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Last week we heard the news that new studies confirm that the West Antarctic ice sheet melt is unstoppable. To quote Dr. Eric Rignot, glaciologist, of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/UC Irvine "We have passed the point of no return". See stunning videofile here.

Of course, the spectacular rise of anthropolgenic greenhouse gases especially CO2 is the major culprit in the Antarctic melting. But there is another culprit that may be responsible for the rapid melting in the Antarctic and that is Black Carbon, also known as soot. The video below by Earth Justice gives a simple explanation of black carbon(soot) and how it affects global warming and glacier melt.

Renouned glaciologist, Prof. Jefferson Simoes, who created the first national laboratory in Brazil dedicated to glaciology and geographical polar research and who is Director of the Brazilian National Institute for Cryospheric Sciences and a National Delegate to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research - SCAR has done much research on Black Carbon in the Antarctic. Here is Dr. Simoes speaking about his research at the World Preservation Foundation seminar in London: TOPIC: The presence of black carbon in Antarctica and its effect on ice masses. Link for Dr. Simoes power point is here.

Prof. Jefferson Simoes on Black Carbon - 3 Nov 2010 - London, UK from World Preservation Foundation on Vimeo.

As shown above the connection between meat production and glacier melting occurs when slash and burn deforestation techniques is done to create space for ranching and for growing livestock feed. This burning releases Black Carbon into the atmosphere which is then picked up by air currents and deposited around the globe.

As mentioned at the beginning of Dr. Simoes video above; reducing CO2 must be done but it is not enough to reduce near term warming because CO2 is long lived and can last for hundreds and sometimes even thousands of years in the  atmosphere. We can't stop the melting of West Antarctic glaciers but perhaps we can slow the melting by reducing short-lived-climate-pollutants (SLCP) such as Black Carbon.

Reinforcing Dr. Simoes work in the Antarctic is the work currently being done by glaciologist  Dr. Jason Box on the opposite end of the globe on Greenland ice sheets. In his Dark Snow Project, Dr. Box is studying the effects of the 2012 US wildfires on Greenland melt.  His work is complete and the results (shown on the graph to the right) show a correlation between the 2012 US wildfires and accelerated melting of the Greenland ice sheets. Per Dr. Box paper on study will be published soon.

The culprit in both of these studies is Black Carbon which when settled on ice or snow creates a darkening which decreases surface albedo and absorbs more heat thus accelerating melting.  

In Dr. Simoes study in the Antarctic the fires occurring in the Amazon attributed to livestock production are preventable whereas the 2012 US wildfires and general increase in wildfire severity is correlated with rising temperatures and earlier snow melt due to climate change, .

I've tried to simplify a complex dynamic to show that perhaps it's possible to slow warming and melting in the polar regions by a rapid focus on reducing Black Carbon and other short-lived-climate-pollutants (pdf), thereby reducing and slowing rapidly accelerating global warming effects.

Originally posted to beach babe in fl on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:18 PM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS, Climate Hawks, and Meatless Advocates Meetup.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fracking releases methane. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, peachcreek

    Make a call today.  

    California Fracking Moratorium Blogathon
    May 20-May 23, 2014

    Key votes will be held this week on California SB 1132, which imposes a moratorium on fracking. If the bill fails, the legislative process toward moratorium must restart next January.

    Please join us for a blogathon May 20-23 in a campaign to tell lawmakers to support this bill. This is a coordinated effort with a coalition of more than a dozen NGOs, including Earth Works, Sierra Club, and Center for Race, Poverty and the Environment.

    And please call key lawmakers, ASAP. Tell them YES on SB 1132!

    Sen. Darrell Steinberg: (916) 651-4006
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    Photograph Credit: EarthWorks.

    If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

    by John Crapper on Thu May 22, 2014 at 01:01:55 PM PDT

  •  Delicious Vegetarian Chili is On the Menu Tonight (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, peachcreek

    From Jill "Orangecloud" Richardson who used to post here some years ago.

    Lightening up on the meat is easy to do, and there are lots of great alternatives.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu May 22, 2014 at 01:08:58 PM PDT

  •  In the United States, there is no significant (0+ / 0-)

    connection between black carbon emissions and the animal agriculture industry.   Meat production in the United States is quite unlike meat production in other countries, notably as in South America, which features the burning of large areas for integrated animal and plant agricultural operations.

    From the standpoint of the United States, there is far more connection between United States rice production plant agriculture industry (and the burning of rice straw in traditional methods) and black carbon emissions than from any connection to United States animal agriculture.

    The slide in the power point at page 19 showing very little change in United States black carbon emissions since the early 1970s is not realistic as the past 44 years have featured tremendous industrial air pollution control reductions of particulate matter that would include black carbon emissions.

    Doing anything significant about the United States emissions of black carbon would necessarily require changes in forestry and forest fire practices, including the issue of prescribed burns.   Stopping the eating of meat produced in the United States would have little effect on these more serious black carbon emission problems in the United States.

    But beating up on the rice production industry and making a coalition with Smokey the Bear haven't made it to the diarist's "to do" list yet.

    •  you miss the point of the diary. Again.... (0+ / 0-)

      diary is about the influence of Black Carbon ( from slash and burn deforestation) on the melting of Antarctic. It's also about Black Carbon release from wildfires and that influence on Greenland ice sheet melting.

      Your agenda is getting in the way of any semblance of common sense.

      Also you don't seem to understand that climate change is a global phenomenon and that Black Carbon and other pollutants
      are moved by air currents to great distances (as discussed in the Simeos video).


      Macca's Meatless Monday

      by VL Baker on Fri May 23, 2014 at 04:23:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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