Sea-Level Rise: Bubble, Bubble, GigaTons of Methane Trouble | Paul Beckwith

Methane and Sea-Level Rise

GR: Climate Scientist, Professor Paul Beckwith, who you may know from his frequent YouTube posts, believes that current climate-change model predictions of sea-level rise make incorrect assumptions and dramatically underestimate rise.

Beckwith has convincingly argued that all the positive feedbacks, especially from exponential increase in methane released by warming sea floors and melting permafrost will increase sea level by seventy feet by 2070. This is about 68 feet more than the model predictions that motivated the Paris Accord.

Let me repeat my warning that if we don’t act immediately, the climate-change equivalent of an approaching fire storm will reach us soon. We are approaching (and might have passed) that point on our roller coaster ride when we inch over the crest and begin our unstoppable acceleration toward the bottom–a bottom where the rails end. Talk, petition, write, call, march, and vote.

Beckwith provides clear discussions of global warming. I recommend you subscribe to his YouTube channel. Here are some of Dr. Beckwith’s recent videos and discussions.

“Vast amounts of methane exists within ocean floor sediments on the Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf, in the form of methane hydrates & free methane gas.

“Up to recently, gas release to the shallow water column (50 meters deep) and atmosphere has been slow, with the subsea permafrost acting as a million corks on a million champagne bottles to contain the methane.

“Now, rapid thawing of the permafrost has released 10% of the corks, allowing rapid ongoing increases in methane release.

–Paul Beckwith (Bubble, Bubble, GigaTons of Methane Trouble | Paul Beckwith, Climate System Scientist)

Antarctica Is Melting, and Giant Ice Cracks Are Just the Start

GR: Glaciers are melting at the North Pole, the South Pole, and in mountains around the planet. Sea level is rising. If we stop adding greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere now, melting might stop within a few centuries. At that point, sea level will be more than 30 feet higher than it is now. If we continue to add greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere, we can expect 70 feet of sea-level rise before stability is reached. Stability at that point will occur because we will have stopped producing greenhouse gases–we will have little working technology left. Cutting emissions immediately is the only way we might limit the rise to 30 feet.

In East Antarctica, Australian researchers probe for crevasses on Totten Glacier—another one that has begun to look vulnerable—before deploying instruments to measure how fast it’s moving and thinning (photo by Camille Seaman).

As you will see as you read this article, critical measurements are underway to determine how fast the ice is melting. It is expensive to make the measurements that will give us the ability to predict and plan for rising sea level. Less money than presidential trips to Florida to play golf, but substantial amounts nevertheless. This is just the type of necessary spending the Trump administration (actually the corporatists controlling Congress) is intent on ending. Isn’t this a crime against nature and humanity?

Melting Antarctic Glaciers

(The following story appears in the July 2017 issue of National Geographic Magazine.)

“The massive iceberg poised to break off the Larsen C Ice Shelf may be a harbinger of a continent-wide collapse that would swamp coastal cities around the world.

“Seen from above, the Pine Island Ice Shelf is a slow-motion train wreck. Its buckled surface is scarred by thousands of large crevasses. Its edges are shredded by rifts a quarter mile across. In 2015 and 2016 a 225-square-mile chunk of it broke off the end and drifted away on the Amundsen Sea. The water there has warmed by more than a degree Fahrenheit over the past few decades, and the rate at which ice is melting and calving has quadrupled.

“On the Antarctic Peninsula, the warming has been far greater—nearly five degrees on average. That’s why a Delaware-size iceberg is poised to break off the Larsen C Ice Shelf and why smaller ice shelves on the peninsula have long since disintegrated entirely into the waters of the Weddell Sea. But around the Amundsen Sea, a thousand miles to the southwest on the Pacific coast of Antarctica, the glaciers are far larger and the stakes far higher. They affect the entire planet.

A startling sunset reddens the Lemaire Channel, off the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. The continent’s coastal ice is crumbling as the sea and air around it warm (photo by Camille Seaman).

 

“These are the fastest retreating glaciers on the face of the Earth,” says Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Rignot has studied the region for more than two decades, using radar from aircraft and satellites, and he believes the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is only a matter of time. The question is whether it will take 500 years or fewer than a hundred—and whether humanity will have time to prepare.

“We have to get these numbers right,” Rignot says. “But we have to be careful not to waste too much time doing that.”

“Getting the predictions right requires measurements that can be made only by going to the ice. In December 2012 a red-and-white Twin Otter plane skimmed low over the Pine Island Ice Shelf. The pilot dragged the plane’s skis through the snow, then lifted off and circled back to make sure he hadn’t uncovered any crevasses. After the plane landed, a single person disembarked. Tethered to the plane by a rope and harness, he probed the snow with an eight-foot rod.” –Douglas Fox–Photographs by Camille Seaman. (This story appears in the July 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine. Continue: Antarctica Is Melting, and Giant Ice Cracks Are Just the Start.)

The west side of the Antarctic Peninsula is warming several times faster than the rest of the planet. Ninety percent of its 674 glaciers are now in retreat and are calving more icebergs into the sea, like this one in Andvord Bay (photo by Camille Seaman).

New study finds the oceans are rising three times faster than they were during the 20th century

GR: Coastal flooding as global warming melts the polar ice caps is one of the most devastating consequences of human-caused climate change. Years ago, scientists predicted that at some point, the rate of sea level rise would accelerate. We have now passed that point. According to NOAA, “nuisance flooding” is already becoming a problem on the U. S. east coast where high tides will be higher than many other places on the globe. Here’s a story on what scientists expect. You will notice that global annual averages are small. However, when you consider totals for decades, and when you consider that the totals will be much higher in some areas like the U. S. east coast, you can see how great the threat is.

An iceberg is pictured in the western Antarctic peninsula in March 2016. (Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images)

“A new scientific analysis finds that the Earth’s oceans are rising nearly three times as rapidly as they were throughout most of the 20th century, one of the strongest indications yet that a much feared trend of not just sea level rise, but its acceleration, is now underway.

“We have a much stronger acceleration in sea level rise than formerly thought,” said Sönke Dangendorf, a researcher with the University of Siegen in Germany who led the study along with scientists at institutions in Spain, France, Norway and the Netherlands.

“Their paper, just out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, isn’t the first to find that the rate of rising seas is itself increasing — but it finds a bigger rate of increase than in past studies. The new paper concludes that before 1990, oceans were rising at about 1.1 millimeters per year, or just 0.43 inches per decade. From 1993 through 2012, though, it finds that they rose at 3.1 millimeters per year, or 1.22 inches per decade.

“The cause, said Dangendorf, is that sea level rise throughout much of the 20th century was driven by the melting of land-based glaciers and the expansion of seawater as it warms, but sea level rise in the 21st century has now, on top of that, added in major contributions from the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.

“The sea level rise is now three times as fast as before 1990,” Dangendorf said.

–Chris Mooney, More: New study finds the oceans are rising three times faster than they were during the 20th century – The Washington Post

Intelligence community to Trump: When it comes to global warming, you’re wrong

GR: Trump would prefer a few ignorant cheering supporters to a thoughtful response to dangers in the world. Of course, the U. S. oil-money Congress has its own reasons for denying climate change. “. . . the intelligence report also says that biodiversity losses from pollution, overexploitation and other causes is “disrupting ecosystems that support life, including humans.”

Remember, prepare, practice and be ready now. Courtesy U.S. Army graphic (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

“Each year the intelligence community puts together a “Worldwide Threat Assessment” report, and it inevitably scares the hell out of Congress and the public by detailing all the dangers facing the U.S. (Hint: there are a lot of them.)

“This year’s report, published Thursday and discussed at a congressional hearing, makes for particularly disquieting reading.

“While it focuses on the increasing danger that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program poses as well as cyberterrorism threats, one environmental concern stands out on the list: climate change.

“According to the new report, delivered to the Senate Intelligence Committee by Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence (DNI), warns that climate change is raising the likelihood of instability and conflict around the world.

“This is surprising given the Trump administration’s open hostility to climate science findings.

“The trend toward a warming climate is forecast to continue in 2017,” the report states, noting that 2016 was the hottest year on record worldwide. Climate scientists have firmly tied this to human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases, though the report does not make that link.

Norfolk Naval Base, the largest in the world, is experiencing flooding from sea level rise. 9 Flattops at Norfolk naval base, December 20, 2012 : From bottom to top, front to back: Aircraft carrier DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69) Aircraft carrier GEORGE H. W. BUSH (CVN 77) Aircraft carrier ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) Amphibious assault ship BATAAN (LHD 5) Aircraft carrier ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72) Aircraft carrier HARRY S TRUMAN (CVN 75) Amphibious assault ship WASP (LHD 1) Amphibious assault ship KEARSARGE (LHD 3) Amphibious landing platform dock NEW YORK (LPD 21) A T-AKE dry cargo ammunition ship Amphibious assault ship IWO JIMA (LHD 7) and various cruisers, destroyers, frigates and submarines of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. By: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ernest R. Scott

“This warming is projected to fuel more intense and frequent extreme weather events that will be distributed unequally in time and geography. Countries with large populations in coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to tropical weather events and storm surges, especially in Asia and Africa,” the report states.

“The report also cites worsening air pollution in urban areas around the globe, potential water resources conflicts in places like the Middle East. Interestingly, the intelligence report also says that biodiversity losses from pollution, overexploitation and other causes is “disrupting ecosystems that support life, including humans.”

“The rate of species loss worldwide Is estimated at 100 to 1,000 times higher than the natural background extinction rate, according to peer-reviewed scientific literature,” the report states.

“The findings in this report are surprising considering the Trump administration’s hostility to mainstream climate science findings and policies aimed at cutting emissions of greenhouse gases that are warming the planet. Some agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Interior Department, have gone so far as to take down pages devoted to peer-reviewed scientific reports on climate change.

“For example, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has said he does not believe that carbon dioxide is the main driver of global warming. This view goes against thousands of peer reviewed climate studies, as well as findings from his own agency.” –Andrew Freedman (Continue reading: Intelligence community to Trump: When it comes to global warming, you’re wrong–Mashable.)