Time to break out the gum boots?

This just in from Arctic News
...2.5m Sea Level Rise by 2040???

'A polynomial trendline applied to the data points at a sea level rise of more than 2.5 m (8.2 ft) by the year 2040. ..'

The analysis considers whether the trend in increase in sea levels should be considered as linear (same amount next year as last year) or polynomial (more next year than last year, and more again the year after).  The conclusion appears to be that the rate of rise will continue to increase, leading to the conclusion that SLR will get to 2.5 meters by 2040, and of course it will continue to behave exponentially until a balance is achieved between the amount of grounded ice left to melt and the rising global air and sea temperatures, when the rate of rise will fall back to zero when the last ice block is melted in a world that is somewhere between two and five (God help us!) degrees warmer than today. 

Hansen a while back (2011) discussed doubling times of the observed sea level rise and showed how (like compound interest) this would predict a rise of 5 metres by 2100 .

This new work suggests that with 'business as usual warming (including the accelerated warming the polar areas are experiencing - they always get more than their fair share of the additional heat - the sky is the limit for global temperatures, and with those temperatures comes faster melt, as well as all the other interesting side effects of a more energetic climate.

As evidence of those unfortunate effects we have an airliner at cruising altitude taken out and destroyed, by the weather.  A sad pointer to times to come.

(As part of preparations, and recognising the weather we are getting already, I'm working on plans for a storm-proof greenhouse, as we just lost a lot of seedlings due to storm and we don't want that to happen again.)

Keep up the great work!


Recent research. The outlook is not improving.

To set the scene:-


Atmospheric CO2 for June2014

And now, the news...

Antarctic glaciers melting twice as fast as previously estimated: scientists

English.news.cn   2014-07-08 09:03:09


'..sub-surface ocean temperatures down to 700 meters are rapidly changing around Antarctica because of shifting wind patterns, thought to be partly due to global warming.
"It certainly was for me a very frightening result," Spence said.'
"It's not unlike an avalanche of snow, where you don't quite know when it's going to happen but when it happens, it can happen quickly," Spence said.
The Australian Antarctic Division's Tas van Ommen said the effects of a rapidly transforming Antarctica are now likely to be felt this century.
The runaway glaciers in West Antarctica 
NASA/JPL press release, May 12, 2014: A new study by researchers at NASA and the University of California, Irvine, finds a rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be in an irreversible state of decline, with nothing to stop the glaciers in this area from melting into the sea.
“The collapse of this sector of West Antarctica appears to be unstoppable,” he said. “The fact that the retreat is happening simultaneously over a large sector suggests it was triggered by a common cause, such as an increase in the amount of ocean heat beneath the floating sections of the glaciers. At this point, the end of this sector appears to be inevitable.”
Global warming and the vulnerability of Greenland's ice sheet
...The level our oceans will rise to in the next decades and centuries depends strongly on how fast the Greenland ice sheet will melt.
Aside from the importance of deep troughs to ice motion, the extension inland means that glaciers will have to retreat further than anticipated inland in order to reach a position above sea level. “Some of them will stay in contact with the ocean for centuries, when we thought that in a couple of decades they would stabilize.” said Mathieu Morlighem.
The ice sheet is therefore more vulnerable than predicted, and existing projections of sea level rise contribution from Greenland are too conservative and need to be revised.
As the authors state in the paper, “Our findings imply that the outlet glaciers of Greenland, and the ice sheet as a whole, are probably more vulnerable to ocean thermal forcing and peripheral thinning than inferred previously from existing numerical ice-sheet models.”

Mercury Rising: 2014 Sees Warmest May Ever Recorded Following on From 2nd Warmest April

Posted on 1 July 2014 by Rob Painting

...with April 2014 being the 2nd warmest in 135 years of measurement (tied with 1998), and May 2014 the warmest ever in 135 years. 
2014 is currently on track to be one of the warmest years ever recorded, perhaps even the warmest. 


Yup. It's happened before: One metre every 20 years... As I was saying...


'When the planet moved from the last ice age to the present warm period  around fourteen thousand years ago there was a sudden increase in sea levels which amounted to twenty metres over four hundred years or, five metres  a century or, one metre every twenty years.'

And today...

'...six glaciers around Pine Island [Antarctica] ... the grounding line ... has been retreating towards the land at up to thirty five kilometres  (twenty two miles) a year. '

What price coastal properties now then?


Reducing emissions - it starts at home.

I getting rather tired of well-meaning agencies and individuals calling for us to protest at big oil drilling more wells, big coal ripping our more coal, more nuclear plants being built (insane anyway you look at it) and new power stations being built.  Their ostensible objective is (I assume) to see global emissions of greenhouse gasses decline, to avoid catastrophic changes to our climate and the biosphere.  (Or is it their objective just to stick their heads in the Bear's mouth, and then complain bitterly about the resulting bad smell - the smell in Mr Putin's prisons?)

This is an attempt to put all the blame for our emissions onto the providers of the energy.  Its the same as putting the blame for problem drinking onto the bottle stores.

Folks, the problem is not with the pushers of this deadly CO2 drug, its with the users, us.  We have to kill the market for greenhouse gas emitting products and systems by reducing the demand, not by trying to attack the supply side.

Every man and woman on the planet Earth has to reduce their emissions to a level that will give Mother Earth the ability to return the concentration of greenhouse gasses to pre-industrial levels;  to around 250 ppm.

How much can we emit?


The answer is 1700 kg of CO2 per person per year  (1.7 tonnes of CO2 per person per year.).  This equates to 141.7 kg CO2 per person per month.

How do you calculate your CO2 emissions?

Your own version of the following sum will give you an idea.

(Litres of petrol x 2.39) + (Litres of Diesel x 2.64) + (Kilowatt-hours of electricity x 0.7) = kg CO2.

Note that the factor of 0.7 kgCO2 per kWh for electricity use is based on New Zealand's comparatively low-carbon electricity (64% hydro, wind and geothermal), so you may need to find the correct factor for you own electricity provider.

I calculate the emissions for our three-person household.  Over the last three months our emissions averaged 204 kg per person per month (53% from electricity use the remainder from diesel).  This is 144% of our allowed 141.7 kg emission target so we have to cut back some more- but we are doing much better than we were a year ago.  So we have just moved to a different dwelling right in the middle of town to cut our emissions back some more by living in a smaller and more energy efficient place, and reducing the need to drive the car or use the bus to get to shops, entertainment and university, and to business appointments.

So when we have our emissions down close to 1.7 tonnes per person per year we will then (and not until then) start to suggest that others do the same.

Let me know how you get on.



National Geographic Map of Sea Level Rise

National Geographic http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/rising-seas/if-ice-melted-map 

National Geographic Map of Sea Level Rise

'The maps here show the world as it is now, with only one difference: All the ice on land has melted and drained into the sea, raising it 216 feet and creating new shorelines for our continents and inland seas. There are more than five million cubic miles of ice on Earth, and some scientists say it would take more than 5,000 years to melt it all. If we continue adding carbon to the atmosphere, we’ll very likely create an ice-free planet, with an average temperature of perhaps 80 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the current 58 degrees F.

The Nat Geo Map referenced in the NZ Herald also:

Polar-melt map shows disaster for coastal NZ

5:30 AM Saturday Nov 9, 2013

'Much of northern New Zealand, including Auckland, and parts of the South Island would be almost wiped out by rising sea levels if all the world's ice melted, according to new mapping by National Geographic magazine.
New Zealand would be among many countries to lose vast amounts of their landscape if the polar ice caps melted, the nature publication said.'
'Niwa chief climate scientist Dr David Wratt ... ...said the IPCC report indicated global warming above a threshold of a few degrees could lead to the near-complete loss of the Greenland Ice Sheet over a millenium or more, causing a global sea level rise over that 1000-year period of about 7m.'

Current CO2? 

Yes indeed. We are still on track for very 'interesting times'.


Ten Non-Surprises

Ten Non-Surprises

To stop my mind from flying around in circles worrying about ‘everything’ I have decided to record the things that I know are going to happen anyway – no matter how hard we try to avoid them.  That way I can stop wondering if I can or should do anything to divert these bundles of sadness from their destined trajectories and instead carry on with preparations to make the best of the coming times.

The occurrence of the following ten things in various forms global and local will not surprise me in the coming decades.  In fact, after much contemplation about New Zealand's social and political position and the inertia of vested interests including the majority of elected 'representatives' and professional advisers at all levels of public and private affairs I have satisfied myself that what ever efforts we may apply to these matters we are unable to turn sufficiently away from our present path to avoid these Non-Surprises.   

I am content that I am unable to make any suggestion to anybody else that will make any material difference to the course New Zealand and Humanity generally are pursuing.  Therefore this post is not to be taken in any way as a criticism of efforts being made by others, rather it is a statement of my own belief.  

As I have said before, I believe that the time for attempting to plug the holes in the sinking ship is now behind us, and we should devote our remaining resources and energies to building life boats to carry us in as much comfort as possible to our new future.  

I therefore relieve myself of my previous duty of trawling the global media for signs of change for the better and for blogging and petitioning the 'powers that be' to seek change to the current course.  Instead the only ‘news’ concerning these matters that is of any interest to me is that either these things have somehow been permanently avoided (say; a Grand Power assumes total control of global fossil fuel production and resource extraction and immediately institutes a 10% reduction in global production every year for the next seven years), or are likely to be much worse or occur much sooner than expected (say; rising Arctic ocean and air temperatures lead to abrupt releases of calthrates and tundra methane, collapse of Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets). 

I would like to know about Black Swan events and no doubt I can rely on friends (or the appearance of fire and brimstone on the horizon) to appraise me of these as and when they occur.

1    Air temperatures will continue to rise. (Some locations become uninhabitable.  For example towns in central Australia where temperatures of 48°C were recently recorded. Changes in crops grown/not grown in many areas, inability of many crops to cope with higher temperatures or frost-free growing seasons. Failure to establish heat-resistant crops in time to replace lost production.  Insect issues including increased crop damage, loss of pollinators. Reduced food production and higher food costs.  Draconian and misplaced controls on food production, distribution and storage.  Relocation of populations. Civil unrest.)
2    Droughts will become more extreme and frequent. (Impacts on public water supplies, farm production and viability and on frequency and extent of fires. Failure to develop water saving schemes to serve key food production areas.  Miss-allocation of funds and resources to poorly chosen agricultural pursuits. Failure to develop and utilise all available public lands including National Parks and reserves as forest food gardens where some portion may survive climate change to provide useful food production on the 'commons'.  Increasing cost of food. Abandonment of farms and towns. Unemployment and population relocation.)
3    Storm events will become more extreme. (Damage to and eventual abandonment of storm and flood-prone areas, increased damage to land and soils impacted by drought, unaffordable insurance policies and hence inability to obtain finance to build or rebuild, reclassification of land to prevent development. Loss of property values. Inability to afford repairs to important infrastructure or to build works to withstand storms.)
4     Predictions of end-of-century sea level rise moving to substantially higher values than the current 1.5 metres.  (Refusal of insurance for coastal areas and consequent collapse of coastal property markets. Impact on coastal food production areas [delta areas producing rice, for example]. Relocation of populations, Civil unrest and increased pressure on remaining land and food production areas.)

5    Increased fragility of financial systems and ever-increasing risk of progressive and sudden collapse of key components of the system.  (Higher rate of failure of major financial institutions and big and small businesses.  Failure of some businesses and systems to recover from collapse cycles.)
6    Increasingly frequent malfunction of local banking systems due to electricity or internet failures. (Cashflow machines empty, banking system disabled, commerce ceases or becomes cash- and paper-based.  Inability to buy or trade fuel due to cash purchase requirements on service stations by their fuel suppliers.  Failure of ‘farmers markets’ to provide food supply due to reliance on financial and energy systems. Food riots. Breakdown of law and order. ‘Arab Springs’.)

7    Progressive increases in cost of energy – especially oil.  (Reduced operating margins for businesses, reduced spending power for households, spiralling economic and business failure and unemployment.)
8    High risk of sudden failure of oil supply to New Zealand due to increased demands of ChIndia and other remaining production hubs, corralling of global oil supplies by major importers and increased internal consumption of exporters.  (Failure of national and international public and private transport systems. Abrupt disruption to commerce and food production and distribution. Breakdown of law and order. Use of the armed forces against the people.  Repressive but ineffective responses to the demands of the population including takeover of privately stored supplies.)
9    Increased burning of coal to fuel power supplies and industry - mostly overseas but partly using coal exported from New Zealand. (Failure to develop and install local demand reduction and energy storage solutions that would cope with energy supply variations arising from 100% renewable energy sources.  Failure of raw material supplies for development of renewable energy sources. Continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions and thus temperatures - see above.)

Political and Social
10  On-going efforts to solve problems by increasing rather than reducing the complexity of local and national governments, infrastructure and social support systems.  (Increasing cost of government and development, higher taxes and rates, transfer of subsidies and support from programmes supporting underprivileged and disadvantaged people to funding the operation of the increasingly irrelevant bureaucracy,  increased ‘mindlessness’ of law-making and enforcement.  Dissemination of misinformation about the cause and effect of the crisis.  Further reduction in effectiveness of representation and democratic process, increasing instances of non-compliance with ‘bad’ laws and rules, increasing separation between policy directions and the actual condition of the people.  State assuming more local powers to support failed councils (e.g Christchurch). Increased spending on projects and services that exacerbate already-bad conditions [e.g. Roads of National Importance]. Increased un-democratisation and privatisation of key public service utilities and functions.   Failure to allow domestic rain water collection and use, composting toilets and domestic greywater re-use in all areas currently served by expensive and poorly-performing water supply and sewage systems..  Failure of utilities including energy suppliers to provide required services and of councils and government to restore useful control and function of utilities to the people. Increased civil unrest concerning representation and governance and increasingly heavy-handed anddesperate responses by local and national government agencies.)


None of the above will surprise me, and unless the biggest possible Black Swan event of all occurs (viz.; a complete change of mind-set by every human being on the planet Earth to restore and operate the Earth as a ‘commons’ for the gentle benefit of all) I do not see any of these issues being avoidable.

Thus I choose to watch with interest the coming times, while focussing my attentions fully on making all possible preparations for me and mine to deal intelligently with whatever comes to give us the best chance for some of our DNA to make it though.

Nigel Williams
12 February 2013