Tag Archives: global warming

Climate Change Study Canceled Due To Climate Change

(CNN)A $17 million study of climate change in the Canadian Arctic has been nixed for now — because of climate change.

A team of scientists from the University of Manitoba and four other schools were in the middle of the first leg of a four-year study of how climate change is affecting the areas around the Hudson Bay, the university said in statement. The study, named BaySys, started last month, and the scientists were traveling on the Canadian Research Icebreaker CCGS Amundsen.

But because of warmer temperatures in the Arctic, hazardous sea ice is traveling farther south than usual. The Amundsen, which is part of the Canadian Coast Guard fleet, has been diverted several times because its ice-breaking capabilities have been needed to help out in rescue efforts along Newfoundland’s northeast coast. All of the delays and concerns about safety forced the cancellation of the study’s first leg.

“Considering the severe ice conditions and the increasing demand for search and rescue operations and ice escort, we decided to cancel the BaySys mission,” said Dr. David Barber, expedition chief scientist and BaySys scientific lead. “A second week of delay meant our research objectives just could not be safely achieved. The challenge for us all was that the marine ice hazards were exceedingly difficult for the maritime industry, the (Canadian Coast Guard) and science.”

Barber and his team confirmed that a large portion of the sea ice they were seeing off Newfoundland’s coast was indeed from the Arctic.

Climate Change Study Canceled Due To Climate Change

Hurricane Irma

As we type Hurricane Irma has been declared a Category 5 storm (Harvey was a 4 when it drowned Houston.)

Currently NASA is tracking the storm and anticipates it hitting the leeward islands sometime Wednesday. It might also still make Maryland, with WDC right in its path. 1

Another possible path sends it slicing across Florida, hopefully right through Mar a Lago, though it is far more likely to destroy Generalissimo Donaldo Juan Trumpo’s Caribbean mansion, le Château des Palmiers.

Sadly, a third path tracks Irma skittering across the Caribbean to strike Texas. Again.

Here’s hoping le Château des Palmiers takes the brunt of the storm.

Hurricane Irma

Show 1 footnote

  1. Which would be GREAT, if it would confine its damage to the Capitol building and the current occupant of the White House. Alas, storms driven by man-made climate change appear to be indiscriminate monsters.

New Rift

A new rift has been detected in the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica – just a week after one of the largest icebergs ever recorded broke off from it.

Researchers at Project MIDAS, which has been monitoring the ice shelf and first detected the iceberg’s calving, say the new rift appears to be extending northward.

They point out that although this new rift will probably turn toward the shelf edge, creating a small iceberg, there is a risk it will continue toward the Bawden Ice Rise, a point that is crucial to keeping the shelf stable.

“We see a new short feature of around 6 kilometers 1 heading north from the complex region of cracks that formed just before the iceberg broke away,” said Adrian Luckman, a professor of glaciology at Swansea University, who is leading the research at MIDAS.

Luckman says that researchers will continue to monitor the new rift, and that there is “no cause for concern” just yet.

New Rift

Show 1 footnote

  1. 3.7 miles

Climate Skepticism

The below is encouraging: Senate ReThugs didn’t muster enough votes to repeal an Obama administration rule on methane emissions. I doubt the failed vote was about imaginary “angry Western land owners”; none of Senators who flipped — Collins (R-ME), Graham (R-SC), and Sen. Walnuts (R-AZ)– represent states where leaky gas wells are a huge factor. Much more likely is Graham and Walnuts’ virulent antipathy toward OMP, as well as Collins on-again, off-again playing at “liberal” for her home base. In any event, it’s good for the planet…

Some Republican lawmakers balked at fully embracing the Trump administration’s climate skepticism Wednesday, as the Senate failed to kill an Obama-era plan for containing methane emissions that had deep support among environmental activists and many landowners in the West.

Three Republican senators joined Democrats in blocking the effort to kill the methane restrictions that the GOP congressional leadership had been confident it could scuttle. The push to scrap the methane rules faltered amid an uprising of protest in Western states, where tens of thousands of residents near drilling operations risk exposure to the toxic compounds that leak in tandem with the methane.

At issue is 41 billion cubic feet of a greenhouse gas leaking from many of the nearly 100,000 oil and gas wells on federally owned land. Methane is among the most potent accelerators of global warming, 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

A House vote in March to eliminate an Obama-era Bureau of Land Management rule requiring energy firms to trap the escaping gas and convert it to electricity was followed by a swift public backlash. Several Republican senators wavered on the measure in recent weeks.

Climate Skepticism

Terminal Stage

Back-to-back severe bleaching events have affected two-thirds of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, new aerial surveys have found.

The findings have caused alarm among scientists, who say the proximity of the 2016 and 2017 bleaching events is unprecedented for the reef, and will give damaged coral little chance to recover.

Scientists with the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies last week completed aerial surveys of the world’s largest living structure, scoring bleaching at 800 individual coral reefs across 8,000km.

The results show the two consecutive mass bleaching events have affected a 1,500km stretch, leaving only the reef’s southern third unscathed.

Where last year’s bleaching was concentrated in the reef’s northern third, the 2017 event spread further south, and was most intense in the middle section of the Great Barrier Reef. This year’s mass bleaching, second in severity only to 2016, has occurred even in the absence of an El Niño event.

Terminal Stage

Water Water Everywhere

Good time to be gutting the EPA, amirite?

On a predictably gorgeous South Florida afternoon, Coral Gables Mayor Jim Cason sat in his office overlooking the white-linen restaurants of this affluent seaside community and wondered when climate change would bring it all to an end. He figured it would involve a boat.

When Cason first started worrying about sea-level rise, he asked his staff to count not just how much coastline the city had (47 miles) or value of the property along that coast ($3.5 billion). He also told them to find out how many boats dock inland from the bridges that span the city’s canals (302). What matters, he guessed, will be the first time a mast fails to clear the bottom of one of those bridges because the water level had risen too far.

“These boats are going to be the canary in the mine,” said Cason, who became mayor in 2011 after retiring from the U.S. foreign service. “When the boats can’t go out, the property values go down.”

If property values start to fall, Cason said, banks could stop writing 30-year mortgages for coastal homes, shrinking the pool of able buyers and sending prices lower still. Those properties make up a quarter of the city’s tax base; if that revenue fell, the city would struggle to provide the services that make it such a desirable place to live, causing more sales and another drop in revenue.

And all of that could happen before the rising sea consumes a single home…

…Tidal flooding now predictably drenches inland streets, even when the sun is out, thanks to the region’s porous limestone bedrock. Saltwater is creeping into the drinking water supply. The area’s drainage canals rely on gravity; as oceans rise, the water utility has had to install giant pumps to push water out to the ocean…

…Sean Becketti, the chief economist at Freddie Mac, warned in a report last year of a housing crisis for coastal areas more severe than the Great Recession, one that could spread through banks, insurers and other industries. And, unlike the recession, there’s no hope of a bounce back in property values…

…The National Flood Insurance Program is up for reauthorization this year; fiscal conservatives have said they want to use that opportunity to reduce the program’s subsidies, so that people are paying something closer to the full cost of their risk.
A cut in federal subsidies would particularly hurt Florida, which despite its exposure pays the lowest average flood-insurance premiums in the country, according to FEMA data.

Laura Reynolds is the former executive director of the Tropical Audubon Society, Miami’s oldest environmental group; she’s lived in her house in Cutler Bay, an hour’s drive south of Miami, for 13 years. She said she had once hoped to pass it on to her niece or nephew, but now plans to sell.

“The future of our coastline is completely doomed,” Reynolds said. “The question is, how long will we have?”

Much less time than you think…

Water Water Everywhere

A River Doesn’t Run Through It

An immense river that flowed from one of Canada’s largest glaciers vanished over the course of four days last year, scientists have reported, in an unsettling illustration of how global warming dramatically changes the world’s geography.

The abrupt and unexpected disappearance of the Slims river, which spanned up to 150 metres at its widest points, is the first observed case of “river piracy”, in which the flow of one river is suddenly diverted into another.

For hundreds of years, the Slims carried meltwater northwards from the vast Kaskawulsh glacier in Canada’s Yukon territory into the Kluane river, then into the Yukon river towards the Bering Sea. But in spring 2016, a period of intense melting of the glacier meant the drainage gradient was tipped in favour of a second river, redirecting the meltwater to the Gulf of Alaska, thousands of miles from its original destination.

The continental-scale rearrangement was documented by a team of scientists who had been monitoring the incremental retreat of the glacier for years. But on a 2016 fieldwork expedition they were confronted with a landscape that had been radically transformed.

There will be screaming, wailing and the rending of the breasts when New York 2014 actualizes close to a century earlier 1 than its author anticipated.

Until then it will be business as usual.

A River Doesn't Run Through It

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  1. Especially if the Zachariae Isstrom glacier totally collapses, adding nearly two feet to sea levels. But, hey! No worries, amirite?

Methane Hell

There are over 7,000 gas-filled bubbles in remote parts of Siberia that are set to explode, scientists have discovered. Following extensive field expeditions and satellite surveys, researchers in Russia have identified thousands of bulging bumps in the Yamal and Gydan peninsulas – far more than they had expected.

Alexey Titovsky, director of Yamal department for science and innovation, told the Siberian Times that understanding the bubbles is of paramount important to assessing the risk they pose.

In July last year, scientists released footage of the ground on Bely Island wobbling underfoot. When they punctured them, methane and carbon dioxide was released. It is thought an abnormally warm summer had caused the permafrost to thaw, leading to the release of methane that had been locked up in the ground. At present, it is thought this process is behind the emergence of the numerous craters that have appeared over recent years – including the ‘gateway to the underworld’ crater near Batagaiin.

[…]

Thawing permafrost as a result of global warming is expected to lead to more methane release in the future, a spokesman from the Ural branch of Russian Academy of Science said. “An abnormally warm summer in 2016 on the Yamal peninsula must have added to the process,” they added.

On Bely Island, scientists found methane was 1,000 times above normal, while CO2 was around 25 times higher. “As we took off a layer of grass and soil, a fountain of gas erupted,” one of the scientists working at the site explained.

The release of methane from the thawing permafrost is of huge concern to climate scientists. Max Holmes, the deputy director and senior scientist at theWoods Hole Research Centre, told IBTimes UK it could lead to the collapse of human infrastructures, like roads and towns, as well as creating a feedback cycle that results in even more warming.

The increased global warming the released methane will engender is bad enough, but as ‘hard science’ author Kim Stanley Robinson’s Sixty Days and Counting (the final book in his Science in the Capital Trilogy) depicts, methane overload can cause a literal burning hell on earth.

Trust us, this isn’t going to end well.

Au Courant

Not Politicized Science

[The White House] is poised to eliminate all climate change research conducted by Nasa 1 as part of a crackdown on “politicized science”, his senior adviser on issues relating to the space agency has said.

Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding in favor of exploration of deep space, with the president-elect having set a goal during the campaign to explore the entire solar system by the end of the century.

This would mean the elimination of Nasa’s world-renowned research into temperature, ice, clouds and other climate phenomena. Nasa’s network of satellites provide a wealth of information on climate change, with the Earth science division’s budget set to grow to $2bn next year. By comparison, space exploration has been scaled back somewhat, with a proposed budget of $2.8bn in 2017.

Bob Walker, a senior…campaign adviser, said there was no need for Nasa to do what he has previously described as “politically correct environmental monitoring”.

“We see Nasa in an exploration role, in deep space research,” Walker told the Guardian. “Earth-centric science is better placed at other agencies where it is their prime mission.

“My guess is that it would be difficult to stop all ongoing Nasa programs but future programs should definitely be placed with other agencies. I believe that climate research is necessary but it has been heavily politicized, which has undermined a lot of the work that researchers have been doing. [The White House’s] decisions will be based upon solid science, not politicized science.”

Not that ol’ Bob has a horse in the climate change race… 2 3

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Yes, I know it looks weird; we’re all used to seeing acronyms at least capitalized, e.g. NASA, if not overly punctuated, e.g. N.A.S.A. What can I say? it’s The Cousins: They speak/write as if they invented English.
  2. We’re so fucked…climate-wise…we’re just not going to be able to get reliable, scientific information about how fucked we are from NASA any more.
  3. Since we’re headed back to the Reagan years, except with more racism, hatred and less civil rights, perhaps we should all start humming that era’s anthem? THAT would make ‘murika great again, n’est-ce pas?

News You May Have Missed

C.J. Polychroniou for Truthout: Noam, the unthinkable has happened: In contrast to all forecasts…the man that Michael Moore described as a “wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full-time sociopath” will be the next president of the United States. In your view, what were the deciding factors that led American voters to produce the biggest upset in the history of US politics?

Noam Chomsky: Before turning to this question, I think it is important to spend a few moments pondering just what happened on November 8, a date that might turn out to be one of the most important in human history, depending on how we react.

No exaggeration.

The most important news of November 8 was barely noted, a fact of some significance in itself.

On November 8, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) delivered a report at the international conference on climate change in Morocco (COP22) which was called in order to carry forward the Paris agreement of COP21. The WMO reported that the past five years were the hottest on record. It reported rising sea levels, soon to increase as a result of the unexpectedly rapid melting of polar ice, most ominously the huge Antarctic glaciers. Already, Arctic sea ice over the past five years is 28 percent below the average of the previous 29 years, not only raising sea levels, but also reducing the cooling effect of polar ice reflection of solar rays, thereby accelerating the grim effects of global warming. The WMO reported further that temperatures are approaching dangerously close to the goal established by COP21, along with other dire reports and forecasts.

Another event took place on November 8, which also may turn out to be of unusual historical significance for reasons that, once again, were barely noted.

On November 8, the most powerful country in world history, which will set its stamp on what comes next, had an election. The outcome placed total control of the government — executive, Congress, the Supreme Court — in the hands of the Republican Party, which has become the most dangerous organization in world history.

Apart from the last phrase, all of this is uncontroversial. The last phrase may seem outlandish, even outrageous. But is it? The facts suggest otherwise. The Party is dedicated to racing as rapidly as possible to destruction of organized human life. There is no historical precedent for such a stand.

Is this an exaggeration? Consider what we have just been witnessing.

During the Republican primaries, every candidate denied that what is happening is happening — with the exception of the sensible moderates, like Jeb Bush, who said it’s all uncertain, but we don’t have to do anything because we’re producing more natural gas, thanks to fracking. Or John Kasich, who agreed that global warming is taking place, but added that “we are going to burn [coal] in Ohio and we are not going to apologize for it.”

The winning candidate, now the president-elect, calls for rapid increase in use of fossil fuels, including coal; dismantling of regulations; rejection of help to developing countries that are seeking to move to sustainable energy; and in general, racing to the cliff as fast as possible…

– via Truth Out

News You May Have Missed