Archive for the ‘Climate Catastrophe’ Category

Sea Level Rise Accelerating: A Nonlinear Consequence Of CO2 Rise

October 8, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrice Ayme

EARTH OUT OF OXYGEN: 1) Basic Reasoning, Objection From Atmospheric Scientist

September 2, 2019

Yes, we can run out of oxygen. When they burned the Jews, nobody came: they were not Jews, after all, and had never heard of such a thing. Now they, the same suspects, superficiality, small-mindedness, greed, idiocy, ignorance, sheer viciousness, brutishness, and madness of the crowds, burn the planet’s atmosphere. Will somebody come?

This is an extension, an update, of what I already explained more than six years ago:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/05/30/global-hypoxia/

My basic theory, in a nutshell: Increased heat and drought caused by the augmentation of CO2 launched a holocaust of primary forests, worldwide, that, in turn feeds the rise of acidity of the oceans, killing the phytoplankton. So yes, should CO2 keep on rising, the biosphere will run out of oxygen!

CAN WE RUN OUT OF OXYGEN? YES, OF COURSE! AS THE BIOSPHERE COLLAPSES, we don’t expect any less!

Philosophy is what happens when one thinks hard about the foundations. 

Civilization class philosophy is vastly superior to all the thinking done before, because before knowing (that’s called science), one has to guess what there is to know (finding out what is more significant in the morass of possible knowledge)

Foundation thinking often reveals we don’t know enough to have the deep foundations usually assumed. French President Macron went all out for the burning forests, in Siberia, Amazonia, Indonesia and Sub-Saharan Africa, burning to an extent never seen before, and I thank him for it. This unprecedented holocaust (holo-caust means all-burn in Greek) is one more step in the desertification caused by man. 

“Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rainforest – the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire,” Macron wrote in a tweetIt is an international crisis. Members of the G7 Summit, let’s discuss this emergency first order in two days!” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres reinforced the oxygen message, August 22, 2019: I’m deeply concerned by the fires in the Amazon rainforest. In the midst of the global climate crisis, we cannot afford more damage to a major source of oxygen and biodiversity. The Amazon must be protected.”

However articles sprouted all over, from US scientists insisting in the world media that French president Macron got it wrong, and that, whatever we did, we will not run out of oxygen. My first reaction was that those scientists are either feeble minded, or liars: we can run out of oxygen, thanks to the likes of the Amazon burning. 

At first, such scientists reminded me of Nazi scientists claiming under the Third Reich that nothing wrong could possibly happen with Nazism, or with the Jews.

We have not thought hard enough about the foundations in the matter of climate.

Some US scientists have even claimed that forests, as a system, actually produce no oxygen. Here is below what Dr. Scott Denning, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University says. Before I quote his entire article in The Conversation, let me point out that I do not disagree with the science he exposes, just his conclusion. This will be explained in my next essay, and Professor Denning’s kind answer:

Professor Scott Denning:

“Amazon fires are destructive, but they aren’t depleting Earth’s oxygen supply

26 août 2019

Fires in the Amazon rainforest have captured attention worldwide in recent days. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in 2019, pledged in his campaign to reduce environmental protection and increase agricultural development in the Amazon, and he appears to have followed through on that promise.

The resurgence of forest clearing in the Amazon, which had decreased more than 80% following a peak in 2004, is alarming for many reasons. Tropical forests harbor many species of plants and animals found nowhere else. They are important refuges for indigenous people, and contain enormous stores of carbon as wood and other organic matter that would otherwise contribute to the climate crisis.

Some media accounts have suggested that fires in the Amazon also threaten the atmospheric oxygen that we breathe. French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted on Aug. 22 that “the Amazon rainforest – the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire.”

The oft-repeated claim that the Amazon rainforest produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen is based on a misunderstanding. In fact nearly all of Earth’s breathable oxygen originated in the oceans, and there is enough of it to last for millions of years. There are many reasons to be appalled by this year’s Amazon fires, but depleting Earth’s oxygen supply is not one of them.

Oxygen from plants

As an atmospheric scientist, much of my work focuses on exchanges of various gases between Earth’s surface and the atmosphere. Many elements, including oxygen, constantly cycle between land-based ecosystems, the oceans and the atmosphere in ways that can be measured and quantified.

Nearly all free oxygen in the air is produced by plants through photosynthesis. About one-third of land photosynthesis occurs in tropical forests, the largest of which is located in the Amazon Basin.

But virtually all of the oxygen produced by photosynthesis each year is consumed by living organisms and fires. Trees constantly shed dead leaves, twigs, roots and other litter, which feeds a rich ecosystem of organisms, mostly insects and microbes. The microbes consume oxygen in that process.

Forest plants produce lots of oxygen, and forest microbes consume a lot of oxygen. As a result, net production of oxygen by forests – and indeed, all land plants – is very close to zero.

There are four main reservoirs of oxygen on Earth: the terrestrial biosphere (green), marine biosphere (blue), lithosphere (Earth’s crust, brown), and atmosphere (grey). Colored arrows show fluxes between these reservoirs. Burial of organic material causes a net increase in atmospheric oxygen, and reactions with minerals in rocks cause a net decrease. Pengxiao Xu/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA

Oxygen production in the oceans

For oxygen to accumulate in the air, some of the organic matter that plants produce through photosynthesis must be removed from circulation before it can be consumed. Usually this happens when it is rapidly buried in places without oxygen – most commonly in deep sea mud, under waters that have already been depleted of oxygen.

This happens in areas of the ocean where high levels of nutrients fertilize large blooms of algae. Dead algae and other detritus sink into dark waters, where microbes feed on it. Like their counterparts on land, they consume oxygen to do this, depleting it from the water around them.

Below depths where microbes have stripped waters of oxygen, leftover organic matter falls to the ocean floor and is buried there. Oxygen that the algae produced at the surface as it grew remains in the air because it is not consumed by decomposers.

Tiny phytoplankton in the ocean generate half of the oxygen produced on Earth.

This buried plant matter at the bottom of the ocean is the source of oil and gas. A smaller amount of plant matter gets buried in oxygen-free conditions on land, mostly in peat bogs where the water table prevents microbial decomposition. This is the source material for coal.

Only a tiny fraction – perhaps 0.0001% – of global photosynthesis is diverted by burial in this way, and thus adds to atmospheric oxygen. But over millions of years, the residual oxygen left by this tiny imbalance between growth and decomposition has accumulated to form the reservoir of breathable oxygen on which all animal life depends. It has hovered around 21% of the volume of the atmosphere for millions of years.

Some of this oxygen returns to the planet’s surface through chemical reactions with metals, sulfur and other compounds in Earth’s crust. For example, when iron is exposed to air in the presence of water, it reacts with oxygen in the air to form iron oxide, a compound commonly known as rust. This process, which is called oxidation, helps regulate oxygen levels in the atmosphere.

Don’t hold your breath

Even though plant photosynthesis is ultimately responsible for breathable oxygen, only a vanishingly tiny fraction of that plant growth actually adds to the store of oxygen in the air. Even if all organic matter on Earth were burned at once, less than 1% of the world’s oxygen would be consumed.

In sum, Brazil’s reversal on protecting the Amazon does not meaningfully threaten atmospheric oxygen. Even a huge increase in forest fires would produce changes in oxygen that are difficult to measure. There’s enough oxygen in the air to last for millions of years, and the amount is set by geology rather than land use. The fact that this upsurge in deforestation threatens some of the most biodiverse and carbon-rich landscapes on Earth is reason enough to oppose it.

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[I beg to differ: actually I have a master reason to believe we do NOT have “millions of years” of oxygen (next essay). Hint: permafrost!]

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Well, thanks, professor Denning (from the prestigious U of C at Boulder. That university got several Nobels in physics, is located next to the delightful Flatiron/Green Mountain park, where I have climbed and unwittingly charged a very large mountain lion which was stalking (long story). I was actually going to NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) when that happened… My spouse was doing there hard core programming on Sun Atmospherics. All this to say Denning is coming from what maybe the most qualified place in atmospheric matters!

However, as I will explain in the next essay, the very science professor Denning unfolded above leads me to the opposite conclusion from the one he draws.

Another point, see P/S below: up to very recently, it was viewed that forests (now burning) produced HALF of the planet’s oxygen. Professor Denning says: not so (well, OK, he is the specialist, he should know better… but I am curious to see the science…) In particular, up to very recently, the scientific literature widely quoted the Amazon as producing 20% of the world oxygen. It’s only very recently that US scientists (not just professor Denning!) changed their music. Is it that they heard that they better change their tune, should they want to be financed some more by the Trump administration, the fossil fuel plutocracy, or its delegates, surrogates and agents? Anyway, the P/S below shows what used to be the official science…

Another point is that an easy computation shows the atmosphere contains around 10^15 tons of oxygen. So some anti-Macron, and anti-panic about oxygen have argued we have millions of years of oxygen to consume, even if production stops. As I will show in the next essay, not so! Indeed, that simplicity overlooks an entire dimension. It may be frozen, but it’s all the more potent as it will come alive, all putrescent, rotting and belching all over: permafrost. 2.5 million years of it, no less! Glaciations may have help foster humanity, by creating new, exotic and demanding ecological niches which favored greater intelligence. By receding now, ice and climate change will require more creativity than ever… And better science.

Patrice Ayme

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P/S:

The following tables offer estimates of oxygen cycle reservoir capacities and fluxes… before the latest science professor Denning says is true…. Latest science which basically says it’s OK to destroy the forests, as far as oxygen production is concerned!!!!!!!!!!! (I don’t believe it, and I have a counter-reasoning, destroying professor Denning conclusion above… with his own logic!) These numbers below were taken for granted until very recently, and are based primarily on estimates from Walker, J. C. G.:[10]… 

Such numbers below were what Macron and Gutierrez based their O2 claims on…

Reservoir Capacity

(kg O2)

Flux in/out

(kg O2 per year)

Residence time

(years)

Atmosphere 1.4×1018 3×1014 4500
Biosphere 1.6×1016 3×1014 50
Lithosphere 2.9×1020 6×1011 500000000

 

Table 2: Annual gain and loss of atmospheric oxygen (Units of 1010 kg O2 per year)[1]

Photosynthesis (land)

Photosynthesis (ocean)

Photolysis of N2O

Photolysis of H2O

16,500

13,500

1.3

0.03

Total gains ~ 30,000
Losses – respiration and decay
Aerobic respiration

Microbial oxidation

Combustion of fossil fuel (anthropogenic)

Photochemical oxidation

Fixation of N2 by lightning

Fixation of N2 by industry (anthropogenic)

Oxidation of volcanic gases

23,000

5,100

1,200

600

12

10

5

Losses – weathering
Chemical weathering

Surface reaction of O3

50

12

Total losses ~ 30,000

Hint on the hidden O2 catastrophe: The mass of the biosphere: of the order of 4x(10^12) tons. Prof Denning says it can absorb all O2. OK. Indeed, notice microbial oxidation.

Suppose it all dies.

Not enough? Well, think a bit about all what got frozen during the last 2.5 million years of glaciation: the bill is coming due…

PA

Record Temperatures Jump, Paris 43.6 Celsius, Well-Fed Climate Scientists Too Optimistic

July 31, 2019

IPCC, INFLUENCED BY ITS SPONSORS, IS TOO OPTIMISTIC: 3 Degree Celsius Rise Already In Paris!

The United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) aspires to please its sponsors, namely the plutocrats who control the nations which constitute the UN. Thus the IPCC knows that, to look serious, it shouldn’t look scary, or depicting a world that cannot happen, in the opinion of plutocrats. Plutocrats have organized the world we have, in which 93% of the energy comes from making CO2. A different energy system, not depending upon making CO2 could have been deployed. But it was not, in great part because the plutocracy in power is infeodated to making CO2. It’s a fossil fuel plutocracy.

So the IPCC makes climate predictions which are ridiculously optimistic. For example that, to limit the rise of global temperature at 1.5 Celsius, one would need to reduce CO2 emissions starting in 2020 (yes, next year).  This will not happen, because, first, the emissions are augmenting, and accelerating… in 2019. Second, there is enormous CO2 in the system, and the global rise is now 1.1 degree Celsius…. Also, in its computations, the IPCC omitted the factor that matters most, Antarctica… Because too little was known about iceshields to incorporate them in computations. That’s dishonest: computations could have been made of the most optimistic case, and the most pessimistic case (the later being what I call catastrophic calculus).

So the IPCC mumbles that we may fear a rise of 2 or 3 degrees Celsius by 2100. But actually, this is the threat, now.

The old temperature record in Paris, established over more than half a millennium, was 40.4 Celsius, in summer 1947 (one of a couple of exceptionally warm years). On July 25, 2019, it reached 43.6 Celsius.

Paris shimmering in the heat, 25 July 2019. Most cars were outlawed by Anne Hidalgo, Mayor; one 3.8 Euro ticket bought public transportation for the entire day

So picture this: a jump of 3.2 Celsius, six Fahrenheit… So much by going up by 3 Celsius in 2100… as the worst possible case! To know the future rise of an average it’s enough to know the rise of the outliers… Another point: temperate vegetation is not made for tropical temperature. An excursion into dry season tropical temps can be enough to kill it.

Conclusion? What lay ahead as worst possible case is rather an eight (8) degree Celsius rise by 2100…. This may sound crazily exaggerated, but I was in Paris the day of the record high. How likely was that? Not very: most of the time, I am not even in France! the capital was eerie in those conditions. The tubes of the Pompidou museum the picture was taken from were probably around 130 F (55 C)… unlivable… So, if we get peaks in 2019 as high as the worst predicted for 2100…

Meanwhile, record fires put one third of gigantic Russia under smoke… As much burning in one month in the Arctic as in eight years prior… CO2 is exponentiating.

The bottom line is this: go to Patagonia. There, the glaciers melt so much, few reach the sea. Antarctica starts 800 kilometers south (500 miles). Generally one seems to lose one degree Celsius per 200 kilometers polewards. That means that Antarctica is four degrees Celsius away from Patagonia (at sea interface). So a rise of four degrees would turn Antarctica into Patagonia…. However, most of Antarctica’s rock mass is BELOW sea level. One can look at the picture in:

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

Now, of course, the IPCC sets the worst possible case in 2100 at a three degree C rise… just below obvious massive melting of Antarctica, and this convenient “science’ no doubt pleases the sponsors of the IPCC…

Patrice Ayme

Nature Collapsing, Plutocracy Thriving

May 6, 2019

Both phenomena are related. The more nature collapses, the more plutocracy thrives (see the multi-centennial fall of Rome, for reference). Small people and other losers have no interest to see nature collapse. However, plutocracy does. Because Pluto-Kratia, Evil-Power, is best expressed and justified during war-like states, and civilizational collapse sure qualifies.

Plutocracy survived the collapse of the Roman and Carolingian empires with flying colors. In the Roman case, most noble families had a bishop in their midst. The collapse of the Renovated Empire of the Romans (Renovatio Imperii Romanorum) and its renewal by the Ottos and Capets brought the feudal order, another plutocratic success.

Now is no different: we have a terminal CO2 crisis bringing in extreme, sudden temperature, acidification and ocean rises: 1% of US CO2 is from state subsidized private jets. Nobody notices, because media have made sure to create entire generations just preoccupied by celebrities, not by what is going on, which is really most significant.

Nor has the media been keen to notice the likes of Biden annihilated the Banking Act of 1933, in the 1990s, bringing in in the age of the financial plutocracy… itself a heavy financier of fossil fuels. So all what some schools are thinking of is installing “Apps”, and plastic grass, instead of teaching sustainable global citizenship. We are cruising towards an apocalypse, at an increasing pace: the Sixth Mass Extinction. The United Nations just came up (May 6, 2019) with an analysis made by 132 countries and 455 scientists: one million species are disappearing. For example, nearly all amphibians.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/06/world/one-million-species-threatened-extinction-humans-scn-intl/index.html

One problem with burning forests in the tropics is that what is left are often extremely poor soils (differently from northern European soils, which are very forgiving, explaining in great part why north west Europe replaced the Greco-Roman world…) Cattle grazing on a tract of illegally cleared Amazon forest in Pará State, Brazil. In most major land habitats, the average abundance of native plant and animal life has fallen by 20 percent or more, mainly over the past century,,, [Credit
Lalo de Almeida for The New York Times]
In Africa, burned forest is often replaced by lateritis, a soil which is red, baked, hard… for the good reason that it is full of Aluminum.

It is the Sixth Mass Extinction, but this time the dinosaurs have thermonuclear weapons.

What to do? Get involved, get aware, protest. Protests can become unbearable to the powers that be.

This is the way the fascist government of Brunei on the island of Borneo was just dealt with. It drew powerful international condemnation when it rolled out its interpretation of sharia laws on April 3. Now, the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, reverted his decision: after all, the country won’t enforce Islamic laws that include stoning to death for rape, adultery and gay sex.

Killing all the people who got killed in World War Two was atrocious. However, what is now unfolding has the potential to be way way worse. Einstein said he didn’t know which weapons will be used to fight World War Three, but next it would be sticks and stones. That was naively optimistic. If we acidify further the ocean with acid from CO2, we may kill the Earth’s oxygen making mechanism. Not really news, as this was clear five years ago already:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/05/30/global-hypoxia/  

Many behave as if there will be no tomorrow, because they feel that way! It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, it has to be resisted.

What’s needed, beyond recording what’s going on, is interpreting it, going beyond, building ideas, and moods meant to last. Only deeper thinking can do this, and ensure a planet capable of lasting. Because we are not at the regional level anymore. When climate change, plus nefarious human impact, forced the Harappan civilization to abandon its homeland, the Indus valley, it was dealing with forces it had no idea existed. Maybe there are such forces out there. But there are also plenty of forces we can see, and which are plenty lethal enough, at civilizational scale, and the scale of the entire biosphere. Stop. And think. One million species are marching towards extinction, among the plants and animals we know.

Patrice Ayme

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From NYT:

WASHINGTON — Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that people all over the world depend on for their survival, a sweeping new United Nations assessment has concluded.

The 1,500-page report, compiled by hundreds of international experts and based on thousands of scientific studies, is the most exhaustive look yet at the decline in biodiversity across the globe and the dangers that creates for human civilization. A summary of its findings, which was approved by representatives from the United States and 131 other countries, was released Monday [May 6, 2019] in Paris. The full report is set to be published this year.

Its conclusions are stark. In most major land habitats, from the savannas of Africa to the rain forests of South America, the average abundance of native plant and animal life has fallen by 20 percent or more, mainly over the past century. With the human population passing 7 billion, activities like farming, logging, poaching, fishing and mining are altering the natural world at a rate “unprecedented in human history.”

At the same time, a new threat has emerged: Global warming has become a major driver of wildlife decline, the assessment found, by shifting or shrinking the local climates that many mammals, birds, insects, fish and plants evolved to survive in. When combined with the other ways humans are damaging the environment, climate change is now pushing a growing number of species, such as the Bengal tiger, closer to extinction.

As a result, biodiversity loss is projected to accelerate through 2050, particularly in the tropics, unless countries drastically step up their conservation efforts.

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Thermonuclear Fusion As A Moral Imperative To Avoid Ultimate Climate Catastrophe

March 26, 2019

90% of energy comes from burning fossil fuels. We have a climate crisis without precedent in 66 million years. True, Earth had bigger climate changes than what we have seen so far. So far, we have seen one degree Celsius, worldwide, but five degrees are around the corner.

True, at the warmest, something like 50 million years ago, overall planet temperature may have been 5 degrees Celsius higher. And true, when the climate oscillated furiously in the last 2.6 million years, sometimes it was 5 degrees Celsius colder than now, during the “Glacial Maxima”, or even one degree Celsius or so  higher, during the Eemian (115, 000 years ago, the last warm episode, caused by geometrical conjunction of Earth orbit details and the disposition of the continents towards the North Pole).

True some oscillations were fast and furious, like the famous “Dryas” episodes, the first one of which was 18K ago, or so (a mini glaciation suddenly affected Europe, caused by a brutal shut-down of the Gulf Stream beyond a place forward of Iceland, caused by a sudden lid of sweet, light, super cold water from the flow of an enormous cold lake).

However, most big changes were slow, species had time to evolve. Interestingly, the erratic climate of the last 50,000 years may have led to the extinction of the Neanderthals (in a theory mixing the exponential function with the concept of “quasi-extinctions”… from yours truly…) So climate violence is not without consequences.

But, as I said, the changes, especially the warming episodes, were rather slow. Not so now. Not only we are facing potentially the greatest warming since the Carboniferous, or maybe the greatest warming, ever, but we are facing it at a torrid pace: millions of years packed in a century or two.

Greta Thunberg The 15-Year Old Child spoke, and she spoke well!:

We are stuck because the worldwide production of energy is dominated by fossil fuels, and other burning of carbon made materials… the so-called “biofuels”, which sounds good until one realizes that it means burning forest and the like…

Not only the burning of enormous amounts of carbon generating humongous CO2 is disastrous, but it is getting ever worse. At some point, soon, the climate will break.

Yes, it  is not just a question of “climate changing”, and “global warming”. At some point soon, the climate will break. Actually ice shelves in Antarctica and glaciers in Greenland have been observed, disintegrating literally in minutes.

What to do? Miracles! Science made miracles. Science fabricated miracles already. Indeed one unexpected good surprise already happened: Photovoltaic cells (PV). PV is now the cheapest unsubsidized energy source, and even more so, when the dramatically adverse health consequences of fossil fuels are taken into account (probably much more than ten million dead each year, worldwide). However PV cannot work everywhere, and are not enough for 100% transportation, residential and industrial usage, except in relatively small zones in the middle of some deserts, like the Sahara. And that’s after digging for fossil water, and vast construction, CO2 intense, of buildings and exportation of industrial finished products.

Notice that the amount of waste varies enormously, per country and per capita. For example, look for France. France creates only one percent (1%) of the world CO2. That’s amazing, considering that France has the world’s fifth GDP. Yes, bigger than Great Britain, and only less than Germany, Japan, the PRC, and the US. In particular, Russia, with twice the population of France, and much smaller GDP, emits 5 times the CO2. US citizens, per capita, make three times more CO2 than the French….

The problem is: how do we make enormous quantities of energy in a way that doesn’t create enormous pollution? Not all countries have sun and wind, and water (although California does). A first approach is nuclear fission. That has bad reputation, because it was, for decades, mostly a military program. So safety shortcuts were taken. Also now California, which is full of sun, water, towering mountain ranges all over (thus hydro trivers), and oil, has decided to close its last nuclear reactor. California is where they fabricate most movies and thus most moods.

Much of the USA’s wealth rests on the fact that, for nearly 160 years, the USA was the world’s primary oil producer. Actually the world petroleum industry, was born in Pennsylvania in 1859, when “Colonel” Drake found how to extract “rock oil”.

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/thermonuclear-fusion-or-civilization-fission/

Recently the Trump administration reinstated in full the US funding for ITER, the International THERMONUCLEAR Experimental Reactor constructed in France.

Thermonuclear fusion is the only enormous energy source that can be envisioned at this point. It is not a question of its possible existence some day, but of its profitability (ITER targets producing ten times more energy than is poured in from the French energy grid). However, because of the bad mood of the powers that be, funding for ITER was slowed down to a trickle. that’s all the more abysmal as ITER is a world project so everybody, and not necessarily the most competent countries, pitch in with some equipment of their own making…

Thus some circles started to agitate for a US thermonuclear reactor (after good results of a brand new thermonuclear reactor in Germany). A US reactor will enable to get the best talent to concentrate best practices.

Why do the powers that be love fossil fuels so much? Because oil means lots of power in very few hands. That goes very well with the present day oligarchy: oiligarchy promotes oligarchy. Countries where oil production is concentrated, with the exception of Norway are all more or less corrupt (yes, Canada, we are looking at you, kid). Massive plutocratic corruption then trickle down: some major Obama administration officials, like Susan Rice, his “National Security Adviser”, son of her dad, a director of the US Federal Reserve, had million of dollars in the stock of oil pipeline….

As Greta said, we need to listen to science, knowledge. We need more knowledge to get out of this mess. The alternative is the old fashion way: reduce human population massively, by culling. A good nuclear winter and killing 95% of humanity would give the biosphere a respite.

Otherwise, the most recent research (2019) shows that the atmosphere could heat up so much that clouds won’t form as they do now, and a further jump of eight (8) degree Celsius would occur. That is astounding. But it’s not just a theory. Actually, it was the other way around: such jumps were found in the fossil record, and couldn’t be explained… until now. Now that we have found that a tripling of the CO2 would make clouds disappear.

That explains why crocodiles have, more than once in the past, enjoyed the Arctic ocean, and sunned them on  beaches in Greenland graced by palm trees.

After such a jump of eight degrees Celsius globally, from the disappearance of clouds, on top of a rise of five degrees, at least half of the presently inhabited lands would be too hot for biological life, aside from the sort of bacteria which live below volcanoes (thermophilic bacteria). Is that what we want?

If that’s not what we want, there is only one solution: more brainiacs, more science, enough of it to replace the 90% of present day energy production by thermonuclear fusion. At this point, it’s just a matter of building big reactors.

Patrice Ayme

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Note 1: Oh, by the way, once we become good at the simplest thermonuclear fusion, we could use the fusion of Helium 3 (there is quite a bit in space, including Saturn, Jupiter, and the Moon). The charm of Helium 3 is that it fuses in such a way that it does not fling neutrons at the reactors’ walls (because it produces no neutrons). Hence there would be no radioactivity whatsoever (thus the reactor could last centuries…)

***

Note 2: I thank my daughter Athena, 9 years old, to draw my attention to Greta and ask me more information on the subject at hand (my verbal answer is distilled in the essay above… poor child…)

 

How To Remove CO2 From the Atmosphere: Water Volcanic, Calcium & Magnesium Desertic Tropical Ranges. Contemplate Indonesia!

January 13, 2019

DID INDONESIA CAUSE THE LAST THREE MILLION YEARS OF GLACIATION? SOLVING THE CO2 CATASTROPHE BY ACTIVE, FEASIBLE REMOVAL:

In the last 500 million years, three-quarters of the time or so, the planet enjoyed a hot, Jurassic style climate. It was not the case during the evolution of the genus Homo, one characteristic of which is the ability to endure cold and even subpolar climate. Enormous glaciations then rolled in, one after the other. What happened? Well, the mystery has now been unveiled.

This is not just a curiosity. Indeed, said discovery provides us with a solution to the CO2 catastrophe: just water dry tropical volcanic ranges and similar areas with plenty of calcium and magnesium, and the CO2 will be removed, stabilizing the atmosphere. Watering those particular mineral areas provides with a believable mechanism to decrease CO2 when enormous amounts of cheap clean energy is available… in a generation or two. (This is the first plausible mechanism ever suggested to do so!)

***

Sacred mountain of Zoroastrianism, the major historical religion of civilization, Mount Damavand is the highest point in Iran higher than the Alps or even the Caucasus. It is an active volcano in full sight of gigantic Teheran. The gas and fumaroles on top was a problem when I circled the crater. This is the northern side, facing the Caspian sea, a lush area. Other sides are extremely dry, and I propose to water them. That of course would require gigantic, power-hungry engineering beyond the capability of present civilization.

Global climate change around 3–4 Million years ago influenced the evolution of hominids, via the aridification of Africa, and what happened next, the Pleistocene glaciation about 2.75 Myr ago… thereafter the Earth’s climate suffered rolling glaciations… while human species evolved ever faster.

Most explanations of these climatic events used to involve changes in circulation of the North Atlantic Ocean due to the closing of the Isthmus of Panama. The idea is that a strong current of warm water was going north from the Pacific, joining, and augmenting the Gulf Stream, thus preventing any ice to form in the Arctic. With no ice in the Arctic, the albedo of Earth was significantly lower, thus all these infrared, instead of being sent back to space by reflecting snows, were trapped in the Arctic. A warm Arctic brought temperatures up, overall.

However, the closure of the Indonesian seaway 3–4 Myr ago could also be responsible for these climate changes: it acts similarly to the contemporaneous Panama closing (but as we will see, Indonesia does more than Panama). Closing the Indonesian seaway brought the aridification of Eastern Africa. The simplest theory and results from ocean circulation modelling show that the displacement of mighty New Guinea, about 5 Myr ago, at 100 kilometers per million years, going north, and west, closed the seaway. (But not just that, as we will see.)

That would have switched the source of flow through Indonesia—from warm South Pacific to relatively cold North Pacific waters (all waters below 100 meters are now blocked by narrow, shallow straights inside the Indonesian archipelago). This blockage would have decreased sea surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean, leading to reduced rainfall over Eastern Africa. Changes in the equatorial Western Pacific, by making heat stagnate there, probably reduced atmospheric heat transport from the tropics to higher latitudes, stimulating global cooling around the poles, and the eventual growth of ice sheets., which, in turn, cooled the planet further!

All of a sudden, shallow waters all over! The right side, the gigantic island of New Guinea, moved north, but also west, at 100 kilometers per million years, strangling the Indonesian seaway, starting 5 millions years ago (coincident with the same in Mesoamerica) This blocked the Earth’s warmest waters to enter the Indian ocean.

But there is another way in which Indonesia enters the climatic picture: CO2 removal by chemical reaction with basaltic rocks. This happened because the tectonic collisions caused the rise of high mountains, hence intense weathering.

***.

Basalt Make CO2 Into Rock:

Basalt generally has a composition of 45–55 % SiO2, 2–6 wt% total alkalis, 0.5–2.0% TiO2, 5–14 wt% FeO and 14% or more Al2O3. Contents of CaO are commonly near 10%, those of MgO commonly in the range 5 to 12%.

Limestone is a sedimentary rock which is often composed of the skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, foraminifera and molluscs. Its major materials are the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate (CaCO3).

Immediate conclusion: if one adds CO2 to basalt, one should be able to make limestone. Indeed:

When CO2 is in presence of water, it reacts and makes carbonic acid. Putting lots of CO2 into water makes a Seltzer water which is acidic enough to destroy basalt. The low pH water (3.2) worked to dissolve the calcium and magnesium ions in the basalts, which then reacted with the carbon dioxide to make calcium and magnesium carbonates (which are whitish). Cores drilled into experimental sites in basalt showed rock with the tell-tale white carbonates occupying the pore spaces. Roughly it seems that 100 kilograms of basalt turned 50 kilograms of CO2 into rock. So far so good… One could locate power plants on top of basalt flows? Probably not: the process costs of the order of $17 a ton… That would augment the cost of burning oil by 20% (back of envelope computation in my head)… One has to understand the cheapest energy is already photovoltaic energy… In 2018…

Researchers tagged the CO2 they injected in basalt, 600 meters down, with carbon-14, a radioactive form of carbon. None of the injected CO2 was leaking back to the surface or finding its way out through a distant watercourse, as no radioactivity came out: the capture of CO2 by basalt is highly efficient.

***

Indonesia is sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere:

Many mountains in Indonesia and New Guinea consist of ancient volcanic rocks from belching volcanoes caused by subduction of various tectonic plates. When ocean floors were caught in a colossal tectonic collision between a chain of island volcanoes and a continent, those volcanic  rocks were thrust high. Lashed by warm tropical, acidic, corrosive, penetrating rains, these basaltic rocks react with CO2 sequestering the product inside the basalt. That is why, with only 2% of the world’s land area, Indonesia accounts for 10% of its long-term CO2 absorption. Its mountains could explain why massive ice sheets have persisted, waxing and waning, for several million years: evidence shows that the normal state of the planet in the last half a billion years, is a hothouse, with crocodiles all the way to the north of Greenland…

Researchers claim to have found that such tropical mountain-building collisions in wet areas coincide with nearly all of the half-dozen or so significant glacial periods in the past 500 million years. “These types of environments, through time, are what sets the global climate,” said Francis Macdonald, a geologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Washington, D.C. (December 2018). If Earth’s CO2 has a machine producing it, the rise of mountains like Indonesia’s could be it.

Long-term changes in the planet’s temperature are governed by shifts in CO2 atmospheric density. Plate tectonics refurbishes continually the planet’s surface. For decades, scientists have debated what turned the CO2 on, to the dramatic extent it did. Volcanoes were long prime suspects. Volcanoes erupt where plates dive beneath one another. By spewing carbon from Earth’s interior, they could turn up the thermostat. That was the idea. But it’s a bit stupid: CO2 was in atmosphere, gets captured by rocks, sediments, gets buried, and then belched out: it sounds like a rather quick (on a geological scale) zero sum game: what comes in comes right out…

Rock weathering of massive mountain ranges, seems a smarter approach: it depends on mountain building driven by plate tectonics. Indeed, sometimes there are giant mountain ranges, as big, or bigger than the present Himalayas. Sometimes, most often, not: as observed, the planet is a hot-house ¾ of the time, just as there are no massive wet tropical ranges, most of the time.

The Hercynian range, which spans the Appalachians, Scotland, and countless ranges in Europe, is still here for all to see (started 480 millions ago, it became Himalayan like when Africa collided with North America as part of the construction of Pangea).

When tropical mountains contain seafloor rocks rich in calcium and magnesium, they react with CO2 dissolved in rainwater to form limestone, which is eventually buried on the ocean floor. Both processes matter in removing CO2 from the atmosphere, This also explains why there were gigantic amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere in the Carboniferous era, and they mysteriously vanished: they are in all these rocks, such as all these limestone ranges….

Having the right rocks to drive the CO2-chewing reaction is not sufficient. Climate matters, as I said. For example, the Siberian Traps, a region that saw devastating volcanic eruptions 252 million years ago, are rich in such rocks but absorb little CO2: it’s too damn cold, the chemistry doesn’t happen much because of the cold (details aren’t clear yet).

More clearly, in Arabia, one finds plenty of heat and volcanic rocks, but the solvent, water, is absent: CO2 rains down as carbonic acid after reacting with water… But only then. So… If could make it rain in Arabia, we could eliminate massive amounts of CO2. @,lacks another ingredient. “It’s hotter than Hades but it doesn’t rain.” Indonesia’s location in the rainy tropics is just right. “That is probably what’s keeping us centered in an ice age,” Kent adds.

***

The Preceding Suggests THE Viable, Sustainable and Definitive Remedy to the CO2 catastrophe:

Lots of cockmaniacal plans have been proposed to mitigate the CO2 catastrophe (Harvard, the Pluto university, is going to try to throw a veil on the atmosphere… although that won’t solve the CO2 problem, but trust the nasty to come up with nastier…)

Some of mitigation of CO2 will happen naturally: as, and if, the Siberian Traps become tropical, and if it rains there much, CO2 will be removed from the atmosphere. More generally, as the entire planet warms, it moistens up, and all volcanic zones of the planet become CO2 absorbing: this is a natural way to prevent CO2 from raising so much the planet boils.

Practically, if one finally masters thermonuclear power, and, or, photovoltaic energy becomes super cheap, one could make it rain artificially (or massively water) dry tropical volcanic rock areas (such as Arabia, Iran). Thus one would remove enormous quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere. That will have to be done by 2100, just to stabilize the climate in the standard hothouse, the Jurassic mode ( what Trump calls a “super climate”), with sea level ten meters higher and crocodiles in Newfoundland…

Over the past few years, academic Macdonald and his collaborators have searched for other times when tectonics and climate could have conspired to open an Indonesia-size CO2 sink. They found that glacial conditions 90 million and 50 million years ago lined up neatly with the collisions of a chain of island volcanoes in the now-vanished equatorial Neo-Tethys Ocean with the African and Asian continents. A similar collision some 460 million years ago started to form the Appalachians, but it was thought to have taken place in the subtropics, where a drier climate (from trade winds) does not favor weathering. By reanalyzing ancient magnetic fields in rocks formed in the collision, Macdonald’s team found the mountains actually rose deep in the tropics. And their uplift matched a 2-million-year-long glaciation. “They’re developing a pretty compelling story that this was a climate driver in Earth’s past,” says Lee Kump, a paleoclimatologist at Pennsylvania State University in University Park.

Those cases are not exceptions. Indeed, the team compiled a database of every tectonic “suture”—the linear features left by tectonic collisions—known to contain ophiolites, characteristic pieces of sea floor, and pillow lavas and the like, volcanic sea floor, over the past half-billion years. Based on magnetism in each suture’s rocks and a model of continental drift, they mapped their ancient latitudes to see which formed in the warm and rainy tropics, and when. “We were surprised that this is not as complicated as we thought,” Macdonald said.

The team compared the results to records of past glaciations and found a strong correlation. They also looked for declines in volcanism, which might have cooled the climate (from lessening of CO2 emissions). But their influence was much weaker, Macdonald said.

A recent study challenges the mountain CO2 weathering-thermostat notion with evidence for the importance of volcanoes (as I said, it has to be rather a zero sum, when considering volcanoes from subduction, because what goes in comes pretty fast out!) The study used ages from thousands of zircons, durable crystals that can indicate volcanic activity, to show that upticks in volcanic emissions were the dominant force driving the planet’s warm periods. But there are two types of volcanisms: what I call “core volcanism” (“Traps”, Large Igneous Provinces, LIPs) brings in massive amounts of fresh CO2 from way down inside the mantle… It’s likely both streams of ideas have at least one hand on the truth.

The beauty of absorption by volcanic rocks of CO2 is that it explains not just why glaciations start, but also why they stop.

A hothouse Earth appears to be the planet’s default state, prevailing for three-fourths of the past 500 million years. We will have it again by 2100: the dice are thrown, it’s in the air.

An Indonesia-style collision may push the global climate into a glacial period, but only for a while. Mountains erode and continents drift. And the planet warms again.

Science doesn’t just bring understanding, it brings also the means to act on the universe. Now we have the trick to reduce CO2… (And I am, by the way, the first to propose it: massive watering of the desiccated zones!) To give us the means, we have to keep on deploying photovoltaic energy and thermonuclear reactors (I say “deploying”, because there is plenty of evidence that a massive thermonuclear reactor could work: the bigger, the more efficient, it’s a matter of mass against surface).

The alternative to the solution to the CO2 catastrophe by weathering and geological chemistry is a CO2 driven holocaust. Developing science and technology is not just profitable, pleasant, and human. It is also the moral thing to do. And the only moral solution to CO2 there is.

Patrice Ayme

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P/S: By public request, a partial list of references supporting the research above:

References: Closing of the Indonesian seaway as a precursor to east African aridification around 3–4 million years ago
Mark A. Cane & Peter Molnar
Nature volume 411, pages 157–162 (10 May 2001)

Swanson-Hysell, N.L. and Macdonald, F.A., 2017. Tropical weathering of the Taconic orogeny as a driver for Ordovician cooling, Geology, G38985. 1.

(That was 440 million years ago, and the continents looked nothing like now; only Siberia is recognizable… It was a free floating continent…)

Tropical uplift may set Earth’s thermostat
Paul Voosen
Science 04 Jan 2019:

For scary, or when Antarctica partially melted under similar conditions to what we are going to get within a decade:

Antarctic ice melt 125,000 years ago offers warning
Paul Voosen
Science 21 Dec 2018:

 

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…)

***

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

    

 

European Biofuel Criminals: Elected Democracy Doesn’t Work

May 15, 2018

Every day, the European propaganda machine tells us how good Europeans are, because they hate Trump so much. In the latest development, Trump kills Gaza baby by forcing his parents to expose their child to Israeli tear gas, so great was their indignation that Israel persists to have the same capital for 3,300 years, in spite of Muhammad having flown there on a winged horse, as all islamizing Muslims know.

However, by crucifying Trump all day long, the European legislators and their friends and employers, the lobbyists, are throwing gold dust in our eyes, it’s highly profitable, if not for orangutans, at least, to them:

***

THE CRIMINALS IN OUR MIDST; THOSE IN “POWER”, POWERING THEMSELVES EVER MORE: THE CASE OF EUROPE AND PALM OIL FUEL

We are led by the corrupt. You could cut down the entire Amazon forest, ship all the trees to Europe and burn them, claiming you replace fossil fuel burning, and corrupt EU law and its corrupt judges and legislators would count that as a 100 percent greenhouse gas reduction

Many years ago, I campaigned on my sites against “biofuels”. The idea of turning food into fuel is a monstrosity: it’s putting locomotion above survival, it tells  us it’s OK to kill people, as long as we can move: a parody of the worst mass criminal imperialism. Yet, biofuels became Politically Correct. And now are a mass, biomass PC phenomenon.

Cuddle with the Orangutans not: Palm Oil Mass Criminal Eradication of the Biosphere: The 100% PC European Union Law is turning Indonesia (above!) Into Hell. Or, at least, fuel.

PALM oil is found in food and cosmetics, and the mass cultivation of palm is destroying the biosphere, rainforests, ecologies and orangutans. Besides, it’s bad for the cardiovascular system (epidemiology in places using palm oil has shown). In pathetic efforts some grocers and companies are halting the use of palm oil in some products.

Yet, the real problem with palm oil isn’t in your kitchen or bathroom. In Europe, it is in your car. Or, more precisely, its tank.

Half of all the palm oil imported by the European Union is turned into “biodiesel” and blended into conventional fuel to power cars and trucks. Mixing palm oil to “green” fuels crazily triples carbon emissions… instead of doing what it was advertised to be doing, reducing said emissions. And the palm oil addiction is subsidised by the European Union: taxpayers are legally forced to destroy rainforests, & accelerate the climate catastrophe!

People don’t know that they have palm oil in their fuel tanks,” says Laura Buffet of Transport & Environment in Brussels, Belgium, which campaigns for cleaner transport in Europe.

How did we get there?

It’s always the same: a few self-important monkeys get to power, or were born that way, and they are promised lots more bananas, a better cages, business class travel, a nice retirement… if only they take whom the mightiest and wealthiest view as the right decisions.

Just like the Nazis, these leaders of ours shooting palm oil will be OK, if the misdeeds they commit are hidden from the general population. Thus they keep the general population in a carefully organized darkness. They will be even more OK, if, like the German population supporting the Nazis in 1930s, said population learn not to dig too deep to find out what is really going on.

Global palm oil production hit 65 million tonnes in 2017, with 20 percent used for biofuel, says data firm Palm Oil Analytics.

Under European rules, 10 percent of transport energy should come from “renewable” sources by 2020 (is rainforest “renewable”? No! It takes centuries to grow, especially on poor soils, as in Borneo). Thus countries are blending biofuels like palm-oil biodiesel with conventional fuels.

Transport & Environment calculates that using palm-oil biodiesel triples emissions versus burning fossil fuels, based on figures compiled for the EU.

This tripling in CO2, is not just from burning the fuel, but also from burning rainforests to grow oil palm, which releases lots of carbon. What’s more, there are vast stores of peat under many rainforests, which when drained decompose (methane!) and can release carbon for decades… They can catch fire, burn for months…

In January, the European parliament voted to end subsidies for palm-oil biodiesel from 2020. The vote has no force, though, as the European Parliament has no force: the dirty little secret of the EU is that governments decide, especially the big ones (Germany, France). Moreover, if the EU ends subsidies for palm-oil biodiesel, while keeping its overall biofuel targets, cars will be fuelled with soybean or rapeseed oil instead… and that’s much more destructive for the environment (palm is several times more efficient by surface unit). However, then the price of other vegetable oils will shoot up, increasing palm oil relative advantage… as happened in the USA.

Under its perverse self-declared “Democratic” leadership, the USA came to mandate that conventional fuels must be blended with biofuel… But the US hasn’t approved the use of palm oil because its carbon emissions are the highest of any vegetable oil. Hence, as more corn, and soybean were turned into biodiesel, bringing up the price of other vegetable oils, the US started importing large quantities of palm oil for use in food… as it is the cheapest.

There is a much better way to green transport: electric locomotion. Electric cars are already cheaper to run than cars powered by fossil fuels, produce hardly any air pollution and can be powered by solar or wind energy…. Solar and wind are now the cheapest UNSUBSIDIZED energy sources…

Bioenergy is an inefficient form of solar energy. Plants capture only a fraction of one percent of solar energy compared with 16 per cent for current solar panels. Solar panels as used on satellites have nearly 50% efficiency (OK, they are expensive)… and a combination of (the new) Perovskites and Silicon let us hope to get soon such efficiency on the ground, in cheap solar cells.

The challenge now is to persuade our corrupt government officials that they have run out of excuses to prop up the fossil and biofuel industry, which pays them under the table.

Ending subsidies for all food-based fuels and other “biofuels” would be a win for forests, climate action, taxpayers – and orangutans. And also for the air. Recently I flew (for family reasons) over the French Alps, Piedmont, Switzerland, Germany. The air above the Alps was clear, be they French or Swiss, one could see hundreds of kilometers in full detail. Piedmont was polluted significantly (all Italian industry is there, and there are high mountains, north, west and south). The pollution over Germany was astounding. A brown cloud obscured all beyond ten miles. Thank Angela Merkel lignite burning policy for that.

Ah the Germans… Do they ever learn? Friedrich Nietzsche: …”we are too open-minded, too malicious, too spoiled, also too well-informed, too “traveled”: we far prefer to live on mountains, apart, “untimely,” in past or future centuries, merely in order to keep ourselves from experiencing the silent rage to which we know we should be condemned as eyewitnesses of politics that are desolating the German spirit by making it vain and that is, moreover, petty politics.”

PM Angela Merkler wanted to prove she was ecologically correct by wasting nuclear power: nevermind that coal has killed thousands of Germans, a year, for generations, although nuclear power has not killed even one German. That’s PC for you. Just as she wanted to prove she was no racist by accepting a million Muslim refugees, all of a sudden (voters have sobered her up)…. (Just ask the French, who accepted 30,000 Chechen Muslim refugees, supposedly pursued for their religion by Putin, and now some of the youth so accepted kill French citizens in the name of Allah, because Allah, a friend of theirs, said so, or so say the famous epileptic analphabet caravan raider, and serial rapist… )

The Germans wasted much of Europe in the 1914-1945 period. They just didn’t think too well about they were doing, the human and cosmic angles were lagging… What of the Japs? Same idea, in the same period: follow orders, don’t think too much. So of this mood, all to present in Germany and Japan, the old Axis mood, still lingers all too much… All this CO2 emitted kills, and will kill much more, especially indirectly…

So the Tokyo Power company locates a nuclear power plant along the shore, at sea level, in an area notorious for super giant tsunamis, with warning signs 12 centuries old… And the reactors survive a nine Richter quake, but then get hit with a 34 meters wave. Oops, forgot backup power, some of the reactors melt down, explode, people nearly die, region evacuated. What to do? Make a bad situation worse: Japan has decided to replace nuclear power (bad, if badly done), by coal power (worse). Actually Japanese accountants have already computed that the few coal plants added already will kill the equivalent of 60,000 full human lives, from their pollution…

As I said, above, except in very high latitudes, the energy problem is solved: just use PhotoVoltaics…

Morality means sustainability, and it’s all very practical… but we will have to change our political system to direct democracy, if we want to remove the corruption element found in our present politics. The case of biofuels, burning food for greed, is a case in point.

Patrice Ayme