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Aug. 7th, 2014

Hydrate Dissociation Linked to Siberian Craters

Glaciologists from the sub-Arctic research and study unit in Tyumen say that permafrost temperatures are rising steadily in the region of the Bovanenkovskoye gas field on the Yamal Peninsula in the Russian Arctic, near where the first hole was discovered. Forty years ago it was on average about eight degrees below zero, but now in certain areas it is only minus three.

“Perhaps this is precisely why the process of releasing methane from crystalline ice traps started in the depths of the northern tundra,” wrote Ranks in an article published by the website.

Scholars noted that pieces of earth were scattered near the crater and at a distance of 328-394 feet, which indicates that rather than collapsing, rock was in fact ejected. Moreover, traces of charring, scorching, or any other evidence indicating a thermal explosion have not been found, so the possibility of a meteorite can be ruled out. Scientists believe that the frozen earth was smashed outwards by powerful pressure from below.

Aug. 6th, 2014

Confirmed: Siberian Crater Caused by Hydrate Blowout

By now, you’ve heard of the crater on the Yamal Peninsula. It’s the one that suddenly appeared, yawning nearly 60 metres in diameter.

There’s now a substantiated theory about what created the crater. And the news isn’t good.

Geochemist Hans-Wolfgang Hubberten of Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute explained: “Gas pressure increased until it was high enough to push away the overlaying layers in a powerful ejection, forming the crater.”

According to a recent Nature article, “air near the bottom of the crater contained unusually high concentrations of methane - up to 9.6 per cent - in tests conducted at the site on 16 July, says Andrei Plekhanov, an archaeologist at the Scientific Centre of Arctic Studies in Salekhard, Russia. Plekhanov, who led an expedition to the crater, says that air normally contains just 0.000179 per cent methane.”

The scientist said the methane release may be related to Yamal’s unusually hot summers in 2012 and 2013, which were warmer by an average of 5 degrees Celsius.

Scientists contend the thawing of such terrain, rife with centuries of carbon, would release incredible amounts of methane gas and affect global temperatures.

Aug. 5th, 2014

Vast Methane Plumes from Arctic Continental Slope

In a region that is already warming faster than any other on Earth, scientists now say we may have more to fear than just thawing permafrost and melting sea ice in the Arctic.

Just a week into their research along the Siberian coast, scientists from Sweden’s Stockholm University have discovered that the seabed of the Arctic Ocean is releasing significant amounts of methane, the potent greenhouse gas considered one of the main drivers of climate change.

By analyzing water samples, scientists working with the Arctic Ocean climate research program SWERUS-C3 say they found “vast methane plumes” escaping from the seafloor at depths between 500 and 150 metres.

In several places, the methane bubbles even rose to the surface.

“This was somewhat of a surprise,” wrote chief scientist Örjan Gustafsson with the SWERUS-C3 program in a July release.

He speculates that the leaking methane from the seafloor of the continental slope may stem from collapsing “methane hydrates” or clusters of methane trapped in frozen water due to low temperatures and high pressure.

And that could have something to do with a swath of warm Atlantic water moving through the Arctic Ocean.

As the water mass continues to move eastward, warming as its moves, it could be leading to the destabilization of those methane hydrates, Gustafsson said.

Regardless of what’s causing the release of methane from the seabed, climate scientists agree the most troubling aspect of the discovery is the methane bubbles that are making it to the ocean’s surface.

“If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we’re f’d,” Copenhagen-based climatologist Jason Box tweeted Aug. 1.

And this is from the continental slope, The ESAS is far shallower with an average depth of 50 meters. Nearly all of what's released there reaches the atmosphere.

Still 5 1/2 years til 2020. Imagine the wonders we will see over that time. We are witnessing the end of the world, for us anyway.

End of the World Nears

WHAT do three enormous craters in the Siberian wastelands have to do with a terrified American climate scientist? Methane. And that’s something to scare us all.

The end of the world could be starting right now — in a frozen Siberian wasteland known as Yamal. It translates as “The End of the Land”.

Russian researchers have returned from their investigation of the first find and taken water and soil samples to help resolve how the hole was formed.

But scientists already have a pretty good idea.

Explosive vents of vast quantities of methane gas.

Dr Box highlights signs of alarmingly huge spikes of methane being released into the atmosphere above Siberia.

It’s what that means which has him alarmed.

He’s not mincing his words.

He’s issued a no-holds barred call to action.

“This is an all hands on deck moment,” he writes. “We’re in the age of consequences.”

Siberia has a single ground-based climate observing station, at a place called Tiksi.

But the numbers coming out of the remote research post are startling — and they’re backed up by similar stations in Alaska and Canada.

“I can tell you (these are) really high end,” Dr Box writes.

It’s the erratic, but enormous, spikes in methane readings coming from Tiksi — which Dr Box ominously calls “dragon breaths” — that may be tied to the enormous blow holes now appearing in Siberia’s desolate landscape.

But the methane left trapped under the Arctic permafrost is a ticking time bomb — set to send the world into a mass extinction and set the climate clock back by millennia.

“We have been too long on a trajectory pointed at an unmanageable climate calamity; runaway climate heating,” Dr Box writes.

A methane eruption is like blowing the cork on a champagne bottle, and does not involve explosions.

One litre of fully saturated methane clathrate solid contains about 120 grams of methane (or around 169 litres of methane gas at 0°C and 1 atm).

Therefore when it dissociates you have 169 times the volume gas under extreme pressure. And it literally blows it's cork.

The fact that residents reported one of the holes formed at the end of September last year, lends credence to it being a hydrate blowout. We have here physical evidence of methane hydrate dissociation due to climate change.

We'll be seeing more of these, no doubt, as temperatures continue to warm in the arctic.

Share the End - Carly Simon

Here come the priests, each one wailing and bemoaning
Lordy, they got their heads bowed down
Here come the madmen, they're too excited for atoning:
"Burn the mosque," they're shouting, "Burn it down!"

Save me a place, surrounded with friendly faces
All of us have gathered here to share the end
To watch the world go up in flames

Please, Lord we're not ready
Give us a day
Give us an hour

Here come the kings, let's dispense with their apologizing
Just bring on the acrobats and clowns
Here comes the rumble, hang on for universal dying
Please ignore the baying of the hounds

Save me a place, surrounded with friendly faces
All of us have gathered here to share the end
To watch the world go up in flames

Please, Lord we're not ready
Give us some time to work things out
Please, Lord we're not ready
Give us a day
Give us an hour
Please, Lord we're not ready
Give us some time to work things out
Please, Lord we're not ready
Give us a day
Give us an hour

Aug. 4th, 2014

Last Hours

Scientists Warn of Potential Human Extinction

Consider this timeline:

* Late 2007:The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)announces that the planet will see a one degree Celsius temperature increase due to climate change by 2100.

* Late 2008:The Hadley Centre for Meteorological Research predicts a 2C increase by 2100.

* Mid-2009:The U.N. Environment Programme predicts a 3.5C increase by 2100. Such an increase would remove habitat for human beings on this planet, as nearly all the plankton in the oceans would be destroyed, and associated temperature swings would kill off many land plants. Humans have never lived on a planet at 3.5C above baseline.

* October 2009:The Hadley Centre for Meteorological Research releases an updated prediction, suggesting a 4C temperature increase by 2060.

* November 2009:The Global Carbon Project, which monitors the global carbon cycle, and the Copenhagen Diagnosis, a climate science report, predict 6C and 7C temperature increases, respectively, by 2100.

* December 2010:The U.N. Environment Programme predicts up to a 5C increase by 2050.

* 2012: The conservative International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook report for that year states that we are on track to reach a 2C increase by 2017.

* November 2013:The International Energy Agency predicts a 3.5C increase by 2035.

Even the relatively staid IPCC has warned of such a scenario: “The possibility of abrupt climate change and/or abrupt changes in the earth system triggered by climate change, with potentially catastrophic consequences, cannot be ruled out. Positive feedback from warming may cause the release of carbon or methane from the terrestrial biosphere and oceans.”

In the last two centuries, the amount of methane in the atmosphere has increased from 0.7 parts per million to 1.7 parts per million. The introduction of methane in such quantities into the atmosphere may, some climate scientists fear, make increases in the global temperature of four to six degrees Celsius inevitable.

And keep in mind that the various major assessments of future global temperatures seldom assume the worst about possible self-reinforcing climate feedback loops like the methane one.

Here’s the question: Could some version of extinction or near-extinction overcome humanity, thanks to climate change — and possibly incredibly fast? Similar things have happened in the past. Fifty-five million years ago, a five degree Celsius rise in average global temperatures seems to have occurred in just 13 years, according to a study published in the October 2013 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Atmospheric and marine scientist Ira Leifer is particularly concerned about the changing rainfall patterns a recently leaked IPCC draft report suggested for our future: “When I look at what the models predicted for a 4C world, I see very little rain over vast swaths of populations. If Spain becomes like Algeria, where do all the Spaniards get the water to survive? We have parts of the world which have high populations which have high rainfall and crops that exist there, and when that rainfall and those crops go away and the country starts looking more like some of North Africa, what keeps the people alive?”

The IPCC report suggests that we can expect a generalized shifting of global rain patterns further north, robbing areas that now get plentiful rain of future water supplies. History shows us that when food supplies collapse, wars begin, while famine and disease spread. All of these things, scientists now fear, could happen on an unprecedented scale, especially given the interconnected nature of the global economy.

“Some scientists are indicating we should make plans to adapt to a 4C world,” Leifer comments. “While prudent, one wonders what portion of the living population now could adapt to such a world, and my view is that it’s just a few thousand people [seeking refuge] in the Arctic or Antarctica.”

“All the evidence points to a locked-in 3.5 to 5 degree C global temperature rise above the 1850 ‘norm’ by mid-century, possibly much sooner. This guarantees a positive feedback, already underway, leading to 4.5 to 6 or more degrees above ‘norm’ and that is a level lethal to life. This is partly due to the fact that humans have to eat and plants can’t adapt fast enough to make that possible for the seven to nine billion of us — so we’ll die.”

Impermanence of Place

"For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of triumph, a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeteers, musicians and strange animals from conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conquerors rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children robed in white stood with him in the chariot or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting."
- Gen. George C. Patton

This quote, when I first saw the movie, struck to the core of my being. It now applies to Mankind.

Former Secretary of State James Baker once said, "Someone asked me what was the most important thing I had learned since being in Washington. I replied that it was the fact that temporal power is fleeting." Baker went on to observe that once driving through the White House gates he saw a man walking alone on Pennsylvania Avenue and recognized him as having been Secretary of State in a previous administration. "There he was alone - no reporters, no security, no adoring public, no trappings of power. Just one solitary man alone with his thoughts. And that mental picture continually serves to remind me of the impermanence of power and the impermanence of place."

Jun. 17th, 2014

Why we cannot be objective in the Middle East

Picture in your mind a terrorist. Was he wearing a Keffiyeh and carrying an AK-47 or Russian RPG? Even for those of us who intellectually know better, the association is imbedded.

Did anyone picture the blond haired, blue eyed guy who hunted down and killed 85 children at an island summer camp in Norway? Probably not.

This type of media imprinting is subtle and invasive. We are visually oriented and visual association is the most powerful. Western media has indoctrinated us all, even those of us who know better. All through visual association.

Now picture a Sunni. Now a Shiite. Were they both the same image? Was that image the same as the first you were asked to imagine? If asked to picture a Muslim, would it be the same image? For some it is.

Visual association is our most primitive form of learning. To a very young child, if it has 4 legs, of a given size, and furry, it's a dog or cat. Even if it's a skunk.

It is only with further cognitive discrimination do we learn the subtle differences. Differences that can make a big difference. Especially if it's a skunk.

But through Modern media, this cognitive discrimination, for the most part, is lacking. Everything is packaged in images and sound bytes. So we end up with false associations.

In this case, for many, all Muslims, or all Arabs, are skunks. Even though most are actually cats or dogs.

Apr. 7th, 2014

OH 'Shield' Depleted Over West Pacific Allowing Methane to Enter Stratosphere

Recent research results show that an atmospheric hole over the tropical West Pacific is reinforcing ozone depletion in the polar regions and could have a significant influence on the climate of the Earth.

An international team of researchers headed by Potsdam scientist Dr. Markus Rex from the German Alfred Wegener Institute has discovered a previously unknown atmospheric phenomenon over the South Seas. Over the tropical West Pacific there is a natural, invisible hole extending over several thousand kilometres in a layer that prevents transport of most of the natural and manmade substances into the stratosphere by virtue of its chemical composition. Like in a giant elevator, many chemical compounds emitted at the ground pass thus unfiltered through this so-called "detergent layer" of the atmosphere. Scientists call it the "OH shield". The newly discovered phenomenon over the South Seas boosts ozone depletion in the polar regions and could have a significant influence on the future climate of the Earth – also because of rising air pollution in South East Asia.

At first Dr. Markus Rex suspected a series of flawed measurements. In October 2009 the atmospheric physicist from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) was on board the German research vessel "Sonne" to measure trace substances in the atmosphere in the tropical West Pacific. Tried and tested a thousand times over, the ozone probes he sent up into the tropical sky with a research balloon every 400 kilometres reported – nothing. Or to be more accurate: almost nothing. The ozone concentrations in his measurements remained nearly constantly below the detection limit of approx. 10 ppbv* in the entire vertical range from the surface of the Earth to an altitude of around 15 kilometres. Normally ozone concentrations in this part of the atmosphere are three to ten times higher.

Although low values at an altitude of around 15 kilometres were known from earlier measurements in the peripheral area of the tropical West Pacific, the complete absence of ozone at all heights was surprising. However, after a short period of doubt and various tests of the instruments it dawned on the worldwide recognised ozone specialist that he might be onto a phenomenon yet unknown to science. A few research years later and after the involvement of other colleagues came confirmation: Markus Rex and his team on board the "Sonne" had tracked down a giant natural hole over the tropical South Seas, situated in a special layer of the lower atmosphere known as the "OH shield". The research results on the newly discovered OH minimum will be published soon in the journal "Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics", with the Institute of Environmental Physics of the University of Bremen and other international research institutions as partners.

"Even though the sky appears to be an extensively uniform space for most people, it is composed of chemically and physically very different layers," Markus Rex explains the complex makeup of the atmosphere. The air layers near the ground contain hundreds or even thousands of chemical compounds. This is why winter and spring, mountains and sea, city and forests all have a distinct smell. The great majority of these substances are broken down into water-soluble compounds in the lower kilometres of the atmosphere and are subsequently washed out by rain. Since these processes require the presence of a certain chemical substance, the so called hydroxyl (=OH) radical, this part of the atmosphere is called the "OH shield". It acts like a huge atmospheric washing machine in which OH is the detergent.

The OH shield is part of the troposphere, as the lower part of the atmosphere is called. "Only a few, extremely long-lived compounds manage to make their way through the OH shield," says Rex, "then they also get through the tropopause and enter the stratosphere." Tropopause refers to the boundary layer between the troposphere and the next atmospheric layer above it, the stratosphere. Particularly substances that enter the stratosphere unfold a global impact. The reason for this is that once they have reached the stratosphere, their degradation products remain up there for many years and spread over the entire globe.

Extremely long-lived chemical compounds find their way to the stratosphere, even where the OH shield is intact. These include methane, nitrous oxide ("laughing gas"), halons, methyl bromide and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are notorious as "ozone killers" because they play a major role in ozone depletion in the polar regions.

"We have to realise," reminds the Potsdam atmospheric physicist, "that chemical compounds which enter the stratosphere always have a global impact." Thanks to the OH hole that the researchers discovered over the tropical Pacific, greater amounts of brominated hydrocarbons can reach the stratosphere than in other parts of the world. Although their ascent takes place over the tropical West Pacific, these compounds amplify ozone depletion in the polar regions. Since scientists identified this phenomenon and took it into account in the modelling of stratospheric ozone depletion, their models have corresponded excellently with the actually measured data.

Reduced or depleted hydroxyls extends the half life of methane. Methane in the stratosphere degrades, releasing water vapor to the stratosphere which acts like a blanket to reflect IR radiation back to the surface and creates polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) that deplete ozone.

This is far worse news than reflected in the article. We are seeing the first signs of OH depletion in the atmosphere.

Feb. 2nd, 2014

California Reservoir System Depleted - No Releases this Year

Amid severe drought conditions, California officials announced Friday they won't send any water from the state's vast reservoir system to local agencies beginning this spring, an unprecedented move that affects drinking water supplies for 25 million people and irrigation for 1 million acres of farmland.

The announcement marks the first time in the 54-year history of the State Water Project that such an action has been taken, but it does not mean that every farm field will turn to dust and every city tap will run dry.

The 29 agencies that draw from the state's water-delivery system have other sources, although those also have been hard-hit by the drought.

"This is the most serious drought we've faced in modern times," said Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board. "We need to conserve what little we have to use later in the year, or even in future years."

For perspective, California would have to experience heavy rain and snowfall every other day from now until May to get the state back to its average annual precipitation totals, according to the Department of Water Resources.

"The challenge is that in last drought we drew down groundwater resources and never allowed them to recover," said Heather Cooley, water program co-director for the Pacific Institute, a water policy think tank in Oakland. "We're seeing long term, ongoing declining groundwater levels, and that's a major problem.";_ylt=AwrBEiRbFe5S40wAw7HQtDMD

Jan. 30th, 2014

Snowpack that provides 1/3 of California's water only 12% of normal

California's Department of Water Resources on Thursday said the state's snowpack was at 12 percent of normal for this time of winter.

It was more bad news for the drought-stricken state facing more dry forecasts, little mountain snow and dwindling reservoirs.

The northern and central Sierra snowpack provides about a third of California's water supply.

State climatologist Michael Anderson says only 1.53 inches of rain was recorded from October through December, the lowest aggregate total in records dating back to 1895.

Paleoclimatologist says decadal droughts 'the norm' for California - last 150 yrs 'unusually wet'

As 2013 came to a close, the media dutifully reported that the year had been the driest in California since records began to be kept in the 1840s. UC Berkeley paleoclimatologist B. Lynn Ingram didn't think the news stories captured the seriousness of the situation.

"This could potentially be the driest water year in 500 years," says Ingram, a professor of earth and planetary science and geography.

Ingram has an especially long-term perspective. As a paleoclimatologist—a scientist who studies changes in climate by teasing data out of rocks, sediments, shells, microfossils, trees and other sources—she's accustomed to looking back over eons. And according to the width of old tree rings (which can record the coming and going of wet or waterless stretches), California hasn't been so parched since 1580.

The state is facing its third drought year in a row, and Ingram wouldn't be surprised if that dry stretch continues.

Q: California is in its third dry year in a row. How long could that continue?

A: If you go back thousands of years, you see that droughts can go on for years if not decades, and there were some dry periods that lasted over a century, like during the Medieval period and the middle Holocene. The 20th century was unusually mild here, in the sense that the droughts weren't as severe as in the past. It was a wetter century, and a lot of our development has been based on that.

The late 1930s to the early 1950s were when a lot of our dams and aqueducts were built, and those were wetter decades. I think there's an assumption that we'll go back to that, and that's not necessarily the case. We might be heading into a drier period now. It's hard for us to predict, but that's a possibility, especially with global warming. When the climate's warmer, it tends to be drier in the West. The storms tend to hit further into the Pacific Northwest, like they are this year, and we don't experience as many storms in the winter season.

You mentioned global warming. Is what we're seeing consistent with the predictions that have been made about how climate change could affect California?

Yes. We've already started having a decreased snow pack and increased wild fire frequency. And we've been warming, and it's gotten drier. With Pacific Decadal Oscillation [the ever-changing temperature of surface water in the North Pacific Ocean], every 20 or 30 years we go in and out of these positive and negative shifts that affect precipitation and temperature. But now we're entering a period where it looks like we're getting drier even though it doesn't necessarily correspond to that cycle. It looks like a trend. It's warming and drying, and that's definitely a big concern for Western states.

If you look at the archaeological record, you see that the Native American population in the West expanded in the wet years that preceded those long droughts in the Medieval period. Then during the droughts, they were pretty much wiped out. There was the so-called Anasazi collapse in the Southwest about 800 years ago. In some ways, I see that as an analogy to us today. We've had this wetter 150 years and we've expanded. Now we're using up all the available water, yet our population is still growing.

We're vulnerable just like they were, but on an even larger scale.

Dec. 25th, 2013

Merry Christmas to All from the Post Peak Oil Historian

Oct. 21st, 2013

Evidence for a rapid release of carbon at the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum

Here, we report on a sequence of rhythmic sedimentary couplets comprising the Paleocene/ Eocene Marlboro Clay (Salisbury Embayment). These couplets have corresponding δ18O cycles that imply a climatic origin. Seasonal insolation is the only regular climate cycle that can plausibly account for δ18O amplitudes and layer counts. High-resolution stable isotope records show 3.5‰ δ13C decrease over 13 couplets defining the CIE onset, which requires a large, instantaneous release of 13C-depleted carbon. During the CIE, a clear δ13C gradient developed on the shelf with the largest excursions in shallowest waters...

Warming the Fuel for the Fire: thermal dissociation of methane hydrate during the PETM

Dramatic warming and upheaval of the carbon system at the end of the Paleocene Epoch have been linked to massive dissociation of sedimentary methane hydrate. We present new highresolution stable isotope records based on analyses of single planktonic and benthic foraminiferal shells from Ocean Drilling Program Site 690 (Weddell Sea, Southern Ocean), demonstrating that the initial carbon isotope excursion was geologically instantaneous and was preceded by a brief period of gradual surface water warming. Both of these findings support the thermal dissociation of methane hydrate as the cause of the PETM carbon isotope excursion. Furthermore, the data reveal that the methane-derived carbon was slowly mixed from the surface ocean downward, suggesting that a significant fraction of the initial dissociated hydrate methane reached the atmosphere prior to oxidation.

The stratigraphic progression of single-specimen stable isotope changes, with the decrease in surface water δ18O values preceding the decrease in δ13C values, enables us to rule out several possible explanations of PETM carbon input. The onset of the CIE would have preceded the decrease in δ18O values if the PETM had resulted from erosion-induced hydrate dissociation (e.g., Katz et al., 2001) or from a carbonaceous impactor (e.g., Kent et al., 2001). Explosive volcanism (e.g., Bralower et al., 1997) would have resulted in an increase or no change in δ18O values at a high-latitude site. Thus, the only plausible mechanism to consider is the thermal dissociation of methane hydrates. The occurrence of specimens of surface-dwelling foraminifera that record transitional δ18O values and pre-CIE δ13C values (Level 1, Figure 3) suggests a ~2°C warming of surface waters prior to the onset of the CIE.

The top-down progression of the onset of the CIE suggests that a significant proportion of the methane from dissociated hydrates was rapidly transferred to the atmosphere and surface ocean. In order for calcifying organisms to record a methane-derived δ13C anomaly, the isotopically light methane must first be oxidized into CO2 and incorporated into the HCO3 - pool from which calcification occurs. Because the pattern of CIE propagation proceeded downward from surface waters, oxidation of methane must have taken place within the atmosphere/surface ocean. Had the initial release of methane been more gradual (enabling oxidation within the deep ocean), Site 690 planktonic foraminifera would have recorded transitional δ13C values at the onset of the event, and benthic individuals would have recorded the excursion prior to the planktonics.

We note that the top-down progression in carbon input observed at the PETM is strikingly similar to the recent changes in the atmospheric and surface ocean carbon reservoirs in response to release of anthropogenic CO2.

We propose the following scenario to explain the stratigraphic sequence of events in the new stable isotope data. Gradual warming occurred first in surface waters, then in waters at thermocline and intermediate depths. Subduction or downwelling of warmer intermediate waters in the region of water mass formation led to thermal dissociation of methane hydrates at a location with a significant sedimentary hydrate content. Methane gas from the dissociated hydrates reached the atmosphere prior to widespread oxidation.

Oct. 20th, 2013

Atmospheric carbon injection linked to end-Triassic mass extinction

The magnitude and rate of this carbon-cycle disruption can be explained by the injection of at least ~12 × 10(3) gigatons of isotopically depleted carbon as methane into the atmosphere. Concurrent vegetation changes reflect strong warming and an enhanced hydrological cycle. Hence, end-Triassic events are robustly linked to methane-derived massive carbon release and associated climate change.

Oct. 1st, 2013

Methane 'deliberately left out' of IPCC projections - UN Pachauri say's time about to run out on man

There are some possibilities that are deliberately left out of the IPCC projections, because we simply don’t have enough data yet to model them. Jason Box, a visiting scholar at the Byrd Polar Research Center told me in an email interview that: “The scary elephant in the closet is terrestrial and oceanic methane release triggered by warming.” The IPCC projections don’t include the possibility — some scientists say likelihood — that huge quantities of methane will be released from thawing permafrost and undersea methane hydrate reserves. Box said that the threshhold “when humans lose control of potential management of the problem, may be sooner than expected.”

The head of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, speaks for the scientific consensus when he says that time is fast running out to avoid the catastrophic collapse of the natural systems on which human life depends. What he recently told a group of climate scientist could be the most chilling headline of all for the U.N. report:

"We have five minutes before midnight."

World won't cool without geoengineering, warns report

Global warming is irreversible without massive geoengineering of the atmosphere's chemistry. This stark warning comes from the draft summary of the latest climate assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

According to one of its lead authors, and the latest draft seen by New Scientist, the report will say: "CO2-induced warming is projected to remain approximately constant for many centuries following a complete cessation of emission. A large fraction of climate change is thus irreversible on a human timescale, except if net anthropogenic CO2 emissions were strongly negative over a sustained period."

In other words, even if all the world ran on carbon-free energy and deforestation ceased, the only way of lowering temperatures would be to devise a scheme for sucking hundreds of billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.|NSNS|2012-GLOBAL|online-news

The big surprise comes in the final paragraph, with a mention of geoengineering. In the scientific world, a final paragraph is often the place to put caveats and suggestions for further research. In the political world, a final paragraph is a coda, a big finish, the place for a triumphant, standing-ovation-inducing summary. The IPCC tries to straddle both worlds. The addition of the word "geoengineering" to the most important report on climate change for six years counts as a big surprise.

There are many reasons to be worried about geoengineering. The idea is old. Countless inventions have been proposed as a technological fix to climate change, but scientists have only recently taken it seriously. Their previous reticence was largely due to a concern that talking about easy solutions would wobble the consensus on the need for a cut in emissions that had been painstakingly built over decades. Geoengineering was taboo – too seductive, too dangerous and too uncertain. It is now moving towards the mainstream of climate science. As the number of geoengineering studies published shoots up, it is now acceptable to discuss it in polite scientific company.

There is an argument that the taboo has already been broken and that, like sex education, it therefore has to be discussed. Those of us interested in geoengineering were expecting it to appear in one or two of the main reports when they are published in the coming months. To bring it up front is to give it premature legitimacy.

The description of geoengineering provided in the summary document is suitably critical. The report points to troubles with both carbon dioxide removal (CDR) from the atmosphere and solar radiation management (SRM) – reflecting a bit of sunlight back into space. In the case of CDR, the sheer scale of the clean-up makes it grotesquely expensive and difficult, and SRM would likely have unintended, unpredictable and disastrous effects on regional weather, among many other troubles (see this pdf for more). But the paragraph still states that: "Modelling indicates that SRM methods, if realizable, have the potential to substantially offset a global temperature rise." This science is still very young. Climate science historian James Fleming describes such studies as "geo-scientific speculation". To include mention of geoengineering, and its supporting "evidence" in a statement of scientific consensus, no matter how layered with caveats, is extraordinary.

‘Atmospheric River’ Smashes Records in Pacific Northwest

A barrage of unusually intense early-autumn storm systems swept across the Pacific Northwest this weekend, bringing hurricane-force winds and dumping enough rain to smash all-time monthly rainfall records from Seattle to Portland.

The rainfall was the product of a long, snake-like plume of moisture that stretched from near Hawaii to the gulf of Alaska, and it aimed squarely at the Pacific Northwest. These moisture plumes are sometimes called “atmospheric rivers,” which are responsible for some of the most damaging flooding events along the U.S. West Coast, particularly in California.

Lees Camp, Ore. recorded 11.10 inches of rain from Sept. 27-30, and Tillamook, along the north Oregon coast, received 6.84 inches.

A weather station on Mount St. Helens recorded 15.30 inches of rain during the same period.

Astoria, Ore., had received 10.51 inches of rain as of Monday morning, nearly 2 inches more than its previous mark set in September, 1906. Its normal monthly rainfall is just 2.14 inches.

A NOAA website on atmospheric rivers contains this fascinating statistic that illustrates just how much moisture can be transported by winds in the mid-to-upper atmosphere: “A strong atmospheric river transports an amount of water vapor roughly equivalent to 7.5-15 times the average flow of liquid water at the mouth of the Mississippi River.”

See for further information on atmospheric river storms.

Jun. 6th, 2013

Arctic Methane: Why The Sea Ice Matters

Jun. 4th, 2013

The Good of Government

Government provides roads and sewers, forcasts the weather, provides disaster relief. Government is how we have fire depts and EMS, police and rescue. Governments provide legal recourse through the courts. Government lights our streets, provides navigational signals, and a million other things we use in our everyday lives.

Govenment is how we provide for our collective needs. The government is us taking care of ourselves. Of the people, by the people, for the people.

We fight to keep it that way.

From FDR's speech:
It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.

The hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor - these had passed beyond the control of the people, and were imposed by this new industrial dictatorship. The savings of the average family, the capital of the small-businessmen, the investments set aside for old age - other people's money - these were tools which the new economic royalty used to dig itself in.

They have failed to eliminate or fully take control of our government. Regulation still binds them. The will of the people still has sway. The government is filled with many who defend her and the people from this encroachment. The battle continues.

Their mercenaries try to break your will. Try to covince you the battle is lost. Try to convince you that it is the government that is your enemy. The government is THEIR enemy.

The government remains in the hands of the people. The government is the battleground and the prize they seek to take from the people. The government is the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. The government is us and our dreams. And we shall fight to protect it to our dying breath.

Jun. 3rd, 2013

A Rendezvous With Destiny

To understand the root cause of where the American People find themselves today one must look no further than FDR's speech which sums up the history of power in America.

FDR Speech before the 1936 Democratic National Convention

June 27, 1936

The age of machinery, of railroads; of steam and electricity; the telegraph and the radio; mass production, mass distribution - all of these combined to bring forward a new civilization and with it a new problem for those who sought to remain free.

For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital - all undreamed of by the Fathers - the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service.

There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small-businessmen and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.

It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.

The hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor - these had passed beyond the control of the people, and were imposed by this new industrial dictatorship. The savings of the average family, the capital of the small-businessmen, the investments set aside for old age - other people's money - these were tools which the new economic royalty used to dig itself in.

Those who tilled the soil no longer reaped the rewards which were their right. The small measure of their gains was decreed by men in distant cities.

Throughout the nation, opportunity was limited by monopoly. Individual initiative was crushed in the cogs of a great machine. The field open for free business was more and more restricted. Private enterprise, indeed, became too private. It became privileged enterprise, not free enterprise.

An old English judge once said: "Necessitous men are not free men." Liberty requires opportunity to make a living - a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.

For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people's property, other people's money, other people's labor - other people's lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.

Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 1932 was the people's mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended.

The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody's business. They granted that the government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live.

Today we stand committed to the proposition that freedom is no half-and-half affair. If the average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place.

These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for. Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike.

The brave and clear platform adopted by this convention, to which I heartily subscribe, sets forth that government in a modern civilization has certain inescapable obligations to its citizens, among which are protection of the family and the home, the establishment of a democracy of opportunity, and aid to those overtaken by disaster.

But the resolute enemy within our gates is ever ready to beat down our words unless in greater courage we will fight for them.

The growth of oligarchy in America happened throughout the 20th Century and is a matter of historical fact.

Progressivism is the movement that arose to fight back, and it's thread extends back all the way to the end of the 19th century. That movement is not dead and is represented in Congress by the Progressive Caucus. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the leading spokesperson for the Progressive movement.

Feb. 14th, 2013

Atmospheric River Storms

USGS scietists are quietly conducting seminars with local California governments about coming Atmospheric River Storms. One such series of storms in 1861-1862 devestated California, turning the entire central valley into a 30 ft deep inland sea.

Picture the Lake Tahoe basin in a deluge of rain. Weeks of downpouring and melting snowpacks. Landslides render highways and roads impassable. No lights, no water, no heat, no food.

Businesses shut down. The local economy is devastated. And little outside help is on the way, considering outside responders are overwhelmed with storm damage in surrounding areas.

A deluge of this magnitude is inevitable in Lake Tahoe's future, but it doesn't have to turn catastrophic — so long as preventative steps are taken now, two U.S. Geological Survey scientists said during a presentation last Thursday at the Tahoe Environmental Research Center.

Such storms will likely come from atmospheric rivers, gargantuan bands of warm water vapor that form over the Pacific Ocean and move eastward, some of which hold enough water to fill the Mississippi River 10 times over, said Dale Cox, a regional hazards coordinator for the federal agency. Satellite imagery shows them to be at least 1,200 miles long and 250 miles wide.

“Atmospheric rivers are particularly vicious storms,” added Michael Dettinger, a USGS research scientist. “They lift up mountain ranges more easily than other storms, cool, condense out, then boom — lots of rain.”

“You will probably be seeing more atmospheric rivers with climate change,” Cox said. “What you can expect from climate change in the west is expanded periods of drought, higher temperatures, sea level rise and more frequent and ferocious storms.”

An ARkStorm — a hypothetical term developed by USGS that's short for an AR (atmospheric river) 1000 (k) storm — is an extreme scenario featuring continual downpour of two to eight inches of rain a day for extended periods in California.

The last catastrophic series of rain storms hit California in 1861-62, causing extensive flooding across the state, devastating the economy. According to various historical accounts, newly elected California Gov. Leland Stanford had to be taken to his inauguration in a rowboat.

Cox said current AR 1000 scenario models (Disaster preparedness drills) are scaled back from the 1861-62 storms.

“If people see a possible catastrophic event as being too large, they think it is not believable and they don't prepare for it,” he said.

Dettinger said he and Cox came to Tahoe last Thursday and presented at TERC “to discuss who from the area we should connect with so that such an effort was of maximum utility for emergency responders, planners and the community at large.”

Geologic evidence shows that truly massive floods, caused by rainfall alone, have occurred in California every 100 to 200 years. Such floods are likely caused by atmospheric rivers: narrow bands of water vapor about a mile above the ocean that extend for thousands of kilometers.

The atmospheric river storms featured in a January 2013 article in Scientific American that I co-wrote with Michael Dettinger, The Coming Megafloods, are responsible for most of the largest historical floods in many western states. The only megaflood to strike the American West in recent history occurred during the winter of 1861-62. California bore the brunt of the damage. This disaster turned enormous regions of the state into inland seas for months, and took thousands of human lives. The costs were devastating: one quarter of California’s economy was destroyed, forcing the state into bankruptcy.

A January 15, 1862, report from the Nelson Point Correspondence described the scene: “On Friday last, we were visited by the most destructive and devastating flood that has ever been the lot of ‘white’ men to see in this part of the country. Feather River reached the height of 9 feet more than was ever known by the ‘oldest inhabitant,’ carrying away bridges, camps, stores, saloon, restaurant, and much real-estate.” Drowning deaths occurred every day on the Feather, Yuba and American rivers. In one tragic account, an entire settlement of Chinese miners was drowned by floods on the Yuba River.

This enormous pulse of water from the rain flowed down the slopes and across the landscape, overwhelming streams and rivers, creating a huge inland sea in California’s enormous Central Valley—a region at least 300 miles long and 20 miles wide. Water covered farmlands and towns, drowning people, horses and cattle, and washing away houses, buildings, barns, fences and bridges. The water reached depths up to 30 feet, completely submerging telegraph poles that had just been installed between San Francisco and New York, causing transportation and communications to completely break down over much of the state for a month. William Brewer wrote a series of letters to his brother on the east coast describing the surreal scenes of tragedy that he witnessed during his travels in the region that winter and spring. In a description dated January 31, 1862, Brewer wrote:

Thousands of farms are entirely under water—cattle starving and drowning. All the roads in the middle of the state are impassable; so all mails are cut off. The telegraph also does not work clear through. In the Sacramento Valley for some distance the tops of the poles are under water. The entire valley was a lake extending from the mountains on one side to the coast range hills on the other. Steamers ran back over the ranches fourteen miles from the river, carrying stock, etc, to the hills. Nearly every house and farm over this immense region is gone. America has never before seen such desolation by flood as this has been, and seldom has the Old World seen the like.

But what's not such a good thing is that every once in a while these atmospheric rivers, which are like a fire hose that kind of snakes around, it becomes stationary and it just blasts California with what we call a megaflood. These events have happened historically. In fact, there was a huge megaflood in 1861-1862, 43 days of rain that flooded the entire Central Valley in California. It killed thousands of people. The concern is that it's due to happen again.

Here's the connection with climate change: more water vapor in the atmosphere (about 4 percent increase) may make these storms a little more frequent. We're due for another one. The concern is this could happen in the near future in California.

They are sort of rivers in the atmosphere. The jet stream is the river of air in the atmosphere, we use that analogy, that guides storms. The jet stream focuses these moisture plumes so it really is sort of an atmospheric river. These are the things that occasionally spray California with these heavy rainfalls. The concern here with this sort of nightmare scenario, what they call California's other big one, is that one of these will happen again and there's historical precedent that it's happened in the past.

In fact one of the big megastorms we had a couple of winters ago was a remnant of one of these atmospheric rivers. The climate change component is that the severity and the frequency of these could increase. If one of these occurred today, they're talking about six million people in the path in California. Remember in that 1861-1862 event, Sacramento was under 10 feet of water. The whole Central Valley turned into an inland lake that was something like 300 miles long and 20 miles wide. So this kind of an event, when it occurs, could make Sandy or Katrina look like a walk in the park.

If you took all the water vapor that's being conducted along these atmospheric rivers and condensed it into liquid water, it would be the same as essentially seven to 15 Mississippis worth of water. Whether you believe in climate change or not, we know from sediments on the ground that in California and frankly up and down the west coast that there are storms out there that happened in the past. They're natural occurrences, they happen about every couple hundred years and we frankly should expect them to happen again.

We've talked about the documented increase in excessive rainfall events in the Midwest and Northeast. This is another angle on that. Yes, they've been naturally occurring events in the past, but the infrastructure of California has changed completely since the last time one of these events occurred. Climate change does make the extremes more extreme. It does produce more of these extreme rainfall events and if something on this scale happens in the state of California, the economic catastrophe we're talking about, maybe 25 percent of all buildings damaged.

The advent of satellites since the '60s and '70s has really opened a whole new world of research and really opened our eyes to be able to see these things. So you can actually see these plumes as they move throughout the Pacific and make their way into the west coast of the United States. That technology has increased greatly in the last 20 or 30 years.

Feb. 1st, 2013

Permian-Triassic Extinction took only 20,000 years Rate of CO2 rise in Atmosphere less than today

The end-Permian extinction occurred 252.2 million years ago, decimating 90 percent of marine and terrestrial species, from snails and small crustaceans to early forms of lizards and amphibians. “The Great Dying,” as it’s now known, was the most severe mass extinction in Earth’s history, and is probably the closest life has come to being completely extinguished.

An MIT-led team of researchers has now established that the end-Permian extinction was extremely rapid, triggering massive die-outs both in the oceans and on land in less than 20,000 years — the blink of an eye in geologic time. The researchers also found that this time period coincides with a massive buildup of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which likely triggered the simultaneous collapse of species in the oceans and on land.

With further calculations, the group found that the average rate at which carbon dioxide entered the atmosphere during the end-Permian extinction was slightly below today’s rate of carbon dioxide release into the atmosphere due to fossil fuel emissions. Over tens of thousands of years, increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide during the Permian period likely triggered severe global warming, accelerating species extinctions.

The researchers also discovered evidence of simultaneous and widespread wildfires that may have added to end-Permian global warming, triggering what they deem “catastrophic” soil erosion and making environments extremely arid and inhospitable.

The group collected clay samples from ash beds both above and below rock layers from the PTB. In the lab, they separated out zircon, a robust mineral that can survive intense geological processes. Zircon contains trace amounts of uranium, which can be used to date the rocks in which it is found. Bowring and his colleagues analyzed 300 of the “best-looking” grains of zircon, and found the rocks above and below the mass-extinction period spanned only a 20,000-year phase.

The group also analyzed carbon-isotope data from rocks in southern China and found that within the same period, the oceans and atmosphere experienced a large influx of carbon dioxide. Dan Rothman, a professor of geophysics in EAPS, calculated the average rate at which carbon dioxide entered the oceans and atmosphere at the time, finding it to be somewhat less than today’s influx due to fossil fuel emissions.

Dec. 12th, 2012

Climate-changing methane 'rapidly destabilizing' off East Coast, study finds

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.

Temperature changes in the Gulf Stream are "rapidly destabilizing methane hydrate along a broad swathe of the North American margin," the experts said in a study published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.

The team worries that other areas around the globe might be seeing a similar destabilization.

"It is unlikely that the western North Atlantic margin is the only area experiencing changing ocean currents," they noted. "Our estimate ... may therefore represent only a fraction of the methane hydrate currently destabilizing globally."

The wider destabilization evidence, co-author Ben Phrampus told NBC News, includes data from the Arctic and Alaska's northern slope in the Beaufort Sea.

Oct. 2nd, 2012

Drought greater than 1500s 'megadrought' in Southwest predicted to kill forests

U.S. university and federal researchers expressed concern about the long-term health of forests in the southwestern United States given recent climate trends.

Scientists from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Arizona and partner organizations said that if warmer temperatures and drought continue for the southwestern states, forest ecosystems could change dramatically.

Scientists said the last so-called megadrought occurred in the 1500s.

A. Park Williams, the lead researcher in the study, said tree ring records from that period showed exceptionally slow growth rates.

"If forest drought stress exceeds late 1500 levels, we expect that a lot of trees are going to be dying," he said in a statement.

Food Riots Coming

When French peasants stormed the Bastille on July 14, 1789, they weren't just revolting against the monarchy's policies. They were also hungry.

From the French Revolution to the Arab Spring, high food prices have been cited as a factor behind mass protest movements. But can food prices actually help predict when social unrest is likely to break out?

Yes, say a group of researchers who use mathematical modeling to describe how food prices behave. Earlier this summer, their model had predicted that the U.S. drought would push corn and wheat prices high enough to spark social unrest in other parts of the world.

"Now, of course, we do see this happening," says Yaneer Bar-Yam of the New England Complex Systems Institute in Cambridge, Mass. And unless those food prices come down, the researchers warned last week, more waves of riots are coming.

Over the past year, the institute has gotten a lot of attention for its accurate predictions of food price behaviors. Last fall, the researchers released a study that showed big spikes in food prices coincided with food riots in 2007-2008 and 2011, including the events of the Arab Spring.

But their model also offers the potential to forecast future social unrest by identifying "a very well-defined threshold [for food prices] above which food riots break out," Bar-Yam tells The Salt.

In fact, Bar-Yam and his colleagues say they submitted their analysis warning of the risks of social unrest to the U.S. government on Dec. 13, 2010. Four days later, Tunisian fruit and vegetable vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire – an event widely seen as the catalyst for the Arab Spring.

The researchers define the riot danger zone in relation to the U.N.'s FAO Food Price Index, which tracks the monthly change in international prices for a basket of cereals, dairy, meat, sugars and oil/fats. Riots become more likely, their model showed, when the index goes above 210. The index has been hovering above that "disruption threshold" since July, pushed upward by the drought in the U.S., the world's biggest exporter of corn and wheat.

"What happened was that food prices went up exactly as predicted," Bar-Yam says.

Wheat is now at $9 per bushel — higher than the high of $8.94 hit in February 2011, when the Arab Spring was in full swing. Corn is at $7.56 a bushel, close to the $7.65 highs of 2007-2008 — though it spiked well above $8 a bushel this summer. The Mideast is particularly sensitive to wheat prices; it imports most of its wheat, which is a major staple for the region.

While the drought is causing the current spike in food prices, prices have also been on a steady, long-term trajectory upward. So what's behind that trend? NECSI's model has fingered two key suspects: speculation and the conversion of corn to ethanol. Even without the drought, Bar-Yam says, food prices were headed toward the riot zone by early next year.

Sep. 7th, 2012

Methane releases increase year on year over hydrate locations

IASI data for the autumn months clearly indicate Eurasian sector of the Arctic Ocean as a significant methane emitter after 2009. Also, the distribution of high methane mixing ratios correlated with the locations of the predicted deposits of methane hydrates, as well as with shallow areas of the Arctic Ocean.

In October 2011, the maximal methane concentrations were found over Kara and Laptev seas. IASI data show an increase in methane levels in autumn in the past three years, by 25 ppb over the Eurasian shelf, by 23 ppb over the North American shelf, and by 20 ppb over land between 50º N and 70º N for both the Eastern and Western hemispheres.

Validation in the Arctic revealed underestimation of IASI CH4 mixing ratios below 4 km of altitude, especially in colder period of year (Fig. 1b). Convolution with sensitivity function (averaging kernel) and a priori improves the agreement (Fig. 1c), but underestimation ~ 10 ppb still takes place for the entire data set even after the correction.

According to Makogon et al. (2007), destabilization of CH4 hydrate deposits underlying the Arctic seabed may release up to 2000 Pg CH4 into the atmosphere, which is much higher than the total mass of methane in the atmosphere (~ 5 Pg CH4 corresponding to mean mixing ratio of 1.8 ppm).

IASI data show higher mixing ratios of methane over the Arctic Ocean and tundra/taiga in comparison to mid and low latitudes. Methane has been increasing with years, especially over shelf areas of the ocean. The increased methane mixing ratios correspond to predicted locations of methane hydrate deposits (Fig. 3b) and, also, correlate with shelf areas (Fig. 3c).

In Fig. 4a the October circumpolar distributions of methane mixing ratios averaged over 70°-80° N are plotted for different years. Methane distribution in 2008 was generally flat, but a small increase over shallower areas of the ocean took place. This increase became much more pronounced in 2009, 2010 and 2011 in Eurasian sector of the Arctic, over the Baffin Bay, Beaufort and Chukchi seas. Maximum enhancements, up to 50 ppb over the level of 2008, were detected for Laptev/Kara seas and Baffin Bay.

The main conclusion of this paper is a qualitative detection of high and over the years increasing methane mixing ratios in areas coinciding with predicted locations of methane hydrates.

Aug. 16th, 2012

Hottest Rain Record Broke Again

A searing heat wave rare even for the Desert Southwest sent temperatures soaring to record levels on Monday, with Needles, California tying its record high for the date of 118°F (47.8°C). The temperature might have gone higher in Needles, but a thunderstorm rolled in at 3:20 pm, and by 3:56 pm PDT, rain began falling at a temperature of 115°F (46.1°C). Most of the rain evaporated, since the humidity was only 11%, and only a trace of precipitation was recorded in the rain gauge. Nevertheless, Monday's rain at 115° in Needles sets a new world record for the hottest rain in world history.

Jul. 23rd, 2012

Hottest Rain on Record

Pilgrims to the holy city of Mekkah (Mecca), Saudi Arabia must have been astonished on Tuesday afternoon, when the weather transformed from widespread dust with a temperature of 113°F (45°C) to a thunderstorm with rain. Remarkably, the air temperature during the thunderstorm was a sizzling 109°F (43°C), and the relative humidity a scant 18%. It is exceedingly rare to get rain when the temperature rises above 100°F, since those kind of temperatures usually require a high pressure system with sinking air that discourages rainfall.

However, on June 4, a sea breeze formed along the shores of the Red Sea, and pushed inland 45 miles (71 km) to Mekkah by mid-afternoon. Moist air flowing eastwards from the Red Sea hit the boundary of the sea breeze and was forced upwards, creating rain-bearing thunderstorms. According to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, this is the highest known temperature that rain has fallen at, anywhere in the world.

He knows of one other case where rain occurred at 109°F (43°C): in Marrakech, Morocco on July 10, 2010. A thunderstorm that began at 5 pm local time brought rain at a remarkably low humidity of 14%.

Large raindrops, like the kind thunderstorms produce, fall at a speed of about 10 meters per second. A balloon sounding of the upper atmosphere taken at 3 pm local time at a nearby station (Al-Midinah) found that the bottom 1000 meters of the atmosphere was 97°F (36°C) or warmer. Thus, the thunderstorms' raindrops would have been subjected to 100 seconds of some very hot air on the way to the surface, likely warming them above 100°F by the time they hit the ground.

A classic 1948 study of raindrops found that, in many cases, raindrop temperatures start off cold in the first few minutes of a rain shower, then warm up to within 1°C (1.8°F) of the air temperature within a few minutes. With the air temperature a sizzling 109°F (43°C) at the time of the June 4 thunderstorm in Mekkah, the raindrops could easily have been heated to a temperature of over 105°F (41°C) by the time they reached the surface!

If the climate continues to warm as expected, we should see an increasing number of cases where it rains at temperatures well above 100°F. On Saturday, June 2, the temperature in Mekkah hit 51.4°C (124.5°F), a new record for the city, and just 1.1°F (0.6°C) below the all-time hottest temperature record for Saudi Arabia (125.6°F, or 52°C, recorded at Jeddah on June 22, 2010.) I expect that 20 - 40 years from now, we'll begin seeing occasional cases where rain falls at a temperature above 117°F (47°C) in the desert regions of North Africa and the Middle East.

Jun. 8th, 2012

Afghanistan gains observer status in SCO, Turkey as dialogue partner

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) granted Afghanistan observer status yesterday as Chinese President Hu Jintao said the bloc aimed to become a "fortress of regional security and stability and a driving force of regional economic development".

By granting observer status to Afghanistan, the SCO, which groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, consolidated ties with the war-torn country ahead of the pullout of most foreign troops by the end of 2014.

The organisation also announced that Turkey, a NATO member, will join Sri Lanka and Belarus as a dialogue partner.

The participation of Afghanistan and Turkey enlarges the region that the SCO covers geographically and increases the bloc's global influence, Chen said.

Jun. 7th, 2012

SCO opposes intervention in Syria, Iran

China, Russia and four former Soviet republics in central Asia said Thursday they oppose military intervention in Syria and Iran, and regime change in Syria.

The opposition came in a statement released by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on the final day of its summit in Beijing, China's official Xinhua news agency reported.

The four former Soviet republics -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- joined Russia and China in opposing military intervention or forced regime change in Syria.

The leaders of the six SCO countries said they oppose military intervention in response to Iran's nuclear program.

"We believe any attempts to resolve the Iranian issue by force are unacceptable," the SCO statement said. "Such attempts could lead to unpredictably serious consequences, which would threaten stability and security in the region and the entire world."

Apr. 23rd, 2012

NASA Detects Large Releases of Methane from Arctic Ocean

NASA scientists have detected large releases of methane - a highly potent greenhouse gas - from the crumbling Arctic sea ice.

The researchers found significant amounts of methane being released from the ocean into the atmosphere through cracks in the melting sea ice. They said the quantities could be large enough to affect the global climate. Previous observations have pointed to large methane plumes being released from the seabed in the relatively shallow sea off the northern coast of Siberia but the latest findings were made far away from land in the deep, open ocean where the surface is usually capped by ice.

Eric Kort of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said that he and his colleagues were surprised to see methane levels rise so dramatically each time their research aircraft flew over cracks in the sea ice.

"When we flew over completely solid sea ice, we didn't see anything in terms of methane. But when we flew over areas were the sea ice had melted, or where there were cracks in the ice, we saw the methane levels increase," Dr Kort said. "We were surprised to see these enhanced methane levels at these high latitudes. Our observations really point to the ocean surface as the source, which was not what we had expected," he said.

"Other scientists had seen high concentrations of methane in the sea surface but nobody had expected to see it being released into the atmosphere in this way," he added

Apr. 9th, 2012

US sees record for warmest March and first three months of a year

The temperature analysis released by the U.S. government each month usually isn't all that riveting, but the one that came out Monday is a doozy -- and not just for weather wonks. Highlights for the contiguous U.S. (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) include:

Last month was the warmest March on record (records go back to 1895) at 51.1 degrees; this is 8.6 degrees above the 20th century average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

January-March was the warmest first quarter on record; the average temperature of 42 degrees was 6 degrees above average.

April 2011-March 2012 was the warmest stretch of those 12 months on record; at 55.4 degrees, that period was 2.6 degrees above average.

In March, 15,292 records were broken for warmth; 7,775 were new daytime highs in cities across the country and 7,517 were new nighttime highs.

Comparing March to the longterm average and seeing an 8.6 degree spread, he added, "that's huge."

"It's not only what happened in March in North America," he said, "it's the context: the extremity of this extraordinary early-season heat in the U.S. and southern Canada, plus Norway and Scotland breaking their March high temperature records; Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 having their hottest summer on record, even hotter than during the Dust Bowl; the off-the-charts 2010 Russia heat wave along with approximately 20 countries setting high temperature records that summer; and Canada having its warmest winter and year on record in 2010."

"All of this happening with such frequency," he added, "provides overwhelmingly convincing evidence that the overall increased warmth is making the atmosphere more conducive to these sorts of heat extremes."

Mar. 13th, 2012

China says will defend Iran even if it means launching WWIII

In December it emerged that China sold Iran, for $11 billion, advanced DF-31 ICBMs which are capable of reaching U.S. soil with nuclear warheads. North Korean engineers are helping to get the missile system up and running.

China is circumventing international sanctions against Iran by enlisting North Korea’s help in providing the Islamic state with its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missiles and the technical expertise to make those nuclear warhead-capable missiles operational. And now the Communist giant is threatening to come to Iran’s defense should the missile or nuclear sites be attacked.

Media outlets quote Chinese Maj. Gen. Zhang Zhaozhong as warning that in case of attack, China should not hesitate to protect Iran, even if it means launching World War III.

The Iranian-owned state media ran big headlines recently quoting Chinese President Hu Jintao as saying that he has ordered the Chinese Navy to prepare for war and that, in case of an attack on Iran, China will defend Iran.

This is part of the overall "Big Picture". It isn't just Iran obtaining nukes, or a threat to Israel. It's the SCO challenging the economic hegemony of the Western powers.

Just as WWI foreshadowed the end of the British Empire, even though the allies won, this is the desperate last attempt by the West to maintain their grip on power. To TPTB in the West this is an existential threat.

To ensure that we understand what led up to the start of WWIII, we need to recognize what is really happening, as it's happening.
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Putin welcomes Iran, Pakistan to join SCO

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin lashed out yesterday at “arrogant world powers” as he hosted his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao for a regional security summit Moscow bills as a counterpart to NATO.

Russia’s likely new head of state after next year’s presidential elections accused Western nations of hypocrisy for backing revolutions in North African countries that previously enjoyed their strong support. “It really is just like you said -- these are arrogant world powers,” Putin said in response to remarks from Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi made during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Saint Petersburg. “They also supported the old North African regimes,” news agencies quoted Putin as saying in a clear reference to European powers and the United States.

“But what is interesting, they also supported the North African revolutions as well, the ones that overthrew the old regimes.” Russia strongly opposed NATO’s air campaign in Libya and has warned the West against acting tough towards its close Soviet-era ally Syria.

The 10-year-old SCO joins Russia and China with the four ex-Soviet states of Central Asian in a loose security union that Moscow hopes to develop into a more powerful force rivaling the Brussels-based NATO bloc. Iran is one of three nations along with Pakistan and India to have applied to join the organization. “Russia would welcome the positive review of applications to join our organization in one form or another from any interested nation,” Putin was quoted as saying.

The vast show of firepower... involved some 6,000 personnel from the six countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO): China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan....

The exercises come after Thursday's summit where SCO leaders underlined their common opposition to perceived US hegemony. The summit was held in the former Soviet state of Kyrgyzstan, with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad observing.

The exercises - coordinated from separate command centers in Russia and China - featured movement of Chinese forces across Russian rail lines, joint special forces activities, and fly-overs by the Chinese Air Force over Russian airspace. The sophisticated operations concretely formalized the military alliance between China and Russia designed to prevent further penetration into Central Asia by the United States. Nothing could convey this objective more clearly than the presence of the Iranian President at the summit.

The capability to transfer large-scale military contingents across vast distances is essential should Moscow and Beijing decide on joint military action in the event of a possible American military operation against Iran spilling over into the Caspian and Central Asian regions.

The new Berlin-Baghdad Railway?

Notwithstanding the U.S. pressure to scale down its engagement with Iran, official sources here said the country not only remains an important source of oil for India, but is crucial to opening up routes to Central Asian and Caucasian countries, where New Delhi's quest for hydrocarbons and minerals is gathering critical mass.

“We recognise that Iran is the key to connecting with Central Asia,” said the sources while referring to a major meeting last month on a proposed Russia-Iran-India promoted North-South corridor that would originate from Bandar Abbas leading to Russia and other countries via the Caspian Sea.

India has “taken the lead” and is “pushing hard” to put the missing rail links in place so that a seamless route from Bandar Abbas port to Russia and Central Asia opens up by next year by when the customs union of Russia-Kazakhstan-Byelorussia would have expanded to include other Eurasian countries.

Customs procedures

Besides the three original signatories, over 15 countries have joined the north-south project. In addition to putting in place missing railways links of about 200 km, all the sides will have to harmonise their customs procedures to make the endeavour workable. Currently Indian goods enter Russia through the Baltic ports of St. Petersburg and Kotka, the European port of Rotterdam and the Ukrainian ports of Illychevsk and Odessa.

Iran, said the sources, was also critical to stabilising Afghanistan as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) grouping after the NATO forces scale down their operations in 2014. Nearly all the countries surrounding Afghanistan are either members or observers to the SCO and they said, “we take it [the SCO] as an important platform to discuss the post-2014 situation in Afghanistan.”

In 1888, the Oriental Railway from Austria, across the Balkans via Belgrade, Sofia, to Constantinople, was opened. This linked with the railways of Austria-Hungary and other European countries and put the Ottoman capital in direct communication with Vienna, Paris, and Berlin. It was to be significant for later events.

The Sultan, Abdul Hamid II, on November 27, 1899, awarded Deutsche Bank, headed by Georg von Siemens, a concession for a railway from Konia to Baghdad and to the Persian Gulf. In 1888 and again in 1893, the Sultan had assured the Anatolian Railway Company that it should have priority in the construction of any railway to Baghdad. On the strength of that assurance, the Anatolian Company had conducted expensive surveys of the proposed line. As part of the railway concession, the shrewd negotiators of the Deutsche Bank, led by Karl Helfferich, negotiated subsurface mineral rights twenty kilometers to either side of the proposed Baghdad Railway line.[22] Deutsche Bank and the German government backing them made certain that included the sole rights to any petroleum which might be found. The Germans had scored a strategic coup over the British, or so it seemed. Mesopotamian oil secured through completion of the Berlin-Baghdad Railway was to be Germany’s secure source to enter the emerging era of oil-driven transport.

A German-built rail link to Baghdad and on to the Persian Gulf, capable of carrying military troops and munitions, was a strategic threat to the British oil resources of Persia. Persian oil was the first crucial source of secure British petroleum for the Navy.

Turkey, backed and trained by Germany, had the potential, should it get the financial and military means, to launch a military attack on what had become vital British interests in Suez, the Persian route to India, the Dardanelles. By 1903 the German Reich was prepared to give the Sultan that means in the form of the Baghdad Railway and German investment in Ottoman Anatolia.

By 1913 that German engagement had taken on an added dimension with a German-Turkish Military Agreement under which German General Liman von Sanders, member of the German Supreme War Council, with personal approval of the Kaiser, was sent to Constantinople to reorganize the Turkish army on the lines of the legendary German General Staff. In a letter to Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg, dated April 26, 1913, Freiherr von Wangenheim, the German Ambassador to Constantinople declared, “The Power which controls the Army will always be the strongest one in Turkey. No Government hostile to Germany will be able to hold on to power if the Army is controlled by us…” [25].

As well in Serbia British military and intelligence networks were most active prior to outbreak of war. Major R.G.D. Laffan was in charge of a British military training mission in Serbia just before the war. Following the war, Laffan wrote of the British role in throwing a huge block on the route of the German-Baghdad project:

"If 'Berlin-Baghdad' were achieved, a huge block of territory producing every kind of economic wealth, and unassailable by sea-power would be united under German authority," warned R.G.D. Laffan. Laffan was at that time a senior British military adviser attached to the Serbian Army.

"Russia would be cut off by this barrier from her western friends, Great Britain and France," Laffan added. "German and Turkish armies would be within easy striking distance of our Egyptian interests, and from the Persian Gulf, our Indian Empire would be threatened. The port of Alexandretta and the control of the Dardanelles would soon give Germany enormous naval power in the Mediterranean."

Laffan suggested a British strategy to sabotage the Berlin-Baghdad link. "A glance at the map of the world will show how the chain of States stretched from Berlin to Baghdad. The German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bulgaria, Turkey. One little strip of territory alone blocked the way and prevented the two ends of the chain from being linked together. That little strip was Serbia. Serbia stood small but defiant between Germany and the great ports of Constantinople and Salonika, holding the Gate of the East...Serbia was really the first line of defense of our eastern possessions. If she were crushed or enticed into the 'Berlin-Baghdad' system, then our vast but slightly defended empire would soon have felt the shock of Germany's eastward thrust."

British intelligence thus instigated the assasination Of Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand by the Serbian Black Hand with the assistance of the Serbian Government in the hopes that it would incite Austria-Hungary to attack Serbia and break the rail link between Berlin and the Middle East.

"If 'Berlin-Baghdad' were achieved, a huge block of territory producing every kind of economic wealth, and unassailable by sea-power would be united under German authority," warned R.G.D. Laffan.

An India to Russia railway would do the same under SCO authority.

The Big Picture: Iran and the SCO

The three allied countries Russia, China and Iran hold a significant part of the Eurasian landmass, forming a "tall wall against western mischief," as the Iranian media Press TV pointedly formulated.

With Putin as President, the West can expect Russia turning further towards Asia. He already announced that he will continue strengthening ties with the republics of the post-Soviet space and cooperate closely with SCO countries.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was founded 2001 in Shanghai, People's Republic of China. Current members are China and Russia as main driving forces, together with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status. Belarus and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners, while the status of Turkmenistan is that of guest attendance.

SCO countries cooperate in security, holding regular joint military exercises in Eurasia. As Iranian writer Hamid Golpira remarked, "control of the Eurasian landmass is the key to global domination, and control of Central Asia is the key to control of the Eurasian landmass." The SCO states are paying close attention to everything pertaining to the Eurasian landmass.

China Daily wrote, "SCO member countries have the ability and responsibility to safeguard the security of the Central Asian region." Consequently, Russian and Chinese forces control the Eurasian periphery on a permanent basis.

SCO Interbank has been created to be independent from international banking systems.

Putin said at the SCO summit in 2007, "We now clearly see the defectiveness of the monopoly in world finance and the policy of economic selfishness. Russia will take part in changing the global financial structure so that it will be able to guarantee stability and prosperity in the world."

On the 23rd of November 2010, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and China's Premier Wen Jiabao agreed on bilateral trade in their national currencies, ruble and yuan. China is Russia's client for oil and gas as well as military exports, making up 30 percent of Russian foreign sales.

Iran also engages in trade with both Russia and China in their own currencies. The SCO Interbank is a direct assault on the US dollar as the world's reserve currency.

Through the SCO Interbank, SCO countries can trade in their own currencies without having to use the US Dollar, and bypassing the Western powers international financial system.

See the Magic Cheque book in Robert Newman's History of Oil

Dec. 31st, 2011

Save the Rich - Garfunkel and Oates

Dec. 13th, 2011

Discussion of the Methane Emergency at the AGU

The scale and volume of the methane release has astonished the head of the Russian research team who has been surveying the seabed of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for nearly 20 years.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Igor Semiletov, of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that he has never before witnessed the scale and force of the methane being released from beneath the Arctic seabed.

"Earlier we found torch-like structures like this but they were only tens of metres in diameter. This is the first time that we've found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures, more than 1,000 metres in diameter. It's amazing," Dr Semiletov said. "I was most impressed by the sheer scale and high density of the plumes. Over a relatively small area we found more than 100, but over a wider area there should be thousands of them."

Scientists estimate that there are hundreds of millions of tonnes of methane gas locked away beneath the Arctic permafrost, which extends from the mainland into the seabed of the relatively shallow sea of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. One of the greatest fears is that with the disappearance of the Arctic sea-ice in summer, and rapidly rising temperatures across the entire region, which are already melting the Siberian permafrost, the trapped methane could be suddenly released into the atmosphere leading to rapid and severe climate change.

In late summer, the Russian research vessel Academician Lavrentiev conducted an extensive survey of about 10,000 square miles of sea off the East Siberian coast. Scientists deployed four highly sensitive instruments, both seismic and acoustic, to monitor the "fountains" or plumes of methane bubbles rising to the sea surface from beneath the seabed.

"In a very small area, less than 10,000 square miles, we have counted more than 100 fountains, or torch-like structures, bubbling through the water column and injected directly into the atmosphere from the seabed," Dr Semiletov said. "We carried out checks at about 115 stationary points and discovered methane fields of a fantastic scale – I think on a scale not seen before. Some plumes were a kilometre or more wide and the emissions went directly into the atmosphere – the concentration was a hundred times higher than normal."

Dr Semiletov released his findings for the first time last week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

This situation can start an uncontrollable sequence of events that would make world agriculture and civilization unsustainable. It is a real threat to the survival of humanity and most life on Earth.

Nov. 19th, 2011

We are the Many

We Are The Many

Ye come here, gather 'round the stage
The time has come for us to voice our rage
Against the ones who've trapped us in a cage
To steal from us the value of our wage

From underneath the vestiture of law
The lobbyists at Washington do gnaw
At liberty, the bureaucrats guffaw
And until they are purged, we won't withdraw

We'll occupy the streets
We'll occupy the courts
We'll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

Our nation was built upon the right
Of every person to improve their plight
But laws of this Republic they rewrite
And now a few own everything in sight

They own it free of liability
They own, but they are not like you and me
Their influence dictates legality
And until they are stopped we are not free

We'll occupy the streets
We'll occupy the courts
We'll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

You enforce your monopolies with guns
While sacrificing our daughters and sons
But certain things belong to everyone
Your thievery has left the people none

So take heed of our notice to redress
We have little to lose, we must confess
Your empty words do leave us unimpressed
A growing number join us in protest

We occupy the streets
We occupy the courts
We occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

You can't divide us into sides
And from our gaze, you cannot hide
Denial serves to amplify
And our allegiance you can't buy

Our government is not for sale
The banks do not deserve a bail
We will not reward those who fail
We will not move till we prevail

We'll occupy the streets
We'll occupy the courts
We'll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

We'll occupy the streets
We'll occupy the courts
We'll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

We are the many
You are the few

Sang for world leaders at APEC summit dinner

Oct. 24th, 2011

Data on Arctic methane will be available in six months

The first results of methane discharge research conducted by the expedition to the Eastern Arctic, which concluded its work on Monday, will be ready in about six months, Dr. Igor Semiletov, expedition leader and head of the Arctic Research Laboratory at the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told RIA Novosti.

The expedition of 27 Russian and U.S. scientists left Vladivostok on September 2 at short notice to study massive methane discharges from underwater gas hydrates in the Eastern Arctic. A special focus on this problem can be explained by the fact that a drastic increase of this gas in the Earth’s atmosphere can exacerbate the greenhouse effect.

According to Semiletov, the scientists detected the most powerful methane discharges in the north of the Laptev Sea. Although earlier the scientists detected only several eruptions of gas, this time they found thousands of them using state-of-the-art equipment.

Oct. 11th, 2011

Methane Eruption in November 2010 Inaugurates End of the World

The stratospheric methane migration routes determined overlie regions of recent massive fires in Siberia, Texas and the Middle East. The danger of a strong link between earthquake activity along the Gakkel Ridge with destabilization of the submarine Arctic methane hydrates and the release of giant plumes of methane to the atmosphere was emphasised by Light and Solana (2002). A Russian - US expedition has just visited the eastern part of the Arctic seas (northern Laptev and Bering seas) and according to the expedition chief found powerful methane emissions into the atmosphere from methane torches connected to submarine, subcrustal methane sources activated by strong seismic activity in the region (Semiletov, 2011).

Continued opening of the angular Gakkel Ridge rift in 2011 generated compression and strike slip motion in the onshore region south of Tiksi Siberia causing earthquakes in the permafrost (Figure 5). The earthquake activity generated a massive methane plume in the atmosphere in November 2010 which was spread by stratospheric winds across Siberia, Europe and the Middle East into the Sahara and Atlantic. Other stratospheric winds have carried the methane across North America into the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean (Figure 5).

The amount of methane being emitted into the atmosphere from the Arctic region has been estimated from the rising GISS temperature gradient for each year for the next 20 years (Table 1). It is round 1.82 to 1.88 Gigga tonnes per year now but will rise to between 3.36 to 3.47 Gigga tonnes a year by 2039/2040 at which time a full 50 Gigga tonnes (Shakova et al. 1980) will have been released and mankind will be extinct.

November 2010 is when Shakhova reported Leifer's estimate of 3.5 GT annual release already occurring at the Navy Dept. Symposium.

Sep. 3rd, 2011

Scientists Rush to Arctic as Methane Release Increases Dramatically

A group of Russian and U.S. scientists will leave the port of Vladivostok on Friday on board a Russian research ship to study methane emissions in the eastern part of the Arctic.

"This expedition was organized on a short notice by the Russian Fund of Fundamental Research and the U.S. National Science Foundation following the discovery of a dramatic increase in the leakage of methane gas from the seabed in the eastern part of the Arctic", said Professor Igor Semiletov, the head of the expedition.

The group consists of 27 scientists who would attempt to measure the scale of methane emissions and clarify the nature of the process.

The 45-day expedition will focus on the sea shelf of the Laptev Sea, the East Siberian Sea and the Russian part of the Chukotsk Sea, where 90% of underwater permafrost is located.

"We assume that the leakage of methane results from the degradation of underwater permafrost...A massive release of such a powerful greenhouse gas may accelerate global warming," Semiletov said.

Aug. 26th, 2011

Sangamon to present - A long time coming

During the Sangamon interglacial, rivers flowed north into the Arctic dumping organic material onto the shelves. At the start of the last stadial, ice dams formed, forcing the rivers to flow south. The sea level in the Arctic dropped exposing the shelves. The shelves remained exposed throughout the last stadial, and as the Holocene began, glacial meltwater turned the shelves first into a wetland, then with the rise of sea level, the shelves were submerged.

The permafrost that formed throughout the last stadial began to degrade even before the shelves were submerged as thermokarst lakes and rivers formed taliks. Much like is happening to terrestrial permafrost today.

Once submerged, the new warmer subsea environment, the salinity(think what happens when you put salt on a frozen doorstep), and geothermal flux from below, worked over the last 8,000 years to degrade the permafrost to the point that it now is pourous, and and even totally gone in places, over an area of 2 million sq km.

Much of the methane hydrates that formed over the last 100,000 years since the Sangamon, dissociated leaving a large reservoir of free methane gas, prevented from releasing only by the layer of permafrost which until now had acted as a cap.

Since the shelf is on average about 50 meters deep, any methane released does not interact with the water column, but releases directly to the atmosphere.

This is the end result of a geological process that has been going on for thousands of years and is a part of a natural cycle.

Without AGW and with the current placement within the Milankovitch cycles, we would already be in the beginning stages of a new stadial. This would potentially have put us in a situation where the subsea methane might not be releasing.

We have to recognize that, just like all life on the planet, we are part of the life cycle of the planet.

We as a species have been as successful as any species can be, and just like all other species, we filled our niche until our numbers outstripped our ability to survive and are about to reach the point of dieoff.

Our only difference from other species, is that we discovered fossil fuels, which allowed us to expand our population far beyond where we would normally have died back.

Throughout most of our existence, we have bumped against a ceiling of famine and pestilence which has naturally curbed our numbers.

We found a way around it, only to put ourselves in more dire circumstances when the limits were finally reached, and in doing so actually contributed to a geological scale change that would probably not have otherwise happened.

There is no blame to be assigned. It was an unfortunate convergence of geological processes, planetary cycles, and human inovation involving fossil fuels that resulted in this crisis. Had we been in the middle of a stadial instead of an interstadial, had we been at a different point in the cycles of planetary distance, orbit, and orientation to the sun, things would be different.

Jul. 22nd, 2011

25 years since global temps were below average

'Unmistakable signal,' says expert of the 41 indicators tracked in 'State of the Climate'

It's been more than 300 months since the average global average temperature was below average, scientists and the U.S. government said in the annual State of the Climate report released Tuesday.

The experts tracked 41 climate indicators, four more than in the previous year, and "they all show a continued tendency," said Tom Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center. "The indicators show unequivocally that the world continues to warm."

"There is a clear and unmistakable signal from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans," added Peter Thorne of the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites at North Carolina State University.

Carbon dioxide increased by 2.60 parts per million in the atmosphere in 2010, which is more than the average annual increase seen from 1980-2010, Karl said. Carbon dioxide is the major greenhouse gas accumulating in the air that atmospheric scientists blame for warming the climate.

The warmer conditions are consistent with events such as heat waves and extreme rainfall, Karl said at a teleconference.

Deke Arndt, chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch at NCDC, noted that every month since early 1985 has been warmer than the 20th century average for the month.

Overnight record highs far exceed daytime record highs

While the current heat wave has recorded 12 all-time daily highs so far this month, it also has registered 98 all-time overnight highs, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported at a briefing Thursday.

That's just all-time highs.

When it comes to a record high for a particular date, 1,279 locations have tied or broken daytime records this month, while 3,128 nighttime highs have been tied or broken.

Meteorologists warned the oppressive hot spell, which has already claimed as many as 22 lives in the Midwest, could be worse than the punishing heat wave of 1995.

When temperatures overnight do not cool to levels that provide relief, it increases the stress on people without air conditioning, on livestock and on crops, said Deke Arndt, chief of the Climate Modeling Branch at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

In general, both daytime and nighttime temperature increases "are consistent with what we would expect in a greenhouse-warmed world," he added.

High overnight readings also increase energy consumption as air conditioning units run deeper into the night and start earlier in the morning, he said.

This problem was a major factor in the 1995 heat wave that struck Chicago, claiming more than 700 lives, Angel said.


Jul. 11th, 2011

How it will end

Right now, the mass media is just starting to catch on that things are worse than they thought.

They are not even close to understanding it's too late. Let alone how abruptly things are going to get very bad.

Our general society dumbed down over the last 35 years. Starting from the Reagan Administration they defunded higher education by just not keeping pace with rising tuition.

Then they appealed to man's baser nature, to make him direct his fear and anger against his fellow man.

So that we have a population that can't understand, and won't listen, even if you try to educate them, as they will now choose the explanation that best aligns with their biases and hatreds.

It's like 1930's lynch mobs again. They aren't acting yet, but they will.

It will turn into witch hunts against the people they have always wished they had a justification for attacking. It won't have anything to do with what is going on.

It doesn't matter in terms of doing anything. There is nothing to be done. It is too late.

But the world is about to get real ugly.

Civilization as we define it will be lucky to make it to 2020.

If Ira Liefer's estimate for non-gradual annual emissions of methane from the ESAS are correct, we will face 300 years of projected warming over the next decade.

That is catastrophic climate change on a scale that even the most pessimistic among us can't fathom.

We are talking the total collapse of the food distribution system as crops fail at levels of 80 and 90%. Where there just is no food anywhere on the planet to feed most of the population.

Famine, then pandemics from weakened immune systems, starvation and pestilence to surpass anything envisioned for the Apocalypse.

Human die-off could be total but will at least be above the 90th percentile.

I hope that I die before the worst comes to pass.

Jun. 4th, 2011

Methane releases in the Arctic are already huge

The East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) is a 2,000,000 km2 region. Due to amplification of global warming, the ESAS can now be 10°C or 18°F warmer than average temperatures were 1951-1980 (NASA image left).

Shakhova and Semiletov (2010) conclude that this ESAS region should be considered the most potential in terms of possible climate change caused by abrupt release of methane, and they estimate that the ESAS is now releasing 3.5Gt of methane annually.

Scientists such as Howarth et al. (2011) estimate that methane has a GWP of 105 over 20 years. Using that figure, a 3.5Gt of methane would have a greenhouse effect equivalent to 367.5 Pg of carbon dioxide.

By comparison, the entire rise in carbon dioxide between 1850 and 2000 was 174 PgC, i.e. not even half of what the ESAS is releasing now annually.

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