Effects of climate change in the mountains and elsewhere

The effects of climate change are not just predicted and theoretical, they are real and observable. I have noticed changes here – more mild winters, the decrease in number and severity of frosts, and earlier flowering.

Not so visible changes from Reuters:

We know that the iconic Fox and Franz Josef glaciers are receding.

And observations from New Zealand mount climbers (in relation to the avalanche that killed two people in the Southern Alps this week) – Climbing tragedies: Why climate change is becoming a factor

Climbing guides Martin Hess and Wolfgang Maier were killed on Mt Hicks yesterday – and adventurer Jo Morgan was lucky to survive – after an early morning avalanche.

Climate change has become a factor in climbers’ decisions about when to venture into the Southern Alps.

While climbing in spring risks avalanches, climate change is – more frequently than in the past – presenting another obstacle for climbers who wait for summer.

Owner of Wanaka guiding company Adventure Consultants, Guy Cotter, said yesterday this is the time of the year when climbing begins to “ramp up”.

“This whole November, early December period is a very popular time for climbing the big mountains here.”

“With the snow left over from winter we have very good access around the glaciers and up the mountains.”

But, he said, “glacial recession” meant some areas are not accessible from about New Year, because of crevasses opening up in glaciers “a lot more quickly than what they used to”.

“The crevasses open up because the snow melts that’s covering them … and filling them up.

“That all ablates over the summer and we’re down to the raw skeleton of the glacier with all of its crevasses.

“So it really does make a very big difference in what you can access.”

Cotter said Mt Hicks was one of those mountains where there was now an issue with access in summer and it was “very rarely climbed” for that reason.

Cotter said the loss of snow was happening earlier than it did 30 years ago when he started climbing.

“We could access most places all through the summer.

“Now it’s a lot more difficult to get to some of the mountains and get off.

“It’s definitely part of climate change and the glaciers are definitely disappearing.

“Anyone who’s denying global warming is not a mountaineer because we can see it first hand.”

Of course this won’t stop arguments about climate change caused by humans versus normal cyclical climate change, but it all adds weight to the fact that our world is changing. and we need to be able to adapt to it. If we can mitigate the impact, then we should be doing what is possible and practical to do that.

The issues with methane emissions

Livestock methane emissions are contentious as New Zealand looks to how it can do it’s bit in reducing the greenhouse effect and global warming.

With calls to significantly reduce herd sizes there is obviously a lot at stake for farmers – not just their incomes but also their assets.

This information is from Pastoral Farming Climate Research:


Fact sheet Methane emissions, what they say and what is the issue?

With the upcoming Carbon Zero Legislation bound to create discussion about the impact methane emissions have on global warming. This fact sheet is intended to help those involved in that discussion to understand the issue.

It is commonly stated that livestock are responsible for half our greenhouse gas emissions.

This statement is misleading and gives the wrong impression of the extent to which livestock biological emissions are a problem.

Livestock are responsible for half our ‘carbon’ emissions but carbon is not a greenhouse gas. Carbon is a theoretical unit only and is correctly called ‘carbon dioxide equivalent’

All the greenhouse gases are quantified in terms of the amount of warming they are said to cause when compared to CO2. A tonne of methane for example is said to equate to 25 tonnes of CO2 so an emission of 1 tonne of methane is quantified as 25 tonnes of ‘carbon’

The majority of the carbon emissions attributed to livestock are from their methane emissions.

The carbon unit however is highly problematic, as is the concept of trying to equate different greenhouse gases. It is simply not possible because they are too different.

The following statements from well-respected individuals and organsiations demonstrate the problem;

Dr Andy Reisinger Deputy Director NZAGR said of the use of the carbon dioxide equivalent system to quantify methane emissions, that it does not measure the actual warming caused by emissions and ignores the fact that methane does not accumulate in the atmosphere in the same way as CO2. (1)

This is a significant admission. If the carbon unit does not measure the actual warming methane may cause and ignores the fact that methane does not accumulate in the same way CO2 does then it is of no use at all.

ALSO

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research state in their paper Cows, Sheep and Science;

To stabilise the climate, it is necessary to reduce the overall (net) emissions of long-lived climate forcers (CO2) to zero. By contrast, emissions of short-lived climate forcers (methane) do not have to decline to zero; they only have to stop increasing. (2)

AND

Ministry for Environment in its Carbon Zero Consultation document.

Reducing long-lived greenhouse gas emissions (like CO2) to zero and stabilising our short-lived gases, (like methane) which would mean our domestic emissions would not contribute to any further increase in global temperatures. (3)

AND

Dr Jan  Wright (former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment)   MANAGING BIOLOGICAL SOURCES AND SINKS IN THE CONTEXT OF NEW ZEALAND’S RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Methane in the atmosphere is short-lived, in contrast with nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. If the flow of methane into the atmosphere stopped rising, and there were no other greenhouse gas emissions, the temperature of the atmosphere would stabilise in a few decades. (4)

AND

Productivity Commission In its 620 page report Low Emissions Economy methane produced by the belching of sheep and cows – is unsuitable for inclusion in a single-cap ETS due to the difficulty such a scheme would have in driving emissions reductions in a manner that recognises the different atmospheric properties of short and long-lived gases. (5)

____________________________________________________________________________________

The quotes above demonstrate why it is universally accepted now that long lived gases like CO2 need a different target and policy response to short lived gases like methane.

However it is not possible to state that in order to stabilize the climate carbon emissions sourced from CO2 need to reduce to zero and carbon emissions sourced from methane only have to stop increasing, without concluding carbon is not an equivalence unit. Carbon’s only purpose is to equate the impacts of a number of different greenhouse gases and quantify them using one unit and it fails. One carbon emission is supposed to be the same as another and quite clearly it is not. It is not a credible unit and should not be used.

So the statement that half our greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock is wrong and therefore misleading for two reasons.

1         Carbon is not a greenhouse gas

2         Carbon is not a credible unit and emissions of ‘carbon’ do not reflect the impact an activity may have on global warming.

Putting methane emissions in to perspective’

Livestock emissions of methane when produced from a stable source of livestock do not cause the atmospheric concentration of methane to increase at all.

Most biogenic methane emissions in NZ are produced from a stable source and do not contribute to an increase in atmospheric methane.

Methane emissions in NZ have increased by 4% since 1990. Transport emissions of CO2 have increased by 82.1% since 1990

For full explanation view video The Methane Mistake (7mins)  https://youtu.be/BOJdz_LgDBE

___________________________________________________________________________________

1 Andy Reisinger, Harry Clark, How much do direct livestock emissions actually contribute to global warming?

2 Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Cows, Sheep and Science 2016 written by Michele Hollis, Cecile de Klein, Dave Frame, Mike Harvey, Martin Manning, Andy Reisinger, Suzi Kerr, Anna Robinson  http://motu-www.motu.org.nz/wpapers/16_17.pdf

3 Ministry for Environment Carbon Zero consultation document http://www.mfe.govt.nz/sites/default/files/media/Consultations/FINAL-%20Zero%20Carbon%20Bill%20-%20Discussion%20Document.pdf

4 Dr Jan Wright Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Climate Change and Agriculture 2016

5 Productivity Commission Low Emissions economy 2018

What if climate change is worse, and does the public care?

A recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that warned of the possible effects of climate change largely focussed on what might be a less bad scenario than what some say is possible.

Temperature rise predictions are scientifically backed but are still just predictions. Some say things won’t be as bad (based on what apart from claiming scientists are wrong?), but if the science is questionable the predictions could just as easily be under-predicting.

Some warn that things could be worse, even much worse. But over the top alarmist warnings may be counter-productive.

NY Mag: UN Says Climate Genocide Is Coming. It’s Actually Worse Than That.

Effectively accusing everyone of ‘climate genocide’ unless we all reduce our emissions is turn the public off listening to an already problem that is on aa much bigger scale problem than their every day lives.

The alarming new report you may have read about this week from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — which examines just how much better 1.5 degrees of warming would be than 2 — echoes the charge. “Amplifies” may be the better term. Hundreds of millions of lives are at stake, the report declares, should the world warm more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, which it will do as soon as 2040, if current trends continue.

Nearly all coral reefs would die out, wildfires and heat waves would sweep across the planet annually, and the interplay between drought and flooding and temperature would mean that the world’s food supply would become dramatically less secure. Avoiding that scale of suffering, the report says, requires such a thorough transformation of the world’s economy, agriculture, and culture that “there is no documented historical precedent.”

The New York Times declared that the report showed a “strong risk” of climate crisis in the coming decades; in Grist, Eric Holthaus wrote that“civilization is at stake.”

It risks becoming little more than a ‘the Martians are coming’ type warning to ordinary people. We;ve seen it all happen at the movies, and we still get to scoff ridiculous amounts of popcorn and walk out afterwards unscathed apart from being a bit fatter and adding to another crisis for humanity, obesity.

If you are alarmed by those sentences, you should be — they are horrifying. But it is, actually, worse than that — considerably worse. That is because the new report’s worst-case scenario is, actually, a best case. In fact, it is a beyond-best-case scenario. What has been called a genocidal level of warming is already our inevitable future. The question is how much worse than that it will get.

Barring the arrival of dramatic new carbon-sucking technologies, which are so far from scalability at present that they are best described as fantasies of industrial absolution, it will not be possible to keep warming below two degrees Celsius — the level the new report describes as a climate catastrophe. As a planet, we are coursing along a trajectory that brings us north of four degrees by the end of the century.

The IPCC is right that two degrees marks a world of climate catastrophe. Four degrees is twice as bad as that. And that is where we are headed, at present — a climate hell twice as hellish as the one the IPCC says, rightly, we must avoid at all costs. But the real meaning of the report is not “climate change is much worse than you think,” because anyone who knows the state of the research will find nothing surprising in it.

The real meaning is, “you now have permission to freak out.”

Scientifically it is as likely that temperature rises will be twice as bad as there being no change at all, if scientists are wrong in their predictions – and that doesn’t take into account that most science suggests that temperatures are increasing and will increase further, the uncertainty being simply by how much.


There is a major problem with all this planet scale problem telling and ‘scaremongering’ – as individuals we are pretty powerless and eating one chop less or having less milk in our coffee is not going to make any real difference.

Danyl Mclauchlan (The Spinoff): Step one: accept people don’t, and may never, give a toss about climate change

One of the things the IPCC report makes clear is that we’re already living in the climate changed future. The world has warmed by one degree since the beginning of the industrial revolution and this is causing storm surges, fiercer droughts, stronger hurricanes, heat waves; intensifying extreme weather events all around the world, causing massive economic damage and political instability. So if we want to see how our politicians will cope with the problem of climate change in the future, all we need to do is see how what they’re doing now. And … it’s not quite nothing, at least in New Zealand: there’s the oil and gas exploration ban, the carbon commission, the Carbon Zero bill. But, realistically, it’s not even close to what’s needed.

I don’t think this is the fault of our political class or the media, who are the usual scapegoats in this debate. Even the energy industry and its lobbyists – who are, to be sure, literally destroying the world – are only doing what powerful interests have always done, and will always do: defend their own wealth and privilege, deluding themselves into believing they’re on the right side of history by defending society against a malevolent conspiracy of climatologists. The core problem is much deeper and harder to fix: it’s that not many people care about climate change.

Why don’t more people care about climate change? There is any number of grand sociological theories but I think the heart of it is that humans “discount the future”. Our brains are hardwired to prefer upfront benefits and deferred costs over upfront costs and deferred gains. That’s why we have credit card debt. It’s why we eat unhealthy food. It’s why your retirement savings are locked away in an account you can’t touch until you’re 65. It’s why I make about 90% of the poor choices I make on any given day. You can get angry about this and rail against it, but we are what we are. Human nature is very tough to change.

(That whole article is well worth reading, I have quoted just a small part of it).

So we are relying on our politicians to do something despite us. And what do they do?

Jacinda Ardern admonishes fuel companies for putting prices up alongside taxes Ardern’s Government has put up because it might deter people from using as much carbon emitting fossil fuel. Mclauchlan:

Like Charlie Mitchell over at Fairfax I was struck by the juxtaposition of the prime minister talking about lower fuel prices on the same day the new IPCC Special Report on global warming emphasised the massive damage caused by fuel emissions and the urgent need to take very drastic action to reduce them.

And Simon Bridges and National start a petition demanding that the Government reduce fuel taxes. And that may get some support from people silly enough to give their phone numbers and emails to a political marketing machine.

Petty politics rules, and the public doesn’t care about that nor about the colossal climate change campaigns.

What’s the point in caring about what the world does to avert a climate crisis? We will probably eat ourselves to death before a cyclone strikes.

Darwinism may eventually kill off over-eaters so the surviving population consume much less on average, but that will take too long to overcome the floods and droughts that put food production into chaos.

2018 IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C

A new IPCC assessment warns that urgent action is needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C, and this would “require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.


Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.

The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

“Limiting warming to 1.5°C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” said Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2°C.

“Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5°C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

Limiting global warming would also give people and ecosystems more room to adapt and remain below relevant risk thresholds, added Pörtner. The report also examines pathways available to limit warming to 1.5°C, what it would take to achieve them and what the consequences could be. “The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group I.

Allowing the global temperature to temporarily exceed or ‘overshoot’ 1.5°C would mean a greater reliance on techniques that remove CO2 from the air to return global temperature to below 1.5°C by 2100. The effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development, the report notes.

“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared with 2°C would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, making it easier to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said Priyardarshi Shukla, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

The decisions we make today are critical in ensuring a safe and sustainable world for everyone, both now and in the future, said Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

“This report gives policymakers and practitioners the information they need to make decisions that tackle climate change while considering local context and people’s needs. The next few years are probably the most important in our history,” she said.

The IPCC is the leading world body for assessing the science related to climate change, its impacts and potential future risks, and possible response options.

The report was prepared under the scientific leadership of all three IPCC working groups. Working Group I assesses the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II addresses impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III deals with the mitigation of climate change.

The Paris Agreement adopted by 195 nations at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in December 2015 included the aim of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change by “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”

As part of the decision to adopt the Paris Agreement, the IPCC was invited to produce, in 2018, a Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. The IPCC accepted the invitation, adding that the Special Report would look at these issues in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

Global Warming of 1.5°C is the first in a series of Special Reports to be produced in the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Cycle. Next year the IPCC will release the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, and Climate Change and Land, which looks at how climate change affects land use.

The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) presents the key findings of the Special Report, based on the assessment of the available scientific, technical and socio-economic literature relevant to global warming of 1.5°C.

The Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15) is available at https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15 or www.ipcc.ch.

Key statistics of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C

91 authors from 44 citizenships and 40 countries of residence
– 14 Coordinating Lead Authors (CLAs)
– 60 Lead authors (LAs)
– 17 Review Editors (REs)

133 Contributing authors (CAs)
Over 6,000 cited references
A total of 42,001 expert and government review comments
(First Order Draft 12,895; Second Order Draft 25,476; Final Government Draft: 3,630)

2017 second hottest year recorded

There were indications through last year that it was likely to be one of the warmest on record, and that has been confirmed. Climate change/global warming is a growing concern for the well being of Earth and potentially for the future of the human race, which has been rapidly overpopulating the planet.

Stuff:  2017 was Earth’s second hottest year on record

Last year was Earth’s second hottest on record, just behind 2016.

The Copernicus Climate Change Service, the first major international weather agency to report on conditions in 2017, said temperatures averaged 14.7 degrees Celsius at the Earth’s surface – 1.2C above pre-industrial times.

Sixteen of the 17 warmest years have all been this century.

2017 was the hottest non El Niño year, and the third warmest ever recorded.

Scientific American:  The Top 7 Climate Findings of 2017

As the potential effects of climate change are seen around the world – from starving polar bears to record-breaking storms – interest in climate science is soaring. Scientists are digging into the “how,” “why” and “what’s next” of global temperatures, melting ice, emission sources and sinks, changing weather patterns, and rising seas.

The last year has seen major breakthroughs and advancements in climate research. Here are some of the biggest findings reported by scientists in 2017.

Temperatures and carbon concentrations are breaking records

In January, both NOAA and NASA officially confirmed that 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded. It’s the third time in a row that record has been broken – 2015 and 2014 were both determined to be the hottest years ever observed.

Just two months later, in March, NOAA scientists announced that atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are climbing at a record pace for the second year in a row.

Record low sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctica

Early March is around the time when Arctic sea ice typically reaches its maximum extent. Turns out it was the lowest max extent ever recorded in 2017, reaching just 470,000 square miles. For comparison, the average extent between 1981 and 2010 was about 5.57 million square miles. It’s the third year in a row scientists have seen a record winter low in the Arctic.

Around the same time, scientists observed record low sea ice in the Antarctic.

Sea-level rise is on the upswing

Multiple studies this year suggested that sea-level rise is occurring faster, or may be more severe in the future, than previous estimates indicate. One of the more dire of these was just published last week in the journal Earth’s Future. It suggests that better accounting for some of the physical processes affecting ice loss in Antarctica could double the sea-level rise expected under severe climate change scenarios. Another paper, released in October, came to similar conclusions. It also assumes a severe future climate change trajectory, and it updated Antarctic ice sheet dynamics.

These are some of the grimmer portraits of the future published this year, and their most alarming predictions rely on high-emissions scenarios that are not necessarily guaranteed to occur. But even more tempered studies are suggesting that future sea-level rise could be worse than we thought.

Some have tried to play down the risks of climate change by claiming that CO2 emission and sea level rise predictions were too high – but as scientific knowledge increases it’s just as likely they could have been too low.

Speaking of ice, glaciers are calving like crazy

In July, one of the biggest icebergs ever recorded broke from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf and began drifting out to sea.

Just a few months later, in September, Antarctica’s massive Pine Island Glacier – which already pours about 45 billion tons of ice each year into the ocean – calved an iceberg four times the size of Manhattan, or about 100 square miles.

These are some of the most remarkable glacier calving events recorded this year, but they’re hardly the only ones. The U.S. Coast Guard announced this month that the number of icebergs recorded in the North Atlantic this year is nearly double what it was in 2016 – more than 1,000 total observed.

Generally speaking, it’s natural for glaciers to lose large icebergs every now and then. But as both air and ocean temperatures rise, scientists are observing growing amounts of ice loss from both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and increasing instability among glaciers that back up to the sea.

Earlier this year, NASA images revealed a large new ice crack in Greenland’s enormous Petermann Glacier, which has already lost several gigantic icebergs over the last seven years.

Major discoveries about carbon

Using satellite data, researchers found that tropical forests – until recently thought to be one of the world’s biggest carbon sinks – are actually a net carbon source. Due to deforestation and degradation, they’re emitting about 400 million metric tons of carbon into the air each year.

There’s still great uncertainty about many aspects of the Earth’s carbon cycle, particularly when it comes to natural sinks like forests or the ocean.

But scientists are getting better at closing the gap. For instance, a report issued earlier this year by scientists with the Joint Global Change Research Institute suggested that methane emissions from livestock may be 11 percent higher than previous estimates suggested – a value that could help explain an ongoing scientific mystery about why atmospheric methane concentrations seem to be on the rise.

That could have serious implications for New Zealand’s agriculture.

These disasters could not have occurred without warming

…this year marks the first time some of the papers concluded that an event could not have occurred – like, at all – in a world where global warming did not exist. The studies suggested that the record-breaking global temperatures in 2016, an extreme heat wave in Asia and a patch of unusually warm water in the Alaskan Gulf were only possible because of human-caused climate change.

Scientists say these are likely not the only events to occur strictly because of climate change. They’re just the first to be discovered.

Global emissions are on the rise – again

A November report from the Global Carbon Project found that carbon dioxide emissions are growing again after being flat for three years. The findings have dashed experts’ hopes that global emissions had possibly peaked for good.

The research projects that 2017 could see a 2 percent increase in the burning of fossil fuels, bringing this year’s human-caused emissions up to about 41 billion tons of carbon dioxide. The reason for the uptick lies largely with China, the report suggests, where increases in the consumption of coal, oil and natural gas have driven its 2017 emissions up by about 3.5 percent.

China has been reported as working hard on increasing renewable energy use – see How China is leading the renewable energy revolution – so this may turn around.

But there are a lot of other countries and factors involved, so warming and it’s effects, like sea level rise and increased number and intensity of storms, will be of ongoing concern.

“We could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming”

Once again it’s hard to tell whether Trump is showing his ignorance, or showing how adept he is at pandering to ignorant views.

Climate Titanic (but there won’t be any icebergs)

Last century there was a lot of genuine doom and gloom over the nuclear threat. There are still masses of nuclear weapons around the world but those with access to the buttons have so far acted responsibly so the plane has survived. So far.

Most doom and gloom is now focussed on climate change. There are genuine concerns over this too but some see it as impending end times.

end-is-near-sign-3

Robert Atack pops up every now and again with a fairly pessimistic outlook. At The Standard:

I think we hit +1.5 C in March didn’t we? Something like .3C up on the year befor??
2030 may be a bit of hopeful thinking.

But all’s not lost because something like 2.6 million Kiwis are putting their money on creating more CO2, via the growth based savings scam that is KiwiSaver.

2.6 million people will not want to vote for the climate over $. And I guess that goes for the person starting a 50 year mortgage, and the mother looking into the eyes of her newborn. They simply do not want to listen, facts and ‘happy happy joy joy’ beliefs/thoughts can not occupy the same cranium.

Most people don’t appreciate how lucky we are, we are traveling first class on the Titanic, especially those who can read this, we are living the dream.

If things warm up at the rate of Atack there won’t be any icebergs for the Titanic to hit. There may not be many ports left to dock at either though.

Psycho Milt responded:

Most people live their lives as though some massive calamity isn’t about to befall them? It’s unfathomable. Still, people in Malthus’ time didn’t commit suicide en masse either – nowt so queer as folk, eh?

Counter Atack:

I think If Malthus understood fossil fueled population growth, he would be turning in his grave at the thought of 7.2 (?) billion of us.

That is without a space port ferrying in nutrients to sustain us ) And taking the garbage away.

I think it was Richard Heinberg who asked if humans were smarter than yeast?

Some may not be.

A survival instinct is kinda important for any species, including homo sapiens.

Survival of the fittest means that end times proponents don’t propagate much.

It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have healthy concerns about potential threats, and one day the end will come, but we need to have a bit of optimism and hope.

TheEnd

Fossil fuels delay ice age = good

Scientists claim that human use of fossil fuels has prevented an expected ice age cycle, and this is a good thing.

Christian Science Monitor reports Global warming delayed next ice age by 100,000 years. Why that’s bad news.

a new study suggests climate change may have delayed the next ice age by 50,000 to 100,000 years.

Human interference in the form of burning fossil fuels has irrevocably changed Earth’s cycles, significantly delaying the next glacial cycle, according to a study published in the journal Nature.

“The bottom line is we are basically skipping a whole glacial cycle, which is unprecedented,” Andrey Ganopolski, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, and a lead author of the study, said in a statement.

According to the scientists, Earth probably missed the inception of the next ice age by a narrow margin just before the onset of the industrial revolution due to increasing emissions of CO2 .

It seems odd they claim the ice age avoidance was due to emissions prior to the industrial revolution that increased emissions markedly.

For the study, researchers examined the eight global ice ages Earth has experienced over the past 800,000 years and used climate models to determine the conditions that trigger a big freeze. They identified two major factors. One is insolation, the amount of sun’s energy reaching the planet, which varies according to Earth’s orbit around the sun and changes in Earth’s axial tilt. The other is simply the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Were it not for high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, Earth would be due for an ice age, a period of extreme cooling of the climate during which ice sheets cover large swatches of the land.

So CO2 must have been increasing before the industrial revolution.

Ice ages play a significant role in shaping the landscape and leaving behind fertile soil for Earth’s civilizations. They carve channels in Earth, leaving behind rivers and lakes. If the period between ice ages becomes too long, the planet may become relatively dry and barren, explains Gizmodo.

So Earth may become dry and barren – but isn’t that one of the possible outcomes of climate change? How will we know what causes it, climate change or no ice age?

In fact, not only has global warming delayed the next ice age, human interference has irrevocably changed Earth’s geological cycles, says Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, another of the study’s lead authors.

“Like no other force on the planet, ice ages have shaped the global environment and thereby determined the development of human civilization,” Dr. Schellnhuber said in a statement. “Today it is humankind with its emissions from burning fossil fuels that determines the future development of the planet. This illustrates very clearly that we have long entered a new era, and that in the Anthropocene humanity itself has become a geological force.”

Possibly. But in the short term at least why is avoiding an ice age bad for us? With the hugely increased human population across most of the planet’s land masses surely an ice age would be devastating. Food production alone would be a major problem.

“[I]t should be said clearly that global warming is not a positive trend. This is not an excuse to pollute,” John D. Sutter, creator of CNN’s 2 degree project, told CNN. “As we pump carbon into the atmosphere at an alarming rate, we are seriously jeopardizing the viability of the planet and putting ourselves in very real danger.”

Any climate change must be a challenge for humanity and the planet, whether it be warming or cooling.

Which would be worst for us?

If there is going to be significant climate changes regardless of the human effects we may be doomed whichever way temperatures swing, or at least life as we know it will not be sustainable.

August 2015 the warmest month on record

In a Global Summary for August 2015 the NOAA says that August 2015 was the warmest month on record (world wide but certainly not in New Zealand).

  • Global average temperature record high for August
  • Global average temperature record high June–Augus
  • Global average temperature record high January–August

Separately, global oceans and global land were both highest on record for these periods of time.

The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for August 2015 was the warmest August on record, 1.58°F (0.88°C) warmer than the 20th century average, and surpassing the previous record set in 2014 by 0.16°F (0.09°C).

August 2015 tied with January 2007 as the third warmest monthly highest departure from average for any month since record keeping began in 1880.

The combined global average land and ocean surface temperature for January–August was also record warm.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/service/global/map-percentile-mntp/201508.gif

  • The August average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.58°F (0.88°C) above the 20th century average—the warmest August on record, surpassing the previous record by +0.16°F (+0.09°C). This was the sixth month in 2015 that has broken its monthly temperature record (February, March, May, June, July, and August).
  • The August globally-averaged land surface temperature was 2.05°F (1.14°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest for August in the 1880–2015 record, besting the previous record set in 1998 by +0.23°F (+0.13°C). Record warmth was observed across much of South America and parts of Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.
  • The August globally-averaged sea surface temperature was 1.40°F (0.78°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest temperature for any month in the 1880–2015 record, surpassing the previous record set in July 2015 2014 by +0.07°F (+0.04°C). Large portions of the seven seas (where temperature records are available) recorded much-warmer-than-average temperatures, with some locations across all oceans experiencing record warmth.
  • El Niño conditions were present across the tropical Pacific Ocean during August 2015. According to analysis by the NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, there is a greater than 90 percent chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere winter 2015/16.
  • The average Arctic sea ice extent for August 2015 was 620,000 square miles (22.3 percent) below the 1981–2010 average. This was the fourth smallest August extent since records began in 1979, according to analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center using data from NOAA and NASA.
  • Antarctic sea ice extent during August 2015 was 30,000 square miles (0.5 percent) below the 1981–2010 average. This marks a shift from recent years when Antarctic sea ice extent was record and near-record large. This is the first month since November 2011 that the Antarctic sea ice extent was below average.

The hottest start to a year on record

NOAA, NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency agree that the past three months have been the hottest start to a year.

There’s plenty to debate about climate change, what to do, if anything can be done and how to deal with possible effects. And there will be debate for decades.

But there seems little doubt that at the moment data is fitting warming predictions.

Bloomberg Business reports:

March was the hottest month on record, and the past three months were the warmest start to a year on record, according to new data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It’s a continuation of trends that made 2014 the most blistering year for the surface of the planet, in to records going back to 1880.

Results from the world’s top monitoring agencies vary slightly. NOAA and the Japan Meteorological Agency both had March as the hottest month on record. NASA had it as the third-hottest. All three agencies agree that the past three months have been the hottest start to a year.

The heat was experienced differently across the world. People in the U.S. and Canadian Northeast had an unusually cool March. But vast swaths of unusually warm weather covered much of the globe, and records were broken from California to Australia.

Source: NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center

Cause for concern.

Bloomberg: Global Temperature Records Just Got Crushed Again