Showing posts with label climate change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label climate change. Show all posts

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Skeletons in the planetary closet

Chemical Archive

As the world's glaciers melt, they've begun to release an archive of banned industrial substances back into the environment, chemicals that have been locked, frozen, inside the glacial ice for up to thirty years.

[. . .]

The idea of a poisonous atmospheric archive being unintentionally released -- on a global scale -- makes me wonder what sorts of news reports we might read in several thousand years' time, when carbon tombs start to leak their quarantined contents back into the atmosphere. The buried skies of an industrial era, put to pharaonic rest beneath the earth's surface, will make their operatic reappearance in future human history.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

I'm snot making this up.

Gross Sea Mucus Blobs on the Rise

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Into the abyss

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Hot, hot, hot!

In hot water: World sets ocean temperature record

Breaking heat records in water is more ominous as a sign of global warming than breaking temperature marks on land, because water takes longer to heat up and does not cool off as easily as land.

"This warm water we're seeing doesn't just disappear next year; it'll be around for a long time," said climate scientist Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria in British Columbia. It takes five times more energy to warm water than land.

The warmer water "affects weather on the land," Weaver said. "This is another yet really important indicator of the change that's occurring."

Global Warming Could Actually Tilt the Earth's Axis

Scientists have long theorized that climate change could cause a negligible amount of movement in the axis, but NASA;s research shows that the problem could be much more severe than was initially thought. In fact, it could be as drastic as the northern pole shifting by 1.5 centimeters every year towards Hawaii and Alaska.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Glaciers a canary in the coal mine of global warming

A 50-year government study found that the world's glaciers are melting at a rapid and alarming rate. The ongoing study is the latest in a series of reports that found glaciers worldwide are melting faster than anyone had predicted they would just a few years ago.

It offers a clear indication of an accelerating climate change and warming earth, according to the authors.

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Friday, June 05, 2009

"The Age of Stupid"

"The question I've been been asking is 'Why didn't we save ourselves when we had the chance?'"

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

"Signs of retreat"

Huge ice chunks break away from Antarctic shelf

Researchers said the quality and frequency of the ESA satellite images have allowed them to analyze the Wilkins shelf breakup far more effectively than any previous event.

"For the first time, I think, we can really begin to see the processes that have brought about the demise of the ice shelf," Vaughan said.

He said eight ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula have shown signs of retreat over the last few decades.

"The retreat of Wilkins Ice Shelf is the latest and the largest of its kind," he said.

The Wilkins shelf, which is the size of Jamaica, lost 14 percent of its mass last year, according to scientists who are looking at whether global warming is the cause of its breakup.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Back-up strategy

Don't Wait for the Lifeboat: A Response to Geoengineering

What's wrong is that we have no real reason to believe that he can, in fact, build a working lifeboat from scratch in time -- or that we can, in fact, intervene in the planet's climate on a vast scale without disastrous consequences -- yet right now, those benefiting from inaction are already using the idea of possible lifeboats as an argument against fighting the fire, so to speak, with the idea being that since cutting emissions is "unrealistic" it's good we have a back-up strategy.

This is not good science, and it's not good science policy. At very least, serious proponents of geoengineering need to acknowledge the severe limitations on our actual knowledge of geoengineering, and point out that emissions reductions are a far more certain and safe approach.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Recommended reads

Looking for a dose of sanity? Chris Wren's blog is for you.

Elsewhere, Mike Clelland articulates some of my own suspicions and wonders if the Internet (and its attendant telecommunications apparatus) has the potential for sentience:

Is there an evolving giant life form of synaptic fibers emerging within cyberspace? Is it a new set of neurotransmitters, allowing and encouraging an alternative web of synchronistic happenings?

Incidentally, Web-based consciousness is the premise of "Wake," the new novel by Robert J. Sawyer (who hosts "Supernatural Investigator").

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It bears repeating.

Earth Hour. Because the World Isn't Worth a Whole Day. (Peter Watts)

Ninety percent of the world's charismatic megafauna is gone. Hormone disrupters are turning the fish off Lakeshore into hermaphrodites, if the tumors don't get them first. The Arctic is heading for ice-free status by 2030, the Wilkins Ice Shelf is a measly six kilometers away from disintegration, air pollution in this miserable dick-ass excuse for a country alone helps kill 16,000 people a year. How do we rise to this challenge? How do we lie in this bed we have made?

Earth Hour. Sixty minutes during which we turn out the lights and pat ourselves on the back for saving the planet.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Perfect storm

Global crisis 'to strike by 2030'

"It's a perfect storm," Prof Beddington told the Sustainable Development UK 09 conference.

"There's not going to be a complete collapse, but things will start getting really worrying if we don't tackle these problems."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Things to come?

7 Terrifying Global Warming Pictures

Friday, March 13, 2009

There's no time like the present.

Climate scenarios 'being realised'

The worst-case scenarios on climate change envisaged by the UN two years ago are already being realised, say scientists at an international meeting.

In a statement in Copenhagen on their six key messages to political leaders, they say there is a increasing risk of abrupt or irreversible climate shifts.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

But you already knew this.

Sea Levels Rising Faster Than Expected: Scientists

The U.N.'s climate change panel may be severely underestimating the sea-level rise caused by global warming, climate scientists said on Monday, calling for swift cuts in greenhouse emissions.

"The sea-level rise may well exceed one meter (3.28 feet) by 2100 if we continue on our path of increasing emissions," said Stefan Rahmstorf, professor at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. "Even for a low emission scenario, the best estimate is about one meter."

Here's an idea: Let's start planning an infrastructure for climate refugees now instead of transplanting the burden onto our children's generation. That goes double for those of us like me, who will probably be around to see at least some of the fireworks.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Feedback loop

A Drying Amazon Could Speed Climate Change

Co-author Dan Nepstad, a forest ecologist from the Moore Foundation in San Francisco, suggests that it may be climate warming that's causing the Amazon to dry up. He says some climatologists think "the warming of the northern tropical Atlantic of 2005 may have been more intense because of global warming." And that warming is believed to have shifted hotter, drier air over the Amazon.

(Via The Keyhoe Report.)

Going, going, gone

Arctic Summer Ice Could Vanish By 2013: Expert

The Arctic is warming up so quickly that the region's sea ice cover in summer could vanish as early as 2013, decades earlier than some had predicted, a leading polar expert said on Thursday.

Warwick Vincent, director of the Center for Northern Studies at Laval University in Quebec, said recent data on the ice cover "appear to be tracking the most pessimistic of the models", which call for an ice free summer in 2013.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The postcapitalist imperative

Time to end the multigenerational Ponzi scheme (Kim Stanley Robinson)

Does the word postcapitalism look odd to you? It should, because you hardly ever see it. We have a blank spot in our vision of the future. Perhaps we think that history has somehow gone away. In fact, history is with us now more than ever, because we are at a crux in the human story. Choosing not to study a successor system to capitalism is an example of another kind of denial, an ostrich failure on the part of the field of economics and of business schools, I think, but it’s really all of us together, a social aporia or fear. We have persistently ignored and devalued the future -- as if our actions are not creating that future for our children, as if things never change. But everything evolves. With a catastrophe bearing down on us, we need to evolve at nearly revolutionary speed.

(Via Beyond the Beyond.)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

4 °C

How to survive the coming century

A key factor in how well we deal with a warmer world is how much time we have to adapt. When, and if, we get this hot depends not only on how much greenhouse gas we pump into the atmosphere and how quickly, but how sensitive the world's climate is to these gases. It also depends whether "tipping points" are reached, in which climate feedback mechanisms rapidly speed warming. According to models, we could cook the planet by 4 °C by 2100. Some scientists fear that we may get there as soon as 2050.

If this happens, the ramifications for life on Earth are so terrifying that many scientists contacted for this article preferred not to contemplate them, saying only that we should concentrate on reducing emissions to a level where such a rise is known only in nightmares.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is the future history?

Lovelock: "We can't save humanity"

James Lovelock was on BBC's Radio 4 this morning, promoting his new book The Vanishing Face of Gaia. It was a great to hear him, even if what he said wasn't the most uplifting of messages.

Lovelock explained his belief that humanity as we know is a goner. Earth cannot feed 6 going on 7 billion people, he said.

Pressed by the interviewer he took a punt and suggested there could be just 1 billion of us left in 100 years time.

Lovelock's point seemed to be that we should give up on trying to save the planet and the entirety of the human species by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and focus instead on equipping "lifeboat nations" with the necessary infrastructure (schools, roads, houses) to support swarms of climate refugees.

(Via Futurismic.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A bad day for climate science

CO2 monitoring satellite fails to reach orbit

In bad news for NASA (and the planet in general), the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) satellite did not reach orbit yesterday. According to a launch contingency briefing from NASA, the Taurus XL from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base at 4:55 a.m. EST proceeded normally, with only typical "minor issues" reported as the rocket approached lift-off, but preliminary indications are that the fairing on the Taurus XL launch vehicle failed to separate as planned.