Featuring the Four Horsemen of Global Warming
Drought, Flood, Heat, & Pestilence
Top Story - Time to focus on another of my horsemen, Heat, which is causing havoc in the U.S. and Japan with record breaking temperatures.
First, the US: 37 Die In South, Midwest Heat Wave.
Unrelenting heat that has baked the Midwest and South for the past 10 days has killed more than three dozen people, even forcing officials Thursday to shut down part of a nuclear reactor in Alabama because the river water used to cool it was too hot.
In Tennessee, the Shelby County medical examiner’s office confirmed Thursday that heat caused the death of a 53-year-old man found in his apartment the day before, bringing the death toll in Memphis alone to eight.
In all, 37 deaths in the South and Midwest have been confirmed as heat-related, and heat is suspected in 10 more, authorities said.
In Memphis, the mercury topped out at 105 degrees Thursday, a record and the seventh consecutive day of triple-digit temperatures. Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Jr. compared the heat wave to a devastating earthquake and set up a hotline for people to report concerns and request fans.
“This is pretty akin to a seismic event in the sense that there is no remedy, no solution that we here in this room can come up with that will take care of everybody,” he said.
Powerless in the face of heat? Comparing it to an earthquake? It shut down a Nuclear Power Plant?
The Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation’s largest public utility, shut down one of three units at the Browns Ferry nuclear plant in Athens, Ala., because water drawn from the Tennessee River was exceeding a 90-degree average over 24 hours.
“We don’t believe we’ve ever shut down a nuclear unit because of river temperature,” said John Moulton, spokesman for the Knoxville, Tenn.-based utility.
The shutdown posed no safety threat, officials said. The TVA will compensate for the loss of power by buying power elsewhere, Moulton said.
Here are the number of deaths by state: Arkansas - 4, Georgia - 4, Illinois - 8, Mississippi - 1, Missouri - 9, South Carolina - 2, and Tennessee - 1
That is 7 states covering an area from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean.
Alabama has also been hit hard:
In Alabama, state climatologist John Christy said the string of 10 consecutive days of triple-digit temperatures is amazing. Fifty-four people were treated in Alabama hospitals Wednesday and Thursday for heat-related illnesses, State Health Officer Don Williamson said.
What causes the deaths?
Even people who consider themselves healthy can be vulnerable to heat-related health problems after an extended period of excessive heat, medical authorities say.
Emergency physicians warned that days of heat-related stress can lead to problems such as nausea, dizziness, headaches, cramps and vomiting for people who otherwise are healthy. Those symptoms are the first signs of heat exhaustion.
“It is a cumulative thing,” Dr. Franc Fenaughty, an emergency room physician in the Memphis suburb of Germantown, told The Commercial Appeal newspaper. “After four or five or six days you are going to see more people get dehydrated. And, the big problem is dehydration.”
Other recent heat waves in the U.S..
Last summer, a heat wave killed at least 50 people in the Midwest and East. California officially reported a death toll of 143, but authorities last month admitted the number may have been far higher. A 1995 heat wave in Chicago was blamed for 700 deaths.
Second, Japan: 13 dead as Japan endures hottest ever day.
The temperature hit a record high in Japan on Thursday, with the extreme summer heat killing at least 13 people across the nation this week, officials said.
The mercury shot up to a record 40.9 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit) in Tajimi city in the central prefecture of Gifu on Thursday afternoon, according to the weather agency.
The reading eclipsed the previous highest temperature recorded in Japan of 40.8 degrees set in northern Yamagata prefecture in 1933.
Five people have been killed since Tuesday in Saitama prefecture just north of Tokyo, officials said.
“Many of the victims are elderly people. They are hard hit by this heat wave as they are not so physically strong to begin with,” local disaster-prevention official Toshihiko Yamasaki said.
Plus, Japan Swelters in Record Heat Wave.
Japan sizzled through its hottest day on record Thursday as a heat wave claimed at least 13 lives and threatened power supplies strained by a recent earthquake, authorities and media reports said.
The mercury hit 105.6 degrees in the western city of Tajimi and the central city of Kumagaya, breaking a previous national record of 105.4 degrees set in 1933, the Meteorological Agency said.
In the Hachioji region of Tokyo, temperatures reached 101.7 degrees, breaking the previous record of 101.3 degrees for August.
The average high temperature in central Tokyo for the month of August is 87.4 degrees.
Ten people died Thursday due to the heat, most of them elderly, public broadcaster NHK said.
A 13-year-old boy who collapsed in Tokyo after basketball practice two days ago was also among Thursday’s dead, NHK said, adding that nearly 900 people were hospitalized across the nation. At least three people died from heatstroke Wednesday, Kyodo News agency said.
Tokyo Electrical Power Co. warned of a power shortage as people turned up air conditioners.
The company has been firing up old thermal power stations and buying electricity from rivals after a strong earthquake in mid-July ravaged its largest nuclear power reactor, reducing its electricity output by more than 10 percent.
Across the country, vacationers sought refuge indoors at the height of the summer holidays.
Rail tracks were bent out of shape in the sun, and authorities struggled to deal with fire alarms set off by rising temperatures, according to news reports.
We are not powerless in the face of heat. There are easy measures everyone can take to protect themselves. The Red Cross offers some excellent advice at: Red Cross Heat Safety Tips Help Keep People Cool.
As temperatures climb over 90 degrees (F) and stay there for several days, people, especially the very young and the very old, become susceptible to heat and heat-related illnesses. Heat-related illnesses can cause serious injury and even death if unattended. Signs of heat-related illnesses include nausea, dizziness, flushed or pale skin, heavy sweating, and headaches. Victims of heat-related illness should be moved to a cool place, given cool water to drink, and ice packs or cool wet cloths should be applied to the skin. If a victim refuses water, vomits, or loses consciousness, 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) number should be called immediately.
- Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun’s energy. It is also a good idea to wear hats or to use an umbrella.
- Drink water. Carry water or juice with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body.
- Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.
- Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
- Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.
- Stay indoors when possible.
- Heat cramps/heat exhaustion: Get the person to a cooler place and have him or her rest in a comfortable position. Give a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes. Do not let him or her drink too quickly. Do not give liquids with alcohol or caffeine in them, as they can make conditions worse. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths such as towels or wet sheets.
- Heat stroke: Heat stroke is a life-threatening situation! Help is needed fast. Call 9-1-1 or your local EMS number. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the body. Wrap wet sheets around the body and fan it. If you have ice packs or cold packs, wrap them in a cloth and place them on each of the victim’s wrists and ankles, in the armpits, and on the neck to cool the large blood vessels. (Do not use rubbing alcohol because it closes the skin’s pores and prevents heat loss.) Watch for signals of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.
Heat waves are going to get much worse as a result of global warming. They are going to occur more often (estimates range from 25% to 50%), they are going to become more severe (continuous record breaking temperatures), and they will last longer (from days today to weeks in the future) - like Alabama’s ten day streak.
For more information I highly recommend:
Top Editorials - Public Doesn’t Understand Global Warming, Good news about wind in Indiana
The Headline Section
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Guests Single Out Fairmont for Commitment to Environmental Stewardship
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GLOBAL TEMPERATURE 7th WARMEST FOR JULY - NOAA Report
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Manassas Under Drought Watch - DC
Wisconsin Governor seeks disaster declaration
Historic Drought Conditions Trigger TVA Fuel Cost Adjustment
Duluth announces burning ban; drought reaches historic levels
Fall rains will not solve drought problem - Turkey
Lawmakers reach agreement on energy plan[Coal Gasification Wins] - KY
Talks on Australia-India Nuclear Deal
Beijing warns of lake algae a year before Olympics
Magnitude 6.7 quake strikes Solomon Islands
Peru earthquake kills 450, bodies in streets
South Korea to send aid to flood-hit North: report
Green House Gases
Flesh-eating Disease Is On The Rise Due To Global Warming, Experts Warn
Kenya Reduces Child Deaths From Malaria
Kyoto & Beyond Kyoto
Conservation Group Petitions Seven Coastal States to Address Ocean Acidification Under Clean Water Act
Lithuania decides to take EU to court over CO2 cut
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Sudden Oak Death: Humans Fostering Forest-destroying Disease
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Campaign to Save World’s Birds
Capturing the Atlantic’s Capricious Currents
The Lake Didn’t Do It- Paleoclimatology
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Spotlight - 1934 Hottest Year in U.S., Deadly Diseases Strike Flood Victims, Nuclear Power Starts Comeback, Tipping Points - The Scales of Global Warming
1st Mini Spotlight - Only because everyone thinks this is HOT news am I even bothering to mention this story from yesterday, and that is why I am using this article; which got it right - 1934: new hottest year in U.S on record.
A slight adjustment to U.S. temperature records has bumped 1998 as the hottest year in the country’s history and made the Dust Bowl year of 1934 the new record holder, according to NASA.
But the re-ranking did not affect global records, and 1998 remains tied with 2005 as the hottest year on record, climatologist Gavin A. Schmidt of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York said Tuesday.
The data adjustment changes “the inconsequential bragging rights for certain years in the U.S.,” he said. But “global warming is a global issue, and the global numbers show that there is no question that the last five to 10 years have been the hottest period of the last century.”
The re-ranking occurred Aug. 7 with little fanfare, but it touched off a firestorm among climate bloggers and commentators, who took the new rankings as evidence that global warming was a hoax.
But the uproar was really “much ado over nothing,” Schmidt said.
To all those people who are saying this is proof that Global Warming is a hoax. WAKE UP, the U.S. is not the entire planet, but a small part of it. Our temperatures are not the global temperatures. This is another example of global warming sceptics using an inconsequential fact, that has nothing to do with the real issue, to debunk a proven fact: Global Warming, I repeat Global, warming is a reality.
First, 1934 was the height of the dust bowl when entire states were covered by dust storms as a result of disastrous farming practices which saw billions of tons of topsoil become airborne. This dramatically accelerated wind borne erosion of farmlands created the dust clouds which are the main reason 1934 experienced such higher than normal temperatures, which also coincided with a major drought.
Second, now that we know how extraordinary 1934 was, let’s get the facts straight on what information was available about 1934 on NASA’s NCDC website.
The NCDC has a webpage dedicated to a comparision of 1998 and 1934. This page is dated Oct. 14 1998 ,and it has the chart below; which clearly shows that 1934 was warmer when you consider the percent of the U.S. which had above normal temperatures.
Here is another chart available through the NCDC: The U.S. Climate Extremes Index which also has the highest spike in 1934.
To keep the facts straight here are the latest NCDC charts for GLOBAL temperatures. I also want to call your attention to the fact that they calculate global temperature by combining land and ocean temperatures, and the U.S. temperature charts above only include land temperatures. Notice how ocean temperatures were much cooler in the 1930’s. So to all those sceptics, I want to conclude by stating that our land temperatures are not even a true indication of global temperatures since ocean makes up the vast majority of our planet - DUH! Pardon my shouting!
These next two charts show the profound effect a warmer ocean is having on our world. The first map is the land surface temperatures, and the second is the blended land and ocean surface temperatures.
One last chart; which uses information which was not even available before the late 1950’s; the Global Mid-Tropospheric Temperature. I think this clearly shows global warming in the atmosphere; with this explanation from the NCDC:
These temperatures are for the atmospheric layer centered in the mid-troposphere (approximately 2-6 miles above the Earth’s surface), which also includes a portion of the lower stratosphere. (The MSU channel used to measure mid-tropospheric temperatures receives about 25 percent of its signal above 6 miles). Because the stratosphere has cooled due to increasing greenhouse gases in the troposphere and losses of ozone in the stratosphere, the stratospheric contribution to the tropospheric average, as measured from satellites, may create an artificial component of cooling to the mid-troposphere temperatures.
2nd Mini Spotlight - Flood has been very busy the last two months and Pestilence is now settling in just liked I previously warned. There are many flood stories lately but this article illustrates the severity of the problem better than any other I have read: Villagers fight off animals in flood-hit S.Asia.
Flood victims fought off hungry animals and battled waterborne diseases in South Asia on Thursday as unrelenting monsoon rains caused fresh flooding in the region, already battered by weeks of bad weather.
The death toll in eastern India alone rose by over 100 in the past week with thousands more marooned or made homeless as bloated rivers burst mud embankments.
Authorities across South Asia — where around 850 people have drowned, been crushed by landslides or died from snakebite and waterborne infections since mid-July — said they were struggling to help millions of victims.
For some in the impoverished Indian state of Bihar, it is a struggle for survival as jackals and monkeys have attacked dozens of villagers over the past few days.
“Wild animals like jackals and monkeys are biting our wives and children and snatching bread from their hands,” said Lalan Raut from the flood-hit Madhubani district.
“They are on a looting spree and are killing our goats and small rabbits.”
Residents said the wild animals faced a shortage of prey since huge areas of the state were under water.
Doctors said they had reports of at least 60 cases of animals attacking villagers.
“We are rushing anti-rabies vaccines to every district,” said Biltu Paswan, a senior government doctor.
All schools and colleges were shut in the capital Patna as flood waters swamped low-lying areas and entered buildings.
Many in the densely populated state of 90 million have complained of poor aid efforts. On Thursday, villagers demanding more food clashed with police in some places, officials said.
Don’t think this couldn’t happen here, but instead of jackals it would be hunger crazed dogs.
If food wasn’t being delivered here I would bet every dollar I have that people would fight for it, with each other and against everyone who was denying it to them. When our lives are the stakes, the thin veneer of civilization is stripped away and the ancient rule of “survival of the fittest” takes over again.
In earlier posts I warned that Flood would open the doors for Pestilence which would bring many diseases to the victims beyond just diarrhea, like this major killer: Cholera outbreak kills 49 in Sudan.
A cholera outbreak in eastern Sudan, which has spread due to devastating floods across the region, has killed 49 people and affected some 710 others, a World Health Organisation (WHO) official said.
Last year a cholera outbreak throughout Sudan killed 700 people and affected 25,000. It was the first time in many years the water-borne disease had been reported in Africa’s largest country.
WHO official Mohamed Abder Rab said all the recent cases had been reported in the eastern Gedaref state and Kassala town, with the first reported on April 19.
“The situation in Gedaref is not yet under control … Flooding is spreading the water-borne disease,” Rab told Reuters before travelling to the east to verify conditions in the region hit by the worst flooding in living memory in Sudan.
“Latrines are flooded … houses are destroyed. People are living on the fringes. They don’t have proper drinking water or latrine facilities and hygiene is compromised,” he added.
Cholera is an acute intestinal infection spread by contaminated water or food. It causes vomiting and acute diarrhoea that can lead to dehydration and death within 24 hours, which if not treated can cause death within hours.
Doctor Sumaya Okud from Kassala’s ministry of health said people did not have access to clean water.
“During the first week … the floods affected the filter and tank system and all the people had to get their water from the main canal,” she said. The canal was full of muddy, stagnant water.
Rab said Sudan’s government had been reluctant to announce the outbreak as cholera.
“Unfortunately the name cholera is still associated with a lot of concern and cause fear among the people,” he said.
“Historically most governments don’t want to admit cholera because of the international ramifications and local ramifications,” he said, adding it could affect tourism.
The little tourism Sudan has is mainly to its Red Sea diving resorts in the east or for Sudanese honeymooners to the picturesque Kassala town.
He said governments are required to report contagious diseases such as cholera.
“There are certain diseases that have a potential for international spread, cholera being one of them, and they have to be reported,” he added.
Sudan borders nine African countries, with Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east.
“In Gedaref the fatality rate is about 6-7 per cent,” Rab said. “Normally we consider … anything beyond 2-3 per cent is high.
The connection between Flood and Cholera is very clear but I also want to point out to you its major cause is contaminated water and its relatively high death rate. We are also vulnerable to this disease if flood strikes our water and sewage treatment facilities; which is why I keep saying they have to be made into hardened sites in coastal and riverine flood plain areas.
Here is another example of Pestilence at work, from the S. Asia article.
More than half the low-lying and riverine nation [Bangladesh] has been affected by the flooding, and officials said typhoid, hepatitis and diarrhea had broken out in most flood-hit areas.
So far, more than 50,000 people have been treated for diarrhea and dysentery, they added.
“Not only contamination, but waterlogging and cross-leakage of water supply and sewerage lines are also responsible for the outbreak,” said Habiba Khatun of the government’s health directorate.
These diseases are a clear and demonstrable threat to our health so what is our government doing to protect us? How many water and sewage treatments facilities are being protected? What is Homeland Security doing about this kind of threat? From all the information sources I have been able to find, the answer is the same - Nothing, None, Zip, Nada.
Remember what happened in Britain and how close they came to this disaster; proving developed nations are equally vulnerable; which is why I predict that unless the threat to our water supplies is taken seriously we are going to suffer these same devastating illnesses right here in the U.S..
For more information on Climate Change’s wide ranging health threats I recommend:
3rd Mini Spotlight - Despite the fact that they are from the “Sunshine State” and would seem to be a perfect place for a solar power plant, Florida Power & Light has decided to spend tens of millions in an attempt to seek approval for new nuclear power plants: FP&L bets on nuclear power for Florida.
Florida Power & Light said it plans to build two more nuclear reactors and expand two existing nuclear power plants in Florida.
The subsidiary of FPL Group Inc. is betting on nuclear power because it emits no greenhouse gases and will further diversify Florida’s biggest utility’s generation mix, FP&L President Armando Olivera said in a statement.
FP&L told the Florida Public Service Commission on Wednesday that it wants to build two new reactors — with 3,000 megawatts power production capacity — at its Turkey Point nuclear plant near Miami by 2018 and 2020.
The company also told the Florida PSC it would choose one of five reactor designs by early 2008.
The Florida PSC rejected earlier this year the utility’s plans for a for a 1,960-megawatt “clean” coal plant.
FP&L also wants to expand by 2012 by 400 megawatts existing units at Turkey Point and its St. Lucie nuclear plant, about 120 miles north of Miami and near Fort Pierce, Florida.
Together, the new and expanded reactors would be able to serve about 1 million average Florida homes. FP&L now has about 3,200 megawatts nuclear power of its Florida total of 21,000 megawatts of generation.
The largest utility in the Sunshine State, FP&L serves 8 million Floridians, roughly half the population.
The article points out that they are not the only utility in Florida pursuing the nuclear option.
Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Progress Energy Corp. that serves north Florida, also has plans to build two reactors in Levy County on a greenfield site — one without an existing reactor. It now has a 838-megawatt reactor, Crystal River, in Citrus County, which borders Levy.
The NRC is planning for a nuclear plant boom cycle.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission expects over the next two years to get licenses to build 32,000 to 33,000 megawatts of new nuclear power generation. Current U.S. nuclear power generation is 100,156 megawatts, or about 20 percent of U.S. power production.
The article concludes with:
FP&L wants to spend $80 million over the next two years in preparing its NRC license, which it hopes to do in 2009.
Nuclear power, unlike solar and wind power that also do not emit global warming carbon dioxide, is a baseload source, meaning it generates power around-the-clock most days.
That last paragraph is the reason why nuclear is looking like such a great alternative to power companies. The cleanest alternatives - wind and solar - do have major drawbacks from this perspective. Wind is intermittent at times and can stop completely, and solar power has a similar problem due to clouds coupled with the fact that it does not have any power generating capability at night.
These problems and the utility response we have just seen are the main reason I keep saying we need to start thinking of energy on a national rather than local scale.
The Southwest can power the entire country from solar power. The key to overcoming the lack of sunshine during the night is to store power in solar ponds during the day (in essence solar batteries) and then use the ponds to generate power at night. Both natural and artificial substances can be used and this is a proven technology.
Wind Power from the Great Plains states can also power the entire country, and wind is the greenest power. Combined with a solar base in the southwest, these tow ares can supply us with all the power we will need for the foreseeable future. If given a choice between a wind turbine covered plain and a solar panel covered southwestern desert, or having nuclear power plants popping up all over the country, my choice is extremely clear.
Nuclear power has proven it is not worth the risk, which is why Germany already has a plan to decommission every nuclear power plant in their country. Let’s not replace one problem with another, the environmental drawbacks to nuclear are huge while the same drawbacks for Solar and Wind are very minimal.
One final thought, small scale wind and solar can reduce our national electric power needs enough to be the equivalent of hundreds of new plants. What we need is a solar roof and wind turbine on every house and building, making each of them a miniature power plant. Take your electricity needs away from greedy power companies and put some cash back in your pocket. Why buy power when you can sell it?!
1st Major Spotlight- When scientists talk about the point of no return they usually refer to Tipping Points, which bring to mind a scale analogy- the point where the scale goes from being balanced to tipping over to one side or the other. My “Three Strikes, You’re Out” involve three tipping points but this latest article shows there are many more and they all may be occurring much faster than predicted: Climate change ‘arriving sooner than thought’.
Catastrophic flooding, famines and species extinctions caused by climate change could happen sooner than previously believed, according to new research.
A new study suggests current predictions do not take enough account of a series of key “tipping points” - apparently small transitions in the climate system that trigger cycles of change with their own momentum.
Climate change scientists who carried out a review of existing studies and a poll of 54 experts identified a series of eight fundamental changes that could bring about a 23ft rise in sea levels, rising temperatures and the flooding of coastal communities far sooner than expected.
Earlier this year the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted a 3ºC global average temperature rise by 2100.
The IPCC report highlighted the dangers posed by two tipping points - the irreversible melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the collapse of the global ocean circulation system caused by extra melted ice entering the North Atlantic.
This would lead to a shifting south of the northern part of the Gulf Stream, leading to temperatures in Britain being comparable to those in Canada.
Dr Tim Lenton, from the University of East Anglia, and colleagues, claim global warming will occur more rapidly than the IPCC believes because of six other tipping points.
These are increased El Niño water warming in the Pacific, the destabilisation of the West Antarctica ice sheet, the disappearance of the Amazon rainforest, the shrinking of the boreal forest stretching across Russia, Scandinavia and Northern America, the “switching off” of the Asian monsoon and changes to the West African monsoon.
The IPCC states it is likely to take at least 1,000 years for the Greenland ice sheet - a vast layer of ice stretching for 1,200 miles and covering 80 per cent of Greenland - to melt, raising sea levels by 23ft.
Dr Lenton, whose work is highlighted in this week’s New Scientist magazine, said the melting of the ice sheet could take as little as 300 years, and that most of the other tipping points would occur within the next century if there was a further warming of 3ºC.
He said: “We found that reading the literature there is a much longer list of things that could tip in the coming century.
“This has not been done before. There has not been a comprehensive attempt to look at these tipping points properly.
“We are close to being committed to a collapse of the Greenland ice sheet, but we don’t think we have passed the tipping point yet.”
“Most [tipping points] involve irreversible effects. Some may be reversible in principle, but in practice ongoing climate change or stabilisation would not allow them to reverse.”
The IPCC believes the critical Greenland ice sheet collapse would occur with a global average warming of 1 to 4ºC.
Dr Lenton and colleagues, whose work is expected to be published in scientific journals later this year, calculate it could happen as a result of a warming of 1 or 2ºC.
They say 0.7ºC is already “in the pipeline”, thanks to time lags in the climate system.
First, the melting of the Greenland and West Antarctica Ice Sheets are the result of having reached other tipping points, and as far as I am concerned are more properly categorized as effects and not causes. Most of the tipping points mentioned in in this article fit that criteria, that are effects and not causes. To me a tipping point is reached when an event occurs which has a profound impact on global warming: Like my three strikes- China’s CO2 emissions growing to the point where they outpace global CO2 emissions reductions; Permafrost melting to the point where they emit enough CO2 and Methane to double or triple atmospheric concentrations, and Natural Carbons reaching the point where they no longer can absorb enough CO2 to be effective brakes on global warming.
Second, the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet in 300 years is a prediction that I can agree with, if temperature rises stays at its current rate; but if it accelerates then the melting will occur faster. This 300 year prediction does however mean that sea levels will go up an additional (yes additional since the IPCC admits they did not factor this into their sea rise calculations) amount on top of the expected 1 meter rise by 2100.
7 meters is 275.5 inches for a rate of just under an extra inch per year, or 16 inches by 2025, 38 inches by 2050, or 83 inches by 2100 (using 2007 as the starting date). This means a sea level rise of 6 feet or 2 meters by the end of the century - double the predicted rate - and when added to the previous estimates means a 3 meter rise by the end of the century.
Now I do not believe in flat line rates, they are not reality but a mathematician’s way of erasing extreme highs and lows, so we will have some periods in which sea rise is slower and some when it is quicker. My big argument is that sea rise will be a progressively worsening phenomenon which will accelerate on an escalating curve with major dumping points due to calving events and glacier collapses. These large scale events have the potential to cause in a short decadal period most of the 3oo year melting cycle.Therein lies our greatest danger, we can not afford to be lulled into thinking we have time to adjust to a slow steady rise.
My favorite example from the past is Meltwater Pulse 1A.
During this period sea levels rose 25 meters in five hundred years, or about 2 inches per year. If that was to happen today that would mean a sea level rise of 24 inches (2 feet) by 2020, 81 inches by 2050 (about 7 feet), and 176 inches (14.5 feet) by 2100. These rates would create huge disasters.
The underlying difficulty and the reason why the rate is hard to determine, there are no flow gauges with which we can accurately measure the actual rate at which Greenland is melting. That is why I have proposed using tiny spheres, based upon radio tagging technology, which will be inserted into the meltwater rivers on the Greenland ice sheet and track as they seep through the ice sheet to the ice streams below. This would provide us with some accurate time rates for water movement, as well as the provide much more detailed information about the connection between the meltwater rivers and the ice streams. One of the most dangerous events in terms of sudden sea level rise is bursting ice dams and this technique might also pinpoint ice dams developing in these ice streams.
Bottomline - We need more scientific instruments to help analyze and determine actual melting rates and water outflows from both Greenland and Antarctica. Until we get this level of accurate measurements every sea level rise estimate is based upon a guess and is subject to a wide range of possibilities.
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