"In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

Fish Under Threat As World’s Oceans Continue To Deoxygenate And Acidify

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2017 at 6:05 pm

Callum Roberts, the author of Ocean of Life and a marine conservation biologist at the University of York, is unsurprised by the latest findings. “What we’re seeing is fallout from global warming,” he says. “It’s straightforward physics and chemistry playing out in front of our eyes, entirely in keeping with what we’d expect and yet another nail in coffin of climate change denial.”

Scientists have long predicted ocean deoxygenation due to climate change, but confirmation on this global scale, and at deep sea level, is concerning them. Last year, Matthew Long, an oceanographer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, predicted that oxygen loss would become evident “across large regions of the oceans” between 2030 and 2040.” -Susan Simillie

Yes. One of the major sources of animal protein for humans, fish, is having serious issues with oceans that are deoxygenating and acidifying, quite unsurprisingly, faster than expected. Meanwhile….. “Fish is the last wild meal in the human diet, but roughly two-thirds of the world’s major stocks are now fished at or beyond their capacity, and another 10 percent have been harvested so heavily that populations will take years to recover” Hmmm. I wonder how this intractable predicament will play out. Enjoy the fish feed while you can folks.” -OSJ

Written By Susan Simillie @ U.K. Guardian:

The depletion of oxygen in our oceans threatens future fish stocks and risks altering the habitat and behaviour of marine life, scientists have warned, after a new study found oceanic oxygen levels had fallen by 2% in 50 years.

The study, carried out at Geomar Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Germany, was the most comprehensive of the subject to date. The fall in oxygen levels has been attributed to global warming and the authors warn that if it continues unchecked, the amount of oxygen lost could reach up to 7% by 2100. Very few marine organisms are able to adapt to low levels of oxygen.

The paper contains analysis of wide-ranging data from 1960 to 2010, documenting changes in oxygen distribution in the entire ocean for the first time. “Since large fish in particular avoid or do not survive in areas with low oxygen content, these changes can have far-reaching biological consequences,” said Dr Sunke Schmidtko, the report’s lead author.

Some areas have seen a greater drop than others. The Pacific – the planet’s largest ocean – has suffered the greatest volume of oxygen loss, while the Arctic witnessed the sharpest decline by percentage. “While the slight decrease of oxygen in the atmosphere is currently considered non-critical, the oxygen losses in the ocean can have far-reaching consequences because of the uneven distribution,” added another of the report’s authors, Lothar Stramma.

It is increasingly clear that the heaviest burden of climate change is falling on the planet’s oceans, which absorb more than 30% of the carbon produced on land. Rising sea levels are taking their toll on many of the world’s poorest places. Warming waters have devastated corals – including the Great Barrier Reef – in bleaching events.

Acidic oceans, caused by a drop in PH levels as carbon is absorbed, threaten creatures’ ability to build their calcium-based shells and other structures. Warming waters have also caused reproductive problems in species such as cod, and triggered their migration to colder climates. Lower oxygen levels in larger parts of the ocean are expected to force animals to seek out ever shrinking patches of habitable water, with significant impacts on the ecosystem and food web.

Callum Roberts, the author of Ocean of Life and a marine conservation biologist at the University of York, is unsurprised by the latest findings. “What we’re seeing is fallout from global warming,” he says. “It’s straightforward physics and chemistry playing out in front of our eyes, entirely in keeping with what we’d expect and yet another nail in coffin of climate change denial.”

Scientists have long predicted ocean deoxygenation due to climate change, but confirmation on this global scale, and at deep sea level, is concerning them. Last year, Matthew Long, an oceanographer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, predicted that oxygen loss would become evident “across large regions of the oceans” between 2030 and 2040. Reacting to the German findings, Long said it was “alarming to see this signal begin to emerge clearly in the observational data”, while Roberts said, “We now have a measurable change which is attributable to global warming.”

The report explains that the ocean’s oxygen supply is threatened by global warming in two ways. Warmer water is less able to contain oxygen than cold, so as the oceans warm, oxygen is reduced. Warmer water is also less dense, so the oxygen-rich surface layer cannot easily sink and circulate.

“As the world warms up, the thickness and temperature of the surface layers are increasing,” said Roberts. “This acts like a stronger lid on the world’s oceans, so there’s less oxygen transported down below.”

“Unless we address greenhouse gas emissions urgently we’ll see more and more of this,” said Roberts. “Life will become harder for creatures that live in the sea and for those that depend on them – ie us.”

A CTD-rosette is lowered into the ocean to analyse conductivity, temperature and depth and current oxygen measurements.
A CTD-rosette is lowered into the ocean to analyse conductivity, temperature and depth and measure dissolved oxygen. Photograph: Geomar

Fish that rely on dissolved oxygen will grow more slowly, peak at a smaller body size, and produce fewer offspring. And, Roberts pointed out, larger fish such as tuna, swordfish and sharks will be badly affected given their greater dependence on larger amounts of oxygen – they will be driven into ever narrower bands of oxygen-rich water near the surface, as will much of their prey, leading to more competition for food sources and other changed behaviour.

One knock-on effect is likely to be an increase to overfishing: “The eastern Pacific has huge tuna fisheries already,” he pointed out. “If the tuna can’t dive down where it is uninhabitable, as oxygen deficient areas expand, they have less space at the surface, they’re squeezed into ever tighter spaces and they’re more vulnerable to being caught.”

Scientists Warning Of Mass Extinction Of Species, Including Humans, Within 10 Years

In Uncategorized on February 9, 2017 at 5:20 pm

1

Oldspeak: “Even if their findings are bullshit, isn’t it worth a least a little bit of coverage and critical analysis? Why is Trump sucking up still sucking all the air in the room, when we are in all probability facing dire and likely existential threats to continued complex life on earth? The sustained anthropogenic carbon release rate right now is TEN TIME HIGHER than it was during a thermal maximum period 66 million years ago. This paragraph is enlightening:

During the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which occurred 55 million years ago, global temperatures rose as rapidly as by 5°C in ~13 years, according to a study by Wright et al. A recent study by researchers led by Zebee concludes that the present anthropogenic carbon release rate is unprecedented during the past 66 million years. Back in history, the highest carbon release rates of the past 66 million years occurred during the PETM. Yet, the maximum sustained PETM carbon release rate was less than 1.1 Pg C per year, the study by Zebee et al. found. By contrast, a recent annual carbon release rate from anthropogenic sources was ~10 Pg C (2014). The study by Zebee et al. therefore concludes that future ecosystem disruptions are likely to exceed the – by comparison – relatively limited extinctions observed at the PETM.”

We are facing extinction at unprecedented scale. Greater than that which occurred during the Permian-Triassic extinction, or the Great Dying, 252 million years ago. When up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species became extinct and temperatures rose by 8 °C (14 °F). Scientists, observing the variety of positive feedbacks that have been triggered in this time, say we could see temperature rises this time in in the 18°F range by 2026.  All the reality show presidents antics  and “climate plans” in the world don’t really have any bearing on this happening. ” -OSJ

Written By Sam Carana @ Arctic News:

 

 

On February 10, 2017, 18:00 UTC it is forecast to be 0.1°C or 32.1°F at the North Pole, i.e. above the temperature at which water freezes. The temperature at the North Pole is forecast to be 30°C or 54°F warmer than 1979-2000, on Feb 10, 2017, 18:00 UTC, as shown on the Climate Reanalyzer image on the right.

This high temperature is expected as a result of strong winds blowing warm air from the North Atlantic into the Arctic.

The forecast below, run on February 4, 2017, shows that winds as fast as 157 km/h or 98 mph were expected to hit the North Atlantic on February 6, 2017, 06:00 UTC, producing waves as high as 16.34 m or 53.6 ft.

A later forecast shows waves as high as 17.18 m or 54.6 ft, as illustrated by the image below.

While the actual wave height and wind speed may not turn out to be as extreme as such forecasts, the images do illustrate the horrific amounts of energy contained in these storms.

Stronger storms go hand in hand with warmer oceans. The image below shows that on February 4, 2017, at a spot off the coast of Japan marked by green circle, the ocean was 19.1°C or 34.4°F warmer than 1981-2011.

As discussed in an earlier post, the decreasing difference in temperature between the Equator and the North Pole causes changes to the jet stream, in turn causing warmer air and warmer water to get pushed from the North Atlantic into the Arctic.

The image below shows that on February 8, 2017, the water at a spot near Svalbard (marked by the green circle) was 12.8°C or 55.1°F, i.e. 11.9°C or 21.4°F warmer than 1981-2011.

Warmer water flowing into the Arctic Ocean in turn increases the strength of further feedbacks that are accelerating warming in the Arctic. Altogether, these feedbacks and further warming elements could trigger a huge abrupt rise in global temperature making that extinction of many species, including humans, could be less than one decade away.


Without action, we are facing extinction at unprecedented scale. In many respects, we are already in the sixth mass extinction of Earth’s history. Up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species became extinct when temperatures rose by 8 °C (14 °F) during the Permian-Triassic extinction, or the Great Dying, 252 million years ago.

During the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which occurred 55 million years ago, global temperatures rose as rapidly as by 5°C in ~13 years, according to a study by Wright et al. A recent study by researchers led by Zebee concludes that the present anthropogenic carbon release rate is unprecedented during the past 66 million years. Back in history, the highest carbon release rates of the past 66 million years occurred during the PETM. Yet, the maximum sustained PETM carbon release rate was less than 1.1 Pg C per year, the study by Zebee et al. found. By contrast, a recent annual carbon release rate from anthropogenic sources was ~10 Pg C (2014). The study by Zebee et al. therefore concludes that future ecosystem disruptions are likely to exceed the – by comparison – relatively limited extinctions observed at the PETM.

An earlier study by researchers led by De Vos had already concluded that current extinction rates are 1,000 times higher than natural background rates of extinction and future rates are likely to be 10,000 times higher.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as discussed in the Climate Plan.

Links

• Arctic Ocean Feedbacks
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/01/arctic-ocean-feedbacks.html

• Estimating the normal background rate of species extinction, De Vos et al. (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25159086

• Anthropogenic carbon release rate unprecedented during the past 66 million years, by Zebee et al. (2016)
http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v9/n4/full/ngeo2681.html

• Evidence for a rapid release of carbon at the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, Wright et al. (2013)
http://www.pnas.org/content/110/40/15908.full?sid=58b79a3f-8a05-485b-8051-481809c87076

• RT America Youtube video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSnrDRU6_2g

• RT America Facebook video
https://www.facebook.com/RTAmerica/videos/10154168391051366

Extreme Heat At The North Pole; Could Approach Melting Point, 50 Degrees Above Normal, In Middle Of Winter

In Uncategorized on February 8, 2017 at 6:19 pm
1

Abnormally warm air is expected to reach the North Pole by Thursday. Credit: Climate Reanalyzer

Oldspeak: “A massive storm is swirling toward Europe. It’s a weather maker in itself, churning up waves as high as 46 feet and pressure dropping as low as is typical for a Category 4 hurricane as of Monday. The storm is to the southeast of Greenland and its massive comma shape has made for stunning satellite imagery. The storm is expected to weaken as it approaches Europe, but it will conspire with a high pressure system over the continent to send a stream of warm air into the Arctic through the Greenland Sea.

Temperatures are forecast to reach the melting point in Svalbard, Norway, an island between the Greenland and Karas Seas. The North Pole could also approach the melting point on Thursday.”

-Brian Kahn

“As an aside, today, February 8th, 2017 in New York it was a balmy 60 degrees & sunny. Tomorrow, the high is forecast to be almost 30 degrees colder at 34 and a massive winter storm is expected to dump a foot of snow. The temperature in New York, will be about the same as in the North Fucking Pole. The last sentence of this piece should be chilling (pun intended):

It’s the most dramatic example of how carbon pollution is reshaping the planet and scientists are racing to understand what comes next.”

To suppose, that our climate treaties, marches, legislations, taxes, “renewable energy”, and carbon sequestering technofixes will change things for the better at this point, is admirable, but ultimately, useless. These are all human scale responses to a planetary level ecological breakdown. Scientists don’t yet fully understand what’s going on. They do know that what is happening is weird. Strange. Extreme. Unprecedented. Spring one day, winter the next. This is the new normal. We’ll need to get used to it for as long as we can.” -OSJ

Related Story:

More Evidence of “New Feedback” in Arctic? Giant Storm Pushes Warmth to Pole

 

By Brian Kahn @ Climate Central:

Weird. Strange. Extreme. Unprecedented.

These are some of the words that describe what’s been happening in the Arctic over the past year as surge after surge of warm air have stalled, and at times reversed, sea ice pack growth. And the unfortunate string of superlatives is set to continue this week.

Arctic sea ice is already sitting at a record low for this time of year and a powerful North Atlantic storm is expected to open the flood gates and send more warmth pouring into the region from the lower latitudes. By Thursday, it could reach up to 50°F above normal. In absolute temperature, that’s near the freezing point and could further spur a decline in sea ice.

Scientists have said the past year in the Arctic is “beyond even the extreme” as climate change remakes the region. Sea ice hit a record low maximum last winter (for the second year in a row,  no less) and the second-lowest minimum ever recorded last fall. After a fairly rapid refreeze in late September, the region experienced a dramatic shift. Extraordinary warmth has been a recurring theme.

Sea ice growth reversed in November. Temperatures reached the melting point at the North Pole in December. Preliminary data from January indicates the Arctic was up to 35°F above normal in some locations, including a mid-January mild wave.

That brings us to early February, which is setting up for another bout of mild weather in the Arctic.

HRPT providing an excellent visual (https://t.co/4EbJpKnqmc) of the powerful storm, which will result in moisture/heat transport into Arctic pic.twitter.com/yMu4r2pQQA

— Zack Labe (@ZLabe) February 6, 2017

A massive storm is swirling toward Europe. It’s a weather maker in itself, churning up waves as high as 46 feet and pressure dropping as low as is typical for a Category 4 hurricane as of Monday. The storm is to the southeast of Greenland and its massive comma shape has made for stunning satellite imagery. The storm is expected to weaken as it approaches Europe, but it will conspire with a high pressure system over the continent to send a stream of warm air into the Arctic through the Greenland Sea.

Temperatures are forecast to reach the melting point in Svalbard, Norway, an island between the Greenland and Karas Seas. The North Pole could also approach the melting point on Thursday.

It’s just the latest signal that the Arctic is in the middle of a profound change. Sea ice extent has dropped precipitously as has the amount of old ice, which is less prone to breakup. Beyond sea ice, Greenland’s ice sheet is also melting away and pushing sea levels higher, large fires are much more common and intense in boreal forests and other ecosystem changes are causing the earth to hyperventilate.

Together, these all indicate that the Arctic is in crisis. It’s the most dramatic example of how carbon pollution is reshaping the planet and scientists are racing to understand what comes next.