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THIS POST IS A CRITICAL REVIEW OF A TED TALK ON CLIMATE ACTION [LINK] 

 

PART-1: ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE

For human welfare and well being and the continued advancement of human civilization, we need energy and we need to keep the price of energy as low as possible. Currently our energy derives mostly from the use of fossil fuels in a process that involves 26 gigatons of CO2 emissions per year (equivalent to 7.1 gigatons of carbon). Climate scientists have determined that these emissions are warming the planet and that continued warming will have negative effects in terms of extreme weather, sea level rise, ocean acidification, and ecosystem collapse. To prevent these negative effects, we need  to reduce emissions to zero because as long as there are human caused emissions there will be human caused warming.

Climate scientists found that surface temperature is proportional to cumulative fossil fuel emissions and they have determined that the relationship between emissions and warming can be stated in terms of the so called TCRE PROPORTIONALITY which shows a warming effect of 1C to2C for each trillion tonne of carbon (equivalent to 3.67 trillion tonnes of CO2). The TCRE (Transient Climate Response to Cumulative Emissions) states that the temperature rise from time-1 to time-2 will be proportional to the cumulative emissions from time-1 to time-2 at a rate of about 1C to 2C per teratonne of carbon in fossil fuel  emissions. This equation is shown in the right frame of the image above and it establishes that fossil fuel emissions cause warming and it also establishes the need for zero emissions because the TCRE equation implies that as long as there are emissions there will be warming. This analysis establishes the need for climate action to achieve zero emissions.

 

PART-2:  CLIMATE ACTION OPTIONS AND THEIR FEASIBILITY

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There are five climate action options that are currently in consideration. They are carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), nuclear, wind, solar-photovoltaic, and solar-thermal. The tidal, geothermal, fusion, and biofuel are not considered in this analysis.

THE CCS OPTION:  What you need to do there, it seems simple but it isn’t. You have to take all the CO2 after you burn it, going out the flue, pressurize it, make it into a liquid, and put it somewhere and hope it stays there. There are some pilot plants that are able to do this at the 60% to 80% level but getting this technology up to 100% will be very tricky. Another issue is to agree on where the CO2 should be sequestered. But the real issue is the determination and the verification that all the CO2 has indeed been removed and all of it has been sequestered and that none of it is leaking back out. The volume of storage involved will surely be huge, much larger than any waste disposal technology we have ever undertaken. So that’s a tough one and probably not feasible.

THE NUCLEAR OPTION: Like CCS, Nuclear also has three big problems. They are (1) COST, particularly in highly regulated countries, will be high. The issue of safety where we can really feel good about the plant because nothing can go wrong even with all these human operators that can screw up. (2) NUCLEAR WEAPONS: We have to ensure that the fuel doesn’t get used for nuclear weapons. and (3) The issue of WASTE DISPOSAL. The amount of waste is not large but there are a lot of safety concerns. So there are three very tough problems that might be solvable so we should keep working to find a solution but as things are today, these problems keep the nuclear option from further consideration.

RENEWABLE ENERGY OPTIONS: That leaves us with the three renewable energy options described as wind, solar photovoltaic, and solar thermal.  Their great advantage is that they do not require fuel but there are some disadvantages. One is that the density of energy gathering in these technologies is dramatically less than a power plant. This is energy farming. You’re talking about many square miles, thousands of times more area than conventional power plants. Another disadvantage is that these are intermittent sources. The sun doesn’t shine every day and likewise the wind doesn’t blow all the time. Therefore to depend on renewable sources, you have to have backup power – some way of getting energy during the times when the sun doesn’t shine or when the wind doesn’t blow. Currently, the technology available to solve the intermittency problem is batteries but this technology is far behind the curve.

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PART-3: INNOVATION AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEEDED TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM

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A new technological breakthrough offered by a new company called TERRAPOWER may be the answer to the climate action puzzle described above. TerraPower has a traveling-wave reactor (TWR) which would run on depleted uranium. It could be dramatically safer and substantially cheaper than current nuclear reactors. Nuclear is ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day. The problems with today’s reactors, such as the risk of accidents, has been solved with innovation.

Terrapower has developed a new nuclear power technology that solves the problems with nuclear described above. At the TERRAPOWER website at https://www.terrapower.com/a-world-in-transition-a-time-to-lead-toward-a-decarbonized-economy/ [LINK] , we learn that:  “TerraPower has made technological advances in nuclear energy innovation to offer “Advanced Nuclear Technology for an Emissions-Free Economy that will allow us to get to zero emissions. The IPCC says that to avoid the worst effects of climate change, we must keep global temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius. The continued use of nuclear energy is the only viable way to achieve this goal. And if we’re to bring electricity to the 840 million people who lack access, we actually need to increase the use of nuclear energy. Getting to a carbon-free future will also require us to develop strategies to produce chemicals, cement, metals and other products without burning fossil fuels.

TerraPower’s advanced nuclear technologies can provide reliable, very high temperature heat for these and other industrial processes without emitting any carbon dioxide or methane. Most Americans either live in states with emissions-reduction targets or are served by utilities that have put forth ambitious emissions-reduction goals. This includes TerraPower’s home state of Washington, where our power provider, Energy Northwest, has offered a plan to meet our state’s mandate to eliminate carbon emissions from the grid with a combination of wind, solar, hydro, existing nuclear and next-generation nuclear technologies. With this combination in mind, our technology is specifically designed to integrate into a grid with high levels of renewables. In fact, we are currently working with Southern Company and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to use the high-temperature heat from our reactors to power a molten salt system that can store tremendous amounts of energy. That energy can be used to power the grid at peak demand when the wind isn’t blowing, or the sun isn’t shining. We view this technology as a key enabler of wind and solar technologies, and part of the fastest way to get to a 100% clean energy future. America and the world are transitioning to a future that requires creativity, resilience and persistence. To rediscover the normalcy we long for, all forms of emissions-free energy will be needed. Clean electricity has the potential to lift hundreds of millions out of poverty and to drive economic growth. Economic opportunity is getting more attention than ever, with society recognizing its various factors must be addressed once we are past the pandemic. The U.S. can and will rise to today’s challenges and lead the advanced nuclear transition.

 

PART-4:  CRITICAL COMMENTARY

IN SUMMARY, WHAT WE FIND IN THIS BILL GATES TED TALK IS THAT CLIMATE CHANGE CAN CAUSE GREAT HARM TO OUR CIVILIZATION AND TO THE WORLD’S ECOSYSTEMS AND THEREFORE WE MUST STOP THE WARMING. THE WARMING CAN BE STOPPED IF WE REDUCE EMISSIONS TO ZERO. THE FIVE CONVENTIONAL OPTIONS FOR EMISSION REDUCTION ARE FLAWED. WE NEED A TECHNOLOGICAL BREAKTHROUGH TO MOVE AWAY FROM FOSSIL FUELS AND TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE. JUST SUCH A TECHNOLOGICAL BREAKTHROUGH IS FOUND IN THE TERRAPOWER TRAVELING WAVE NUCLEAR REACTOR THAT OFFERS A PRACTICAL SOLUTION FOR CLIMATE ACTION TO ACHIEVE ZERO EMISSIONS. IT IS FURTHER NOTED THAT THE SPEAKER OF THIS TED TALK IS BILL GATES WHO IS ALSO THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD  OF DIRECTORS OF TERRAPOWER. 

A FURTHER CRITICAL COMMENT IS MADE WITH RESPECT TO THE USE OF THE TCRE (TRANSIENT CLIMATE RESPONSE TO CUMULATIVE EMISSIONS) TO RELATE WARMING TO CO2 EMISSIONS. AS SHOWN IN RELATED POSTS, THE TCRE IS A SPURIOUS CORRELATION THAT HAS NO INTERPRETATION IN TERMS OF THE REAL WORLD VARIABLES IT OSTENSIBLY REPRESENTS [LINK#1] [LINK#2] [LINK#4] [LINK#5]

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[RELATED POST ON METHANE]

 

FEAR EMISSIONS NOT METHANE TIME BOMBS

THE CONVERSATION APRIL 2 2020: 

 

 

WHAT THE ARTICLE SAYS

  1. The Arctic is predicted to warm faster than anywhere else in the world this century, perhaps by as much as 7°C. These rising temperatures threaten one of the largest long-term stores of carbon on land: permafrost. Permafrost is permanently frozen soil. The generally cold temperatures in the Arctic keep soils there frozen year-on-year. Plants grow in the uppermost soil layers during the short summers and then decay into soil, which freezes when the winter snow arrives. Over thousands of years, carbon has built up in these frozen soils, and they’re now estimated to contain twice the carbon currently in the atmosphere. Some of this carbon is more than 50,000 years old, which means the plants that decomposed to produce that soil grew over 50,000 years ago. These soil deposits are known as “Yedoma”, which are mainly found in the East Siberian Arctic, but also in parts of Alaska and Canada.
  2. As the region warms, the permafrost is thawing, and this frozen carbon is being released to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane. Methane release is particularly worrying, as it’s a highly potent greenhouse gas. Arctic landscapes are changing rapidly as the region warms. But a recent study suggested that the release of methane from ancient carbon sources, sometimes referred to as the Arctic methane “bomb” didn’t contribute much to the warming that occurred during the last deglaciation 18,000 to 8,000 years ago, a period that climate scientists study intently, as it’s the last time global temperatures rose by 4°C, which is roughly what is predicted for the world by 2100. This study suggested to many that ancient methane emissions are not something we should be worried about this century. But in new research, we found that this optimism may be misplaced.
  3. The Arctic is turning brown because of weird weather and that could accelerate climate change. We went to the East Siberian Arctic to compare the age of different forms of carbon found in the ponds, rivers and lakes. These waters thaw during the summer and leak greenhouse gases from the surrounding permafrost. We measured the age of the carbon dioxide, methane and organic matter found in these waters using radiocarbon dating and found that most of the carbon released to the atmosphere was overwhelmingly “young”. Where there was intense permafrost thaw, we found that the oldest methane was 4,800 years old, and the oldest carbon dioxide was 6,000 years old. But over this vast Arctic landscape, the carbon released was mainly from young plant organic matter.
  4. This means that the carbon produced by plants growing during each summer growing season is rapidly released over the next few summers. This rapid turnover releases much more carbon than the thaw of older permafrost, even where severe thaw is occurring. This means that carbon emissions from a warming Arctic may not be driven by the thawing of an ancient frozen carbon bomb, as it’s often described. Instead, most emissions may be relatively new carbon that is produced by plants that grew fairly recently.
  5. Arctic lakes are growing sources of methane emissions to the atmosphere. Joshua Dean, Author provided. What this shows is that the age of the carbon released from the warming Arctic is less important than the amount and form it takes. Methane is 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas over a 100-year timeframe. The East Siberian Arctic is a generally flat and wet landscape, and these are conditions which produce lots of methane, as there’s less oxygen in soils which might otherwise create carbon dioxide during thaws instead. As a result, potent methane could well dominate the greenhouse gas emissions from the region.
  6. Since most of the emissions from the Arctic this century will likely be from “young” carbon, we may not need to worry about ancient permafrost adding substantially to modern climate change. But the Arctic will still be a huge source of carbon emissions, as carbon that was soil or plant matter only a few hundred years ago leaches to the atmosphere. That will increase as warmer temperatures lengthen growing seasons in the Arctic summer.
  7. The fading spectre of an ancient methane time bomb is cold comfort. The new research should urge the world to act boldly on climate change, to limit how much natural processes in the Arctic can contribute to the problem. 

 

CRITICAL COMMENTARY

THIS CLIMATE ACTIVISM VERBIAGE TRANSLATES INTO PLAIN ENGLISH AS FOLLOWS: WE KNOW THAT WE SPENT DECADES GETTING YOU TO FEAR THE METHANE BOMB COOKING IN THE ARCTIC AS NOTED FOR EXAMPLE BY THIS SCARY LECTURE BY CLIMATE SCIENTIST AND ARCTIC EXPERT PETER WADHAMS  [LINK]  WHERE PROFESSOR WADHAMS SAYS “methane plumes being emitted and this is thought to be due to the fact that offshore permafrost in that area is now thawing because of the warmer water temperatures in summer. This is releasing methane hydrates as methane gas with methane plumes rising and coming up to the surface and being emitted because when methane is released from only 50 or 70 meters, it doesn’t have time to dissolve and it comes out into the atmosphere, and this is a very big climatic issue for the planet”. BUT THEN WE REALIZED THAT THE METHANE BOMB DOES NOT SERVE OUR ACTIVISM AGAINST FOSSIL FUELS AND THE COP26 AMBITION OF MR GUTERRES SO WE HAD TO FIND A WAY TO GET OUR LANGUAGE BACK TO FOSSIL FUELS AND TO THE CLIMATE ACTION AMBITION THAT MR GUTERRES WANTS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST FOSSIL FUELS.

 

 

 

 

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STATEMENT BY DR SUCHARIT BHAKDI ON COVID-19 EPIDEMIOLOGY 

MARCH 2020

SOURCE DOCUMENT: [LINK]  THE VIDEO IN GERMAN:  [LINK]  

 

 

BELOW IS AN EDITED AND ABBREVIATED VERSION OF THE BHAKDI ANALYSIS

As Emeritus of the Johannes-Gutenberg-University in Mainz and long time
director of the Institute for Medical Microbiology, I feel obliged to critically
question the far-reaching restrictions on public life that we are currently taking
on ourselves in order to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It is expressly not my intention to play down the dangers of the virus or to spread a political message. However, I feel it is my duty to make a scientific contribution to put the current data and facts into perspective. In addition, to ask questions that are in danger of being overlooked in the heat of the debate. My concern is that unforeseeable socioeconomic consequences of the drastic containment measures which are currently being applied in large parts of Europe and which are already being practiced in Germany. My wish is to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of restricting public life in terms of its long term effects.

To this end, I am confronted with five questions which have not been
answered to my satisfaction but which are critically important for a balanced
analysis. I seek your comments on my analysis at your earliest opportunity and, at the same I appeal to the Federal Government to develop strategies that effectively protect risk groups without restricting public life across the board that will likely exacerbate the polarization of society . Sincerly, Professor Emeritus, Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi. I present my analysis below in terms of five items.

ITEM #1: STATISTICS: In infectology, a distinction must be made made between infection and disease and so therefore, only patients with symptoms such as fever or cough should be included in the statistics as new cases. It is not sufficient to test positive for COVID-19 to be counted in the disease statistics.

ITEM #2: DANGER: A number of different coronaviruses have been with us for some time largely unnoticed by the media. If it should turn out that the COVID-19 virus should not be ascribed a significantly higher risk potential than the coronaviruses already circulating, all countermeasures now employed would obviously become unnecessary. The very credible International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents will soon publish a paper that addresses this issue. Preliminary results of the study lead to the conclusion that the new virus is NOT different from the corona viruses of the past in terms of danger. The title of the paper is “SARS-CoV-2: Fear versus Data“.

ITEM #3: DISSEMINATION: According to a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, not even the Robert Koch Institute knows exactly how many have tested positive for COVID-19. But there is no doubt that there has been a rapid increase in the number of cases in Germany as the volume of tests increases. It is possible therefore that the virus has already spread unnoticed into the whole of the population. If so, it means that the official death rate of 206 deaths from 37,300 infections by 26 March 2020, at a rate of 0.55%, is too high. This would also mean that it isn’t really possible to prevent the spread of this virus.

ITEM #4: MORTALITY: The fear of a rise in the death rate in Germany (currently 0.55 percent) currently carries an intense media interest. Many people are worried that it could go up to 7% or 10% as it had in Spain and Italy. This fear likely derives from the practice of attributing deaths to the virus only on the basis that patient had tested positive for Covid at the time of his death. This practice is flawed. To attribute death to an agent it must first be determined that the agent played a significant role in the death. The Association of the Scientific Medical Societies of Germany includes this principle in its guidelines saying that to declare a cause of death, the causal chain is more important than the underlying disease. A more critical analysis of medical records should be undertaken to determine how many deaths can be attributed to this virus.

 

ITEM #5. COMPARABILITY

The use of Italy as a reference scenario for evaluating the risk posed to our population by this virus is flawed because the role of the virus in the Italian fatality statistics is unclear. There are external factors at play unique to Italy that made Italy particularly vulnerable. It has not been determined that these factors also apply to Germany. A factor unique to Italy is a high level of air pollution in Northern Italy that would account for more than 8,000 fatalities even without the virus. Air pollution increases the risk of viral lung
diseases in very young and in the very old. A household feature of Italy is the cohabitation of the very young and the very old (27.4% of the population) such that the very young can pass the virus to the very old who are at a high risk of death from the virus. This social feature is also found in Spain at the higher percentage of 33.5%. But it is not found in Germany. Therefore these countries do not serve as a model for understanding the spread and fatality rate of the virus in Germany. Yet another factor that makes it difficult to compare Germany with Italy and Spain is the relatively better equipment in Germany’s health care facility.

 

ANTARCTICA-RAINFOREST

(1)  THE ANTARCTICA RAIN FOREST STORY IN THE GUARDIAN

Think of Antarctica and it is probably sweeping expanses of ice, and the odd penguin, that come to mind. But at the time of the dinosaurs the continent was covered in swampy rainforest. Now experts say they have found the most southerly evidence yet of this environment in plant material extracted from beneath the seafloor in West Antarctica. The Cretaceous, 145-66 MYA (million years ago), was a warm period during which Earth had a greenhouse climate and vegetation grew in Antarctica. This new discovery reveals that swampy rainforests were thriving near the south pole about 90m years ago but that temperatures were higher than expected. Such conditions could only have been produced if carbon dioxide levels were far higher than previously thought and there were no glaciers in the region. We didn’t know that this Cretaceous greenhouse climate was that extreme. It shows what carbon dioxide can do. In 2017, the scientists drilled a narrow hole down into the seafloor near the Pine Island glacier in west Antarctica. This location is about 2,000km (1,200 miles) from today’s south pole, but about 90m years ago it was about 900km from the pole. The hole was drilled and material extracted using a remotely operated rig. It is like a spaceship sitting on the seafloor. The first few meters of material were glacial sediment, dating to about 25,000 years ago, while the next 25m were sandstone, dating to about 45m years ago.  In the next three metres the scientists found exciting new material in mudstone, topped by a coal-like material, and packed with soil from the ancient forest, complete with roots, spores and pollen from conifer trees and ferns. They found evidence of more than 65 different kinds of plants within the material, revealing that the landscape near the south pole would have been covered in a swampy conifer rainforest similar to that found today in the north-western part of the South Island of New Zealand. The material was dated to between 92 and 83 MYA. It would have had average annual temperatures of 12-13C  which is warmer than in Germany today. The analysis of chemicals left by photosynthetic cyanobacteria revealed that surface waters were at a pleasant 20C. Computer modelling shows that such an environment so close to the south pole would only have been possible if greenhouse gas concentrations were far higher than previously thought and the land surface were covered in vegetation. There were no ice sheets present. Studying the Antarctic ecosystem is hugely important in understanding past and future climate change because unabated use of fossil fuels use could push concentrations of carbon dioxide to levels similar to those 90m years ago by the start of the next century. If we have an atmosphere of more than 1,000 parts per million of carbon dioxide, we are committing ourselves to a future planet that has little to no ice.

 

(2)  THE CITED RESEARCH PAPER

Article: Published: 01 April 2020: Temperate rainforests near the South Pole during peak Cretaceous warmth. Johann P. Klages, Ulrich Salzmann, […]the Science Team of Expedition PS104. Nature volume 580, pages81–86(2020)Cite this article: Abstract: The mid-Cretaceous period was one of the warmest intervals of the past 140 million years, driven by atmospheric carbon dioxide levels of around 1,000 parts per million by volume. In the near absence of proximal geological records from south of the Antarctic Circle, it is disputed whether polar ice could exist under such environmental conditions. Here we use a sedimentary sequence recovered from the West Antarctic shelf—the southernmost Cretaceous record reported so far—and show that a temperate lowland rainforest environment existed at a palaeolatitude of about 82° S during the Turonian–Santonian age (92 to 83 million years ago). This record contains an intact 3-metre-long network of in situ fossil roots embedded in a mudstone matrix containing diverse pollen and spores. A climate model simulation shows that the reconstructed temperate climate at this high latitude requires a combination of both atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations of 1,120–1,680 parts per million by volume and a vegetated land surface without major Antarctic glaciation, highlighting the important cooling effect exerted by ice albedo under high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

 

 

(3)  CRITICAL COMMENTARY

  1. In the cited research paper, the relevant evidence is a concurrence of two events in West Antarctica in the Cretaceous. These are the high level of atmospheric CO2 and the extreme year round warmth of West Antarctica that is necessary to explain the existence of a lush green rainforest in the region as implied by the fossil roots in the mudstone matrix.
  2. The researchers concluded from this concurrence that the two events were causally related to propose that the Cretaceous rainforest in Antarctica must have been the result of the warmth caused by the greenhouse effect of the high level of atmospheric CO2.  This causation interpretation is flawed.
  3. The concurrence of events A and B by itself does not imply either causation or the direction of the causation. If causation is to be inferred, one should consider that the concurrence of two events A and B could mean that A causes B or that B causes A or that a third unobserved variable causes both A and B. Of course, it could also mean that the concurrence was incidental and that it does not have a causation implication.
  4. Specifically, in this case, the conclusion drawn from the observed concurrence of high atmospheric CO2 and evidence of a rainforest is that high atmospheric CO2 caused warming by way of the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide and that the warmth thus caused had created the conditions in West Antarctica that explain the rainforest. This specific interpretation of the concurrence is arbitrary and likely driven by the atmosphere bias in climate science.
  5. With no humans to burn fossil fuels in the Cretaceous, the source of the carbon that raised atmospheric CO2 concentration to 1000 ppm must have been the mantle. The leakage from the mantle to the atmosphere that supplied the CO2 must also have supplied geothermal heat. Therefore, the concurrence may not have the implication that A causes B but that a third unobserved variable causes both A and B and that third unobserved variable in this research is geological activity.
  6. Further support for the geological interpretation of this event are that (a) West Antarctica is a geologically active region as explained in a related post [LINK]  in terms of the West Antarctic Rift System and the Marie Byrd Mantle Plume. Therefore, it should be considered that geological events had caused both the high CO2 and the warmth.
  7. Yet another argument for the geological interpretation of the data and against the atmospheric source of the warmth by way of the greenhouse effect of atmospheric CO2 is that the greenhouse effect of atmospheric CO2 requires sunshine – but Antarctica does not have sunshine all year.  It gets sunshine only six months of the year. In the other six months, Antarctica is dark with no sunshine for the earth to re-radiate and for CO2 to trap.
  8. Also, it is not possible for the the greenhouse effect of atmospheric CO2 to turn an icy surface into rocks and dirt because ice does not absorb and re-radiate incident solar radiation at infra-red frequency. It reflects sunlight in an albedo effect at a high frequency that cannot be trapped by CO2 whatever its atmospheric concentration.
  9. CONCLUSION: In view of the above considerations, we find that the interpretation of the data in the cited paper is biased. The source of the bias is likely to be a combination of the atmosphere bias of climate science [LINK] [LINK] and the activism need of climate science to motivate climate action in their war against fossil fuels by creating a sufficient fear of atmospheric CO2 warming [LINK] [LINK]

 

LEFT: DECCAN TRAPS VOLCANISM   RIGHT: CIRCULAR REASONING

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy: Rafe Champion, catallaxyfiles.com

causation

 

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THIS POST IS A CRITICAL REVIEW OF ALARMING AGW DRIVEN GREENLAND ICE SHEET MELT REPORTED IN FORBES [LINK] AND CLIMATE HOME NEWS [LINK] WHERE THE CITED SOURCE IS AN IMBIE RESERCH PAPER [LINK] IMBIE STANDS FOR ICE SHEET MASS BALANCE INTER COMPARISON EXERCISE

 

 

PART-1: CLAIMS MADE IN THESE SOURCES

(1)  THE FORBES SCIENCE ARTICLE “Greenland And Antarctica Are Melting Six Times Faster Than In The 1990s” [LINK] :  Throughout the 1990s, Greenland and Antarctica together lost 81 billion tons of ice per year. But this month, a comprehensive assessment of the changing ice sheets published in the journal Nature, found that in the 2010s, the rate of ice loss has risen by a factor six. This means that the two ice sheets are now losing 475 billion tons of ice per year. The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report predicted a rise in global sea levels of 28 inches by 2100. But this new study shows that ice losses from both Antarctica and Greenland are rising faster than expected, tracking with the IPCC’s worst-case scenario. The Ice Sheet Mass Balance Intercomparison Exercise team, an international team of 89 polar scientists from 50 organizations, conducted the study. They combined 26 surveys to calculate changes in the mass of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets between 1992 and 2018, using data from 11 satellite missions, including measurements of the ice sheets’ changing volume, flow and gravity. The ice loss coincides with several years of intense surface melting in Greenland, including last summer’s Arctic heatwave, which means that 2019 is also likely to set a new record for polar ice sheet loss. Almost all of the ice lost from Antarctica and half of that lost from Greenland has been triggered by oceans melting their outlet glaciers, which causes them to speed up. The remainder of Greenland’s ice losses are due rising air temperature, which has melted the ice sheet at its surface.

(2)  THE CLIMATE HOME ARTICLE: [LINK]  Greenland ice loss much faster than expected. New results combine data from multiple satellite missions for an up-to-date assessment of changes across the ice-sheet. Between 1992 and 2017, Greenland lost 3.8 trillion tonnes of ice about seven times faster than expected. This corresponds to a 10.6 mm contribution to global sea-level rise. The Greenland ice sheet is losing mass seven times faster than in the 1990s, In a paper published today in Nature, an international team of 89 polar scientists, working in collaboration with ESA and NASA, have produced the most complete picture of Greenland ice loss to date. Over the study period, the rate of ice loss was found to have increased seven-fold from 33 billion tonnes per year 1990s to 254 billion tonnes per year in the last decade. The IMBIE teach combined data from 11 satellites including ESA’s ERS-1, ERS-2, Envisat and Cryosat missions, as well as the Copernicus Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 missions to monitor changes in the ice sheet’s volume, flow and gravity. Using observational data spanning three decades, the team has produced Greenland’s mass balance. This study condenses the available data and provides a consensus view regarding Greenland’s ice loss enabling more accurate projections of future sea rise to be made  allowing coastal areas to prepare, and highlighting the urgent need for the international community to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. The IPCC had predicted a 60cm rise in global sea levels by 2100, putting 260 million people at risk of annual coastal flooding. The faster-than-expected rate reported by the IMBIE team shows that ice loss is following the IPCC’s high-end climate warming scenario, which predicts sea level will rise by an additional 7cm.  For every 1cm rise in sea level, another six million people are exposed to coastal flooding. Greenland ice melt will cause 100 million people to be flooded each year by the end of the century. These changes will devastate coastal communities.” Climate models show that over half of the losses were because of increased surface meltwater runoff, driven by warming air temperatures. The remaining losses were the result of increased glacier flow triggered by rising ocean temperatures. Ice loss peaked at 335 gigatons/yr in 2011 dropping to an average of 238 gigatons/yr 2012- 2018 but still seven times higher than observed in the 1990s. The variable nature of the ice losses from Greenland over the last three decades (is a consequence of the wide range of physical processes affecting different sectors of the ice sheet and reflects the value of monitoring year-to-year fluctuations when attempting to close the global sea level budget. Greenhouse gas emissions are still going up, not down. We are leaving future generations to be confronted with increasingly severe impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels. We need to redouble efforts to meet the internationally agreed goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C over pre-industrial levels.

(3)  THE CITED RESEARCH PAPER[LINK] Article: Published: 10 December 2019
Mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2018: The IMBIE Team
Nature volume 579, pages233–239(2020): Abstract: The Greenland Ice Sheet has been a major contributor to global sea-level rise in recent decades and it is expected to continue to be so. Although increases in glacier flow and surface melting have been driven by oceanic and atmospheric warming, the magnitude and trajectory of the ice sheet’s mass imbalance remain uncertain. Here we compare and combine 26 individual satellite measurements of changes in the ice sheet’s volume, flow and gravitational potential to produce a reconciled estimate of its mass balance. The ice sheet was close to a state of balance in the 1990s, but annual losses have risen since then, peaking at 345 ± 66 billion tonnes per year in 2011. In all, Greenland lost 3,902 ± 342 billion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2018, causing the mean sea level to rise by 10.8 ± 0.9 mm. Using three regional climate models, we show that the reduced surface mass balance has driven 1,964 ± 565 billion tonnes (50.3 per cent) of the ice loss owing to increased meltwater runoff. The remaining 1,938 ± 541 billion tonnes (49.7 per cent) of ice loss was due to increased glacier dynamical imbalance, which rose from 46 ± 37 billion tonnes per year in the 1990s to 87 ± 25 billion tonnes per year since then. The total rate of ice loss slowed to 222 ± 30 billion tonnes per year between 2013 and 2017, on average, as atmospheric circulation favored cooler conditions and ocean temperatures fell at the terminus of Jakobshavn Isbræ. Cumulative ice losses from Greenland as a whole have been close to the rates predicted by the IPCC for their high-end climate warming scenario which forecast an additional 70 to 130 mm of global sea-level rise by 2100 compared with their central estimate.

 

 

PART-2: CRITICAL COMMENTARY

(1)  THE ESSENTIAL FINDING OF THE CITED PAPER: The essential finding of the IMBIE team reported in this paper is that in the 27-year study period 1992 to 2018, Greenland lost 3,902 gigatonnes (GT) of ice.  The corresponding annual rate is 144.52 GT/year. If this average rate sustains, the whole of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) will be gone in 18,177.6 years raising global mean sea level (GMSL) by 7,360 mm 18,177.6 years from now at a rate of  0.405 mm/year. The corresponding sea level rise forecast for the year 2100 is 33.6 mm, well short of the IPCC & climate model forecast of 70 to 130 mm [LINK] . It is unlikely that the balance can be provided by Antarctica and other sources. These changes are implicitly attributed to AGW climate change and the fossil fuel emissions of the industrial economy with the implication that they can be moderated with climate action in the form of reducing emissions and eliminating the use of fossil fuels by moving the world’s energy infrastructure to renewables. The ice melt forecast at a millennial time scale will likely be interrupted by the next glaciation as we are now 12,000 years into the Holocene interglacial. The last interglacial, the Eemian, had lasted 15,000 years. It is therefore unlikely that the whole of the GIS will be melted by the Holocene. It is noted that the GIS had survived the Eemian interglacial considered by Paleo climatologists to have been a more violent ice-melt event than the Holocene [LINK]. Yet another consideration is that the paleo climate history of temperature variations in the last 12,000 years of the Holocene shows violent cycles of warming and cooling at millennial and centennial time scales [LINK] and therefore these trends cannot be extrapolated over millennia. 

(2)  SEARCHING FOR CALAMITY: It appears that the finding of a melt rate of 144.5 GT/year with corresponding GMSL rise of 0.405 mm/year was a disappointment to the IMBIE team who might have been looking in the data for something that would provide more alarming evidence of a “climate breakdown” or “climate emergency” or crisis that would serve as the rationale for costly climate action. It is likely for this reason that it became necessary for these scientists to review the data for a more creative presentation that could serve as an emergency with an urgent need for climate action. A look through the 27-year study period 1992-2018 revealed that if the mass balance time series is truncated at 2013, a higher annual average melt rate is found in the shorter 22-year time series 1992-2013. In this early portion of the data, the average annual melt rate is 254 GT/yr. At this rate, the whole of the GIS will be gone in 10,342 years raising sea levels by 0.712 mm/yr or 62.7mm by the year 2100. The corresponding forecast for the year 2100 is a sea level rise of 62.7mm, much closer to the IPCC and climate model forecast of 70 to 130 mm [LINK] with a reasonable possibility that the balance can be provided by Antarctica and other sources. 

(3)  CALAMITY FOUNDThe large difference in mean annual melt rate between the 27-year time series (144 GT/yr) and the 22-year time series (254 GT/yr) likely provided the motivation for these scientists to rationalize the use of the shorter 22-year time series of melt data instead of the full span of the available data in the longer 27-year time series of melt data. A rationale was soon found. The scientists determined that the last 5-years of the full span of the data time series contains climate anomalies that must be removed from the data for a purely AGW climate change interpretation of the data. These anomalies are described as (1)Atmospheric circulation favored cooler conditions and ocean temperatures fell at the terminus of Jakobshavn Isbræ during the last 5 years of the sample period and (2)The melt rate is a closer fit to climate model and to IPCC forecasts when the last 5 years are removed from the data time series. Based on these considerations, the IMBIE scientists determined that the shorter time series 1992-2013 must be used to evaluate the impact of AGW climate change on the Greenland Ice Sheet / Accordingly, they determined that the Greenland Ice Sheet is being melted by AGW climate change at a rate of 254 GT/year and that this rate being consistent with the IPCC high emission scenario provides empirical evidence for the urgency of climate action to prevent sea level rise holocaust in the form of tidal floods in low lying regions of the world. 

(4) ERRORS IN THE CALAMITY LOGIC OF IMBIE SCIENTISTS: ERROR#1: FORECAST STATISTICS: For making forecasts, we need as long a time series as possible as the basis for the forecast. In fact, the greater the variance in the data, the longer the data time series needs to be for the forecast being made to the year 2100. The high variance argument does not support the use of a shorter data time series for making the forecast to the year 2100. ERROR#2: CIRCULAR REASONING: A fundamental principle in statistics is that the data used to construct a hypothesis may not be used to test that hypothesis because that involves circular reasoning of the worst form best described as the TEXAS SHARPSHOOTER FALLACY [LINK] The circular reasoning used here are: (1)The shorter time series yields a higher average melt rate that better fits the theory and therefore it must be the better data set with which to test the theory. and (2)The shorter time series is a better fit to the IPCC forecast and therefore the lower melt rate in the longer time series must have an explanation in terms of climate and temperature anomalies and if we look for them we can surely find some climate and temperature anomalies to blame that on.  ERROR#3: CIRCULAR REASONING. REDEFINING CALAMITY TO FIT THE DATA: In response to their failure to provide evidence of catastrophic sea level rise we had been told to fear, climate science has restructured sea level rise fear in terms of the few centimeters of SLR that they have evidence for, so that even low levels of sea level rise can be described as a climate change catastrophe. It is claimed that for every 10mm of sea level rise, 6 million people in low lying coastal areas are put at risk and that therefore we must cut fossil fuel emissions to save these people. This argument is weakened into irrelevance by two considerations. First, cited study [LINK]  uses eustatic mean sea level against DEM satellite data on coastal land elevation. These data contain a very high level of uncertainty that can create catastrophe out of nothing. Besides if there are only 6 million people for every 10mm rise in sea level, it would be much easier for the rest of the 7,800 million people of the world to take care of the unfortunate coastal lowland dwellers that too give up fossil fuels to reduce their high tide floods. 

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SUMMARY

The fear of AGW driven melt of the Greenland Ice Sheet and the resultant sea level rise presented in the IMBIE study cited above is not credible because the study suffers from methodological and statistical weaknesses in the form of circular reasoning.  The idea, derived from uncertain satellite land elevation data that we should fear 10mm of sea level rise is yet another case of circular reasoning that says in effect that if we can’t find the sea level rise we fear we must fear the sea level rise we can find.

A further issue is that the large and incoherent variability of year to year ice melt may have a geothermal heat flux explanation as Greenland sits on a geologically active area as seen in a related post [LINK]Rather than seek out parts of the time series with lower variance, the authors should study and attempt to understand the apparently random variability in year to year ice melt. A bibliography on geothermal heat under the Greenland ice sheet is provided below.

A second bibliography below implies that the failure to find catastrophic ice melt in Greenland this late in the Holocene may have to do with the finding that most of the interglacial effects on the GrIS have already occurred early in the Holocene. See also [LINK] .

 

 

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: THE ROLE OF GEOTHERMAL HEAT IN GREENLAND

The studies below show significant impact of basal geothermal heat flux on ice melt

  1. Fahnestock, Mark, et al. “High geothermal heat flow, basal melt, and the origin of rapid ice flow in central Greenland.” Science 294.5550 (2001): 2338-2342.  Age-depth relations from internal layering reveal a large region of rapid basal melting in Greenland. Melt is localized at the onset of rapid ice flow in the large ice stream that drains north off the summit dome and other areas in the northeast quadrant of the ice sheet. Locally, high melt rates indicate geothermal fluxes 15 to 30 times continental background. The southern limit of melt coincides with magnetic anomalies and topography that suggest a volcanic origin.
  2. Greve, Ralf. “Relation of measured basal temperatures and the spatial distribution of the geothermal heat flux for the Greenland ice sheet.” Annals of Glaciology 42 (2005): 424-432. The thermomechanical, three-dimensional ice-sheet model SICOPOLIS is applied to the Greenland ice sheet. Simulations over two glacial–interglacial cycles are carried out, driven by a climatic forcing interpolated between present conditions and Last Glacial Maximum anomalies. Based on the global heat-flow representation by Pollack and others (1993), we attempt to constrain the spatial pattern of the geothermal heat flux by comparing simulation results to direct measurements of basal temperatures at the GRIP, NorthGRIP, Camp Century and Dye 3 ice-core locations. The obtained heat-flux map shows an increasing trend from west to east, a high-heat-flux anomaly around NorthGRIP with values up to 135 mWm–2 and a low-heat-flux anomaly around Dye 3 with values down to 20 mW m–2. Validation is provided by the generally good fit between observed and measured ice thicknesses. Residual discrepancies are most likely due to deficiencies of the input precipitation rate and further variability of the geothermal heat flux not captured here.
  3. Greve, Ralf, and Kolumban Hutter. “Polythermal three-dimensional modelling of the Greenland ice sheet with varied geothermal heat flux.” Annals of Glaciology 21 (1995): 8-12.  Computations over 50 000 years into steady state with Greve’s polythermal ice-sheet model and its numerical code are performed for the Greenland ice sheet with today’s climatological input (surface temperature and accumulation function) and three values of the geothermal heat flux: (42, 54.6, 29.4) mW m−2. It is shown that through the thermo-mechanical coupling the geometry as well as the thermal regime, in particular that close to the bed, respond surprisingly strongly to the basal thermal heat input. The most sensitive variable is the basal temperature field, but the maximum height of the summit also varies by more than ±100m. Furthermore, some intercomparison of the model outputs with the real ice sheet is carried out, showing that the model provides reasonable results for the ice-sheet geometry as well as for the englacial temperatures.
  4. van der Veen, Cornelis J., et al. “Subglacial topography and geothermal heat flux: Potential interactions with drainage of the Greenland ice sheet.” Geophysical research letters 34.12 (2007).  Many of the outlet glaciers in Greenland overlie deep and narrow trenches cut into the bedrock. It is well known that pronounced topography intensifies the geothermal heat flux in deep valleys and attenuates this flux on mountains. Here we investigate the magnitude of this effect for two subglacial trenches in Greenland. Heat flux variations are estimated for idealized geometries using solutions for plane slopes derived by Lachenbruch (1968). It is found that for channels such as the one under Jakobshavn Isbræ, topographic effects may increase the local geothermal heat flux by as much as 100%.
  5. Dahl-Jensen, Dorthe, et al. “Past temperatures directly from the Greenland ice sheet.” Science 282.5387 (1998): 268-271.  A Monte Carlo inverse method has been used on the temperature profiles measured down through the Greenland Ice Core Project (GRIP) borehole, at the summit of the Greenland Ice Sheet, and the Dye 3 borehole 865 kilometers farther south. The result is a 50,000-year-long temperature history at GRIP and a 7000-year history at Dye 3. The Last Glacial Maximum, the Climatic Optimum, the Medieval Warmth, the Little Ice Age, and a warm period at 1930 A.D. are resolved from the GRIP reconstruction with the amplitudes –23 kelvin, +2.5 kelvin, +1 kelvin, –1 kelvin, and +0.5 kelvin, respectively. The Dye 3 temperature is similar to the GRIP history but has an amplitude 1.5 times larger, indicating higher climatic variability there. The calculated terrestrial heat flow density from the GRIP inversion is 51.3 milliwatts per square meter.
  6. Petrunin, A. G., et al. “Heat flux variations beneath central Greenland’s ice due to anomalously thin lithosphere.” Nature Geoscience 6.9 (2013): 746-750At the Earth’s surface, heat fluxes from the interior1 are generally insignificant compared with those from the Sun and atmosphere2, except in areas permanently blanketed by ice. Modelling studies show that geothermal heat flux influences the internal thermal structure of ice sheets and the distribution of basal melt water3, and it should be taken into account in planning deep ice drilling campaigns and climate reconstructions4. Here we use a coupled ice–lithosphere model driven by climate and show that the oldest and thickest part of the Greenland Ice Sheet is strongly influenced by heat flow from the deep Earth. We find that the geothermal heat flux in central Greenland increases from west to east due to thinning of the lithosphere, which is only about 25–66% as thick as is typical for terrains of early Proterozoic age5. Complex interactions between geothermal heat flow and glaciation-induced thermal perturbations in the upper crust over glacial cycles lead to strong regional variations in basal ice conditions, with areas of rapid basal melting adjoining areas of extremely cold basal ice. Our findings demonstrate the role that the structure of the solid Earth plays in the dynamics of surface processes.
  7. Brinkerhoff, Douglas J., et al. “Sensitivity of the frozen/melted basal boundary to perturbations of basal traction and geothermal heat flux: Isunnguata Sermia, western Greenland.” Annals of Glaciology 52.59 (2011): 43-50.  A full-stress, thermomechanically coupled, numerical model is used to explore the interaction between basal thermal conditions and motion of a terrestrially terminating section of the west Greenland ice sheet. The model domain is a two-dimensional flowline profile extending from the ice divide to the margin. We use data-assimilation techniques based on the adjoint model in order to optimize the basal traction field, minimizing the difference between modeled and observed surface velocities. We monitor the sensitivity of the frozen/melted boundary (FMB) to changes in prescribed geothermal heat flux and sliding speed by applying perturbations to each of these parameters. The FMB shows sensitivity to the prescribed geothermal heat flux below an upper threshold where a maximum portion of the bed is already melted. The position of the FMB is insensitive to perturbations applied to the basal traction field. This insensitivity is due to the short distances over which longitudinal stresses act in an ice sheet.
  8. Tarasov, Lev, and W. Richard Peltier. “Greenland glacial history, borehole constraints, and Eemian extent.” Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 108.B3 (2003).  We examine the extent to which observations from the Greenland ice sheet combined with three‐dimensional dynamical ice sheet models and semi‐Lagrangian tracer methods can be used to constrain inferences of the Eemian evolution of the ice sheet, of the extent and frequency of summit migration during the 100 kyr ice age cycle, and of the deep geothermal flux of heat from the Earth into the base of the ice sheet. Relative sea level, present‐day surface geometry, basal temperature, and age and temperature profiles from the Greenland Ice Project (GRIP) are imposed as constraints to tune ice sheet model and climate forcing parameters. Despite the paucity of observations, model‐based inferences suggest a significant northeast gradient in geothermal heat flux. Our analyses also suggest that during the glacial cycle, the contemporaneous summit only occupied the present‐day location during interglacial periods. On the basis of the development and use of a high‐resolution semi‐Lagrangian tracer analysis methodology for δ18O, we rule out isotropic flow disturbances due to summit migration as a possible source of the high Eemian variability of the GRIP δ18O record. Finally, in contrast with results obtained in some recent attempts to infer the extent to which Greenland may have contributed to the anomalous highstand of Eemian sea level, we find that conservative bounds for this contribution are 2–5.2 m, with a more likely range of 2.7–4.5 m.

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY : A HISTORY OF THE GREENLAND ICE SHEET

The bibliography shows that the significant changes to the GrIS expected from AGW climate change occurred early in the Holocene but not since then. 

  1. Funder, Svend, et al. “The Greenland Ice Sheet during the past 300,000 years: A review.” Developments in Quaternary Sciences. Vol. 15. Elsevier, 2011. 699-713.   The Greenland ice sheet‘s response to climate change is a major issue in the climate debate. This report reviews existing evidence on how the ice sheet margins reacted to climate change during the past 300,000 years—how it responded to the warm climate of the last interglacial and expanded on to the shelf during the last ice age. Compared to the other large ice sheets in the northern hemisphere, the Greenland ice sheet showed remarkable resilience to temperature change—a good omen for the future.  [FULL TEXT]. 
    • Ó Cofaigh, C., et al. “An extensive and dynamic ice sheet on the West Greenland shelf during the last glacial cycle.” Geology 41.2 (2013): 219-222Considerable uncertainty surrounds the extent and timing of the advance and retreat of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) on the continental shelf bordering Baffin Bay during the last glacial cycle. Here we use marine geophysical and geological data to show that fast-flowing ice sheet outlets, including the ancestral Jakobshavn Isbræ, expanded several hundred kilometers to the shelf edge during the last glaciation ca. 20 ka. Retreat of these outlets was asynchronous. Initial retreat from the shelf edge was underway by 14,880 calibrated (cal) yr B.P. in Uummannaq trough. Radiocarbon dates from the adjacent Disko trough and adjoining trough-mouth fan imply later deglaciation of Jakobshavn Isbræ, and, significantly, an extensive readvance and rapid retreat of this outlet during the Younger Dryas stadial (YD). This is notable because it is the first evidence of a major advance of the GIS during the YD on the West Greenland shelf, although the short duration suggests that it may have been out of phase with YD temperatures. [FULL TEXT]
    • Jennings, Anne E., et al. “Paleoenvironments during Younger Dryas‐E arly Holocene retreat of the Greenland Ice Sheet from outer Disko Trough, central west Greenland.” Journal of Quaternary Science 29.1 (2014): 27-40.  Paleo-environments during the late Younger Dryas through early Holocene retreat of the Greenland Ice Sheet from the outer shelf in the Disko Trough system of central West Greenland were investigated via lithofacies, foraminifera, dinocysts and sediment provenance analyses in radiocarbon‐dated sediment cores from the upper slope (JR175‐VC35) and outer shelf (JR175‐VC20 and HU2008029‐070CC). Core data show that the ice margin retreated rapidly from the outer shelf by calving, beginning by 12.2k cal a BP under cold paleoceanographic conditions with up to 11 months of sea‐ice. Ice retreat into Disko Bugt was well underway by 10.9k cal a BP. Enhanced ice‐sheet ablation in Disko Bugt and elsewhere along the West Greenland coast is inferred from cold glacial marine conditions associated with high sedimentation rates between 10.9 and 9.5k cal a BP on the outer shelf. Glacial marine conditions are recorded on the outer shelf until 7.8k cal a BP. Detrital carbonate‐bearing sediments rich in >2‐mm clasts deposited between 11.6 and 10.6 k cal a BP indicate that icebergs calved from northern Baffin Bay ice margins were melting and releasing sediments along West Greenland while the Greenland Ice Sheet margin was retreating into Disko Bugt. [FULL TEXT]
    • Lecavalier, Benoit S., et al. “A model of Greenland ice sheet deglaciation constrained by observations of relative sea level and ice extent.” Quaternary Science Reviews 102 (2014): 54-84.  An ice sheet model was constrained to reconstruct the evolution of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to present to improve our understanding of its response to climate change. The study involved applying a glaciological model in series with a glacial isostatic adjustment and relative sea-level (RSL) model. The model reconstruction builds upon the work of Simpson et al. (2009) through four main extensions: (1) a larger constraint database consisting of RSL and ice extent data; model improvements to the (2) climate and (3) sea-level forcing components; (4) accounting for uncertainties in non-Greenland ice. The research was conducted primarily to address data-model misfits and to quantify inherent model uncertainties with the Earth structure and non-Greenland ice. Our new model (termed Huy3) fits the majority of observations and is characterised by a number of defining features. During the LGM, the ice sheet had an excess of 4.7 m ice-equivalent sea-level (IESL), which reached a maximum volume of 5.1 m IESL at 16.5 cal ka BP. Modelled retreat of ice from the continental shelf progressed at different rates and timings in different sectors. Southwest and Southeast Greenland began to retreat from the continental shelf by ∼16 to 14 cal ka BP, thus responding in part to the Bølling-Allerød warm event (c. 14.5 cal ka BP); subsequently ice at the southern tip of Greenland readvanced during the Younger Dryas cold event. In northern Greenland the ice retreated rapidly from the continental shelf upon the climatic recovery out of the Younger Dryas to present-day conditions. Upon entering the Holocene (11.7 cal ka BP), the ice sheet soon became land-based. During the Holocene Thermal Maximum (HTM; 9-5 cal ka BP), air temperatures across Greenland were marginally higher than those at present and the GrIS margin retreated inland of its present-day southwest position by 40–60 km at 4 cal ka BP which produced a deficit volume of 0.16 m IESL relative to present. In response to the HTM warmth, our optimal model reconstruction lost mass at a maximum centennial rate of c. 103.4 Gt/yr. Our results suggest that remaining data-model discrepancies are affiliated with missing physics and sub-grid processes of the glaciological model, uncertainties in the climate forcing, lateral Earth structure, and non-Greenland ice (particularly the North American component). Finally, applying the Huy3 Greenland reconstruction with our optimal Earth model we generate present-day uplift rates across Greenland due to past changes in the ocean and ice loads with explicit error bars due to uncertainties in the Earth structure. Present-day uplift rates due to past changes are spatially variable and range from 3.5 to −7 mm/a (including Earth model uncertainty). [FULL TEXT]
    • Larsen, Nicolaj K., et al. “Rapid early Holocene ice retreat in West Greenland.” Quaternary Science Reviews 92 (2014): 310-323.  The possible demise of the Greenland ice sheet and its effect on global sea level rank among the most serious climate threats to society. To improve our knowledge about the future behaviour of the ice margin, we studied the ice sheet’s response to early Holocene warming in West Greenland using 47 cosmogenic 10Be exposure ages, 26 optically-stimulated luminescence ages as well as 15 new and 28 previously published radiocarbon ages. Paired bedrock and boulder ages show that the entire area was covered by warm-based ice during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), although glacial erosion was insufficient to completely remove the upper rock surface containing 10Be inherited from a previous period of exposure in bedrock samples above an elevation of 800 m. Our compilation of 10Be and 14C ages demonstrates that the ice sheet retreated from the outer-coast to the present ice margin between c. 11.4 and 10.4 cal. ka BP in the Godthåbsfjord system and between 10.7 ± 0.6 and 10.1 ± 0.4 ka ago in Buksefjord, whereas the coast at Sermilik became ice free at c. 10.5 cal. ka BP. We find no significant changes in the retreat rates between the deep Godthåbsfjord system and the Buksefjord-Sermilik region, which is characterized by only a few narrow and shallow fjords. However, deglaciation was initiated c. 700–900 years earlier in the Godthåbsfjord system indicating that the deep fjords probably triggered land-based deglaciation by dynamic ice loss leading to an overall rapid early Holocene ice retreat and drawdown of the ice sheet in West Greenland. These results demonstrate that even if there was a topographic control on the onset of deglaciation, fast ice retreat is not restricted to deep fjord systems but may occur independently of the topographic setting. [FULL TEXT]
    • Young, Nicolás E., et al. “Age of the Fjord Stade moraines in the Disko Bugt region, western Greenland, and the 9.3 and 8.2 ka cooling events.” Quaternary Science Reviews 60 (2013): 76-90Retreat of the western Greenland Ice Sheet during the early Holocene was interrupted by deposition of the Fjord Stade moraine system. The Fjord Stade moraine system spans several hundred kilometers of western Greenland’s ice-free fringe and represents an important period in the western Greenland Ice Sheet’s deglaciation history, but the origin and timing of moraine deposition remain uncertain. Here, we combine new and previously published 10Be and 14C ages from Disko Bugt, western Greenland to constrain the timing of Fjord Stade moraine deposition at two locations ∼60 km apart. At Jakobshavn Isfjord, the northern of two study sites, we show that Jakobshavn Isbræ advanced to deposit moraines ca 9.2 and 8.2–8.0 ka. In southeastern Disko Bugt, the ice sheet deposited moraines ca 9.4–9.0 and 8.5–8.1 ka. Our ice-margin chronology indicates that the Greenland Ice Sheet in two distant regions responded in unison to early Holocene abrupt cooling 9.3 and 8.2 ka, as recorded in central Greenland ice cores. Although the timing of Fjord Stade moraine deposition was synchronous in Jakobshavn Isfjord and southeastern Disko Bugt, within uncertainties, we suggest that Jakobshavn Isbræ advanced while the southeastern Disko Bugt ice margin experienced stillstands during the 9.3 and 8.2 ka events based on regional geomorphology and the distribution of 10Be ages at each location. The contrasting style of ice-margin response was likely regulated by site-specific ice-flow characteristics. Jakobshavn Isbræ’s high ice flux results in an amplified ice-margin response to a climate perturbation, both warming and cooling, whereas the comparatively low-flux sector of the ice sheet in southeastern Disko Bugt experiences a more subdued response to climate perturbations. Our chronology indicates that the western Greenland Ice Sheet advanced and retreated in concert with early Holocene temperature variations, and the 9.3 and 8.2 ka events, although brief, were of sufficient duration to elicit a significant response of the western Greenland Ice Sheet. [FULL TEXT]
    • Roberts, David H., et al. “New constraints on Greenland ice sheet dynamics during the last glacial cycle: evidence from the Uummannaq ice stream system.” Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 118.2 (2013): 519-541.  This paper presents the first assessment of the Uummannaq ice stream system (UISS) in West Greenland. The UISS drained ~6% of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). The onset of the UISS is a function of a convergent network of fjords which feed a geologically controlled trough system running offshore to the shelf break. Mapping, cosmogenic radiogenic nuclide (CRN) dating, and model output reveal that glacially scoured surfaces up to 1266 m above sea level (asl) in fjord‐head areas were produced by warm‐based ice moving offshore during the LGM, with the elevation of warm‐based ice dropping westwards to ~700 m asl as the ice stream trunk zone developed. Marginal plateaux with allochthonous blockfields suggest that warm‐based ice produced till and erratics up to ~1200 m asl, but CRN ages and weathering pits suggest this was pre‐LGM, with only cold‐based ice operating during the LGM. Deglaciation began on the outer shelf at ~14.8 cal. kyrs B.P., with Ubekendt Ejland becoming ice free at ~12.4 ka. The UISS then collapsed with over 100 km of retreat by ~11.4 ka–10.8 cal. kyrs B.P., a rapid and complex response to bathymetric deepening, trough widening, and sea‐level rise coinciding with rapidly increasing air temperatures and solar radiation, but which occurred prior to ocean warming at ~8.4 cal. kyrs B.P. Local fjord constriction temporarily stabilized the unzipped UISS margins at the start of the Holocene before ice retreat inland of the current margin at ~8.7 ka. [FULL TEXT]
    • Knutz, Paul C., et al. “Multiple‐stage deglacial retreat of the southern Greenland Ice Sheet linked with Irminger Current warm water transport.” Paleoceanography 26.3 (2011).  There is limited knowledge pertaining to the history of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) during the last glacial‐interglacial transition as it retreated from the continental margins to an inland position. Here we use multiproxy data, including ice‐rafted debris (IRD); planktonic isotopes; alkenone temperatures; and tephra geochemistry from the northern Labrador Sea, off southwest Greenland, to investigate the deglacial response of the GIS and evaluate its implications for the North Atlantic deglacial development. The results imply that the southern GIS retreated in three successive stages: (1) early deglaciation of the East Greenland margins, by tephra‐rich IRD that embrace Heinrich Event 1; (2) progressive retreat during Allerød culminating in major meltwater releases (δ18O depletion of 1.2‰) at the Allerød–Younger Dryas transition (12.8–13.0 kyr B.P.); and (3) a final stage of glacial recession during the early Holocene (∼9–11 kyr B.P.). Rather than indicating local temperatures of ambient surface water, the alkenones likely were transported to the core site by the Irminger Current. We attribute the timing of GIS retreat to the incursion of warm intermediate waters along the base of grounded glaciers and below floating ice shelves on the continental margin. The results lend support to the view that GIS meltwater presented a forcing factor for the Younger Dryas cooling. [FULL TEXT]
    • Young, Nicolás E., et al. “Response of Jakobshavn Isbræ, greenland, to Holocene climate change.” Geology 39.2 (2011): 131-134.  Rapid fluctuations in the velocity of Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) outlet glaciers over the past decade have made it difficult to extrapolate ice-sheet change into the future. This significant short-term variability highlights the need for geologic records of preinstrumental GIS margin fluctuations in order to better predict future GIS response to climate change. Using 10Be surface exposure ages and radiocarbon-dated lake sediments, we constructed a detailed chronology of ice-margin fluctuations over the past 10 k.y. for Jakobshavn Isbræ, Greenland’s largest outlet glacier. In addition, we present new estimates of corresponding local temperature changes using a continuous record of insect (Chironomidae) remains preserved in lake sediments. We find that following an early Holocene advance just prior to 8 ka, Jakobshavn Isbræ retreated rapidly at a rate of ∼100 m yr−1, likely in response to increasing regional and local temperatures. Ice remained behind its present margin for ∼7 k.y. during a warm period in the middle Holocene with sustained temperatures ∼2 °C warmer than today, then the land-based margin advanced at least 2–4 km between A.D. 1500–1640 and A.D. 1850. The ice margin near Jakobshavn thus underwent large and rapid adjustments in response to relatively modest centennial-scale Holocene temperature changes, which may foreshadow GIS response to future warming.

     

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    THIS POST IS A CRITICAL COMMENTARY ON THE GENERALLY HELD WISDOM THAT THERE ARE TOO MANY HUMANS ON THIS PLANET AND THAT THEIR POPULATION EXPLOSION AND EXTENDED ACTIVITIES SINCE THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION ENDANGER ALL LIFE ON EARTH AND THE PLANET ITSELF SUCH THAT WE CAN SAVE THE PLANET IF WE STOP USING FOSSIL FUELS. 

     

    hippie5

    (1)  HISTORICAL ROOTS OF PLANETARY ENVIRONMENTALISM:  The rapid industrial and economic growth in the post-war era progressed mostly without adequate safeguards against environmental degradation. This situation became sensationalized through a series of high profile events that captured public attention. The wanton use of pesticides such as DDT was blamed for killing butterflies and birds (Carson, 1962). The explosive growth in automobile ownership shrouded large cities like Los Angeles and New York in smog (Gardner, 2014) (Haagen-Smit, 1952) (Hanst, 1967). The widespread dumping of industrial waste into lakes and rivers was highlighted by events such as the fire in the Cuyahoga River (Marris, 2011) (Goldberg, 1979). The hippie counter-culture movement of the 1960s rejected many conventional values and in particular, the assumed primacy of technological advancement and industrial growth. It opposed the unrestricted use of pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, food additives, fertilizers, and other synthetic chemicals. It fought against the release of industrial waste into the atmosphere and into waterways, the harvesting of old growth forests for the wood and paper industries, and the inadequacy of public transit that could limit the number of automobiles in big cities and the air pollution they cause (Rome, 2003) (Zelko, 2013). This environmental movement was the driving force behind the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the USA which was given the laws, the ways, the means, and the power to act quickly and decisively to clean up the air and water (Ruckelshaus, 1984). In Canada, a Ministry of Environment was created with the same mandate. It has since been renamed as the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
    The EPA cleaned up the air and the water in the USA with strictly enforced new laws and procedures that limited the concentration of harmful chemicals in all industrial effluents and also required all new enterprises to obtain the approval of the EPA of their environmental impact before they could proceed. The remarkable success of the EPA made it a model for environmental law and environmental protection in counties around the world (Ruckelshaus, 1984) (Andreen, 2004) (Dolin, 2008).

    (2) THE EXTENSION OF ENVIRONMENTALISM TO THE TREE HUGGER PRINCIPLE:  Environmentalism in its conceptual sense is the idea that humans should take care of the environment for their own good such that human life, health, and security are enhanced. This idea is contained in the hippie wisdom that if you shit in bed you will sleep in shit. At some point, the enthusiasm of environmentalism became separated from this fundamental reality and the conceptual underpinnings of environmentalism was arbitrarily extended in a spirit of emotional enthusiasm into what we can call the “Tree-Hugger movement” in which the concept of environmentalism became extended. It meant that humans must take care of not only their environment but those of other creatures including “the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees” such that humans saw themselves as caretakers of nature as seen in Rachel Carlson’s book Silent Spring  which establishes the principle that human activity must do no harm to other creatures, not even to trees and forests. The natural extension of that principle led to the promotion of vegetarian and vegan diets based on fruits and vegetables. It was also found that industrial waste in rivers draining into the ocean was having detrimental effects on oceanic biota and chemistry such that fundamental oceanic properties now seemed threatened by human activity. It was thus that the “environment” to be taken care of became extended to include the entire crust of the planet including the land and the ocean and all the creatures big and small that live there. 

    (3) THE EXTENSION OF ENVIRONMENTALISM TO THE PLANETARY SCALE:

    It was about then, late in the year 1972, that the first picture of the planet was taken from space and flashed on TV screens around the world. The picture was taken by the crew of the Apollo-9 space craft. This image created an overwhelming sense of awe as well as a sense of insecurity to see the finite little thing that we live on that had seemed so infinitely big as viewed from the surface instead of from space. This image caused a profound change in environmentalism such that our “environment” became redefined as the planet itself. It is thus that the “environment” of environmentalism underwent a grand and dramatic change. In the new planetary context of environmentalism, our environment is the same wherever we are and it is the whole of the planet. For example, the environment I live in is not just the rice fields and sugar palms of Phetchaburi, but the whole of the planet earth.

     

    (4) THE RISE OF PLANETARY ENVIRONMENTALISM This image from space encouraged environmentalists to look at wider impacts of pollution and they quickly learned that both water pollution carried by rivers to the ocean and air pollution anywhere on earth have a reach much larger than they had imagined. For example ocean pollution in Southeastern USA could be carried by ocean currents thousands of miles away where it could have a detrimental impact. And air pollution in Corsica could affect air quality in Athens; and environmentalist James Lovelock found long lived chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) compounds used in refrigerants and hairspray in the atmosphere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  Environmentalism thus became global and soon thereafter, environmental scientists Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina of UC Irvine proposed a theory that the long life of CFC discovered by Lovelock implies that these chemicals could eventually end up in the stratosphere where they could act as catalytic agents of ozone destruction. The United Nations entered the scene to take charge of global environmental issues by forming the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and immediately went to work on the global environmental problem of ozone depletion implied by the works of Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina.

     

    (5) PLANETARY ENVIRONMENTALISM AND THE ROLE OF HUMANS AS CARETAKERS OF THE PLANET EARTH IN THE ANTHROPOCENE. In his paper “Geology of Mankind”, geologist Paul Crutzen calls on geologists to use the term ‘Anthropocene’ for the current “human-dominated” geological epoch, that sits piggy-back on the Holocene [LINK] . Since then there have been a number of papers, mostly by Will Steffen, on the Anthropocene as seen in the bibliography below. A succinct summary of this concept is provided by Noam Chomsky in the video below. It describes a state of the world in which humans are in control of the planet and are now its keepers and caretakers. The fate of the planet now depends on how well humans take care of it. This is the extent to which global environmentalism has been taken and and the context in which the ozone crisis and the climate crisis of our time should be understood.

     

     

     

    (6) THE IRRELEVANCE OF HUMANS ON A PLANETARY SCALE

    In this post we argue that the concept of the Anthropocene and of human caused planetary catastrophe by way of things like the industrial economy running on fossil fuels are inconsistent with the relative insignificance of humans on a planetary scale.

    Consider for example, that even as humans are worried about things like carbon pollution and the population bomb in terms of the planet being overwhelmed by the sheer number of humans on earth, humans, like all life on earth, are carbon life forms created from the carbon that came from the mantle of the planet but a rather insignificant portion of it. In terms of total weight, humans constitute 0.05212% of the total mass of life on earth. Yet we imagine that our numbers are so huge that the planet will be overwhelmed by our population bomb. All the life on earth taken together is 0.000002875065% of the crust of the planet by weight. The crust of the planet where we live and where we have things like land, ocean, atmosphere, climate, and carbon life forms, is 0.3203% of the planet by weight. The other 99.6797% of the planet, the mantle and core, is a place where we have never been and will never be and on which we have no impact whatsoever. In terms of the much feared element carbon that is said to cause planetary devastation by way of climate change and ocean acidification, a mass balance shows that the crust of the planet where we live contains 0.201% of the planet’s carbon with the other 99.8% of the carbon inventory of the planet  being in the mantle and core. 

     

    THE CONCLUSION WE DRAW FROM THIS MASS BALANCE ANALYSIS IS THAT:  

    1. The crust of the planet is an insignificant portion of the planet.
    2. Life on earth is an insignificant portion of the crust of the planet. 
    3. Humans, population bomb and all, are an insignificant portion of life on earth. 

    Although it is true that humans must take care of their environment, we propose that the environment should have a more rational definition because the mass balance above does not show that humans are a significant force on a planetary scale or that they are in a position to either save it or to destroy it even with the much feared power of their fossil fueled industrial economy. And that implies that it is not possible that there is such a thing as an Anthropocene in which humans are the dominant geological force of the planet. 

     

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    ANTHROPOCENE BIBLIOGRAPHY

    1. Anthropocene doomsday scenario: Steffen 2018: Steffen, Will, et al. “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018): 201810141. {We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a “Hothouse Earth” pathway even as human emissions are reduced. Crossing the threshold would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and to sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene. We examine the evidence that such a threshold might exist and where it might be. If the threshold is crossed, the resulting trajectory would likely cause serious disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies. Collective human action is required to steer the Earth System away from a potential threshold and stabilize it in a habitable interglacial-like state. Such action entails stewardship of the entire Earth System—biosphere, climate, and societies—and could include decarbonization of the global economy, enhancement of biosphere carbon sinks, behavioral changes, technological innovations, new governance arrangements, and transformed social values.}
    2. Anthropocene doomsday scenario: Steffen 2015: Steffen, Will, et al. “The trajectory of the Anthropocene: the great acceleration.” The Anthropocene Review 2.1 (2015): 81-98. {The ‘Great Acceleration’ graphs, originally published in 2004 to show socio-economic and Earth System trends from 1750 to 2000, have now been updated to 2010. In the graphs of socio-economic trends, where the data permit, the activity of the wealthy (OECD) countries, those countries with emerging economies, and the rest of the world have now been differentiated. The dominant feature of the socio-economic trends is that the economic activity of the human enterprise continues to grow at a rapid rate. However, the differentiated graphs clearly show that strong equity issues are masked by considering global aggregates only. Most of the population growth since 1950 has been in the non-OECD world but the world’s economy (GDP), and hence consumption, is still strongly dominated by the OECD world. The Earth System indicators, in general, continued their long-term, post-industrial rise, although a few, such as atmospheric methane concentration and stratospheric ozone loss, showed a slowing or apparent stabilisation over the past decade. The post-1950 acceleration in the Earth System indicators remains clear. Only beyond the mid-20th century is there clear evidence for fundamental shifts in the state and functioning of the Earth System that are beyond the range of variability of the Holocene and driven by human activities. Thus, of all the candidates for a start date for the Anthropocene, the beginning of the Great Acceleration is by far the most convincing from an Earth System science perspective.}
    3. Anthropogenic doomsday scenario: McGill 2015  : McGill, Brian J., et al. “Fifteen forms of biodiversity trend in the Anthropocene.” Trends in ecology & evolution 30.2 (2015): 104-113. {Humans are transforming the biosphere in unprecedented ways, raising the important question of how these impacts are changing biodiversity. Here we argue that our understanding of biodiversity trends in the Anthropocene, and our ability to protect the natural world, is impeded by a failure to consider different types of biodiversity measured at different spatial scales. We propose that ecologists should recognize and assess 15 distinct categories of biodiversity trend. We summarize what is known about each of these 15 categories, identify major gaps in our current knowledge, and recommend the next steps required for better understanding of trends in biodiversity.}
    4. Anthropocene doomsday scenario: Dirzo, 2014  : Dirzo, Rodolfo, et al. “Defaunation in the Anthropocene.” science 345.6195 (2014): 401-406. {We live amid a global wave of anthropogenically driven biodiversity loss: species and population extirpations and, critically, declines in local species abundance. Particularly, human impacts on animal biodiversity are an under-recognized form of global environmental change. Among terrestrial vertebrates, 322 species have become extinct since 1500, and populations of the remaining species show 25% average decline in abundance. Invertebrate patterns are equally dire: 67% of monitored populations show 45% mean abundance decline. Such animal declines will cascade onto ecosystem functioning and human well-being. Much remains unknown about this “Anthropocene defaunation”; these knowledge gaps hinder our capacity to predict and limit defaunation impacts. Clearly, however, defaunation is both a pervasive component of the planet’s sixth mass extinction and also a major driver of global ecological change.}
    5. Anthropocene doomsday scenario: Braje 2013  : Braje, Todd J., and Jon M. Erlandson. “Human acceleration of animal and plant extinctions: A Late Pleistocene, Holocene, and Anthropocene continuum.” Anthropocene 4 (2013): 14-23. {One of the most enduring and stirring debates in archeology revolves around the role humans played in the extinction of large terrestrial mammals (megafauna) and other animals near the end of the Pleistocene. Rather than seeking a prime driver (e.g., climate change, human hunting, disease, or other causes) for Pleistocene extinctions, we focus on the process of human geographic expansion and accelerating technological developments over the last 50,000 years, changes that initiated an essentially continuous cascade of ecological changes and transformations of regional floral and faunal communities. Human hunting, population growth, economic intensification, domestication and translocation of plants and animals, and landscape burningand deforestation, all contributed to a growing human domination of earth’s continental and oceanic ecosystems. We explore the deep history of anthropogenic extinctions, trace the accelerating loss of biodiversity around the globe, and argue that Late Pleistocene and Holocene extinctions can be seen as part of a single complex continuum increasingly driven by anthropogenic factors that continue today.}
    6. Anthropocene doomsday scenario: Steffen 2011: Steffen, Will, et al. “The Anthropocene: From global change to planetary stewardship.” Ambio 40.7 (2011): 739. {Over the past century, the total material wealth of humanity has been enhanced. However, in the twenty-first century, we face scarcity in critical resources, the degradation of ecosystem services, and the erosion of the planet’s capability to absorb our wastes. Equity issues remain stubbornly difficult to solve. This situation is novel in its speed, its global scale and its threat to the resilience of the Earth System. The advent of the Anthropence, the time interval in which human activities now rival global geophysical processes, suggests that we need to fundamentally alter our relationship with the planet we inhabit. Many approaches could be adopted, ranging from geo-engineering solutions that purposefully manipulate parts of the Earth System to becoming active stewards of our own life support system. The Anthropocene is a reminder that the Holocene, during which complex human societies have developed, has been a stable, accommodating environment and is the only state of the Earth System that we know for sure can support contemporary society. The need to achieve effective planetary stewardship is urgent. As we go further into the Anthropocene, we risk driving the Earth System onto a trajectory toward more hostile states from which we cannot easily return.}
    7. Anthropocene doomsday scenario: Wagler 2011  : Wagler, Ron. “The anthropocene mass extinction: An emerging curriculum theme for science educators.” The American Biology Teacher 73.2 (2011): 78-83. {There have been five past great mass extinctions during the history of Earth. There is an ever-growing consensus within the scientific community that we have entered a sixth mass extinction. Human activities are associated directly or indirectly with nearly every aspect of this extinction. This article presents an overview of the five past great mass extinctions; an overview of the current Anthropocene mass extinction; past and present human activities associated with the current Anthropocene mass extinction; current and future rates of species extinction; and broad science-curriculum topics associated with the current Anthropocene mass extinction that can be used by science educators. These broad topics are organized around the major global, anthropogenic direct drivers of habitat modification, fragmentation, and destruction; overexploitation of species; the spread of invasive species and genes; pollution; and climate change.}
    8. Anthropocene doomsday scenario: Zalasiewicz 2010  : Zalasiewicz*, Jan, et al. “The new world of the Anthropocene.” (2010): 2228-2231. {Global events such as mass extinctions, the onset of Ice Ages, and changes in geochemistry linked with changes in atmospheric chemistry are timeposts in geological strata. In the timeline for Earth history, they allow segmentation of its 4.6 billion year existence into eons, eras, periods, and epochs. As human activity makes its recently initiated yet globally extensive mark that is leading to mass extinctions, changes in atmospheric and marine chemistry, and altering terrestrial features, should a new epoch be declared? Can such an Anthropocene be geologically standardized in strata? Zalasiewicz et al make their case in this article featured in ES&T’s April 1, 2010 print issue recognizing the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day.}
    9. Anthropocene doomsday scenario: Saxon 2008  : Saxon, Earl. “Noah’s Parks: A partial antidote to the Anthropocene extinction event.” Biodiversity 9.3-4 (2008): 5-10. {Climate change will rapidly alter the abiotic environment of many localities leading to significant losses of biodiversity in ecosystems unable to adapt quickly. However, local extirpation will be least likely where environmental change is slowest. Such locations will offer refugia for species with narrow environmental ranges, provide persistent sources of colonists, offer transitory homes for dispersers and serve as platform sites on which new community assemblages develop. Consequently, networks of protected areas that include such sites will conserve more biodiversity. Conventional protected area network selection algorithms give priority to areas with the lowest current cost. I added projected environmental change as a cost factor. I applied the modified algorithm in three arctic ecoregions where climate change is predicted to be extremely rapid and to 20 tropical ecoregions where the pace of climate change will be slower but many species are vulnerable to small changes. I identified protected area networks that protect places where change will be slowest in all ecoregions. These climate-adaptive protected area networks differ substantially from both current protected area networks and near-optimal networks that are based only on current costs. The modified method will help protected area planners to acquire potential climate refugia and to help implement adaptive conservation strategies for potential refugia that are already protected. It will also help reduce the risk that projected refugia are unknowingly allocated to land uses incompatible with their critical role in biodiversity conservation.}
    10. Anthropocene doomsday scenaro: Steffen 2007: Steffen, Will, Paul J. Crutzen, and John R. McNeill. “The Anthropocene: are humans now overwhelming the great forces of nature.” AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 36.8 (2007): 614-621. {We explore the development of the Anthropocene, the current epoch in which humans and our societies have become a global geophysical force. The Anthropocene began around 1800 with the onset of industrialization, the central feature of which was the enormous expansion in the use of fossil fuels. We use atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration as a single, simple indicator to track the progression of the Anthropocene. From a preindustrial value of 270–275 ppm, atmospheric carbon dioxide had risen to about 310 ppm by 1950. Since then the human enterprise has experienced a remarkable explosion, the Great Acceleration, with significant consequences for Earth System functioning. Atmospheric CO2 concentration has risen from 310 to 380 ppm since 1950, with about half of the total rise since the preindustrial era occurring in just the last 30 years. The Great Acceleration is reaching criticality. Whatever unfolds, the next few decades will surely be a tipping point in the evolution of the Anthropocene.}

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    bandicam 2020-03-28 08-56-14-678

     

     

    THE CORRUPTION OF EDUCATION WITH CLIMATE ACTIVISM

    globe colored half with blue green and white and half with brown and yellow fires

    STATEMENT BY COLUMBIANEWS@COLUMBIA.EDU:  How Should Columbia Drive Climate Change Innovation? The University asks students to collaborate on building a road map for climate response and a more sustainable future. Published by columbianews@columbia.edu November 15, 2019.

    As the climate crisis mounts, Columbia has turned to its students for ideas and partnership in addressing one of the most critical global challenges of our times. On Nov. 8 and 11, the University held two Climate Town Hall discussions to explore ways in which students can help set a trajectory for Columbia’s climate response that will serve as a model for higher education. The student forums are an outgrowth of the Climate Change Task Force announced by President Lee C. Bollinger in September. Led by Alex Halliday, director of Columbia’s Earth Institute, the 24-member task force represents diverse disciplines, from the arts and humanities to the natural and social sciences.

    STUDENT CLIMATE TOWN HALLS

    Nov. 8 Town Hall Forum, Nov. 11 Town Hall Forum
    “With the seminal and superb science being carried out at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, as well as across the University broadly, brought together through the Earth Institute, Columbia has been, and is, at the very forefront of academic discovery related to climate change” said President Bollinger in an email announcing the task force to the community. “Yet, it is important that we ask, as one of the leading universities in the world: Are we doing enough?” In addressing a group of about 60 students who attended the Nov. 11 town hall (a similar number attended the first event), Halliday said he wanted the students to feel empowered. “I’m looking for your ideas,” he said. “We really want to hear what you think Columbia could—or should—be doing in the area of upping its game in the battle against climate change or making a bigger effect on society in a way that would scale quite significantly and help us move the dial on the issue.” About 20 students spoke at each forum, offering ideas that ranged from innovative clean-energy solutions to improved climate education to hands-on support for students choosing environmental and sustainability career pathways.

    Some of the ideas generated at the Town Hall:

    Shore up silos in schools, institutes and across disciplines in an overarching climate school or consortium. Tackling climate change requires cross-disciplinary research, engagement, initiatives and perspectives that include science, art, medicine, architecture, psychology, journalism, the social sciences and more. Create a Climate Café to involve students, faculty, staff and the public in the climate conversation. The venue could serve as a hub for sharing knowledge and ideas and foster collaborative efforts. Include more climate science modules in existing courses, create new climate-focused classes and make climate study a pillar of Columbia’s Core Curriculum, the set of common courses required of all undergraduates. Develop continuing education climate courses to expose a broader audience to climate education and expand the University’s reach and impact. Strengthen course offerings to high school students who participate in Columbia summer programs. Reduce the University’s carbon footprint even further. Suggested initiatives include refitting buildings to be more energy-efficient, adding compost bins, reconsider maintaining the greenery of campus lawns and installing additional bike racks. Divest from all fossil fuel investments. (In 2017, the Columbia Board of trustees voted to divest from thermal coal producers.) Provide incentives for students to represent the University as climate communicators, such as academic credit to visit New York City schools and community events or providing funding to attend global meetings, such as the United Nations Conference on Climate Change. Connect green-tech entrepreneurs to the Columbia research community and promote solutions developed by engineering faculty and others to platforms that can bring green-technology innovations into the world. Expand the University’s role in educating students about environmental and sustainability career pathways. Set up mechanisms that connect students to professional opportunities in industry, government, education and nonprofits. The Climate Change Task Force is scheduled to submit a 200-page report to President Bollinger and the trustees by Dec. 1 that catalogs ongoing sustainability efforts across Columbia with recommendations for the future.

     

    SEE ALSO

    [EARTH INSTITUTE1] [COLUMBIA CLIMATE CENTER] [EARTH INSTITUTE2]  

     

     

     

    POSTS AT THIS SITE THAT IMPLY CLIMATE ACTIVISM AT COLUMBIA

    RELATED POST ON JOURNALISM AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: [LINK]  

    RELATED POST#1 ON THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL AS A MODEL FOR GLOBAL ACTION ON CLIMATE [LINK] 

    RELATED POST#2 ON THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL AS MODEL FOR GLOBAL ACTION ON CLIMATE [LINK] 

    RELATED POST ON THE CURRENT WARMING PERIOD AS “UNPRECEDENTED” [LINK] 

    RELATED POST ON AGW CLIMATE CHANGE AND ICE SHELF COLLAPSE IN ANTARCTICA [LINK]  

     

     

    CONCLUSION:  COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY IS NOT A RELIABLE AND UNBIASED SOURCE OF CLIMATE RESEARCH FINDINGS BECAUSE OF ITS INVOLVEMENT IN CLIMATE ACTIVISM. THEREFORE, PUBLICATIONS OF THE EARTH INSTITUTE OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY AND CLIMATE RESEARCH PAPERS BY COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY ACADEMICS MUST BE INTERPRETED IN THIS LIGHT BECAUSE THEY CANNOT BE ASSUMED TO BE UNBIASED SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY.

    COLUMBIA



    • chaamjamal: Maybe you're right about that but there are some asian countries that aspire to nukedom but are prevented from inadequate access.
    • Mark Ulmer: And the third is cost (resulting from regulatory compliance). Cost and disposal are not unique to nuclear (renewables have the same issues) and are, i
    • chaamjamal: It seems like they are married to the renewable option. Note also the disadvantages of nuclear noted in the post. Weaponization and waste disposal are