Published on Peak Surfer on February 19, 2017
Discuss this article at the Environment Table inside the Diner
We first latched onto the notion of catastrophic climate change back around 1980 when we were a young attorney taking quixotic cases involving impossible-to-rectify injustices like cancers among atomic veterans, trespass of sacred sites or nuclear waste disposal, and shoving those insults under the noses of attorneys-general, judges and justices to try to get a reaction.
Occasionally we would finesse a surprising win and that helped attract donations to keep the enterprise running and the entertainment value high, attracting more donors, and so it went.
One such case was against the deepwell injection of toxic effluent from the manufacture of pesticides and herbicides by agrochemical companies in Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee. The effluent in question had been extracted from an aquifer and tested by State laboratories where was quickly ranked as the most concentrated poison they had ever pulled from the wild. A single green fluorescent drop killed all the fish in the tank. There were 6 billion gallons injected under Middle Tennessee from 1967 to 1980. It made Love Canal look like the kiddie pool.
As we mustered our arguments to go before state regulators and appellate judges, we were compelled to counter some rather absurd arguments being advanced by the mop-up squads of high-priced attorneys for the companies. They said, “Heckfire, Tennessee has plenty of water,” meaning there was no good reason to protect the nonpotable (mineral-rich) waters of the Knox Aquifer a mile down.
Apart from the fact that the Knox is an artesian source of water for area industries and thereby already protected from “contaminants” whether toxic or not by the federal Safe Drinking Water act, we advanced two principal lines of argument, bringing in expert witnesses and entering scientific studies into the record.
Our first line was population growth. Tennessee was growing and what may seem like a lot of water in 1980 may not be nearly enough in 2080. The second line was climate change.
We argued that global warming was advancing, just as scientists had been consistently predicting for the past hundred or more years, and that it would put pressure on water supplies not just in Tennessee, but across the continent.
At that time science suggested warming in the 20th century of about half a degree Celsius. Those were the good old days. Nonetheless, persuading a country judge that global warming was real and something to be concerned about was no mean feat.
We had to pull out the big guns. We went to our local congressman and got his assistance to troll the federal agencies for useful studies. We holed up in Vanderbilt science library poring over journals and books on climatology. We spoke to some key figures in the field at that time — Stephen Schneider, Susan Solomon, Kerry Emanuel, Edward A. Martell, Mario Molina — and we assembled that advice into legal briefs and memoranda.
The case lingered on for a number of years but by 1985 had been largely resolved by gutsy State regulators, who wrote new rules that essentially prohibited hydrofracking. The companies shut down the injection wells, closed their factories soon after (the phosphate ores that had attracted them in the first place having long since played out and the costs of hauling in by train making the location uneconomical) and moved on. The litigation cost meter ceased running and the death threats stopped. But we were still beset by unshakable malaise.
We had seen the future, and it was different than we had previously imagined. It was not our father’s future.
The materials gathered over the course of ten years were published in our book, Climate in Crisis: The Greenhouse Effect and What We Can Do. The book came out on the heels of two other fine 1989 books that said essentially the same thing: Stephen Schneider’s Global Warming and Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature, all to resounding popular disinterest.
Fast forward a quarter century and we were still very much in a funk about what the future holds. When our granddaughter was born in 2005 we felt very sad for her.
We were still tracking the literature, still going to conferences, still speaking with experts, but until the International Permaculture Conference in Sao Paolo, Brazil in June, 2007 we had not found much to call hope.
It was at the Ecocentro do Cerrado that year that we caught a first fleeting glimpse. Andre Soares and his partners were conducting experiments in recreating terra preta do indio – the Amazonian Dark Earths. They were, not coincidentally, massively sequestering carbon while growing wholesome food.
Just over a year later, in September 2008, the Permaculture International Journal sent us to Newcastle, England to report on "Biochar, Sustainability and Security in a Changing Climate,” the 2d International Conference of the International Biochar Initiative, with over 225 attendees from 31 different countries and over 70 presentations. That, and some intervening trips back to Brazil to visit the archaeological sites near Manaus, provided the source material for our 2010 book, The Biochar Solution: Carbon Farming and Climate Change.
For those readers who might be new to biochar, the Virgin Energy Challenge offers this quick synopsis:
Biochar is a relatively low-tech approach inspired by the terra preta soils found in the Amazon basin. These black, fertile soils were created in pre-Columbian times by indigenous farming cultures. They mixed wood char, crushed bone, and manure into the otherwise relatively infertile Amazonian soil to build crop beds. The wood char, though not a fertilizer per se, served to buffer nutrients from the bone meal and manure. It apparently served as a soil analog of a coral reef. Its porous structure and nutrient buffering surface area created a favorable microenvironment for communities of soil fungi and other organisms that aided soil fertility.
Terra preta soils, once well established, appear to be self-sustaining. So long as crop cover protects them from wind and water erosion, they maintain their high level of soil carbon and productivity long after additions of the materials that built them have stopped. In fact they gradually increase in depth as new material composts. In the Amazon basin, thick terra preta soil beds built as far back as 450 BCE remain productive and highly valued by local farmers to this day.
Terra preta soils were initially thought to be peculiar to the warm, wet environment of the Amazon basin. Research has shown, however, that similar results can be obtained in temperate regions by amending soils with formulations of biochar and other ingredients tailored to local soil and crop conditions. The amount of carbon that can potentially be stored in this manner is huge; the amount currently stored as soil carbon has been estimated as 2,300 GT, nearly three times the 800 GT of carbon now present in the atmosphere. If soil carbon could be increased globally by an average of just 10%, it would sequester enough carbon to return atmospheric CO₂ to pre-industrial levels.
The issue with biochar then is not the amount of carbon it could ultimately sequester in the soil; it’s (surprise!) economics. There’s little doubt that a well designed program of soil building, incorporating use of biochar as an element, would be an effective way to sequester carbon while providing long term economic value to farmers. It would boost crop yields while reducing the amount of fertilizer needed. It would also reduce water runoff and nutrient leaching while improving drought resistance. On the other hand, biochar is costly to produce and distribute in the amounts needed, and it may take decades for the considerable investment in soil quality to pay off financially.
The key to success for biochar will come down to technology for producing it from local resources, and dissemination of knowledge for how to employ in in a broader program of soil building. A sense of the complexities can be found in a document from the International Biochar Initiative: Guidelines on Practical Aspects of Biochar Application to Field Soil in Various Soil Management Systems. The three VEC finalists developing biochar display the diversity of product and business strategies possible for addressing these complexities.
There are a few errors in that account, but they are trifling. Biochar is not a “relatively low-tech” approach, it is about as low-tech as you can get. Some Amazonian deposits, similar to those “as far back as 450 BCE,” are ten times older than that. Most estimates put soil carbon at 2500-2700 PgC, not 2300 PgC. You don’t need to increase carbon content to 10 percent globally, 5 percent would probably do it, but remember: we were at 20-plus % soil carbon before the age of agriculture and most soils are hungry to get that back. Building it back with biochar makes a more permanent repair, not just moving the furniture around, as other Virgin Challenge competitors — BECCS (Biomass Energy Carbon Capture and Storage), direct air capture and holistic grazing — do.
Biochar gave us hope, but it did not, in and of itself, solve the climate crisis. We asked that question at the close of our book — “Can it scale quickly enough?” The answer, from what we have seen at the recent UN climate conferences and the lack of early adoption as the dominant farming paradigm, is — “Probably not.”
The rapid rise of global temperature that began about 1975 continues at a mean rate of about 0.18°C/decade, with the current annual temperature exceeding +1.25°C relative to 1880-1920 and +1.9°C relative to 1780-1880. Dampening effects by the deep oceans and polar ice slow the effects of this change but global temperature has now crossed the mean range of the prior interglacial (Eemian) period, when sea level was several meters above present. The longer temperature remains elevated the more amplifying feedbacks will lead to significantly greater consequences.
While global anthropogenic emissions actually declined in the past decade, there is a lag time for consequences. The rate of climate forcing due to previous human-caused greenhouse gases increased over 20% in the past decade, mainly due to a surge in methane, making it increasingly difficult to achieve targets such as limiting global warming to 1.5°C or reducing atmospheric CO2 below 350 ppm. While a rapid phasedown of fossil fuel emissions must still be accomplished, the Paris Agreement targets now require “negative emissions”, i.e.: extraction of CO2 from the atmosphere.
In a recent Soil Day paper presented to the American Geophysical Society and the Society for Ecological Restoration, Harvard professor Thomas Goreau wrote:
“Already we have overshot the safe level of CO2 for current temperature and sea level by about 40%, and CO2 needs to be reduced rapidly from today’s dangerous levels of 400 parts per million (ppm) to pre-industrial levels of around 260 ppm.”
Goreau, citing the work of John D. Liu and ourselves, provided his prescriptions:
"Current rates of carbon farming at typical current levels would take thousands of years to draw down the dangerous excess CO2, but state of the art methods of soil carbon sequestration could draw it down in as little as decades if the percentage of long lived carbon is raised to as little as about 10%."
Here we note that Dr. Goreau’s arithmetic is much better than the 4 pour 1000 or Holistic Management calculations we criticized last week. Goreau has distinguished labile carbon from “long lived carbon” and not limited land area just to existing farms. He advocates 10 percent rather than 4 tenths of a percent. He continues:
While all soils can, and must, be managed to greatly increase soil carbon there are two critical soil leverage points that will be the most effective to reverse global climate change, namely increasing the two most carbon-rich soils of all, Terra Preta, and wetlands. These are the most effective carbon sinks for very different reasons, Terra Preta because it is 10-50% carbon by weight, composed of biochar, which can last millions of years in the soil. Wetland soils can be up to pure organic matter, because lack of oxygen prevents organic matter decomposition. Wetlands contain half of all soil carbon, and half of that is in marine wetlands, which occupy only about 1% of the Earth’s surface but deposit about half of all the organic matter in the entire ocean. Yet they are often ignored in both terrestrial and marine carbon accounting. Marine wetland soils have more carbon than the atmosphere, but are being rapidly destroyed in the misguided name of “economic development.”
Biochar is what soil scientists call “recalcitrant carbon,” meaning that it does not readily combine with other elements unless high temperature heat or some other catalyst is present. Consequently, as much carbon as can be gleaned from the normal “labile” carbon cycle and turned into recalcitrant carbon can be kept from the atmosphere. We know from the experience of the terra preta soils that it doesn’t just stay out of the atmosphere for a few seasons, it traps carbon in the soils for thousands of years.
Switching to renewable energy will not arrest climate change. None of the schemes that involve planting trees can succeed unless they also include biochar. None of the claims of Allan Savory, Joel Salatin or the Holistic Management movement for mob grazing, or any of the claims related to organic, no-till, animal-drawn carbon farming by Eric Toensmeier, Michael Pollan, Vandana Shiva and others pencil out to reverse climate change unless you include biochar. Even then, the area required for biochar-augmented conversion of land-use, farming and forestry is massive — something like 7-10 Spains per year, and maybe more. Anything less than that and the ship goes down.
When we first grasped this in Brazil in August 2006, it provided our first “ah ha!” moment. But then we concluded it likely can’t scale fast enough, by gradual adoption through word of mouth or a few good books, to prevent Near Term Human Extinction. In October 2007 we called that our "Houston Moment," not in the sense that "Houston we have a problem" but because we were in Houston at an ASPO meeting when it dawned on us — it may already be blown. The death sentence for our species — in the next century if not this one — could have been handed down even before we were born.
The problem is not the science or the efficacy of the solution. The problem is human willingness to change. There also seems to be something called profit that always complicates matters. We will tackle that, and offer some possible ways forward, in our coming posts.
Off the keyboard of Thomas Lewis
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Published on the Daily Impact on July 22, 2015
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An appalling amount of the Northern Hemisphere is on fire. At the beginning of this month, 314 wildfires were raging in Alaska alone. They have seared 5 million acres so far this year and have torched up to half a million acres in a single day. Meanwhile, to the east in Canada’s Northwest Territory, hundreds of fires were raging in the permafrost zone, having covered over two million acres by the end of June. The forested northern provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan were similarly afflicted — 522 fires in northern Saskatchewan alone by June 30, nearly four times as many as last year in the same period.
Southward from Alaska, at the beginning of this month, wildfires dotted the landscapes of all the western states as far south as southern California and as far east as Colorado. One California fire overran a traffic jam on a freeway, leaving behind a dystopian landscape of burned-out cars (but, remarkably, no serious casualties).
Wildfires were raging across southern Siberia and Inner Mongolia by mid-April. At the moment, more than 50 wildfires are burning in troubled Greece, their smoke casting a dark pall over Athens.
A new study published last week confirms that wildfires worldwide are larger, more numerous, and their season is longer every year; and that it is all a direct consequence of climate change. Hotter and drier conditions, beginning earlier each spring, have over 30 years doubled the area of the planet’s surface that is vulnerable to wildfire; and have lengthened by 18% the average length of fire seasons worldwide.
In addition, climate change has extended northward the range of the mountain pine beetle, which has killed swaths of western pine trees so vast that there is fear of a single wildfire sweeping through dead trees from New Mexico to Alberta.
The effects of these fires go far beyond the immediate danger to homes and persons. Wildfires do not “destroy” the land across which they travel, as is often heard in the lamestream media, fire is an integral and necessary part of natural ecosystems. However, massive fires temporarily denude the land they scorch of the leaves that deflect and slow rainfall, and the root systems that hold topsoil in place. Thus muddy floods and landslides follow the fire until undergrowth is replaced.
The smoke from these titanic fires is becoming a major threat. It contains tiny particles that bypass the body’s defenses against pollution and enter the lungs and bloodstream, aggravating lung and heart diseases. Fire 50-100 miles upwind from a city have been shown to degrade air quality by a factor of 5 – 15 times. Carried into more southerly latitudes by the undulating planetary wave between the polar and temperate air masses, the smoke has been darkening the summer skies and tinting sunsets as far south as Tennessee and West Virginia.
But the most ominous thing about these fires is that they are not merely an effect of climate change, they are a cause. The burning of the forests and tundra is releasing astounding quantities of carbon, stored for centuries in the wood and the permanently frozen subsoil. Melting permafrost releases methane, a greenhouse gas many times more destructive of the world’s climate than carbon dioxide. The fires are in fact a feedback mechanism, accelerating climate change as climate change accelerates them.
In one of Ray Bradbury’s searing, never-to-be-unread short stories, an astronaut in a space suit is floating languidly in space, musing on his existence and the wonderful perspective he has on the blue planet Earth below him. Shortly we learn that these are the musings of a doomed man, as he is in fact hurtling toward that earth and will die a fiery death when he hits the atmosphere. Just before that happens, we leave him, and join a mother and small child taking an evening walk as the child looks up in wonder and says, “Look, Mom! A shooting star!”
Somewhere in the northern hemisphere tonight, a small child will look up in wonder and say, “Look, Mom! What a pretty sunset!”
Thomas Lewis is a nationally recognized and reviewed author of six books, a broadcaster, public speaker and advocate of sustainable living. He also is Editor of The Daily Impact> website, and former artist-in-residence at Frostburg State University. He has written several books about collapse issues, including Brace for Impact and Tribulation. Learn more about them here.
Off the keyboard of Jonny Mnemonic
Published on April 23, 2013 on Jumping Jack Flash Hypothesis
Discuss this article at the Geological & Cosmological Events Table inside the Diner
|With this post, the Diner welcomes Jonny Mnemonic to the pantheon of cross posting Bloggers on the Diner.Jonny runs the Blog Jumping Jack Flash Hypothesis, where he collects daily evidence of seemingly inexplicable phenomena of spontaneous Bus combustion, people suffocating in their homes, plane crashes and so forth.The hypothesis here is that the atmosphere is already becoming filled with pockets of Methane and Hydrogen Sulfide gas being released from ocean plumes, and these are responsible for the seemingly inexplicable deaths and explosions. Jonny has collected thousands of stories over the last few years to validate his hypothesis on his website. Visit there for the full listings.-RE|
Wiki Information On Hydrogen Sulfide:
Wiki Information On Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria:
Wiki Information On The Permian-Triassic Extinction Event:
In-Depth Science Document (PDF) Explaining How This H2S-Methane Extinction Event Works:
NOAA Document On Hydrogen Sulfide (Excellent Information):
Centers For Disease Control (CDC) Pocket Guide To Hydrogen Sulfide:
Sensory And Cognitive Effects of Acute Exposure To Hydrogen Sulfide:
Wiki Information On The Claus Process (Removes H2S From A Gas Stream):
CCOHS Document On Hydrogen Sulfide:
Document (PDF) Explaining The H2S-Methane Synergy In Extinction Events:
Wiki Information On Biogenic Sulfide Corrosion:
Wiki Information On The Clathrate Gun Hypothesis:
Maps Of Methane Hydrate Deposits Around The World:
MISA Theory (Theory of Mass-Induced Seismic Amplification):
Theory of the Origin, Evolution, and Nature of Life (Gyromodel of the Universe):
A. More fires and more explosions, especially along the coasts, but everywhere generally.
B. Many more animal die-offs, of all kinds, and especially oceanic species.
C. More multiples of people will be found dead in their homes, as if they’d dropped dead.
D. More corpses found in low-lying areas, all over the world.
E. More unusual vehicular accidents.
F. Improved unemployment numbers as people die off.
Last summer’s flooding events here and in China made me reflect on what appears to be a rapidly changing climate. This is most often considered to be an atmospheric effect of increasing Greenhouse Gases, mainly CO2 and Methane. After doing a bit of research however, it seems to me now the cause may not in fact be coming from the atmosphere, but from the core of the Earth. Below you will find a few posts I made last year, along with some discussion with friends from the Reverse Engineering Yahoo Group.
The current Biblical Scale Flooding Events occurring in China and down the
Missouri-Mississippi drainage basin have led me to speculate on what is causing
this. I have a new theory to pitch out which ties together these events with
the rising amount of volcanic and tectonic activity.
All the focus on Global Climate has been on what is occurring in the Atmosphere
far as rising levels of CO2 ad Methane are concerned. However, what if the
driving force here isn’t the atmosphere, but rather the Ocean?
The increasing volcanic and tectonic activity must be resultant from increasing
energy in the system. Since the amount of radioactive material in the core of
the earth isn’t changing that rapidly, the extra energy must be coming from
either increased gravitational stresses or possibly increased neutrino flow
through the earth, or both. Whatever the cause, its clear that tectonic and
volcanic activity has increased.
Down at the base of the ocean, the Crust of the earth is much thinner, along
with the fact there are active volcanos under the ocean floor. So any increase
in heat being radiated out from the mantle would have to heat up the ocean.
This would then increase the evaporation rate at the surface of the ocean, and
put a lot more water vapor up into the air.
So over the course of the Winter then, we end up with a much larger Snowpack in
the mountain regions, where all this water vapor condenses and falls as
snowflakes. Happens both in the Himalayas and in the Rockies, explaining why
both areas are experiencing the same effect in the same year.
Come the summer, the snows start to melt and the water starts rushing down from
the Mountains, but this causes a secondary local effect of that water
evaporating and constantly putting a cloud layer over these regions. This
causes an Albedo Effect which locally cools the surface of these locations, thus
increasing the Rainfall they get all through the summer. So the drainage system
gets the double whammy of increased flow from the headwaters in the mountains,
plus constant pressure from rainfall all along the system.
The whole theory is completely consistent with all the observed effects so far
of Earthquakes and Floods. The main way to verify it would be to see if there
was a marked rise in Ocean Temperatures over the last few years. So I went over
to the NOAA website, and lo and behold, beginning in 1990 up through 2010, there
has been a marked and rapid rise in the total heat content of the world’s
oceans. A spike occurred in 2002-2004 or so, and it plateaus out at the highest
level now through 2010, the last data on the chart.
Now, I personally cannot see how slight changes in atmospheric temperatures
since 1990 would cause such a volume of water to have so big a rise in total
heat content. The specific heat of water is far greater than gases in the
atmosphere, so you couldn’t get that much heat into them this way. Nor to my
knowledge has the Sun been radiating substantially more energy during the
period, leaving the obvious conclusion that the additional heat is being
radiated outward from the Earth’s core.
Now, over time this issue I think feeds on itself, in concert with the albedo
effects. More rain is falling in areas that get cloud cover, less rain is
falling in areas with no cloud cover. The real question though is, will the
rising ocean temperatures continue, or have we reached a Peak which will begin
to descend again after 2012? Is it possible there will be a further spike
upward through 2011? So far no data published for 2011 on the NOAA website.
Wondering if Jake might have access to this data?
OK Storm, whaddya think?
OK, further confirmation of the theory that the increasing Ocean heat content is
tied to increasing geological activity.
Here is a graph of Earthquake Frequency since 1973. As you can see in this
chart, there has been a steady increase in in the number of 6+ Quakes worldwide
since around 1990, PRECISELY the time the world oceans began to heat up.
If you knock the magnitude down to 5+ Quakes, you see rapid increase beginning
The real killer graphs are for Average Magnitude of all Quakes
and for Total Strength of all quakes
As you can see, all the charts point toward rapidly increasing energy
dissipation through these quakes. They all release mega joules, and that has to
go somewhere, because of course energy isn’t created or destroyed, just
transformed from one form to another. Where is the energy going? It is going
into heating up the Oceans!
The correlation between Ocean Heat Content and Earthquake frequency is almost
perfect! This is just astounding. I just HAVE to submit this theory to a
Scientific Journal! It blows to hell every other Climate Change theory!
Global Climate change is being driven not by the atmosphere, but by energy
dissipation of the earth’s geological processes into the Oceans, which is
rapidly increasing. The most powerful quakes are steadily increasing in
frequency as well, which can only result in still more rapid water evaporation
from the oceans. Result? More Hurricanes, more Tornadoes, more Floods!
This won’t stop until the quakes stop coming so fast and furious, doesn’t matter
what you do with carbon emissions. Its the WATER in the air, not the CARBON
that is doing this!
calling it.Assuming the theory of increasing tectonic activity as we pass through the
Galactic Ecliptic in 2012 is correct, would this mean that after 2012 the Oceans
will begin to cool again?
My intitial hypothesis on this is no they will not, because although the
geo-tectonic activity will slow down, it won’t likely reach its 1990 level for
around 10-15 years. The oceans will continue to heat up through this time
period, which then of course will put still more water vapor up into the
atmosphere. This then should gradually increase total Cloud Cover, increasing
the Albedo effect and reducing over land temperatures some, producing more
The overall effect here is to transfer a lot of the ocean water onto the land
through increased precipitation. The kind of flooding we are seeing in China
and the Missouri-Mississippi drainage basin is likely only the beginning here of
Biblical style flooding, “40 days and 40 Nights” of torrential rainfalls could
become common. So your flooding won’t just come to coastal areas as a result of
ocean level rising from melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, really
anyplace with poor drainage would get flooded. Mountain Valleys would become
lakes. The Mississippi River is likely to spread into an inland sea.
For this period to end, the release of energy by the earth through tectonics and
vulcanism will have to calm down to at least its pre 1990 levels for an extended
period of time, to allow the accumulated heat in the oceans dissipate into
space. However, this will be slowed by the cloud cover, hich will both insulate
the earth surface and reduce surface temperatures, causing more of the precip to
come down as Snow rather than rain. Obvious result: an Ice Age.
Bottom line, what I think is occurring here is the typical cycle of the Earth as
it gets stressed by varying amounts of energy depending on its position relative
to the center of the Galaxy. The Sun also is likely affected by this and
probably contributes to the effect. The Eath has never heated up like Venus
with runaway Greenhouse effects, but has MANY times gone through Ice Ages. I
believe we are witnessing here the beginnings of a new Ice Age.
it was just speculation with no data to back it up. Now, with the two sets of
data, the first from the NOAA showing the steady rise in thermal energy in the
world’s oceans since 1990, then Dave Lindquist’s (he works for USGS, maybe Jake
knows him) data showing the same steady rise in total earthquake strength the
source of the energy for the warming water is clear. The two graphs do an
almost perfect overlay, I might photoshop it.It pretty much eliminates the likelihood of this merely being a convection issue
of the oceans not circulating the water around enough to the poles to cool it
down. You can actually tabulate year on year how much additional energy in
joules is being added to the oceans by earthquakes.
Magnitude Es (from Me) Es (from Ms or Mw) Tons of TNT Nuclear Bomb Equivalence
(# of bombs)
4 0.22E+11 0.63E+11 15. 0.00
5 0.71E+12 0.20E+13 475. 0.02
6 0.22E+14 0.63E+14 15023. 0.79
7 0.71E+15 0.20E+16 475063. 25.0
8 0.22E+17 0.63E+17 15022833. 790.6
9 0.71E+18 0.20E+19 475063712. 25,003.3
Now, as I recall from the Total Heat in the Oceans graph, it was something like
15E+22. An individual say 6 quake adds only a small fraction of energy 8 orders
of magnitude lower, but its not insignificant when you sum over all quakes over
a 10 year period.
Also, we can’t measure how much energy is being directly thermally radiated
outward through volcanic activity at hot spots and just a general warming of the
crust, which probably contributes much more. The oceans are nothing more than a
big pot of water sitting on a hot plate, ad if that hot plate is increasing in
temperature then the water above it will heat up as well. Again, increased
tectonic activity is itself an indicator that there is more energy now that the
earth has to dissipate, and that energy would generally store up as heat in the
We can’t be sure of the cause of the heating up of the rock, but we can be sure
its a good deal hotter now than it was in 1990. If its a linear relationship,
then its roughly 15X hotter now. Thats like changing a match under a pot of
water to a bunsen burner. It will boil a lot quicker.
The energy now stored in the Oceans also has to dissipate more, thus you get the
increasingly violent storms carrying a lot more water vapor in them. It really
only makes sense that the Oeans would drive the weather in the Atmosphere, not
the Atmosphere drive the temperature of the Oceans. The Ocean is a much bigger
heat sink than the atmosphere is, even a massive atmospheric rise in temp would
only cause a small temperture rise in the oceans, but we don’t have a massive
atmospheric temperature rise. Conversely, just a small rise in Ocean temps
would have massive atmospheric effects. That is just what we are seeing.
just changed from one form to another. So if an Earthquake goes off at a 7,
energy equivalent to a few nukes has just been released. It has to go
somewhere, and since its a mechanical event that somewhere is not likely to be
electro-magnetic, but rather heat through friction. Water being shaken and
jostled around causes the molecules to move around, that heats it up.Anyhow, as the difference in energy content reveals, although I think the quakes
are a aprt of the reason the water is heating up, I think the greater reason is
direct heat transfer up through the crust all along the ocean floor. Both the
quakes and the rising heat content of the Oceans are just a symptom of the earth
heating from the core outward.
As to what is precisely the cause of the core heating up, this remains
speculation. My best guess is gravitational stresses and/or increased neutrino
flux. There are tanks that measure neutrino flux,, and I found this graph from
2002-2008 showing steadily increasing neutrino flux in the atmosphere
However, from my point of view knowing precisely what is causing it is not as
important as identifying that this is what is occurring here. Its the effects
of the earth heating up we have to deal with, specifically more and stronger
earthquakes and more extreme weather events.
If you take any of what is written in the Bible seriously, as probably stories
that were passed down through oral tradition, then the stories of “the Flood”
and earthquakes and all make sense.
Start from when Toba blew and we got the Bottleneck of human population down to
10,000 human souls or 1000 breeding pairs 70,000 years ago. They probably were
going through a very similar period to what we have now and leading into an Ice
Age. Probably got lots of rain and flooding. Of course the survivors were in
an equatorial location and so did not get iced over, but the legends could have
been passed on through oral tradition. Or perhaps it was a later similar event
but which did not cause a supervolcanic eruption. The earth has gone through
“mini” ice ages since then which could be smaller versions of the same
Here is a timeline from 100,000 years ago to present:
Years Before Present (B.P.)
Note: The Last Ice Age cycle lasted from roughly 60,000 to 20,000 years before
present, with Ice Age cycles occurring since 2.6 Million years ago to the
present. Ice Age Timeline
Human population has been estimated to have been around five million people
10,000 years ago. Recent studies from the Center for Genome Research and others
such as Ambrose suggest a small group of perhaps 10,000 people could have left
Africa between 50-100,000 years ago and populated the entire planet.
10,000 BP Beginning of Holocene. Large mammals including saber-toothed cats,
mammoths, and mastodons become extinct. Neolithic period with beginning of
agriculture and end of Ice Ages.
An estimated 5 million Homo sapiens inhabit planet Earth.
Image of Woolly Mammoth from Tulane University Museum of Natural History
20,000 BP Abrupt cooling about 15,000 years ago gives way to abrupt warming at
the end of the Younger Dryas period some 11,600 years ago, with a climatic
ripple effect impacting habitats around the world.
Gray wolves in East Asia become domesticated about 15,000 years ago, with all
modern dogs evolving from them. (Savolainen, Leonard, 2002).
20,000 years ago, global mean temperature 4 degrees C cooler than today,
although the North Atlantic was 14 degrees C cooler. Lower sea level allows
large-scale migrations of people into the Americas.
30,000 BP Homo sapiens thrive in cold European climate. Homo neanderthalensis
become extinct, with last fossil evidence dated 28,000 years ago in Portugal.
40,000 BP Plethora of stone and bone tools along with cave paintings and other
artwork in Europe. Homo sapiens use bone, ivory, antlers, and shells to make
tools while Neandertals only use stone to make tools. (Niewohner, 2003)
Image of early European Art Rock.
50,000 BP Cave dwellers leave evidence of seeds of wild dates and nuts including
chestnuts, walnuts, pine nuts, and acorns in Shanidar Cave of Northern Iraq.
Many large megafauna in Australia including large kangaroos, wombats and
emu-like ducks, become extinct, possibly due to human hunting and use of fire.
60,000 BP Homo sapiens enter Australia and begin to use fire, altering the
existing flora and fauna. (Pyne, 1991 )
During warming period (55-45K BP) mammoths roam central Sweden.
Recent discoveries in caves along South African coast dating to 70,000 years
before present suggest people using bone tools and living on fish and mammals in
the region. (Henshilwood, 2002 )
Major eruption of Mount Toba 73,000 years ago in modern day Sumatra impacts
global climate system. (Rampino, 2000).
Image of artifacts by Chris Henshilwood
100,000 BP Diet of Homo sapiens includes fish and seafoods as last Ice Age
impacts Northern Hemisphere. Some scientists theorize that fish oil was key to
the growth of the brain of Homo sapiens Evidence suggests that no other hominids
such as Neanderthals ate fish. (See Broadhurst, 2001) Neandertals well
established in Europe since at least 300,000 years before present.
Also see: What is Variability? and Overview of Climate Processes.
Anyhow, remains to be seen of course whether this particular event is big enough
to bring a Supervolcano roaring into the picture, but even lesser chages of this
type can bring on an Ice Age, and the big weather events and earthquakes that
likely preceed such an Ice Age.
Fuk-U-shima is FAR greater than the “Authorities” are admitting to. However,
while this is certainly poisoning the fisherie and Japanese Agriculture (not to
mention our own CA agriculture, although to a much lower level of course), I
don’t think it would play a significant role in heating up the ocean. Its a
drop in a very big bucket on a Heat level.The Ocean is such a huge mass with high specific heat tht only something much
bigger and hotter could effectively heat it up. What is bigger and hotter than
the Ocean? The molten rock that makes up the mantle of the earth. If it gets
significantly hotter, the Oceans will get significantly hotter, they sit right
on top of it. The Ocean isn’t ever going to heat up enough to make the molten
rock under it hotter, but the rock can eaily make the Oceans hotter. Same thing
with atmospheric warming. The Atmosphere doesn’t have high enough specific heat
to heat the Oceans, but the Oceans do have plenty to heat the atmosphere.
However, the water cycle of evaporation and condensation keeps it relatively
steady state until you get a lot of cloud cover, forcing the albedo effect at
the surface which lowers the input of solar energy onto the earth surface. That
then creates a lot more snowfall than raifall, building up glaciers and
spreading them southward from the poles. When the earth core cools enough to
stop putting so much water vapor up into the atmosphere, the sun gradually melts
the glaciers and they recede. Makes sense to me anyhow.
As you guys know, I have been researching various effects of what I believe is Core Heating of the Earth, which manifests itself both geologically in terms of more tectonic and volcanic activity, and in the climate as more powerful and destructive weather systems like Irene and the recent Tornados, one of which levelled most of Joplin, MO. and another whole bunch which cruised through Arkansas and Oklahoma a couple of months back.
I put up previously a few charts which show the increase in Heat Content of the Oceans over the last decade, roughly an order of magnitude increase from 10E22 Joules to 10E23 Joules. This is matched by a similar increase in Frequency and Number of Earthquakes measuring above 5 on the Richter Scale, each of which dumps core earth energy into the oceans when released in a quake or through vulcanism.
Anyhow, Irene got me back to doing some more research, and while on the NOAA Images lab page, I encountered a video about ocean acidification, which also is steadily increasing, which means decreasing in pH as the acidity scale is measured. Here is a chart for the last 20 years showing the steady decline in pH of the world’s Oceans:
Starting from 1989, the average pH has dropped from 8.115 to about 8.08, a decrease of .035 over 20 years. If the trend continues, to bring the oceans down to a pH around 7.9 or so where coral reefs could no longer form, it probably takes about 60-80 years. Not an immediate worry here, assuming the trend continues in this manner. However, it could accelerate if the warming trend in the oceans continues here, which allows more CO2 to dissolve in the oceans from the atmosphere. Besides the CO2, there is also the possibility of increasing sulfur emissions from subsea volcanoes.
Is there anything we can do about this? Not a damn thing really, the main question is whether the warming trend in the Oceans continues for this length of time. If it has to do with passing through the Galactic Ecliptic, then hopefully we will begin to see a slowing of the Ocean Warming trend around 20-50 years down the line here. On the other hand, we may get an effect where a lot of methane is released by clathrates over this time period, which will insulate the planet (greenhouse style) and continue the warming process much longer.
All in all, I would say we are moving in the direction of an ELE here, but it probably will take a while to play itself out unless we hurry it along with some man made tomfoolery. Some Homo Sapiens may be able to avoid the ELE, because even if all the shell based ocean life is destroyed, unless the phytoplankton goes with it there should be some animal species that survive both in the oceans and on land.
One thing is for certain here, life is going to be much different for our grandchildren 100 years from now.