‘The current heatwave – in terms of its duration, its intensity and its extent – is now unprecedented in our records,’’ Jones was quoted as saying in The Age.

                            ‘‘Clearly, the climate system is responding to the background warming trend. Everything that happens in the climate system now is taking place on a planet which is a degree hotter than it used to be.’’

                            “Those of us who spend our days trawling – and contributing to – the scientific literature on climate change are becoming increasingly gloomy about the future of human civilization,’’ Liz Hanna, convener of the human health division at the Australian National University’s Climate Change Adaptation Network, told The Age in a separate interview.

                            ‘‘We are well past the time of niceties, of avoiding the dire nature of what is unfolding, and politely trying not to scare the public," she said. "The unparalleled setting of new heat extremes is forcing the continual upwards trending of warming predictions for the future, and the timescale is contracting.’’

                            Responding to the news from Australia, The Guardian's Damian Carrington put the heat and fires in a global context:

                            We already know that climate change is loading the weather dice. Scientists have shown that the European heatwave of 2003, that caused over 40,000 premature deaths, was made at least twice as likely by climate change. The Russian heatwave of 2010, that killed 50,000 and wiped out $15bn of crops, was made three times as likely by global warming and led to the warmest European summer for 500 years.

                            The extreme weather forecast is even worse. Mega-heatwaves like these will become five to 10 times more likely over the next 40 years, occurring at least once a decade, scientists predict.

                            Work by the most authoritative group of scientists, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, found that it is 90% certain that heatwaves will increase further in length and severity, as will extreme high tides. It is 66% likely that hurricanes and typhoon winds will get faster and that intense rain will increase, as well as landslides. It is more likely than not that droughts will intensify in Europe, North and Central America and, most dangerously given the poverty there, Southern Africa. There are uncertainties of course, but the basic physics is that heat-trapping carbon emissions mean more energy is being pumped into the system, increasing climate chaos.

                            The two nations in which the fringe opinions of so-called climate sceptics have been trumpeted most loudly - the US and Australia - have now been hit by record heatwaves and, in the US, superstorm Sandy. The scientists are turning up the volume of their warnings, but whether this leads to loud and clear political action to curb emissions or more shouting from sceptics and the vested fossil fuel interests that support them remains to be seen.

                            According to the special bulletin (pdf) on the record heatwave from Australia's Bureau of Meteorology:

                            A particular feature of this heatwave event has been the exceptional spatial extent of high temperatures. The table below gives the national and state/territory average maximum temperature for each day of the heatwave event. Australia set a new record for the highest national area-average temperature, recording 40.33 °C and surpassing the previous record set on 21 December 1972 (40.17 °C). To date (data up to the 7 January 2013) the national area-average for each of the first 7 days of 2013 has been in the top 20 hottest days on record, with 6 January the fifth hottest on record and the first time 6 consecutive days over 39 °C has ever been recorded for Australia.
                            • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                              Wed, January 9, 2013 - 7:47 AM
                              Gives a whole new meaning to Deep Purple's song, "Smoke on they water", eh.....?
                              • Unsu...

                                Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                                Fri, January 11, 2013 - 12:17 PM
                                Actually these images just taken of a family huddling under a dock trying to survive the inferno give new meaning to that song. The drought and fires here in the US last summer (drought is still overlaying 65% of the country by the way), you can expect similar photos in the summer of 2013... Photos at link.

                                Published on Thursday, January 10, 2013 by Common Dreams
                                'Like Wildfire': Images of Climate Catastrophe in Australia Go Global

                                Photographs of bushfires offer a glimpse of our future on a hotter, drier planet
                                - Lauren McCauley, staff writer


                                As fires continue to rage across Australia with soaring temperatures fueling the flames, images of the catastrophe spreading around the web capture the heartbreak, harrow and heat.

                                An image of a family huddled beneath a dock, the sky ablaze behind them; a charred sheep standing alone in a field of ashes; the smoking remains of a home: these images communicate better than words the story of our future on a hotter, drier planet.

                                In response to the photographs taken of the Holmes family of Tasmania, who clung to a wooden jetty for three hours to avoid the treacherous blaze, the Guardian's Jonathan Jones writes:

                                It is an image of survival...In an age of catastrophe, these people have found a way to live through the worst. They will be fine. They will outlive their home and start again. It is such a flame-seared image, we might be seeing the end of civilization – and a family tough enough to outlive it.
                                With hundreds of thousands of hectares of land destroyed and thousands of livestock killed in the bushfires, the country braces itself for more hot, dry winds on Friday as temperatures are expected to break 120ºF in the inland regions.
                                • Unsu...

                                  Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                                  Tue, January 15, 2013 - 12:33 AM
                                  Remember that science is ALWAYS conservative when going public....rarely do scientists stick their neck's out because they abhor getting their heads chopped off.

                                  The 32 most alarming charts from the government’s climate change report

                                  By Philip Bump


                                  Just reading about the government’s massive new report outlining what climate change has in store for the U.S. is sobering. In brief: temperature spikes, drought, flooding, less snow, less permafrost. But if you really want to freak out, you should check out the graphs, charts, and maps.

                                  For the more visually oriented bunker builders out there, here are the 32 most alarming images from the 1,200-page draft report. (Click any of them to embiggen.)

                                  Things will be different.
                                  Analysis suggests that temperatures could rise as much as 11 degrees by the end of the century. On this chart, note the lines labelled SRES A2 and SRES B1. Those are the two greenhouse gas emission scenarios used as worst- and best-case scenarios in many of the charts that follow.

                                  (Please go to the Grist Environmental site link above to see the charts and read the summaries)
                                  • Unsu...

                                    Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                                    Tue, January 15, 2013 - 2:25 AM
                                    Hi Seal, thank for the data and statistical analysis from government.
                                    I know you are passionate about this, you may be interested in my 'churping' on this (or not) as I think they are complementary and they are coming from a similar perspective. A perspective from the realm of the archaeologist! A long story but the gist of it is I have been an amateur for many years now, going to digs, helping with cateloges etc, a great interest over many years. Initially I was interested in Romano British, but that broadened in the direction of older times. The neolithic has been where most of my focus has been!
                                    Well a long story but the part that I find interesting and I think you may find interesting is this.

                                    Started using data to look at how Britian was in the past, how its climate was, sea levels and so on, to see how this could have affected the animals and later the people that were living there. This data is different from all the data projections in that government report!
                                    It dawned on me very slowly that the data archeologist use for looking at the weather in the past was different from the data that the climateologists seem to use. After much examination, I realized it was not different but it was being interpreted differently!

                                    The main difference in the interpretation was one of time scale. The archeologist were looking at a million years of data or more. The climatologist and inparticular the government departments and the press were focusing on no more that 200 years and often looking only at tens of years., they were focusing on the fine print as it were.

                                    It struck me that when looking at patterns in the weather over time it would be sensible to get the bigger picture if you like and then to study the finer detail. The finer detail only exists for the last 200 years or so.

                                    When you look at the recent stuff, it says climate change wit ha trend towards a general global warming.
                                    When you look at the big scale it says the same, but there are I think some important differences that people do not seem to be looking at or concerned about.

                                    So here summarized are the main features from the big picture:

                                    Four observations Seal. (From an archaeological point of view)

                                    1.Looking at data archaeologists use, all previous interglacials get hotter than it is now.

                                    2.Each interglacial trough is hotter than the previous one.

                                    3.The warming looks like its a constant warming over long periods of time (millions of years) you can draw a straight line through the graph which has a slight trend towards getting hotter.

                                    4.Curiously, the data is out there, its not disputed, but none of the worlds press pay any attention to it!

                                    Conclusion, the Earth has been warming over the last million years and thats regardless of human influence, or any things humans have done to affect climate period.

                                    You have to deduce that It must be caused by other things that we humans have no control over, such as the Earths orbit. What ever those factors are, they are non human natural things and out of our control.

                                    My worry!
                                    I think if we try to do something on a large scale to alter the climate now or in the future, we don't really know what we are doing, we are likely to mess things up big time. I think the public are being told a lie, as this is a natural thing and its definitely happening. There is no fix for it, its not about fixing it or blaming humans, its about changing how and where people live (adapting).

                                    In all my searching I have only found one documentary that looks at Earth orbit as a factor in global weather patterns (BBC).
                                    I can guess why the press doesn't look at data for longer time periods? Its Political, they are being fed by governments and the governments are selling short term human(CO2 caused) climate change.

                                    My guess to get public opinion behind change. Changing industry, changing econmoics, makes money for those who are pushing the changes etc. Generally people resist change unless they have a good reason and this CO2 reason and the way its being sold seems like a vital reason for most people.

                                    Your thoughts on my ramblings welcomed.
                                    • Unsu...

                                      Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                                      Wed, January 16, 2013 - 1:41 AM
                                      The Paleo-Climatologists take big picture looks going back millions of years. We're heading for a climate that hasn't been seen on this planet for five(?) million years. Very big picture if you consider we were proto-hominid only two million or so ago. Think "Lucy" in Olduvi Gorge in Africa. There is conjecture that we may be heading back to a climate 30 million years if this civilization continues on the current (and increasing) trajectory.

                                      Atmospheric CO2 levels have gone to concentrations already that took thousands of years to accumulate in the planet's past, in less than two hundred! Holy shit. And the real big spikes in that 'hockey stick' graph have all happened in just the last thirty or so. Add in that science is just pulling the cobwebs off the role positive feedback loops play in climate shift (which, of course, is nothing but negative effects as far as we're concerned).

                                      Worse is that there is none of that adaptation you mentioned going on, nor any truly mitigating efforts, much less anything like a worldwide effort to completely switch our basic habits that are pumping this shit into the sky. Every single day there is a net increase in how much is emitted. Too much profit to be made keeping the status quo.

                                      We sound like a world full of Ferengi (the uber-capitalists of Star Trek). Profit above all else.

                                      I've read about the planetary tilt affecting weather and possibly the climate as a whole; and also remember articles pertaining to where Terra is in the orbit and the possible effects on climate from that. The science world is trying to build a picture, a model, that will incorporate all aspects that could help understand what is happening.

                                      Here's another quickie from Grist:

                                      If You Aren’t Alarmed About Climate, You Aren’t Paying Attention

                                      By David Roberts


                                      There was recently another one of those (numbingly familiar) internet tizzies wherein someone trolls environmentalists for being “alarmist” and environmentalists get mad and the troll says “why are you being so defensive?” and everybody clicks, clicks, clicks.

                                      I have no desire to dance that dismal do-si-do again. But it is worth noting that I find the notion of “alarmism” in regard to climate change almost surreal. I barely know what to make of it. So in the name of getting our bearings, let’s review a few things we know.

                                      We know we’ve raised global average temperatures around 0.8 degrees C so far. We know that 2 degrees C is where most scientists predict catastrophic and irreversible impacts. And we know that we are currently on a trajectory that will push temperatures up 4 degrees or more by the end of the century.

                                      What would 4 degrees look like? A recent World Bank review of the science reminds us. First, it’ll get hot:

                                      Projections for a 4°C world show a dramatic increase in the intensity and frequency of high-temperature extremes. Recent extreme heat waves such as in Russia in 2010 are likely to become the new normal summer in a 4°C world. Tropical South America, central Africa, and all tropical islands in the Pacific are likely to regularly experience heat waves of unprecedented magnitude and duration. In this new high-temperature climate regime, the coolest months are likely to be substantially warmer than the warmest months at the end of the 20th century. In regions such as the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Tibetan plateau, almost all summer months are likely to be warmer than the most extreme heat waves presently experienced. For example, the warmest July in the Mediterranean region could be 9°C warmer than today’s warmest July.

                                      Extreme heat waves in recent years have had severe impacts, causing heat-related deaths, forest fires, and harvest losses. The impacts of the extreme heat waves projected for a 4°C world have not been evaluated, but they could be expected to vastly exceed the consequences experienced to date and potentially exceed the adaptive capacities of many societies and natural systems. [my emphasis]

                                      Warming to 4 degrees would also lead to “an increase of about 150 percent in acidity of the ocean,” leading to levels of acidity “unparalleled in Earth’s history.” That’s bad news for, say, coral reefs:

                                      The combination of thermally induced bleaching events, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise threatens large fractions of coral reefs even at 1.5°C global warming. The regional extinction of entire coral reef ecosystems, which could occur well before 4°C is reached, would have profound consequences for their dependent species and for the people who depend on them for food, income, tourism, and shoreline protection.

                                      It will also “likely lead to a sea-level rise of 0.5 to 1 meter, and possibly more, by 2100, with several meters more to be realized in the coming centuries.” That rise won’t be spread evenly, even within regions and countries — regions close to the equator will see even higher seas.

                                      There are also indications that it would “significantly exacerbate existing water scarcity in many regions, particularly northern and eastern Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, while additional countries in Africa would be newly confronted with water scarcity on a national scale due to population growth.”

                                      Also, more extreme weather events:

                                      Ecosystems will be affected by more frequent extreme weather events, such as forest loss due to droughts and wildfire exacerbated by land use and agricultural expansion. In Amazonia, forest fires could as much as double by 2050 with warming of approximately 1.5°C to 2°C above preindustrial levels. Changes would be expected to be even more severe in a 4°C world.

                                      Also loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services:

                                      In a 4°C world, climate change seems likely to become the dominant driver of ecosystem shifts, surpassing habitat destruction as the greatest threat to biodiversity. Recent research suggests that large-scale loss of biodiversity is likely to occur in a 4°C world, with climate change and high CO2 concentration driving a transition of the Earth’s ecosystems into a state unknown in human experience. Ecosystem damage would be expected to dramatically reduce the provision of ecosystem services on which society depends (for example, fisheries and protection of coastline afforded by coral reefs and mangroves.)

                                      New research also indicates a “rapidly rising risk of crop yield reductions as the world warms.” So food will be tough.

                                      All this will add up to “large-scale displacement of populations and have adverse consequences for human security and economic and trade systems.” Given the uncertainties and long-tail risks involved, “there is no certainty that adaptation to a 4°C world is possible.” There’s a small but non-trivial chance of advanced civilization breaking down entirely.

                                      Now ponder the fact that some scenarios show us going up to 6degrees by the end of the century, a level of devastation we have not studied and barely know how to conceive. Ponder the fact that somewhere along the line, though we don’t know exactly where, enough self-reinforcing feedback loops will be running to make climate change unstoppable and irreversible for centuries to come. That would mean handing our grandchildren and their grandchildren not only a burned, chaotic, denuded world, but a world that is inexorably more inhospitable with every passing decade.

                                      Take all that in, sit with it for a while, and then tell me what it could mean to be an “alarmist” in this context. What level of alarm is adequate?
                                      • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                                        Wed, January 16, 2013 - 8:29 AM
                                        Seal, you obviously have the passion to sit at the keyboard and shout about this problem. But what can ANY of us to do about it ? Realistically, even if the big governments of the world could come together and put extreme restrictions on pollution producing activities ( Right !!) many scientist think it may already be to late. So what , if anything are we to do about it ?? answer, NOTHING, there is zero, nada, zip we can do. So why worry about something that you can do nothing about , we all have enough to do handling the things we CAN effect.
                                        So YES you are an alarmist, do you you think coming on this forum, with these loooong post can make a difference, or does it just make you feel like you're making a difference.
                                        Doom and gloom, get out your waders and umbrellas, the weather is changing, the sky is falling. How can you not be depressed about all of this lack of control in your life ?
                                        What is the purpose of your input here ? To initiate change, to get it out of your system, to make us all go boo hooing, to the life raft ?
                                        Improve the quality of your life, and stop fretting about all of these things you can't do anything about.
                                        It WILL be a new world for all generations to come, on an UN-imaganable number of levels, and they will sort it out, they will have no choice.
                                        We all live off of the crumbs falling from the 1% table, and short of a global catastrophe, that isn't going to change. So you may consider, stepping back, taking a smog filled breath, and try to find some peace in your life, rather than wring you hands, and running around like chicken little, behind the KFC.
                                        And that my friend, is an example of doing something that just might have an effect on someones life.
                                        • Unsu...

                                          Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                                          Sat, January 19, 2013 - 11:49 AM
                                          Aw gee, Dan, you're absolutely correct. We are certainly doomed to go extinct because there is zero nada zip we can do about any of this except roll the fuck over and let the psychopath morons running the world destroy the ecosphere that keeps us all alive. I'm well aware of ocean acidification, melting permafrost and tundra releasing enormous amounts of methane clathrates, the rapidly melting West Antarctic Ice Sheet and Greenland and all the damn glaciers on the planet; the simple Physics of heat + water in air = monster storms deluge drought. Boo-hoo wah-wah greed and stupidity is going to kill us all quick build that space ark 'life raft' you mentioned and get the hell off this dying planet while the getting is good. I mean, fuck you little people, I'm outa here!

                                          I like the term 'alarmist,' too. Wow, to be considered in league with people like the radical alarmist Rachel Carson (who wrote 'Silent Spring' so many years ago) is...uplifting. But seeing as there isn't anything I personally can do about it I'm thinking of taking your advice, selling this place, taking the money and partying like there's no tomorrow because, well, there isn't, is there? A lot of those science people are absolutely saying shit is going to go real bad and possibly to complete extinction so why not do whatever pops into my little doomer mind? No consequences since we're all doomed anyway, right? Pillage, rape, murder, all of it is...okay because, well, we're fucked aren't we?

                                          Or maybe not. I don't give up as easy as you do obviously. Rolling over on my back baring my belly or presenting my ass to be...ummm...used just isn't my style I guess. Which is why I continue to improve MY quality of life with work on the land I caretake, the solar system I've installed, the constant work bringing back health to this small eight acres in the mountains, the changes in lifestyle I've already acomplished in the last ten years. Why, I even stopped smoking cigarettes five years ago! As to the 'step back and take a smog filled breath' thing, nope, I live half a hundred miles from a city and the air is far too clean to get one of those but I'll remember next time I'm down in Spokane to do as you asked. So I guess I'll continue to post all this horribly boring alarmist crap on tribe about what is going on around the world far from the boob tube corporate tv propaganda you are probably watching every day (here's a little ad hominem return attack for ya!).

                                          I post to rattle cages, to affect a couple of people who might reach out and try to effect change in their immediate vicinity. If what I post makes even one person stand up out of that smog and look around I think I've accomplished far more than you. And you know what? It isn't for me. It's for my 6 year old granddaughter and her little brother and new baby sister. For 2nd grader Jelli and her little brother Chris who live a mile up the dirt road. For 16 year old Mercedes, 5th grader Victoria, and little Lee on the property across from here, for my friend Steffan's 14 year old boarder babe Bailee and 10 year old Morgan her sister that I taught to snowboard last winter. I'm getting old, body breaking down towards death is on the horizon (friends my age are starting to die around me) so I've had to think about what's and why's. While it's most likely a terrible fact that we've gone over multiple tipping points and that there are numerous positive feedback loops kicking in all over the planet, we can at LEAST mitigate some of what is coming. We might even be able to save our species from extinction. If we try. Isn't that a worthwhile goal? And without information on the reality of all this, nobody will know to try to do a damn thing.

                                          As to the crumbs from the 20% (please always include the people who feed at the trough of empire by working for them), a global catastrophe will only do one thing; cement in the ruling elite forever. What makes you think that the Bush Family's million acres on top of an aquifer in Paraguay is going to change the amount of crumbs falling? Not.

                                          Wow, do you actually eat at KFC? Eeewwww gross.
  • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

    Wed, January 30, 2013 - 5:15 PM
    Trapped heat in urban areas - that ends up spreading heat to surrounding areas. This has been covered here before, but just stumbled on this ...
    • Unsu...

      Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

      Thu, February 14, 2013 - 11:34 AM
      Climate Change is Remaking Winter

      By Climate Guest Blogger on Feb 14, 2013

      By Christine Sanders, Blue Engine Message & Media

      The planet is getting warmer. I can feel it, you can feel it, and the winter tourism industry can definitely feel it. At 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit, last year marked the hottest year on record in the United States, edging out the previous record by one degree. Climate change is causing shorter winters and less snow, putting intense pressure on ski resorts and small businesses in the winter tourism industry that rely on snow to stay in business and employ thousands of Americans. Consider: This is a problem that’ll take more than zinc oxide to fix.

      Last December the Natural Resources Defense Council published a report, “Climate Impacts on the Winter Tourism Economy in the United States,” outlining the ways in which the winter tourism economy is being hit hard by the impacts of climate change. According to the NRDC, 211,900 thousand people are employed nationally by the ski and snowmobile industries, which contribute $7 billion in labor income with $12.2 billion in value added to the economy. Those workers deliver $1.4 billion in revenue to state governments and $1.7 billion in revenue to the federal government annually. In Pennsylvania alone, during the 2009-2010 season, more than $690 million in value was added to the economy. However, experts are warning that if climate change continues at the same rate, “only four out of 14 major ski resorts will remain profitable by 2100 under a higher-emissions scenario.” (Mote et al. (2005) Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 86: 39-49)

      Climate change deniers argue that the recession is the reason Americans aren’t hitting the slopes. Truth is there just isn’t enough snow, and the winters are getting shorter due to the carbon pollution that’s being emitted into the air and fueling climate change. According to the EPA, existing power plants are responsible for adding more than 2.3 billion tons of carbon and other toxic pollutants into the air each year. In the past, Washington has done nothing to stop it, even though 54 percent of Americans believe climate change is caused by human activities and 88 percent of Americans want the US to make an effort “to reduce global warming even if it has economic costs.”

      The Obama Administration is taking a step in that direction, with the President reiterating his “obligation” to future generations to address climate change during his inaugural speech. Representative Henry Waxman (D-California) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) recently announced a bi-cameral task force to work with House and Senate leaders on climate change policies. However, the true test of this administration will be if they’re able to withstand pressure from the big polluters who want to delay or block clean air standards, and if they actually take action to finalize the clean air standards that will lessen the impacts of climate change. First on their agenda should be the finalization of the industrial carbon pollution standard for new power plants, and the development of an industrial carbon pollution standard for existing power plants. These two simple acts will drastically reduce the amount of carbon pollution emitted into our air and lessen extreme weather impacts. That will enable the thousands of Americans who depend on the winter tourism industry to continue to make a living, protect public health, and help solidify the President’s climate change legacy.
      • Unsu...

        Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

        Sat, February 16, 2013 - 12:05 AM
        Ex-IPCC head: Prepare for 5°C warmer world

        By Alex Kirby

        The former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says global average temperatures could reach 5°C above their pre-industrial level.

        LONDON, 14 February – The world has missed the chance to keep greenhouse gas emissions below the level needed to prevent the temperature climbing above 2°C, according to the British scientist who used to chair the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

        The scientist, Professor Sir Robert Watson, chaired the Panel from 1997 until 2002, when he was ousted after US pressure for his removal.

        Professor Watson says there is a 50-50 chance of preventing global average temperatures rising more than 3°C above their level at the start of the industrial age, but a 5°C rise is possible. That would mean the Earth warming more than it has since the end of the last Ice Age.

        He was speaking at a symposium, Preventing global non-communicable diseases through low-carbon development, held at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

        He said: “All the promises in the world, which we’re not likely to realise anyway, will not give us a world with only a 2°C rise. All the evidence, in my opinion, suggests we’re on our way to a 3°C to 5°C world.

        “Some people are suggesting that we try to geo-engineer our way out of the problem, intervening in the climate system to moderate warming.

        “I’m very, very nervous about that. It shows a level of arrogance that we know how to manage our environment. It certainly needs a lot of research.”

        Professor Watson concluded: “There are cost-effective and equitable solutions to address climate change, but political will and moral leadership is needed, and the changes in policies, practices and technologies required are substantial and not currently under way.”

        Earlier hopes dashed

        Professor Watson told the Climate News Network: “We’re going to have more people in the world and they’ll be wealthier, so energy demand is bound to rise.

        “We look like having huge quantities of gas from shale. That can be a useful transitional tool: it emits half the carbon you get from coal. But it’s not a long-term solution, unless you can use it with carbon capture and storage, CCS. I’m optimistic that CCS can work, but it’s got to be shown to work, and what costs and energy penalties it will entail.

        “We now know we can’t rule out a possible 5°C temperature rise, and we need to start preparing for it.

        “When I was chairing the IPCC we were all very optimistic that we’d have a global agreement to limit emissions, though we knew it would be difficult. But we were hopeful that emissions would not go up at the tremendous rate they are rising now.”

        A world 5°C warmer than today could expect falling harvests in developing and developed countries, sea level rise threatening many major cities, and significant water shortages.

        More species would be facing extinction (10% of species are thought to be at risk for every 1°C of warming), there would be more (and more intense) extreme weather, and a growing risk of abrupt and major irreversible changes in the climate system.

        Professor Watson was voted out as the IPCC’s chair in 2002. The weekly New Scientist reported that the year before, shortly after the inauguration as US president of George W Bush, an ExxonMobil executive wrote to the White House asking: “Can Watson be replaced now at the request of the US?”

        He is now science director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, UK, and chief scientific adviser to the UK Government’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

        Professor Sir Andy Haines, former director of LSHTM, told the Climate News Network: “We’re not making much progress on climate change at the moment. We need more arguments combining environment and health – cutting coal-burning, for instance, improving access to clean energy, walking and cycling instead of using cars.

        “The climate change deniers have been given far too much airtime”

        “We need to look not just at population, but at consumption in the developed countries. A lot of vested interests don’t want to go down that road. We can change by paying for externalities, like the adverse effects of air pollution.

        “We can address the inequalities which are evident in areas like heart disease rates and diet. And we need to influence the UN’s new sustainable development goals to include both health and environment indicators.”

        Sir Andy told the symposium: “The climate change deniers have been given far too much airtime. The US authors Naomi Oreskes and Erik M Conway explain in their book Merchants of Doubt the striking overlap in the spreading of disinformation between some of them and the members of the tobacco lobby who a few years ago were denying any link with smoking.” – Climate News Network
        • Unsu...

          Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

          Sun, February 24, 2013 - 11:10 AM
          In Ancient Caves, Evidence Shows Small Uptick in Temps Could Spell 'Massive' Permafrost Melt

          '1.5ºC appears to be something of a tipping point,' says scientist

          - Jon Queally, staff writer

          Scientists studying the geological history inside ancient Siberian caves say that evidence suggests a global temperature increase of just 1.5ºC could trigger massive melting of the northern hemisphere's permafrost, unleashing gigatonnes of carbon and methane into the already warming atmosphere.

          An announcement of the study, which was led by Oxford researchers and published in the journal Science on Friday, says that "global climates only slightly warmer than today are sufficient to thaw significant regions of permafrost."

          As The Guardian explains, the scientists measured "the growth and halting of stalactite and stalagmites [crystal formations found inside the caves] by cutting through the structures at various points corresponding to given time periods in the Earth's history."

          The stalactites and stalagmites are important geological features because they only grow when water is present and therefore indicate with precise accuracy a record of when water was or was not flowing in the geological record.

          Anton Vaks, of the Earth sciences department at Oxford, who led the research says that what they discovered in the caves was that approximately 120,000 years ago -- when global temperatures were about 1.5ºC warmer than pre-industrial levels -- was the last time that melting was detected in this particular region.

          "This indicates that 1.5ºC appears to be something of a tipping point," said Vaks, who said that more study was needed to determine if this trend can be detected in colder areas further north.

          And Reuters adds:

          The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that permafrost contains about 1,700 billion metric tons of heat-trapping carbon, or twice the amount in the atmosphere.

          A UNEP report said in December that permafrost had already begun to thaw in some areas and could release between 43 and 135 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, by 2100.

          Almost 200 nations agreed to the 2.0C limit on global temperatures above pre-industrial times - comparable to late 19th century temperatures - to avert more floods, storms and rising sea levels.
          • Unsu...

            Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

            Sun, March 10, 2013 - 1:50 PM
            Methane hydrates are bubbling out the Arctic Ocean (Science, March 2010)

            Warm Atlantic water is defrosting the Arctic as it shoots through the Fram Strait (Science, January 2011)

            Siberian methane vents have increased in size from less than a meter across in the summer of 2010 to about a kilometer across in 2011 (Tellus, February 2011)

            Drought in the Amazon triggered the release of more carbon than the United States in 2010 (Science, February 2011)

            Peat in the world’s boreal forests is decomposing at an astonishing rate (Nature Communications, November 2011)

            Methane is being released from the Antarctic, too (Nature, August 2012)

            Russian forest and bog fires are growing (NASA, August 2012)

            Cracking of glaciers accelerates in the presence of increased carbon dioxide (Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, October 2012)

            Exposure to sunlight increases bacterial conversion of exposed soil carbon, thus accelerating thawing of the permafrost (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, February 2013)

            Arctic drilling was fast-tracked by the Obama administration during the summer of 2012

            NOAA Data for February is out. Here is the YOY ppm increase by month:

            2012 Jan:393.14, Feb:393.54, 394.44, 396.18, 396.78, 395.82, 394.30, 392.41, 391.05, 391.01, 392.81, 394.28
            Difference: 1.9 1.7 2.0 2.8 2.5 2.1 1.9 2.3 2.1 2.1 2.6 2.4

            2013 Jan:395.5, Feb:396.80
            Difference: 2.4 3.3

            The formatting is off due to page width. The take-away is atmospheric CO2 is accelerating at an accelerating rate. YOY change by decade is about 1.7 in the 90s, 2.1 in the 00s. January ’13 is 2.4, February ’13 is 3.3 ppm higher than last year.

            Not looking real good, is it?
            • Unsu...

              Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

              Wed, March 13, 2013 - 1:45 AM
              Published on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 by Inter Press Service
              Warming World Is Stripping the Future of 'Four Seasons'
              'If we don't curb carbon emissions, Arctic Sweden might be more like the south of France by the end of the century.'
              by Stephen Leahy
              UXBRIDGE, Canada - “Canada is not a country, it’s winter,” Canadians say with pride. But the nation’s long, fearsome winters will live only in memory and song for Canadian children born this decade.

              Winters are already significantly warmer and shorter than just 30 years ago. The temperature regimes and plant life of the south have marched more than 700 kilometres northward, new research shows.

              The frozen north is leaving and won’t be back for millennia due to heat-trapping carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels, experts say.

              By 2091, the north will have seasons, temperatures and possibly vegetation comparable to those found today 20 to 25 degrees of latitude further south, said Ranga Myneni of the Department of Earth and Environment, Boston University.

              “If we don’t curb carbon emissions, Arctic Sweden might be more like the south of France by the end of the century,” Myneni, co-author of the Nature Climate Change study published Sunday, told IPS.

              Canada, Northern Eurasia and the Arctic are warming faster than elsewhere as a result of the loss of snow and ice, he said. In 90 years, Alaska or Canada’s Baffin Island in the Arctic may have seasons and temperatures comparable to those in today’s Oregon and southern Ontario.

              Myneni is member of an international team of 21 authors from seven countries who used newly improved ground and satellite data to measure changes in temperatures and vegetation over the four seasons from roughly above the U.S.-Canada border (45 degrees latitude) to the Arctic Ocean.

              They found temperatures over the northern lands have increased at different rates during the four seasons over the past 30 years, with winters warming most followed by spring temperatures.

              There is a huge difference between winter and summer temperatures in the north, but that difference is less and less every year, according to the study, “Temperature and vegetation seasonality diminishment over northern lands”. This measured change is happening faster than projected by climate models.

              “We are changing seasonality…. The north is becoming like the south, losing its sharp contrasts between the four seasons,” said Myneni.

              One clear sign is the greening of Arctic. The types of plants that could go no further north than 57 degrees north 30 years ago are now found at 64 degrees.

              This change is “easily visible on the ground as an increasing abundance of tall shrubs and tree incursions in several locations all over the circumpolar Arctic,” said co-author Terry Callaghan of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the University of Sheffield, UK.

              Seasonality is often called the rhythm of life. Changes will impact many species, considering the enormous numbers of birds, animals and others species that migrate north to feast during the short northern summer.

              “The way of life of many organisms on Earth is tightly linked to seasonal changes in temperature and availability of food, and all food on land comes first from plants,” said Scott Goetz, deputy director and senior scientist, Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, U.S.

              “Think of migration of birds to the Arctic in the summer and hibernation of bears in the winter: Any significant alterations to temperature and vegetation seasonality are likely to impact life not only in the north but elsewhere in ways that we do not yet know,” Goetz said in a statement.

              The Arctic is home to millions of square kilometres of permafrost with its vast amount of frozen carbon. The amplified warming of the Arctic will release some of this carbon, leading to greater warming around the planet for hundreds of years, the study also warns.

              In recent weeks, satellite images of the Arctic Ocean have revealed large fractures in the sea ice during the coldest part of winter. Sea ice does not normally begin to break up until at least April. The mid-February fracturing was extensive and unusual, sea ice expert Mark Serreze, the director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, told IPS.

              Last summer’s record melt of sea ice was 80 percent greater when compared to summers 30 or more years ago. This winter, most of the ice in the Arctic is thin, first-year ice that is more easily fractured and likely to melt quickly when the summer comes.

              The ramifications of this planetary-scale change are just beginning to be understood.

              The 2012 sea ice collapse amplified the destructive power of Superstorm Sandy, researchers reported last week in the journal of Oceanography. The severe loss of summertime Arctic sea ice appears to affect the jet stream, IPS has previously reported.

              That helped Hurricane Sandy take a powerful turn west instead of steering northeast and out to sea like most October hurricanes, researchers say in the paper “Superstorm Sandy: A Series of Unfortunate Events?”.

              It’s not only sea ice that is in full meltdown mode. Canada’s land-based glaciers are also melting. Little studied until recently, these glaciers are third in volume only to those of Antarctica and Greenland. By the end of this century, 20 percent will have melted, raising global sea levels by 3.5 cm.

              Considering oceans cover 71 percent of the planet, that is an incredible amount of ice turning into water.

              “We believe that the mass loss is irreversible in the foreseeable future” assuming continued climate change, wrote researchers from the Netherlands and the United States in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
              • Unsu...

                Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                Thu, March 14, 2013 - 2:32 PM
                I have a friend's teen granddaughter living in this place who is desperately trying to finish high school so she can get the hell out. Last summer, before she came up here (annual months-long visit) her dog's paws stuck to an melting asphalt road it happened to step onto and burned the feet so badly they had to kill it. One of her horses keeled over last year in one of the giant Haboobs from heat stroke and dust packed into its' throat...

                Published on Thursday, March 14, 2013 by
                Phoenix in the Climate Crosshairs

                We Are Long Past Coal Mine Canaries

                by William deBuys

                If cities were stocks, you’d want to short Phoenix.

                Of course, it’s an easy city to pick on. The nation’s 13th largest metropolitan area (nudging out Detroit) crams 4.3 million people into a low bowl in a hot desert, where horrific heat waves and windstorms visit it regularly. It snuggles next to the nation’s largest nuclear plant and, having exhausted local sources, it depends on an improbable infrastructure to suck water from the distant (and dwindling) Colorado River.

                In Phoenix, you don’t ask: What could go wrong? You ask: What couldn’t?

                And that’s the point, really. Phoenix’s multiple vulnerabilities, which are plenty daunting taken one by one, have the capacity to magnify one another, like compounding illnesses. In this regard, it’s a quintessentially modern city, a pyramid of complexities requiring large energy inputs to keep the whole apparatus humming. The urban disasters of our time -- New Orleans hit by Katrina, New York City swamped by Sandy -- may arise from single storms, but the damage they do is the result of a chain reaction of failures -- grids going down, levees failing, back-up systems not backing up. As you might expect, academics have come up with a name for such breakdowns:infrastructure failure interdependencies. You wouldn’t want to use it in a poem, but it does catch an emerging theme of our time.

                Phoenix’s pyramid of complexities looks shakier than most because it stands squarely in the crosshairs of climate change. The area, like much of the rest of the American Southwest, is already hot and dry; it’s getting ever hotter and drier, and is increasingly battered by powerful storms. Sandy and Katrina previewed how coastal cities can expect to fare as seas rise and storms strengthen. Phoenix pulls back the curtain on the future of inland empires. If you want a taste of the brutal new climate to come, the place to look is where that climate is already harsh, and growing more so -- the aptly named Valley of the Sun.

                In Phoenix, it’s the convergence of heat, drought, and violent winds, interacting and amplifying each other that you worry about. Generally speaking, in contemporary society, nothing that matters happens for just one reason, and in Phoenix there are all too many “reasons” primed to collaborate and produce big problems, with climate change foremost among them, juicing up the heat, the drought, and the wind to ever greater extremes, like so many sluggers on steroids. Notably, each of these nemeses, in its own way, has the potential to undermine thesine qua non of modern urban life, the electrical grid, which in Phoenix merits special attention.

                If, in summer, the grid there fails on a large scale and for a significant period of time, the fallout will make the consequences of Superstorm Sandy look mild. Sure, people will hunt madly for power outlets to charge their cellphones and struggle to keep their milk fresh, but communications and food refrigeration will not top their list of priorities. Phoenix is an air-conditioned city. If the power goes out, people fry.

                In the summer of 2003, a heat wave swept Europe and killed 70,000 people. The temperature in London touched 100 degrees Fahrenheit for the first time since records had been kept, and in portions of France the mercury climbed as high as 104°F. Those temperatures, however, are child’s play in Phoenix, where readings commonly exceed 100°F for more than 100 days a year. In 2011, the city set a new record for days over 110°F: there were 33 of them, more than a month of spectacularly superheated days ushering in a new era.

                In Flight From the Sun

                It goes without saying that Phoenix’s desert setting is hot by nature, but we’ve made it hotter. The city is a masonry world, with asphalt and concrete everywhere. The hard, heavy materials of its buildings and roads absorb heat efficiently and give it back more slowly than the naked land. In a sense, the whole city is really a thermal battery, soaking up energy by day and releasing it at night. The result is an “urban heat island,” which, in turn, prevents the cool of the desert night from providing much relief.

                Sixty years ago, when Phoenix was just embarking on its career of manic growth, nighttime lows never crept above 90°F. Today such temperatures are a commonplace, and the vigil has begun for the first night that doesn’t dip below 100°F. Studies indicate that Phoenix’s urban-heat-island effect may boost nighttime temperatures by as much as 10°F. It’s as though the city has doubled down on climate change, finding a way to magnify its most unwanted effects even before it hits the rest of us full blast.

                Predictably, the poor suffer most from the heat. They live in the hottest neighborhoods with the least greenery to mitigate the heat-island effect, and they possess the least resources for combatting high temperatures. For most Phoenicians, however, none of this is more than an inconvenience as long as the AC keeps humming and the utility bill gets paid. When the heat intensifies, they learn to scurry from building to car and into the next building, essentially holding their breaths. In those cars, the second thing they touch after the ignition is the fan control for the AC. The steering wheel comes later.

                In the blazing brilliance of July and August, you venture out undefended to walk or run only in the half-light of dawn or dusk. The idea for residents of the Valley of the Sun is to learn to dodge the heat, not challenge it.

                Heat, however, is a tricky adversary. It stresses everything, including electrical equipment. Transformers, when they get too hot, can fail. Likewise, thermoelectric generating stations, whether fired by coal, gas, or neutrons, become less efficient as the mercury soars. And the great hydroelectric dams of the Colorado River, including Glen Canyon, which serves greater Phoenix, won’t be able to supply the “peaking power” they do now if the reservoirs behind them are fatally shrunken by drought, as multiple studies forecast they will be. Much of this can be mitigated with upgraded equipment, smart grid technologies, and redundant systems. But then along comes the haboob.

                A haboob is a dust/sand/windstorm, usually caused by the collapse of a thunderstorm cell. The plunging air hits the ground and roils outward, picking up debris across the open desert. As the Arabic name suggests, such storms are native to arid regions, but -- although Phoenix is no stranger to storm-driven dust -- the term haboob has only lately entered the local lexicon. It seems to have been imported to describe a new class of storms, spectacular in their vehemence, which bring visibility to zero and life to a standstill. They sandblast cars, close the airport, and occasionally cause the lights -- and AC -- to go out. Not to worry, say the two major utilities serving the Phoenix metroplex, Arizona Public Service and the Salt River Project. And the outages have indeed been brief. So far.

                Before Katrina hit, the Army Corps of Engineers was similarly reassuring to the people of New Orleans. And until Superstorm Sandy landed, almost no one worried about storm surges filling the subway tunnels of New York.

                Every system, like every city, has its vulnerabilities. Climate change, in almost every instance, will worsen them. The beefed-up, juiced-up, greenhouse-gassed, overheated weather of the future will give us haboobs of a sort we can’t yet imagine, packed with ever greater amounts of energy. In all likelihood, the emergence of such storms as a feature of Phoenix life results from an overheating environment, abetted by the loose sand and dust of abandoned farmland (which dried up when water was diverted to the city’s growing subdivisions).

                Water, Water, Everywhere (But Not for Long)

                In dystopic portraits of Phoenix’s unsustainable future, water -- or rather the lack of it -- is usually painted as the agent of collapse. Indeed, the metropolitan area, a jumble of jurisdictions that includes Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Mesa, Sun City, Chandler, and 15 other municipalities, long ago made full use of such local rivers as the Salt, Verde, and Gila. Next, people sank wells and mined enough groundwater to lower the water table by 400 feet.

                Sometimes the land sank, too. Near some wells it subsided by 10 feet or more. All along, everyone knew that the furious extraction of groundwater couldn’t last, so they fixed their hopes on a new bonanza called the Central Arizona Project (CAP), a river-sized, open-air canal supported by an elaborate array of pumps, siphons, and tunnels that would bring Colorado River water across the breadth of Arizona to Phoenix and Tucson.

                The CAP came on line in the early 1990s and today is the engine of Arizona’s growth. Unfortunately, in order to win authorization and funding to build it, state officials had to make a bargain with the devil, which in this case turned out to be California. Arizona’s delegation in the House of Representatives was tiny, California’s was huge, and its representatives jealously protected their longstanding stranglehold on the Colorado River. The concession California forced on Arizona was simple: it had to agree that its CAP water rights would take second place to California’s claims.

                This means one thing: once the inevitable day comes when there isn’t enough water to go around, the CAP will absorb the shortage down to the last drop before California even begins to turn off its faucets.

                A raw deal for Arizona? You bet, but not exactly the end of the line. Arizona has other “more senior” rights to the Colorado, and when the CAP begins to run dry, you may be sure that the masters of the CAP will pay whatever is necessary to lease those older rights and keep the 330-mile canal flowing. Among their targets will be water rights belonging to Indian tribes at the western edge of the state along the lower reaches of the river. The cost of buying tribal water will drive the rates consumers pay for water in Phoenix sky-high, but they’ll pay it because they’ll have to.

                Longer term, the Colorado River poses issues that no amount of tribal water can resolve. Beset by climate change, overuse, and drought, the river and its reservoirs, according to various researchers, may decline to the point that water fails to pass Hoover Dam. In that case, the CAP would dry up, but so would the Colorado Aqueduct which serves greater Los Angeles and San Diego, as well as the All-American Canal, on which the factory farms of California’s Imperial and Coachella valleys depend. Irrigators and municipalities downstream in Mexico would also go dry. If nothing changes in the current order of things, it is expected that the possibility of such a debacle could loom in little more than a decade.

                The preferred solution to this crisis among the water mavens of the lower Colorado isaugmentation, which means importing more water into the Colorado system to boost native supplies. A recently discussed grandiose scheme to bail out the Colorado’s users with a pipeline from the Mississippi River failed to pass the straight-face test and was shot down by then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

                Meanwhile, the obvious expedient of cutting back on water consumption finds little support in thirsty California, which will watch the CAP go dry before it gets serious about meaningful system-wide conservation.

                Burning Uplands

                Phoenicians who want to escape water worries, heat waves, and haboobs have traditionally sought refuge in the cool green forests of Arizona’s uplands, or at least they did until recently. In 2002, the Rodeo-Chediski fire consumed 469,000 acres of pine and mixed conifer on the Mogollon Rim, not far from Phoenix. It was an ecological holocaust that no one expected to see surpassed. Only nine years later, in 2011, the Wallow fire picked up the torch, so to speak, and burned across the Rim all the way to the New Mexico border and beyond, topping out at 538,000 charred acres.

                Now, nobody thinks such fires are one-off flukes. Diligent modeling of forest response to rising temperatures and increased moisture stress suggests, in fact, that these two fires were harbingers of worse to come. By mid-century, according to a paper by an A-team of Southwestern forest ecologists, the “normal” stress on trees will equal that of the worst megadroughts in the region’s distant paleo-history, when most of the trees in the area simply died.

                Compared to Phoenix’s other heat and water woes, the demise of Arizona’s forests may seem like a side issue, whose effects would be noticeable mainly in the siltation of reservoirs and the destabilization of the watersheds on which the city depends. But it could well prove a regional disaster. Consider, then, heat, drought, windstorms, and fire as the four horsemen of Phoenix’s Apocalypse. As it happens, though, this potential apocalypse has a fifth horseman as well.

                Rebecca Solnit has written eloquently of the way a sudden catastrophe -- an earthquake, hurricane, or tornado -- can dissolve social divisions and cause a community to cohere, bringing out the best in its citizenry. Drought and heat waves are different. You don’t know that they have taken hold until you are already in them, and you never know when they will end. The unpleasantness eats away at you. It corrodes your state of mind. You have lots of time to meditate on the deficiencies of your neighbors, which loom larger the longer the crisis goes on.

                Drought divides people, and Phoenix is already a divided place -- notoriously so, thanks to thebrutal antics of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City, Andrew Ross offers a dismal portrait of contemporary Phoenix -- of a city threatened by its particular brand of local politics and economic domination, shaped by more than the usual quotient of prejudice, greed, class insularity, and devotion to raw power.

                It is a truism that communities that do not pull together fail to surmount their challenges. Phoenix’s are as daunting as any faced by an American city in the new age of climate change, but its winner-take-all politics (out of which has come Arizona’s flagrantly repressive anti-immigration law), combined with the fragmentation of the metro-area into nearly two dozen competing jurisdictions, essentially guarantee that, when the worst of times hit, common action and shared sacrifice will remain as insubstantial as a desert mirage. When one day the U-Haul vans all point away from town and the people of the Valley of the Sun clog the interstates heading for greener, wetter pastures, more than the brutal heat of a new climate paradigm will be driving them away. The breakdown of cooperation and connectedness will spur them along, too.

                One day, some of them may look back and think of the real estate crash of 2007-2008 and the recession that followed with fond nostalgia. The city’s economy was in the tank, growth had stalled, and for a while business-as-usual had nothing usual about it. But there was a rare kind of potential. That recession might have been the last best chance for Phoenix and other go-go Sunbelt cities to reassess their lamentably unsustainable habits and re-organize themselves, politically and economically, to get ready for life on the front burner of climate change. Land use, transportation, water policies, building codes, growth management -- you name it -- might all have experienced a healthy overhaul. It was a chance no one took. Instead, one or several decades from now, people will bet on a surer thing: they’ll take the road out of town.

                © 2013 William deBuys

                How bad does it need to get before you call the area "uninhabitable"? The southwest US is an open-air experiment to answer that question. Aside from the rivers failing and aquifers vanishing, global trends really put Arizona and New Mexico in the crosshairs:

                (1) The very dry top-edge of a tropical atmospheric circulation called aHadley Cell is moving northward, over the southern US.

                (2) Global warming is more intense in large, flat continental interiors than in most other places.

                (3) Meandering of the jet stream because of Arctic amplification means that pressure systems hang around longer - with the result that hot, dry spells will be extenuated.

                (4) After all the surface moisture evaporates, sunlight energy mainly goes intosensible heat (that you can measure with a thermometer) - baking the dirt into dust, making the US southwest a permanent dust bowl.

                Just get out now and beat the rush, while there's still a chance of someone buying your property.
                • Unsu...

                  Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                  Sun, March 17, 2013 - 12:38 PM
                  Published on Sunday, March 17, 2013 by Climate News Network
                  Oh no! It’s Climategate Three

                  by Paul Brown

                  In 2009, shortly before the UN climate talks in Copenhagen, hackers published a haul of climate scientists’ emails. That was Climategate One. Two years on came another batch, and a few days ago a third. Do they tell us anything about the science – or, perhaps, about the hackers? This Comment offers a few possible pointers.

                  Black ops” is what the military call it – using false radio messages, news releases and newspapers, leaflets, and creating conspiracy theories so the enemy is confused, demoralized and loses the stomach for the fight.

                  It worked so well in World War II that, in every conflict since, all sides have used the dark arts. Many of their methods and secrets are classified, too effective a weapon to allow to fall into the hands of the enemy.

                  In a sophisticated world, however, the military are not alone in using black ops. They have excellent propaganda value in the commercial world too, winning a war without a shot being fired.

                  A classic example has emerged in the last few days. A new leak of hundreds of thousands of emails between climate scientists is revealed. The climate deniers are having a field day. A new Climategate looms (see Watts Up With That?, which describes itself as “The world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change”).

                  Just to recap. In the battle over whether climate change matters and whether the world should do anything about it, nothing has recently been so potent as the leaking of emails between scientists.

                  These are alleged (by climate deniers and others) to show a conspiracy between scientists to cook the evidence and leave out inconvenient facts in order to falsely show that man-made climate change is happening.

                  The allegation is, successive inquiries have shown, a load of bunk, but that did not matter. The damage had already been done, doubt had been sown, and successive rounds of climate talks failed.

                  ‘Brilliant’ memo

                  What was startling about the whole saga was that the black ops side of it went almost unnoticed. The whole leak was put down to climate deniers hacking into private emails “in the public interest” to unearth the “conspiracy”. Therefore, the argument ran, it was somehow a legitimate quest – at least there were no condemnations of what is both illegal and disgraceful behaviour.

                  If you were looking for a motive for the hackers, it could be to further the interests of the fossil fuel lobby, which wants no action on climate change. But not many journalists – or anyone else – bothered to look.

                  But scroll forward to this week. Along with the thousands more (probably innocuous) leaked emails came an extraordinary memo from the alleged leaker, anonymous of course, but showing all the brilliance of the best black ops in the business.

                  Signing himself/herself Mr FOIA, (Mr Freedom of Information Act), the leaker claims to be an individual who is an insider blowing the whistle on a conspiracy to foist climate change on an unsuspecting world.

                  Although the memo is written in perfect English, it comes with a classic black ops style disclaimer that the writer is anything to do with North America. He claims not to have English as his first language, so implying that he is neither British nor American.

                  Later, to underline the point, he says there is “no conspiracy, no paid hackers, no Big Oil. The Republicans didn’t plot this. USA politics is alien to me, neither am I from the UK. There is life outside the Anglo-American sphere.”

                  Attacking legitimate science

                  Mr FOIA even shows he has feelings for the scientists he is accusing of a criminal conspiracy. He pleads with climate deniers everywhere to protect the privacy of the email senders “where their personal lives are concerned”, but asks the deniers to sift through all 220,000 of the emails for evidence of conspiracy, because he has not time to do it himself.

                  His motivation is entirely pure. He is not in anyone’s pay, but it is a matter of conscience. He is acting to prevent trillions of dollars that could be used for inventions to help mankind from being diverted to prevent climate change, which is not happening anyway.

                  This is his motivation: “It’s easy for many of us in the western world to accept a tiny green inconvenience and then wallow in that righteous feeling, surrounded by our ‘clean technology’ and energy that is only slightly more expensive if adequately subsidized.

                  “Those millions and billions already struggling with malnutrition, sickness, violence, illiteracy, etc. don’t have that luxury. The price of ‘climate protection’ with its cumulative and collateral effects is bound to destroy and debilitate in great numbers, for decades and generations.”

                  So there you have it. Mr FOIA is trying to save the poor. Nothing is further from his mind than the fact that his invention of a gigantic climate conspiracy, and his attack on legitimate science, serves the interests of big oil in particular, and all polluting industries, far more than it would ever help the poor.

                  All the climate deniers, gullible to a man and woman, have seized on it with glee. To them Mr FOIA is a selfless hero who should get a medal. It is magic stuff. It is a classic of Black Ops. It ought to be in the training manual of every secret service on the planet.

                  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                    Thu, March 21, 2013 - 2:17 AM
                    Oh my, the fucking irony is getting really, really thick in DC. But then again, it is an alternate reality inside that beltway.

                    Climate Science Denier Leads House Science Subcommittee
                    By Rebecca Leber on Mar 20, 2013 at 12:29 pm


                    The House Science, Space and Technology Committee has named a climate science denier congressman as the new chairman of the subcommittee responsible for climate change issues. With Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) as subcommittee chair, House Science has no shortage of climate deniers making science their prime target.

                    Stewart uses familiar Republican tactics to argue against cutting our greenhouse gas pollution: He told Mother Jones he is unconvinced anthropogenic global warming is “based upon sound science” — despite 97 percent of climate scientists saying otherwise — “before we make any long-lasting policy decisions that could negatively affect our economy.”

                    Stewart also told The Salt Lake Tribune:

                    “I’m not as convinced as a lot of people are that man-made climate change is the threat they think it is. I think it is probably not as immediate as some people do.” [...]

                    “What is the real threat? What are the economic impacts of those threats? And what are the economic impacts of those remedies?” he asked, explaining his approach. “Some of the remedies are more expensive to our economy than the threat may turn out to be.”

                    For more context of Stewart’s views, just look at where he is directing the subcommittee’s attention. At a hearing Wednesday, Stewart knocked the EPA’s extensive review of rules that protect the air and lamented that industry-funded research play too small a role at the agency. Not surprisingly, oil and gas was a top player in funding Stewart’s election to Congress.

                    Weeks ago, House Science attempted to hold a hearing stacked with climate deniers as witnesses (only to be foiled by bad weather that same day).

                    Back in Stewart’s home state, The Salt Lake Tribune has urged Utah leaders to take the opposite action. In a strong editorial, the paper pointed fingers at lawmakers for their ignorance, “blind or willful,” that has “transformed climate change into a political issue rather than the global threat it clearly is proving to be.
                    • Unsu...

                      Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                      Sat, March 23, 2013 - 2:39 AM
                      from a doc that posts on a retired UofA PhD. climatologist scientist's site:

                      >As a family physician, I treat more mental health issues than almost anything else – primarily depression and anxiety. While these aren’t textbook definitions of insane, I find that the following are good enough for me:
                      1) if you think that everything in our modern world is going just fine, then you’re probably crazy (or in a coma);
                      2) if you see everything going on around you – really “see” it – peak oil, climate change, etc., and aren’t flipping out, then you’re probably crazy;
                      3) if you think God is in control and “He” is going to fix it or that everything is just part of “His” plan, then you’re probably crazy.

                      MORE BAD NEWS FROM THE ARCTIC:

                      Is anyone else watching the Arctic ice crack, crumble and dissolve in real time today?


                      Sample comments:

                      Yeah, the cracking from Morris Jesup is basically merging with that coming across the Lincoln Sea. I had hoped the MYI around Lincoln would hold faster than this.

                      this is truly amazing to watch in real time. kinda horriying, but amazing nonetheless.


                      For the record; I do not think that any sea ice will survive this summer. An event unprecedented in human history is today, this very moment, transpiring in the Arctic Ocean. The cracks in the sea ice that I reported on my Sierra Club Canada blog and elsewhere over the last several days have spread and at this moment the entire sea ice sheet (or about 99% of it) covering the Arctic Ocean is on the move. Clockwise. The ice is thin, and slushy, and breaking apart. This is abrupt climate change in real-time. Humans have benefited greatly from a stable climate for the last 11,000 years or roughly 400 generations. Not any more…

                      >A craze is a bout of emotional instability. So crazy would be something along the lines of continuous bouts of emotional instability. I have this, but only in response to an insane culture. One that keeps doing the same things over and over again, expecting “progress” as the only result.

                      So within the confines of an insane culture, I am somewhat crazy. Better to be sane and crazy, than insane and dim-witted.

                      >The National Snow and Ice Data Center, on their webpage Greenland Ice Sheet Today showed surface melt on the east side of the land mass nearly every day in January, February and early March. Then about a week ago, all that information was removed, and the site now shows zero surface melt for the entire year.


                      Arctic sea ice nosediving

                      By Matt Owens


                      This summer could be lights out for the Arctic sea ice.

                      Above is the ice thickness, as estimated by the U.S. Navy for March 3rd of 2011, 2012, and 2013 (The dates posted on the maps correspond to the date the analysis was performed). Click for larger view.

                      This map shows several troubling trends which point to a possible ice-free summer Arctic Ocean as soon as this summer, including unusually high heat retention in shallow coastal shelves where large stores of methane gas wait to be released if temperatures climb too high.

                      The areas colored orange correspond to 1 to 2 meters of ice thickness (about 3.3 to 6.6 feet) and they will mostly melt this spring and summer. The white areas correspond to 2 or more meters (about 6.6 feet and up) of thickness, and they will likely also see large losses.

                      The angle of the Earth to the sun is now shifting, bringing sunlight back on up north - soon to start heating and melting the Arctic, as it does every year (aka summer for the northern hemisphere). But this time is different.

                      As the map shows, substantial thinning around the edges of the Arctic Ocean basin indicates significant heat retention in those waters. Plus, the thickest part of the ice, 3 to 5 meters, is just barely clinging to existence along the northern coast of Greenland. These navy maps only go back to 2011, but older observational data prove that sea ice thickness used to be much, much thicker. In fact, the sea ice has been thinning for decades now, but since 2007, the decline has gone from first to fifth gear. What this map shows is the last gasp of Arctic sea ice, at least for the summers.

                      Below: sea ice concentration (how much ice area there is as a percent of ocean area) 1982 vs. 2012, for September 15th. Images from Cryosphere Today. Click for larger view:

                      Over the coming months, ocean currents and wind will push the decaying ice around, further accelerating the melting, and leading to more solar heat absorption by the ocean waters. If any ice remains by September, it will probably end up pushed up along the Greenland coast again. In the winter, the ocean will ice over again, but only a thin layer will form, meaning the ice cover will melt even earlier in the season next year.

                      By all accounts, the Arctic is in big trouble. The ramifications are still being worked out, and are not entirely clear.

                      But really, "not entirely clear" is just a euphemism. And, "big trouble" is really an understatement. If I were the type to panic, I would be panicking now. Those movies, where the gates to other universes (violent, hostile universes of course - what other kind are there?), or the gates to hell, etc. have been somehow left open ...those movies take on a new meaning in the context of this problem.

                      I do not encourage you to panic however, and remember, panic rarely accomplishes anything except for helping to get yourself physically away from something hostile. That won't work here, unless you have a spaceship and an open invite from another planet.

                      What this means practically speaking, is much more insidious than a sudden global apocalypse. Apocalyptic or insidious - either way, the issue calls for attention.

                      In a best-case scenario, the nosediving arctic sea ice means that going forward there will be:

                      more unusual weather, more intense and unusual storms (e.g. the 2012 Derecho and Hurricane Sandy), longer periods of local weather being either excessively cold, hot, dry, or rainy.
                      There will be more drought and more flooding. Areas that are already drought-prone will likely experience the highest rise in droughts, while those prone to flooding will see the highest rise in flooding events. Both more flooding and more drought can happen to the same land area however.
                      Also, a best-case scenario will see only a limited volume of methane gas violently release from the Arctic sea floor. About 0.1 gigatonne (GtC) carbon release (violent or otherwise) per year would be consistent with this best-case scenario.
                      The permafrost region will experience an increased thaw rate; but if human emissions are brought nearly to a halt within a few decades, the permafrost thaw would hopefully only continue through the early years of the 22nd Century - and then stabilize.
                      If a worst-case scenario unfolds however, there would be:

                      more unusual weather, etc. as in the best-case, but worse.
                      Likewise, there would be more drought and flooding, etc. as in the best-case, but worse.
                      There would be large, violent releases of methane from the Arctic Ocean. Total additional carbon releases would be close to, or more than 1.0 GtC per year.
                      The permafrost region would experience a much accelerated thaw rate, eliminating most hope that the process could be stopped.
                      Global warming would take a dire turn, but there might be a window of time where humanity could have the chance to reduce emissions quickly, in order to stay within a warming of 4°C to 6°C (7.2°F to 10.8°F) by 2100.
                      On the other hand, the rate or carbon release from the ocean and permafrost might be too high to hold warming at 6°C (10.8°F) by 2100, even with reductions in human emissions. Even worse, a rapid release of carbon as methane on the order of 100 GtC in less than 10 years would lead to a spike in global temperatures, probably coming to about 1°C (1.8°F) within that 10 year time frame. This rapid rise in average temperature would translate to sharp rises in wildfire, crop loss, and probably large-scale forest die-offs.
                      These secondary effects would in turn cause tertiary impacts, such as lowering the available food supply (at least the supply from conventional plant and animal sources), disrupting commerce and international trade, and increasing the number of people suddenly and unexpectedly displaced by environmental changes. Effects would spread throughout nearly all economic, social, political, and ecological spheres.
                      This is serious. National, local, and individual security, prosperity, physical and mental well-being are all in jeopardy.

                      Halting your own personal contributions to global warming, or even offsetting your impact by planting trees for example, is commendable, but not sufficient in and of itself. What is required first and foremost, is acceptance of the reality. This acceptance must be community-wide, and nation-wide. Consider that those who do not know about the danger will make poorly informed decisions, placing their hard-earned assets and investing limited time in endeavors which are doomed to failure, destruction, or obsolescence.

                      If possible, I suggest positioning yourself away from those who are blind to the reality of climate change, while continuing to inform yourself. If your business competitor is unaware of the risks, you may be able to expand into his customer base when he's set back by the various primary, secondary, or tertiary impacts from climate change which you saw coming. Or, if you are able to convince your family members or friends not to buy that beach-front house, for example, you may not have to feed and shelter them when that house is destroyed by a storm or taken by rising sea levels.

                      If you're still wondering why one little map means so much, consider the following: there are several feedback processes in the climate system, and the decline of the Arctic sea ice is going to impact one of the biggest, the thawing permafrost. The other big one is methane hydrates, which is possibly much bigger than all the others. At this point however, we do not know enough to constrain the uncertainty around methane hydrates. This leaves a large range of additional warming that could result depending on if they are released, and if they are, then on how much, how fast, and in what way they release their carbon.

                      Below: an alternate version of the same maps above. Click for larger view:
                      • Unsu...

                        Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                        Thu, March 28, 2013 - 11:25 PM
                        Video: Hunters And Anglers See First-Hand The Impacts Of Manmade Climate Change
                        By Joe Romm

               (link to vid at this site)

                        People who spend a lot of their time outdoors are more likely to see the obvious — the climate is changing and invasive species like the bark beetle are ravaging the West. That’s a key reason hunters and anglers rallied for the climate bill back in 2009.

                        Last year Todd Tanner, the founder of Conservation Hawks, an organization of sportsmen dedicated to fighting climate change, said he would give up his gun, a Beretta Silver Pigeon 12 gauge (see picture), if someone can convince him that climate change is not real.

                        Videographer Peter Sinclair has a new video on “Hunters, Anglers, and Climate Change” for his Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media series, which is well worth a look:
                        • Unsu...

                          Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                          Thu, May 2, 2013 - 12:30 AM
                          A climate like 3.5 MILLION years ago? Are you fucking kidding me? Doesn't ANYBODY get this in the corporate/government world?

                          Climate Collision Course: CO2 Levels About to Hit 400 PPM

                          In a first in human history, "it looks like the world is going to blow through the 400-ppm level without losing a beat."

                          - Andrea Germanos, staff writer

                          The world is likely days away from a "sobering milestone" in our planetary history.

                          Concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide will likely reach 400 parts per million (ppm) for first time in human history, say scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and unless drastic action is taken, we're on track to hit 450 ppm in the near future.

                          "I wish it weren't true, but it looks like the world is going to blow through the 400-ppm level without losing a beat," said Scripps geochemist Ralph Keeling, whose father Charles David (Dave) Keeling began the "Keeling Curve" to track daily CO2 levels recorded at Mauna Loa Observatory.

                          The last time the greenhouse gases were at 400 ppm was likely the Pliocene epoch, between 3.2 million and 5 million years ago.

                          The current reading is at 399.72 ppm -- far past the 350 ppm level many, including noted climate scientist James Hansen, have warned is the upper safe limit before the planet hits a tipping point.

                          "At this pace we'll hit 450 ppm within a few decades," warned Keeling. Indeed, the rate of rise of CO2 over the past century is "unprecedented."

                          The figure should serve as a call to act on the deadly emissions caused by our fossil fuel addiction, the scientists say.

                          "The 400-ppm threshold is a sobering milestone, and should serve as a wake up call for all of us to support clean energy technology and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, before it's too late for our children and grandchildren," said Tim Lueker, an oceanographer and carbon cycle researcher and part of the Scripps CO2 Group.

                          To keep a watch on the daily levels, you can visit The Keeling Curve website or follow the daily updates via Twitter.

                          April 30 News: Global CO2 Levels Will Soon Pass 400 PPM … But Wasn’t Obama Hilarious At WH Correspondents’ Dinner?
                          By Ryan Koronowski on Apr 30, 2013

                          For the media — and even the White House — the big news was that Obama killed at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner [WhiteHouse.Gov].

                          For homo sapiens, as we have been reporting, the epochal news is that in the next few days, CO2 levels in the atmosphere are expected to reach 400 parts per million for the first time in human existence, which continues a 200-year rise that is now accelerating. [Guardian]

                          The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached 399.72 parts per million (ppm) and is likely to pass the symbolically important 400ppm level for the first time in the next few days.

                          Readings at the US government’s Earth Systems Research laboratory in Hawaii, are not expected to reach their 2013 peak until mid May, but were recorded at a daily average of 399.72 ppm on 25 April. The weekly average stood at 398.5 on Monday.

                          Hourly readings above 400ppm have been recorded six times in the last week, and on occasion, at observatories in the high Arctic. But the Mauna Loa station, sited at 3,400 m and far away from major pollution sources in the Pacific Ocean, has been monitoring levels for more than 50 years and is considered the gold standard.

                          “I wish it weren’t true but it looks like the world is going to blow through the 400 ppm level without losing a beat. At this pace we’ll hit 450 ppm within a few decades,” said Ralph Keeling, a geologist with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography which operates the Hawaiian observatory.
                          • Unsu...

                            Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                            Sat, May 25, 2013 - 11:32 PM
                            Published on Thursday, May 16, 2013 by Common Dreams
                            'Canary in the Ocean': Massive Fish Flight Shows Climate Change is Here
                            Study shows unprecedented worldwide fish migration as waters warm
                            - Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer
                            As ocean waters continue to heat up along with the rest of the planet, fish and other aquatic life forms are fleeing from their habitual regions to find the lower temperatures they have depended on for centuries, according to a new study released Wednesday.

                            “Fish are kind of the canary in the coal mine here, or the canary in the ocean,” Boris Worm, a professor of marine biology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who was not part of the study, told the Washington Post. “They are showing you [climate change] is underway. It’s changing, and they are adapting. And the question is, how will we adapt? Or will we?”

                            The report, published in the journal Nature and conducted by researchers at University of British Columbia, shows that as the planet consistently warmed over the past few decades, fish have been pushed further and further towards the world's poles—upsetting ecosystems around the globe.

                            "This study shows that ocean warming has already affected global fisheries in the past four decades, highlighting the immediate need to develop adaptation plans to minimize the effect of such warming on the economy and food security of coastal communities, particularly in tropical regions," the report states.

                            The study is the first of it kind, showing worldwide fish migration from as far back as 1970.

                            The Washington Post reports:

                            William Cheung, Daniel Pauly and their colleagues at the University of British Columbia looked at 52 distinct marine ecosystems that cover most of the world’s coastal and shelf areas. Even after accounting for the impact of fishing and wide variations in the oceans that cover 71 percent of the planet, water temperatures rose steadily each decade between 1970 and 2006.

                            The researchers used the fish themselves as a kind of thermometer to demonstrate the increase in water temperature. By looking at the size of the catch in species’ new habitats and comparing it with their preferred locations in 1970, the researchers calculated the “mean temperature of the catch,” which, they said, rose significantly each decade over that 36-year period.

                            The authors said the migration of sea life poses the greatest danger to people in the tropics. As sea life moves away from the equator and toward both poles, new species are not moving in to replace them in the planet’s warmest waters, the authors found. [...]

                            Merrick said warming seas affect not only sea creatures but also the food web on which they depend. Warmer temperatures may have affected the zooplankton population upon which some species feed, forcing them to look elsewhere for food, he said.

                            The research is one more confirmation that “global change is real and has been real for a long time,” Worm added. “It’s not something in the distant future. It is well underway."
                          • Unsu...

                            Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                            Sat, May 25, 2013 - 11:32 PM
                            Published on Thursday, May 16, 2013 by Common Dreams
                            'Canary in the Ocean': Massive Fish Flight Shows Climate Change is Here
                            Study shows unprecedented worldwide fish migration as waters warm
                            - Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer
                            As ocean waters continue to heat up along with the rest of the planet, fish and other aquatic life forms are fleeing from their habitual regions to find the lower temperatures they have depended on for centuries, according to a new study released Wednesday.

                            “Fish are kind of the canary in the coal mine here, or the canary in the ocean,” Boris Worm, a professor of marine biology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who was not part of the study, told the Washington Post. “They are showing you [climate change] is underway. It’s changing, and they are adapting. And the question is, how will we adapt? Or will we?”

                            The report, published in the journal Nature and conducted by researchers at University of British Columbia, shows that as the planet consistently warmed over the past few decades, fish have been pushed further and further towards the world's poles—upsetting ecosystems around the globe.

                            "This study shows that ocean warming has already affected global fisheries in the past four decades, highlighting the immediate need to develop adaptation plans to minimize the effect of such warming on the economy and food security of coastal communities, particularly in tropical regions," the report states.

                            The study is the first of it kind, showing worldwide fish migration from as far back as 1970.

                            The Washington Post reports:

                            William Cheung, Daniel Pauly and their colleagues at the University of British Columbia looked at 52 distinct marine ecosystems that cover most of the world’s coastal and shelf areas. Even after accounting for the impact of fishing and wide variations in the oceans that cover 71 percent of the planet, water temperatures rose steadily each decade between 1970 and 2006.

                            The researchers used the fish themselves as a kind of thermometer to demonstrate the increase in water temperature. By looking at the size of the catch in species’ new habitats and comparing it with their preferred locations in 1970, the researchers calculated the “mean temperature of the catch,” which, they said, rose significantly each decade over that 36-year period.

                            The authors said the migration of sea life poses the greatest danger to people in the tropics. As sea life moves away from the equator and toward both poles, new species are not moving in to replace them in the planet’s warmest waters, the authors found. [...]

                            Merrick said warming seas affect not only sea creatures but also the food web on which they depend. Warmer temperatures may have affected the zooplankton population upon which some species feed, forcing them to look elsewhere for food, he said.

                            The research is one more confirmation that “global change is real and has been real for a long time,” Worm added. “It’s not something in the distant future. It is well underway."
                            • Unsu...

                              Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                              Thu, June 13, 2013 - 1:13 AM
                              A new report from the International Energy Agency says global temperatures will rise twice as fast as projected if countries don’t act to slash their admissions soon. Released this morning, the IEA report shows carbon diaoxide from energy emissions rose 1.4 percent globally last year (2012), a new record, and puts the world on pace for a 5.3 degree Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in global temperatures by 2020.

                              Oops. Oh wait, never mind, just read this guy and all is well.

                              An English class for trolls, professional offence-takers and climate activists
                              By James Delingpole


                              Should Climatologist Michael Mann be given the electric chair for having concocted arguably the most risibly inept, misleading, cherry-picking, worthless and mendacious graph – the Hockey Stick – in the history of junk science?

                              Should George Monbiot be hanged by the neck for his decade or so's hysterical promulgation of the great climate change scam and other idiocies too numerous to mention?

                              Should Tim Flannery be fed to the crocodiles for the role he has played in the fleecing of the Australian taxpayer and the diversion of scarce resources into pointless projects like all the eyewateringly expensive desalination plants built as a result of his doomy prognostications about water shortages caused by catastrophic anthropogenic global warming?

                              It ought to go without saying that my answer to all these questions is – *regretful sigh* – no. First, as anyone remotely familiar with the zillion words I write every year on this blog and elsewhere, extreme authoritarianism and capital penalties just aren't my bag. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it would be counterproductive, ugly, excessive and deeply unsatisfying.

                              The last thing I would want is for Monbiot, Mann, Flannery, Jones, Hansen and the rest of the Climate rogues' gallery to be granted the mercy of quick release. Publicly humiliated? Yes please. Having all their crappy books remaindered? Definitely. Dragged away from their taxpayer funded troughs and their cushy sinecures, to be replaced by people who actually know what they're talking about? For sure. But hanging? Hell no. Hanging is far too good for such ineffable toerags.

                              This isn't to say that there isn't a strong case for the myriad dodgy scientists-on-the-make, green activists, posturing and ignorant politicians, rent-seeking corporatists, UN apparatchiks, EU technocrats and hopelessly out-of-their-depth environment correspondents who talked up the global warming scare to be brought to account for the vast damage they have done to the global economy, for the people they have caused to die in fuel poverty, for the needless regulations they have inflicted on us, for the landscapes they have ravaged with wind farms, and so on.

                              Indeed, it would be nice to think one day that there would be a Climate Nuremberg. But please note, all you slower trolls beneath the bridge, that when I say Climate Nuremberg I use the phrase metaphorically.

                              A metaphor, let me explain – I can because I read English at Oxford, dontcha know – is like a simile but stronger. So when, for example, a rugger team boasts in the shower room after a particularly brutal match that it "raped" the opposition, it doesn't literally mean that it had forcible sex with the other side even though that may be – if you're incredibly thick and literalistic and looking for offence – what it sounds like. Rather, what it means is that it destroyed the other team. But, hey, look – there we go again. Another metaphor! See how rich and inventive our language is? We can use a word like "destroyed" in a sense that doesn't necessarily entail the complete eradication of 15 players in a rugger team. It can mean – as in this case – beaten soundly.

                              Anyway, I mention all this by way of reference to a piece I wrote in The Australian, the other day. It was headlined "Deluged with Flannery and covered in Viner". It's well worth a read if you can negotiate the paywall. For those who don't want to, let me treat you – for free – to the final sentence.

                              The climate alarmist industry has some very tough questions to answer: preferably in the defendant’s dock in a court of law, before a judge wearing a black cap.

                              How do you hang an "industry", I wonder. How exactly do you put a rope round a dodgy computer model? Or a £13.7 million UEA climate research grant? Or an article in Guardian Environment pages called something like "How do you break it to your six-year old child that global warming is killing our planet and by the time he hits 21 the world will be a boiling soup of lava and dead puppies like on the Bedtime Stories advert"?

                              Seems to me that it's quite an impossibility. But there are others who don't, clearly, for the day after the Australian article ran I was gobsmacked to read on Twitter that a small cabal of weapons-grade pillocks from the further extremes of the eco loon movement had chosen to interpret this phrase as some kind of demand for "climate scientists" to be executed.

                              When I say "gobsmacked" I do mean "gobsmacked."(That'll be another metaphor, btw. I haven't literally been smacked in the mouth).

                              I was gobsmacked

                              a) by the sheer bloody desperation. As I've indicated above, you really have to work hard to torture that phrase before it yields anything even a quarter-way offence-worthy

                              b) by the unutterable hypocrisy. It's not people on my side of the debate who make "funny" propaganda films in which kids who don't believe in reducing carbon emissions are – ho! ho! – obliterated in a pink mist of gore at the touch of a button by one of the enlightened true believers. It's not people on my side of the argument who write sentences like this: "For this reason I propose that the death penalty is appropriate for influential GW deniers." [Note absence of metaphor, there. It's a bald statement - entirely in accord with the rest of the article, rather than an afterthought]

                              c) by the chutzpah and cynicism. Of course, you see a lot of these Alinskyite techniques from the left these days: feigned moral outrage and tactical offence-taking are a useful way of closing down the argument before you're forced to get into a debate which you're bound to lose on facts. But you never quite get used to them.

                              I'm going to come back to this subject again because I think it's one of the deadliest threats to freedom in our era: what I call the Liberal War on Metaphor. (I think it will make a good future You Know It Makes Sense column in The Spectator).

                              For the moment I want to conclude by saying this: the real menace is not the fairly small minority of hard left activists, whingeing Guardianistas, professional victims and bien-pensant ideologues who seek to silence freedom of speech by cynically creating moral equivalence between metaphorical violence and real violence. (cf also, for example, the way the US left tried to pin the blame for the Gabrielle Giffords shooting on the "inflammatory" rhetoric of people like Sarah Palin).

                              Rather, the real menace are their useful idiots – the ordinary, decent, reasonable people who dignify this low-down Alinskyite technique by according it a credence and mainstream respectability it simply doesn't deserve.

                              Take Professor Richard Tol, a man for whom I have a degree of respect. Though he's definitely not on my side of the argument – a man of the left who believes in carbon taxes and who isn't a climate sceptic – he's nevertheless sufficiently objective and intellectually independent to have realised from the start that the Stern Report was bunk. For this he deserves eternal credit.

                              The problem with the Tols of this world is that they are under a naive misapprehension about the climate change debate in particular and the culture wars debate generally. Being both decent, fair-minded people and determined centrists they assume that there must be equal merit and equal fault on both sides of the argument. (What I call the dog poo yogurt fallacy). This leads them to categorical errors like Tol's on Twitter, where he decided he ought to wade into the debate by condemning that harmless concluding sentence of mine in The Australian piece. As if, somehow, there were moral and intellectual equivalence between say, Professor Richard Parncutt's crystal-clear call for climate deniers to be executed (if they didn't recant) and my throwaway metaphor. Which, achingly obviously to most people with even half a brain, there is not.

                              Sorry to have a go at poor Richard Tol. He's a damned useful economist, I'm sure, but he's evidently way out of his depth in areas which require seriously critical thinking. I note that warmists are often banging on about the fact that sceptics like Christopher Booker and myself "only" have arts degrees. But actually that's our strength, not our weakness. Our intellectual training qualifies us better than any scientist – social or natural sciences – for us to understand that this is, au fond, not a scientific debate but a cultural and rhetorical one.

                              It's entirely characteristic of this debate that even the most aggressively antipathetical trolls could find no factual basis whatsoever for disputing my piece in the Australian (how could they: the facts are all on the sceptics' side); that the best they could do was a desperate cheap shot which required them deliberately to misunderstand a harmless metaphor.

                              Our culture deserves better than to have the terms of debate dictated by malign, politically motivated, professional offence-takers.

                              Let's stop surrendering and start fighting back.

                              James Delingpole is a writer, journalist and broadcaster who is right about everything. He is the author of numerous fantastically entertaining books, including his most recent work Watermelons: How the Environmentalists are Killing the Planet, Destroying the Economy and Stealing Your Children's Future, also available in the US, and in Australia as Killing the Earth to Save It. His website is
                              • Unsu...

                                Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                                Fri, June 21, 2013 - 2:41 AM
                                Published on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 by The Equation Blog / Union of Concerned Scientists

                                400 PPM: We’ve Never Been Here Before
                                400ppm of CO2 Measured in the Atmosphere at Mauna Loa, Big Island, Hawai'i

                                by Melanie Fitzpatrick

                                We’ve just crossed a sobering milestone. For the first time since humans have walked the planet, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at Mauna Loa Observatory has reached 400 parts per million. On May 9, scientists from both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography measured the daily average concentration of carbon dioxide in air above this value. I don’t know about you, but when I heard this I wanted to cry. Let me put this in context for you.

                                In 1958 Charles David Keeling for the first time started directly measuring the concentration of carbon dioxide in air at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii as part of the International Geophysical Year. Photo: Mary Miller, Exploratorium (via NOAA)

                                I started my scientific life as a fresh-faced glaciologist drilling ice cores on the immense ice sheet of Antarctica. It was the early 1990s and my job (an amazing one, I’ll admit!) was to tirelessly process the ancient ice that we were bringing up from the deep drill hole. There was almost a mile of ice to analyze! This frozen archive is made from pure snow that fell on the continent tens of thousands of years ago and compressed into hard, cold ice. These ice cores, like many others since, reveal the secrets of ancient atmospheres from the air bubbles trapped within their lattice. They allow us to compare the modern atmosphere that is measured at Mauna Loa with what happened in the past.

                                Past atmospheres: the cycles of CO2 and temperature
                                I remember my excitement on seeing the cycles of ice ages pop out from our analysis. You’ve probably seen those graphs of wavy lines that show carbon dioxide dancing between a low level during an ice age and a high level in an interglacial (like the one we are in now).

                                "I don’t know about you, but when I heard this I wanted to cry."

                                For the last eight glacial cycles carbon dioxide has varied between 180 parts per million and 280 parts per million. Carbon dioxide has, in general, gone up and down hand in hand with global average temperature. When carbon dioxide is high, temperature is high; when carbon dioxide is low, temperature is low, with the leads and lags being well understood by the scientists studying these in detail. The ice core record shows this has been the natural cycle for at least 800,000 years. As a yardstick, homo sapiens has only been around for a mere 200,000 years at the very longest. Earth’s climate is very sensitive to the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But in the last two centuries of our short time on the planet we have altered the atmosphere drastically.

                                The cycles of carbon dioxide and temperature over the last eight ice ages show CO2 concentration varying between 180ppm and 280ppm. Carbon dioxide concentration is now at unprecedented levels in human history. Adapted from Luthi et al, 2008

                                Climate change: thickening CO2 blanket warms the world

                                At about the same time I was getting cold fingers from handling old ice, we had just passed the ominous 350 parts per million mark. Knowing what scientists knew then about the relationship between carbon dioxide emissions and temperature (see the First IPCC Assessment from 1990 here and the IPCC Supplementary Report from 1992 here), I could not imagine two decades later carbon dioxide levels would still be soaring upwards. But they are.

                                Carbon dioxide naturally forms a heat-trapping blanket around the earth – we can’t live without it. But our human practice over the last two centuries of digging up ancient sunlight in the form of oil, coal, and natural gas and then burning it has released excess carbon into the atmosphere.

                                For almost a million years, the earth cycled between roughly a two-blanket world (180 parts per million) and a three-blanket world (280 parts per million). By perturbing the atmosphere to this new level, we’ve managed to bump that up to a four-blanket world (now 400 parts per million) in a very short time. And we’re starting to feel it get hot under here.

                                Welcome to the Pliocene!

                                The last time the atmosphere had 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide was most likely between 3 and 5 million years ago, long before humans like us inhabited the earth. It was a geological epoch known as the Pliocene. The planet was many degrees warmer and scientists estimate sea level was about 80 feet higher.

                                Reaching 400 parts per million for the first time in human history is a wake up call for all of us. The science is clear. It’s high time we addressed the fundamental drivers of climate change — heat-trapping emissions from fossil fuels as well as deforestation practices which emit carbon and reduce the uptake of carbon dioxide.

                                If we don’t take action, in a couple of decades as we mark the passing of the next ominous milestone of 450 parts per million at Mauna Loa, there may be no returning to the climate we once knew.
                                • Unsu...

                                  Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                                  Thu, July 4, 2013 - 12:08 PM
                                  I keep trying to find something positive about Catastrophic Climate Collapse (let's drop that silly 'global warming' thing). There isn't any unless of course one wants to believe Jee-sus is coming soon...

                                  People Get Ready: 'Unprecedented' Weather Glimpses Century Ahead
                                  Latest report from WMO says first decade of century was hottest, wettest on record with more to come
                                  - Jon Queally, staff writer

                                  The rate of rising oceans has doubled, the heat temperatures for both land and water are on the rise, the melting of the Arctic ice is speeding up, and both the weather extremes the world is experiencing and the overall global warming trends are simply 'unprecedented.'

                                  That's the assessment contained in the World Meteorological Organization's latest report, The Global Climate 2001-2010, A Decade of Climate Extremes, which examined the first decade of the 21st century. The report, released Wednesday, arrived with this warning: we better get ready for more.

                                  "Rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are changing our climate, with far reaching implications for our environment and our oceans, which are absorbing both carbon dioxide and heat,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

                                  The decade between 2001 and 2010, according to the report, was both the hottest and the wettest since modern records were started in 1850.

                                  According to the report, "Carbon-dioxide concentration [...] reached an average global value of 389 parts per million by the end of the decade, the highest value recorded for at least the past 10,000 years."

                                  The group, which takes a global look at weather events and their relationship to macro trends in atmospheric and ocean patterns, says looking at a complete decade of data is the best way to make accurate analysis of a climate system as complex as the Earth's.

                                  “A decade is the minimum possible timeframe for meaningful assessments of climate change,” said Jarraud. “WMO’s report shows that global warming was significant from 1971 to 2010 and that the decadal rate of increase between 1991-2000 and 2001-2010 was unprecedented."

                                  On an annual basis, he continued, regional and global trends may go up and down, but on a "long-term basis the underlying trend is clearly in an upward direction."

                                  The WHO also released this video summary of their report:
                                  • Unsu...

                                    Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                                    Fri, July 12, 2013 - 3:46 AM
                                    Here's two short ones for Dan...heh heh

                                    New Report Tracks Decades of Climate Change

                                    By Brooke Jarvis, Rolling Stone

                                    07 July 13

                                    Long-term data shows an unmistakable trend.
                                    In May 2010, the temperature in Pakistan soared to more than 128 degrees - the hottest temperature ever recorded in Asia. Just a few months later, extreme monsoons left more than a fifth of the country underwater. Around the same time, Russian authorities declared the worst heat wave in 1,000 years; tens of thousands died as heat and smoke from wildfires overwhelmed Moscow.

                                    Floods, droughts and heat records grab headlines, but it can be hard to know what they mean. We've all heard that while climate change makes extreme weather more likely, it's difficult to tie any particular weather event directly to climate change. When it comes to weather, a certain amount of out-of-the-ordinary is ordinary. So how do we know when extreme weather is the result of natural variations and when it's a sign of something more?

                                    A new report from the World Meteorological Organization tries to contextualize the headlines of recent years by taking the long view - considering all those heat waves, droughts and storms not as single events, but across decades. "A decade is the minimum possible timeframe for meaningful assessments of climate change," said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud in a statement.

                                    2010's brutal summer, it turns out, capped what the study calls "a decade of climate extremes." With just one exception, every year between 2001 and 2010 was among the top 10 hottest on record. More than nine in 10 nations reporting data experienced their hottest decade ever; not a single nation reported decadal temperatures below the average. The decade was also the second wettest in a century -2010 was the globe's wettest year ever - but also saw severe drought in much of the world.

                                    And Pakistan and Russia weren't alone in facing deadly weather. Remember 2003's heat wave in Europe, the continent's worst since the 1500s, which killed as many as 70,000 people? Hurricane Katrina? Cyclone Nargis?

                                    Natural climate variability can explain some of the decade's extremes, the report cautions, but human-induced climate change also played a role. That role is even more visible when you look at extreme weather events within the context of an extreme decade.

                                    The report also provides an even longer view: a decade-by-decade comparison of average temperatures across the globe (combined from land and sea temperatures from three different sources), with any spikes from freak weather averaged out by a more complete set of data. Instead, we see an unmistakable trend: up and up.

                                    It's the extreme events that make headlines, but it's the long view that should make us worried.

                                    People Get Ready: 'Unprecedented' Weather Glimpses Century Ahead

                                    Latest report from WMO says first decade of century was hottest, wettest on record with more to come
                                    - Jon Queally, staff writer


                                    The rate of rising oceans has doubled, the heat temperatures for both land and water are on the rise, the melting of the Arctic ice is speeding up, and both the weather extremes the world is experiencing and the overall global warming trends are simply 'unprecedented.'

                                    That's the assessment contained in the World Meteorological Organization's latest report, The Global Climate 2001-2010, A Decade of Climate Extremes, which examined the first decade of the 21st century. The report, released Wednesday, arrived with this warning: we better get ready for more.

                                    "Rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are changing our climate, with far reaching implications for our environment and our oceans, which are absorbing both carbon dioxide and heat,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

                                    The decade between 2001 and 2010, according to the report, was both the hottest and the wettest since modern records were started in 1850.

                                    According to the report, "Carbon-dioxide concentration [...] reached an average global value of 389 parts per million by the end of the decade, the highest value recorded for at least the past 10,000 years."

                                    The group, which takes a global look at weather events and their relationship to macro trends in atmospheric and ocean patterns, says looking at a complete decade of data is the best way to make accurate analysis of a climate system as complex as the Earth's.

                                    “A decade is the minimum possible timeframe for meaningful assessments of climate change,” said Jarraud. “WMO’s report shows that global warming was significant from 1971 to 2010 and that the decadal rate of increase between 1991-2000 and 2001-2010 was unprecedented."

                                    On an annual basis, he continued, regional and global trends may go up and down, but on a "long-term basis the underlying trend is clearly in an upward direction."

                                    The WHO also released this video summary of their report:

                                    • Unsu...

                                      Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                                      Sat, August 3, 2013 - 1:59 AM
                                      The world's climate is changing 10 times faster than at any other point in the past 65 million years, Stanford climate scientists Noah Diffenbaugh and Chris Field have found in a new study published in Science (go to full article there but this says it all, doesn't it?).

                                      MY NOTE: 65 million years ago an asteroid/comet smacked into the planet at probably better than 22,000 miles an hour. So you're saying our species is as bad as a fucking asteroid hit? If that isn't blunt enough, one might consider getting a job as a fence post....
                                      • Unsu...

                                        Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                                        Mon, August 5, 2013 - 1:34 AM
                                        ...being reported by BBC that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have hit 60 degrees C =140 degrees F. This breaks the all-time global record from 1913 in Death Valley, USA.

                                        ...past changes that ecosystems have responded to a few degrees of global temperature change over thousands of years," Noah Diffenbaugh, an associate professor of environmental Earth system science, told Stanford News. "But the unprecedented trajectory that we're on now is forcing that change to occur over decades. That's orders of magnitude faster....

                                        ...President (obama)... has added enough new oil and gas pipelines to circle the Earth, directed his administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states, quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high, launched a catastrophic Arctic drilling strategy, secretly negotiated the harmful Trans-Pacific Partnership,and proudly declared “As long as I’m President, we’re going to keep on encouraging oil development and infrastructure.”

                                        ...a Climate Progress analysis of the U.S. Congress, 55 percent of House Republicans, 65 percent of Senate Republicans, and 77 percent of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology deny the existence of climate change or that humans are playing a role in it.

                                        Are we having fun yet?

                                        • Unsu...

                                          Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                                          Sun, August 11, 2013 - 1:57 PM
                                          16 Of Your Favorite Things That Climate Change Is Totally Screwing Up
                                          BY RYAN KORONOWSKI


                                          When people talk about “climate impacts,” the images that usually come to mind are broiling heat waves, drought-parched creek beds, dangerous storm surges, the slowly-but-surely rising sea. These things can seem distant and unlikely to affect most people’s day-to-day lives, but there is growing evidence that the reality of climate change will strike close to home.

                                          Below is a list of things of things that will be negatively affected by climate change that may not immediately come to mind when someone says “the greenhouse effect”:

                                          Climate change endangers clean water, quality barley, and ample hops. A studyfrom 2009 suggested that the quality of Saaz hops from the Czech Republic has been falling since 1954 due to warmer temperatures. This is true for hops-growing regions across Europe. Smaller brewers like Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing Company understand the seriousness of the problem, as the company’s sustainability director said in 2011, “If you drink beer now, the issue of climate change is impacting you right now. … Craft brewers — the emphasis there is on craft. We make something, and it’s a deeply agricultural product.”

                                          Football practice starts up in high schools every summer, and the hottest part of the year keeps getting hotter. Schools began to notice a trend: their players were dying more and more frequently due to heat stress, three times as frequently from 1994 to 2009. While increasing heat is not the only factor for these heat deaths (increasing obesity being another), rising temperatures are having serious impacts on the safety of high school and college football. So Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, North Carolina, New Jersey and Texas all started to implement rules that limit practice time when the field gets too hot. Climate also messes with football in between heat waves, as drought has beendrying up football fields and killing grass. Switching to artificial turf might make things greener, but because synthetic materials can get up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than regular grass, tackling becomes even more dangerous than normal.

                                          Maple trees are not featuring as brilliant colors in the fall, and the sap they let out is not as sweet. Researchers think that this has to do with the fact that the amount of time the trees keep their leaves has grown longer, which changes the sap that comes out when syrup producers tap into the tree is less sweet. Therefore more sap is required to make syrup, and it tastes different. According to a Cornell study, in 100 years, maple syrup production south of Pennsylvania will likely stop altogether because the trees will not freeze at all.

                                          Walking through the woods, alert hikers watch for small plants with trefoil, shiny leaves: poison ivy. Yet because the itchy plant thrives on higher temperatures and increased carbon dioxide levels, avoiding the plant is only getting more difficult. The potency and spread of poison ivy has doubled since 1960, and researchers say that will double again should the planet reach 560 ppm of carbon dioxide (current readings recently broke 400ppm).

                                          Up to 25 million coffee growers worldwide (and billions of drinkers) face threatsdue to increasing temperatures and a climate change charged deadly fungus. Arabica, the most-consumed coffee species, could go extinct in the wild in 70 years according to a study by London’s Royal Botanic Gardens last year. This is particularly important because most coffee plantations around the world that use Arabica from limited genetic stock, while the wild Arabic strain is genetically diverse, which is essential to the coffee industry’s long-term sustainability.

                                          Chili growers that have traditionally grown peppers in certain places will need new areas to be cultivated in order to remain resilient in a changing climate. The chiltepin in Southern Arizona has recently faced a scarcity due to drought. Tabasco sauce may provide an example of a pathway to resiliency. Though much of the sauce is still made on Avery Island, Louisiana, the McIlhenny family that originated the sauce became concerned about having all their eggs in one basket. During Hurricane Rita, the floodwaters came to the foot of their factory. So even though all the salt that is used to mash the peppers for the sauce is mined on the island, and all seed peppers are grown there, the company has sought out other places in Latin America to grow the peppers to ensure that the sauce will still sit on millions of tables if extreme weather or floodwaters endangers Avery Island.

                                          Sheep are susceptible to heat stress like most mammals, and their normal temperature regulation through sweating is made more difficult when they are being raised for wool. If the sheep are active, they find it difficult to get rid of internal heat through a thick fleece. The warmer the animals get, the more their biological functions like wool production and reproduction are affected. Ranchers have found that on hot days, spraying the sheep with water does not help like it does with most animals, as wet wool insulates better than dry wool — the best bet to keep sheep cool is putting them in the shade and applying rubbing alcohol “on the inside of the back legs.”

                                          In 2011, a report found that between 2030 and 2050, a warming planet will seriously cut land normally suitable for cocoa production. Cocoa, which is the primary ingredient of chocolate, is a very heat-sensitive plant. A small increase in temperature would cause yields to drop and prices to soar. Even though cocoa could be planted in cooler areas to adapt to warming, the net impact to the $9 billion cocoa industry would be severe.

                                          Freshwater and saltwater fish are impacted by climate change, as warmer temperatures, drought, flood, and ocean acidification all combine to make life difficult for the swimming vertebrates. Fly-fishing is changing drastically, as ecosystems shift and populations wane. Overfishing is often the problem for fishers on the open sea, but as the oceans warm, the normal fishing habitats have shifted away from the equator. Warm water fish that are usually seen in the Mediterranean have now been spotted off the coast of England. As this happens, fishermen either have to move to new areas to follow their catch, or learn new ways of fishing for new species.

                                          In 2011, former UN Secretary Kofi Annan delivered the keynote address at the the third Climate Change and Wine Congress in Spain. What he knew, and the attendees knew, is that wine is particularly susceptible to a changing climate. Most crops find increasing heat waves, flooding, and droughts difficult to endure, but wine is special. Grapes are grown in specific fields for hundreds of years because that particular place is particularly good at producing a particular varietal of wine. When areas get warmer or drier, the grapes change, and then the wine’s taste and color changes. Some vineyards are trying to move uphill to take advantage of thinner, cooler air, but it doesn’t always work. Some varietals are simply trying to move north, and a few vintners have already planted“champagne” vinyards in England.

                                          Wild giant pandas have to learn to diversify their diet beyond eating mostly bamboo. A changing climate will alter the distribution pattern of bamboo in the Qinling Mountains of China, according to a study last year in Nature Climate Change. This changing pattern could leave the giant pandas hungry, as their main habitats could be completely gone in less than 80 years. Pandas could also be threatened by the land that vintners may be looking to take as climate change forces them to move their vinyards north and to higher elevations, according to a study earlier this year published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

                                          A warming climate will make France hot enough by 2050 that the conditions faced by cyclists in the Tour de France will be “brutal.” Extreme weather and high mountain roads also are not a good mix, while spectators who watch the race do not even have the benefit of a cooling wind as they sit still on the sidelines. It’s hard to air condition the French countryside.

                                          As winters get less chilly, some may find momentary relief at the balmy weather. But not apple trees. Apples need a “winter chill” to bloom properly in the spring. If they don’t get it, orchards face lower fruit production, or total crop failure. And trees have a hard time moving north to find land where it still gets cold in the winter. Pennsylvania is the fourth-largest apple producer in the country and growers are getting concerned.

                                          It’s hard to hang ten on a rising ocean. Surfing relies on healthy coasts and regular waves, which are threatened by sea-level rise, saltwater warming, and ocean acidification. As oceans rise farther up the coasts, beaches around the world are grappling with erosion, which seriously impacts local wave patterns. For surfers, the contour of a wave is as important as its size, and the way a wave builds and breaks is determined mainly by the shape of the ocean floor as it meets the shoreline. As sea levels rise, it will change where and how the waves break. Acidifying oceans are dissolving coral reefs, which provide some of the planet’s best surf breaks. More extreme weather might initially create exciting waves, but the destruction they leave behind causes lasting damage to favorite surf spots.

                                          Peanuts are plants that like a certain amount of rain, right at the perfect time. But when drought and flash floods become the norm as the hydrological cycle gets kicked out of whack due to climate change, peanut crops are at risk. Peanuts are mostly grown in the southeastern part of the country, which has faced weirder, wetter, and dryer weather recently.

                                          Last year, more than 100 communities across the U.S. cancelled Fourth of July firework displays due to fears that the pyrotechnics could spark wildfires in drought-riddled states. This is not an idle threat — last month, firefighters in Fort Worth, Texas received 62 calls about grass and brush fires caused by fireworks, including one structure fire. An ember from the fireworks display in Marana, Arizona sparked a small brush fire that took a half hour to douse. New Mexico Governor Susan Martinez announced a ban on the use of fireworks on state land as the state grapples with extreme drought.
                                          • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                                            Sun, August 11, 2013 - 4:46 PM
                                            Maybe won't be just 16 favorite things that get messed up. Life will get really messed up, and eventually survival could become an issue.

                                            I am still quasi-optimistic that we can build the technology and find the honesty and vision that can protect Mother Earth, and the people Earth supports. We'll see.
                                            • Unsu...

                                              Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                                              Sat, August 17, 2013 - 2:34 AM
                                              Well swampguy, be glad you're on the East Coast and not in these 7 western states dependent on the vanishing Colorado river for all your water and electricity (I'm not, either).

                                              And remember this: scientists are CONSERVATIVE when talking to the public, always have been because when they make a prediction it's their asses, reputations, and jobs on the line.

                                              Two years. Summer 2015 IF the drought doesn't 'get better.' No indications that it will unfortunately.

                                              Everybody that live in these seven western states should read these two short articles by the people that manage your water and make your electricity. And just exactly where the fuck are they all, millions, going to move to I wonder....

                                              Sin City Runs Dry: Drought in The Land of Fountains

                                              A couple hours before the light of dawn gilded the Vegas Strip, I turned on the shower in the hotel room I had called home for the last couple of days during the National Clean Energy Summit, only to watch the tub fill with tepid, muddy grey water. It smelt faintly of clay and was about as alluring to me as the idea of laying out by the pool in 104 degree weather had been the day before. While not quite what I had been hoping for, the silty soup in the bathtub was oddly comforting — probably what water in the desert really looks like, despite what the sparkling Bellagio Fountains next door might lead you to believe.

                                              Patricia Mulroy, Southern Nevada Water Authority General Manager, had told me the day before in the hallway after Arnold Schwarzenegger’s security team had kicked us out of the summit speakers’ greenroom, that the biggest misconception people had about Las Vegas was that the strip uses all the water.

                                              “They see the fountains, they see the water displays and they say oh what a waste of water,” said Mulroy. “But the entire Las Vegas strip, which is the largest employer in the state of Nevada, bar none, uses just three percent of the water, that’s it. “

                                              Mulroy would be the last person, however to tell you that there aren’t water issues in this part of the country. She’s proud of SNWA’s 200 million dollar investment to remove residential turf in the area, which allowed them to cut water use down by one third, to just 75 gallons of water per person per day in the area.

                                              But in her words, “climate change keeps me up at night.”

                                              “I stopped talking about it because it wasn’t worth engaging in the religious argument,” she said. “I would rather move forward, use it as our planning tool and start making the changes that need to happen. Someone else can have the religious argument, I am a pragmatist. Engaging in that is a huge distraction and I don’t have that kind of time to waste.”

                                              SNWA is in the process of constructing a third intake pipe into Lake Mead, which supplies Las Vegas with ninety percent of its drinking water. The three year, 800 million dollar project is in response to record low water levels in the Colorado River’s largest reservoir. At least one of the two existing pipelines is close to useless at this point. The new third intake will tap the deepest part of the reservoir and is scheduled to be completed just months before the highest intake runs dry. The water level in Lake Mead has fallen 200 feet since the current 13-year drought started. Unless something like Noah’s flood repeats itself, by the end of the month, the total amount of water stored on the Colorado will reach the lowest point since Glen Canyon Dam started to fill Lake Powell in 1966.

                                              “There’s a new normal all over the west,” said Mulroy. “Expenses around water are becoming more and more pronounced. The drought has hit southern Nevada economically as severely as anywhere.”

                                              Mulroy has called on the government to release federal disaster aid money. By fall 2014, Lake Mead is expected to drop to 1,075 feet above sea level, a level which will prompt federally mandated water suppply cuts to Nevada and Arizona

                                              Mulroy claims, however, that the controversial 15 billion dollar pipeline project that would bring water from eastern rural Nevada, to Vegas, is only the final option after all other possibilities on the Colorado have been exhausted.

                                              When asked what were the other options on the river, however, Mulroy responded “that’s a good question.”

                                              One scheme currently under consideration is to pay farmers to fallow their fields and divert the irrigation water back into Lake Mead.

                                              “Climate change, to me, is a dark tunnel,” said Mulroy. “The rear view mirror doesn’t do you any good, what’s happened in the past, is no indicator of what is going to happen in the future. Everything has changed, and we don’t have much to go on.”

                                              How Two Reservoirs Have Become Billboards For What Climate Change Is Doing To The American West
                                              BY TOM KENWORTHY


                                              This week, to see how climate change will pull a nasty water surprise on the desert Southwest, you only need to look at one river.

                                              Lake Powell is the giant reservoir on the Utah-Arizona border that backs up behind Glen Canyon Dam and is the linchpin for managing the Colorado River. The Colorado basically makes modern life possible in seven western states by providing water for some 40 million people and irrigating 4 million acres of crops. It is also depended upon by 22 native American tribes, 7 national wildlife refuges and 11 national parks.

                                              As soon as Monday, the federal government’s Bureau of Reclamation will announce the results of some very serious number crunching and model running focused on falling water levels in Lake Powell. It is widely expected that the bureau will announce that there is a serious water shortage and that for the first time in the 50-year-history of the dam, the amount of water that will be released from the reservoir will be cut. Not just cut, but cut by 750,000 acre feet — an acre foot being enough water to cover an acre one foot deep. That’s more than 9 percent below the 8.23 million acre feet that is supposed to be delivered downstream to Lake Mead for use in the states of California, Nevada and Arizona and the country of Mexico under the 81-year old Colorado River Compact and later agreements.

                                              It will be, in the somewhat dry appraisal of Anne Castle, the assistant secretary of the Interior for water and science who oversees the bureau, “very unusual.”

                                              Unusual, and unprecedented, but not totally unforeseen.

                                              Six years ago, following another period of dropping water levels in Colorado River reservoirs, the federal government and the seven states that rely on the river agreed on“interim operating guidelines” for apportioning water in the event of shortages. That step is part of a longer-term process of trying to figure out how to deal with a river system that is no longer providing the volumes of water the southwest long ago came to expect. The guidelines require the secretary of the Interior each year to assess what the water supply looks like for the lower Colorado River basin states of California, Nevada and Arizona. The secretary can choose among three declarations: normal, surplus or shortage. This year the smart money is on shortage.

                                              Lake Powell, and its downstream cousin, Lake Mead — formed by Hoover Dam — are the two largest reservoirs in the U.S. They are the main plumbing fixtures for dividing up Colorado River water under a complex set of agreements known as the Law of the River. The Colorado River Compact is the most important of those agreements, and requires that the lower basin states and upper basin states (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) each get 7.5 million acre feet a year. Mexico gets another 1.5 million under a 1944 treaty.

                                              All good in theory, but the river was divided up in the 1920’s, a wet period when river flows were high. Times, and flows, have changed.

                                              Now, the two reservoirs are giant flat water billboards advertising what climate change is doing to the American West. Persistent drought, and diminished snow runoff in the Rocky Mountains, have drastically shrunk the two reservoirs. Both are now less than half full, and both sport bathtub rings that show in dramatic fashion how high the waters used to be. Inflows to Powell this year are about 42 percent of average.

                                              Some people believe that Lake Powell is toast, that it will never fill up again. For a lake that attracts a couple of million visitors a year who spend lavishly on houseboats, fishing gear, sun tan lotion and beer, that has some serious economic implications.

                                              It could get worse.

                                              Lake Powell is a moneymaker in other ways. Glen Canyon Dam and its hydroelectric turbines, produce 1320 megawatts of electricity, enough for about 1.3 million people. That yields something like $125 million every year, and that pot of money pays for the operations of much of the entire Colorado River Storage Project, and a host of vital environmental restoration programs.

                                              Droughts do happen from time to time. But the hydrological cycle is being stressed by more than just natural variations. As greenhouse gases trap more heat in the atmosphere, dry areas like the Southwest will get drier and drier.

                                              Last month, Eric Kuhn, the general manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District in western Colorado, which looks out for the state’s interest in river issues, sent a memo to his board of directors outlining the likelihood of a shortage declaration by the Bureau of Reclamation.

                                              “A one year shortage is probably not a big deal,” wrote Kuhn. But he made it clear that a multi-year shortage, and some very serious repercussions, are quite possible. In 2015, Kuhn wrote, the water level in Lake Powell may fall low enough — below what is known as minimum power head — to shut down the production of hydroelectric power. “The financial impacts could be substantial,” he wrote.

                                              “The scary scenario for the Lower Basin is a multi-year shortage,” according to Kuhn’s memo. Among the impacts: big water delivery cuts to Nevada and Arizona, power production from Hoover Dam is “dramatically reduced,” recreation on Lake Meade “becomes marginal.”

                                              Long term, the outlook is particularly grim. Late last year, a joint study by the Bureau of Reclamation and the seven river basin states looked at water supply prospects over the next half century. It projects average yearly imbalances between supply and demand of 3.2 million acre feet by 2060. An acre foot is about what a typical suburban household uses in a year.

                                              Asked what she thinks of Kuhn’s analysis, Bureau of Reclamation overseer Castle told Climate Progress that “it’s based on some pretty draconian scenarios, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.” But she predicts that ultimately “the states and the federal agencies together with all the stakeholders on the river will come together around a management plan that will attempt to ensure that we don’t hit critical [water levels] in either Powell or Mead.”

                                              Outside groups are looking for solutions, too, and one — the Glen Canyon Institute, which advocates for a free-flowing Colorado River and the restoration of the magnificent canyon inundated by the dam and the filling of Lake Powell — sees at least a partial answer in its “Fill Mead First” plan.

                                              Citing research that shows large water losses in Powell because of seepage into the porous sandstone banks, Glen Canyon Institute executive director Christi Wedig says Fill Mead First could save 300,000 acre feet of water a year, equivalent to Nevada’s annual allocation. The plan would allow Lake Mead to fill first, and would keep Lake Powell at the depth just above minimum power head. It would, said Wedig, bring substantial environmental benefits to the Grand Canyon, and would reveal many of the hidden treasures of Glen Canyon and stimulate tourism there.

                                              Before the dam and lake erased it, few people had explored Glen Canyon. Author and photographer Eliot Porter described it in his book “The Place No One Knew”

                                              “The big features, the massive walls and towers, the shimmering vistas, the enveloping light, are all hypnotizing, shutting out awareness of the particular,” he wrote. “Later you begin to focus on the smaller, more familiar, more comprehensible objects . . . the velvety lawns of young tamarisks sprouting on the wet sand bars just vacated by the retreating flood . . . the festooned, evocative designs etched into the walls by water and lichens. It is an intimate canyon.”

                                              “Glen Canyon has been unexplored since 1963,” said Wedig. “There is a huge opportunity to capitalize” on its re-emergence with new tourism that focuses more on exploring vivid canyons and less on partying aboard 60-foot houseboats.

                                              Castle declined to comment on the Fill Mead First idea. But she does say that current circumstances on the Colorado River are “unprecedented.”

                                              The last 14 years on the Colorado River, she says, have been the driest years since records began being kept in the late 1800’s, and based on tree ring studies among the driest 14 year periods in the last 1,200 years.

                                              “If you say climate change doesn’t have an impact, you’re smoking something,” Castle concludes.
  • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

    Thu, September 5, 2013 - 10:30 AM
    Some stats I just stumbled on.

    From the National Hurricane Center: 19 of the 32 costliest hurricanes in US history happened since 1992. And 13 of them happened since 2001.

    From National Climatic Data Center: Last fall, 63% of US mainland was in drought. In 2012, the US was expensive its worst drought since 1956.

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: 2012 was the 9th warmest year ever recorded. The 10 warmest years have happened since 1998.
    • Unsu...

      Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

      Thu, September 5, 2013 - 11:35 AM
      SwampGuy thats interesting info.

      The world is getting warmer for sure, the bit I worry about is that the reason why its getting warmer is natural not human.
      I worry that at some time in the future humans will attempt to control the climate by intervening and that worries me.

      From the things I read we are in a warm interglacial period right now and looking at previous ones that have a degree of regularity, we could swing back to a cold glacial any time.

      Here I found an example of a graphed data (ice core and sea temperature data) the one that shows the last 450,000 years, you can see we are in the warm period and it looks like it may stay warm for a while, get even warmer, but then it will cool dramatically. Scientist think its a complex natural thing caused by our orbit around the sun, geological factors and earth processes.

      Since we got through most of this warm period with out deforestation or pollution I think its pushing it a bit to conclude the humans caused this warm period.

      Sure it makes sense to use resources efficiently, to regulate population growth and to find clean energy solutions but don't pin it all on global warming, pin it on common sense.
      • Unsu...

        Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

        Thu, September 5, 2013 - 10:18 PM
        Adrian, you have drank the oil/coal/energy lobby's Kool-aid. You are reading distortions and lies.

        There is NO DOUBT in the science of what is happening right this minute and that our species is specifically responsible for it. None. Zero.

        Go back to the start of this posting; oh my how long have I and others posted science on this? This thread has been going on quite a while....

        Sorry to dash your bubble. Reality is often very....ummm....uncomfortable.
        • Unsu...

          Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

          Fri, September 6, 2013 - 2:25 AM
          The oil/coal/energy lobby's is pushing green energy as well as continued production, cos they are about making money.

          Seal if GW is man made how come its been going on for over 12,000 years?

          Deforestation caused by humans started kicking in lets say from 4000 years ago.
          Pollution started kicking in say industrial revolution say 350 years ago.

          Simple logic of it humans cant be causing it.

          Even Lovelock says its the equatorial regions that drive the worlds symbiotic cycles, not the Northern hemisphere were most of the human activity has been so far.

          All that ''No Doubt' is fashionable jumping on band wagon to suit the aims and needs of governments and industrialists.
          They like change cos it makes money.

          Sure Carbon dioxide pollution is up, but that is not the only green house gas, water is another and the mechanism of weather/ atmosphere / ocean currents/ land mass energy movement and so on is not understood.

          The actual link between carbon and weather change is a guess, not proven.

          As I said, be green for common sense reasons not propaganda and inflated untested hypotheses.

          • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

            Fri, September 6, 2013 - 9:36 AM
            Pollution started kicking in say industrial revolution say 350 years ago<<"

            The industrial rev, and the ensuing pollution started in the 1880's. Though inner city pollution started some time before that, with the heating with coal by a bunch of people in a small space, thing started
            Your whole time line is way out of wack.
            Even though there has always been a natural cycle to warming, and cooling. One would have to be foolish not to see how humans have contributed to this cycle, if indeed not causing it.
            • Unsu...

              Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

              Fri, September 6, 2013 - 11:56 AM
              Hold on Dan you have just shortened the period where humans could have influenced the climate!
              Industrial revolution started around 1760 in Britain according to most historians.

              Thats 253 years ago even less time for humans to produce green house pollutants on a large scale!
              I was being over generous so as to not be accused of being nit picky, as you point out there must have been greenhouse gas pollutants being produced by humans before the industrial revolution due to coal burning for heating and intensive farming techniques being developed from the beginning of the agricultural revolution, also something that started in Britain.

              So you must see I was being generous in allowing 350 years, a more conservative estimate would say humans have been producing large quantities of greenhouse gas pollutants for only about 200 years, when you compare out puts to other things such as natural forces like volcanoes.

              The de forestation I mentioned would have caused changes to ground temperatures due to altering the albedo level. The burning of forests was probably carbon neutral, as is the burning of wood and charcoal, both the major fuels in the world prior to the industrial revolution that the one that first started in Britain in 1760 Dan :) Teasing you!

              Your "One would have to be foolish" line is uncharacteristically disrespectful and not a good way to argue a point, also teasing :)

              Coal mining when did that start on a big scale?
              The earliest reference to the use of coal in metal working is 370 bc, but large scale use of it was not until much later probably the industrial revolution as spoken about before, as charcoal was used in preference to coal because it could be made easily where as coal had to be found on the ground surface (deep mining came later).

              So even if we took coal burning from 370bc.
              So that would be 2,373 years of human influence out of 12,000 years of warming, hum, you do the maths this time Dan.

              A third time I say, support green energy if it uses resources more efficiently and even better support less use of energy all together by developing more energy efficient machines and processes, in other words do it out of common sense not Global warming hype.
              • Unsu...

                Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                Fri, September 6, 2013 - 8:44 PM
                Whoa, Adrian, seeing you use Dr. Lovelock's name in this way shocked the hell out of me. All the rest of what you wrote did, too, to be honest. I had no idea you were anti-science.

                Simple logic? No, Adrian. Simple Physics 101, first year college though some people take it in high school.

                I've read many of Lovelock's pieces for decades and, bluntly, his term for you would be 'Flat Earther.' He has not only completely blamed our species for fucking the planet up he has come out saying that we are done for, that we are on the road to complete extinction due to what we've done to the atmosphere in the last 200 years. He states unequivocally that there is NO fixing it, no remediation, and one had better just enjoy the time you have left.

                He's rather an extremist in that regard but there are a hell of a lot of other climate scientists that have moved into his camp. How in the hell did you miss that if you've actually read a bunch of his articles???

                You are taking a stance against 97+% of the climate science community (the VERY CONSERVATIVE don't-rock-the-boat science community) and repeating bogus information that has been completely discredited. I won't go into dismantling your replies since I would be repeating all the info and links I've already posted here. Instead, I will suggest you literally start reading from the beginning of this posting to present and follow the many links for current info.

                The last time CO2 levels in the atmosphere passed 400ppm was 3.2 million years ago. It took thousands of years of major volcanic activity to do that during the Pleistocene Era. We did it in 200 years of industrialization. And I post just a tiny smidgen of the science I read daily.


                The world's climate is changing 10 times faster than at any other point in the past 65 million years, Stanford climate scientists Noah Diffenbaugh and Chris Field have found in a new study published in Science (go to full article there but this says it all, doesn't it?).

                ...past changes that ecosystems have responded to a few degrees of global temperature change over thousands of years," Noah Diffenbaugh, an associate professor of environmental Earth system science, told Stanford News. "But the unprecedented trajectory that we're on now is forcing that change to occur over decades. That's orders of magnitude faster....

                ...a Climate Progress analysis of the U.S. Congress, 55 percent of House Republicans, 65 percent of Senate Republicans, and 77 percent of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology deny the existence of climate change or that humans are playing a role in it.

                (which means, Adrian, your comments put you on par with US rightwing politicians paid for by Big Oil)

              • Unsu...

                Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                Fri, September 6, 2013 - 8:45 PM
                Whoa, Adrian, seeing you use Dr. Lovelock's name in this way shocked the hell out of me. All the rest of what you wrote did, too, to be honest. I had no idea you were anti-science.

                Simple logic? No, Adrian. Simple Physics 101, first year college though some people take it in high school.

                I've read many of Lovelock's pieces for decades and, bluntly, his term for you would be 'Flat Earther.' He has not only completely blamed our species for fucking the planet up he has come out saying that we are done for, that we are on the road to complete extinction due to what we've done to the atmosphere in the last 200 years. He states unequivocally that there is NO fixing it, no remediation, and one had better just enjoy the time you have left.

                He's rather an extremist in that regard but there are a hell of a lot of other climate scientists that have moved into his camp. How in the hell did you miss that if you've actually read a bunch of his articles???

                You are taking a stance against 97+% of the climate science community (the VERY CONSERVATIVE don't-rock-the-boat science community) and repeating bogus information that has been completely discredited. I won't go into dismantling your replies since I would be repeating all the info and links I've already posted here. Instead, I will suggest you literally start reading from the beginning of this posting to present and follow the many links for current info.

                The last time CO2 levels in the atmosphere passed 400ppm was 3.2 million years ago. It took thousands of years of major volcanic activity to do that during the Pleistocene Era. We did it in 200 years of industrialization. And I post just a tiny smidgen of the science I read daily.


                The world's climate is changing 10 times faster than at any other point in the past 65 million years, Stanford climate scientists Noah Diffenbaugh and Chris Field have found in a new study published in Science (go to full article there but this says it all, doesn't it?).

                ...past changes that ecosystems have responded to a few degrees of global temperature change over thousands of years," Noah Diffenbaugh, an associate professor of environmental Earth system science, told Stanford News. "But the unprecedented trajectory that we're on now is forcing that change to occur over decades. That's orders of magnitude faster....

                ...a Climate Progress analysis of the U.S. Congress, 55 percent of House Republicans, 65 percent of Senate Republicans, and 77 percent of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology deny the existence of climate change or that humans are playing a role in it.

                (which means, Adrian, your comments put you on par with US rightwing politicians paid for by Big Oil)

                • Unsu...

                  Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                  Sat, September 7, 2013 - 2:08 AM
                  Thank you seal for listening and not just using personal remarks in place of reasoned argument, after all this is supposed to be a debating forum yes?

                  You probably have guessed I am an educated man, so perhaps you would sumise that I take a view for reasons not out of ignorance, I give you that honor when reading all that you write.

                  Can I say that thinking out side the box is something I do regularly, I am not a conformist thinker. Dont jump to conclusions about things you have not heard me say, don't tar me with other peoples thoughts and words please, as that will be totally misleading and muddy what I am saying and waste everyones time.

                  Lets take it slowly one item at a time.


                  You've read him extensively so what do you think?
                  What do I think about what he says? I think he has changed his tune somewhat. The things he put forwards when working for NASA seem different from the things he says now. That in its own right is obviously not a problem we are all allowed to change our minds, yes?

                  I liked his early hypotheses, (they were hypotheses, you know, they were ideas) As I am sure you know his job was to figure out what could be the tell tail signs of life on another planet, yes.

                  As I say I liked his early hypothesis, my understanding of this could be condensed into a few lines.

                  a) If life on other planets is similar to life on Earth then these would be the features to look for etc.
                  b) He thought, and I say thought that life on Earth was reliant upon symbiotic chemical physical life process's.
                  c)He thought there were changeable ones and more sensitive ones.
                  d)He noted that and made a deduction that since ice ages remove life processes from large portions of the Earth, he thought those areas logically would not be critical to over all life sustainability. (Some thing I agree with)
                  e)He made guesses that the real critical process's take place in the equatorial wet lands in the swamps river estuaries and the oceans.

                  I know recently he has decided that the end of the world is nigh etc.

                  Just because I liked his early work and I don't agree with his later work, that is not some crime, it is a decision I made, based upon what I understand about how the world works and how people and politics work also. Just like you take your view, which I respect also.

                  How is global climate and weather being understood?

                  Three methods.

                  1.Data on weather has been recorded and collected from all around the world (all sorts of things, temperatures, pressures, humidity, ocean temperatures, current movements, lots of stuff.

                  2.Computer software is being designed to model the theoretical movement and interactions of this data to see how it works.

                  3.Fossil, carbon dating and ice core samples have been collected to attempt to figure our some broad brush things like chemical compositions of atmosphere and ocean water, and deduce temperatures from this data.

                  There are no other ways to work it out.

                  The work of many people over quite a few years has led to many climatologists concluding Humans are causing climate change, yes we know this don't we.

                  My skepticism begins to kick in here for these reasons.

                  1. Weather change occurs over long periods of time (thousands of years) we have only been collecting detailed data for about 350 years.
                  1766 seems to be the date when more detailed records began in Britain (pretty sure we were the first country to do it).
                  That means we are trying to figure stuff out based on hardly any data. We really don't know how fast temperatures rise during warm periods, because no one was there with a thermometer the last time it happened, know one actually knows, its a guess.

                  2. Carbon dioxide, we can prove how much humans are producing for sure and it seems like a lot, thats provable because its measurable. The skepticism kicks in here also, as know one knows what Carbon dioxide actually does in the atmosphere over long periods of time, for sure. They are guessing, they are putting forward a hypothesis, not some thing proven.
                  They see it present but they don't know if its a cause or an effect in atmospheric processes over long periods of time.

                  My cynical out of the box way of looking at things kicks in here.

                  Hang on, Carbon, is that something that overall is being created, constructed if you like? Does this carbon mean we are making more of it than any time before? Are we importing it into the Earths domain?
                  No we are not, we are simply digging it up out of the ground and spreading it about.
                  In other words the carbon is already here on the Earth.
                  To me thats interesting, as logically we have to deduce that the carbon is something that the Earth is used to over long time spans.
                  Also form those core samples and carbon dating and rock samples we see that there were probably times in th past when there was lots of atmospheric carbon similar to today or even greater than today.

                  The main theory for the problem with Carbon Dioxide is its a green house gas, that most likely traps heat into the atmosphere.

                  Well again more alarm bell start to ring here, because there are other green house gases about in the atmosphere and one of them dwarfs the quantity of Carbon dioxide dramatically, yes thats water.
                  Going back to Lovelock's early work, he was the first guy who pointed this out to me, he makes it clear that the biggest green house gas is water and decides that its water that moves most of the heat around the weather systems.

                  So those skeptic thoughts creep back into my mind here also, hang on I hear my self saying if its really about water, why are they all ignoring this with what they are saying about carbon?

                  I have to pause my description of my reason why I am Carbon dioxide skeptical, but will resume later will more thoughts on the mater.

                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                    Thu, September 12, 2013 - 1:56 AM
                    No offense truly meant, Adrian. I've read quite a bit of what Lovelock has written over the years, and that old man doesn't mince words whatsoever when it comes to the science. He's rather, shall we say, pointed in his remarks about what he thinks is blatant ignorance of scientific facts.

                    Maybe this is why his temper gets the best of him now and then?

                    As Climate Denial Gets Stronger, the 'Dealing in Doubt' Continues


                    Who likes being lied to by people paid by the oil industry who pose as “experts” on climate change?

                    Did you know it’s been going on for 25 years?

                    In a couple of weeks, the UN’s official advisors on climate change science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will update its global assessment on the issue. Yet in the background, more attacks on the climate science are underway.

                    For the last quarter century, the climate science denial machine, its cogs oiled by fossil fuel money, has been attacking climate science, climate scientists and every official US report on climate change, along with State and local efforts – with the aim of undermining action on climate change.

                    Our new report, Dealing in Doubt, sets out the history of these attacks going back to the early 90s. These are attacks based on anti-regulatory, so called “free market” ideology, not legitimate scientific debate, using a wide range of dirty tricks: from faked science, attacks on scientists, fake credentials, cherry-picking scientific conclusions: a campaign based on the old tobacco industry mantra: “doubt is our product”.

                    We give special attention to perhaps today’s poster child of the climate denial machine’s free market think tanks, the Heartland Institute, which is about to launch a new version of its “NIPCC” or “climate change reconsidered” report next week in Chicago.

                    Unlike the real IPCC, with thousands of scientists involved from around the world, the Heartland Institute’s handful of authors is paid. Several of them claim fake scientific credentials. They start with a premise of proving the overwhelming consensus on climate science wrong, whereas the real IPCC simply summarizes the best science to date on climate change. This multi-million dollar campaign has been funded by anti-government ideologues like the Koch brothers, companies.

                    More recently, less visible channels of funding have been revealed such as the Donors Capital Fund and Donors Trust, organization that that has been called the “ATM of the conservative movement”, distributing funds from those who don’t want to be publicly associated with the anti-environmental work product of organizations like the Heartland Institute.

                    In the last week we’ve seen new peer-reviewed science published, linking at least half of 2012’s extreme weather events to a human carbon footprint in the atmosphere and on the weather and climate.
                    As the scientific consensus strengthens by the day that climate change is happening now, that carbon pollution is causing it and must be regulated, the denial machine is getting increasingly shrill. But today, while they are being increasingly ignored by a majority of the public, their mouthpieces in the US House of Representatives, for instance, have increased in number.

                    They’re still fighting the science – and they’re still being funded, to the tune of millions of dollars each year, to do it.

                    Dealing in Doubt sets out a history of these attacks. We show how the tactics of the tobacco industry’s campaign for “sound science” led to the formation of front groups who, as they lost the battle to deny smoking’s health hazards and keep warning labels off of cigarettes, turned their argumentative skills to the denial of climate change science in order to slow government action.

                    What we don’t cover is the fact that these organizations and deniers are also working on another front, attacking solutions to climate change. They go after any form of government incentive to promote renewable energy, while cheering for coal, fracking and the Keystone pipeline.

                    They attack any piece of legislation the US EPA puts forward to curb pollution. Decrying President Obama’s “war on coal” is a common drumbeat of these anti-regulation groups. One key member of the denial machine, astrophysicist Willie Soon from the Smithsonian Institute for Astrophysics, has portrayed himself as an “expert” on mercury and public health in order to attack legislation curbing mercury emissions from coal plants.

                    This recent history, as well as the prior history of denial by the tobacco companies and chemical, asbestos and other manufacturing industries, is important to remember because the fossil fuel industry has never admitted that it was misguided or wrong in its early efforts to delay the policy reaction to the climate crisis. To this day, it continues to obstruct solutions.

                    The individuals, organizations and corporate interests who comprise the ‘climate denial machine’ have caused harm and have slowed our response time. As a result, we will all ultimately pay a much higher cost as we deal with the impacts, both economic and ecological.

                    Eventually, these interests will be held accountable for their actions.
                    • Unsu...

                      Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                      Sat, September 14, 2013 - 11:59 AM
                      It was over 100'F yesterday. Colorado is drowning. Siberia went from dust storm drought to a million acres under water in a eyeblink. Shit isn't doing so well on this planet.

                      I'm still thinking you took offense by your sarcasm.

                      quote Lovelock:

                      Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change from radically impacting on our lives over the coming decades. This is the stark conclusion of James Lovelock, the globally respected environmental thinker and independent scientist who developed the Gaia theory.

                      It follows a tumultuous few months in which public opinion on efforts to tackle climate change has been undermined by events such as the climate scientists' emails leaked from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the failure of the Copenhagen climate summit.

                      "I don't think we're yet evolved to the point where we're clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change," said Lovelock in his first in-depth interview since the theft of the UEA emails last November. "The inertia of humans is so huge that you can't really do anything meaningful."

                      One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is "modern democracy", he added. "Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while."

                      Lovelock, 90, believes the world's best hope is to invest in adaptation measures, such as building sea defences around the cities that are most vulnerable to sea-level rises. He thinks only a catastrophic event would now persuade humanity to take the threat of climate change seriously enough, such as the collapse of a giant glacier in Antarctica, such as the Pine Island glacier, which would immediately push up sea level.

                      "That would be the sort of event that would change public opinion," he said. "Or a return of the dust bowl in the mid-west. Another Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report won't be enough. We'll just argue over it like now." The IPCC's 2007 report concluded that there was a 90% chance that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are causing global warming, but the panel has been criticised over a mistaken claim that all Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2030.


                      The IPCC is considered a joke among scientists due to the fact that politicians are the ones who vet everything before it is published. The IPCC papers are extremely conservative because of that, tending to minimize anything that would go against the campaign contributors interests...
                      • Unsu...

                        Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                        Wed, September 18, 2013 - 10:23 AM
                        Global Warming Is Very Real

                        By Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone

                        12 September 13


                        (remember that the IPCC information is VETTED by politicians before release and is very VERY conservative in their predictions)

                        Scientists are fighting deniers with irrefutable proof the planet is headed for catastrophe. In September 27th, a group of international scientists associated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will gather in an old brick brewery in Stockholm and proclaim with near certainty that human activity is altering the planet in profound ways. The IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report offers slam-dunk evidence that burning fossil fuels is the cause of most of the temperature increases of recent decades, and warn that sea levels could rise by almost three feet by the end of the century if we don't change our ways. The report will underscore that the basic facts about climate change are more established than ever, and that the consequences of escalating carbon pollution are likely to mean that, as The New York Times recently argued, "babies being born now could live to see the early stages of a global calamity."

                        A leaked draft of the report points out that the link between fossil-fuel burning and climate change is already observable: "It is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010. There is high confidence that this has warmed the ocean, melted snow and ice, raised global mean sea level and changed some climate extremes in the second half of the 20th century." If you look beyond the tables and charts and graphs that fill the reports, you can see the Arctic vanishing, great cities like Miami and Shanghai drowning, droughts causing famine in Africa, and millions of refugees fleeing climate-related catastrophes. Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the IPCC, recently told a group of climate scientists that if we want to avoid this fate, governments must act now to cut carbon pollution: "We have five minutes before midnight."

                        But, of course, this is nothing new. In 2007, when the IPCC released its Fourth Assessment Report, it was also nearly certain that human activity was heating up the planet, with grave consequences for our future well-being. And six years before that, when the IPCC released its Third Assessment, scientists were pretty certain about it too. But phrases like "high confidence" in warming do not, to the unscientific ear, inspire high confidence in the report's finding, since they imply the existence of doubt, no matter how slight. And in the climate wars, "Doubt is what deniers thrive on and exploit," says Bob Watson, who was head of the IPCC from 1997 to 2002. The final report has not even been released yet, and already prominent bloggers in the denial-sphere, like Anthony Watts, are calling it "stillborn."

                        But perhaps the most significant thing about the new IPCC report is not the scientific findings. It's that the release of the report may actually mark the beginning of a new phase of the climate wars - one in which scientists and activists learn to fight back.

                        The IPCC, which was founded in 1988 by the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization, is the world's leading authority on climate science. Deniers like to characterize it as a big, faceless bureaucracy - but in fact it's a tiny agency. The entire organization is housed on the eighth floor of the WMO offices in Geneva and has only 12 full-time employees, with an annual budget of a measly $9 million. The agency doesn't do any research on its own - its role is simply to assess and interpret scientific, technical and economic data. All of the actual work - the assessments themselves - is written by scientists around the world, who volunteer their time to distill information from thousands of studies and academic papers. As climate science has gotten more complex, the reports have ballooned. The Fourth Assessment was more than 3,000 pages long and was toiled over by more than 800 scientists and 2,500 expert reviewers - the Fifth Assessment is likely to be even bigger. These reports, which are issued every five or six years, are broken into three sections: Working Group I, which covers the physical science of climate change, will be released this month; Working Group II, which explores the impacts of rising carbon pollution on nature and human life, will be released next March; Working Group III, which analyzes various scenarios to cut carbon pollution, is due in April. Finally, a synthesis report that tries to pull it all together in a brief summary will be published next fall.

                        When scientists undertook the first IPCC assessment in the late 1980s, the assumption was that if they got the facts right, politicians would take action. "In the beginning, the purpose of the reports was to provide the fundamentals for a global climate agreement," says Watson. The first report, issued in 1990, led to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the international treaty that was the foundation for a global agreement. The second report, which came out in 1995, was supposed to be the basis for the Kyoto Protocol. But Kyoto, of course, was DOA, in part because it was never ratified by the U.S.

                        Deniers have always been cranked up about the IPCC, in part because of the black-helicopter paranoia of many conservatives who see climate change as a U.N. plot to take away freedom. And from the beginning, they have fought dirty, attacking not just the science but the scientists themselves. After the IPCC released its Second Assessment in 1995, the deniers were not happy that the report directly linked global warming with the burning of fossil fuels ("The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate"). So they attacked one of the lead authors of the report, Ben Santer, an atmospheric scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. A fossil-fuel-industry-funded group called the Global Climate Coalition accused Santer of removing mention of uncertainties in the chapter to make global warming appear more certain than it was. Later investigations found that Santer's so-called scientific cleansing involved little more than clarifying language suggested by fellow scientists. "Nothing in my scientific training prepared me for what I faced in the aftermath of that report," Santer says now. One night years later, he opened his front door and found a dead rat on his porch. In the street, he watched a yellow Hummer drive off, the driver yelling obscenities at him.

                        As the prominence of climate change grew and the evidence became stronger, attacks escalated. In 2009, just weeks before the Copenhagen climate summit, hackers broke into the servers of the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit in the U.K. and publicly posted hundreds of private e-mails from climate scientists involved with the IPCC's Fourth Assessment report. Deniers seized on these messages, taking a few barbed comments out of context (in one, for instance, Santer wrote that if he ran into Pat Michaels - a well-known shill for the fossil­fuel industry - he would "be tempted to beat the crap out of him") and claimed they now had their smoking gun, proof of a global conspiracy among scientists to keep out information that didn't fit their thesis that the Earth was warming. The substance of the e-mails was subsequently investigated by five agencies, all of whom cleared scientists of any professional or personal misconduct. And not surprisingly, the hackers who broke into the East Anglia servers and stole the e-mails were never found.

                        "For a lot of scientists, ClimateGate was a real awakening," says Naomi Oreskes, a science historian at Harvard and co-author of Merchants of Doubt, which chronicles the fossil-fuel industry's long battle to undermine climate science. "It was clear that if you were going to work on climate change, you were a public figure. And it was no longer enough to just do the science. You also had to go out and explain it to people - and defend it." By then, Santer reports, he was receiving countless death threats.

                        "Most of the world does not have a problem with denial of climate change," says Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. "It's only an issue in Australia, Canada and, most significantly, the United States." Although the U.S. population as a whole is moving toward accepting the reality of climate change, Congress remains a scientific backwater. One recent analysis by the Center for American Progress found that almost a third of the 535 members of the House and Senate are climate deniers. Not coincidentally, those 161 reps have taken more than $54 million in political contributions from the fossil-fuel industry.

                        But lately, climate activists are less shy about calling out deniers. Organizing for Action, the successor of President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, recently created the Congressional Climate Change Awards, honoring 135 members of Congress, including Dana Rohrabacher, Steve King and House Speaker John Boehner, for "exceptional extremism and ignoring the overwhelming judgment of science." And of course it doesn't hurt that President Obama has broken his silence about climate change and seems determined to make it part of his agenda in the second term.

                        But the biggest change is in the public profile of scientists themselves. Leading the charge is Michael Mann, an IPCC veteran and director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State, who has become a presence on TV talk shows and is author of a must-read book about the politics of climate science, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars. Mann is taking the unprecedented step of suing the conservative National Review for defamation after the magazine's blog quoted a story that called Mann "the Jerry Sandusky of climate science" because he "molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science."

                        Mann can't talk about the pending lawsuit, but he points out that "concerted industry-funded attacks on our science" by deniers have mobilized many scientists to fight back. In Mann's view, ClimateGate and other denier campaigns are deliberately designed to erode the credibility of scientists: "Public polling shows that scientists are among the most trusted messengers around when it comes to issues such as climate change," Mann says. "So clearly this was an effort by fossil-fuel-industry front groups and advocates to go right at that. It was a deeply cynical effort to undermine the public faith in scientists and science."

                        The war over the IPCC's fifth assessment officially got under way in August, after a draft report of the "Summary for Policymakers" of the Working Group I report was leaked to the media. Deniers immediately seized on two issues to create controversy and undercut the findings of the report.

                        The first has to do with "equilibrium climate sensitivity," which is the amount the climate is likely to warm in response to rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere. In a leaked draft of the Fifth Assessment, scientists slightly lowered the range of possible warming from the previous assessment. Some media outlets - including The Economist, which should have known better - seized on this data to suggest that this is "one sign [that] suggests [the new assessment] might be less terrifying than it could have been." In fact, as prominent climate blogger Joe Romm pointed out, these arcane, highly technical numbers are "far less interesting and consequential subject than the fact that we are headed way, way past [emissions targets] or that the real-world slow feedbacks are expected to make a very big contribution to warming this century." To put it another way: In the real world, climate sensitivity means zip.

                        But that's how the denier game works: They seize on small errors and inconsequential factual inconsistencies in a piece of climate research and use it to discredit the science and reassure people that climate change is no big deal. In the 2007 Assessment, for instance, the authors and reviewers overlooked a sentence that asserted Himalayan glaciers would vanish by 2035 - an obvious misstatement, which deniers seized and used to suggest that the entire assessment was bunk. "You didn't have to be a scientist to know that's not true," says Watson. "It was simply an error that slipped through, and deniers tried to use it to invalidate the findings of the entire report." It's like finding a misspelling in the Manhattan phone book and then declaring the whole book useless.

                        The second issue that has come up is the question of a "hiatus," or pause in surface-temperature warming. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, winner of a climate-denier award from Texas green groups, recently proclaimed that "there has been no recorded warming since 1998." Not exactly, Ted. According to the IPCC draft report, the rate of warming at the planet's surface is lower over the past 15 years, but warming has not stopped. In fact, since the 1950s, each successive decade has been hotter than the last, and the 2000s were the hottest decade since modern record-keeping began in 1880. Scientists have a variety of explanations for this, including the fact that more heat is being transferred deeper into the ocean and that volcanic eruptions have blocked sunlight. "We never expected warming to be linear," says Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

                        To former IPCC chair Watson, it is crucial that these criticisms not go unanswered. "The IPCC needs to have an answer for this," he says. "They need to be prepared." But in Santer's view, climate science is rapidly approaching the point where it is immune to these kinds of critiques: "Up until now, the criticism has been that climate science is like a house of cards, and if you pull out one or two sets of data, it all collapses. That narrative has been refuted. The Fifth Assessment shows that warming has a physical and internal consistency - it's warming in the deep ocean, in the intermediate ocean and in the lower atmosphere. Sea level is rising. Arctic sea ice is retreating. The observational evidence for human-caused warming is overwhelming, compelling and irrefutable."

                        That may be true, says Oreskes, "but if there is one thing we have learned in recent years, it's that climate change is not just a scientific problem. It is also a political, social and cultural problem." According to Yale's Leiserowitz, it's also a problem that four in 10 people in the world have never heard of. "If you can reach them, you can convince them," says Leiserowitz. But it is going to take more than a few well-written press releases and a spiffy website: "Think about what a company like Coke does when they are launching a new product in the world," says Leiserowitz. "They spend a billion dollars doing market research, crafting ads, targeting their audience. They know that is what it takes to cut through the media clutter today. So far, the climate movement hasn't come close to thinking about how to communicate on that scale."

                        For better or worse, this Fifth Assessment may be the last grand climate-science report from the IPCC. "I think these reports have outgrown their usefulness," says David Keith, a Harvard professor who recently resigned as an author of the Fifth Assessment, echoing the view of other top scientists. "If it were gone, scientists might reorganize themselves in a more effective way."

                        In a more rational world, of course, we wouldn't need any more IPCC assessments. We would have listened to the scientists, built a global consensus and forged international agreements to reduce carbon pollution and head off the risk of climate catastrophe. But in the 25 years since the IPCC was formed, global carbon pollution is rising faster than ever. Future readers may view IPCC reports not as landmarks of scientific inquiry, but as suicide notes from a lost civilization.
                        • Unsu...

                          Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                          Fri, September 20, 2013 - 1:52 PM
                          Over the years I've posted a huge amount of science on this subject, and bluntly, either you get it or you don't. I'm done posting, done with tribe, and this last post from the 18th pretty much says it all.

                          You either get it or you don't. And if you don't it doesn't matter because there will be a point (probably pretty fucking soon, too) that you will. It just has to be 'real' by being in your face. Wait for it, it's coming.

                          So, I'm gone. Got enough to do around here, have enough people and friends that come by, and after eight years on tribe there isn't much more to be said.


                        • Unsu...

                          Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

                          Fri, September 20, 2013 - 1:53 PM
                          Over the years I've posted a huge amount of science on this subject, and bluntly, either you get it or you don't. I'm done posting, done with tribe, and this last post from the 18th pretty much says it all.

                          You either get it or you don't. And if you don't it doesn't matter because there will be a point (probably pretty fucking soon, too) that you will. It just has to be 'real' by being in your face. Wait for it, it's coming.

                          So, I'm gone. Got enough to do around here, enough people and friends that come by, and after eight years on tribe there isn't much more to be said.

  • Re: Climate Collapse-Foolish Humans

    Thu, December 26, 2013 - 4:08 PM
    In 1959, two young scientists left a message in a bottle at a remote northern Canadian glacier, asking whoever found the message to measure the current distance between that glacier and a nearby glacier.

    The scientists have since passed on, but the bottle was recently found.

    The finder, a modern-day scientist, measured the distance between glacier #1 and glacier #2. Back in 1959, the distance was 168 feet. Now, according to new measurements, the distance is 401 feet.

    The glacier is melting big time.

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