Friday, 22 May 2015

Climate change headlines - 05/21/2015

The Dying Earth - 05/21/2015


The main headlines come out of the Antarctica with an unexpected and unprecedented collapse of the ice sheet and loss of ice. The bad news just keeps coming, and coming


Sudden onset of ice loss in Antarctica so large it affects Earth's gravity field



A group of scientists, led by a team from the University of Bristol, UK has observed a sudden increase of ice loss in a previously stable region of Antarctica. 

The research is published today in Science.

Using measurements of the elevation of the Antarctic ice sheet made by a suite of satellites, the researchers found that the Southern Antarctic Peninsula showed no signs of change up to 2009. Around 2009, multiple glaciers along a vast coastal expanse, measuring some 750km in length, suddenly started to shed ice into the ocean at a nearly constant rate of 60 cubic km, or about 55 trillion litres of water, each year.



A vast slab of Antarctic ice that was previously stable may have started to collapse, according to new analysis of satellite data.

Research published in the journal Science on Thursday found the Southern Antarctic Peninsula (SAP) ice sheet is losing ice into the ocean at a rate of 56 gigatons each year – about 8,500 times the mass of the Great Pyramid of Giza. 

This adds around 0.16mm per year to the global sea level.

Glaciers in part of Antarctic thought to be stable suddenly melting at a massive rate, say scientists


A sudden and massive melting of glaciers in a part of the Antarctic that was thought to be relatively stable has been detected by satellites monitoring the polar ice sheet, scientists have said.

Many glaciers in the Southern Antarctic Peninsula have become unstable since 2009, releasing vast amounts of ice into the sea equivalent to about 56bn tonnes of meltwater each year, the researchers said.

Multiple glaciers along a stretch of coastline 750km long have suddenly and consistently started to shed ice into the ocean at a constant rate of 60 cubic km or 55 trillion litres of water each year, they report in the journal Science.

Meanwhile in the past few days a major blob of warm water has been discovered in the Indian Ocean that has the potential to migrate up to the North Atlantic and affect the melting of Arctic sea ice.

Everything is connected


Bad News Keeps Flowing From Antarctica


"Lee said it’s likely to continue globe trotting along the ocean conveyor belt and find its way to the Atlantic in the coming decades."


If this warm blob of water in upper Indian Ocean is transported all the way to North Atlantic, that could affect the melting of Arctic sea ice,” Lee said. “That can also increase hurricane activity and influence the effects of drought in the U.S. These are simply hypotheses that need to be tested and studied in the future work.”


There's the kicker.

Heat is Piling Up in the Depths of the Indian Ocean



The world’s oceans are playing a game of hot potato with the excess heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions.


Scientists have zeroed in on the tropical Pacific as a major player in taking up that heat. But while it might have held that heat for a bit, new research shows that the Pacific has passed the potato to the Indian Ocean, which has seen an unprecedented rise in heat content over the past decade.


"Temperatures have increased more than two degrees Celsius since the fall of 2013"

"A conference at California’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography earlier this month featured scientists in fields ranging from avian biology to Arctic climatology. They tried to determine the potential impacts of a giant mass of warm, ocean water that currently stretches from the Gulf of Alaska down to Baja California"



The Blob expands from Gulf of Alaska to Baja California




Scientists are watching for how a warmer North Pacific Ocean could affect weather and climate this year. There could also be significant impacts to marine life, including species that form the basis for Alaska’s commercial fisheries.


A conference at California’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography earlier this month featured scientists in fields ranging from avian biology to Arctic climatology. They tried to determine the potential impacts of a giant mass of warm, ocean water that currently stretches from the Gulf of Alaska down to Baja California.



Temperatures have increased more than two degrees Celsius since the fall of 2013.

Meanwhile Arctic sea ice is at a historic low.




On May 20, 2015, Arctic sea ice extent was only 12.425 million square km, a record low for the time of the year since satellite measurements began in 1979.


And in the area of extreme weather trends in North America....

May’s torrential rainstorms super-charged by strengthening climate patterns



The month of May is typically known for its severe weather season in the Plains states — tornadoes, damaging winds and very large hail. But this year, May might be remembered more for its prolific rain and flooding — a series of brief but destructive events spurred by an intensifying El Niño in the Pacific Ocean and just part of the upward trend in extreme rainfall events in a warming world.

Drought urgency hits rain country: Washington governor declares state emergency



Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a statewide drought Friday — citing historically low snowpack, dwindling rivers and rising temperatures that have plunged nearly the entire West Coast into official emergency status.



The drought has deepened dramatically over the past few weeks,” said Inslee, a Democrat. “It has spread quickly and now encompasses all of the state of Washington. We are already seeing severe impacts in several areas of the state, and conditions are expected to worsen over time.”




But in a climatic quirk peculiar to the Pacific Northwest this year, Washington's deepening drought is accompanied by regular rainfall, and the major population centers of Seattle, Tacoma, Everett and Spokane are not expected to notice that disaster lurks.



Mother Nature seems to have the weather flipped upside down with Fairbanks, Alaska, set to start the Memorial Day holiday weekend on a warmer note than Phoenix.

The unusual weather will stem from a dip in the jet stream ushering cool air across Arizona, while a ridge of high pressure continues to allow temperatures to soar throughout eastern Alaska.




As a result, a high in the lower 80s is expected in Phoenix on Saturday as temperatures in Fairbanks climb into the upper 80s.





Houston-Dallas-San Antonio and Atlanta-Charlotte-Raleigh areas most affected by ‘double whammy’ of population shift and temperature rises, scientists argue


How climate change is making California's epic drought worse


The Significance of El Niño and Its Impacts

This event shows the significance of El Niño through observations—satellite, in situ, and model simulations—its physical mechanisms and associated biological and biogeochemical impacts, with a focus on the Equatorial Pacific and South America. The event provides a detailed discussion on seasonal ENSO forecasts and will bridge together knowledge from other domestic and international agencies to provide a complete understanding of ENSO.


And here are some scientific presentations -on el-Nino and Antarctic glaciers




Observing Antarctic Glaciers - Eric Rignot






2 comments:

  1. As citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador, we find ourselves caught up in a process that is supposedly designed to facilitate an “independent” review of Hydraulic Fracturing. A panel has been convened and has been deemed to be independent by the Minister of Natural Resources. NLFAN is being told they asked for an independent panel and they have been granted one.
    The problem is that NLFAN asked for a Mercedes Benz. What has been established is a panel that more closely resembles a “used” pick-up truck. The Mercedes Benz would have characteristics such as a limited mandate to determine whether or not NL should allow the fossil fuel industry to engage in the practice of hydraulic fracturing within the province’s jurisdiction.
    The “used” pick-up truck allows the “independent” panel to conduct a review of current regulatory process in Newfoundland and Labrador respecting hydraulic fracturing operations and identifying needed changes consistent with other jurisdictions and best practices. This presumes a “yes” as the answer to the question for the Mercedes-Benz panel.
    NLFAN hardly received the “independent” panel they requested. To suggest they did is “smugness” taken to the extreme.
    All of this avoids the issue of climate change – the real “elephant” in the room. Premier Paul Davis recently commented “I think the argument is swaying to the reality that climate change is real and there's numerous evidence to support the concept that climate change is real."
    A recent UCSUSA position statement advises that “some energy costs are not included in consumer utility or gas bills, nor are they paid for by the companies that produce or sell the energy. These include human health problems caused by air pollution from the burning of coal and oil; damage to land from coal mining and to miners from black lung disease; environmental degradation caused by global warming, acid rain, and water pollution; and national security costs, such as protecting foreign sources of oil.” This is by no means an exhaustive list.
    Hydraulic Fracturing, through the exploration for, the drilling for, the extraction of, the transportation of, and the consumption of oil, contributes to global warming and climate change. It also contributes to the poisoning of water used in the fracking process and of groundwater through leakage of fracking chemicals and through mishandling and disposition of used fracking fluids.
    Christophe McGlade, at University College London (UCL) says that “vast amounts of oil in the Middle East, coal in the US, Australia and China and many other fossil fuel reserves will have to be left in the ground to prevent dangerous climate change, according to the first analysis to identify which existing reserves cannot be burned.”
    I digress from my argument which should be kept succinct for clarity’s sake. Climate change is real. Using fossil fuels to generate energy contributes to climate change. If climate change is not brought under control, we risk the extinction of the species. Finding and exploiting additional fossil fuels is reckless abandonment of moral responsibility to our grandchildren. What conceivable reason do we have to frack for oil in Western NL when all common sense tells us to leave the stuff in the ground?
    I am about to be a grandfather. I believe that the human species is in danger of extinction if we do not control climate change. I can envision my grandson, in 15 years, asking me if I knew what was happening and what I did about it. I would like to be able to say that we, as a species, had the wisdom to recognize when there was an “elephant” in the room and that we had enough courage to remove the beast from our home.
    Joe Wiseman
    Citizen

    ReplyDelete
  2. As citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador, we find ourselves caught up in a process that is supposedly designed to facilitate an “independent” review of Hydraulic Fracturing. A panel has been convened and has been deemed to be independent by the Minister of Natural Resources. NLFAN is being told they asked for an independent panel and they have been granted one.
    The problem is that NLFAN asked for a Mercedes Benz. What has been established is a panel that more closely resembles a “used” pick-up truck. The Mercedes Benz would have characteristics such as a limited mandate to determine whether or not NL should allow the fossil fuel industry to engage in the practice of hydraulic fracturing within the province’s jurisdiction.
    The “used” pick-up truck allows the “independent” panel to conduct a review of current regulatory process in Newfoundland and Labrador respecting hydraulic fracturing operations and identifying needed changes consistent with other jurisdictions and best practices. This presumes a “yes” as the answer to the question for the Mercedes-Benz panel.
    NLFAN hardly received the “independent” panel they requested. To suggest they did is “smugness” taken to the extreme.
    All of this avoids the issue of climate change – the real “elephant” in the room. Premier Paul Davis recently commented “I think the argument is swaying to the reality that climate change is real and there's numerous evidence to support the concept that climate change is real."
    A recent UCSUSA position statement advises that “some energy costs are not included in consumer utility or gas bills, nor are they paid for by the companies that produce or sell the energy. These include human health problems caused by air pollution from the burning of coal and oil; damage to land from coal mining and to miners from black lung disease; environmental degradation caused by global warming, acid rain, and water pollution; and national security costs, such as protecting foreign sources of oil.” This is by no means an exhaustive list.
    Hydraulic Fracturing, through the exploration for, the drilling for, the extraction of, the transportation of, and the consumption of oil, contributes to global warming and climate change. It also contributes to the poisoning of water used in the fracking process and of groundwater through leakage of fracking chemicals and through mishandling and disposition of used fracking fluids.
    Christophe McGlade, at University College London (UCL) says that “vast amounts of oil in the Middle East, coal in the US, Australia and China and many other fossil fuel reserves will have to be left in the ground to prevent dangerous climate change, according to the first analysis to identify which existing reserves cannot be burned.”
    I digress from my argument which should be kept succinct for clarity’s sake. Climate change is real. Using fossil fuels to generate energy contributes to climate change. If climate change is not brought under control, we risk the extinction of the species. Finding and exploiting additional fossil fuels is reckless abandonment of moral responsibility to our grandchildren. What conceivable reason do we have to frack for oil in Western NL when all common sense tells us to leave the stuff in the ground?
    I am about to be a grandfather. I believe that the human species is in danger of extinction if we do not control climate change. I can envision my grandson, in 15 years, asking me if I knew what was happening and what I did about it. I would like to be able to say that we, as a species, had the wisdom to recognize when there was an “elephant” in the room and that we had enough courage to remove the beast from our home.
    Joe Wiseman
    Citizen

    ReplyDelete