Climate Open Thread Plus Cartoon Of The Week by Joe Romm Sep 8, 2012 10:49 am Share 18 Tweet Comment A penny for your cyber-thoughts. So Many Great Options for Gas By Mike Peters, the Cartoonist Group Share 18 Tweet Comment 34 Responses to Open Thread Plus Cartoon Of The Week Will Fox says: September 8, 2012 at 11:01 am First commercial wave farm gets go-ahead in the U.S. http://www.futuretimeline.net/blog/2012/09/6-2.htm High-tech ferry cuts fuel consumption by 50-100% http://www.futuretimeline.net/blog/2012/09/2-2.htm Artful Dodger says: September 8, 2012 at 11:05 am Arctic sea ice area is now at the level (2.3 Million sq. km) that was predicted to occur by 2070. This from a 2005 study using a then state-of-the-art Global Climate model under a high-emissions scenario. Arctic sea ice is disappearing 5x faster than predicted just 7 years ago. However, the Political Masters of this country are still behaving as if this science was state-of-the-art. It’s time to get ahead of the curve, not to constantly be surprised by events. This is no way to run a Country, or a world. Artful Dodger says: September 8, 2012 at 11:12 am Arctic Sea Ice area (in Millions of sq.km) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign website “Cryosphere Today”: 2.98 M on Sep 6, 2012 http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.recent.arctic.png Artful Dodger says: September 8, 2012 at 11:13 am Pardon, that should be 2.298 million sq.km. Artful Dodger says: September 8, 2012 at 11:24 am The 2005 sea ice prediction appears in this journal article: Singarayer et.al (2005) “Twenty-First-Century Climate Impacts from a Declining Arctic Sea Ice Cover”, FIG. 2. Time series of September average Arctic sea ice areas, 1980-2100 Read the Journal article here. Will Fox says: September 8, 2012 at 11:54 am Despite Continued Growth, Low Prices for PV Technology Are Hampering the Maturation of the Solar Power Industry http://www.pikeresearch.com/newsroom/despite-continued-growth-low-prices-for-pv-technology-are-hampering-the-maturation-of-the-solar-power-industry Jack Burton says: September 8, 2012 at 11:58 am Good find Artful Dodger. This is what I have been saying for the last few years, that we have exploded past the models that predicted effects into the late 21st century. We are decades ahead of worst case scenarios. Many factors could be responsible. Feed Back loops kicking in. The ability of earth’s systems to absorb CO2 is weakening. Whatever the reasons, we are in a high emission situation and the rise of China as number one emitter is an example of the worst case scenario we are in. Faye Sinnott says: September 8, 2012 at 12:28 pm Nice article from AU on Spain’s successful solar-energy-stored-in-salt investments…. http://www.smh.com.au/business/fund-studies-not-schemes-says-windsor-20110814-1it1r.html Would that our political system would encourage us to engage in some of these technologies…. Joan Savage says: September 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm Jeff Masters wunderblog on the severe weather coming into the Northeast drew attention the system’s earlier effects in Witchita. “Record heat was observed in advance of the storm’s cold front yesterday; Wichita Falls, TX hit a record high of 109, the hottest temperature ever recorded there so late in the season. When the cold front blew through at 7 pm CDT, the temperature dropped 15 degrees in 16 minutes, falling to 66 degrees by midnight.” Abrupt changes in temperature and humidity seem to fit with the climate change prediction of more deluge & more drought, but I’d like to hear from experts about any correlation. Brooks Bridges says: September 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm Dr Romm, I keep expecting a post on the speakers at the DNC. I thought several sounded like they’d read and profited from your new book. CW says: September 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm A Decade of Lost Electricity Demand Growth Forcing a New US Energy Landscape, Wood Mackenzie Research Report summary claims that because of the recession and energy efficiency efforts, the US electricity demand will only grow at 1%/year for the next two decades instead of 2%, thus creating a ‘lost decade’ of demand growth. The report apparently then argues, if I get them right, that this will be bad for renewables because meeting quotas (percents of total generation) will now be easier with lower levels of overall generation. But the opposite could be true too, no? In the sense that now larger fractions of power could be generated with renewables if lower total generation levels exist going forward. Report summary also notes distributed electricity generation will have an affect on demand. I’ve asked for the full report but haven’t received it yet. Wonder if this is industry recognizing a tipping point. Paul Klinkman says: September 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm We used to say that we knew Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons because we had the receipts. Now we know that China is the number one emitter of greenhouse gases because we have the receipts for all the coal we sell them. Paul Klinkman says: September 8, 2012 at 4:54 pm After the Vietnam conflict ended, the North Vietnamese generals were asked if there was anything the U.S. could have done to win the war. Yes, they said. The entire war revolved around the U.S. making a simple military blunder. The U.S. would have won the war, the generals said if they had stayed in Laos and cut off the North Vietnamese supply lines to the south. Future generations will ask, is there anything simple and technical that we could have done that would have headed off the worst of climate change. I believe that the answer is yes. We could have driven the cost of several critical solar technologies down, mostly by simple inventions and product development of those simple inventions. It turns out that all of the big business “invention” was pretty much fakery in return for lots of cash, but thousands of independent inventors had all sorts of real answers. Any state’s government could have done this, and their particular state’s unemployment rate would have become effectively zero. Any moderate-sized group of citizens could have formed a community-oriented business and could have won the same victory. This will remain one of the great quandries of modern history — why nobody at all did it, why nobody could figure it out and why nobody at all even thought it important enough to report the idea. And so a great victory turned to the historic catastrophe. Chris Winter says: September 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm Spock: “I endeavor to be accurate.” Kirk: “You do quite well.” As do you, A.D. I hope you understand this comment is meant as praise. Wes says: September 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm The scariest book I’ve read recently is by physicist and science writer Mark Buchanan, “Ubiquity: Why Catastrophes Happen.” It’s about complex systems and critical states, of which the climate is one. The key finding by many researchers, in fields as seemingly different as earthquakes, stock markets and mass extinctions, is that with these kinds of systems it is impossible to know in advance the magnitude of the impact of any random event. The bad news for us on climate is that depending on a sort of linear progression of bad news is being overly optimistic. We don’t know if one more methane vent or one less glacier will create a climate runaway and we can’t afford to roll the dice. It lends a real sense of urgency (not that we don’t have one now) to what we do. Artful Dodger says: September 8, 2012 at 6:01 pm The present warming is from CO2 emitted 30 years ago. Present emissions will not be felt in full force until 2040. By then, it will be far too late to stem the tide, literally. Paul Magnus says: September 8, 2012 at 7:38 pm ominous indication of the wild weather to become the norm… Climate Chaos shared a link. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Climate-Chaos/187700434593711 5 hours ago Infant, 3 Others Killed In Fierce Storms http://www.huffingtonpost.com NOWATA, Okla. — Authorities say a couple and their grandchild had no time to reach a shelter before winds from a severe thunderstorm flung their mobile home into a creek in northeast Oklahoma, killing them. The three were among four people who died in severe storms that blasted through Oklahom… Paul Magnus says: September 8, 2012 at 7:39 pm Climate Chaos shared a link. 3 minutes ago http://t.co/aa1PJd67 Severe weather in Northeast; Tornado in NYC t.co NWS issues severe weather advisory for much of Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, lower Great Lakes regions; Tornado confirmed in NYC PAUL DONOHUE says: September 8, 2012 at 8:33 pm I wonder what the chances are for a large loss of ice from Greenland such as Heinrich event that would cause a sudden rise of sea level and get everyone’s attention. The world needs convincing that global warming is serious and must be stopped. So far we are just like the proverbial frog in heating water. Paul Klinkman says: September 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm One part of the Greenland ice sheet becomes an ice river that runs west through a relatively narrow channel to the sea. Normal ice flow through this channel is, well, glacial, but at one recent point the channel became lubricated on its bottom with too much water, and the ice channel suddenly flowed 5 miles in 90 minutes, if I remember right. So, as for the idea that a pretty big ice sheet, in this case the part of the Greenland ice sheet that rests on the sea bed or the West Antarctic ice sheet, can somewhat liquefy and slide down to the ocean, I suppose the answer is yes it can happen. It really helps if the ice is loaded with melted water on its bottom. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an uncommon triggering event also, such as an earthquake or an asteroid strike. Still, some avalanches have been started by one skier. Paul Magnus says: September 8, 2012 at 9:39 pm “The entire ice cover is now on the point of collapse […] It is truly the case that it will be all gone by 2015.” http://skepticalscience.com/do-we-know-when-the-arctic-will-be-sea-ice-free.html Paul Magnus says: September 8, 2012 at 9:51 pm El Nino on its way… https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/255552_480143612004151_1303160870_n.jpg we may see a virtually ice free Arctic in the next 1yr or 2. Paul Magnus says: September 8, 2012 at 9:53 pm Climate Portals shared a link. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Climate-Portals/139434822741700 2 hours ago SitNews: Study finds wetter Arctic could accelerate melt http://www.sitnews.us Ketchikan, Alaska news. Southeast Alaska news, Alaska news, national and world news. Joan Savage says: September 9, 2012 at 4:55 am A Heinrich event cools the planet by about 2 C for a few thousand years. NOAA Paleoclimatology Program page on Heinrich and Dansgaard-Oeschger events: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/abrupt/data3.html Will Fox says: September 9, 2012 at 5:06 am Coastal erosion may have been “dramatically underestimated” – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120904100145.htm Joan Savage says: September 9, 2012 at 5:09 am The 2C estimate is from Elsa Cortijo et al (1997) Changes in sea surface hydrology associated with Heinrich event 4 in the North Atlantic Ocean between 40° and 60°N http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X96002178 Spike says: September 9, 2012 at 5:19 am I was looking at past sea level rises recently after reading Hansen’s comments about rapid sea level rise at the end of the last ice age – he talked of 5-7 metres/century at its most rapid then. I found this discussion of the events at that time: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120711134716.htm “Towards the end of the last ice age, at the time of mammoths and primitive humans, the climate naturally warmed. This started to melt ice at increasingly high elevations, eventually reaching and melting the saddle area between the ice domes. This triggered a vicious circle in which the melting saddle would lower, reach warmer altitudes and melt even more rapidly until the saddle had completely melted. In just 500 years, the saddles disappeared and only the ice domes remained. The melted ice flowed into the oceans leading to rapid sea level rises of 9 m in 500 years during the Meltwater pulse 1a event 14,600 years ago and 2.5 m in the second event, 8,200 years ago. Dr Gregoire, lead author of the study, said: “We didn’t expect our model to produce such a rapid sea level rise. We got really excited when we realised that the events we simulated corresponded to real events!” And: In the model, Dr Gregoire found that saddle-collapse could explain a significant amount of the sea level rise observed: “The meltwater pulse produced by the saddle-collapse can explain more than half of the sea level jump observed around 14,600 years ago. The rest probably came from the progressive melting of ice sheets in Europe and Antarctica.” Spike says: September 9, 2012 at 5:37 am The UK Treasury still fails to comprehend climate change and push for a significant expansion of gas generation as well as new airport capacity: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/tories-dash-for-gas-risks-climate-target-8120153.html Spike says: September 9, 2012 at 6:02 am And yet in the UK we have the growing attempt by contrarians to water down even the Stern Review recommendations which most readers of this blog know to be hopelessly inadequate http://www.publicserviceeurope.com/article/2397/stern-climate-change-review-not-fit-for-purpose-says-tory-mp What will history say about those who attempt to delay the necessary action? Our children and grandchildren will shake their heads and wonder why we let it happen. Artful Dodger says: September 9, 2012 at 9:09 am HaHa, yeah Chris. That should be 4.734 without all the extra CO2!! Live long and prosper! Dennis Tomlinson says: September 9, 2012 at 9:44 am It has been pointed out on CP that when six pounds of carbon are combusted it creates twnety-two pounds of CO2 by adding sixteen pounds of oxygen. In keeping with the conservation of matter, wouldn’t the sequestering of twenty-two pounds of CO2 via photosynthesis actually sequester only six pounds of carbon, releasing sixteen pounds of oxygen into the atmosphere? Please excuse my inanity. I make my living by asking questions. Joan Savage says: September 9, 2012 at 10:07 am Increased climate instability is knocking down agriculture now, long before a Heinrich event from Antarctica or Greenland could be expected to kick the earth’s temperature back down a few degrees. The Heinrich event could occur after the human species is on the far downside of our population curve. Artful Dodger says: September 9, 2012 at 11:11 am Hi folks, Have you seen “The Last Days on Earth”? It’s an American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) 20/20 science special which aired in August 2006 and has subsequently on “The History Channel” (USA). More about this Special here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Days_on_Earth The 7th and last part describes the threat from Climate change. It’s 10 minutes on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VxvQGe7Bgc It’s remarkable how quickly the U.S. denial machine mobilized to defeat the real threat of climate change: to their bottom line. “Move along. Nothing to see here. Resume shopping.” Chris Winter says: September 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm This is not about climate change directly, but it touches on it so I’ll throw it in. After watching Dan Rather’s interview at the UK Guardian in which he describes the corporate takeover of major media in America, including CBS News, I wondered how much coverage the interview got in the U.S. Not much, based on a cursory search. But his book Rather Outspoken, released this spring, did better. For example, there’s this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leslie-griffith/rather-outspoken-review_b_1531866.html Regarding property, privilege and abuse of power, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “Let our countrymen know, that the people alone can protect us against these evils, and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose, is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles, who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.” Now that’s a great quote. Of course, Rather and his book are predictably blasted by right-wing commentators like L. Brent Bozell. But what else do we expect?