The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here

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Post by Guest on Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:40 pm

The worst predicted impacts of climate change are starting to happen — and much faster than climate scientists expected

Historians may look to 2015 as the year when shit really started hitting the fan. Some snapshots: In just the past few months, record-setting heat waves in Pakistan and India each killed more than 1,000 people. In Washington state's Olympic National Park, the rainforest caught fire for the first time in living memory. London reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest July day ever recorded in the U.K.; The Guardian briefly had to pause its live blog of the heat wave because its computer servers overheated. In California, suffering from its worst drought in a millennium, a 50-acre brush fire swelled seventyfold in a matter of hours, jumping across the I-15 freeway during rush-hour traffic. Then, a few days later, the region was pounded by intense, virtually unheard-of summer rains. Puerto Rico is under its strictest water rationing in history as a monster El Niño forms in the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifting weather patterns worldwide.

On July 20th, James Hansen, the former NASA climatologist who brought climate change to the public's attention in the summer of 1988, issued a bombshell: He and a team of climate scientists had identified a newly important feedback mechanism off the coast of Antarctica that suggests mean sea levels could rise 10 times faster than previously predicted: 10 feet by 2065. The authors included this chilling warning: If emissions aren't cut, "We conclude that multi-meter sea-level rise would become practically unavoidable. Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea-level rise could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization."

Eric Rignot, a climate scientist at NASA and the University of California-Irvine and a co-author on Hansen's study, said their new research doesn't necessarily change the worst-case scenario on sea-level rise, it just makes it much more pressing to think about and discuss, especially among world leaders. In particular, says Rignot, the new research shows a two-degree Celsius rise in global temperature — the previously agreed upon "safe" level of climate change — "would be a catastrophe for sea-level rise."

Hansen's new study also shows how complicated and unpredictable climate change can be. Even as global ocean temperatures rise to their highest levels in recorded history, some parts of the ocean, near where ice is melting exceptionally fast, are actually cooling, slowing ocean circulation currents and sending weather patterns into a frenzy. Sure enough, a persistently cold patch of ocean is starting to show up just south of Greenland, exactly where previous experimental predictions of a sudden surge of freshwater from melting ice expected it to be. Michael Mann, another prominent climate scientist, recently said of the unexpectedly sudden Atlantic slowdown, "This is yet another example of where observations suggest that climate model predictions may be too conservative when it comes to the pace at which certain aspects of climate change are proceeding."

Since storm systems and jet streams in the United States and Europe partially draw their energy from the difference in ocean temperatures, the implication of one patch of ocean cooling while the rest of the ocean warms is profound. Storms will get stronger, and sea-level rise will accelerate. Scientists like Hansen only expect extreme weather to get worse in the years to come, though Mann said it was still "unclear" whether recent severe winters on the East Coast are connected to the phenomenon.

And yet, these aren't even the most disturbing changes happening to the Earth's biosphere that climate scientists are discovering this year. For that, you have to look not at the rising sea levels but to what is actually happening within the oceans themselves.

Water temperatures this year in the North Pacific have never been this high for this long over such a large area — and it is already having a profound effect on marine life.

Eighty-year-old Roger Thomas runs whale-watching trips out of San Francisco. On an excursion earlier this year, Thomas spotted 25 humpbacks and three blue whales. During a survey on July 4th, federal officials spotted 115 whales in a single hour near the Farallon Islands — enough to issue a boating warning. Humpbacks are occasionally seen offshore in California, but rarely so close to the coast or in such numbers. Why are they coming so close to shore? Exceptionally warm water has concentrated the krill and anchovies they feed on into a narrow band of relatively cool coastal water. The whales are having a heyday. "It's unbelievable," Thomas told a local paper. "Whales are all over
the place."

Last fall, in northern Alaska, in the same part of the Arctic where Shell is planning to drill for oil, federal scientists discovered 35,000 walruses congregating on a single beach. It was the largest-ever documented "haul out" of walruses, and a sign that sea ice, their favored habitat, is becoming harder and harder to find.

Marine life is moving north, adapting in real time to the warming ocean. Great white sharks have been sighted breeding near Monterey Bay, California, the farthest north that's ever been known to occur. A blue marlin was caught last summer near Catalina Island — 1,000 miles north of its typical range. Across California, there have been sightings of non-native animals moving north, such as Mexican red crabs.

No species may be as uniquely endangered as the one most associated with the Pacific Northwest, the salmon. Every two weeks, Bill Peterson, an oceanographer and senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Oregon, takes to the sea to collect data he uses to forecast the return of salmon. What he's been seeing this year is deeply troubling.

Salmon are crucial to their coastal ecosystem like perhaps few other species on the planet. A significant portion of the nitrogen in West Coast forests has been traced back to salmon, which can travel hundreds of miles upstream to lay their eggs. The largest trees on Earth simply wouldn't exist without salmon.

But their situation is precarious. This year, officials in California are bringing salmon downstream in convoys of trucks, because river levels are too low and the temperatures too warm for them to have a reasonable chance of surviving. One species, the winter-run Chinook salmon, is at a particularly increased risk of decline in the next few years, should the warm water persist offshore.

"You talk to fishermen, and they all say: 'We've never seen anything like this before,' " says Peterson. "So when you have no experience with something like this, it gets like, 'What the hell's going on?' "

Atmospheric scientists increasingly believe that the exceptionally warm waters over the past months are the early indications of a phase shift in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a cyclical warming of the North Pacific that happens a few times each century. Positive phases of the PDO have been known to last for 15 to 20 years, during which global warming can increase at double the rate as during negative phases of the PDO. It also makes big El Niños, like this year's, more likely. The nature of PDO phase shifts is unpredictable — climate scientists simply haven't yet figured out precisely what's behind them and why they happen when they do. It's not a permanent change — the ocean's temperature will likely drop from these record highs, at least temporarily, some time over the next few years — but the impact on marine species will be lasting, and scientists have pointed to the PDO as a global-warming preview.

"The climate [change] models predict this gentle, slow increase in temperature," says Peterson, "but the main problem we've had for the last few years is the variability is so high. As scientists, we can't keep up with it, and neither can the animals." Peterson likens it to a boxer getting pummeled round after round: "At some point, you knock them down, and the fight is over."

.......................................

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Post by eddie on Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:04 pm

That is some scary shit.
Our seasons here, seem to be changing.

There are some freak weather systems too sometimes.

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Post by Guest on Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:12 pm

Agree, people say it's not happening because our summers are not hot. But those who say climate change is happening never said it would get hot here, they said we would have freaky weather, which we certainly are having.

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Post by Irn Bru on Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:14 pm

Pissing down here at the moment.

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Post by Guest on Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:16 pm

Yep, we have just had the same. Have to say, never ever seen rain like we had a couple of weeks ago in the UK. I thought the conservatory was going to cave in with the sheer weight and force of the water.

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Post by Guest on Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:16 pm

and thats unusual for Scotland ????

if it aint raining then its GOING to rain

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Post by eddie on Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:31 pm

Raining here too and just so cloudy every day!

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Post by Irn Bru on Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:34 pm

victorismyhero wrote:and thats unusual for Scotland ????

if it aint raining then its GOING to rain

About right - then it's midges Laughing

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Post by Guest on Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:46 pm

Irn Bru wrote:
victorismyhero wrote:and thats unusual for Scotland ????

if it aint raining then its GOING to rain

About right - then it's midges Laughing

and we KNOW why the midges eat visitors dont we Irn????

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Post by Irn Bru on Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:48 pm

victorismyhero wrote:
Irn Bru wrote:
victorismyhero wrote:and thats unusual for Scotland ????

if it aint raining then its GOING to rain

About right - then it's midges Laughing

and we KNOW why the midges eat visitors dont we Irn????

Oh go on then Victor - tell me Laughing

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Post by Guest on Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:50 pm

cos they are STARVING...the locals being too tight to spare a drop of blood.... Laughing

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Post by Irn Bru on Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:52 pm

victorismyhero wrote:cos they are STARVING...the locals being too tight to spare a drop of blood.... Laughing

It's not our fault that the Barnett formula isn't enough. Smile

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Post by eddie on Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:56 pm

I'd drink the blood of a whiskey-drinking Scotsman Razz

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Post by Irn Bru on Wed Aug 05, 2015 11:01 pm

eddie wrote:I'd drink the blood of a whiskey-drinking Scotsman Razz

Ask Sassy if she'll let you borrow her man. I hate whisky.

Laughing

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Post by Guest on Wed Aug 05, 2015 11:02 pm

Irn Bru wrote:
eddie wrote:I'd drink the blood of a whiskey-drinking Scotsman Razz

Ask Sassy if she'll let you borrow her man. I hate whisky.

Laughing


Nope, I need him lol, nobody is drinking his blood!

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Post by nicko on Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:00 am

This is just my opinion so don't shout at me. Global warming has nothing to do with an increase in CO2, it's the fault of that big yellow thing in the sky.The Earth has always had periods of hot and cold changes in the weather for millions of years. Why the sun causes it I don't know, but it has been explained by other scientists. Perhaps if the Chinese stopped building dozens of coal fired power stations,ditto India, and other nations things would get better. Cutting CO2 levels will make no difference only cost us millions of pounds trying to please the Greens. Why cover the Country with those useless ugly Windmills, half the time they are switched off. Rant over!
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Post by veya_victaous on Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:41 pm

@nicko
Cant you notice the difference in night air temp when you are near a city or in the country? Suspect
it is quite noticeable here as soon as you get over 100km from suburbia

I think it is air pollution in general creating a greater insulation effect on the atmosphere
as more places have become cities with pollution the more the globe has heated.

And why should China or India live in the dark and not the UK?
the UK has had electricity long enough to build better cleaner power stations and develop renew energy. those nation need to have some electricity to build the infrastructure to be able to build cleaner power stations and develop renew energy.
Sitting on Laurels is not acceptable. and the Europe made that rule when it decided it could take others land if them deemed them 'primitive' Neutral

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Post by nicko on Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:01 am

I think Britain has enough coal under ground to keep us going for a couple of hundred years. We should build more coal fired power stations like China and India and scrap the extra taxes we pay to please the greens.
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Post by Guest on Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:46 am

That's the most nuts thing I have heard for a long time.

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Post by nicko on Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:15 pm

Tongue in cheek, sassy tongue in cheek. Although there might be some truth in it!
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Post by Guest on Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:36 pm

Nicko, don't think you meant that tongue in cheek at all.  It's like when you say 'don't shout at me, but' and then you go on and say something that you actually believe.  Just come out and say what you think.  It's a computer FGS, if people shout at you, so what.   And don't say something you mean and then pretend it was tongue in cheek.

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Post by Raggamuffin on Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:55 pm

nicko wrote:This is just my opinion so don't shout at me.  Global warming has nothing to do with an increase in CO2,  it's the fault of that big yellow thing in the sky.The Earth has always had periods of hot and cold changes in the weather for millions of years.  Why the sun causes it I don't know, but it has been explained by other scientists.   Perhaps if the Chinese stopped building dozens of coal fired power stations,ditto India, and other nations things would get better.   Cutting CO2 levels will make no difference only cost us millions of pounds trying to please the Greens.      Why cover the Country with those useless ugly Windmills,  half the time they are switched off.   Rant over!

I'm a bit confused about this post. If you think that climate change caused by the sun, why would things be better if China and India stopped building coal-fired power stations?

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Post by nicko on Fri Aug 07, 2015 5:20 pm

Rags, the greens say burning coal is a direct cause of an increase in CO2, coal fired power stations are being built by the hundred in China. If they stopped building them the CO2 level would stop going up. that's what the Greens say, They won't stop, they need them to keep their economy going.Compared with them the co2 we produce is nothing. [I'll get rid of my Range Rover that will please them].
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Post by Raggamuffin on Fri Aug 07, 2015 5:45 pm

nicko wrote:Rags,    the greens say burning coal is a direct cause of an increase in CO2, coal fired power stations are being built by the hundred in China. If they stopped building them the CO2  level would stop going up.  that's what the Greens say,  They won't stop, they need them to keep their economy going.Compared with them the co2 we produce is nothing.   [I'll get rid of my Range Rover that will please them].

OK, but you don't think that would make a difference to climate change?

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Post by Guest on Fri Aug 07, 2015 5:52 pm

nicko wrote:Rags,    the greens say burning coal is a direct cause of an increase in CO2, coal fired power stations are being built by the hundred in China. If they stopped building them the CO2  level would stop going up.  that's what the Greens say,  They won't stop, they need them to keep their economy going.Compared with them the co2 we produce is nothing.   [I'll get rid of my Range Rover that will please them].
Not just burning coal any  combustible  organic materials formed from decayed plants and animals that have been converted to crude oil, coal, natural gas,
even burning wood puts co2 one of the many "green house" gases in to the atmosphere

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Post by Guest on Fri Aug 07, 2015 5:56 pm

The greens want everybody (except themselves) to live like cave men

they also want permanent deflation
permanent lowering of living standards

they are like labour on steroids

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Post by Guest on Fri Aug 07, 2015 5:57 pm

nicko wrote:This is just my opinion so don't shout at me.  Global warming has nothing to do with an increase in CO2,  it's the fault of that big yellow thing in the sky.The Earth has always had periods of hot and cold changes in the weather for millions of years.  Why the sun causes it I don't know, but it has been explained by other scientists.   Perhaps if the Chinese stopped building dozens of coal fired power stations,ditto India, and other nations things would get better.   Cutting CO2 levels will make no difference only cost us millions of pounds trying to please the Greens.      Why cover the Country with those useless ugly Windmills,  half the time they are switched off.   Rant over!
a greenhouse gas is a gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect by absorbing infra-red radiation. Carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbons are examples of greenhouse gases.

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Post by Guest on Fri Aug 07, 2015 6:01 pm

victorismyhero wrote:The greens want everybody (except themselves) to live like cave men

they also want permanent deflation
permanent lowering of living standards

they are like labour on steroids
i don`t agree they want the same investment in renewable and low carbon emission sources of energy  that was/is given to the coal and oil industry's

thus reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses being put in to the atmosphere

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