Climate Open Thread and Climate Cartoon of the Week by Joe Romm Jan 14, 2012 8:36am Share 15 Tweet 29 Comment A cyber-penny for your thoughts. Related Post: Is that airlifted snow on your Olympic ski mountain, or is your enormous helicopter just happy to see me? Tags Climate Change Deniers Share 15 Tweet 29 Comment 97 Responses to Open Thread and Climate Cartoon of the Week Mike Roddy says: January 14, 2012 at 9:03 am Speaking of the deniers, the biggest problem is their being treated with a straight face by the mainstream media. This is worse than Fox celebrating them, since most people know who Fox works for. Fact checking is now considered either quaint or irrelevant. You won’t hear about the oil companies being called out on their 100,000 pipeline jobs claim anywhere. Lies in the media not only do not produce outrage, they are ignored. Joe’s story about the New York Times Public Editor’s chortling about the requirement to deal with facts was revealing. That whole post with comments should be sent to news executives around the country. And over on Dot Earth, denier drivel from the likes of “wmar” is acceded to, and even wins a comment award from time to time. This is an inner problem with Americans. If we cannot address reality and expose those who twist it, our future is bleak on many fronts. Will Fox says: January 14, 2012 at 9:55 am Researchers in California have produced a cheap plastic capable of removing large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air. The new material could enable the development of “artificial trees” that lower atmospheric concentrations of CO2 – http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/01/new-co2-sucker-could-help-clear-.html?rss=1 Andrea Kelly says: January 14, 2012 at 9:59 am I think part of the reason deniers are countenanced by mainstream media is that some news organizations think that to be ‘fair and balanced’ they need to represent both sides of any issue (as if issues always come with two and only two sides), which gives the impression that both sides are equally plausible, even when overwhelming percentages of the evidence and expert opinion support one side. Wes Rolley says: January 14, 2012 at 10:16 am Mike wrote: “If we cannot address reality and expose those who twist it, our future is bleak on many fronts.” Humans seem to have a great ability to redefine almost everything to fit into some over-arching ideal. Maybe this is only a part of our American exeptionalism. Still we all look to economic growth as a given, wonderful thing and never challenge it’s Ponzi scheme side. We take a positive view of being warmer. But as soon as an issue becomes politicl, those who would take a stand for reality and condemned for being unrealistic… that they can’t win an office so don’t deserve consideration. In my community, there is a man who flies the American flag upside down because he feels that America is in deep trouble. I would agree with that assessment even though we might have a different list of evidence. Lionel A says: January 14, 2012 at 10:47 am I’ll offer a couple of post that I first put up at DesMogBlog ‘On accountability and the long history of denial’. Visitors here are doubtless aware of Channel 4’s (Martin Durkin) ‘The Great Global Warming Scandal’ and how mischievous that documentary cartoon presentation was and how roundly debunked its many myths were (most for the umpteenth time and many more times since) but I would like to remind about an earlier Channel 4 denial presentation: The Greenhouse Conspiracy featuring many well known confusion artists using the denial equivalent of magicians ‘smoke and mirrors’: Dave Aubrey Robert Balling Sherwood Idso Peter Jonas – Professor, Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Manchester Richard Lindzen – Professor, Department of Meteorology, M.I.T. Patrick Michaels – Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia Reginald Newell Julian Paren Roy Spencer – Weather Satellite Team Leader, NASA as found on: this Wiki’ page . These deserve their names set in stone for posterity – whatever that may bring. Let them not be forgotten. and As mentioned at Skeptical Science As mentioned at Skeptical Science: Patrick Michaels continues his deception with a piece in Forbes, ‘Is Global Warming a Bipolar Disorder?’: http://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickmichaels/2012/01/05/is-global-warming-a-bipolar-disorder/ It is way past time that the likes of Michaels were taken to account. prokaryotes says: January 14, 2012 at 10:48 am lol, i had a laugh (great cartoon) prokaryotes says: January 14, 2012 at 11:12 am What exactly must be done to avert catastrophic climate change? How much carbon footprint per person is sustainable? Exactly what kind of immediate actions must be done to reduce our emissions? It must be made clear what the low emission scenario with action to suck carbon out of the atmosphere and BAU scenario are. BAU is not sustainable option and will likely lead to society-civilization collapse. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported Biochar as a key technology for reaching low carbon dioxide atmospheric concentration targets. The negative emissions that can be produced by Bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) has been estimated by the Royal Society to be equivalent to a 50 to 150 ppm decrease in global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. Annual net emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide could be reduced by a maximum of 1.8 Pg CO2-C equivalent (CO2-Ce) per year (12% of current anthropogenic CO2-Ce emissions; 1 Pg=1 Gt), and total net emissions over the course of a century by 130 Pg CO2-Ce, without endangering food security, habitat or soil conservation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biochar We need Co2 free city zones. We need less mineral oil usage (plastic bag ban, less plastic packages, heavily subsidized alternatives to conventional fossil fuels, a Co2 Tax on everything which emits carbon dioxide or methane) We need action now! Leif says: January 14, 2012 at 11:25 am Will those plastic trees actually support biodiversity? You know like bugs and seeds for birds, bees, caterpillars and the like. Shed leaves to nurture the ground for new growth, worms, moles, rabbits, mice, hawks, deer, wolves and cougar? Reproduce when they become saturated, decompose into food for the next round of absorption? Inspire the imagination and awe of future generations? prokaryotes says: January 14, 2012 at 11:54 am A Molecule That Could Solve Climate Change; What’s Killing the Bees Our global warming savior. For those who believe all that talk about climate change and how bad it’s going to be for humans and ecosystems and the planet, science has some good news for us today. Researchers have discovered a molecule that could help cool our rapidly warming Earth: Criegee biradicals. These molecules react with chemicals in pollutants, helping clean up the atmosphere. The researchers had two exciting discoveries for those worried about climate change induced Armageddon. These Criegee biradicals react quicker than first thought. And, the reaction accelerates the formation of sulphate and nitrate in the atmosphere — substances that lead to cloud formation, which would ultimately cool the planet. Sounds too good to be true. [Manchester] What’s killing all the bees. Today we have some answers to the mysterious and very disconcerting mass honeybee death phenomenon. Insecticides (duh?) are causing some of the deaths, found researchers at Purdue. “We know that these insecticides are highly toxic to bees; we found them in each sample of dead and dying bees,” said study co-author Christian Krupke. The U.S. is losing about a third of its honeybee population a year. Bees are important; this is bad — don’t take our words for it, 60 Minutes’s Steve Kroft explains. http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/01/molecule-could-solve-climate-change-whats-killing-bees/47409/ John Tucker says: January 14, 2012 at 12:05 pm Gas-hydrate tests to begin in Alaska US team will pump waste carbon dioxide into natural-gas well to extract methane. researchers will pump CO2 down a well in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, into a hydrate deposit. If all goes as planned, the CO2 molecules will exchange with the methane in the hydrates, leaving the water crystals intact and freeing the methane to flow up the well. Conventional wells in the Prudhoe Bay gas fields contain a very high concentration of carbon dioxide — about 12% of the gas. “You have to find something to do with it,” The United States has no urgent need to mine methane hydrates, says Boswell, because it will continue to have access to much cheaper natural-gas resources for some time to come. [ http://www.nature.com/news/gas-hydrate-tests-to-begin-in-alaska-1.9758 ] More cheap NG yay. – I suppose the research will help sequestration research – that is DOA now more or less. John Tucker says: January 14, 2012 at 12:29 pm I really like dot earth but I dont have time to read the denial stuff. A little is ok but the un-sourced repeats are a real drag. They have a flag for everything EXCEPT factually incorrect posts. (rather telling considering the recent editorial posted) That should be the FIRST one available. Providing a forum without a basis in reason and logic is really just providing a political based denier platform. It will alway go that way as the foundation is built in populist sensibilities; argumentative popularity not argument quality. (ill post that over there). I don’t know what is so difficult about that concept for science types – “free speech” was never intended to be a vehicle for misinformation. John Tucker says: January 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm Today, the United States Geological Survey estimates that these deposits may contain more organic carbon than all the world’s coal, oil, and non-hydrate natural gas combined ( http://www.netl.doe.gov/publications/factsheets/program/prog026.pdf ) John Tucker says: January 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm That is total methane hydrate. Not just the stuff in oil wells. Also I am not as up on the chemistry/physics but if they are using CO2 to release additional methane, how is that process possibly duplicated in the atmosphere as a feedback? and if so what are the quantities?? (I think they discussed this recently, or at least would hope.) Joan Savage says: January 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm From Pilot Peter Garay aboard the Russian tanker Renda approaching Nome, AK through the sea ice on January 13. “This morning while on the bridge Michail Shestakov (Vitus Marine’s representative who is riding aboard the ship) asked, “Peter, do you know the difference between and optimist and a pessimist?” Shrugging my shoulders, I replied “no”. “A pessimist is a very well informed optimist,” Michail answered.” http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/update-renda-everyone-can-smell-sweet-spot?page=0,1 david g swanger says: January 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm I’d like to propose some terminology, borrowed from evolutionary biology, that might help clarify a particular aspect of global warming. Evolutionary biologists often distinguish between two sorts of causes: proximate and ultimate. If you’re discussing the causes of language, say, the proximate causes are things like the perisylvian areas of the brain (where the brain processes language), or the genes that code for that region of the brain. But when you talk about ultimate causes, you’re talking about the evolutionary conditions that selected for language in the distant past. The two types of causation work on different timescales; in language, proximate causes work on a scale from seconds to a lifetime, and ultimate causes on a scale of thousands to millions of years. The relevance to climate change? When we ask why it’s so hot lately, one answer refers to the movement of fronts over the last few days, or the fact that it’s summer. This is the proximate cause of current conditions. But their ultimate cause is a process like global warming, working on a timescale of decades to centuries. In short, weather is a proximate cause; climate is an ultimate one. But the most important thing to realize is that proximate and ultimate causes do not exclude each other, anymore than the rotation of the Earth excludes its revolving around the Sun; you don’t choose between them, nor do they disprove each other; they simply work at different scales and speeds. Proximate causes are nested within ultimate causes, and ultimate causes work through proximate causes. Evolution shifted the frequencies of genes that built brains more capable of using our tongue and lips to shape puffs of air into words. You couldn’t talk without megayears of selection behind it; but you can’t talk without vocal chords either. Similarly, the effects of climate change are felt through changes in daily weather. Meteorology and climatology aren’t really different subjects; they’re the same subject at different scales, each of which involves the other. I think the poentially helpful aspect of using this language is to avoid false either/ors when discussing these issues. I think the usage of these terms might help us remember that the proper perspective on climate and weather is both/and. david g swanger says: January 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm That should be “potentially” in the last paragraph, of course. Apologies. Pangolin says: January 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm Has anybody but me noticed that there is almost no rain or snow hitting the ground in the entire lower 48 states. In JANUARY!?! It’s not simply that it’s refusing to rain in California, Arizona and Texas. If you look at a national radar map the usual storm bands wandering across the U.S. are practically non-existant. Is this as odd as I think it is or am I overlooking some sort of rare but regular event. Chris Lock says: January 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm This past week, hearings into the proposed Northern Gateway Project have begun in Kitimat, British Columbia. These hearings are scheduled to last two years, with thousands of people signed up to speak. There is plenty of opposition here in British Columbia. In BC, we take all the risk, but none of the gains. Sure there will be jobs in BC, a few hundred, but this is a tiny number for a big province of 4 million people. All the profits go elsewhere. The Prime Minister this week criticized so called “foreign” environmentalists who are pumping money into opposing the pipeline. Of course, he doesn’t speak of the billions of dollars spent by foreign oil companies to extract the bitumen only then to send profits overseas. Three reasons why the Northern Gateway project is bad: http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2012/01/12/HughesReport/ The Prime Minister makes it sound as if the tar sands are Canada’s only way to make money and create jobs. With this conservative government we have taken a sharp turn to the right, and maybe for the first time ever, the Americans have a more progressive and liberal government than Canadians. Shocking. We will have to replace the Canadian Maple Leaf we sew onto our knapsacks as we tour the world with American flags. Ominous Clouds Overhead says: January 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm Yes, I mentioned in another comment that a friend in the Sierras (Twain Harte) says the bears there didn’t hibernate this year. They’re doing fine finding food, as there’s no snow. The hummingbirds are still there, as are some non-winter birds. Here in SE Utah, no snow and the mountains look like they do in late spring, almost no snow. Days in the high 40s (10 degrees warmer than normal). Paul Magnus says: January 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm deja vu…. vancouver winter/spring olympics… http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20081203/BC_no_snow_ski_?hub=BritishColumbiaHome http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lmHB71paGI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ObeaktMqq0 Colorado Bob says: January 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm Another example of how badly we estimated the velocity of the change – Glaciologist from McGill University in Canada, Michel Baraer said: “Our study reveals that the glaciers feeding the Río Santa watershed are now too small to maintain past water flows. There will be less water, as much as 30 percent less during the dry season.” The study, which Baraer leads and was published recently in the Journal of Glaciology, explains that the shrinking of glaciers produces “a transitory increase in runoff”. However, this increase stabilises and the discharge starts to diminish – and there is no way to reverse this decline. http://www.fellowgeek.com/a-Melting-Glacier-in-Peru-Shrinking-Faster-than-Expected-ix1648.html prokaryotes says: January 14, 2012 at 4:32 pm I think this is a interesting terminology, but it is lacking. Because one must distinct between natural Global Warming, which is for the most part “ultimate” (but for instance could be also proximate in the vent of a large scale impact) – also considered to be natural) Todays Global Warming, since the industrial revolution 1, is proximate of origin but base don the ultimate underlying forces. So i think the distinction we are using here in regards to what you say, is natural vs anthropogenic forcing. The anthropogenic climate change forcing is overlaying the natural climate change (which normally would begin a cooling cycle). Proximate causes rule ultimate causes today. So i don’t really see why climate of today should be only considered ultimate as you suggest. The climate system is to dynamic to set things in stone. Also i think that the nesting of causes should have their own respective naming, not just ultimate vs proximate. Some more critique i found here Ernst Mayr’s ‘ultimate/proximate’ distinction reconsidered and reconstructed http://web.missouri.edu/~ariewa/ultprox.pdf Joan Savage says: January 14, 2012 at 4:47 pm How fast things change. I wore a light vest on Wednesday 1/11. Since Friday morning, I shoveled the driveway six times and wore a down parka with a funnel hood. Winter was late in coming. It is currently 14F / -10C. John Tucker says: January 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm Large Drought areas persist and are expected in some areas to widen ( http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/season_drought.gif ) There also have some notable extreme rain/snow exceptions. Nationally ( http://ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/records/ ) And especially in Houston where there was a flood. ( http://www.khou.com/news/slideshows/Photos-Severe-storms-roll-through-Houston-136945063.html )( http://www.khou.com/home/Tornado-strikes-Mall-of-the-Mainland-in-Texas-City-136960478.html ) There have been 3 tornadoes so far this year ( http://ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/records/ ) prokaryotes says: January 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm In a tweet to ThinkProgress Green, White House Director of Public Engagement Jon Carson promised that he would personally tell Obama that people believe he needs to talk about the science of climate change in his State of the Union address: Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/obama-hears-calls-to-talk-about-climate-threat-in-state-of-the-union.html prokaryotes says: January 14, 2012 at 5:52 pm Geoengineering: A Potential Biochar Application? http://climateforce.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/geoengineering-potential-biochar-application/#comment-593 prokaryotes says: January 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm A commenter noted: FAO on Conservation Agricultural: “In general, soil carbon sequestration during the first decade of adoption of best conservation agricultural practices is 1.8 tons CO2 per hectare per year. On 5 billion hectares of agricultural land, this could represent one-third of the current annual global emission of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels (i.e., 27 Pg CO2 per year).” Jeff H says: January 14, 2012 at 5:59 pm “A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.” – Tacitus We, yes we, are being far too passively acquiescent. We — including thought-leaders of the movement, leaders of the climate and environmental organizations, relevant bloggers, and others who claim to be deeply concerned — are simply (and obviously!) not doing things that we could be doing and should be doing. Period. This includes CAP and CP. My goodness: we read articles about doomsday clocks, about irreversible climate change impacts, about persistent political dysfunction, about actual trends that are more concerning than supposed worst-case scenarios of several years ago, and so forth. And yet we can’t even do things — no, we aren’t willing to do things — to compel our own (progressive?) President to talk about climate change sufficiently to propel it into the media and into public dialogue. There must be multiple personal relationships and connections that connect some folks at CAP to the White House directly or, at the most, by one step removed. Do we have to map the networks and connections, with real names? And, CAP is right there in Washington, a short walk away from the White House. I think it was just recently, in a post on ClimateProgress written by Joe, in which Joe quotes Robert Brulle (if my memory is right: please correct me if it’s not), that Robert pointed out that a chief reason why climate change is not in the media/public spotlight is that the President is not talking about it, not forcing it into the media and public spotlight. Of course, that is an obvious point; yet I do appreciate the fact that Robert made it clear, and that Joe printed it. But what are the implications of that point? What are we going to DO about it? What are CAP and CP going to DO about it? Have CAP employees and their friends, and the employees at the NAS and the AAAS, and so forth, and the National Geographic Society, sat down in front of the White House and refused to move until the President begins to talk seriously, and use the bully pulpit, about climate change? Setting aside the other organizations, have CAP employees done so? More directly and personally, have influential CAP leaders told the President directly and clearly that CAP will not support him unless he makes climate change a priority, or at least (for now) makes talking seriously about climate change a priority? If not, why not? Really: if not, why not? At the risk of redundancy: CAP is located right there in Washington. Numerous leaders at CAP have direct connections, or one-step-removed connections, to senior folks in the White House and to the President himself. Yet the President is not talking about climate change. And, as Robert Brulle has pointed out, that is one of the chief reasons, perhaps THE chief reason, that climate change is not in the media/public spotlight or a key issue of discussion in the developing election-year dialogue. I know, I know: someone will probably say that I don’t get it (“how things work”) or that this comment doesn’t make any sense. But isn’t the point that however things “work” presently, they aren’t working, and thus we need to cause them to work differently? Isn’t THAT the point? It feels to me as though credibility is eventually and ultimately at stake, among other things. For how much longer can these things co-exist, without large numbers of people losing credibility? A President who is not talking about climate change; a leading think-tank and progressive organization whose leaders are well-connected to the White House, located in DC, and that rightly complains (on the blog, anyhow) that the President is messing up, yet still believes and implies that the President should be reelected; that same think-tank organization raising the red flag about the unaddressed problem of climate change; and so forth. The dots don’t connect. The longer this situation continues, the more credibility will diminish. The stalemate needs to be broken by the existing folks (in the White House and at CAP), or else what conclusion can follow except that folks should be found who can (and will) break the stalemate? After all, the chief goal (as far as I can tell) should not be the perpetual employment of President Obama, or of the Dems, or of the present leaders at CAP, or of anyone else. Instead, the chief goal should be to get the climate change problem addressed effectively. Period. Thus, if our present leaders, and those who could and should influence them, can’t do it, we need to find people who can and will. Sorry for the diatribe. None of this means that I don’t appreciate the hard work and (often) the great posts. But “that’s not the way things work here in DC” is not any response, or at least not a good one, to the point here, because we need to make things work differently. That much should be (painfully) obvious. The complaints from CAP/CP about a lack of media coverage (for climate change), as correct as they are in fact, are beginning to ring hollow and get downright tiring, given that the lack of such coverage could be fairly substantially remedied IF the President would only do his job responsibly, and given that CAP could be doing much more to help bring that about. Let’s move from the abstract to the concrete, shall we? What IS CAP doing to prompt and compel the President to put climate change into the media/public/political dialogue? If we are told what CAP IS doing, then we can better understand the situation and, perhaps, come up with additional ideas, or drop the criticism (if CAP is already doing everything reasonable, given its connections and so forth). Be Well, Jeff prokaryotes says: January 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm “And yet we can’t even do things — no, we aren’t willing to do things.. ” I think your blame is unjustified, seriously. The energy and time you use to motivate us in your very own ways, should be directed to the people who actively blocking the progress on the climate front. You should use a more positive vibe and content – real motivational speech. Leland Palmer says: January 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm In the thread about arctic methane, Joe quotes extensively from David Archer, of the University of Chicago. Archer is a great expert on the subject, no doubt about it, IMO. But he co-authors papers with ExxonMobil chief scientist Ksheggi: ExxonMobil Contributed Papers On Climate Science 17. Archer, D., Kheshgi, H., and Maier-Reimer, E. 1997. Multiple Timescales for the Neutralization of Fossil Fuel CO2, Geophysical Research Letters, 24: 405. 19. Archer, D., Kheshgi, H., and Maier-Reimer, E., 1998. The dynamics of fossil fuel CO2 neutralization by marine CaCO3, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 12:259-276. 35. Kheshgi, H. S. and Archer, D. 2004. A non-linear convolution model for the evasion of CO2 injected into the deep ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research,109, C02007, doi:10.1029/2002JC001489. 13. Kheshgi, H. S., and D. Archer, 1999: Modeling the Evasion of CO2 Injected into the Deep Ocean, in Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, edited by B. Eliasson, P. Riemer and A. Wokaun, pp. 287-292, Pergamon. I don’t know that much about Archer. I don’t know whether ExxonMobil paid him to collaborate with ExxonMobil chief scientist Kheshgi. The University of Chicago, though, was founded with Rockefeller family money, and the Rockefeller family has traditionally controlled ExxonMobil. So, I don’t know about Archer, or his involvement with ExxonMobil. But I personally take his gradualism and minimalization of the methane hydrate problem with a grain of salt. Mike Roddy says: January 14, 2012 at 6:34 pm Thanks for the heads up, Leland. That explains it. prokaryotes says: January 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm What i find odd is that he is not aware of plant albedo and the margins of his modeling are not real world applicable. But this wasn’t the point of his model, but why not try to model as realistically we can in the first place? Another approach (based on general albedo) The Daisyworld Model http://climateforce.net/2012/01/13/the-daisyworld-model/ prokaryotes says: January 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm An Oily Case: Chevron’s Never-Ending, Record-Breaking Lawsuit in Ecuador How long has the legal battle between indigenous groups in the Ecuadorean Amazon and the oil giant Chevron been going on? So long that Texaco—the company originally accused of dumping 18 billion gallons of toxic sludge in and around the Ecuadorean town of Lago Agrio—no longer exists, having been acquired by Chevron in 2001. So long that six separate Ecuadorean judges have been involved in the case, and one federal judge in New York died before he could make a ruling. So long that former President Bill Clinton had just moved into the White House when the lawsuit was first filed in 1993. And until recently, it looked like it could easily go on for another 18 years—as a Chevron spokesperson once said: “We’re going to fight this until Hell freezes over—an then we’ll fight it out on the ice.” Read more: http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2011/12/27/conditions-of-life-how-climate-change-has-driven-evolution/ Leland Palmer says: January 14, 2012 at 7:51 pm Yes, is Archers worst case actually the worst case? I doubt it, for several reasons. The first reason is that he seems to minimize the probable atmospheric chemistry effects of methane, in increasing tropospheric ozone, CO2, stratospheric hydroxyl radical and water vapor. Isaksen says that these would probably amplify the greenhouse effects of methane by something like 250-400%. Isaksen-Strong atmospheric chemistry feedback to climate warming from Arctic methane emissions And we have to remember that forcing from any source including methane and its secondary atmospheric chemistry effects will be amplified by the water vapor feedback- because higher temperatures, no matter what the source of the heat, tend to increase atmospheric water vapor. I’m sure that the oceans will absorb most of the deep water methane, and oxidize it to CO2. But the shallow water methane of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf- probably not. But the resulting dissolved CO2 in the seawater will of course contribute to ocean acidification. So, even if large amounts of methane don’t make it into the atmosphere from the methane hydrates, the side effects of ocean capture of methane could be horrendous by themselves, contributing to acidification and hypoxia. There are extinction events in the geological record which seem to show it has happened before, during the PETM and the End Permian, for example, leading to mass extinction of sea life by anoxia and acidification, as Climate Progress readers know. I’ve seen papers that give 30 year time frames for large scale activation of the methane hydrates. But once the pulse of heat from AGW enters the oceans, methane hydrate dissociation may be inevitable, as we all know. John Tucker says: January 14, 2012 at 7:56 pm Alaska’s Columbia Glacier – Captured between May 2007 and September 2011, [ http://vimeo.com/5414354 ] prokaryotes says: January 14, 2012 at 8:01 pm Annual report of my blog http://climateforce.net/2011/annual-report/ That’s what you get when blogging with wordpress :) prokaryotes says: January 14, 2012 at 8:32 pm Climate Change and the Collapse of Angkor The Khmer Empire–sometimes called the Angkor Civilization–was a highly sophisticated state which gathered up hundreds of thousands of people in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Viet Nam between the 9th and 15th centuries AD. It abruptly collapsed in 1431: exactly why has always been a puzzle. Pieces of the puzzle have been assembled over the past decade, when members of the Greater Angkor Project and other scholars collected geological, political, historical and economic evidence to come up with the solution: that the massively successful state level society, with a sophisticated hydrological system, road system, religious structure and trade network nevertheless collapsed within 50 years, primarily due to the effects of a prolonged drought and the state’s inability to deal with climate change. The latest article appears in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences today. The story makes for fascinating reading, and as this was a long weekend, I had plenty of time to get some substantial context assembled for you. Enjoy! http://archaeology.about.com/b/2012/01/02/climate-change-and-the-collapse-of-angkor.htm Emphasize “the state’s inability to deal with climate change” prokaryotes says: January 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm Sundance Selects “Chasing Ice” for 2012 Film Festival Slate world premiere in Park City, Utah on Monday, January 23, 2012. The documentary feature, directed by Jeff Orlowski, reveals the work of photographer James Balog and his Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) project. Balog, once a skeptic about climate change, discovers through EIS undeniable evidence of a warming world. Chasing Ice features hauntingly beautiful, multi-year time-lapse videos of vanishing glaciers, while delivering fragile hope to our carbon-powered planet. http://www.extremeicesurvey.org/blogs/press_events/?p=270 prokaryotes says: January 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm Arctic methane outgassing on the E Siberian Shelf part 1 – the background http://skepticalscience.com/arctic-methane-outgassing-e-siberian-shelf-part1.html prokaryotes says: January 14, 2012 at 9:02 pm Gillett et al. Estimate Human and Natural Global Warming http://skepticalscience.com/gillett-estimate-human-and-natural-global-warming.html OMG so much to read, lol :) david g swanger says: January 14, 2012 at 9:15 pm prokaryotes, thank you for your comments. You did me the favor of thinking through my comments, perhaps more thoroughly than I did, since I proposed the distinction as a rough guide for popular discussion rather than a scientific one. Still, I’d like to return the favor and respond to the interesting points you made. You are quite right that there is a perspective in which the CO2-driven current warming is proximate and longer-term climate trends ultimate; and that today’s proximate trend, from this viewpoint, is overwhelming the natural ultimate trend. And in a rigorous system, I agree there should be more levels between proximate and ultimate, just as there should be something between species and phylum in taxonomy. (And sometimes there are; I have occasionally seen “distal” used as an intermediate level between proximate and ultimate in the literature). But, to take your points in reverse, the more levels that are added, the more cumbersome and difficult the resulting system would be for most laymen to use and remember. And the two-pronged distinction of proximate and ultimate fits nicely the similar distinction between weather and climate. While, as you point out, climate itself can be divided in this way, so can weather, with El Ninos, say, as more ultimate than the droughts they produce. But for the purposes and audience I had in mind, I think anthropogenic and natural trends should both be regarded as ultimate-level causation (climate), and El Nino and lower- level weather as proximate. This way, we can use something like “Weather is proximate, climate ultimate” as a mnemonic, perhaps. Perhaps I should mention the catalyst for this by way of explanation. Earlier this week, I saw an article by Jim Cantore (in Time, I believe)explaining the weird weather of the past year by reference to El Nino-level phenomena, without a word about the impact of climate change on the situation. Everything he said was true, but misleadingly incomplete. As I thought about this failure of public education, I thought about our current obesity epidemic and how misleading it would be to explain it only in terms of marketing, or high-fructose corn syrup, say, without going into the evolutionary reasons why the body resists losing weight (and to their credit, many articles _do_ go into those reasons, providing both proximate and ultimate explanations). And then the penny dropped… Perhaps three levels would be better (ultimate-global warming, distal-ENSO, proximate-drought); three levels probably isn’t much more difficult to keep straight than two. I’d even consider four levels: interglacial, global warming, etc. But the more levels, I think, the tougher for most people to remember; and what I want most is for people to remember that the cause of the weather isn’t just the obvious, immediate, proximate one, but the subtler, underlying, ultimate one as well. In any event, I thank you for your remarks. I didn’t intend my thoughts to be final, but, rather, a springboard for discussion; so your comments are just what I hoped for. P.S. Thanks also for the link to the article. I haven’t the time to read it now, but I’ll try to get back to you on it tomorrow. John Tucker says: January 14, 2012 at 9:30 pm The methane talk is actually making me more nervous about arctic methane and NG instead of having a soothing effect. I was never much for a methane cataclysm, and I really didn’t see much overreaction honestly. Now with all the fuss to contain the “overreaction” (that I never saw) it seems from the splotchy literature presented there is an awful lot of methane/NG in play across the board and the mechanisms of its release naturally or by human sources (and the interplay between the two) doesn’t seem conclusively modeled. So I guess I am more of a methane “alarmist” ?? now. prokaryotes says: January 14, 2012 at 9:55 pm Just saw this at a forum discussion … http://www.americanwx.com/bb/index.php/topic/30926-this-is-not-good/page__pid__1278205__st__455#entry1278205 This will have the upcoming book chapter by Shakhova and Semiletov… http://amap.no/swipa/ Here is their 80MB pre-print draft of Background Science. Chapter 5 covers permafrost and contains 62 pages. Section 220.127.116.11 talks about future subsea permafrost releases. The end of the section suggests 800Gt of CH4 could be ready for sudden release… http://amap.no/swipa/CombinedDraft.pdf This are 80mb download ^^ from a very limited bandwidth server. Why so much file size, people should use vector graphics more. 6thextinction says: January 14, 2012 at 10:07 pm which insecticides (and their commercial names) are “these” insecticides, which are killing bees? prokaryotes says: January 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm This got me thinking too. Look at post #27, im reading it now… David B. Benson says: January 14, 2012 at 10:29 pm The University of Chicago is one of the world’s great universities; the faculty pay no attention to who originaly funded it nor do funding sources influence the research. All told, very different than two-bit shops such as George Mason University (which, despite everything, has some fine geophysicists and mathematicians as well as some charlatans). David Archer has published excellent work and one would be better served to understand it rather than carping about what one knows almost nothing about. John Tucker says: January 14, 2012 at 10:31 pm Taking a look at that. [ http://amap.no/swipa/CombinedDraft.pdf ] Also today looking for info on methane hydrate and oil productio0n it didn’t exactly fill me with confidence to see the green washed environmental “carbon sequestration” catch phrases used for basically taking CO2 from a oil well and putting it in another to get more methane. Also like stated in #20 its really many of the same people whose names come up. I am starting to think the outright denial funding by industry has been replaced by gentle nudging of the science into facilitating the fossil fuel industry. Not anti-science so much but an epicyclic process of low-ball impact estimates, new development and proposed mitigations; a perpetual shell game for the sake of continuing fossil carbon dependence. That is certain disaster. Jeff H says: January 15, 2012 at 1:01 am dear prokaryotes, thanks for your comment, and I wish that being more positive and rah rah would work. I’ve tried it — for most of the last six years, and I’ve been commenting (starting long ago when Dot Earth started, and then transferring over here when it seemed like Dot Earth was going nowhere), sending in ideas, making guest posts and offering others, attending events, and on and on and on. Seeing where we’ve come (not very far), and observing what our “leaders” are doing (not enough of what might actually be effective) and not doing (a great deal of what could be more effective), I have, at long last, come to the conclusion that things need to change and that we actually need to be much more creative, “harder” on (or more demanding of) those on “our side” in leadership positions, or we need to get new leaders who can and will lead. That’s the bottom line, as I see it. The same problem we seem to be having with Obama (no matter what he does or doesn’t do, we stick with him, say ‘please’, and we frown upon anyone who would place actual conditions on continuing to support him), we have up and down the line with those who are presumably “leading” the movement, most of whom are paid, by the way. So I think we should raise our expectations, ask more of our leaders (much more) and ourselves, and start thinking creatively and doing things that might actually be effective. No more salutes (from me) for failed COP meetings and the like, or for Presidents who can barely utter the words ‘climate change’. No thanks. In any case, I have tried and tried and tried the “be positive” approach, and I still use it with most people, but it doesn’t seem to be working with our own leaders. They (many of them, not all) apparently need some “tough love”, so to speak. But thanks for the comment, and Be Well, Jeff prokaryotes says: January 15, 2012 at 1:27 am I think the people you try to push are very well aware of the matter and are just waiting for the momentum required to make actions. I can only suggest you should focus your energy more on the people who are responsible. We have now evidence for abrupt climate change, which is a game changer. Just be a bit more patient (Obama 2012) and help to oust the climate villains. Thank you. prokaryotes says: January 15, 2012 at 2:42 am Pressurized laboratory experiments show no stable carbon isotope fractionation of methane during gas hydrate dissolution and dissociation measured δ13C-CH4 values near gas hydrates are not affected by physical processes, and can thus be interpreted to result from either the gas source or associated microbial processes http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/rcm.5290/full prokaryotes says: January 15, 2012 at 3:17 am Nitrous oxide Recently, Repo et al. (2009) discovered very high emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas N2O from ‘peat circles’ in permafrost regions in the Russian Arctic. Elberling et al. (2010) also reported high N O emissions of 34 mg N / m2 per day in 2 cores taken from northeastern Greenland and incubated in a laboratory, that equate to daily N2O emissions from tropical forests on a mean annual basis. Although the importance of the process cannot be generalized across the Arctic, the strong radiative forcing potential of N2O (298 compared with CO2: Solomon et al., 2007) suggests important potential contributions to climate forcing that need to be calculated. prokaryotes says: January 15, 2012 at 3:30 am Biogenic volatile organic compounds There have also been recent measurements of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOC), including the first report of methanol emissions (Holst et al., 2010) from sub-Arctic wetlands underlain by discontinuous permafrost (Bäckstrand et al., 2008, 2010). Biogenic volatile organic compounds can be highly reactive in the atmosphere or can form aerosols and cloud condensation nuclei that scatter and absorb radiation. Areas of permafrost thaw represented by wetland vegetation (Eriophorum and Sphagnum) showed the highest fluxes of non- methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) compared with neighboring areas not undergoing thaw, represented by palsas with cold peat and plant communities with feather mosses and dwarf shrubs (Bäckstrand et al., 2008). As NMVOCs could account for about 5% of total net carbon exchange, permafrost thaw could lead to a significant increase in NMVOC emissions that affect the carbon balance of ecosystems as well as atmospheric chemistry, radiation scattering and cloud formation. The consequences of permafrost thaw via NMVOC emission are not yet quantified over large areas. prokaryotes says: January 15, 2012 at 3:46 am Current estimates of the amount of CH4 that could be released from the Arctic continental shelf (7 million km2) during the short Arctic summer (100 days).. This 3 month the probability for emission spikes is highest. prokaryotes says: January 15, 2012 at 3:49 am The current estimate reflects the contribution of only a very small fraction of the total CH4 fluxes and other significant components exist. One such component is CH4 release during the deep autumn convection, which allows water from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf to mix from top to bottom (Kulakov et aal., 2003). A significant late-summer potential CH4 release to the Atmosphere might therefore occur during only a few weeks Aha… prokaryotes says: January 15, 2012 at 3:55 am The total amount of carbon preserved within the Arctic continental shelf is still debatable but it could be around 1300 Gt of carbon, from which 800 Gt is previously formed CH4 ready to be suddenly released when appropriate pathways develop. Release of only 1% of this reservoir would more than triple the atmospheric mixing ratio of CH4, probably triggering abrupt climate change, as predicted by modeling results (Archer and Buffett, 2005). prokaryotes says: January 15, 2012 at 4:01 am recent economic development has increased construction activity related to infrastructure, oil and gas facilities, transport networks, communication lines, industrial projects, and engineering maintenance systems. All of these developments have taken place with an awareness of current permafrost conditions, however, projected climate-driven changes in permafrost are likely to affect both these and future developments, beyond current planning and engineering provisions. — Yet, another reason to develop alternatives, if not the most important. prokaryotes says: January 15, 2012 at 4:06 am There is an entire section for “Pipelines” On average, about 35 000 failures are registered annually affecting the 350 000 km long network of pipelines in western Siberia: more than 20% are most probably due to deformations and weakening of foundations induced by permafrost thaw (Anisimov and Reneva, 2006). Currently, there are three small-diameter pipelines operating in northern Canada, with the longest being the 869 km oil pipeline transecting the discontinuous permafrost zone from Norman Wells in the Northwest Territories to Zama, Alberta. The Norman Wells pipeline, in operation since 1985, is an ambient line and is the only oil pipeline in North America that is completely buried in permafrost. An extensive monitoring program carried out by the pipeline operator and the Canadian Government (e.g., Naviq Consulting Inc and AMEC Earth and Environmental, 2007; Smith et al., 2008a; Burgess et al., 2010) concluded that although climate change was not considered in the design prokaryotes says: January 15, 2012 at 4:25 am 18.104.22.168. Feedbacks between cryospheric and other climate system components Potential feedbacks between the cryosphere and climate include: Spatial connections mean that the effects of cryospheric change within the Arctic will have implications for areas outside the Arctic and these effects may be large and possibly counter-intuitive. For example, sea-ice loss north of Eurasia may lead to colder weather in Europe and Siberia during late autumn and early winter (see Box 2.1, this volume). Reduced summer sea ice, increases ocean heat absorption which is released back as the atmosphere cools in autumn. The lower atmosphere thickness is increased which thus increases pressure, resulting in de-stabilization of the Arctic boundary layer. Winter winds flowing out of the Arctic may therefore be more intense and affect lower latitudes to a greater degree than is typical, resulting in winters of greater severity in Europe and Siberia – a counter-intuitive effect of climate warming. prokaryotes says: January 15, 2012 at 4:37 am ExEcutivE summary and kEy mEssagEs SWIPA Summary for policymakers AMAP’s new assessment of the impacts of climate change on Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) brings together the latest scientific knowledge about the changing state of each component of the Arctic ‘cryosphere’. It examines how these changes will impact both the Arctic as a whole and people living within the Arctic and elsewhere in the world. http://amap.no/swipa/SWIPA2011ExecutiveSummaryV2.pdf Will Fox says: January 15, 2012 at 4:52 am My latest post on the Kurzweil forums – http://www.kurzweilai.net/forums/topic/global-warmings-off#post-54610 Jeff H says: January 15, 2012 at 7:01 am hi prokaryotes, to be clear, I do think that people who are trying are well aware of the matter (climate change), and most of them are also well aware that not nearly enough progress is being made. But I think that most of them should be thinking smarter, more creatively, and I also think that too many are handcuffing themselves and consequently not doing some of the things that would be most effective to do. I should think that this point is obvious, and it’s also explainable given the way politics works, funding works, paid positions often work, revolving doors work, and so forth. Indeed, I think we’re in “denial” about what WE are doing that perpetuates the stalemate and status quo, even as we “try hard” and so forth. If we are going to “beat” or convince the “other side”, we are going to have to do much, much better ourselves. Just ask yourself, who is in the White House today? Is the rate-limiting step to progress really Fox News, or might it have something to do with what President Obama himself is not doing, and with what we are not pressing him to do, at least not effectively? The list is long of the very concrete things that we could and should be doing — including what CAP and CP could and should be doing. The point isn’t really to work “harder”, but rather to work smarter. In any case, the problem (climate change and the human activities that cause it) is getting worse, faster than our progress to face and address it. That, in itself, should be the big sign that we have to change and “up” our approach. Yet thanks again for your comments. Be Well, Jeff prokaryotes says: January 15, 2012 at 7:16 am OMG, This “Jim” Guy from RealClimate deletes my post, where i ask him to be more specific. sarah says: January 15, 2012 at 10:09 am A short video on the cap & dividend solution: <abbr title=" “> More details here: prokaryotes says: January 15, 2012 at 10:54 am Jim from Real Climate deletes Key findings about climate forcing… http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/01/an-online-model-of-methane-in-the-atmosphere/comment-page-2/#comment-224960 sarah says: January 15, 2012 at 11:01 am A short video on the cap & dividend climate solution: More details on the dividend plan: John Mason says: January 15, 2012 at 11:01 am John, One of the biggest issues with the methane outgassing is that it is so “new” that there is an awful lot that needs to be looked into in depth. The second part out this week will explore that in more detail. Both the Independent and the Revkin pieces were a bit short on objectivity IMO (in completely opposite directions), having gone into this subject in some depth myself in order to write the two posts. But perhaps the one luxury I had was time and no deadline to keep, although I was reading papers on the subject on the afternoon of Xmas Day!. It was OK – the family were watching some crap on the TV that I wasn’t especially interested in! Cheers – John sarah says: January 15, 2012 at 11:02 am Here are the links that I can’t seem to link properly: http://econ4.org/media-library/videos/cap-and-dividend-climate-policy http://econ4.org/media-library/videos/cap-and-dividend-climate-policy John Mason says: January 15, 2012 at 11:10 am Hi Prokaryotes, Reading on RC, the impression I get is that they don’t like people copying and pasting blocks of text much. Guess it’s their site so what they say goes. Probably best to follow that advice. I recall some time back, on a heated climate thread somewhere else, seeing a big block of stuff, a right Gish Gallop if ever there was one, that one of the Opposition had posted, and I thought, “I wonder”, so I copied and pasted the lot into Google (you could enter very long search strings back then) and guess what – it was all over the web, verbatim! Suspect that is why they prefer it that copying/pasting is generally avoided. Cheers – John Spike says: January 15, 2012 at 11:19 am Glacial retreat featured in a hotbed of UK denialism, the Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2086890/Stunning-time-lapse-video-shows-disappearance-glacier-just-years.html?ito=feeds-newsxml prokaryotes says: January 15, 2012 at 11:22 am Deleting quoted content is one thing, but the moderator not even answering honest questions. I simply not understanding his cryptic 1-liner, he earlier posted. So im still able to post to the site, but this deletion of important key findings is hampering abilities to discuss things. This becomes evident in this thread, where people post statements (non quotes) which are just wrong, and which are left un-moderated. This is just bad. prokaryotes says: January 15, 2012 at 11:42 am Nice comment section ^^ Tim says: January 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm You’ve missed the point of the article (which, BTW, has the unit of CO₂ captured wrong – it’s millimoles, not nanomoles). As Joe has acknowledged, carbon (CO₂) capture isn’t a bad thing as long as we face up to the liklihood that it won’t allow us to keep burning fossil fuels (sequestration is expensive, unproven at scale, etc.). But capturing the CO₂ that is generated is still desirable – and it isn’t all generated in burning. Even the chemistry needed to generate lightweight polymers used in energy-efficient electric cars will generate CO₂. Colorado Bob says: January 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm Cloud streets and vortices off the Aleutian Islands http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/imagery/single.cgi?image=Alaska.A2012011.2200.1km.jpg Ship-wave-shape wave clouds induced by South Sandwich Islands (morning overpass) http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/imagery/single.cgi?image=SouthSandwich.A2012010.1150.1km.jpg frank -- Decoding SwiftHack says: January 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm you should focus your energy more on the people who are responsible. In reply, I offer this analogy by Rich Puchalsky: Imagine that you were in a town that had a gang that routinely committed crimes. Despite everyone knowing who these criminals were, and their modus operandi, imagine that the police never took action against them. Imagine further that whenever one of these criminals committed another crime, people like you rushed to say “Don’t blame the police! It’s not their fault. It’s the fault of the criminals. They are the ones committing crimes, after all.” That is nonsensical, at best. Ordinary people have no power to tell criminals to stop committing crimes — they are criminals, after all. Ordinary people do have the power to call their elected and appointed officials to account if they aren’t doing their jobs. The call to condemn the criminal is a meaningless distraction from political reality. — frank prokaryotes says: January 15, 2012 at 5:29 pm About David’s latest modeling (post it here too, since not sure if it gets past the entrance) .. This model is based on David concluding “There isn’t some huge bubble of methane waiting to erupt as soon as its roof melts. And so far, the sources of methane from high latitudes are small, relative to the big player, which is wetlands in warmer climes” http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/01/much-ado-about-methane/ “If the number of lakes or their bubbling intensity suddenly increased by a factor of 100, and it persisted this way for 100 years, it would come to about 200 Gton of carbon emission” http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/01/an-arctic-methane-worst-case-scenario/ But the numbers i was pointing to are about 800gt or more from at least partial possible seabed ebullition, as i understand it. Because most submarine permafrost is relict terrestrial permafrost, the carbon pool held can be estimated from knowledge on current terrestrial carbon storage to include not less than 500 Gt of carbon within a 25 m thick permafrost body (Zimov et al., 2006a), 2 to 65 Gt of CH4 as hydrates (McGuire et al., 2009) together with a significant amount of non-hydrate carbon. […] 800 Gt is previously formed CH4 ready to be suddenly released when appropriate pathways develop. Release of only 1% of this reservoir would more than triple the atmospheric mixing ratio of CH4, probably triggering abrupt climate change, as predicted by modeling results (Archer and Buffett, 2005). http://amap.no/swipa/CombinedDraft.pdf So, i think that this abrupt events are on a decade scale when the seabed permafrost permeability rises with warmer conditions. But David is not considering this at all in his latest blog post. Also new findings about carbon isotopes are not considered too. That’s why i’m looking forward to read Gavin’s take. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/01/an-online-model-of-methane-in-the-atmosphere/comment-page-2/#comment-224997 prokaryotes says: January 15, 2012 at 9:05 pm On a second thought I think that the short impact methane is about, 50gt at has been estimated, but release over a short time of maybe a decade or less. And this general excepted value should be modeled with extensive scenario analysis. Which should include anthropogenic carbon sequestration potentials (as i mention in comment #65), to get a better understanding what could be done about it. Then in a second phase microbial processes from different sources (and more hydrate destabilization) make another release (but more gradual over time). When stage 1 is relatively short the second stage will grow over centuries. prokaryotes says: January 15, 2012 at 11:15 pm The past two Arctic winters were dominated by a negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation, a large-scale weather pattern that brings generally warm conditions to the Arctic and colder conditions to Europe and North America. In contrast, the winter of 2011 has so far seen a mostly positive phase of the Arctic Oscillation. While temperatures were above normal in the Kara and Barents seas, the positive phase of the Arctic Oscillation tends to keep the coldest winter air locked up in the Arctic, which keeps the middle latitudes free of frigid Arctic temperatures and strong snowstorms. This weather pattern helps to explain the low snow cover and warm conditions over much of the United States and Eastern Europe so far this winter. Several studies have shown that during the positive phase of the Arctic Oscillation, thick ice tends to move out of the Arctic through Fram Strait, leaving the Arctic with thinner ice that melts out more easily in summer. Scientists will be watching closely for this connection if the positive phase of the Arctic Oscillation continues through the winter. Some scientists have speculated that the negative Arctic Oscillation pattern of the last two winters was in part driven by low sea ice extent. The recurrence of the positive phase of the Arctic Oscillation so far this winter, following a near-record low summer sea ice extent, does not support this thinking. http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2012/01/january-2012-open-thread.html john tucker says: January 16, 2012 at 12:14 am I look forward to reading it. prokaryotes says: January 16, 2012 at 1:04 am Yet another good blog post about recent methane hydrate findings ^^ What would be the impact of methane releases from hydrates in the Arctic? If an amount of, say, 1 Gt of methane from hydrates in the Arctic would abruptly enter the atmosphere, what would be the impact? Methane’s global warming potential (GWP) depends on many variables, such as methane’s lifetime, which changes with the size of emissions and the location of emissions (hydroxyl depletion already is a big problem in the Arctic atmosphere), the wind, the time of year (when it’s winter, there can be little or no sunshine in the Arctic, so there’s less greenhouse effect), etc. One of the variables is the indirect effect of large emissions and what’s often overlooked is that large emissions will trigger further emissions of methane, thus further extending the lifetime of both the new and the earlier-emitted methane, which can make the methane persist locally for decades. The IPCC gives methane a lifetime of 12 years, and a GWP of 25 over 100 years and 72 over 20 years. (8) Thus, applying a GWP of 25 times carbon dioxide would give 1 Gt of methane a greenhouse effect equivalent to 25 Pg of carbon dioxide over 100 years. Applying a GWP of 72 times carbon dioxide would give 1 Gt of methane a greenhouse effect equivalent to 72 Pg of carbon dioxide over 20 years. By comparison, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose from 288 ppmv in 1850 to 369.5 ppmv in 2000, for an increase of 81.5 ppmv, or 174 Pg C. (9) Note that this 174 Pg C was released over a period of 150 years, allowing sinks time to absorb part of the burden. Note also that, as emissions continue to rise, some sinks may turn into net emitters, if they haven’t already done so. http://geo-engineering.blogspot.com/2012/01/potential-for-methane-releases-in.html prokaryotes says: January 16, 2012 at 1:40 am 1 Gt of methane in the Arctic? What would be the impact of such a release? http://climateforce.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/1-gt-of-methane-in-the-arctic-what-would-be-the-impact-of-such-a-release/ Greg Junell says: January 16, 2012 at 1:40 am How much energy is embodied in the plastic? Drill, slurp, transport, refine, shape, transport, place. So what is the net gain in CO2? What is the carbon footprint of this plastic? The article suggests it’s reusable (catalytic) using heat to drive off CO2 after capture. Reusable is good. And then where does the CO2 go after that? This technology is a link for a chain that doesn’t exist. prokaryotes says: January 16, 2012 at 1:46 am On carbon transport and fate in the East Siberian Arctic land–shelf–atmosphere system, Semiletov et al. (2012) http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/7/1/015201 prokaryotes says: January 16, 2012 at 2:50 am CARBON DIOXIDE AFFECTING FISH BRAINS Increasing human carbon dioxide emissions may be impacting the brains and central nervous systems of sea fish http://news.discovery.com/animals/fish-brains-carbon-dioxide-climate-change-120115.html prokaryotes says: January 16, 2012 at 2:51 am How long do greenhouse gases stay in the air? http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jan/16/greenhouse-gases-remain-air prokaryotes says: January 16, 2012 at 3:50 am Brought to you by Exxon and David & Charles Koch Climate change skepticism seeps into science classrooms Some states have introduced education standards requiring teachers to defend the denial of man-made global warming. A national watchdog group says it will start monitoring classrooms. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-climate-change-school-20120116,0,2808837.story prokaryotes says: January 16, 2012 at 3:53 am A global temperature rise of two degrees Celsius by 2050 would result in increased loss of life, a new Australian study has found. Scientists from the Queensland University of Technology and the CSIRO say they’ve conducted world-first research which looks at the “years of life lost” due to climate change. http://www.eco-business.com/news/climate-warming-would-cause-loss-of-life/ prokaryotes says: January 16, 2012 at 5:31 am THE AMERICAN RESPONSE TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE http://usclimateaction.org/userfiles/flash/Holdren.html?gclid=CPS3zuGq1K0CFQG-zAodNxAxng WHY is this video not on YouTube? Where are the follow ups etc? prokaryotes says: January 16, 2012 at 5:36 am Obama admin lays out action plan for new national policy http://www.eenews.net/public/Greenwire/2012/01/12/2 Raul M. says: January 16, 2012 at 5:51 am Do the peat fires make for sudden release or substantial change to the N2O at release? john tucker says: January 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm This just makes me sick to my stomach – it seems like they could have put lightening protection on it at least: 3,500-year-old tree ‘The Senator’ collapses in fire Investigators said they believe lightning struck the tree about a week ago and it lightly smoldered since that strike, causing it to burn and collapse. The tree was known as “The Senator,” and was estimated to be 3,500 years old.( http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/historic-tree-senator-catches-fire-longwood/nGNbb/ ) john tucker says: January 16, 2012 at 7:16 pm Energy stories of note: Electric plants shift from coal to natural gas Nationwide, the electricity generated by gas-fired plants has risen by more than 50 percent over the last decade, while coal-fired generation has declined slightly. The gas plants generated about 600 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2000 and 981 billion hours in 2010, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. Nationwide, EIA said natural gas use for power generation rose 7 percent between 2009 and 2010. That’s about 515 billion cubic feet. The biggest jumps were in the Southeast, with use rising 24 percent in North Carolina, 18 percent in Virginia and 15 percent in South Carolina. ( http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2012/01/16/electric_plants_shift_from_coal_to_natural_gas/ ) john tucker says: January 16, 2012 at 7:26 pm On its way to China, NS ships record coal load Norfolk Southern Railway set a new record in terms of shipping coal tonnage by loading 159,941.45 net tons of metallurgical coal on an ocean-going vessel bound for China. “Worldwide demand for U.S. coal for utilities and coke plants continues to grow and the railroad is the reliable and safe link that, with our coal production and sales partners, brings that energy to markets around the globe,” ( http://bdtonline.com/local/x1770111211/On-its-way-to-China-NS-ships-record-coal-load ) So our gas conversion is arguibly freeing up more cheap coal for use elsewhere. From June: U.S. coal exports at highest levels since 1992 U.S. coal exports rose 49% during the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same quarter a year ago, reaching 26.6 million short tons, double the first-quarter 2009 levels. This is the highest level of quarterly coal exports since 1992, when exports were 27 million short tons. ( 22.214.171.124/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=1910# ) 6thextinction says: January 16, 2012 at 7:49 pm frank is right, pro: people we elected to represent and protect us are not. you, tho, seem to believe that we just need to keep asking the ineffective police (obama) to protect us and our children, please, and wait for them to do it, even suggesting we keep them in power when they don’t. frank is pushing us–“the very well aware”– to stop “waiting for the momentum required” and start to “make actions” NOW! he and his “focussed energy” can’t do it alone. momentum has to come from us–lots of us, and it can’t wait until 2012, especially when there is little indication obama will do it then. it is wishful thinking on your part and other enviros who refuse to start the “momentum” themselves. our action is the only thing that will be the “game changer.” you can start small by writing obama a handwritten letter saying you will not support him unless he shows a strong effort to combat AGW now. then join others who know we cannot wait, and increase the momentum. otherwise, you and i are just a different kind of denier and “climate villain.” 6thextinction says: January 16, 2012 at 8:04 pm prokaryotes, i left a response to you in the discussion started by jeff in #19. prokaryotes says: January 17, 2012 at 3:05 am First off i think you need to differentiate between Obama, Congress, Senate, his Science Advisor and not everything is related to Obama. He is in an difficult environment and there are no alternatives to him atm, within the US voting system. Yes, the Green Party is an option but not realistically with 2012 election to change the outcome required to win. First thing is to help him be re-elected. As i ssaid there are no alternatives. And if you look hard you see that he is doing solid politic when it counts. And then we need to look at the denial and these people, we need to look at actions to reduce climate impacts. I think the most important thing now is to make clear that a worst case scenario has no winners. Because my impression is that some fools believe that they somehow can sit this out. Geoff Beacon says: January 17, 2012 at 4:59 am That’s a rebound effect. Partial solution: tax the carbon content of imports. This gets more effective as more countries do it. Chris Winter says: January 18, 2012 at 6:15 pm Bryan Walsh has a column on this year’s mild winter in Time, here: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2104040,00.html The Year That Winter Forgot: Is It Climate Change? He goes on to remind us that weather is not climate, and mentions the “celebrated October Snowmageddon” of last fall. But he also writes this: Still, even such a big-picture perspective does indicate that truly cold temperatures are becoming less and less common in the U.S. To take one example, since 1996, there have been 48 high-temperatures records set in New York City’s Central Park — and one just one record low. Since 1980, nearly every year in the U.S. has seen annual average temperatures higher than the long-term average. In a separate story, the magazine reports this series of wildfires in Chile’s Torres del Paine national park, in the Patagonia region: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2103835,00.html The January 16 print edition mentions that Chile has had a very dry summer, which officials there attribute to climate change, and it has a good picture.