Archive for the ‘Antarctica’ Category

Global Sea Ice Collapsing: Carbon Tax!

January 7, 2017

Any linear process, pushed too far, will become non-linear. This is true in psychology, as it is in imploding stars. (It is even true in Quantum Physics, where it used to be called “collapse” and now is called “decoherence”, because “collapse” did not sound too good, probably… Actually the switch from linear to nonlinear, is the greatest mystery of the Quantum; we will massage it below, with an ominous message, naturally…) And it is obviously true for the climate. Climate change can be slowly and steady (it took 35 million years to cool the dinosaurs into extinction, although the end of the process was nonlinear…) Climate change can also be extremely brutal, on the orders of years, not millions of years (contemplate the Younger Dryas, dramatic, extremely brutal glaciations which lasted no more than a millennium, the most spectacular being 18,000 years ago).

This is a complicated world. We are its gods, and we are warming up the party. Global sea ice is the sum of sea ice, worldwide, mostly found in the Arctic and Antarctica. It is suddenly collapsing. Yes, global ice fluctuates with the seasons. Yet, consider this graph:

 

Catastrophic Collapse Inevitable. Any linear process, pushed too far, will become non-linear.

Catastrophic Collapse Inevitable.

Just invert that graph, transforming the ice collapse into sea rise: this is what is going to happen. And not in 5000 years, as corrupt scientists have hopefully suggested. No: it could start to happen in 2017. And it will certainly start very soon, in the lifetime of existing politicians.

How did these scientists get corrupt? By hope and inertia: good jobs are given to those with good news, however fake those “news” may be. Especially if said good “news” reinforce the existing establishment. There was actually nothing new in claiming that Greenland and Antractica would stay covered with ice. It was actually old news.

There was no reason, whatsoever, to think that the giant ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica would stay stable under enormous warming. (Whereas global air warming is only 1.2 Centigrade above the baseline, warming in polar regions is several times this. This fact is explainable by logic alluded to below.)

However, there were excellent reasons, excellent because they were very simple, to believe they were not going to stay stable. I have found them, and exposed them on this site. Two reasons are most prominent.

One I could call that the permafrost argument: as temperatures shift up, by a few degrees Centigrade (= Celsius), the permafrost line has to travel hundreds of kilometers north, or south. As it does, ice sheets melt.

However, and this is the second major reason, ice sheets, which are up to four kilometers thick, exert a pressure of 4,000 tons per square meter (that means roughly 40,000 tons over the footprint of a car). The ice sheets thus press the continents down by thousands of meters, so warm water will slip below the ice, falling all the way underneath, and the disintegration will be brutal. (Such brutality has been caught on film.)

I am struggling with an essay which demonstrates why Obama wanted Trump elected (and how he accomplished this). Not easy to explain to those who cling to a simpler world (so the work is still in progress). Yet there is a first lesson therein:that our world has become so complicated, so poorly organized, and so dangerously managed, and our powers so great, that a single individual’s brain structure impacts significantly the biosphere.

A case in point is Kim of North Korea: a certified maniac who rules the world by instilling respect for his own insanity (he claims to be developing a nuclear “deterrent” by being able to throw nuclear bombs at any country, anywhere.)

So what’s up with the ice? Sea ice depends upon a cold sea. Ice on top of the sea, or land, throws back sunlight like a shield, back to space, before photons can dig in the ground, or the ocean, and deliver in the depths their momentum-energy, raising the agitation, thus temperature there. Once the ice cover is gone, photons can heat up the depths. Normal temperature measurements which make headlines are just about air temperature, a meter off the ground. They are not about the rise of temperatures of the depths.

If, at some point the rise of temperature of the depths becomes to great to allow ice or snow cover in winter, ground, or ocean temperature is exposed to photons, thus heat, even in the cool season, and a vicious circle, a different regime, starts.

The transition does not have to be smooth. In Quantum Physics, a system can “tunnel” between a local minima, and another, even lower (this is “classically” not allowed). So will object that climatology is a “classical” system. And they are obviously wrong: this is the famous paradox of the hurricane started by a butterfly’s wings. Ultimately, Quantum systems decide of everything: if zillions of Quantum systems switch to a lower energy state together, we have a “classical” transition.

Thus, the climate of the entire planet will LURCH to a different state. The collapse of global sea ice is an early indicator of the incoming catastrophe (reminiscent of when some temperature indicators went up inside the left wing of the Space Shuttle Columbia; by then, Columbia was doomed; in our case, we are not doomed terminally: we will be more or less doomed, depending upon how we react now).

This happened countless times in the past: the AMOC (or Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation), is the planet’s most significant current: it enables the Gulf Stream to go warm-up Europe gently. However, sometimes, it gets cold before making it to Iceland, and drops to the sea bottom, 6,000 meters down, short of the entire north-east corner of the Atlantic.

As it does in the fictional and exaggerated movie “The Day After Tomorrow”, when the AMOC brutally changes (this we know, for a fact explained mysterious flash freezes in the past, more than 10,000 years ago).

Actually my own position is more subtle: I do not expect a brutal glaciation in Europe, as when the AMOC lurched last, because there is plainly not enough easily liquefiable cold in the Arctic. However, I expect something way worse: brutal sea level rise, in the tens of meters. My reasoning is terrible in its brutal simplicity: warm oceanic water will slip underneath, and then fall thousands of meters below the ice sheets. Yes, below. For more details, please read:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/west-antarctica-melting-amazon-not-helping/

Warm winds on top will not help, and have already disintegrated major ice shelves in days (like four days: by happenstance, measuring instruments caught the disintegration of a major ice shelf, ten years ago: it was immediately preceded by a four-day, 16 Celsius (62 F) wind storm (with hurricane winds). Said winds are of course augmenting. Because of thermodynamic effects, extremely warm winds can occur even in July, in the heart of Antarctica’s winter, bringing temperatures up by 40 Celsius (from minus 30 C to plus 10 C), vaporizing the snow cover (winds are augmenting all over the planet, as more energy is pumped into the biosphere).

The Obama administration did precious little about the developing climate catastrophe (his own administrator just testified in Congress that Obama administration policies had an impact of .01%; even the much derided governor Perry from Texas did much more, by transforming the One Star State into a large wind farm!)

Trump could do much more, by killing two birds with one stone. He could do what Obama and the establishment which used him as a puppet, did not dare do. Mostly because they are very serious, respectable people getting their power from even more serious, more respectable people.

Set-up a worldwide carbon tax. Europe will cooperate: several European countries already have carbon taxes, all tax gasoline and diesel at enormous rates. It happens that, under Obama, the US government was selling the best coal in the world, five times below cost (a Science Magazine lead article detailed this in December 2016; I planned to write an essay on it, but did not find the time-energy…). That dragged all coal prices down, worldwide, and was an anti-carbon tax.

By lifting that best-coal price in Federal lands, thanks to a carbon tax, Trump would bring coal prices up (thus momentarily helping the coal miners who voted for him).

Such is the way. There is no alternative (slogan of the stupid Thatcher!). Of course, there is so much inertia in the system, a rise of three degrees Centigrade is guaranteed, and coastal cities will have either to be evacuated, or sit behind ten stories tall levees…

Anyway, let climate skeptics munch on the graph on top. Brutal floods are a historical fact. Sumerian civilization was drowned in a sudden flood. And yes, it was man-made, we understand this now. 43 centuries ago, the most advanced civilization, or, more exactly, one of the roots of what would become the most advanced civilization (ours) was wiped out in a matter of days, by a man-made cataclysm.

Meditate that.

Meditation is the noblest pursuit of humanity. Or, at least, the one activity which characterizes humanity best.

Patrice Ayme’

 

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Saharan Snow, Enjoy, It Will Not Last

December 21, 2016

Global warming is accelerating, as anticipated: the Arctic sea ice is the smallest ever for the season. Also the Polar Vortex wanders. As I have argued in the past, global warming also means, through equipartition of energy, great depressions, great high pressure, and great dynamics. Greats dynamics means great motions of whatever is big and can be moved. From depression, to wiggles in the jet streams, to the polar vortices themselves: whatever can move, will be moved.

This has brought some counterintuitive effects: for decades, Antarctic sea ice spread out away from the icy continent, pushed by stronger winds. Also the accelerating melting of the giant Antarctic ice shelves (some 1,000 kilometers wide), has brought to the surface light sweet water, which readily freezes above the colder, denser saltier ocean water below. Thus climate deniers chuckled that Antarctica was getting colder, whereas, in truth, was they were observing was the exact opposite.

Climate Denying Sites Published Similar Pictures, Where The Forest In the Background Cannot Be Seen, Of Course...

Climate Denying Sites Published Similar Pictures, Where The Forest In the Background Cannot Be Seen, To Make It Look More Miraculous, Of Course…

So, year after year, the Antarctic sea ice spread out, and that was a shining demonstration of the global warming. Of course, this sort of evolution evolves steadily away from equilibrium, until things break, and a completely new attractive minimum comes within reach. This apparently just happened with Antarctica: after a year where the sea ice spread more than two standard deviations above the average, now the sea ice is shrinking two standard deviations BELOW the average.

The Polar Vortex has wandered: for many weeks it was over Siberia. Instead of being around the North Pole. Thus the temperature at the Pole was 20 Celsius (roughly 40 F) ABOVE normal. Then the vortex went to North America last week, and temperatures plunged there. Now higher temperatures are again announced for the Pole.

Ah, and what of this Saharan snow? Actually it was in an Algerian locality perched at 1078 meters above sea level in the Atlas mountains. It receives rain, and is surrounded by (thin) forest. Although this particular locale had no snow for 37 years, it snows every year in the Atlas: Algeria has ski resorts. The Atlas culminate at 4167 meters in Morocco and stretches 2,500 kilometers (1,600 miles). Many peaks are above 4,000 meters, and the barrier is formidable. The Atlas actually creates the Sahara, as it blocks moisture from the Atlantic and Mediterranean to reach the interior of the continent (the Sierra Nevada does the same in North America, blocking much Pacific moisture).

***

“What We Are Seeing Now In Greenland Is Out Of Bounds With Anything Seen In the Last Few Millions Year”

Two papers just published in Nature support my old opinion that the Greenland icecap is more fragile than it was previously assumed.  These papers arose from collaborations from many prestigious institutions, in several countries, with support from the US National Science Foundation. It uses new radioactive techniques (new in that context).

Basically, when exposed to the radiation of the natural environment, isotopic compositions get modified: elements become radioactive in specific ways; however, when tucked under kilometers of ice, said radiation does not reach the ground, and elements have a different isotopic composition; thus, scientists are now able to figure out what the ice cover was… even 7.5 million years ago.

A study pondered the Eastern Greenland ice cap. There are high mountains there (up to 3,700 meters). Computer models show that it should not have melted in the last 7.5 million years (some hopefully claim it never will, but that’s just fossil fuel industry driven computations…). This is indeed what was found in the isotopic studies. The leader of the study, Bierman, opined that:

“…the ice sheet in East Greenland responds to and tracks global climate change… The melting we are seeing today may be out of the bounds of how the Greenland ice sheet has behaved for many millions of years.”

That team collected only samples off the mountainous east side of Greenland. Its results don’t provide a definitive picture of the whole Greenland ice sheet. But its findings  provide strong evidence that “an ice sheet has been in East Greenland pretty much continuously for seven million years,” says Jeremy Shakun, a geologist at Boston College who co-led the new study. “It’s been bouncing around and dynamic — but it’s been there nearly all the time.”

However, people on the ground, see the ice sheet retreating by miles, every year, in some places, leaving an eerie landscape behind.

***

Contrast does not mean contradiction: 

The other study in Nature was led by Joerg Schaefer of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Columbia University, looked at a small sample of bedrock from one location beneath the middle of the existing ice sheet. It came to what appears to be a contradictory conclusion: Greenland was nearly ice-free for at least 280,000 years during the middle Pleistocene — around 1.1 million years ago. This contradicts existing computer models: the Common Wisdom was that, after earth entered a period of glaciations 2.7 million years ago, camels disappeared from the High Arctic, and that was that.

“These results appear to be contradictory — but they may not be,” Bierman says. Both studies have “some blurriness… Their study is a bit like one needle in a haystack, and ours is like having the whole haystack, but not being sure how big it is.”

Both teams looked at isotopes within grains of quartz, produced when bedrock is bombarded by cosmic rays from space. The isotopes are created when rock is at or near Earth’s surface — but not when rock is buried under an overlying ice sheet. By looking at the ratio of two of these cosmic-ray-made elements — aluminum-26 and beryllium-10 caught in crystals of quartz, and measured in an accelerator mass spectrometer — the scientists calculated how long the rocks in their samples had been exposed to the sky, or covered by massive ice. The technique is not new, but was never applied before to cores from marine sediments. Now they are busy extending the methods to other places, including Antarctica.

All of this will allow to evaluate better the probability of melting of the ice sheets in the present conditions.

I think the real danger comes from Antarctica, and it’s coming soon. “But there’s enough sea-level rise tied-up in Greenland alone to put a lot of cities and long stretches of coastline underwater,” says Paul Bierman, “including Donald Trump’s property in Florida.”

Well, Trump knows this (whatever he says to assuage his most clueless, suffering supporters). And thus Trump may do more than Obama, who did nothing, except covering up with hot air coming out of his mouth the black reality that the Federal government coal is sold at less than 20% of what it costs (according to a study published in Science in December 2016). Now, in another orgasmic bout of hot air, Obama and Trudeau, less than a month from giving the reins to Trump, have barred drilling in the Arctic. Looks like Obama is suddenly waking up to the possibilities that being a US president brings.

The moral thing to do is to be informed, and to look, in particular, at hypocrisy with a clear eye. Now Obama will be able to claim that he stopped the pipelines and the drilling. Zorro arrived at the last second to save the Earth, seven and a half year too late. History will laugh at how naive his (frantically hypocritical) admirers were.

Patrice Ayme’

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asia After Full Glacial Melt

April 24, 2016

The Way Of Life Of Some "Leading" Countries Brings Us Back To The Jurassic

What is that a map of? (Answer at the bottom.)

The positive side of a full glacial melt is that the devastated Aral Sea will be reconstituted to its former glory, and more. Tourists may be able to travel from Missouri to the Aral Sea on electric cruise ships. Let’s notice in passing that shallow seas were characteristic of the Jurassic, and exerted a positive feed-back on the climate, which was remarkably warm and wet then… thanks to these shallow seas. The Earth was ice-free (except on the top of very high mountains).

The Decision Is Now. The Next Two Decades Will Decide If This Is What Will Be

The Decision Is Now. The Next Two Decades Will Decide If This Is What Will Be

Some may sneer, but there is tremendous inertia in the system. Here is a depiction of temperatures in the last half a billion years:

The Projection That We Are On Two Degree Centigrade Rise By 2050 Is Optimistic: It Ignores Positive Feed-Back On Ice Melt

The Projection That We Are On Two Degree Centigrade Rise By 2050 Is Optimistic: It Ignores Positive Feed-Back On Ice Melt

As soon as we launch the shallow sea effect, it will feed-back on itself. That will be another feed-back on top of the ice melt feed-back. Scandalously, a European Union Commissioner just declared that the COP 21 treaty will be ratified in 2018 only. The French government has declared this “scandalous”, and intends to do something about it on Monday (EC Commissioners have been obviously on the take from major fossil fuel company such as Exxon, as stealth recordings recently showed).

Hence the moral quality of the following graph depicting Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, per capita, and per country:

GHG Per Capita: The Redder, The Worse. The Way Of Life Of Some "Leading" Countries Brings Us Back To The Jurassic

GHG Per Capita: The Redder, The Worse. The Way Of Life Of Some “Leading” Countries Brings Us Back To The Jurassic

At this point, some always ask: what can we do? Shall we recycle? Recycling is a related question, yet mostly independent of the energy problem. It’s much more efficient than fighting racism by never saying “nigger”, but still, it pales relative to burning fossils. Energy procurement has got to change radically. One has to de-carbonize. Now. Not just in 2050: by then it will be too late.

To de-carbonize, there is just one way: tax carbon so heavily that silly activities such as frantic tourism by plane, disappear altogether. So those who want to do something moral should agitate for an enormous carbon tax (while compensating for the poor with some of the proceeds).

Something similar is to push for local sustainable energy. An example: San Francisco just passed a law requiring plants or solar panels on roofs of all new building less than ten stories tall (to start with). Starting January 1, 2017. The law is identical to a mandate passed in France last year that all new buildings be covered in partial green roofing or solar panels.

In France, buildings producing more energy than they use have been erected. In other French news, Paris organized its first car race since 1951… 65 years ago. It was done with Formula One style cars: monospaces. It was also remarkably silent: the cars were electric. An Audi driven by the Brazilian Di Grassi won this “Formula E” event. There will be another one, next year (a necessary way of fighting terrorism is to act and behave as if there was no terror).

If enormous de-carbonization is not imposed quickly, fabulous wars may ensue… Except if some countries have such a lead in military matters that none of the others will try anything; as is presently the case of the West, mostly the USA, relative to the Rest; a fascinating twist on might makes right.

However, morality means “the mores”, what has proven sustainable to a tribe. And this brings still another moral twist. Some tribes (also known as nations) have profited a lot from war, thus may not be, very secretly, deep down inside, that adverse to adversity of the lethal type. Indeed, if adversity enables them to unleash the Dark Side, their empire may extend. Or, at least, such is the computation. because, in the past, war always proved such an excellent lever. It is especially the case of the USA (although Russia also lives under that illusion; and giant countries such as Canada and Australia are not far behind in that same general mood; even China, considering its recent conquest of gigantic, highly profitable Tibet and Xing Kiang, may feel that way, all too much).

Notice in passing that the US emits close to 20 tons of GreenHouse Gases per year, per capita. That’s around three times more than the French. And France is not three times poorer, per capita. Actually, according to Hillary Clinton, France is richer, per capita, than the USA: she herself says that the USA cannot afford universal health care. Whereas the French can afford a universal health care system. It is even worse than that, as the French health care system (with the Italian and Swedish ones) is leading in quality, whereas the USA trails, in quality of health care, behind all developed countries.

Once again, what Hillary really means is that those who are paying for her propaganda and helping her with various services, cannot afford a country with universal health care, because they are too busy overdosing inside their private jets (allusion to Prince, one of many). One’s morality not better than one’s logic.

The naïve, gullible and thoroughly obsolete, often believe there is just one way to be logical. But logic can be pretty much anything. Anything goes in logic. Differently from cooking ,where a few rules apply. In cooking at the very least, one should not put too much salt, or burn food to such a crisp that it becomes, well, pure carbon.

However logic is much more adaptable. And thus, a fortiori, is morality.

Tomorrow’s morality has often be made from yesterday’s computation. And computations can sometimes go awry.

So what to do? Change the moods ASAP. Solar roofs are an example. Another is the just announced change of the Twenty Dollar Bill. It figures president Jackson. Jackson followed Jefferson’s example, conquering and annexing giant swathes of territory for the USA. Those two, with Washington himself, were the three most important presidents, in the sense that they created, not just the USA as a state, but also its extent and its mood. Jackson was as macho as Washington, if not more. He went on his conquests, as the head of the US Army, without any order, and Congress did not dare contradict him, lest he made a coup. He had no problem harboring a bullet or two from successful duels.

Nowadays, more and more people in the USA feel that Jackson’s mentality is something which should not be viewed as an example anymore. So Obama and his sidekicks want to replace him by an abolitionist ex-slave who happened to be a woman (I had never heard from, I think, demonstrating that the masses need to further their education, indeed.)  Not bad. At the last hour, Obama and Al. minister admirably the details. However, if one removes all the slave masters from US currency, one may be left with the insipid mild and neutral pseudo-bridges found on European currency.

Removing the face of slavery would not be progress, if all one did, was to forget, and thus deny, where one came from, institutionally speaking, and in the genealogy of moods.

Without its demonic males to lead and fabricate appropriately evil systems of thought, the USA would not have become the world’s leading empire it is now. Beyond whether this is right or wrong, it’s important to remember that, first of all, that’s what happened. Yes, the USA was fabricated by slave masters. This politely brings in the natural question: Is the USA still ruled by slave masters?

The first moral duty is always to the truth. When the morality used is the one closest to the essence of the genus Homo. Yet, special circumstances, (such as inheriting a continent which has been grabbed,) have incited special moralities to blossom.

Patrice Ayme’

 

Runaway Antarctica

April 1, 2016

I have written for years that a runaway Antarctica was certain, with half the icy continent melting rather spectacularly on an horizon of two centuries at most, and probably much less than that. This rested on the fact that half of Antarctica rests on nothing but bedrock at the bottom of the sea. At the bottom of what should naturally be the sea, in the present circumstances of significant greenhouse gas concentrations.

Visualize this: until sometimes in the Nineteenth Century, GreenHouse Gas (GHG) concentration was 280 ppm (280 parts per million), including the man-made sort. Now we are close to 500 ppm, using a variety of exotic gases we produce industrially, among them, CO2. In CO2 alone we are at:  Week beginning on March 20, 2016: 405.62 ppm. Weekly value from 1 year ago: 401.43 ppm. Weekly value from 10 years ago: 382.76 ppm. So the CO2 alone is augmenting at a bit more than 1% a year. Thus we will be at an equivalent of 550 ppm in ten years (including the full panoply of all the other man-made greenhouse gases, not just CO2). There is evidence that, with just 400 ppm, disaster is guaranteed.

Now visualize this:

How Antarctica would appear if its ice melted: it’s half under the sea.

How Antarctica would appear if its ice melted: it’s half under the sea.

Why so watery? Because the enormous glaciers, up to nearly 5,000 meter thick, press down on the continent with their enormous weight. Since the end of the last glaciation, 10,000 years ago, Scandinavia has been rising, and is still rising (I long used a picture with a similar information about Antarctica’s bedrock.)

A paper published on line in Nature on March 30, 2016, that is, two days ago, “Contribution of Antarctica to past and future sea-level rise” opines that:

Polar temperatures over the last several million years have, at times, been slightly warmer than today, yet global mean sea level has been 6–9 metres higher as recently as the Last Interglacial (130,000 to 115,000 years ago) and possibly higher during the Pliocene epoch (about three million years ago). In both cases the Antarctic ice sheet has been implicated as the primary contributor, hinting at its future vulnerability. Here we use a model coupling ice sheet and climate dynamics—including previously underappreciated processes linking atmospheric warming with hydrofracturing of buttressing ice shelves and structural collapse of marine-terminating ice cliffs—that is calibrated against Pliocene and Last Interglacial sea-level estimates and applied to future greenhouse gas emission scenarios. Antarctica has the potential to contribute more than a metre of sea-level rise by 2100 and more than 15 metres by 2500, if emissions continue unabated. In this case atmospheric warming will soon become the dominant driver of ice loss, but prolonged ocean warming will delay its recovery for thousands of years.

Notice that the scenario evoked in the last sentence is different from my  very old scenario, which is similar to the one advanced in November 2015 by the famous Hansen and Al. (I raised the alarm before Hansen, at least seven years ago). In my scenario, and Hansen’s the ice sheets melt from below, due to warm sea water intrusion.

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is larger than Mexico.

Here is a taste of the paper (I have a Nature subscription):

“Reconstructions of the global mean sea level (GMSL) during past warm climate intervals including the Pliocene (about three million years ago)1 and late Pleistocene interglacials2, 3, 4, 5 imply that the Antarctic ice sheet has considerable sensitivity. Pliocene atmospheric CO2 concentrations were comparable to today’s (~400 parts per million by volume, p.p.m.v.)6, but some sea-level reconstructions are 10–30 m higher1, 7. In addition to the loss of the Greenland Ice Sheet and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS)2, these high sea levels require the partial retreat of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), which is further supported by sedimentary evidence from the Antarctic margin8. During the more recent Last Interglacial (LIG, 130,000 to 115,000 years ago), GMSL was 6–9.3 m higher than it is today2, 3, 4, at a time when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were below 280 p.p.m.v. (ref. 9) and global mean temperatures were only about 0–2 °C warmer10. This requires a substantial sea-level contribution from Antarctica of 3.6–7.4 m in addition to an estimated 1.5–2 m from Greenland11, 12 and around 0.4 m from ocean steric effects10.”

So notice: when CO2 ppm per volume was at 280 130,000 to 115,000 years ago, sea level was up to ten meter higher than now. And now we are at 500 ppmv…

And notice again: When CO2 ppmv was at 400, sea level was up to 30 meters (100 feet) higher than today. And now we are at 500 ppm, and, in a blink, in ten years, at 550 ppm.

Here is another example from the paper. I said all of this before, but to have scientists paid to do research in this area write it black on white in the world’s most prestigious scientific magazine, will no doubt endow me with greater, and much desired, gravitas. So let me indulge, not so much for my greater glory, but because it should help taking what I have long said more seriously.

“Much of the WAIS sits on bedrock hundreds to thousands of metres below sea level (Fig. 1a)13. Today, extensive floating ice shelves in the Ross and Weddell Seas, and smaller ice shelves and ice tongues in the Amundsen and Bellingshausen seas (Fig. 1b) provide buttressing that impedes the seaward flow of ice and stabilizes marine grounding zones (Fig. 2a). Despite their thickness (typically about 1 km near the grounding line to a few hundred metres at the calving front), a warming ocean has the potential to quickly erode ice shelves from below, at rates exceeding 10 m yr−1 °C−1 (ref. 14). Ice-shelf thinning and reduced backstress enhance seaward ice flow, grounding-zone thinning, and retreat (Fig. 2b). Because the flux of ice across the grounding line increases strongly as a function of its thickness15, initial retreat onto a reverse-sloping bed (where the bed deepens and the ice thickens upstream) can trigger a runaway Marine Ice Sheet Instability (MISI; Fig. 2c)15, 16, 17. Many WAIS grounding zones sit precariously on the edge of such reverse-sloped beds, but the EAIS also contains deep subglacial basins with reverse-sloping, marine-terminating outlet troughs up to 1,500 m deep (Fig. 1). The ice above floatation in these East Antarctic basins is much thicker than in West Antarctica, with the potential to raise GMSL by around 20 m if the ice in those basins is lost13. Importantly, previous ice-sheet simulations accounting for migrating grounding lines and MISI dynamics have shown the potential for repeated WAIS retreats and readvances over the past few million years18, but could only account for GMSL rises of about 1 m during the LIG and 7 m in the warm Pliocene, which are substantially smaller than geological estimates.”

I said it before. Including the details. So the evidence was clear, and out there. The optimism (it will take 5 centuries for 50 feet of sea level rise) is not supported by evidence. Actually collapsing channels coming from inverted rivers running up on the bellies of ice sheets are now obvious on satellite pictures and collapse of major ice shelves is going to be a matter of years, not centuries.

But science is made by tribes and these tribes honor the gods (of plutocracy) who finance them, and their whims. So they don’t want to make their sponsors feel bad. So they say unsupported, optimistic stuff, contradicted by a first order analysis.

Science is good, metascience, better. Metascience includes the sociological reasons which explain why some scientists will take some “facts” for obvious (although, coming from another sociology, they are not).

Deep in the Nature paper, in the quote above, or in four drawings and graphs of future sea level rise, one can find projections according to what various models “predict”… 130,000 years ago (!) The “Old Physics” model predicts one meter rise of the sea (this is the official UN maximal prediction for 2100). The new model, again starting with the present conditions, predict more than a six meter rise (!) This is a case of metascience playing with sea level.

This way, the authors of the paper will be able to say, one day: we told you so. While at the same time not irritating their sponsors now (because to understand what they are really saying takes quite a while, and has to be understood as tongue in cheek, when they pretend to apply the analysis to 130,000 years ago… What they really mean is six meters now, not just one meter… Bye bye Wall Street. Punished by its own instruments…)

The question is not whether we will be able to avoid a twenty meter sea level rise: that’s, unbelievably, a given (barring unforeseeable, yet imaginable technological advances to extract quickly a lot of CO2 from the atmosphere). The question is whether we will avoid a 60 meter rise.

Patrice Ayme’

Record Heat: Non Linear World

March 12, 2016
World Global Monthly Temperature Is Blowing Up (NASA data, March 2016)

World Global Monthly Temperature Is Blowing Up (NASA data, March 2016)

Temperatures Blowing Up, As Expected: THE SINGULARITY HAS ARRIVED

(Doomed) Presidential Candidate Sanders insists, correctly, that the USA needs a revolution. So does the world. Plutocracy, its “money changers” (president Roosevelt), carbonizers and political servants have taken over not just the honor of the human spirit and civilization, but also the biosphere itself. Meanwhile the planet is reacting:

Some smart donkeys will point out that this is the year of the strongest El Nino ever. The much smarter ones will retort that, when the planetary warming is fast and furious, El Nino will arrive every year. That’s not a joke, it’s paleontology of the climate.

People such as the present author have long pointed out that nonlinear effects could come in gear any day, launched by the anthropic poisoning of the atmosphere by man-made greenhouse gases. It is basically what happens in a criminal forest fire: somebody comes with a match. Given dry weather, high temperatures, and a wind, a vast conflagration results. As I said the three great Antarctic Glacial Basins could disappear in decades, not millennia. And soon.

This general mess is part of the famed “singularity”. It is fundamentally caused by the nonlinear rise of scientifically driven uncontrolled industry.

What Matters Most Is What Is Happening At the Poles, Where the Heating Is Maximal

What Matters Most Is What Is Happening At the Poles, Where the Heating Is Maximal

At some point this Winter temperatures went above freezing… at the north pole itself. The ice pack is accordingly at the lowest extent, ever. Proverbially, frogs are supposed not to jump, if one rises the temperature slowly. Meanwhile, the porous limestone on which Florida lies will not allow to save Miami with the simple expedient of building dams.

When Obama became president, he fixed the… Bush presidency. An admirer of Reagan, Obama lowered the taxes on the richest, by 20%, because followers of Reagan believe in “trickle down economics”. Then Obama gave a trillion to the banks (“TARP”), which reimbursed the Treasury, as the lying Clinton disingenuously, but correctly points out… Tanks to many trillion of dollars given to banks by the Federal Reserve (another branch of the government).

While Obama was busy saving the class he had been told he joined (and here is your Nobel Prize, boy!), he let the planet burn.

The Obama’s doctrine fundamental principle is: “Don’t do stupid shit!” However, when facing a singularity with a mind of its own, there is no difference between “doing stupid shit” and not doing anything.  Because the most stupid thing we can do is, nothing at all. Even Trump supporters have understood this. Obama thought that, by doubling up on Reagan policies, he would improve matters. Now he has to face these graphs. Like the butchery in Syria, they are his babies. There were holocaust before, a few hundred thousands Syrian dead, is nothing special, in the land of the “religion of eternal peace”, agreed.

However, the cooking of the biosphere will long live as the greatest infamy, ever. And those who wanted power so bad, and chose the worst as advisers, will be forever accused by history. Where is your suggestion to put a carbon tax, Mister President? Too busy asking your plutocrats for money? Cooking the biosphere is Obama’s gift, the change we can believe, because that’s the one we can see.

Patrice Ayme’

NASA’s Antarctic Interpretational Error

March 6, 2016

NASA observed a gain of altitude of much of Antarctica. From there NASA scientists deduced that Antarctica was gaining ice and snow. Unfortunately, as they admit, this leads them to predict that there is an unknown, massive cause of Sea Level Rise (SLR). The advantage is that this hypothesis makes nice with NASA’s sponsors (fossil fuels loving Republicans controlling Congress and the Supreme Court of the US). The disadvantage is that all SLR contributing factors have been accounted for, but one. And that one, NASA just denied, that it could possibly exist.

However, there is another interpretation differing vastly from the one NASA scientists made: Antarctica is gaining ice, snow, and… WATER. NASA did not see the water. How could it? Back to preschool: the water is below, the ice on top. See? The water is below, thus sight unseen. The ice is actually floating up. But that does not mean it’s not there. Actually the NASA map itself shows where the water is coming in. It’s not because one does not see something that one should not consider it. Progress in thinking is always achieved ONLY by considering what one has not considered before. So it’s always an exercise in atonement.

Water Sneaking Below The Ice: This Is The One Factor That Will Dominate Sea Level Rise, If It Does Not Already Do So

Water Sneaking Below The Ice: This Is The One Factor That Will Dominate Sea Level Rise, If It Does Not Already Do So

Of course such an explanation is valid only when there is water laying below the ice. But this is actually much of Antarctica, already. In some places, water goes below ice shelves, by 800 kilometers (500 miles). Much of the solid continent has lakes below the ice.

NASA’s Altitude Accumulation Map Shows Where Water Penetration Already Occurs

NASA’s Altitude Accumulation Map Shows Where Water Penetration Already Occurs

When NASA looks at this map, it claims that Antarctica is gathering snow. Indeed, globally, it is: warmer air carries more water, so, the warmer the air, the more it snows… until all turns to rain! This is why there are tropical downpours. This was fully expected by those, who, like me, believe in catastrophic temperature, and sea level, rise.

So NASA blares gigantic titles, to make its sponsors feel good about themselves, and thus expecting their gratitude: NASA Study: Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses. In truth, all what NASA saw was:  NASA study: ALTITUDE Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses. Altitude is not mass. Oops!

However, the NASA map clearly shows something OMINOUS is going on. Antarctica is quite a bit like the space shuttle Columbia warmed by the hot fluid during its final re-entry in the Earth atmosphere. All the area in grey, green and a fortiori blue are losing altitude. They are not anymore north, or warmer: it is that water is sneaking in below, melting the ice which then contracts. Hence the loss of altitude, because ice occupies (roughly) ten percent more volume than water of the same mass.

So NASA’s map shows, at a glance, that around 10% of Antarctica is undermined by water (or then is in a zone of thinning due to accelerated flow, caused by underlining water, or proximity of underlying water accelerating and thining glacial flow).

But this is not all: the areas undermined and sinking, thus invaded by water below, are the gateways of the West Antarctic Ice Shield (WAIS), the Wilkes Basin, and the Aurora Basin.

WAIS is 1.97 x 10^6 square kilometers in area (a fifth of the area of the USA, Canada, or China). The ice sheet is more than 2,000 meters thick in many parts, and its icy belly rests 2555 meters below sea level, directly on the rock at its lowest (more than a mile and a half). If warm water got there, the WAIS, or portions thereof, would quickly disintegrate.

Remember the wing on Space Shuttle Columbia? Hot gases penetrated in one gap in the front of the wing, and then went all over inside, disintegrating the innards. Antarctica has at least a dozen similar holes, through which HOT WATER is sneaking in. Under the Totten glacier, the narrow gateway to the giant Aurora Ice Basin, hot water has already penetrated hundreds of kilometers.

More generally, this error of NASA, brings the question of what the scientific method is. One make a theory, and then one finds out whether the theory fits the fact better. If it does, it’s viewed as true (meaning more true). Depending how the new theory fits better and differs more, the difference between the new and the old theory can be viewed as the difference between “truth” and “error”.

That water is coming up below the ice explains SLR. NASA’s theory does not. This makes my theory experimentally superior to NASA. This is traditional evaluation of the correctness of one scientific theory relative to another.

However, there is more. I claim that when comparing scientific theories, one cannot just judge if one theory fits the known facts better.

An example is the theory of glaciations. It was started by a Frenchman in the early Nineteenth Century. The key observation was that huge continents are bunched around the North Pole, so their insolation is sensitive to Earth’s orbital elements.

The theory was launched by Joseph Alphonse Adhémar (1797–1862), a French mathematician. He published this fundamental idea in 1842, in his book Revolutions of the Sea.[1] It took 160 years, and sophisticated computers to check that the theory was right.

So what was the difference? The idea. A new complexity. Adhémar introduced the completely new idea, that astronomical forces changed earth’s climate. It was a new dimension of complexity (at the time scientists, including Goethe, had just uncovered the existence of past extensive glaciations).

The difference between an erroneous, obsolete theory and a better one is often an addition of logical dimension(s). Thus Einstein’s “General Relativity” predicted a faster precession of the perihelion of Mercury, because time slows down closer to the massive sun. This was the introduction of a new element of complexity: classical mechanics, but with VARIABLE time.

Similarly, my theory on Antarctica introduces a new element: water. That element not considered by NASA adds a logical dimension. That makes my theory more sophisticated. When comparing theories, one has to compare not just their experimental predictions, but their logical sophistication.

Patrice Ayme’

Proof ANTARCTICA Is BREAKING UP

March 2, 2016

OUTSMARTING NASA (or is NASA, and other climate “scientists” being deliberately dumb?):

Abstract: Found below is the proof that Antarctica Is Already Breaking Up. Using a recent NASA study is crucial. Interestingly NASA drew the opposite conclusion from its own data. Had NASA been more ASTUTE, its data would have let it to the conclusion below. Amazingly, it did not. It’s all about the water level not changing in a glass with melting ice, and contrasting it with what happens when one starts with ice only!

***

I was reading the description of the damage from Sea Level Rise (SLR) in “Learning From Dogs”:“Interconnections Two”. Therein are found reference to “scientific” papers. The big question is what does “scientific” mean? “Science” means what’s known. The problem is that today’s scientists are afraid of the biggest questions, because the answers attached to them are very ugly, something intolerable in the age of beauty, celebrity, and philanthropy (aka plutocracy).

Antarctica Stripped Of Ice. In Some Places, Ice Rests On The Ground 2,500 Meters Below Sea Level (a mile and a half).

Antarctica Stripped Of Ice. In Some Places, Ice Rests On The Ground 2,500 Meters Below Sea Level (a mile and a half).

[NASA picture. The greyish area is now covered by kilometers of ice. The ice presses down with enormous weight, so its bottom is kilometers below sea level.]

Up to 2015, no reputable scientist would have dared to consider that the polar ice sheets could melt before several millennia. Such a contemplation was way too dangerous for their careers and livelihood. Thus the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) excluded considering the gigantic masses of ice covering Greenland and Antarctica for its computations of Sea Level Rise. This is rather curious as the main factor in SLR is the melting of ice. This how the IPCC got to a roughly ONLY one meter of SLR by 2100 CE.

However, there is an obvious way to melt maybe half of the ice sheets instantaneously on a geological time scale: four degree centigrade (38 F) water is the densest, and can melt the threshold, the stoop holding them tight. Once that’s done, the water can flow down on the other side, a mile down or more.

Scientists have to be careful, because they need to be funded. In the plutocratic USA, funding varies from year to year, like carrots do for donkeys from day-to-day. The authorities funding “scientists” ultimately depend upon the fossil fuel lobby and related plutocratic lobbies which fund both politicians and private (“elite”) universities. So scientists cannot dare to roll out a half-baked theory, before we get fully baked ourselves. (But don’t worry, plutocrats want to roast us ASAP.)

Dr. Hansen, who used to work for NASA as chief climate scientist, published last Spring (2015) what he viewed as his “most important paper ever” arguing that ice sheet melting could rise sea level within a century or two by several meters. I am not that sanguine, I think it will happen much faster, and I can prove that it already started.

Indeed there is an obvious theory, full of brand new science, which demonstrates that the break-up of Antarctica ice sheets has already started: on October 30 2015, NASA published studies showing that Antarctica is actually gathering snow… And not losing it.

NASA Study: Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses:

According to the new analysis of satellite data, the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001. That net gain slowed   to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.”

This is expected as the warmer it gets, the more the air carries water, the more it snows (until it turns to rain!) “We’re essentially in agreement with other studies that show an increase in ice discharge in the Antarctic Peninsula and the Thwaites and Pine Island region of West Antarctica,” said Jay Zwally, a glaciologist with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study, which was published on Oct. 30 in the Journal of Glaciology. “Our main disagreement is for East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica – there, we see an ice gain that exceeds the losses in the other areas.”  Zwally added that his team “measured small height changes over large areas, as well as the large changes observed over smaller areas.”

To deduce the “net gain”, NASA, also using satellite data, watching changes of altitude carefully computed how much the volume change:

“Scientists calculate how much the ice sheet is growing or shrinking from the changes in surface height that are measured by the satellite altimeters. In locations where the amount of new snowfall accumulating on an ice sheet is not equal to the ice flow downward and outward to the ocean, the surface height changes and the ice-sheet mass grows or shrinks.

But it might only take a few decades for Antarctica’s growth to reverse, according to Zwally. “If the losses of the Antarctic Peninsula and parts of West Antarctica continue to increase at the same rate they’ve been increasing for the last two decades, the losses will catch up with the long-term gain in East Antarctica in 20 or 30 years — I don’t think there will be enough snowfall increase to offset these losses.”

NOW THE BIG QUESTION:

So, if Antarctica is gathering ever more snow, as NASA showed, and as Sea Level Rise is accelerating, what is going on?

Officially, no one knows.

But I do know what is going on, because I think, and, as I am not funded by fossil fuel plutocracy, and I am strongly motivated as I consider anthropomorphic climate change the greatest problem humanity ever faced.

As all other factors have been considered, and as Sherlock Holmes would observe, all is left is what we cannot see: the ice sheets are already breaking up, from below. As I described in several essays, there is evidence that the Totten glacier, the plug holding the giant Aurora Basin in Antarctica, has melted on hundreds of kilometers, much below its apparently placid surface.

How come NASA did not see it? Because, if one puts ice in a glass containing water, and keep the temperature high enough to melt all the ice, the water level will NOT change. (This can be viewed as a consequence of Archimedes Principle).

So far, so good. However, the ice sheets are not floating: they rest on the ground, until the famous “grounding line”. So one cannot apply Archimedes Principle to start with. although one has to apply it, once the ice shield has become an ice SHELF, and floats, because it melted.

The very fact NASA saw nothing, no change of elevation, means a loss of mass from the ice sheets. This is due to the fact that ice occupies more volume than water. Relative to water, ice has only .91 of the density: this is why ice floats on water (Archimedes Principle).

So the ice sheets are breaking down, MELTING FROM BELOW, and they don’t go down, because more water is coming in.

Contemplate an ice cube in a glass: contemplate the top surface of the ice cube. That is what NASA’s satellites look at. If an ice cube melts in the glass, its top surface goes down until it completely disappears, level with the water surface. This loss of altitude is what NASA did not see, and thus it claims there is no melting. However, in the case of an ice sheet, to start with, the ice is resting on the ground, and there is NO water.

As the melting proceeds, water appears below. If the top level of the cube does not come down, it is that more water has been brought in.

How would we know this is happening? Well, if the global Sea Level is rising. Not only that, but SLR is accelerating (by 30% in the last three years).

If I find time, I will draw a little cartoon of the situation, but that’s not easy on a smartphone (I don’t own a tablet…)

Antarctica is breaking up. It’s happening from below, sight unseen. It requires a bit of logic to understand it, as we saw. When the unexplained Sea Level Rise will become blatantly catastrophic, and the climate in public opinion will be safe enough to parrot the reasoning above, said reasoning will be made by all scientists. Of artful parroting, and “hiding one’s sources” a successful scientific career is made… said no less an authority than Albert Einstein. However, that’s not as bad as hiding the main source of accelerating Sea Level Rise, as all climate scientists are presently doing, led by NASA.

A “scientist” is someone who knows. When “scientists” don’t want to know, lest they don’t get a paycheck, are they still “scientists”?

More generally, thinkers, those who think creatively, tend not to get a paycheck, because really new ideas are unsettling to all ideas. Those have most of the money generally have no interest to unsettle the established order upon which their fortunes rest. And it is the more so, the richer the richest individuals are. This is why a state owned by just one family, like Saudi Arabia, is so “conservative”. So, do we want to think, or do we accept to drown? That is the question.

In its own press release, linked above, NASA scientists declared:

“The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away,” Zwally said. “But this is also bad news. If the 0.27 millimeters per year of sea level rise attributed to Antarctica in the IPCC report is not really coming from Antarctica, there must be some other contribution to sea level rise that is not accounted for.”

Well, it’s coming from Antarctica. It’s your logic which is faulty.

Patrice Ayme’

Biblical Flood Starting Anew

February 23, 2016

Abstract: update on Sea Level Rise. The meat of the essay is at the end, in the section “THE SITUATION IS ACTUALLY CATACLYSMIC“.

Heard of The Flood? As in the Bible? Sea level rose 120 meters (400 feet), in the period centered around 10,000 years ago. The cause? More than half of Earth’s ice melted in a few millennia,  During the rest of the early Holocene, the rate of rise of the world’s ocean reached peaks as high as 60  millimeters (2.5 inches) per year. The melting of the ice happened because Earth’s positional and orbital parameters had made northern hemisphere’s summers too warm (most of the ice shields rested on the large continents of the north). Nowadays only two enormous ice shields are left: Greenland and Antarctica.

Those who enjoy catastrophes will love it: we have 75 meters of further sea rise to enjoy pretty soon, on our way to a Jurassic climate (the Jurassic was characterized by gigantic warm shallow seas on top of the continents). Her was the situation in the Miocene, when CO2 was at 500 ppm (where we will be at in ten years, see conclusion below).

Absent Drastic Measures Immediately, This Miocene Antarctica State Will Happen Right Away. In this picture, the WAIS, in front has collapsed, Wilkes and Aurora basins partly so. Google With my full name and the features to find out more.

Absent Drastic Measures Immediately, This Miocene Antarctica State Will Happen Right Away. In this picture, the WAIS, in front has collapsed, Wilkes and Aurora basins partly so. Google With my full name and the features to find out more.

[Even then, that picture from the U.of Mass. did not fully collapse the Aurora Basin, up right, which I expect to collapse first. Maybe they did not drill there, and are just speculating, whereas I have a reasoning on the Totten Glacier, outlet to the Aurora extremely deep basin, which is being quickly undermined as we speak.]

Says the New York Times in “Seas Are Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 Centuries”:

“The worsening of tidal flooding in American coastal communities is largely a consequence of greenhouse gases from human activity, and the problem will grow far worse in coming decades, scientists reported Monday.

Those emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, are causing the ocean to rise at the fastest rate since at least the founding of ancient Rome, the scientists said. They added that in the absence of human emissions, the ocean surface would be rising less rapidly and might even be falling.

The increasingly routine tidal flooding is making life miserable in places like Miami Beach; Charleston, S.C.; and Norfolk, Va., even on sunny days.

Though these types of floods often produce only a foot or two of standing saltwater, they are straining life in many towns by killing lawns and trees, blocking neighborhood streets and clogging storm drains, polluting supplies of freshwater and sometimes stranding entire island communities for hours by overtopping the roads that tie them to the mainland.”

In a way, this is Biblical justice, perfectly appropriate for a deeply Christian community: America has sinned, being, by far, the most country most guilty in the burning of fossil fuels (and don’t brandish China: this is the place where global plutocrats, mostly of US obedience, have their factories, so that they can escape all regulations, including those trying to abate fossil fuel burning (all European countries have de facto hefty carbon taxes).

The USA is guilty of letting its plutocrats run amok, not just subjugating civilization, unleashing the terrorists, but also, even worse, burning their way through the biosphere. Now the USA has to pay the price. New York Times:

“Such events are just an early harbinger of the coming damage, the new research suggests.

“I think we need a new way to think about most coastal flooding,” said Benjamin H. Strauss, the primary author of one of two related studies released on Monday. “It’s not the tide. It’s not the wind. It’s us. That’s true for most of the coastal floods we now experience.”

In the second study, scientists reconstructed the level of the sea over time and confirmed that it is most likely rising faster than at any point in 28 centuries, with the rate of increase growing sharply over the past century — largely, they found, because of the warming that scientists have said is almost certainly caused by human emissions.

They also confirmed previous forecasts that if emissions were to continue at a high rate over the next few decades, the ocean could rise as much as three or four feet by 2100.

Experts say the situation would then grow far worse in the 22nd century and beyond, likely requiring the abandonment of many coastal cities.

The findings are yet another indication that the stable climate in which human civilization has flourished for thousands of years, with a largely predictable ocean permitting the growth of great coastal cities, is coming to an end.

“I think we can definitely be confident that sea-level rise is going to continue to accelerate if there’s further warming, which inevitably there will be,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, a professor of ocean physics at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in Germany, and co-author of one of the papers, published online Monday by an American journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In a report issued to accompany that scientific paper, a climate research and communications organization in Princeton, N.J., Climate Central, used the new findings to calculate that roughly three-quarters of the tidal flood days now occurring in towns along the East Coast would not be happening in the absence of the rise in the sea level caused by human emissions…The change in frequency of those tides is striking. For instance, in the decade from 1955 to 1964 at Annapolis, Md., an instrument called a tide gauge measured 32 days of flooding; in the decade from 2005 to 2014, that jumped to 394 days.”

Four feet by 2100? 1,2 meter? That would be nice; it would give us plenty of time to correct the error of our ways. In truth, we are running out of time. I think a minimum of 40 feet (12 meters) is likely. By the way, we have enough refined knowledge now to know that the “Little Ice Age” between 1400 CE and 1800 CE dropped sea level by 8 centimeters.

THE SITUATION IS ACTUALLY CATACLYSMIC. The United Nations’ IPCC did not include in its computations the possible melting of the ice shields of Greenland and Antarctica. For three reasons: first, it was viewed as impossible, before, at least a few millennia; secondly, there was no mathematical model for the melting; finally, no plausible mechanism was held to be plausible to melt said ice shields.

My reasoning is the exact opposite: first an obvious mechanism for the melting of the ice shields exists: the ice shields can up up to 4 kilometers thick. Thus they press down on the continental crust so much, that much of Greenland and Antarctica is well below sea level. Not by just a few hundred feet, but outright, by kilometers. Deeper than the Grand Canyon. In these gigantic areas, the ice of the ice shields is in direct contact with the continental crust. Those areas are protected by rock thresholds on the margins of the ice shields (where the crust goes back up, because where the ice ends, there is no more weight pressing down on the continent).

Right now, warm water, which is denser at 4Centigrades (40 Fahrenheit), eats at the “grounding lines” of the ice shields where the ice of the shields touches the rock directly. When past the threshold, warm water will be able to drop down on the other side, deeper than the Grand Canyon, and should be able to shock fracture and melt a Texas sized ice shield ice shield in a few decades. That will be found all too soon.

Scientists presently handsomely paid to strike moderates postures will be very “surprised”.

Three scientific papers published in the last two months support my, admittedly drastic, point of view. One observed the collapse of a colossal glacier in northwest Greenland, eaten by a current at one degree C. It was a miniature reproduction of what to expect for entire ice shields. Two others observed the past, and that Antarctica was unstable at 500 ppm CO2. What they did not say is how dramatic the situation was. Indeed, sounding moderate is how they get funded by a benevolent, plutocratically ruled government (and by government, I also mean the corrupt Supreme Court, not just the latest elected buffoons). The scientists who evoked the 500 ppm of CO2 omitted two significant details, where the devil lurks. They claimed that it would take 30 years to get there. That’s not correct; at the present rate, we will add 100 ppm of CO2 within 25 years. But not just that: there are other man-made GreenHouse Gases (GHG): CH4, NOx, Fluorocarbons, etc. All these gases warm up the lower atmosphere much more than CO2. So the correct measurement is not CO2 ppm, but CO2 EQUIVALENT ppm.

We are right now ABOVE 450 ppm in EQUIVALENT CO2, and will be at 500 ppm within ten years. Let’s hope there will be more boats than on the Titanic.

Patrice Ayme’

P/S: If anything, the preceding is a conservative estimate. Indeed very serious scientists evaluated already the man-made greenhouse gases at 478 ppm in 2013. This means we will be above 500 ppm in CO2 equivalent within six years, in line with my previous analyses, such as “Ten Years To Catastrophe“. See:

http://oceans.mit.edu/news/featured-stories/5-questions-mits-ron-prinn-400-ppm-threshold

Geoengineering: Unsafe & Ineffective Folly

January 6, 2016

The climate crisis is accelerating (as anticipated): weird fluctuations of temperatures all over. It was colder than at the North Pole in many areas, 6,000 kilometers to the south. Some scientists contribute to the crisis by claiming that the Earth could be fixed by “geoengineering”. The idea is to make the atmosphere reflective above its lowest, and warmest layers. The prospect of salvational geoengineering  gives a dangerous sense of hope, and enable cowards to change the conversation. The one and only conversation ought to be: how to reduce Greenhouse gases emissions before self-feeding natural processes take over, and the warming becomes not just non-linear, but self-amplifying.

Above freezing, at the North Pole, in the last few days of 2015: enormous warm masses of air or water moving powerfully is how ice gets destroyed.

Above freezing, at the North Pole, in the last few days of 2015: enormous warm masses of air or water moving powerfully is how ice gets destroyed.

Gregory Benford, astrophysicist and sci fi author is one of the advocates of the man-made volcano idea. See Climate controls, Reason Magazine, November 1997. In brief, one would spray a lot of micron-sized dust into the atmosphere above the Arctic Sea during the summer. Benford suggested diatomaceous earth as an option, because it’s chemically inert: just silica.

Then, thinking again, Benford suggested poisonous gases: SO2 and H2S. What could go wrong? Apprentice sorcerers would sprinkle those poisons to diminish sunlight in summer (they say). Simulations by the naive, for the naive, show it may mitigate sea ice retreat.

In reality, Polar hurricanes can shatter huge amounts of ice, while stuffing the Arctic for weeks with warm air, resulting in record sea ice loss. The spectacular shrinkage of the sea ice in August 2012 was caused by an extremely violent warm, hurricane like storm which physically broke thick ice with enormous waves.

There is evidence that ice melting is not just due to a warm sunshine, but to the secondary paroxysms of massive dynamic and potential (pressure) events. Sprinkling a hurricane with SO2 won’t do a thing, one may as well throw sugar at a tempest to pacify it.

When the Larsen B iceshelf in the Antarctica peninsula collapsed, something similar happened: four days of force one hurricane winds and a record high temperature of nearly 15 degrees centigrade (60 F).

Benford was quoted approvingly even recently on his general train of ideas: “Many fear if we lose the sea ice in summer ocean currents may alter; nobody really knows”. May alter? Well, that’s obsolete: currents are changing and they are warmer.

The naive idea that we have possible, feasible, potential geoengineering means to fight the melting of the polar ice. Delusion, illusion, obfuscation, prevarication, not to say fornication (with big oil).

Trying to put up a veil over polar areas (through various debris or SO2 suspended) will not work. But don’t volcanoes work? The enormous eruptions of Pinatubo, and the one, much worse of Indonesia’s Tambora in 1815, cooled the atmosphere dramatically (Tambora’s atmospheric veil caused freezing the following summer in Europe, and partial failure of crops).

The main problem is that the melting of the Arctic and even worse, the melting of the Antarctic, is going to happen from BELOW. Sneaky. It is oceanic water, densest at four degrees centigrades (nearly 40 degrees F) which is seeping below, and causing the melting.

An article just published in Science (December 2015) explains that one particular, giant glacier has retreated by tens of kilometers, after being exposed to oceanic currents which are just ONE degree centigrade higher than the old normal, along the north-east tip of Greenland. Those currents are the return currents from the Gulf Stream extension which hit Spitzberg.

To quote from the abstract: “After 8 years of decay of its ice shelf, Zachariæ Isstrøm, a major glacier of northeast Greenland that holds a 0.5-meter sea-level rise equivalent, entered a phase of accelerated retreat in fall 2012. The acceleration rate of its ice velocity tripled, melting of its residual ice shelf and thinning of its grounded portion doubled, and calving is now occurring at its grounding line. Warmer air and ocean temperatures have caused the glacier to detach from a stabilizing sill and retreat rapidly along a downward-sloping, marine-based bed. Its equal-ice-volume neighbor, Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden, is also melting rapidly but retreating slowly along an upward-sloping bed. The destabilization of this marine-based sector will increase sea-level rise from the Greenland Ice Sheet for decades to come.”

So the real problem is not to throw a veil above the Arctic, when the sun shines. The real problem is how to cool the Gulf Stream, (a portion of) the world’s master current. (Note to would-be geoengineers: putting a big refrigerator between Florida and the Bahamas, will not work, for a number of reasons.)

Measurements and a back of the envelope computation shows that the anomalous heat content so far stored in the upper 750 meters of the world ocean is about twenty times that stored in the atmosphere… And the ocean is playing catch up (the temperature of this layer is up only half that of the atmosphere; deeper parts are also warming up).

We are coming close to a tipping point on three giant basins in Antarctica (the WAIS, Aurora, and Wilke basins): oceanic water is boring through the sills there. After the sill, the basin slope down (under the weight of the ice), deeper than the Grand Canyon. The melting of each of these basins will rise sea level by seven meters.

Conclusion: only the outlawing, ASAP, of the burning of fossil fuels will mitigate the catastrophe. Anything else, like Elementary School engineering suggestions, is a distraction from the task at hand: decarbonification.

Engineering can work: modern nuclear energy, ever improving solar photovoltaic energy, and various storages, from dams, to molten salt tanks, to, of course hydrogen.

A hydrogen electric car equipped with existing fuel cells, an 40 kilograms of compressed hydrogen, safely stored in tanks resisting to 700 Bars, thus, to any collision), could cross the entire USA, without refueling.

This is exactly why the Obama administration yanked the research and deployment of those cars: otherwise pure electric vehicles and their abysmal small little range, would not have had a chance… Politics is a much twisted thing, but its Arianne thread is money… Such as the big money subtle corruption brings.

Solar PhotoVoltaics could split water, and make hydrogen to store energy, of course.

Patrice Ayme’

Antarctica Disintegrating Soon

December 9, 2015

[One more essay to contribute to the Paris’ CO2 negotiations!] One has to be careful with science. Science is certain knowledge. And certain knowledge is not just hard to gather, it is subtle, and even harder to organize in a coherent logic. It is pretty much certain that Antarctica will melt (in my opinion). However a NASA study, just out, claims that Antarctica is gathering a huge amount of ice:

“A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.

The research challenges the conclusions of other studies, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2013 report, which says that Antarctica is overall losing land ice.

According to the new analysis of satellite data, the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001. That net gain slowed to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.”

If One Looks Carefully, One Can See The Three Places Where Warm Water Is Sneaking In Below (In Green & Blue in WAIS and In East Antarctica).

If One Looks Carefully, One Can See The Three Places Where Warm Water Is Sneaking In Below (In Green & Blue in WAIS and In East Antarctica).

This, paradoxically, does not contradict any of my apocalyptic predictions about Antarctica. Quite the opposite: a greater snowfall is a mark of a warming climate. Warmer air carries more moisture. The gathering of snow and ice in the interior and at high altitude, over wide expanses has not effect to the melt extending below.

In truth, the situation is dire and will evolve quickly. One is reminded of the Space Shuttle Columbia, when hot gases penetrated in its left wing. After they got in, they melted vital equipment all over inside, including hydraulics, and the shuttle struggled for control, finally losing its wing.

http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/details.cgi?aid=4347

Antarctica’s ice shelves — the thick, floating slabs of ice which encircle the continent — are melting. The shelves slow and stabilize the glaciers, hundreds of kilometers behind them. They are succumbing to a hidden force: deep, warming ocean currents are melting the ice from beneath ice shelves, and up giant valleys penetrating the continent.

The collapse of small ice shelves caused glaciers to accelerate two-fold to ten-fold and spill more ice into the ocean, raising sea level. A study published in April shows that more ice shelves are threatened: From 1994 to 2012, the rate of ice shelf shrinkage increased twelvefold. Parts of the ice sheet considered at risk hold enough ice to raise the global sea level by 22 feet (seven meters). Here’s the latest on Antarctica’s vulnerability in 2015:

More Snow, Less Ice:

Climatologists speculated in the 1990s that Antarctica might slow sea level rise. They fancied that rising temperatures would produce more water vapor, leading to more snowfall and more ice. This is indeed what the latest NASA study shows. Researchers reported in March, and November 20215, that over the past 20,000 years, warmer temperatures have indeed correlated with higher snowfall: For each Fahrenheit degree of warming, snowfall increased by about 2.7 percent. But that does not mean the threat of fast melting receded..

Larsen B’s Last Gasp:

Glaciologists reported in June that the last remnant of the Larsen B Ice Shelf is splintering, and glaciers flowing into it are accelerating. Its approaching demise continues a disturbing trend: the progressive collapse of five ice shelves since 1989.

Next, Larsen C:

The neighboring, and much larger Larsen C Ice Shelf, a significant part of the Antarctica Peninsula, could soon collapse (hey, it’s summer!). A major crack is advancing rapidly, reaching an unprecedented 60 miles long in early 2015. (A British base in the Ross Ice Shelf is threatened by another advancing crack, and is scheduled to be moved ASAP! A German base disappeared altogether.)

Southern Peninsula “Starting to Sweat “:

(“Sweating” was the term used in a scientific report…) While the glaciers in this region seemed stable, warming ocean currents have been melting the belly of the ice. Results published in May show this region crossed a threshold in 2009, with a dozen major glaciers simultaneously starting to thin, “sweating off” 60 billion tons of ice per year.

Weak Underbelly:

The Amundsen Sea coast is the vulnerable underbelly of West Antarctica. Its glaciers slide on beds that lie nearly a mile below sea level, exposing them to ocean currents. New data show ice shelves are collectively losing 100 billion tons of ice per year, and glaciers have accelerated by up to 70 percent.

Hidden Hazards in the East:

East Antarctica, situated on high ground that protects it from warming ocean currents, was considered stable, impervious, a Reich to last 10,000 years, strong and dominating. But not exactly, according to surveys with ice-penetrating radar. A March study shows that one large swath of the ice sheet sits on beds as deep as 8,000 feet below sea level and is connected, by very long, deep valleys to warming ocean currents. Totten Glacier, one of East Antarctica’s largest ocean outlets, is already thinning — an ominous sign, since this single glacier drains enough ice from the AURORA Basin to raise the sea level more than all of West Antarctica’s ice loss would. The mouth of the Totten glacier is well north of the southern polar circle. This means that the potential for warming from decreased albedo is considerable.

The same story is unfolding with the Wilkes Basin, as I have explained.

Thus, right now, sea level is rising slowly, and climate change deniers are chuckling, because Antarctica is gathering warm snow. But, once the warm currents penetrate in force, and they will, Antarctica will go the way of the Space Shuttle: sudden, irresistible disintegration.

A last riddle is that, should the latest story (above) from part of NASA, be correct (and not another piece of disinformation to serve the fossil fuel plutocracy, as happened more than once in the past), how come sea level is increasing as fast as is presently observed? The math just don’t add up: the greatest contribution to sea level rise comes in with the wrong sign! So either the latest NASA accumulation studies are wrong, or there is a massive contribution to sea level rise undetected so far (the worst is imaginable…) Just when we saw that the Green House Gas disaster was boring in its irresistible unfolding, a new mystery surfaces…

Patrice Ayme’