Tag: Anthropogenic Climate Change

When You Start to Believe Your Own Bullsh%$

Rich people seem to think that simply because they have lots of money, they are knowledgeable about things completely out of their purview.

Case in point, Bill Gates, who appears to believe that he is an expert on nuclear power and global warming, so he is wringing his hands over the lack of new nuclear nuclear power plants in the US:

Bill Gates is urging the United States to invest in nuclear power research.

In his annual year-in-review Gates Notes blog post, Gates noted that, despite the consequences of climate change that people face around the globe, “global emissions of greenhouse gases went up in 2018.”

Because burning fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) releases carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, Gates wrote that we need breakthroughs in clean energy in order to curb the rise of global temperatures. Generating energy from sunlight and wind does not emit CO2; the same goes for nuclear energy.

“The world needs to be working on lots of solutions to stop climate change,” Gates wrote. “Advanced nuclear is one, and I hope to persuade US leaders to get into the game.”

First, the construction time for a nuclear power plant is on the order of a decade.

Second, one of the largest contributors to anthropogenic climate change is cement, and nuclear power uses a very large amount of that.

Third, the total life cycle costs, which are a good measure of total emissions are off the f%$#ing charts, so while fission emits no carbon, construction, enrichment, transportation of fuel, and disposal of waste, are major emitters.

So the savings are illusory, the costs are unsustainable, and the time frame is too long.

We Are Completely Screwed

In addition to increasing ice melt, it not turns out that anthropogenic climate change is resulting in major uprising of bedrock in Antarctica, which will further accelerate sea level rise.

Ice melts, the weight on the underlying ground is reduced, and the land springs up.

I rather imagine that will see something similar in Greenland

Rinse, lather, repeat:

The earth is rising in one part of Antarctica at one of the fastest rates ever recorded, as ice rapidly disappears and weight is lifted off the bedrock, a new international study has found.

The findings, reported in the journal Science, have surprising and positive implications for the survival of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), which scientists had previously thought could be doomed because of the effects of climate change.

The unexpectedly fast rate of the rising earth may markedly increase the stability of the ice sheet against catastrophic collapse due to ice loss, scientists say.

Moreover, the rapid rise of the earth in this area also affects gravity measurements, which implies that up to 10 percent more ice has disappeared in this part of Antarctica than previously assumed.

Researchers led by scientists at The Ohio State University used a series of six GPS stations (part of the POLENET-ANET array) attached to bedrock around the Amundsen Sea Embayment to measure its rise in response to thinning ice.

The “uplift rate” was measured at up to 41 millimeters (1.6 inches) a year, said Terry Wilson, one of the leaders of the study and a professor emeritus of earth sciences at Ohio State.

In contrast, places like Iceland and Alaska, which have what are considered rapid uplift rates, generally are measured rising 20 to 30 millimeters a year.

“The rate of uplift we found is unusual and very surprising. It’s a game changer,” Wilson said.

And it is only going to get faster. The researchers estimate that in 100 years, uplift rates at the GPS sites will be 2.5 to 3.5 times more rapid than currently observed.

We need to take action now, because otherwise, beach front property in Florida will be in Alabama.

Another Sign of the Apocalypse

In Ottowa, a New Year’s concert was canceled, and a hockey game was moved indoors because it was too cold for Canadians.

“Too cold for Canadians,” there was a phrase I never expected to say:

First no hockey, now no music. Ottawa has declared that it’s officially too cold – even for Canadians.

Heritage Canada has announced that a New Year’s Eve concert planned for Ottawa has been cancelled because of an extreme cold weather warning.

The party’s cancellation on Friday came after the federal government also moved an outdoor hockey tournament indoors and away from a C$5.6m (£3.3m) temporary ice rink installed on Parliament Hill.

The forecast overnight low for the nation’s capital on Sunday is -29C [-20°F] , nearly 20 degrees [36°F] colder than the seasonal average. Public skating and a fireworks show on the city’s Parliament Hill will go ahead as planned on Sunday night, but Heritage Canada warned revellers have been warned to dress for the weather and “prepare accordingly to prevent frostbite and other injuries”.

My suggestion would be for Canadians to watch the fireworks on TV.

Nope, No Anthropogenic Climate Change Here

Yep, a Hurricane, hitting Ireland

A hurricane is hitting Ireland.

You heard that right, Ireland

This is the furthest east time ever that a hurricane has been observed in the modern era:

The system formerly known as Hurricane Ophelia is moving into Ireland on Monday, bringing “status red” weather throughout the day to the island. The Irish National Meteorological Service, Met Éireann, has warned that, “Violent and destructive gusts of 120 to 150km/h are forecast countrywide, and in excess of these values in some very exposed and hilly areas. There is a danger to life and property.”

Ophelia transitioned from a hurricane to an extra-tropical system on Sunday, but that only marginally diminished its threat to Ireland and the United Kingdom on Monday, before it likely dissipates near Norway on Tuesday. The primary threat from the system was high winds, with heavy rains.

Forecasters marveled at the intensification of Ophelia on Saturday, as it reached Category 3 status on the Saffir-Simpson scale and became a major hurricane. For a storm in the Atlantic basin, this is the farthest east that a major hurricane has been recorded during the satellite era of observations. Additionally, it was the farthest north, at 35.9 degrees north, that an Atlantic major hurricane has existed this late in the year since 1939.

“Ophelia is breaking new ground for a major hurricane,” National Hurricane Center scientist Eric Blake wrote on Twitter. “Typically those waters much too cool for anything this strong.” He also added, “I really can’t believe I’m seeing a major just south of the Azores.” Seas near where Ophelia intensified Saturday were 1-2 degrees Celsius above normal.

It goes without saying that we are in for some serious hurt over the next few years.

It also follows that climate change deniers are full of crap.

Of Course, It’s P G & F%$#ing E

Well, authorities are now looking at the potential cause of the devastating fires in northern California.

At the top of the list is tree branches hitting power-lines.

The power-lines in the area are operated by Pacific Gas and Electric, and PG&E has a very long history of short changing basic maintenance to improve the bottom line for shareholders.

This resulted in it being hit with significant fines for (quick Google) the Butte Fire (2015), the Rough and Ready fire (1994), the San Bruno gas explosion (2010), and (of course) poisoning people in Hinkley with toxic waste. (the movie Erin Brokovich was based on this)

The fires started almost simultaneously with reports of power outages around the origin points.

As the first reports came in Sunday night of numerous fires that would grow into one of the most destructive wildfire disasters in California history, emergency dispatchers in Sonoma County received multiple calls of power lines falling down and electrical transformers exploding.

In all, according to a review of emergency radio traffic by the Bay Area News Group, Sonoma County dispatchers sent out fire crews to at least 10 different locations across the county over a 90-minute period starting at 9:22 pm to respond to 911 calls and other reports of sparking wires and problems with the county’s electrical system amid high winds.

State fire officials said Tuesday that they are still investigating the cause of the blazes, which as of late Tuesday had killed 17 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes in Sonoma, Napa and other Northern California counties.

But the reports of the power equipment failures began to turn the spotlight on PG&E, the giant San Francisco-based utility, raising questions about how well it maintained its equipment in the area and whether it adequately cut back trees from power lines to reduce fire risk — as required by state law.


PG&E and other large utilities in California have a long history of being found responsible for major wildfires because of inadequate maintenance of their power lines.

In April, the state Public Utilities Commission fined PG&E $8.3 million for failing to maintain a power line that sparked the Butte Fire in Amador County in September 2015. That fire burned for 22 days, killing two people, destroying 549 homes and charring 70,868 acres.

CalFire announced last year that it will seek to force PG&E to pay $90 million in firefighting costs. More than 1,000 lawsuits and claims are still pending against the utility.

“It was more than just a lack of maintenance. It was a complete disregard for their requirements of vegetation management in rural areas,” said Burlingame attorney Frank Pitre, who sued on behalf of the victims.

PG&E claims that these winds were “hurricane force”, which is a lie.

Winds were in the 45 mph range (sustained) with gusts (3-5 seconds) to 75 mph, which are not at all unusual for California.

If they hadn’t been bingeing on their own seed corn to overpay senior management, PG&E would have had no problems, and the current disaster would not have happened.

These sorts of disasters will get worse with the impact of anthropogenic climate change.

California privately owned utilities in general, and PGE in particular, have a long record of  neglecting maintenance, and PUC has an equally long history of being in bed with these companies.

Now might be a good time to look at making municipally owned utilities easier via the initiative petition process.

It gives cheaper rates and better run utilities.

Strike while the iron, and the forest, and a few thousand homes, are hot.

We Are Unbelievably Screwed

A glacier in the Antarctic just calved an iceberg 4 times the size of Manhattan:

An enormous Antarctic glacier has given up an iceberg over 100 square miles in size, the second time in two years it has lost such a large piece in a process that has scientists wondering whether its behavior is changing for the worse.

The Pine Island Glacier is one of the largest in West Antarctica, a region that is currently Antarctica’s biggest ice loser. Pine Island, which loses an extraordinary 45 billion tons of ice to the ocean each year (– equivalent to 1 millimeter of global sea level rise every eight years — is 25 miles wide where its floating front touches the sea, and rests on the seafloor in waters more than a half-mile deep. The single glacier alone contains 1.7 feet of potential global sea level rise and is thought to be in a process of unstable, ongoing retreat.

That’s why scientists are watching it closely, and on Saturday, Stef Lhermitte, a satellite observation specialist at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, posted a satellite image showing that Pine Island had “calved,” or broken off a piece of ice about 103 square miles in area. (For comparison, Manhattan is 22.83 square miles in size.) The rectangular piece of ice then appears to have lost some of its shape immediately as smaller pieces splintered off.

“It’s the fifth large calving event since 2000,” Lhermitte said. “This one and 2015, they were much further inland than the previous ones. So there has been a retreat of the calving front, specifically between 2011 and 2015.”

Clearly anthropogenic climate change is a myth.

I Have Had It with These Motherf%##Ing Sharks on This Motherf%$#Ing Freeway

It’s actually a Photoshop hoax, which is depressing, but it’s probably actually a good thing that soulless cold blooded predators are not swimming the streets of Houston.

The cold blooded soulless predators were in Austin, but the special session of the legislature ended about 2 weeks ago, so they are scattered all over the state now.

Rule #1 of Giving Disaster Aid Is Not to Give to the American Red Cross

Rule #2 is to refer to rule #1.

Pro Publica has some quick tips for donating after a disaster in response to the massive flooding in the Houston area from hurricane Harvey, and the lede paragraph mentions the American Red Cross mismanagement in Haiti.

The comments mention their mismanagement of the super storm Sandy.

On a more personal level, I was in the Good Friday earthquake in Anchorage in 1964 (No memories, I was less than 2), and my father has vivid recollections of the general uselessness of the Red Cross, he was involved on some of the (ultimately ignored) after incident analysis and recommendations.

He recalls that the Salvation Army did a much better job than the ARC.

Just don’t give to them.  It will end up going to new carpets in their Washington, DC offices.

Clearly, Global Warming is a Myth

This is anthropogenic climate change, or a giant wants the 2nd largest martini ever.

an ice berg the size of Delaware has detached from the Larson-C ice sheet:

A hunk of ice the size of Delaware broke off from the Antarctic Peninsula.

Sometime in the last few days, scientists say an iceberg weighing roughly a trillion metric tons separated from the Larsen C Ice Shelf and began its long, slow drift northward through the Weddell Sea.

The 2,400 square-mile mass of ice won’t immediately raise sea levels, but its loss has probably altered the profile of the continent’s western peninsula for decades to come, scientists say.

The Larsen Ice Shelf consists of a series of many floating ice chunks. It is named for Norwegian explorer Capt. Carl Anton Larsen, who discovered it in 1893.

By the time it was first photographed in the 1960s, the fateful crack was already visible, according to NASA.


The release of this iceberg has reduced Larsen C, the largest ice shelf in the Larsen formation and the fourth-largest on the continent, by more than 12%. Scientists says the remaining ice shelf could now be less stable, which could pave the way for a more severe event: disintegration.

“This ice shelf is on the trajectory to collapse in the coming decades,” said Eric Rignot, a UC Irvine glaciologist and research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge.

While this has no direct impact on sea level, the ice was already floating in the water, it does have the effect of clearing the path for increased ice flows from land based glaciers, like removing a cork from a bottle, which could raise sea levels.

Also, the weight of ice over the land in Antarctica and Greenland has actually pushed the land down, so not only will the water melt eventually cause sea level rise, but more land will erupt which will further raise sea levels.

This is something that we need to address sooner rather than later.

Not a Surprise

Donald Trump has announced that he is pulling the US out of the Paris climate deal.

This is not a surprise. He promised to do so during the election, and the political cost of keeping this promise is pretty small.

Of note is that he took the least aggressive option to do so:

But he will stick to the withdrawal process laid out in the Paris agreement, which President Barack Obama joined and most of the world has already ratified. That could take nearly four years to complete, meaning a final decision would be up to the American voters in the next presidential election.

This is not a surprise.  Unlike EPA chief Scott Pruitt, who has sold his soul to climate deniers, Trump views this in an almost exclusively political context.

Taking 4 years to get out of the deal was quite literally the least that he could do without pissing off his supporters.

We are F%$#ed

Up in the arctic, there is a vault holding the seeds of thousands of species of crops.

Its purpose is to protect the biodiversity of agriculture in an increasingly commercial and monoculture system.

An unexpected thaw in permafrost just flooded portions of the complex:

It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel.

The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and contains almost a million packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. When it was opened in 2008, the deep permafrost through which the vault was sunk was expected to provide “failsafe” protection against “the challenge of natural or man-made disasters”.

But soaring temperatures in the Arctic at the end of the world’s hottest ever recorded year led to melting and heavy rain, when light snow should have been falling. “It was not in our plans to think that the permafrost would not be there and that it would experience extreme weather like that,” said Hege Njaa Aschim, from the Norwegian government, which owns the vault.

“A lot of water went into the start of the tunnel and then it froze to ice, so it was like a glacier when you went in,” she told the Guardian. Fortunately, the meltwater did not reach the vault itself, the ice has been hacked out, and the precious seeds remain safe for now at the required storage temperature of -18C.

But the breach has questioned the ability of the vault to survive as a lifeline for humanity if catastrophe strikes. “It was supposed to [operate] without the help of humans, but now we are watching the seed vault 24 hours a day,” Aschim said. “We must see what we can do to minimise all the risks and make sure the seed bank can take care of itself.”


“The Arctic and especially Svalbard warms up faster than the rest of the world. The climate is changing dramatically and we are all amazed at how quickly it is going,” Isaksen told Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet

Anthropogenic climate change is real, and we are only beginning to see the consequences.

Fake News

There is no “There” there

Something that is making the rounds in the right wing press and the wingnutosphere is the claim made by a former NOAA employee that the recent study on anthropogenic climate change was a political work of dubious science.

A closer examination reveals that the former employee question would not be in a position to observe fraud, and the nature of the study makes it next to impossible to fake the data, since the data was publicly available and peer reviewed:

On Sunday, the UK tabloid Mail on Sunday alleged a seemingly juicy (if unoriginal) climate science scandal. At its core, though, it’s not much more substantial than claiming the Apollo 11 astronauts failed to file some paperwork and pretending this casts doubt on the veracity of the Moon landing.

The story’s author, David Rose, has published a great many sensational articles over the years, falsely claiming to present evidence undermining the threat of climate change or the human cause behind it. But this latest article is noteworthy in that it appears to reveal the supposed “whistleblower” who has been cited by the US House Science Committee in its ongoing clash with climate scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The committee’s Twitter account, as well as the account of Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-Texas), has gone hog-wild tweeting about the story. For example, the committee account tweeted, “@NOAA obstructed the committee’s oversight at every turn. Now we know what they were hiding.”


The paper concluded that there was no evidence of a slowdown in global warming over the last decade or so, an idea that had been a focus of people who reject the seriousness of human-caused climate change.


Rep. Smith claimed that a whistleblower at NOAA had provided his office with information proving that the study had been inappropriately rushed for political reasons. The Mail on Sunday claims the same thing and presents NOAA scientist John Bates as a whistleblower.


In a blog post, Maynooth University research Peter Thorne—who worked on both the land and sea databases underlying the Karl paper but not the Karl paper itself—disputed many of Bates’ claims. First off, Thorne notes that Bates was not personally involved in the research at any stage. And while Bates claims that Karl made a series of choices to exaggerate the apparent warming trend, Thorne points out that this would be difficult for Karl to do since he didn’t contribute to the underlying databases. Karl’s paper simply ran those updated databases through the same algorithm NOAA was already using.

Ars talked with Thomas Peterson, a co-author on the Karl paper who has since retired. Peterson provided some useful context for understanding Bates’ allegations. The satellites that Bates worked with were expensive hardware that couldn’t be fixed if anything went wrong after they were launched. The engineering of the software running those satellites sensibly involved testing and re-testing and re-testing again to ensure no surprises would pop up once it was too late.


There may also be something beyond simple “engineers vs. scientists” tension behind Bates’ decision to go public with his allegations. Two former NOAA staffers confirmed to Ars that Tom Karl essentially demoted John Bates in 2012, when Karl was Director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Bates had held the title of Supervisory Meteorologist and Chief of the Remote Sensing Applications Division, but Karl removed him from that position partly due to a failure to maintain professionalism with colleagues, assigning him to a position in which he would no longer supervise other staff. It was apparently no secret that the demotion did not sit well with Bates.

Office politics aside, the claims in the Mail on Sunday article that the Karl paper exaggerated the warming trend fall down when you examine any of the other surface temperature datasets. In a paper we recently covered, a team led by Berkeley researcher Zeke Hausfather compared the updated sea surface temperature dataset to shorter but simpler and independent sets of measurements made by satellites and automated floats. That analysis confirmed that the updated dataset is more accurate than its predecessor.

In a post for Carbon Brief, Hausfather noted that NOAA’s updated dataset doesn’t cause it to show more warming than the datasets run by NASA, the Berkeley team, and the UK Met Office. Instead, the update caused NOAA to stop showing less warming than everyone else.

(Bold smallcap emphasis mine, all other emphasis original)

Needless to say, the folks who are terrified that Al Gore was right about this will not listen to reason, so expect a few weeks (months?) of flying monkey style stupidity about this.

I would also add that over the next few months, I would expect Bates to get a lucrative book deal from Regnrey or its ilk, along with some 5-figure speaking gigs, because that is how wingnut welfare works.

Remember that “Hiatus” in Anthropogenic Climate Change from 1998-2012?

Not so much.

The reports of a plateau in we saw were due to a change in instrumentation and methodology.

Specifically, in the mid 1990s, ocean water temperature reporting moved from ships cooling water intake data to dedicated free-standing buoys.

It turns out that there is significant heating present in the ships that is not present in the newer methods:

Nope, climate change didn’t pause for about 15 years, scientists say – again. But just how did that misunderstanding happen?

From around 1998 to 2012, the rise in global temperatures seemed to plateau, according to NOAA’s Extended Reconstruction Sea Surface Temperature (ERSST) dataset.

To most climate scientists, this so-called hiatus was another puzzle of our complex climate system for them to work out. But to people who were already skeptical of global warming, this data was evidence for the idea that human-induced climate change is a hoax.

But the data itself was unsound, scientists now say. There is no evidence of a hiatus.


For decades, sea surface temperatures were measured on ships, using water sucked into a ship’s engine room. But in the mid-1990s, scientists began deploying a new strategy across the world’s oceans: thermometers on buoys. By the late 1990s, this method had taken off, Hausfather says.

But here’s the catch: the buoys bobbing on the surface of the sea take colder measurements than those taken within the warm engine room of a ship. And, in the ERSST version 3b, scientists had just tacked on the buoy data without adjusting for that difference.

When NOAA scientists realized the problem, they calculated that difference and weighted the data differently, resulting in ERSST version 4. And, according to their calculations, version 4 showed more than twice as much warming, on the global scale, as version 3b.


Instead of looking at all the data mashed together, Hausfather and his colleagues studied the trends in the data from different sources separately, including data from ships, buoys, satellites, and drifting robots called Argo floats.

“The authors did a great job of inter-comparing independent and semi-independent SST data sets,” Thomas Karl, the lead author on the 2015 NOAA paper and former director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, writes in an email to the Monitor. “Their results show the importance of independent measurements to clarify observational uncertainties.”

“This paper further allays any qualms that there may have been scientific errors or any non-scientific agendas,” Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist in the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, who was not part of either paper, writes to the Monitor. “Lamar Smith owes Tom Karl an apology.”

So from the late ’90s to the early teens, there was a transformation in the sources of the data, and if you view the data filtered by source, you see the ΔT, but if you view it in aggregate, it shows a moderation.

Good science, but bad news.  We are in for a world of hurt.

Non-Existent Global Warming Strikes Again

We are completely f%$#ed

Breakup of Larsen B in 2002

An ice shelf ¼ the side of Wales is set to break off from the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica:

An iceberg expected to be one of the 10 largest ever recorded is ready to break away from Antarctica, scientists say.

A long-running rift in the Larsen C ice shelf grew suddenly in December and now just 20km of ice is keeping the 5,000 sq km piece from floating away.

Larsen C is the most northern major ice shelf in Antarctica.

Researchers based in Swansea say the loss of a piece a quarter of the size of Wales will leave the whole shelf vulnerable to future break-up.

Larsen C is about 350m thick and floats on the seas at the edge of West Antarctica, holding back the flow of glaciers that feed into it.

Researchers have been tracking the rift in Larsen C for many years, watching it with some trepidation after the collapse of Larsen A ice shelf in 1995 and the sudden break-up of the Larsen B shelf in 2002.


But in December the speed of the rift went into overdrive, growing by a further 18km in just a couple of weeks. What will become a massive iceberg now hangs on to the shelf by a thread just 20km long.

“If it doesn’t go in the next few months, I’ll be amazed,” project leader Prof Adrian Luckman, from Swansea University, told BBC News.


It is believed that climate warming has brought forward the likely separation of the iceberg but the scientists say they have no direct evidence to support this.

However, they are concerned about how any break-off will impact the rest of the ice shelf, given that its neighbour, Larsen B, disintegrated spectacularly in 2002 following a similar large calving event.

“We are convinced, although others are not, that the remaining ice shelf will be less stable than the present one,” said Prof Luckman.

“We would expect in the ensuing months to years further calving events, and maybe an eventual collapse – but it’s a very hard thing to predict, and our models say it will be less stable; not that it will immediately collapse or anything like that.”

As it floats on the sea, the resulting iceberg from the shelf will not raise sea levels. But if the shelf breaks up even more, it could result in glaciers that flow off the land behind it to speed up their passage towards the ocean. This non-floating ice would have an impact on sea levels.

According to estimates, if all the ice that the Larsen C shelf currently holds back entered the sea, global waters would rise by 10cm.

2½ inches (10 cm) may not sound like a lot, but this is just one incident.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of similar developments around the world, and indicate that the current rate of sea level rise (1.8 mm/year) could be just a prelude.

We are Unbelievably Screwed

The temperature at the North Pole will be about 50 degrees above normal:

For the second year in a row, the Arctic is facing a late December heat wave (at least by Arctic winter standards). Temperatures are forecast to soar about 50°F above normal, which would bring them near the freezing point at the North Pole.

As isolated data points, the back-to-back winter warm-ups would be weird. But taken in the larger context, it’s part of anunsettling trend for a region that is being rapidly reshaped by climate change.

A quick recap: Arctic sea ice hit its lowest peak recorded in March (besting the record set in 2015), hit it second-lowest extent recorded in September, and started shrinking in November — at a time when ice should be growing — following a heat wave.

50 degrees?!?!?

I think that even in a best case scenario, the harm in the decades ahead will be on an almost unimaginable scale.

We Are Completely F%$#ed

And not in a good way. First, the North Pole is 36° F (20° C) degrees above normal:

Political people in the United States are watching the chaos in Washington in the moment. But some people in the science community are watching the chaos somewhere else — the Arctic.

It’s polar night there now — the sun isn’t rising in much of the Arctic. That’s when the Arctic is supposed to get super-cold, when the sea ice that covers the vast Arctic Ocean is supposed to grow and thicken.

But in fall of 2016 — which has been a zany year for the region, with multiple records set for low levels of monthly sea ice — something is totally off. The Arctic is super-hot, even as a vast area of cold polar air has been displaced over Siberia.


Twitter’s expert Arctic watchers also are stunned. Zack Labe, a PhD student at the University of California at Irvine who studies the Arctic, tweeted out an image on Wednesday from the Danish Meteorological Institute showing Arctic temperatures about 20 degrees Celsius higher than normal above 80 degrees North Latitude.

Also, we now have indications that Antarctica’s Southern Ocean may no longer be able to absorb excess CO2, which means that levels of greenhouse gasses make increase even more rapidly:


Already, initial data from an array of ocean floats suggest that upwelling waters could be limiting how much CO2 the Southern Ocean absorbs each year. This raises new questions about how effective these waters will be as a brake on global warming in decades to come.

“The Southern Ocean is doing us a big climate favour at the moment, but it’s not necessarily the case that it will continue doing so in the future,” says Michael Meredith, an oceanographer with the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK. Meredith is heading a series of expeditions over the next five years to help document the uptake of heat and carbon. “It really is the key place for studying these things.”


Hints of something similar have been seen before. In 2007, a team led by Corinne Le Quéré, now director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in Norwich, UK, published a study in Science indicating that the rate of carbon uptake by the Southern Ocean decreased between 1981 and 2004. The authors blamed the changes on the winds that encircle the Antarctic continent. The speed of those winds had increased during that time, probably as a result of the hole in the stratospheric ozone layer over Antarctica and possibly because of global warming. Stronger winds are better able to pull up deep, ancient water, which releases CO2 when it reaches the surface. That would have caused a net weakening of the carbon sink.

This is real end or the world stuff, and in a few weeks, we will have a global warming denier in chief.


California’s Drought Could Last for Centuries

Clues from prehistoric droughts and arid periods in California show that today’s increasing greenhouse gas levels could lock the state into drought for centuries, according to a study led by UCLA professor Glen MacDonald.

The study, published today in the Nature.com journal Scientific Reports, looked at how natural climatic forces contributed to centuries-long and even millennia-long periods of dryness in California during the past 10,000 years. These phenomena—sun spots, a slightly different earth orbit, a decrease in volcanic activity—intermittently warmed the region through a process called radiative forcing, and recently have been joined by a new force: greenhouse gases.

As long as warming forces like greenhouse gases are present, the resulting radiative forcing can extend drought-like conditions more or less indefinitely, said MacDonald, a distinguished professor of geography and of ecology and evolutionary biology.

“Radiative forcing in the past appears to have had catastrophic effects in extending droughts,” said MacDonald, an international authority on drought and climate change. “When you have arid periods that persist for 60 years, as we did in the 12th century, or for millennia, as we did from 6,000 to 1,000 B.C., that’s not really a ‘drought.’ That aridity is the new normal.”

Researchers tracked California’s historic and prehistoric climate and water conditions by taking a sediment core in the Sierra Nevada mountains. They pulled a 2-inch-wide, 10-foot-deep cylinder of sediment from the bottom of Kirman Lake and analyzed it in third-of-an­-inch sections, creating the most detailed and continuous paleoenvironmental record of California.

The team correlated their findings with other studies of California climate history, and for the first time, united all the studies and cross-referenced them with histories of the Pacific Ocean’s temperature taken from marine sediment cores and other sources.

What they found was not only that periods of increased radiative forcing could produce drought-like conditions that extended indefinitely, but that these conditions were closely tied to prolonged changes in Pacific Ocean surface temperatures.

While the urban areas of California may find a way to deal with this, but the agriculture sector of the state is completely f%$#ed.