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Those silly Scientists, just keep doing their silly Science.

Earlier this year, climatologist Ellen Mosley-Thompson led an expedition to drill into glacial ice on the Antarctic Peninsula, one of the world’s fastest-warming regions.

Mosley-Thompson: For the glaciologists, one of the critical things that they wanted to examine closely was — and still is — since the 2002 break up, how much more rapidly are the land-based glaciers discharging ice out into the ocean. Some measurements back in 2004 based upon satellite imagery suggested some of those glaciers increased their flow speed by 4 to 8 times. Because if the ice shelf is gone, then you’ve lost that buttressing effect. And so the question really is how much additional ice is being dumped through those major glaciers?

e360: And, the glaciers whose motion to the sea is being accelerated because the ice shelf [like Larsen B] isn’t holding them back, that leads to direct sea level rises?

Mosley-Thompson: That’s correct.

But of course there's more ... those Scientists just LOVE to Gossip!

Unlocking Secrets from the Ice In a Rapidly Warming Region
May 04, 2010: Interview [Yale Environment 360]

When the ice cores return to Ohio State in June, Mosley-Thompson and her colleagues hope to analyze the ice to track the history of climate change for thousands of years, perhaps to the last glacial period and beyond.

But even before she analyzes her latest drilling samples, Mosley-Thompson tells Yale Environment 360 senior editor Fen Montaigne, one thing is clear: the retreat of the world’s glaciers, coupled with evidence from other Antarctic ice cores showing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 at their highest levels in more than 800,000 years, "tells us very clearly that we have a serious problem."

e360: I understand that the Dome C record shows very clearly that we’ve got more CO2 in our atmosphere now than at any time in 800,000 years.

Mosley-Thompson: Oh yeah. Very clearly. If you look back over the eight glacial/interglacial cycles, you essentially see that CO2 never rises above 300 parts per million [ppm] and we’re at about 389 now.

Methane never rises above about 800 parts per billion [ppb], and I think we’re at about 1,700 parts per billion. So we’re clearly outside the range of natural variability.

I personally think that graph simply showing the natural fluctuations in those two important greenhouse gases, over almost a million years of Earth history — and then you see the two dots (today) that are so much higher than anything that we see in that near-million history — tells us very clearly that we have a serious problem.


Can anyone say -- Where is that 800,000 year Chart?

I couldn't find it. I'll post it, if I do --

Meanwhile post em, if you got em.

As the Hit Parade, continues with this little noticed, Science News Nugget:

Scientists say Earth could get too hot for humans News Staff -- May 09 2010

New research theorizes that if global warming continues at its current pace, Earth's temperatures could exceed livable limits for humans in the future.

Scientists at Purdue University and the University of New South Wales calculated the highest possible "wet bulb" temperature that humans can withstand and found that this temperature could be exceeded in future climate scenarios.

"Wet bulb" temperature is meant to simulate what is felt by wet skin when it meets moving air, taking into account measures such as humidity. In order for a person's cooling process to work, the surrounding air must be cooler than the skin, which must be cooler than the person's core body temperature.

If "wet-bulb" temperature is warmer than the skin, metabolic heat cannot be released by the body, which can lead to heat stress.

Purdue professor of earth and atmospheric sciences Matthew Huber co-authored the paper which appears in the May 6 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

He says researchers have calculated humans can only handle a wet-bulb temperature of 35 C for about six hours before succumbing to a lethal level of heat stress.

The researchers said while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates global warming to increase mean temperatures by about 3 degrees C, warming of up to 12 degrees C is possible.

"We found that a warming of (4 C) would cause some areas of the world to surpass the wet-bulb temperature limit, and a (12-degrees C) warming would put half of the world's population in an uninhabitable environment," Huber said.

"When it comes to evaluating the risk of carbon emissions, such worst-case scenarios need to be taken into account. It's the difference between a game of roulette and playing Russian roulette with a pistol. Sometimes the stakes are too high, even if there is only a small chance of losing."

Wow again.

I hate to post and run (well not really)

but what I could add in commentary here,

would pale in comparison to what these Scientists just said.

Their Numbers kind of speak for themselves  ...

Recently "freed" interior Antarctic Glaciers are moving 4 to 8x times faster.

Were outside of the Natural Variability of the last 800,000 years!

CO2:  389 ppm vs the million year norm of 300 ppm.

Methane:  1700 ppb vs the million year norm of 800 ppm  

35 C will make nature's Human cooling system impossible.

Predicted 4 to 12 C temp increases, could put 50% of Humanity in that "die-off" heat zone.

It's very like much Russian Roulette indeed.

With Stakes this HIGH, can we afford NOT to listen to Climate Scientists,

one day longer?  

Of course not, but of many will anyways ... cuz,

Stats are for kids, silly wabbits!

(3 out of 5 Skeptics agree.)

Originally posted to Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. on Mon May 10, 2010 at 03:40 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (31+ / 0-)

    Here's another heart wrenching stat:

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska, August 21, 2008 – An aerial survey by government scientists in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea this week found at least nine polar bears swimming in open water – with one at least 60 miles from shore – raising concern among wildlife experts about their survival. A World Wildlife Fund (WWF) polar bear expert said the bears could have difficulty making it safely to shore and risk drowning, particularly if a storm arises.  

    "To find so many polar bears at sea at one time is extremely worrisome because it could be an indication that as the sea ice on which they live and hunt continues to melt, many more bears may be out there facing similar risk," said Geoff York, a polar bear biologist with WWF. "As climate change continues to dramatically disrupt the Arctic, polar bears and their cubs are being forced to swim longer distances to find food and habitat."

    Those are some pretty big "canaries", if you ask me.

    The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

    by jamess on Mon May 10, 2010 at 03:39:58 PM PDT

  •  Looks like we'll be living underground (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, RiaD, jamess, Cassandra Waites, DawnN

    in the future?  Assuming we make it that far.

    A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

    by marleycat on Mon May 10, 2010 at 03:49:11 PM PDT

    •  Looks like it (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, RiaD, adrianrf, marleycat, DawnN

      that or, we'll need,
      to have A-C units implanted,
      next to the heart and lungs.

      hope we don't run out of Freon.

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Mon May 10, 2010 at 03:51:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  already planning on it. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      adrianrf, jamess, marleycat, DawnN

      Where my group has settled, we're building partially below-ground.  This to take advantage of in-ground heat in the winter, since the temp below frost line is uniformly about 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and it's easy to add another 10 degrees with solar thermal and make up the difference with warm clothes.  But it looks as if this is going to have another benefit as well, in the unlikely event our region is subject to high temps.

      •  I meant to ask you on your previous diary.... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RunawayRose, G2geek, jamess

        You are familiar with the concept of putting firs and evergreens on the north side of a building and also along the northwest side.  Then plant deciduous trees on the southeast, south and southwest sides??  As you were saying in the other thread... what species will survive may be the true question.

        •  the right mix of species depends on region. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RunawayRose, adrianrf, jamess

          The smartest bet is to plant a mix of species on each side of the building.  Genetic diversity is always a plus when facing darwinian pressures.  

          The right mix of species will vary from one area to another.  I am not an expert on tree species.  I don't know enough to advise.  

          Someone else in my tribe is dealing with this question, and when she figures out what's most likely to work in our area, we'll plant accordingly.  At present, the folks are working on getting the soil in better shape, and it'll probably be a couple of years before we start planting trees.  

          •  Seriously... you want firs, evergreens, cedars (7+ / 0-)

            (conifor sp??) along the north and northeast side of the building/property (and not up against the building, up to a tree length away) and in a staggered 2 row line.  On the southeast, south and southwest deciduous - ie, oak, maple, walnut trees, kinda spread out.  The evergreens along the north side will help block out the cold north winds in the winter.  The deciduous will provide cooling shade in the heat of summer and when bare of leaves, allow warming sunlight in.  But, deciduous trees can go just about anywhere because they also help break up the winds, just not as well as evergreens.

            This has been a couple of hundred year tradition in this area.  You can always tell where the old farmsteads were by the way the trees line up.  Here we can get a 140 degree F actual temperature swing (in the max and min temps I've experienced living here) in 6 months on any given year.  Before the advent of artificial climate control, trees were used to help mitigate some of the weather conditions.

            •  Oh, yeah, on the deciduous trees..... (5+ / 0-)

              you'll need a mix of fast growing and slow growing species.  The fast for right now and firewood and the slow growing for long term.  There are different species of maple, some grow quickly, some slowly.  Ash is a quick growing tree.  Oak and walnut are slow.  The quick growing trees are prone to damage in wind and ice storms.  But you need to get trees growing... that's why you put both slow and fast growing, with the expectation of taking out the fast as the slow catch up in growth.

            •  You know more about this than I do. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RunawayRose, jamess, nchristine

              Sounds like you've studied this in some depth for your region.  

              Thing is, the conditions are different for each region and each local area.  I can't be specific about my group's area because we don't discuss our location in public places.  But we have some smart people working on all of the issues related to climate adaptation.  The person who's working on the issue of trees and passive solar and microclimates, will arrive at conclusions, which will be crosschecked by another person, and then we'll start planting accordingly.

              One task in many, that has to be completed on a schedule driven by nature.

              •  I've not 'seriously' studied in depth. It's part (6+ / 0-)

                of the lore and/or tradition for the area.  But, I do have a degree in architecture and passive/active solar was a part of the education.  Also, when I was working for a Masters in historic preservation, my advisers thought the idea of farmstead tree planting would have been a great thesis topic.  I never did finish the degree, but the topic kinda stuck.  My family also has a tree farm about 100 miles south of where I'm at now.

            •  When we moved into our house 10 years ago (5+ / 0-)

              it was in the middle of an old cornfield.  We planted 40 trees that year, pines, cedars and a couple of hemlocks on the north, northeast and northwest sides, lots of dogwood and redbud (just because we love to look at them in the spring) maple and pin oaks on the south. The trees on the north sides have really helped with the incredible winds we get in the winter, and the two pin oaks near the house on the south side are almost at the point where they provide some serious shade in the summer. We looked into building underground when we lived in Vermont 25 years ago, but never found any suitable sites once we moved south shortly thereafter (pretty hard to get past the water table in Tidewater Virginia when we were there.)

              A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

              by marleycat on Mon May 10, 2010 at 05:24:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, it is remarkable on just how (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RunawayRose, adrianrf, jamess, marleycat

                much the trees help in climate control.  At my parents old house, 4 old, very large trees had to be taken out because they were starting to die and if they started falling apart, they would have seriously damaged the house.  They were on the south side of the house and the following summer, those rooms were so much hotter than previous years.

  •  Wait a minute - they did offshore drilling???? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'M OUTRAGED!!!!


    •  BP (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      BP don't care about no stinkin' Ice!

      Unless it's Frozen Methane,
      gumming up their jury-rigged funnel.

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Mon May 10, 2010 at 04:01:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's your graph (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, jamess

    "Progress" is the core of progressive. Two steps forward. One step back.

    by captainlaser on Mon May 10, 2010 at 04:04:46 PM PDT

  •  Can someone smart here answer: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, jamess, patrickz, DawnN

    Realistically, what are the prospects for a technology to remove CO2 en masse from the atmosphere?

    Because I absolutely do not see humanity cutting emissions. it's just not gonna happen.

    I would bet all on CO2 removal tech. It's the only chance we have.

    And before anyone hates, I'm all for a carbon tax and a huge effort to cut emissions. I just don't see it happening.

  •  the wet bulb factor: (4+ / 0-)

    I suppose we can add that to the list of things that are going to contribute to massive population dieoffs.  

    Wars, famines, pestilences, plagues, and overt heat death.  

    That makes five horsemen.  

  •  let us be quite clear about this: (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Margfh, jamess, nchristine, patrickz, DawnN

    At this point in time we know enough to be reasonably certain what the future looks like:

    A 60% or greater dieoff of the human species.

    The equatorial regions are toast.  There is no saving them or the people in them.  Or to put it differently, ask yourself if you wouldn't mind having your city or town consisting of 50% refugees from desperate areas.  Now try persuading your neighbors.  Try getting a local ballot measure to declare your city a sanctuary from ....pick any country in sub-Saharan Africa.   Watch what happens.  And it's not all about racism either: try asking the same question about, for example, earthquake refugees from the next major West Coast quake, or hurricane refugees from (pick a predominantly white area in the Southeast).  

    China and India are a crapshoot.  Both are highly capable civilizations in terms of technology, but both are at population overshoot of their national resources notably food.  In this regard China could fare better because it already has a history of a one-child policy, and could simply step up enforcement.  However that will produce a tendency toward families selecting for males, leading to a surplus of males relative to females, which historically leads to aggressive warfare.  On the other hand China is not historically inclined to waging aggressive warfare, at least compared to most of the rest of the world.  

    Northern Europe and the UK will probably end up as iceballs once the Atlantic conveyor system shuts down.  "The British are coming!" takes on a whole new meaning in light of climate refugees.  Ask your neighbors how they would feel about half of London moving into town.  

    The US, and the former USSR, are complicated scenarios, because the population of each is actually below its national carrying capacity with the exception of fossil fuels in the US and a few strategic minerals that can be recycled if needed.  In all likelihood, Americans will shift inland just ahead of sea-level rise, driven by what appear to be "normal" economics of real estate and the costs of flood mitigation.  In all likelihood we will build solar, wind, and nuclear capacity just in time to make up for increased air conditioning loads in the hotter regions.  

    Meanwhile, the desperate and dying parts of the world will be looking at us with growing resentment, as the primary cause of the climate catastrophe that is causing holocaust after holocaust around the globe.  

    At present, a group of six people with about $20,000 and access to a highschool-level chem/bio lab, can whip up a plague.  The cost of doing so drops alongside the cost of biotech in general.  And a handful of people can get on airliners....

    This is the world we are making for ourselves right now, by "doing nothing."  Because in the end there is no such thing as "doing nothing."  Not-doing is doing.  Just look at what we're doing by not-doing.

    •  Equatorial regions are *not* toast (very soon) (0+ / 0-)

      I realize there's a vast amount to know and keep up with on this stuff, so please don't take this as criticism:

      As things continue to warm, there's something of a thermostat effect that takes place since heat transport from the tropics increases such that the tropics stay relatively cool.  The poles, on the other hand, will warm like crazy.  This is not based on models (which have a hard time replicating these conditions) but on extensive paleoclimate studies using ocean drill cores (see the USGS PRISM project).  Of course this is good news only in relative terms since plenty of other things will go sideways in the process.

      My sense of things is that the danger with running up CO2 to over 1,000 ppm isn't so much high equatorial temps (since CO2 would have to be kept at those levels for a long time, possibly centuries, to get things into the +7C range discussed in the paper), but the inadvertent triggering of the "clathrate gun" by means of too large of a pulse of warm water to the deep oceans.  The problem with that, in turn, is that it would be a matter of centuries between the triggering event and the unpleasant outcome (which would include hot tropics).  At least the geological record (of the PETM, the last such event ~53 million years ago) shows that by itself it wouldn't result in a major extinction event.

      BTW, the conveyor shutdown => major Northen European cooling was a matter of speculation some years back, but is mostly wrong.  Basically the Greenland ice sheet (which is mostly hemmed in by mountains) can't melt fast enough to provide the fresh water needed to disrupt the thermohaline circulation long enough to result in major cooling.  Even if it did, there's a limit to the effect since the current is to a great extent wind-driven, plus of course it's hard for one region to cool off very much as the rest of the planet keeps warming.  

      May I suggest you take the time to read the IPCC AR4 WG1 report?  It covers most of this stuff.

  •  Do we get prizes for reading your diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    After seeing the title? Tee hee. And about the Earth getting too hot for humans...I live in Phoenix. I can remember hitting 121 degrees more than a few times and the high teens is common. Either we create an air-conditioned bubble around the city, or the exodus starts here. :)

    Great information as always, Jamess.

    •  lol, the only prize is knowledge (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I saw that domed city idea,
      in the Simpson Movie.
      It had a few glitches, lol.

      thanks for reading passionateprotagonist  
      and taking time to comment.

      wish I had better news.

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Mon May 10, 2010 at 05:43:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fine. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But I'm swimming in knowledge around here...Yippee!

        FWIW, I'm optimistic about humankind's ability to reduce CO2. I am seeing an ever-increasing number of articles about the subject in lots of non-sciency places lately and people I know (who are not exactly "environmental activists") are opting for smaller cars, encouraging their kids to recycle, etc.

    •  What exodus? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We'll simply deport everyone who steps out of metro Phoenix without their birth certificate to Siberia.  

      2009: Year of the Donkey. Let's not screw it up.

      by Yamaneko2 on Mon May 10, 2010 at 08:48:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  FYI for future posts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adrianrf, jamess

    The peninsula glaciers, while definitely a collective canary in a coal mine, aren't by themselves a very large problem since they're not very big (as these things go).  The ones to watch are the major outlet glaciers in Greenland and West Antarctica.  In the last day or so there was a Reuters story about a major measured acceleration in one of the Greenland ones, although I didn't try to trace it back to the actual paper or other results.  If you google for Bindschadler on the same site you found the EM-T interview on, you'll find a report from last year about a major acceleration in the Pine Island Glacier (PIG) in the West Antarctic.  IIRC the section of West Antarctica it drains is capable of producing about a .5 meter sea level rise, which could happen rather quickly (potentially within decades) since like much of the West Antarctic ice sheet it's grounded below sea level.

    Recced and tipped.

    •  I read something (0+ / 0-)

      about the West Antarctica outlet glaciers,
      picking up speed, a while back.

      And they're huge.

      I guess that's a topic, for another day.

      thanks for the feedback Steve Bloom.

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Mon May 10, 2010 at 06:07:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Took a class with Dr. Matt Huber (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He tends to be very careful with his methods, and his specialty is historic periods of warming and soil moisture (the latter being a particularly frustrating area of application for lack of measurements).

    Anyway, I was wondering how hot a wet-bulb of 95 F is.  This handy online humidity calculator gave the following results, at intervals of 5 F.  (Td = dew point)

    95 F:  RH 100%, Td 95 F
    100 F:  RH 83%, Td 94 F
    105 F:  RH 70%, Td 93 F
    110 F:  RH 56%, Td 91 F
    115 F:  RH 47%, Td 90 F
    120 F:  RH 40%, Td 89 F
    125 F:  RH 34%, Td 88 F
    130 F:  RH 28%, Td 86 F
    135 F:  RH 23%, Td 85 F
    140 F:  RH 19%. Td 83 F

    The lower Colorado River valley from Lake Mead southward is infamous for very high temperatures coupled with significant humidity.  Here are some numbers from Yuma, AZ, rounded to the nearest degree

    07/18/2009, 4:18 pm.  T = 115, Td = 54, Tw = 75
    07/22/2009, 3:51 pm.  T = 111, Td = 57, Tw = 75
    07/17/2005, 4:56 pm.  T = 117, Td = 66, Tw = 81

    I looked at 2009 in Kuwait City and Abadan;  while they endured high temperatures (with a low of 101 F several nights in Kuwait City), they never reached Yuma-level misery.

    During Chicago's murderous 1995 heat wave, here were the worst readings at the worst station (Midway)

    July 13:  T = 106, Td = 76, Tw = 84
    July 14:  T = 101, Td = 78, Tw = 84

    In North America, everything south and east from the current Corn Belt, inclusive, will be among the uninhabitable places should temperatures rise 12 C.  

    If Dr. Huber's calculations verify, my guess is that he will have been considered an optimist when determining inhabitable places.  It was enough for Tw to hit 84 F for a few hours two days in a row to set off high mortality in Chicago.  

    2009: Year of the Donkey. Let's not screw it up.

    by Yamaneko2 on Mon May 10, 2010 at 08:20:20 PM PDT

    •  thanks for that context Yamaneko2 (0+ / 0-)

      appreciate your take on the subject.

      Science deserved WAY more respect,
      than it typically gets, these days.

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Tue May 11, 2010 at 04:01:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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