Archive for the ‘Apocalypse’ Category

Back To The Jurassic In A Hurry: 500 Part Per Million Of Greenhouse Gases

September 15, 2020

Greenhouse gases (GHG) used to be 280 parts per million. Now they are around 500 ppm (including CH4, Nitrogen oxides, chlorofluorocarbons, etc.). This is more GHG than in at least thirty  million years, when the Earth was much warmer, and it is similar to CO2 densities during the Jurassic.

So we are presently transiting to a Jurassic climate. The transition to the Jurassic climate is happening at a rate many orders of magnitude faster than changes in the past. This implies that most forests of the Earth , desiccating and incapable to adapt fast enough, are going to burn… worldwide. This generalized combustion has a drastic potential consequence: generalized hypoxia.

So we should talk about climate catastrophe rather than climate change, and global heating rather than global warming: recent fires got helped by temperatures dozen of degrees higher than normal, in part from compression of the air due to record breaking winds. This is why parts of the Pacific Northwest which never burn are now burning. This will extend to Canada, Alaska, Siberia and already did in recent years. The catastrophic massive release of frozen methane hydrates could happen any time (it already does, but not as bad as it is going to get). It has up to one hundred times more warming power than CO2 (fires release it by billions of tons).

What is the way out? Well, hydrogen is the solution, in two ways, but has not been deployed as it could be. A decade ago, thermonuclear fusion, on the verge of becoming a solution, was starved for funding, and so was green hydrogen (the then energy secretary, Obama’s Steven Chu, prefered investing in batteries, it was more lucrative for his little greedy self).

Green hydrogen enables to store energy for renewables, avoiding blackouts which cut electricity to pumps to fight fires

We, Spaceship Earth, went from 275 ppm of GreenHouse Gases (GHG) in 1750 CE to 500 ppm in 2020. That doesn’t mean we double the Greenhouse, because the main GHG gas is… water vapor (H2O). What we can guess the best at this point is the EXCESS radiative forcing since 1750 CE, and that’s already nearly 3 Watts per square meter… Equivalent to a million and a half nuclear reactors at full power…

Climate forcing is a fascinating subject, with vast areas without a high level of scientific understanding (LOSU). However we know enough to realize forceful mitigation has to be engaged in immediately.

Joan Katsareas from Philadelphia, PA wrote back: “Thank you @Patrice Ayme for sharing your knowledge of the causes and extent of the climate crisis. I will be seeking out more information on hydrogen as a solution.”

@Joan Katsareas Thank you for thanking me, that is much appreciated. Hydrogen is indeed the overall solution we need at this point. Actually Australia, in collaboration with Japan, is building a gigantic, 15 Gigawatts, project in north west Australia, AREH, the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, to convert renewables from sun and wind into hydrogen products which will then be shipped to Japan. The same needs to be done all over, it would collapse the price of “green hydrogen” (99% of the US hydrogen is from fossil fuels).

In the case of thermonuclear fusion, the  international thermonuclear experimental reactor (ITER) being built in France was slowed down by ten years, from reduced funding, and uses obsolete magnets (superconducting, but not High Temperature Superconductors, which can now be engineered with more compact and powerful fields). A massive effort would bring a positive energy thermonuclear reactor within 10 years… But that effort has not been made… except in China, the usual suspect, where a project, the China Fusion Engineering Test Reactor (CFETR), aims at an energy gain of 12 and a total power equivalent to a fission nuclear reactor. Its detailed engineering has been launched for a while (it’s supposedly symbiotic with the European DEMO project, which will produced as much as a large power station and will be connected to the grid. That too has been delayed, to the 2050s, although it’s feasible now).  The USA needs to launch a similar project, right away.

We face ecological constraints incomparably more severe than those of the Roman state. Rome did not solve its paltry problems, and let them fester: they had to do mostly with a dearth of metals, and the Franks solved them readily. This hindered the Roman economy. The situation we are facing, the threat of a runaway greenhouse is a terminal existential threat.

Look at Venus, we can look at our sparkling neighbor when the forests have finished burning, and the smoke dissipates (we were told it could be months). Once Venus probably had a vast ocean, and probably, life. But it died from a brutal greenhouse generated by Large Igneous Provinces (LIP). The same happened on Earth, on a smaller scale, more than once, in particular with the Permian Triassic mass extinction, which destroyed 95% of known species..

Now the rumor has it that indeed some life may have survived in the atmosphere.  This is not a joke. Consider: Life on Venus? Astronomers See a Signal in Its Clouds. The detection of a gas in the planet’s atmosphere could turn scientists’ gaze to a planet long overlooked in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Life on Venus? Ah, science, all those possibilities… We never imagined we would ever think possible.

Patrice Ayme

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P/S: I argued in the past, before anybody else, that the dinosaur-pterosaurs-plesiosaurs extinction, and extinction of anything bigger than 20 kilograms was due to volcanism (I was at UC Berkeley when the two Alvarez were, and they seemed too full of themselves with the iridium layer, and I like to contradict certainties…)

How would LIP volcanism set forests on fire? Well, by the same exact mechanism as now: through a massive CO2 driven greenhouse, what may have terminated the Venusians…

In this perspective climate cooling, for millions of years, visible in the graph above, would have disrupted those species which were not equipped to generate enough heat, and then the LIP accelerated into a vast holocaust…

The end with general burning and acidic oceans is hard to duplicate with a bolide, so the impactophiles have argued that the bolide magically impacted the most CO2 generating rock imaginable… Maybe. But an enormous LIP does all that CO2 production/destruction of the oceans, effortlessly… A friend of mine who is the biggest of the big in this academic domain, he decides who publishes, replied to me that the 66 million year old Dekkan LIP is too small… To which I replied that we don’t know what lays below the ocean… 

A Closed Society (China) is More Open To PANDEMICS (Coronavirus)

February 2, 2020

LACK of INFORMATION & DEBATE in NON OPEN SOCIETY FOSTERED DISASTROUS PANDEMIC

The Wuhan coronavirus spreading from China is now a pandemic that circles the globe. The prospect is daunting. A pandemic will have global consequences, despite the extraordinary travel restrictions and quarantines now imposed by many countries.

Science does not yet know how lethal the new coronavirus is. However, I can compute: we have less than 15,000 official cases and more than 300 dead so it seems the death rate is at least 3% (on the face of it that would be 5%). That means if one billion people get infected, 30 million will die. 

To these preliminary considerations, several caveats: first, out of the 15,000 infected, much more than 300 will die: the virus is known to kill patients who were improving for days in hospital beds. Second, and on a more positive note, information is exchanged between doctors, and methods to mitigate the effects of viral pneumonia are no doubt found. Even more important, the governments in the leadership of the world, the so-called “West”, governments are highly organized and have huge means: the USA has installed its first quarantine in 50 years, and uses large military bases to isolate potentially infected people.     

The Wuhan coronavirus is spreading more like influenza, which is highly transmissible, than like its slow-moving very lethal coronavirus cousins, SARS and MERS. [1]

How did we get there? It’s not just about markets mixing humans, live bats and live snakes, all infecting each other in a weird bat-snake-human ecology.

It’s also about China being huge, way too closed, and thus, too stupid for its own size. 

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China is not an Open Society. The concept of Open Society was originated by Aspasia, a philosopher married to Athenian general and politician Pericles, who famously declared, quoting his famous funeral oration as reported by Thucydides:

“Our political system does not compete with with institutions which are elsewhere in force. We do not copy our neighbors, but try to be an example. Our administration favors the many instead of the few: this is why it is called a democracy. The laws afford equal justice to all alike in their private disputes, but we do not ignore the claims of excellence. When a citizen distinguishes himself, then he will be called to serve the state, in preference to others, not as a matter of privilege, but as a reward of merit; and poverty is no bar.

… The freedom we enjoy extends also to ordinary life; we are not suspicious of one another, and we do not nag our neighbor if he chooses to go his own way. … But this freedom does not make us lawless. We are taught to respect the magistrates and the laws, and never to forget that we must protect the injured. And we are also taught to observe those unwritten laws whose sanction lies only in the universal feeling of what is right….

Our city is thrown open to the world… We are free to live exactly as we please, and yet, we are always ready to face any danger…. We consider a man who takes no interest in the state not as harmless, but as useless; and although only a few may originate a policy, we are all able to judge it. We do not look upon discussion as a stumbling block in the way of political action, but as an indispensable preliminary to acting wisely.”

Debate is crucial to advancing understanding. Debating with oneself is indispensable, but debating with others enables debating with others enables one to go where none thought of, and thus to advance understanding. 

Beautiful words, yet, disastrously, Pericles didn’t act accordingly to them! Just the opposite. 

Chinese Dictatorship Politicians with advanced specialized N95 masks (which stop the virus particles which are 10^7 meter across, so 5 billionth of a meter bigger than the meshes in these N95)… Whereas the doctors welcoming them have pitiful masks which can’t do that. Best masks out there stop at 300 billionths of a meter, 3 times too big to stop the 2019 Coronavirus, Some chinese doctors had to make masks out of garbage bags, due to penury.

Instead in a dictatorship, few decide; the brain power is if not minute, drastically reduced. Actually it’s the multi-debating aspect of Western Europe which enabled most of the advancement of civilization in the last millennium. China, which used to be very advanced scientifically and technologically missed the debating aspect, motivated by mighty intellectual passions. Lack of fierce debate, independently of social hierarchy, is the main missing link of Confucius philosophy, which views the respect of one’s “station” in life, the most important feature of society. Hence Confucius is most compatible with Xi’s regime.

Let alone that Xi got his job in part from his parents’ station in life… 

Whereas intellectual debate and its descendants, in particular scientific, medical and technological advancement, are the exact opposite: they respect only truth, and, more generally, the search thereof. To equal the West, China will have to accept to see truths, and love thereof, be hurled around. 

Tribalists come to me and they whine; if you are not blue, you have got to be red. Their simplicity is hurt, their minds are reeling, they are looking for something to color their bland lives. Well, children, I am campaigning for the truth. Not for a particular potentate to satisfy his or her greed for power.

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PANDEMICS FROM TYRANNICAL STUPIDITY:

On a great historical scale, one is struck by the fact the Roman State was wrecked by pandemics in the Second Century, The Third, and the Sixth. The first pandemic, during Marcus Aurelius’ reign, weakened the empire considerably. It’s not clear what happened. Clearly the army was struck as Marcus died. The lack of information is, by itself, an indictment: an Open Society would have debated and found ways to fight the epidemic. Instead, the tyrannical empire behaved as if the disastrous pandemics were no more than bad air not worth commenting upon. (By comparison, we know of the authorities in London abating pollution from coal burning already in the Fourteenth Century.)

We have more information from democracies than from the wretched Roman dictatorship. At the onset of the Thirty Years Peloponnesian war, a (highly) predictable pandemic (typhus?) hit Athens. All the population of the Attica peninsula was within the walls, thus very crowded, while armored Spartans roamed outside, destroying the land. Pericles ordered the Athenian fleet to sail to go attack the other side of the Peloponnese. Unsurprisingly, the pandemic exploded in the hyper crowded ships. The expedition became a disaster.

Pericles was recalled and tried for this, under the accusation that everybody knew crowding would make the epidemic terrible. Thus Athens was an open society, but not so open as to be able to avoid such an obvious blunder (much of the population died)… Pericles admitted he “had anticipated everything, but not not this”. Maybe if there had been more of a debate, when planning for war with Sparta, the pandemic could have been anticipated. 

Interestingly, when the dictator Napoleon attacked Russia, a similar situation developed. Apparently the Grande Armee suffered from typhus. In a democracy, the situation would have been revealed, and debated. The obvious solution was to take measures to stop the epidemic, and put off the assault against the Czar to another year. Instead, the dictator kept everything secret, and the idealistic young soldiers from Poland, Germany and other countries, in close quarters, infected each other. So efficient was the dictator that the scandal was kept secret for two centuries (archeology revealed the contaminated corpses recently). Napoleon thus undermined the spreading of revolution to Russia, and enabled the likes of old enslaving aristocrats such as Tolstoy to gloat.

If Rome had been a democratic state in the Second Century, perhaps it would have been able to mitigate considerably the pandemics which weakened it so much. 

During the terrible plague of 1348 CE, not one European aristocrat seems to have died: the nobles knew what was coming and took efficient counter-measures. However around half of the population, often ignorantly crowded praying in churches, died. So obscurantism doesn’t help.

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SPACESHIP EARTH NEEDS TO BE OPEN TO DEBATE:

In the case of the present Coronavirus, some authorities loudly proclaimed the virus could not be transmitted from human to human, when doctors already knew with certainty that was a lie. So no timely measures were taken in Wuhan, a city of eleven million. 

We are all sharing a small planet, our common spaceship. No country owns the spaceship. No country can endanger the spaceship. Obscurantism and closed societies, anywhere, endanger us all. It was telling that Russia, Mongolia, Vietnam and even North Korea closed their borders to China: when they got informed, they acted as Open Societies should have. More generally, increasing more cooperation, by making the world more of an Open Society will enable to decrease suspicion, hence military spending, and thus augment spending on science, and in particular biology, medicine.

They said “Climate Change”. We said: WORLD CATASTROPHE. They scoffed. Now they are going to sneeze. They will sneeze because the world’s ecology has been all open, and kicked around to new possibilities, while the old biosphere dies. The intellectual climate needs to change and warm up. The time for imagination and passion has come.

The Open Society is not just a choice anymore, it’s a duty. A world duty. Not just a world moral duty, a world survival duty. China can’t ship out, so it will have to change. And not just China. As in China, throughout the West politicians and potentates have confiscated decision power. Debate needs to grab it back.

Wars used to be made about territory. It’s time to have one about fostering the proper open attitude.

Patrice Ayme

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[1] Together SARS and MERS caused less than 11,000 official cases. Their lethality rates were 10% (SARS) and 33% (MERS). The 1918 “Spanish flu” killed only about 2.5 percent of its victims — but because it infected so many people and medical care was much cruder then, and disorganized by World War One, 20 to 50 million died. The evidence is that it started in crowded US military camps.

The highly transmissible H1N1 “swine flu” pandemic of 2009 killed about 285,000, fewer than seasonal flu normally does, and had a relatively low fatality rate, estimated at .02 percent. It is hoped by authorities that 2019 Coronavirus has a death rate of less than 2% (when more mild cases surface). The argument was made by Chinese authorities that Wuhan is more disorganized than the rest of China. Thus a death rate of 4% in Wuhan, 2% in the rest of China.

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P/S: February 6, 2020. The Chinese doctor who tried to warn other medics about the coronavirus has been reported dead after contracting the infection in Wuhan. According to local state media, Dr Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist, died from the virus on Thursday.

#Breaking: Chinese doctor Li Wenliang, one of the eight whistleblowers who tried to warn other medics of the #coronavirus outbreak but were reprimanded by local police, dies of coronavirus on Thursday in Wuhan, the Global Times has learned. Li sent a message to fellow medics in a group chat on 30 December, and days later was summoned to the Public Security Bureau to sign a letter in which he was accused of making “false comments”.

Warren: Progress, Survival of the Republic. Biden: More Plutocratization, Death.

May 29, 2019

Biden and other “democrats” in the 1980s voted Reagan’s anti-democratic laws (called by some the “New Jim Crow“). Then, in 1990s, those “Neoliberal” [1] democrats went further than even Reagan did, but in the same spirit, putting millions in jail, and then daring to unravel the banking reform of 1933 (passed by the Democrats of 1933, headed by FDR: the “New Deal“). Much of this extravagant return to the roaring twenties needs to be reverted.

One can’t have democracy and plutocracy at the same time. That’s why the Roman Republic put a cap on wealth: above some high level, Roman millionaires were taxed 100%. Yes, a margin tax rate of 100% (similar rates existed in the 1950s, when clean economic expansion was at its maximum: not a coincidence).

Also the Roman Republic taxed ostentatious wealth (“sumptuary” laws; an equivalent today would be to tax private jets; instead private jets are subsidized, while they contribute 1% of US CO2 emissions!).

More than 130,000 families have wealth above 50 million US$. Those should be taxed into extinction, Roman Republic manner. It is a question of survival of life as we know it on this planet. Why? Those 130,000 families worth more than $50 million, own roughly ALL WORLD MEDIA, which control cognition, hearts and minds. And they control the fossil-fuel-financial plutocracy system, which controls the world economy and the political class (truly their obsequious servants).

All this taxation of hyper wealth enabled the Roman Republic to last 5 centuries. However, because of the globalization the Roman empire brought, those anti-extreme-wealth laws became inapplicable, and the Roman rich became so wealthy, they could buy all politicians.,, and laws, or prevent the application of existing laws. When plutocracy took over Rome, the Republic collapsed.

Warren’s suggested heavy taxation of extreme wealth follows logic and history: otherwise the republic will die. So Warren’s candidacy is not just a matter of getting an experienced woman in power, it’s a matter of survival.

It is a woman with full power, queen Bathilde of the Frankish empire, an ex-slave, who, in 655 CE, outlawed slavery in Europe.  We need more of the feminine approach. Vote Warren, forget about the eternal return of the same, with Biden.

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The preceding was a published comment to the New York Times. Then surfaced a history challenged Californian:

Cold Eye, from Kenwood CA, However, slavery in Europe was prevalent through the 19th Century.”

What is happening to the schools? The New York Times was kind enough to allow me to post the following answer:

@Cold Eye

You mean this figuratively in Western Europe. Russia was a different case, where serfs were often little better than slaves. It is true that, during the first century of industrial age , workers were treated very badly.

However, none of this is true slavery. In true slavery, people are bought and sold, as they were things. Those “things” performed like robots, enabling the colonization of the “New” World. For example, tobacco cultivation became very profitable in the English colony of North America, thanks to the massive utilization of slaves.

The colonies were far removed from Europe, and European law enforcement had proven illusory during the Spanish Conquista (in spite of determined efforts). The French colony of Canada imposed French law pretty well, it didn’t allow slavery, but the price paid was that the anything-goes English colony won the war, and ultimately conquered French Canada.

So I repeat my statement: queen Bathilde of the Imperium Francorum, ex-slave from Kent (England) outlawed slavery in 1066 CE. When the Franks conquered England in 1066 CE, they immediately freed all the slaves (explaining William’s popularity). Slaves coming from the Americas or Africa were immediately freed upon setting foot in Europe, for ever after (except in places under Muslim jurisdiction).

By the way, there is still slavery in some African countries. In the Kaye region of Mali, individuals who disagree too much with local slavery get killed. In Mauritania, there is at least half a million slaves. These two countries are next to each other. In Nigeria, Muslim Fundamentalists practice mass slavery, and so on. The reason is that the Qur’an takes slavery for granted:”those that your right hand posses” being the euphemism therein…

Who said progress doesn’t exist?

Outlawing slavery on most of the planet and formally at the United Nations was great progress, an extension of Saint Bathilde’s work (the foremost saint I recognize, if not the only one…). But all will come to nought, if plutocracy is able to progress and corrupt cognition, hearts and minds ever more. As I pointed out, we could start losing the oxygen making mechanism soon… And that comes from the fact a very small elite has perverted the planet mental system, by owning much of what matters.

Time to revert it.

Vote Warren.

Patrice Ayme

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P/S: And for new European Commission head? A woman, once again!

Margrethe Vestager, the powerful EC competition commissioner ticks many of the boxes needed for a righteous candidate: she can get things done, she is acceptable to the centre-right EPP and the S&D. She is championed by the Liberals and now more powerful Greens, whose votes will be needed to make a majority.

Ms Vestager has served as education, interior and economy minister of Denmark. As a EC commissioner since 2014 she has applied both a liberal sense of consumer rights and an interventionist commitment to regulating technology giant monopolies. She has taken on tax dodgers, infringers of personal privacy and market distorters. Thrusting macho hare brained bullies from Silicon Valley have turned up in her office berating her and come off the worse… So she can operate with the French who have long wanted to tax those financial and tech bullies whose main business model is monopolization and tax evasion. 

The EU in 2019 faces an array of security and economic threats. It needs a powerful, efficient, undaunted leader with experience of the European Commission and a sense of how the world is changing (for the worse). Europe needs a leader who can stand up for Europe and suggest legislation defending its citizens. It needs someone acceptable to left and right, north and south. Europe has to chose Ms Vestager.

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[1]: “Neoliberal” often seems little more than “neofascist”….

 

 

Don’t Underestimate Earth’s Violence: Permian Mass Extinction Boosted By Ozone Destroying Gases

November 29, 2018

This is a violent universe. We are a violent species making peace in a violent universe, and it’s not easy. Even those who loudly advocate non-violence often end up feeding even more violence than if they had stayed silent. An example is the US peaceniks in the 1930s, who, anxious to appease the fascists and the gods of war, they claimed, refused entry to millions of refugees… including Anne Frank… Who all died (excuses anybody?) 

As violence is omnipresent and can’t be avoided, the next best thing is to understand it, so one can mitigate it. With floods of mind to spill like lava all over the universe… The first thing to understand is that violence is complicated, finely tuned (as demonstrated by the fact Earth itself goes at 30 kilometers per second along her orbit…)

I have argued that one of the secrets of the success of Earth’s biosphere is its powerful nuclear reactor, churning a giant iron ocean below our feet. It brings up a magnetic shield, and a CO2 burying mechanism, let alone nutrient providing volcanism. biological niches instigator…

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/life-giving-nuclear-earth-reactor/

Heat transfer from the interior of the intelligence giving planet is not smooth: it happens as catastrophic LIPs, Large Igneous Provinces, enormous eruptions which can last several million years, and create continent sized lava flows, miles thick.

It has long been obvious Siberian hyper volcanism caused the worst mass extinction:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/…/21/trapped-by-super-tr…/

The new research finding: a massive release of halogens by the eruption plume, made things worse from disappearance of ozone, thus an extreme UV mutagenicity & sterilization. Same for dinosaurs (I say)!

Even nowadays, 250 million years later the Siberian Traps are immensely impressive: everything in the picture above erupted in a cataclysm.

See: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-018-0215-4

“End-Permian extinction amplified by plume-induced release of recycled lithospheric volatiles

Magmatic volatile release to the atmosphere can lead to climatic changes and substantial environmental degradation including the production of acid rain, ocean acidification and ozone depletion, potentially resulting in the collapse of the biosphere. The largest recorded mass extinction in Earth’s history occurred at the end of the Permian, coinciding with the emplacement of the Siberian large igneous province, suggesting that large-scale magmatism is a key driver of global environmental change. However, the source and nature of volatiles in the Siberian large igneous province remain contentious. Here we present halo-gen compositions of sub-continental lithospheric mantle xenoliths emplaced before and after the eruption of the Siberian flood basalts. We show that the Siberian lithosphere is massively enriched in halogens from the infiltration of subducted seawater-derived volatiles and that a considerable amount (up to 70%) of lithospheric halogens are assimilated into the plume and released to the atmosphere during emplacement. Plume–lithosphere interaction is therefore a key process control-ling the volatile content of large igneous provinces and thus the extent of environmental crises, leading to mass extinctions during their emplacement.”

Siberian Traps today. Putorana-Taymir peninsula. Imagine all this as it was 250 million years ago: red-hot lava… Kilometers thick

The demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention. However an even more disastrous event called “the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all species of life on the planet. (Yes, it seems those extinction tend to happen every 200 million years, because blobs come up cyclically, as in a well-named “lava lamp”.)

The cause of the extinction was a massive volcanic eruption in what is contemporary Siberia in Russia, known as the “Siberian flood basalts.” What’s remarkable, the eruptions lasted for about one million years. (The eruption which caused the demise of dinosaurs lasted much longer, but peaked around the demise of these type of beasts, and many other types, such as ammonites… See my link above)

The recent study’s lead author Michael Broadley, a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Petrographic and Geochemical Research in Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, France, observed: “The scale of this extinction was so incredible that scientists have often wondered what made the Siberian Flood Basalts so much more deadly than other similar eruptions”. I had the same objection brought up to me by a top paleontologist. This friend of mine favored the (energetically nonsensical) asteroid collision explanation of the demise of the dinosaurs. It is usually claimed that the LIP of the Cretaceous was not the largest… When, actually, the two places on Earth with giant LIP in full evidence are the Siberian Traps and the Deccan Traps…

Siberian Traps mapped. In violet: lava, In red: tuff (ashes, more or less crystallized together). 2 million square kilometers, roughly Western Europe, in area, and up to 4 million cubic kilometers… That is 4,000 times more voluminous than the largest asteroid imaginable crossing Earth’s orbit. 4,000 times the volume is the problem with asteroid theories of extinctions… Moreover, those 4,000,000 cubic kilometers of lava of the Traps were accompanied of much larger volumes of hot gases…. Same reasoning holds for the “dinosaur” extinction, the KT boundary… 

The Permian extinction affected not only larger animals, decimating about 70 percent of their species, but also killed off 96 percent of the world’s marine life, as well as countless insects. It inflicted such a loss of biodiversity that it took another 10 million years for the ecosystem to bounce back. Interestingly, large species which could burrow survived… and soon their descendants became “mammalian reptiles”… appearing dozens of millions of years before dinosaurs…

The explanation in plain language? The geologists aver that the instigated volcanic eruption was not just massive, but the plume carried massive quantities of halogen gases which destroyed the Earth’s ozone layer at the time. They found this by analyzing the composition of the lithosphere — the hard outer part of the planet, which includes the crust and the upper mantle. Before the Siberian Flood Basalts happened, the Siberian lithosphere featured much chlorine, bromine, and iodine, all chemical elements from the halogen group. Notably, breathing gas containing these elements is highly toxic and will usually result in death. But after the volcanic eruption, these elements seemingly vanished.

“We concluded that the large reservoir of halogens that was stored in the Siberian lithosphere was sent into the earth’s atmosphere during the volcanic explosion, effectively destroying the ozone layer at the time and contributing to the mass extinction,” Broadley elaborated.

Something similar happened with the Cretaceous extinction. As the time before last, animals which could burrow tended to survive… So did those with high metabolism, and the capacity to keep warm, as mammals and birds, or to lay supine and hibernate (crocs, turtles, snakes, etc.) Indeed at the end of the Cretaceous, temperatures collapsed (how the polar dinosaurs, who could survive cold winters, disappeared is probably a tale of its own… not yet told…)

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It’s fashionable to whine we humans are violent beasts. Sure. Yes, indeed. So what? We can leave our dent on this hyper violent universe, precisely because we, too, can be violent. Yes, covering the planet with agriculture is violent (many hate the new Brazilian president, just because he dares to want to do what North Americans and Europeans long did to their own continents; devastate the biosphere to cultivate their gardens).

Yes we kill and eat animals (and may not need to do this much longer). This is how we rose. So here we are, our growing minds having been well fed by enormous quantities of animal vitamins, fat and proteins. And we are starting to understand what more and more all means. To do better than Traps and their LIPs, we need to be more deliberate. That’s called wisdom. We can only brandish our own plumes if we are smart… And the aim of all this human activity, this human violence onto the universe? Not to flood continents with lava, but the universe, with mind.

Patrice Ayme

 

Is The United Nations The Greatest Enemy Of The Climate?

October 9, 2018

In its latest report on climate change, October 2018, UN now claims that climate warming caused by human activities is reversible. That absurd claim is much more damaging than Trump clownish positions on climate change and coal. And yet, contrarily to what UN scientists claim, overshooting the target, and then cooling off will probably not work, because of nonlinear effects. Once ice is gone, ice doesn’t come back easily.

Climate change, so far, has been linear: every year a bit warmer, a bit more CO2. That’s not the main problem. The main problem is that the planet could switch to a Jurassic regime.

The UN scientific report on climate change claims that, in the likelihood that governments fail to avert 1.5 degree Centigrade (2.7 degrees F for US primitives) of warming, another scenario is possible: The world could overshoot that target, heat up by more than 2 C (3.6 F) degrees, and then through a combination of lowering emissions and deploying carbon capture technology, bring the temperature back down below the 1.5C (2.7F) degree threshold.

In that utopical UN climate round trip scenario, some damage would be irreversible, the report claims. (yes, sure, *some*). All coral reefs would die. However, the sea ice that would disappear in the hotter scenario would return once temperatures had cooled off, bleats the UN… The ice will return? This is unproven and most certainly FALSE: once the albedo of the Arctic is changed, it won’t come back, and the Arctic ocean will heat up. The Arctic ocean already contains enough heat 50 meters below its surface, to melt said frozen surface completely.

See: https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2018/09/12/prediction-the-arctic-will-melt-suddenly/

The global temperature graph up to 2018. One seems to see an overall acceleration, a nonlinearity, an exponential drawing itself… Exponentiation is the typical nonlinearity.

For governments, the idea of overshooting the target but then coming back to it is attractive because then they don’t have to make such rapid changes,” Dr. Shindell, a climate scientist at Duke University and an author of the report, said. “But it has a lot of disadvantages.” Yeah: like it won’t happen. Cheap enough CO2 capture, for example, doesn’t exist.  

Says NYT:

A landmark report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.”

The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population.

The report “is quite a shock, and quite concerning,” said Bill Hare, an author of previous I.P.C.C. reports and a physicist with Climate Analytics, a nonprofit organization. “We were not aware of this just a few years ago.” The report was the first to be commissioned by world leaders under the Paris agreement, the 2015 pact by nations to fight global warming.

The report was written and edited by 91 scientists from 40 countries who analyzed more than 6,000 scientific studies. The Paris agreement set out to make a big wishful thinking about preventing warming of more than two degrees centigrade (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit as US primitives have it) above preindustrial levels — long considered a threshold for the most severe social and economic damage from climate change. Heads of small island nations, hounded by rising sea levels, also asked scientists to examine the effects of 1.5 C (2.7 F) degrees of warming.

Absent aggressive action, many effects once expected only several decades in the future will arrive by 2040, and at the lower temperature, the report shows. “It’s telling us we need to reverse emissions trends and turn the world economy on a dime,” said Myles Allen, an Oxford University climate scientist and an author of the report.

To prevent 1.5 C (2.7 F) degrees of warming, the report said, greenhouse pollution must be reduced by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050. It also found that, by 2050, use of coal as an electricity source would have to drop from nearly 40 percent today to between 1 and 7 percent. Renewable energy such as wind and solar, which make up about 20 percent of the electricity mix today, would have to increase to as much as 67 percent.

These requirements are not planned by most of the industrialized world. The report concluded that the greenhouse gas reduction pledges put forth under the Paris agreement will not be enough to avoid 2C (3.6 F) degrees of warming.

Despite the policy implications, which go against Trump’s climate skepticism stance, the United States delegation joined more than 180 countries on Saturday in accepting the report’s summary for policymakers. A State Department statement said that “acceptance of this report by the panel does not imply endorsement by the United States of the specific findings or underlying contents of the report… We reiterate that the United States intends to withdraw from the Paris agreement at the earliest opportunity absent the identification of terms that are better for the American people,” the statement said. The Trump position has been that a number of provisions of the Paris Accord, such as a 100 billion fund to help the Third World, are unacceptable.  However the fact remains that, after Obama’s giant fracking effort, major US states have the most ambitious sustainable energy programs (especially mighty California).

The UN scientific report emphasizes the necessity of a tax on carbon dioxide emissions. “A price on carbon is central to prompt mitigation,” the report concludes. It estimates that to be effective, such a price would have to range from $135 to $5,500 per ton of carbon dioxide pollution in 2030, and from $690 to $27,000 per ton by 2100. 

The cost of fossil-fuel emissions rose to its highest level in more than a decade in Europe, in August 2018, surpassing 20 euros a ton ($23) and adding to the cost of electricity across the continent.

Carbon emission permits have more than quadrupled from less than 5 euros since the middle of 2017 after European Union governments agreed to cut away a surplus that had depressed prices of the CO2 permit market since the financial crisis that started in 2008. Utilities and industrial polluters need the certificates to cover greenhouse gas emissions they produce.

By comparison, in fossil fuel happy USA, under the Obama administration, government economists estimated that an appropriate price on carbon would be in the range of $50 per ton (but they did nothing, as usual in Obama’s administration). Under the Trump administration, that figure was lowered to a ridiculous $7 per ton. Those with Trump Derangement Syndrome will say: we told you so. However, in the area of climate change, Trump is mostly wind: he used to be a climate alarmist (not as bad as yours truly). Now Trump has skeptic, because it brings him votes (but in truth he does nothing, same as Obama).

Whereas what the UN is doing by claiming climate change can be reversed, (with sci-fi technology) is diabolical… and will hogtie leaders such as… Trump: how can one justify thorough changes in all of society, while being told, by the UN it’s all for nothing, it’s not necessary? 

What is going on? A form of ubiquitous corruption: scientists who authored the UN report are all, directly or indirectly, government employees. They want to please their employers, so that they can be paid, be influential, and honored. Those employers themselves are trying to please their plutocratic masters (and future employers). So they engineered a completely unrealistic wishful loophole, resting on non-existing technology (efficient, cheap, mass, planetary sized CO2 capture).

9 years ago, I pointed out the UN ignored the potential for a nonlinear climate change catastrophe:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/2-c-is-too-much/

Now the UN has done even worse: it claims that climate disasters are coming, but won’t cost that much (1% GDP for 1C of warming), & they are reversible. BS!

Patrice Ayme

Prediction: The Arctic Will Melt Suddenly

September 12, 2018

So far, the Arctic sea ice has melted at a pace which is best fitted with lines. 10.4% per decade, more exactly. It sounds reasonable, in first approximation, to suppose that will keep on that way. However, most changes start, in first approximation, linearly, before fitting higher power curves.

In the case of Arctic sea ice, a number of mechanisms seem possible to go from linear to nonlinear.  For example, the more sea ice melts, the warmer the sea gets, the harder it is to form sea ice. Such a self-feeding mechanism is an exponential.

However, we, humanity just found a huge new mechanism to potentially melt all ice, and it is operative. It is even of our own making! As with the Fall of Rome, one cause leads to others, which then can feed back on the first.

The discovery?

A blob of warm water, 50 meters below the surface of the Arctic ocean. Why does not come to the surface, if it is warmer than the water above it? Because it is abnormally salty, thus denser.

How was it created? The Chukchi Sea has become ice-free much too much of the year. It is just north of the Bering Strait, and lies on top of the flooded Beringia land bridge between Eurasia and North America. So it is shallow: average depth, 71 meters only, and warms up well. The Chukchi Sea warms up so much it becomes salty, and that salty water sneaks north below cold upper waters (it is blocked from going south by the Strait.

The redder, the more heat content in the Chukchi sea… When the Arctic Ocean starts to churn, the sea ice will all melt…Study lead author Professor Mary-Louise Timmermans, of Yale University (yes, a woman) said: We document a striking ocean warming in one of the main basins of the interior Arctic Ocean, the Canadian Basin… the upper ocean in the Canadian Basin has seen a two-fold increase in heat content over the past 30 years.

The researchers traced the source to waters hundreds of miles to the south, where reduced sea ice has left the surface ocean more exposed to summer solar warming.

Professor Timmermans added: This means the effects of sea-ice loss are not limited to the ice-free regions themselves, but also lead to increased heat accumulation in the interior of the Arctic Ocean that can have climate effects well beyond the summer season.

 

What next? A strong storm, an Arctic hurricane (they happen!)  could push cold waters out, and that would force the warm water up. I would venture to say that this is exactly what happened in August 2012 (generating thereafter the smallest Arctic sea ice ever recorded, by a long shot).

The same will happen again in the future, on a grander scale.

And all the Arctic sea ice could melt, thus warming the Arctic ocean enough to melt all ice, and that in turn, could warm up the ocean enough that summer to prevent the return of the ice thereafter…

It goes without saying that, after the Arctic ocean is ice-free, trillions of tons of methane hydrates laying inside the shallow sea floor will fiercely erupt, freeing trillions of tons of methane. It has happened in the past, and can be violent enough for tsunamis. It is actually already started, albeit on a small-scale, relative to what it could become. Methane is a greenhouse gas with more than 25 times the warming power of CO2 (the “forcing” effectiveness to be a bit more technical). Thus our effort to engineer a man-made Jurassic climate will make great strides. Maybe we will see class 5 hurricane strike Canada?

Fun springs eternal!

Let’s re-engineer a few dinosaurs and pterosaurs, once Canada’s Arctic archipelago is covered with forests, as we are at it…

Patrice Ayme

    

 

Cool: Species Nearly Destroyed All Life Before

August 8, 2018

Earth. The Dark Side. Homo. It has become standard to point out that the genus Homo may destroy life, or, our species, or, at least, civilization itself. This is related to the “Fermi Paradox” (“Where is everybody?” asked Enrico Fermi around 1950…) The idea was that civilizations self-destruct, hence no civilization is visible in the galaxy. To which I retorted that we overestimate the likelihood of advanced life in the galaxy, for a galactic sized number of reasons:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/40-billion-earths-yes-no/

One argument I rolled out is that life was nearly extinguished on Earth by life itself: consider “Snowball Earth”. This weapon of mass life extinction was generated by the advancement of life itself. Let me quote myself:

“Primitive bacterial life is probably frequent. However advanced life (animals) is probably very rare, as many are the potential catastrophes. And one needs billions of years to go from primitive life to animals.

After life forms making oxygen on Earth appeared, the atmosphere went from reducing (full of strong greenhouse methane) to oxidizing (full of oxygen). As methane mostly disappeared, so did the greenhouse. Earth froze, all the way down to the equator:

When Snowball Earth Nearly Killed Life

Yet volcanoes kept on belching CO2 through the ice. That CO2 built up above the ice, caused a strong greenhouse, and the ice melted. Life had survived. Mighty volcanism has saved the Earth, just in time.

That “snowball Earth” catastrophe repeated a few times before the Earth oxygen based system became stable. Catastrophe had been engaged, several times, but the disappearance of oxygen creating life forms had been avoided, just barely.”

Intense chemical weathering by massive acid rain is the likely cause of the end of a period known as the Marinoan glaciation, which happened form 650 to 635 million years ago, according to a paper published in the journal PNAS. This was the last occurence when nearly all of the Earth’s land and seas were frozen over, known as snowball Earth, with glaciers as thick as 2km. Other times, on the right, Earth had no ice at the poles… Present day civilization can survive a warm Earth (right)… Not a Snowball. However, to get from what we have now to no ice, in a geological blink, means ultimate war…

What does this mean philosophically?

Most philosophical systems in the traditional sense don’t consider the truism that, to get creation, one needs destruction, and the more creation, the more destruction. Why? That sounds childish, thus unwise. But children encounter the primeval. Philosophy extended to religion revels in destruction. Actually the Deus/God/Allah destroys the entire universe to establish Heavens.

The universe is a brutal place: not only do planets get flung into space, stars explode, but even entire galaxies get destroyed. The universe is also a happening.

In the greater scheme of things, a war where, say, seven billion people got killed would be nothing special: that was the world population in 1803, when the imbecile Napoleon, having mightily endeavored to reestablish slavery, losing an army in the process, sold a third of the present day US to the USA for 11 million dollars.

In the movie Terminator, Artificial Intelligence takes over, causes a nuclear holocaust, and tries to extinguish humanity. It is more likely though that more and more formidable wars would accompany a Hot Earth scenario… which is what we are going towards, quickly. As I have argued in the past, 2C Is Too Much! Under 2C of global warming, a chain reaction of tipping point would unleash itself, and self-accelerate:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/2-c-is-too-much/

Now the idea is hitting the mainstream, nine years later. See: “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. There, scientists argue that there is a threshold temperature above which natural feedback systems that currently keep the Earth at a nice temperature (around 15 C, global) will unravel. At that point, a chain reaction of climate events will thrust the planet into a “hothouse” state. Though the scientists don’t know exactly what this threshold is, they said it could be as little as 2 degrees C (4 degrees F) of warming above preindustrial levels. We are above that half-way point…

As they put it in scientese: We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a “Hothouse Earth” pathway even as human emissions are reduced. Crossing the threshold would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and to sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene. We examine the evidence that such a threshold might exist and where it might be. If the threshold is crossed, the resulting trajectory would likely cause serious disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies. Collective human action is required to steer the Earth System away from a potential threshold and stabilize it in a habitable interglacial-like state. Such action entails stewardship of the entire Earth System—biosphere, climate, and societies—and could include decarbonization of the global economy, enhancement of biosphere carbon sinks, behavioral changes, technological innovations, new governance arrangements, and transformed social values.”

People are deeply unaware, they believe that the planet’s climate is more stable than it really is. The episodes of Snowball Earth show that this is not the case. This erroneous feeling of ecological stability is the main source of the indifference which brings the destruction of the planetary climate.

The apocalypse, in the greater scheme of things, is not apocalyptic. After all, an apocalypse, etymologically speaking, is just an uncovering… And this is precisely this normalcy of the abnormal, which will make go so smooth…

Patrice Ayme