Archive for October 8th, 2019

Sea Level Rise Accelerating: A Nonlinear Consequence Of CO2 Rise

October 8, 2019

The CO2 catastrophe will entail all sorts of nonlinear reactions from nature. An example is Sea Level Rise, which is accelerating faster than so-called “experts” expected. So forests are dying: 

The New York Times describes the “Ghosts Forests” of the East Coast of the US, as sea level goes up there at the alarming clip of 5 millimeter per year. The reason for that accelerated rise was long predicated by those who understand climate nonlinearity better: as Greenland melts, its cold, sweet, lighter waters act as a lid on top of the Gulf Stream, and tend to make it back up. (Sweet Swede Greta Thunberg mentioned several nonlinear effects at the UN. That makes that 16 year old child more significantly cognizant than the top climate panel, the IPCC… of a couple of years ago; IPCC took linearity more seriously only this year. They should have read yours truly, a decade ago….)

It is nearly amusing how the soporific forecasts of the scientific community clash with reality: Greenland’s ice sheet lost 55 billion tons of water over five days in July and August — enough to cover the state of Florida in almost 5 inches of water. Nearly all of Greenland was melting over those days, as the heat wave which made Paris reach 43.6 Centigrades (108F) hit the world’s largest island. That water is not coming back as ice ever again. 

Such a rate of melting was not expected by (government fed) specialists, at least officially, for another 50 years… Overall, Greenland ice sheet lost last summer the equivalent of a cube of ice five kilometers on its side (contributing directly one millimeter of sea level rise). But these are early days (Antarctica is not yet melting.) 

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NYT: “As Sea Levels Rise, So Do Ghost Forests:

Up and down the mid-Atlantic coast, sea levels are rising rapidly, creating stands of dead trees — often bleached, sometimes blackened — known as ghost forests… Rising seas often conjure the threat to faraway, low-lying nations or island-states. But to understand the immediate consequences of some of the most rapid sea-level rise anywhere in the world, stand among the scraggly, dying pines of Dorchester County along the Maryland coast… People living on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay, the country’s largest estuary system, have a front-row view of the sea’s rapid advance, said Keryn Gedan, a wetland ecologist at George Washington University. Part of the reason for the quickly rising waters may be that the Gulf Stream, which flows northward up the coast, is slowing down as meltwater from Greenland inhibits its flow. That is causing what some scientists describe as a pileup of water along the East Coast, elevating sea levels locally…. The Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, where Dr. Gedan does research, lost 3,000 acres of forest and agricultural land between 1938 and 2006. More than 5,000 acres of marsh became open water.

The New York Times noted that the cities along the East Coast, some of them historically African-American, are too poor to do as the Dutch do, and build dikes. Well, OK, they have dikes, but we have plutocrats: can’t have everything… They can admire their dikes,  we can admire our plutocrats, and those wonderful millionaire athletes with thighs in tights.

“The Atlantic white cedar, abundant around the Mullica River Estuary in stands such as this one, is an unusually durable parchment on which to capture that history. Long prized for lumber, its wood is highly resistant to rot. But the tree is also very sensitive to salt. It can tolerate maybe three salty high tides before succumbing. So when the trees begin dying, it’s a trustworthy indicator that conditions are becoming more saline. It is an age-old phenomenon, now happening faster. Erosion of marshes and riverbanks has also accelerated, revealing buried cedar stumps from prehistoric ghost forests. Jennifer Walker, a frequent collaborator with Dr. Able who recently earned her Ph.D. in oceanography at Rutgers, dated one stump here to the fifth century. “Cedar cemeteries,” she calls these places.”

Many of those paid by the dominant fossil fuel industry produce doctored temperature graphs, and they actually dominate the Internet (hey, as they steal the planet, they have all the money in the world to buy themselves mouthpieces of all sorts, including scientists). The graph above is the truth. The drought around 33 centuries ago caused the collapse of all ancient Mediterranean-Near East civilizations… except for Egypt, which barely survived what Pharaoh Ramses III called the “People of the Sea Conspiracy”. So a tremendous drought, quakes, etc. caused a chain of events bringing the Bronze Age collapse (we know this from archaeology, Hittites-Egyptian correspondence, etc…). BTW, we are already at 1,1 degree Centigrade of temperature rise, higher by 30% than in the red line above…

Cedars died from salt water intrusions after centuries of a warm spell, centered around 2,000 years ago, and which ended abruptly, stressing hard Greco-Roman civilization: that Roman climate optimum occurred naturally, from Earth’s orbital mechanics. Although its end was brutal, temperature-wise, its onset was gradual, and consequences enfolded even after it passed away: so these “Cedar cemeteries’ happened, close to the end of the warm climate, showing how much inertia the climate has. After many centuries, the ongoing warming made glaciers melt, and recess, including in Greenland. So the same phenomenon was at work in Chesapeake Bay as now. However, right now the warming is from a tremendous rise in CO2, not seen in millions of years. 

Similarly, although the present warming is extremely rapid, its most dreadful consequences are slow to appear: a lot of inertia is found in the climate system. Even if we stopped right away the CO2 emissions, the consequences of the present rise of CO2 would be increasingly felt for centuries (absent science fiction terra forming technologies which we do not have… yet) In other words, the nonlinear effects are starting, and we will not be capable of stopping them. And they will accelerate. 

The collapse of the Ross ice shelf in Antarctica is, for example, guaranteed: it happened around 400,000 years ago, in colder conditions than the ones we are going to reach within decades, at most (its disappearance was discovered in 2019). That particular collapse will rise sea levels 3.3 meters. But other ice formations are even more worrisome. The humongously giant ice basins in East Antarctica, such as the Aurora and Wilkes basins, are threatened too: their delicate margins are at low latitudes, close to the Antarctic circle, their bottom more than a mile below sea level. They could melt in a matter of decades (as happened to Hudson Bay at the end of the last glaciation). reading this, well paid professional specialists will feel forced to publicly chuckle, and pontificate it would take centuries of warm water. They are paid to sustain the life of their pay master, the fossil fuel economy. Only this way are they to be taken seriously, and puff their lustrous feathers, like well fed pigeons.

Conventional climate science is in denial about the imminent collapse into the sea of much of Antarctica, as professionals don’t want to sound too alarmist, lest they lose their jobs.

That’s why there are philosophers, and they live in barrels: to tell the truth.

Patrice Ayme