Cancun and News

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 2:12 AM GMT on November 11, 2010

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Cancun and News

My recent blogs have been long analyses of climate change science and politics and communication and organization. I am delighted to have seen them propagate around, both publically and not – for example American Meteorology Society. It’s very gratifying to see others use and improve on what one does. This entry is going to be far simpler. A little about Cancun Conference of the Parties, Roger Pielke Jr.’s new book, Merapi volcano, and some news from Pakistan. OK, it’s news.

Cancun, Conference of the Parties - 16: A year ago, November 2009, I was planning a trip to the Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen. The Conference of the Parties (COP) are the annual meetings that are part of the governing body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Before Copenhagen there was great energy, with some notion that the Copenhagen meeting would lead to a breakthrough on international climate change agreements. Of course, that did not happen and while there was spin that the meeting was a success, most people that I know were not enthusiastic about the outcome. (The Copenhagen Accord) My take of the outcome was that there was symbolic political recognition that global warming needed to be addressed, but no substantive steps were taken to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases. Plus, the political, economic and technological realities are that we will not see international agreement on reducing emissions anytime soon. It will be much longer before there is any real reduction of emissions. (Here are student blogs and my blogs from last year. UoM and Alma Students, Rood)

I am not going to Cancun. There is a group of students from Michigan and Alma going this year, and again, they will be blogging from the meeting on the Climate Blue website. This year my expectations are (even) lower than last year. The U.S. is further away from a national position than a year ago, and without the U.S. having a coherent voice, then there is no real way to be effective in the U.N. And, of course, there is no real international desire for a climate treaty. The press and the politicians are not playing up this meeting. There will still be thousands of people and lots of action on the ground; people will still look for opportunities and build towards the future.

The intractable nature of greenhouse gas emission reduction policy is one of the reasons that I advocate exposing and scaling up of local and commercial activities ( here).

Roger Pielke Jr: On October 25, 2010 Roger Pielke Jr spoke at the Ford School at the University of Michigan. ( Pielke Seminar) I was the commentator at the presentation. Roger was talking about material in his new book, The Climate Fix. Roger Pielke Jr. is a highly controversial, strongly stated political scientist who is expert in climate change. He is a prolific and early blogger. The gist of his talk was that what we are doing now to develop climate policy does not work, and it is time to consider the underlying reasons why and to do something different. There were those in audience who expected me to take exception to this message, but I did not. My experience over the past five years is that what we are doing on the international level to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is broken and that there are fundamental reasons why. At the center of reasons, we don’t really have any market-viable alternative energy sources and no technological ways to abate the emission of carbon dioxide. This, in combination with our imperatives for economic growth (read, energy use), makes the situation currently intractable. Combine that with the political realities, we do have to do something different. Pielke Jr. provides a more thorough, more quantitative, and controversial analysis of this situation (The Climate Fix).

Merapi Volcano: Some time ago I wrote a piece called Climate, Belief and the Volcano. In that piece I wrote about Mr. Marijan who was the spirit keeper of the volcano. In these recent eruptions Mr. Marijan died.

Pakistan: I am certain to maintain an interest in Pakistan far longer than the average disaster attention span. My youngest sister Elizabeth is Counsel General in Peshawar so I keep an eye on the news. I saw her this past week (a good thing), and it is a tough, tough place to be. Flood wise, there is progress in the Northwest, and there are efforts to plant winter wheat. Sindh, in the South, is still flooded. One thing Elizabeth pointed out to me that the flood had deposited 12 feet of silt in places, and amongst other things the land was now higher than the irrigation systems. UNICEF says they are running out of money, food, and vaccines, and a bad situation is likely to get worse. Attention to the Pakistan flood is moral imperative, a humanitarian imperative, and a security imperative. (Pakistan Flooding: A Climate Disaster, Yours truly on Chicago-based Radio Islam, Rood interview)

Here are some places that my sister has recommended for the humanitarian crisis in Pakistan. Organizations she sees.

Doctors Without Borders

The International Red Cross

MERLIN medical relief charity

U.S. State Department Recommended Charities

The mobile giving service mGive allows one to text the word "SWAT" to 50555. The text will result in a $10 donation to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Pakistan Flood Relief Effort.

Portlight Disaster Relief at

UNICEF Donations

Figure 1. Despair of Pakistan’s forgotten flood victims: BBC coverage of continuing flood in Pakistan

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172. paratomic
7:29 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
Quoting cyclonebuster:
These students must watch to much FOX NEWS!

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(It looks like this is a stripped version of the full lecture and doesn't include the reverse arguments the professor used. But I'm going to treat the video as is and assume the professor adopted an aggressive attack campaign on the "deniers". I think this does happen sometimes and people become too narrow in focus. This leads to a situation where nobody learns and everyone is angry. That would not be conducive to learning.)

So... (ignoring that this is probably? a spin on the actual lecture...)

(also ignoring that this is an ASTRONOMY class?)

Classic example of a professor talking AT kids and not practicing what he was taught. Now those kids are going to walk out of that room remembering being talked AT, and they will not forget. The teacher had a lapse in judgement here. He has a few things to learn too.

The issue I see is one of time. You can't get someone to learn something like this by talking AT them. No matter how forceful your words are or how strongly you feel them it will not get through to them. All they will see is your anger and none of the science and reasoning will transmit. Lots of lots of time and learning will, but it's never easy.

That's why I think politics should stay out of education because it's too easy for people to get angry when something gets political. When they get angry they talk too forcefully and it ends up being a one way kind of thing where nobody learns anything. By separating his class like he did he was inviting those political leanings to enter into the scene and it was a mistake. Should have focused on the issues point by point and looked at where they could be wrong or where they need improvement. If you stick to singular things and examine them you don't open the discussion up to political things and broad incoherent attacks.

Science doesn't have enough room for politics or opinion. As it should be.
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171. cyclonebuster
7:15 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
You are just making more CO2 when you burn it! It isn't clean!

Arctic's 'fiery ice' is potential new energy source

Scientists drill through permafrost to assess challenges in harnessing gas hydrates, a source of clean-burning methane

For the Japanese, drilling down through Arctic permafrost to get at "fiery ice" was much less daunting than boring into the deep sea.

They came up with $48 million -- with $3 million from Canada -- for an epic experiment in the Northwest Territories that has generated tantalizing evidence, to be detailed in Tokyo this week, that frozen gas hydrates may live up to their billing as a plentiful new energy source.

The Canadian and Japanese team will describe how they got the hydrates to release gas, like bubbles out of champagne. In a world first, the team got a production well to generate a steady flow of gas for six days, fuelling a flame in the Arctic darkness.

"The message is quite clear, you can produce gas hydrates using conventional techniques," says Scott Dallimore, a senior scientist at Natural Resources Canada, who co-led the project in the Mackenzie Delta. Over two winters the researchers drilled down more than a kilometre into a 150-metre-thick layer on the edge of the Beaufort Sea at Mallik -- the most concentrated known deposit of the frozen fuel in the world.

"It's a landmark, no doubt about it," says Ray Boswell, technical manager of the U.S. government's gas hydrate program. Boswell will be taking close notes Tuesday as Dallimore and his Japanese colleagues describe how the well and hydrates responded as the gas was freed.

Previous experiments have produced gas from hydrates for a few hours. Mallik's steady, sustained flow for six days "is very good news," says Boswell, who is optimistic gas hydrates may one day heat homes and fuel vehicles.

Hydrates occur in vast quantities under the oceans and permafrost, where tremendous pressure traps gas in tiny cages or crystals made of water molecules. When brought to the surface the cages melt, releasing methane gas that will burn if lit with a match, generating "fiery ice" -- a potential energy source that has long intrigued researchers.

The volatile energy source has traditionally been a nuisance for drilling operations and folks poking around deep water. A decade ago, B.C. fishermen were startled when they dredged up a huge chunk of icebound hydrates off the coast of Vancouver Island. It fizzed like a giant Bromo-Seltzer as it reached the surface and released flammable methane gas.

There are also concerns about its environmental impacts and the possibility of "burps of death" as the planet warms -- the fear being some hydrate deposits might melt releasing huge amounts of methane -- a potent greenhouse gas -- that could then speed up global warming.

On the upside, hydrates are said to contain more energy than all other fossil fuels combined, and are much cleaner than oil and coal.

Global estimates "range from merely jaw-dropping to the truly staggering," according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Canada is believed to have enough hydrates along its coasts to meet the country's energy needs for a couple of hundred years.

Hydrates contain methane, also known as natural gas, which produces 40 per cent less carbon dioxide than oil or coal when burned. Some analysts have suggested the "clean" hydrate gas could significantly reduce global emissions if used to help wean the world off dirtier fossil fuels. There is also a possibility, to be tested in Alaska this winter, that carbon dioxide can be pumped and stored underground as part of a novel process to liberate the gas from the ice.

Tapping into gas hydrates for fuel is still years, if not decades, away because "the game-changing, paradigm-shifting" reserves are under the oceans and are very hard to get at, says Boswell.

Still, Japan, India, Korea and the U.S. are all sizing up their marine hydrates. Japan's national gas hydrate program is the most ambitious and calls for offshore production testing to begin in the deepsea Nankai Trough in 2012.

For their test runs the Japanese turned to Canada's Arctic, where hydrates were first encountered 40 years ago during oil and gas exploration in the Mackenzie Delta.

The Japanese approached Natural Resources Canada scientists in the late 1990s about collaboration and in 1998 a Canadian-Japanese team cored into the Mallik hydrates for the first time, bringing chucks of frothy, sandy material to the surface.

Working with U.S., Indian and German scientists in 2002, the team tried to melt gas out of hydrates with hot water without success.

Japanese and Canadian scientists turned to conventional oil-and gas-extraction techniques, which involve reducing pressure on deposits, in 2007 working with Inuvik's Aurora College on full-scale production tests.

The crew hauled a drill rig north to Inuvik, then over the 200-kilometre ice road they built up to Mallik, where the research could only be done in winter because the low-lying delta is so wet and ecologically sensitive in summer.

With temperatures at times dipping below -60 C with the wind chill, they threaded pipe, containing gauges and monitors, more than 1,300 metres down through the hydrate layer. They then created holes in the pipe to reduce the pressure holding the methane in the icy cages.

By March 2008 they finally got gas to bubble up the well and it flowed steadily for six days.

David Boerner, acting assistant deputy minister at Natural Resources, says the Mallik project has been a major step forward and hopes to get a sense this week of the type of projects and problems that need to be addressed in the next phase of research.

Boswell and Dallimore say longer production tests on land are needed to see if hydrates can generate gas for months and years in a safe and environmentally sound manner.

Dallimore says long-term production tests, ideally at several locations around the world, are a logical next step. "My hope is that Canada will find a way to continue to play a leading role," says Dallimore.

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 136 Comments: 20887
170. cyclonebuster
6:23 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
These students must watch to much FOX NEWS!

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Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 136 Comments: 20887
169. cyclonebuster
5:50 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
Bottom line it still produces Co2! Nuff said!

Researchers Debate Whether Biofuels Are Truly Greener Than Fossil Fuels

Read more:

If Willie Nelson supports it, it must be green, right? Not so fast.

Amid rising concern over U.S. dependence on fossil fuels, many hope that running our cars on so-called "biofuels," which are grown rather than processed, could solve our sustainability woes. But a new report argues that these renewable resources may not be as green as they seem.

The ETC Group, an international organization supporting sustainability and conservation, has just published its newest report, an 84-page document that presents a lengthy criticism of "the new bioeconomy." In it, principal author Jim Thomas argues that using biofuels for energy and resources isn't green -- in fact, he says, it's even more harmful to the environment than coal.

"What's being presented by the government as 'the green way forward,' is this idea that we can use plant matter from crops, trees, or algae and convert it into fuel, plastics or chemicals," Thomas told "And it's just assumed that it's carbon neutral. But when you burn something like a tree, you release as much, if not more, carbon dioxide than when you burn something like coal."

Biofuels are fuels derived from living organisms, such as trees, algae plankton and more; they're collectively called biomass.Thomas' report -- "The New Biomassters: Synthetic Biology and the Next Assault on Biodiversity and Livelihoods" -- acts as a comprehensive critique of the entirety of the biofuel industry, summarizing all the different criticisms and compiling them into a single essay.

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He says he hopes that his research will be able to educate others on what he feels is a scary and careless venture.

"The essential tool the industry is using is called synthetic biology, designing new organisms that have never existed in nature," Thomas told "This is a very risky venture, and there's no regulation surrounding it. And that's one of the findings in this study, that this is growing very fast without regulation or oversight."

Early biofuels came about from fermenting sugars from foods such as corn and wheat. But the movement came under scrutiny after it led to crop shortages in developing countries and sharp increases in food prices. At issue was whether thos crops should be used to feed humans or power cars.

But other scientists say the biofuel economy is complex, and they note that it's hard to lump absolutely everything labeled biomass together.

"One needs to recognize that all biofuels are not the same. The current generation is based on corn in the U.S., based on wheat and rapeseed in Europe," Dr. Madhu Khanna, a professor of agriculture at the University of Illinois, told

"But even among the first generation, there is also sugarcane, which is a much cleaner fuel, and Brazil has a lot of available land for sugarcane production. You're able to expand without coming into conflict with food production. So you don't hear the same criticism necessarily about sugarcane."

There are up to four "generations" within the biofuel movement, starting with its origin in corn. Second-generation biofuels arose to combat the problems of the first, by using parts of crops that were not consumed, such as corn stalks rather than the corn itself, or non-food crops such as rapeseed. Third and fourth generations move into other areas, such as algae. Thomas claims that this just raises more issues.

"If you start using the stalk of a corn, you have to put more fertilizer in the soil," Thomas said. "Fertilizer production is very energy intensive. It produces large amounts of nitrous oxide, which is 300 times stronger than carbon dioxide. So if you're moving over to these fuels that use the corn stalk supposedly to cut back your greenhouse emission, then it's very counterproductive."

The report also claims that this transition doesn't solve the food shortages in third-world nations.

"The U.S. government says there's a billion tons of fair biomass that they can turn into fuels and chemicals and burn for electricity," Thomas said. "When I began to look at the billion-ton study, it doesn't exist. In fact, it doesn't make any sense to source biomass in the U.S. because there's much more biomass coming from Sub Sahara Africa and Brazil."

Thomas is adamant that land use will become a massive issue for the biomass industry. "This isn't a switch, it's a massive grab on land," he said. "This movement to a plant-based, or so-called green economy, will throw a lot of people off their land in the developing world."

But Khanna cites recent studies that have shown a decrease in deforestation in Brazil due to recent regulations. She attributes the difference in opinions like this to the intricacy of such an ambitious movement. Both Khanna and Thomas agree that a proper combination of well-developed technology and public policy are the keys to solving the fossil-fuel issue.

"The government, instead of putting money into these quick technological fixes, need to invest into more long term fixes," Thomas said. "It's economical and social fixes rather than technological fixes that will help us through. It's about the government giving support for both kinds of choices."

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 136 Comments: 20887
168. cyclonebuster
5:30 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
Threshold Sea Surface Temperature for Hurricanes and Tropical Thunderstorms Is Rising

ScienceDaily (Nov. 7, 2010) — Scientists have long known that atmospheric convection in the form of hurricanes and tropical ocean thunderstorms tends to occur when sea surface temperature rises above a threshold. The critical question is, how do rising ocean temperatures with global warming affect this threshold? If the threshold does not rise, it could mean more frequent hurricanes.According to a new study by researchers at the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) of the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM), this threshold sea surface temperature for convection is rising under global warming at the same rate as that of the tropical oceans.

Their paper appears in the journal Nature Geoscience.

In order to detect the annual changes in the threshold sea surface temperature, Nat Johnson, a postdoctoral fellow at IPRC, and Shang-Ping Xie, a professor of meteorology at IPRC and UHM, analyzed satellite estimates of tropical ocean rainfall spanning 30 years. They find that changes in the threshold temperature for convection closely follow the changes in average tropical sea surface temperature, which have both been rising approximately 0.1°C per decade.

"The correspondence between the two time series is rather remarkable," says lead author Johnson. "The convective threshold and average sea surface temperatures are so closely linked because of their relation with temperatures in the atmosphere extending several miles above the surface."

The change in tropical upper atmospheric temperatures has been a controversial topic in recent years because of discrepancies between reported temperature trends from instruments and the expected trends under global warming according to global climate models. The measurements from instruments have shown less warming than expected in the upper atmosphere. The findings of Johnson and Xie, however, provide strong support that the tropical atmosphere is warming at a rate that is consistent with climate model simulations.

"This study is an exciting example of how applying our knowledge of physical processes in the tropical atmosphere can give us important information when direct measurements may have failed us," Johnson notes.

The study notes further that global climate models project that the sea surface temperature threshold for convection will continue to rise in tandem with the tropical average sea surface temperature. If true, hurricanes and other forms of tropical convection will require warmer ocean surfaces for initiation over the next century.

This work was supported by grants from NOAA, NSF, NASA, and JAMSTEC.

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167. cyclonebuster
5:27 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
Warming Coastal Water, Thinning Marine Populations: Tracking of 2010 El Niño Reveals Marine Life Reductions

ScienceDaily (Mar. 4, 2010) — The ongoing El Niño of 2010 is affecting north Pacific Ocean ecosystems in ways that could affect the West Coast fishing industry, according to scientists at NOAA and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 136 Comments: 20887
166. cyclonebuster
5:25 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
Barnacles Prefer Upwelling Currents, Enriching Food Chains in the Galapagos

ScienceDaily (Mar. 21, 2010) — There's been a rich debate in marine ecological circles about what happens to a key food source along rocky coastlines dominated by upwelling. The literature is filled with studies suggesting that the larvae of simple prey organisms such as barnacles and mussels hitch a ride on the coast-to-offshore currents typical of upwelling and are thus mostly absent in the coastal tidal zones.That theory is getting a major challenge. In a paper in Ecological Monographs, Brown University marine ecologist Jon Witman and colleagues report that a key thread in the food web, the barnacle -- the popcorn of the sea -- flourishes in zones with vertical upwelling. Working at an expansive range of underwater sites in the Galapagos Islands, Witman and his team found that at two subtidal depths, barnacle larvae had latched onto rock walls, despite the vertical currents. In fact, the swifter the vertical current, the more likely the barnacles would colonize a rocky surface, the team found.

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 136 Comments: 20887
165. cyclonebuster
5:12 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
For the scientists on board the Maria S. Merian, the discovery of the ecosystem with living cold water corals came as a surprise. Andre Freiwald sees one reason for the southern occurrence of the anthozoans which are adapted to cold temperatures in the upwelling ocean cells steered by the Passat wind. The offshore winds push the surface waters from the Mauritanian cliffs out into the open ocean and thereby permit a following flow of cold and nutrient-rich water from the depths. This evidently not only ensures that the Mauritanian waters are among the richest of any in fish but also presumably also provides the cold water corals with appropriate feed. According to statements by coral experts, the marine creatures feed on the nutrients released by plankton organisms.

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 136 Comments: 20887
164. cyclonebuster
5:05 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
Quoting MichaelSTL:

So much for your tunnels... you'd have to leave them on forever, and that is a very tall order, which is why most geoengineering schemes will fail; for example, if we decide to pump SO2 into the stratosphere and let CO2 levels continue to increase (never mind ocean acidification), we'd have to keep doing it or a very nasty temperature spike would occur. Seems like your tunnels would have the same problem.

Negative! You see that's what is so great about the Tunnels they remove Co2 by not producing any Co2 and therefore fossil fuels are not needed due to the huge amount of kinetic energy they tap from the flowing gulfstream. Atmooceans plan doesn't produce power to lower Co2 in the atmosphere. Calculate how much fossil fuel Co2 the "Kinetic Energy" in the gulfstream can eliminate. Is is far greater than what would be upwelled and therefore the planet cools!
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 136 Comments: 20887
163. cyclonebuster
4:56 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
Ya'll get it yet?

"There's just not a lot (left) to be impacted," pointed out Mr. Patterson.

What helped buffer the corals around the Virgin Islands from high water temperatures this year were tropical storms that literally mixed things up. Not only did their associated cloud cover and rains help cool off the ocean waters, but strong winds brought an upwelling of cooler waters that took the edge off, temperature-wise, according to the scientist.

“That kind of resets the temperature clock quite a bit,” he explained.

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 136 Comments: 20887
162. cyclonebuster
4:51 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
Create upwelling events and feed the world and watch a population explosion!

"That makes this case unusual but not alarming," he said.

Durgerian said marine biologists with the park service determined there has been an upwelling of nutrient-rich cold water near the ocean surface, which has made it easier for jellyfish to reproduce, causing their population to soar.

"The higher numbers at the beach may simply reflect higher numbers in the water," he said.

Park officials will allow nature to take its course with the remaining jellyfish carcasses on the beach, Durgerian said.

"Unless there's a public health hazard like a whale or it gives off a significant odor, we're not going to bury or remove something from the beach, and there's no impressive stench from these things," he said.

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 136 Comments: 20887
161. cyclonebuster
4:48 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
EPA Affirms Threat of Ocean Acidification, Recommends Coastal States Take Action

SAN FRANCISCO - November 16 - Responding to a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Environmental Protection Agency is recommending that coastal states begin addressing ocean acidification under the Clean Water Act. The announcement arose from the settlement of a lawsuit filed by the Center in Washington state, the first of its kind challenging the EPA's failure to address ocean acidification under the Clean Water Act.

"This marks an important step toward protecting life in our oceans," said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center. "The Clean Water Act has successfully reduced water pollution for decades, and now it can be brought to bear on ocean acidification, a huge and growing threat to marine life around the globe."

As oceans absorb carbon dioxide pollution from the atmosphere, waters are becoming more and more acidic. The water is increasingly corrosive to shellfish and corals and impairs the ability of marine animals to build the protective shells they need to survive. Nearly every marine animal studied to date has experienced adverse effects due to acidification. Under stress from ocean acidification, some corals are already growing more slowly and will begin to erode faster than they can build within decades. Acidification has contributed to oysters failing to reproduce for the past six years in the Pacific Northwest.

"Ocean acidification is one of the biggest threats to our marine environment," said Sakashita. "Oyster hatcheries are already failing, and fishermen fear the collapse of the ocean food web. CO2 is changing ocean chemistry so rapidly that the corals, plankton, fish and shellfish are at risk. We need prompt action to curb CO2 pollution, and the Clean Water Act can help."

According to the EPA, states should identify waters impaired by ocean acidification under the Clean Water Act. Also, the EPA is urging states to gather data on ocean acidification, develop methods for identifying waters affected by ocean acidification, and create criteria for measuring the impact of acidification on marine ecosystems.

Scientists have confirmed widespread ocean acidification due to CO2 pollution. A survey off the West Coast showed that waters affected by ocean acidification are already upwelling onto the continental shelf and exposing marine life in surface waters to corrosive conditions. The Arctic also faces imminent consequences, and areas of the Arctic are expected to become corrosive by 2016.

The EPA plans to publish guidance for the states on addressing ocean acidification under the Clean Water Act. Meanwhile, it is encouraging states to focus their efforts on waters that are most vulnerable to ocean acidification, including those with coral reefs, fisheries and shellfish resources. The Center for Biological Diversity has petitioned all coastal states to identify their waters as impaired by ocean acidification. The Washington state lawsuit arose from one of those petitions.

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160. cyclonebuster
4:46 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
The problem was a shift in a Pacific upwelling current that normally drives deep water to the surface, fertilizing a crop of tiny zooplankton at the base of the food chain.

That upwelling current is back, visible in the abundance of whales and dolphins that tourists enjoyed off the Monterey coast this summer.

Read more:

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158. cyclonebuster
4:38 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
The ecological effects of upwelling are quite diverse, but two impacts are especially noteworthy. First, upwelling brings up cold, nutrient-rich waters to the surface, which encourage seaweed growth and support blooms of phytoplankton. The phytoplankton blooms form the ultimate energy base for large animal populations higher in the food chain, including fish, marine mammals and seabirds. Coastal upwelling ecosystems like the U.S. west coast are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world and support many of the world's most important fisheries. Although coastal upwelling regions account for only one percent of the ocean surface, they contribute roughly 50 percent of the world's fisheries landings.

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 136 Comments: 20887
157. cyclonebuster
4:36 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
Ocean Geoengineering Scheme No Easy Fix for Global Warming

ScienceDaily (Feb. 18, 2010) — Pumping nutrient-rich water up from the deep ocean to boost algal growth in sunlit surface waters and draw carbon dioxide down from the atmosphere has been touted as a way of ameliorating global warming. However, a new study led by Professor Andreas Oschlies of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR) in Kiel, Germany, pours cold water on the idea."Computer simulations show that climatic benefits of the proposed geo-engineering scheme would be modest, with the potential to exacerbate global warming should it fail," said study co-author Dr Andrew Yool of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS).

If international governmental policies fail to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide to levels needed to keep the impacts of human-induced climate change within acceptable limits it may necessary to move to 'Plan B'. This could involve the implementation of one or more large-scale geo-engineering schemes proposed for reducing the carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere.

One possible approach is to engineer the oceans to facilitate the long-term sequestration of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It has been suggested that this could be done by pumping of nutrient-rich water from a depth of several hundred metres to fertilize the growth of phytoplankton, the tiny marine algae that dominate biological production in surface waters.

The aim would be to mimic the effects of natural ocean upwelling and increase drawdown of atmospheric carbon dioxide by phytoplankton through the process of photosynthesis. Some of the sequestered carbon would be exported to the deep ocean when phytoplankton die and sink, effectively removing it from the system for hundreds or thousands of years.

A previous study, of which Yool was lead author, used an ocean general circulation model to conclude that literally hundreds of millions of pipes would be required to make a significant impact on global warming. But even if the technical and logistical difficulties of deploying the vast numbers of pipes could be overcome, exactly how much carbon dioxide could in principle be sequestered, and at what risk?

In the new study, the researchers address such questions using a more integrated model of the whole Earth system. The simulations show that, under most optimistic assumptions, three gigatons of carbon dioxide per year could be captured. This is under a tenth of the annual anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, which currently stand at 36 gigatons per year. A gigaton is a million million kilograms.

One surprising feature of the simulations was that the main effect occurred on land rather than the ocean. Cold water pumped to the surface cooled the atmosphere and the land surface, slowing the decomposition of organic material in soil, and ultimately resulting in about 80 per cent of the carbon dioxide sequestered being stored on land. "This remote and distributed carbon sequestration would make monitoring and verification particularly challenging," write the researchers.

More significantly, when the simulated pumps were turned off, the atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and surface temperatures rose rapidly to levels even higher than in the control simulation without artificial pumps. This finding suggests that there would be extra environmental costs to the scheme should it ever need to be turned off for unanticipated reasons.

"All models make assumptions and there remain many uncertainties, but based on our findings it is hard to see the use of artificial pumps to boost surface production as being a viable way of tackling global warming," said Yool.

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156. cyclonebuster
3:50 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
"NSIDC should add a line for absolute daily record lows to their graph, instead of just showing the year with the lowest minimum, because of course 2007 wasn't at record lows every single day of the year, even less so when you include the past few years:"

Correct Michael they should do that! I have always wondered why they don't do that????
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 136 Comments: 20887
153. cyclonebuster
2:45 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
One of the drawbacks of the Nutrient Megapump is that it warms the oceans surface temperatures something we can not afford now.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 136 Comments: 20887
152. cyclonebuster
2:37 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
Neat "COOL IT" idea. This can also produce electrical power!

The Nutrient Megapump

Mixing deep ocean nutrient depends on being able to use the heat energy from hydrothermal vents on the ocen floor to raise cold, dense, nutrient-rich sea water from 1000m depth into the sunlit surface layer at, say, 20 m depth. To do this we designed a nutrient megapump. The megapump is a bubble pump in which the "bubbles" comprise slugs of steam. The steam is very "wet" meaning that it still contains a good deal of unevaporated water. Pumps need valves to control flow. The Nutrient Megapump utilizes the strange properties of wet steam to create a valve. The speed of sound in wet steam is extremely low which means that sonic shock fronts form readily. It is impossible to force fluid through a pipe at speeds greater than the speed of sound. In the diagram on the right superheated water flows through a short "injector" pipe and flashes to steam once it has passed through the pipe. In the diagram on the left, wet steam is inhibited from flowing through the injector pipe by the formation of a sonic shock.


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151. cyclonebuster
2:17 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
BTW they need to add one more type of UPWELLING!

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150. cyclonebuster
2:14 PM GMT on November 21, 2010
Upwelling is a good thing and will allow for a population explosion!

Upwelling is an oceanographic phenomenon that involves wind-driven motion of dense, cooler, and usually nutrient-rich water towards the ocean surface, replacing the warmer, usually nutrient-depleted surface water. The increased availability in upwelling regions results in high levels of primary productivity and thus fishery production. Approximately 25% of the total global marine fish catches come from five upwellings that occupy only 5% of the total ocean area. [1] Upwellings that are driven by coastal currents or diverging open ocean have the greatest impact on nutrient enriched waters and global fishery yields. [1] [2]Types
Upwelling animated.gif
Upwelling near the coast due to Ekman transport perpendicular to the wind in the northern hemisphere.

The major upwellings in the ocean are associated with the divergence of currents that bring deeper, colder, nutrient rich waters to the surface. There are at least five types of upwelling: coastal upwelling, large-scale wind-driven upwelling in the ocean interior, upwelling associated with eddies, topographically-associated upwelling, and broad-diffusive upwelling in the ocean interior.Other sources

* Local and intermittent upwellings may occur when offshore islands, ridges, or seamounts cause a deflection of deep currents, providing a nutrient rich area in otherwise low productivity ocean areas. Examples include upwellings around the Galapagos Islands and the Seychelles Islands, which have major pelagic fisheries. [1]
* Upwelling can also occur when a tropical cyclone transits an area, usually when moving at speeds of less than 5 mph (8 km/h). The churning of a cyclone eventually draws up cooler water from lower layers of the ocean. This causes the cyclone to weaken.
* Artificial upwelling is produced by devices that use ocean wave energy or ocean thermal energy conversion to pump water to the surface. Ocean wind turbines are also known to produce upwellings. [4] Ocean wave devices have been shown to produce plankton blooms. [5]

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149. cyclonebuster
1:26 PM GMT on November 21, 2010

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148. cyclonebuster
1:20 PM GMT on November 21, 2010


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147. cyclonebuster
4:46 AM GMT on November 21, 2010
Just more reason to "COOL IT".
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146. cyclonebuster
4:45 AM GMT on November 21, 2010
Quoting atmoaggie:

Could that be from tropopause folds? There was some banter about concerning one of the typhoons causing a significant event...cannot remember which or when, exactly...

Quoting MichaelSTL:
I wonder what is happening here; look at the warming up around 50 mb, even as the lower atmosphere cools (seems like something weird happened around July/August; look around the 5 mb level):

"Something weird" might be the (highly unusual and only the second one on record) sudden stratospheric warming that occurred in the Southern Hemisphere at that time:

Also, here is the Northern Hemisphere (actually, only about 65N, 65S for the SH):

The NH SSW didn't have any dramatic or lasting effects on the tropics, and I don't think La Nina would do that; 2007 doesn't show any such changes.

Oh, the AMSU data also reflects what is happening in the first image - the atmosphere centered around 250-400 mb has now become massively cooler than last year and in fact has now reached an all-time record low (since 1998, the previous record low occurred in 2008, followed by 2006; this would probably be the mid-tropospheric temperature, which is also reported in addition to the lower troposphere, and so much for the satellite having a warming bias, either that, or it is actually a lot cooler now):

(click to enlarge, I added a line to show where 2010 now is)

Meanwhile, here is the temperature at 50 mb, which has risen dramatically over the past couple weeks (2010 is the orange line, which interestingly has risen from daily record lows early in the year; 2009 has been the lowest so far):

(click to enlarge)

Also, I wonder exactly what data source the CPC uses for their graphs (from here); they go back to 1979 so I am guessing that they use satellite data, so would simply be a different representation of what the UAH AMSU page shows.

A new study finds that the warm Atlantic Ocean current known as the Gulf Stream could influence the climate of remote regions by pumping heat high into the atmosphere above it. The powerful current, which flows up from the Gulf of Mexico along the U.S. east coast and across the Atlantic to western Europe, is known to influence the formation of cyclones and clouds as well as to moderate the climates of the regions it touches. But Japanese researchers wondered if it had further-reaching effects. Combining high-resolution satellite data with water analyses, they discovered a pattern of airflow that reaches seven miles (10 kilometers) high, well into the upper part of the troposphere, the lowest and most massive layer of Earth's atmosphere. Winds blow toward the warm Gulf Stream from the colder waters on its western edge, causing a warm updraft and a consequent narrow rainy region along the current. The upward airflow (depicted in this image as vertical streaks) generates clouds in the upper troposphere that branch out and travel toward Europe. Reporting in Nature, the researchers note that this pattern suggests a way that the Gulf Stream might influence both local and distant climates good to know in case global warming hits the brakes on the current as it is expected to do.

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145. atmoaggie
4:37 AM GMT on November 21, 2010
Quoting MichaelSTL:
I wonder what is happening here; look at the warming up around 50 mb, even as the lower atmosphere cools (seems like something weird happened around July/August; look around the 5 mb level)

Could that be from tropopause folds? There was some banter about concerning one of the typhoons causing a significant event...cannot remember which or when, exactly...
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143. cyclonebuster
3:39 AM GMT on November 20, 2010
Tunnels stop this!

Measuring fast-melting Arctic sea ice

You've probably seen pictures of stranded polar bears and heard that global warming is causing the melting of Arctic sea ice -- that is, floating ice formed from freezing ocean surface water. But you may imagine, as most people do, that this distant phenomenon is unfolding gradually over a centuries-long time frame.

Julienne Stroeve, a climate scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., has compiled detailed measurements that melt away any such misconceptions. Stroeve is closely monitoring the extent of Arctic sea ice, and her research shows that dramatic changes are occurring right now -- far faster than most experts anticipated and with enormous consequences for the whole planet, not just the Arctic region.For instance, during the warmest part of 2010, the total amount of Arctic sea ice -- the so-called "seasonal minimum" -- was the third-smallest ever recorded. The smallest and second-smallest seasonal minimums were measured in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Natural variability, including factors like cloud cover, can easily explain differences in melting from year to year, Stroeve notes. But the big news is that the smallest amounts of Arctic sea ice ever measured have all occurred in recent years. "Basically, ever since 2002, we've had one pronounced record minimum after another," she says. "The data all point to a strong warming signal."

Stroeve explains that highly reliable data on the extent of Arctic sea ice has been collected since 1978. From then until now, she has found clear evidence of a 30-year melting trend, which, she says, "cannot be easily explained away by natural variability." But her work is even more notable for its findings about the speed of the change. Over this same 30 years, a relatively brief period, Stroeve has found that some 40 percent of the region's summer (or more precisely, September) ice has melted.

The fast pace of melting is seen even more dramatically, she explains, when one considers the age of the Arctic ice. Many parts of the Arctic Ocean freeze each year during the coldest months. But only ice that lasts throughout the year gradually becomes thicker over the course of consecutive seasons. "In the 1980s, the Arctic contained roughly 386,000 square miles of ice that was determined to be at least five years old," she says. Now, "at the end of the melt season in September, only 22,000 square miles of such older, thicker ice remains." In other words, the region has already lost more than 97 percent of the thicker year-round ice that existed just three decades ago. As she explains, "all the climatic processes seem to be pushing rapidly toward a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean."

Stroeve says that initially she was as surprised by the data as anyone else. "I didn't think global warming was even happening in the early 1990s when I began this work," she says. Back then, some climate models were projecting that carbon emissions would lead to a pronounced warming trend at the poles. But Stroeve was always more interested in actual measurements than in climate modeling. "I think I was lured into studying the poles by the prospect of adventurous fieldwork in Greenland or the Alps," she says with a laugh.

The daughter of an aerospace engineer, Stroeve had always exhibited a strong aptitude for math and science and an adventuresome spirit. From childhood through her high school years, her dream was to be an astronaut, she says, and she might have continued on that track if she hadn't realized that her susceptibility to motion sickness was a serious impediment to working in space.

Her love of adventure continues in her work today, in which she makes regular research trips to the Arctic and Greenland to measure ice thickness and other snow and ice measurements. It might not be space travel, but Stroeve says her fieldwork has been as exciting as she could have hoped. "When I first visited Greenland, it was the most stunning landscape I had ever seen," she says.

Along with her research in the polar regions, much of the data Stroeve analyzes comes from satellites that detect passive microwave radiation. As she explains, the higher brightness of ice in the microwave part of the spectrum can be seen by satellites even through cloud cover. "In the often-cloudy polar regions, that makes it an incredibly useful tool, providing data in which we have a high degree of confidence," she says. These detailed satellite measurements of Arctic sea ice led Stroeve to shed her initial doubts about global warming. "My views changed as I studied the emerging data," she says. "With record low sea-ice extents year after year, it became clear that a significant warming trend was underway."

Looking closely at the data, Stroeve realized that a phenomenon called Arctic amplification, a form of positive feedback, is accelerating the warming trend, causing it to occur many years sooner than most climate models had projected. Arctic amplification occurs primarily because water absorbs far more heat than ice does. On average, Stroeve explains, water absorbs almost 93 percent of all the incoming solar radiation, whereas the white surface of snow-covered ice reflects about 80 percent of incoming solar radiation back into space.

As more and more of the Arctic Ocean sea ice melts over the summer months, it hastens further warming, Stroeve explains. She and her colleagues at the National Snow and Ice Data Center have measured the effect, showing that in areas where summer ice has disappeared, local autumn air temperatures have been more than 5 degrees F higher than the long-term average.

The potential of such feedbacks to cause abrupt climate change as the Arctic Ocean becomes nearly ice-free in the warm season drew widespread attention to Stroeve's work in 2007. In that record-breaking warm year, the Arctic Ocean lost more than one-quarter of its remaining ice. "Because new ice can't get very thick in one season, it is more vulnerable to annual temperature changes, as we saw in 2007," she says.

The possibility of sudden shifts in the region's climate, and thus the planet's climate, is the most frightening implication of her research, Stroeve says. The quick and volatile changes in Arctic sea ice remind us that the geological record contains clear evidence of abrupt climatic changes in the planet's history. "We know that Arctic ice has historically helped keep the Northern Hemisphere cool," Stroeve says. "Without it, given atmospheric circulation, the planet will certainly warm more quickly. But we don't know enough about the system to fully project how swift the changes might turn out to be."

The prospect of sudden climate change is certainly scary, Stroeve says. But she adds that, because the stakes are so high, her decision to study Arctic sea ice has proven a more exciting choice than she ever imagined. As she puts it, "Not a lot of people were looking at sea ice when I began my research. But especially after 2007, which took everyone by surprise, it has become something that climate scientists are intensely interested to know about."

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142. cyclonebuster
2:10 AM GMT on November 20, 2010
Quoting MichaelSTL:
Check this out (look at where 2010 is now):

Yes, a new record low for November 18 (since 1998, which is the dark red line all the way up there), at least on this channel (not as cool yet on the two lower levels, and SSTs have risen back to 2008 levels, well above 2007). Considering that the current La Nina appears to be peaking earlier than in 2007-2008 (most indicators have been weakening) and the dip in SSTs is doing the same, I'd say that we are having the equivalent of the January 2008 drop right now, at least in the satellite data (the deniers will be saying "Look at how much the temperature dropped from November 2009 to November 2010!").

One record low. Ouch! Tunnels can force many more! The movie "COOL IT" says we need to force many more record cooling events with geo-engineering.
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141. cyclonebuster
2:03 AM GMT on November 20, 2010
Pretty sad again. Another coal mine explosion that the Tunnels could have prevented.When you will ya'll ever learn. Tutoring is becoming very exhausting!

img src="">
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139. cyclonebuster
1:46 AM GMT on November 20, 2010
Quoting MichaelSTL:

Beijing Air Quality "Crazy Bad," Says US Embassy

The pollution in Beijing was so heavy Friday that the US Embassy ran out of conventional adjectives to describe the air quality. While the embassy's website later removed the term "crazy bad," the air pollution remains a health hazard for city residents.

Pretty sad all they need are Tunnels in the Kuroshio Current to run electric cars.
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137. cyclonebuster
1:29 AM GMT on November 20, 2010
Here's a BIG OUCH thus far!

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136. cyclonebuster
1:25 AM GMT on November 20, 2010
Quoting MichaelSTL:

Not only that, it also melted much faster than usual last spring, resulting in a much longer ice-free season; in fact, it never really completely froze over for any length of time (max appears to be about 1.25 million km2):

I bet by the time we have a ice free summer North Arctic we will also have a year round ice free Hudson Bay!
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133. cyclonebuster
1:08 AM GMT on November 20, 2010
The Tunnel switch is in the Gulfstream!

By suggesting there is light at the end of the global warming tunnel, Timoner has made “Cool It” a hopeful film. We just have to know where to look for the switch.

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132. cyclonebuster
11:59 PM GMT on November 19, 2010
Surge in fatal shark attacks blamed on global warming

Three decades have passed since the movie Jaws sent terrified bathers scrambling out of the ocean. But as any beach lifeguard knows, there's still nothing like a gory shark attack to stoke public hysteria and paranoia.

Two deaths in the waters off California and Mexico last week and a spate of shark-inflicted injuries to surfers off Florida's Atlantic coast have left beachgoers seeking an explanation for a sudden surge in the number of strikes.

In the first four months of this year, there were four fatal shark attacks worldwide, compared with one in the whole of 2007, according to the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.

'The one thing that's affecting shark attacks more than anything else is human activity,' said Dr George Burgess of Florida University, a shark expert who maintains the database. 'As the population continues to rise, so does the number of people in the water for recreation. And as long as we have an increase in human hours in the water, we will have an increase in shark bites.'

Some experts suggest that an abundance of seals has attracted high numbers of sharks, while others believe that overfishing has hit their food chain. 'I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but it's a convenient excuse,' Burgess said. Another contributory factor to the location of shark attacks could be global warming and rising sea temperatures. 'You'll find that some species will begin to appear in places they didn't in the past with some regularity,' he said.

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131. cyclonebuster
11:52 PM GMT on November 19, 2010
Quoting yourgardenshow:

Warmer temperatures increase the capacity to hold water and the rains in the Midwest -- Northfield flooded in September, the Minneapolis folks were shocked by 20 inches of snow last week -- yes, snow shocked Minnesotans! -- and the rains this summer in Iowa created such fertile mosquito breeding conditions that people couldn't go out to garden -- well, this is increase in rainfall is something to noodle!

Reminds me of the same thing happening in the great lakes being so warm and causing more moisture which makes more snow.
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130. Mark Kane , Editor
11:49 PM GMT on November 19, 2010
Quoting cyclonebuster:
Hundreds of polar bears were spotted on the west coast of Hudson Bay earlier this week, waiting for ice that is almost a month late forming.

But a fierce storm in the region Thursday has temperatures dropping and ice forming, which could be good news for the bears. "It's just howling," Luc Desjardins, of the Canadian Ice Service, says of the storm that could change the fortunes of the hungry bears.Until the storm hit, record-breaking conditions in the western Arctic this fall had kept the ice at bay. Temperatures up to 14 C above normal in one Arctic region in November prevented the formation of ice which was almost a month behind schedule as of Monday, says Desjardins. He says the ice cover was the lowest since 1971, covering just 1.5 per cent of the sea, compared to the average of 20 per cent by mid-November.

Polar bears need sea ice to hunt for seals and other marine mammals. And after slim pickings on land in the summer, they are ready to get back on the ice come fall.


Warmer temperatures increase the capacity to hold water and the rains in the Midwest -- Northfield flooded in September, the Minneapolis folks were shocked by 20 inches of snow last week -- yes, snow shocked Minnesotans! -- and the rains this summer in Iowa created such fertile mosquito breeding conditions that people couldn't go out to garden -- well, this is increase in rainfall is something to noodle!
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129. cyclonebuster
9:09 PM GMT on November 19, 2010
Hundreds of polar bears were spotted on the west coast of Hudson Bay earlier this week, waiting for ice that is almost a month late forming.

But a fierce storm in the region Thursday has temperatures dropping and ice forming, which could be good news for the bears. "It's just howling," Luc Desjardins, of the Canadian Ice Service, says of the storm that could change the fortunes of the hungry bears.Until the storm hit, record-breaking conditions in the western Arctic this fall had kept the ice at bay. Temperatures up to 14 C above normal in one Arctic region in November prevented the formation of ice which was almost a month behind schedule as of Monday, says Desjardins. He says the ice cover was the lowest since 1971, covering just 1.5 per cent of the sea, compared to the average of 20 per cent by mid-November.

Polar bears need sea ice to hunt for seals and other marine mammals. And after slim pickings on land in the summer, they are ready to get back on the ice come fall.


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128. cyclonebuster
8:50 PM GMT on November 19, 2010
According to Mark Serreze of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the reduction of sea ice in the Arctic will have a growing impact on temperatures in the rest of the world.

"What we have seen is a rather pronounced reduction in the extent of sea ice. At the end of summer now we have 40 percent less sea ice than we had say during the 1970s," Serreze said.

"We are losing that insulator so what we are seeing now are big fluxes in heat from the ocean to the atmosphere," he said.

"Since everything is connected together in the climate system what happens up there can influence what happens down here and I am talking about in the middle latitudes."

The other thing that the scientists said is changing, along with climate, is how they confront skeptics who question the reality of climate change and the extent of humans' role in causing it.

"There are still many of us who like to sit in our office or go into the field and just do our science and not enter into the fray, but I think that is changing," said Serreze.

"We have to become more involved," he added. "We have to become better communicators. Scientists are not always good communicators of the issues but this is part of a learning curve and we have got to face that."

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126. cyclonebuster
2:58 PM GMT on November 19, 2010
BBL very tired!
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125. cyclonebuster
2:53 PM GMT on November 19, 2010
So what will November bring for world temperatures? Any all time high records?
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124. cyclonebuster
2:48 PM GMT on November 19, 2010
No wonder why ice extent level is below 2007 now! Can you see why we need to "COOL IT" with Geo-Engineering?

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123. cyclonebuster
2:40 PM GMT on November 19, 2010
Quoting MichaelSTL:
By the way, if you are wondering about the discrepancy between NOAA and NASA in their recent monthly global temperatures or their rankings of 2010 so far to 1998 (recent months appear to be just tracking 1998 in NOAA's data because they have had 2010 and 1998 tied for several months now while GISS has been warmer with 1998 only 4th warmest to date), this shows why (NOAA doesn't include the Arctic or Antarctic):

October 2010 looks comparable to or even cooler than 1998 at lower latitudes, between 30S and 50N, but is overall about 0.24%uFFFDC warmer when the polar regions, which are around 3%uFFFDC (and locally as much as 11%uFFFDC) warmer than 1998, are included (HADCRUT is even worse, excluding even some areas in lower latitudes).

Correct Michael!

For January/October 2010, the global combined land and ocean surface temperature was 0.63C (1.13F) above the 20th century average of 14.1C (57.4F) and tied with 1998 as the warmest January/October period on record.

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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.