Archive for the ‘Sea Level Rise’ Category

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:

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:

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



March 2, 2016

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Officially, no one knows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrice Ayme’

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