September 2009 Archives

Climate Change: Whole Lot of Shaking Going On ...

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(crossposted at Huffington post) Update: I will be inserting additional information about the new Earthquakes and Tsunamis that were triggered since Tuesday... In the recent climate change debate, some of our leaders, like Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, are still insisting that these are cyclical, natural changes, or that global warming is not real because "God is still up there". I foresee that a decade from now -- when we see all the damage that has happened -- Sen. Inhofe's comments on climate change will be viewed as some of the most misguided statements ever made by a senator. Why? There was a significant development that occurred yesterday, as an 8.3 earthquake struck Samoa and set off tsunami warnings in the South Pacific. Comparisons were being made to the Indian Ocean earthquake, which was the worst earthquake ever recorded at over 9 on the Richter scale. Update it seems the same fault line in Indonesia has become active - from Huffington Post
A powerful earthquake struck western Indonesia on Wednesday, triggering landslides and trapping thousands under collapsed buildings - including two hospitals, an official said. At least 75 bodies were found, but the toll was expected to be far higher. The temblor started fires, severed roads and cut off power and communications to Padang, a coastal city of 900,000 on Sumatra island. Thousands fled in panic, fearing a tsunami. Buildings swayed hundreds of miles (kilometers) away in neighboring Malaysia and Singapore. In the sprawling low-lying city of Padang, the shaking was so intense that people crouched or sat on the street to avoid falling. Children screamed as an exodus of thousands tried to get away from the coast in cars and motorbikes, honking horns. The magnitude 7.6 quake occurred at 5:15 p.m. (1015GMT, 6:15 a.m. EDT), just off the coast of Padang, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. It occurred a day after killer tsunami hit islands in the South Pacific and was along the same fault line that spawned the 2004 Asian tsunami that killed 230,000 people in 11 nations.
...and the damage in Samoa was worse than previously reported From Huffington Post
APIA, Samoa -- Disaster officials rushed food, medicine and a temporary morgue to the Samoas on Wednesday after a powerful earthquake unleashed a tsunami that flattened villages and swept cars and people out to sea. At least 119 people were killed. Survivors fled to higher ground on the South Pacific islands after the magnitude 8.0 quake struck at 6:48 a.m. local time (1:48 p.m. EDT; 1748 GMT) Tuesday
Scientists are reporting that these events are unrelated - which very well may be true, however, as you will read below, there is a common denominator to the tectonic instability that is being witnessed. How can this be? Well, the Earth's tectonic plates have sensitive fault lines, which when triggered to move, cause earthquakes and volcanoes. As a sphere, the Earth 'reflects' vibration internally, so that an earthquake in the South Pacific is picked up by seismologists across the world -- say in Alaska. The Indonesian quake resonated so strongly that it set off quakes in Alaska. (Samoa also had a 7.9 earthquake in March.) Now, add in this to the equation. In Greenland, and to a lesser extent, Antarctica, ice sheets and glaciers are melting and more importantly, sliding in rapid bursts. This is caused by moulins, which are holes that melting water form from the top of a glacier to the bottom. The water then lubricates and melts the underside of the glacier, causing them to detach from the bedrock -- and creating a 'slip-n-slide' for glaciers that weigh in the megatons -- some the size of Manhattan.
Robert Corell, chairman of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, said in Ilulissat [Greenland] yesterday: "We have seen a massive acceleration of the speed with which these glaciers are moving into the sea. The ice is moving at 2 meters an hour on a front 5km [3 miles] long and 1,500 meters deep. That means that this one glacier puts enough fresh water into the sea in one year to provide drinking water for a city the size of London for a year." The glacier is now moving at 15km a year into the sea although in surges it moves even faster. He measured one surge at 5km in 90 minutes - an extraordinary event.
The result, each 'slide' of these multi-ton glaciers sets off an 'ice quake' that register an average of 3 to 5 on the Richter scale. This might sound minor, but these are occurring multiple times a year. This means that the Earth is being jolted repeatedly by these ice quakes, destabilizing faults lines which has many, many consequences.
The latest scientific discipline to enter the fray over global warming is geology. And the forecasts from some quarters are dramatic - not only will the earth shake, it will spit fire. A number of geologists say glacial melting due to climate change will unleash pent-up pressures in the Earth's crust, causing extreme geological events such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. A cubic metre of ice weighs nearly a tonne and some glaciers are more than a kilometre thick. When the weight is removed through melting, the suppressed strains and stresses of the underlying rock come to life. (from Alan Glazner, a volcano specialist at the University of North Carolina) "When you melt glacial ice, several hundred metres to a kilometre thick . . . you've decreased the load on the crust and so you've decreased the pressure holding the volcanic conduits closed. "They're cracks, that's how magmas gets to the surface . . . and where they hit the surface, that's where you get a volcano."
And it is not likely to slow down, but may instead speed up:
...quakes ranged from six to 15 per year from 1993 to 2002, then jumped to 20 in 2003, 23 in 2004, and 32 in the first 10 months of 2005 - matching an increase in Greenland temperatures.
LET ME REPEAT THAT STATISTIC...
...quakes ranged from six to 15 per year from 1993 to 2002, then jumped to 20 in 2003, 23 in 2004, and 32 in the first 10 months of 2005 - matching an increase in Greenland temperatures.
That is tripling of earthquakes in a 15 year period and more importantly an exponential change in the activity. This trend is causing changes exponentially. For instance, since the Arctic has opened an ice free passage, the Arctic is no longer a stationary sea -- currents from the Pacific and the Atlantic are encroaching into the Arctic circle and creating an additional heating feedback loop -- which is as equally dangerous as a heating feedback loop as the loss of reflective ice. This video highlights the feedback loop that scientists are seeing in Greenland.
And, sadly, the latest report from the IPCC reflects this exponential change, as scientists report now that even if the world's countries commit to all of the recommendations to reach by 2050 -- (which the U.S. Senate is likely to block) the Earth's temperature will rise 6.3 degrees by 2100. This is not good, since scientists worldwide have agreed that to survive climate change, we must limit the temperature rise to 2 degrees. So, not only are we on a path that with displace as many as 75 million people by 2050, many of them islanders, but we are also putting many more people in peril due to the threat of this increased tectonic activity. The industrialized countries must change their polluting policies and begin to think about their responsibility for the Indonesian earthquake that resulted in 229,866 people lost, including 186,983 dead and 42,883 missing. These may have been the first wave of people who have died in a widespread fashion from the unintended effects of climate change. And yes, even though as some will argue, tectonic plates have been moving for thousands of years, it is a fact, that the climate is changing, the Arctic is heating, and Ice Quakes are increasing, all due to human made pollution. Since writing this story Tuesday, I feel both vindicated and horrified to see the very things I am worried about happening - and to see that our Senate is still waffling on the middling, do little, but necessary ACES Climate bill. We must do pass much, much more effective legislation and recognize the legal status of Environmental Refugees. There are many changes that are going to happen, and we are going to have to realize, globally, that we are all in this together. Most importantly, we must begin to talk openly about adaptation to these global changes, and not act in merely a reactionary approach.

I love Denver, but this has got to change...

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I love living in the Mile High City of Denver - I love that since I have moved here in 2000, we have turned from a 'red state' to a purple or even blue state. I even am willing to give Josh McDaniels a little props for the Broncos getting to 2-0. Denver is a great city with the great outdoors and the Rocky Mountains just a 20 minute drive away. But this information reported today, makes me sad and mad with Denver.
Denver released the largest amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) and Barcelona the smallest amount in a new study documenting how differences in climate, population density and other factors affect GHG emissions in global cities.
Now living in a city that is this beautiful, it is hard to believe that we beat out Los Angeles for pollution.
Denver had the highest overall GHG emissions, with levels two to five times higher than other cities. Its high levels were due partly to its high use of electricity, heating and industrial fuels, and ground transportation, they note - Los Angeles was second on the list...
What if a city's reputation for pollution was reflected in the Sports team's names? Instead of the Denver Broncos we would be the Denver Bronchitis? It really should give the leaders of our state's energy policy pause, in light of global warming's threat to the 2 billion dollar Colorado skiing and tourism industry, when deciding on how to power our state and what Denver emits. Anyone visiting Colorado Rockies can already see the 2 million Pine trees that are dead or dying due to Pine Beetles - an epidemic many scientist attribute to global warming. The voters have proven that they want alternative energy - and they proved so by passing approving Amendment 37 in 2004 - the first bill in the nation to require a percentage of the state's energy sources be derived from renewable energy. The time is now to call on our elected leaders like the Mayor and the Governor to change the way we power our city. And it is not just about Colorado, while our pollution is 'just' killing our trees in Colorado, it is robbing others of the world's citizens their very way of life. the time to act is now - even if you are not from Colorado - we are all in this together - contact your Senator to support Climate Change legislation like Waxman-Markey a.k.a ACES As I have written previously, even though ACES is not perfect,especially when it comes to coal - we must go to Copenhagen with some kind of climate bill to get some real action globally started for their sakes.

India's citizens make the move on Global Warming:

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from the BBC

An Indian civil servant, SM Raju, has come up with a novel way of providing employment to millions of poor in the eastern state of Bihar.

His campaign to encourage people to plant trees effectively addresses two burning issues of the world: global warming and shrinking job opportunities.

Evidence of Mr Raju's success could clearly be seen on 30 August, when he organised 300,000 villagers from over 7,500 villages in northern Bihar to engage in a mass tree planting ceremony.

In doing so the agriculture graduate from Bangalore has provided "sustainable employment" to people living below the poverty line in Bihar...


"I told the villagers that they would get 100 days employment in a year simply by planting trees and protecting them. The old, handicapped and widows would be given preference," he explained.

Every village council has now been given a target of planting 50,000 saplings - a group of four families has to plant 200 seedlings and they must protect them for three years till the plants grow more sturdy.

"They would get the full payment if they can ensure the survival of 90% of the plants under their care. For a 75-80% survival rate, they will be paid only half the wage. If the survival rate is less than 75%, the families in the group will be replaced," the guidelines say.

Under NREGA rules, each worker has to be paid 100 rupees ($2) per day for 100 days in a year.

"I told the villagers that they would get 100 days employment in a year simply by planting trees and protecting them. The old, handicapped and widows would be given preference," he explained.

Every village council has now been given a target of planting 50,000 saplings - a group of four families has to plant 200 seedlings and they must protect them for three years till the plants grow more sturdy.

"They would get the full payment if they can ensure the survival of 90% of the plants under their care. For a 75-80% survival rate, they will be paid only half the wage. If the survival rate is less than 75%, the families in the group will be replaced," the guidelines say.

Under NREGA rules, each worker has to be paid 100 rupees ($2) per day for 100 days in a year.


Dear US political leaders,

could we have this in the USA - perhaps a tree planting program aimed at offsetting the pine beetle die off in the Rocky Mountains?

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Attend flash mob movie event "Age of Stupid"

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This is a global wake up call on Climate Change
this is a map of the theaters hosting the events.
map
see here
AVAAZ Global Wake Up Call

The Global Wake-Up Call Is here!

On 21 September 2009, at more than 2200 events in 128 countries across the globe, an unstoppable global movement is issuing a wake-up call to world leaders on climate change! Call our leader now--you can select your country from the list at left, and the numbers will appear. Be polite but firm; leave a message urging your leader to travel to Copenhagen for the climate talks in December and sign a fair, ambitious, and binding climate treaty!

If you went to an event, post a note about it below, and email photos or video to photos@avaaz.org (or upload here). And if you make a phone call--post a message below about who you called and what happened. If you keep getting a busy signal, that's a good sign: it means our global wake-up calls are flooding the lines, and our message is getting
through!


video excerpt


Warmest Ocean temperatures ever recorded

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From FishOutofWater's diary 

Global ocean surface temperatures broke all time highs for August and the northern hemisphere summer.

• The June-August worldwide ocean surface temperature was also the warmest on record at 62.5 degrees F, 1.04 degrees F above the 20th century average of 61.5 degrees F.
.....
• The worldwide ocean surface temperature of 62.4 degrees F was the warmest on record for any August, and 1.03 degrees F above the 20th century average of 61.4 degrees F.


August warmth in the southern hemisphere broke all time records.

• The Southern Hemisphere average temperatures for land and ocean surface combined were the warmest on record for August.

This August was the second warmest on record for land and water just behind the super El Nino year of 1998. The cooling effects of the deep solar minimum, the quietest sun in 100 years, were not able to counteract the effects of anthropogenic greenhouse gases and a weak to moderate El Nino.

NCDC scientists also reported that the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for August was second warmest on record, behind 1998. For the June-August 2009 season, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was third warmest on record.

SST Anomalies for August 31, 2009

By NOAA FishOutofWater

I'm enjoying warm water temperatures on vacation body surfing at Cape Hatteras this week. The Gulf Stream has been exceptionally warm. The warm temperatures let me stay in the water comfortably for 5 hours yesterday without a wet suit. However, warm water temperatures are creating hot spots that threaten the health of coral reefs and temperature sensitive marine organisms. The intense hot spots off of central America and western Africa pose severe threats to coral reefs there.


By NOAA FishOutofWater

The warm Atlantic temperatures have not led to an active Atlantic hurricane season because El Nino has caused strong westerly winds at high levels, shearing storms as they approach the north American side of the Atlantic ocean. However, I enjoying surfing waves from hurricane Fred yesterday that were generated before it was torn apart by wind shear.

I suspect that the Pacific ocean is having a very intense hurricane/typhoon season this year because the waters are so warm.

Please Don't Be Stupid

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(crossposted at Daily Kos) After news this week that the Arctic is Warmer than it has ever been in the past 2000 years, and that quote
How much energy we're getting from the Sun is no longer the most important thing governing the temperature of the Arctic.
I was glad to hear about the following below: From the President of Maldives, at the sneak preview of the movie "Age of Stupid" staring Pete Postlewaite, which provides a bleak view of our future should we not act to stop Climate Change. From the President Nahseed: and a clip from the movie: I hope this movie will help motivate more action at the Copenhagen summit. More from the BBC on the warming arctic and a statement Secretary General Ban Ki Moon:
Much debate on climate change has centred on the Mediaeval Warm Period, or Mediaeval Climate Anomaly - a period about 1,000 years ago when, historical records suggest, Vikings colonised Greenland and may have grown grapes in Newfoundland. The new analysis shows that temperatures were indeed warmer in this region 1,000 years ago than they were 100 years ago - but not as warm as they are now, or 1,000 years previously. "It shows that the Mediaeval Warm Period is real, and is... an exception from the general trend of cooling," commented Eystein Jansen from Bergen University in Norway, who was not involved in the research. "It also shows there's lots of variability on the 100-year timescale, and that's probably more so in the Arctic than elsewhere." Professor Jansen was a co-ordinating lead author on the palaeoclimate (ancient climate) chapter of the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment
This is the excuse I have heard from Climate Change Deniers: that these cooling and heating trends are the Earth's natural patterns - often citing the warming period where the Vikings settled Greenland 1000 years ago. It seems like these Climate Scientists finally decided to focus on the Denier's claims and research that issue. There is no doubt this refutes that claim.
As the Science study emerged, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was telling the World Climate Conference in Geneva that many of the "more distant scenarios" forecast by climate scientists were "happening now". Earlier this week, Mr Ban visited the Arctic in an attempt to gain first-hand experience of how the region is changing. "Scientists have been accused for years of scaremongering. But the real scaremongers are those who say we cannot afford climate action," he said in his Geneva speech, calling for world leaders to make bigger pledges of action in the run-up to December's UN climate summit in Copenhagen.
Bravo Secretary General - let's hope our leaders hear this loud and clear.
from the BBC's Richard Black


Arctic temperatures are now higher than at any time in the last 2,000 years, research reveals.

Changes to the Earth's orbit drove centuries of cooling, but temperatures rose fast in the last 100 years as human greenhouse gas emissions rose.

Scientists took evidence from ice cores, tree rings and lake sediments.

Writing in the journal Science, they say this confirms that the Arctic is very sensitive both to changes in solar heating and to greenhouse warming.

The 23 sites sampled were good enough to provide a decade-by-decade picture of temperatures across the region.

How much energy we're getting from the Sun is no longer the most important thing governing the temperature of the Arctic
Nicholas McKay, University of Arizona, Tucson

On average, the region cooled at a rate of 0.2C per millennium until about 1900. Since then, it has warmed by about 1.2C.

Graph
The research shows a long, slow cooling followed by an abrupt warming

Much debate on climate change has centred on the Mediaeval Warm Period, or Mediaeval Climate Anomaly - a period about 1,000 years ago when, historical records suggest, Vikings colonised Greenland and may have grown grapes in Newfoundland.

The new analysis shows that temperatures were indeed warmer in this region 1,000 years ago than they were 100 years ago - but not as warm as they are now, or 1,000 years previously.

"It shows that the Mediaeval Warm Period is real, and is... an exception from the general trend of cooling," commented Eystein Jansen from Bergen University in Norway, who was not involved in the research.

"It also shows there's lots of variability on the 100-year timescale, and that's probably more so in the Arctic than elsewhere."

Professor Jansen was a co-ordinating lead author on the palaeoclimate (ancient climate) chapter of the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment.....


As the Science study emerged, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was telling the World Climate Conference in Geneva that many of the "more distant scenarios" forecast by climate scientists were "happening now".

Earlier this week, Mr Ban visited the Arctic in an attempt to gain first-hand experience of how the region is changing.

"Scientists have been accused for years of scaremongering. But the real scaremongers are those who say we cannot afford climate action," he said in his Geneva speech, calling for world leaders to make bigger pledges of action in the run-up to December's UN climate summit in Copenhagen.


go Here For the entire article

EPA to declare CO2 a dangerous pollutant

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From the San Francisco Chronicle's Jennifer A. Dlouhy

Carbon dioxide will soon be declared a dangerous pollutant - a move that could help propel slow-moving climate-change legislation on Capitol Hill, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday.




EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told reporters that a formal "endangerment finding," which would trigger federal regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, probably would "happen in the next months."

Jackson announced her timeline even as top senators said they were delaying plans to introduce legislation that would set new limits on carbon dioxide emissions. Senators had been scheduled to unveil legislation next Tuesday, but the date has now been pushed back to later in September.


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/08/31/MNM219GIJD.DTL#ixzz0Q0iZvVTS

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