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Related Scary Tags:
global warming  ~ anthropogenic change  ~ climate impacts  ~ arctic meltdown  ~ carbon emissions  ~ death spiral  ~ faster than expected  ~ ocean warming  ~ feedback loop  ~ ecosystem interrelationships  ~ rising sea level  



Wed, Jul 13, 2016
from University of Exeter, via DesdemonaDespair:
Drought stalls tree growth and shuts down Amazon carbon sink
A recent drought completely shut down the Amazon Basin's carbon sink, by killing trees and slowing their growth, a ground-breaking study led by researchers at the Universities of Exeter and Leeds has found. Previous research has suggested that the Amazon - the most extensive tropical forest on Earth and one of the "green lungs" of the planet - may be gradually losing its capacity to take carbon from the atmosphere. This new study, the most extensive land-based study of the effect of drought on Amazonian rainforests to date, paints a more complex picture, with forests responding dynamically to an increasingly variable climate.... Co-author Professor Oliver Phillips, from the University of Leeds, said: "For more than 20 years the Amazon has been providing a tremendous service, taking up hundreds of millions more tonnes of carbon every year in tree growth than it loses through tree death. But both the 2005 and 2010 droughts eliminated those net gains." ...


Surely this was included in the modeling algorithms upon which the barely-sufficient Paris accords depend.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 29, 2016
from Cosmos Magazine:
Arctic sea ice hits a record low wintertime maximum
The Arctic Ocean ice cap peaked for the winter on 24 March at 14.52 million square kilometres - a record low and 20,000 square kilometres less than the previous record low maximum extent. The 13 smallest maximum extents on the satellite record have happened in the last 13 years. Record high temperatures were recorded in December, January and February around the world. In the Artic average air temperatures were up to 5.5 degrees C above average at the edges of the ice pack. ...


Talk about opportunities for improvement!!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 23, 2016
from Washington Post:
Seas are now rising faster than they have in 2,800 years, scientists say
"We can say with 95 percent probability that the 20th-century rise was faster than any of the previous 27 centuries," said Bob Kopp, a climate scientist at Rutgers University who led the research with nine colleagues from several U.S. and global universities.... The new research also forecasts that no matter how much carbon dioxide we emit, 21st-century sea level rise will still greatly outstrip what was seen in the 1900s. Nonetheless, choices made today could have a big impact. For a low emissions scenario, it finds that seas might only rise between 24 and 61 centimeters. In contrast, for a high emissions scenario -- one that the recent Paris climate accord pledged the world to avert -- they could rise as much as 52 to 131 centimeters, or, at the very high end, 4.29 feet. ...


What's a few feet, between friends?

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Feb 13, 2016
from Science Advances, via CommonDreams:
4 Billion People at Risk as 'Water Table Dropping All Over the World'
Freshwater scarcity is increasingly perceived as a global systemic risk. Previous global water scarcity assessments, measuring water scarcity annually, have underestimated experienced water scarcity by failing to capture the seasonal fluctuations in water consumption and availability. We assess blue water scarcity globally at a high spatial resolution on a monthly basis. We find that two-thirds of the global population (4.0 billion people) live under conditions of severe water scarcity at least 1 month of the year. Nearly half of those people live in India and China. Half a billion people in the world face severe water scarcity all year round. Putting caps to water consumption by river basin, increasing water-use efficiencies, and better sharing of the limited freshwater resources will be key in reducing the threat posed by water scarcity on biodiversity and human welfare. ...


C'mon. Drought is just a market opportunity!

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Tue, Jan 5, 2016
from Washington Post:
What scientists just discovered in Greenland could be making sea-level rise even worse
Rising global temperatures may be affecting the Greenland ice sheet -- and its contribution to sea-level rise -- in more serious ways that scientists imagined, a new study finds. Recent changes to the island's snow and ice cover appear to have affected its ability to store excess water, meaning more melting ice may be running off into the ocean than previously thought.... Through on-the-ground observations, the scientists have shown that the recent formation of dense ice layers near the ice sheet's surface are making it more difficult for liquid water to percolate into the firn -- meaning it's forced to run off instead. ...


Greenland is going green.

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Sat, Nov 7, 2015
from PhysOrg:
A small increase of ocean acidification => dramatic shift in ocean habitats
Rising levels of CO2 released by anthropogenic activities are driving unprecedented changes in the chemistry of the oceans. The mean ocean surface acidity has increased by a near 30 percent [since] the advent of the Industrial Revolution.... "The present study shows that moderate acidification observed in a CO2 vent system leads to a dramatic shift in highly diverse and structurally complex benthic habitats thriving at depths rarely explored in terms of ocean acidification effects", explains Cristina Linares, Ramon y Cajal researcher at the University of Barcelona, first author of the paper and coordinator of the project LIFE+INDEMARES. ...


A little goes a loong way.

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Mon, Sep 28, 2015
from Inside Climate News:
Basic Water Source for Most Alberta Tar Sands Could Run Dry
"We show that the current and projected surface water allocations from the Athabasca River for the exploitation of the Alberta oil sands are based on an untenable assumption of the representativeness of the short instrumental record."... Tar sands projects are already threatened by a slump in oil prices, as well as pending global action to address climate change. Tar sands drilling is a prominent target of environmental groups and climate activists because the oil emits an estimated three to four times more carbon dioxide when burned than conventional crude. Its water use only adds to the environmental costs. ...


Brevity is the soul of "OMG, WTF?"

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Mon, Jul 20, 2015
from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
The most powerful abstract the Docs have ever read
Though recorded just previously, we read the abstract of the article "Human domination of the biosphere: Rapid discharge of the earth-space battery foretells the future of humankind" in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and were astonished:

ABSTRACT: Earth is a chemical battery where, over evolutionary time with a trickle-charge of photosynthesis using solar energy, billions of tons of living biomass were stored in forests and other ecosystems and in vast reserves of fossil fuels. In just the last few hundred years, humans extracted exploitable energy from these living and fossilized biomass fuels to build the modern industrial-technological-informational economy, to grow our population to more than 7 billion, and to transform the biogeochemical cycles and biodiversity of the earth. This rapid discharge of the earth's store of organic energy fuels the human domination of the biosphere, including conversion of natural habitats to agricultural fields and the resulting loss of native species, emission of carbon dioxide, and the resulting climate and sea level change, and use of supplemental nuclear, hydro, wind, and solar energy sources. The laws of thermodynamics governing the trickle-charge and rapid discharge of the earth's battery are universal and absolute; the earth is only temporarily poised a quantifiable distance from the thermodynamic equilibrium of outer space. Although this distance from equilibrium is comprised of all energy types, most critical for humans is the store of living biomass. With the rapid depletion of this chemical energy, the earth is shifting back toward the inhospitable equilibrium of outer space with fundamental ramifications for the biosphere and humanity. Because there is no substitute or replacement energy for living biomass, the remaining distance from equilibrium that will be required to support human life is unknown. ...


The planet's resources might actually be finite?

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Sat, Jun 27, 2015
from Vice:
Sea Stars in Death Match With Themselves
But Gong quickly understood that this was different. Her [sea] stars weren't merely shedding their arms. They were tearing them off. They were tearing them off the way a man, lacking access to a sharp tool, might tear off one of his own arms: by using one arm to wrench the other out of its socket. "They twisted their arms together," Gong said, "and they'd pull and pull and pull, until one of them came off. Then the arm walks away because it doesn't know that it's dead. It was horrific. They weren't just dying. They were tearing themselves to pieces." ... Nobody knew exactly what to call it. Was it a die-off? A plague? A population crash? An extinction event? Scientists began referring to it as "the Wasting." ... "It was creepy," said Raimondi, using a term one doesn't typically hear from biologists. The Wasting has that effect. It makes scientists, who tend to choose their words with severe caution, speak like teenagers. In conversations they kept using words like "shock," "horror," and "nightmare." ... Raimondi has recently received reports of mass wasting among sea urchin populations. He does not know whether the same densovirus is responsible, but it looks familiar. "It's a lot like the early days for sea stars," he told me. ...


Bad enough we're losing the birds and bats and bees. We're going to lose the stars, too?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jun 10, 2015
from InsideClimate News:
Global Warming's Great Hiatus Gets Another Debunking
...A new study by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finds that the world's warming never really stalled during the last 15 years--it was just masked by incomplete data records that have been improved and expanded in recent years.... The "newly corrected and updated global surface temperature data from NOAA's NCEI do not support the notion of a global warming 'hiatus,'" wrote the study authors. The scientists argue the findings even underestimate the world's warming because they don't consider what has happened in the Arctic, where temperatures have increased rapidly in recent decades, but where there is a limited number of weather recording stations. ...


Let's put weather stations on those oil rigs heading into the Arctic!

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Thu, Jun 4, 2015
from Grist:
California Senate candidate: "We're all going to die"
...Barbara Boxer's decision to step down from her Senate seat in 2016 has brought a host of potential contenders for her seat. (California Attorney General Kamala Harris and U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez are believed to be the current frontrunners.) But only one candidate, Beitiks, promises to talk about absolutely nothing but climate change. His campaign photos have captions like, "We're literally going to die" and "Why aren't we all screaming?" ...


"My fellow doomed Americans..."

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 19, 2015
from London Guardian:
Charlize Theron: Mad Max landscape awaits unless we tackle climate change
The actor Charlize Theron, who takes a leading role in the new Mad Max movie as a one-armed warrior driving five sex slaves to safety, has expressed her fears that a bleak future awaits the planet unless global warming is addressed. ...


In this bleak future, commerce will cost us our arms and legs.

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Mon, May 18, 2015
from PhysOrg:
Ocean currents disturb methane-eating bacteria
Offshore the Svalbard archipelago, methane gas is seeping out of the seabed at the depths of several hundred meters. These cold seeps are a home to communities of microorganisms that survive in a chemosynthetic environment - where the fuel for life is not the sun, but the carbon rich greenhouse gas.... There is a large, and relatively poorly understood, community of methane-consuming bacteria in this environment. They gorge on the gas, control its concentration in the ocean, and stop it from reaching the ocean surface and released into the atmosphere.... "We were able to show that strength and variability of ocean currents control the prevalence of methanotrophic bacteria", says Lea Steinle from University of Basel and the lead author of the study, "therefore, large bacteria populations cannot develop in a strong current, which consequently leads to less methane consumption." ...


Bubble, bubble, roil and trouble, microbes fail and methanes double.

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Want more context?
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More fun than a barrel of jellyfish!
Fri, Mar 20, 2015
from National Snow and Ice Data Center:
Arctic sea ice maximum reaches lowest extent on record
Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its maximum extent for the year on February 25 at 14.54 million square kilometers (5.61 million square miles). This year's maximum ice extent is the lowest in the satellite record. NSIDC will release a full analysis of the winter season in early April, once monthly data are available for March. ...


It's deja doom all over again.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Feb 12, 2015
from Phys.org:
Methane emissions from natural gas industry higher than previously thought
World leaders are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it's unclear just how much we're emitting. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a new program to track these emissions, but scientists are reporting that it vastly underestimates methane emissions from the growing natural gas industry. Their findings, published in two papers in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, could help the industry clamp down on "superemitter" leaks. ...


Forgive me Father, for I have Emitted.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jan 8, 2015
from BBC:
Antibiotics: US discovery labelled 'game-changer' for medicine
The heyday of antibiotic discovery was in the 1950s and 1960s, but nothing found since 1987 has made it into doctor's hands. Since then microbes have become incredibly resistant. Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis ignores nearly everything medicine can throw at it. Back to soil: The researchers, at the Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, turned to the source of nearly all antibiotics - soil. This is teeming with microbes, but only 1 percent can be grown in the laboratory. The team created a "subterranean hotel" for bacteria. One bacterium was placed in each "room" and the whole device was buried in soil. It allowed the unique chemistry of soil to permeate the room, but kept the bacteria in place for study.... The lead scientist, Prof Kim Lewis, said: "So far 25 new antibiotics have been discovered using this method and teixobactin is the latest and most promising one.... Tests on teixobactin showed it was toxic to bacteria, but not mammalian tissues, and could clear a deadly dose of MRSA in tests on mice. ...


This would be so exciting if Big Ag wasn't trying to wipe out all soil bacteria everywhere, as a precondition for using the dead top-substrate as a medium to grow corn and soybeans. So much fewer weeds, right?

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jan 3, 2015
from DesdemonaDespair:
50 Doomiest Graphs from 2014
Measured number of plastic items per square kilometer in the world's oceans... Velocities of retreating glaciers in West Antarctica ... Precipitation anomalies over South America during the active monsoon season, September 2012-May 2013... 1200 scenarios of future CO2 emissions, projected to 2100... World ecological footprint of human consumption... ...


Des does doomy dramatically.

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Tue, Dec 30, 2014
from Washington Post:
Delaware-size gas plume over West illustrates the cost of leaking methane
The methane that leaks from 40,000 gas wells near this desert trading post may be colorless and odorless, but it's not invisible. It can be seen from space. Satellites that sweep over energy-rich northern New Mexico can spot the gas as it escapes from drilling rigs, compressors and miles of pipeline snaking across the badlands. In the air it forms a giant plume: a permanent, Delaware-sized methane cloud, so vast that scientists questioned their own data when they first studied it three years ago.... The country's biggest methane "hot spot," verified by NASA and University of Michigan scientists in October, is only the most dramatic example of what scientists describe as a $2 billion leak problem: the loss of methane from energy production sites across the country. ...


We call 'em Man-made Earth Farts.

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Fri, Dec 12, 2014
from NBC News:
2014 Boils Toward Warmest Year Ever with Three More Records Broken
Even if it's freezing in your personal universe, Earth as a whole just broke three "warmest" records and is likely to see 2014 go down as the warmest since record keeping began in 1880, scientists reported Thursday. Driven by record warm oceans, combined sea and land temperatures in October were the warmest on record, according to data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. On top of that, January-October was the warmest first 10 calendar months, while November 2013 to October 2014 was the warmest 12-month block. ...


Some days ... you just don't want to get out of bed for fear what you'll find.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Dec 5, 2014
from Reuters, via DesdemonaDespair:
Sćo Paulo taps emergency water reserves which may last for two months - 'If it doesn't rain, we won't have an alternative but to get water from the mud'
Sćo Paulo, Brazil's drought-hit megacity of 20 million, has about two months of guaranteed water supply remaining as it taps into the second of three emergency reserves, officials say. The city began using its second so-called "technical reserve" 10 days ago to prevent a water crisis after reservoirs reached critically low levels last month. This is the first time the state has resorted to using the reserves, experts say.... Brazil's southeast region is suffering its worst drought in at least 80 years after an unusually dry year left rivers and reservoirs at critically low levels. ...


Twenty million people without showers is an aesthetic nightmare!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Dec 2, 2014
from CNN:
NOAA: 2014 is shaping up as hottest year on record
The first ten months of 2014 have been the hottest since record keeping began more than 130 years ago, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That may be hard to believe for people in places like Buffalo, New York, which saw a record early snowfall this year. But NOAA says, despite the early bitter cold across parts of the United States in recent weeks, it's been a hot year so far for the Earth. With two months left on the calendar, 2014 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record. ...


Are you saying it's NOT all about the United States?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 1, 2014
from New York Times:
Optimism Faces Grave Realities at Climate Talks
... But while scientists and climate-policy experts welcome the new momentum ahead of the Lima talks, they warn that it now may be impossible to prevent the temperature of the planet's atmosphere from rising by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. According to a large body of scientific research, that is the tipping point at which the world will be locked into a near-term future of drought, food and water shortages, melting ice sheets, shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels and widespread flooding -- events that could harm the world's population and economy. Recent reports show that there may be no way to prevent the planet's temperature from rising, given the current level of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere and the projected rate of emissions expected to continue before any new deal is carried out. ...


Anybody got a time machine handy?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Nov 26, 2014
from BBC:
Geo-engineering: Climate fixes 'could harm billions'
Schemes to tackle climate change could prove disastrous for billions of people, but might be required for the good of the planet, scientists say... More alarming for the researchers were the potential implications for rainfall patterns. Although all the simulations showed that blocking the Sun's rays - or solar radiation management, as it is called - did reduce the global temperature, the models revealed profound changes to precipitation including disrupting the Indian Monsoon. ...


Mother Nature is going to hate us.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Nov 26, 2014
from E&E Publishing:
Inhofe will show GOP disagreement on climate but enjoys support to lead Environment panel
Republican senators who believe that climate change is happening appear to have no qualms about Sen. James Inhofe's rise to the chairmanship of the Environment and Public Works Committee. He will, however, underscore the party's divisions about the science around warming.... Five Republican senators indicated in interviews that they disagree with Inhofe's positions on global warming, which he describes as a "hoax" and a charade to raise taxes. But none of them questioned whether he should be elevated to the top perch on the prominent panel, pointing to his experience and respectful demeanor as favorable traits for a chairman with broad jurisdiction. ...


The sweet old fox is watching the burning hen house.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Nov 13, 2014
from Guardian:
New study shows warm waters are melting Antarctica from below
Just this week, a new study has appeared which describes a clever method for measuring the flows of ocean currents and their impacts on ice shelves. This study has identified a major mechanism for melting ice in the Southern Hemisphere. The paper, co-authored by Andrew Thompson, Karen Heywood, and colleagues is very novel. The scientists used sea gliders to identify water flows that bring warm waters to the base of ice shelves in Antarctica. As I've written before, ocean currents are complex; you cannot neglect their impact on the Earth's climate.... The data showed that eddy-transport and surface-wind-caused motion are comparable in their contribution to water circulation. They showed however, that the eddy motion is largely confined to the warm intermediate water layers. The penetration of the warm waters to the ice shelves is believed to be responsible for the dramatic ice loss that has been observed in the Antarctic. ...


It's the reach of Satan from the depths of Hell! Or maybe just another domino.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 20, 2014
from London Daily Mail:
The hottest six months in history? April to September 2014 were the warmest since records began, Nasa claims
...


Sometimes, all ya need is a headline.

ApocaDoc
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You're still reading! Good for you!
You really should read our short, funny, frightening book FREE online (or buy a print copy):
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
We've been quipping this stuff for more than 30 months! Every day!
Which might explain why we don't get invited to parties anymore.
Mon, Oct 20, 2014
from InsideClimate News:
September Was Warmest on Record, NASA Data Shows
Like August before it, September 2014 was the warmest September on record, according to newly updated NASA data. The warm month makes it even more likely that 2014 will become the warmest year on record. This September was about 1.4F above the 1951-1980 average temperature for the month, data from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) showed. That makes it the warmest September in GISS records, edging out the previous September record set in 2005. GISS records extend back to 1880. ...


Copy cat.

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Fri, Oct 17, 2014
from Associated Press:
Study: Natural gas surge won't slow global warming
...Five teams of experts from around the world, using five different sets of computer model simulations, looked at what would happen if natural gas -- also known as methane -- remains cheap and plentiful and nothing else changes, such as policy mandates. They all came to the same conclusion. "It doesn't reduce climate change," said study lead author Haewon McJeon, an economist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Two computer models even found that when considering other factors like methane leaks, cheaper natural gas could lead to more trapping of heat by greenhouse gases, the mechanism that drives global warming. Methane traps even more heat than an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide. ...


It won't "slow global warming" but it will make it more fun!

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Tue, Oct 14, 2014
from New York Times:
Pentagon Signals Security Risks of Climate Change
The Pentagon on Monday released a report asserting decisively that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security, with increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages. It also predicted rising demand for military disaster responses as extreme weather creates more global humanitarian crises. The report lays out a road map to show how the military will adapt to rising sea levels, more violent storms and widespread droughts. The Defense Department will begin by integrating plans for climate change risks across all of its operations, from war games and strategic military planning situations to a rethinking of the movement of supplies. ...


We will be at constant war with the wild weather we have reared.

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Tue, Oct 7, 2014
from Houston Chronicle:
Methane emissions soar in drilling boom
WASHINGTON - Methane emissions from oil and gas wells on federal lands and waters jumped 135 percent from 2008 to 2013, an analysis shows, driven by a drilling boom in New Mexico and North Dakota that has outpaced the building of pipelines and processing centers. ...


Let's spell this so as not to frighten the children: t-i-p-p-i-n-g-p-o-i-n-t

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Sep 22, 2014
from New York Times:
Global Rise Reported in 2013 Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Global emissions of greenhouse gases jumped 2.3 percent in 2013 to record levels, scientists reported Sunday, in the latest indication that the world remains far off track in its efforts to control global warming. The emissions growth last year was a bit slower than the average growth rate of 2.5 percent over the past decade, and much of the dip was caused by an economic slowdown in China, which is the world's single largest source of emissions. It may take an additional year or two to know if China has turned a corner toward slower emissions growth, or if the runaway pace of recent years will resume. In the United States, emissions rose 2.9 percent, after declining in recent years. ...


Way to get back in the game, US! The decline was starting to be embarrassing.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Sep 22, 2014
from Associated Press:
NOAA: Yet more global heat records fall in August
The globe smashed more heat records last month, including Earth's hottest August and summer, federal meteorologists said Thursday. May, June and August all set global heat records this year. Meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the average world temperature in August was 61.36 degrees Fahrenheit (16.35 degrees Celsius), breaking a record set in 1998. Scientists at NASA, who calculate global temperature a tad differently, also found August as the hottest on record. ...


The plan to set the earth on fire is unfolding beautifully!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Sep 11, 2014
from World Meteorological Organization:
WMO GHG Bulletin: The State of Greenhouse Gases in the Atmosphere Based on Global Observations through 2013
... Yet that buffering reaction consumes CO32-, reducing the chemical capacity of the near-surface ocean to take up more CO2. Currently that capacity is only 70 percent of what it was at the beginning of the industrial era, and it may well be reduced to only 20 percent by the end of the twenty-first century. The current rate of ocean acidification appears unprecedented at least over the last 300 million years, based on proxy-data from paleo archives. Acidification will continue to accelerate at least until mid-century, based on projections from Earth system models.... As a result of increased anthropogenic emissions, atmospheric CH4 reached 253 percent of its pre-industrial level (~722 ppb) in 2013. Atmospheric CH4 increased from ~1650 ppb in the early 1980s to a new high of 1824±2 ppb in 2013 (Figure 4 (a)). ...


What's a third of a billion years, when my energy-stock-intensive retirement is threatened?

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Wed, Sep 3, 2014
from Guardian:
Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse
The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse some time this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Back in 2002, self-styled environmental expert Bjorn Lomborg consigned it to the "dustbin of history". It doesn't belong there. Research from the University of Melbourne has found the book's forecasts are accurate, 40 years on. If we continue to track in line with the book's scenario, expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon.... The book's central point, much criticised since, is that "the earth is finite" and the quest for unlimited growth in population, material goods etc would eventually lead to a crash.... It's essentially resource constraints that bring about global collapse in the book. However, Limits to Growth does factor in the fallout from increasing pollution, including climate change. The book warned carbon dioxide emissions would have a "climatological effect" via "warming the atmosphere". As the graphs show, the University of Melbourne research has not found proof of collapse as of 2010 (although growth has already stalled in some areas). But in Limits to Growth those effects only start to bite around 2015-2030. ...


We can safely ignore such absurdities. Once discredited by deniers, a work is forever tainted as wrong. Right?

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Tue, Sep 2, 2014
from Climate News Network:
New Satellite Maps Show World's Major Ice Caps Melting at Unprecedented Rate
German researchers have established the height of the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps with greater precision than ever before. And the new maps they have produced show that the ice is melting at an unprecedented rate... Over a three-year period, the researchers collected 200 million measurements in Antarctica and more than 14 million in Greenland. They were able to study how the ice sheets changed by comparing the data with measurements made by NASA's ICESat mission. ...


I think we need further research.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Aug 28, 2014
from Climate Progress:
Climate Scientists Spell Out Stark Danger And Immorality Of Inaction In New Leaked Report
One word in the latest draft report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sums up why climate inaction is so uniquely immoral: "Irreversible." The message from climate scientists about our ongoing failure to cut carbon pollution: The catastrophic changes in climate that we are voluntarily choosing to impose on our children and grandchildren -- and countless generations after them -- cannot plausibly be undone for hundreds of years or more. Yes, we can still stop the worst -- with virtually no impact on growth, as an earlier IPCC report from April made clear -- but future generations will not be able reverse whatever we are too greedy and shortsighted to prevent through immediate action. ...


It's time to create the magic silver bullet wand.

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Wed, Aug 27, 2014
from Sydney Morning Herald:
Climate change may disrupt global food system within a decade, World Bank says
"The challenges from waste to warming, spurred on by a growing population with a rising middle-class hunger for meat, are leading us down a dangerous path," Professor Kyte told the Crawford Fund 2014 annual conference in Canberra on Wednesday. "Unless we chart a new course, we will find ourselves staring volatility and disruption in the food system in the face, not in 2050, not in 2040, but potentially within the next decade," she said, according to her prepared speech. ...


If we "chart a new course" then... what happens to the "old course"?

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Wed, Aug 6, 2014
from Washington Post:
Scientists may have cracked the giant Siberian crater mystery -- and the news isn't good
...By now, you've heard of the crater on the Yamal Peninsula. It's the one that suddenly appeared, yawning nearly 200 feet in diameter, and made several rounds in the global viral media machine... There's now a substantiated theory about what created the crater. And the news isn't so good. It may be methane gas, released by the thawing of frozen ground. According to a recent Nature article, "air near the bottom of the crater contained unusually high concentrations of methane -- up to 9.6 percent -- ... Some scientists contend the thawing of such terrain, rife with centuries of carbon, would release incredible amounts of methane gas and affect global temperatures. ...


Apocahole!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 28, 2014
from Ecowatch:
Last Month Was the Hottest June of All Time
Just like the month that preceded it, June 2014 was the hottest of its kind in our planet's history. According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), global land and ocean surface temperatures combined for an average of 61.2 degrees, making last month the hottest June ever. That figure exceeded the previous record in 1998 by 1.3 degrees. In addition to marking the second consecutive month with a record high global temperature, June was also the fifth month this year to rank among the four hottest of all time for its respective month. February was the only exception. ...


We are on a roll.

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Sat, Jul 26, 2014
from The Independent (UK):
Vital invertebrates decline by 45 per cent, study finds
Insects, worms and other small animals that carry out vital functions for life on earth have declined by 45 per cent on average over 35 years, threatening human health, water quality and food supplies, a study has found. The rapid decline in the number of invertebrates - animals without backbones - is at least as bad as the well publicised plight of the larger animals, according to scientists who said they were shocked by the findings. Although there has has been far less research on invertebrates than on vertebrates, what little has been done suggests that they are undergoing a catastrophic fall in abundance which is having a severe impact on "ecosystem services" such a pollination of crops, water treatment and waste recycling, the scientists said. ...


Ugh -- you want me to care about bugs?

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Tue, Jun 24, 2014
from GOC, via CommonDreams:
Global Ocean Commission says rescue needed within five years
The world's oceans face irreparable damage from climate change and overfishing, with a five-year window for intervention, an environmental panel said Tuesday. Neglecting the health of the oceans could have devastating effects on the world's food supply, clean air, and climate stability, among other factors. The Global Oceans Commission, an environmental group formed by the Pew Charitable Trust, released a report (PDF) addressing the declining marine ecosystems around the world and outlining an eight-step "rescue package" to restore growth and prevent future damage to the seas. The 18-month study proposes increased governance of the oceans, including limiting oil and gas exploration, capping subsidies for commercial fishing, and creating marine protected areas (MPAs) to guard against pollution, particularly from plastics.... Government subsidies for high seas fishing total at least $30 billion a year and are carried out by just ten countries, the report said. About 60 percent of such subsidies encourage unsustainable practices like the fuel-hungry "bottom trawling" of ocean floors -- funds that could be rerouted to conservation efforts or employment in coastal areas. ...


Five whole years? We have time for far more study, I think.

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Thu, May 29, 2014
from AP, via HuffingtonPost:
World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction, Species Disappearing Faster Than Ever Before
Species of plants and animals are becoming extinct at least 1,000 times faster than they did before humans arrived on the scene, and the world is on the brink of a sixth great extinction, a new study says.... "We are on the verge of the sixth extinction," Pimm said from research at the Dry Tortugas. "Whether we avoid it or not will depend on our actions." The work, published Thursday by the journal Science, was hailed as a landmark study by outside experts. ...


Alas, poor species. We knew them, Horatio, small fellows of infinite jest, of most excellent fancies.

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Mon, May 19, 2014
from University of California - Irvine:
Greenland will be far greater contributor to sea rise than expected: Work reveals long, deep valleys connecting ice cap to ocean
Greenland's icy reaches are far more vulnerable to warm ocean waters from climate change than had been thought, according to new research by glaciologists. The work shows previously uncharted deep valleys stretching for dozens of miles under the Greenland Ice Sheet. The bedrock canyons sit well below sea level, meaning that as subtropical Atlantic waters hit the fronts of hundreds of glaciers, those edges will erode much further than had been assumed and release far greater amounts of water. ...


Welcome to the Valleys of the Shadow of Death.

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Mon, May 19, 2014
from University of Leeds:
Antarctica's ice losses on the rise
Three years of observations show that the Antarctic ice sheet is now losing 159 billion tons of ice each year -- twice as much as when it was last surveyed. Scientists have now produced the first complete assessment of Antarctic ice sheet elevation change.... On average West Antarctica lost 134 gigatonnes of ice, East Antarctica three gigatonnes, and the Antarctic Peninsula 23 gigatonnes in each year between 2010 and 2013 -- a total loss of 159 gigatonnes each year. ...


What a comfort it is to have such accurate numbers!

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Mon, May 12, 2014
from NBC News:
West Antarctic Ice Sheet Collapsing, Triggers Sea Level Warning
Two teams of scientists say the long-feared collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has begun, kicking off what they say will be a centuries-long, "unstoppable" process that could raise sea levels by as much as 15 feet.... A second study, published Monday in Geophysical Research Letters, reports the widespread retreat of Thwaites and other glaciers on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet -- and says the retreat can't help but continue. "It has passed the point of no return," the research team's leader, Eric Rignot of the University of California at Irvine, told reporters during a NASA teleconference on Monday. The second study projected that the glacial retreat in Antarctica's Amundsen Sea Embayment, which includes Thwaites Glacier, would result in 4 feet (1.2 meters) of sea level rise -- and open the way to more widespread retreats. ...


So now I can go ahead and drive my Hummer guilt-free!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 25, 2014
from Northern Arizona University:
Carbon loss from soil accelerating climate change
Research published in Science today found that increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause soil microbes to produce more carbon dioxide, accelerating climate change. Two Northern Arizona University researchers led the study, which challenges previous understanding about how carbon accumulates in soil. Increased levels of CO2 accelerate plant growth, which causes more absorption of CO2 through photosynthesis. Until now, the accepted belief was that carbon is then stored in wood and soil for a long time, slowing climate change. Yet this new research suggests that the extra carbon provides fuel to microorganisms in the soil whose byproducts (such as CO2) are released into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. ...


What a dirty trick!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 25, 2014
from Environmental News Service:
Green Heart of Africa Turning Brown
Africa's Congo rainforest, the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world, has lost its much greenness over the past decade, a new analysis of satellite data shows. The study demonstrates that a persistent drought in the Congo region since 2000 has affected the greenness of an increasing amount of forest area and that the browning trend has intensified over the 13 years of the study. ...


Maybe we should stop paying attention!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Apr 14, 2014
from New York Times:
Climate Efforts Falling Short, U.N. Panel Says
Delivering the latest stark news about climate change on Sunday, a United Nations panel warned that governments are not doing enough to avert profound risks in coming decades. But the experts found a silver lining: Not only is there still time to head off the worst, but the political will to do so seems to be rising around the world. In a report unveiled here, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that decades of foot-dragging by political leaders had propelled humanity into a critical situation, with greenhouse emissions rising faster than ever. Though it remains technically possible to keep planetary warming to a tolerable level, only an intensive push over the next 15 years to bring those emissions under control can achieve the goal, the committee found. ...


Today is the first day of the next 15 years to save the planet.

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Tue, Apr 8, 2014
from Florida State University:
Permafrost thawing could accelerate global warming
Researchers have found new evidence that permafrost thawing is releasing large quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere via plants, which could accelerate warming trends. Permafrost is soil that is frozen year round and is typically located in polar regions. As the world has gotten slightly warmer, that permafrost is thawing and decomposing, which is producing increased amounts of methane. ...


There is no "I" in methane.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Apr 1, 2014
from Associated Press:
Exxon: Highly unlikely world limits fossil fuels
On the same day the world's scientists issued their latest report on climate change and the risks it poses to society, the nation's biggest oil and gas company said the world's climate policies are "highly unlikely" to stop it from selling fossil fuels far into the future.... it concludes that because oil and gas are so critical to global development and economic growth, governments are "highly unlikely" to adopt policies that cut emissions so sharply that fossil fuel consumption would be severely restricted. ...


We can only conclude that "governments" and oil and gas companies are the same entity.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Apr 1, 2014
from Huffington Post:
Cable Networks Largely Ignore Major Climate Change Report
The New York Times led Monday's paper with an ominous headline potentially affecting everyone on Earth: "Panel's Warning On Climate Risk: Worst Is To Come."... But such dramatic findings weren't treated with similar urgency Monday morning on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. The three cable news networks largely ignored the IPCC's findings between 6:00 a.m. and noon, according to a search using media monitoring service TVEyes. CNN briefly mentioned the U.N. report during two news roundups, speaking about it for roughly 40 seconds of airtime out of six hours. However, CNN found plenty of time to devote to missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The network has been obsessively covering the mystery for several weeks, regardless of whether there's any new information to report. ...


We do love a mystery!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 31, 2014
from New York Times:
Panel's Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come
Climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and throughout the world's oceans, scientists reported on Monday, and they warned that the problem was likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control... "Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change," Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the intergovernmental panel, said at a news conference here on Monday presenting the report. The report was among the most sobering yet issued by the scientific panel. ...


I'll drink to that!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 24, 2014
from London Guardian:
13 of 14 warmest years on record occurred in 21st century - UN
13 of the 14 warmest years on record occurred this century, according to the UN. Publishing its annual climate report, the UN's World Meteorological Organisation said that last year continued a long-term warming trend, with the hottest year ever in Australia and floods, droughts and extreme weather elsewhere around the world. Michel Jarraud, the WMO's secretary-general, also said there had been no 'pause' in global warming, as has been alleged by climate change sceptics. "There is no standstill in global warming," Jarraud said. ...


The new normal.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 24, 2014
from Associated Press:
Big climate report: Warming is big risk for people
If you think of climate change as a hazard for some far-off polar bears years from now, you're mistaken. That's the message from top climate scientists gathering in Japan this week to assess the impact of global warming. In fact, they will say, the dangers of a warming Earth are immediate and very human. "The polar bear is us," says Patricia Romero Lankao of the federally financed National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., referring to the first species to be listed as threatened by global warming due to melting sea ice. ...


Today is a good day to panic.

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Sat, Mar 22, 2014
from University of Pennsylvania:
Deep ocean current may slow due to climate change
Far beneath the surface of the ocean, deep currents act as conveyer belts, channeling heat, carbon, oxygen and nutrients around the globe. A new study by the University of Pennsylvania's Irina Marinov and Raffaele Bernardello and colleagues from McGill University has found that recent climate change may be acting to slow down one of these conveyer belts, with potentially serious consequences for the future of the planet's climate. "Our observations are showing us that there is less formation of these deep waters near Antarctica," Marinov said. "This is worrisome because, if this is the case, we're likely going to see less uptake of human produced, or anthropogenic, heat and carbon dioxide by the ocean, making this a positive feedback loop for climate change."...The ocean contains about 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere, making it a crucial but sometimes overlooked player in climate change regulation. ...


If only humans could adopt a slow motion lifestyle.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Mar 19, 2014
from New York Times:
Scientists Sound Alarm on Climate
...the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific society ... released a stark report Tuesday on global warming. The report warns that the effects of human emissions of heat-trapping gases are already being felt, that the ultimate consequences could be dire, and that the window to do something about it is closing. "The evidence is overwhelming: Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising," says the report. "Temperatures are going up. Springs are arriving earlier. Ice sheets are melting. Sea level is rising. The patterns of rainfall and drought are changing. Heat waves are getting worse, as is extreme precipitation. The oceans are acidifying." ...


I swear I'll pay attention the next time you say this.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Mar 7, 2014
from University College London:
New data confirms Arctic ice trends: Ice-free season getting longer by five days per decade
The ice-free season across the Arctic is getting longer by five days per decade, according to new research from a team including Prof Julienne Stroeve (UCL Earth Sciences). New analysis of satellite data shows the Arctic Ocean absorbing ever more of the sun's energy in summer, leading to a later appearance of sea ice in the autumn. In some regions, autumn freeze-up is occurring up to 11 days per decade later than it used to. ...


My short term mindset fails to see the bottom line point of this report.

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Sun, Mar 2, 2014
from EcoWatch:
Melting starfish are 'keystone species' for their ecosystem
['Keystone species'] refers to particular organisms that keep the relationships between the ecosystem's other plants and animals functioning properly. Without them, ecosystems collapse--like an arch would without its center block. Well, as it so happens, when ecologist Robert T. Paine first coined the term back in 1969, he got the idea by messing around with a bunch of starfish. Paine crawled along the tidal plains of Washington's Tatoosh Island, pulling up all the ochre stars (Pisaster ochraceus) he could find and tossing them out into the ocean beyond his study area. He played this game of starfish Frisbee for three years, and discovered that without the seastars, his study area became so thick with mussels that little else could survive. Ochres mow down mussel beds like it's closing time at Old Country Buffet. What was once a rich community of 28 species of animals and algae along Tatoosh Island, Paine turned into a mussel monoculture. And today, more of this mussel dominance could be on its way, since ochres are one of the 15 starfish species currently turning into mush. ...


Not to worry -- today those mussels are losing the battle with ocean acidification.

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Wed, Feb 26, 2014
from Huffington Post:
10 Million Scallops Dead In B.C. Waters
Rising acidity in the sea water around Qualicum Beach has led to the death of 10 million scallops -- equivalent to three years' product, and every scallop the company put in the ocean from 2009-2011, Island Scallops CEO Rob Saunders told The Parksville Qualicum Bay News. "I'm not sure we are going to stay alive and I'm not sure the oyster industry is going to stay alive," Saunders told the newspaper. "It's that dramatic." The disaster constitutes a $10-million loss to the business once so successful, they were featured on The Food Network. ...


Scalldowns.

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Thu, Feb 20, 2014
from NASA:
NASA satellites see Arctic surface darkening faster
The retreat of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is diminishing Earth's albedo, or reflectivity, by an amount considerably larger than previously estimated, according to a new study that uses data from instruments that fly aboard several NASA satellites.... As the sea ice melts, its white reflective surface is replaced by a relatively dark ocean surface. This diminishes the amount of sunlight being reflected back to space, causing Earth to absorb an increasing amount of solar energy. The Arctic has warmed by 3.6 F (2 C) since the 1970s. The summer minimum Arctic sea ice extent has decreased by 40 percent during the same time period. These factors have decreased the region's albedo, or the fraction of incoming light that Earth reflects back into space -- a change that the CERES instruments are able to measure. ...


albedone for

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 17, 2014
from Sydney Morning Herald:
John Kerry: climate change a 'weapon of mass destruction'
US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Indonesians that man-made climate change could threaten their entire way of life, deriding those who doubted the existence of "perhaps the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction". Mr Kerry described those who do not accept that human activity causes global warming as "shoddy scientists" and "extreme ideologues", and said big companies and special interests should not be allowed to "hijack" the climate debate. Aides said Mr Kerry had chosen Indonesia for the first of what is to be a series of speeches on the topic this year partly because, as an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, it is particularly at risk from rising sea levels. ...


If only he'd called climate change "A grave threat to continued episodes of Dancing with the Stars."

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 3, 2014
from Washington Post:
Five takeaways from State Department's review of the Keystone XL pipeline
The State Department has finished its massive environmental review of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, down to Steele City, Nebraska, where it would move on to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Bottom line: The report concludes that blocking or approving the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline would not have a "significant" impact on overall greenhouse-gas emissions and future tar-sands expansion. That's because, it argues, most of Alberta's oil will likely find a way to get to the market anyway -- if not by pipeline, then by rail. ...


Human conquest of Mother Earth is now complete.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jan 25, 2014
from Arctic News:
Strangely high methane levels over the Arctic Ocean on January 14, 2014
Did these high methane levels originate from releases from the Arctic Ocean, and if so, how could such high methane releases occur from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean at this time of year, when temperatures in the northern hemisphere are falling?... These high levels of methane showing up over the Arctic Ocean constitute only part of the methane that did escape from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean. Where these high concentrations did show up, the ocean can be thousands of meters deep, giving microbes plenty of opportunity to decompose methane rising through the water first. Furthermore, the methane has to pass through sea ice that is now getting more than one meter thick in the area where these high levels of methane showed up on satellite records. In conclusion, the quantities of methane that were actually released from the seafloor must have been huge.... Huge releases from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean have occurred persistently since early October 2013, even when releases like this may show up for one day in one area without showing up in that same area the next day on satellite images. ...


The "known knowns" have to compete with both the "known unknowns" and the "unknown unknowns," especially about a future of "unacceptable unknowns."

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jan 19, 2014
from London Guardian:
Global food crisis will worsen as heatwaves damage crops, research finds
The world's food crisis, where 1 billion people are already going hungry and a further 2 billion people will be affected by 2050, is set to worsen as increasing heatwaves reverse the rising crop yields seen over the last 50 years, according to new research. Severe heatwaves, such as those currently seen in Australia, are expected to become many times more likely in coming decades due to climate change. Extreme heat led to 2012 becoming the hottest year in the US on record and the worst corn crop in two decades. ...


Come and get your hot crops!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jan 19, 2014
from Huffington Post:
California Has Driest Year Ever -- And It May Get Worse
... For California, 2013 was the driest year since the state started measuring rainfall in 1849, before it was a state, according to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, or UCAR, a consortium of 75 schools. Low rainfall has shattered records in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Shasta and on up to Eugene, Ore... Meteorologists say the reason behind the low precipitation is a massive zone of high pressure nearly four miles high and 2,000 miles long that has been blocking storms for more than a year. Meteorologist Daniel Swain has dubbed it "The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge." ...


I call it "The Rush Limbaugh."

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jan 3, 2014
from Huffington Post:
Mercury Levels In Alberta Oilsands 16 Times Higher Than Normal: Environment Canada Scientists
Mercury levels around the Alberta oilsands are 16 times higher than background loads, with contamination taking on the shape of a 'bull's-eye' over the region, say Environment Canada scientists. Speaking at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry conference in Nashville, Environment Canada researchers Jane Kirk and Derek Muir said mercury levels are at their highest concentration in the immediate area of oilsands operations but extend out to cover a 19,000-square-kilometre area, Postmedia reports. "Here we have a direct source of methyl mercury being emitted in this region and deposited to the landscapes and water bodies," Kirk told Postmedia. "So come snowmelt that methyl mercury is now going to enter lakes and rivers where potentially it could be taken up directly by organisms and then bioaccumulated and biomagnified though food webs." ...


Now we know how the Tar Sands folks found that sweet spot!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jan 2, 2014
from Bloomberg News:
Exxon Russia Ambitions Show Oil Trumps Obama-Putin Spats
As Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin argue over human rights in Russia and the fate of fugitive U.S. intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, the countries' biggest oil companies are preparing to drill for giant discoveries together in the Arctic Ocean. Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and OAO Rosneft (ROSN) are set to start their first Arctic well this year, targeting a deposit that may hold more oil than Norway's North Sea. It will kick off a series of landmark projects and cement an alliance begun in 2011. They also plan to frack shale fields in Siberia, sink a deep-water well in the Black Sea and build a natural-gas export terminal in Russia's Far East. "We have a unique partnership," Glenn Waller, Exxon's Russian chief, said in an interview in Moscow. "They have the world's biggest reserves and we have the largest market capitalization." ...


Strange breadfellows, man.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 9, 2013
from ThinkProgress:
The 2014 Shrimp Season In The Gulf Of Maine Has Been Canceled
They're small and sweet, beloved by locals and tourists alike, and will soon be indefinitely unavailable. The Northern shrimp population in the Gulf of Maine has officially collapsed and a moratorium on shrimping is being recommended for the 2014 season. Restaurants in Maine are rushing to get their hands on whatever is left over from last year's catch.... "I think everyone was startled by what we saw in 2012, and there was a lot of pressure to close down the fishery for the 2013 season," said John Annala, Chief Scientific Officer at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. "The survey this summer found just 20 percent of the 2012 record low, so it has fallen off incredibly sharply." Perhaps most worrying is the fact that juvenile shrimp have not been picked up in a survey since 2010. Northern shrimp live about five years, so the lack of younger shrimp for three years straight may mean empty nets for years to come. ...


Those juvenile-delinquent shrimp are playing hookey!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Dec 4, 2013
from Climate News Network:
James Hansen: 2C Temperature Rise Would Be "Disastrous"
Governments have set the wrong target to limit climate change. The goal at present -- to limit global warming to a maximum of two degree Celsius higher than the average for most of human history -- "would have consequences that can be described as disastrous," say 18 scientists in a review paper in the journal PLOS One. With a two degree Celsius increase, "sea level rise of several meters could be expected," they say. "Increased climate extremes, already apparent at 0.8 degrees Celsuis warming, would be more severe. Coral reefs and associated species, already stressed with current conditions, would be decimated by increased acidification, temperature and sea level rise.... Warming of one degree Celsius relative to 1880 -- 1920 keeps global temperature close to the Holocene range, but warming of two degree Celsius, could cause "major dislocations for civilization." ...


Take two aspirin, go to bed and don't get up!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Dec 3, 2013
from National Research Council:
Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises
Although there is still much to learn about abrupt climate change and abrupt climate impacts, to willfully ignore the threat of abrupt change could lead to more costs, loss of life, suffering, and environmental degradation. The time is here to be serious about the threat of tipping points so as to better anticipate and prepare ourselves for the inevitable surprises. ...


Uh-oh: this language is how the National Research Council expresses panic.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Dec 1, 2013
from Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:
Researchers say Arctic Ocean leaking methane at an alarming rate
FAIRBANKS -- Ounce for ounce, methane has an effect on global warming more than 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and it's leaking from the Arctic Ocean at an alarming rate, according to new research by scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Their article, which appeared last week in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience, states that the Arctic Ocean is releasing methane at a rate more than twice what scientific models had previously anticipated. ...


There's no plugging this leak.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Nov 25, 2013
from Princeton University:
Even If Emissions Stop, Carbon Dioxide Could Warm Earth for Centuries
Even if carbon dioxide emissions came to a sudden halt, the carbon dioxide already in Earth's atmosphere could continue to warm our planet for hundreds of years, according to Princeton University-led research published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The study suggests that it might take a lot less carbon than previously thought to reach the global temperature scientists deem unsafe. The researchers' work contradicts a scientific consensus that the global temperature would remain constant or decline if emissions were suddenly cut to zero. But previous research did not account for a gradual reduction in the oceans' ability to absorb heat from the atmosphere, particularly the polar oceans [..] ...


Ivy league ivory tower debbie downers.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Nov 24, 2013
from New York Times Review:
The Year the Monarch Didn't Appear
ON the first of November, when Mexicans celebrate a holiday called the Day of the Dead, some also celebrate the millions of monarch butterflies that, without fail, fly to the mountainous fir forests of central Mexico on that day. They are believed to be souls of the dead, returned. This year, for or the first time in memory, the monarch butterflies didn't come, at least not on the Day of the Dead. They began to straggle in a week later than usual, in record-low numbers. Last year's low of 60 million now seems great compared with the fewer than three million that have shown up so far this year. Some experts fear that the spectacular migration could be near collapse. "It does not look good," said Lincoln P. Brower, a monarch expert at Sweet Briar College.... Another major cause is farming with Roundup, a herbicide that kills virtually all plants except crops that are genetically modified to survive it. As a result, millions of acres of native plants, especially milkweed, an important source of nectar for many species, and vital for monarch butterfly larvae, have been wiped out. One study showed that Iowa has lost almost 60 percent of its milkweed, and another found 90 percent was gone. "The agricultural landscape has been sterilized," said Dr. Brower. ...


If we don't sterilize it, how can we be sure that Nature is clean?

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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
from INRS :
Global Warming in the Canadian Arctic
Ph.D. student Karita Negandhi and professor Isabelle Laurion from INRS'Eau Terre Environnement Research Centre, in collaboration with other Canadian, U.S., and French researchers, have been studying methane emissions produced by thawing permafrost in the Canadian Arctic. These emissions are greatly underestimated in current climate models. Their findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE, illustrate the importance of taking into account greenhouse gases emitted by small thaw ponds, as they could have a significant impact on climate."We discovered that although the small shallow ponds we studied represent only 44 percent of the water-covered surface in a Bylot Island valley, they generate 83 percent of its methane emissions," notes water sciences doctoral student Karita Negandhi. ...


I have long maintained the small thaw ponds would get us in the end.

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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
from Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research:
Coal Continues to Dominate Global Carbon Emissions
Despite explosive growth in renewable energy consumption, continued strong growth in coal consumption has further consolidated coal as the dominate source of carbon dioxide emissions... In 2012 many countries increased dependence on coal. German emissions increased 1.8 per cent in 2012, with coal growing at 4.2 per cent.Japanese emissions increased 6.9 per cent in 2012, with coal growing at 5.6 per cent. EU28 emissions decreased 1.3 per cent, but emissions from coal grew 3.0 per cent. Indian emissions increased 7.7 per cent, with coal growing at 10.2 per cent. ...


I've always thought it was the main coalprit.

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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
from University of East Anglia :
Global Carbon Emissions Set to Reach Record 36 Billion Tons in 2013
Global emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels are set to rise again in 2013, reaching a record high of 36 billion tonnes - according to new figures from the Global Carbon Project, co-led by researchers from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia (UEA). The 2.1 per cent rise projected for 2013 means global emissions from burning fossil fuel are 61 per cent above 1990 levels, the baseline year for the Kyoto Protocol. ...


The climate floodgates are greased.

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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
from London Guardian:
Arctic oil spill is certain if drilling goes ahead, says top scientist
A serious oil spill in the Arctic is a "dead cert" if drilling goes ahead, with potentially devastating consequences for the pristine region, according to a leading marine scientist who played a key role in analysis of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The warning came as Russia filed court orders this week to have Greenpeace activists and journalists kept in prison for a further three months in prison before their trial over a protest at Arctic oil dirlling. Concerns about the potentially dire consequences of drilling for oil in the region have intensified as the Russian government and others have begun exploration under the Arctic seas. In such a cold region, any spill would be much more troublesome, because the oil would not naturally disperse as it does in warmer waters, and because of the difficulty of mounting a clean-up operation in hostile weather conditions. ...


Imagine... A polar bear covered in oil.

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Tue, Nov 19, 2013
from AP, via WHTI:
Zooplankton decline reported in North Atlantic
The microscopic creatures that make up a critical link in the ocean food chain declined dramatically the first half of this year in the North Atlantic as ocean temperatures remained among the warmest on record, federal scientists say. Springtime plankton blooms off the coast of northern New England were well below average this year, leading to the lowest levels ever seen for the tiny organisms that are essential to maintaining balance in the ocean food chain, said Kevin Friedland, a marine scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The absence of the normal surge of plankton in the spring is a concern because that's when cod and haddock and many other species produce offspring, Friedland said.... "The first six months of 2013 can be characterized by new extremes in the physical and biological environment," Friedland said from his office in Rhode Island. The findings come after temperatures off the Northeast U.S. hit an all-time high in 2012. ...


I had no idea the zooplankton-bone was connected to the cod-bone.

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Thu, Nov 14, 2013
from New York Times, via DesdemonaDespair:
Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene
... Geological time scales, civilizational collapse and species extinction give rise to profound problems that humanities scholars and academic philosophers, with their taste for fine-grained analysis, esoteric debates and archival marginalia, might seem remarkably ill suited to address. After all, how will thinking about Kant help us trap carbon dioxide? Can arguments between object-oriented ontology and historical materialism protect honeybees from colony collapse disorder? Are ancient Greek philosophers, medieval theologians, and contemporary metaphysicians going to keep Bangladesh from being inundated by rising oceans? Of course not. But the biggest problems the Anthropocene poses are precisely those that have always been at the root of humanistic and philosophical questioning: "What does it mean to be human?" and "What does it mean to live?" In the epoch of the Anthropocene, the question of individual mortality -- "What does my life mean in the face of death?" -- is universalized and framed in scales that boggle the imagination. What does human existence mean against 100,000 years of climate change? What does one life mean in the face of species death or the collapse of global civilization? How do we make meaningful choices in the shadow of our inevitable end?... ...


A realist dies a thousand deaths. A denier dies but one.

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Thu, Nov 7, 2013
from Wall Street Journal:
Water Shortages Threaten Energy Output: Wood Mackenzie
Water shortages are threatening energy output and increasing costs in some of the world's most prolific sectors including shale gas in the U.S., crude oil in the Middle East and coal in China, and the situation is set to worsen, Wood Mackenzie said Thursday. The energy sector is already the world's largest consumer of water for industrial purposes, using over 15 percent of global supply, and this is rising, the consulting firm said in a report, noting huge quantities are needed to increase pressure at oil fields, in technologies like hydraulic fracturing and to upgrade coal quality. Growing water needs will pit energy companies against other users, and increase production costs significantly, it said. ...


Let them drink Coke.

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Mon, Oct 14, 2013
from Climate News Network:
Ocean Deteriorating More Rapidly Than Thought
Marine scientists say the state of the world's oceans is deteriorating more rapidly than anyone had realized, and is worse than that described in last month's U.N. climate report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They say the rate, speed and impacts of ocean change are greater, faster and more imminent than previously thought -- and they expect summertime Arctic sea ice cover will have disappeared in around 25 years. ...


Seas the day.

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Wed, Oct 9, 2013
from University of Hawaii at Manoa:
Urgent New Time Frame for Climate Change Revealed by Massive Analysis
The seesaw variability of global temperatures often engenders debate over how seriously we should take climate change. But within 35 years, even the lowest monthly dips in temperatures will be hotter than we've experienced in the past 150 years, according to a new and massive analysis of all climate models. The tropics will be the first to exceed the limits of historical extremes and experience an unabated heat wave that threatens biodiversity and heavily populated countries with the fewest resources to adapt. ...


The tropics will be toast!

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Mon, Sep 30, 2013
from NewScientist:
Climate report: Lull in warming doesn't mean we're safe
Humanity's role in driving climate change is more certain than ever before, but the most extreme scenarios of future warming are looking less likely than a few years ago. This is the upshot of the latest scientific assessment from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published today.... The new report leaves no doubt that a storm is brewing. It is unequivocal -- temperatures are rising and human activity is to blame. Without drastic action to curb emissions, it says, the world faces a century of strong warming, in which glaciers and ice sheets melt, sea levels rise, the oceans acidify, weather systems shift and rainfall patterns change.... this stark warning will be sidelined by the scientific conundrum over the "missing heat" that should, according to most climate models, have been warming the atmosphere ever faster these past few decades. This may be a short-term blip -- perhaps a result of the oceans temporarily taking up more heat from the atmosphere, says one of the IPCC's lead authors, Myles Allen of the University of Oxford. The report underlines that, whatever is happening to the atmosphere, the oceans continue to warm dramatically. ...


Damn you, ocean, for trying to save us all.

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Thu, Sep 19, 2013
from London Guardian:
Arctic sea ice shrinks to sixth-lowest extent on record
Sea ice cover in the Arctic has shrunk to one of its smallest extents on record, bringing the days of an entirely ice-free Arctic during the summer a step closer. The annual sea ice minimum of 5,099m sq km reached last Friday was not as extreme as last year, when the collapse of ice cover broke all previous records. But it was still the sixth lowest Arctic sea ice minimum on record, and well below the average set over the past 30 years of satellite records. ...


The Awesome Global Meltfest continues!

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Tue, Sep 3, 2013
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Population growth increases climate fear
...For various reasons, linking the world's rapid population growth to its deepening environmental crisis, including climate change, is politically taboo. In the United States, Europe and Japan, there has been public hand-wringing over falling birthrates and government policies to encourage child-bearing. But those declining birthrates mask explosive growth elsewhere in the world. In less than a lifetime, the world population has tripled, to 7.1 billion, and continues to climb by more than 1.5 million people a week. A consensus statement issued in May by scientists at Stanford University and signed by more than 1,000 scientists warned that "Earth is reaching a tipping point." An array of events under way - including what scientists have identified as the sixth mass extinction in the earth's 540 million-year history - suggest that human activity already exceeds earth's capacity. ...


Congratulations on your cute new carbon emitter!

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Tue, Aug 27, 2013
from Nature:
Rising ocean acidity will exacerbate global warming
The slow and inexorable increase in the oceans' acidity as they soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere could itself have an effect on climate and amplify global warming, according to a new study. Acidification would lead certain marine organisms to emit less of the sulphur compounds that help to seed the formation of clouds and so keep the planet cool.... Adding in the effects of acidification on DMS, which the team calculated using three different estimates of the strength of the link between pH and DMS production, led to additional increases ranging between 0.23 and 0.48 degrees C. Their paper is published in Nature Climate Change today. (Thanks, DesdemonaDespair) ...


Ocean acidification has a bonus feature!

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Wed, Aug 21, 2013
from Climate Central:
July Adds To Globe's String of 341 Warm Months
The year-to-date has been the sixth warmest on record globally, and July was also the sixth warmest such month since global surface temperature records first began in 1880, according to new data released on Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The figures show that July 2013 was the 37th straight July, and the 341st straight month, with warmer-than-average global temperatures -- a more than 28-year timespan that reflects the significant warming observed worldwide since the 1970s. ...


There's no stopping us now!

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Tue, Aug 20, 2013
from Reuters:
Experts surer of manmade global warming but local predictions elusive
... Drafts seen by Reuters of the study by the U.N. panel of experts, due to be published next month, say it is at least 95 percent likely that human activities - chiefly the burning of fossil fuels - are the main cause of warming since the 1950s. That is up from at least 90 percent in the last report in 2007, 66 percent in 2001, and just over 50 in 1995, steadily squeezing out the arguments by a small minority of scientists that natural variations in the climate might be to blame. ...


There's a five percent chance it's fairies.

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Fri, Jun 14, 2013
from NASA:
Is a Sleeping 'Climate Giant' Stirring in the Arctic?
...Over hundreds of millennia, Arctic permafrost soils have accumulated vast stores of organic carbon - an estimated 1,400 to 1,850 petagrams of it (a petagram is 2.2 trillion pounds, or 1 billion metric tons). That's about half of all the estimated organic carbon stored in Earth's soils. In comparison, about 350 petagrams of carbon have been emitted from all fossil-fuel combustion and human activities since 1850. Most of this carbon is located in thaw-vulnerable topsoils within 10 feet (3 meters) of the surface.... "Permafrost soils are warming even faster than Arctic air temperatures - as much as 2.7 to 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius) in just the past 30 years," Miller said. "As heat from Earth's surface penetrates into permafrost, it threatens to mobilize these organic carbon reservoirs and release them into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane, upsetting the Arctic's carbon balance and greatly exacerbating global warming."... If climate change causes the Arctic to get warmer and drier, scientists expect most of the carbon to be released as carbon dioxide. If it gets warmer and wetter, most will be in the form of methane. The distinction is critical. Molecule per molecule, methane is 22 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide on a 100-year timescale, and 105 times more potent on a 20-year timescale. ...


Nothing stinks up the joint like melting permafrost.

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Mon, Jun 10, 2013
from Washington Post:
Carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4 percent in 2012, IEA report says
Global emissions of carbon dioxide from energy use rose 1.4 percent to 31.6 gigatons in 2012, setting a record and putting the planet on course for temperature increases well above international climate goals, the International Energy Agency said in a report scheduled to be issued Monday. The agency said continuing that pace could mean a temperature increase over pre-industrial times of as much as 5.3 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit), which IEA chief economist Fatih Birol warned "would be a disaster for all countries." ...


Sounds like hell on earth.

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Mon, Jun 3, 2013
from Bloomberg:
TransCanada CEO says Keystone aids jobs and environment
TransCanada Corp. (TRP)'s proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline would benefit U.S. employment and support efforts to tackle climate change, according to the company's Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling. ...


And smoking is good for you, too!

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Mon, May 27, 2013
from Washington Post:
Russia to pack up Arctic ice station after cracks develop in ice floe
Russia is evacuating a drifting Arctic research station that was supposed to last until September, because the ice it is built on is starting to break up. The cracks are another indication of the rapid decline of the Arctic ice sheet -- especially so because the encampment is on the Canadian side of the Arctic Sea, where the ice is oldest and most durable.... In years past, drift stations have remained in operation for 12 months or longer, with the exception of 2010, when an early breakup also caused a premature evacuation. One station in the Soviet era, called North Pole-22, was launched Sept. 13, 1973, and stayed in service until April 8, 1982. ...


Don'tcha just hate it when unexpected cracks appear in the fundament?

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Mon, May 27, 2013
from The Daily Climate:
Opinion: Stop the decay of our planet's life-support systems
...A statement released today and signed by more than 500 scientists from 44 countries who study the interactions of people with our planet is unequivocal: "Based on the best scientific information available, human quality of life will suffer substantial degradation by the year 2050 if we continue on our current path."... "By the time today's children reach middle age," the scientists warn, "it is extremely likely that Earth's life-support systems, critical for human prosperity and existence, will be irretrievably damaged by the magnitude, global extent, and combination of these human-caused environmental stressors, unless we take concrete, immediate actions to ensure a sustainable, high-quality future." ...


As if middle age doesn't suck regardless.

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Tue, May 14, 2013
from Los Angeles Times:
Carbon dioxide in atmosphere did not break 400 ppm at Hawaii site
Carbon dioxide measurements in the Earth's atmosphere did not break the symbolic milestone of 400 parts per million at a Hawaiian observatory last week, according to a revised reading from the nation's climate observers. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revised its May 9 reading at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii, saying it remained fractions of a point below the level of 400 ppm, at 399.89. ...


Crisis averted!

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Wed, May 8, 2013
from Huffington Post:
Ocean Acidification Threatens Arctic Ecosystem, Study Shows
The Arctic ecosystem, already under pressure from record ice melts, faces another potential threat in the form of rapid acidification of the ocean, according to an international study published on Monday.... Cold water absorbs carbon dioxide more readily than warm water, making the Arctic especially vulnerable. The report said the average acidity of surface ocean waters worldwide was now about 30 percent higher than at the start of the Industrial Revolution. "Arctic marine waters are experiencing widespread and rapid ocean acidification," said the report by 60 experts for the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, commissioned by the eight nations with Arctic territories. "Ocean acidification is likely to affect the abundance, productivity and distribution of marine species, but the magnitude and direction of change are uncertain." ...


There's an ecosystem up there? I thought it was just ice!

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Mon, May 6, 2013
from The Keeling Curve:
The Keeling Curve
Want to watch the slow-motion trainwreck of our climate in real time? Go to the Keeling Curve web site and see current ppm rate of CO2 concentration as we march inexorably to 400. ...


I do love the word inexorably.

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Mon, Apr 15, 2013
from Reuters:
Scientists find Antarctic ice is melting faster
The summer ice melt in parts of Antarctica is at its highest level in 1,000 years, Australian and British researchers reported on Monday, adding new evidence of the impact of global warming on sensitive Antarctic glaciers and ice shelves. Researchers from the Australian National University and the British Antarctic Survey found data taken from an ice core also shows the summer ice melt has been 10 times more intense over the past 50 years compared with 600 years ago. ...


Antarctic: the other melting Arctic.

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Tue, Apr 9, 2013
from Planet Ark:
Greens ask U.S. to delay Keystone decision after Arkansas leak
Environmental groups on Monday asked the Obama administration to extend the approval process of the Keystone XL pipeline, using last month's spill of heavy Canadian crude oil in Arkansas as their latest reason to delay the project. The Obama administration is deciding whether to approve the Canada-to-Nebraska leg of TransCanada Corp's proposed pipeline, which would link Canada's oil sands, the world's third richest crude oil deposit, to refineries in Texas. The State Department, which issued a draft environmental assessment of the $5.3 billion project on March 1, indicated then that a final decision could come by July or August. ...


Remember the Mayflower!

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Tue, Apr 9, 2013
from New York Times:
Ex-Regulator Says Reactors Are Flawed
All 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology, the former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Monday. Shutting them all down at once is not practical, he said, but he supports phasing them out rather than trying to extend their lives.... it is highly unusual for a former head of the nuclear commission to so bluntly criticize an industry whose safety he was previously in charge of ensuring....Dr. Jaczko cited a well-known characteristic of nuclear reactor fuel to continue to generate copious amounts of heat after a chain reaction is shut down. That "decay heat" is what led to the Fukushima meltdowns. ...


Our nukes are fuked!

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Wed, Apr 3, 2013
from Mongabay:
Scientists find the 'missing heat' of global warming 700 meters below the sea
Critics of climate change often claim that warming has stopped since the late 1990s. While this is categorically false (the last decade was the warmest on record and 2005 and 2010 are generally considered tied for the warmest year), scientists do admit that warming hasn't occurred over land as rapidly as predicted in the last ten years, especially given continually rising greenhouse gas emissions. But a recent study in Geophysical Research Letters has found this so-called missing heat: 700 meters below the surface of the ocean...."This signals the beginning of the most sustained warming trend in this record of [ocean heat content]," the scientists write in the paper. "Indeed, recent warming rates of the waters below 700 meters appear to be unprecedented." ...


We are nothing if not masters of the unprecedented consequence.

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Wed, Mar 20, 2013
from Guardian:
Monbiot: Japan's 'frozen gas' is worthless if we take climate change seriously
There's only one way of knowing whether or not governments are serious about climate change: have they decided to leave most of their fossil fuel reserves in the ground? We have already discovered far more carbon than we can afford to burn, if we are not to commit the world to very dangerous levels of heating. Only if most of it - four-fifths according to a detailed estimate - is left where it sits is there a good chance of preventing more than 2 degrees C of global warming. Forgive me if you've heard me say this many times before. But it is the only point that is really worth making. It doesn't matter how many wind turbines you build, or energy-saving lightbulbs you install, or more economical cars you manufacture: unless most of our fossil fuel reserves are declared off-limits they will, sooner or later, be extracted and burned. The question of whether it is sooner or whether it is later makes little difference: we have already identified more underground carbon than we can afford to burn between now and the year 3000.... Like all the nations which continue to extend the fossil fuel frontier (such as Britain, where companies intend to start producing gas through fracking) Japan is adding to the mountain of fossil fuels we cannot responsibly burn. The brave new technology it has developed, now lauded in the media, would be worthless in a world that took climate change seriously. ...


George, whattaya tryna do, derail the economic recovery?

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Tue, Mar 12, 2013
from American Geophysical Union:
Canadian Arctic Glacier Melt Accelerating, Irreversible, Projections Suggest
...In the past few years, the mass of the glaciers in the Canadian Arctic archipelago has begun to plummet. Observations from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites suggest that from 2004 to 2011 the region's glaciers shed approximately 580 gigatons of ice. Aside from glacier calving, which plays only a small role in Canadian glacier mass loss, the drop is due largely to a shift in the surface-mass balance, with warming-induced meltwater runoff outpacing the accumulation of new snowfall. ...


What's a giggleton?

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Tue, Mar 12, 2013
from Grist:
'State Department' Keystone XL Report Actually Written By TransCanada Contractor
The State Department's "don't worry" environmental impact statement for the proposed Keystone XL tarsands pipeline, released late Friday afternoon, was written not by government officials but by a private company in the pay of the pipeline's owner. The "sustainability consultancy" ¯ Environmental Resources Management (ERM) was paid an undisclosed amount under contract to TransCanada to write the statement, which is now an official government document. The statement estimates, and then dismisses, the pipeline's massive carbon footprint and other environmental impacts, because, it asserts, the mining and burning of the tar sands is unstoppable. ...


This isn't a conflict of interest, it's a confluence of interest.

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Mon, Mar 11, 2013
from Boston University College of Arts & Sciences :
Amplified Greenhouse Effect Shaping North Into South
An international team of 21 authors from 17 institutions in seven countries has just published a study in the journal Natural Climate Change showing that, as the cover of snow and ice in the northern latitudes has diminished in recent years, the temperature over the northern land mass has increased at different rates during the four seasons, causing a reduction in temperature and vegetation seasonality in this area. In other words, the temperature and vegetation at northern latitudes increasingly resembles those found several degrees of latitude farther south as recently as 30 years ago. ...


We humans like to mix it up!

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Mon, Mar 11, 2013
from Earth Policy Institute:
Where Has All the Ice Gone?
... In September 2012, sea ice in the Arctic Ocean shrank to a record low extent and volume. The region has warmed two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since the 1960s -- twice as much as lower latitudes. With less snow and ice to reflect the sun's rays and with more exposed ocean to absorb heat, a vicious cycle leads to even warmer temperatures. Thinner ice combined with rising temperatures makes it increasingly difficult for the sea ice to recover. The historically ever-present white cap at the top of the globe could disappear entirely during the summer within two decades...Greenland's ice loss has accelerated from 51 billion tons per year in the 1990s to 263 billion tons per year today... parts of Antarctica's vast ice sheet may be even less stable. The continent is flanked by 54 major ice shelves, which act as brakes slowing the movement of ice in land-based glaciers out to sea. Twenty of them show signs of thinning and weakening, which translates into accelerated ice loss. ...


The air conditioner of the planet is turning into a space heater!

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Wed, Mar 6, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
Critical Part of Keystone Report Done by Firms with Deep Oil Industry Ties
The State Department's recent conclusion that the Keystone XL pipeline "is unlikely to have a substantial impact" on the rate of Canada's oil sands development was based on analysis provided by two consulting firms with ties to oil and pipeline companies that could benefit from the proposed project. EnSys Energy has worked with ExxonMobil, BP and Koch Industries, which own oil sands production facilities and refineries in the Midwest that process heavy Canadian crude oil. Imperial Oil, one of Canada's largest oil sands producers, is a subsidiary of Exxon. ICF International works with pipeline and oil companies but doesn't list specific clients on its website. It declined to comment on the Keystone, referring questions to the State Department. ...


That fox we hired to guard hen house? He's eating all the hens!

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Tue, Mar 5, 2013
from Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Canadian crude oil finds a new pathway through Minnesota
If President Obama rejects the Keystone XL pipeline, large quantities of the Canadian oil it's designed to carry will still roll into the United States -- on railroads with tracks through Minnesota. The proposed pipeline across Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska has provoked opposition from environmental activists who say extraction of crude oil from tar sands increases greenhouse gases that cause global warming. As anti-pipeline groups have pressed the White House to kill the project, the oil and railroad industries have been building oil-loading terminals and buying tank cars to ship Canadian crude oil by rail. ...


The show must go on.

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Mon, Mar 4, 2013
from Indiana Living Green:
To engineer the climate, or not to engineer the climate
... For those paying attention to the positive feedback mechanism occurring in the Arctic, this few tenths of a degree rise is unstoppable -- and, imminent. The ice melt in the Arctic is suffering a feedback loop. The more the ice melts, the more the sunlight warms the water, instead of bouncing off the ice back into the atmosphere. The warmer the water, the less ice forms; the less ice forms, the easier it is to melt, thus warming the water, diminishing the ice and warming the water, ad infinitum. Or, shall I say, sad infinitum. Cooling off the planet right now seems to me to be a prudent course of action, except that we don't know what unintended consequences may result from SRM or any act of geoengineering. ...


Has 'Doc Jim gone mad?

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Mon, Mar 4, 2013
from Associated Press:
Climate-change activists jeer as U.S. report says Keystone XL pipeline would have no major environmental impacts
A new U.S. State Department report is the latest evidence that the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada should be approved, supporters say. The draft report, issued Friday, finds there would be no significant environmental impact to most resources along the proposed route from western Canada to refineries in Texas. The report also said other options to get the oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries are worse for climate change.... The State Department analysis for the first time evaluated two options using rail: shipping the oil on trains to existing pipelines or to oil tankers. The report shows that those other methods would release more greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming than the pipeline. The Keystone XL pipeline, according to the report, would release annually the same amount of global warming pollution as 626,000 passenger cars. ...


Pity the antiquated thinking of our so-called leaders.

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Mon, Feb 25, 2013
from New Scientist:
Major methane release is almost inevitable
We are on the cusp of a tipping point in the climate. If the global climate warms another few tenths of a degree, a large expanse of the Siberian permafrost will start to melt uncontrollably. The result: a significant amount of extra greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, and a threat -- ironically -- to the infrastructure that carries natural gas from Russia to Europe. The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the planet, and climatologists have long warned that this will cause positive feedbacks that will speed up climate change further. The region is home to enormous stores of organic carbon, mostly in the form of permafrost soils and icy clathrates that trap methane -- a powerful greenhouse gas that could escape into the atmosphere. ...


There is no I in methane.

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Tue, Feb 19, 2013
from Reuters:
Arctic needs protection from resource rush as ice melts: U.N. body
The Arctic needs to be better protected from a rush for natural resources as melting ice makes mineral and energy exploration easier, the United Nations' Environment Programme (UNEP) said..."What we are seeing is that the melting of ice is prompting a rush for exactly the fossil fuel resources that fuelled the melt in the first place," said Achim Steiner, U.N. Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director. ...


Irony? ...or tragedy?

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Mon, Feb 11, 2013
from UMich, via PNAS, via PhysOrg:
Sunlight stimulates release of climate-warming gas from melting Arctic permafrost, study says
Ancient carbon trapped in Arctic permafrost is extremely sensitive to sunlight and, if exposed to the surface when long-frozen soils melt and collapse, can release climate-warming carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere much faster than previously thought.... They found that sunlight increases bacterial conversion of exposed soil carbon into carbon dioxide gas by at least 40 percent compared to carbon that remains in the dark. The team, led by Rose Cory of the University of North Carolina, reported its findings in an article to be published online Feb. 11 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.... Tremendous stores of organic carbon have been frozen in Arctic permafrost soils for thousands of years. If thawed and released as carbon dioxide gas, this vast carbon repository has the potential to double the amount of the heat-trapping greenhouse gas in the atmosphere on a timescale similar to humanity's inputs of carbon dioxide due to the burning of fossil fuels. ...


I, too, prefer to remain in the dark.

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Wed, Jan 9, 2013
from Live Science:
Arctic Snow Cover Shows Steep Decline
The blanket of snow that covers Arctic regions for most of the year has been shrinking at an increasing pace over the past decade, researchers say. A recent study found an overall decrease in Arctic snow-cover extent (snow that covers the Arctic at the end of the spring) from 1967 through 2012, and an acceleration of snow loss after the year 2003. The rate of snow-cover loss in June between 1979 and 2012 was 17.6 percent per decade (relative to the 1979-2000 mean), which is greater than the rate of September sea-ice decline during that same period, the researchers say....The link between snow-cover and sea-ice extent is not completely understood. "But if you remove snow cover earlier, you're creating the potential to send warmer air out over the ocean. It can't be good for sea ice if you lose the snow early," study researcher Chris Derksen, a cryosphere scientist at Environment Canada in Toronto... ...


At this point I suggest we stop paying attention to the Arctic!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jan 7, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
The Year Ahead in Keystone XL: Climate Worry Introduces Big Unknown
After years of protests and lobbying, the Obama administration is expected to decide within months on the fate of the 1,200-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline. The State Department is finalizing a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) for the project, which would ship tar sands oil from Canada, through America's heartland, and to the Gulf Coast via other pipelines.... For most of 2012, climate disappeared from the political agenda -- including from the administration's discussions of the Keystone XL -- but the issue unexpectedly gained the national spotlight post-Sandy. It remains unclear how, or whether, global warming will be addressed in the forthcoming SEIS and, more generally, by Obama in his second term. ...


Let's hope for another disaster! Oh, wait...

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jan 1, 2013
from New York Times:
Light Absorption Speeding Arctic Ice Melt
The record-setting disappearance of Arctic sea ice this fall was an indication to many climate scientists and ice experts that the pace of climate change was outstripping predictions. Now a new study published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters provides a look at a dynamic that may further accelerate the process: the rate at which the ocean underneath the ice absorbs sunlight ... the more the ice melts in late summer, the more first-year ice replaces multiyear ice, and the warmer the ocean beneath the ice becomes, accelerating the melting process. ...


This feedback loop is insatiable.

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Tue, Jan 1, 2013
from London Guardian:
2012: the year we did our best to abandon the natural world
It was the year of living dangerously. In 2012 governments turned their backs on the living planet, demonstrating that no chronic problem, however grave, will take priority over an immediate concern, however trivial. I believe there has been no worse year for the natural world in the past half-century. Three weeks before the minimum occurred, the melting of the Arctic's sea ice broke the previous record. Remnants of the global megafauna -- such as rhinos and bluefin tuna -- were shoved violently towards extinction. Novel tree diseases raged across continents. Bird and insect numbers continued to plummet, coral reefs retreated, marine life dwindled. And those charged with protecting us and the world in which we live pretended that none of it was happening. ...


Who'd want to be in charge of this ecotastrophe?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Dec 26, 2012
from The ApocaDocs:
The ApocaDocs 2012 Year in Review
No better way to wrap up 2012, than looking to our top 100 stories of horror. 2012 will end up one of the warmest years on record, and so our extreme weather events are no coincidence. ...


No need to thank us. This is our sweat equity in Mother Earth.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Dec 26, 2012
from Live Science:
2012: A Memorable Year for Weather
...Record-breaking warmth: The data for the last of the year isn't in yet, but this year looks "virtually certain" to take the title of warmest year on record for the lower 48 states, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)... Until this year, July 1936, during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, held the record for hottest month on record in the lower 48 states going back to 1895, but this July's heat surpassed even that record... ...


It's as if the weather is in competition with itself!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 10, 2012
from New York Times:
Mighty Old Trees Are Perishing Fast, Study Warns
The death rate of many of the biggest and oldest trees around the world is increasing rapidly, scientists report in a new study in Friday's issue of the journal Science. They warned that research to understand and stem the loss of the trees is urgently needed... The research team found that big, old trees are dying at an alarmingly fast clip around the world at all latitudes -- Yosemite National Park in California, the African savanna, the Brazilian rain forest, Europe and the boreal forests around the world. ...


I think I shall never see an old poem as lovely as an old tree.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 3, 2012
from New York Times:
With Carbon Dioxide Emissions at Record High, Worries on How to Slow Warming
Global emissions of carbon dioxide were at a record high in 2011 and are likely to take a similar jump in 2012, scientists reported Sunday -- the latest indication that efforts to limit such emissions are failing. Emissions continue to grow so rapidly that an international goal of limiting the ultimate warming of the planet to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, established three years ago, is on the verge of becoming unattainable, said researchers affiliated with the Global Carbon Project. ...


We'll try again, next planet/evolution/Big Bang.

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Thu, Nov 29, 2012
from Sydney Morning Herald:
At the edge of disaster
THE world is on the cusp of a "tipping point" into dangerous climate change, according to new data gathered by scientists measuring methane leaking from the Arctic permafrost and a report presented to the United Nations on Tuesday. "The permafrost carbon feedback is irreversible on human time scales," says the report, Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost. "Overall, these observations indicate that large-scale thawing of permafrost may already have started." ...


D'oha!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Nov 29, 2012
from Associated Press:
Arctic sea ice larger than US melted this year
An area of Arctic sea ice bigger than the United States melted this year, according the U.N. weather agency, which said the dramatic decline illustrates that climate change is happening "before our eyes." In a report released at U.N. climate talks in the Qatari capital of Doha, the World Meteorological Organization said the Arctic ice melt was one of a myriad of extreme and record-breaking weather events to hit the planet in 2012. Droughts devastated nearly two-thirds of the United States as well western Russia and southern Europe. Floods swamped west Africa and heat waves left much of the Northern Hemisphere sweltering. ...


Ain't nothin' bigger'n the United States.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Nov 27, 2012
from BusinessInsider:
Jeremy Grantham: We're Headed For An Economic Disaster Of Biblical Proportions
What Malthus did not foresee was the discovery of oil and other natural resources, which have (temporarily) supported this population explosion. Those resources are now getting used up... The story for metals, by the way, is the same as for oil: The low-hanging fruit has been picked. Despite the use of new technologies, the yield per ton of metal ores continues to drop.... The fact is that no compound growth is sustainable. If we maintain our desperate focus on growth, we will run out of everything and crash. We must substitute qualitative growth for quantitative growth. ...


Perhaps cataclysmic, or globally catastrophic. But not Biblical. Let's not exaggerate!

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Tue, Nov 27, 2012
from London Daily Mail:
Melting permafrost 'will DOUBLE carbon and nitrogen levels in the atmosphere'
As much as 44billion tons of nitrogen and 850billion tons of carbon could be released into the environment as permafrost thaws over the next century, U.S. government experts warn. The release of carbon and nitrogen in permafrost could make global warming much worse and threaten delicate water systems on land and offshore, according to scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey. It comes after the UN last week warned of record levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. ...


Just when you thought there was no hope there really is no hope!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Nov 20, 2012
from Climate Central:
CO2 Hits New High; World Could Warm 7 degrees F by 2060
The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached a record 390.9 parts per million (ppm) in 2011, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). That's a 40 percent increase over levels in 1750, before humans began burning fossil fuels in earnest. Although CO2 is still the most significant long-lived greenhouse gas, levels of other heat-trapping gases have also climbed to record levels, according to the report. Methane, for example hit 1813 parts per billion (ppb) in 2011, and nitrous oxide rose to 324.2 ppb. All told, the amount of excess heat prevented from escaping into outer space was 30 percent higher in 2011 than it was as recently as 1990. ...


Humans: born to outdo ourselves even if it kills us!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Nov 20, 2012
from PhysOrg:
Scientists pioneer method to predict environmental collapse
The researchers have applied a mathematical model to a real world situation, the environmental collapse of a lake in China, to help prove a theory which suggests an ecosystem 'flickers', or fluctuates dramatically between healthy and unhealthy states, shortly before its eventual collapse. Head of Geography at Southampton, Professor John Dearing explains: "We wanted to prove that this 'flickering' occurs just ahead of a dramatic change in a system - be it a social, ecological or climatic one - and that this method could potentially be used to predict future critical changes in other impacted systems in the world around us." ...


'What we can predict we can prevent', right? Right?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Nov 19, 2012
from The Hill:
World Bank report warns of "devastating" global warming
A major World Bank report warns that Earth is heading for a 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature rise by 2100 that would bring unprecedented heatwaves, droughts and floods -- effects that put some of the poorest nations at highest risk. "No nation will be immune to the impacts of climate change," states the new report titled "Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4 [degrees] C Warmer World Must be Avoided." ...


I'm now banking on the Apocalypse.

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Mon, Nov 5, 2012
from Kitchener Record:
Spring snow pack in the Arctic disappearing fast, Environment Canada warns
The spring snow pack in the Arctic is disappearing at a much faster rate than anticipated even by climate change models, says a new study by Environment Canada researchers. That has implications for wildlife, vegetation and ground temperatures, say the scientists, who looked at four decades of snow data for the Canadian Arctic and beyond. Combined with recent news that the Arctic sea ice retreated to an all-time low this summer, it suggests climate change may be happening much faster than expected, said Dr. Chris Derksen, a research scientist for Environment Canada and one of the study's authors. ...


Seems our response to faster than expected events is slower than hoped for.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Nov 5, 2012
from Reuters:
Unprecedented world carbon emissions cuts needed by 2050: PwC
The world will have to cut the rate of carbon emissions by an unprecedented rate to 2050 to stop global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees this century, a report released by PwC on Monday showed.... Global temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. Almost 200 nations agreed in 2010 at United Nations climate talks to limit the rise to below 2 degrees C (3.6 Fahrenheit) to avoid dangerous impacts from climate change. Carbon intensity will have to be cut by over 5 percent a year to achieve that goal, the study said. That compares with an annual rate of 0.8 percent from 2000 to 2011. ...


Guess we better get in gear.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Nov 5, 2012
from The Independent:
Temperatures may rise 6c by 2100, says study
The world is destined for dangerous climate change this century - with global temperatures possibly rising by as much as 6C - because of the failure of governments to find alternatives to fossil fuels, a report by a group of economists has concluded. It will now be almost impossible to keep the increase in global average temperatures up to 2100 within the 2C target that scientists believe might avert dangerous and unpredictable climate change, according to a study by the accountancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).... To keep within the 2C target, the global economy would have to reach a "decarbonisation" rate of at least 5.1 per cent a year for the next 39 years. This has not happened since records began at the end of the Second World War, according to Leo Johnson, a PwC partner in sustainability and climate change. ...


Who designs a car without brakes, Park, or Reverse?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Oct 16, 2012
from Climate Central:
Globe Ties the Record for Warmest September
According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the globe recorded its warmest September on record, tying with 2005 for the title. Global surface temperature records stretch all the way back to 1880. September marked the 331st straight month with above-average temperatures, and the 36th straight September with a global temperature above the 20th-century average. ...


Make it stop!!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 1, 2012
from The Earth Institute at Columbia University :
High-Arctic Heat Tops 1,800-Year High, Says Study; Modern Spike Outmatches Naturally Driven 'Medieval Warm Period'
Summers on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard are now warmer than at any other time in the last 1,800 years, including during medieval times when parts of the northern hemisphere were as hot as, or hotter, than today, according to a new study in the journal Geology... The naturally driven Medieval Warm Period, from about 950 to 1250, has been a favorite time for people who deny evidence that humans are heating the planet with industrial greenhouse gases. But the climate reconstruction from Svalbard casts new doubt on that era's reach, and undercuts skeptics who argue that current warming is also natural. ...


I am svo svad about this.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Sep 27, 2012
from PhysOrg:
Sea of the living dead
The world's coral reefs have become a zombie ecosystem, neither dead nor truly alive, and are on a trajectory to collapse within a human generation according to an academic from The Australian National University. Professor Roger Bradbury, an ecologist from the Crawford School of Public Policy in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, said overfishing, ocean acidification and pollution are pushing coral reefs into oblivion. "The scientific evidence for this is compelling and unequivocal, but there seems to be a collective reluctance to accept the logical conclusion--that there is no hope of saving the global coral reef ecosystem," he said. "There is no real prospect of changing the trajectory of coral reef destruction in less than 20 to 50 years. In short, these forces are unstoppable and irreversible. "By persisting in the false belief that coral reefs have a future, we grossly misallocate the funds needed to cope with the fallout from their collapse. Money isn't spent to study what to do after the reefs are gone." ...


Braaaaaaains... someone give us braaaaaaains....

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Sep 26, 2012
from Live Science:
Fox News Climate Coverage 93 percent Wrong, Report Finds
Primetime coverage of global warming at Fox News is overwhelmingly misleading, according to a new report that finds the same is true of climate change information in the Wall Street Journal op-ed pages. Both outlets are owned by Rupert Murdoch's media company News Corporation. The analysis by the science-policy nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) finds that 93 percent of primetime program discussions of global warming on Fox News are inaccurate, as are 81 percent of Wall Street Journal editorials on the subject. "It's like they were writing and talking about some sort of bizarre world where climate change isn't happening," study author Aaron Huertas, a press secretary at UCS, told LiveScience. ...


Murdoch. Nothing but a hack.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Sep 19, 2012
from :
Arctic ice shrinks to all-time low; half 1980 size
Scientists say the amount of ice in the Arctic Ocean shrank to an all-time low this year, smashing old records for the critical climate indicator... in the 1980s, summer ice would cover an area slightly smaller than the Lower 48 states. Now it is about half that size. ...


Another one bites the dust.

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Mon, Sep 17, 2012
from London Guardian:
Arctic expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within four years
One of the world's leading ice experts has predicted the final collapse of Arctic sea ice in summer months within four years. In what he calls a "global disaster" now unfolding in northern latitudes as the sea area that freezes and melts each year shrinks to its lowest extent ever recorded, Prof Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University calls for "urgent" consideration of new ideas to reduce global temperatures. In an email to the Guardian he says: "Climate change is no longer something we can aim to do something about in a few decades' time, and that we must not only urgently reduce CO2 emissions but must urgently examine other ways of slowing global warming, such as the various geoengineering ideas that have been put forward." ...


Even if we have a paddle we're too far up Shit's Creek for it to matter.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Sep 10, 2012
from Anchorage Daily News:
Shell begins offshore drilling in Chukchi Sea
After a day of slower-than-expected preparations in the Chukchi Sea, Shell Alaska officially began drilling into the seafloor above its Burger prospect at 4:30 a.m. Sunday, the company said. The action marks the first drilling offshore in the Alaska Arctic in two decades and is being closely watched by Alaskans and the oil industry -- and criticized by environmentalists... Shell has invested close to $5 billion in its quest to drill in the Alaska Arctic. A federal government assessment last year estimated the Alaska Arctic offshore region holds nearly 27 billion barrels of "undiscovered technically recoverable" oil. ...


As of today, the planet is sooooooo Chukchied.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Sep 6, 2012
from Deep Rogue Ram:
Weathergirl goes rogue

Arctic ice cover just reached its lowest point in recorded history. Pippa goes off script and drops some science.... The ApocaDocs approve this message. ...


Pippa must have actually read the statement from the American Meteorological Association!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Sep 4, 2012
from LA Times:
Three-man sailboat makes record voyage, traverses Northwest Passage
In an account of their voyage posted Monday, the crew of the 31-foot Belzebub II -- a fiberglass sailboat with a living space the size of a bathroom -- described how they crossed through the McClure Strait in northern Canada, a decreasingly ice-packed route through the famed Northwest Passage. The international three-man crew -- an American, Canadian and Swede -- claim to have piloted the first sailboat to do so.... "With sails up in a light breeze we sailed swiftly toward the Northwest point of Banks Island and to becoming the first sailboat in history to complete this route," the crew wrote in their post.... "Our approach to sail across a historical stretch of water that has traditionally been frozen is meant to be a clear visual example of the extent of declining polar ice," the group said in a statement. ...


And records are made to be broken.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Sep 3, 2012
from Chemical & Engineering News:
Romney To Focus On Fossil Fuels
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney wants to significantly boost U.S. fossil-fuel production while ending federal subsidies and loan guarantees for most forms of alternative energy, such as solar and wind power. Romney's energy plan, which the former Massachusetts governor outlined on Aug. 23, sets an ambitious goal for the U.S. of reaching energy independence by 2020 through increased production of oil, natural gas, and coal, accompanied by reduced regulation. The plan does not mention climate change. "Three million jobs come back to this country by taking advantage of something we have right underneath our feet," Romney said at a campaign stop in New Mexico. "That's oil and gas and coal." ...


Also underneath our feet... our graves.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 29, 2012
from Live Science:
Billions of Tons of Methane Lurk Beneath Antarctic Ice
Microbes possibly feeding on the remains of an ancient forest may be generating billions of tons of methane deep beneath Antarctic ice, a new study suggests. The amount of this greenhouse gas -- which would exist in the form of a frozen latticelike substance called methane hydrate -- lurking beneath the ice sheet rivals that stored in the world's oceans, the researchers said. If the ice sheet collapses, the greenhouse gas could be released into the atmosphere and dramatically worsen global warming, researchers warn in a study published in the Aug. 30 issue of the journal Nature. ...


The Arctic's quiet little sister is about to start screaming!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 28, 2012
from Washington Post:
Arctic sea ice hits record low, scientists say
The extent of Arctic sea ice has reached a record low, a historic retreat that scientists said is a stark signal of how climate change is transforming the global landscape. Scientists at the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA said that, as of Sunday, the Arctic sea ice cover had shrunk to 1.58 million square miles, the smallest area since satellite measurement began in 1979. With the melting season not yet over, the ice will almost certainly contract further in the coming weeks before it begins to re-form. ...


You mean we might break the record we just broke?

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Aug 23, 2012
from Guardian:
Arctic sea ice levels to reach record low within days
Arctic sea ice is set to reach its lowest ever recorded extent as early as this weekend, in "dramatic changes" signalling that man-made global warming is having a major impact on the polar region. With the melt happening at an unprecedented rate of more than 100,000 sq km a day, and at least a week of further melt expected before it begins to reform ahead of the northern winter, satellites are expected to confirm the record - currently set in 2007 - within days.... "In the last few days it has been losing 100,000 sq km a day, a record in itself for August. A storm has spread the ice pack out, opening up water, bringing up warmer water. Things are definitely changing quickly." Because ice thickness, volume, extent and area are all measured differently, it may be a week before there is unanimous agreement among the world's cryologists (ice experts) that 2012 is a record year. Four out of the nine daily sea ice extent and area graphs kept by scientists in the US, Europe and Asia suggest that records have already been broken. ...


It's as bad as the state of Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson's relationship!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Aug 9, 2012
from Nature:
Demand for water outstrips supply
Almost one-quarter of the world's population lives in regions where groundwater is being used up faster than it can be replenished, concludes a comprehensive global analysis of groundwater depletion, published this week in Nature. Across the world, human civilizations depend largely on tapping vast reservoirs of water that have been stored for up to thousands of years in sand, clay and rock deep underground. These massive aquifers -- which in some cases stretch across multiple states and country borders -- provide water for drinking and crop irrigation, as well as to support ecosystems such as forests and fisheries. Yet in most of the world's major agricultural regions, including the Central Valley in California, the Nile delta region of Egypt, and the Upper Ganges in India and Pakistan, demand exceeds these reservoirs' capacity for renewal. ...


Let them drink cake.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Aug 6, 2012
from The Daily Climate:
Opinion: Ignore climate Cassandra at our peril
The first scientist to alert Americans to the prospect that human-caused climate change and global warming was already upon us was NASA climatologist James Hansen. In a sweltering Senate hall during the hot, dry summer of 1988, Hansen announced that "it is time to stop waffling.... The evidence is pretty strong that the [human-amplified] greenhouse effect is here."... Hansen, it turns out, was right, and the critics were wrong. Rather than being reckless, as some of his critics charged, his announcement to the world proved to be prescient - and his critics were proven overly cautious.... the record-breaking heat this summer over so much of the United States, where records that have stood since the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s are now dropping like flies, isn't just a fluke of nature; it is the loading of the weather dice playing out in real time. ...


Remember, the singular form of the word dice is die.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 24, 2012
from NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center:
Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt
For several days this month, Greenland's surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations. Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its two-mile-thick center, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists. ...


Greenland is aching to be green!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jul 21, 2012
from Bill McKibben, in Rolling Stone:
Global Warming's Terrifying New Math
June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere - the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.... The First Number: 2 Degrees Celsius... The Second Number: 565 Gigatons... Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees.... The Third Number: 2,795 Gigatons... The number describes the amount of carbon already contained in the proven coal and oil and gas reserves of the fossil-fuel companies, and the countries (think Venezuela or Kuwait) that act like fossil-fuel companies. In short, it's the fossil fuel we're currently planning to burn. And the key point is that this new number - 2,795 - is higher than 565. Five times higher. ...


Is that scale algorithmic, exponential, or apocalyptic?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 16, 2012
from NOAA via ScienceDaily:
Back-To-Back La Ninas Cooled Globe and Influenced Extreme Weather in 2011
Worldwide, 2011 was the coolest year on record since 2008, yet temperatures remained above the 30 year average, according to the 2011 State of the Climate report released online today (July 10, 2012) by NOAA ... Two back-to-back La Ninas, each characterized by cooler-than-average water temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific, affected regional climates and influenced many of the world's significant weather events throughout the year. ...


Cormac McCarthy: You never know what worse luck your bad luck is saving you from.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 9, 2012
from Alternet:
Climate Change: 'This Is Just the Beginning'
Evidence supporting the existence of climate change is pummeling the United States this summer, from the mountain wildfires of Colorado to the recent "derecho" storm that left at least 23 dead and 1.4 million people without power from Illinois to Virginia. The phrase "extreme weather" flashes across television screens from coast to coast, but its connection to climate change is consistently ignored, if not outright mocked. If our news media, including -- or especially -- the meteorologists, continue to ignore the essential link between extreme weather and climate change, then we as a nation, the greatest per capita polluters on the planet, may not act in time to avert even greater catastrophe. More than 2,000 heat records were broken last week around the U.S. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the government agency that tracks the data, reported that the spring of 2012 :marked the largest temperature departure from average of any season on record for the contiguous United States." ...


Horror is the new normal.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 29, 2012
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Latest Southern Ocean research shows continuing deep ocean change
Comparing detailed measurements taken during the Australian Antarctic program's 2012 Southern Ocean marine science voyage to historical data dating back to 1970, scientists estimate there has been as much as a 60 per cent reduction in the volume of Antarctic Bottom Water, the cold dense water that drives global ocean currents.... "It's a clear signal to us that the oceans are responding rapidly to variations in climate in polar regions. The sinking of dense water around Antarctica is part of a global pattern of ocean currents that has a strong influence on climate, so evidence that these waters are changing is important," Dr Rintoul said.... "When we speak of global warming, we really mean ocean warming: more than 90 per cent of the extra heat energy stored by the earth over the last 50 years has gone into warming up the ocean...." ...


I wonder if making the ocean deeper would help.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, May 28, 2012
from InsideClimate News:
Why Tar Sands Oil Is More Polluting and Why It Matters
The debate over the Keystone XL oil pipeline heated up again last week after the Congressional Research Service issued a report saying the project could raise U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 21 million metric tons a year -- the equivalent of adding 4 million cars to the road. The Congressional Research Service is a branch of the Library of Congress that conducts policy analysis for lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Released last Tuesday -- less than two weeks after TransCanada re-applied for a permit to build the Keystone XL -- the report found that crude oil produced from Canadian oil sands (also known as tar sands) emits 14 to 20 percent more planet-warming gases than the conventional oil that is typically found in U.S. refineries. ...


Whoever created this report should be tar sandsed and feathered.

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Mon, May 21, 2012
from BBC:
Arctic melt releasing ancient methane
Scientists have identified thousands of sites in the Arctic where methane that has been stored for many millennia is bubbling into the atmosphere. The methane has been trapped by ice, but is able to escape as the ice melts. Writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, the researchers say this ancient gas could have a significant impact on climate change. Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas after CO2 and levels are rising after a few years of stability... Using aerial and ground-based surveys, the team identified about 150,000 methane seeps in Alaska and Greenland in lakes along the margins of ice cover. ...


I call these seeps ApocaLeaks!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 15, 2012
from PhysOrg:
Scientists sound acid alarm for plankton
The microscopic organisms on which almost all life in the oceans depends could be even more vulnerable to increasingly acidic waters than scientists realised, according to a new study. Previous experiments have given an unduly optimistic view of the impact of acidifying oceans on plankton; it turns out that the methods used may have biased their results. "Plankton often grow in clumps or aggregates," says Professor Kevin Flynn of Swansea University, lead author of the study. "But the way they are handled tends to break these clumps up. When a scientists starts working on a plankton sample in the lab, the first thing they do is give it a good shake."... They found that if predictions of general ocean acidification come true, many kinds of plankton will face much more acidic conditions, and more widely varying conditions over each day, than previously realized - conditions far beyond anything seen in recent history. The results are likely to be stunted growth, or even death.... In another twist, as seawater gets more acidic, its capacity to protect against even more acidity diminishes, so general ocean acidification will increase the impact of the local acidification that plankton trigger. ...


Whaddaya expect? Plankton're not cute.

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Thu, May 10, 2012
from New York Times Op-ed:
James Hansen: Game Over for the Climate
If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate. Canada's tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now.... That is the long-term outlook. But near-term, things will be bad enough. Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding. Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California's Central Valley could no longer be irrigated. Food prices would rise to unprecedented levels. If this sounds apocalyptic, it is. This is why we need to reduce emissions dramatically.... The science of the situation is clear -- it's time for the politics to follow. ...


If we slam the brakes on, we'll have to cope with the SQID: the Status Quo Inertia Disorder.

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Wed, May 9, 2012
from Washington Post:
U.S. completes warmest 12-month period in 117 years
As far back as records go (1895), never has the U.S. strung together 12 straight months warmer than May 2011 to April 2012 according to new data released today by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). The record-setting 12-month period edged out November 1999-October 2000, the 2nd warmest 12-month period, by 0.1 degrees F. The average temperature was 2.8 degrees F above the 20th century average. ...


Yippeeee! Oh wait.

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Fri, Apr 27, 2012
from Associated Press:
Study: Antarctic ice melting from warm water below
Antarctica's massive ice shelves are shrinking because they are being eaten away from below by warm water, a new study finds. That suggests that future sea levels could rise faster than many scientists have been predicting. The western chunk of Antarctica is losing 23 feet of its floating ice sheet each year. Until now, scientists weren't exactly sure how it was happening and whether or how man-made global warming might be a factor. The answer, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, is that climate change plays an indirect role -- but one that has larger repercussions than if Antarctic ice were merely melting from warmer air. ...


Antarctica: the other doomed pole.

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Thu, Apr 26, 2012
from ScienceDaily:
Wind Pushes Plastics Deeper Into Oceans, Driving Trash Estimates Up
After taking samples of water at a depth of 16 feet (5 meters), Proskurowski, a researcher at the University of Washington, discovered that wind was pushing the lightweight plastic particles below the surface. That meant that decades of research into how much plastic litters the ocean, conducted by skimming only the surface, may in some cases vastly underestimate the true amount of plastic debris in the oceans, Proskurowski said.... [D]ata collected from just the surface of the water commonly underestimates the total amount of plastic in the water by an average factor of 2.5. In high winds the volume of plastic could be underestimated by a factor of 27.... Proskurowski gathered data on a 2010 North Atlantic expedition where he and his team collected samples at the surface, plus an additional three or four depths down as far as 100 feet. "Almost every tow we did contained plastic regardless of the depth," he said. ...


That plastic could be the result of natural variation, couldn't it? Hunh?

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Tue, Apr 24, 2012
from The Independent:
New climate threat as methane rises from cracks in Arctic ice
A new source of methane - a greenhouse gas many times more powerful than carbon dioxide - has been identified by scientists flying over areas in the Arctic where the sea ice has melted.... 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. ...


That tipping point is tap-tap-tapping, tap-tap-tapping on our climate door....

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Mon, Apr 16, 2012
from Associated Press:
As ice cap melts, militaries vie for Arctic edge
To the world's military leaders, the debate over climate change is long over. They are preparing for a new kind of Cold War in the Arctic, anticipating that rising temperatures there will open up a treasure trove of resources, long-dreamed-of sea lanes and a slew of potential conflicts. By Arctic standards, the region is already buzzing with military activity, and experts believe that will increase significantly in the years ahead. ...


Would that it was a "Cold" War.

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Tue, Apr 3, 2012
from Neorenaissance:
A Message from a Republican Meteorologist on Climate Change
I'm going to tell you something that my Republican friends are loath to admit out loud: climate change is real. I am a moderate Republican, fiscally conservative; a fan of small government, accountability, self-empowerment, and sound science. I am not a climate scientist. I'm a meteorologist, and the weather maps I'm staring at are making me uncomfortable. No, you're not imagining it: we've clicked into a new and almost foreign weather pattern. To complicate matters, I'm in a small, frustrated and endangered minority: a Republican deeply concerned about the environmental sacrifices some are asking us to make to keep our economy powered-up, long-term. It's ironic. The root of the word conservative is "conserve." A staunch Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, set aside vast swaths of America for our National Parks System, the envy of the world. Another Republican, Richard Nixon, launched the EPA. Now some in my party believe the EPA and all those silly "global warming alarmists" are going to get in the way of drilling and mining our way to prosperity. Well, we have good reason to be alarmed. ...


You know you're in big trouble when the Republican meteorologist is uncomfortable!

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Mon, Apr 2, 2012
from Bloomberg BusinessWeek:
'Mind Boggling' Warmth Set or Tied 7,577 Highs
Chicago had its all-time warmest March, while New York's Central Park had its second-hottest as thousands of new weather records were set or tied across the U.S., according to the National Weather Service. The average temperature for the month in Chicago was 53.5 degrees Fahrenheit (11.9 Celsius). That topped the previous mark of 48.6 degrees, set in 1910 and matched in 1945, the weather service said, citing data compiled since 1873. In New York, the average temperature was 50.9 degrees, which was 8.9 degrees above normal, while below the record 51.1 degrees in 1945, according to the weather service. "To put it in perspective, if it was April, it would still be in the top 10, as far as warmest. It is mind-boggling," said Tom Kines, a meteorologist for AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. "There are many areas across the upper Midwest that have had their warmest March ever. That seems to be where the core of the warmth was." ...


Once again, reality is implying that warmists have a point.

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Sun, Apr 1, 2012
from AFP, via Yahoo:
2 degrees C warming target now 'out of reach' -- ex UN climate chief
The UN's former climate chief on Tuesday said the global warming pledge he helped set at the Copenhagen Summit little more than two years ago was already unattainable. "I think two degrees is out of reach," Yvo de Boer, former executive secretary of the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said on the sidelines of a conference here on June's Rio+20 summit.... "The two degrees is lost but that doesn't mean for me we should forget about it," de Boer said in the interview with AFP. "It is a very significant target, it's not just a target that was plucked out of the air, it refers to trying to limit a number of impacts."... On Sunday, 20 winners of the Blue Planet Prize, one of the world's most prestigious green awards, said there was only a "50-50" chance of limiting warming to 3 C (5.4 F). There were "serious risks" of a 5 C (9.0 F) rise, a temperature last seen on the planet 30 million years ago. ...


Those scientists -- they're always such extremists.

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Sun, Apr 1, 2012
from AFP, via Yahoo:
Scientists warn of 'emergency on global scale'
In a "State of the Planet" declaration issued after a four-day conference, the scientists said Earth was now facing unprecedented challenges, from water stress, pollution and species loss to spiralling demands for food. They called on the June 20-22 followup to the 1992 Earth Summit to overhaul governance of the environment and sweep away a fixation with GDP as the sole barometer of wellbeing. "The continuing function of the Earth system as it has supported the wellbeing of human civilisation in recent centuries is at risk," said the statement issued at the "Planet Under Pressure" conference. "These threats risk intensifying economic, ecological and social crises, creating the potential for a humanitarian emergency on a global scale." ...


Astonishingly, Lindsay Lohan still hasn't slept with Justin Bieber.

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Thu, Mar 29, 2012
from New York Times:
Scientists Look to Thinning Ice to Explain Weather Weirding
Lurching from one weather extreme to another seems to have become routine across the Northern Hemisphere. Parts of the United States may be shivering now, but Scotland is setting heat records. Across Europe, people died by the hundreds during a severe cold wave in the first half of February, but a week later revelers in Paris were strolling down the Champs-Elysees in their shirt-sleeves.... "The question really is not whether the loss of the sea ice can be affecting the atmospheric circulation on a large scale," said Jennifer A. Francis, a Rutgers University climate researcher. "The question is, how can it not be, and what are the mechanisms?"... "A changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration and timing of extreme weather and climate events, and can result in unprecedented extreme weather and climate events," the report found.... February was the 324th consecutive month in which global temperatures exceeded their long-term average for a given month; the last month with below-average temperatures was February 1985. ...


324 consecutive months? That's just fuzzy math.

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Wed, Mar 28, 2012
from Reuters:
Global warming close to becoming irreversible-scientists
The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned on Monday.... Despite this sense of urgency, a new global climate treaty forcing the world's biggest polluters, such as the United States and China, to curb emissions will only be agreed on by 2015 - to enter into force in 2020 ...


Newsflash: Earthlings cross deathwish threshold.

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Wed, Mar 28, 2012
from Associated Press:
Japan reactor has fatally high radiation, no water
One of Japan's crippled nuclear reactors still has fatally high radiation levels and hardly any water to cool it, according to an internal examination Tuesday that renews doubts about the plant's stability. A tool equipped with a tiny video camera, a thermometer, a dosimeter and a water gauge was used to assess damage inside the No. 2 reactor's containment chamber for the second time since the tsunami swept into the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant a year ago. The probe done in January failed to find the water surface and provided only images showing steam, unidentified parts and rusty metal surfaces scarred by exposure to radiation, heat and humidity. The data collected from the probes showed the damage from the disaster was so severe, the plant operator will have to develop special equipment and technology to tolerate the harsh environment and decommission the plant, a process expected to last decades. ...


Some nightmares just never seem to end.

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Tue, Mar 27, 2012
from USA Today:
Study: Global temperatures could rise 5 degrees by 2050
As the USA simmers through its hottest March on record -- with more than 6,000 record high temperatures already set this month -- a new study released Sunday shows that average global temperatures could climb 2.5 to 5.4 degrees by 2050 if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. The study findings are based on the results of 10,000 computer model simulations of future weather overseen by researchers at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. ...


Couldn't they have written Hamlet instead?

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Thu, Mar 1, 2012
from NASA, via Science Daily:
Thickest Parts of Arctic Ice Cap Melting Faster
A new NASA study revealed that the oldest and thickest Arctic sea ice is disappearing at a faster rate than the younger and thinner ice at the edges of the Arctic Ocean's floating ice cap. The thicker ice, known as multi-year ice, survives through the cyclical summer melt season, when young ice that has formed over winter just as quickly melts again. The rapid disappearance of older ice makes Arctic sea ice even more vulnerable to further decline in the summer, said Joey Comiso, senior scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., and author of the study, which was recently published in Journal of Climate.... Comiso compared the evolution of the extent and area of multi-year ice over time, and confirmed that its decline has accelerated during the last decade, in part because of the dramatic decreases of 2008 and 2012. He also detected a periodic nine-year cycle, where sea ice extent would first grow for a few years, and then shrink until the cycle started again. This cycle is reminiscent of one occurring on the opposite pole, known as the Antarctic Circumpolar Wave, which has been related to the El Nino-Southern Oscillation atmospheric pattern. If the nine-year Arctic cycle were to be confirmed, it might explain the slight recovery of the sea ice cover in the three years after it hit its historical minimum in 2008, Comiso said. ...


Don't we always prefer stuff fresh?

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Tue, Feb 21, 2012
from London Guardian:
Civilisation faces 'perfect storm of ecological and social problems'
Celebrated scientists and development thinkers today warn that civilisation is faced with a perfect storm of ecological and social problems driven by overpopulation, overconsumption and environmentally malign technologies. In the face of an "absolutely unprecedented emergency", say the 18 past winners of the Blue Planet prize -- the unofficial Nobel for the environment -- society has "no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilisation. Either we will change our ways and build an entirely new kind of global society, or they will be changed for us". ...


gulp!

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Wed, Feb 15, 2012
from Mongabay:
Arctic warms to highest level yet as researchers fear tipping points
Last year the Arctic, which is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth due to global climate change, experienced its warmest twelve months yet. According to recent data by NASA, average Arctic temperatures in 2011 were 2.28 degrees Celsius (4.1 degrees Fahrenheit) above those recorded from 1951-1980. As the Arctic warms, imperiling its biodiversity and indigenous people, researchers are increasingly concerned that the region will hit climatic tipping points that could severely impact the rest of the world. ...


I so wish this was a sci-fi film instead of reality.

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Wed, Feb 15, 2012
from Japan Times:
Deep-sea temperature up 0.02 degree every decade
Seawater to a depth of up to 700 meters is warming at a pace of 0.02 degree every 10 years worldwide, according to an analysis by the Meteorological Agency. In its first analysis into deep-water temperatures, the agency says that rises in seawater temperatures could lead to higher sea levels because heat expands, and to an accelerated pace of global warming because the warmer water may absorb less carbon dioxide. ...


Geoengineering idea: Drop Titanic-sized ice cubes into ocean.

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Tue, Feb 14, 2012
from Wales News:
Dramatic changes to sea algae could have harmful effects for human health: Welsh academics
DRAMATIC changes to sea algae could have harmful knock-on effects for human health and the rest of the food chain, research from Welsh scientists has revealed. Findings published by academics from Swansea University have uncovered huge changes in the make-up of North Sea and North Atlantic Ocean algae in the space of five years. The changes seen in algal blooms -- shifting from dinoflagellate to diatom algaes -- could mean a build-up of toxins on feeder organisms.... Professor Graeme Hays, from Swansea's Department of Biosciences in the College of Science, and an author in the study, said: "Imagine looking at your garden one morning and finding that the grass had suddenly been replaced by bushes. This may sound far-fetched, but we have found changes of this magnitude in the biology of the North Atlantic, with a dramatic switch in the prevalence of dinoflagellates to diatoms -- two groups which include many of the microscopic planktonic plants forming the base of the ocean's food chain." ...


Doom & bloom.

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Wed, Feb 8, 2012
from Bill McKibben, on TomDispatch:
The Great Carbon Bubble
Still, [the energy companies] could theoretically invest all that cash in new clean technology or research and development for the same. As it happens, though, they've got a deeper problem, one that's become clear only in the last few years. Put briefly: their value is largely based on fossil-fuel reserves that won't be burned if we ever take global warming seriously. When I talked about a carbon bubble at the beginning of this essay, this is what I meant. Here are some of the relevant numbers, courtesy of the Capital Institute: we're already seeing widespread climate disruption, but if we want to avoid utter, civilization-shaking disaster, many scientists have pointed to a two-degree rise in global temperatures as the most we could possibly deal with. If we spew 565 gigatons more carbon into the atmosphere, we'll quite possibly go right past that reddest of red lines. But the oil companies, private and state-owned, have current reserves on the books equivalent to 2,795 gigatons -- five times more than we can ever safely burn. It has to stay in the ground. Put another way, in ecological terms it would be extremely prudent to write off $20 trillion worth of those reserves. In economic terms, of course, it would be a disaster, first and foremost for shareholders and executives of companies like ExxonMobil (and people in places like Venezuela). If you run an oil company, this sort of write-off is the disastrous future staring you in the face as soon as climate change is taken as seriously as it should be, and that's far scarier than drought and flood. It's why you'll do anything -- including fund an endless campaigns of lies -- to avoid coming to terms with its reality. ...


That's twenty trillion dollars of economic development!

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Tue, Jan 31, 2012
from ArsTechnica:
Ocean acidification already well beyond natural variability
Ocean acidification entails a decrease in the pH of ocean water as the carbonate that buffers it is consumed. That carbonate does more than just maintain pH, though. Lots of marine organisms, from plankton to mollusks to coral, use it to build shells and skeletons. As the buffer is depleted, the saturation state of carbonate minerals like calcite (and its polymorph aragonite) decreases, making it more difficult for organisms to incorporate them. In most areas of the surface ocean, calcite and aragonite are supersaturated, making it easy for organisms to build shells and skeletons. In undersaturated water, the equilibrium tilts the other way, and dissolution of these structures becomes possible.... In all areas where coral reefs are found (these are often described as the "rainforests of the sea" for their astonishing diversity and abundance of life), the researchers find that the current saturation state of aragonite is well below the pre-industrial average. To put it into concrete terms, they estimate that calcification rates of reef organisms have already dropped by about 15 percent. Under the A1B emissions scenario, calcification rates would decrease by a total of 40 percent (relative to pre-industrial) by 2100. ...


I'd have to accept this, were I to kowtow to the tyranny of facts.

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Fri, Jan 20, 2012
from Associated Press:
World not quite as hot in 2011; ranks 11th warmest
The world last year wasn't quite as warm as it has been for most of the past decade, government scientists said Thursday, but it continues a general trend of rising temperatures. The average global temperature was 57.9 degrees Fahrenheit, making 2011 the 11th hottest on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. That's 0.9 degrees warmer than the 20th century average, officials said. In fact, it was hotter than every year last century except 1998... This marks the 35th straight year that global temperatures were warmer than normal. NOAA's records for world average temperatures date back to 1880. ...


Does 35 straight years constitute a trend?

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Tue, Jan 17, 2012
from Inter Press Service:
Melting Ice Makes Arctic Access a Hot Commodity
China, Brazil and India want seats on the Arctic Council as global warming creates new opportunities for shipping and resource extraction in the vast Arctic region. There are concerns this is the beginning of a 21st century "scramble for the Arctic", but rather than staking territorial claims, non- Arctic countries want to exert economic and political influence in the region. China already has a research station in Norway's high Arctic and is building an 8,000-tonne icebreaker. ...


"Hot commodity"? Sounds like a hot mess to me!

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Thu, Jan 12, 2012
from Agence France-Press:
'Doomsday' ticks closer on nuclear, climate fears
Global uncertainty on how to deal with the threats of nuclear weapons and climate change have forced the "Doomsday clock" one minute closer to midnight, leading international scientists said Tuesday. "It is now five minutes to midnight," said Allison Macfarlan, chair of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which created the Doomsday clock in 1947 as a barometer of how close the world is to an apocalyptic end. ...


Doomsnight!

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Tue, Jan 3, 2012
from The Daily Climate:
Climate coverage down again in 2011
Media coverage of climate change continued to tumble in 2011, declining roughly 20 percent from 2010's levels and nearly 42 percent from 2009's peak, according to analysis of DailyClimate.org's archive of global media. ...


What we don't know can't hurt us!

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Fri, Dec 30, 2011
from InsideClimate News:
As Climate Change Worsens, Scientists Feel Increasing Pressure to Speak Out
Factors contributing to climate change are moving faster than predicted and pushing us toward planetary conditions unlike any humans have ever known -- this was one of the salient themes to emerge from this month's meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the world's largest gathering of earth and space scientists. Some scientists think we've already crossed that boundary and are, as Jonathan Foley, director of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, said, "in a very different world than we have ever seen before." ...


Musta been one helluva fun meeting.

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Wed, Dec 21, 2011
from Nature News:
Permafrost science heats up in the United States
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is embarking on a US $100-million research programme to investigate what will happen to the 1,500 billion tonnes of organic carbon locked up in frozen soils of the far northern permafrost when they thaw in the rapidly warming Arctic climate. ...


For two cents I'll tell ya: the Apocalypse!

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Wed, Dec 21, 2011
from ABC News:
2012 End-of-the-World Countdown Based on Mayan Calendar Starts Today
The countdown to the apocalypse is on. We're one year away from Dec. 21, 2012, the date that the ancient Mayan Long Count calendar allegedly marked as the end of an era that would reset the date to zero and signal the end of humanity. But will it?... Believers have taken the end-of-the world fears to the Internet with hundreds of thousands of websites and blogs. Yet others are capitalizing on the heightened interest. Films depicting the end of the world - including the 2009 movie, "2012" - are contributing to the mounting hype as well as to misinformation, experts say. ...


We are more than happy to add to the confusion.

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Tue, Dec 20, 2011
from Greenwire:
With federal green light, Shell hits the gas on Arctic plans
In a sign that the Obama administration is willing to clear the regulatory decks for oil drilling in Alaska's remote Arctic waters, the Interior Department on Friday gave a conditional green light allowing Royal Dutch Shell PLC to explore for oil this summer in Alaska's Chukchi Sea. More than 20 years after sinking its first exploratory well in the Chukchi, only to later abandon the project, Shell is seeking to reopen drilling in the nation's northern-most federal waters. The campaign has already had a colossal price tag. So far, Shell officials say they have sunk $4 billion in the project, including $350 million to build two of their own ice-breaking ships. If exploration is successful, it will take 10-12 years before Shell can begin producing oil. During that time, the company would have to build a new ice-resistant drilling facility, install 100 miles of subsea pipeline from the pumping rig to the tiny community of Wainwright and construct a 500-mile pipeline from the shoreline to the beginning of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in Prudhoe Bay. ...


It will be worth all the work, if we can indeed destroy the planet!

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Mon, Dec 19, 2011
from Associated Press:
Russia slams Kyoto Protocol
MOSCOW (AP) Russia supports Canada's decision to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol, says its foreign ministry, reaffirming Friday that Moscow will not take on new commitments. Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told Friday's briefing that the treaty does not cover all major polluters, and thus cannot help solve the climate crisis. Canada on Monday pulled out of the agreement -- initially adopted in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, to cut carbon emissions contributing to global warming. Its move dealt a blow to the treaty, which has not been formally renounced by any other country. ...


Sayonara, Kyoto.

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Wed, Dec 14, 2011
from New Scientist:
Call for Arctic geoengineering as soon as possible
It's the most urgent call for geoengineering yet: begin cooling the Arctic by 2013 or face runaway global warming. But the warning -- from a voice on the scientific fringe -- may be premature, according to experts contacted by New Scientist. John Nissen, a former software engineer who has become alarmed at the possibility of reaching a climate "tipping point" argued for Arctic geoengineering as soon as possible in a poster presentation at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco last week.... Although Nissen's opinion is not in the scientific mainstream, he has the backing of a leading expert on sea ice, Peter Wadhams of the University of Cambridge, who recently suggested that the Arctic ocean may be ice-free at the end of each summer from 2015 onwards. Wadhams says that accelerating climate change in the Arctic has forced him to abandon his scepticism about geoengineering. "One has to consider doing something," he says. ...


Geoengineering... the equivalent of of punting.

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Tue, Dec 13, 2011
from London Independent:
Shock as retreat of Arctic sea ice releases deadly greenhouse gas
Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane -- a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide -- have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region. 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." ...


You know you're trouble when scientists freak out!

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Tue, Dec 13, 2011
from Associated Press:
Canada pulls out of Kyoto Protocol
Canada pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change Monday, saying the accord won't help solve the climate crisis. It dealt a blow to the anti-global warming treaty, which has not been formally renounced by any other country. Environment Minister Peter Kent said that Canada is invoking its legal right to withdraw and said Kyoto doesn't represent the way forward for Canada or the world... "The Kyoto Protocol does not cover the world's largest two emitters, United States and China, and therefore cannot work," Kent said. "It's now clear that Kyoto is not the path forward to a global solution to climate change. If anything it's an impediment." ...


More like CANTada!

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Fri, Dec 9, 2011
from NASA, via ScienceDaily:
Paleoclimate Record Points Toward Potential Rapid Climate Changes
In studying cores drilled from both ice sheets and deep ocean sediments, Hansen found that global mean temperatures during the Eemian period, which began about 130,000 years ago and lasted about 15,000 years, were less than 1 degree Celsius warmer than today. If temperatures were to rise 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times, global mean temperature would far exceed that of the Eemian, when sea level was four to six meters higher than today, Hansen said. "The paleoclimate record reveals a more sensitive climate than thought, even as of a few years ago. Limiting human-caused warming to 2 degrees is not sufficient," Hansen said. "It would be a prescription for disaster." Hansen focused much of his new work on how the polar regions and in particular the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland will react to a warming world.... "We don't have a substantial cushion between today's climate and dangerous warming," Hansen said. "Earth is poised to experience strong amplifying feedbacks in response to moderate additional global warming." ...


Killjoy.

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Fri, Dec 9, 2011
from Scientific American:
Climate Negotiations Fail to Keep Pace with Science
DURBAN, South Africa-- By 2020, human activity could produce some 55 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases per year, up from roughly 36 billion metric tons currently. All the accumulating gas is enough to raise the global average temperatures by more than 3 degrees Celsius by century's end -- more than triple the amount of warming that has already occurred.... The latest science suggests that international negotiations are proceeding far too slowly to have any significant impact on global warming and may well dawdle too long to prevent catastrophic climate change. ...


Somebody wake me from this nightmare.

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Tue, Dec 6, 2011
from The Daily Climate:
Hotter, drier, meaner: Trends point to a planet increasingly hostile to agriculture
To get a glimpse of the future, look to East Africa today. The Horn of Africa is in the midst of its worst drought in 60 years: Crop failures have left up to 10 million at risk of famine; social order has broken down in Somalia, with thousands of refugees streaming into Kenya; British Aid alone is feeding 2.4 million people across the region. That's a taste of what's to come, say scientists mapping the impact of a warming planet on agriculture and civilization.... Many recent events -- discoveries from sediment cores of New York marshes, drought in Australia and the western United States, data from increasingly sophisticated computer models -- lead to a conclusion that the weather driving many of the globe's great breadbaskets will become hotter, drier and more unpredictable. ...


At least we'll always have Lunchables.

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Mon, Dec 5, 2011
from New York Times:
Carbon Emissions Show Biggest Jump Ever Recorded
Global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel burning jumped by the largest amount on record last year, upending the notion that the brief decline during the recession might persist through the recovery. Emissions rose 5.9 percent in 2010, according to an analysis released Sunday by the Global Carbon Project, an international collaboration of scientists tracking the numbers. Scientists with the group said the increase, a half-billion extra tons of carbon pumped into the air, was almost certainly the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution, and the largest percentage increase since 2003. The increase solidified a trend of ever-rising emissions that scientists fear will make it difficult, if not impossible, to forestall severe climate change in coming decades. ...


Another year, another record. I bet Nature's about ready to cry uncle!

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Thu, Dec 1, 2011
from Reuters:
WMO: 2011 one of hottest years on record
The world is getting hotter, with 2011 one of the warmest years on record, and humans are to blame, a report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Tuesday. It warned increasing global average temperatures were expected to amplify floods, droughts and other extreme weather patterns. "Our science is solid and it proves unequivocally that the world is warming and that this warming is due to human activities," WMO Deputy Secretary-General Jerry Lengoasa told reporters in Durban, where almost 200 nations are gathered for U.N. climate talks. ...


Deja vu screwed.

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Tue, Nov 29, 2011
from Associated Press:
World on track for nearly 11-degree temperature rise, energy expert says
The chief economist for the International Energy Agency said Monday that current global energy consumption levels put the Earth on a trajectory to warm by 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by 2100, an outcome he called "a catastrophe for all of us. Fatih Birol spoke as as delegates from nearly 200 countries convened the opening day of annual U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa. ...


Or, put another way, 6 degrees of separation between us -- and our continued existence.

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Tue, Nov 22, 2011
from Associated Press:
Greenhouse gases soar; scientists see little chance of arresting global warming this century
Heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are building up so high, so fast, that some scientists now think the world can no longer limit global warming to the level world leaders have agreed upon as safe. New figures from the U.N. weather agency Monday showed that the three biggest greenhouse gases not only reached record levels last year but were increasing at an ever-faster rate, despite efforts by many countries to reduce emissions. ...


This story brought to you by the Duh-partment of Duh.

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Mon, Nov 21, 2011
from London Guardian:
Rich nations 'give up' on new climate treaty until 2020
Governments of the world's richest countries have given up on forging a new treaty on climate change to take effect this decade, with potentially disastrous consequences for the environment through global warming. Ahead of critical talks starting next week, most of the world's leading economies now privately admit that no new global climate agreement will be reached before 2016 at the earliest, and that even if it were negotiated by then, they would stipulate it could not come into force until 2020. The eight-year delay is the worst contemplated by world governments during 20 years of tortuous negotiations on greenhouse gas emissions, and comes despite intensifying warnings from scientists and economists about the rapidly increasing dangers of putting off prompt action. ...


Given the lack of enthusiasm among our leaders, it's time to Occupy Mother Earth.

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Thu, Nov 10, 2011
from Anchorage Daily News:
Alaskan 'hurricane' generates 10'+ storm surge, 30' waves
At its peak, the storm surge and high tide rose seas about 10 feet above normal water levels tonight, Kearney said. "The sea level will remain steady into the early morning hours and then start to come down tomorrow morning." To the east of Nome, in Norton Sound, peak water levels were expected to arrive later tonight with the Weather Service warning of "significant impacts" in the village of Golovin.... Winds of 93 mph were clocked late Tuesday and early Wednesday on Diomede.... Two anemometers on the island measured the hurricane-force blasts.... But "by the time it got light it was obvious that there were serious problems. We just didn't appreciate what we were experiencing until we saw it." Waves over 30 feet high wiped everything off the whole southern portion of the island, Schmitt said. Heavy equipment and at least two metal Connex storage units were claimed by the water. A Connex weighs about 2,500 pounds empty, he said. One of the units was full of steel. It was rolled into a mangled mess. An empty Connex was washed away along with other supplies and equipment, Schmitt said. "The old man of the sea's got 'em now." ...


Don't be ridiculous. They don't get hurricanes in Alaska!

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Sat, Nov 5, 2011
from AP, via LA Times:
Biggest-ever jump seen in global warming gases
The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped last year by the biggest amount on record, the U.S. Department of Energy calculated, a sign of how feeble the world's efforts are at slowing man-made global warming. The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst-case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago. "The more we talk about the need to control emissions, the more they are growing," said John Reilly, co-director of MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. The world pumped about 564 million more tons of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009. That's an increase of 6 percent. That amount of extra pollution eclipses the individual emissions of all but three countries -- China, the United States and India, the world's top producers of greenhouse gases. It is a "monster" increase that is unheard of, said Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State University, who has helped calculate Department of Energy figures in the past. ...


Is that a cliff we're speeding toward, or is it just a wall?

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Wed, Nov 2, 2011
from Our Amazing Planet:
Huge Crack Discovered in Antarctic Glacier
A huge, emerging crack has been discovered in one of Antarctica's glaciers, with a NASA plane mission providing the first-ever detailed airborne measurements of a major iceberg breakup in progress... The crack was found in Pine Island Glacier, which last calved a significant iceberg in 2001; some scientists have speculated recently that it was primed to calve again. But until an Oct. 14 IceBridge flight, no one had seen any evidence of the ice shelf beginning to break apart. Since then, a more detailed look back at satellite imagery seems to show the first signs of the crack in early October...When the iceberg breaks free, it will cover about 340 square miles (880 square kilometers) of surface area. Radar measurements suggested the ice shelf in the region of the rift is about 1,640 feet (500 meters) feet thick, with only about 160 feet of the shelf floating above water and the rest submerged. ...


This crack is bigger'n my plumber's!

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Mon, Oct 31, 2011
from Institute of Physics via ScienceDaily:
Glaciers in Southwest China Feel the Brunt of Climate Change
Significant increases in annual temperatures are having a devastating affect on glaciers in the mountainous regions of south-western China, potentially affecting natural habitats, tourism and wider economic development... Of the 111 stations examined, 77 per cent displayed statistically significant increases in annual temperature....In the Pengqu basin of the Himalayas, for example, the 999 glaciers had a combined area loss of 131 km2 between 1970 and 2001, whilst the Yalong glacier in the Gangrigabu Mountains retreated over 1500 meters from 1980 to 2001. ...


111...77...999...what's next? 666?

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Wed, Oct 26, 2011
from City College of New York via ScienceDaily:
Extreme Melting On Greenland Ice Sheet, Team Reports; Glacial Melt Cycle Could Become Self-Amplifying
The Greenland ice sheet can experience extreme melting even when temperatures don't hit record highs, according to a new analysis by Dr. Marco Tedesco, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at The City College of New York. His findings suggest that glaciers could undergo a self-amplifying cycle of melting and warming that would be difficult to halt. ...


I worry about how much I worry about all this.

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Wed, Oct 26, 2011
from London Guardian:
India is the most likely place for the seventh billionth child to be born
...No one knows exactly who will be the seventh billionth person on Earth, to be born on the last day of this month, according to United Nations statisticians. But the chances are he or she will be born in northern India -- perhaps even in Madanpur Khadr. Here, narrow, rubbish-strewn lanes are filled with young children and scores of heavily pregnant women. India is home to nearly a fifth of the world's population and around 2020 it is projected to overtake China as the most populous nation on Earth. ...


Propagategate.

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Tue, Oct 18, 2011
from The Daily Climate:
Evidence builds that scientists underplay climate impacts
The warnings were dire: 188 predictions showing that climate-induced changes to the environment would put 7 percent of all plant and animal species on the globe - one out of every 14 critters - at risk of extinction. Predictions like these have earned climate scientists the obloquy from critics for being "alarmist" - dismissed for using inflated descriptions of doom and destruction to push for action, more grant money or a global government. But as the impacts of climate change become apparent, many predictions are proving to underplay the actual impacts. Reality, in many instances, is proving to be far worse than most scientists expected. ...


Scientists... nothin' but a bunch of scaredy-cats.

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Tue, Oct 18, 2011
from Associated Press:
7 billion humans and rising rapidly
As of Oct. 31, according to the U.N. Population Fund, there will be 7 billion people sharing Earth's land and resources. In Western Europe, Japan and Russia, it will be an ironic milestone amid worries about low birthrates and aging populations. In China and India, the two most populous nations, it's an occasion to reassess policies that have already slowed once-rapid growth. But in Burundi, Uganda and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, the demographic news is mostly sobering as the region staggers under the double burden of the world's highest birthrates and deepest poverty. The regional population of nearly 900 million could reach 2 billion in 40 years at current rates, accounting for about half of the projected global population growth over that span. ...


At least 4 billion of them will be in costume.

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Wed, Oct 5, 2011
from Reuters:
Great Lakes face stresses from run-off, invaders
Great Lakes shorelines are becoming clogged by algae blooms fed by agricultural run-off, while invasive mussels decimate the food chain in deeper waters, an environmental group said on Tuesday. The five lakes, which contain one-fifth of the world's fresh water and supply tens of millions of people, may be "veering close to ecosystem collapse," the report by the National Wildlife Federation said. "Too much food is causing massive algal blooms in Lake Erie and other coastal systems, while too little food is making fish starve in Lake Huron's offshore waters," said the group's Great Lakes director, Andy Buchsbaum. ...


Those poor Great Lakes are ate up lakes now.

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Tue, Oct 4, 2011
from Sydney Morning Herald:
US government breaks the ice in Arctic drilling dispute
THE US government has decided to uphold the sale of nearly 500 leases to drill for oil in Arctic waters near Alaska, in response to a successful lawsuit by environmentalists and native Alaskan organisations that had thrown the contracts into jeopardy. The move on Monday by the Interior Department was celebrated by Shell and other companies that snapped up some of the 487 leases to drill in the Chukchi Sea during a government auction in 2008. Shell hopes to launch exploratory drilling in the Chukchi next northern summer. The decision was criticised by conservationists, who blasted the Obama administration for bypassing calls for more scientific research on the region's marine life and better studies of how to clean up oil spills in remote icy waters. ...


Chuk-ching! The Chukchi Sea's the place to be!

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Mon, Oct 3, 2011
from USGS, via PhysOrg:
Earth is having a bad acid trip, study finds
Earth may be overdosing on acid - not the "turn on, tune in, drop out" kind, but the "kill fish, kill coral, kill crops" kind. And it's shaping up to be a very bad trip. The problem isn't just acid rain or ocean acidification, either: pH levels are plummeting all over the planet, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Virginia. The origin of all this acidity, the researchers report, is humanity's growing use of natural resources such as coal, metal ores and nitrogen. Scientists have long known that certain chemicals can acidify soil and water when released en masse into the environment; sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides contribute to acid rain, for example, while carbon dioxide is widely blamed for causing ocean acidification. In their new study, though, the USGS and UVA researchers report that a worldwide acid wash is now being fueled by a variety of human activities, namely "the mining and burning of coal, the mining and smelting of metal ores, and the use of nitrogen fertilizer." This is dramatically reducing pH levels not just in soil and seawater, they report, but also in streams, rivers, lakes and even the air. ...


Maybe that explains my flashforwards.

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Sat, Oct 1, 2011
from Associated Press:
Canadian Arctic nearly loses entire ice shelf
Two ice shelves that existed before Canada was settled by Europeans diminished significantly this summer, one nearly disappearing altogether, Canadian scientists say in new research. The loss is important as a marker of global warming, returning the Canadian Arctic to conditions that date back thousands of years, scientists say. Floating icebergs that have broken free as a result pose a risk to offshore oil facilities and potentially to shipping lanes. The breaking apart of the ice shelves also reduces the environment that supports microbial life and changes the look of Canada's coastline. ...


Without shelves, where will we display all our shiny new consumer goods?

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Thu, Sep 8, 2011
from BBC:
Giant crabs make Antarctic leap
King crabs have been found on the edge of Antarctica, probably as a result of warming in the region, scientists say. Writing in the journal Proceedings B, scientists report a large, reproductive population of crabs in the Palmer Deep, a basin cut in the continental shelf. They suggest the crabs were washed in during an upsurge of warmer water. The crabs are voracious crushers of sea floor animals and will probably change the ecosystem profoundly if and when they spread further, researchers warn. Related species have been found around islands off the Antarctic Peninsula and on the outer edge of the continental shelf. But here the crabs (Neolithodes yaldwyni) are living and reproducing in abundance right on the edge of the continent itself. ...


Let's send scads of giant jellyfish to do battle!

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Tue, Sep 6, 2011
from Associated Press:
In Greenland, lives are altered with the weather
...The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, and "Greenland is experiencing some of the most severe environmental impacts," social researcher Lene Kielsen Holm concludes in a preliminary report on a north-to-south survey of Greenlanders. Those impacts are broad and deep. For a village society whose dogsledding ice hunters long supplied it with seal and walrus meat and fish in winter, the "dark months" are now a time of enforced idleness, limited travel and emptier larders. On land, the thawing permafrost underfoot is leaving houses askew and broken. Climate change touches the animals, too: Greenlanders find lean polar bears, unable to stalk seals on sea ice, invading their settlements for food. And the very sound of Greenland is changing. Where villages once echoed to the howl of huskies, that old call of the wild has been muted. Dispirited hunters up and down the west Greenland coast, unable to feed winter game to their sled dogs, have been shooting them. ...


You know things are very very bad when you have to shoot your dog.

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Thu, Sep 1, 2011
from New York Times:
Exxon Reaches Arctic Oil Deal With Russians
MOSCOW -- Exxon Mobil won a coveted prize in the global petroleum industry Tuesday with an agreement to explore for oil in a Russian portion of the Arctic Ocean that is being opened for drilling even as Alaskan waters remain mostly off limits. The agreement seemed to supersede a similar but failed deal that Russia's state oil company, Rosneft, reached with the British oil giant BP this year -- with a few striking differences. Where BP had planned to swap stock, Exxon, which is based in Texas, agreed to give Rosneft assets elsewhere in the world, including some that Exxon owns in the deepwater zones of the Gulf of Mexico and on land in Texas. ...


Folks, these are your Oil Overlords.

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Fri, Aug 26, 2011
from The Independent:
British team the first to row to the North Pole
A team of British adventurers was poised last night to become the first to row to the magnetic North Pole. They were less than a mile from the end of their journey after a 28-day struggle through Arctic waters to complete a historic trip only made possible by climate change. The retreat of the Arctic's summer ice sheet has left navigable water where only a few years ago explorers would have to walk if they wanted to reach the pole. It was still a close-run thing, with wind-driven ice floes threatening to smash into the reinforced rowing boat and destroy it. Ironically, the last two miles of the journey had to be completed by hauling the boat onto an ice floe which had floated over the pole as the team approached.... Mr Wishart, who has rowed across theAtlantic, added: "We are all exhilarated and relieved that weather conditions were in our favour. It is an enormous achievement, and a privilege for our team to have been part of what is one of the world's last great firsts." ...


I guess we humans still have a few things to discover.

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Tue, Aug 23, 2011
from Mother Jones:
USDA Scientist: Monsanto's Roundup Herbicide Damages Soil
The problem goes beyond the "superweed" phenomenon that I've written about recently: the fact that farmers are using so much Roundup, on so much acreage, that weeds are developing resistance to it, forcing farmers to resort to highly toxic "pesticide cocktails." What Roundup is doing aboveground may be a stroll through the meadow compared to its effect below. According to USDA scientist Robert Kremer, who spoke at a conference last week, Roundup may also be damaging soil--a sobering thought, given that it's applied to hundreds of millions of acres of prime farmland in the United States and South America. Here's a Reuters account of Kremer's presentation: The heavy use of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide appears to be causing harmful changes in soil and potentially hindering yields of the genetically modified crops that farmers are cultivating, a US government scientist said on Friday. Repeated use of the chemical glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup herbicide, impacts the root structure of plants, and 15 years of research indicates that the chemical could be causing fungal root disease, said Bob Kremer, a microbiologist with the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.... McNeill explains that glyphosate is a chelating agent, which means it clamps onto molecules that are valuable to a plant, like iron, calcium, manganese, and zinc.... The farmers' increased use of Roundup is actually harming their crops, according to McNeill, because it is killing micronutrients in the soil that they need, a development that has been documented in several scientific papers by the nation's leading experts in the field. ...


100,000,000 acres here, 100,000,000 acres there... pretty soon we're talking about real damage!

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Wed, Aug 17, 2011
from OnEarth:
NRDC: Acidic Oceans
Q&A with NRDC senior scientist Lisa Suatoni: How closely is ocean acidification related to global climate change? Ocean acidification and global climate change are two -- independent -- impacts of rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations. When fossil fuels are burned, carbon dioxide is produced. Approximately two thirds of that CO2 goes into the atmosphere, where it causes global warming; the remaining third is absorbed by the world's oceans, where it causes ocean acidification. Two problems, one culprit.... The Arctic is predicted to be corrosive to some types of shelled organisms in the next 10 to 30 years.... As we speak, roughly one million tons of CO2 are being absorbed by the oceans every hour. And the source of this pollution -- global emissions of greenhouse gases -- is expected to rise, rapidly. By mid-century, the average atmospheric CO2 concentration could easily reach double the pre-industrial concentration, and so could the drop in ocean pH. That means the problems we are seeing in the Pacific Northwest oyster industry are most likely going to get worse and spread elsewhere. Although they've held off disaster for now, the oyster hatcheries will need to continue developing techniques to protect their "crop" from the shifting chemistry of the sea. What can we do about acidification on a larger scale? Is there a way to get the ocean's chemistry back into balance? There is no way to artificially restore the chemistry of the world's oceans to pre-industrial levels. It will happen naturally as the ocean water mixes with the deep sea sediments, which act to neutralize the enhanced acidity, but that takes thousands of years. The only broad-scale solution to ocean acidification is to reduce and stabilize carbon dioxide emissions right now to keep things from getting worse. ...


I bet we'll just innovate ourselves out of needing the ocean!

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Tue, Aug 16, 2011
from Anchorage Daily News:
Human activities linked to warming and loss of sea ice
About half the recent record loss of Arctic sea ice can be blamed on global warming caused by human activity, according to a new study by scientists from the nation's leading climate research center. The peer-reviewed study, funded by the National Science Foundation, is the first to attribute a specific proportion of the ice melt to greenhouse gases and particulates from pollution. The study used supercomputers named Bluefire and Franklin and one of the world's most sophisticated climate models to reach its conclusions, said lead author Jennifer Kay, a staff scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The paper was published last week in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters. In a telephone interview from Boulder, Colo., where NCAR is headquartered, Kay said her study was an attempt to learn how much Arctic Ocean melting can be attributed to "natural variability" -- complex changes wrought by non-human forces -- and how much has been caused by greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and by atmospheric particulates. ...


Nature + nurture = Apocalypse.

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Mon, Aug 8, 2011
from Earth Institute:
Have We Crossed the 9 Planetary Boundaries?
Just what is a safe operating space for human civilization? Twenty-eight scientists from around the world defined a "safe planetary operating space" circumscribed by 9 planetary boundaries within which humanity can continue to thrive and develop. The 2009 report by the group led by Johan Rockström, Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, examined the non-negotiable planetary conditions that humanity needs to respect and maintain in order to avoid catastrophic environmental changes.... While scientists have warned of specific environmental tipping points in the past, the 9 planetary boundaries concept looks at the global system as a whole and how separate biophysical processes interact. One of the report authors, Jonathan Foley, Director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, likened man's ignorance of the planetary gestalt to driving full speed at night over a mesa without lights or a map. We know the cliffs are out there, but we don't know where. The 9 planetary boundaries are an attempt to create that much needed map.... Human beings have already crossed the boundaries for climate change, biodiversity loss, and interference with the nitrogen cycle; and we are fast approaching the boundaries for freshwater use, land use changes, ocean acidification, and interference with the global phosphorus cycle. ...


There must be some judge we can bribe.

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Sat, Aug 6, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
US opens ways for Shell drilling in Arctic Ocean
US officials have granted Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell conditional approval to begin drilling exploration wells in the Arctic Ocean from next year, in a move swiftly slammed by conservationists as "inexcusable." The US Interior Department has opened the doors to Shell's proposal for four shallow water exploration wells in Alaska's Beaufort Sea to start in July 2012, said the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) in a statement Thursday. ...


The Apocalypse has now officially commenced.

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Fri, Aug 5, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Arctic ice cap near 2007 record minimum: Russia
The polar ice cap in the Arctic has melted to near its 2007 record minimum level and in some areas is 50 percent smaller than average, Russia's environmental monitoring agency said Thursday. "According to the results of observations, the Arctic ice sheet is currently near the minimum that was observed in 2007 in the polar region," the Roshydromet agency said in a statement. It said the ice sheet covered an area of 6.8 billion square kilometres (2.6 billion square miles) and was much smaller than normal in Russia's Arctic seas.... "In September we can expect very easy navigation conditions in the Northern sea route," it said. ...


Whew! For some reason, I thought this was going to be bad news!

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Tue, Aug 2, 2011
from AFP, via The Independent:
Russia may lose up to 30 percent of permafrost by 2050: official
Russia's vast permafrost areas may shrink by a third by the middle of the century due to global warming, endangering infrastructure in the Arctic zone, an emergencies ministry official said Friday. "In the next 25 to 30 years, the area of permafrost in Russia may shrink by 10-18 percent," the head of the ministry's disaster monitoring department Andrei Bolov told the RIA Novosti news agency. "By the middle of the century, it can shrink by 15-30 percent, and the boundary of the permafrost may shift to the north-east by 150-200 kilometres," he said.... Permafrost, or soil that is permanently frozen, covers about 63 percent of Russia, but has been greatly affected by climate change in recent decades.... Scientists have said that permafrost thawing will set off another problem because the process will release massive amounts of greenhouse gas methane currently trapped in the frozen soil. ...


Splendid vacation homes now available in Omsk, Tomsk, and Krasnoyarsk!

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Sun, Jul 31, 2011
from BBC, thx to DesdemonaDespair:
Huge 2007 Arctic tundra fire points to new climate feedback
An exceptional wildfire in northern Alaska in 2007 put as much carbon into the air as the entire Arctic tundra absorbs in a year, scientists say. The Anaktuvuk River fire burned across more than 1,000 sq km (400 sq miles), doubling the extent of Alaskan tundra visited by fire since 1950. With the Arctic warming fast, the team suggests in the journal Nature that fires could become more common. If that happens, it could create a new climate feedback, they say.... But 2007 saw unusually warm and dry conditions across much of the Arctic - resulting, among other things, in spectacularly fast melting of Arctic sea ice. This created conditions more conducive to fire, and when lightning struck the tundra in July, the Anaktuvuk River fire ignited. "Most tundra fires have been very small - this was an order of magnitude larger than the historical size," said Michelle Mack from the University of Florida in Gainesville, who led the research team on the Nature paper and is currently conducting further field studies in Alaska. "In 2007, we had a hot, dry summer, there was no rain for a long period of time. "So the tundra must have been highly flammable, with just the right conditions for fire to spread until the snow in October finally stopped it."... Another impact of the fire that has yet to be fully assessed is that the blackened soil absorbs more solar energy than normally vegetated tundra. This abets melting of the permafrost layer below. "Once permafrost melts beyond a certain depth on a slope, then all of the organic layer slides down the slope like a landslide," Dr Mack told BBC News. "This whole issue of melting can lead to other huge changes in drainage, in areas of wetlands - releasing carbon that's been frozen since the Pleistocene [Epoch, which ended more than 10,000 years ago]." ...


New concepts learned today: 1) Tundra fires. 2) Permafrost landslides. 3) omg

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Thu, Jul 21, 2011
from National Geographic News:
Longest Polar Bear Swim Recorded--426 Miles Straight
A female polar bear swam for a record-breaking nine days straight, traversing 426 miles (687 kilometers) of water -- equivalent to the distance between Washington, D.C., and Boston, a new study says. The predator made her epic journey in the Beaufort Sea..., where sea ice is shrinking due to global warming, forcing mother bears to swim greater and greater distances to reach land -- to the peril of their cubs. The cub of the record-setting bear, for instance, died at some point between starting the swim and when the researchers next observed the mother on land. She also lost 22 percent of her body weight. ...


You go, girl!

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Wed, Jul 20, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Act now on climate, no need to wait: top UN scientist
The key facts on global warming are already known and leaders should not wait for the next edition of the UN climate panel's report to step up action, the body's top scientist told AFP. The 4th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, released in 2007, "is very clear," Rajendra Pachauri said Monday in Paris, ahead of a five-day meeting of the body in Brest, France. The fifth multi-volume assessment, which summarizes peer-reviewed science to help policy makers make decisions, is due out in 2013-2014. "We have enough evidence, enough scientific findings which should convince people that action has to be taken," he said after a round-table discussion with France's environment minister, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet. ...


I don't know how you can have "a round-table discussion" with just two people!

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Thu, Jul 14, 2011
from Guardian:
Arctic may be ice-free within 30 years
Sea ice in the Arctic is melting at a record pace this year, suggesting warming at the north pole is speeding up and a largely ice-free Arctic can be expected in summer months within 30 years. The area of the Arctic ocean at least 15 percent covered in ice is this week about 8.5m sq kilometres - lower than the previous record low set in 2007 - according to satellite monitoring by the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado. In addition, new data from the University of Washington Polar Science Centre, shows that the thickness of Arctic ice this year is also the lowest on record. In the past 10 days, the Arctic ocean has been losing as much as 150,000 square kilometres of sea a day, said Mark Serreze, director of the NSIDC. "The extent [of the ice cover] is going down, but it is also thinning. So a weather pattern that formerly would melt some ice, now gets rid of much more. There will be ups and downs, but we are on track to see an ice-free summer by 2030. It is an overall downward spiral." ...


Again? That news is so "last year."

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Mon, Jul 11, 2011
from University of Wisconsin, via EurekAlert:
Climate change reducing ocean's carbon dioxide uptake
How deep is the ocean's capacity to buffer against climate change? As one of the planet's largest single carbon absorbers, the ocean takes up roughly one-third of all human carbon emissions, reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide and its associated global changes.... "The ocean is taking up less carbon because of the warming caused by the carbon in the atmosphere," says McKinley, an assistant professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences and a member of the Center for Climatic Research in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.... But the researchers found that rising temperatures are slowing the carbon absorption across a large portion of the subtropical North Atlantic. Warmer water cannot hold as much carbon dioxide, so the ocean's carbon capacity is decreasing as it warms. ...


The oceans are gettin' lazy!

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Thu, Jul 7, 2011
from NOAA, via MotherJones:
Scary Maps of the New Climate Normal
NOAA just updated its Climate Normals for the United States. Per agreement of the World Meteorological Organization, "normals" are calculated per decade, rather than per year. NOAA's latest update is crunched from three-decades-worth of weather data between 1981 to 2010. The new annual normal temperatures for the US strongly reflect a warming world.... Parts of the Great Plains, the Mississippi Valley, and the Northeast experienced slightly cooler July maximums from 1981-2010 compared to 1971-2000 (top map). Far more striking are the January minimums (bottom map). Nighttime January temps were higher everywhere except the Southeast. Warmer nights were most pronounced in the northern plains and northern Rocky Mountains. In some places the new normal were several degrees warmer than the old normal. As you can see in the maps above, based on average year-round temperatures, every state experienced warmer temperatures in 1981-2010 compared to 1971-2000. ...


Yes, but what is the mean? or the mode? or the pangaiatic min-max hypotenuse that proves natural variation?

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Thu, Jun 30, 2011
from National Post:
Pacific species migrating through warmer Northwest Passage
Set loose by an ice-free Northwest Passage, an invasion force of Pacific sea creatures are moving east to Atlantic waters. Researchers at the U.K.-based Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science have called the discovery of a microscopic west coast plant on the east coast a "harbinger of an inundation of the North Atlantic with foreign organisms."... "The Arctic is getting easier to navigate ... organisms that don't even swim are getting through," says Eric Solomon, director of conservation strategy at the Vancouver Aquarium.... "There's going to be some reshuffling of the ecosystems," says Mr. O'Dor. "Whether that's good for humans or bad for humans is yet to be determined." The invasion is already bad news for Newfoundland's ravaged Atlantic cod. While the decimated cod stock may no longer be threatened by fishing nets, they are "facing a potentially mutating ecosystem with the arrival of these different species," says Julian Dodson, a marine biologist at the University of Laval. He notes Arctic char are already facing tough competition for food by schools of east-moving capelin, a small forage fish.... Pacific salmon have begun cropping up off the Arctic coast of Alaska, and Atlantic salmon are appearing near Iqaluit. It is "inevitable" the two species will eventually collide, says Mr. O'Dor. ...


We've run out of immigration forms!!

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Thu, Jun 30, 2011
from NOAA:
State of the Climate for 2010 (PDF of slideshow)
Global average surface temperature among the two warmest of the instrumental record ~~ Greenland's ice sheet lost more mass in 2010 than at any time in the past ten years ~~ Consistent and unmistakable signal from the top of the atmosphere to the bottom of the oceans ~~ Many extreme events at regional and local levels ~~ Trends in snow cover duration, permafrost, and vegetation continued or accelerated ~~ Record-setting temperatures along entire western Greenland, both near the ground and higher in the atmosphere ~~ 2010 report tracks 41 climate indicators. Long-term trends continue to show the world is warming. ...


All that, in twelve slides?!?

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Tue, Jun 28, 2011
from The Telegraph:
Warming oceans cause largest movement of marine species in two million years
Warming ocean waters are causing the largest movement of marine species seen on Earth in more than two million years, according to scientists. In the Arctic, melting sea ice during recent summers has allowed a passage to open up from the Pacific ocean into the North Atlantic, allowing plankton, fish and even whales to into the Atlantic Ocean from the Pacific. The discovery has sparked fears delicate marine food webs could be unbalanced and lead to some species becoming extinct as competition for food between the native species and the invaders stretches resources.... The highly venomous Portuguese Man-of-War, which is normally found in subtropical waters, is also regularly been found in the northern Atlantic waters.... "In 1999 we discovered a species in the north west Atlantic that we hadn't seen before, but we know from surveys in the north Pacific that it is very abundant there. "This species died out in the Atlantic around 800,000 years ago due to glaciation that changed the conditions it needed to survive. "The implications are huge. The last time there was an incursion of species from the Pacific into the Atlantic was around two to three million years ago.... "Large numbers of species were introduced from the Pacific and made large numbers of local Atlantic species extinct. ...


I like to think of it as species homogenization.

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Mon, Jun 20, 2011
from BBC:
World's oceans in 'shocking' decline
The oceans are in a worse state than previously suspected, according to an expert panel of scientists. In a new report, they warn that ocean life is "at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history". They conclude that issues such as over-fishing, pollution and climate change are acting together in ways that have not previously been recognised. The impacts, they say, are already affecting humanity.... "The findings are shocking," said Alex Rogers, IPSO's scientific director and professor of conservation biology at Oxford University. "As we considered the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the oceans, the implications became far worse than we had individually realised. "We've sat in one forum and spoken to each other about what we're seeing, and we've ended up with a picture showing that almost right across the board we're seeing changes that are happening faster than we'd thought, or in ways that we didn't expect to see for hundreds of years." ...


I hear Britney is showing off plenty of skin on her new "Femme Fatale" tour!

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Sat, Jun 18, 2011
from Guardian:
Warning: extreme weather ahead
Drought zones have been declared across much of England and Wales, yet Scotland has just registered its wettest-ever May. The warmest British spring in 100 years followed one of the coldest UK winters in 300 years. June in London has been colder than March. February was warm enough to strip on Snowdon, but last Saturday it snowed there. Welcome to the climate rollercoaster, or what is being coined the "new normal" of weather. What was, until quite recently, predictable, temperate, mild and equable British weather, guaranteed to be warmish and wettish, ensuring green lawns in August, now sees the seasons reversed and temperature and rainfall records broken almost every year. When Kent receives as much rain (4mm) in May as Timbuktu, Manchester has more sunshine than Marbella, and soils in southern England are drier than those in Egypt, something is happening. Sober government scientists at the centre for hydrology and ecology are openly using words like "remarkable", "unprecedented" and "shocking" to describe the recent physical state of Britain this year, but the extremes we are experiencing in 2011 are nothing to the scale of what has been taking place elsewhere recently.... Last month, Oxfam reported that while the number of "geo-physical" disasters - such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions - has remained more or less constant, those caused by flooding and storms have increased from around 133 a year in 1980s to more than 350 a year now. ...


There's something about that 350 number that rings a bell.

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Wed, Jun 15, 2011
from Guardian:
Leaked Documents: IPCC asks scientists to assess geo-engineering climate solutions
Lighter-coloured crops, aerosols in the stratosphere and iron filings in the ocean are among the measures being considered by leading scientists for "geo-engineering" the Earth's climate, leaked documents from the UN climate science body show. In a move that suggests the UN and rich countries are despairing of reaching agreement by consensus at global climate talks, the US, British and other western scientists will outline a series of ideas to manipulate the world's climate to reduce carbon emissions. But they accept that even though the ideas could theoretically work, they might equally have unintended and even irreversible consequences. The papers, leaked from inside the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), ahead of a geo-engineering expert group meeting in Lima in Peru next week, show that around 60 scientists will propose or try to assess a range of radical measures.... "Asking a group of geo-engineering scientists if more research should be done is like asking bears if they would like honey," said the letter, signed by groups including Friends of the Earth International, Via Campesina and ETC.... "We are putting ourselves in a scenario where we will have to develop more powerful technologies to capture emissions out of the atmosphere", she said. "We are getting into very risky territory." ...


I do believe in tech. I do believe in tech. I do I do I do....

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Tue, Jun 7, 2011
from Stanford University via ScienceDaily:
Climate Scientists Forecast Permanently Hotter Summers
The tropics and much of the Northern Hemisphere are likely to experience an irreversible rise in summer temperatures within the next 20 to 60 years if atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase, according to a new climate study by Stanford University scientists... "According to our projections, large areas of the globe are likely to warm up so quickly that, by the middle of this century, even the coolest summers will be hotter than the hottest summers of the past 50 years," said the study's lead author, Noah Diffenbaugh... ...


Just so the winters are bone-chillin' frigid!

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Tue, Jun 7, 2011
from Associated Press:
Greenhouse gas emissions hitting record highs
Despite 20 years of effort, greenhouse gas emissions are going up instead of down, hitting record highs as climate negotiators gather to debate a new global warming accord. The new report by the International Energy Agency showing high emissions from fossil fuels is one of several pieces of bad news facing delegates from about 180 countries heading to Bonn, Germany, for two weeks of talks beginning Monday...The figures are "a serious setback" to hopes of limiting the rise in the Earth's average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius (3.8 F) above preindustrial levels, he said. Any rise beyond that, scientists believe, could lead to catastrophic climate shifts affecting water supplies and global agriculture, setting off more frequent and fierce storms and causing a rise in sea levels that would endanger coastlines. ...


Sounds eerily like what's happening now.

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Tue, May 31, 2011
from London Daily Mail:
Melting of the Arctic 'will accelerate climate change within 20 years'
An irreversible climate "tipping point" could occur within the next 20 years as a result of the release of huge quantities of organic carbon locked away as frozen plant matter in the vast permafrost region of the Arctic, scientists have found...Billions of tons of frozen leaves and roots that have lain undisturbed for thousands of years in the permanently frozen ground of the northern hemisphere are thawing out, with potentially catastrophic implications for climate change, the researchers said. ...


If only ancient people had invented the rake.

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Mon, May 30, 2011
from Guardian, from DesdemonaDespair:
Worst ever CO2 emissions last year: less than 2 degrees C nearly impossible
Greenhouse gas emissions increased by a record amount last year, to the highest carbon output in history, putting hopes of holding global warming to safe levels all but out of reach, according to unpublished estimates from the International Energy Agency. The shock rise means the goal of preventing a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius - which scientists say is the threshold for potentially "dangerous climate change" - is likely to be just "a nice Utopia", according to Fatih Birol, chief economist of the IEA. It also shows the most serious global recession for 80 years has had only a minimal effect on emissions, contrary to some predictions. Last year, a record 30.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide poured into the atmosphere, mainly from burning fossil fuel - a rise of 1.6Gt on 2009, according to estimates from the IEA regarded as the gold standard for emissions data. "I am very worried. This is the worst news on emissions," Birol told the Guardian. "It is becoming extremely challenging to remain below 2 degrees. The prospect is getting bleaker. That is what the numbers say." ...


What does the cacophony of lost possible futures sound like?

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Sun, May 29, 2011
from TIME:
Mystery Virus in South Korea Claims Second Victim
Health officials in South Korea reported that a second person has died after being infected with an unknown virus. According to news reports, eight patients from different parts of the country have been hospitalized in recent months with similar cold or flu-like symptoms, including cough and difficulty breathing. Seven of the eight had recently given birth or were expecting. The first victim to die was nine months pregnant; the second was also due to deliver before her death. Doctors were able to save both babies. The expectant women died of multiple organ failure triggered by severe scarring and thickening of the lung tissue. ...


This is one way to neutralize population growth!

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Fri, May 20, 2011
from NSF:
Big Clue to Future Climate Change in Small Plants
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and University of Minnesota-Twin Cities conducted an 11-year experiment with 13 plant species common in U.S. Midwestern states. The scientists added extra carbon dioxide (CO2) to the plants' environment to discover how--in the higher carbon dioxide world of global warming--the plants would respond. The results suggest that plants' capacity to absorb extra carbon from the atmosphere as CO2 levels rise may be less than expected.... "They have major implications for models of future climate," says Peter Reich, a forest ecologist at the University of Minnesota and co-author of the paper. "Current state-of-the-art climate models assume that vegetation will soak up much of the extra CO2 we put into the air from fossil fuel burning." But the new results, says biologist Tali Lee of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and first author of the paper, "show that the capacity of some terrestrial ecosystems to absorb the extra CO2 may be less than the models assume." That means that today's carbon cycle models likely underpredict the pace of increase of future CO2 levels, and therefore the pace of climate change, say Lee, Reich and Susan Barrott of the University of Minnesota, also a co-author of the paper. "What this all boils down to," says Reich, "is that the world could warm even faster than we thought." ...


I don't think "boil down" is the kindest choice of words.

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Mon, May 16, 2011
from ACRES:
Glyphosate (RoundUp): 'Giving the Plant A Bad Case of AIDS' (PDF)
The difference with glyphosate is that it is not specific to just one mineral nutrient, but immobilizes many of them and doesn't affect a primary mechanism to cause death by itself. It merely turns off the plant's defense mechanisms so that soil-borne fungi that would normally take weeks to months to damage a plant can kill it in just a few days after glyphosate is applied. When they use the glyphosate-tolerant technology, they insert another gene that keeps that plant's defense mechanism going somewhat so you can put the glyphosate directly on the crop plant without having it killed.... It's not quite analogous, but you could say that what you're doing with glyphosate is you're giving the plant a bad case of AIDS. You've shut down the immune system or the defense system.... With an annual crop like corn or soybean, or like we had with the Texas male-sterile gene, it was a matter of just going back to our old genetics and eliminating those with the gene from the breeding program. Once you have it implanted in the plant though, there's no way to get it out. With a perennial, insect-pollinated plant [like alfalfa], I don't know of any way to eliminate it once it's distributed throughout an area as it could be very readily.... Some of that data shows that quite low levels of glyphosate are very toxic to liver cells, kidney cells, testicular cells, and the endocrine hormone system, and it becomes important because all of the systems are interrelated. We're finding fairly significant levels of glyphosate in manure.... But for the most part it's just been considered so safe that we closed our eyes and said there's no need to do any of that work. ...


Immunosuppression gives plant models that fashionable "malnourished-junkie" look.

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Sun, May 8, 2011
from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory:
As Climate Changes, Methane Trapped Under Arctic Ocean Could Bubble to the Surface
A two-part study by scientists from the U.S Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Los Alamos National Laboratory paints one of the most detailed pictures yet of how climate change could impact millions of tons of methane frozen in sediment beneath the Arctic Ocean. Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases. The initial phase of the project found that buried deposits of clathrates, which are icy crystalline compounds that encase methane molecules, will break apart as the global temperature increases and the oceans warm. In the second phase, the scientists found that methane would then seep into the Arctic Ocean and gradually overwhelm the marine environment's ability to break down the gas. Supplies of oxygen, nutrients, and trace metals required by methane-eating microbes would dwindle year-by-year as more methane enters the water. After three decades of methane release, much of the methane may bubble to the surface -- where it has the potential to accelerate climate change.... Their research counters the view held by some scientists that the oceans will always consume big plumes of methane. Indeed, small-scale methane releases have been seeping from seafloor vents for eons. In these cases, hungry ocean-dwelling microbes quickly oxidize most of the methane before it escapes into the atmosphere. But this cycle will be disrupted if the Arctic region's vast stores of clathrates break apart and unleash a rash of new methane seeps, the scientists found. "Large-scale methane releases have a greater impact than we anticipated," adds Reagan. "When this happens, microbes cannot consume all of the methane because there isn't enough oxygen to fuel them." ...


How dare the physics and biology of the Arctic waters impede our continuous growth and prosperity!

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Thu, May 5, 2011
from Associated Press:
Climate scientists told to 'stop speaking in code'
Scientists at a major conference on Arctic warming were told Wednesday to use plain language to explain the dramatic melt in the region to a world reluctant to take action against climate change. An authoritative report released at the meeting of nearly 400 scientists in Copenhagen showed melting ice in the Arctic could help raise global sea levels by as much as 5 feet this century, much higher than earlier projections…Prominent U.S. climate scientist Robert Corell said researchers must try to reach out to all parts of society to spread awareness of the global implications of the Arctic melt. "Stop speaking in code. Rather than 'anthropogenic,' you could say 'human caused,'" Corell said. ...


Or you could just say: We're fucked.

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Tue, May 3, 2011
from AP:
New report confirms Arctic melt accelerating
A new assessment of climate change in the Arctic shows the ice in the region is melting faster than previously thought and sharply raises projections of global sea level rise this century.... A summary of the key findings obtained by the AP on Tuesday shows Arctic temperatures during that period were the highest since measurements began in 1880.... It said melting Arctic glaciers and ice caps are projected to help raise global sea levels by 35 to 63 inches ... by 2100. That's up from a 2007 projection of 7 to 23 inches ... by the U.N.'s scientific panel on climate change. ...


That's only a factor of three. Pfft.

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Fri, Apr 22, 2011
from Alaska Dispatch:
Arctic glacier meltdown accelerates
Glaciers in the Canadian High Arctic -- home to about one third of the world's ice outside of the continental sheets of Antarctica and Greenland -- are melting away much faster than anybody realized. Between 2004 and 2009, the frigid runoff from the ice tongues of Ellesmere, Baffin and hundreds of other islands in the Canadian Far North would have filled Lake Erie three quarters full, according to a new study published this week in the journal of Nature. Toward the end of that period, the accumulated meltdown had surpassed the runoff from the glaciers rimming the Gulf of Alaska and became the greatest single contributor to global sea-level rise outside the continental sheets... ...


Happy Earth Day

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Sun, Apr 17, 2011
from Hot Topic:
The trillionth ton
If we want to give ourselves a 75 percent chance of coming in below a 2 degree C rise in the global average temperature, then we (as in all humanity) can emit around one trillion tonnes of CO2 (for more see Meinshausen et al here, discussed in the context of emissions targets at HT in this post). It doesn't much matter when we do the emitting, because CO2 hangs around in the atmosphere for a long time, but stick to that limit we must if we're serious about avoiding damaging warming. I like that way of thinking about the issue, as I noted in my report on the Forum, but it seems that I may have been rather optimistic about the height of the ceiling we're living under, and our chances of hitting a 2 degree C target. A new study by a team of Canadian climate modellers, Arora et al, Carbon emission limits required to satisfy future representative concentration pathways of greenhouse gases in Geophysical Research Letters..., suggests that: "... we have already surpassed the cumulative emission limit and so emissions must ramp down to zero immediately. The unprecedented reduction in fossil‐fuel emissions implied by either of these scenarios suggests that it is unlikely that warming can be limited to the 2 degrees C target agreed to in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord." Bugger. ...


Oh heck, stop worrying. Somebody'll think of something. Sometime.

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Sat, Apr 9, 2011
from Associated Press:
World stumbles toward climate summit
Nineteen years after the world started to take climate change seriously, delegates from around the globe spent five days talking about what they will talk about at a year-end conference in South Africa. They agreed to talk about their opposing viewpoints. Delegates from 173 nations did agree that delays in averting global warming merely fast-forward the risk of plunging the world into "catastrophe." ...the U.N. meeting in Bangkok, which concluded late Friday after delegates cobbled together a broad agenda for the December summit, failed to narrow the deep divisions between the developing world and the camp of industrialized nations led by the United States. These may come to plague the summit in Durban. ...


Participants in this summit were given commemorative bronze fiddles.

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Thu, Apr 7, 2011
from ScienceDaily:
Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in New Delhi Public Water Supply
Disease-causing bacteria carrying the new genetic resistance to antibiotics, NDM-1, have been discovered in New Delhi's drinking water supply. A Cardiff University-led team found new strains of resistant bacteria in the Indian capital, including species which cause cholera and dysentery. The findings are the first evidence of the environmental spread of NDM-1, which had previously only been found in hospitals. The scientists are calling for urgent action by health authorities worldwide to tackle the new strains and prevent their global spread.... While most patients with the bacteria have recently been hospitalised in India, some cases have occurred there without recent hospital treatment, prompting the team to test the wider environment. Samples were taken in New Delhi from public water taps and from waste seepage, such as water pools in the street. Resistant bacteria were found in 4 per cent of the water supplies and 30 per cent of the seepage sites. The researchers identified 11 new species of bacteria carrying the NDM-1 gene, including strains which cause cholera and dysentry. Antibiotics are used to reduce excretion of bacteria in cholera patients, and to reduce the duration and severity of dysentery. Worryingly, the identified Shigella isolate, which can carry dysentery, is resistant to all appropriate antibiotics.... The research team also believes that temperatures and monsoon flooding make New Delhi ideal for the spread of NDM-1. ...


What happens when we see NDM-2, the Sequel?

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Thu, Mar 31, 2011
from PNAS, via Mongabay:
'Huge reduction' of water from plants due to higher CO2 levels
As if ocean acidification and a warming world weren't enough, researchers have outlined another way in which carbon emissions are impacting the planet. A new study shows that higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have taken a toll on how much water vapor plants release, potentially impacting the rainfall and groundwater sources. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) has found that carbon dioxide levels over the past 150 years has reduced plants' spores, called stomata, by over one third (34 percent). This is important because stomata take in oxygen and carbon dioxide and release water vapor in a process dubbed 'transpiration'. Less stomata means less water driven into the atmosphere. "The increase in carbon dioxide by about 100 parts per million has had a profound effect on the number of stomata and, to a lesser extent, the size of the stomata," explains co-authors David Dilcher of Indiana University Bloomington in a press release. "Our analysis of that structural change shows there's been a huge reduction in the release of water to the atmosphere."... "The carbon cycle is important, but so is the water cycle. If transpiration decreases, there may be more moisture in the ground at first, but if there's less rainfall that may mean there's less moisture in ground eventually," Dilcher says, adding that, "this is part of the hyrdrogeologic cycle. Land plants are a crucially important part of it." ...


But the glass was half-full so recently!

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Tue, Mar 29, 2011
from The Daily Climate:
Shift in boreal forest has wide impact
Vegetation change underway in northern forests as a result of climate change creates feedback loop that prompts more warming, scientists say. Boreal forests across the Northern hemisphere are undergoing rapid, transformative shifts as a result of a warming climate that, in some cases, is triggering feedback loops producing even more regional warming, according to several new studies. Russia's boreal forest - the largest continuous expanse of forest in the world - has seen a transformation in recent years from larch to conifer trees, according to new research by University of Virginia researchers.... "The climate has shifted. It's done, it's clear, and the climate has become unsuitable for the growth of the boreal forest across most of the area that it currently occupies," said Glenn Juday, a forestry professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. ...


I wish that durn scientist wouldn't beat around bush.

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Tue, Mar 22, 2011
from The Washington Post:
King crabs invade Antarctica
Sven Thatje has been predicting an invasion of deep-water crabs into shallow Antarctic waters for the past several years. But the biologist and his colleagues got their first look at the march of the seafloor predators while riding on an icebreaker across frozen Antarctic seas this winter. The ship towed a robot sub carrying a small digital camera that filmed the seafloor below. It caught images of bright red king crabs up to 10 inches long, moving into an undersea habitat of creatures that haven't seen sharp teeth or claws for the past 40 million years. ...


Cue theme from "Claws."

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Wed, Mar 16, 2011
from Montreal Gazette:
Could global warming be causing recent earthquakes?
Severe earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and now Japan have experts around the world asking whether the world's tectonic plates are becoming more active -- and what could be causing it. Some scientists theorize that the sudden melting of glaciers due to man-made climate change is lightening the load on the Earth's surface, allowing its mantle to rebound upwards and causing plates to become unstuck....The surface of the Earth is elastic. A heavy load such as a glacier will cause it to sink, pushing aside the liquid rock underneath. ...


Regardless, these earthquakes are good practice for the Apocalypse.

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Sat, Mar 12, 2011
from New York Times:
Polar Ice Loss Is Accelerating, Scientists Say
...On Wednesday, a research team led by a NASA scientist unveiled a new study that is sure to stir debate on the topic. The paper concludes that ice loss from both Greenland and Antarctica is accelerating, and that the ice sheets' impact on the rise in sea levels in the first half of the 21st century will be substantially higher than previous studies had projected. The increasing ice loss means that, for the first time, Greenland and Antarctica appear to be adding more to sea-level rise than the world's other reserves of ice -- primarily mountain glaciers, which are also melting because of rising temperatures. In 2006 alone, the study estimated that the two ice sheets lost roughly 475 billion metric tons of ice.... If the rates of melting observed in the study were to continue, the ice sheets could add nearly six inches to the rise in global sea levels in the next forty years -- a far larger contribution than the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the international scientific body, has projected. ...


Six inches in 40 years? I can crawl away from that!

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Sat, Mar 12, 2011
from Living on Earth:
Can a Hollywood Producer inspire Americans on Climate?
...Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and the organization's climate chief Christiana Figueres... urged film and TV industry bigwigs to pitch in and put their talents to use to raise awareness about global warming. Among the 400 Hollywood celebs in the audience was Marshall Herskovitz - the producer of the TV series "thirtysomething" and "My So Called Life." He also produced a dozen films, including "Blood Diamond" and "I am Sam." Now, Marshall Herskovitz has two new projects underway dealing with climate change in which he says he's going to put many of the Hollywood tricks-of-the-trade to use....GELLERMAN: Well, isn't that the idea: that you don't hit people over the head with the message, but you weave the message into the motion picture. HERSKOVITZ: Well, yes, it's the idea, except for the fact that we are either in a planetary emergency or we're not. (Laughs). And it's fine to say, 'don't hit people over the head,' but in fact, we need to hit people over the head. We need people to act right now, and we need people to act in a huge manner. It's very hard to get across to people the scale at which we have to act. ...


That's funny. I've been saying this for years!

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Wed, Mar 9, 2011
from Science News:
Soot hastens snowmelt on Tibetan Plateau
In high-elevation snowy regions, the warming effects of greenhouse gases pale in comparison to those triggered by soot, new computer calculations show. The finding could help explain the accelerating pace of melting on the Tibetan Plateau, which holds the world's largest reservoir of ice outside of the polar regions. Located north of the Himalayan range, the plateau's spring meltwater feeds rivers that ultimately slake much of Asia's thirst. In recent years, spring melting has been starting earlier, triggering downstream floods and shortening the time that irrigation water is available to farmers... new simulations indicate that the estimated amounts of black carbon on the Plateau can reduce snow's reflectivity in spring by 4 to 6 percent. That's enough to warm the average surface air temperature across the Tibetan Plateau by around 1 degree Celsius... ...


Chim chiminey Chim chiminey Chim chim we're screwed!

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Tue, Mar 8, 2011
from NASA, via ScienceDaily:
Melting Ice Sheets Now Largest Contributor to Sea Level Rise
The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass at an accelerating pace, according to a new NASA-funded satellite study. The findings of the study -- the longest to date of changes in polar ice sheet mass -- suggest these ice sheets are overtaking ice loss from Earth's mountain glaciers and ice caps to become the dominant contributor to global sea level rise, much sooner than model forecasts have predicted.... The nearly 20-year study reveals that in 2006, a year in which comparable results for mass loss in mountain glaciers and ice caps are available from a separate study conducted using other methods, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets lost a combined mass of 475 gigatonnes a year on average. That's enough to raise global sea level by an average of 1.3 millimeters (.05 inches) a year... The pace at which the polar ice sheets are losing mass was found to be accelerating rapidly. Each year over the course of the study, the two ice sheets lost a combined average of 36.3 gigatonnes more than they did the year before.... "What is surprising is this increased contribution by the ice sheets is already happening. If present trends continue, sea level is likely to be significantly higher than levels projected by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007. Our study helps reduce uncertainties in near-term projections of sea level rise." ...


I hear Charlie Sheen is #winning!

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Sun, Mar 6, 2011
from Time:
Testing the Waters
...Corals build colonies that secrete calcium carbonate to form ocean reefs. When they're healthy, coral reefs provide shelter and food for animals all along the food chain, including the top: us. Across the planet, half a billion people rely, directly and indirectly, on corals for their living. That's why what happens to the 9,000-year-old Great Barrier Reef, as well as to other reefs worldwide, is critical. The recent Queensland floods were most notably tragic for the lives lost and property destroyed. But they have also hurt the Great Barrier Reef by funneling into the ocean vast plumes of freshwater and agricultural runoff that could severely damage the coral. Besides the extreme rain that sparked the floods, rising ocean temperatures, changes to the ocean's chemistry and the global trade in natural resources -- all symptoms of our fossil-fuel economy -- are waging a multifront war on the marine environment. "You can't walk into a forest and start hacking at branches and killing off animals and denuding the forest cover without killing the trees," says Justin Marshall, a marine biologist at the University of Queensland. "The outlook for the whole reef is poor." ...


This story brought to you by a mag once called TIME now called NO TIME LEFT.

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Sat, Mar 5, 2011
from LiveScience:
Arctic's Spring Phytoplankton Blooms Arrive Earlier
When summer comes to the Arctic, the tiny plants that feed the ocean's food chain form green blooms in the water. In some Arctic waters, the peak of this bloom has been arriving earlier every year since 1997, a study has found. These areas, where peak bloom time is creeping up, are roughly the same as those with decreasing sea ice in June, according to the researchers.... In some areas, the change was quite dramatic. For example, in the Baffin Sea, southwest of Greenland, the peak bloom moved from September to early July. Phytoplankton is crucial to the marine ecosystem, because it forms the base of the food chain. The creatures that eat the tiny plants, including fish and tiny animals called zooplankton, have adapted to make the most of these blooms. It's not clear if they are able to sync up with the earlier blooms and avoid disruptions to critical life stages, such as egg hatching and larvae development, according to lead study author Mati Kahru, a research oceanographer in the Integrative Oceanography Division at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California. ...


The early fish gets the phytoplankton!

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Thu, Mar 3, 2011
from NOAA:
Significant Climate Anomalies and Events of 2010
...


Anomalies? What anomalies?

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Thu, Feb 24, 2011
from TreeHugger:
Amazon Deforestation Up 1000 Percent From Last Year
Over the last several years, the rate of forest loss in the Brazilian Amazon had been in steady decline, but the latest data is yet again proving that the problem is far from over. According to figures released today, deforestation in the world's largest rainforest has increased nearly 1,000 percent from the same period the year before, marking the first rise in over two years -- though only time will tell if it is merely a disappointing uptick, or a troubling reverse of trends. A newly disclosed report from the Amazon Institute of People and the Environment (IMAZON) reveals that 175 square kilometers (68 mi2) of forest were cleared this past December, compared with just 16 km2 (6 mi2) reported last year for December 2009, a rise of 994 percent.... Just last month, 83 km2 (32 mi2) of forest were cleared and 376 km2 (145 mi2) degraded -- representing increases over last year's rates of 22 and 637 percent, respectively. ...


No big deal. It's only part of the lungs of the world.

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Mon, Feb 21, 2011
from Washington Post:
Predator fish in oceans on alarming decline, experts say
Over the past 100 years, some two-thirds of the large predator fish in the ocean have been caught and consumed by humans, and in the decades ahead, the rest are likely to perish, too. In their place, small fish such as sardines and anchovies are flourishing in the absence of the tuna, grouper and cod that traditionally feed on them, creating an ecological imbalance that experts say will forever change the oceans. ...


The answer to the prey's prayers.

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Thu, Feb 17, 2011
from NSIDC, via IPS:
Permafrost Melt Soon Irreversible Without Major Fossil Fuel Cuts
Thawing permafrost is threatening to overwhelm attempts to keep the planet from getting too hot for human survival. Without major reductions in the use of fossil fuels, as much as two-thirds of the world's gigantic storehouse of frozen carbon could be released, a new study reported. That would push global temperatures several degrees higher, making large parts of the planet uninhabitable. Once the Arctic gets warm enough, the carbon and methane emissions from thawing permafrost will kick-start a feedback that will amplify the current warming rate, says Kevin Schaefer, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado. That will likely be irreversible. And we're less than 20 years from this tipping point. Schaefer prefers to use the term "starting point" for when the 13 million square kilometres of permafrost in Alaska, Canada, Siberia and parts of Europe becomes a major new source of carbon emissions. "Our model projects a starting point 15 to 20 years from now," Schaefer told IPS. The model used a 'middle of the road' scenario with less fossil fuel use than at present. Even at that rate, it found that between 29 and 60 percent of the world's permafrost will thaw, releasing an extra 190 gigatonnes of carbon by 2200. The study is the first to quantify when and how much carbon will be released and was published this week in the meteorological journal Tellus. ...


That's the "starting point" of "we're finished."

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Thu, Feb 10, 2011
from NASA:
January Arctic Sea Ice Extent Lowest Since Satellites
During the Northern Hemisphere winter of 2010-2011, unusually cold temperatures and heavy snowstorms plagued North America and Europe, while conditions were unusually warm farther north. Now the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has reported that Arctic sea ice was at its lowest extent ever recorded for January (since satellite records began). NSIDC reported that ice extent was unusually low in Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, and Davis Strait in the early winter. Normally frozen over by late November, these areas did not completely freeze until mid-January 2011. The Labrador Sea was also unusually ice-free.... Another factor in the low Arctic sea ice extent, NSIDC explained, could be that the areas of open ocean were still releasing heat to the atmosphere. Due to its bright appearance, sea ice reflects most of the Sun's light and heat back into space. Dark ocean water, by contrast, absorbs most of that energy and reinforces the melting process. ...


Records, alas, seem made to be broken.

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Thu, Feb 3, 2011
from Discovery:
Amazon Drought of 2010 Sign of Forest Fatigue
The tropical forests of Amazonia may be giving up their role as buffers against the continuing buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, scientists report, a circumstance that could accelerate climate change. The warning comes in the new issue of the journal Science, where an international research team reports that the drought in the Amazon during 2010 was even worse than what scientists called the "once-in-a-century" drought of 2005.... "The two recent Amazon droughts demonstrate a mechanism by which remaining intact tropical forests of South American can shift from buffering the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide to accelerating it," the scientists write. Growing trees absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Dying trees give it back. ...


How can a carbon sink become a carbon faucet?

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Wed, Feb 2, 2011
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Planet is 'more sensitive to carbon dioxide than we thought'
... Kiehl describes how he examined the relationship between global temperatures and high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere tens of millions of years ago. Global temperatures then averaged about 16 deg C above pre-industrial levels. The article pulls together several recent studies that look at various aspects of the climate system, while adding a mathematical approach by Kiehl to estimate average global temperatures in the distant past. The study found that carbon dioxide may have two times or more the effect on global temperatures than currently projected by computer models of global climate. The world's leading computer models generally project that a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would have a climate feedback factor (ratio of change in surface temperature to radiative forcing) in the range of 0.5 to 1.0 deg C per watts per square metre. However, the published data show that the comparable climate feedback factor of carbon dioxide 35 million years ago amounted to about 2 deg C per watt per square metre.... Because carbon dioxide is being pumped into the atmosphere at a rate that has never been experienced, Kiehl could not estimate how long it would take for the planet to fully heat up. However, a rapid warm-up would make it especially difficult for societies and ecosystems to adapt, he says. He estimates that global temperatures may take centuries or millennia to fully adjust in response to the higher carbon dioxide levels. ...


Planet, if you want our respect, you'll need to toughen up.

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Sat, Jan 29, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Polar bear's long swim illustrates ice melt
In one of the most dramatic signs ever documented of how shrinking Arctic sea ice impacts polar bears, researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska have tracked a female bear that swam nine days across the deep, frigid Beaufort Sea before reaching an ice floe 426 miles offshore. The marathon swim came at a cost: With little food likely available once she arrived, the bear lost 22 percent of her body weight and her year-old female cub, who set off on the journey but did not survive, the researchers said. ...


We can only hope being "dead" might clarify the debate between "threatened" and "endangered."

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Thu, Jan 27, 2011
from Reuters:
Arctic short-cut shipping to leap in 2011 -Russia
Russia predicted on Tuesday a surge in voyages on an Arctic short-cut sea route in 2011 as a thaw linked to climate change opens the region even more to shipping and oil and mining companies. High metals and oil prices, linked to rising demand from China and other emerging economies, is helping to spur interest in the Arctic and the route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as an alternative to travelling via the Suez canal. ...


The Apocalypse is nigh -- LET'S PARTY!!!

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Tue, Jan 25, 2011
from Inter Press Service:
Driving Straight Into Catastrophe
Despite repeated warnings by environmental and climate experts that reduction of fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions is fundamental to forestalling global warming, disaster appears imminent. According to the latest statistics, unprecedented climate change has Earth hurtling down a path of catastrophic proportions. The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the global consumption of primary energy in 2010 reached some 500 exajoules (EJ), a number just under the worst-case scenario formulated ten years ago by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC's Special Report on Emissions Scenarios, published in 2000, calculated the worst-case scenario as 525 EJ consumed in one calendar year. The IEA found that coal was one of the largest sources of energy consumed in 2010, comprising approximately 27 percent of the total energy consumption. Coal, one of the cheapest sources of energy, is considered the filthiest of all, as far as greenhouse gases emissions (GHGE) are concerned. ...


If you're heading for a cliff might as well accelerate!

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Sat, Jan 22, 2011
from Climatewire:
Greenland's Ice Feels the Heat in Record-Setting 2010
Greenland's massive ice sheet experienced record surface melting and runoff last year, according to research released today. Unusually warm conditions in much of the country helped extend the annual melting season by up to 50 days longer in 2010 than the average observed between 1979 and 2009, researchers found... Last year was the warmest in Greenland's capital, Nuuk, since record keeping began there in 1873. Nuuk, on the country's southwest coast, also set records in 2010 for warmest winter, spring and summer seasons. ...


We're Nuuked!

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Tue, Jan 18, 2011
from PNAS, via EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Gulf Stream edging northwards along Canadian coast
The Gulf Stream off eastern Canada appears to have advanced northward of its historical position in recent decades, possibly in response to anthropogenic climate change. That is according to researchers in North America and Switzerland who say that the changes could have some profound implications for marine life off the coast of Canada.... As these deep-sea corals grow new rings in their endoskeleton every year, Sherwood's team was able to determine annual variations in water composition stretching back 1800 years. According to Sherwood, one of the big challenges his team faced was collecting corals for analysis, but these were collected by remotely operated vehicles and others were supplied by the fishing industry, which accidentally scoops up corals in its nets.... Reporting their findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers say that the dominance of the warm Gulf waters since the early 1970s appears to be largely unique within this bimillennial period. Although Sherwood's team links these changes with recent changes in global climate, it says that further analysis is need to investigate the effects on wider ocean circulation. "These water masses do appear to have changed significantly in recent years, though I must emphasize that we have only looked at a very specific region off the coast of Nova Scotia," says Sherwood. ...


That's just the Gulf Stream wanting to check out the New Northwest Passage.

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Tue, Jan 18, 2011
from Medill National Security Journalism Initiative:
Losing the Andes glaciers
Glacier melt hasn't caused a national crisis in Peru, yet. But high in the Andes, rising temperatures and changes in water supply have decimated crops, killed fish stocks and forced entire villages to question how they will survive for another generation. U.S. officials are watching closely because without quick intervention, they say, the South American nation could become an unfortunate case study in how climate change can destabilize a strategically important region and, in turn, create conditions that pose a national security threat to Americans thousands of miles away. "Think what it would be like if the Andes glaciers were gone and we had millions and millions of hungry and thirsty Southern neighbors," said former CIA Director R. James Woolsey. "It would not be an easy thing to deal with." ...


Kind of a bummer for those Southern neighbors as well.

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Thu, Jan 13, 2011
from Associated Press:
2010 ties 2005 as warmest year on record worldwide
It's a tie: Last year equaled 2005 as the warmest year on record, government climate experts reported Wednesday. The average worldwide temperature was 1.12 degrees Fahrenheit (0.62 degree Celsius) above normal last year. That's the same as six years ago, the National Climatic Data Center announced. Climate experts have become increasingly concerned about rising global temperatures over the last century. Most atmospheric scientists attribute the change to gases released into the air by industrial processes and gasoline-burning engines. In addition, the Global Historical Climatology Network said Wednesday that last year was the wettest on record. Rain and snowfall patterns varied greatly around the world. ...


It's as if... the years are competing with each other!

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Sat, Jan 8, 2011
from The ApocaDocs:
2010 not yet forgotten
Since its release in the waning weeks of 2010, The ApocaDocs 2010 Year in Review -- a "year's 100 worst" cavalcade of catastrophes and comedy -- has consistently been our site's second most popular page, after the home page. If you haven't skimmed it, please do. If you have skimmed it, and remember what that felt like, please pass it on to others, or link to it, or tweet it. We don't have much time left to come to our senses. ...


Let's hope past is not precursor.

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Fri, Jan 7, 2011
from Aquatic Research, via DesdemonaDespair:
Ocean currents changing drastically due to global warming
Examination of deep sea corals reveals that there have been drastic changes to oceanic currents in the western North Atlantic since the 1970s. The influence of the cold water Labrador Current, which is in periodic interchange with the warm Gulf Stream, has been decreasing continually since the 1970s. Occurring at the same time as Global Warming this phenomenon is unique in the past 2000 years. These results are reported by researchers from the University of Basel and Eawag in the current edition of the scientific journal PNAS.... Using new geochemical methods, an international team of researchers including the biogeochemists Prof. Moritz Lehmann (University of Basel) and Dr. Carsten Schubert (Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology) were able to prove that a drastic change to a warm water mode occurred in the western North Atlantic in the early 1970s. This change, the timing of which coincides with and may be directly related to global warming, is unique in the last 2000 years.... The researchers were able to show a clear reduction in the 15N/14N ratio since 1970 which indicates that the role of the cold Labrador Current, with a higher 15N/14N ratio, is becoming less important. ...


Churning and churning in the shifting gyre / ocean warming will not heed the falconer / shores fall apart; the currents will not hold...

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Wed, Jan 5, 2011
from London Independent:
Tax on carbon: The only way to save our planet?
Professor James Hansen's last formal engagement was delivering a keynote paper to the American Geophysical Union Autumn meeting. After that, he spent the holidays not enjoying wintry walks or taking advantage of the sales, but doing something altogether more industrious. "I'm writing a paper to provide the scientific basis for [law] suits against the government - just to make them do their job," he says..."I realised that if we [scientists] don't help to connect the dots from what the science says to what the implications are for policy, then those dots get connected by people who have special interests," says Hansen, explaining his decision. "I think scientists are able to be objective. Governments just don't face the facts clearly. And it's scary because as scientists we can see what the implications are for our own children and grandchildren." ...


You know what's really scary? That we have to find this story about a courageous American scientist ... in a London newspaper.

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Sat, Jan 1, 2011
from DesdemonaDespair:
50 Doomiest Graphs of 2010
The Graph of the Day feature comprises Desdemona's assault on the left hemisphere of the brain, in the quixotic quest against delusional hope. This post complements the media barrage on the right hemisphere, 50 Doomiest Photos of 2010. 2010 yielded a torrent of new scientific data that documents the accelerating destruction of the biosphere, and Desdemona managed to capture a few graphs from the flood. Here are the most doom-laden graphs of 2010, chosen by scope, length of observational period, and sleekness of presentation. Open up your left hemisphere and drink in the data. ...


Now put both hemispheres together, and get busy! 2011 must be a year of change.

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Fri, Dec 31, 2010
from PNAS, via EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Ocean acidification changes nitrogen cycling in world seas
Increasing acidity in the sea's waters may fundamentally change how nitrogen is cycled in them, say marine scientists who published their findings in this week's issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients in the oceans. All organisms, from tiny microbes to blue whales, use nitrogen to make proteins and other important compounds. Some microbes can also use different chemical forms of nitrogen as a source of energy. One of these groups, the ammonia oxidizers, plays a pivotal role in determining which forms of nitrogen are present in the ocean. In turn, they affect the lives of many other marine organisms.... In six experiments spread across two oceans, Beman and colleagues looked at the response of ammonia oxidation rates to ocean acidification. In every case where the researchers experimentally increased the amount of acidity in ocean waters, ammonia oxidation rates decreased. These declines were remarkably similar in different regions of the ocean indicating that nitrification rates may decrease globally as the oceans acidify in coming decades, says David Hutchins of the University of Southern California, a co-author of the paper.... As human-derived carbon dioxide permeates the sea, ammonia-oxidizing organisms will be at a significant disadvantage in competing for ammonia.... "What makes ocean acidification such a challenging scientific and societal issue is that we're engaged in a global, unreplicated experiment," says Beman, "one that's difficult to study--and has many unknown consequences." ...


It's not like Neptune would allow this to continue. Nor would Aquaman. Atlantis would rise up!

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Fri, Dec 24, 2010
from New York Times:
Climate Change and 'Balanced' Coverage
In an article this week on the relentless rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, I outlined one of the canonical projections of climate science: if the amount of carbon dioxide doubles, the average surface temperature of the earth is likely to increase by 5 or 6 degrees Fahrenheit, a whopping change. I contrasted that with a prediction from skeptics of climate change who contend that the increase is likely to be less than 2 degrees. One major voice on climate science, Richard B. Alley of the Pennsylvania State University, told me he gets annoyed by the way this contrast is often presented in news accounts. The higher estimate is often put forward as a worst case, he pointed out, while the skeptic number is presented as the best case... The true worst case from doubled carbon dioxide is closer to 18 or 20 degrees of warming, Dr. Alley said -- an addition of heat so radical that it would render the planet unrecognizable to its present-day inhabitants. ...


Just when you thought it was safe to slip back into denial.

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Thu, Dec 9, 2010
from The ApocaDocs:
2010 Year in Review from the ApocaDocs
The shocking truth ripped from the headlines! An appalling sense of humor in full display! The TOP 100 STORIES selected from the 1600+ news items archived and bequipped by the ApocaDocs in 2010, our The Year in Review displays not just the most holy shit, death-spiral-ish stories of the year, but also many of our favorite quips ("holy shit" stories tend to bring out the quipsters in both of us). All displayed in staggering CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER to help recap the year. You'll find yourself asking "What, all this, and it's only June!?!" Groans, grimaces, and guffaws abound in this rollercoaster reprise of a most eventful year. ...


How could you keep it to only a hundred?

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Thu, Dec 9, 2010
from Ohio State, from DesdemonaDespair:
Eminent Climate Scientist: Widespread Suffering If Climate Change Not Forestalled
One of the world's foremost experts on climate change is warning that if humans don't moderate their use of fossil fuels, there is a real possibility that we will face the environmental, societal and economic consequences of climate change faster than we can adapt to them.... It is the first time in a published paper that he has recommended specific action to forestall the growing effects of climate change. During the last three decades, Thompson has led 57 expeditions to some of the world's most remote high altitude regions to retrieve cores from glaciers and ice caps that preserve a record of ancient climate.... "Unless large numbers of people take appropriate steps, including supporting governmental regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, our only options will be adaptation and suffering," he wrote in the concluding paragraph. "And the longer we delay, the more unpleasant the adaptations and the greater the suffering will be." ...


Lucky for us we have experts whose lived experience, combined with scientific expertise, means they're listened to as wise elders by those with less knowledge.

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Mon, Dec 6, 2010
from University of Guelph, via EurekAlert:
Northern wildfires threaten runaway climate change, study reveals
Climate change is causing wildfires to burn more fiercely, pumping more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than previously thought, according to a new study to be published in Nature Geosciences this week. This is the first study to reveal that fires in the Alaskan interior - an area spanning 18.5 million hectares - have become more severe in the past 10 years, and have released much more carbon into the atmosphere than was stored by the region's forests over the same period. "When most people think of wildfires, they think about trees burning, but most of what fuels a boreal fire is plant litter, moss and organic matter in surface soils," said University of Guelph professor Merritt Turetsky, lead author of the study. "These findings are worrisome because about half the world's soil carbon is locked in northern permafrost and peatland soils. This is carbon that has accumulated in ecosystems a little bit at a time for thousands of years, but is being released very rapidly through increased burning."... "This includes longer snow-free seasons, changes in vegetation, loss of ice and permafrost, and now fire, which is shifting these systems from a global carbon sink toward a carbon source."... "Over the past 10 years, burned area has doubled in interior Alaska, mostly because of increased burning late in the fire season," said co-author Eric Kasischke, a University of Maryland professor. ...


Statistically, don't most runaways return home?

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Sun, Dec 5, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
At climate summit, they're feeling like deserted islands
...As the 12-day [Cancun] summit moves into high gear this week, small island nations may be the noisiest critics, but they are hardly alone in their frustration that a legally binding agreement to reduce planet-heating pollutants has no chance to be concluded here. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Wednesday that the Cancun talks "won't result in anything" because no major leaders are attending. Climate negotiations in Copenhagen ended in acrimony last year, with 120 heads of state, including President Obama, in attendance. This year, except for a few leaders of smaller nations, ministers and diplomats are doing the talking. ...


So... leaders showing up doesn't work, and leaders NOT showing up doesn't work. What on earth will work?

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Sun, Nov 28, 2010
from London Observer:
A billion people will lose their homes due to climate change, says report
Devastating changes to sea levels, rainfall, water supplies, weather systems and crop yields are increasingly likely before the end of the century, scientists will warn tomorrow. A special report, to be released at the start of climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, will reveal that up to a billion people face losing their homes in the next 90 years because of failures to agree curbs on carbon emissions. Up to three billion people could lose access to clean water supplies because global temperatures cannot now be stopped from rising by 4C. ...


Cancun is going to be even more fun than Copenhagen!

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Thu, Nov 4, 2010
from Telegraph.co.uk, from DesdemonaDespair:
Earth would take 100,000 years to recover from global warming say geologists
Professor Jim Zachos, of the University of California, said that 55 million years ago volcanic activity caused around 4,500 gigatons of greenhouse gases to be released into the atmosphere over thousands of years. This caused the planet to warm by 6C (10.8F), forcing whole ecosystems, including early mammals, to adapt, migrate or die out in certain areas. Prof Zachos said that if the world continues to pump out greenhouse gases at the current rate, around 5,000 gigatons of greenhouse gases will be released into the atmosphere over a few hundred years. He said this will cause a more rapid temperature rise that at any other time in history and could cause "mass extinction of species". "The impacts will be pretty severe compared to 55 million years ago in terms of evolution of this planet," he said. The Geological Society warned that it could take the Earth 100,000 years to recover.... "The geological evidence from the 55 million year event and from earlier warming episodes suggests that such an addition [a massive increase in greenhouse gases caused by the activities of mankind] is likely to raise average global temperatures by at least 5 to 6C, and possibly more, and that recovery of the Earth's climate in the absence of mitigation measures could take 100,000 years or more. Numerical models of the climate system support such an interpretation. In the light of the evidence presented here it is reasonable to conclude that emitting further large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over time is likely to be unwise, uncomfortable though that fact may be." ...


Pfft. Geologists. What do they know?

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Wed, Oct 27, 2010
from University of Delaware via ScienceDaily:
As Arctic Warms, Increased Shipping Likely to Accelerate Climate Change
As the ice-capped Arctic Ocean warms, ship traffic will increase at the top of the world. And if the sea ice continues to decline, a new route connecting international trading partners may emerge -- but not without significant repercussions to climate, according to a U.S. and Canadian research team that includes a University of Delaware scientist. Growing Arctic ship traffic will bring with it air pollution that has the potential to accelerate climate change in the world's northern reaches. And it's more than a greenhouse gas problem -- engine exhaust particles could increase warming by some 17-78 percent, the researchers say. ...


Why not make a horrific situation even worse!

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Fri, Oct 22, 2010
from The Washington Post:
Sea ice melting as Arctic temperature rises
The temperature is rising again in the Arctic, with the sea ice extent dropping to one of the lowest levels on record, climate scientists reported Thursday.... Atmospheric scientists concerned about global warming focus on the Arctic because that is a region where the effects are expected to be felt first, and that has been the case in recent years. There was a slowdown in Arctic warming in 2009, but in the first half of 2010 warming has been near a record pace, with monthly readings over 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 Fahrenheit) above normal in northern Canada, according to the report card released Thursday. ...


Earth's canary -- the Arctic -- is flying on a wing and a prayer.

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Tue, Oct 19, 2010
from National Geographic:
Winds Slowing Around the World, Study Suggests
Around the world, surface winds are slowing down, a new study says. Strangely enough, the alleged culprits aren't new buildings but new trees. The easing breezes--if also detected higher up--could affect movements of air pollution but may not necessarily give the wind power industry a case of the doldrums, experts say. For the new study, published Sunday by the journal Nature Geoscience, scientists analyzed nearly 30 years' worth of wind speed data collected from more than 800 land-based weather stations, mostly in the Northern Hemisphere, where long-term wind-data collection has been most reliable. The average annual surface wind speed in countries in mid-northern latitudes--including the United States, China, and Russia--had dropped by as much as 15 percent, from about 10.3 miles (17 kilometers) an hour to about 9 miles (14 kilometers) an hour, the study found.... But reforestation can explain only about 60 percent of the wind speed reductions, the study says. Changes in air circulation due to global warming may be responsible for the rest, but more studies are needed to be sure, according to Vautard. ...


That's not what the hurricanes are sayin'.

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Fri, Oct 1, 2010
from Reuters:
Analysis: Soaring Chinese Economy At Odds With Climate Goals
Just last year experts at the International Energy Agency proposed a target for China's carbon emissions to peak in 2020 before declining if the world were to be saved from devastating climate change. Too late now. Figures from energy firm BP showed earlier this year that Chinese emissions will steamroll through the Paris-based IEA's 2020 peak target next year, nearly a decade early, with no sign of slowing down. China, which hosts U.N. climate talks next week for the first time, is promoting what it calls ambitious plans to boost energy efficiency and curb emissions. But its supercharged growth means even with rapid efficiency gains it cancels out other global efforts to combat climate change. China already emits a quarter of the world's CO2, the main gas contributing to global warming, making it the world's top emitter ahead of the United States. Its emissions have more than doubled since 2000. ...


There is no stopping this bull in the china shop called earth.

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Thu, Sep 30, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
A ringside seat at the end of the world: Get your hands dirty
For those of you have seen a couple of my columns, you might get the impression I'm just sitting around in my ringside seat, passively consuming news stories and grousing about the end of the world (as we know it). Nay, no. This year, I volunteered as head of the Trash Committee for my annual neighborhood festival that benefits our community association. It's a big deal for my sweet little neighborhood: hundreds of people show up, thousands of bucks are generated. Though we have our political and cultural disagreements, we come together for the larger benefit of the community, which is the way life should be. So. First thing I did as head of the Trash Committee was to change the name to the Waste Committee. It's a slight but significant shift in nomenclature. Trash is one thing. Waste is another. ...


This is my new column... and you can save the planet by reading it!

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Sun, Sep 26, 2010
from Anthony Doerr, in The Morning News, via OnlyInItForTheGold:
Planet Zoo and the Cliff
During my sophomore year, 1992, 1,500 scientists, including more than half the living Nobel laureates, admonished in their Warning to Humanity: "A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it is required if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated." So what have we done? Not much. From 1992 to 2007, global CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels rose 38 percent. Emissions in 2008 rose a full 2 percent despite a global economic slump. Honeybees are dying by the billions, amphibians by the millions, and shallow Caribbean reefs are mostly dead already. Our soil is disappearing faster than ever before, half of all mammals are in decline, and a recent climate change model predicts that the Arctic could have ice-free summers by 2013. Unchecked, carbon emissions from China alone will probably match the current global level by 2030.... Sure, it's socially acceptable nowadays to compost your coffee grounds and turn off your thermostat and grow strawberries on the porch, but it's still considered uncool to suggest that the American capitalist system is untenable.... Maybe even more astounding, they've found antibiotic-resistant E. coli in French Guiana, in the intestines of Wayampi Indians--people who have never taken antibiotics.... Eventually the ice caps will resolidify; new species will arise, the forests will teem once more. It's Homo sapiens we need to worry about. Some geologists have taken to calling the past 8,000 years or so the Anthropocene Period -- a time when we've burned coal, impounded rivers, and reconfigured ecosystems. And now, in our lifetimes, we're learning that perhaps this period is untenable, and like billions of species before us, we are not immune to extinction. ...


In zoos, primates fling their shit everywhere. We try telling them not to, but it doesn't do much good.

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Tue, Sep 21, 2010
from CBC:
Northwest Passage traffic up in 2010
The number of ships travelling through the Northwest Passage has doubled this year, prompting at least one Arctic sovereignty expert to call for more enforcement in the increasingly ice-free Arctic waterway. The Canada Border Services Agency says 18 ships have cleared customs in Inuvik, N.W.T. -- at the western end of the Northwest Passage -- so far this year, and the navigation season is not even over yet. By comparison, only seven ships cleared customs there in 2009, according to the agency. "It is a little bit tricky -- lots of fog and ice," Börje Ivarsson, a Swedish adventurer who just finished a two-year journey from Russia to Inuvik on a 30-foot boat, told CBC News. "It's quite a shortcut if you're living in the north of Europe to get over to Alaska," Ivarsson said of the Northwest Passage. "It's a good adventure, too." The increase in marine traffic is largely a result of climate change opening up the passage, said Rob Huebert, the associate director for the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary. Huebert said many people have talked about the Northwest Passage's potential for years, and now it's starting to happen. "I think that we'll often go back to 2010 and say that was the turning point, that was the time when it turned from theory to actuality," he said. ...


I wonder what we'll call the point that was once the North Pole, when we're sailing through it.

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Thu, Sep 16, 2010
from Guardian:
An alternative to the new wave of ecofascism
It is time to acknowledge that mainstream environmentalism has failed to prevent climate catastrophe. Its refusal to call for an immediate consumption reduction has backfired and its demise has opened the way for a wave of fascist environmentalists who reject democratic freedom. One well-known example of the authoritarian turn in environmentalism is James Lovelock, the first scientist to discover the presence of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere. Earlier this year he told the Guardian that democracies are incapable of adequately addressing climate change. "I have a feeling," Lovelock said, "that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while." His words may be disturbing, but other ecologists have gone much further. Take for example Pentti Linkola, a Finnish fisherman and ecological philosopher. Whereas Lovelock puts his faith in advanced technology, Linkola proposes a turn to fascistic primitivism. Their only point of agreement is on the need to suspend democracy.... Humanity can avert climate catastrophe without accepting ecological tyranny. However, this will take an immediate, drastic reduction of our consumption. ... Only by silencing the consumerist forces will both climate catastrophe and ecological tyranny be averted. Yes, western consumption will be substantially reduced. But it will be done voluntarily and joyously. ...


I bet Wall Street gets behind this plan!

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Fri, Sep 3, 2010
from PhysOrg:
Rolling the dice with evolution: Massive extinction will have unpredictable consequences
New research by Macquarie University palaeobiologist, Dr John Alroy, predicts major changes to the rules of evolution as we understand them now. Those changes will have serious consequences for future biodiversity because no one can predict which groups will come to dominate after the current mass extinction..... Thus, a group's average rate of diversification or branching into new species in the past is not a good predictor of how well it will fare after a mass extinction event.... Organisms that might have adapted in the past may not be able to this time, he said. "You may end up with a dramatically altered sea floor because of changes in the dominance of major groups. That is, the extinction occurring now will overturn the balance of the marine groups." When there is a major mass extinction, it's not just a temporary drop in richness of species, he said. Alroy likens what is happening now to rolling the dice with evolution. "What's worrisome is that some groups permanently become dominant that otherwise wouldn't have. So by causing this extinction, we are taking a big gamble on what kind of species will be around in the future. We don't know how it will turn out. People don't realise that there will be very unpredictable consequences." ...


Snake eyes, when baby needs new shoes.

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Wed, Aug 18, 2010
from YouTube, Mark Kirby:
Asian Carp leaping in the Wabash, near Montezuma, Indiana
...


Something about this isn't quite... natural.

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Sat, Aug 14, 2010
from Anchorage Arctic Sounder:
Borehole network confirms, permafrost is thawing worldwide
An expanded network of boreholes across the northern hemisphere has confirmed that permafrost throughout polar and sub-polar regions is thawing, say scientists who studied the topic during International Polar Year... Using information collected from 575 boreholes located throughout North America, Russia and the Nordic region, researchers found that permafrost temperatures during the International Polar Year were as much as 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than they were 20 or 30 years ago. ...


My blood runs cold when I hear news like this.

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Thu, Aug 12, 2010
from Associated Press:
Long hot summer of fire and floods fit predictions
Floods, fires, melting ice and feverish heat: From smoke-choked Moscow to water-soaked Pakistan and the High Arctic, the planet seems to be having a midsummer breakdown. It's not just a portent of things to come, scientists say, but a sign of troubling climate change already under way. The weather-related cataclysms of July and August fit patterns predicted by climate scientists, the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization says -- although those scientists always shy from tying individual disasters directly to global warming. The experts now see an urgent need for better ways to forecast extreme events like Russia's heat wave and wildfires and the record deluge devastating Pakistan. They'll discuss such tools in meetings this month and next in Europe and America, under United Nations, U.S. and British government sponsorship. "There is no time to waste," because societies must be equipped to deal with global warming, says British government climatologist Peter Stott. ...


Can't I waste ... just one more day, please?

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Mon, Aug 9, 2010
from Yale360:
A Looming Oxygen Crisis and Its Impact on World's Oceans
As serious as these dead zones are, however, they may be just a foreshadowing of a much more severe crisis to come. Agricultural runoff can only strip oxygen from the ocean around the mouths of fertilizer-rich rivers. But global warming has the potential to reduce the ocean's oxygen content across the entire planet. Combined with acidification -- another global impact of our carbon emissions -- the loss of oxygen could have a major impact on marine life. Scientists point to two reasons to expect a worldwide drop in ocean oxygen. One is the simple fact that as water gets warmer, it can hold less dissolved oxygen. The other reason is subtler. The entire ocean gets its oxygen from the surface -- either from the atmosphere, or from photosynthesizing algae floating at the top of the sea. The oxygen then spreads to the deep ocean as the surface waters slowly sink. Global warming is expected to reduce the mixing of the ocean by making surface seawater lighter.... more of the oxygen will linger near the surface, where it will be used up by oxygen-breathing organisms. ...


First it's CO2. Now it's O2. C'mon, science, make up your mind.

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Wed, Jul 28, 2010
from Dalhousie University via ScienceDaily:
Marine Phytoplankton Declining: Striking Global Changes at the Base of the Marine Food Web Linked to Rising Ocean Temperatures
A new article published in the 29 July issue of the journal Nature reveals for the first time that microscopic marine algae known as "phytoplankton" have been declining globally over the 20th century. Phytoplankton forms the basis of the marine food chain and sustains diverse assemblages of species ranging from tiny zooplankton to large marine mammals, seabirds, and fish. Says lead author Daniel Boyce, "Phytoplankton is the fuel on which marine ecosystems run. A decline of phytoplankton affects everything up the food chain, including humans."... documented phytoplankton declines of about 1 percent of the global average per year. This trend is particularly well documented in the Northern Hemisphere and after 1950, and would translate into a decline of approximately 40 percent since 1950. The scientists found that long-term phytoplankton declines were negatively correlated with rising sea surface temperatures and changing oceanographic conditions. ...


Does this mean I won't be able to get my Phytoplankton Krispies?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jul 16, 2010
from The Daily Climate:
Locking in our future
Welcome to the Anthropocene. Decisions made today about planet-warming emissions will influence climate impacts not just for decades but for centuries and perhaps even millennia, a panel from the National Academy of Sciences warned Friday. Given the longevity of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, these scientists said, these decisions effectively lock humanity in for a range of impacts, some of which can be "very severe." "Emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have ushered in a new epoch where human activities will largely determine the evolution of Earth's climate," the scientists wrote. ...


More like the Anthro-po'folks-cene!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jul 11, 2010
from Associated Press:
BP claims progress on new cap as oil spews freely
Oil was spewing freely into the Gulf of Mexico as BP crews claimed progress Sunday in the first stages of replacing a leaky cap with a new containment system they hope will finally catch all the crude from the busted well. There's no guarantee for such a delicate operation nearly a mile below the water's surface, officials said, and the permanent fix of plugging the well from the bottom remains slated for mid-August. "It's not just going to be, you put the cap on, it's done. It's not like putting a cap on a tube of toothpaste," Coast Guard spokesman Capt. James McPherson said. ...


Hell, I can't even get my kids to do that at home.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 6, 2010
from Science News:
Methane releases in arctic seas could wreak devastation
Massive releases of methane from arctic seafloors could create oxygen-poor dead zones, acidify the seas and disrupt ecosystems in broad parts of the northern oceans, new preliminary analyses suggest. Such a cascade of geochemical and ecological ills could result if global warming triggers a widespread release of methane from deep below the Arctic seas, scientists propose in the June 28 Geophysical Research Letters. Worldwide, particularly in deeply buried permafrost and in high-latitude ocean sediments where pressures are high and temperatures are below freezing, icy deposits called hydrates hold immense amounts of methane... ...


I am not high on these hydrates melting.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 5, 2010
from Science, via McClatchy:
World ocean: 'overwhelming evidence' that it's 'a lot worse than the public thinks.'
A sobering new report warns that the oceans face a "fundamental and irreversible ecological transformation" not seen in millions of years as greenhouse gases and climate change already have affected temperature, acidity, sea and oxygen levels, the food chain and possibly major currents that could alter global weather.... "We are becoming increasingly certain that the world's marine ecosystems are reaching tipping points," Bruno said, adding, "We really have no power or model to foresee" the impact. "It's a lot worse than the public thinks," said Nate Mantua, an associate research professor at the University of Washington's Climate Impacts Group. Mantua, who's read the report, said it was clear what was causing the oceans' problems: greenhouse gases. "It is not a mystery," he said. ...


Alright! If it's not a mystery, then we can do something about it!
Right?
Right?


ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jun 25, 2010
from NASA:
Global Temperature Anomalies for May 2010 released
In May 2010, temperature records assembled by the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) showed wide expanses of slightly above- and slightly below-normal temperatures over most of the globe, but also dramatic warmth near the North Pole.... Especially warm temperatures--close to five degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) above average--occur over most of the Arctic, including the northernmost reaches of North America, northwestern Greenland, and most of the northern coast of Eurasia. Unusually warm conditions also extend southward into Eastern Europe and Siberia.... "Ongoing temperature anomalies like these are strong evidence of the Arctic amplification of global climate change," says Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The Arctic environment is very vulnerable to warming because of feedbacks that amplify the initial change. Sea ice retreat and snow melt reduce Earth's albedo, which can lead to increased warmth and further melting. Scambos explains that, although the Northern Hemisphere experienced significant snowfall in early 2010, spring melt was rapid, exposing land surfaces to sunlight sooner than usual. ...


"De Nial" is a river in the Arctic.

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Wed, Jun 23, 2010
from PhysOrg:
Humans will be extinct in 100 years says eminent scientist
Eminent Australian scientist Professor Frank Fenner, who helped to wipe out smallpox, predicts humans will probably be extinct within 100 years, because of overpopulation, environmental destruction and climate change.... [He] said homo sapiens will not be able to survive the population explosion and "unbridled consumption," and will become extinct, perhaps within a century, along with many other species.... Fenner told The Australian he tries not to express his pessimism because people are trying to do something, but keep putting it off. He said he believes the situation is irreversible, and it is too late because the effects we have had on Earth since industrialization (a period now known to scientists unofficially as the Anthropocene) rivals any effects of ice ages or comet impacts. ...


It's always darkest before the doom.

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Mon, Jun 14, 2010
from Science News:
Operation Icewatch 2010 gears up
...June is the time when polar scientists start to scrutinize in earnest how much ice will be left atop the Arctic Ocean after this year's summer melt season. The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., reported this week that ice extent -- a measure of total ice-covered area, including some gaps in the ice -- was, at the end of May, close to the lowest ever recorded for that time of year...there's no denying the remarkable overall decline of Arctic ice cover since satellite observations began in 1979. ...


It may be melting because we're paying attention to it!.

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Sat, Jun 12, 2010
from AFP:
World still heading for 3 degree Celsius by 2100: study
The world is careering towards three degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming by 2100 despite headline-making promises to curb carbon emissions, a study released at UN talks here said on Thursday. "The current pledges and loopholes give us a virtual certainty of exceeding 1.5 C (2.7 F), with global warming very likely exceeding 2 C (3.6 F) and a more than 50-percent chance of exceeding 3 C (5.4 F) by 2100," said Bill Hare of Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Around 120 countries have signed up to voluntary action on greenhouse gases under last December's Copenhagen Accord, which aims to limit warming since pre-industrial times to 2.0 C.... Scientists caution there is no consensus on what is a safe level for warming, and some say a rise of even 2.0 C could still have far-reaching risks for ice and snow cover and rainfall patterns.... Temperatures have already risen by around 0.8 C (1.4 F) since the start of the Industrial Revolution, causing worrying glacier melt, snow loss and retreating permafrost and an accelerating rise in ocean levels, according to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). ...


Something tells me more than twice as much change as we've seen in less time may have some untoward consequences.

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Sat, Jun 5, 2010
from PhysOrg:
Some Iowa cicadas make unexpected appearance four years ahead of schedule
The 17-year cicadas found in central and southeast Iowa aren't supposed to come out until 2014, but a small percentage are emerging now, four years ahead of schedule. "These cicadas appeared in 1963, 1980, and 1997," said Donald Lewis, professor of entomology at Iowa State University. "They should not have appeared until 2014."... Lewis started getting reports of these early-risers two weeks ago. The insects are found in much of the state from Boone County south to the Missouri border and east to the Mississippi River. Periodical cicadas live underground for 17 years then transform to the adult stage to appear above ground for a brief period. They are known for their mass emergences of tens of thousands per tree. The adults mate, lay eggs and die. The 17-year cycle is by far the longest of any insect in Iowa.... "There's a whole lot of mystery to what the cicada is counting and what happened in (some) winters that made it count it twice," he said. "We do know we've got to enjoy it while we've got it.... "The alarming part is, what has changed so much in our lifetime that the cicadas would change a fundamental part of their lifecycle and make this mistake?" he asks. "Climate change is one possibility." ...


Perhaps time itself has gotten shorter.

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Fri, May 28, 2010
from Science (AAAS):
Extensive Methane Venting to the Atmosphere from Sediments of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf
Remobilization to the atmosphere of only a small fraction of the methane held in East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) sediments could trigger abrupt climate warming, yet it is believed that sub-sea permafrost acts as a lid to keep this shallow methane reservoir in place. Here, we show that more than 5000 at-sea observations of dissolved methane demonstrates that greater than 80 percent of ESAS bottom waters and greater than 50 percent of surface waters are supersaturated with methane regarding to the atmosphere. The current atmospheric venting flux, which is composed of a diffusive component and a gradual ebullition component, is on par with previous estimates of methane venting from the entire World Ocean. Leakage of methane through shallow ESAS waters needs to be considered in interactions between the biogeosphere and a warming Arctic climate. ...


I hear Lindsay Lohan has a new gal-pal.

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Wed, May 26, 2010
from Reuters:
Global CO2 Emissions To Rise 43 Percent By 2035: EIA
The world's emissions of carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil, and natural gas should rise 43 percent by 2035 barring global agreements to reduce output of the gases blamed for warming the planet, the top U.S. energy forecaster said on Tuesday. Global emissions of carbon dioxide from the fossil fuel sources should rise from 29.7 billion tonnes in 2007 to 42.4 billion tonnes in 2035, the Energy Information Administration said in its annual long-term energy outlook. ...


Actually... it shouldn't.

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Mon, May 10, 2010
from PNAS:
Importance of carbon dioxide physiological forcing to future climate change
An increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration influences climate both directly through its radiative effect (i.e., trapping longwave radiation) and indirectly through its physiological effect (i.e., reducing transpiration of land plants).... [R]elative humidity remains roughly constant in response to CO2-radiative forcing, whereas relative humidity over land decreases in response to CO2-physiological forcing as a result of reduced plant transpiration. Our study points to an emerging consensus that the physiological effects of increasing atmospheric CO2 on land plants will increase global warming beyond that caused by the radiative effects of CO2. ...


OMG! Even the plants are conspiring against us!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, May 6, 2010
from Associated Press:
Deep beneath the Gulf, oil may already be wreaking havoc on sea life, contaminating food chain
The oil you can't see could be as bad as the oil you can. While people anxiously wait for the slick in the Gulf of Mexico to wash up along the coast, globules of oil are already falling to the bottom of the sea, where they threaten virtually every link in the ocean food chain, from plankton to fish that are on dinner tables everywhere... Oil has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of at least 200,000 gallons a day since an offshore drilling rig exploded last month and killed 11 people. On Wednesday, workers loaded a 100-ton, concrete-and-steel box the size of a four-story building onto a boat and hope to lower it to the bottom of the sea by week's end to capture some of the oil. Scientists say bacteria, plankton and other tiny, bottom-feeding creatures will consume oil, and will then be eaten by small fish, crabs and shrimp. They, in turn, will be eaten by bigger fish, such as red snapper, and marine mammals like sea turtles. ...


That food chain sure is a slippery slope.

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Mon, May 3, 2010
from GlobalPost:
10 worst man-made environmental disasters
As oil threatens the Gulf Coast, a list of 10 other disasters both forgotten and infamous, from the Dust Bowl to Bhopal... The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico is now about the size of Puerto Rico. It's already reached the marshes of Louisiana. Oil-covered wildlife are starting to show up along the shores. Shrimp, fish and oyster harvest areas have been closed. Residents of Mississippi and Alabama are just waiting for the oil to hit. As environmental calamity for the Gulf Coast appears imminent, GlobalPost looks at 10 other man-made environmental disasters -- both forgotten and infamous -- that could have been prevented. ...


Strangely, nowhere on the list is Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice."

ApocaDoc
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Sun, May 2, 2010
from The ApocaDocs:
From the ApocaDesk: The 'Docs are in
We've been hearing from you. You're calling, you're emailing (ApocadocsATgmail.com), you're hurting. This oil of river pouring from the wound in the Gulf of Mexico is just beginning.

Your hearts are breaking, and so are ours, but we are Doctors of the Apocalypse and we are here to help with some advice.

First: Keep an eye on it. Take breaks, but stay with the horror. Look it square in the face.

Second: Realize that, despite how terrible this seems, it is happening, more or less, all over the planet. Just read our site -- Biology Breach is a clarifying scenario for this. Climate Chaos, too. People everywhere are already in the grips of habitat collapse, whether due to toxins like oil or ewaste or plastic -- or by climate change itself. Ask the Inuits, the Indians, the Australians, the Tanzanians.

Third: Do something, today. Commit to some change in your consumer or energy-use behavior. Stop driving your car. One day a week. Then make it two. Stop using plastic, whether in packaging or, worst of all, water bottles. Let this be the beginning of your stewardship of the earth.

Fourth: Speaking of stewardship, start something. Go to our Recovery scenario, then read the amazing feats that humans can do. Just yesterday, we found the story of an 82 year old woman who convinced her town of Concord, Massachusetts, to outlaw plastic water bottles.

Fifth: Hold the criminals accountable, whether they are politicians who do nothing to address climate change, or CEOs who don't change their corporate cultures to care for the planet. The rights of nature MUST BECOME transcendent.

Sixth: Download our book. This is not self-promotion. The book is free. You can read it in one afternoon (if you have the stomach). We want you to see what we are learning, what we are witnessing.

Let the horror of what's happening in the Gulf of Mexico be the awakening we need.

...




ApocaDoc
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Wed, Apr 28, 2010
from Reuters, via DesdemonaDespair:
Arctic explorers get nasty surprise: rain
In what looks to be another sign the Arctic is heating up quickly, British explorers in Canada's Far North reported on Tuesday that they had been hit by a three-minute rain shower over the weekend. The rain fell on the team's ice base off Ellef Rignes island, about 3,900 km (2,420 miles) north of the Canadian capital, Ottawa. "It's definitely a shocker ... the general feeling within the polar community is that rainfall in the high Canadian Arctic in April is a freak event," said Pen Hadow, the team's expedition director. ... The Arctic is heating up three times more quickly than the rest of the Earth. Scientists link the higher temperatures to the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.... Experts say the thick multiyear ice covering the Arctic Ocean has effectively vanished, which could make it easier to open up polar shipping routes. U.S. data shows the 2009 ice cover was the third-lowest on record, after 2007 and 2008. ...


Raindrops keep falling on my head/ that doesn't mean my world will soon be seeing red....

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Mon, Apr 26, 2010
from Agence France-Press:
BP struggles to cap leak as US oil slick spreads
British oil giant BP used robotic underwater vehicles Sunday to try to cap a leaking well and prevent a growing oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico from developing into an environmental disaster. Satellite images showed the slick had spread by 50 percent in a day to cover an area of 600 square miles (1,550 square kilometers), although officials said some 97 percent of the pollution was just a thin veneer on the sea's surface. BP has dispatched skimming vessels to mop up the oil leaking from the debris of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which sank on Thursday, still blazing almost two days after a massive explosion that left 11 workers missing presumed dead. ...


Use of fossil fuels is ALREADY an environmental disaster.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 23, 2010
from McClatchy Newspapers:
Report: Ocean acidification rising at unprecedented rate
With the oceans absorbing more than 1 million tons of carbon dioxide an hour, a National Research Council study released Thursday found that the level of acid in the oceans is increasing at an unprecedented rate and threatening to change marine ecosystems. The council said the oceans were 30 percent more acidic than they were before the Industrial Revolution started roughly 200 years ago, and the oceans absorb one-third of today's carbon dioxide emissions. Unless emissions are reined in, ocean acidity could increase by 200 percent by the end of the century and even more in the next century, said James Barry, a senior scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California and one of the study's authors... Also testifying was actress Sigourney Weaver, who made passing references to her roles in "Alien" and "Avatar" while urging Congress to pass global climate change legislation. ...


She did not, however, make any reference to her role in Tadpole.

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Wed, Apr 21, 2010
from Scientific American (per DesdemonaDespair):
Antarctica ice sheets: 'Our models may be dramatically underestimating' danger
Withered by summer heat, Arctic sea ice has shrunk to record low coverage several times since 2005, only to rebound to within 95 percent of its long-term average extent this winter. By comparison, Antarctica, with some 90 percent of the world's glacial reserves, has generally shed ice in more stately fashion. However, emerging evidence from an Antarctic geological research drilling program known as ANDRILL suggests that the southernmost continent has had a much more dynamic history than previously suspected--one that could signal an abrupt shrinkage of its ice sheets at some unknown greenhouse gas threshold, possibly starting in this century. Especially troubling, scientists see evidence in the geological data that could mean the vast East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which holds at least four-fifths of the continent's ice, is less resistant to melting than previously thought.... According to the simulation, the East ice sheet melts only when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are at least eight times higher than preindustrial levels. The ice sheet's so-called hysteresis, or resistance to change, is now in doubt. Modeler and geologist Robert DeConto of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, says the policy implications are grim. "Our models may be dramatically underestimating how much worse it's going to get," he says, noting that many population centers worldwide are within a few meters of sea level. Looking at signs of meltwater in the early Miocene, DeConto says, "we're seeing ice retreat faster and more dramatically than any model predicts." ...


Hysteresical.

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Mon, Apr 19, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
Bill McKibben's must-read "Eaarth"
Bill McKibben, the writer who first brought the reality of global warming to the mainstream reader 20 years ago with The End of Nature, is understandably feeling a little dark. Well, not a little dark, a lot dark. And who can blame him. The past twenty years have created more carbons, more methane, and more pain. Progress is hard to find; hope even harder. And so he intentionally misspells our planet's name to make a point: that we no longer live on the same planet. McKibben describes this old planet in this way. "For the ten thousand years that constitute human civilization, we've existed in the sweetest of sweet spots." This "sweet spot" has turned sour, and the first half of Eaarth is a relentless, panoramic accounting of just how bad it's gotten, worldwide, from artic melt to extreme weather to the growth of dengue fever. This litany of global woe, he says, "Should come as body blows, as mortar barrages, as sickening thuds... Name a major feature of the earth's surface and you'll find massive change." ...


Me? I'm building a rocketship to Maars.

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Fri, Apr 16, 2010
from National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research:
'Missing' Heat May Affect Future Climate Change
Current observational tools cannot account for roughly half of the heat that is believed to have built up on Earth in recent years, according to a "Perspectives" article in this week's issue of Science. Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) warn in the new study that satellite sensors, ocean floats, and other instruments are inadequate to track this "missing" heat, which may be building up in the deep oceans or elsewhere in the climate system. "The heat will come back to haunt us sooner or later," says NCAR scientist Kevin Trenberth, the lead author...Whereas satellite instruments indicate that greenhouse gases are continuing to trap more solar energy, or heat, scientists since 2003 have been unable to determine where much of that heat is going. Either the satellite observations are incorrect, says Trenberth, or, more likely, large amounts of heat are penetrating to regions that are not adequately measured, such as the deepest parts of the oceans. Compounding the problem, Earth's surface temperatures have largely leveled off in recent years. Yet melting glaciers and Arctic sea ice, along with rising sea levels, indicate that heat is continuing to have profound effects on the planet. ...


Perhaps that heat we can't account for is being sequestered in skeptics.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Apr 4, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Great Barrier Reef rammed by Chinese coal ship
Australians on Sunday scrambled to ensure that a Chinese-owned bulk coal carrier that rammed into the Great Barrier Reef would not break apart and seriously damage the planet's largest coral reef. Peter Garrett, the nation's environment protection minister, told reporters that the federal government is concerned about the impact an oil spill could have on the environmentally sensitive reef, which was selected as a World Heritage site in 1981. Environmentalists said they were "horrified" at the possible damage the mishap might cause to the ecosystem, which is 1,800 miles long and comprised of more than 3,000 individual reefs, cays and islands -- providing a habitat for countless sea species. Video taken late Sunday showed the 755-foot vessel stranded about nine miles outside the shipping lane, leaking what seemed to be a streak of oil into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park near Great Keppel Island off the west coast of Queensland state.... The Shen Neng 1, hauling more than 65,000 tons of coal, hit the reef at full speed late Saturday in a restricted zone of the marine park. The impact ruptured the vessel's fuel tanks, prompting Australian officials to activate a national oil spill response plan. ...


Whoops! Sorry officer, I must've taken a wrong turn back there!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Mar 28, 2010
from via ScienceDaily:
Dawn of the Anthropocene Epoch? Earth Has Entered New Age of Geological Time, Experts Say
Geologists from the University of Leicester are among four scientists- including a Nobel prize-winner -- who suggest that Earth has entered a new age of geological time. The Age of Aquarius? Not quite -- It's the Anthropocene Epoch, say the scientists writing in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. And they add that the dawning of this new epoch may include the sixth largest mass extinction in Earth's history... The scientists propose that, in just two centuries, humans have wrought such vast and unprecedented changes to our world that we actually might be ushering in a new geological time interval, and alter the planet for millions of years. ...


Let's call it the Age of Anthroposcrewup.

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Thu, Mar 18, 2010
from Guardian:
Bluefin tuna fails to make UN's list of protected fish
Japan, Canada and scores of developing nations opposed the measure on the grounds that ban would devastate fishing economies.... Global talks on the conservation of endangered species have rejected calls to ban international trade in bluefin tuna, raising new fears for the future of dwindling stocks. Countries at the meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) in Qatar voted down a proposal from Monaco to grant the fish stronger protection. The plan drew little support, with developing countries joining Japan in opposing a measure they feared would hit fishing economies. ...


It's clear the long-term interests of the economy are in good hands.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 9, 2010
from McClatchy, via Miami Herald:
Growing low-oxygen zones in oceans worry scientists
In some spots off Washington state and Oregon, the almost complete absence of oxygen has left piles of Dungeness crab carcasses littering the ocean floor, killed off 25-year-old sea stars, crippled colonies of sea anemones and produced mats of potentially noxious bacteria that thrive in such conditions.... "The depletion of oxygen levels in all three oceans is striking," said Gregory Johnson, an oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle. In some spots, such as off the Southern California coast, oxygen levels have dropped roughly 20 percent over the past 25 years. Elsewhere, scientists say, oxygen levels might have declined by one-third over 50 years. "The real surprise is how this has become the new norm," said Jack Barth, an oceanography professor at Oregon State University. "We are seeing it year after year." ...


These hypoxia stories have me hyperventilating.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Mar 6, 2010
from Bombay Economic Times:
Groundwater depleting at alarming rate: Report
If current trends of acute groundwater use continue, 60 percent of all aquifers in India could run dry in 20 years or will be in a critical condition, a World Bank report launched on Friday said. It has urged priority action through higher investment in management of groundwater resources to reduce over exploitation, especially in view of the fact that there is major dependence by several sectors on the resources countrywide. Groundwater resources are being depleted at an alarming rate. Today, 29 percent of groundwater blocks are semi-critical, critical, or overexploited, and the situation is deteriorating rapidly. ...


Groundwater will contain more "fer" than "aqui."

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Feb 26, 2010
from Sydney Morning Herald:
Too late for all but prayers
You could not accuse Clive Hamilton of peddling false hope. In his new book, Requiem for a Species, he sees no hope at all. The Australian National University professor and public intellectual, who has written about climate change for 15 years, says the world is on a path to a very unpleasant future and it is too late to stop it.... "Even the most optimistic assessment of the possibility of taking action on climate change is nowhere near adequate to the task of trying to protect the world from dangerous climate change,'' he says. ''It's just too late now.'' ...


I think you're hinting at something... something...?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Feb 17, 2010
from SolveClimate:
IBM Breakthrough Could Deliver Low-Cost Efficient Solar
The process is based on a slurry (or ink) made of Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 in hydrazine, which can then be coated on any PV device. The final solution is comprised of both solid particles and liquid, both of which contain metal and chalcogen elements, which are the key to higher efficiencies. Getting these elements into both particle and liquid forms helps integrate them further into the final film, which boosts efficiency. The other benefit is that the solution can be applied via ultra high throughput printing or coating techniques, which means high-efficiency devices could be produced for low costs at a large scale: the holy grail for solar energy. ...


Then, let's build a million specialized inkjet printers and produce a paper-sized PV substrate, and then sell us the cartridges! Slap-on solar!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Feb 17, 2010
from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution:
Team finds subtropical waters flushing through Greenland fjord
Waters from warmer latitudes -- or subtropical waters -- are reaching Greenland's glaciers, driving melting and likely triggering an acceleration of ice loss, reports a team of researchers led by Fiamma Straneo, a physical oceanographer from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). "This is the first time we've seen waters this warm in any of the fjords in Greenland," says Straneo. "The subtropical waters are flowing through the fjord very quickly, so they can transport heat and drive melting at the end of the glacier."... Deep inside the Sermilik Fjord, researchers found subtropical water as warm as 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). The team also reconstructed seasonal temperatures on the shelf using data collected by 19 hooded seals tagged with satellite-linked temperature depth-recorders. The data revealed that the shelf waters warm from July to December, and that subtropical waters are present on the shelf year round. "This is the first extensive survey of one of these fjords that shows us how these warm waters circulate and how vigorous the circulation is," says Straneo. "Changes in the large-scale ocean circulation of the North Atlantic are propagating to the glaciers very quickly -- not in a matter of years, but a matter of months. It's a very rapid communication." ...


"Subtropical" and "Greenland" should never appear together in a headline.

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Wed, Feb 10, 2010
from UC Davis, via EurekAlert:
Climate 'tipping points' may arrive without warning, says top forecaster
A new University of California, Davis, study by a top ecological forecaster says it is harder than experts thought to predict when sudden shifts in Earth's natural systems will occur -- a worrisome finding for scientists trying to identify the tipping points that could push climate change into an irreparable global disaster. "Many scientists are looking for the warning signs that herald sudden changes in natural systems, in hopes of forestalling those changes, or improving our preparations for them," said UC Davis theoretical ecologist Alan Hastings. "Our new study found, unfortunately, that regime shifts with potentially large consequences can happen without warning -- systems can 'tip' precipitously. This means that some effects of global climate change on ecosystems can be seen only once the effects are dramatic. By that point returning the system to a desirable state will be difficult, if not impossible." ...


And how, pray tell, have we been doing with warnings?

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Tue, Feb 9, 2010
from London Financial Times:
Melting ice alters way of life in Iqaluit
...The polar ice helps keep the earth cool, as snow and ice reflect sunlight while the permafrost traps methane, a potent greenhouse gas. But a new report published by the Pew Environment Group says that global warming is altering the Arctic ecosystem in a way never seen before by humans. It predicts that the Arctic, which has had sea ice for more than 800,000 years, might lose summer sea ice as soon as 2030 and estimates that the melting Arctic will lead to a 3-to-6 deg C increase in the earth's temperature over the next century. During the Ice Age, the earth's temperature changed by 4.5 deg C... "The Arctic is the planet's air conditioner, and it's starting to break down," says Eban Goodstein, a resource economist at Bard College in New York and one of the authors of the study. "Half measures to stop global warming are unlikely to succeed, and delaying action will mean future environmental costs could be overwhelmed by the massive pulse of heating from a broken air conditioner," he says. ...


Maybe we can find a giant fan instead.

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Sat, Feb 6, 2010
from Sydney Morning Herald:
Arctic ice melt worst than 'most pessimistic' models: study
Climate change is transforming the Arctic environment faster than expected and accelerating the disappearance of sea ice, scientists said on Friday in giving their early findings from the biggest-ever study of Canada's changing north. The research project involved more than 370 scientists from 27 countries who collectively spent 15 months, starting in June 2007, aboard a research vessel above the Arctic Circle. It marked the first time a ship has stayed mobile in Canada's high Arctic for an entire winter... Models predicted only a few years ago that the Arctic would be ice-free in summer by the year 2100, but the increasing pace of climate change now suggests it could happen between 2013 and 2030... ...


So our pessimistic models were actually optimistic?

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Sun, Jan 31, 2010
from Rolling Stone:
As the World Burns
How Big Oil and Big Coal mounted one of the most aggressive lobbying campaigns in history to block progress on global warming... This was supposed to be the transformative moment on global warming, the tipping point when America proved to the world that capitalism has a conscience, that we take the fate of the planet seriously.... Over the past year, the corporations and special interests most responsible for climate change waged an all-out war to prevent Congress from cracking down on carbon pollution in time for Copenhagen...."In the long term, the fossil-fuel industry is going to lose this war," says Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "But in the short term, they are doing everything they can to delay the revolution. For them, what this fight is really about is buying precious time to maximize profits from carbon sources. It's really no more complicated than that." ...


Our guiding light should be all our children but sadly ... these are the last days of our lives.

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Tue, Jan 26, 2010
from NPR:
Methane Causes Vicious Cycle In Global Warming
Carbon dioxide is the gas we most associate with global warming, but methane gas also plays an important role. For reasons that are not well understood, methane gas stopped increasing in the atmosphere in the 1990s. But now it appears to be once again on the rise. Scientists are trying to understand why ā€” and what to do about it. Methane gas comes from all sorts of sources including wetlands, rice paddies, cow tummies, coal mines, garbage dumps and even termites. Drew Shindell, at NASA's Goddard Institute in New York, says, "It's gone up by 150 percent since the pre-industrial period. So that's an enormous increase. CO2, by contrast, has gone up by something like 30 percent." ...


I think I hear the Mars-bound space shuttles warming up their engines...

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Mon, Jan 25, 2010
from NPR:
New Anti-Smog Restrictions Could Warm Planet
The Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to tighten the ozone standard for smog will have an unfortunate side effect: Because of a quirk of atmospheric chemistry, those measures will hasten global warming. There's no question that smog is a hazard that deserves attention. Lydia Wegman of the EPA says the new ozone limits would have significant health benefits. Less smog means fewer asthma attacks, fewer kids in the hospital, fewer days of lost school, "and we also believe that we can reduce the risk of early death in people with heart and lung disease," she says. Here's the tough part: The way many states and localities will reduce smog is by cracking down on the chemicals that produce ozone. And those include nitrogen oxides, or NOx. ...


Stories like this are the very definition of being between a rock and a hard place.

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Mon, Jan 11, 2010
from Edmonton Journal:
'It's like a death watch'
...Scientists who have been studying polar bears in the region, however, believe that this event, and seven other acts of cannibalism recorded in the area this fall, are more signs that climate change is taking its toll on the bears of western Hudson Bay. "I've been studying polar bears in this region for 35 years, and prior to this fall, I personally knew of only one cub, and two other adults that were victims of cannibalism in that time," says Ian Stirling, retired from the Canadian Wildlife Service and now an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta. "To get eight in one year is really dramatic, especially when the bears came off the ice this year in fairly good shape. Breakup was later this year than it has been for a few years, so they had the extra time to hunt seals and put on weight before the ice went out. But it apparently wasn't enough to sustain all of them until freeze-up, which was particularly late this year." ...


But I don't want to watch!!!

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Thu, Jan 7, 2010
from Independent.co.uk, in DesdemonaDespair:
Icecapped roof of world turns to desert
The Chinese Academy of Sciences -- the country's top scientific body -- has announced that the glaciers of the Tibetan plateau are vanishing so fast that they will be reduced by 50 per cent every decade. Each year enough water permanently melts from them to fill the entire Yellow River. They added that the vast environmental changes brought about by the process will increase droughts and sandstorms over the rest of the country, and devastate many of the world's greatest rivers, in what experts warn will be an "ecological catastrophe".... The glaciers have been receding over the past four decades, as the world has gradually warmed up, but the process has now accelerated alarmingly. Average temperatures in Tibet have risen by 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 20 years, causing the glaciers to shrink by 7 per cent a year, which means that they will halve every 10 years.... Perhaps worst of all, the melting threatens to disrupt water supplies over much of Asia. Many of the continent's greatest rivers -- including the Yangtze, the Indus, the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, the Mekong and the Yellow River -- rise on the plateau. In China alone, 300 million people depend on water from the glaciers for their survival. Yet the plateau is drying up, threatening to escalate an already dire situation across the country. Already 400 cities are short of water; in 100 of them -- including Beijing -- the shortages are becoming critical. ...


I never thought of glaciers as having a half-life.

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Thu, Dec 24, 2009
from Environmental Science and Technology:
Flame retardants are the suspected source of a new compound in the environment
Ed Sverko didn't set out to find a new compound bioaccumulating in fish when he and a group of Canadian colleagues began looking at a Lake Ontario sediment core sample to collect data on how the concentrations of the widely used Dechlorane Plus (DP) flame retardant changed over time... DP has been detected in the environment before, so Sverko and his colleagues expected to find it in the sediment core. However, during their analysis, the researchers also noted a number of the unknown mass spectra peaks that appeared to be from unknown compounds related to DP...the research team was able to identify plausible sources of all the new compounds. To the best of their knowledge, none have been previously reported in the environment. ...


Dude. Our crap is making up its own shit.

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Thu, Dec 24, 2009
from Wired:
7 Tipping Points That Could Transform Earth
...when the IPCC meets in 2014, tipping points -- or tipping elements, in academic vernacular -- will get much more attention. Scientists still disagree about which planetary systems are extra-sensitive to climate shifts, but the possibility can't be ignored. "The problem with tipping elements is that if any of them tips, it will be a real catastrophe. None of them are small," said Anders Levermann, a climate physicist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. Levermann's article on potential disruptions of South Asia's monsoon cycles was featured in a series of tipping element research reviews, published December 8 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Also discussed were ocean circulation, polar icecaps, Amazon rainforests, seafloor methane deposits and a west African dustbowl. Each is stressed by rising planetary temperatures. Some are less likely than others to tip; some might not be able to tip at all. Ambiguities, probabilities a limited grasp of Earth's complex systems are inherent to the science. But if any tip, it will be an epic disaster. ...


Only seven? I can keep track of that!

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Wed, Dec 2, 2009
from London Daily Telegraph:
Copenhagen climate summit: 50/50 chance of stopping catastrophe, Lord Stern says
An ambitious deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions needs to be agreed at the Copenhagen climate summit to give a 50/50 chance of keeping temperatures from rising more than 2C, Lord Stern has said. But failure to secure a new agreement could put the world at risk of temperature rises of more than 5C - a change in climate which he said "could only be described as catastrophic." ...


Why don't we just flip a coin instead?

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Sun, Nov 29, 2009
from Globe and Mail (Canada):
'Permanent' Arctic sea ice has nearly vanished, expert fears
One of Canada's top northern researchers says the permanent Arctic sea ice that is home to the world's polar bears and usually survives the summer has all but disappeared. Experts around the world believed the ice was recovering because satellite images showed it expanding.... "It caught us all by surprise because we were expecting there to be multiyear sea ice -- the whole world thought it was multiyear sea ice," said Dr. Barber, who just returned from an expedition to the Beaufort Sea. "Unfortunately what we found was that the multiyear [ice] has all but disappeared. What's left is this remnant, rotten ice." ...


So seeing is believing -- but can be wrong.

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Wed, Nov 25, 2009
from Agence France-Presse:
Climate science update: from bad to worse
PARIS, France -- The planet could warm by seven degrees Celsius (10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) this century, a figure that lies at the farthest range of expert predictions made only two years ago, scientists said on Tuesday. The study is the biggest overview on global warming since the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a landmark report in 2007. Several authors of the new paper were part of that Nobel-winning group. Entitled the "Copenhagen Diagnosis," the 64-page summary is pitched at the December 7-18 UN conference in Denmark tasked with forging a planet-wide deal to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. ...


Let's just go w/ Celsius as 7 doesn't sound NEARLY as bad as 10.8.

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Tue, Nov 24, 2009
from Associated Press:
CO2 curve ticks upward as key climate talks loom
The readings at this 3 km high station show an upward curve as the world counts down to climate talks: Global warming gases have built up to record levels in the atmosphere, from emissions that match scientists' worst-case scenarios. Carbon dioxide concentrations this autumn are hovering at around 385 parts per million, on their way to a near-certain record high above 390 in the first half of next year, at the annual peak. "For the past million years we've never seen 390. You have to wonder what that's going to do," said physicist John Barnes, the observatory director. One leading atmospheric scientist, Stephen Schneider, sees "coin-flip odds for serious outcomes for our planet". ...


You mean ... we might survive?

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Mon, Nov 23, 2009
from Washington Post:
The ultimate crop rotation
In recent months, the Ethiopian government began marketing abroad one of the hottest commodities in an increasingly crowded and hungry world: farmland...This impoverished and chronically food-insecure Horn of Africa nation is rapidly becoming one of the world's leading destinations for the booming business of land leasing, by which relatively rich countries and investment firms are securing 40-to-99-year contracts to farm vast tracts of land.... The harshest critics of the practice conjure images of poor Africans starving as food is hauled off to rich countries. ...


And what's so new about that?

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Mon, Nov 23, 2009
from AP, via Raw Story:
Oceans rising faster than expected as climate change exceeds grimmest models
Since the 1997 international accord to fight global warming, climate change has worsened and accelerated -- beyond some of the grimmest of warnings made back then. As the world has talked for a dozen years about what to do next, new ship passages opened through the once frozen summer sea ice of the Arctic. In Greenland and Antarctica, ice sheets have lost trillions of tons of ice. Mountain glaciers in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa are shrinking faster than before.... "The latest science is telling us we are in more trouble than we thought," Janos Pasztor, climate adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.... "The message on the science is that we know a lot more than we did in 1997 and it's all negative," said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. "Things are much worse than the models predicted." ...


That's what makes science so exciting: unpredictability!

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Wed, Nov 18, 2009
from BBC:
Earth 'heading for 6C' of warming
Average global temperatures are on course to rise by up to 6C without urgent action to curb CO2 emissions, the lead author of a new analysis says. Emissions rose by 29 percent between 2000 and 2008, says the Global Carbon Project. All of that growth came in developing countries, but a quarter of it came through production of goods for consumption in industrialised nations. The study comes against a backdrop of mixed messages on the chances of a new deal at next month's UN climate summit. According to lead scientist Corinne Le Quere, the new findings should add urgency to the political discussions. ...


Does "C" stand for Catastrophe?

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Tue, Nov 10, 2009
from RealClimate:
Is Pine Island Glacier the Weak Underbelly of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?
... the 1978 publication by the late John Mercer, Ohio State U., who argued that a major deglaciation of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) may be in progress within 50 years. This conclusion was based on the fact that the WAIS margin was ringed with stabilizing ice shelves, and that much of the ice sheet is grounded below sea level. The loss of ice shelves -- Mercer proposed -- would allow the ice sheet to thin, grounding lines to retreat and the ice sheet to disintegrate via calving. This is a much faster means of losing mass than melting in place. Mercer further commented that the loss of ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula, as has since been observed, would be an indicator that this process of ice sheet loss due to global warming was underway.... The increase from 2006 to 2007 was 6.4 percent at 55 km from the terminus and 4.1 percent at 171 km inland.... A separate data set, radar based was used by Rignot (2008) to identify a 42 percent acceleration of PIG between 1996 and 2007 accompanied by most of its ice plain becoming ungrounded.... Scott and others (2009) pointed out that the greater thinning toward the grounding line and terminus increased the surface slope and the gravitational driving stress, further promoting acceleration. Then Wingham and others (2009) reported that the 5400 km2 central trunk of the glacier had experienced a quadrupling in the average rate of volume loss quadrupled from 2.6 km3 a year in 1995 to 10.1 km3 a year in 2006. ...


It's all going to melt anyway -- let's pipe this "frozen aquifer" to Australia!

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Thu, Oct 15, 2009
from Environmental Science and Technology:
UN update: climate change hitting sooner and stronger
With a handful of weeks remaining before the climate convention meeting in Copenhagen, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has released an updated summary of the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report, Climate Change Science Compendium 2009, warns that many predictions that were at the upper ranges of 2007 IPCC forecasts are increasingly likely, and some events that were seen previously as probable over the long term are on the verge of occurring or are occurring already. "The pace and the scale of climate change is accelerating, along with the confidence among researchers in their forecasts," UNEP Director Achim Steiner states in the document. The analysis incorporates results from more than 400 major studies published since 2007 and addresses impacts on Earth systems, glaciers and ice sheets, oceans, and ecosystems. Increasingly, scientists are framing some of these transformations as "commitments"--inevitabilities that will play out even after the climate stabilizes. ...


The only thing that seems to be going SLOWER is our ability to respond to the crisis!

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Thu, Oct 15, 2009
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Arctic will be ice-free in a decade, according to Pen Hadow
The explorer trekked more than 269 miles towards the North Pole this winter in temperatures below -40 degrees C to measure the depth of the ice. The average thickness of ice floes was 1.8 metres, suggesting the ice sheet is now largely made up of first year ice rather than "multiyear" ice that will have built up over time.... An analysis by Cambridge University has concluded that the Arctic is now melting at such a rate that it will be largely ice free within ten years, allowing ships to cross the Arctic Ocean. Further analysis by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) warned that the "irreversible trend" will cause dangerous feedback because water absorbs more heat from the sun than ice, therefore further speeding up the global warming process. The melting of the ice could also trigger extreme weather patterns as the ocean currents change and release even more greenhouse gases stored under the ice. ...


Whoo-ee! We are kicking Nature's ass!

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Sat, Oct 10, 2009
from DOE, via EurekAlert:
Nitrogen cycle now in climate models, refines global predictions
For the first time, climate scientists from across the country have successfully incorporated the nitrogen cycle into global simulations for climate change, questioning previous assumptions regarding carbon feedback and potentially helping to refine model forecasts about global warming.... In this case, scientists found that the rate of climate change over the next century could be higher than previously anticipated when the requirement of plant nutrients are included in the climate model.... But by taking the natural demand for nutrients into account, the authors have shown that the stimulation of plant growth over the coming century may be two to three times smaller than previously predicted. Since less growth implies less CO2 absorbed by vegetation, the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are expected to increase. ...


Will you guys stop refining your models, already?

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Sat, Oct 10, 2009
from BBC (UK):
'Scary' climate message from past
A new historical record of carbon dioxide levels suggests current political targets on climate may be "playing with fire", scientists say. Researchers used ocean sediments to plot CO2 levels back 20 million years. Levels similar to those now commonly regarded as adequate to tackle climate change were associated with sea levels 25-40m (80-130 ft) higher than today.... In the intervening millennia, CO2 concentrations have been much lower; in the last few million years they cycled between 180ppm and 280ppm in rhythm with the sequence of ice ages and warmer interglacial periods. Now, humanity's emissions of greenhouse gases are pushing towards the 400ppm range, which will very likely be reached within a decade.... "This is yet another paper that makes the future look more scary than previously thought by many," said the University of Arizona scientist. ...


Lucky for me, I just watch television, where there are no papers to read.

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Tue, Oct 6, 2009
from London Guardian:
China leads accusation that rich nations are trying to sabotage climate treaty
The US and other developed countries are attempting to "fundamentally sabotage" the Kyoto protocol and all-important international negotiations over its next phase, according to coordinated statements by China and 130 developing countries at UN climate talks in Bangkok today. As 180 countries started a second week of talks, the developing countries showed their deep frustration at the slow pace of the negotiations on a global climate deal, which are planned to be concluded in two months' time in Copenhagen. "The reason why we are not making progress is the lack of political will by Annex 1 [industrialised] countries. There is a concerted effort to fundamentally sabotage the Kyoto protocol," said ambassador Yu Qingtai China's special representative on climate talks. "We now hear statements that would lead to the termination of the protocol. They are introducing new rules, new formats. That's not the way to conduct negotiations," said Yu. ...


Copenhagen... is going to be one giant bitchfest!

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Sun, Oct 4, 2009
from London Guardian:
Arctic seas turn to acid, putting vital food chain at risk
Carbon-dioxide emissions are turning the waters of the Arctic Ocean into acid at an unprecedented rate, scientists have discovered. Research carried out in the archipelago of Svalbard has shown in many regions around the north pole seawater is likely to reach corrosive levels within 10 years. The water will then start to dissolve the shells of mussels and other shellfish and cause major disruption to the food chain. By the end of the century, the entire Arctic Ocean will be corrosively acidic....About a quarter of the carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere by factories, power stations and cars now ends up being absorbed by the oceans. That represents more than six million tonnes of carbon a day. This carbon dioxide dissolves and is turned into carbonic acid, causing the oceans to become more acidic. "We knew the Arctic would be particularly badly affected when we started our studies but I did not anticipate the extent of the problem," said Gattuso. ...


Oy. Speaking of acid, my stomach is killing me!

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Wed, Sep 30, 2009
from Minneapolis MinnPost:
Scientist offers dire scenario at climate-change symposium in Minneapolis
Dire projections on global warming effects issued recently by the U.N.'s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) may prove to be as comparatively tranquil as "a Sunday school picnic" when the next scientific reports come out, a renowned earth scientist told an international symposium in Minneapolis. The sober assessment Monday by David Schindler of the University of Alberta follows an IPCC report last week that said that even if world leaders realize their most ambitious plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the earth would still warm by 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit by century's end.... Schindler said he's "not looking forward" to what he fears are even more grim reports on climate change by world scientists that will follow in the coming months.... Another speaker at the University of Minnesota's Transatlantic Science Week agreed with Schindler that a cascading synergy of adverse climate-change effects could outrun snail-paced efforts to reduce of greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels in power plants and transportation sources mostly in developed and developing nations. ...


A "Sunday school picnic" in a hailstorm, between warring street gangs, in the middle of a busy intersection.

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Mon, Sep 28, 2009
from London Guardian:
Met Office warns of catastrophic global warming in our lifetimes
Unchecked global warming could bring a severe temperature rise of 4C within many people's lifetimes, according to a new report for the British government that significantly raises the stakes over climate change. The study, prepared for the Department of Energy and Climate Change by scientists at the Met Office, challenges the assumption that severe warming will be a threat only for future generations, and warns that a catastrophic 4C rise in temperature could happen by 2060 without strong action on emissions.... The Met Office scientists used new versions of the computer models used to set the IPCC predictions, updated to include so-called carbon feedbacks or tipping points, which occur when warmer temperatures release more carbon, such as from soils. When they ran the models for the most extreme IPCC scenario, they found that a 4C rise could come by 2060 or 2070, depending on the feedbacks. Betts said: "It's important to stress it's not a doomsday scenario, we do have time to stop it happening if we cut greenhouse gas emissions soon." ...


There's no need to panic... IF WE ACT RIGHT NOW!!!!

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Thu, Sep 24, 2009
from TIME Magazine:
How Much Human Activity Can Earth Handle?
...as human population has exploded over the past few thousand years, the delicate ecological balance that kept the Long Summer going has become threatened. The rise of industrialized agriculture has thrown off Earth's natural nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, leading to pollution on land and water, while our fossil-fuel addiction has moved billions of tons of carbon from the land into the atmosphere, heating the climate ever more. Now a new article in the Sept. 24 issue of Nature says the safe climatic limits in which humanity has blossomed are more vulnerable than ever and that unless we recognize our planetary boundaries and stay within them, we risk total catastrophe....Stay within the lines, and we might just be all right. ...


Humans just aren't all that good at staying within the lines...

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Thu, Sep 24, 2009
from Agence France-Presse:
World will need 70 percent more food in 2050: FAO
World food production must increase by 70 percent by 2050, to nourish a human population then likely to be 9.1 billion, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation forecast Wednesday... "Nearly all of the population growth will occur in developing countries. Sub-Saharan Africa's population is expected to grow the fastest (up 108 percent, 910 million people), and East and South East Asia's the slowest (up 11 percent, 228 million). "Around 70 percent of the world population will live in cities or urban areas by 2050, up from 49 percent today," the document said. The demand for food is expected to grow as a result of rising incomes as well as population growth, the discussion paper added. ...


I'll be really old and stringy... but I volunteer!

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Thu, Sep 17, 2009
from Environmental Science and Technology:
Greenhouse gas leaking from Arctic Ocean floor
Scientists have reported the presence of previously unknown sources of methane—a greenhouse gas some 25 times more powerful than CO2 at trapping heat—bubbling up from the Arctic Ocean seafloor north of Norway. Gradual warming of a regional current has caused temperature-sensitive methane hydrate below the seabed to break down and discharge the gas, the researchers say... Over the past couple of decades, as the tools for oceanographic exploration have grown more sophisticated, researchers have documented about Previously, International Polar Year (2007) surveys of the East Siberian Arctic shelf uncovered abundant methane seeps and measured record-breaking summertime concentrations of the gas in northern polar waters. ...


Bring on the giant caulkgun!

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Wed, Sep 16, 2009
from AP, via PhysOrg.com:
World's oceans warmest on record this summer
Ocean temperatures averaged 62.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the June-August period, 1.04 degree higher than normal for the period. And for August the world sea-surface average was 62.4 degrees, 1.03 higher than usual, also the warmest for August on record, NOAA's National Climatic Data Center said. The report is based on data back to 1880. The combined land and water temperature worldwide was 61.2 degrees, third warmest on record for the three-month period. For August it was 58.2 degrees, fourth warmest. Climate change has been raising the planet's average temperature steadily in recent decades. All of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 1997. ...


We're so lucky that global warming is just a theory.

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Mon, Sep 14, 2009
from :
From the ApocaDesk
As a film, The Age of Stupid is a strange brew, a combination science fiction drama and present-day documentary. The premise of the narrative makes it work: An archivist in the year 2050 sits atop the now permanently melted Arctic in a structure that houses all the great art and books and media of the history of humanity. The Archivist, played by Pete Postlethwaite (In the Name of the Father, The Usual Suspects), muses aloud about the imminent destruction of the habitat, as he sifts through the footage of the past, trying to figure out the answer to an essential question.
Why didn't we try and save ourselves?
The story is a pastiche of snippets of CNN and Fox broadcasters and other media moments, but six main narratives are threaded together, tied more or less loosely by the idea of oil. These are real people, and they represent a broad cross-section of age and geographical location, from the New Orleans-based Alvin Duvernay to 8 year old Jamila, an Iraqi refugee living, homeless, in Jordan.
A third main thread of the story -- in addition to the archivist and the real humans -- are numerous animated pieces that info-graphically and entertainingly tell the story of how mass consumerism and obsession with oil combined to lead to the ruination of the planet.
Three-fold, these elements of The Age of Stupid hold together, anchored by the sweet sad face of The Archivist.
Director Franny Armstrong tackled one facet of consumerism in McLibel and now she's grappling with a larger -- well, the largest == canvas. It was four years in the making, and funded by a "crowd" - i.e. numerous smaller investors, and her film is an entertaining and harrowing look at now through eyes of later.
According to the filmmakers, the documentary started off as a Soderbergh Traffic-style narrative, weaving the six real folks into one complex story called Crude. Knowing that may help you view the film; for me, giant issues of habitat collapse are missing from The Age of Stupid -- most notably the erosive effects of corporate farming, and the potential for potential pandemic plague to be cooked up its cauldrons. Then there's over-population, only slightly brushed against in the film. But understanding that Armstrong and company were hoping to stay on message with oil helps focus an otherwise potentially overwhelming subject.
So as a film, The Age of Stupid works, and as a piece of persuasion... well, you had me at stupid. The title is fun to say, and can morph into any number of entertaining phrases: "Have you seen 'Stupid' yet?" "I thought 'Stupid' was brilliant." "Hey, I'll join the 'Stupid' team!"
The Age of Stupid is going its own way in hopes of building a team of Stupids to help. On Monday, Sept. 21 at 7:30 (Eastern time), a New York-based live presentation of the film will feature the movie, followed by a panel discussion between the filmmakers, scientists and environmental leaders, with Radiohead's Thom Yorke wrapping up the event with an acoustic performance of the film's title track. This gathering will be as green as green can be, from a carbon emission standpoint, and will tape-delay broadcast to more than 30 countries. Hey, we're all in this together, or, rather, all going down together if we don't take the film's message to heart.
Ultimately, to rate this film, to recommend it, to criticize is absurd. On the brink of the December climate gathering in Copenhagen, on the precipice of disaster, shall we quibble about the entertainment value of a piece of culture like The Age of Stupid? The real question is: Does it contribute to the necessary awakening of humanity?
Our stupid answer is: It sure does, stupid.
For a complete list of screens -- there are more than 440 theaters involved -- go to www.FathomEvents.com. And please, carpool, bicycle or use public transportation. Because driving yourself, alone, to the theater would just be ... well, you know. For more info, go to www.ageofstupid.net. ...


It's the collapse of the habitat, stupid!

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Fri, Sep 11, 2009
from ARC Center, in Science, via EurekAlert:
Man-made crises 'outrunning our ability to deal with them,' scientists warn
The world faces a compounding series of crises driven by human activity, which existing governments and institutions are increasingly powerless to cope with, a group of eminent environmental scientists and economists has warned.... "Energy, food and water crises, climate disruption, declining fisheries, ocean acidification, emerging diseases and increasing antibiotic resistance are examples of serious, intertwined global-scale challenges spawned by the accelerating scale of human activity," say the researchers, who come from Australia, Sweden, the United States, India, Greece and The Netherlands.... The scientists acknowledge that the main challenge is getting countries to agree to take part in global institutions designed to prevent destructive human practices. "Plainly, agreements must be designed such that countries are better off participating than not participating," they say. ...


I hate it when scientists agree with us.

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Thu, Sep 10, 2009
from Associated Press:
Effects of Arctic warming seen as widespread
Arctic warming is affecting plants, birds, animals and insects as ice melts and the growing season changes, scientists report in a new review of the many impacts climate change is having on the far north. As the global climate changes, the Arctic Circle has been warming faster than other regions and scientists have documented a series of affects on wildlife in the region... "The Arctic as we know it may soon be a thing of the past," Eric Post, an associate professor of biology at Penn State University, said in a statement. ...


Arctic... tock...tic...tock...

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Sun, Sep 6, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
Climate change: melting ice will trigger wave of natural disasters
Scientists are to outline dramatic evidence that global warming threatens the planet in a new and unexpected way – by triggering earthquakes, tsunamis, avalanches and volcanic eruptions.... Melting glaciers will set off avalanches, floods and mud flows in the Alps and other mountain ranges; torrential rainfall in the UK is likely to cause widespread erosion; while disappearing Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets threaten to let loose underwater landslides, triggering tsunamis that could even strike the seas around Britain. At the same time the disappearance of ice caps will change the pressures acting on the Earth's crust and set off volcanic eruptions across the globe. Life on Earth faces a warm future -- and a fiery one. ...


Hey, maybe the smoke from all those volcanoes will cool the globe!

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Fri, Sep 4, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
How global warming sealed the fate of the world's coral reefs
If you thought you had heard enough bad news on the environment and that the situation could not get any worse, then steel yourself. Coral reefs are doomed. The situation is virtually hopeless. Forget ice caps and rising sea levels: the tropical coral reef looks like it will enter the history books as the first major ecosystem wiped out by our love of cheap energy.... "The future is horrific," says Charlie Veron, an Australian marine biologist who is widely regarded as the world's foremost expert on coral reefs. "There is no hope of reefs surviving to even mid-century in any form that we now recognise. If, and when, they go, they will take with them about one-third of the world's marine biodiversity. Then there is a domino effect, as reefs fail so will other ecosystems. This is the path of a mass extinction event, when most life, especially tropical marine life, goes extinct." ...


I wish these scientists would speak in less "technical" language. Oh, and more good news, willya?

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Wed, Sep 2, 2009
from Environmental Health News:
A bad mix: exposure may be 'safe' only with one chemical at a time
Exposure to a mixture of environmental chemicals is far more harmful to male rats than exposure to the individual chemicals would predict, even when the level of each contaminant in the mixture causes no effect by itself. The results indicate that assessing the risk of chemicals one-compound-at-a-time will underestimate potential harm. People are exposed to hundreds of chemicals at a time, if not more. People could be affected by mixtures of chemicals that are currently considered "safe" based on their individual toxicities.... Because people are exposed to all sorts of chemical mixes -- from environmental sources such as food, water, prescription drugs, air and dust -- it is not possible to test for all possible chemical combinations. Therefore, regulators use information based on the toxicities of individual chemicals to determine safe exposures. ...


We much prefer using the findings from Duh! Laboratories, to predict our terror. Or, wait -- perhaps "Doh! Laboratories is more appropriate!

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Tue, Sep 1, 2009
from London Guardian:
The Sermilik fjord in Greenland: a chilling view of a warming world
It is calving season in the Arctic. A flotilla of icebergs, some as jagged as fairytale castles and others as smooth as dinosaur eggs, calve from the ice sheet that smothers Greenland and sail down the fjords. The journey of these sculptures of ice from glaciers to ocean is eerily beautiful and utterly terrifying. The wall of ice that rises behind Sermilik fjord stretches for 1,500 miles (2,400km) from north to south and smothers 80 percent of this country. It has been frozen for 3m years. Now it is melting, far faster than the climate models predicted and far more decisively than any political action to combat our changing climate. If the Greenland ice sheet disappeared sea levels around the world would rise by seven metres, as 10 percent of the world's fresh water is currently frozen here. ...


Sounds to me like we are fjucked.

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Mon, Aug 31, 2009
from Associated Press:
Climate trouble may be bubbling up in Far North
...Pure methane, gas bubbling up from underwater vents, escaping into northern skies, adds to the global-warming gases accumulating in the atmosphere. And pure methane escaping in the massive amounts known to be locked in the Arctic permafrost and seabed would spell a catastrophe. Is such an unlocking under way? Researchers say air temperatures in northwest Canada, in Siberia and elsewhere in the Arctic have risen more than 2.5 C (4.5 F) since 1970 ā€” much faster than the global average. The summer thaw is reaching deeper into the frozen soil, at a rate of 4 centimeters (1.5 inches) a year, and a further 7 C (13 F) temperature rise is possible this century... ...


How many carbons does it burn up to have to add Fahrenheit equivalencies!

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Sat, Aug 29, 2009
from American Chemical Society, via EurekAlert:
Plastics in oceans decompose, release hazardous chemicals, surprising new study says
In the first study to look at what happens over the years to the billions of pounds of plastic waste floating in the world's oceans, scientists are reporting that plastics -- reputed to be virtually indestructible -- decompose with surprising speed and release potentially toxic substances into the water.... "We found that plastic in the ocean actually decomposes as it is exposed to the rain and sun and other environmental conditions, giving rise to yet another source of global contamination that will continue into the future." He said that polystyrene begins to decompose within one year, releasing components that are detectable in the parts-per-million range.... his team found that when plastic decomposes it releases potentially toxic bisphenol A (BPA) and PS oligomer into the water, causing additional pollution. Plastics usually do not break down in an animal's body after being eaten. However, the substances released from decomposing plastic are absorbed and could have adverse effects. BPA and PS oligomer are sources of concern because they can disrupt the functioning of hormones in animals and can seriously affect reproductive systems. ...


At least we'll eventually be rid of that unsightly Pacific Garbage Patch!

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Thu, Aug 27, 2009
from COP15:
CO2 in the atmosphere may be 20 to 25 percent higher than previously estimated
New research from two professors at the University of Bergen, Norway, reveals that nature absorbs much less greenhouse gas from the atmosphere than estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).... The models show that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere could likely be 20 to 25 percent higher than previously estimated. Consequently climate change will happen faster, writes the Norwegian newspaper Dagsavisen.... "The most realistic is no longer 2, but 3.5 or 4 degrees Celsius," Helge Drange says to Norwegian weekly Teknisk Ukeblad. "Then we will cross more thresholds with irreversible damage to water supply and food production", says Drange. ...


Underpromise, then overperform!

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Mon, Aug 17, 2009
from New Scientist:
As Arctic Ocean warms, megatonnes of methane bubble up
It's been predicted for years, and now it's happening. Deep in the Arctic Ocean, water warmed by climate change is forcing the release of methane from beneath the sea floor. Over 250 plumes of gas have been discovered bubbling up from the sea floor to the west of the Svalbard archipelago, which lies north of Norway. The bubbles are mostly methane, which is a greenhouse gas much more powerful than carbon dioxide.... "Hydrates are stable only within a particular range of temperatures," says Minshull. "So if the ocean warms, some of the hydrates will break down and release their methane."... Just because it fails to reach the surface doesn't mean the methane is harmless, though, as some of it gets converted to carbon dioxide. The CO2 then dissolves in seawater and makes the oceans more acidic. ...


The worst-case scenario regarding really rapid greenhouse effects...? We may have to revise it.

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Sat, Aug 15, 2009
from Canwest News:
Experts: Arctic ice experiencing severe summer retreat
As Prime Minister Stephen Harper heads north next week for what's become his annual summer visit to the Arctic, he will encounter a world scientists believe is in the midst of an unprecedented and irreversible transformation, where retreating sea ice and related environmental changes are radically reshaping the region's future.... In the upcoming days, researchers from around the world will reassess the state of the Arctic Ocean ice cover and gauge whether this summer's retreat -- already viewed as another "extreme" thaw -- will surpass the 2007 meltdown that shocked even veteran observers of the polar realm.... [T]he biggest floes now jamming the fabled Arctic shipping corridor are southward-floating, orphaned chunks of the thickest, oldest "multi-year" ice mass that has been steadily disintegrating -- in North America, Europe and Asia -- along the edges of the central Arctic Ocean.... The region is, Howell told Canwest News Service, "past the 'tipping-point,'" when increasing expanses of darker, open water absorb ever more heat and the diminished ice cover -- normally able to reflect sunlight because of its lighter surface -- melts more quickly. ...


It's freakin' chemistry and physics, you idiot deniers!

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Tue, Aug 11, 2009
from ARC Center, via ScienceDaily:
Humans 'Damaging The Oceans' In Profound Ways
Man-made carbon emissions "are affecting marine biological processes from genes to ecosystems over scales from rock pools to ocean basins, impacting ecosystem services and threatening human food security," ... rates of physical change in the oceans are unprecedented in some cases, and change in ocean life is likely to be equally quick. These include changes in the areas fish and other sea species can inhabit, invasions, extinctions and major shifts in marine ecosystems.... Man-made carbon emissions are now above the 'worst case' scenario envisioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), causing the most rapid global warming seen since the peak of the last Ice Age. At the same time the carbon is acidifying the oceans, with harmful consequences for certain plankton and shellfish. ...


Whoops. Our bad. How do you hit Restart on this game?

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Sun, Aug 9, 2009
from Associated Press:
Vast expanses of Arctic ice melt in summer heat
The Arctic Ocean has given up tens of thousands more square miles (square kilometers) of ice on Sunday in a relentless summer of melt, with scientists watching through satellite eyes for a possible record low polar ice cap... As of Thursday, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported, the polar ice cap extended over 2.61 million square miles (6.75 million square kilometers) after having shrunk an average 41,000 square miles (106,000 square kilometers) a day in July -- equivalent to one Indiana or three Belgiums daily. The rate of melt was similar to that of July 2007, the year when the ice cap dwindled to a record low minimum extent of 1.7 million square miles (4.3 million square kilometers) in September. ...


Can't we take some ice cubes up there?!?

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Thu, Aug 6, 2009
from London Metro:
Global warming will see 'billions at war'
Billions of people will go to war as they are forced to leave areas made uninhabitable by global warming, climate change expert Lord Stern has warned. Lord Nicholas Stern said innovative skills in maths, software, communications and business needed to be fully harnessed to find a way towards low carbon growth. Lord Stern, author of the landmark 2006 Stern Review on the economic implications of climate change, made his prediction as he received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Brighton. ...


Well that's ONE way to reduce population.

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Wed, Aug 5, 2009
from via ScienceDaily:
Earth's Biogeochemical Cycles, Once In Concert, Falling Out Of Sync
What do the Gulf of Mexico's "dead zone," global climate change, and acid rain have in common? They're all a result of human impacts to Earth's biology, chemistry and geology, and the natural cycles that involve all three. On August 4-5, 2009, scientists who study such cycles -- biogeochemists -- will convene at a special series of sessions at the Ecological Society of America (ESA)'s 94th annual meeting in Albuquerque, N.M.... Now, with global warming and other planet-wide impacts, biogeochemical cycles are being drastically altered. Like broken gears in machinery that was once finely-tuned, these cycles are falling out of sync. ...


Oy. Pass me the Koyaanisqatsi stomach medicine.

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Mon, Aug 3, 2009
from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Storm sewers oozing human fecal bacteria to beaches, rivers, study finds
Human sewage is flowing out of municipal storm sewers and into local waterways and Lake Michigan on rainy days without sanitary sewer overflows to blame for the load, and even during periods of dry weather, a three-year study has concluded. And the contamination cannot be pinned on raccoons or other animals living in the storm sewers. Genetic testing ruled them out. Human fecal pollution is found at several beaches and rivers throughout the Milwaukee area, creating an unseen though serious public health risk for anyone in the water, said Sandra McLellan, associate scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Great Lakes WATER Institute and the study's lead researcher. ...


Me, I wear a Hazmat swimming suit...

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Mon, Aug 3, 2009
from Glasgow Sunday Herald:
The seven terrors of the world
The world is facing a series of interlinked crises which threatens billions of people and could cause the collapse of civilisation, according to an international report out this week. Climate pollution, food shortages, diseases, wars, disasters, crime and the recession are all conspiring to ravage the globe and threaten the future of humanity, it warns. Democracy, human rights and press freedom are also suffering. The report, called 2009 State Of The Future, has been compiled by the Millennium Project, an international think-tank based in Washington DC, and involved 2700 experts from 30 countries. "Half the world appears vulnerable to social instability and violence," the report says. "This is due to rising unemployment and decreasing food, water and energy supplies, coupled with the disruptions caused by global warming and mass migrations." ...


Let's add an 8th terror: stories like this!

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Sun, Aug 2, 2009
from Edinburgh Scotsman:
Scientists claim planet is heading for 'irreversible' climate change by 2040
Carbon dioxide levels are rising at a faster rate than the worst-case scenario envisaged by United Nations experts, with the planet heading for "catastrophic" and "irreversible" climate change by 2040, a new report claims. The rise of greenhouse gases will trigger an unprecedented rate of global warming that will result in the loss of the ice-covered polar seas by 2020, much of our coral reefs by 2040 and see a 1.4-metre rise in the sea level by 2100. The apocalyptic vision has been outlined in a paper by Andrew Brierley of St Andrews University, which is likely to influence the views of UN experts gathering in Copenhagen this December to establish a new protocol that will attempt to halt global warming. ...


"Apocalyptic"? Where are the plagues of locusts?

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Fri, Jul 24, 2009
from Newsweek:
Climate-Change Calculus: Why it's even worse than we feared.
Among the phrases you really, really do not want to hear from climate scientists are: "that really shocked us," "we had no idea how bad it was," and "reality is well ahead of the climate models." Yet in speaking to researchers who focus on the Arctic, you hear comments like these so regularly they begin to sound like the thumping refrain from Jaws: annoying harbingers of something that you really, really wish would go away.... The loss of Arctic sea ice "is well ahead of" what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forecast, largely because emissions of carbon dioxide have topped what the panel—which foolishly expected nations to care enough about global warming to do something about it—projected. "The models just aren't keeping up" with the reality of CO2 emissions, says the IPY's David Carlson. Although policymakers hoped climate models would prove to be alarmist, the opposite is true, particularly in the Arctic.... But estimates of how much carbon is locked into Arctic permafrost were, it turns out, woefully off. "It's about three times as much as was thought, about 1.6 trillion metric tons, which has surprised a lot of people," says Edward Schuur of the University of Florida. ...


Stop it! Hasn't Brangelina done something recently?

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Mon, Jul 20, 2009
from YouTube, et al.:
'Doc Michael lets loose the dogs of fear
In June of 2009, I gave what I consider my most important speech to date, at the Association of American University Presses' annual meeting. It was the last presentation in the last Plenary session of the meeting, and allowed me to talk about the two issues that matter most to me: saving scholarly publishing, and saving civilization. In 16 minutes. My friend Paul Murphy, of RAND Publishing, took guerrilla video footage of most of the speech, and then edited my Powerpoint in, bless his heart. It is available below, via YouTube. (Thanks, Paul!)... "But CO2 does something much worse. While we bicker with global-warming deniers, the ocean is getting more acidic. Excess CO2 plus ocean produces carbonic acid. Ocean acidification is a clear and present danger. A slight rise in acidity dramatically affects calcium-carbonate-based lifeforms, like most plankton, shellfish, and coral, the cornerstones of the ocean biosphere.... If, over the next decade, humans continue doing what we have done for the last fifty years, then we will construct our own hell, and our grandchildren will curse our names." ...


Does a speech count as news, even from the heart, if it happens at a conference? Of scholarly publishers?

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Tue, Jul 14, 2009
from Inderscience via ScienceDaily:
Trapping Carbon Dioxide Or Switching To Nuclear Power Not Enough To Solve Global Warming Problem, Experts Say
Attempting to tackle climate change by trapping carbon dioxide or switching to nuclear power will not solve the problem of global warming, according to energy calculations published in the July issue of the International Journal of Global Warming... The researchers have calculated that the heat energy accumulated in the atmosphere corresponds to a mere 6.6 percent of global warming, while the remaining heat is stored in the ground (31.5 percent), melting ice (33.4 percent) and sea water (28.5 percent). They point out that net heat emissions between the industrial revolution circa 1880 and the modern era at 2000 correspond to almost three quarters of the accumulated heat, i.e., global warming, during that period. ...


So I guess this means it's time to party hardy!

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Sun, Jul 12, 2009
from London Independent:
The planet's future: Climate change 'will cause civilisation to collapse'
An effort on the scale of the Apollo mission that sent men to the Moon is needed if humanity is to have a fighting chance of surviving the ravages of climate change. The stakes are high, as, without sustainable growth, "billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilisation will collapse". This is the stark warning from the biggest single report to look at the future of the planet -- obtained by The Independent on Sunday ahead of its official publication next month. Backed by a diverse range of leading organisations such as Unesco, the World Bank, the US army and the Rockefeller Foundation, the 2009 State of the Future report runs to 6,700 pages and draws on contributions from 2,700 experts around the globe. Its findings are described by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the UN, as providing "invaluable insights into the future for the United Nations, its member states, and civil society". ...


Can I get the ApocaCliffsNotes version, please?

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Fri, Jul 3, 2009
from New Scientist:
Meadows of the sea in 'shocking' decline
Seagrass meadows are disappearing at an accelerating pace, according to a new report, which is the first to look at the problem on a global scale. Seagrass meadows, along with coral reefs, mangrove forests, and salt-marshes, provide valuable ecosystem services like nutrient cycling. They also protect edible crustaceans, like shrimps and crabs, and juvenile fish such as salmon. In addition, seagrass meadows provide habitats for endangered species like dugongs, manatees, and sea turtles. While marine ecologists have been measuring localized seagrass loss for decades, they had never before pooled their information to get a global perspective. So a team led by Michelle Waycott of James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland, Australia pooled data from 215 regional studies, from 1879 to 2006. They found that the total area of known seagrass meadow had decreased by 29 per cent over the 127 years. They also found that the rate of loss had accelerated, from less than 1 per cent per year in the 1940s to 7 per cent per year since the 1990s.... Overall, the rate of loss is comparable to that for tropical rainforests and coral reefs. ...


Those meadows are probably having problems because we're not mowing them often enough.

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Mon, Jun 29, 2009
from Paul Krugman, New York Times:
Betraying the Planet: Denial is Treason
A handful of these no votes came from representatives who considered the bill too weak, but most rejected the bill because they rejected the whole notion that we have to do something about greenhouse gases. And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn't help thinking that I was watching a form of treason -- treason against the planet. To fully appreciate the irresponsibility and immorality of climate-change denial, you need to know about the grim turn taken by the latest climate research. The fact is that the planet is changing faster than even pessimists expected: ice caps are shrinking, arid zones spreading, at a terrifying rate. And according to a number of recent studies, catastrophe -- a rise in temperature so large as to be almost unthinkable -- can no longer be considered a mere possibility. It is, instead, the most likely outcome if we continue along our present course. ...


That Nobel Prize? Just a theory.

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Sat, Jun 27, 2009
from Western Morning News (UK):
Marine life 'at risk' from CO2
THE Arctic Ocean could become corrosive to marine life within a matter of decades, according to leading scientists who will be attending a critical meeting in Plymouth next week. More than 100 marine scientists specialising in ocean acidification will gather at the Plymouth University on Monday to discuss their research into the dramatic effects of excess carbon dioxide being absorbed from the atmosphere into the oceans. Ocean acidification, often referred to as "the other C02 problem", is a relatively recently recognised consequence of C02 emissions and threatens to corrode shell or skeleton-forming marine organisms. The oceans are a natural sink for C02 and, because of their sheer collective size, were once thought too big to be affected by humans.... Dr Carol Turley, senior scientist at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, said: "Ocean acidification is real, it's happening and it's happening now, so it is essential for us to gain as much insight as possible to help us understand and plan for the effects that are inevitable. "Even small changes are likely to have major impacts on the ocean and its food webs, including the oxygen we breathe and the fish we eat, and that means it will affect all of us." ...


"The other CO2 problem"??

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Mon, Jun 8, 2009
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
Apocalypse now
Whether it's something in the air (such as greenhouse gases) or something in the economy (such as oil and food prices), the only field where there currently seems to be a boom is in gloom. But it's not just ranters wearing bathrobes on street corners: Some of the most respected thinkers about science and society are issuing alarming prognostications about humanity coming to an end, with a bang or with a whimper... The idea of End Times, or apocalypses, has been around as long as religion. Until recently, it has been a mainstay of Christian fundamentalism. But the notion that the world as we know it is about to end - this time with an environmental rather than a religious-inspired bang - lately has been making inroads in more mainstream and progressive-leaning circles, including activists, scientists and pundits. ...


ApocaDocumentarians such as us have known all this for years.

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Mon, Jun 1, 2009
from InterAcademy Panel on International Issues:
Ocean acidification must be on the Copenhagen agenda, world's scientists warn
Ocean acidification, one of the world's most important climate change challenges, may be left off the agenda at the United Nations Copenhagen conference, the world's science academies warned today.... 70 national science academies signed the statement.... "The implications of ocean acidification cannot be overstated. Unless we cut our global CO2 emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050 and thereafter, we could be looking at fundamental and immutable changes in the makeup of our marine biodiversity. The effects will be seen worldwide, threatening food security, reducing coastal protection and damaging the local economies that may be least able to tolerate it." ...


Fundamental and immutable means the ocean as we know it will die. Or, perhaps most frighteningly, "no more Filet o' Fish McSandwiches."

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Tue, May 19, 2009
from MIT, via EurekAlert:
MIT: Climate change odds much worse than thought
The most comprehensive modeling yet carried out on the likelihood of how much hotter the Earth's climate will get in this century shows that without rapid and massive action, the problem will be about twice as severe as previously estimated six years ago -- and could be even worse than that.... While the outcomes in the "no policy" projections now look much worse than before, there is less change from previous work in the projected outcomes if strong policies are put in place now to drastically curb greenhouse gas emissions. Without action, "there is significantly more risk than we previously estimated," Prinn says. "This increases the urgency for significant policy action." To illustrate the range of probabilities revealed by the 400 simulations, Prinn and the team produced a "roulette wheel" that reflects the latest relative odds of various levels of temperature rise. The wheel provides a very graphic representation of just how serious the potential climate impacts are. "There's no way the world can or should take these risks," Prinn says. And the odds indicated by this modeling may actually understate the problem, because the model does not fully incorporate other positive feedbacks that can occur, for example, if increased temperatures caused a large-scale melting of permafrost in arctic regions and subsequent release of large quantities of methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. Including that feedback "is just going to make it worse," Prinn says. ...


How can "positive feedbacks" be so danged negative?

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Thu, Apr 30, 2009
from London Guardian:
Swine flu pandemic alert raised to level five
The World Health Organisation last night raised its swine flu global epidemic threat level to phase five -- the second highest -- as a result of the increasing number of people being confirmed as infected with the virus across the globe. Phase five indicates the disease is able to spread easily between humans and is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent....The increase in threat level comes after a 23-month-old Mexican child died in Texas, becoming the first person to die from swine flu outside the country of origin; while in Spain officials confirmed the first case of the disease in a person who has not travelled to Mexico. ...


Who let the hogs out... Who who who who!

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Tue, Apr 28, 2009
from London Guardian:
Arctic CO2 levels growing at an 'unprecedented rate', say scientists
Figures from a measuring station in northern Norway show that CO2 levels are increasing by 2-3 parts per million every year... The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached a record high, according to the latest figures released by an internationally regarded measuring station in the Arctic. The measurements suggest that the main greenhouse gas is continuing to increase in the atmosphere at an alarming rate despite the downturn in dip in the rate of increase of the global economy. Levels of the gas at the Zeppelin research station on Svalbard, northern Norway, last week peaked at over 397 parts per million (ppm), an increase of more than 2.5ppm on 2008. ...


This is CO2 MUCH of an increase!!!

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Fri, Apr 17, 2009
from Agence France-Presse:
Forests could flip from sink to source of CO2: study
Forests that today soak up a quarter of carbon pollution spewed into the atmosphere could soon become a net source of CO2 if Earth's surface warms by another two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), cautions a report to be presented Friday at the UN. Plants both absorb and exhale carbon dioxide, but healthy forests -- especially those in the tropics -- take up far more of the greenhouse gas than they give off. When they are damaged, get sick or die, that stored carbon is released....Authored by 35 of the world's top forestry scientists, the study provides the first global assessment of the ability of forests to adapt to climate change. Manmade warming to date -- about 0.7 C since the mid-19th century -- has already slowed regeneration of tropical forests, and made them more vulnerable to fire, disease and insect infestations. Increasingly violent and frequent storms have added to the destruction. ...


From sink.... to sunk.

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Tue, Apr 14, 2009
from The Daily Climate:
Steep emissions cuts take a chunk of warming with them -- study
BOULDER -- Drastic, economy-changing cuts to greenhouse gas emissions will spare the planet only half the trauma expected over the next century as the Earth warms. And that's the good news. Because a failure to significantly curb these planet-warming gases will truly transform our world in less than 100 years. A new study to be published by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research finds that a 70 percent cut in emissions should stabilize temperatures at a mark not too much higher than today. Such a cut, most experts agree, would require vast retooling of society's fossil-fuel-based economy and an unprecedented level of global cooperation. But even that major effort to slash emissions won't stop global warming, scientists warn. The question confronting politicians throughout the world, in other words, is not whether they want the planet to warm. It is to what degree. ...


how 'bout an itty bitty degree?

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Fri, Apr 10, 2009
from Yale Environment 360:
Retreat of Andean Glaciers Foretells Global Water Woes
Earlier this year, the World Bank released yet another in a seemingly endless stream of reports by global institutions and universities chronicling the melting of the world's cryosphere, or ice zone. This latest report concerned the glaciers in the Andes and revealed the following: Bolivia's famed Chacaltaya glacier has lost 80 percent of its surface area since 1982, and Peruvian glaciers have lost more than one-fifth of their mass in the past 35 years, reducing by 12 percent the water flow to the country's coastal region, home to 60 percent of Peru's population. And if warming trends continue, the study concluded, many of the Andes' tropical glaciers will disappear within 20 years, not only threatening the water supplies of 77 million people in the region, but also reducing hydropower production, which accounts for roughly half of the electricity generated in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. ...


The melting of the cryosphere just makes me weep!

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Tue, Apr 7, 2009
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Arctic ice getting thinner, fading fast
Ice in the ocean surrounding the Arctic is thinner than it's been in 30 years, and there's much less of it, say scientists who are monitoring the effects of climate change. At the same time, another team of climate scientists is predicting from earlier data that the Arctic's ice cover has been melting so rapidly over the past few years that much of it could be gone within another three decades. ...


Ice getting thinner... Humans getting fatter.... Is there a connection here?

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Sun, Apr 5, 2009
from Reuters:
Ice bridge holding Antarctic ice shelf cracks up
An ice bridge which had apparently held a vast Antarctic ice shelf in place during recorded history shattered on Saturday and could herald a wider collapse linked to global warming, a leading scientist said. "It's amazing how the ice has ruptured. Two days ago it was intact," David Vaughan, a glaciologist with the British Antarctic Survey, told Reuters of a satellite image of the Wilkins Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula. The satellite picture, from the European Space Agency (ESA), showed that a 40 km (25 mile) long strip of ice believed to pin the Wilkins Ice Shelf in place had splintered at its narrowest point, about 500 meters wide. ...


By "cracks up," I'm presuming they don't mean its funnybone was tickled.

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Sat, Apr 4, 2009
from Montreal Gazette:
Climate clock is ticking
We have already crossed some critical climate thresholds. The world not only has to drastically cut back its greenhouse gas emissions but also begin to take steps to deal with the inevitable changes that global warming will cause. The much-feared tipping points - which would cause massive icecap and ice shield melting, and plunge the world headlong into severe weather systems, causing broad devastation and rising seas - seem increasingly probable. This is why, scientists say, the United Nations climate talks that began this week in Bonn, Germany, and will culminate in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December, are so important. They are a last chance for the world to come to its senses and negotiate an agreement to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions. ...


It's time to stop tiptoeing around tipping points.

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Sat, Apr 4, 2009
from Reuters:
Wordie Ice Shelf has disappeared: scientists
One Antarctic ice shelf has quickly vanished, another is disappearing and glaciers are melting faster than anyone thought due to climate change, U.S. and British government researchers reported on Friday. They said the Wordie Ice Shelf, which had been disintegrating since the 1960s, is gone and the northern part of the Larsen Ice Shelf no longer exists. More than 3,200 square miles (8,300 square km) have broken off from the Larsen shelf since 1986. Climate change is to blame, according to the report from the U.S. Geological Survey and the British Antarctic Survey, available at pubs.usgs.gov/imap/2600/B. "The rapid retreat of glaciers there demonstrates once again the profound effects our planet is already experiencing -- more rapidly than previously known -- as a consequence of climate change," U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement. ...


Wordie up! Wordie... down...

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Sat, Apr 4, 2009
from Scientific American:
Are some chemicals more dangerous at low doses?
There are some 82,000 chemicals used commercially in the U.S., but only a fraction have been tested to make sure they're safe and just five are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to congressional investigators. But a government scientist says there's no guarantee testing actually rules out health risks anyway. The basic premise of safety testing for chemicals is that anything can kill you in high enough doses (even too much water too fast can be lethal). The goal is to find safe levels that cause no harm. But new research suggests that some chemicals may be more dangerous than previously believed at low levels when acting in concert with other chemicals. ...


Is it just me... or is it time to find a new, pristine planet!

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Fri, Apr 3, 2009
from Associated Press:
Arctic sea ice is melting faster than expected, study shows
Arctic sea ice is melting so fast that most of it could be gone in 30 years. A new analysis of changing conditions in the region, using complex computer models of weather and climate, says conditions that had been forecast for the end of the century could occur much sooner. A change in the amount of ice is important because the white surface reflects sunlight back into space. When ice is replaced by dark ocean water, the sunlight can be absorbed, warming the water and increasing the warming of the planet. ...


Thirty years? That's all the time in the world.

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Thu, Mar 26, 2009
from New Scientist:
Arctic meltdown is a threat to humanity
"I AM shocked, truly shocked," says Katey Walter, an ecologist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. "I was in Siberia a few weeks ago, and I am now just back in from the field in Alaska. The permafrost is melting fast all over the Arctic, lakes are forming everywhere and methane is bubbling up out of them." Back in 2006, in a paper in Nature, Walter warned that as the permafrost in Siberia melted, growing methane emissions could accelerate climate change. But even she was not expecting such a rapid change. "Lakes in Siberia are five times bigger than when I measured them in 2006. It's unprecedented. This is a global event now, and the inertia for more permafrost melt is increasing." ...What is certain is that the Arctic is warming faster than any other place on Earth. While the average global temperature has risen by less than 1 degree C over the past three decades, there has been warming over much of the Arctic Ocean of around 3 degrees C. In some areas where the ice has been lost, temperatures have risen by 5 degrees C. ...


She's just being ... emotional.

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Mon, Mar 16, 2009
from Nature:
A sleeping giant?
In 2007, scientists scouting the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean began to notice some troubling signs. In about half of their seawater chemistry samples, the concentration of dissolved methane was two to ten times higher than in samples taken during previous years from the same locations. Then, last summer, they observed large rings of gas — sometimes as wide as 30 centimetres in diameter — trapped in ice, as well as methane plumes bubbling to the surface over hundreds of square kilometres of the shallow waters along the Siberian Shelf.... large quantities of methane are becoming destabilized as the planet — and the ocean — heat up. Researchers have long speculated that warming could unleash vast stores of the greenhouse gas from where it lies frozen beneath the sea floor and locked up in Arctic soils. If those deposits were to melt, it would almost certainly trigger abrupt climate change. Methane heats the atmosphere with an efficiency 25 times that of carbon dioxide, and its release could put in motion a positive feedback loop in which warming releases methane, causing further warming, which liberates even more of the gas. Whether that's already happening is anyone's guess. ...


Call it the Great Gaia Fart.

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Sun, Mar 15, 2009
from Climate Wire:
Scientists are grim, economists more optimistic about climate change's effects
COPENHAGEN -- Scientists are gloomy; economists are more upbeat. Such was the bottom line of an epic, three-day international congress of climate change experts that ended here yesterday. At the congress, it seemed that all the scientists had to share with their peers was bad news, but a number of economists saw the climate crisis rather as an historic opportunity to reorganize the world economy and develop new, clean and job-creating activities. At the opening of yesterday's session, Lord Nicholas Stern, former chief economist for the World Bank, added his own dose of gloom by saying that his now-famous report on the risks of global warming, written for the British government in 2006, had underestimated them. "The reason is that emissions are growing faster than we thought, the absorption capacity of the planet is less than we thought, the probability of high temperatures is likely higher than we thought, and some of the effects are coming faster than we thought," he explained. ...


Good Lord!

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Fri, Mar 13, 2009
from Telegraph.co.uk:
World's leading scientists in desperate plea to politicians to act on climate change
In what was described as a watershed moment, more than 2,500 leading environmental experts agreed a statement that called on governments to act before the planet becomes an unrecognisable -- and, in places, impossible -- place to live. At an emergency climate summit in Copenhagen, scientists agreed that "worst case" scenarios were already becoming reality and that, unless drastic action was taken soon, "dangerous climate change" was imminent.... In a strongly worded message that, unusually for academics, appealed directly to politicians, they said there was "no excuse for inaction" and that "weak and "ineffective" governments must stand up to big business and "vested interests".... Steps should be "vigorously and widely implemented", they said, to reduce greenhouse gases. Failure to do so would result in "significant risk" of "irreversible climatic shifts", the statement added... Prof Kevin Anderson, the research director at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in Manchester, said: "Scientists have lost patience with carefully constructed messages being lost in the political noise. We are now prepared to stand up and say enough is enough." ...


You mean... more study isn't needed?

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Wed, Mar 11, 2009
from Christian Science Monitor:
Canada’s carbon sink has sprung a leak
Billions of tiny mountain pine beetles are treating Canada’s boreal forest like a 3,000-mile-long salad bar, transforming a key absorber of carbon dioxide greenhouse gas into a CO2 emitter instead. In just a decade, exploding beetle populations and a rise in wildfires have flipped Canada’s boreal forest from its longstanding role as a natural carbon vacuum – sucking up 55 million or more tons of CO2 annually – to that of a giant tailpipe emitting up to 245 million tons of CO2 each year, according to the Canadian Forest Service. That sharp about-face is raising questions about the future of northern forests worldwide that are being hit hard by global warming – including Russia’s massive boreal expanse, where wildfires have risen dramatically. ...


From Dudley Do-Right to Dudley Do-Wrong!

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Wed, Mar 11, 2009
from New Scientist:
Sea level rise could bust IPCC estimate
that's the first big message to come from the climate change congress that kicked off in Copenhagen, Denmark, today. Researchers, including John Church of the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, presented evidence that Greenland and Antarctica are losing ice fast, contributing to the annual sea-level rise. Recent data shows that waters have been rising by 3 millimetres a year since 1993. ... By 2100, sea levels could be 1 metre or more above current levels, he says. And it looks increasingly unlikely that the rise will be much less than 50 centimetres. In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forecast a rise of 18 cm to 59 cm by 2100. But the numbers came with a heavy caveat that often went unnoticed by the popular press.... Church says even 50 cm would have a huge effect on flooding events. "Our study on Australia showed that coastal flooding events that today we expect only once every 100 years will happen several times a year by 2100," he says. ...


Do you mean that my coastal condo won't retain its value?!

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Tue, Mar 10, 2009
from London Guardian:
Carbon emissions creating acidic oceans not seen since dinosaurs
Human pollution is turning the seas into acid so quickly that the coming decades will recreate conditions not seen on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs, scientists will warn today. The rapid acidification is caused by the massive amounts of carbon dioxide belched from chimneys and exhausts that dissolve in the ocean. The chemical change is placing "unprecedented" pressure on marine life such as shellfish and lobsters and could cause widespread extinctions, the experts say. The study, by scientists at Bristol University, will be presented at a special three-day summit of climate scientists in Copenhagen, which opens today. The conference is intended to update the science of global warming and to shock politicians into taking action on carbon emissions. The Bristol scientists cannot talk about their unpublished results until they are announced later today. But a summary of the findings seen by the Guardian predicts "dangerous" levels of ocean acidification and severe consequences for organisms called marine calcifiers, which form chalky shells. ...


And in those days, cavemen had no means of recording this phenomenon.

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Mon, Mar 9, 2009
from Der Spiegel:
China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Threaten to Double
...China is already the world's fourth-largest economy. It will continue to expand at a steady pace even though the financial crisis has somewhat tempered its previously booming growth. There will be more city and road construction, infrastructure and transportation projects, as well as expanding industrial production. China opened 47 new airports between 1990 and 2002, and its highway network grew by 800,000 kilometers (500,000 miles) from 1981 to 2002. By 2030, China's population is expected to have grown from 1.3 to 1.5 billion people. More and more urban households will adopt a Western lifestyle by then, complete with air-conditioning, refrigerators, television sets, computers and other appliances. ...


It's starting to feel like the earth's tectonic plates are made of china.

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Sun, Mar 8, 2009
from London Guardian:
Scientists to issue stark warning over dramatic new sea level figures
Scientists will warn this week that rising sea levels, triggered by global warming, pose a far greater danger to the planet than previously estimated. There is now a major risk that many coastal areas around the world will be inundated by the end of the century because Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are melting faster than previously estimated. Low-lying areas including Bangladesh, Florida, the Maldives and the Netherlands face catastrophic flooding, while, in Britain, large areas of the Norfolk Broads and the Thames estuary are likely to disappear by 2100. In addition, cities including London, Hull and Portsmouth will need new flood defences. ...


Our cup... runneth o'er.

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Sun, Mar 8, 2009
from Telegraph.co.uk:
The toxic sea: the other CO2 problem
They are calling it "the other CO2 problem". Its victim is not the polar bear spectacularly marooned on a melting ice floe, or an eagle driven out of its range, nor even a French pensioner dying of heatstroke. What we have to mourn are tiny marine organisms dissolving in acidified water. In fact we need to do rather more than just mourn them. We need to dive in and save them. Suffering plankton may not have quite the same cachet as a 700-kilo seal-eating mammal, but their message is no less apocalyptic. What they tell us is that the chemistry of the oceans is changing, and that, unless we act decisively, the limitless abundance of the sea within a very few decades will degrade into a useless tidal desert. ... On average, each person on Earth contributes a tonne of carbon to the oceans every year. The result is a rapid rise in acidity -- or a reduction in pH, as the scientists prefer to express it -- which, as it intensifies, will mean that marine animals will be unable to grow shells, and that many sea plants will not survive. With these crucial links removed, and the ecological balance fatally disrupted, death could flow all the way up the food chain, through tuna and cod to marine mammals and Homo sapiens. As more than half the world's population depends on food from the sea for its survival, this is no exaggeration. ...


It's just a little evolutionary pressure. Come on, species, get with it!

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Fri, Mar 6, 2009
from London Independent:
Revenge of the rainforest
It covers an area 25 times bigger than Britain, is home to a bewildering concentration of flora and fauna and is often described as the "lungs of the world" for its ability to absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide through its immense photosynthetic network of trees and leaves. The Amazon rainforest is one of the biggest and most important living stores of carbon on the planet through its ability to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into solid carbon, kept locked in the trunks of rainforest trees for centuries. But this massive natural "sink" for carbon cannot be relied on to continue absorbing carbon dioxide in perpetuity, a study shows. Researchers have found that, for a period in 2005, the Amazon rainforest actually slipped into reverse gear and started to emit more carbon than it absorbed. Four years ago, a sudden and intense drought in the Amazonian dry season created the sort of conditions that give climate scientists nightmares. Instead of being a net absorber of about two billion tons of carbon dioxide, the forest became a net producer of the greenhouse gas, to the tune of about three billion tons. The additional quantity of carbon dioxide left in the atmosphere after the drought - some five billion tons - exceeded the annual man-made emissions of Europe and Japan combined. What happened in the dry season of 2005 was a stark reminder of how quickly the factors affecting global warming can change. ...


So the Rainforest... is a Drainforest!

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Thu, Mar 5, 2009
from Reuters:
Arctic summer ice could vanish by 2013: expert
The Arctic is warming up so quickly that the region's sea ice cover in summer could vanish as early as 2013, decades earlier than some had predicted, a leading polar expert said on Thursday. Warwick Vincent, director of the Center for Northern Studies at Laval University in Quebec, said recent data on the ice cover "appear to be tracking the most pessimistic of the models", which call for an ice free summer in 2013. The year "2013 is starting to look as though it is a lot more reasonable as a prediction. But each year we've been wrong -- each year we're finding that it's a little bit faster than expected," he told Reuters. The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world and the sea ice cover shrank to a record low in 2007 before growing slightly in 2008. In 2004 a major international panel forecast the cover could vanish by 2100. Last December, some experts said the summer ice could go in the next 10 or 20 years. ...


That's four years of bliss!

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Tue, Mar 3, 2009
from Associated Press:
Study: Combining pesticides makes them more deadly for fish
Common agricultural pesticides that attack the nervous systems of salmon can turn more deadly when they combine with other pesticides, researchers have found. Scientists from the NOAA Fisheries Service and Washington State University were expecting that the harmful effects would add up as they accumulated in the water. They were surprised to find a deadly synergy occurred with some combinations, which made the mix more harmful and at lower levels of exposure than the sum of the parts. The study looked at five common pesticides: diazinon, malathion, chlorpyrifos, carbaryl and carbofuran, all of which suppress an enzyme necessary for nerves to function properly. The findings suggest that the current practice of testing pesticides - one at a time to see how much is needed to kill a fish - fails to show the true risks, especially for fish protected by the Endangered Species Act, the authors concluded in the study published Monday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. ...


Like I'm supposed to be soooo surprised by "a deadly synergy"?

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Mon, Mar 2, 2009
from The Canadian Press:
Large fish going hungry as supplies of smaller species dwindle: report
HALIFAX, N.S. -- Dolphins, sharks and other large marine species around the world are going hungry as they seek out dwindling supplies of the small, overlooked species they feed on, according to a new study that says overfishing is draining their food sources. In a report released Monday, scientists with the international conservation group Oceana said they found several species were emaciated, reproducing slowly and declining in numbers in part because their food sources are being fished out. "This is the first time that we're seeing a worldwide trend that more and more large animals are going hungry," Margot Stiles, a marine biologist at Oceana and the author of the report, said from Washington, D.C. "It's definitely starting to be a pattern." ...


And humans can be so good at reproducing patterns.

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Tue, Feb 24, 2009
from Washington Post:
MIT Group Increases Global Warming Projections
Report: High odds of warming over 5 degrees C (9 degrees F) if no action New research from MIT scientists shows that in the absence of stringent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, 21st century climate change may be far more significant than some previous climate assessments had indicated. The new findings, released this month by MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, showed significantly increased odds that by the end of the century warming would be on the high end of the scale for a so-called "no policy scenario" as compared with similar studies completed just six years ago. The main culprits: the cycling of heat and carbon dioxide in the climate system are now better understood and projections of future greenhouse gas emissions have increased. The results also showed that even if nations were to act quickly to reduce emissions, it is more likely that warming would be greater than previous studies had shown. However, the increase in projected temperatures under the "policy scenario" was not as large as for the no policy scenario. ...


MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Terror!

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Wed, Feb 18, 2009
from NOAA, via Mongabay:
CO2 levels rise to a new record
Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations climbed 2.28 parts-per-million (ppm) in 2008 to the highest level in at least 650,000 years -- and possibly 20 million years -- reports NOAA. The average annual growth rate of CO2 concentrations this decade is now 2.1 ppm a year or 40 percent higher than that of the 1990s. CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are increasing at four times the rate of the previous decade.... Some scientists, including James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, warn that CO2 levels must be kept below 350 ppm to avoid serious impacts from climate change. CO2 concentrations are presently around 386 ppm. ...


Guinness didn't want to see this.

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
from London Independent:
New nuclear plants will produce far more radiation
New nuclear reactors planned for Britain will produce many times more radiation than previous reactors that could be rapidly released in an accident, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. The revelations -- based on information buried deep in documents produced by the nuclear industry itself -- calls into doubt repeated assertions that the new European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) will be safer than the old atomic power stations they replace. Instead they suggest that a reactor or nuclear waste accident, [sic] althouguh less likely to happen, could have even more devastating consequences in future; one study suggests that nearly twice as many people could die. ...


No matter how deep you bury it ...

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Tue, Feb 3, 2009
from CBC News (Canada):
Mercury levels rising in caribou, contaminants program finds
Caribou in Canada's North are showing increasing levels of mercury, a contaminant that has drifted into the Arctic from other parts of the world, researchers have found. Mercury is one of two contaminants found in northern environments that are of great concern to scientists, said Mary Gamberg, project co-ordinator with federal Northern Contaminants Program in the Yukon. Gamberg said mercury "seems to be increasing in some [wildlife] populations all across the Arctic," she told CBC News in an interview Monday. "In marine mammals, in some populations, it's increasing. And in caribou, in some populations -- and particularly in female caribou -- it seems to be increasing, which is really interesting," she added. ...


Golly. Interesting. Even fascinating. How unexpected. Of scientific note only, no need to worry about implications, move along.

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Fri, Jan 30, 2009
from BBC:
Acid oceans 'need urgent action'
The world's marine ecosystems risk being severely damaged by ocean acidification unless there are dramatic cuts in CO2 emissions, warn scientists. More than 150 top marine researchers have voiced their concerns through the "Monaco Declaration", which warns that changes in acidity are accelerating.... It says pH levels are changing 100 times faster than natural variability. ... The researchers warn that ocean acidification, which they refer to as "the other CO2 problem", could make most regions of the ocean inhospitable to coral reefs by 2050, if atmospheric CO2 levels continue to increase. They also say that it could lead to substantial changes in commercial fish stocks, threatening food security for millions of people. "The chemistry is so fundamental and changes so rapid and severe that impacts on organisms appear unavoidable," said Dr James Orr, chairman of the symposium. "The questions are now how bad will it be and how soon will it happen." ...


Isn't the ocean too big to fail?

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Fri, Jan 30, 2009
from Alaska Dispatch:
Northern life endures a midwinter's thaw
[The] thermometer at KJNP radio station in North Pole registered a low of minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit on Jan. 3 ... On Jan. 16, the same thermometer read plus 55 degrees. In Anchorage, temperatures varied from minus 31 degrees Fahrenheit at Campbell Creek Science Center Jan. 7 to plus 52 degrees at Merrill Field Jan. 16.... In areas where the warm wind was a real snow-eater, leaving the ground bare, red-backed voles lost their network of tunnels under the snow where they live, eat, and sometimes even breed in midwinter when times are good. "It can be 10-to-15 degrees warmer under the snowpack," said Ian van Tets, a biology professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. "For a little furry animal those 10-to-15 degrees can make a big difference. "I think this is going to be a bad winter for voles and lemmings," he said. "There's probably going to be a lot of die-off." ...


Voles and lemmings are key prey for raptors, wolves, foxes... a bad year for...
Wait -- did you say 55 degrees at the North Pole? In January!?

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Sat, Jan 10, 2009
from National Assessment of Adult Literacy:
State and County Literacy Estimates
In response to a demand for estimates of the percentage of adults with low literacy in individual states and counties, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has produced estimates of the percentage of adults lacking Basic Prose Literacy Skills (BPLS) for all states and counties in the United States in 2003 and 1992. These estimates were developed using statistical models that related estimated percentages of adults lacking BPLS in counties sampled for the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) and the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS) to county characteristics, such as levels of educational attainment and race/ethnicity distributions. Based on the results of these models, NCES derived BPLS literacy estimates for all states and counties in the United States and produced user-friendly tables to compare literacy estimates across states or counties and across years. ...


I guess we'll just have to save the planet without words!

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Tue, Jan 6, 2009
from Environmental Health News:
Crops absorb livestock antibiotics, new science shows
For half a century, meat producers have fed antibiotics to farm animals to increase their growth and stave off infections. Now scientists have discovered that those drugs are sprouting up in unexpected places. Vegetables such as corn, potatoes and lettuce absorb antibiotics when grown in soil fertilized with livestock manure, according to tests conducted at the University of Minnesota. Today, close to 70 percent of all antibiotics and related drugs used in the United States are routinely fed to cattle, pigs and poultry, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Although this practice sustains a growing demand for meat, it also generates public health fears associated with the expanding presence of antibiotics in the food chain. ...


Don't tell me: there are probably antibiotics in the livestock's farts as well.

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Fri, Jan 2, 2009
from Chicago Tribune:
Canada's forests, once huge help on greenhouse gases, now contribute to climate change
As relentlessly bad as the news about global warming seems to be, with ice at the poles melting faster than scientists had predicted and world temperatures rising higher than expected, there was at least a reservoir of hope stored here in Canada's vast forests. The country's 1.2 million square miles of trees have been dubbed the "lungs of the planet" by ecologists because they account for more than 7 percent of Earth's total forest lands. They could always be depended upon to suck in vast quantities of carbon dioxide, naturally cleansing the world of much of the harmful heat-trapping gas. But not anymore. In an alarming yet little-noticed series of recent studies, scientists have concluded that Canada's precious forests, stressed from damage caused by global warming, insect infestations and persistent fires, have crossed an ominous line and are now pumping out more climate-changing carbon dioxide than they are sequestering. Worse yet, the experts predict that Canada's forests will remain net carbon sources, as opposed to carbon storage "sinks," until at least 2022, and possibly much longer. ...


So... Ronald Reagan WAS right. Trees do cause pollution!

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Thu, Dec 18, 2008
from Science Daily (US):
Scientists Find Increased Methane Levels In Arctic Ocean
A team led by International Arctic Research Center scientist Igor Semiletov has found data to suggest that the carbon pool beneath the Arctic Ocean is leaking.... Geophysical measurements showed methane bubbles coming out of chimneys on the seafloor. "The concentrations of the methane were the highest ever measured in the summertime in the Arctic Ocean," Semiletov said. "We have found methane bubble clouds above the gas-charged sediment and above the chimneys going through the sediment."... The new data indicates the underwater permafrost is thawing and therefore releasing methane.... Methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, is thought to be an important factor in global climate change. ...


Said the Permafrost to his mother: "I can't hold it in any longer!"

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Thu, Dec 18, 2008
from BBC:
Changes 'amplify Arctic warming'
...Theory predicts that as ice is lost in the Arctic, more of the ocean's surface will be exposed to solar radiation and will warm up. When the autumn comes and the Sun goes down on the Arctic, that warmth should be released back into the atmosphere, delaying the fall in air temperatures. Ultimately, this feedback process should result in Arctic temperatures rising faster than the global mean. Dr [Julienne] Stroeve and colleagues have now analysed Arctic autumn (September, October, November) air temperatures for the period 2004-2008 and compared them to the long term average (1979 to 2008). The results, they believe, are evidence of the predicted amplification effect. "You see this large warming over the Arctic ocean of around 3C in these last four years compared to the long-term mean," explained Dr Stroeve. ...


Sing with me: Tiiiiiimmmeee.... is NOT on our side....

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Sat, Dec 13, 2008
from NSF, via EurekAlert:
New online report on massive jellyfish swarms released
Massive swarms of stinging jellyfish and jellyfish-like animals are transforming many world-class fisheries and tourist destinations into veritable jellytoriums that are intermittently jammed with pulsating, gelatinous creatures. Areas that are currently particularly hard-hit by these squishy animals include Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico, the east coast of the U.S., the Bering Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, Australia, the Black Sea and other European seas, the Sea of Japan, the North Sea and Namibia.... From large swarms of potentially deadly, peanut-sized jellyfish in Australia to swarms of hundreds of millions of refrigerator-sized jellyfish in the Sea of Japan, suspicion is growing that population explosions of jellyfish are being generated by human activities. ...


Refrigerator-sized jellyfish in the hundreds of millions? Is it possible they are now predator-free?

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Wed, Dec 10, 2008
from Straight.com:
Gwynne Dyer: Four harsh truths about climate change
About 70 interviews, a dozen countries, and 18 months later, I have reached four conclusions that I didn’t even suspect when I began the process. The first is simply this: the scientists are really scared. Their observations over the past two or three years suggest that everything is happening a lot faster than climate models predicted. This creates a dilemma, because for the past decade they have been struggling against a well-funded campaign that cast doubt on climate change. Now, finally, people and even governments are listening. Even in the United States, the world headquarters of climate-change denial, 85 percent of the population now sees climate change as a major issue, and both major presidential candidates promised 80-percent cuts in American emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. The scientists are understandably reluctant at this point to announce publicly that their predictions were wrong, that it's really much worse, and that the targets will have to be revised. Most of them are waiting for overwhelming proof that climate change really is moving faster, even though they are already privately convinced that it is. ...


When the scientists are afraid to admit they were underestimating -- well, it means they've been well-trained by the last eight years of ignorant "leadership."

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Sat, Nov 15, 2008
from Toronto Sun:
Got a spare Earth anywhere?
If the world continues to pillage and plunder Earth's natural resources at the rate we are now, by 2030 we will need two planets to support us. If everyone on Earth consumed the equivalent resources of Canadians, it would take three Earths to meet the demand. Since the late 1980s, we have been in overshoot -- meaning our ecological footprint has exceeded Earth's biocapacity to sustain our rate of consumption -- by about 30 percent.... Deforestation and land conversions in the tropics, dams, diversions, climate change, pollution and over-fishing are killing species off, the reverberations of which are felt along the food chain. ...


I don't think NASA is ready to terraform Mars just yet.

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Sun, Nov 9, 2008
from Yale University, via EurekAlert:
Revised theory suggests carbon dioxide levels already in danger zone
If climate disasters are to be averted, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) must be reduced below the levels that already exist today, according to a study published in Open Atmospheric Science Journal by a group of 10 scientists from the United States, the United Kingdom and France. The authors, who include two Yale scientists, assert that to maintain a planet similar to that on which civilization developed, an optimum CO2 level would be less than 350 ppm -- a dramatic change from most previous studies, which suggested a danger level for CO2 is likely to be 450 ppm or higher. Atmospheric CO2 is currently 385 parts per million (ppm) and is increasing by about 2 ppm each year from the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) and from the burning of forests. ...


Mom, the thermometer says 108. Is that a problem?

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Wed, Oct 22, 2008
from Saskatoon Star Phoenix:
Ecological stocks plummet around the world
In fully 52 per cent of the mammals for which population trends are known, numbers are dwindling. Some 188 species are in the highest threat category of critically endangered. An additional 29 species have been flagged as critically endangered possibly extinct, and nearly 450 mammals have been listed as endangered. The greatest threats mammals face are deforestation and other habitat loss, as well as overhunting. Habitat loss and degradation affect 40 per cent of the world's mammals and climate change is increasingly a factor affecting habitat. ...


Only 52 percent? We can do better than that!

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Tue, Sep 23, 2008
from London Independent:
Exclusive: The methane time bomb
The first evidence that millions of tons of a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide is being released into the atmosphere from beneath the Arctic seabed has been discovered by scientists. The Independent has been passed details of preliminary findings suggesting that massive deposits of sub-sea methane are bubbling to the surface as the Arctic region becomes warmer and its ice retreats... its release could accelerate global warming in a giant positive feedback where more atmospheric methane causes higher temperatures, leading to further permafrost melting and the release of yet more methane. ...


The "death spiral" has just entered the phase of "hellish, inescapable vortex."

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Sun, Sep 14, 2008
from Global Public Media:
Seriously: emptying the ocean
Daniel Pauly, director of the UB Fisheries Centre, interview transcript, from 2003: "Generally it takes about 10-15 years from the discovery of a fish population of large fish, for it to be reduced by a factor of 10 and less to a smaller amount."... "[T]hat's why most species of fish have collapsed to less than one or two or three percent of the original biomass in the 50's." ... "So overfishing, in a sense, is subsidized by these enormous prices." ... "If you look at the modern fishing vessel, you will find a level of technical sophistication on deck and its mind boggling. It's like an airplane. It has eco-sound... that tells you where every fish is, where you are, how the grounds look like, extremely detailed.... So if you deploy this technology to catch fish, the fish lose. They invariably lose." ...


There is nothing funny to say about this. Nothing.

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Thu, Aug 28, 2008
from eFlux Media:
Unstoppable Thawing in the Arctic Sea
The disturbing truth is that the ice level is headed down a declining path and the Arctic region is doomed to see the day when, during the summer, it will be only water. And if this had already been foreseen by scientists, who claimed that by the year 2080, the Arctic sea would be ice-free, the more recent predictions are a lot bleaker: some say by 2050, some by 2030 and some reckon it will occur within as little as 5 years.... Any way one might look at it, the picture looks really grim and leaves almost no room to hope for improvement or change. No ice on the Arctic sea could mean a torturous rite of passage for the Earth as we know it now. And it will not overcome it unscarred. ...


Wonder how we'll move all those polar bears and penguins and seals to the Antarctic. I mean, we would, wouldn't we?

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Sat, Jul 26, 2008
from Globe and Mail (Canada), via Taras Grescoe:
Finny finis?
Stern trawlers the size of destroyers, purse-seiners that can encircle a dozen nuclear submarines, sonar, spotter planes, GPS and DuPont's nylon monofilament netting become the norm. Equipped with the latest technology, the fishing fleets of the world become armadas facing enemies with brains the size of chickpeas. By the turn of the millennium, 90 per cent of the world's predator fish - tuna, sharks, swordfish - have been removed from the ocean; leading marine ecologists to project that, because of pollution, climate change and overfishing, all the world's major fisheries will collapse within the next 50 years. The saga ends where it began, in North Atlantic fishing towns, where the locals are reduced to catching slime eels and tourists in search of the quaint get served farmed-in-China tilapia at local seafood shacks. ...


Phytoplankton curry, anyone?

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Tue, Jun 10, 2008
from NOAA Fisheries Service:
Persistent Man-made Chemical Pollutants Found in Deep-sea Octopods and Squids
New evidence that chemical contaminants are finding their way into the deep-sea food web has been found in deep-sea squids and octopods.... These species are food for deep-diving toothed whales and other predators.... "It was surprising to find measurable and sometimes high amounts of toxic pollutants in such a deep and remote environment," Vecchione said. Among the chemicals detected were tributyltin (TBT), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), brominated diphenyl ethers (BDEs), and dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT). ...


Maybe we'll end up making the marine life
too toxic to eat before
we've scraped the ocean clean of them.

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Wed, Jun 4, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
Puffin numbers plummet in UK's biggest colony
Naturalists working on the Isle of May, a major seabird colony on the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh, disclosed today that puffin numbers on the island have unexpectedly fallen by nearly a third this year after decades of continual increases in population.... Although the bird – which has a relatively long 30-year lifecycle - congregates in large colonies such as the Isle of May to breed in the spring, it spreads across the sea to winter on the water. It also has a wide and varied diet, from zooplankton and worms, to small fish such as sand eels, and squid. As a result, its decline suggests a profound problem across the North Sea rather than an isolated or one-off event, said Harris. "We're looking for something acting over a substantial part of the North Sea," he said. "Something big is going on at a wide scale." ...


The puffin in the coal mine is getting black lung.

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Fri, May 30, 2008
from University of California - Riverside via ScienceDaily:
Large Methane Release Could Cause Abrupt Climate Change As Happened 635 Million Years Ago
An abrupt release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, about 635 million years ago from ice sheets that then extended to Earth's low latitudes caused a dramatic shift in climate, triggering a series of events that resulted in global warming and effectively ended the last "snowball" ice age, a UC Riverside-led study reports.... The researchers posit that the methane was released gradually at first and then in abundance from clathrates -- methane ice that forms and stabilizes beneath ice sheets under specific temperatures and pressures. When the ice sheets became unstable, they collapsed, releasing pressure on the clathrates which began to degas. "Our findings document an abrupt and catastrophic means of global warming that abruptly led from a very cold, seemingly stable climate state to a very warm also stable climate state with no pause in between," said Martin Kennedy, a professor of geology in the Department of Earth Sciences, who led the research team. ...


Then we won't have a snowball's chance on earth.

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Sun, Apr 27, 2008
from McClatchy:
Jumbo squid invade waters off Pacific coast
"They aren't your normal calamari. But the jumbo squid now lurking off the Pacific Northwest coast could threaten salmon runs and signal yet another change in the oceans brought on by global warming. The squid, which can reach seven feet long and weigh up to 110 pounds, are aggressive, thought to hunt in packs and can move at speeds of up to 15 mph. In Mexico, they're known as diablos rojos, or red devils. They reportedly will attack divers when they feel threatened.... "It's not rare anymore. They were always thought to be a transient visitor; now it appears they are resident." ...


Whoa dude these are monsters! We're gonna need, like, action stars to fight 'em!

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Thu, Mar 27, 2008
from BBC (UK):
Plastic and toxic magnetism
Studies suggest billions of microscopic plastic fragments drifting underwater are concentrating pollutants like DDT.... "We know that plastics in the marine environment will accumulate and concentrate toxic chemicals from the surrounding seawater and you can get concentrations several thousand times greater than in the surrounding water on the surface of the plastic."... According to Dr Thompson, the plastic particles "act as magnets for poisons in the ocean".... In a typical sample of sand, one-quarter of the total weight may be composed of plastic particles.... "The thing that's most worrisome about the plastic is its tenaciousness, its durability. It's not going to go away in my lifetime or my children's lifetimes. ...


How can plastic be a magnet for toxins? We've heard of "animal magnetism," but
"synthetic magnetism"?

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Wed, Mar 26, 2008
from BBC (UK):
Plastic and the Midway albatross
The Midway Islands are home to some of the world's most valuable and endangered species and they all are at risk from choking, starving or drowning in the plastic drifting in the ocean. Nearly two million Laysan albatrosses live here and researchers have come to the staggering conclusion that every single one contains some quantity of plastic. About one-third of all albatross chicks die on Midway, many as the result of being mistakenly fed plastic by their parents. ...


The numbers of dead albatrosses hanging from humanity's necks
just keeps increasing.

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Sat, Mar 1, 2008
from The Guardian:
Gaia guru Lovelock: enjoy life while you can
"[Climate scientist maverick James] Lovelock believes global warming is now irreversible, and that nothing can prevent large parts of the planet becoming too hot to inhabit, or sinking underwater, resulting in mass migration, famine and epidemics. Britain is going to become a lifeboat for refugees from mainland Europe, so instead of wasting our time on wind turbines we need to start planning how to survive. To Lovelock, the logic is clear. The sustainability brigade are insane to think we can save ourselves by going back to nature; our only chance of survival will come not from less technology, but more....He smiles and says: 'Enjoy life while you can. Because if you're lucky it's going to be 20 years before it hits the fan.'" ...


We notice Lovelock left out the word "shit" -- perhaps that's why he seems so constipated in this article. Either that or he knows exactly what kind of shit we're in for.

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Thu, Feb 21, 2008
from The Age:
Dire new warning on climate
Recent work by scientists suggests climate change is advancing more rapidly and more dangerously than previously thought, according to Canberra's top adviser on the issue. In a dire warning to the Rudd Government, Ross Garnaut has declared that existing targets for cuts in greenhouse emissions may be too modest and too late to halt environmentally damaging rises in temperature. On the eve of the release today of his interim report on climate change, Professor Garnaut told a conference in Adelaide yesterday that without intervention before 2020, it would be impossible to avoid a high risk of dangerous climate change. "The show will be over," he said. ...


For some, the show will have only begun.

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Fri, Feb 8, 2008
from Salt Lake Tribune, via Scripps:
Carbon dioxide could saturate seas first, kill plant life that supplies oxygen
"Greenhouse emissions' warming effect on the atmosphere is bad enough, but their bigger threat is the ecological chaos they are causing as the world's oceans become more acidic, according to a marine scientist. Oceans are absorbing the glut of atmospheric carbon dioxide -- stemming from two centuries of rampant burning of fossil fuels -- at the rate of 1 million metric tons an hour. Reacting with seawater, the absorbed carbon dioxide forms carbonic acid and throws marine chemistry out of whack. Without a major effort to curb emissions, massive die-off will occur in coral reefs, the shells of crucial mollusk species will dissolve and key marine plant life, which produces half the world's atmospheric oxygen, will disappear..." ...


This article covered a visiting lecturer Marcia McNutt, a geophysicist who heads California's Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. We bet everybody went out drinking after this cheery talk.

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