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Global Climate Change

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{Nature_and_Environment.7.538}: Jay Hoffman {resist} Mon, 13 Jan 2020 01:46:42 CST (94 lines)

Australia Will Lose to Climate Change
Even as the country fights bushfires, it can’t stop dumping planet-
warming pollution into the atmosphere.
by Robinson Meyer

Australia is caught in a climate spiral. For the past few decades, the
arid and affluent country of 25 million has padded out its economy—
otherwise dominated by sandy beaches and a bustling service sector—by
selling coal to the world. As the East Asian economies have grown,
Australia has been all too happy to keep their lights on. Exporting
food, fiber, and minerals to Asia has helped Australia achieve three
decades of nearly relentless growth: Oz has not had a technical
recession, defined as two successive quarters of economic contraction,
since July 1991.

But now Australia is buckling under the conditions that its fossil
fuels have helped bring about. Perhaps the two biggest kinds of
climate calamity happening today have begun to afflict the continent.

The first kind of disaster is, of course, the wildfire crisis. In the
past three months, bushfires in Australia’s southeast have burned
millions of acres, poisoned the air in Sydney and Melbourne, and
forced 4,000 tourists and residents in a small beach town, Mallacoota,
to congregate on the beach and get evacuated by the navy. A salvo of
fires seems to have caught the world’s attention in recent years. But
the current Australian season has outdone them all: Over the past six
months, Australian fires have burned more than twice the area than was
consumed, combined, by California’s 2018 fires and the Amazon’s 2019
fires.

The second is the irreversible scouring of the Earth’s most
distinctive ecosystems. In Australia, this phenomenon has come for the
country’s natural wonder, the Great Barrier Reef. From 2016 to 2018,
half of all coral in the reef died, killed by oceanic heat waves that
bleached and then essentially starved the symbiotic animals. Because
tropical coral reefs take about a decade to recover from such a die-
off, and because the relentless pace of climate change means that more
heat waves are virtually guaranteed in the 2020s, the reef’s only hope
of long-term survival is for humans to virtually halt global warming
in the next several decades and then begin to reverse it.

Meeting such a goal will require a revolution in the global energy
system—and, above all, a rapid abandonment of coal burning. But
there’s the rub. Australia is the world’s second-largest exporter of
coal power, and it has avoided recession for the past 27 years in part
by selling coal.

Though polls report that most Australians are concerned about climate
change, the country’s government has so far been unable to pass pretty
much any climate policy. In fact, one of its recent political crises—
the ousting of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the summer of 2018—
was prompted by Turnbull’s attempt to pass an energy bill that
included climate policy. Its current prime minister, Scott Morrison,
actually brought a lump of coal to the floor of Parliament several
years ago while defending the industry. He won an election last year
by depicting climate change as the exclusive concern of educated city-
dwellers, and climate policy as a threat to Australians’ cars and
trucks. He has so far attempted to portray the wildfires as a crisis,
sure, but one in line with previous natural disasters.

In fact, it is unprecedented. This season’s fires have incinerated
more than 1,500 homes and have killed at least 23 people, Prime
Minister Morrison said on Saturday.* There were at least twice as many
fires in New South Wales in 2019 as there were in any other year this
century, according to an analysis by The New York Times. Climate
change likely intensified the ongoing epidemic: Hotter and drier
weather makes wildfires more common, and climate change is increasing
the likelihood of both in Australia. Last year was both the hottest
and driest year on record in the country.

Perhaps more than any other wealthy nation on Earth, Australia is at
risk from the dangers of climate change. It has spent most of the 21st
century in a historic drought. Its tropical oceans are more endangered
than any other biome by climate change. Its people are clustered along
the temperate and tropical coasts, where rising seas threaten major
cities. Those same bands of livable land are the places either now
burning or at heightened risk of bushfire in the future. Faced with
such geographical challenges, Australia’s people might rally to
reverse these dangers. Instead, they have elected leaders with other
priorities.

Australia will continue to burn, and its coral will continue to die.
Perhaps this episode will prompt the more pro-carbon members of
Australia’s Parliament to accede to some climate policy. Or perhaps
Prime Minister Morrison will distract from any link between the
disaster and climate change, as President Donald Trump did when he
inexplicably blamed California’s 2018 blazes on the state’s failure to
rake forest floors. Perhaps blazes will push Australia’s politics in
an even more besieged and retrograde direction, empowering politicians
like Morrison to fight any change at all. And so maybe Australia will
find itself stuck in the climate spiral, clinging ever more tightly to
coal as its towns and cities choke on the ash of a burning world.
"https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2020/01/australia-caught-
climate-spiral/604423/"

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{Nature_and_Environment.7.539}: {wotan} Mon, 13 Jan 2020 23:33:38 CST (0 lines)
{erased by wotan Mon, 13 Jan 2020 23:37:11 CST}

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{Nature_and_Environment.7.540}: Glen Marks {wotan} Mon, 13 Jan 2020 23:37:25 CST (4 lines)

And what about THIS?:

"https://news.google.com/search?
q=volcano%20eruption%20air%20pollution&hl=en-US&gl=US&ceid=US%3Aen"

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{Nature_and_Environment.7.541}: Glen Marks {wotan} Mon, 13 Jan 2020 23:45:57 CST (4 lines)

And THIS?:

"https://thethaiger.com/hot-news/air-pollution/central-thailand-
farmers-ignore-orders-to-stop-burning-off-their-sugar-cane"

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{Nature_and_Environment.7.542}: Jay Hoffman {resist} Tue, 14 Jan 2020 00:16:37 CST (46 lines)

Climate gas budgets highly overestimate methane discharge from Arctic
Ocean

The atmospheric concentration of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, has
almost tripled since the beginning of industrialisation. Methane
emissions from natural sources are poorly understood. This is
especially the case for emissions from the Arctic Ocean.

The Arctic Ocean is a harsh working environment. That is why many
scientific expeditions are conducted in the summer and early autumn
months, when the weather and the waters are more predictable. Most
extrapolations regarding the amount of methane discharge from the
ocean floor, are thus based on observations made in the warmer months.

"This means that the present climate gas calculations are disregarding
the possible seasonal temperature variations. We have found that
seasonal differences in bottom water temperatures in the Arctic Ocean
vary from 1.7°C in May to 3.5°C in August. The methane seeps in colder
conditions decrease emissions by 43 percent in May compared to
August." says oceanographer Benedicte Ferré, researcher at CAGE Centre
for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate at UiT The Arctic
University of Norway.

"Right now, there is a large overestimation in the methane budget. We
cannot just multiply what we find in August by 12 and get a correct
annual estimate. Our study clearly shows that the system hibernates
during the cold season."

How methane will react in future ocean temperature scenarios is still
unknown. The Arctic Ocean is expected to become between 3°C and a
whopping 13°C warmer in the future, due to climate change. The study
in question does not look into the future, but focuses on correcting
the existing estimates in the methane emissions budget. However:

"We need to calculate the peculiarities of the system well, because
the oceans are warming. The system such as this is bound to be
affected by the warming ocean waters in the future," says Benedicte
Ferré. A consistently warm bottom water temperature over a 12-month
period will have an effect on this system.

"At 400 meters water depth we are already at the limit of the gas
hydrate stability. If these waters warm merely by 1.3°C this hydrate
lid will permanently lift, and the release will be constant," says
Ferré.
"https://phys.org/news/2020-01-climate-gas-highly-overestimate-
methane.html?"

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{Nature_and_Environment.7.543}: Jay Hoffman {resist} Tue, 14 Jan 2020 22:37:48 CST (54 lines)

New climate models suggest Paris goals may be out of reach
by Marlowe Hood

New climate models show carbon dioxide is a more potent greenhouse gas
than previously understood, a finding that could push the Paris treaty
goals for capping global warming out of reach, scientists have told
AFP.

Developed in parallel by separate teams in half-a-dozen countries, the
models—which will underpin revised UN temperature projections next
year—suggest scientists have for decades consistently underestimated
the warming potential of CO2.

Vastly more data and computing power has become available since the
current Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections
were finalised in 2013.

"We have better models now," Olivier Boucher, head of the Institut
Pierre Simon Laplace Climate Modelling Centre in Paris, told AFP,
adding that they "represent current climate trends more accurately".

The most influential projections from government-backed teams in the
US, Britain, France and Canada point to a future in which CO2
concentrations that have long been equated with a 3C world would more
likely heat the planet's surface by four or five degrees.

The new models reflect a better understanding of cloud dynamics in at
least two ways that reinforce the warming impact of CO2.

Zelinka said new research had confirmed high clouds in the bottom
layer of Earth's atmosphere boost the Sun's radiation—and global
heating accentuates that dynamic.

"Another big uncertainty has been how low clouds will change, such as
stratocumulus decks of the west coast of continents," he said.

Recent observations suggest this type of cloud cover decreases with
warming, which means less of the Sun's energy gets bounced back into
space by white surfaces.

With one degree Celsius of warming so far, the world is coping with
increasingly deadly heatwaves, droughts, floods and tropical cyclones
made more destructive by rising seas.

The IPCC, the UN's climate advisory body, posits four scenarios for
future warming, depending on how aggressively humanity works to reduce
greenhouse gases. The so-called "business-as-usual" trajectory of
increased fossil fuel use would leave large swathes of the planet
uninhabitable by century's end.

"Climate sensitivity had been in the range of 1.5C to 4.5C for more
than 30 years. If it is now moving to between 3C and 7C, and that
would be tremendously dangerous."
"https://phys.org/news/2020-01-climate-paris-goals.html"

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{Nature_and_Environment.7.544}: Jay Hoffman {resist} Tue, 14 Jan 2020 23:16:54 CST (29 lines)

Oceans were hottest on record in 2019

Oceans absorb more than 90 percent of excess heat created by
greenhouse gas emissions and quantifying how much they have warmed up
in recent years gives scientists an accurate read on the rate of
global warming.

A team of experts from around the world looked at data compiled by
China's Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) to gain a clear picture
of ocean warmth to a depth of 2,000 metres over several decades.

They found that oceans last year were by far the hottest ever recorded
and said that the effects of ocean warming were already being felt in
the form of more extreme weather, rising sea levels and damage to
marine life.

The study authors said there was a clear link between climate-related
disasters—such as the bushfires that have ravaged southeastern
Australia for months—and warming oceans.
Warmer seas mean more …. evaporative demand by the atmosphere. That in
turn leads to drying of the continents, a major factor that is behind
the recent wildfires from the Amazon all the way to the Arctic, and
including California and Australia."
Hotter oceans also expand, leading to sea level rises. And given that
the ocean has a far higher heat absorption capacity than the
atmosphere, scientists believe they will continue to warm even if
humanity manages to drag down its emissions in line with the Paris
goals.
https://phys.org/news/2020-01-oceans-hottest.html"

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{Nature_and_Environment.7.545}: Jay Hoffman {resist} Sun, 19 Jan 2020 00:40:58 CST (41 lines)

The Rumbling Methane Enigma
by Robert Hunziker

The East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) alone is the size of Germany,
France, Great Britain, Italy, and Japan combined and jammed full of
methane trapped beneath underwater permafrost that is rapidly
thinning.

According to Dr. Semiletov: “Emissions of methane from the East
Siberian Shelf – which is the widest and most shallow shelf of the
World Ocean – exceed the average estimate emissions of all the world’s
ocean. This is due to the fact that the reserves of methane under the
submarine permafrost exceed the methane content in the atmosphere is
many thousands of times.”

With ESAS getting more and more active as of recent, it is important
to evaluate the risks of further breakout. For example, Wadhams says
that Natalia Shakova, the leading expert on ESAS, believes it contains
up to 700 GT of CH4. The risk is rapid release, a big burp of 8% of
the deposit or 50GT, which, in turn, would crank up worldwide
temperatures by 0.6°C over two years. This would have an extremely
negative impact on the overall global climate system with unknown but
likely horrific results as temps crank up to, or beyond, the IPCC
danger zone of 2°C much sooner than anybody expects. Wadhams believes
this is society’s biggest climate threat because at 2°C above pre-
industrial crop yields start going down, very rapidly. An ESAS big
burp would do the job.

The probability of this pulse happening is high, at least 50 percent
according to the analysis of sediment composition by those best placed
to know what is going on, Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semiletov.
Moreover, if it happens, the detrimental effects are gigantic… the
risk of an Arctic seabed methane pulse is one of the greatest
immediate risks facing the human race… Why then are we doing nothing
about it? Why is this risks ignored by climate scientists, and
scarcely mentioned in the latest IPCC assessment? It seems to be not
just climate change deniers who wish to conceal the Arctic methane
threat, but also many Arctic scientists, including so-called ‘methane
experts.” (Wadhams, pg. 127-28)

"https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/17/the-rumbling-methane-enigma/"

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{Nature_and_Environment.7.546}: Jay Hoffman {resist} Wed, 22 Jan 2020 00:22:23 CST (48 lines)

Despite reports that global emissions of the potent greenhouse gas
hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) were almost eliminated in 2017, an
international team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol,
has found atmospheric levels growing at record values.

Over the last two decades, scientists have been keeping a close eye on
the atmospheric concentration of a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) gas, known
as HFC-23. This gas has very few industrial applications. However,
levels have been soaring because it is vented to the atmosphere during
the production of another chemical widely used in cooling systems in
developing countries.

Scientists are concerned, because HFC-23 is a very potent greenhouse
gas, with one tonne of its emissions being equivalent to the release
of more than 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Starting in 2015, India
and China, thought to be the main emitters of HFC-23, announced
ambitious plans to abate emissions in factories that produce the gas.
As a result, they reported that they had almost completely eliminated
HFC-23 emissions by 2017.

In response to these measures, scientists were expecting to see global
emissions drop by almost 90 percent between 2015 and 2017, which
should have seen growth in atmospheric levels grind to a halt. Now, an
international team of researchers has shown that concentrations
increased, setting an all-time record in 2018. The paper is published
today in Nature Communications.

Dr. Matt Rigby, who co-authored the study, is a reader in atmospheric
chemistry at the University of Bristol and a member of the Advanced
Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE), which measures the
concentration of greenhouse gases around the world. He said, "When we
saw the reports of enormous emissions reductions from India and China,
we were excited to take a close look at the atmospheric data. This
potent greenhouse gas has been growing rapidly in the atmosphere for
decades now, and these reports suggested that the rise should have
almost completely stopped in the space of two or three years. This
would have been a big win for climate."

The fact that this reduction has not materialized, and that, instead,
global emissions have actually risen, is a puzzle that may have
implications for the Montreal Protocol, the international treaty that
was designed to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. In 2016,
Parties to the Montreal Protocol signed the Kigali Amendment, aiming
to reduce the climate impact of HFCs, whose emissions have grown in
response to their use as replacements to ozone depleting substances.

"https://phys.org/news/2020-01-emissions-potent-greenhouse-gas-
contradicting.html"

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