Doomstead Diner Menu => Environment => Topic started by: RE on July 26, 2015, 02:11:20 AM

Title: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: RE on July 26, 2015, 02:11:20 AM


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Published on the Doomstead Diner on July 26, 2015



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https://chemtrailsplanet.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/james-hansen-nasa-mug.jpgThe Big Climate Newz of the week was that James Hansen, considered by many to be the #1 Climate Scientist in the world released his latest report on the crappy state of the earth. Now, the report is up online and downloadable for Free in .pdf form, all 121 pages of it. You can peruse it at your leisure, but if you have been following the “climate debate” for any period of time and are not in a state of complete denial, it's not going to tell you anything real new that you don't intuitively know already, that the climate is changing and that change appears to be accelerating. In nice scientific fashion, Jim documents this, and about the only difference from earlier studies is that the tone gets increasingly more strident, trying to get people to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!



This follows on the heels of the Pope's recent encyclical, and Moonbeam Goobernator of Sunny and Very Dry CA Jerry Brown's warning that climate change is going to fuck us up if we don't DO SOMETHING. For Collapse Blogosphere fans, you can add to that Guy McPherson's uber-doom prediction of Human Extinction by 2030 or so.



http://crooksandliars.com/files/imagecache/node_primary/primary_image/15/06/pope2650.jpg



Now again, while the rhetoric is getting more strident, this isn't a whole lot different than what we heard from Rachel Carson with Silent Spring in the 1960's, or from the Club of Rome with Limits to Growth in the 1970s. You never got any real changes out of those studies, why would you expect this will be any different?



The Industrial model isn't run by any one person or even a group of persons that can put the brakes on it. It's a set of systems that built up over time, with the choices made for that build up not made by the population at large, but rather by a few people in positions of control of credit and the war machine. The problem here is that the choices made in the past cannot now be reversed, at least not without a tremendous amount of social dislocation at the very least, and really in many places dependent on these system a whole lot of dead people. Which you will get eventually no matter what, but both individuals and entire civilizations tend to try to put of dying as long as they can, by whatever means they can.



The biggest problems I see with the Hansen study are twofold. First of all, even if you accept the theory that the current climate problems are generated mainly by fossil fuel burning, can stopping that burning now reverse the changes made already? This doesn't seem likely now. There is evidence of a 40 year lag time between when the fossil fuel gets burned and its end effect on the environment. There is also evidence that if you took the particulates created by burning fossil fuels out of the air, this would actually cause more rapid warming because more sunlight would make it through. Beyond that, Hansen doesn't address the corollary problem, which is that if you quit burning fossil fuels on a dime, even if it were possible to flick it off like a light switch, precisely how would we run all the systems that depend on this energy these days, like your electric lights, the sewage treatment plants in the Big Shities, etc?



The second major problem is the timeline question. Again, accepting Hansen's results here, even at the most rapid of glacial melting, it's going to take 20 years or more for sea levels to rise even 10m or so. The prospect of all these coastal cities underwater by say 2050 is certainly horrifying, but the issue is we have other more pressing problems likely to hit even before that.



First of is the ongoing collapse of the monetary system. This is the “glue” that holds many of the rest of our systems together, the energy extraction bizness, the transportation system, the electric grid and the communications network. Shut down the fossil fuel economy, the monetary system implodes right behind it. How are all the rest of those systems supposed to function here without fossil fuels and without a monetary system to do the trade and keep the stuff moving around?



Next up, you have the food production and distribution problem itself, affected by energy availability, population overshoot, topsoil degradation and water availability. To begin with, the huge ag yields of the industrial era come from fossil fuel based fertilizers. Quit using the fossil fuels to keep the sea level from rising, poof your yields drop. How exactly are you going to get what food you can still grow from the fields to the people living in the big shities before they are underwater? How exactly are you going to pump what water is left in Lake Mead over to the AG fields in central CA? If you follow Jim's prescription for saving the world from SLR, even if it could be implemented and would work (neither of which is very likely), then you run into the problem that everything else breaks down BEFORE the glaciers have a chance to melt enough for a 10M sea level rise. So why even bother with this discussion and political controversy? It's a WASTE OF FUCKING TIME!



Forget the Seawater arriving problem in 50 years, you have the Freshwater leaving problem ALREADY hitting!  Just about everybody knows about the problems they have in sunny & dry Califronia already, most of the Doom community knows about Sao Paolo in Brasil, but then on top of THAT you have the fact the Ogalala Aquifer is drying up.




The Great Plains’ invisible water crisis








The prairie wind buffeted Brant Peterson as he stood in a half-dead field of winter wheat.



In front of him, a red-winged blackbird darted in and out of a rippling green sea of healthy wheat.






 



 



 



 



 



 




 



 



 



 



 



 



 




Behind him, yellowed stalks rotted in the ground.



The reason for the stark contrast was buried 600 feet under Peterson’s dusty boots: Only part of the field – the thriving part – had been irrigated by water pumped at that depth from the ancient Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest underground sources of fresh water in the world.



“If not for irrigation that whole field would look like this,” Peterson said, nudging the dead wheat with the toe of his boot.



But irrigation soon could end on Peterson’s southwest Kansas farm. The wells under his land in Stanton County are fast running dry as farmers and ranchers across the Great Plains pump the Ogallala faster than it can be replenished naturally.



 



 



 



 



 



 




 



 



 



 



 



 







Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article28505764.html#storylink=cpy


You need to accept a few facts of life here:



1) The glaciers are likely to melt and sea levels will rise no matter what is done over the near to medium term.



2) You can't get a political consensus on what to do about that in any case.



3) Other Economic, Geopolitical and Climate problems are going to hit before ocean rise is a major problem.



 



So then you have to decide what you CAN do in the face of this



1) Where can I choose to live, if I have some kind of choice?



2) What will I need to survive as things spin down?



3) How long do I have before it gets REALLY bad where I currently am?



http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_-b-kpMH_7eM/StvRv1N6VKI/AAAAAAAABKE/B1TpafkTl3g/s400/venice.jpgJim took 112 pages to write his report, I can synopsize it all with one acronym, FUBAR, Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition. There is no way SLR is getting solved now, I doubt it was even possible to prevent this back when Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, and that is even assuming it's all Anthropogenic, which I don't think it is. It doesn't matter though whether this is primarily driven by Anthropogenic causation or Geotectonic causation, because either way the trajectory is basically the same, the sea levels will rise and a significant portion of Homo Saps currently walking the earth will no longer be doing so in a few years, or at most decades of time. Those who are still ambulatory won't be located where these current coastal cities are, which should indicate to you that a preponderance of the dieoff will come form these places. That is CFS.



I think a lot of people bog down here when presented with these BIG ISSUES of climate change that are going to play out over the next century or even faster than that over the next 50 years, complete with all the Scientific Documentation. For Jim Hansen as a Chicken Little on this one, instead of “The Sky is Falling”, it's “The Oceans are Coming!”. Which IMHO I think he is correct on, but we have much more pressing problems that will hit before those do, possibly in the next couple of years but no longer than a decade for many of them.



https://perrystreetpalace.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/tardigrade.jpgThe other big problem you have is many people get overwhelmed by the scope of all the problems, considering it all so bad that absolutely nobody can survive, all the habitat on earth for other living creatures we depend on will be destroyed and we'll all go extinct, possibly leaving the globe to be taken over by the Tardigrades for a few millenia until they get fried too.



This is of course a possibility, but given the cycles the Earth has already gone through, and the fact populations do suffer knockdowns but then bounce back later, it's sure not written in stone here that Homo Sap will go extinct, and not on the 15 year timeline of Guy McPherson to be sure. If you go up in latitude, average temperature decreases. If you go up in altitude it does also. So really all one relatively small group of people needs to do is find one little valley somewhere to live in balance with the nature that surrounds them while the rest of the earth heals itself, which granted might take a few millenia, but seems likely to occur based on the geologic history.



75,000 years ago when the Supervolcano Toba went ballistic, the population of Homo Saps was knocked down to 10,000 Human Souls, or 1000 Breeding Pairs.  There is a decent amount of debate over whether Toba actually was the cause of this, but the genetic record is pretty clear, and CFS should tell you that we started from a relatively small group of people, or even incipient people going back into pre-history far enough to Austrolopithecus and so forth.



http://cdn.radiolive.co.nz/radiolive/AM/2012/11/10/31896/Fat%20Lady%20Sings.pngFrom that small number, we bounced up to the current 7B, much of that current population fed on the stored thermodynamic energy in fossil fuels. We'll most likely never get that big in population again, but it is still no sure thing that we will go extinct either. It aint' OVAH till the Fat Lady Sings



http://cdn.abclocal.go.com/images/wpvi/cms_exf_2007/news/health/8904563_600x338.jpgFor the individual inside the Industrial Economy right now, it is much like riding a Chinese Bullet train headed for a Bridge across the Yangtze River you know will not support the train. You know it is destined to crash. Your problem is you don't know the exact speed at which the train is moving or the exact distance between where it is now and where the bridge is. So you can't know exactly how long it will take to get there. Right now, they are serving really nice Lobster & Filet Mignon in the Dining Car too, and who wants to leave that?  Especially in order to leave you have to jump off a moving train into unknown territory, and convince your loved ones to jump with you too!



So it is pretty hard to quit on it, and really about all the people I have run into over the years who have quit are single and male, with a few exceptions of couples trying subsitence farming. That's obviously not rewilding, and in about all cases still relies on many inputs from the Industrial economy as well. There are not any cookbook solutions to this problem, but I do caution against obsessing over Sea Level Rise as the most pressing problem we face here, it is not. It can give you some window into deciding where you do NOT want to be, which obviously is any low lying Big Shity, but there are a few other obviously poor spots, like Las Vegas and Sao Paulo also. Of course, even Alaska isn't looking so great these days with all the wildfires, though we have had some rain and they have calmed down a bit. Still generally better than most places though.



http://d9x2mg69xznqq.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/alaska-wildfire-600x337.jpg



Wherever you do end up, your survival will depend on luck and circumstance as much or more than any prepping you can do, but you can't do without the prepping either. It is also a pointless exercise to obsess about Extinction, which was always an inevitability, only the timeline was a question mark. All Living things Die, all Civilizations Collapse, all Species go Extinct. Perhaps if we had more Wisdom or Sapience as George Mobus on Question Everything puts it, we might have been able to keep this civilization going a bit longer than it did, but I doubt it. There are thermodynamic imperatives at work here that supercede the sapience of any individual, and we are only as smart as the whole network we create, which is only as smart as the dumbest node in there, and there are a lot of dumb ones out there, even in control of the levers of power.



Where we will be as a species in 10 years, 20 years or a century is anybody's guess. Where we will not be is no guess at all, we won't be Star Treking the Universe, that is certain. Where you or your progeny will be, also uncertain, but all you really can do as an individual is live another day, until you can't anymore. The imperative of life is to keep living as long as you can.  You are not responsible or in control of what occurs to the entire race of Homo Saps no matter what you do, what choices you make. On the eternal level, you are only responsible for your own morality and your own ethics, and whatever they were or are, those are your legacy for your life. They will remain on your balance sheet for all eternity. Choose them well.



http://www.buildaltars.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/ocean_lg.jpg


Title: Historic high tides from supermoon and sea level rise flood the Southeast coast
Post by: RE on October 27, 2015, 07:50:38 PM
Charleston does not look like a good place to own a house anymore, unless it's a houseboat.

I wonder how Surly did in Norfolk?

RE

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2015/10/27/historic-high-tides-from-supermoon-and-sea-level-rise-flood-the-southeast-coast/ (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2015/10/27/historic-high-tides-from-supermoon-and-sea-level-rise-flood-the-southeast-coast/)

Historic high tides from supermoon and sea level rise flood the Southeast coast

(https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/files/2015/10/charleston-tide.png&w=1484)
Title: Re: Historic high tides from supermoon and sea level rise flood the Southeast coast
Post by: azozeo on October 28, 2015, 02:24:04 AM
Charleston does not look like a good place to own a house anymore, unless it's a houseboat.

I wonder how Surly did in Norfolk?

RE

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2015/10/27/historic-high-tides-from-supermoon-and-sea-level-rise-flood-the-southeast-coast/ (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2015/10/27/historic-high-tides-from-supermoon-and-sea-level-rise-flood-the-southeast-coast/)

Historic high tides from supermoon and sea level rise flood the Southeast coast

(https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/files/2015/10/charleston-tide.png&w=1484)



http://beforeitsnews.com/military/2015/10/3-chinese-warships-to-florida-port-on-nov-3-2-are-battleships-2475266.html (http://beforeitsnews.com/military/2015/10/3-chinese-warships-to-florida-port-on-nov-3-2-are-battleships-2475266.html)


Maybe this is why China is sending 3 "Love-Boats" to Florida next week.
Social unrest due to flooding or ? from our little friend  :icon_sunny:
The Chinese have no problem firing on grandma if shes rioting
Title: Re: Historic high tides from supermoon and sea level rise flood the Southeast coast
Post by: Surly1 on October 28, 2015, 03:05:06 AM
Charleston does not look like a good place to own a house anymore, unless it's a houseboat.

I wonder how Surly did in Norfolk?

RE

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2015/10/27/historic-high-tides-from-supermoon-and-sea-level-rise-flood-the-southeast-coast/ (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2015/10/27/historic-high-tides-from-supermoon-and-sea-level-rise-flood-the-southeast-coast/)

Historic high tides from supermoon and sea level rise flood the Southeast coast

(https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/files/2015/10/charleston-tide.png&w=1484)
From this latest, barely a peep. And no effect, which is very different from earlier in the month when this was the view from my porch:
(https://scontent.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xat1/v/t1.0-9/12141760_10153632530231870_1698034028338380685_n.jpg?oh=b20ddaeb1e7b21bce3e4f1d9ebae8a73&oe=56C142AF)

The forecast for today promises high winds and heavy rain due to a happy confluence between remnants of Patricia and another system:
An intensifying area of low pressure will deliver a trifecta of inclement weather to portions of the Midwest and East through Thursday. Those impacts include strong winds, soaking rainfall that will contribute to commuting hassles, and even a little snow.

The area of low pressure that will strengthen is the one that brought heavy rain, gusty winds and coastal flooding to parts of the Gulf Coast the last few days, and formed partially in response to the mid- and upper-level remnants of Hurricane Patricia this past weekend. As that low moves northward, it will get an injection of energy from a weather system moving into the Midwest, allowing it to strengthen significantly.

(http://i.imwx.com/images/maps/truvu/map_specnewsdct-73_ltst_4namus_enus_650x366.jpg)

It's just weather. Biggest downside is that high winds bring down trees and power lines, resulting in internet outages.
Title: Re: Historic high tides from supermoon and sea level rise flood the Southeast coast
Post by: RE on October 28, 2015, 03:17:50 AM

It's just weather. Biggest downside is that high winds bring down trees and power lines, resulting in internet outages.

SAT PHONE!  :icon_mrgreen:

(http://s3.vidimg.popscreen.com/original/6/eGtxZTVhMTI=_o_saturday-night-live-al-franken.jpg)

RE
Title: Re: Historic high tides from supermoon and sea level rise flood the Southeast coast
Post by: Surly1 on October 28, 2015, 09:13:52 AM

It's just weather. Biggest downside is that high winds bring down trees and power lines, resulting in internet outages.

SAT PHONE!  :icon_mrgreen:

(http://s3.vidimg.popscreen.com/original/6/eGtxZTVhMTI=_o_saturday-night-live-al-franken.jpg)

RE

Hah!
I had that coming.
Title: Ground Zero of Climate Change: Coastal and Island Nations of the Asia-Pacific
Post by: RE on December 22, 2015, 06:53:06 AM
Ground Zero of Climate Change: Coastal and Island Nations of the Asia-Pacific (http://japanfocus.org/-Tarique-Niazi/4407/article.html)

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 48, No. 2, December 14, 2015

Tarique Niazi

Editor’s Note:

This is the second article in a three-part special issue titled “Pacific Islands, Extreme Environments.” Edited by Andrea E. Murray. Niazi provides an in-depth case study of the Philippines’ ongoing devastation following Superstorm Haiyan in 2013. Building on Kelman’s discussion of shifting post-disaster scales of governance (national, subnational, and regional), Niazi expands the conversation to include geologic scales of violence wrought by volcanoes, typhoons, earthquakes, and tsunamis. The author demonstrates how coastal and island nations in the Asia-Pacific, including Bangladesh, Maldives, Philippines and Sri Lanka, have contributed among the least to climate change, but are already suffering the worst of its global consequences.

Typhoon Haiyan: When Do You Say "It's Time To Start Talking About Climate Change?" (Media Matters for America)

 

Superstorm Haiyan made a devastating landfall in the east-central Philippines on November 8, 2013, leaving behind a trail of death and destruction that draped the whole country in a pall of grief. The Philippines has since been reeling from this disaster. The typhoon buffeted the most vulnerable of Filipinos, 40% of whom live below the poverty line (i.e., $1.25 a day). Many of them fished for a living. Their livelihood compelled them to live dangerously close to the shoreline of western Pacific. The highest ground on which some of them found their perch was just one meter above sea level. When the storm swelled, with waves as high as six meters, its poor victims were defenseless. The crashing walls of water swept away all that they possessed. The cumulative losses in lives and livelihoods, homes and hearths, businesses and infrastructure have no parallel in recent Philippines history, just as Haiyan stands out in the annals of meteorology. Two years on, 13 million Filipinos, of whom 5 million are children, are still scarred by the destructive fury of Haiyan, while 600,000 remain homeless. The number of deaths from the superstorm surpassed 6,000.

The staggering scale of humanitarian crisis that followed Haiyan’s landfall was well beyond the capacity to respond of the under-resourced and overstretched Philippine government. Oxfam found it even overwhelming for the global humanitarian assistance system. The largest brunt of recovery efforts fell on the Philippines itself, which Haiyan had already bled of precious resources. Its economic losses alone were valued at a whopping $15 billion, which constitutes 5% of the Philippines’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of around $300 billion. In the face of a slow-down in global and regional economies, it will take the country many years of hard work before it recovers its bearing. As a nation of 7,100 islands, the Philippines sits on the front line of global climate change. This tragically means typhoon Haiyan is not the last of nature’s bites that Filipinos will have to endure. As climate change begins to impose dire costs, more such disasters loom ever larger on the horizon. The Philippines has already borne the brunt of worsening climate change in economic losses of $1.6 billion per year--from increasingly frequent and intense typhoons.

Yes, Typhoon Haiyan Was Caused by Climate Change (The Nation and Foreign Policy In Focus) Ground Zero of Climate Change

The Philippines is among the Asian and particularly insular nations that have become ground zero for climate change. Many coastal and island nations in Asia are already among its fellow sufferers. In the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh has become the most exposed country to worsening climatic events. Year after year, as global temperatures continue to rise, it is battered by cyclones of ever-higher intensity and ever-greater frequency. Two Super-cyclones – Cyclone Sidr and Cyclone Aila -- respectively tore through the country in 2007 and 2009, just 18 months apart. Storms of this intensity, which historically have been spaced from 20 to 30 years, have become alarmingly frequent, upending the lives of millions of Bangladeshis. In a single event of extreme weather, hundreds, and sometimes thousands, lose their lives. Besides, economic and social dislocation visits millions, leaving them stranded for months, and even years, wiping out or impoverishing entire communities. If global mean warming exceeds 1.5 degrees Celsius, the largest chunk of coastal Bangladesh may begin to teem with “climate refugees.” According to the Bangladesh Center for Advanced Studies, more than 30 million Bangladeshis are set to lose everything in the next 30 to 50 years. By Bangladesh’s official reckoning, 20 million of its citizens may face climate migration over the next 40 years, for whom it proposes their “managed migration” to western countries. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), lends his voice to Dacca’s call. He asks western governments to give the “managed migration” a serious consideration. Given mounting anti-immigrant sentiment across the globe, such calls are hardly a fantasy. Nevertheless such migration has already begun within the region. Two favorite destinations of climate refugees are India and Pakistan – in that order. Also included is Myanmar that received quite a number of Bangladeshi refugees, but is now pushing back into Bangladesh. Their exodus to these countries is fueling tensions, and even violent eruptions, especially in the Indian states of Assam and Myanmar, while the city of Karachi in Pakistan, which houses the largest number of Bangladeshis in the country brims with interethnic conflicts between Bangladeshi immigrants and the city’s major ethnic Urdu-speaking community, some of whose members assert to be called ‘Muhajirs’ (refugees) themselves, and embrace “Muhajir nationalism.”

Bangladesh’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dipu Moni reckons that 1 degree Celsius increase in world temperatures will be enough to spell economic disaster for her country, as it will shave off 10% of its GDP in economic losses. Destruction from Super-cyclones such as Sidr, she reasons, takes 10 to 20 years to recover, and costs billions of dollars. There are projections that temperatures in South Asia could rise from two to five degree Celsius above preindustrial levels by the turn of the century. At 5 degrees Celsius, the temperature rise will be 250% higher than the expected global mean warming of 2 degrees Celsius. Rising temperatures are the motive force that powers tropical cyclones and superstorms of which Bangladesh has been the world’s worst victim. Future is thus fraught with predictable hazards for Bangladesh, whose vulnerability to deadliest storms is only to worsen in the years and decades to come. Of the world’s ten deadliest superstorms on record, six have visited upon Bangladesh: Bhola Cyclone, Hooghly River Cyclone, Backerganj Cyclone, Chittagong Cyclone and Cyclone 02B. Bhola Cyclone (1970) is believed to be the world’s deadliest to date with a death toll of more than half a million. If climate change continues to worsen, Bangladesh’s troubles will continue to multiply.

Even worse, the island nation of Maldives, which is barely 1.5 meters above sea level, will vanish from the face of the earth in the next 50 years, as the global average temperature continues to rise. A nation of 1,200 islands, 30 of its islands were swept away in the tsunami in 2004. Five years later, in 2009, Maldives’s President Mohamed Nasheed struck the world with a blunt call for ending fossil fuel consumption to save his country of 328,000 people: “If the world can’t save the Maldives today, it might be too late to save London, New York or Hong Kong tomorrow.” He pledged to make his nation carbon-neutral, running it on 100% renewable energy. Anticipating challenges that could forestall passage to a carbon-free Maldives, he reasoned: “Going green might cost a lot but refusing to act now will cost us the Earth.” He was deposed in a coup in 2012. He again lost a presidential bid in November 2013 as beneficiaries of the status quo managed to keep him out of power. Nobody knows “who” won the Maldives’s election, but everybody knows who lost it and why. President Nasheed nonetheless, retains his role as a climate crusader, whom many revere. The Hollywood Director Jon Shenk honored his work for climate justice in a memorable documentary, The Island President (cf. Murray’s review of “There Once Was an Island” in this issue).

In May 2008, Super-cyclone Nargis flatted part of Myanmar (Burma). The delta region of Irrawaddy was the prime site that absorbed the devastating blow of the deadly cyclone. The loss of human life ran into the tens of thousands although the correct number remains unknown to this day due to the ruling military government’s absolute control of information. The Guardian newspaper had put the number of dead in Cyclone Nargis at 140,000. According to the government’s own reckoning, 84, 500 were killed and 53,800 went missing in the country’s worst cyclone. It may be noted that in disaster after disaster, it has been confirmed that those who go missing remain unaccounted for and are seldom found alive. In parallel, the numbers of those affected by the destructive cyclone were in the millions. The United Nations estimated that the Cyclone had affected 2.4 million people across the country.

More importantly, the political economy of Myanmar further worsened the impact of the cyclone as the military junta in power put the entire country in lockdown, and refused to let in international relief agencies for fear of ‘spying.’ On the other hand, the Myanmar government, battered by decades of international sanctions and worldwide shunning, lacked resources of its own to undertake a massive relief operation. Cyclone Nargis thus revealed the soft belly of the government to the country’s suffering people. They challenged the government’s inability and incompetence to help its people in the most desperate hour of need. Rattled, the government rushed to strike a deal with its world’s most famous opposition leader, Nobel-laureate Aung San Su and her National Defense League (NDL). Three years later a quasi-civilian government took the reins of government. But the cyclone-fueled and monsoon-swelled disasters have since continued to strike. As recently as August 2015, all but one of the country’s 14 provinces were swept by flash floods from lashing monsoons, while rescuers struggled to reach disaster-stricken areas. At least 27 people were killed in these floods and more than 150,000 affected. More importantly, monsoon fury was not limited to Myanmar, but extended to the entire region from India, Nepal, and Pakistan to Vietnam.

Like the Maldives, Sri Lanka also is precariously perched in the heart of the Indian Ocean. Known for its stunning scenic beauty, this island nation has long been convulsed in a self-destructive war. It has just staunched its bleeding, but it still has a long way to go to bind up the deep wounds. At the same time, Sri Lanka has many bright spots. It leads south Asia in economic development (measured in per capita income), social progress (measured in adult literacy), gender equity, and climate-readiness. It is a Kerala -- the beauty spot of south Asian social democracy -- on the national scale. Yet climate-induced disruptions stare at it as the greatest threat to its survival over the next half century. “Its agriculture, fisheries, and tourism are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels and weather-related disasters,” reports The Guardian.

Likewise, the coastal communities of India and Pakistan – in that order – run the same risk of being deluged as sea levels rise. In 2010, Pakistan experienced the worst flooding of its history in human dislocation, and economic losses. The flooding was described as a once-in-100-years event that forced 20 million of its residents from their homes, and cost the country $20 billion (one-tenth of Pakistan’s GDP of $200 billion in 2010) in economic losses. Pakistan pressed all of its military assets – army, navy and air force – into service to help ease the suffering of millions of Pakistanis living along the shoreline of the mighty Indus River. Yet help could reach only a fraction of 20 million displaced people, as one-fifth of the country (160,000 square kilometers) was under water. A year after, in 2011, Pakistan again witnessed monsoon-swollen flooding wreak havoc, dislodging another 6 million of its citizens. The floods have since been a regular occurrence that leaves the rural hinterland of the country, along the Indus shore, ravaged year after year. In 2015 the impact of floods was worsened by a heat wave that killed around 2,000 people in the mega city of Karachi. The floods and heat waves have been a regular feature of the Indian landscape as well. The floods in Uttarkhand and the state of Jammu and Kashmir were devastating, which dominated the news for days and weeks. The 2015 heat wave also added fuel to the fire, killing a number of people in urban areas.

Coastal India and Pakistan are especially vulnerable to superstorms. In 2014, both countries witnessed Super-cyclone Nilofar, which died down before it could reach its destructive worst. It brushed past India’s coastal state of Gujarat and the Pakistani province of Sindh. Both Gujarat and Sindh are coastal regions, which each host naval bases, naval installations and naval assets. By the time Nilofar bent around Karachi, the capital city of Sindh, it packed wind gusts of 250km (155 miles) an hour, a wind velocity that was common in all the deadly superstorms in the region, including the world’s most lethal cyclone of all time, the Bhola Cyclone, that flattened then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Un-evolved Superstorm Nilofar bore all the marks of Typhoon Haiyan that tore through the eastern and central Philippines a year earlier. The same year the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir saw one of the severest floods that hit 1 million Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control in India and Pakistan, and left hundreds of residents dead. A year earlier, in 2013, the Indian state of Uttarkhand experienced one of the most devastating floods that killed 10,000 people. Early and severe monsoon rains breached a mountain glacier, sending ice, rock, mud and water down the mountain causing widespread death and destruction. Officials described the disaster as a ‘Himalayan tsunami.’

Climate Change stalks the African Continent

Fragility of the African continent is no less sobering. Drought, desertification, livestock fatalities, infectious diseases, food shortages and water scarcities already stalk the length and breadth of the region. Climate change is sharpening the lethality of these murderous challenges, and exacerbating the conditions of environmental decline in general. The giant nations of Africa, such as Congo, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan, are already in the throes of ecological depletion. Their political conflicts are deeply anchored in their fragile ecologies. However, African sufferings may go unnoticed, as they are less likely to take the form of visually spectacular disasters on the scale of Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy or Typhoon Haiyan. Climate-induced disasters may yet trigger epidemics, large-scale human fatalities, or mass migration that would thrust the continent on to the world’s retina. It will likely occur because of sudden overheating of the continent. It must be remembered that Africa is already the warmest continent on the planet. Libya is the continent’s thermal powerhouse, whose citizens are known to have endured the world’s peak temperature. Just as a few degrees warmer water in the Atlantic or the Pacific can spell disasters, so can a few degrees warmer atmosphere. For all these reasons, Africa is as much in the eye of superstorms as are Asian nations. Africa stands threatened by the warming of the atmosphere that can set off a trajectory of destructive events. It is particularly fraught with climatic threats of epidemics, human fatalities, or mass migration, compounded by political conflicts that sear the entire continent.

The Science of Typhoons A section of meteorologists are still dismissive of causal links between climate change and the production of cyclones, typhoons, hurricanes or superstorms like Haiyan. Such dismissals, however, only feed into climate skepticism. The science of typhoons and climate change is quite clear. When the IPCC released its fifth assessment report on September 27, it confirmed warming of the atmosphere and overheating of the oceans -- the latter is responsible for the production of cyclones. When sea surface temperature hits 26 degrees Celsius, a cyclone is formed. When oceans are a few degrees warmer than normal, superstorms begin to brew. Superstorm Sandy burst out of the Atlantic coastal water that was about 3 degrees Celsius warmer than normal. Similarly, surface temperature of the western Pacific was 1 to 5 degrees Celsius warmer in 2013 than its average range in 1980-2000. Warmer oceans evaporate faster to power the storm, and warmer atmosphere holds more moisture to cause rainstorms.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel, who also serves on the IPCC, sees clear connections between the warming of the oceans and the production of high velocity winds and storm surges as witnessed in Haiyan. He went so far as to suggest that developing nations such as the Philippines are suffering for the sins of developed countries that followed the path of carbon-heavy development. He stopped short of suggesting compensation for climate mitigation to developing nations.

Financing Climate Adaptation

But financing of climate adaptation has been an important part of climate change talks since the Copenhagen Conference in 2009. Haiyan’s landfall only added to the urgency of this need, which happened to time its landing with climate talks (COP 19) in Warsaw, Poland (November 11-22, 2013). These talks are held each year in the run up to crafting a binding climate treaty in 2015 to replace the Kyoto Protocol. One important outcome of the Copenhagen Conference was the financial commitments by developed nations to help less affluent nations in adapting to climate-induced disruptions. Initially, developed countries committed $30 billion for 2010-12, and pledged to increase this commitment to $100 billion a year by 2020. Oxfam, however, deflated such hopes in an analysis, which showed that developed nations had begun to wriggle out of even a modest commitment of $30 billion spread over multiple years. It further dampened any prospect for redeeming the grand pledge of $100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020.

Disaster Capitalism

These public commitments are likely to be relegated to transnational financial capital. Some saw the first sign of it in choosing Poland, notable for its pro-business, climate-skeptic, coal-fired development trajectory, as the site of climate talks. It is no wonder that, at the United Nations’ climate talks in Warsaw, discussions were focused on “mobilizing private finance such as loans and equity investments.” Private finance hotly pursues profits even in the midst of people’s sufferings. It is no coincidence that risk management companies that specialize in “catastrophe modeling” are proliferating. The chief research officer of one such company gloomily noted meager financial prospects in rebuilding the Philippines: “The economic activity of reconstruction itself is much lower [in the Philippines] than it would be in a rich country where everybody’s using insurance and claims assessors and getting quotes from builders. A lot of people [in the Philippines] will end up mending their own houses.” Naomi Klein famously described this profit-riven approach to human tragedies as “disaster capitalism.”

‘End this Madness’

The IPCC in its fifth assessment report (2008) concluded with 95% certainty that humans are at the root of climate change. This conclusion seems an official inauguration of Anthropocene, the age of human extravagance, in which humans have evolved or (more appropriately) devolved into a geological force on the scale of volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis to have altered the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. In the process, this hubris has hung a huge question mark over the very survival of the human race on this planet. Yet all humans are not equally destructive; nor are they equally vulnerable. Many, as in the Philippines, are victims of the actions of the few who are driving climate change and planning to profit from it at the same time. Among them, the fossil fuel industry and its beneficiaries, who are accumulating $1.9 trillion a year in subsidies, in addition to immense profits, sit atop. Climate change is the sin of their profiteering, for which the global poor are atoning with their lives. As the Philippine delegate to the United Nations’ climate talks in Warsaw tearfully pleaded, this madness must end. It doesn’t make sense to sacrifice the primary Earth economy for the illusory secondary human economy that is measured in the piles of worthless paper money built by “quantitative easing” (printing money).

Map of Asia-Pacific Region UK Trade & Investment Asia Task Force

Conclusion

The Asia-Pacific is the region most vulnerable to global climate change. It is the world’s most populous region with the highest population density, settled along the long coastlines of the Indian and the Pacific oceans. Its sub-regions have varying levels of vulnerabilities. South Asia, which is the world’s most populous sub-region with 1.7 billion people, houses half of the world’s poor, and is home to 17 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities. All this readily translates into human disaster and economic destruction if meteorological events become uncontrollable with supercyclones and superstorms such as Typhoon Haiyan or disastrous floods that have been stalking the region since 2008. The African Indian Ocean also is lethal for Africa’s coastal nations, such as Somalia and Ethiopia, which are vulnerable to calamitous monsoons rising from the Indian Ocean, creating unbearable human and economic costs in droughts and deluges.

Coastal and Island nations in the Asia-Pacific, such as Bangladesh, Maldives, Philippines and Sri Lanka, have contributed the least to global climate change, but will suffer the most from climate breakdown. Climate justice demands that nations that contributed the most to global climate change make comparable contributions to the United Nations Green Climate Fund to reverse the tide of climatic and meteorological disasters that have grown to become a permanent feature of the planet. Ironically, the Green Climate Fund is one of the main obstacles to reincarnating and strengthening the Kyoto Protocol in Paris by the end of this year. If the Paris summit on climate change ends without a meaningful climate pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol, human suffering will continue to grow. It however bears reminding that human misery does not stay in one place; it reappears in the unlikeliest of places. It is therefore imperative that the world invests in climate mitigation and climate adaptation to reduce the human and economic cost of climate change.

Note: This is a revised, expanded and updated version of an article published earlier in the Asia-Pacific Journal.

Tarique Niazi, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Environmental Sociology at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Recommended citation: Tarique Niazi, "Ground Zero of Climate Change: Coastal and Island Nations of the Asia-Pacific", The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue 48, No. 2, December 14, 2015.

Related Articles:

-Tarique Niazi, “The Asia-Pacific in the Eye of Superstorms”

-Edward B. Barbier, Overcoming Environmental Degradation and Wealth Inequality in the Asia-Pacific Region”

-Andrew DeWit, "Hiroshima's Disaster, Climate Crisis, and the Future of the Resilient City"

Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: agelbert on December 22, 2015, 04:08:04 PM
This is only the beginning. I KNOW that sea level is NOT going to rise gradually, as too many wish to believe, regardless of the fact it has risen gradually for the last century.

Within a decade you will see a jump during a three to four month period, probably between June and September (coinciding with a GIANT chunk of Greenland ice sliding into the ocean), of two or three FEET. That will be great fun for every port in the whole fucking world.

When that happens, I will be here to remind all the FOOLS who claimed it was, impossible, ridiculous, ignorant, unscientific, unproven, unlikely, silly, dumbass (and so on).

Have a nice day. 
  (http://i.imgur.com/7WSxu.jpg)
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: RE on December 22, 2015, 04:56:28 PM
This is only the beginning. I KNOW that sea level is NOT going to rise gradually, as too many wish to believe, regardless of the fact it has risen gradually for the last century.

Within a decade you will see a jump during a three to four month period, probably between June and September (coinciding with a GIANT chunk of Greenland ice sliding into the ocean), of two or three FEET. That will be great fun for every port in the whole fucking world.

A good time to move to higher altitude locations!

RE
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: agelbert on December 22, 2015, 10:45:54 PM
This is only the beginning. I KNOW that sea level is NOT going to rise gradually, as too many wish to believe, regardless of the fact it has risen gradually for the last century.

Within a decade you will see a jump during a three to four month period, probably between June and September (coinciding with a GIANT chunk of Greenland ice sliding into the ocean), of two or three FEET. That will be great fun for every port in the whole fucking world.

A good time to move to higher altitude locations!

RE

Agreed.  :emthup:
Title: Seas are rising at fastest rate in 28 centuries
Post by: RE on February 23, 2016, 02:10:06 AM
http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20160222-seas-are-rising-at-fastest-rate-in-28-centuries.ece (http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20160222-seas-are-rising-at-fastest-rate-in-28-centuries.ece)

Seas are rising at fastest rate in 28 centuries

(http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20160222-climate_countdown_a_city_acts.ece/BINARY/w940/Climate_Countdown_A_City_Acts)
2015 File Photo/The Associated Press
Tidal floods are occurring more frequently in places like Charleston, S.C., killing lawns and trees, polluting supplies of fresh water and blocking streets.

FROM WIRE REPORTS
Published: 22 February 2016 11:07 PM
Updated: 22 February 2016 11:14 PM

The oceans are rising faster than at any other point in the last 28 centuries, and human emissions of greenhouse gases are primarily responsible, scientists reported Monday.

They said the flooding that is starting to make life miserable in many coastal towns — such as Miami Beach, Fla., Norfolk, Va., and Charleston, S.C. — was largely a consequence of those emissions, and that it is likely to grow worse in coming years.

The scientists confirmed previous estimates, but with a larger data set, that if global emissions continue at a high rate over the next few decades, the ocean could rise as much as 4 feet by 2100, as ocean water expands and the great ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica begin to collapse.

Experts say the situation will grow far worse in the 22nd century and beyond, probably requiring the abandonment of many of the world’s coastal cities.

“I think we can definitely be confident that sea-level rise is going to continue to accelerate if there’s further warming, which inevitably there will be,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, a professor of ocean physics at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and co-author of a paper released Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Ice simply melts faster when the temperatures get higher,” Rahmstorf said. “That’s just basic physics.”

In a report issued at the same time as the scientific paper, a climate research and communications organization in Princeton, N.J., Climate Central, used the new findings to calculate that roughly three-quarters of the tidal floods now occurring in towns along the American East Coast would not be happening in the absence of sea-level rise caused by human emissions.

The lead author of that report, Benjamin Strauss, said the same was likely to be true on a global scale, in any coastal community that has seen an increase of saltwater flooding in recent decades.

Local factors do come into play, though: Communities on land that is sinking, as in the Chesapeake Bay region, are being hit especially hard by the rising sea level.

Tidal floods are occurring more frequently and are becoming a strain in many towns by killing lawns and trees, polluting supplies of fresh water, blocking streets in the middle of sunny afternoons and sometimes stranding entire island communities for hours by covering the roads to the mainland.

“I think we need a new way to think about most coastal flooding,” Strauss said. “It’s not the tide. It’s not the wind. It’s us. That’s true for most of the coastal floods we now experience.”

The new research was led by Robert Kopp, an earth scientist at Rutgers University who has won respect from his colleagues by bringing elaborate statistical techniques to bear on longstanding problems, such as understanding the history of global sea level.
Larger data set

Scientists knew that the sea level rose drastically at the end of the last ice age, by almost 400 feet, causing shorelines to retreat by up to 100 miles in places. They also knew that the sea level had basically stabilized, like the rest of the climate, over the last several thousand years, the period when human civilization arose and spread across the earth.

There were small variations of climate and sea level over that period, and several recent papers have tried to clarify these. The new paper confirms a central finding of the earlier research, that the sharp increase of sea level in the 20th century was unprecedented over thousands of years, but does so with a larger data set that may add to the confidence scientists place in the results.

The paper confirms that the ocean is exquisitely sensitive to small variations in the earth’s temperature — a portentous finding, given that human emissions are inducing a large temperature rise.

The researchers found that when the average global temperature fell by a third of a degree Fahrenheit in the Middle Ages, for instance, ice started to build up on land, and the volume of ocean water contracted, causing the average surface of the ocean to fall about 3 inches over 400 years. When the climate warmed slightly, that trend reversed.

“Physics tells us that sea-level change and temperature change should go hand in hand,” Kopp said. “This new geological record confirms it.”
Paris agreement

In the 19th century, as the Industrial Revolution took hold, the oceans began to rise, and have gone up by about 8 inches since 1880. That may sound small, but the increase has caused extensive erosion worldwide, and governments are spending billions of dollars to try to shore up beaches and other coastal defenses.

Largely because of human emissions, global temperatures have jumped about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since the 19th century. Land ice has started to melt all over the planet, and seawater is expanding as it absorbs heat. The seas are rising at what appears to be an accelerating pace, lately reaching a rate of about a foot per century.

One of the authors of the new paper, Rahmstorf, had previously published estimates suggesting the seas could rise as much as 5 or 6 feet by 2100. But with the improved calculations from the new paper, his latest upper estimate is 3 to 4 feet.

That means Rahmstorf’s estimate is now more consistent with calculations issued in 2013 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.N. body that periodically reviews and summarizes climate research. The panel found that continued high emissions might produce a sea rise of 1.7 to 3.2 feet over the 21st century.

Rahmstorf said, however, that the rise would eventually exceed 3 feet — the only question is how long it will take.

The recent climate agreement negotiated in Paris, if acted upon, will bring emissions down enough to slow the rate of sea-level rise in coming centuries, but scientists say the deal was not remotely ambitious enough to forestall a significant melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets.

Justin Gillis,

The New York Times
Title: Re: Seas are rising at fastest rate in 28 centuries
Post by: azozeo on February 23, 2016, 08:58:45 AM
http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20160222-seas-are-rising-at-fastest-rate-in-28-centuries.ece (http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20160222-seas-are-rising-at-fastest-rate-in-28-centuries.ece)

Seas are rising at fastest rate in 28 centuries

(http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20160222-climate_countdown_a_city_acts.ece/BINARY/w940/Climate_Countdown_A_City_Acts)
2015 File Photo/The Associated Press
Tidal floods are occurring more frequently in places like Charleston, S.C., killing lawns and trees, polluting supplies of fresh water and blocking streets.

FROM WIRE REPORTS
Published: 22 February 2016 11:07 PM
Updated: 22 February 2016 11:14 PM

The oceans are rising faster than at any other point in the last 28 centuries, and human emissions of greenhouse gases are primarily responsible, scientists reported Monday.

They said the flooding that is starting to make life miserable in many coastal towns — such as Miami Beach, Fla., Norfolk, Va., and Charleston, S.C. — was largely a consequence of those emissions, and that it is likely to grow worse in coming years.

The scientists confirmed previous estimates, but with a larger data set, that if global emissions continue at a high rate over the next few decades, the ocean could rise as much as 4 feet by 2100, as ocean water expands and the great ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica begin to collapse.

Experts say the situation will grow far worse in the 22nd century and beyond, probably requiring the abandonment of many of the world’s coastal cities.

“I think we can definitely be confident that sea-level rise is going to continue to accelerate if there’s further warming, which inevitably there will be,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, a professor of ocean physics at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and co-author of a paper released Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Ice simply melts faster when the temperatures get higher,” Rahmstorf said. “That’s just basic physics.”

In a report issued at the same time as the scientific paper, a climate research and communications organization in Princeton, N.J., Climate Central, used the new findings to calculate that roughly three-quarters of the tidal floods now occurring in towns along the American East Coast would not be happening in the absence of sea-level rise caused by human emissions.

The lead author of that report, Benjamin Strauss, said the same was likely to be true on a global scale, in any coastal community that has seen an increase of saltwater flooding in recent decades.

Local factors do come into play, though: Communities on land that is sinking, as in the Chesapeake Bay region, are being hit especially hard by the rising sea level.

Tidal floods are occurring more frequently and are becoming a strain in many towns by killing lawns and trees, polluting supplies of fresh water, blocking streets in the middle of sunny afternoons and sometimes stranding entire island communities for hours by covering the roads to the mainland.

“I think we need a new way to think about most coastal flooding,” Strauss said. “It’s not the tide. It’s not the wind. It’s us. That’s true for most of the coastal floods we now experience.”

The new research was led by Robert Kopp, an earth scientist at Rutgers University who has won respect from his colleagues by bringing elaborate statistical techniques to bear on longstanding problems, such as understanding the history of global sea level.
Larger data set

Scientists knew that the sea level rose drastically at the end of the last ice age, by almost 400 feet, causing shorelines to retreat by up to 100 miles in places. They also knew that the sea level had basically stabilized, like the rest of the climate, over the last several thousand years, the period when human civilization arose and spread across the earth.

There were small variations of climate and sea level over that period, and several recent papers have tried to clarify these. The new paper confirms a central finding of the earlier research, that the sharp increase of sea level in the 20th century was unprecedented over thousands of years, but does so with a larger data set that may add to the confidence scientists place in the results.

The paper confirms that the ocean is exquisitely sensitive to small variations in the earth’s temperature — a portentous finding, given that human emissions are inducing a large temperature rise.

The researchers found that when the average global temperature fell by a third of a degree Fahrenheit in the Middle Ages, for instance, ice started to build up on land, and the volume of ocean water contracted, causing the average surface of the ocean to fall about 3 inches over 400 years. When the climate warmed slightly, that trend reversed.

“Physics tells us that sea-level change and temperature change should go hand in hand,” Kopp said. “This new geological record confirms it.”
Paris agreement

In the 19th century, as the Industrial Revolution took hold, the oceans began to rise, and have gone up by about 8 inches since 1880. That may sound small, but the increase has caused extensive erosion worldwide, and governments are spending billions of dollars to try to shore up beaches and other coastal defenses.

Largely because of human emissions, global temperatures have jumped about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since the 19th century. Land ice has started to melt all over the planet, and seawater is expanding as it absorbs heat. The seas are rising at what appears to be an accelerating pace, lately reaching a rate of about a foot per century.

One of the authors of the new paper, Rahmstorf, had previously published estimates suggesting the seas could rise as much as 5 or 6 feet by 2100. But with the improved calculations from the new paper, his latest upper estimate is 3 to 4 feet.

That means Rahmstorf’s estimate is now more consistent with calculations issued in 2013 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.N. body that periodically reviews and summarizes climate research. The panel found that continued high emissions might produce a sea rise of 1.7 to 3.2 feet over the 21st century.

Rahmstorf said, however, that the rise would eventually exceed 3 feet — the only question is how long it will take.

The recent climate agreement negotiated in Paris, if acted upon, will bring emissions down enough to slow the rate of sea-level rise in coming centuries, but scientists say the deal was not remotely ambitious enough to forestall a significant melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets.

Justin Gillis,

The New York Times


Gee,
I guess we better impose a carbon tax on the homo saps immediately.
That'll fix that ocean problem .....
Title: Re: Seas are rising at fastest rate in 28 centuries
Post by: MKing on February 23, 2016, 10:41:52 AM
Gee,
I guess we better impose a carbon tax on the homo saps immediately.
That'll fix that ocean problem .....

The ocean isn't a problem, it is just the ocean. Maybe Niruboo is doing it! Or the gaseous part of the galactic cluster we are in right now, or approaching, or just went through!

Quick! Someone get me a cock-a-mammy you tube video starring the astrological equivalent of Harold Camping to tell us we are all gonna die!

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ayWbXiHaaJ8/T8uUqdKTbwI/AAAAAAAAA3Y/xZ4aZfOg2KM/s1600/Sky.jpg)
Title: Surging Seas Risk Zone Interactive Map
Post by: RE on March 19, 2016, 08:41:18 PM
You can enter your own location to see where you stand.  You can look at both flood potential and sea level rise.

The estimates seem to me to be pretty conservative overall.

From the http://sealevel.climatecentral.org/ (http://sealevel.climatecentral.org/) website.

RE

Title: Record-breaking wave thunders through North Atlantic
Post by: RE on December 14, 2016, 01:34:37 AM
SURF'S UP!

RE

http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/13/europe/record-wave-north-atlantic/index.html (http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/13/europe/record-wave-north-atlantic/index.html)

Record-breaking wave thunders through North Atlantic

(http://i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/161214120513-nazare-wave-portugal-exlarge-169.jpg)

By Juliet Perry

Updated 3:58 AM ET, Wed December 14, 2016
Story highlights

    Wave is highest ever recorded by a buoy
    The enormous swell measured higher than a six-story building

(CNN)A colossal wave recorded in the North Atlantic has smashed previous records for size.
The 62 foot (19 meter) wave -- captured between Iceland and the UK on February 4 2013 -- has set a new world record for the biggest wave ever recorded by a buoy, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The previous record of 60 feet (18 meters) was also measured in the North Atlantic in December 2007.
Four times the size of a double-decker bus, the WMO said the huge swell followed the passage of a "very strong cold front" which produced powerful winds of up to 50 mph (80 kph).
The organization said the delay in confirming the new record was due to the time it took to analyze, cross-check and verify the data.
"This is the first time we have ever measured a wave of 19 meters. It is a remarkable record," said Wenjian Zhang, WMO Assistant Secretary-General, in a statement.
Wave height is defined as the distance from the crest of one wave to the trough of the next.
The buoy that recorded the wave is part of an extensive network of both moored and drifting buoys that -- along with ships and satellites -- monitor the oceans and forecast "meteorological hazards."
Zhang said capturing a wave of this size highlights how important these observations are in protecting the lives of crew and passengers on busy shipping lanes.
"We need high quality and extensive ocean records to help in our understanding of weather/ocean interactions," he said.
He added that despite huge leaps in satellite technology, moored and drifting buoys still play a major role in collecting data from those hard to reach places.
A surfer rides a wave off Praia do Norte near Nazare, central Portugal, on October 24, 2016.
A surfer rides a wave off Praia do Norte near Nazare, central Portugal, on October 24, 2016.
While the gigantic swell has confirmed its place in the record books, it falls short of the biggest wave ever surfed.
A mammoth 78 foot (23 meter) wave was surfed by Hawaiian, Garret McNamara, in November 2011 at Nazare, in Portugal.
Title: Odds at 6:1 Antartic Ice Sheet Breaks up. BET AGAINST!
Post by: RE on January 14, 2017, 09:22:59 PM
You can make a KILLING here!  Bet the farm it doesn't happen.  If it does happen, WTF cares about the money anymore anyhow?

RE

http://grist.org/briefly/will-this-massive-iceberg-collapse-soon-get-your-bets-in-now/ (http://grist.org/briefly/will-this-massive-iceberg-collapse-soon-get-your-bets-in-now/)


Briefly
Stuff that matters

(https://grist.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/larsen-ice-shelf.jpg?w=970&h=545&crop=1)

Breaking up is hard to do
NASA Earth Observatory
Will this massive iceberg collapse soon? Get your bets in now.

USA Today reports that an Irish bookmaker is offering 6-to-1 odds that this will be the month that an iceberg the size of Delaware splits off from the Larsen C Ice Shelf, a massive sheet of ice along the Antarctic Peninsula. When it does go, it will be one of the 10 largest ice-shelf calving events in recorded history.

Paddy Power, the chain of betting shops offering the odds, says: “You don’t have to be Captain of the Titanic to spot this is a serious problem for the planet, so we thought we’d do our bit to raise some awareness.” But the company is having some fun with the topic too, saying it’ll be “the biggest break-up since Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.”

When it does happen, it won’t usher in sea-level-rise apocalypse — at least not right away. “Because ice shelves are actually floating, they are already in the sea level budget, so they don’t contribute to sea level rise when they break up,” Kelly Brunt, a NASA geophysicist, told Wired.

Still, when it does collapse, the previously adjoining glaciers may melt more quickly — and if all the ice that Larsen C now holds back melted, global sea levels could rise by four inches.
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: azozeo on January 15, 2017, 09:35:39 AM
Actually, the ice sheet is relocating itself in the direction of the magnetic south pole.
Wait until that entry hole into the hollow Earth manifests itself. The globalists are
already shitting string beans about the exposed land mass surfaces' down there,
and what they are exposing. To bad google-earth is airbrushed below the antarctic circle.
Title: Re: Odds at 6:1 Antartic Ice Sheet Breaks up. BET AGAINST!
Post by: azozeo on January 15, 2017, 12:02:07 PM
You can make a KILLING here!  Bet the farm it doesn't happen.  If it does happen, WTF cares about the money anymore anyhow?

RE

http://grist.org/briefly/will-this-massive-iceberg-collapse-soon-get-your-bets-in-now/ (http://grist.org/briefly/will-this-massive-iceberg-collapse-soon-get-your-bets-in-now/)


Briefly
Stuff that matters

(https://grist.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/larsen-ice-shelf.jpg?w=970&h=545&crop=1)

Breaking up is hard to do
NASA Earth Observatory
Will this massive iceberg collapse soon? Get your bets in now.

USA Today reports that an Irish bookmaker is offering 6-to-1 odds that this will be the month that an iceberg the size of Delaware splits off from the Larsen C Ice Shelf, a massive sheet of ice along the Antarctic Peninsula. When it does go, it will be one of the 10 largest ice-shelf calving events in recorded history.

Paddy Power, the chain of betting shops offering the odds, says: “You don’t have to be Captain of the Titanic to spot this is a serious problem for the planet, so we thought we’d do our bit to raise some awareness.” But the company is having some fun with the topic too, saying it’ll be “the biggest break-up since Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.”

When it does happen, it won’t usher in sea-level-rise apocalypse — at least not right away. “Because ice shelves are actually floating, they are already in the sea level budget, so they don’t contribute to sea level rise when they break up,” Kelly Brunt, a NASA geophysicist, told Wired.

Still, when it does collapse, the previously adjoining glaciers may melt more quickly — and if all the ice that Larsen C now holds back melted, global sea levels could rise by four inches.


I'll throw 20 at it, who knows ?  :icon_scratch:  WINNER - WINNER, chicken dinner....
Would be interesting if the book maker at Caesar's is game ?
Title: Re: Odds at 6:1 Antartic Ice Sheet Breaks up. BET AGAINST!
Post by: azozeo on January 17, 2017, 09:51:33 AM
You can make a KILLING here!  Bet the farm it doesn't happen.  If it does happen, WTF cares about the money anymore anyhow?

RE

http://grist.org/briefly/will-this-massive-iceberg-collapse-soon-get-your-bets-in-now/ (http://grist.org/briefly/will-this-massive-iceberg-collapse-soon-get-your-bets-in-now/)


Briefly
Stuff that matters

(https://grist.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/larsen-ice-shelf.jpg?w=970&h=545&crop=1)

Breaking up is hard to do
NASA Earth Observatory
Will this massive iceberg collapse soon? Get your bets in now.

USA Today reports that an Irish bookmaker is offering 6-to-1 odds that this will be the month that an iceberg the size of Delaware splits off from the Larsen C Ice Shelf, a massive sheet of ice along the Antarctic Peninsula. When it does go, it will be one of the 10 largest ice-shelf calving events in recorded history.

Paddy Power, the chain of betting shops offering the odds, says: “You don’t have to be Captain of the Titanic to spot this is a serious problem for the planet, so we thought we’d do our bit to raise some awareness.” But the company is having some fun with the topic too, saying it’ll be “the biggest break-up since Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.”

When it does happen, it won’t usher in sea-level-rise apocalypse — at least not right away. “Because ice shelves are actually floating, they are already in the sea level budget, so they don’t contribute to sea level rise when they break up,” Kelly Brunt, a NASA geophysicist, told Wired.

Still, when it does collapse, the previously adjoining glaciers may melt more quickly — and if all the ice that Larsen C now holds back melted, global sea levels could rise by four inches.


2017-01-15 - Antarctic ice shelf crack expanding near British research base, Britain abandons base:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/01/16/british-antarctic-survey-abandons-polar-base-worrying-crack/ (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/01/16/british-antarctic-survey-abandons-polar-base-worrying-crack/)
http://www.sott.net/article/339832-British-Antarctic-Survey-abandons-polar-base-as-Brunt-Ice-shelf-crack-grows-larger (http://www.sott.net/article/339832-British-Antarctic-Survey-abandons-polar-base-as-Brunt-Ice-shelf-crack-grows-larger)
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: azozeo on January 19, 2017, 10:04:12 AM
2017-01-17 - Tidal surges wiping out coastline in Skipsea, Yorkshire (Britain):
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4128990/Huges-waves-erode-gardens-Skipsea-East-Yorkshire.html (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4128990/Huges-waves-erode-gardens-Skipsea-East-Yorkshire.html)
http://www.sott.net/article/340044-Tidal-surge-erodes-coastline-by-1-metre-over-the-weekend-in-Skipsea-Yorkshire (http://www.sott.net/article/340044-Tidal-surge-erodes-coastline-by-1-metre-over-the-weekend-in-Skipsea-Yorkshire)
Title: Modi's Wall
Post by: RE on April 05, 2017, 12:03:04 AM
Trumpty-Dumpty stole the Wall idea from Modi!  He's building one to keep out the Bangladeshis!

Now, I hardly think Oz is going to take 160M Bangladeshis in. Eurotrashland can't even handle a couple of million towel heads!

You definitely do not want to be born a poor person in a 3rd World country these days.  Life expectancy is not going to be very good.

Interesting that the Defense Department recognizes issues with Climate Change but the Commander-in-Chief doe not.  ::)

RE

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/apr/05/disaster-alley-australia-could-be-set-to-receive-new-wave-of-climate-refugees (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/apr/05/disaster-alley-australia-could-be-set-to-receive-new-wave-of-climate-refugees)

'Disaster alley’: Australia could be set to receive new wave of climate refugees

US defence expert warns people fleeing low-lying Pacific islands a precursor to ‘climate-exacerbated water insecurities’ that could trigger wider conflict

(https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/44e309ab11c94513081d28fd0aabb18fcfeb0256/0_185_3504_2103/master/3504.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=4290c379ac727ef0b7b1e61cfac5f42a)
King tides crash through the sea wall, flooding Pita Meanke’s family property on the low-lying South Pacific island of Kiribati.
A king tide crashes through the sea wall, flooding Pita Meanke’s family home on the low-lying South Pacific island of Kiribati. Photograph: jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Alamy

Ben Doherty
@bendohertycorro

Tuesday 4 April 2017 16.00 EDT
Last modified on Tuesday 4 April 2017 19.57 EDT

Australia could be on the frontline of a new wave of “climate refugees” displaced by extreme weather events, droughts and rising seas, a US expert on the national security impacts of climate change has warned.

Sherri Goodman, a former US deputy undersecretary of defence, argues the impact of climate change – rising seas, extreme weather, prolonged droughts – will be a “threat multiplier” for sepacurity challenges, and could be the spark that ignites conflict and drives new waves of mass forced migration.

The Asia-Pacific region was acutely vulnerable, she said.
Lives in the balance: climate change and the Marshall Islands
Read more

“You may be on the frontlines here in Australia for climate refugees,” she told the Guardian in Sydney. “The first wave will be those who have to flee the low-lying Pacific islands, because many of them will be uninhabitable, even in our lifetimes.”

“But you’re also in ‘disaster alley’ here in the Asia-Pacific region and while there have begun to be efforts to reduce risks of disasters, I’m concerned that we’re not acting as quickly as we should to protect our societies from those risks, which is going to mean more migration.”

Goodman cited the example of the ongoing civil war in Syria, which has produced more than five million refugees over six years of fighting.

But the political conflict in Syria was exacerbated by a long-running drought which drove people into food insecurity, poverty and rapid, unsustainable urbanisation.

“From 2006 to 2010, 60% of Syria had its worst long-term drought and crop failures since civilisation began,” Goodman says. “About 800,000 people in rural areas lost their livelihood by 2009. Three million people were driven into extreme poverty, and 1.5 million migrated to cities.”

“Those conditions enable terrorists like the Islamic State of Boko Haram in parts of Nigeria or al-Qaida in Iraq to rise and take advantage of desperate people in desperate circumstances.”

Goodman is careful not to posit climate change as the sole cause of future conflicts, but argues it will be a contributory, compounding factor.

“Climate is a threat multiplier because it aggravates others tensions and conflicts that already exist.

“Climate-exacerbated water insecurities could eventually become a tipping [point] to wider conflict or instability in the region. We see this now playing out in various ways around the world, but particularly here in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Regionally, Goodman sees the example of Pakistan and India, where historical enmity, long-running religious, political and cultural fractures, and territorial disputes over Kashmir, could be reignited by conflict over water or other resources.

(https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/d4c7d948023c426b41a19177e784039b791879d0/0_214_5184_3110/master/5184.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=b97c065f4ef1c94be1e9f9934530464d)
Sherri Goodman, a former US deputy undersecretary of defence, describes climate change as ‘a threat multiplier’. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

Low-lying Bangladesh, the eighth-most populous country in the world with more than 160 million people, has been identified as being extremely vulnerable to climate change, on some measures the most vulnerable country in the world.
On the climate change frontline: the disappearing fishing villages of Bangladesh
Read more

“Another extreme weather event, combined with sea-level rise and storm surge, could send upwards up 10 million people or more along that low-lying coastline in Bangladesh fleeing towards higher ground, which is towards India, which is building a massive wall to keep Bangladeshis out.

“I think that could create consequences for which we’re currently unprepared. India shows no signs of wanting or being able to absorb those numbers of refugees. And then where do they flee? These are mostly people who can’t afford to get on a cruise ship and leave. And if they can’t flee by land into India does that mean they, there’s either a massive loss of life or head off in rickety boats, where they might lose their lives at sea.”
Mousuni, an island in the Bay of Bengal, is sinking due to climate change and tidal flooding, leaving thousands of its inhabitants homeless.

(https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/2578f2491a8b40785f7357c60ecef664984b1464/0_158_3000_1800/master/3000.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=8427fd757ae751f851189bd22179af26)
Mousuni, an island in the Bay of Bengal, is sinking due to climate change and tidal flooding, leaving thousands of its inhabitants homeless. Photograph: Sushavan Nandy / Barcroft Images

In 2008, the then president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, speculated about buying land in Australia in order to house his country’s population when the archipelago nation was consumed by the rising Indian Ocean.
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Under the global standard for refugee protection, the 1951 refugee convention, there is no such thing as a “climate change refugee”.

The refugee convention, written in the aftermath of the massive displacement caused by the second world war, only recognises refugees displaced from their home countries, and suffering a “well-founded fear of persecution” on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.

Some regional treaties – such as Latin America’s Cartagena declaration – have a broader definition, recognising as refugees people displaced by “circumstances which have seriously disturbed public order”, which is taken to include natural disasters and food insecurity.

Goodman argues national governments, and supranational organisations, will need to redraw, or add to, the current global protection framework.

“We do need to rethink the governance for refugees better to reflect the types of refugees we face today. Current governance structures are just inadequate for the modern era.”

Governments and militaries around the world are becoming increasingly cognisant of the national security threat posed by climate change.

In his confirmation hearing in January, the US’s new secretary of defence, James Mattis, said climate change posed a current security threat to America.

“Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today. It is appropriate for the combatant commands to incorporate drivers of instability that impact the security environment in their areas into their planning.”

In 2015, Australia’s Climate Council released a report, co-authored by the former chief of the Australian defence force, Chris Barrie, that argued climate change “poses a significant and growing threat to human and societal wellbeing, threatening food, water, health and national security”.
Five Pacific islands lost to rising seas as climate change hits
Read more

In 2016, the army chief, Angus Campbell, made climate security a focus of the annual chief of army’s exercise. He said climate change was “immediately relevant” for militaries and “the scale of climate change problems, their unpredictability, and the level of support required from land forces are key issues for us to better understand”.

The Centre for Policy Development policy director, Rob Sturrock, co-authored a report in 2015 arguing that Australia’s struggle to deal with climate vulnerabilities domestically and across the region was the country’s “longest conflict”.

The report recommended the federal government appoint a climate security advisory council, connecting the defence, environment and foreign affairs departments to develop a national climate security strategy.

Goodman, founder of the CNA Military Advisory Board, is speaking this week in Sydney at the Lowy Institute, Canberra at the ANU, and Melbourne at the Breakthrough Institute at screenings of The Age of Consequences documentary, about the security threat posed by climate change.
Title: The Great Walls of India
Post by: RE on April 05, 2017, 12:52:22 AM
Modi will pay for these walls with new 200 Rupee Notes.  ::)

RE

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/28/asia/india-pakistan-bangladesh-borders/ (http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/28/asia/india-pakistan-bangladesh-borders/)

India wants to seal its borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh

By Huizhong Wu, CNN

Updated 5:11 AM ET, Wed March 29, 2017
What it would take to build Trump's border wall

What it would take to build Trump's border wall 02:34

New Delhi (CNN)US President Donald Trump's plan to build a wall on the Mexican border has nothing on India.
The South Asian country wants to secure two borders that, in total, are more than double the length of the US-Mexico boundary.
Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh reaffirmed the country's intent Saturday to completely shut its borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The government said says around 90% of the border is currently fenced, but they claim that there are still terrorists are still trying to infiltrate the country.

"We have decided to seal the border between India and Bangladesh as quickly as possible. I know that some obstacles may arise in this work, as some areas are mountainous, some have jungles, and others have rivers," Singh said at a graduation ceremony for India's Border Security Forces.
"We will also work as quickly as possible to seal the border between India and Pakistan."
Indian and Pakistani border guards engage in a daily flag-lowering ceremony.
Indian and Pakistani border guards engage in a daily flag-lowering ceremony.
Border problems
India shares land borders with six other countries, a total of more than 8,600 miles (13,000 km), according to the CIA World Factbook.
Delhi's chief concerns though are over its boundaries with Pakistan and Bangladesh. In the north lies the highly disputed region of Kashmir, over which India and Pakistan have been fighting since 1947.
Indian Home Ministry spokesman K.S. Dhatwalia told CNN the government plans to seal the "line of control," the border between India and Pakistan in Kashmir.
In the east, years of illegal immigration from Bangladesh "have proved to be a huge challenge for India with serious implications for its resources and national security," according to Sanjeev Tripathi, an analyst with Carnegie India.
Tripathi estimated there may be as many as 15 million illegal Bangladeshi immigrants living in India.
Much of the existing border is already secured, Dhatwalia said. The current effort is to seal off the remaining 10% which the government has yet to be able to secure.
"It's a very difficult terrain," he said, adding that the government plans to finish the project by the end of 2018.
Breaking the seal
Analysts however, are far less confident than the government, saying the difficult terrain on the two borders makes securing them nearly impossible.
"These are permeable borders, you cannot seal them off no matter how hard you try, no matter what high technologies you try to import," said Bharat Karnad, a national security expert at the Delhi-based think tank the Center for Policy Research.
Karnad said there are areas of Kashmir where heavy snow wipes out any fences that are built, while the Bangladesh side is littered with marshlands and rivers.
Ajai Sahni, executive director of India's Institute for Conflict Management, said however permeable borders may be, fencing and other security measures do have an effect.
After India and Pakistan signed a ceasefire agreement over Kashmir in 2003, Sahni said, India constructed wire fences along the highly-militarized "line of control," significantly cutting down on the flow of illegal migrants.
A spokesman for the Indian Border Security Force -- which jointly patrols the "line of control" with the Indian army -- said that it has more than 250,000 troops, making it the world's largest border force.
"Infiltration does continue, but it's not as easy as it was," Sahni said.
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming - California Submerging
Post by: azozeo on April 30, 2017, 03:43:05 AM
2017-04-27 - California submerging - rising seas are claiming its famed coast faster than scientists imagined:
http://www.fasterthanexpected.com/2017/04/25/california-submerging-rising-seas-are-claiming-its-famed-coast-faster-than-scientists-imagined/ (http://www.fasterthanexpected.com/2017/04/25/california-submerging-rising-seas-are-claiming-its-famed-coast-faster-than-scientists-imagined/)
Title: Doomsday Glacier
Post by: RE on May 19, 2017, 05:11:32 AM
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/the-doomsday-glacier-w481260 (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/the-doomsday-glacier-w481260)

The Doomsday Glacier

(https://www.bas.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/9af57d82de42cd52639e50913517467e_1432138057-1024x666.jpg)

In the farthest reaches of Antarctica, a nightmare scenario of crumbling ice – and rapidly rising seas – could spell disaster for a warming planet.

Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica is so remote that only 28 human beings have ever set foot on it.

Knut Christianson, a 33-year-old glaciologist at the University of Washington, has been there twice. A few years ago, Christianson and a team of seven scientists traveled more than 1,000 miles from McMurdo Station, the main research base in Antarctica, to spend six weeks on Thwaites, traversing along the flat, featureless prairie of snow and ice in six snowmobiles and two Tucker Sno-Cats. "You feel very alone out there," Christianson says. He and his colleagues set up camp at a new spot every few days and drilled holes 300 feet or so into the ice. Then they dropped tubes of nitroglycerin dynamite into these holes and triggered a blast. Sensors tracked vibrations as they shot through the ice and ricocheted off the ground below. By measuring the shape and frequency of these vibrations, Christianson could see the lumps and ridges and even the texture of a crushed continent deeply buried beneath the ice.

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But Christianson and his colleagues were not just ice geeks mapping the hidden topography of the planet. They were mapping a future global disaster. As the world warms, determining exactly how quickly ice melts and seas rise may be one of the most important questions of our time. Half the world's population lives within 50 miles of a coastline. Trillions of dollars of real estate is perched on beaches and clustered in low-lying cities like Miami and New York. A long, slow rise of the waters in the coming decades may be manageable. A more abrupt rise would not be. "If there is going to be a climate catastrophe," says Ohio State glaciologist Ian Howat, "it's probably going to start at Thwaites."

The trouble with Thwaites, which is one of the largest glaciers on the planet, is that it's also what scientists call "a threshold system." That means instead of melting slowly like an ice cube on a summer day, it is more like a house of cards: It's stable until it is pushed too far, then it collapses. When a chunk of ice the size of Pennsylvania falls apart, that's a big problem. It won't happen overnight, but if we don't slow the warming of the planet, it could happen within decades. And its loss will destabilize the rest of the West Antarctic ice, and that will go too. Seas will rise about 10 feet in many parts of the world; in New York and Boston, because of the way gravity pushes water around the planet, the waters will rise even higher, as much as 13 feet. "West Antarctica could do to the coastlines of the world what Hurricane Sandy did in a few hours to New York City," explains Richard Alley, a geologist at Penn State University and arguably the most respected ice scientist in the world. "Except when the water comes in, it doesn't go away in a few hours – it stays."

With 10 to 13 feet of sea-level rise, most of South Florida is an underwater theme park, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Mar-a-Lago, President Trump's winter White House in West Palm Beach. In downtown Boston, about the only thing that's not underwater are those nice old houses up on Beacon Hill. In the Bay Area, everything below Highway 101 is gone, including the Googleplex; the Oakland and San Francisco airports are submerged, as is much of downtown below Montgomery Street and the Marina District. Even places that don't seem like they would be in trouble, such as Sacramento, smack in the middle of California, will be partially flooded by the Pacific Ocean swelling up into the Sacramento River. Galveston, Texas; Norfolk, Virginia; and New Orleans will be lost. In Washington, D.C., the shoreline will be just a few hundred yards from the White House.

And that's just the picture in the U.S. The rest of the world will be in as much trouble: Large parts of Shanghai, Bangkok, Jakarta, Lagos and London will be submerged. Egypt's Nile River Delta and much of southern Bangladesh will be underwater. The Marshall Islands and the Maldives will be coral reefs.

Christianson, of course, understands all this as well as anyone. That's why he and others spent many weeks on Thwaites. To understand how fast the ice might slide into the sea, they need to know, among other things, the character of the ground beneath it: Is it slippery bedrock? Is it soft sediments? Are there any hills or mountains beneath the ice, anything that the glacier could cling to in order to slow the retreat? At night, they gathered in the mess tent and ate cookies they had baked in their solar oven and talked about being so far from civilization, and yet in a place where civilization has so much at stake. "We like to think that change happens slowly, especially in a landscape like Antarctica," Christianson tells me. "But we now know that is wrong."

Dr. Richard Alley, an American geologist, explains the potentially dangerous situation with Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica. 

 
 


Last summer, then-Secretary of State John Kerry was in Svalbard, an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Norway, visiting glaciers and talking with scientists about the risks of climate change. But it quickly became clear to him that he was in the wrong place. "All the scientists there told me," Kerry says, "if you want to understand what is going on with the climate right now, you have to go to Antarctica." So he did. In November, during the week of the presidential election, Kerry spent three days in Antarctica, the highest-ranking U.S. official to ever visit the continent. He helicoptered around the ice sheets, stopped for a lunch of sauerbraten and spaetzle at a scientific way station called Marble Point, and was briefed about the potential for rapid melting in West Antarctica, especially at Thwaites Glacier. "Scientists are seeing instability rising at a rate that is really alarming," Kerry tells me. "It's mind-blowing what's going on down there."

Antarctica is the size of the United States and Mexico combined, with a permanent population of zero. It is not the territory of any nation, and it has no government, in the conventional sense. Ever since British explorer Robert Falcon Scott and Norwegian Roald Amundson captivated the world with their race to the South Pole in 1911, it has been a playground for scientists and adventurers (and penguins). Seventy percent of the Earth's fresh water is frozen here in ice sheets that can be nearly three miles thick. The continent is roughly divided by the Transantarctic Mountains; East Antarctica is bigger and colder than West Antarctica, which is far more vulnerable to melting, in part because the bases of many glaciers in West Antarctica lie below sea level, making them susceptible to small changes in ocean temperatures.

Until recently, most climate scientists didn't worry too much about Antarctica. It is, after all, the coldest place on Earth, and except for a small part of the Antarctic Peninsula that juts north, it hasn't been warming much. It was also thought to be isolated from the warming oceans by a current that surrounds the continent, essentially walling it off from the rest of the planet. The most recent report by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is the gold standard for climate-change science, projected between less than 1 foot and 3.2 feet of global sea-level rise by 2100, with very little of it coming from Antarctica (although the IPCC did include a caveat suggesting that could change).

The IPCC's sea-level-rise projections have long been controversial, partly because the melting of the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets is so difficult to predict. A few years ago, James Hansen, the godfather of global-warming science, told me that he believed the IPCC estimates were far too conservative and that the waters could rise as much as 10 feet by 2100. For Hansen, the past is prologue. Three million years ago, during the Pliocene Epoch, when the level of CO2 in the atmosphere was about the same as it is today, and temperatures were only slightly warmer, the seas were at least 20 feet higher. That suggests there is a lot of melting to come before the ice sheets reach a happy equilibrium. Mountain glaciers could contribute a little bit, as would the thermal expansion of the oceans as they warmed, but to get to more than 20 feet of sea-level rise, Greenland and Antarctica would both have to contribute in a big way.

For climate scientists, Greenland was an obvious concern. For one thing, the surrounding Arctic has been warming up faster than any other place on the planet. For another, the melt there was visible to anyone who cared to look: Every summer, as the surface of the ice sheet heats up, water pours off in great blue rivers, some of them falling through holes in the ice called moulins. And compared with Antarctica, Greenland is also easy to get to, just a short flight from Europe to one of the old fishing villages on the coast. You can visit the fastest-moving glacier in the world, the Jakobshavn, and be back at your hotel for a whiskey before dinner.

But in recent years, things have gotten weird in Antarctica. The first alarming event was the sudden collapse, in 2002, of the Larsen B ice shelf, a vast chunk of ice on the Antarctic Peninsula. An ice shelf is like an enormous fingernail that grows off the end of a glacier where it meets the water. The glaciers behind the Larsen B, like many glaciers in both Antarctica and Greenland, are known as "marine-terminating glaciers," because large portions of them lie below sea level. The collapse of ice shelves does not in itself contribute to sea-level rise, since they are already floating (just like ice melting in a glass doesn't raise the level of liquid). But they perform an important role in buttressing, or restraining, the glaciers. After the Larsen B ice shelf vanished, the glaciers that had been behind it started flowing into the sea up to eight times faster than they had before. "It was like, 'Oh, what is going on here?' " says Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. "It turns out glaciers are much more responsive than anyone thought."

Luckily, the glaciers behind the Larsen B aren't very big, so sea-level rise wasn't a concern. But the Larsen B prompted scientists to look closer at the ice shelves and movement of glaciers elsewhere in Antarctica. Satellite imagery showed that the ice shelves throughout the continent were thinning, especially in West Antarctica. Some were thinning by a lot. It wasn't clear why, since, unlike Greenland, temperatures in Antarctica weren't warming much, if at all. The only culprit could be the ocean. Scientists figured out that due to changes in the winds and ocean circulation, more deep water was being pushed up under the ice shelves, melting them from below. "Just one degree of change is a big deal to a glacier," says Alley, the Penn State ice scientist.

As it turned out, a lot was going on in Antarctica. The ice shelves were thinning, warmer water was pushing in beneath the glaciers, and the glaciers were flowing faster. The whole place was in dramatic flux. How fast could it go? Nobody knew. Was it possible that the biggest threat to coastal cities wasn't Greenland after all, but Antarctica? If all of Greenland were to melt, that's 22 feet of sea-level rise. If Antarctica goes, it's 200 feet. "Antarctica used to be the sleeping elephant," says Mark Serreze, the head of the National Snow and Ice Data Center. "But now the elephant is stirring."

The 2002 collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf sounded the alarm for scientists. "Antarctica used to be the sleeping elephant," says Mark Serreze, a climate scientist. "Now the elephant is stirring." NASA, MODIS/NASA

The first person to understand the risks that West Antarctica posed in a rapidly warming world was the eccentric Ohio State glaciologist John Mercer. Mercer, who grew up in a small town in England and was known for carrying out his scientific fieldwork in the nude, first visited Antarctica in the mid-1960s. At that time, scientists were just beginning to understand the link between CO2 emissions and a warming climate. They knew that ice sheets had grown and retreated in the past and caused sea levels to rise dramatically, but the discovery that ice ages were triggered by minor shifts in the Earth's orbit suggested that ice sheets were much more sensitive than anyone thought to small changes in the temperature. Ice cores and improved mapping also helped scientists understand that ice sheets were not monolithic blocks, but in fact made up of rivers of ice, each flowing their own way and at their own rate. In the late 1960s, Mercer may have been the first scientist to ask a question that is still central today: How stable is Antarctica in a climate that is being warmed by fossil-fuel consumption?

Mercer was most interested in West Antarctica. As far as anyone knows, no human had ever set foot on the West Antarctica glaciers until the International Geophysical Year, in 1957, a Cold War collaboration of the U.S. and the Soviet Union and other nations to expand the boundaries of scientific exploration. A team of scientists had trekked across the glaciers of West Antarctica, including Thwaites; by drilling ice cores and taking other measurements, they discovered that the ground beneath the ice was on a reverse slope and had been depressed further by the weight of the glaciers over millions of years. "Think of it as a giant soup bowl filled with ice," says Sridhar Anandakrishnan, an expert in polar glaciology at Penn State University.

In the bowl analogy, the edge of these glaciers – the spot where a glacier leaves the land and begins to float – is perched on the lip of the bowl 1,000 feet or more below sea level. Scientists call that lip the "grounding line." Below the lip, the terrain falls away on a downward slope for hundreds of miles, all the way to the Transantarctic Mountains that divide East and West Antarctica. At the deepest part of the basin, the ice is about two miles thick. In the 1950s, before most scientists understood the risks of global warming, this was considered an interesting insight into the structure of Antarctica, but hardly a discovery of huge consequences.

Then, in 1974, Hans Weertman, a materials scientist at Northwestern University, figured out that these glaciers in West Antarctica were more vulnerable to rapid melting than anyone had previously understood. He coined a term for it: "marine ice-sheet instability." Weertman pointed out that warm ocean water could penetrate the grounding line, melting the ice from below. If the melting continued at a rate that was faster than the glacier grew – which is currently the case – the glacier would slip off the grounding line and begin retreating backward down the slope, like "a ball rolling downhill," says Howat, the Ohio State glaciologist. As the glacier becomes grounded in deeper and deeper water, more of the ice is exposed to warming ocean water, which in turn increases the rate of melt. At the same time, parts of the glacier want to float, which places additional stress on the ice, causing it to fracture. As the face of the glacier collapses, or "calves," more and more ice falls into the sea. The farther the glacier retreats down the slope, the faster the collapse unfolds. Without quite meaning to, Weertman had discovered a mechanism for catastrophic sea-level rise.

Mercer saw that Weertman's breakthrough had big implications. In a 1978 paper called "West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the CO2 Greenhouse Effect: A Threat of Disaster," Mercer focused on the floating ice shelves that buttress the West Antarctica glaciers. Because they are thinner and floating in the ocean, as the water warms they will be the first to go. And when they do, they will not only reduce friction that slows the glaciers' slide into the sea, they will change the balance of the glaciers, causing them to float off the grounding line. And that, in turn, will advance their retreat down the slope. Mercer argued that this whole system was more unstable than even Weertman had realized. "I contend that a major disaster – a rapid [16-foot] rise in sea level, caused by the deglaciation of West Antarctica – may be imminent," he wrote, predicting it would lead to the "submergence of low-lying areas such as much of Florida and the Netherlands." Mercer didn't know how soon this might happen, but when he made his calculations in the mid-1970s, he predicted that if fossil-fuel consumption continued to accelerate, it could begin in 50 years. That is, right about now.

A crack in the Larcen C ice shelf is more than 100 miles long. John Sonntag/NASA

Someday soon – possibly even by the time you read this – a chunk of the Larsen C ice shelf will break off and float into the ocean that surrounds Antarctica. The crack in the Larsen C, which is a close cousin to the Larsen B that broke up in 2002, has been developing for several years. But in the past few months, it has increased dramatically. As I write this, the crack is more than 100 miles long. Such a collapse of ice shelves is exactly what Mercer predicted would be the first sign that disaster is imminent. When it breaks, it will likely be front-page news and cited as evidence that Antarctica is rapidly falling apart.

But it also may not be. "Ice shelves break continually, and sometimes it's not a big deal," says Alley, who was a student at Ohio State when Mercer was a senior professor there. "It will depend a lot on what we see after the shelf breaks off, and how the glaciers in the area react." Alley points out that the glaciers behind the Larsen C shelf are modest, and even if they all accelerated and flowed into the water, it would likely only make a few centimeters' difference in sea-level rise. In other words, this crack-up, in itself, is not what Alley calls an "end-of-the-world screaming hairy disaster conniption fit." But it also doesn't mean that such a disaster isn't underway in West Antarctica on a slightly slower time scale.

Alley is a slight, gnomish man with a beard who keeps a Hula-Hoop in his office and is known for his mean Johnny Cash imitation. When Alley was an undergraduate at Ohio State in the 1970s, he often saw Mercer in the halls and went to a few of his talks. ("I can't confirm whether he practiced science in the nude," Alley says.) He had read Mercer's paper about the risk of Antarctic collapse when it was published in 1978, and it has haunted him ever since. "Did we screw up?" he asked a group of scientists during a talk recently. "I always believed that we would learn enough and be useful enough to society before it was too late. Did we take John Mercer's knowledge and fail to use it?"

Illustration by Brobel Design

In recent decades, new satellite technology has given scientists a much better view of what is happening in West Antarctica, and most of it has confirmed Mercer's hypothesis. From space, it is possible to measure changes in ice thickness, as well as how fast glaciers like Thwaites are retreating from the grounding line. And the news isn't good. In 2014, two highly respected ice scientists, Eric Rignot at NASA and Ian Joughin at the University of Washington, published separate papers that reached the same conclusion. As Joughin put it, "Our simulations provide strong evidence that the process of marine ice-sheet destabilization is already underway on Thwaites Glacier." In an interview, Rignot was more succinct. In West Antarctica, he said, "we have already blown the fuse."

Alley has spent much of his scientific career thinking about ice dynamics – how ice moves (or doesn't move) when it is pushed, pressured or heated. The collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002 surprised and worried him, in part because it didn't just break off, as the Larsen C is poised to do – the entire 1,250-square-mile ice shelf disintegrated in a few weeks, going from a nice clean stable ice shelf to a jumble of icebergs in the geological blink of an eye. "Nobody had ever seen anything like that happen before," Alley told me. "As it turns out, a big chunk of ice melts fairly slowly – but it can fracture very, very fast."

After the Larsen B collapse, Alley started thinking more about Mercer's prophecy in West Antarctica, especially as it applied to Thwaites Glacier. He knew that the calving front on Thwaites was about 90 miles long and almost 1,800 feet high – all but 300 feet or so of that was underwater. The pressure of the ocean supported the underwater portion of the glacier, but the rest of it was just a tottering wall of ice that was propped up, for the moment, by ice shelves. And Alley knew that if the glacier retreated into thicker and thicker ice, the calving front would only get higher. How tall, he wondered, could an ice cliff stand before inherent weaknesses in the ice caused it to topple over? Alley knew that by the time Thwaites was fully retreated into the basin, the ice cliffs could theoretically be 6,000 feet high – twice as high as El Capitan, the famous granite face in Yosemite Valley. Imagine mile-high cliffs collapsing into the sea. It is a surreal notion, one that even the most lurid disaster-movie screenwriter would consider implausible. But Alley wondered if such an event was possible. And if so, how fast could it happen?

At Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica, where only 28 human beings have been, glaciologist Kurt Christianson and his team set up camp at a new spot every few days, mapping the topography below the ice along the way. "You feel very alone out there," Christianson says. Courtesy of Kurt Christianson

Like many climate scientists, Alley has long been fascinated by the collapsing ice cliffs on the Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland. The Jakobshavn is the fastest-moving glacier in the world, sliding into the sea at a rate of about 15 miles per year. If you've seen dramatic images of a calving glacier, such as in the 2012 documentary Chasing Ice, it was probably shot at Jakobshavn. A few years ago, while I was reporting another story, I flew along the face in a helicopter. I was struck by how cracked and tortured the sapphire-blue glacier was. I watched a huge chunk collapse into the water. I noticed how it fell straight down, like a trap door had opened beneath it. This was, I now understand, a classic example of ice-cliff collapse. It doesn't topple over. It just implodes.

As Alley knows better than anyone, there are many factors that control how quickly a glacier can slide into the sea, including the amount of friction on the land it is sliding through, as well as how tightly it is buttressed by ice shelves. But another big issue is the strength of the ice itself. There are many differences between the Jakobshavn Glacier and Thwaites. For one thing, Thwaites is many times larger. The calving face of Jakobshavn is only about 10 miles long, versus 90 miles at Thwaites. Also, Thwaites is not constrained in a valley the way that Jakobshavn is, which means there is little friction on the sides to slow it down. If it really gets going, it could collapse much faster than Jakobshavn. More important, Jakobshavn does not sit on the edge of a reverse-slope basin the way Thwaites does. It can calve fast, but it is not what scientists call a threshold system. Thwaites is. But one thing they do have in common is that their structural integrity – and possible future collapse – is dictated by the basic physics of ice.

Standing 300 feet tall, the ice cliffs on the calving face of Jakobshavn are the highest anywhere on the planet. As it happens, there's good reason for that. Alley and other scientists found that ice cliffs on marine-terminating glaciers like Jakobshavn or Thwaites have a structural limit of about 300 feet – after that, they collapse because of stress and weight. So, even if there are sections on Thwaites that are 6,000 feet deep, Alley realized, the structural integrity of ice would never allow a glacier's face to stand that tall. In other words, glaciers with a face up to 300 feet can be relatively stable; after that, forget it. As Alley puts it to me, "It's just collapse, collapse, collapse."

One day, Alley was thinking about a problem that Dave Pollard, a colleague at Penn State, and Rob DeConto, a climate scientist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, had been having with their climate model. DeConto and Pollard had been collaborating for years to develop a sophisticated model to help them understand the impact of warming from fossil-fuel pollution on Greenland and Antarctica. Climate models are computer programs that try to capture fundamental physics of the natural world, such as, if the temperature warms one degree, how much will the seas around the world rise? It is not a simple question, and requires calculating everything from changes in how much sunlight the ice reflects to how much one degree of heat causes the Atlantic Ocean to expand. Models have gotten a lot better in the past few decades, but they still can't simulate all the processes in the real world.

One way that scientists test how well a model might predict the future is by seeing how well it recreates the past. If you can run a model backward and it gets things right, then you can run it forward and trust that the results might be accurate. For years, DeConto and Pollard have been trying to get their model to re-create the Pliocene, the era 3 million years ago when the CO2 levels in the atmosphere were very close to what they are today, except the seas were 20 feet higher. But no matter what knobs they turned, they couldn't get their model to melt the ice sheets fast enough to replicate what the geological record told them had happened. "We knew something was missing from the dynamics of our model," DeConto tells me.

Alley suggested they plug in his new understanding of ice physics, including the structural integrity of the ice itself (or lack thereof), and "see what happens." They did, and lo, their model worked. They were able to get the Pliocene melt just about right. In effect, they found the missing mechanism. Their model was now road-tested for accuracy.

Alley (center) before a congressional committee on climage change. "We are dealing with an event no human has ever witnessed before," he says. Chuck Kennedy/ZUMA

The next thing that DeConto and Pollard did, of course, was run the model forward. What they found was that, in high-emissions scenarios – that is, the track we are on today – instead of virtually zero contribution to sea-level rise from Antarctica by 2100, they got more than three feet, most of it from West Antarctica. If you add in a fairly conservative estimate of the contribution to sea-level rise from Greenland in the same time frame, as well as expansion of the oceans, you get more than six feet – that's double the high-end IPCC scenario.

For anyone living in Miami Beach or Brooklyn or Boston's Back Bay or any other low-lying coastal neighborhood, the difference between three feet of sea-level rise by 2100 and six feet is the difference between a wet but livable city and a submerged city – billions of dollars worth of coastal real estate, not to mention the lives of the 145 million people who live less than three feet above sea level, many of them in poor nations like Bangladesh and Indonesia. The difference between three feet and six feet is the difference between a manageable coastal evacuation and a decades-long refugee disaster. For many Pacific island nations, it is the difference between survival and extinction.

Of course, DeConto and Pollard could be wrong. Or there could be mechanisms they have not considered that might slow down the collapse. Alley wonders if the ice will tumble down so fast that it will create a traffic jam of icebergs in front of it – called a mélange – that will prop up the ice cliffs and keep them from collapsing. Christianson and others are surveying the ground beneath the glacier to see how slippery it is, or to find irregularities in the slope of the bowl that might cause the backsliding glacier to stall for a century or two. DeConto is interested in the firn, the compacted layer of old snow that has not yet turned to ice. "Depending on how it channels meltwater, it could have a big impact on how fast the ice fractures," DeConto says. It could slow it down. But, as DeConto cautions, it could also speed it up. Uncertainty cuts both ways, and once the collapse of West Antarctica begins, it could keep going until the seas have risen as much as 13 feet.

In any case, the threat is clear. In a rational world, awareness of these risks would lead to deep and rapid cuts in carbon pollution to slow the warming, as well as investment in more research in West Antarctica to get a clearer understanding of what is going on. Instead, Americans elected a president who thinks climate change is a hoax, who is hellbent on burning more fossil fuels, who installs the CEO of the world's largest oil company as secretary of state, who wants to slash climate-science funding and instead spend nearly $70 billion to build a wall at the Mexican border and another $54 billion to beef up the military.

After Kerry returned from Antarctica, we discussed the Trump administration's attacks on climate science, including the decision to strip every mention of climate change from the White House website. "Such a stunningly Luddite moment," Kerry says. "It just underscores the raw, shocking absence of fact from their process. As if to strip the website of something as important as that is somehow going to solve the problem or make it go away is so laughable; it's hard to find the words for it, really. I find that such a huge symbol of a new know-nothingism that is really dangerous for our country, and the world."

In the end, no one can say exactly how much longer the West Antarctica glaciers will remain stable. "We just don't know what the upper boundary is for how fast this can happen," Alley says, sounding a bit spooked. "We are dealing with an event that no human has ever witnessed before. We have no analogue for this." But it is clear that thanks to our 200-year-long fossil-fuel binge, the collapse of West Antarctica is already underway, and every Miami Beach condo owner and Bangladeshi farmer is living at the mercy of ice physics right now. Alley himself would never put it this way, but in West Antarctica, scientists have discovered the engine of catastrophe.

Title: Re: Doomsday Glacier
Post by: luciddreams on May 19, 2017, 07:33:05 AM
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/the-doomsday-glacier-w481260 (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/the-doomsday-glacier-w481260)

The Doomsday Glacier

(https://www.bas.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/9af57d82de42cd52639e50913517467e_1432138057-1024x666.jpg)


<p>In any case, the threat is clear. In a rational world, awareness of these risks would lead to deep and rapid cuts in carbon pollution to slow the warming, as well as investment in more research in West Antarctica to get a clearer understanding of what is going on. Instead, Americans elected a president who thinks climate change is a hoax, who is hellbent on burning more fossil fuels, who installs the CEO of the world's largest oil company as secretary of state, who wants to slash climate-science funding and instead spend nearly $70 billion to build a wall at the Mexican border and another $54 billion to beef up the military.</p>
<p>After Kerry returned from Antarctica, we discussed the Trump administration's attacks on climate science, including the decision to strip every mention of climate change from the White House website. "Such a stunningly Luddite moment," Kerry says. "It just underscores the raw, shocking absence of fact from their process. As if to strip the website of something as important as that is somehow going to solve the problem or make it go away is so laughable; it's hard to find the words for it, really. I find that such a huge symbol of a new know-nothingism that is really dangerous for our country, and the world."</p>
<p>In the end, no one can say exactly how much longer the West Antarctica glaciers will remain stable. "We just don't know what the upper boundary is for how fast this can happen," Alley says, sounding a bit spooked. "We are dealing with an event that no human has ever witnessed before. We have no analogue for this." But it is clear that thanks to our 200-year-long fossil-fuel binge, the collapse of West Antarctica is already underway, and every Miami Beach condo owner and Bangladeshi farmer is living at the mercy of ice physics right now. Alley himself would never put it this way, but in West Antarctica, scientists have discovered the engine of catastrophe.</p>[/html]

This is probably the most damning aspect of Dump and his administration.  Even more so than the Russian fiasco.  At a time when we really need to be taking climate science more seriously.  It's even worse than Raygun removing the solar hot water heaters from the White House...although that was fucking retarded. 

El Dumpo is such a steaming smelly dump pile.  Merika has never been more of a joke!  What more proof do you need for collapse? 
Title: Re: Doomsday Glacier
Post by: RE on May 19, 2017, 08:01:27 AM
What more proof do you need for collapse?

No more proof is necessary.  Go UPHILL Young Man! Go NORTH! North to Alaska!

http://www.youtube.com/v/JSt0NEESrUA

RE
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: K-Dog on May 19, 2017, 08:25:14 AM
I doubt this is a black swan.  Catastrophic ice retreat down the 'bowl' is not going to be anything like a ball rolling downhill.  In the greater scheme, sea level will rise, ice will melt, and the Antarctic submerged ice reservoir will shrink in size.  The laws of thermodynamics will be observed.  Will Florida be submerged.  Yes it will but it will take years to happen.  Many years.

The graphic in the RS is scary but it distorts the horizontal scale by perhaps 1000:1.  A thousand foot drop over thousands of miles is not a 'bowl'.  The graphic suggests inappropriate physics.  Ice debris would choke off large vertical cliff collapse behind a zone of instability where slow crumbling would be the norm.  This debris would also cool any water doing undercutting.  Undercutting water would be cooled to ineffectiveness after it transitioned through miles of slush and Ice boulders.  A correct horizontal scale is important to get an accurate picture. 

Modeling this in a computer would be much better than doing science in the nude.

Quote
he first person to understand the risks that West Antarctica posed in a rapidly warming world was the eccentric Ohio State glaciologist John Mercer. Mercer, who grew up in a small town in England and was known for carrying out his scientific fieldwork in the nude, first visited Antarctica in the mid-1960s.

How much fieldwork did he do in Antarctica really?
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: RE on May 19, 2017, 08:49:46 AM
Personally, this does not concern me much at all.  Long before the ice sheets crash into the ocean, our economic and geopolitical problems will cause a shit load more havoc.

RE
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: K-Dog on May 19, 2017, 11:30:07 PM
Personally, this does not concern me much at all.  Long before the ice sheets crash into the ocean, our economic and geopolitical problems will cause a shit load more havoc.

RE

True, but this is what people who rape the planet worry about.  Out out damn spot!  A case of the guilts as the Bard would have put it.
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: azozeo on August 15, 2017, 01:27:14 PM
2017-08-13 - Ocean mysteriously suddenly recedes from beaches in Brazil and Uruguay:
http://strangesounds.org/2017/08/and-the-sea-disappeared-suddenly-ocean-water-mysteriously-recedes-from-various-beaches-in-brazil-and-uruguay.html (http://strangesounds.org/2017/08/and-the-sea-disappeared-suddenly-ocean-water-mysteriously-recedes-from-various-beaches-in-brazil-and-uruguay.html)

Note: Extremely bizarre! Subsurface landslide in the area? Massive methane eruptions in the ocean?
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: azozeo on August 15, 2017, 01:33:05 PM
2017-08-13 - Study explains rapidly rising sea level on U.S. East Coast – 'We need to understand that the ocean is coming':
http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2017/08/study-explains-rapidly-rising-sea-level.html (http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2017/08/study-explains-rapidly-rising-sea-level.html)
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: azozeo on August 15, 2017, 06:51:44 PM




http://www.youtube.com/v/geeO-mM8APY&fs=1
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: Surly1 on August 16, 2017, 01:40:52 AM
2017-08-13 - Ocean mysteriously suddenly recedes from beaches in Brazil and Uruguay:
http://strangesounds.org/2017/08/and-the-sea-disappeared-suddenly-ocean-water-mysteriously-recedes-from-various-beaches-in-brazil-and-uruguay.html (http://strangesounds.org/2017/08/and-the-sea-disappeared-suddenly-ocean-water-mysteriously-recedes-from-various-beaches-in-brazil-and-uruguay.html)

Note: Extremely bizarre! Subsurface landslide in the area? Massive methane eruptions in the ocean?

Me, I would GTFO as fast as my legs or vehicle would carry me.
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: azozeo on August 16, 2017, 03:36:57 AM
2017-08-13 - Ocean mysteriously suddenly recedes from beaches in Brazil and Uruguay:
http://strangesounds.org/2017/08/and-the-sea-disappeared-suddenly-ocean-water-mysteriously-recedes-from-various-beaches-in-brazil-and-uruguay.html (http://strangesounds.org/2017/08/and-the-sea-disappeared-suddenly-ocean-water-mysteriously-recedes-from-various-beaches-in-brazil-and-uruguay.html)

Note: Extremely bizarre! Subsurface landslide in the area? Massive methane eruptions in the ocean?

Me, I would GTFO as fast as my legs or vehicle would carry me.


About a year ago I had a friend take his wife down to Mexico to a resort town on the coast, not sure if it was the
Pacific or the Sea of Cortez. Anyway, they were there for about a week & Danny said to me, that the whole time they were
there the tide never receded or encroached  :icon_scratch:....

With these waters receding in Brazil, they had massive tidal surges on the African coast about the same time.
I guess the planet must have a pretty good wobble going on currently or the cosmic energies are messing
with the tidal surges.

On a side note I just heard in the most current Clif High interview that those strange anomalies coming from
Antarctica (sound wave patterns) are the cause of the tidal changes. Interesting time to be topside !
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: azozeo on August 16, 2017, 09:03:59 AM
2017-08-14 - Rising sea level already driving people from their homes around the world:
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/11/climate-change-refugees-grapple-with-effects-of-rising-seas.html (http://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/11/climate-change-refugees-grapple-with-effects-of-rising-seas.html)

Quote: "Increasingly, the phenomenon of rising sea levels has amplified fears over climate refugees — individuals forced to leave their homes due to changing environmental conditions in their respective homelands. Climate watchers estimate that at least 26 million people around the world have already been displaced, and that figure could balloon to 150 million by 2050, according to the Worldwatch Institute."
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: azozeo on August 16, 2017, 09:04:40 AM
2017-08-14 - Rising sea level causing serious problems in Egypt:
http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/08/13/542645647/in-egypt-a-rising-sea-and-growing-worries-about-climate-changes-effects (http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/08/13/542645647/in-egypt-a-rising-sea-and-growing-worries-about-climate-changes-effects)
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: azozeo on August 16, 2017, 12:59:02 PM
http://www.youtube.com/v/Kh5VRIgWuiM&fs=1
Title: The Oceans are Coming-2017 The year of Rogue Tsunami's
Post by: azozeo on August 20, 2017, 01:34:02 PM
2017-08-18 - 2017, the year of 'rogue tsunamis':
http://robinwestenra.blogspot.com/2017/08/tsunamis-in-strange-places.html (http://robinwestenra.blogspot.com/2017/08/tsunamis-in-strange-places.html)
Title: The Oceans are Coming-Sea Level Rise has Accelerated
Post by: azozeo on August 28, 2017, 11:08:12 AM
2017-08-26 - Sea level rise has accelerated:
http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2017/08/tamino-sea-level-rise-has-accelerated.html (http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2017/08/tamino-sea-level-rise-has-accelerated.html)
Title: Impossible! - Hurricane IRMA drains Pensacola Bay, FL - Visible on Google Earth
Post by: azozeo on September 14, 2017, 04:45:37 PM
http://www.youtube.com/v/X04fMkRRD9U&fs=1
Title: Re: The Oceans are going ?
Post by: azozeo on September 23, 2017, 06:35:13 PM
http://strangesounds.org/2017/09/water-disappears-from-beaches-in-guaratuba-brazil-video-pictures-is-brazil-bracing-for-a-huge-storm.html (http://strangesounds.org/2017/09/water-disappears-from-beaches-in-guaratuba-brazil-video-pictures-is-brazil-bracing-for-a-huge-storm.html)

Title: These Cities May Be At Risk Of Drowning Due To Global Warming, According To NASA
Post by: RE on November 16, 2017, 12:35:27 PM
http://www.ibtimes.com/these-cities-may-be-risk-drowning-due-global-warming-according-nasa-2615631 (http://www.ibtimes.com/these-cities-may-be-risk-drowning-due-global-warming-according-nasa-2615631)

These Cities May Be At Risk Of Drowning Due To Global Warming, According To NASA
By Hannah Preston On 11/16/17 AT 11:47 AM

(http://s1.ibtimes.com/sites/www.ibtimes.com/files/styles/embed/public/2017/11/16/gettyimages-175634038.jpg)
Cities like Miami, New York and other vulnerable spots around the world strategize about how to respond to climate change Photo: Getty

While the effects of melting glaciers on Earth's sea levels have been widely cited, NASA concluded Wednesday that areas around the globe will all be affected differently due to varying climates and conditions. If all of Earth's glaciers melted, sea levels will reportedly rise around 70 meters, but coastal cities may be in deeper waters, according to the NASA research.

Eric Larour, Erik Ivins and Surendra Adhikari of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory created a tool which compared nearly 300 coastal cities around the globe and concluded how the effects of certain glaciers will affect surrounding sea levels. The primary glaciers on NASA's radar are located near Greenland and Antartica -which hold the majority of Earth's freshwater.

NASA included cities such as Los Angeles, New York, London and Hong Kong within their research and each city showed various effects by different glaciers at different levels. The glaciers studied were Petermann Glacier, Helheim Glacier, North-East Greenland Ice Stream and Jakobshavn Glacier.

New York, for example, will experience more change as a result of the North-East Greenland Ice Stream than any of the other glaciers studied. A 2.83-inch difference in sea level surrounding New York could occur over the 200-year period, the study found. The city likely to be most affected by rising sea levels was Rio de Janeiro with an expected 5.1-inch increase.

Sydney, meanwhile, may be "strongly affected" by diminishing glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Though the rise of sea levels is a relevant issue, melting glaciers could also result in a decrease of sea levels. The city that would likely see the greatest impact from decreasing sea levels was Ellesmere, a small town in England. Ellesmere could experience a 37.2-inch decrease of surrounding sea levels if the Petermann Glacier collapsed.

With this new study, scientists are able to see in greater detail the effects of global warming. This particular study, however, did not take into account other factors that could affect sea levels. Nonetheless, this new research provided new methods of sea level projections.

“The authors of this study have developed a tool to determine the sensitivity of sea level rise at specific coastal sites to melting from different sectors of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets,” said Natalya Gomez, a geoscientist at McGill University in Canada who studies sea level rise, in a Washington Post report Wednesday. “This tool will help to provide coastal planners with improved sea level projections as models and measurements of ice loss are refined.”

In August 2016, Earth & Space Science News offered extensive research that large coastal cities sink faster than oceans can rise.
Title: Sea level rise may be twice earlier estimates, dooming coastal cities
Post by: RE on December 14, 2017, 12:15:31 AM
http://mashable.com/2017/12/13/sea-level-rise-could-be-double-previous-estimates-climate-change-study/#n7Q2wEMeCSqC (http://mashable.com/2017/12/13/sea-level-rise-could-be-double-previous-estimates-climate-change-study/#n7Q2wEMeCSqC)

Sea level rise may be twice earlier estimates, dooming coastal cities

(https://i.amz.mshcdn.com/a3_vlpFKo-36rVYmBv2W_lcXy78=/950x534/filters:quality(90)/https%3A%2F%2Fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fuploads%2Fcard%2Fimage%2F675799%2Fa5ce446f-163e-4e43-a326-a85fc7ad6917.jpg)
A calving glacier is seen from NASA's Operation IceBridge research aircraft.
Image: Mario tama/Getty Images

2016%2f09%2f15%2f9c%2fhttpsd2mhye01h4nj2n.cloudfront.netmediazgkymde1lzaz.949e4By Andrew Freedman
6 hours ago

The amount of sea level rise that many of us will experience in our lifetimes may be more than double what was previously anticipated, unless we sharply curtail greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study that factors in emerging, unsettling research on the tenuous stability of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Importantly, the study highlights that cuts we could still make to greenhouse gas emissions during the next several years would significantly reduce the possibility of a sea level rise calamity after 2050.

Published Wednesday in the open access journal Earth's Future, the study is the first to pair recently discovered mechanisms that would lead to the sudden collapse of parts of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, such as the disintegration of floating ice shelves and mechanical failure of tall ice cliffs facing the sea. The study also goes a step further by showing how the new projections could play out city by city around the world.

SEE ALSO: Emmanuel Macron lures top U.S. climate scientists fleeing from Trump research cuts

Researchers from several institutions, including Rutgers University, Princeton, Harvard, and the nonprofit research group Climate Central found that sea level rise predictions that incorporate a faster — even sudden — disintegration of huge parts of the Antarctic Ice Sheet would yield far more dire projections.

This is especially the case when compared to the consensus put forward by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2014.

(https://i.amz.mshcdn.com/EnRICSaJI9yyWNhJRzPLw_Td4ec=/fit-in/1200x9600/https%3A%2F%2Fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fuploads%2Fcard%2Fimage%2F675781%2Fc29bdf57-65fd-4494-baf5-62105e42d20f.jpg)
Median sea level rise projections including the newest results that incorporate new findings on Antarctica.
Image: climate central

The IPCC did not incorporate the possibility that the Antarctic Ice Sheet could become unstable as air and sea temperatures warm, and essentially crumble into the sea, in rapid succession. 
More than 4 feet of sea level rise

Specifically, the new study finds a median sea level rise projection of 4 feet and 9 inches during the 21st Century if greenhouse gas emissions remain on their current high trajectory.

Or, when expressed as a range, the study shows that a high emissions scenario that takes new Antarctic melt mechanisms into account would yield between 3 and 8 feet of global average sea level rise by the year 2100. This contrasts with the projection that does not include the rapid Antarctic melt mechanisms, which shows just 1.6 to 3.9 feet of sea level rise through 2100.

The new study paints a far more alarming picture compared to what the IPCC found, which was a median projection of two feet and five inches of sea level rise by 2100 under a high emissions scenario. Most sea level rise predictions since that report was published have indicated that figure was too low, however.

The study shows that global average sea level is projected to increase by one foot by the year 2050, and several more feet by the year 2100, depending on the significance of any cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. If the temperature targets in the Paris Climate Agreement are met — which is a big if at the moment — then we're unlikely to trigger a rapid Antarctic meltdown, the study found.

Prior sea level rise projections have not included the recently discovered mechanism of marine ice-cliff instability in Antarctica. Instead, those projections relied on other assumptions of how significantly the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets might melt during the course of the 21st Century. Nor have they included all of the ways that floating ice shelves might disintegrate rapidly, either, weakening inland ice.

Sea level rise projection for Miami in 2100, factoring in sharp emissions cuts and new Antarctic research findings.

Sea level rise projection for Miami in 2100, factoring in sharp emissions cuts and new Antarctic research findings.

Image: climate central

Sea level rise projection for Miami in 2100, factoring in high emissions and new Antarctic research findings.

Sea level rise projection for Miami in 2100, factoring in high emissions and new Antarctic research findings.

Image: climate central

Two of the authors of the new paper, Rob DeConto of the University of Massachusetts and David Pollard of Pennsylvania State University, have published studies raising unsettling questions about the stability of Antarctic ice.

In an interview at the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting in New Orleans, coauthors Robert Kopp and DeConto emphasized that our understanding of the physics of Antarctic ice melt mean that there is a large amount of uncertainty regarding sea level rise projections for post-2050, so large and complex, in fact, that it's referred to as "deep uncertainty."
Ice cliffs and shelves

One of these mechanisms involves ice shelves that hold back large quantities of land-based ice, but that are vulnerable to melting from relatively warm water below and fracturing from melt ponds that can form during the summer on the surface of the ice.

Such melt ponds appeared en masse shortly before the collapse of the Larsen B Ice Shelf in 2002.

“The meltwater can move around, which can put different stresses onto the ice shelf, and the meltwater itself can get into crevasses in the ice shelves, and that meltwater getting into crevasses can make the crevasses go deeper and deeper and deeper," DeConto said. "Eventually they’ll penetrate so much of the ice shelf that it won’t be able to hold itself together and it’ll break up.”

“In a future, warmer world we’ll start to see summers where there’s days, weeks, months where there’s persistent meltwater and even rain falling on the ice shelf surfaces and we’ll start to see ponding,” DeConto said. “You could have these ice shelves break up really suddenly… We’ve seen these happen in the past.”

Close look at the Thwaites Ice Shelf edge as seen from a NASA aircraft in Oct. 2012.

Close look at the Thwaites Ice Shelf edge as seen from a NASA aircraft in Oct. 2012.

Image: nasa

When floating ice shelves shrink or even disappear, water can penetrate further inland, especially in areas like the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is shaped like a bowl and situated below sea level, Kopp said.

The other mechanism concerns the collapse of massive ice cliffs that exist around Antarctica, where huge glaciers end abruptly in the sea. These cliffs can only grow to certain heights before they're inherently unstable, DeConto said. This mechanism is known as marine ice-cliff instability.

“Ice is only so strong, we know something about the strength of ice, if a cliff is tall enough, just it’s own weight will create stresses that overcome the strength of the ice and it will fail at the edge, it will break,” DeConto said. 

“We realized there are lots of places around the Antarctic… where if you lose ice shelves you’re going to have ice cliffs tall enough that they would start to break up mechanically, mechanical failure of these ice cliffs," he said.

While there is considerable debate about the new Antarctic findings, researchers have found that it more closely matches historical data of past melt events, DeConto said, which lends it some street cred. The deep uncertainty regarding sea level rise projections post-2050 means that the specific figures in this study should not be taken as precise forecasts.

The new study combines DeConto and Pollard's findings with sea level rise projections other researchers published in 2014, which allows for detailed sea level rise mapping scenarios of what the projections would look like if they become reality.
153 million people

The study calculates that, absent protections like sea walls and other flood mitigation measures, water could permanently inundate land that is currently home to 153 million people. In other words, the number of people that lives on land that could be underwater by the year 2100 equals nearly half the U.S. population, according to Climate Central. 

It's likely, however, that we may not know how much sea level rise we are in for until around midcentury, according to the new research. And by that point, greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels will already have locked us into such amounts, making emissions reductions in the face of uncertainty even more vital today.

Because of this, Climate Central created a series of graphics that illustrate the new projections under low and high greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. A high emissions future looks, well, rather wet and potentially even unsurvivable for many coastal cities.

"The takeaway is that our current understanding does not constrain sea level rise rates after 2050 or so," said coauthor Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist at Princeton University, in an email.

"A significant chunk of the 3 to 4 meters of sea level equivalent in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could be in play during that period and beyond (and some in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet) and we simply don’t know how much and how fast, but very high rates are plausible, potentially doubling or even tripling global and local rates formerly estimated by IPCC, and radically shortening flood return intervals."

"The good news is that at this point, we have a pretty good fix on what will happen through 2050," Oppenheimer said. "That means the time to implement the first phase of adaptation is NOW - we have a credible sea level range for that period. But we need to implement resilience flexibly while we start planning for the period beyond 2050 because projections are unlikely to narrow for the later period for a long time."

In other words, as with so many climate change impacts, when it comes to sea level rise, it's up to us to determine how severe we want this problem to get before we do something about it.

Editor's note: This story was updated to correct an error in the headline regarding the current population that would be affected by 8 feet of sea level rise. The original figure of 153 million was too low.
WATCH: NASA timelapse shows just how quickly our Arctic sea ice is disappearing
Topics: Antarctica, climate-environment, Climate, ice-cliff, ice shelf, Science, sea level rise, west antarctic ice sheet
Title: An Immediate Threat: Norfolk Naval Base Drowning
Post by: RE on January 18, 2018, 03:00:35 AM
Video and pics at the link.

RE

http://features.weather.com/us-climate-change/virginia/ (http://features.weather.com/us-climate-change/virginia/)

An Immediate Threat
Written by Nicholas Kusnetz | Video Produced by Kevin Hayes
Naval Station Norfolk — home to America’s Atlantic Fleet — is under threat by rising seas and sinking land, but little is being done to hold back the tides.

(http://features.weather.com/us-climate-change/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/virginia_water_levels.svg)

Jointly reported by The Weather Channel and InsideClimate News
An Immediate Threat

The one-story brick firehouse at Naval Station Norfolk sits pinched between a tidal inlet and Willoughby Bay. The station houses the first responders to any emergency at the neighboring airfield. Yet when a big storm hits or the tides surge, the land surrounding it floods. Even on a sunny day this spring, with the tide out, the field beside the firehouse was filled with water.

“It’s not supposed to be a pond,” said Joe Bouchard, a retired captain and former base commander. “It is now.”

Naval Station Norfolk, home to the Atlantic Fleet, floods not just in heavy rains or during hurricanes. It floods when the sun is shining, too, if the tide is high or the winds are right. It floods all the time.
Former base commander Captain Joe Bouchard in Norfolk, Virginia. (Alex Chancey)

Former base commander Captain Joe Bouchard in Norfolk, Virginia. (Alex Chancey)

“It is an impediment to the base accomplishing its mission,” Bouchard said.

Once or twice a month, seawater subsumes steam lines that run along the bottom of the piers where the fleet’s ships are moored. It bubbles up through storm drains and closes roads. “It can actually shut down operations, or make it very difficult for people to get around,” Bouchard said.

Climate change poses an immediate threat to Norfolk. The seas are rising at twice the global average here, due to ocean currents and geology. Yet while the region is home to the densest collection of military facilities in the nation, the Pentagon has barely begun the hard work of adaptation. A detailed study in 2014 by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center identified about 1.5 feet of sea level rise as a “tipping point” for the base that would dramatically increase the risk of serious damage to infrastructure. But there is no plan to address this level of rise, which scientists expect within a few decades.

The city of Norfolk, which surrounds the base, is also under siege. Sections of the main road that leads to the base become impassable several times a year. Some residents check tide charts before leaving for work or parking their cars for the night.

“These guys are in a whole heap ton of trouble,” said retired Rear Adm. David Titley. Before he joined Penn State’s Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk, Titley served as the Navy’s oceanographer and navigator and led its Climate Change Task Force. “I think Norfolk is, in the long term, fighting for its existence, its very existence,” Titley said. “And this is the part of climate change that I don’t think most Americans have really come to grips with—that virtually every coastal city is in a fight for its existence. They just don’t know it yet.”

While Norfolk is particularly vulnerable, rising seas are threatening hundreds of other U.S. military bases around the world. Now, under a president who has said he will pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement and has begun reversing much of the federal government’s effort to address the problem, it seems doubtful the military will begin new adaptation work. The Pentagon, which wove consideration of climate change into nearly every aspect of its operations under President Barack Obama, declined to discuss the topic for this article.
‘Band-Aid Fixes’

Naval Station Norfolk, which sprawls over the northwestern corner of its namesake city, was established 100 years ago on the former site of the Jamestown Exposition, at a time when the water was a foot and a half lower. It’s the largest of 18 major military sites in the region, known as Hampton Roads, which is home to 1.7 million people.

The area is pancake flat, and much of the base sits on landfill that’s compressing, creating dips in the road here and there. Parts of the facility lie close to sea level, and many of the stormwater outfalls are covered by the tides.

Driving around the base in a white Lexus sedan on a bright day, Bouchard turned off the road to examine a flood gate on a tidal creek that bisects the facility. The gate is better than nothing, he said, but it creates a dilemma for engineers during storms: The choices are to shut it and let the creek swell because rainwater has nowhere to go, or leave it open and allow the sea to surge in. “We just did Band-Aid fixes,” he said, referring to the gate and other stopgap measures.

Since retiring from the Navy in 2003, Bouchard has become an evangelist for adapting the area to sea level rise. He worked on an intergovernmental pilot project initiated by the Obama administration, and served briefly in the Virginia state legislature.

As he toured the base, Bouchard could hardly finish a sentence without being distracted by another site prone to flooding—the road that leads to an electronics facility full of navigation equipment for the runway, ammunition depots tucked away in dense woods, parking lots along the piers. “This area floods,” he said, pointing across a roughly kept field abutting officers’ housing. “It floods right up to the houses.”

Sea levels are rising everywhere, but Norfolk has it worse. The land, pushed up by glaciers to the north thousands of years ago, is now sinking as much as an inch-and-a-half per decade. Scientists also believe that a slowing Gulf Stream is causing seas to rise faster along the Mid-Atlantic coast. High tides at the Sewell Point gauge, off the base, have been inching ever closer to the so-called “nuisance flood” level, where many roads and yards become inundated. The chart below shows the two may not be far off from meeting on a daily basis.
An Immediate Threat

A 2014 Defense Department study determined that “several critical systems” at the base were “likely to be incapacitated” if the sea rose 3 feet.  Even half that would represent a “tipping point” after which “the probabilities of damage to infrastructure and losses in mission performance increased dramatically.” A 2013 state-commissioned report projected 1.5 feet of rise within 20 to 50 years.

The Union of Concerned Scientists did its own analysis and determined that with sea level rise of just 1.4 feet, the base’s low-lying areas would flood about 280 times each year, spending 10 percent of the time underwater.

To avoid catastrophe, Bouchard said, the base needs a complete overhaul. “The list is endless,” he said. “The electrical systems, telecommunications, everything is vulnerable.”

In 2014, then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wrote in the department’s climate change adaptation roadmap that “we are beginning work to address a projected sea-level rise of 1.5 feet over the next 20 to 50 years” in Hampton Roads. But if you ask the Navy today, it seems there’s little work actually underway.
Caption: Captain Dean Vanderley on Naval Station Norfolk (Alex Chancey)

Caption: Captain Dean Vanderley on Naval Station Norfolk (Alex Chancey)

“There are no funded projects specifically addressing sea level rise,” said Capt. Dean VanderLey, head of engineering for much of the Navy’s East Coast facilities. VanderLey’s carefully crafted phrase reflects the fact that while the Navy has incorporated climate adaptation into planning and operations, it rarely initiates construction primarily for that purpose. Behind VanderLey as he spoke, for example, stretched one of four double-decker piers the Navy has built over the past 15 years. While the new design raised utility lines out of the flood zone, they were erected not to adapt to rising seas but because the old piers needed replacement. VanderLey’s team accounts for rising seas when it designs new buildings or refurbishes old ones, lifting generators out of basements, for example, or building new facilities above the floodplain. In January, the Navy published a climate change adaptation handbook to aid these efforts with detailed guidelines. The Navy is also in the midst of a Joint Land Use Study with surrounding communities examining how sea level rise may affect the area.

The question is whether this as-you-fix-it method is enough. Replacement of the piers halted after automatic spending cuts went into effect in 2013. While Donald Trump has proposed tens of billions of dollars in new military spending for next year, VanderLey said he doesn’t expect money for new piers, which cost $150 million to $200 million each, for at least a few years.
Caption: Ships docked at a double decker pier at Naval Station Norfolk (Alex Chancey)

Caption: Ships docked at a double decker pier at Naval Station Norfolk (Alex Chancey)

“They’re going to have to build seawalls all around the base,” Bouchard said. “They’re going to have to rebuild the drainage system. They’ll need to finish the piers.” He guessed that work would take a decade and cost at least $1 billion—finishing the piers alone could flirt with that figure. But VanderLey, Bouchard, and several other retired Navy officers told InsideClimate News there is no specific plan to begin this work. “They haven’t had any money to spend, so in terms of action, no, not much in the way of action,” Bouchard said.

Rear Adm. Ann Phillips, who retired in 2014 and has continued to work on the issue, said Navy officials are trying to keep a low profile. “I think they’re afraid they’ll be prohibited from doing something if they directly tie it to sea level rise or climate change,” she said. “They’re terrified it will be defunded.”
Flooded cars in Norfolk, Virginia, after heavy rains and high tides from the remnants of Hurricane Matthew in 2016. (Steve Earley/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)

Flooded cars in Norfolk, Virginia, after heavy rains and high tides from the remnants of Hurricane Matthew in 2016. (Steve Earley/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)

J. Pat Rios, who held VanderLey’s position until retiring last year, said the Navy is beginning to address the threat. “We’re doing the best we can with what we’ve got. We are assuming some risks, but we all take risks every day,” he said. While he thinks the risk is acceptable for now, it would only take one hurricane to change the calculus. “That storm could come some day in the future and could cause magnified damage, and then we would be filled with a lot of regrets with the risks that we took.”
About Face on Climate
Caption: President Donald Trump speaks during the commissioning ceremony of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford at Naval Station Norfolk on July, 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Donald Trump speaks during the commissioning ceremony of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford at Naval Station Norfolk on July, 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

In 2008, Congress asked the Defense Department to assess its climate risks, prompting the Pentagon to include the issue in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review. In the ensuing years, President Obama issued several executive orders and memoranda that further entrenched consideration of climate change into nearly every aspect of the department’s operations, from planning and deployment to facilities maintenance and construction.

As early as 2008, the military identified 30 facilities that were experiencing “increased risk” from sea level rise. More recently, it’s been assessing the threat to each of its more than 7,000 bases and other sites worldwide. Last year, the department’s environmental research program published a technical assessment that presented sea level rise scenarios for 1,774 military sites.

“We can no longer just assume that the basic infrastructure that supports our military and has for centuries is going to be there in the future,” said retired Vice Adm. Dennis McGinn, who was assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment under Obama.

Many of the department’s findings are classified, but the Union of Concerned Scientists last year assessed the impacts of sea level rise on 18 military facilities on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It considered two scenarios—one that assumed a rise of 3.7 feet by 2100 and another with 6.3 feet—and determined that in both cases all but two of the facilities would suffer more than 100 floods per year in low-lying areas by 2050. By 2100, in the 6.3-foot scenario, eight of the sites would see more than half their land flooded on a daily basis. Naval Air Station Key West, the worst hit, would be almost entirely submerged by high tides.

In March, Trump rescinded a series of Obama-era actions on climate, including at least two that applied to the Defense Department. While the action does not prohibit the department from continuing climate-related work, it removes many requirements. Congress may continue to press the military on sea level rise, however. A draft of the defense authorization bill includes language supporting the department’s work on the issue and requiring the secretary of defense to brief the House Armed Services Committee by March on the impacts of rising seas on military installations.

Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he thinks military leaders will continue working on climate change despite Trump’s resistance. But he said Congress hasn’t provided enough funding, and the current political climate won’t help. “It’s not going to be easy,” he said.
Protecting the City
Rose Fennessey and Sarah Berry walk along a flooded road in Norfolk, Virginia, July 10, 2014, after a heavy rainstorm passed through the area. (AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, Bill Tiernan)

Rose Fennessey and Sarah Berry walk along a flooded road in Norfolk, Virginia, July 10, 2014, after a heavy rainstorm passed through the area. (AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, Bill Tiernan)

Even if the Norfolk base got all the money it needed, and hoisted everything out of the floodplain, it would be worthless if the surrounding cities weren’t protected too. Just to the  south, on the far side of the Lafayette River, a tiny corner of Norfolk’s Larchmont-Edgewater neighborhood shows how difficult that will be. The area is home to many military families and is bisected by Hampton Boulevard, the main route between downtown and the naval station.

Beginning in 2010, the city gave in to the relentless creep of the water by converting a tiny park at the end of a finger-shaped inlet into a wetland. The project also raised a stretch of road that runs along the park. All told, the work cost $1.25 million. It worked, and on a drizzly May morning with a full-moon high tide, the new road was clear.

But the elevated section is only five houses long. Where the road curves along the sides of the inlet, the river had spilled over its banks, reaching past the street and up to the front lawn of a small brick house. Dark green wetland plants sprouted in the lawn. Just to the right, a nearly identical home sat jacked up on cinderblocks, the main floor at eye level, raised three feet above the base flood elevation, a requirement for any new construction.

Along its 144 miles of shoreline, Norfolk has to raise homes and roads, revamp drainage systems, build seawalls and replace concrete bulkheads with living shorelines and earthen berms. And these are not projects for later in the century.

“It’s a now problem,” said Skip Stiles, who runs a nonprofit called Wetlands Watch and is a leading advocate of adaptation in the region.

Norfolk is trying to embrace its extreme vulnerability as an opportunity, to become “the Silicon Valley of sea level rise,” said George Homewood, its planning director, whose business card is stamped with the city’s mermaid mascot. Norfolk received $120 million in federal funding last year to reshape another vulnerable neighborhood by elevating roads and erecting berms and floodwalls.

The city’s plans are laid out in “Vision 2100,” a document that describes how Norfolk can adapt over the next century. It divides the city into four zones, with a “red zone” of high risk and high value—including all of downtown and the naval base—where expensive fixes like seawalls are needed. (Part of downtown is already protected by a barrier erected after a storm flooded the area in 1962.) Much of the city’s shoreline, including Larchmont-Edgewater, falls in a “yellow zone,” where Norfolk cannot afford such expensive projects and will instead hope for a mix of innovation, private funding and, ultimately, planned abandonment.

The city says a rise of 2.6 feet would flood about 5 percent of its land on a daily basis and place nearly half of Norfolk in a high-risk flood zone. Most projections say such a rise will come some time in the second half of this century. And it won’t stop there. “The numbers we’re playing with are 3 meters in 100 years,” Homewood said.

No one has ventured realistic estimates for costs, but everyone seems to agree there won’t be enough money to protect everything. “How much money as a country are we going to put into Norfolk, Virginia? Is it $1 billion? Is it $10 billion? Is it $50 billion?” asked Titley, the retired admiral. “Over the next century or so, we’re talking at least in the tens of billions and probably in the hundreds of billions to protect parts of Hampton Roads.”

The 2013 state-sponsored study, which projected 1.5 feet of sea level rise within 20 to 50 years, said it takes two to three decades to plan and implement adaptation strategies. “We’re rapidly approaching the go/no-go point,” Stiles said. He pointed to a bridge in Virginia Beach that was first proposed in 2005 and is slated for completion next year. “That’s 13 years for a four-lane bridge. So if we don’t start pretty soon thinking about adding additional margins of safety, the ribbon cutting on the decisions we’re making today will be done in 15 or 20 years and the water will be X feet higher.”

At high tide, Stiles drove to the Hague, a crescent-shaped inlet where the Elizabeth River enters one of Norfolk’s historic neighborhoods. The Army Corps of Engineers is considering installing a tide gate on the inlet, at a cost of $70 to $90 million. Stiles stopped in the parking lot of an apartment building at the edge of the water and got out to look towards the Chrysler Museum, a grand limestone construction at one end of the inlet.

The Hague was spilling over its banks, covering the entire road ahead. “They’ll build this up,” he said, musing about what the area might look like in a few decades. “They’ll build a wall, they’ll put pumps in, they’ll protect it. But 80 years? That’s the head-scratcher. Because if in 80 years we get three feet of water …” Three feet would have put Stiles thigh-deep. “It’s hard to imagine a lot of this stuff still being here.”
The view from the Norfolk waterfront. (Alex Chancey)

The view from the Norfolk waterfront. (Alex Chancey)
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: Surly1 on January 18, 2018, 04:37:19 AM
Excellent article. As you might imagine, the issues are quite familiar, as are many of the players. Joe Bouchard is a serious hitter, and for a time worked for the same company I work for. He was a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates who got bounced in 2009.

Subsidence plus sea level rise, coupled with an administration famously opposed to even acknowledging that climate change is a thing, is what Norfolk lives with every day.

Quote
The city’s plans are laid out in “Vision 2100,” a document that describes how Norfolk can adapt over the next century. It divides the city into four zones, with a “red zone” of high risk and high value—including all of downtown and the naval base—where expensive fixes like seawalls are needed. (Part of downtown is already protected by a barrier erected after a storm flooded the area in 1962.) Much of the city’s shoreline, including Larchmont-Edgewater, falls in a “yellow zone,” where Norfolk cannot afford such expensive projects and will instead hope for a mix of innovation, private funding and, ultimately, planned abandonment.

As you many remember, we live in Larchmont and are thus well and truly fucked long term.

What the pols are going to have to deal with is what the Navy already knows: if you don't want to pay for mitigation, want until you foot the bill for replacement.

(https://i2.wp.com/features.weather.com/us-climate-change/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Virginia_I.jpg?w=1200)

This photo was taken in front of my house. Note that the caption describes the image as taken during a heavy rainstorm. In the interim, the city has reworked the storm drains, and this intersection which famously floods as soon as clouds gather drains somewhat better now. Which is not to say we don't flood; we flood all the time, and with increasing frequency.
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: RE on January 18, 2018, 07:09:33 AM
As you many remember, we live in Larchmont and are thus well and truly fucked long term.

I see two choices possible:

1- Sell out now while you can still get a decent price from the next greatest fool.  Be sure to have the real estate agent show the house on a dry day.

2- Raise the house up on stilts and buy a kayak.

RE
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: azozeo on January 18, 2018, 03:49:09 PM
As you many remember, we live in Larchmont and are thus well and truly fucked long term.

I see two choices possible:

1- Sell out now while you can still get a decent price from the next greatest fool.  Be sure to have the real estate agent show the house on a dry day.

2- Raise the house up on stilts and buy a kayak.

RE


The great SLOSH cometh, retreat to higher ground amigo....
Title: 🌊 On the Chesapeake, A Precarious Future of Rising Seas and High Tides
Post by: RE on January 23, 2018, 01:10:31 AM
Great Video!

RE

http://e360.yale.edu/features/on-the-chesapeake-a-precarious-future-of-rising-seas-and-high-tides (http://e360.yale.edu/features/on-the-chesapeake-a-precarious-future-of-rising-seas-and-high-tides)

On the Chesapeake, A Precarious Future of Rising Seas and High Tides

(http://e360.yale.edu/assets/site/_800xAUTO_stretch_center-center/HarpChesapeake_DWH1708041831_web.jpg)
Mike Draper raised his house in southern Dorchester County seven feet to protect it from rising waters.  Photo by Dave Harp

Maryland’s Dorchester County is ground zero for climate change on Chesapeake Bay, as rising seas claim more and more land. An e360 video explores the quiet beauty of this liquid landscape and how high tides and erosion are putting the bay’s rural communities at risk.

January 22, 2018

Video
https://vimeo.com/251846259 (https://vimeo.com/251846259)

I’m making a film in the Chesapeake Bay landscapes of my boyhood, posing for a close-up with ball and glove where 60 years ago I shagged flies out front of my Dad’s fishing cabin. The camera backs away and I’m ass-deep in salt water — centerfield, this used to be. The tall piney woods around the long-gone cabin, thick enough I worried then about getting lost, are skeletal now, falling into the water.

Cinematographer Dave Harp and I are longtime collaborators on Chesapeake projects and knew what we’d find when we began working on this film. The great estuary’s 11,000 miles of tidal shoreline have been eroding for centuries as wind and wave and ice take their toll. But now there’s a new ballgame. Emerging climate science has documented an ominous acceleration of the sea level rise that gradually formed the Chesapeake over thousands of years. The latest projections for the Chesapeake region are two feet or more of sea level rise by mid-century, and as much as six feet by century’s end. That’s a troubling combination of higher water and sinking land around the bay.

Dave and I have focused our cameras on my old stomping grounds, Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, a place where the future is well underway. “Water moves us” is the county’s tourism slogan, both apt and ironic. It’s been called “Maryland’s Everglades” — a wonderland of water and wetlands, tidal creeks and wooded swamps and islands,  nurturing an abundance of seafood and wildlife, and home to historic fishing communities and the internationally-known Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. With its hundreds of thousands of acres of land, Dorchester ranks fourth largest among Maryland’s 23 counties; but it will shrink to 14th by 2100 as nearly half the county turns to open water.

To most people, the word “tide” has only vague import — high and low, flooding and ebbing. But “tide” in Dorchester is rich with meaning: school bus schedules and shopping trips revolve around it; emergency responders reposition ambulances; and property owners truck in soil on which to park their cars, grow vegetable gardens, and install septic tanks.

In the southern portions of the county you can easier come by a bushel of crabs than a wheelbarrow load of dirt, observed Mike Draper, a recent homebuyer near the tiny settlement of Crocheron. We filmed as he jacked his house 7 feet in the air and built a low dike around the yard, while his son, Dan, prepared to fish tasty blue crabs from the tidal ditch along their road frontage.

But while you can raise a house if you’ve got the money (it cost Draper about $38,000 including the new foundation), you can’t raise the long, lonely marsh roadways serving residents throughout the lower-lying half of Dorchester. At least you can’t raise them easily. Dorchester has roads where the pavement is up to 5 feet thick—layer after layer applied, a couple inches at a time, as the road slowly sinks.
Homes in Mantoloking, New Jersey, off of Barnegat Bay, damaged by Sandy in 2012.
ALSO ON YALE E360

How rising seas and coastal storms are drowning the U.S. flood insurance program. Read more.

Even that may not be enough, says Ricky Travers, president of the Dorchester County Council. “I hope and pray in my time I don’t have to tell people they have to abandon their hard-earned property values, their communities, their heritage… because of rising water,” he says.

Dave and I, along with filmmaker Sandy Cannon Brown, began this film to educate people to the threats of climate change; but it became an education to us in how science might better communicate such complex information to local citizens.

We knew going in that phrases like global warming and sea level rise would never pass the lips of most of our interviewees. A woman whose family took my late wife and I fishing at 4 a.m. on our first date (she married me anyway), stubbornly refused to go on camera. Eventually she said what was on her mind: It would be too easy for us to “put me between two PhD’s and make me look like a fool.” Besides, “I just hate how the media puts fear in our hearts, talking about the land sinking and humans changing the climate.”

We talked some more, and she gave us an interview about how forests that once blocked her view of her church were gone now, about how the tide seemed to come over the land so much more frequently.

Many others just did not want to get into the notions of the seas rising; but yes, erosion did seem to have gotten worse than ever, some said. Many are watermen, the Chesapeake term for commercial fisherman. They believe what they see, focus on where to fish tomorrow, not on the century ahead.
Saltwater intrusion has killed wide swaths of forest in Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Dorchester County. 

Saltwater intrusion has killed wide swaths of forest in Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Dorchester County.   Photo by Dave Harp

“They’re not wrong about erosion. It’s happening very quickly, and it is very noticeable,” said Mike Scott, a geographer at Salisbury University, one county over from Dorchester. “Sea level rise at this point, unlike erosion, is happening very slowly — slight enough up to now that it’s actually very difficult to measure unless you’re taking very precise measurements.”

But the two processes are not separate, Scott explains. Rising seas make erosion worse, and the former is accelerating dramatically. According to Scott, the key is to acknowledge the threat and implement public policies that lead to an orderly retreat. “As we lose marshes, we’re going to need spaces on the landward edge for them to move into — we’re going to need to buy the development rights to such places from the people who own them now.” In places like Dorchester, he says, “if we can get hold of this in the next five to seven years, we have time to fix it that way. If we wait, then we will be in crisis mode.”
ALSO ON YALE E360

Why does Trump want to pull the plug on the cleanup of the Chesapeake? Read more.

The county recently revised its building codes to require higher elevations for new building in flood-prone areas. It’s just a start.

The biggest challenge, says Anna Sierra, Dorchester’s emergency services director, is that “people are so tied to their culture and history here — incredibly proud of it, and they should be. Dorchester is a story of survival and adaptability to storms and flooding since the 1600s.

“It’s very challenging to recognize… long-term, it may all be inundated.”

 — Tom Horton

About the Filmmakers:

Tom Horton has covered the environment for newspapers and magazines since 1972 and has authored several books on Chesapeake Bay. He currently writes for the monthly Bay Journal and teaches at Salisbury University in Maryland.

Sandy Cannon-Brown, founder and president of VideoTakes, Inc., is an award-winning environmental filmmaker and teacher. She was an associate director for American University’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking. She lives in St. Michaels, Maryland and focuses her independent films on issues affecting the Chesapeake Bay.

A lifelong Marylander, Dave Harp operates a corporate and editorial photography business in Cambridge, Maryland. He served as the staff photographer for the Hagerstown Morning Herald and was the photographer for The Baltimore Sun Magazine for nearly a decade.
Title: 🌊 The Slow-Motion Catastrophe Threatening 350-Year-Old Farms
Post by: RE on March 04, 2018, 03:18:21 AM
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/03/maryland-salt-farms/554663/?utm_source=atltw (https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/03/maryland-salt-farms/554663/?utm_source=atltw)

The Slow-Motion Catastrophe Threatening 350-Year-Old Farms

Sea-level rise might be causing salt to creep into the soil around America’s lower eastern shore.
A flooded field of corn sprouts
Low-lying cornfields near the Chesapeake Bay are inundated with saltwater. Kate Tully

(https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/mt/2018/03/IMG_4631/lead_960.jpg?1519947102)

    Virginia Gewin Mar 2, 2018 Science


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On the lower eastern shore of Maryland, the stately Almodington plantation overlooks the Manokin River as it drains into the Chesapeake Bay. First surveyed in 1663, the expansive farm sits a few miles from Princess Anne, a town named for the daughter of King George II.

For 350 years, this region’s rich, sandy soils and warm, moist climate have been ideal for growing fruits and vegetable. Tomato production supported 300 canneries in the area at its peak in the early 1900s. Today, however, Somerset County is the country’s sixth-largest poultry producer. The county’s roughly 60 row-crop farmers now grow corn and soybeans for chicken feed.

While the farms have adapted to meet shifting demand, it is the unseen changes happening underfoot that may have a long-lasting impact. In the fields beyond the picturesque manor, six-foot-tall salt-tolerant weeds thrive. Nearby, a decaying corn cob lies in bare, bleached soil pocked with patches of blue-green algae. Last year’s dismal corn yield was this field’s last: The leasing farmer abandoned a 30-acre parcel. It’s amazing corn plants grew at all. “The soil salt content is six to seven parts per thousand. Corn, typically, won’t grow once salt is more than 0.8 parts per thousand,” says Keryn Gedan, a wetland ecologist.

On a windy, overcast October day, Gedan, from George Washington University, and her colleague Kate Tully, an agroecologist from the University of Maryland, are checking salinity levels at several of their seven test sites in the region, farmlands only a few feet above sea level. “We knew this was an area where we were likely to see impacts,” says Gedan.

Sea-level rise near the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States, is twice as high as the global average. It’s not solely the result of atmospheric warming, melting ice, and expanding waters. The ground is also subsiding. This is happening for a variety of reasons, most notably aquifer withdrawals and the continued settling of land that had been pushed up by ice sheets to the north during the last Ice Age. “We are sinking and the water is rising,” says Michael Scott, a geographer at Salisbury University in Maryland.

The result of this slow-motion catastrophe is that saltwater is threatening America’s first colonial farms.

Salt is a notorious land degrader. On several occasions between 2,400 B.C. and 1,200 A.D., Mesopotamians fled once-productive agricultural regions when salt accumulated in the soil following excessive irrigation. Today, salt may be slithering onto the lower eastern shore’s farmlands by any number of routes—chronic flooding from an increasing number of high tides, saltwater intrusion into aquifers, and even wicking upward through the soil from shallow water tables.

We don’t know the true extent of the Chesapeake Bay area’s salt problem because state and federal agencies have just put resources toward investigations. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ most recent regional report on chloride levels in lower-eastern-shore aquifers was produced almost 30 years ago. The 1990 report predicted it would take 50 years for groundwater with a perceptibly salty taste to reach a future Princess Anne well—but this was based on projected pumping increases. Thirty years ago, climate change and sea-level rise were not on the radar. The area’s chief concern has been preventing agricultural runoff into the bay—a problem that will likely be made worse by salt.

With little existing ability to predict where salt will move, it will be difficult to adapt, much less preserve, farmland and the cultural heritage that goes with it. Gedan and Tully cobbled together funding to document the salt damage in the area. New funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help them expand their efforts. “The whole region is a window in the future,” says Gedan.

“We are not treating this like the crisis that it is,” Scott adds. “If we don’t start operating as a collective effort soon, suddenly the problems will get much more expensive.”

Not far from Almodington, Bob Fitzgerald farms land that has been in his family since 1666. His father, born in 1884, farmed this land with mules. Fitzgerald and his brother tromped through the nearby marsh as boys. Now, at 79, Fitzgerald says the marsh is rotten and the salt is seeping onto their soybean fields. The tide gate he installed helps, but high tides are getting higher and more frequent each year.

“It’s not a new phenomenon,” says Fitzgerald. “But it’s accelerated immensely in the last 15 years.” He has studied historical maps of the region extensively. He laments that he could write a book called The Lost Villages of Somerset County. Past the ghost forest of salt-affected trees, unoccupied homes dot the road from his house to nearby Deal Island, a community grappling with how to adapt to sea-level rise.

Fitzgerald’s observations match existing data, according to Sarah Wilkins, the former site coordinator for the Chesapeake Bay Sentinel Site of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Rates of sea-level rise have accelerated over time, she says, based on tide-gauge data that dates back more than 70 years in some areas of the bay.

Kevin Anderson, a fourth-generation farmer in Princess Anne, estimates he’s lost roughly 50 acres to salt damage in the last 20 years. With an operation that spans 4,000 acres and a successful seed-conditioning business, Anderson says he is in the fortunate position to expand his operation by leasing other land. Others aren’t so lucky. If he, like other farmers, were dependent solely on acreage he owns, he says salt damage would be one of his top concerns.

Anderson and Fitzgerald, like most residents in this area, are accustomed to dramatic environmental changes. And they are nothing if not resilient. More than 400 islands have disappeared into the Chesapeake Bay since the area was settled 400 years ago. Holland Island had more than 300 residents 150 years ago, says Fitzgerald. Now, it’s gone. “When the people moved to nearby Deal Island or Crisfield, they moved the entire houses, bricks and all.”

Anderson and Fitzgerald seem resigned to some losses. But those losses may exacerbate nutrient-pollution problems that have long plagued the bay. Many coastal farms are loaded with nitrogen and phosphorus, from a time when the enormous waste produced by chicken farms was often dumped in excess on agricultural fields. While that practice is no longer commonplace—and a new $1.4 million manure-to-energy plant now under construction will help dispose of the waste—saltwater intrusion could send those legacy nutrients into the bay.

“We expect large nutrient losses as coastal farms undergo saltwater intrusion,” Tully said at the Ecological Society of America conference in Portland, Oregon, in August. “If you want to extract nitrogen or phosphorus from the soil, you add saltwater.” And those legacy nutrients, she explains, will likely have an outsize effect on water quality because of their proximity to the bay.

Coastal farms are found on fingers of land that extend into the Chesapeake Bay. In between the fingers are a vast network of salty tidal rivers and creeks. The bay and its tidal tributaries boast 11,684 miles of shoreline. Yet, only 10 percent of the land drains well. Artificial drainage is widespread. At least two-thirds of the land area has been ditched, but the ditches are a mixed blessing, not only serving their intended purpose but also acting as a conduit for the saltwater to enter the fields.

“When you are only feet above sea level to begin with, it’s a fine line between draining freshwater off your land and allowing saltwater on land,” says Don Webster, a waterfowl-habitat specialist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in Cambridge. “So much of this farmland that has been influenced by salt is right on the front line of Chesapeake Bay—land that will be important to create buffers between the farm and the bay.”

And it’s not just the Chesapeake Bay area. “Sea-level rise is happening now and penetrating deep into the coastal interior of North Carolina,” Emily Bernhardt, a biogeochemist at Duke University, told the Portland ESA meeting. About 30 percent of her study area is agricultural land. “Much of the land vulnerable to sea-level rise—5,900 square kilometers of North Carolina’s coastal plain—is subject to saltwater intrusion.” The degree of vulnerability depends to a great extent on whether people continue to maintain or abandon the pumping and water-control structures that were built to allow agriculture.

In Maryland’s Somerset county, berms built decades ago to block tides from farmland have now failed in some areas. And landowners are taking steps to protect productive fields. Almodington’s owner, Kevin Barr, an avid waterfowl hunter, plans to move many cubic tons of earth to turn a 25-acre salt-damaged parcel into freshwater wetlands. “I’m interested in finding the right balance between agriculture and wildlife,” he says. “But I’m not dependent on the farm to pay my bills.”

Freshwater wetlands will prevent runoff from the crop fields from reaching the bay, but marshes, which help control floods and are crucial wildlife habitat, need real estate as well, and it’s unclear how well they will move upland. “When wetlands have nowhere to migrate, huge chunks of habitat will be lost as sea-level rise continues,” says Scott. “We are at one of these threshold times where we still have capability to address this at a price point that isn’t going to hurt a lot of people.”

In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established a total maximum daily load for all pollution into the Chesapeake Bay. The clean-up regimen has had modest success, yet farmers bristle at the prospect of additional regulations.

Agriculture has survived over three centuries in this area, but the farmable area is being steadily chipped away. Somerset County, home to 211,200 acres, has roughly 28,500 cropped acres. Around 4,000 acres of now-saturated soils have been put into agricultural retirement programs in recent decades.

Facing regulations or loss of land or both, farmers are finding that they must embrace two things: trust and data. The former is key in crafting a plan to adapt to changing conditions, says Michael Paolisso, an anthropologist at the University of Maryland who leads a project to bolster resilience in this inundated coastal community. But it’s also the most elusive. “In my experience, farmers aren’t as leery of climate change as much as they are the socioeconomic or political changes that come with it,” Paolisso says.

Scott Andres, a hydrogeologist at the Delaware Geological Survey, also feels that communication problems between the agricultural community and government agencies have been a hurdle. With property values in mind, many farmers opt not to share their concerns about salt with officials.

In the past couple of years, Michael Scott, of Salisbury University, has received calls from a handful of farmers in the region, asking for information on which land areas are likely to be impacted first by sea-level rise. They want any insights that can help them decide which lands to reasonably hold onto and which they’d be better off letting go. “I don’t have a lot of good answers. Most of the ones I have are fairly unpalatable—but we’re trying to help,” says Scott, who grew up in the area. Still, he laments, “the culture of the region feels under threat.”

Scientists might have better answers if they had better data to draw on, although Kevin Anderson, the Princess Anne farmer, cautions that how the data is used is equally important. “My grandfather taught agriculture and he told his students agriculture is as much an art as it is a science,” he says.

Models of sea-level rise are quite good, but saltwater intrusion is harder to piece together. It’s not just about the elevation of the land, it’s about the hydrology of the groundwater. For saltwater intrusion, we can see it on the landscape and test for it if we know where to look, but we’re not exactly sure how it all goes together, says Scott. “There’s a lot going on down there.”

To better understand the links between sea-level rise and the landward migration of saltwater, Andres recently received funding to track salinity shifts in both wells and streams. Kate Tully and Keryn Gedan plan to produce a map of salt levels in soils and hand-dug wells, soil types, hydrogeologic layers, and ditches—and then model where the salt will likely move.

Meanwhile, Jeff Allenby, the director of conservation technology at the Chesapeake Conservancy, a nonprofit based in Annapolis, Maryland, is piecing together one of the largest high-resolution land-cover data sets in the world. Updated as new satellite imagery becomes available, it will provide real-time ability to track sea-level rise, as well as identify areas of declining crop health and opportunities for marsh migration upland.

The key, Allenby stresses, will be to find a balance that keeps farmers farming while minimizing their impact on the environment. “The agricultural economy is critical to almost every county in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” he says. “Counties couldn’t survive without it.”
Title: Re: 🌊 The Slow-Motion Catastrophe Threatening 350-Year-Old Farms
Post by: Surly1 on March 04, 2018, 07:21:33 AM
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/03/maryland-salt-farms/554663/?utm_source=atltw (https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/03/maryland-salt-farms/554663/?utm_source=atltw)

The Slow-Motion Catastrophe Threatening 350-Year-Old Farms

//
Sea-level rise near the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States, is twice as high as the global average. It’s not solely the result of atmospheric warming, melting ice, and expanding waters. The ground is also subsiding. This is happening for a variety of reasons, most notably aquifer withdrawals and the continued settling of land that had been pushed up by ice sheets to the north during the last Ice Age. “We are sinking and the water is rising,” says Michael Scott, a geographer at Salisbury University in Maryland.

The result of this slow-motion catastrophe is that saltwater is threatening America’s first colonial farms.

//
And it’s not just the Chesapeake Bay area. “Sea-level rise is happening now and penetrating deep into the coastal interior of North Carolina,” Emily Bernhardt, a biogeochemist at Duke University, told the Portland ESA meeting. About 30 percent of her study area is agricultural land. “Much of the land vulnerable to sea-level rise—5,900 square kilometers of North Carolina’s coastal plain—is subject to saltwater intrusion.” The degree of vulnerability depends to a great extent on whether people continue to maintain or abandon the pumping and water-control structures that were built to allow agriculture.

This is a live issue for this entire region, as you probably know. Subsidence and sea-level rise.
Title: 🌊 Hampton Roads sea level rise is accelerating, report says
Post by: RE on March 13, 2018, 12:16:12 AM
Surly needs to invest in a Kayak.

RE

https://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/article_8c7de40e-261b-11e8-86b1-9f38ed9e53b8.html

Environment
Hampton Roads sea level rise is accelerating, report says

(https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/pilotonline.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/40/44006f03-08a6-55b4-8eb1-c4a3f4c6c4e4/59ff58fa4f036.image.jpg?resize=1200%2C755)

    By Dave Mayfield
    The Virginian-Pilot
    Mar 12, 2018 Updated 4 hrs ago

Dave Mayfield

Reporter

Dave Mayfield has written about business, the military and the Internet, led two reporting teams and served as a copy editor a couple of times during three decades at The Virginian-Pilot. He started covering the environment, his dream job, in 2015.

    dave.mayfield@pilotonline.com
Title: Rising seas: 'Florida is about to be wiped off the map'
Post by: Surly1 on July 28, 2018, 11:44:17 AM
Rising seas: 'Florida is about to be wiped off the map' (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/26/rising-seas-florida-climate-change-elizabeth-rush?CMP=share_btn_tw)

Sea level rises are not some distant threat; for many Americans they are very real. In an extract from her chilling new book, Rising, Elizabeth Rush details how the US coastline will be radically transformed in the coming years

Elizabeth Rush

Take the six million people who live in south Florida today and divide them into two groups: those who live less than six and a half feet above the current high tide line, and everybody else.

‘Take the six million people who live in south Florida today and divide them into two groups: those who live less than six and a half feet above the current high tide line, and everybody else.’ Photograph: Milkweed Editions


In 1890, just over six thousand people lived in the damp lowlands of south Florida. Since then the wetlands that covered half the state have been largely drained, strip malls have replaced Seminole camps, and the population has increased a thousandfold. Over roughly the same amount of time the number of black college degree holders in the United States also increased a thousandfold, as did the speed at which we fly, the combined carbon emissions of the Middle East, and the entire population of Thailand.

About 60 of the region’s more than 6 million residents have gathered in the Cox Science Building at the University of Miami on a sunny Saturday morning in 2016 to hear Harold Wanless, or Hal, chair of the geology department, speak about sea level rise. “Only 7% of the heat being trapped by greenhouse gases is stored in the atmosphere,” Hal begins. “Do you know where the other 93% lives?”

Sea level rise: Miami and Atlantic City fight to stay above water

A teenager, wrists lined in aquamarine beaded bracelets, rubs sleep from her eyes. Returns her head to its resting position in her palm. The man seated behind me roots around in his briefcase for a breakfast bar. No one raises a hand.

“In the ocean,” Hal continues. “That heat is expanding the ocean, which is contributing to sea level rise, and it is also, more importantly, creating the setting for something we really don’t want to have happen: rapid melt of ice.”

A woman wearing a sequined teal top opens her Five Star notebook and starts writing things down. The guy behind her shovels spoonfuls of passionfruit–flavored Chobani yogurt into his tiny mouth. Hal’s three sons are perched in the next row back. One has a ponytail, one is in a suit, and the third crosses and uncrosses his gray street sneakers. The one with the ponytail brought a water bottle; the other two sip Starbucks. And behind the rows and rows of sparsely occupied seats, at the very back of the amphitheater, an older woman with a gold brocade bear on her top paces back and forth.

A real estate developer interrupts Hal to ask: “Is someone recording this?”

“Yes.” The cameraman coughs. “Besides,” Hal adds, “I say the same damn thing at least five times a week.” Hal, who is in his early seventies and has been studying sea level rise for over 40 years, pulls at his Burt Reynolds moustache, readjusts his taupe corduroy suit, and continues. On the screen above his head clips from a documentary on climate change show glacial tongues of ice the size of Manhattan tumbling into the sea. “The big story in Greenland and Antarctica is that the warming ocean is working its way in, deep under the ice sheets, causing the ice to collapse faster than anyone predicted, which in turn will cause sea levels to rise faster than anyone predicted.”

everglades
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‘Dig into geologic history and you discover this: when sea levels have risen in the past, they have usually not done so gradually, but rather in rapid surges.’ Photograph: Milkweed Editions

According to Marco Rubio, the junior senator from Florida, rising sea levels are uncertain, their connection to human activity tenuous. And yet the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expects roughly two feet of rise by century’s end. The United Nations predicts three feet. And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates an upper limit of six and a half feet.

Take the 6 million people who live in south Florida today and divide them into two groups: those who live less than six and a half feet above the current high tide line, and everybody else. The numbers slice nearly evenly. Heads or tails: call it in the air. If you live here, all you can do is hope that when you put down roots your choice was somehow prophetic.

But Hal says it doesn’t matter whether you live six feet above sea level or sixty-five, because he, like James Hansen, believes that all of these predictions are, to put it mildly, very, very low. “The rate of sea level rise is currently doubling every seven years, and if it were to continue in this manner, Ponzi scheme style, we would have 205 feet of sea level rise by 2095,” he says. “And while I don’t think we are going to get that much water by the end of the century, I do think we have to take seriously the possibility that we could have something like 15 feet by then.”

It’s a little after nine o’clock. Hal’s sons stop sipping their lattes and the oceanographic scientist behind me puts down his handful of M&M’s. If Hal Wanless is right, every single object I have seen over the past 72 hours – the periodic table of elements hanging above his left shoulder, the buffet currently loaded with refreshments, the smoothie stand at my seaside hotel, the beach umbrellas and oxygen bars, the Johnny Rockets and seashell shop, the lecture hall with its hundreds of mostly empty teal swivel chairs – will all be underwater in the not-so-distant future.

****

Elizabeth Rush.
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Elizabeth Rush. Photograph: Stephanie Ewens

One of the few stories I remember from the Bible vividly depicts the natural and social world in crisis. It is the apocalyptic narrative par excellence – Noah’s flood. When I look it up again, however, I am surprised to find that it does not start with a rainstorm or an ark, but earlier, with unprecedented population growth and God’s scorn. It begins: “When human beings began to increase in number on the earth.” I read this line and think about the 6,000 inhabitants of south Florida turning into 6 million in 120 short years. “The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become.” I think about the exponential increase in M&M’s, Chobani yogurt cups and grande lattes consumed over that same span of time. The dizzying supply chains, cheap labor and indestructible plastic. “So God said to Noah, ‘I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them.’” And then the rain began.

I do not believe in a vengeful God – if God exists at all – so I do not think of the flood as punishment for human sin. What interests me most is what happens to the story when I remove it from its religious framework: Noah’s flood is one of the most fully developed accounts of environmental change in ancient history. It tries to make sense of a cataclysmic earthbound event that happened long ago, before written language, before the domestication of horses, before the first Egyptian mummies and the rise of civilization in Crete. An event for which the teller clearly held humans responsible.

****

Dig into geologic history and you discover this: when sea levels have risen in the past, they have usually not done so gradually, but rather in rapid surges, jumping as much as 50 feet over a short three centuries. Scientists call these events “meltwater pulses” because the near-biblical rise in the height of the ocean is directly correlated to the melting of ice and the process of deglaciation, the very events featured in the documentary footage Hal has got running on a screen above his head.

He shows us a clip of the largest glacial calving event ever recorded. It starts with a chunk of ice the size of Miami’s tallest building tumbling, head over tail, off the tip of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Then the Southeast Financial Center goes, displaying its cool blue underbelly. It is a coltish thing, smooth and oddly muscular. The ground between the two turns to arctic ice dust and the ocean roils up. Next, chunks of ice the size of the Marquis Residences crash away; then the Wells Fargo Center falls, and with it goes 900 Biscayne Bay. Suddenly everything between the Brickell neighborhood and Park West is gone.

Rising Book Jacket

The clip begins again and I watch in awe as a section of the Jakobshavn Glacier half the size of all Miami falls into the sea.

“Greenland is currently calving chunks of ice so massive they produce earthquakes up to six and seven on the Richter scale,” Hal says as the city of ice breaks apart. “There was not much noticeable ice melt before the nineties. But now it accelerates every year, exceeding all predictions. It will likely cause a pulse of meltwater into the oceans.”

In medicine, a pulse is something regular – a predictable throb of blood through veins, produced by a beating heart. It is so reliable, so steady, so definite that lack of a pulse is sometimes considered synonymous with death. A healthy adult will have a resting heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute, every day, until they don’t. But a meltwater pulse is the opposite. It is an anomaly. The exception to the 15,000-year rule.

From 1900 to 2000 the glacier on the screen retreated inward eight miles. From 2001 to 2010 it pulled back nine more; over a single decade the Jakobshavn glacier lost more ice than it had during the previous century. And then there is this film clip, recorded over 70 minutes, in which the glacier retreats a full mile across a calving face three miles wide. “This is why I believe we are witnessing the beginning of the largest meltwater pulse in modern human history,” Hal says.

As the ice sheets above Hal’s head fall away and the snacks on the buffet disappear, topography is transformed from a backwater physical science into the single most important factor determining the longevity of the Sunshine State. The man seated next to me leans over. “If what he says is even half true,” he whispers, “Florida is about to be wiped off the map.”

Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: K-Dog on July 28, 2018, 03:12:56 PM
I'm 400 feet up but by the time Chesapeake bay goes under water The Pacific Ocean will be only a mile away.  It will also be warm.

(https://proxy.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fimages2.fanpop.com%2Fimages%2Fphotos%2F3900000%2FOffice-Space-office-space-3927597-640-480.jpg&f=1)

Surly, where can you move close that is at a higher elevation?  Avoid the rush.

Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: RE on July 28, 2018, 04:11:52 PM
Surly, where can you move close that is at a higher elevation?  Avoid the rush.

Blue Ridge Mountains neighborhood.  Lynchburg would seem like a decent small metro in western VA.

http://www.youtube.com/v/oN86d0CdgHQ

Mountains.  Rally BIG Mountains.  The Great Wall that God Built to protect the Independent Souls of the World.

OK, the Appalachians aren't that big, but it's still probably the best neighborhood in the mid-Atlantic states.

RE
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: Surly1 on July 29, 2018, 06:51:38 PM
Surly, where can you move close that is at a higher elevation?  Avoid the rush.

Blue Ridge Mountains neighborhood.  Lynchburg would seem like a decent small metro in western VA.

Mountains.  Rally BIG Mountains.  The Great Wall that God Built to protect the Independent Souls of the World.

OK, the Appalachians aren't that big, but it's still probably the best neighborhood in the mid-Atlantic states.

RE

Blue Ridge would be good. Lynchburg was the only city in Virginia not recaptured by the Union before the end of the American Civil War, and shows its traitorous roots by hosting Jerry Falwell's son's criminal grift, including Liberty University, formerly Lynchburg Baptist College and now a billion dollar money machine for the fundy right. Perhaps not entirely unrelated, Lynchburg is also home to the Central Virginia Training School, formerly known as the The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded, which was once the Mid-Atlantic capital for compulsory sterilization in service to eugenics.

So I'll probably head south and west. Floyd, VA is utterly charming and a hotbed of likeminded folk.
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: jdwheeler42 on July 29, 2018, 08:06:42 PM

Mountains.  Rally BIG Mountains.  The Great Wall that God Built to protect the Independent Souls of the World.

OK, the Appalachians aren't that big, but it's still probably the best neighborhood in the mid-Atlantic states.
You know, people sell the Appalachians short.  But, within a day's walk from me, there is old growth forest... why? Because the terrain was too difficult to cut the trees down and get them out.  Before the Industrial Revolution, the only thing that came out of this region was whiskey.... everything else spoiled before it could make it out.
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: RE on July 29, 2018, 09:41:14 PM

Mountains.  Rally BIG Mountains.  The Great Wall that God Built to protect the Independent Souls of the World.

OK, the Appalachians aren't that big, but it's still probably the best neighborhood in the mid-Atlantic states.
You know, people sell the Appalachians short.  But, within a day's walk from me, there is old growth forest... why? Because the terrain was too difficult to cut the trees down and get them out.  Before the Industrial Revolution, the only thing that came out of this region was whiskey.... everything else spoiled before it could make it out.

Same as Alaska.  The only way the Al-Can got built wa through a Herculean feat of Mechanical and Civil Engineering that could only have been accomplished with  lot of human labor and a lot of input of energy, and it still only got all paved in1996, still 2 lanes on most of it and still only fuel stops every 200-300 miles.  It's why the rest of Alaska isn't served by roads, but by Bush Planes and why the Native Villages are all along the coast.  Civilization doesn't penetrate too well into highly mountainous terrain.  Just ask the Afghanis.

RE
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: Nearingsfault on July 30, 2018, 05:26:55 AM
my area is of a similar physical makeup. People only settled here once the railways could deliver food. It grew to have decent subsistence  farms now mostly gone. It is not sufficient in any way shape or form but without constant inputs most of the people would drift away anyways. My elevation here is a hair under 900 ft above sea level. The surrounding hills roughly 5-800 ft above that. Countless lakes and streams. Most of the crown land around still cannot be accessed economically enough to justify it. Prices are picking up though which concerns me I prefer to be forgotten in my slice of paradise.
Title: Re: The Oceans are Coming? BFD, I got other Worries.
Post by: RE on July 30, 2018, 05:46:29 AM
my area is of a similar physical makeup. People only settled here once the railways could deliver food. It grew to have decent subsistence  farms now mostly gone. It is not sufficient in any way shape or form but without constant inputs most of the people would drift away anyways. My elevation here is a hair under 900 ft above sea level. The surrounding hills roughly 5-800 ft above that. Countless lakes and streams. Most of the crown land around still cannot be accessed economically enough to justify it. Prices are picking up though which concerns me I prefer to be forgotten in my slice of paradise.

I'm down lower than you at 500' above mean sea level.  However you drive just a little bit north around 30 minutes to Fisshook, you're at 1800'.  Then it drops down again going to Willow.  Alaska is a Bumpy Place.  lol.

RE
Title: As waters rise, coastal megacities like Mumbai face catastrophe
Post by: Surly1 on August 18, 2018, 03:48:29 AM
As waters rise, coastal megacities like Mumbai face catastrophe (https://www.sciencenews.org/article/waters-rise-coastal-megacities-mumbai-face-catastrophe)
Neglecting to prepare defenses against flooding from rising seas, storm surges or torrential rains risks social and economic chaos


9:30AM, AUGUST 15, 2018
wave on Mumbai seaside promenade

COASTAL IMPACT  A woman poses for a photograph as a wave at high tide crashes over Mumbai’s seaside promenade in July during a pause in the seasonal monsoon rains.

JANAK RATHOD

Each year when the monsoon rain sheets down and the tides swell over coastal Mumbai, Saif shutters his soda shop on Juhu Beach and takes shelter up in the rafters. Still, the water invades through the roof and over the concrete floors, sometimes reaching as high as the freezers full of ice cream.

For 36-year-old Saif, the coastal megacity’s chronic flooding is stressful. “What would happen if too much water comes?” asks Saif, who, like many in India, goes by one name. “I could get swept up with it.” Last year’s torrential floods killed at least 14 people in Mumbai. And in July 2005, when a meter of rain fell in a single day, flooding cost the city about $1.7 billion in damages.

Rebuilding his uninsured shop after the 2005 floods cost Saif about $57,000. He was lucky. When those floodwaters receded after two days, more than 1,000 people had died from drowning, landslides or other flood-related accidents in Mumbai and surrounding areas. “What can we do?” Saif asks. “Who can win against nature?”

Such questions are becoming more urgent in coastal cities at mounting risk of climate-driven flooding. Climate change is raising sea levels, while also making storms more severe and bringing heavier rains to some places. For densely populated cities like Mumbai — the financial heart of India, which is the world’s fastest-growing major economy — those risks threaten to throw personal incomes and national economies into chaos.

“The challenge is getting people to prepare for a risk they can’t yet see,” says Stéphane Hallegatte, lead economist at the World Bank’s Global Facility or Disaster Reduction and Recovery in Washington, D.C. “A very tiny change in sea level can have an enormous impact on risk levels,” he adds.

WATERLOGGED As monsoon rains pounded Mumbai in July, water poured down the steps onto the beach in front of Saif’s soda shop.
 M. SINGH

By 2005, coastal city flooding cost the world an average of $6 billion a year, according to calculations by Hallegatte and colleagues. Even if humankind manages to limit the release of carbon dioxide enough to keep global warming to an average 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels — which is highly unlikely — seas will still rise by a global average of about 20 centimeters by 2050, if not more. That’s enough to more than double the frequency of flooding in the tropics, where Mumbai is located, according to a 2017 paper in Scientific Reports.

Global losses from coastal flooding may surpass $1 trillion annually by 2050 unless coastal cities prepare, Hallegatte’s team says. That projection is actually conservative, because it doesn’t include damage from other climate-related flood risks such as heavier rains and stronger storms (SN: 6/27/15, p. 9). Last year, Hurricane Harvey’s extreme rainfall, probably fueled by climate change, caused $125 billion in flood losses in Houston (SN: 1/20/18, p. 6). And in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hurricane Maria caused $90 billion in damages, mostly from winds.

If cities invest enough to just hold steady at their current level of flood risk, future losses would drop drastically, to about $60 billion per year, Hallegatte says. Mumbai’s share would be about $6.4 billion — making it the second-most economically vulnerable city after China’s Guangzhou.

Many of Asia’s fast-growing coastal megacities, with populations of 10 million or more, are vulnerable to multiple flood threats. Mumbai, the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka and Manila in the Philippines, among others, face a future of heavier rainfall and higher storm surges. Manila and others, like Indonesia’s Jakarta, are also sinking fast. Some spots in Jakarta are sinking at a rate of 20 to 28 centimeters a year.

“For an individual, it doesn’t matter if the water is coming from sea rise or a storm surge or the clouds, a flood is a flood,” Hallegatte says. “Cities should be looking … at one-meter sea level rise, at least. Because the cost of failure is so big, you need to have a plan for the worst-case scenario.”


Going mega

Mumbai and other fast-growing coastal megacities in Asia are particularly vulnerable to climate-related flooding. Twenty-one of the world’s 31 megacities hug a coastline, 13 of which are in Asia. These cities of 10 million or more often drive their national economies and are home to both rich and poor. As the world’s population balloons, two more Asian coastal cities will be pushed into the mega zone by 2030: Bangkok and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, according to United Nations estimates. In addition to flooding, these megalopolises could face water supply disruptions, dangerous heat waves (SN: 4/14/18, p. 18), increased food insecurity and more disease outbreaks.

H. THOMPSON

An ambiguous picture

On a Sunday evening in June, the promenade along Mumbai’s iconic Marine Drive is packed. Families stroll eating ice cream, children chase street vendors peddling cotton candy, and friends squeeze together for selfies framed against the blue-gray waters of the Arabian Sea. Dark, roiling monsoon clouds loom over the horizon, as waves crash a meter away against the concrete barricade.

The promenade was built a century ago when India was part of the colonial British Empire. The walkway’s days may be numbered. Mumbai’s coastal waters rose at least nine centimeters during the 20th century, according to tide gauge data. Today, seawater regularly spills over the promenade during high tide.

SEASIDE SOJOURN A young man and woman enjoy a reprieve in Mumbai’s June rainfall along the city’s waterfront promenade, built a century ago when sea levels were lower. Today, high tide is enough to send water periodically over the stone walkway.
M. SINGH

It’s not clear how much farther seas will rise around Mumbai. A variety of factors, including tides, gravity and Earth’s rotation, influence local area sea rise in complex ways. And a lack of detailed data on Mumbai’s coastal geography available to scientists leaves questions on how future local water levels will affect specific areas of the city.

The state of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located, acknowledged this data deficit in its 2014 climate change plan. Nevertheless, the state has so far ignored a 2017 Indian Supreme Court order to release maps demarcating future flood lines.

Maharashtra’s environment secretary, Anil Diggikar, told Science News that the mapping is being done, though he did not say when the maps might be made public. But the state does recommend that rainfall and sea level trends be considered in new construction projects and public infrastructure. “This is especially important for [the] economic hub of Mumbai and surrounding districts,” he says, while also touting plans for restoring coastal stands of protective mangrove trees.

Marine scientist Mani Murali of the National Institute of Oceanography in Goa, India, has tried to work out Mumbai’s future flood risk using low-resolution 2011 topographic data from NASA. That work, under peer review, doesn’t tell the detailed story he knows the city needs. “But I thought something is better than nothing.”

He may have a point, with the rate of global sea rise fast accelerating — from a yearly average of 1.8 millimeters in the last century to about 3.0 millimeters per year today, according to a report in the Feb. 27 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Sea rise scenarios

Global sea level rise could be kept to a lower projection range (blue) if humankind curbs greenhouse gas emissions. Today, the world is on track for a much higher level of rise (tan). 

C. CHANG

Source: IPCC 2014

And while global sea level projections up to 2050 are considered reliable, the situation beyond midcentury is less clear. Much depends on whether humankind can limit global emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping atmospheric gases. Princeton University climatologist Michael Oppenheimer is not optimistic.

“This is a battle that we are currently losing,” says Oppenheimer, a coordinating lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on oceans, cryosphere and climate change, due out in September 2019. “Sea level rise and the flood heights are only going to increase …for the foreseeable future.”

The annual monsoon, the seasonal shift in winds that brings flooding rains to Mumbai, adds an extra layer of uncertainty to projecting how much flooding will accompany sea rise, he says. The future of this South Asian weather system has been difficult to predict, thanks in part to the mysterious influence of the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool. It’s Earth’s largest region of warm surface seawaters spanning the midocean region between the western Pacific and the eastern Indian oceans. That warmth partly fuels monsoon storm clouds.

Still, most studies suggest that the monsoon rains will increase. “Uncertainty is not an excuse [for inaction] at this point,” Oppenheimer says. “People need to get moving.”

Land where it shouldn’t be

Lakshmi Murali lives with her husband and son in a quiet, gated community, lush with jackfruit trees and flowering hibiscus in Mumbai’s flood-prone neighborhood of Andheri. Every June, as the rain starts falling, she unplugs the electronics in their ground floor apartment and moves her silk saris out from under the bed.

Across the city, the rains rage against the glass windows of luxury high-rises. Public transportation and street commerce come to a halt. Water pounds the tin roofs of slum shanties where about half of Mumbai’s 21.4 million people live. A sewage-tainted slurry burbles out of the city’s outdated and often-clogged drainage system, backing up into rivers and creeks that then overflow into homes and businesses.

Last year was particularly bad: In 24 hours, about 33 centimeters of rain fell. “You had to see it to believe it,” says Murali, a 54-year-old lawyer who is not related to the marine researcher of the same name. Her building’s plumbing system failed, and the toilets overflowed. Residents turned off their power for fear of getting electrocuted. As water rose inside their homes, Murali and a few neighbors used an iron rod to smash a hole through the wall surrounding their backyard to let the water flow out.

“Today, we are young, and we say, ‘Yeah, it’s OK,’ ” Murali says. Even as such flooding worsens, she has what some might call misplaced faith that things will work out. “The state will work on building enough infrastructure to keep the city alive and will not allow the city to drown. Man will work against what nature is proposing to do.”

Mumbai’s current predicament is partly due to the power of engineering over nature. Large parts of the city are built on land that, 300 years ago, was mostly underwater. When the Portuguese settled the region in the 16th century, they maintained Mumbai as a sleepy collection of coastal islands. But the British, who took over in 1661, reimagined Mumbai as a contiguous landmass and created a peninsula by filling in land gaps to connect the islands even in the wet season.

British engineering

Much of Mumbai is built atop landfill (black) that connects several islands (green) in the middle of Bombay Harbor. Those passages once allowed water to flow through the system at high tide and during monsoon rains. 

C. CHANG

Source: T. Riding/J. Hist. Geography 2018

“So many of these megacities are built on land that is only artificially higher than sea level, in places where landfilling took place,” says Washington D.C.–based Susmita Dasgupta, the lead environmental economist for the World Bank’s Development Research Group.

Dasgupta was involved in the World Bank’s first report in 2007 on how sea level rise might affect national economies. The aim was to trigger discussion and preparation for a possible future economic catastrophe. She and her team offered guarded impact estimates based on hypothetical scenarios of between one and five meters of global sea level rise, using satellite images of coastal outlines and local elevations.

In estimating potential economic losses, the team considered an affected area’s population multiplied by the country’s gross domestic product per capita, but not infrastructure or property assets. That report projected that one meter of sea rise would cost the world 1.3 percent of the global economy. Applied to the forecast global GDP for 2018, that comes to about $1.3 trillion, not far from the estimates by Hallegatte’s team.

“But we wanted to raise the issue,” Dasgupta says. She faced a wave of hostility and derision for the effort. “Even bank colleagues were unhappy about it, saying we were being alarmist and that this kind of research was premature.” Eleven years later, no one doubts the sea is rising.

CITY SOAKED Monsoon rain pounds a busy intersection in downtown Mumbai in July. The city’s chronic flooding is often exacerbated by debris-clogged storm drains.
M. SINGH

Juggling the numbers

Amid the confusing tumble of scientific studies on how climate change might raise flood risks, some scientists have built online visual apps to help the public understand what’s at stake.

One tool, by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shows past global sea level trends based on tide gauges. But the app does not give projections. And it relies on sometimes patchy data. For example, there are no readings for Mumbai’s water levels from 1994 to 2005 or after 2010. The Maharashtra government says local sea levels are rising 1.2 millimeters a year, based on those incomplete data.

In 2017, a team from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or JPL, launched an app to demonstrate how melting ice sheets would affect 293 major port cities across the globe. The scientists measured the melt using NASA’s GRACE satellites, which detect gravity changes from the ice loss. To boost accuracy, the team recently added a component to the app that accounts for the fact that water expands as it warms.

Still, true sea level rise projections involve complex computer modeling of overlapping systems. The JPL app doesn’t do that. “So it’s risky” to put too much stock in the numbers it spits out, says JPL sea level and ice supervisor Eric Larour. “But the real risk is that people underestimate that this is going to get worse.”

For Mumbai, the JPL app foresees at least another 2.9-centimeter rise in coastal water in 10 years — and 14.4 centimeters in the next 50 years.

Those estimates could soon be revised upward. Larour’s team plans one more update to include researchpublished in the June 13 Nature showing that Antarctic ice sheets are melting three times as fast as they were 25 years ago (SN: 6/7/18, p. 6). That much melting, Larour says, is “a big, big deal.”

The JPL team hopes to have a single, detailed modeling app for the world within two years, using NASA’s high-resolution satellite images of water levels and of land gradients, “so that people can use it in active mitigation policy,” Larour says. “A lot of areas at risk in South Asia — India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka — and across Asia don’t have the information to do this.”

Economic gains lost

It’s not easy to find a coastal megacity taking decisive and effective action against future flood risks. Bangladesh has long built coastal sea walls of stacked mud, which may help prevent ocean storm surges from cascading inland to Dhaka. Fast-sinking Jakarta is working on its own giant sea wall as well. But walls won’t help Mumbai; they would prevent rain-driven freshwater floods from draining out after the monsoon.

STAYING ABOVE WATER A father tries to keep his children above water during flooding last February in the sinking megacity of Jakarta, Indonesia.
ARES JONEKSON/SHUTTERSTOCK

Massive structural engineering is not the answer. Many scientists suggest that cities lighten their burden on the land by maintaining natural coastlines, protecting sand dunes and preserving forests or even growing more of them. At the least, cities should refrain from making development decisions that will make things worse, such as paving over water-absorbent soils or building on natural floodplains. Governments can also improve storm drains, offer voluntary relocation packages or even consider introducing ferries rather than trying to raise or maintain existing roads.

“We need to evolve to a situation where we’re more congruent with nature, rather than fighting it,” says urban planning expert Amrita Daniere of the University of Toronto, codirector of the Urban Climate Resilience in South East Asia Partnership. The group is aiding flood-preparation efforts in so-called second-tier cities, each still home to millions of people. “It’s too difficult to influence policy and practice in a megacity,” she says.

There are cities like Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, that may be just too vulnerable. Built atop an estuary feeding into the Gulf of Thailand, the city — also sinking — is on track to go mega by 2030. “It wouldn’t shock me if they had to move the capital in 20 years,” Daniere says.

Why sea level rise varies from place to place

Read more about how the impact of global sea level rise varies regionally.

ALFAPROXIMA/ISTOCKPHOTO

Cities that don’t own up to their vulnerability risk squandering economic gains made in the last few decades, economists say. Some cities could face a financial reckoning even before flooding worsens. The mere notion of increasing risk is enough to spook investors.

“That could have a domino effect on other cities, with bigger consequences for the global financial system,” says Gregory Unruh, an expert in sustainable business strategy at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Yet modeling economic consequences is daunting, he says. These trends “tend to be based more on perceptions, on understanding bubbles and behavioral economics.”

Pressure is mounting for cities to disclose climate risks. Credit rating agencies including Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have begun including climate change impacts in their assessments. Last year, the Financial Stability Board of the Group of Twenty international forum urged insurers, banks and institutional investors to release climate-related financial risk disclosures.

Still, “there’s not much happening,” says Richard Hewston, a climate change analyst at Verisk Maplecroft in Bath, England, which advises on the risks of doing business around the world. “Sea rise is a gradual threat,” even though it can worsen events like tropical cyclones, Hewston says. So it’s difficult for people to use sea level rise as a reason to spend billions of dollars on infrastructure to prevent disaster.

Mumbai’s flood risk makes the city a “high risk” place for climate change vulnerability — the second-most worrying category after “extreme risk,” according to Verisk Maplecroft’s 2018 hazard index. Among the world’s 31 megacities, Mumbai ranks as the ninth riskiest, based on about 50 factors ranging from preparedness to exposure to climate shocks like heat waves, drought, hurricanes and flooding. Mumbai’s high population density, high poverty rates and poor sewage and drainage systems “heighten the risk posed by climate-related events like flooding,” the company says.

WATER EVERYWHERE July rains and high tide send seawater up to the steps to Saif’s soda shop. In 2005, floods reached high enough to fill the shop on Juhu Beach, sticking Saif with $57,000 in damages.
M. SINGH

Verisk Maplecroft suggests that Mumbai build better sewage and drainage capacity, halt building on landfill and restore coastal mangrove trees, which keep the land intact with their tangle of roots and act as a natural buffer against the Arabian Sea.

There is little evidence that any of that, beyond mangrove restoration, is being done. Drainage system upgrades have been stalled for years. Limits on building on floodplains are routinely ignored. Mumbai-based environmental economist Archana Patankar worries that these are signs of official neglect.

Mumbai “is an extremely important city in terms of the economic wealth it generates,” says Patankar. The city’s economy rivals that of some developed nations in Europe. Its stock exchange is valued at around $2.2 trillion — almost twice the entire GDP of Mexico or Australia. Its Hindi-language Bollywood entertainment industry generates billions of dollars in global revenues each year. Not enough work has been done to assess how the city’s economy will be impacted, she says.

Instead, Mumbai appears focused on further developing its fragile coastline. The government is barreling ahead with plans for a 29-kilometer coastal highway, which will require ripping out patches of protective mangrove trees. Construction cranes punctuate the shoreline as new high-rises go up every year.

Property developers are aware of sea level rise, but they’re in the business to sell. “No developer in Mumbai does any kind of risk analysis on how sea level and climate change is going to factor into their risks,” says Rohitashwa Poddar, managing director of local developer Poddar Housing and Development. Though his company aims to build future-proof homes by placing them on stilts or surrounding them with water-absorbing gardens, few of Poddar’s customers ask about flood risk.

“People should know if they’re buying property in high-risk areas,” adds Stalin Dayanand, director of Vanashakti, the local environmental group that argued in the Indian Supreme Court for the release of the state’s forecast maps showing “hazard lines” for where the coast might be located in 100 years.

The state missed the Supreme Court’s April deadline. Meanwhile, authorities moved ahead with plans for a $409 million memorial statue of the 17th century Indian ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji to be built on landfill in the middle of Mumbai’s bay. If projections are even close to correct, that 200-meter-tall statue could be left towering over a city swamped within decades.


This article appears in the August 18, 2018 issue of Science News with the headline, "Coastal Catastrophe: Mumbai and a growing number of megacities face rising waters."

Title: No Ecosystem on Earth Is Safe From Climate Change
Post by: Surly1 on August 30, 2018, 02:26:46 PM
No Ecosystem on Earth Is Safe From Climate Change (https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/08/how-climate-change-could-remake-every-biome-on-earth/569038/)
If carbon emissions continue to grow, anyone who works with the land could face ‘unprecedented challenges.’


ROBINSON MEYER
A firefighter watches a controlled burn in Sequoia National Forest in August 2015.MAX WHITTAKER / REUTERS

If climate change continues unabated, nearly every ecosystem on the planet would alter dramatically, to the point of becoming an entirely new biome,according to a new paper written by 42 scientistsfrom around the world.

They warn that the changes of the next 200 years could equal—and may likely exceed—those seen over the 10,000 years that ended the last Ice Age. If humanity does not stop emitting greenhouse-gas emissions, the character of the land could metamorphose: Oak forest could become grassland. Evergreen woods could turn deciduous. And, of course, beaches would sink into the sea.

“Anywhere on the globe, the more you change climate, the more likely you are to see major ecological change,” saysStephen Jackson, an author of the report and the director of a climate-adaptation center at the U.S. Geological Survey.

“Having this kind of change occur at such a massive scale in such a short period of time is going to create unprecedented challenges for natural-resource management,” he told me.

The paper, published Thursday inScience, tries to find clues about the world of the future by examining the ecology of the past. Between the peak of the last Ice Age, about 20,000 years ago, and 1800a.d., the world warmed by between 4 and 7 degrees Celsius. This warming transfigured the landscape: It erasedthe mile-high plateau of ice that sat on Manhattan Island, for instance. By melting this and other continent-sized ice sheets, that ancient warming—which was caused by minute shifts in the Earth’s orbital path—raised global sea levels by almost 400 feet. If that sounds fun, it could happen again, within the lifetime of babies born today: Earth could experience 4 to 5 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100 if humanity does not slow the emission of heat-trapping gases.

So what did that kind of shift look like that last time? Jackson and two of his colleagues—Jonathan Overpeck and Connor Nolan—addressed that question to dozens of researchers around the world. They asked them to consult what are called “paleoecological records”: special objects in the Earth that have captured evidence of ecosystems over time. The mud at the bottom of a lake is a paleoecological record, for instance. Every year, plant pollen in the air falls into the lake, laying down minute layers as decades pass. Scientists can examine that pollen under the microscope—identifying it, sometimes, to its individual species—topiece together what an ecosystem looked like thousands of years ago. For this study, researchers looked at local paleoclimatic records from two windows of time: the height of the last Ice Age, 20,000 years ago; and the last moment, roughly 200 years ago, before modern global warming began.

The world’s most urgent science project

Slowly, over years, those squadrons of researchers around the world sent back their data. A global picture began to take shape: nearly everywhere on Earth where the temperature changed dramatically, and the vegetation wholly transformed.

Consider, for a second, the scale of these changes. Jackson asked me to think of the hot, humid, marshy plain of Washington, D.C.

“If you took a walk through Rock Creek Park today, you’d see almost entirely deciduous hardwood forest—oak trees, and beech, and tulip poplar, and things like that,” he told me. “But if you were to walk through Rock Creek Valley 20,000 years ago, you would be walking through boreal forest.” It would resemble the forests in the far north of Quebec, the mighty evergreen stands of the Canadian Shield.

It’s the same story out west. “Five miles from where I sit is the middle of the Sonoran Desert and Saguaro National Park,” he told me, from his desk in Tuscon. “Today, there’s big saguaro cacti, mesquite trees, ironwood trees. If we were to roll back the calendar 20,000 years, and we went to the same place, we would find a woodland of evergreen trees.”


How Ecosystems Changed Between the Last Ice Age and 1800 A.D.

These two maps depict roughly 20,000 years of ecosystem change, as captured by nearly 600 lake beds, cave burrows, and other natural records around the world. The red points at left show how much ecosystems changed in their species composition: that is, whether one species (such as white oaks) came to be more abundant than another (such as blue spruce). The green points show how ecosystems changed in structure: a dramatic transition from a forest biome to grassland biome. During the transition out of the last Ice Age, only ecosystems in the tropics avoided huge changes in structure. (Nolan, et al /Science)

The same warming-induced changeovers of the land—which transpired over at least five millennia the last time they struck—are now happening again. “Over the next 100 years, we could see temperature changes that are similar to that,” saysConnor Nolan, an ecologist at the University of Arizona and an author of the paper.

Just how much would vegetation change worldwide? Nolan and his colleagues found a relationship in their bevy of worldwide records between how much temperatures rose and how significantly ecosystems change. When this relationship is projected forward, they find that Earth’s entire land surface is more than 75 percent likely to switch over its biome entirely.

Climate change means insects are coming for our food

It’s hard to state what that scale of change would mean for just about everyone who works with or depends on the land. “If you’re a wildlife manager and your ecosystem changes, if you’re a forest manager trying to respond to wildfires, if you’re a water manager who is responsible for converting rainfall estimates into reservoir levels,” Jackson warned, “then the old rules are not necessarily going to apply.”

Future changes may be even more dramatic than those predicted by the paper. That’s because the climate of the past—and the end of the last Ice Age—cannot tell us everything about our future. “It’s a very, very crude analog,” Jackson told me. “The future will not be like the past. Going into a greenhouse world will not be the same—is not the same—as going from the glacial world to the pre-industrial world.”

“But it’s an instructive analog,” he said. “It provides another way of telling us—beside the models and our limited array of ecological observations—it tells us that terrestrial ecosystems are sensitive to temperature change.”

Outside scientists agreed. “The paper’s findings are not surprising, but they are notable because of the approaches the authors took,” saidMargaret Frasier, an associate professor of ecology at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, in an email.

Dorothy Peteet, a senior research scientist atnasa, told me that “the wild cards” of modern climate change made it hard to know the shape of that future vegetation change. “The nonlinearity of drought and rainfall,” as well as extensive wildfires or floods, “may affect vegetation greatly,” she said in an email.

“These are notable effects of climate warming we are seeing today ... and they will probably be much more exacerbated in the future,” she added.

We want to hear what you think about this article.Submit a letterto the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.

Title: Re: No Ecosystem on Earth Is Safe From Climate Change
Post by: Eddie on August 31, 2018, 05:38:33 AM
No Ecosystem on Earth Is Safe From Climate Change (https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/08/how-climate-change-could-remake-every-biome-on-earth/569038/)
If carbon emissions continue to grow, anyone who works with the land could face ‘unprecedented challenges.’


ROBINSON MEYER
A firefighter watches a controlled burn in Sequoia National Forest in August 2015.MAX WHITTAKER / REUTERS

If climate change continues unabated, nearly every ecosystem on the planet would alter dramatically, to the point of becoming an entirely new biome,according to a new paper written by 42 scientistsfrom around the world.

They warn that the changes of the next 200 years could equal—and may likely exceed—those seen over the 10,000 years that ended the last Ice Age. If humanity does not stop emitting greenhouse-gas emissions, the character of the land could metamorphose: Oak forest could become grassland. Evergreen woods could turn deciduous. And, of course, beaches would sink into the sea.

“Anywhere on the globe, the more you change climate, the more likely you are to see major ecological change,” saysStephen Jackson, an author of the report and the director of a climate-adaptation center at the U.S. Geological Survey.

“Having this kind of change occur at such a massive scale in such a short period of time is going to create unprecedented challenges for natural-resource management,” he told me.

The paper, published Thursday inScience, tries to find clues about the world of the future by examining the ecology of the past. Between the peak of the last Ice Age, about 20,000 years ago, and 1800a.d., the world warmed by between 4 and 7 degrees Celsius. This warming transfigured the landscape: It erasedthe mile-high plateau of ice that sat on Manhattan Island, for instance. By melting this and other continent-sized ice sheets, that ancient warming—which was caused by minute shifts in the Earth’s orbital path—raised global sea levels by almost 400 feet. If that sounds fun, it could happen again, within the lifetime of babies born today: Earth could experience 4 to 5 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100 if humanity does not slow the emission of heat-trapping gases.

So what did that kind of shift look like that last time? Jackson and two of his colleagues—Jonathan Overpeck and Connor Nolan—addressed that question to dozens of researchers around the world. They asked them to consult what are called “paleoecological records”: special objects in the Earth that have captured evidence of ecosystems over time. The mud at the bottom of a lake is a paleoecological record, for instance. Every year, plant pollen in the air falls into the lake, laying down minute layers as decades pass. Scientists can examine that pollen under the microscope—identifying it, sometimes, to its individual species—topiece together what an ecosystem looked like thousands of years ago. For this study, researchers looked at local paleoclimatic records from two windows of time: the height of the last Ice Age, 20,000 years ago; and the last moment, roughly 200 years ago, before modern global warming began.

The world’s most urgent science project

Slowly, over years, those squadrons of researchers around the world sent back their data. A global picture began to take shape: nearly everywhere on Earth where the temperature changed dramatically, and the vegetation wholly transformed.

Consider, for a second, the scale of these changes. Jackson asked me to think of the hot, humid, marshy plain of Washington, D.C.

“If you took a walk through Rock Creek Park today, you’d see almost entirely deciduous hardwood forest—oak trees, and beech, and tulip poplar, and things like that,” he told me. “But if you were to walk through Rock Creek Valley 20,000 years ago, you would be walking through boreal forest.” It would resemble the forests in the far north of Quebec, the mighty evergreen stands of the Canadian Shield.

It’s the same story out west. “Five miles from where I sit is the middle of the Sonoran Desert and Saguaro National Park,” he told me, from his desk in Tuscon. “Today, there’s big saguaro cacti, mesquite trees, ironwood trees. If we were to roll back the calendar 20,000 years, and we went to the same place, we would find a woodland of evergreen trees.”


How Ecosystems Changed Between the Last Ice Age and 1800 A.D.

These two maps depict roughly 20,000 years of ecosystem change, as captured by nearly 600 lake beds, cave burrows, and other natural records around the world. The red points at left show how much ecosystems changed in their species composition: that is, whether one species (such as white oaks) came to be more abundant than another (such as blue spruce). The green points show how ecosystems changed in structure: a dramatic transition from a forest biome to grassland biome. During the transition out of the last Ice Age, only ecosystems in the tropics avoided huge changes in structure. (Nolan, et al /Science)

The same warming-induced changeovers of the land—which transpired over at least five millennia the last time they struck—are now happening again. “Over the next 100 years, we could see temperature changes that are similar to that,” saysConnor Nolan, an ecologist at the University of Arizona and an author of the paper.

Just how much would vegetation change worldwide? Nolan and his colleagues found a relationship in their bevy of worldwide records between how much temperatures rose and how significantly ecosystems change. When this relationship is projected forward, they find that Earth’s entire land surface is more than 75 percent likely to switch over its biome entirely.

Climate change means insects are coming for our food

It’s hard to state what that scale of change would mean for just about everyone who works with or depends on the land. “If you’re a wildlife manager and your ecosystem changes, if you’re a forest manager trying to respond to wildfires, if you’re a water manager who is responsible for converting rainfall estimates into reservoir levels,” Jackson warned, “then the old rules are not necessarily going to apply.”

Future changes may be even more dramatic than those predicted by the paper. That’s because the climate of the past—and the end of the last Ice Age—cannot tell us everything about our future. “It’s a very, very crude analog,” Jackson told me. “The future will not be like the past. Going into a greenhouse world will not be the same—is not the same—as going from the glacial world to the pre-industrial world.”

“But it’s an instructive analog,” he said. “It provides another way of telling us—beside the models and our limited array of ecological observations—it tells us that terrestrial ecosystems are sensitive to temperature change.”

Outside scientists agreed. “The paper’s findings are not surprising, but they are notable because of the approaches the authors took,” saidMargaret Frasier, an associate professor of ecology at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, in an email.

Dorothy Peteet, a senior research scientist atnasa, told me that “the wild cards” of modern climate change made it hard to know the shape of that future vegetation change. “The nonlinearity of drought and rainfall,” as well as extensive wildfires or floods, “may affect vegetation greatly,” she said in an email.

“These are notable effects of climate warming we are seeing today ... and they will probably be much more exacerbated in the future,” she added.

We want to hear what you think about this article.Submit a letterto the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.


Another blockbuster from the summer of '62.

(https://www.raptisrarebooks.com/images/46798/silent-spring-first-edition-signed-2.jpg)

Signed first edition, a mere $7800. Who'da thunkit?

Unfortunately, it's only been 56 years since the truth was widely known. That isn't much time in the long term scope of things. It's gotten worse so fast. We were never gonna be able to turn this ship around in such a short time, and by the time we can, it'll be far too late.

Smell the flowers, and dive the coral while you can.
Title: Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought, New Research Finds
Post by: Surly1 on January 11, 2019, 07:37:06 AM
Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought, New Research Finds-- (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/10/climate/ocean-warming-climate-change.html)

(https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/01/11/climate/11CLI-OCEANTEMPS-p1/10CLI-OCEANHEAT2-superJumbo.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp)
Rising ocean temperatures can bleach corals, like these off of Papua New Guinea.CreditCreditJurgen Freund/NPL/Minden Pictures

 

Want climate news in your inbox? Sign up here for Climate Fwd:, our email newsletter.

Scientists say the world’s oceans are warming far more quickly than previously thought, a finding with dire implications for climate change because almost all the excess heat absorbed by the planet ends up stored in their waters.

A new analysis, published Thursday in the journal Science, found that the oceans are heating up 40 percent faster on average than a United Nations panel estimated five years ago. The researchers also concluded that ocean temperatures have broken records for several straight years.

“2018 is going to be the warmest year on record for the Earth’s oceans,” said Zeke Hausfather, an energy systems analyst at the independent climate research group Berkeley Earth and an author of the study. “As 2017 was the warmest year, and 2016 was the warmest year.”

As the planet has warmed, the oceans have provided a critical buffer. They have slowed the effects of climate change by absorbing 93 percent of the heat trapped by the greenhouse gases humans pump into the atmosphere.

“If the ocean wasn’t absorbing as much heat, the surface of the land would heat up much faster than it is right now,” said Malin L. Pinsky, an associate professor in the department of ecology, evolution and natural resources at Rutgers University. “In fact, the ocean is saving us from massive warming right now.”

But the surging water temperatures are already killing off marine ecosystems, raising sea levels and making hurricanes more destructive.

As the oceans continue to heat up, those effects will become more catastrophic, scientists say. Rainier, more powerful storms like Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Hurricane Florence in 2018 will become more common, and coastlines around the world will flood more frequently. Coral reefs, whose fish populations are sources of food for hundreds of millions of people, will come under increasing stress; a fifth of all corals have already died in the past three years.

People in the tropics, who rely heavily on fish for protein, could be hard hit, said Kathryn Matthews, deputy chief scientist for the conservation group Oceana. “The actual ability of the warm oceans to produce food is much lower, so that means they’re going to be more quickly approaching food insecurity,” she said.

Because they play such a critical role in global warming, oceans are one of the most important areas of research for climate scientists. Average ocean temperatures are also a consistent way to track the effects of greenhouse gas emissions because they are not influenced much by short-term weather patterns, Mr. Hausfather said.

“Oceans are really the best thermometer we have for changes in the Earth,” he said.

But, historically, understanding ocean temperatures has been difficult. An authoritative United Nations report, issued in 2014 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, presented five different estimates of ocean heat, but they all showed less warming than the levels projected by computer climate models — suggesting that either the ocean heat measurements or the climate models were inaccurate.

[The I.P.C.C. also issued a report last year that described a climate crisis as soon as 2040.]

Since the early 2000s, scientists have measured ocean heat using a network of drifting floats called Argo, named after Jason’s ship in Greek mythology. The floats measure the temperature and saltiness of the upper 6,500 feet of the ocean and upload the data via satellites.

An ocean sensor deployed by the French research ship Pourquoi Pas? as part of the Argo project.CreditOlivier Dugornay/IFremer/Argo Program
Image
An ocean sensor deployed by the French research ship Pourquoi Pas? as part of the Argo project.CreditOlivier Dugornay/IFremer/Argo Program

But before Argo, researchers relied on temperature sensors that ships lowered into the ocean with copper wire. The wire transferred data from the sensor to the ship for recording until the wire broke and the sensor drifted away.

That method was subject to uncertainties, particularly around the accuracy of the depth at which the measurement was taken. Those uncertainties hamper today’s scientists as they stitch together 20th-century temperature data into a global historical record.

In the new analysis, Mr. Hausfather and his colleagues assessed three recent studies that better accounted for the older instrument biases. The results converged at an estimate of ocean warming that was higher than that of the 2014 United Nations report and more in line with the climate models.

The waters closest to the surface have heated up the most, and that warming has accelerated over the past two decades, according to data from the lead author of the new study, Lijing Cheng of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics in Beijing.

As the oceans heat up, sea levels rise because warmer water takes up more space than colder water. In fact, most of the sea level rise observed to date is because of this warming effect, not melting ice caps.

Absent global action to reduce carbon emissions, the authors said, the warming alone would cause sea levels to rise by about a foot by 2100, and the ice caps would contribute more. That could exacerbate damages from severe coastal flooding and storm surge.

The effects of the warming on marine life could also have broad repercussions, Dr. Pinsky said. “As the ocean heats up, it’s driving fish into new places, and we’re already seeing that that’s driving conflict between countries,” he said. “It’s spilling over far beyond just fish, it’s turned into trade wars. It’s turned into diplomatic disputes. It’s led to a breakdown in international relations in some cases.”

A fourth study reviewed by the researchers strengthened their conclusions. That study used a novel method to estimate ocean temperatures indirectly, and it also found that the world’s oceans were heating faster thanthe authors of the 2014 study did.

The study initially contained an error that caused its authors to revise their estimates downward. But as it turned out, the downward revision brought the study’s estimates much closer to the new consensus.

“The correction made it agree a lot better with the other new observational records,” Mr. Hausfather said. “Previously it showed significantly more warming than anyone, and that was potentially worrisome because it meant our observational estimates might be problematic. Now their best estimate is pretty much dead-on with the other three recent studies.”

The scientists who published the four studies were not trying to make their results align, Mr. Hausfather said. “The groups who were working on ocean heat observations, they’re not climate modelers,” he said. “They’re not particularly concerned with whether or not their observations agree or disagree with climate models.”

A dead coral reef in waters off Indonesia.CreditEthan Daniels/Stocktrek Images, via Science Source
Image
A dead coral reef in waters off Indonesia.CreditEthan Daniels/Stocktrek Images, via Science Source

Laure Zanna, an associate professor of climate physics at the University of Oxford who was not involved in the study, said the new research was “a very nice summary of what we know of the ocean and how far the new estimates have come together.”

Dr. Zanna published a study this week that used existing data to estimate ocean temperatures dating back to 1871. The goal was to figure out places where sea level rise might happen even faster than expected because of the way ocean currents redistribute heat, allowing regions that are especially at risk to better plan for those changes.

[Here’s more on how the oceans are absorbing most of the planet’s excess heat.]

“We are warming the planet but the ocean is not warming evenly, so different places warm more than others,” Dr. Zanna said. “And so the first consequence will be that sea level will be different in different places depending on the warming.”

Though the new findings provide a grim forecast for the future of the oceans, Mr. Hausfather said that efforts to mitigate global warming, including the 2015 Paris climate agreement, would help. “I think there’s some reason for confidence that we’ll avoid the worst-case outcomes,” he said, “even if we’re not on track for the outcomes we want.”

For more news on climate and the environment, follow @NYTClimate on Twitter.

Kendra Pierre-Louis is a reporter on the climate team. Before joining The Times in 2017, she covered science and the environment for Popular Science. @kendrawrites

Title: Why American Collapse Is Only Just Beginning
Post by: Surly1 on January 18, 2019, 05:32:04 AM
Why American Collapse Is Only Just Beginning (Not Ending). (http://www.bobave.com/2018/04/why-american-collapse-is-only-just.html)
Six Megatrends That Will Shape the Future.




There are many beliefs America holds that the rest of the world finds gruesome and strange: guns, capitalism, greed, cruelty. But among these is a new one: that this dark period in American history is an anomaly — and therefore, things will revert to normal. Sorry. American collapse is not an anomaly — it is the very opposite: the culmination of decades-long trends. Those trends, which I’ll discuss in this essay, have not ended — and so collapse has barely only really begun.


Let me begin by dashing your hopes. There’s much talk of a “Blue Wave” — excited and hopeful talk. Alas, when we look closely at the wave of politicians that are to turn the country around, it’s all too easy to see that there is no transformative agenda that unites them — mostly, they stand for minor incremental changes, not exactly a New Bill of Rights. And as they are elected, they will quickly meet the reality of American politics: lobbying dollars which control a two-party system that offers the barest illusion of choice. Would you prefer armed teachers — or merely armies at school? Would you like greed with a sugarcoating — or lethally savage capitalism? And so on. The Blue Wave has as little chance of turning America around as Houdini might actually turning water into wine.

So the longest-running trend in America — that its democracy has long been broken (or never really been much of one at all, if you want to count the inconvenient fact that it was a segregated nation until 1971, which is usually too much reality for most Americans to bear) — can only continue. Today’s noble Blue Wave idealist is tomorrow’s capitulating Obamacrat — they must either compromise, toeing the party line, or they will quickly find themselves powerless, unheard, and invisible. So Blue Wave or no Blue wave — it is quite irrelevant — American political reality means it will simply go on having little chance of gaining working healthcare, higher education, public media, safety nets, or retirement, because it lacks the capacity to create it — though that is precisely what most Americans, by many measures, want.


But they do not just want it. They need it. The average American’s plight is so desperate that people in other rich countries can scarcely comprehend it. Dying from a lack of insulin? The elderly working at Walmart? Less than a week’s pay in savings? It sounds like a dystopian film, not reality. Yet this points to my second megatrend. American incomes have been flat since the 70s — but all the while, the basics of life, all the things above, from retirement to healthcare, have grown in price. First creeping up, and now skyrocketing. Of course, this shatters the average person economic hopes — but it makes those at the top ultra-wealthy. So America’s two great economic megatrends — rising inequality, growing poverty, and an imploding middle class, are likely to bite harder as well.

People who must choose between food and healthcare, of course, enjoy poorer and poorer standards of living. And that is America’s third big trend — a declining real quality of life. America yesterday was an optimistic nation — perhaps falsely so — yet still, there was the sense that eventually, life would get better for “all”, as each generation outdid the last. But now that hope is gone. Life is not getting better — it is getting worse, by the day. Life, however you would like to define it. Life expectancy? Shrinking. Infant mortality? Rising. Loneliness, despair, depression? Spiking. Trust, bonds, relationships? Imploding. American life will go on getting harder, meaner, nastier, crueller, and more dismal in every way — because a decent life, at least to the rest of the world, has become an unaffordable luxury.

What do people whose lives are falling apart do? Well, the first thing they usually do is take it out on each other. Americans have been doing that for a long time now, so much that it is a way of life. This is my fourth megatrend — it is an emotional one: rage, despair, and anxiety as a way of life. Americans will go on taking the bitter anger and grim despair of living in a collapsing society out on each other. After all, they have no way not to — no mental healthcare, universal education, functioning media, or even norms of basic decency anymore. They will go on hurting one another in every imaginable way — destroying each other in hard and soft ways, denying one another retirement, degrading and bullying each other at work and school and play, refusing to invest in the barest bits of society, walking around with machine guns, building tomorrow’s predatory systems, whether Ubers or hedge funds — precisely because there is no way to aspire to anything better, since the political system is broken, and the economy is irreparable.

Because it all seems so hopeless, societies governed by rage and despair also give up on democracy. So we are likely to see a constant “tussle” between authoritarians and the comic Marco Rubio-esque charade that passes for American leadership. But I put “tussle” in quotes for a reason. Authoritarians don’t need a majority — they never have, and that is foolish myth promoted by American intellectuals. It’s enough for fascists and tyrants to capture perhaps 30–40% of a nation to take over its institutions, norms, and future — because that 30% is like a wrecking ball, that can be used to intimidate, bluster, threaten, and bully (as long as the rest is split). That fringe, lunatic 30% now controls America wholesale — not just making any kind of progress not just impossible, but demanding wholesale regress: banning books, taking science out of schools, putting fundamentalist religion into public life, and so forth. That is my fifth megatrend, authoritarianism, and I am sorry to have to tell you that it will not stop with this President — it will continue, gain strength, and shape America for the foreseeable future.

I am sure that by now, perhaps, you find all this quite unbelievable. Ah, but wouldn’t you yourself have said where America is today was absurdly, absolutely impossible even two years ago? Wouldn’t you have laughed if someone had read you today’s headlines then, and cried, “LOL. Get real, dude. No way!!!!!”?

That is my sixth megatrend: ignorance. It is not just American economics, politics, society, and culture which have failed — at a deeper level, American thought has failed. Its intellectuals cannot explain decline, its pundits predict it, its gurus understand it, or its leaders fix it. That is because American ideas became ideologies — capitalism, individualism, aggression, cruelty, rationalism, selfishness, greed — which are all obsolete now. Perhaps they will be needed in some distant future again, though I doubt it — but right now, they are quite useless, because this age of human history demands what is truer in us, whether empathy for suffering, respect for difference, courage to stand naked, intimacy with ourselves. But because those are qualities that can only be nurtured, evoked, and cultivated, not “monetized” and “captured” and bottled and manufactured, American thought simply cannot produce them anymore than all the hedge funds, algorithms, or stock markets in the world can produce even a glimmer of sanity, grace, or wisdom.

And so. American thought will go on thinking that every year that it cannot possibly get much worse — which is what it has done for the last decade — and at every juncture, it will go on being painfully wrong. Collapse is only just beginning in America. The question is not if the broken hearts, minds, and spirits of Americans can hold back the flood — they cannot — but rather, if they can learn, at long last, to see the obvious coming, before it hits them like a freight train.

Title: Re: Why American Collapse Is Only Just Beginning
Post by: Eddie on January 18, 2019, 06:43:18 AM
Why American Collapse Is Only Just Beginning (Not Ending). (http://www.bobave.com/2018/04/why-american-collapse-is-only-just.html)
Six Megatrends That Will Shape the Future.




There are many beliefs America holds that the rest of the world finds gruesome and strange: guns, capitalism, greed, cruelty. But among these is a new one: that this dark period in American history is an anomaly — and therefore, things will revert to normal. Sorry. American collapse is not an anomaly — it is the very opposite: the culmination of decades-long trends. Those trends, which I’ll discuss in this essay, have not ended — and so collapse has barely only really begun.


Let me begin by dashing your hopes. There’s much talk of a “Blue Wave” — excited and hopeful talk. Alas, when we look closely at the wave of politicians that are to turn the country around, it’s all too easy to see that there is no transformative agenda that unites them — mostly, they stand for minor incremental changes, not exactly a New Bill of Rights. And as they are elected, they will quickly meet the reality of American politics: lobbying dollars which control a two-party system that offers the barest illusion of choice. Would you prefer armed teachers — or merely armies at school? Would you like greed with a sugarcoating — or lethally savage capitalism? And so on. The Blue Wave has as little chance of turning America around as Houdini might actually turning water into wine.

So the longest-running trend in America — that its democracy has long been broken (or never really been much of one at all, if you want to count the inconvenient fact that it was a segregated nation until 1971, which is usually too much reality for most Americans to bear) — can only continue. Today’s noble Blue Wave idealist is tomorrow’s capitulating Obamacrat — they must either compromise, toeing the party line, or they will quickly find themselves powerless, unheard, and invisible. So Blue Wave or no Blue wave — it is quite irrelevant — American political reality means it will simply go on having little chance of gaining working healthcare, higher education, public media, safety nets, or retirement, because it lacks the capacity to create it — though that is precisely what most Americans, by many measures, want.


But they do not just want it. They need it. The average American’s plight is so desperate that people in other rich countries can scarcely comprehend it. Dying from a lack of insulin? The elderly working at Walmart? Less than a week’s pay in savings? It sounds like a dystopian film, not reality. Yet this points to my second megatrend. American incomes have been flat since the 70s — but all the while, the basics of life, all the things above, from retirement to healthcare, have grown in price. First creeping up, and now skyrocketing. Of course, this shatters the average person economic hopes — but it makes those at the top ultra-wealthy. So America’s two great economic megatrends — rising inequality, growing poverty, and an imploding middle class, are likely to bite harder as well.

People who must choose between food and healthcare, of course, enjoy poorer and poorer standards of living. And that is America’s third big trend — a declining real quality of life. America yesterday was an optimistic nation — perhaps falsely so — yet still, there was the sense that eventually, life would get better for “all”, as each generation outdid the last. But now that hope is gone. Life is not getting better — it is getting worse, by the day. Life, however you would like to define it. Life expectancy? Shrinking. Infant mortality? Rising. Loneliness, despair, depression? Spiking. Trust, bonds, relationships? Imploding. American life will go on getting harder, meaner, nastier, crueller, and more dismal in every way — because a decent life, at least to the rest of the world, has become an unaffordable luxury.

What do people whose lives are falling apart do? Well, the first thing they usually do is take it out on each other. Americans have been doing that for a long time now, so much that it is a way of life. This is my fourth megatrend — it is an emotional one: rage, despair, and anxiety as a way of life. Americans will go on taking the bitter anger and grim despair of living in a collapsing society out on each other. After all, they have no way not to — no mental healthcare, universal education, functioning media, or even norms of basic decency anymore. They will go on hurting one another in every imaginable way — destroying each other in hard and soft ways, denying one another retirement, degrading and bullying each other at work and school and play, refusing to invest in the barest bits of society, walking around with machine guns, building tomorrow’s predatory systems, whether Ubers or hedge funds — precisely because there is no way to aspire to anything better, since the political system is broken, and the economy is irreparable.

Because it all seems so hopeless, societies governed by rage and despair also give up on democracy. So we are likely to see a constant “tussle” between authoritarians and the comic Marco Rubio-esque charade that passes for American leadership. But I put “tussle” in quotes for a reason. Authoritarians don’t need a majority — they never have, and that is foolish myth promoted by American intellectuals. It’s enough for fascists and tyrants to capture perhaps 30–40% of a nation to take over its institutions, norms, and future — because that 30% is like a wrecking ball, that can be used to intimidate, bluster, threaten, and bully (as long as the rest is split). That fringe, lunatic 30% now controls America wholesale — not just making any kind of progress not just impossible, but demanding wholesale regress: banning books, taking science out of schools, putting fundamentalist religion into public life, and so forth. That is my fifth megatrend, authoritarianism, and I am sorry to have to tell you that it will not stop with this President — it will continue, gain strength, and shape America for the foreseeable future.

I am sure that by now, perhaps, you find all this quite unbelievable. Ah, but wouldn’t you yourself have said where America is today was absurdly, absolutely impossible even two years ago? Wouldn’t you have laughed if someone had read you today’s headlines then, and cried, “LOL. Get real, dude. No way!!!!!”?

That is my sixth megatrend: ignorance. It is not just American economics, politics, society, and culture which have failed — at a deeper level, American thought has failed. Its intellectuals cannot explain decline, its pundits predict it, its gurus understand it, or its leaders fix it. That is because American ideas became ideologies — capitalism, individualism, aggression, cruelty, rationalism, selfishness, greed — which are all obsolete now. Perhaps they will be needed in some distant future again, though I doubt it — but right now, they are quite useless, because this age of human history demands what is truer in us, whether empathy for suffering, respect for difference, courage to stand naked, intimacy with ourselves. But because those are qualities that can only be nurtured, evoked, and cultivated, not “monetized” and “captured” and bottled and manufactured, American thought simply cannot produce them anymore than all the hedge funds, algorithms, or stock markets in the world can produce even a glimmer of sanity, grace, or wisdom.

And so. American thought will go on thinking that every year that it cannot possibly get much worse — which is what it has done for the last decade — and at every juncture, it will go on being painfully wrong. Collapse is only just beginning in America. The question is not if the broken hearts, minds, and spirits of Americans can hold back the flood — they cannot — but rather, if they can learn, at long last, to see the obvious coming, before it hits them like a freight train.



That is my sixth megatrend: ignorance. It is not just American economics, politics, society, and culture which have failed — at a deeper level, American thought has failed. Its intellectuals cannot explain decline, its pundits predict it, its gurus understand it, or its leaders fix it. That is because American ideas became ideologies — capitalism, individualism, aggression, cruelty, rationalism, selfishness, greed — which are all obsolete now. Perhaps they will be needed in some distant future again, though I doubt it — but right now, they are quite useless, because this age of human history demands what is truer in us, whether empathy for suffering, respect for difference, courage to stand naked, intimacy with ourselves. But because those are qualities that can only be nurtured, evoked, and cultivated, not “monetized” and “captured” and bottled and manufactured, American thought simply cannot produce them anymore than all the hedge funds, algorithms, or stock markets in the world can produce even a glimmer of sanity, grace, or wisdom.

This certainly resonates with me. But it's more than widespread ignorance.....it's shared ignorance, And even more than that it's shared ignorance re-inforced by the warm fuzzy environment of social media, where stupid people all go to share their favorite delusions with other stupid people.
Title: Re: Why American Collapse Is Only Just Beginning
Post by: Surly1 on January 18, 2019, 10:57:26 AM

That is my sixth megatrend: ignorance. It is not just American economics, politics, society, and culture which have failed — at a deeper level, American thought has failed. Its intellectuals cannot explain decline, its pundits predict it, its gurus understand it, or its leaders fix it. That is because American ideas became ideologies — capitalism, individualism, aggression, cruelty, rationalism, selfishness, greed — which are all obsolete now. Perhaps they will be needed in some distant future again, though I doubt it — but right now, they are quite useless, because this age of human history demands what is truer in us, whether empathy for suffering, respect for difference, courage to stand naked, intimacy with ourselves. But because those are qualities that can only be nurtured, evoked, and cultivated, not “monetized” and “captured” and bottled and manufactured, American thought simply cannot produce them anymore than all the hedge funds, algorithms, or stock markets in the world can produce even a glimmer of sanity, grace, or wisdom.

This certainly resonates with me. But it's more than widespread ignorance.....it's shared ignorance, And even more than that it's shared ignorance re-inforced by the warm fuzzy environment of social media, where stupid people all go to share their favorite delusions with other stupid people.

What is your experience with social media? Are you active on social media, and have your own accounts? Or do you merely look down your nose on the users?

For my part, social media has changed the very way I make my living. It's not my choice; it's the demands of the marketplace. Advertising spend follows eyeballs and consumer attention, and proliferates on social media, whose usage patterns continue to change as I type this.

It's  not enough to say, "social media: bad. Users: idiots." You turn yo0ur back on several generations of users. And I'm older than dirt.
Title: Re: Why American Collapse Is Only Just Beginning
Post by: Eddie on January 18, 2019, 01:07:36 PM

That is my sixth megatrend: ignorance. It is not just American economics, politics, society, and culture which have failed — at a deeper level, American thought has failed. Its intellectuals cannot explain decline, its pundits predict it, its gurus understand it, or its leaders fix it. That is because American ideas became ideologies — capitalism, individualism, aggression, cruelty, rationalism, selfishness, greed — which are all obsolete now. Perhaps they will be needed in some distant future again, though I doubt it — but right now, they are quite useless, because this age of human history demands what is truer in us, whether empathy for suffering, respect for difference, courage to stand naked, intimacy with ourselves. But because those are qualities that can only be nurtured, evoked, and cultivated, not “monetized” and “captured” and bottled and manufactured, American thought simply cannot produce them anymore than all the hedge funds, algorithms, or stock markets in the world can produce even a glimmer of sanity, grace, or wisdom.

This certainly resonates with me. But it's more than widespread ignorance.....it's shared ignorance, And even more than that it's shared ignorance re-inforced by the warm fuzzy environment of social media, where stupid people all go to share their favorite delusions with other stupid people.

What is your experience with social media? Are you active on social media, and have your own accounts? Or do you merely look down your nose on the users?

For my part, social media has changed the very way I make my living. It's not my choice; it's the demands of the marketplace. Advertising spend follows eyeballs and consumer attention, and proliferates on social media, whose usage patterns continue to change as I type this.

It's  not enough to say, "social media: bad. Users: idiots." You turn yo0ur back on several generations of users. And I'm older than dirt.

Oh, you know me better than that.

My take on social media started with reading Jaron Lanier.  You Are Not A Gadget

Here's the short version

http://www.youtube.com/v/kc_Jq42Og7Q&fs=1

Long version, for those with a longer attention span.

http://www.youtube.com/v/IwbGumZ-FYg&fs=1

I abandoned my FB page after I 1st read JL. I do get tangential contact through my wife, my kids and my stupid Trumpite relatives.

My view was influenced by JL, but it  has evolved a lot based on observation of society, and where the world seems to be going since FB replaced cigarettes as America's favorite addiction.

I am convinced that social media amplifies mass delusions and herd behavior. 
Title: Military buildup in Arctic as melting ice reopens northern borders
Post by: Surly1 on January 25, 2019, 04:08:25 AM
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Military buildup in Arctic as melting ice reopens northern borders (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/24/military-buildup-in-arctic-as-melting-ice-reopens-northern-borders)

(https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/7438e63d5299a0e7c8acf2b68cd559286d7f9d27/0_67_5616_3370/master/5616.jpg?width=1020&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=0103948c7fee7c4d4367abf2363de4b7)
Melting glacier in Svalbard, Norway. Photograph: Goncalo Diniz / Alamy/Alamy

The climate crisis is intensifying a new military buildup in the Arctic, diplomats and analysts said this week, as regional powers attempt to secure northern borders that were until recently reinforced by a continental-sized division of ice.

That so-called unpaid sentry is now literally melting away, opening up shipping lanes and geo-security challenges, said delegates at the Arctic Frontiers conference, the polar circle’s biggest talking shop, who debated a series of recent escalations.

Russia is reopening and strengthening cold war bases on the Kola peninsula in the far north-west of the country. Norway is beefing up its military presence in the high Arctic.

Last October, Nato staged Trident Juncture with 40,000 troops, its biggest military exercise in Norway in more than a decade. A month earlier Britain announced a new “Defence Arctic Strategy” and promised a 10-year deployment of 800 commandos to Norway and four RAF Typhoons to patrol Icelandic skies. The US is also sending hundreds more marines to the region on long-term rotations and has threatened to send naval vessels through Arctic shipping lanes for the first time.

While these strategic moves have echoes of the cold war, the modest buildup falls far short of that era, and there remains a strong spirit of cooperation in many areas. The current tensions are a result of a world warmed by industrial emissions. The Arctic is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the planet, shrinking sea ice and exposing more water and territory to exploitation and access.

“Right now, the reasons we are seeing more military activity is that countries are worried by the spectre of open water,” one of the speakers, Klaus Dodds, a professor of geopolitics at Royal Holloway, University of London, told the Guardian. “The unique Arctic security architecture has shape and form that come from natural extremities. If the Arctic becomes just another ocean, this breaks down. It’s elemental.”

Trident Juncture exercises.
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Norwegian tanks during Trident Juncture exercises on 2 November 2018. Photograph: Frederik Ringnes/Forsvaret/EPA

The Arctic’s unique characteristics are under attack from all sides. Below, the once-frozen ocean is now mixed with warmer, more saline Atlantic waters. In the skies above, the polar vortex above is weakening, allowing intrusions of balmy air currents from the south.

Sea ice is being lost at a rate of more than 10,000 tonnes per second, according to Tore Furevik, a professor at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Bergen. “We’re heading for a new and uncertain Arctic with ramifications for nature and politics,” he said. “We should strive to be less suspicious, less hostile and more open-minded if we are to deal with a problem that we have so recklessly created.”

By 2035, the Arctic is forecast to be free of ice during summer, which will allow ships to sail across the north pole.

Business interest is growing. For the first time, last summer, a Maersk container ship navigated the northern sea route from Asia to Europe carrying fish and electronic goods. Energy companies are exploring new oil and gas fields.

Once remote regions are becoming geopolitical hotspots. Tromsø, in Norway, which hosted the conference, was once a tiny trading post. Today, it’s a tourism hub and a gateway to the mineral-rich north. “Now we have a historically strange situation with political and economic activity in the Arctic. So many people are knocking on our door, including business and state representatives from China, Pakistan, Singapore and Morocco,” the mayor, Kristin Røymo, told the Guardian. “There is also a very obvious increased naval presence.”

This concerns many conference participants, who highlight the peaceful history of cross-border cooperation in the far north. Even during the cold war, there were agreements on fishing, scientific research and reindeer herding that continue today.

Norwegian politicians were at pains to downplay the significance of the current military buildup. “There is no direct link between climate change and conflict,” the former defence minister Espen Barth Eide said. “It’s not because there is an immediate threat, it’s that, as an area becomes more important, it’s natural to have a heightened military presence.”

Tromsø.
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Tromsø was once a tiny trading post. Today, it’s a gateway to the mineral-rich north with representatives from China, Pakistan, Singapore and Morocco ‘knocking on the door’, says its mayor. Photograph: Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images

He compared the situation to the South China Sea, where China, the US and other nations compete, not by firing weapons, but by demonstrating capacity and presence. “To some extent that is happening now in the Arctic,” he said, although he stressed there were no territorial disputes to inflame passions.

The build-up is portrayed almost as a form of climate adaptation – strengthening the military presence along with infrastructure affected by melting permafrost.

However, there are tensions. In a keynote speech, the Norwegian foreign minister, Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, complained about communications interference by Russia in the far north. She plans to arrange a meeting with the Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, to discuss the allegation. “Most important is to open political dialogue and talk not just about what we agree on but what we do not agree on,” she said.

Norway is also contributing to the climate problem and the strategic tensions. It has just approved a raft of new oil exploration licenses in the Barents Sea and one of its citizens has been caught spying in Russia.

Russia is uneasy about recent Nato exercises that have pushed deep into the north, according to Teimuraz Ramishvili, the ambassador to Norway. He told the Guardian the military modernisation on the Russian side was overdue after 20 years of neglect and its significance should not be overstated.

“In Europe, you have military installations that are used for peaceful purposes. Why it that OK in Europe, but not in Russia?” he asked. He said Moscow put a high priority on the northern region, where the potential was so great that some talk enthusiastically of an “Arctic age”.

“For us, this is a matter of sustainable development of Russian territory. This is not open water, it is Russian territory,” said Ramishvili. “The Arctic isn’t a nature resort. It’s a place where Russians have lived for a long time.”

A polar bear.
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A polar bear in the Franklin Strait in the Canadian Arctic. Photograph: David Goldman/AP

Currently, cargo companies that use the northern shipping lanes need to pay Russia. But this will change as the sea ice recedes and Arctic routes open up in international waters. China, which has declared itself a “near-Arctic nation”, is among the countries exploring this area. Last year, it launched a second Snow Dragon ice breaker and released an Arctic white paper that explored the potential for infrastructure investments in a Polar Silk Road.

The US, by comparison, is lagging behind. Although its nuclear submarines have operated under the ice for decades, its surface navy is ill-equipped for the Arctic. “Everyone’s up there but us,” the navy secretary, Richard Spencer, complained last month.

“The threat is back on. This is an area … we need to focus on,” he said. Spencer has called for a strategic Arctic port in Alaska and US naval vessels to conduct navigation operations later this year in northern shipping lanes so they have the capacity to conduct emergency operations if necessary. “Can you imagine a Carnival line cruise ship having a problem, and the Russians do the search and do the extraction?” he said.

The prospect of a US warship sailing near Russia’s vast northern border would certainly amplify unease, as well as highlighting the geopolitical challenges caused by global heating.

Lisa Murkowski, a US senator for Alaska, did not expect the US navy to enter Russian waters, but, considering everything else that is going on, she said any freedom of navigation mission in the region would raise sensitivity.

“It’s important for the US to project military strength, but there should be no intention to be unduly provocative,” she told the conference. The problem, she said, was that the White House had not updated its strategy to deal with a fast-changing region. “Under this administration, we are not assigning a significant priority to our role as an Arctic nation. There is a void,” she said.

Environmentalists at the conference highlighted the dual role of oil in worsening the tension: both as a driver of climate change and of the push for more resource extraction from the still largely pristine Arctic. Norway came under fire for approving 83 new exploration licenses last week, more than a dozen of which were in the Barents Sea.

“The false narrative of this conference is that Arctic countries are doing sustainable development,” said Martin Sommerkorn, head of conservation of the WWF Arctic Programme. “You can’t say that just days after you grant 83 new licenses. That’s completely wrong.”

Title: Let’s Say I Wanted to Escape Climate Change. Where Should I Go?
Post by: Surly1 on February 02, 2019, 05:12:22 AM
Let’s Say I Wanted to Escape Climate Change. Where Should I Go? (https://www.resilience.org/stories/2019-02-01/lets-say-i-wanted-to-escape-climate-change-where-should-i-go/)

By Eve Andrews, originally published by Grist
  • February 1, 2019

Our readers submit questions to Umbra here, and then vote for the one they most want her to answer. This was the winning question last week.

Q.I am not giving up … but if I were to move, where in the United States could I go to minimize climate disruption?

— Uneasy in a U-Haul

A.Dear Uneasy,

So you want to escape climate change. That’s a reasonable impulse — climate change rivals nuclear war for the greatest threat to human life in the history of our species’ existence. Every survival instinct we’ve cultivated to date should, understandably, make us want to get away from it.

Let’s start by evaluating regions of the U.S. based on the basics of what we expect climate change to bring. We know that the seas will swell and temperatures will go up. So that particularly endangers a host of coastal cities with relatively warm climates, especially in the summer — so MiamiNew OrleansNorfolkWashington D.C.New YorkLos Angeles. A 2017 paper in Nature Climate Change estimated that the 13.1 million people displaced from those cities by sea level rise could head for more inland locales like Atlanta, Houston, and Phoenix.

So there you have it, Uneasy! Let’s all head to Atlanta, Houston, and Phoenix.

But wait a second: Hurricane Harvey gave an alarming preview of how Houston will fare in a climate-changed future. Phoenix is in the middle of a desert with no reliable water source, where temperatures can surge to 120 degrees F in the summer. And Atlanta is the third fastest-warming metropolitan region in the country.

Forget about those cities. What’s a nice, temperate place? Never gets too hot or too cold, has lots of water? Aha — the Pacific Northwest. Umbra’s home! It’s part-rainforest, after all.

But it’s a rainforest that’s seen bigger, hotter, deadlier, and more unpredictable wildfires in recent memory. Even a small increase in temperature has detrimental effects on plant and soil moisture, which will dry out forests and make them into true tinderboxes. And we’ve had warmer winters, which means less snowpack on the mountains and thus a less reliable water source for the region. (Oh, and we’re overdue for a truly devastating earthquake, but that’s separate from climate change.)

Hmmm … how about Alaska? Tons of snow. Really cold. Well, except an increase in average temperatures has already begun to displace thousands of the state’s Native inhabitants along the coast. On top of that, millions of ancient viruses and bacteria to which humans have lost immunity will be unearthed as the permafrost becomes, well, less permanent.

This is hard math. Or maybe hard geography? I called Jesse Keenan, climate-adaptation specialist and a faculty member at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, to get a more informed perspective on where one could limit their exposure to climate change.

His suggestion: places that aren’t dependent on snowpack, ground-level aquifers, or reservoirs for their water. More specifically, that tends to be rural, wooded, northern areas with lots of clean water wells — so the Upper Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan), and maybe parts of Montana. Justin Timberlake was on to something!

But if everyone moves to rural areas, altering the wooded landscape and taxing all those pristine wells, they won’t last long as climate strongholds.

“Well, exactly,” Keenan said. “There’s nowhere you can hide. I think you need to come to terms with what you think you’re running from. Are you trying to beat people to something? Are you trying to run because there’s a hazard and you’re at risk? Are you running because of your health or welfare? Then you need to come to terms with the fact that you’re trying to make an economic investment decision of where you’re trying to put your limited resources.”

Resources, limited or vast, are the crucial factor here. I imagine if you’re posing this question, you have some means to pick up and move. That’s not the case for many people — one might say most people, considering that nearly two-thirds of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings and the average long-distance move costs about $5,000.

But even putting the money aside, moving isn’t a small change. You have to start an entirely new life, build a new social circle. “You can try to move to one of these places,” Keenan said, “but you need to learn the position you’re putting yourself in, and you’ll have to become a part of these new communities.”

Keenan said he gets versions of your question almost daily — usually from “people at big institutional real estate funds, rich people who want to buy land or already own land, or survivalist types.” And acquiring the ability to answer the question “what land will survive climate change?” is already a lucrative endeavor.

Not to wealth-shame you, but the fact that the unholy trifecta of insurance companies, real estate investors, and Silicon Valley is mobilizing on these concerns should give you a bit of pause.

If you recognize that climate change is a huge, terrifying problem, and you have the means to at least try to escape it — why wouldn’t you devote those means to trying to fix it instead, especially if you know it’s impossible to escape? By “fix it,” I mean try to make the place you live, where you’ve made your home, where you have some sense of ownership and responsibility — and oh, let’s call it investment — more resilient to climate change. Maybe agitate for more storm-resistant infrastructuremass transitgreen spaces.

Because the future isn’t for sure, but running away from the problem ensures that it will be.

Permanently,

Umbra

P.S. If you want a preview of how climate change will affect every region of the United States, check out the map my colleagues put together here.

Title: We broke down what climate change will do, region by region
Post by: Surly1 on February 02, 2019, 05:18:04 AM
We broke down what climate change will do, region by region (https://grist.org/article/we-broke-down-what-climate-change-will-do-region-by-region/)
Yeah, we read each chapter of the report so you don't have to.


(https://grist.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/regional-map-climate-change1.jpg)

By on Nov 29, 2018

Look, at this point, even the most stubborn among us know that climate change is coming for our asses. We really don’t have much time until the climate plagues we’re already getting previews of — mega-wildfires, rising sea-levels, superstorm after superstorm — start increasing in frequency. The 4th National Climate Assessment says all that and much more is on its way.

Here’s the thing: Not all regions in the U.S. are going to experience climate change in the same way. Your backyard might suffer different climate consequences than my backyard. And, let’s be honest, we need to know what’s happening in our respective spaces so we can be prepared. I’m not saying it’s time to start prepping your bunker, but I would like to know if my family should consider moving to higher ground or stock up on maple syrup.

Luckily, that new report — which Trump tried to bury on Black Friday — breaks down climate change’s likely impacts on 10 specific regions. Unluckily, the chapters are super dense.

Silver lining: We at Grist divvied up the chapters and translated them into news you can actually use.

Northeast

Ahh, the Northeast, home to beautiful autumn leaves, delicious maple syrup, and copious amounts of ticks bearing disease. What’s not to love? A lot, according to this report.

Our region is looking at “the largest temperature increase in the contiguous United States” — 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit by the time 2035 rolls around. We’re going to be slammed with the highest rates of sea-level rise in the whole damn country, and we’re going to have the highest rate of ocean warming. Urban centers are particularly at risk (remember Superstorm Sandy?). And if you’re a fan of snuggling up beside the fire in your Connecticut mansion (or whatever), be warned that winters are projected to warm in our region three times faster than summers. That means delayed ski seasons and less time to tap maple trees.

Things are gonna be rough on us humans, but dragonflies and damselflies — two insects literally no one ever thinks about, but that flourish in healthy ecosystems — are pretty much doomed. The report says their habitat could decline by as much as 99 percent by 2080.

Sea-level rise, flooding, and extreme weather poses a mental health threat to Northeasterners. Impacted coastal communities can expect things like “anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.” But it’s not all bad: The assessment portends more intense (read: Instagram-able) fall foliage and more forest growth.

Zoya Teirstein

Southeast

If, like me, you love your filthy, dirty South, you’ll be pleased to hear that summer thunderstorms, skeeters, ticks, and hot, muggy weather aren’t going anywhere! (Actually, don’t be pleased. This is serious.)

Southerners are accustomed to warm days followed by warm nights, but as the heat continues to turn up, those nights just might be our downfall. Urban and rural areas alike can expect to sweat through up to 100 additional warm nights per year by the end of this century. Hot, sticky nights make it harder for us to recover from the heat of the day. This is especially bad in parts of many Southeastern cities, where residents suffer from the “heat island effect.”

“I think it’s really important to look at the heat-related impacts on labor productivity,” says chapter author Kirstin Dow, a social environmental geographer at the University of South Carolina. Under one scenario, the Southeast could see losses of 570 million labor hours, amounting to about $47 billion per year — one-third of the nation’s total loss. What’s more, Dow says, “Those changes are going to take place in counties where there’s already chronic poverty.”

Warming waters will also push the infamous lionfish closer to the Atlantic Coast. In addition to being invasive, this freaky-looking fish is venomous, and swimmers and divers can expect more encounters (and stings) as the climate brings them closer to our beaches.

Claire Elise Thompson

Caribbean

For someone who doesn’t like donning heavy clothing during the winter, the Caribbean has the perfect weather: year-round warm days with ocean breezes. Climate change, according to the report, means we can’t have nice things.

In the near future, the Caribbean will experience longer dry seasons and shorter, but wetter rainy seasons. To make matters worse: During those arid periods, freshwater supplies will be lacking for islanders. And since islands (by definition) aren’t attached to any other land masses, “you can’t just pipe in water,” says Adam Terando, USGS Research Ecologist and chapter author.

The report confirmed something island-dwellers know all too well: Climate change is not coming to the Caribbean — it’s already there. And it’ll only get worse. Disastrous storms the likes of Hurricane Maria — which took the lives of nearly 3,000 Puerto Ricans — are expected to become more common in a warming world.

Another striking result: Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are projected to lose 3.6 percent and 4.6 percent of total coastal land area, respectively, posing a threat to critical infrastructure near its shores. The tourism industry will have to grapple with the disappearance of its beaches. Even notable cultural sites aren’t safe: Encroaching seas threaten El Morro — a hulking fortress that sits majestically on the coast of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“Our island is trying to limit its emissions — but we’re not big emitters,” lead chapter author Ernesto L. Diaz, a coastal management expert at Puerto Rico’s Dept. of Natural and Environmental Resources, tells Grist.

Paola Rosa-Aquino

Midwest

What’s in store for the Midwest? Oh hello there, crop diseases and pests! Hold onto your corn husks, because maize yields will be down 5 to 25 percent across the region by midcentury, mostly due to hot temps. And soybean hauls will decline more than 25 percent in the southern Midwest.

Beyond wilting crops, extreme heat puts lives at risk. The Midwest may see the biggest increase in temperature-related deaths compared to other regions, putting everyone from farmworkers to city-dwellers at risk. In one particularly bad climate change scenario, late-21st-century Chicago could end up seeing 60 days per year above 100 degrees F — similar to present-day Las Vegas or Phoenix.

The Great Lakes represent 20 percent of freshwater on the world’s surface, but lately, they’re looking … not so fresh. Climate change and pollution from farms are leading to toxic algae blooms and literally starving the water of oxygen.

But hey, there’s a silver lining. Midwesterners (myself included) have developed a bad habit of leaving their homeland for other parts of the country. That trend may reverse. “The Midwest may actually experience migration into the region because of climate change,” Maria Carmen Lemos, a Midwest chapter author and professor at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability, said in a statement. So while you may have to reconsider your ice-fishing plans, Midwesterners, it could be a whole lot worse.

Kate Yoder

Northern Great Plains

The Northern Great Plains is far from any ocean. Water melts off mountain snowpack, slowly trickles down glaciers, and pools up in basins. The largely arid region is dominated by thirsty industries like agriculture, energy extraction, and tourism. There’s a byzantine system of century-old water rights and competing interests.

Or as my dad, a Montana cattle rancher, puts it: “Whiskey is for drinking. Water is for fighting.”

Residents might want to steel themselves with a little bourbon as climate change will escalate those water woes, according to the report. Winters will end earlier and snow could decline as much as 25 to 40 percent in the mountainous regions.

It’s not just some far-off problem for cross-country skiers and thirsty critters. The authors point to the behavior of the mountain pine beetle as one example of a climate-influenced tweak that’s had devastating impact. Warmer winters and less precipitation have enabled the bugs to kill off huge swaths of forest in the region.

Lest you think what happens in the Dakotas stays in the Dakotas: While only 1.5 percent of the U.S. population lives in this region, it contributes nearly 13 percent of the country’s agricultural market value.

It’s culturally critical, too: The area is home to 27 federally recognized tribes that are already experiencing climate threats such as a lack of access to safe water and declining fisheries.

Darby Minow Smith

Southern Great Plains

The Southern Great Plains flips between heat waves, tornadoes, drought, ice storms, hurricanes, and hail. The weather is “dramatic and consequential” according to the report. It’s “a terrible place to be a hot tar roofer,” according to me, a former Kansas roofer. In a warmed world, none of this improves. Well, maybe the ice storms.

The region will continue to have longer and hotter summers, meaning more drought. Portions of the already shrinking Ogallala Aquifer, which is critical to a huge western swath of the region, could be completely depleted within 25 years, according to the report.

Texas’ Gulf Coast will face sea-level rise, stronger hurricanes, and an expanded range of tropical, mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and Zika. It’ll also experience more intense floods. Many of the region’s dams and levees are in need of repair and aren’t equipped for the inundations.

One of the chapter’s lead authors, Bill Bartush, a conservation coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, tells Grist that how landowners handle the extremes of water management will be key to climate adaptation. Given the region’s high rates of private land ownership, it’s essential to get them on board.

In weirder news, the region’s Southern Flounder population is declining because the fish’s sex is determined by water temperature. Warmer winters mean more males. It’s like a terrible reboot of Three Men and a Baby, but with more flounder and no baby.

Daniel Penner

Northwest

The Pacific Northwest has more rain in its winter forecast. That might not sound unusual for a region known for its wet weather, but more winter rain — as opposed to snow — could impact the region’s water supply and entire way of life.

Most of the Northwest relies on melting mountain snow for water during the summer. Climate change will replace more of that snow with rain, which flows downstream right away rather than being stored on mountainsides until the temperatures warm. Less snowmelt during hot summers could damage salmon habitat, dry out farms, harm the region’s outdoor industry, and increase wildfire risk.

“It’s like our tap is on all the time,” said Heidi Roop, a research scientist at the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group, which helped author the chapter.

The report forecasts a lot of change in the Northwest, including flooding and landslides. But rainy winters? That’s one thing that’s not going away anytime soon.

Jesse Nichols

Southwest

“I am large. I contain multitudes,” Walt Whitman said of himself. But he could have very well said it of the Southwest, where stretches of desert give way to soaring, snow-capped mountains. Yet this might not be the case for long. Climate change threatens all of this beautiful ecological diversity, as well as the 60 million people who call this area home, including 182 tribal nations.

The hottest and driest corner of the country is already suffering from heat waves, droughts, and increased wildfires. As a result, the Southwest, to put it bluntly, is running out of water. With water at already record low levels and a population that continues to grow, the region is working on a recipe for water scarcity.

“Lake Mead, which provides drinking water to Las Vegas and water for agriculture in the region, has fallen to its lowest level since the filling of the reservoir in 1936 and lost 60 percent of its volume,” coordinating chapter author Patrick Gonzalez, a climate scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, tells Grist.

In the coming years, temperatures in this region will soar. Droughts, including megadroughts lasting 10 years, will become commonplace. Agriculture will take a steep hit, causing food insecurity. Expect those lovely desert sunsets to take on an unsettling pink, as the snow-capped mountains grow bald.

Greta Moran

Alaska

In Alaska, water is life, life is shellfish, shellfish is power. But, alas, climate change is about to do a number on the state’s marine life, food webs, and species distributions. According to the climate assessment, ocean acidification is expected to disrupt “corals, crustaceans, crabs, mollusks,” as well as “Tanner and red king crab and pink salmon.” Lots of indigenous peoples rely on that variety of marine life.

The largest state in the country is already ground zero for climate change. Thawing permafrost means structures are literally sinking into the ground all over the state.

What does a temperature increase really mean? Well, under the worst-case scenario, the coldest nights of the year are projected to warm 12 DEGREES F by midcentury.

I know I said water, either frozen or liquid, is the name of the game in Alaska, but the report says the state should expect more wildfires in the future, too. Under a high-temperature-increase scenario, as much as 120 million acres could burn between 2006 and 2100. That’s an area larger than California.

Oh yeah, and the report says there’s going to be an increase in “venomous insects.” Cheers.

Zoya Teirstein

Hawaii and the Pacific Islands

This region houses 1.9 million people, 20 indigenous languages, countless endemic (one-of-a-kind) flora and fauna species, and the freaking Mariana Trench (the world’s deepest point).

Pacific island communities can expect to grapple with the usual climate change suspects: rising sea levels, weird rainfall patterns, drought, flooding, and extreme temperatures. But all those things have unique implications for supplies of island drinking water. In short, like those who live in the Caribbean, these communities’ ability to survive depends on protecting their fresh water.

Extremes in the weather patterns El Niño and La Niña could double in the 21st century, compared to the previous one. El Ninos bring drought, which means Pacific communities have to desalinate water to make up for dwindling rainfall. But rising sea levels contaminate groundwater supplies and aquifers, which basically means Pacific Islanders have it coming from all sides.

Wait, there’s more. Too much freshwater is bad, too. Under a higher-warming scenario, rainfall in Hawaii could increase by 30 percent in wet areas by the end of the century. Think that’s good for dry areas? Think again! Projections suggest rainfall decreases of up to 60 percent in those. So more rain where rain isn’t needed and less rain where it’s dry. Great.

To end things on a sad note — because why the hell not — the National Climate Assessment states that “nesting seabirds, turtles and seals, and coastal plants” are going to be whacked by climate change. :(

Zoya Teirstein

Title: Re: We broke down what climate change will do, region by region
Post by: RE on February 02, 2019, 06:19:07 AM
"In Alaska, water is life, life is shellfish, shellfish is power. But, alas, climate change is about to do a number on the state’s marine life, food webs, and species distributions. According to the climate assessment, ocean acidification is expected to disrupt “corals, crustaceans, crabs, mollusks,” as well as “Tanner and red king crab and pink salmon.” Lots of indigenous peoples rely on that variety of marine life."

Well, at least for this year we still get to enjoy some fabulous Alaska King Crab for the Diner 7th Anniversary Dinner!  :icon_sunny:

http://www.youtube.com/v/g6h0fTYRQ8g

RE
Title: Nature Conservancy survey finds Hawaii island reefs recovering
Post by: azozeo on February 02, 2019, 11:53:01 AM

Nearly four years ago, coral reefs on the west side of the Big Island experienced the worst bleaching event in the state’s history.

The Nature Conservacy has some good news: Those reefs appear to be recovering.

“Bleaching events like what occurred in 2015 can overstress a coral reef to the point where it may never recover,” said Eric Conklin, director of marine science for TNC’s Hawaii program, in a news release. “We surveyed over 14,000 coral colonies at 20 sites along the West Hawaii coast from Kawaihae to Keauhou and were thrilled to see that many of the area’s reefs have stabilized, which is the first step toward recovery.”


https://www.staradvertiser.com/2019/01/24/hawaii-news/nature-conservancy-survey-finds-hawaii-island-reefs-recovering/ (https://www.staradvertiser.com/2019/01/24/hawaii-news/nature-conservancy-survey-finds-hawaii-island-reefs-recovering/)
Title: Ruined crops,salty soil: How rising seas are poisoning North Carolina’s farmland
Post by: Surly1 on March 02, 2019, 10:05:01 AM
Ruined crops, salty soil: How rising seas are poisoning North Carolina’s farmland (https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/ruined-crops-salty-soil-how-rising-seas-are-poisoning-north-carolinas-farmland/2019/03/01/2e26b83e-28ce-11e9-8eef-0d74f4bf0295_story.html?utm_term=.37689c95e9e3)


East Carolina University graduate students Trevor Burns, left, and Tyler Palochak check groundwater monitoring equipment on a farm near Engelhard, N.C., in January. (Eamon Queeney/for The Washington Post)

MIDDLETOWN, N.C. — The salty patches were small, at first — scattered spots where soybeans wouldn’t grow, where grass withered and died, exposing expanses of bare, brown earth.

But lately those barren patches have grown. On dry days, the salt precipitates out of the mud and the crystals make the soil sparkle in the sunlight. And on a damp and chilly afternoon in January, the salt makes Dawson Pugh furrow his brow in dismay.

“It’s been getting worse,” the farmer tells East Carolina University hydrologist Alex Manda, who drove out to this corner of coastal North Carolina with a group of graduate students to figure out what’s poisoning Pugh’s land — and whether anything can be done to stop it.

Of climate change’s many plagues — drought, insects, fires, floods — saltwater intrusion in particular sounds almost like a biblical curse. Rising seas, sinking earth and extreme weather are conspiring to cause salt from the ocean to contaminate aquifers and turn formerly fertile fields barren. A 2016 study in the journal Science predicted that 9 percent of the U.S. coastline is vulnerable to saltwater intrusion — a percentage likely to grow as the world continues to warm. Scientists are just beginning to assess the potential effect on agriculture, Manda said, and it’s not yet clear how much can be mitigated.

“We spend a lot of time and money to try to prevent salt,” Pugh says. “I worry what the future is. If it keeps getting worse, will it be worth farming?”

Iffarmers in coastal areas have any hope of protecting their land — and their livelihoods — the first step is to disentangle the complex web of causes that can send ocean water seeping into the ground beneath their feet.


East Carolina University graduate students use a probe to check the chemistry of water in a ditch on the farm. (Eamon Queeney/for The Washington Post)
Alex Manda, a hydrologist at East Carolina University, sets up a weather station as part of the effort to determine what’s happening to coastal farmland. (Eamon Queeney/for The Washington Post)
Sensors lay on the ground beside a nest of scientific wells as Manda’s graduate students from East Carolina University study the groundwater. (Eamon Queeney/for The Washington Post)

With that goal in mind, Pugh, Manda and Andrea Gibbs, the local agriculture agent for North Carolina Cooperative Extension, convened at the edge of Pugh’s saltiest field on a recent blustery afternoon.

Pugh, 41, has spent his adult life growing soybeans, corn and cotton in North Carolina’s “blacklands,” where the dark and fertile soil is a legacy of nutrient-rich swamps that were drained to make the region arable. His father farmed here in Hyde County before him, and his grandfather before that. Pugh felt he was prepared for the challenges he would face with the brackish Pamlico Sound within spitting distance and just the thin sandy barrier of the Outer Banks between his farmland and the open ocean.

But lately, the problems have become relentless. Hyde County has been part of a declared disaster zone during four of the past five years, Gibbs says. Heavy rainfall and strong winds have caused millions of dollars in damage. Hurricanes Matthew in 2016 and Florence in 2018 brought several feet of storm surge that inundated the area with seawater.

Although Pugh and Gibbs demur when asked what they think is behind the recent disasters, ­science suggests that climate change plays a major role. Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that sea levels near Pamlico Sound are rising at a rate of 4.4 millimeters per year — equivalent to nearly 1.5 feet over the next century. Other research has shown that warmer oceans make Atlantic hurricanes wetter, slower and more intense, resulting in more catastrophic storms like Florence.

Whatever the cause, both Pugh and Gibbs are anxious to find a solution. Pugh estimates that recent flooding — and the associated salinization — cost him $2 million in lost crops over the past five years. Last year, the field where Manda is now working became so pockmarked with barren patches Pugh stopped planting it altogether.

“No point in spending the money,” he says, “or the seed.”

“What percentage is like this?” Gibbs asks.

Pugh shrugs. “It’s hard to say. Five percent? Maybe more.”

And the barren patches may be growing. Most of the 4,000 acres that Pugh farms were inundated during Florence. “Just about every­thing was underwater for as far as you can see both ways,” he says.

Gibbs, who tested salinity levels in this field after the storm, says the results scared her.

“The numbers that were on that sheet —” she trails off. “You shouldn’t be able to grow anything in that.”

In the months after the storm, Manda and his students placed an array of scientific instruments in Pugh’s abandoned field: wells to monitor groundwater, probes that take salinity measurements at 10-minute intervals. On this winter day, they install a weather station, which will keep track of rain and wind.

“Right now, we’re just collecting as much data as possible,” Manda tells Pugh.


Farmer Dawson Pugh in one of his fields. “If we have another year or two like the past five,” he says, “not only will I not be farming. A lot of us won’t.” (Eamon Queeney/for The Washington Post)
Rachel Wheatley, an East Carolina University graduate student, takes notes as Pugh talks about his land. (Eamon Queeney/for The Washington Post)
A monitoring well on Pugh’s land. The salinity of the groundwater has surprised scientists. (Eamon Queeney/for The Washington Post)

Though it’s known that saltwater intrusion is linked to sea-level rise caused by climate change, scientists aren’t certain exactly how salt winds up in farmers’ fields. One hypothesis is that strong winds may blow salt water from the sound into the canals and ditches that crisscross the county, which then leak into the soil. Another possibility is that the salt was left behind by storm-surge events and simply takes a long time to wash away.

Or maybe the problem goes even deeper. Scientists are increasingly concerned that rising sea levels are shifting the “zone of transition” — the underground gradient where fresh groundwater meets salty seawater. This issue may be compounded by the slow sinking of North Carolina’s coastal plain since the end of the last ice age about 12,000 years ago.

It’s only through continued monitoring that Manda and his colleagues will figure out which of their theories is right.

A group of students returns from testing the water in a nearby ditch. “Two point seven,” they report — the liquid contains 2.7 grams of salt per thousand grams.

“That’s concerning,” Manda replies. Typical salinity levels for fresh water are below 0.5 parts per thousand.

The salinity of the ground­water — the fluid found in the cracks and spaces in the soil beneath their feet — is even higher. The researchers’ readings turn up numbers of five parts per thousand, six parts per thousand, nine parts per thousand — far above the recommended level for farming.

“The results are peculiar,” says Manda, who had expected to find that the salty water was coming from the ditch. If the ground­water is more saline than the canals, that suggests the salt is seeping up from below.

“From a science perspective, it’s fascinating,” Manda says — the unexpected results suggest the possibility of learning something new. “But from a farmer’s perspective, what can you do about it?”

Dykes and pumps can be used to hold back floodwaters from an encroaching ocean — Pugh has built some on his land. But little can be done to stop the slow mixing of fresh and salty water underground.

Looking on as Manda and his students collect their samples, Pugh thinks about the flood­waters that sat on his fields for days after Florence. He still doesn’t know how badly the storm surge damaged his soil, or how the lingering salt might affect the crops he plants this spring.

“Hopefully this next round of samples will tell us,” he says.

But no one can tell him what this summer holds, let alone what kind of devastation the next hurricane season will bring.

“If we have another year or two like the past five,” Pugh tells Gibbs, “not only will I not be farming. A lot of us won’t.”

“I know,” she says sympathetically. “But you’re a good farmer.”

Pugh gives her a nod. “Thank you.”

“Just had some bad weather,” she says. Then, in a tone of pure hope, she adds: “But not this year. It’s gonna be good this year.”

Pugh claps her on the shoulder. “That’s the optimism of a farmer.”


East Carolina University graduate students walk across a field to take readings from scientific wells as they study the groundwater. (Eamon Queeney/for The Washington Post)