Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Abrupt climate change and Arctic ice update -06/05/2017

The main thing that I get from the news reports below is how quickly the situation is deteriorating and we are set to see ice-free conditions in the Arctic by August and the satellite monitoring this is going blind so we will be blind.

The ensuing crop failures will of course be ‘worse than previously expected’

Climate & Extreme Weather News (June 1st to June 3rd 2017)

Domes of frozen methane may be warning signs for new blow-outs
Several methane domes, some 500m wide, have been mapped on the Arctic Ocean floor. They may be signs of soon-to-happen methane expulsions that have previously created massive craters in a near-by area.

Domes of frozen methane may be warning signs for new blow-outs
500m wide and 10m high, the methane domes on the Arctic Ocean floor are containing huge amounts of methane. Illustration: Pavel Serov/CAGE Credit: Pavel Serov/CAGE
5 June, 2017

The results are published in PNAS.

"Every year we go back to the dome area with our research vessel, and every year I am anxious to see if one of these domes has become a crater," says lead author of the study Pavel Serov, PhD candidate at CAGE at UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

These domes are the present-day analogue to what scientists think preceded the craters found in the near-by area, which were recently reported in Science. The craters were formed as the ice sheet retreated from the Barents Sea during the deglaciation some 12.000 years ago.

At the time, 2km thick ice-cover loaded what now is the ocean floor with heavy weight. Under the ice sheet the methane became stored as hydrate, a solid form of frozen methane.

"We believe that one step before the craters are created, you get these domes. They are mounds of hydrates, technically we call them gas hydrate pingos. They are hydrate and methane saturated relics of the last ice-age. They haven't collapsed yet. And the reason is a matter of narrow margins" states Serov.

20 meters from the brink of collapse

The dome area is situated on the Arctic Ocean floor just north of the craters. It is deeper, but not by much. The domes are found some 20 meters deeper. Essentially the height of the Buckingham Palace keeps these methane domes from blowing out the gas and becoming craters.

"Hydrates are stable in low temperatures and under high pressure. So, the pressure of 390 meters of water above is presently keeping them stabilised. But the methane is bubbling from these domes. This is actually one of the most active methane seep sites that we have mapped in the Arctic Ocean. Some of these methane flares extend almost to the sea surface" says Serov.

He is reluctant to speculate as to how much methane may be released into the ocean should the domes collapse entirely and abruptly. It is not possible to predict when it may happen either. But every sediment core collected in the area is full of hydrates.

This is actually the first time that domes such as these have been found outside of the permafrost areas.

More stable than in permafrost

However unstable these domes on the Arctic Ocean floor may be, they are still more stable than the pingos found in sub- sea permafrost in Canadian and Russian Arctic.

"The gas hydrate pingos in permafrost are formed because of the low temperatures. But the water-depth that supports gas hydrates in sub-sea permafrost is only 40 to 50 meters. There is no significant pressure there to keep them in check. Sub-seabed permafrost is deteriorating constantly and quickly" notes Serov.

Even though they are more stable than the permafrost pingos, the Barents Sea domes are on the limit of their existence.

"A relatively small change in the water temperature can destabilise these hydrates fairly quickly. We were actually very lucky to observe them at this point. And we will probably be able to observe significant changes to these domes during our lifetime."

Provided by: CAGE

Early warnings of an out-of-control climate
Global warming is edging perilously close to out-of-control, according to a growing number of scientific reports from round the planet, a leading science writer has warned.

17 April, 2017

"Time is running out if we want to preserve our world in a stable, healthy and productive state, capable of feeding and supporting us all," says Julian Cribb, author of Surviving the 21st Century, a book on the ten greatest challenges facing humanity and what we can do about them.
"The great concern is the rapid rise, over the last three years, in methane levels in the atmosphere. Methane is a gas with 28 times the planet-heating power of carbon dioxide. Scientists estimate there may be as much as 5 trillion tonnes of it locked in permafrost and seabed deposits.
"There is mounting evidence that, as the planet warms due to human activity, these vast reserves of greenhouse gas are now starting to melt and vent naturally. The Earth's past history shows this could unleash runaway global warming, driving up planetary temperatures by as much as 9 or 10 degrees Celsius.
"At such temperatures, some scientists consider there is a high risk the planet would become uninhabitable to humans and large animals," Mr Cribb says.
"Runaway heating and nuclear war are the two most likely triggers for human extinction – and it is time everyone took them both a lot more seriously."
Reports of methane escaping into the atmosphere have been growing steadily, ever since a group of students demonstrated the risks by setting fire to venting Arctic gas in 2008. However, scientists report a sudden surge in global methane emissions in the last three years, 2014-16.
"So far the rise in methane has been attributed mainly to cattle raising, rice farming and gas extraction – but there is now disturbing evidence that more gas is emerging from Arctic soils as the permafrost melts, and from the seabed where methane has been trapped as ice for millions of years.
"Russian scientists have reported the discovery of thousands of potential 'methane-bombs' – frozen gas-filled mounds – across Siberia, primed to erupt as the ground thaws out.
"Swedish scientists have observed the waters of the Artic oceans 'fizzing like soda water' as the ocean waters warm, causing frozen seabed methane to turn back into gas and erupt."
Mr Cribb says that so far humans have released about 2 billion tonnes of CO2, which has warmed the planet by one degree C. By 2040, we will release another billion tonnes and push the planet's temperature up by 2 degrees or more.
"This we can possibly control, by cutting back on our use of fossil fuels and by ceasing to burn coal," he says. "However, there is no way to stop the methane venting naturally from the seabed and permafrost once it starts – and there are potentially 5 trillion tonnes of it.
"This phenomenon is known to scientists as the 'clathrate gun'. If it fires, the fate of the entire human species is in question."
Mr Cribb said that technical difficulty in measuring the Earth's natural methane emissions and estimating the size of its reserves has until now led to the gas being discounted, or downplayed, in warnings about dangerous climate change by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other agencies.
"That time is over. We are now witnessing early warning signs of major methane release. If it gets out of control, there will be nothing humans can do to prevent the planet overheating quite rapidly."
Mr Cribb said it was more urgent than ever that governments and corporations of the world unite to combat climate change. "The recent Climate Turning Point report says the world has until 2020 – just two and a half years – to reverse global carbon emissions by cutting fossil fuel use. Time is running out – and the methane gun makes matters all the more urgent.
"This means that countries like America and Australia have to cease their dangerous do-nothing policies, countries like India and China need to stop building coal-fired power stations immediately – and every country and business needs to make a far greater effort to scale back its carbon emissions.
Surviving the 21st Century (Springer International 2017) is a powerful new book exploring the main risks facing humanity: ecological collapse, resource depletion, weapons of mass destruction, climate change, global poisoning, food crises, population and urban overexpansion, pandemic disease, dangerous new technologies and self-delusion – and what can and should be done to limit them.
More information: Surviving the 21st Century: Humanity's Ten Great Challenges and How We Can Overcome Them. www.springer.com/us/book/9783319412696

Hindu Kush. PHOTO: AFP

Owing to climate change, the probability of permafrost resources melting in Hindu Kush and Himalaya has increased. This not only intensifies incidents such as Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) but would also affect natural streams and springs in the northern parts of the country.

Though there is a very little knowledge about permafrost in Pakistan, recently, a number of permafrost were found in the Karakorum mountain range near Khujerab along the Karakorum Highway (KKH),” an official at the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) told The Express Tribune.

NOAA is forecasting an above-average hurricane season in 2017.

Hurricane season began on June 1, and according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the season will be a busy one, with an above-average range of 5-9 hurricanes likely in the Atlantic.

The United States could be especially vulnerable to hurricane landfalls this year, observers say, but not because of the enhanced activity that is expected.

The two agencies that protect the country's coast lines and its residents, NOAA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are still without leaders -- positions that must be appointed by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the Senate.

"That should scare the hell out of everybody," retired US Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré told CNN. "These positions help save lives."

Michael Oppenheimer, a Princeton scientist and longtime observer of UN climate talks, says that the world has lost its last shot at staving off dangerous global warming.

Coastal New Zealand is facing major change with with a sharp rise in predictions of sea levels rising.

Councils are going to be told not to build or approve developments or structures lower than 1.9 metres above the high tide mark under new advice on rising sea levels.

It's a half-metre increase on the Ministry for the Environment's previous advice a decade ago, based on new information showing sea levels will rise faster than anticipated.

7,000 underground gas bubbles poised to 'explode' in Arctic

Bulging bumps in the Yamal and Gydan peninsulas believed to be caused by thawing permafrost releasing methane.

Scientists have discovered as many as 7,000 gas-filled 'bubbles' expected to explode in Actic regions of Siberia after an exercise involving field expeditions and satellite surveillance, TASS reported.

A number of large craters - seen on our images here - have appeared on the landscape in northern Siberia in recent years and they are being carefully studied by scientists who believe they were formed when pingos exploded.

Alexey Titovsky, director of Yamal department for science and innovation, said: 'At first such a bump is a bubble, or 'bulgunyakh' in the local Yakut language.

'With time the bubble explodes, releasing gas. This is how gigantic funnels form.'

An algae bloom the size of Mexico has appeared in the Arabian Sea, thanks to a growing 'dead zone' in the Gulf of Oman.

It's not the first time the build-up of green slime has appeared during the winter months, but the bloom now stretches all the way from the shores of Oman on the west, to India and Pakistan on the east, turning the waves "almost guacamole-like", according to a NASA biologist. And it's not a good sign for the local ecosystem.

A long-growing crack in the Larsen C ice shelf, one of Antarctica’s largest floating platforms of ice, appears to be nearing its endgame.

Researchers with Project MIDAS, working out of Swansea University and Aberystwyth University in Wales and studying the shelf by satellites and through other techniques, have released an update showing that the crack grew a stunning 11 miles in the space of just one week between May 25 and May 31. It now has just 8 miles to go before an iceberg roughly the size of Delaware breaks free into the Southern Ocean.

There appears to be very little to prevent the iceberg from breaking away completely,” the researchers write.

Elsewhere in their post, they note that the crack has curved toward the front of the ice shelf and the ocean, meaning that the time when a major break could occur “is probably very close.”

K. Andreassen1,*, A. Hubbard1, M. Winsborrow1, H. Patton1, S. Vadakkepuliyambatta1, A. Plaza-Faverola1, E. Gudlaugsson1, P. Serov1, A. Deryabin2, R. Mattingsdal2, J. Mienert1, S. Bünz1


Widespread methane release from thawing Arctic gas hydrates is a major concern, yet the processes, sources, and fluxes involved remain unconstrained. We present geophysical data documenting a cluster of kilometer-wide craters and mounds from the Barents Sea floor associated with large-scale methane expulsion. Combined with ice sheet/gas hydrate modeling, our results indicate that during glaciation, natural gas migrated from underlying hydrocarbon reservoirs and was sequestered extensively as subglacial gas hydrates. Upon ice sheet retreat, methane from this hydrate reservoir concentrated in massive mounds before being abruptly released to form craters. We propose that these processes were likely widespread across past glaciated petroleum provinces and that they also provide an analog for the potential future destabilization of subglacial gas hydrate reservoirs beneath contemporary ice sheets.

Discovered: 200-plus Arctic lakes which bubble like jacuzzis from seeping methane gas

Space pictures show the blue-tinted lakes formed in depressions caused by thawing permafrost on the Yamal and Gydan peninsulas.

A feature of these thermokarst lakes are craters or funnels in the sediment on the floor through which they are haemorrhaging methane. These pockmarks are similar to those found on the floors of the great oceans.

Scientists say these leaks are year round in lakes where carbon processing and methane emission occur even at temperatures close to zero degrees Celcius. Detailed study of satellite data from 2015-16 has identified more than 200 lakes which are seen as an active source of methane emissions.

The gas is of both a biochemical nature, the result of microbial activity released by permafrost thawing, and catagenesis, formed in deep ground layers.

Professor Vasily Bogoyavlensky, deputy director of the Moscow-based Oil and Gas Research Institute, part of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said: 'These lakes have a number of features, which can help identify them from a distance: the anomalous blue colour of water, the presence of craters on the bottom and gas seeps in the water, the traces of gas in the seasonal ice cover, as well as active coastal erosion and permafrost swelling near the water's edge.'

The sulphur in the gas leaks results in algae flourishing in these Arctic waters, which give the lakes their distinctive hue. He warned that 'many of the sites with gas emissions are located close to the territory of oil and gas deposits'

Moreover, he sees an 'interrelation of gas emissions and seismic activity. 'For example, over one of the gas deposits (in Yamal), lakes are located along two lines ... looking like a giant cross'.

This suggests a 'genetic connection of craters with deep faults in the earth's crust, but to confirm we need to conduct thorough seismic research'.

His work in highlighting the lakes with bubbling methane follow revelations this week of several thousand pingos, some of which are filled with gas which could 'explode' forming giant craters - as seen in pictures here. At least 10 craters are known about caused by such eruptions.

Scientists say it was wrong to call these pingos 'gas bubbles'. Nor are all pingos in this region susceptible to explode.

Pingos are dome-shaped mounds over a core of ice, and they can erupt under pressure of methane gas released by the thawing of permafrost caused by climate change.

Alexey Titovsky, director of the Department of Science and Innovation in Yamal-Nenets autonomous region, said: 'All the pingos revealed in Yamal are now monitored and in the coming summer the scientists will study them more closely.
'One of the most important things for us it to understand how they appear, to develop a method of detection of such formations. It is also important to understand what is inside such mounds.

'There can be gas, water, ice - anything. We need to know precisely in order to make forecast.

'Sadly the study of the crater that appeared in 2014 near Bovanenkovo does not give us the precise answer as to what exactly was inside the pingo that preceded this crater. When we understand what is inside the pingos, we can predict how dangerous they are.'

Dr Marina Leibman, an expert from the Institute of Earth Cryosphere, Russian Academy of Sciences, said 'Last year in Yamal there was a very warm summer season.

'As a result, the expeditions of 2017 will be aimed at assessing the changes associated with this warming. There is a possibility of the activation of these cryogenic processes. Obviously, the area of thermocircuits will increase. The temperature of rocks and the depth of seasonal thawing will increase.'

But the scientists say they 'refute' the term 'underground gas bubbles'. They have never encountered such a natural phenomenon.

'All the cryogenic processes which occur on the peninsula are well studied and have scientific explanations,' said a statement. 'All of them are the subject of ongoing scientific monitoring.

'It should be added that 'gas bubbles' is used in common language for another unusual phenomenon, recorded in July 2016 on the Bely Island, when an abnormally hot summer resulted in thawing permafrost and swelling the turf.... Scientists counted only a dozen of such small 'bubbles' on the surface.'

Humans emit roughly 30 to 40 billion tons of the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere each year. If we keep it up, Earth will continue to heat up and ultimately devastate our way of life.

So what can we do about it?

Most scientists agree that we need a way to capture some of that CO2 out of the atmosphere. One idea is to plant lots of trees. Trees use CO2 in order to grow. They also release oxygen, so it’s a win-win.

But recent reports indicate that we simply can’t grow enough trees to capture the necessary amount of CO2 that would help us meet the goals set by the Paris Agreement.

In truth, we would have to cover the entire contiguous US with trees just to capture 10% of the CO2 we emit annually.

There’s just not enough room on this planet to have the farmland it takes to feed the world plus the space to plant the necessary number of trees.

In other words, many of us would starve if we tried using trees to solve our emissions problem.

Like Champagne Bottles Pop, Methane Explosions Created Ocean Craters

OFF THE RECORD“Earth Has Shifted”- Inuit Elders Issue Grave Warning To NASA And The World

Living in the Canadian Arctic regions, Greenland and the USA, the Inuit people and their ancestors were all fantastic weather forecasters.

NASA has received a warning from the Inuits, that warning is about climate change, but it isn’t because of global warming, it’s due to the Earth shifting! They reported that the earth has shifted or rather, wobbled and say that their sky has changed!

Elders have noted that the sun has been rising in a different position and that their daylight hours for hunting have been prolonged, as well as temperature rising more rapidly.

The Inuits have also stated that not only the sun has changed position but also the moon and stars, and they all have an effect on temperature and wind which makes weather prediction trickier

The following illustrates the continuing saga of sea ice melt and high temperatres at the North Pole



What a coincidence..... soon ...
sometime around this August or September the summer ice in the Arctic will be gone for the first time in over 3 million years and the satellite program monitoring the situation goes blind.

Nothing to see here... just move along...

Funny how that works.

---Robert Leрsure

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