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 Post subject: Ocean Fossils in Antarcticas Mountains Point to Potential Dr
PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 2:43 am 
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Ocean Fossils in Antarcticas Mountains Point to Potential Dramatic Rises in Sea Levels

 


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Tiny ocean fossils distributed widely across rock surfaces in the Transantarctic Mountains point to the potential for a substantial rise in global sea levels under conditions of continued global warming, according to a new study.


The study, led by Northern Illinois University geologist Reed Scherer, indicates the massive East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) has a history of instability during ancient warm periods and could be vulnerable to distinctive retreat and partial collapse induced by future climate change. The EAIS is the worlds largest ice sheet and most distinctive player in potential sea-level rise.


The evidence is in the microscopic ocean fossils, known as diatoms, the researchers say.
For decades, scientists have been embroiled in a heated debate over how the diatoms, which were first discovered in the 1980s, became incorporated into the "Sirius Group," a series of glacial sedimentary rocks exposed along the Transantarctic Mountains.


 


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One group of scientists argued that the diatoms accumulated in a marine basin after ice sheet retreat and later, after it got much colder, were moved by the growing glaciers to the mountains. This interpretation suggested a dramatic retreat of the ice sheet between 3 million and 4.5 million years ago, during warm periods of the Pliocene Epoch. But other scientists contended the ice sheet remained stable for at least the past 5 million years, arguing that the diatoms were carried by the wind and deposited atop older sediments.


The new study, published Sept. 20, in Mood Communications, suggests that both sides were partially right and partially wrongthe ice sheet did retreat, and the wind did carry the diatoms.


Using sophisticated ice sheet and climate models, Scherer and colleagues found the ice sheet experienced a series of retreats and re-advances during the Pliocene warm periods, but the retreats were not as dramatic as some scientists earlier suggested. They were distinctive enough to uncover bays of open seawater in the Aurora and Wilkes basins, with conditions ripe for production of copious amounts of plankton diatoms.


But the retreat removed the weight of the ice, allowing previously submerged land strewn with diatoms to rise above sea level over the next few thousand years. Cyclonic winds then sent plumes of diatoms airborne, depositing them across the Transantarctic Mountains.

"The computer models indicate that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet retreated during the Pliocene by some 300 miles into the interior of East Antarctica," Scherer said, adding that most of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet also disappeared. "So our findings indicate the Sirius diatoms were windblown, but they came from areas of reduced ice in East Antarctica, where extensive diatom-plentiful lands became exposed to the air."


The Antarctic ice cap holds the majority of the worlds fresh water, and a substantial melting and retreat of the ice sheet in the future would result in raised sea levels, with devastating consequences for the worlds coastal regions.


"During certain intervals of Pliocene warmth, the sea level could have been as much as 75 feet higher than it is now," Scherer said.


"The rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuel has now elevated the concentration to 400 parts per million, matching for the first time the levels of the warm Pliocene," he added. "This makes the old debate about whether the ice sheet was notably smaller than it is now more relevant than ever."


Models used for the research were developed by co-authors David Pollard of Pennsylvania State University and Robert M. DeConto of the University of Massachusetts.


"The question is always how quickly could sea levels rise, and were probably looking at several hundred years into the future before reaching a peak high that matches the Pliocene, but the problem of progressive sea-level rise is already upon us," Scherer said. "The DeConto/Pollard models assume we continue to burn fossil fuels at the current pace. If we make improvements for the better, ice sheet reduction could be significantly delayed. Wed still have a problem, but we could detain the sea-level rise small and slow."


The new research represents the first published study on the Sirius fossils that presents data directly related to or indicative of East Antarctic Ice Sheet thickness during the Pliocene.


"This latest labor, together with other recent ice sheet modeling studies by DeConto and Pollard, clearly demonstrates the sensitivity of modern ice sheets to warming," Scherer said. "No model is ever perfect, but these scientists use sophisticated physics and the latest data to produce atmospheric and ice models that are truly state-of-the-art, providing a picture of the past and glimpse into our future."


"This is another piece of a jigsaw puzzle that the community is rapidly putting together, and which appears to show that the ice sheets are more sensitive to warming than we had hoped," said climate scientist Richard Alley. "If humans continue to warm the climate, we are likely to commit to large and perhaps rapid sea-level rise that could be very costly. No one piece of the puzzle shows this, but as they fit together, the picture is becoming clearer."

The Daily Galaxy via Northern Illinois University


 












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 Post subject: Accelerated changes needed to meet 2050 goals, Statoil econo
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2021 7:19 pm 
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Accelerated changes needed to meet 2050 goals, Statoil economist says

Changes will need to accelerate to meet higher energy demand in 2050 while addressing growing global climate-change impacts, Statoils paramount economist said.



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 Post subject: Getting hyper-local: Mapping street-level air quality across
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 3:46 pm 
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Getting hyper-local: Mapping street-level air quality across California

Most air pollution is measured at a city level, but air quality can change block by block, hour by hour and day to day. To better understand air quality on a more local level, we began working with our partner Aclima to map air pollution across California using Google Street Belief carsequipped with air quality sensors. Earlier this year, we shared the the first results of this effort with pollution levels throughout the city of Oakland.

Were just beginning to understand whats possible with this hyper-local information and today, were starting to share some of our findings for the three California regions weve mapped: the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Californias Central Valley (the Street Belief cars drove 100,000 miles, over the course of 4,000 hours to collect this data!) Scientists and air quality specialists can use this information to assist local organizations, governments, and regulators in identifying opportunities to achieve greater air quality improvements and solutions.

Over 195 nations will gather in Bonn for the COP23 UN Climate Climate Change conference this week. Rising to the climate challenge will involve a blend of policy, technology and international cooperation and we believe that insights about air quality at the community level can help support both local and global action on climate.Below weve highlighted some of our findings for these regions with heat maps showingNitrogen Dioxide(NO2)levels across three regions. The NO2 scale in the videos indicate pollutionlevels. Blue indicating NO2 levels are lowYellow indicating NO2 levels are high.











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Air quality measurements across California (Data USGS, Data SIO, NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO, Data LDEO-Columbia, NSF, Data CSUMB SFML, CA OPC, Landsat / Copernicus, Data MBARI)












Over a three month period, our Street Belief cars mapped air quality in different areas of Los Angeles, ranging from urban to residential, inland to the Pacific Ocean, and areas near major freeways, ports, or refineries. The measurements indicate that traffic-choked freeways, traffic on local streets, and weather patterns that blow pollution inland all influence the patterns of air pollution.







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Air quality measurements in Los Angeles region (Landsat / Copernicus, Data SIO, NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO, IBCAO, Data LDEO-Columbia, NSF, Data USGS, Data CSUMB SFML, CA OPC)













Compared to Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, which we mapped over the past two years, is a higher density city. A large percentage of air pollution emissions comes from vehicles like cars, trucks, and construction equipment, and industrial sources like refineries and power plants added to the blend. The measurements here indicate street-level pollution patterns are affected by these local and distributed sources.







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alt="Air quality measurements in the San Francisco Bay Area region (TerraMetrics, Data CSUMB SFML, CA OPC, Data SIO, NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO, Data LDEO-Columbia, NSF, Data MBARI, Landsat / Copernicus)"/>











Air quality measurements in the San Francisco Bay Area region (TerraMetrics, Data CSUMB SFML, CA OPC, Data SIO, NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO, Data LDEO-Columbia, NSF, Data MBARI, Landsat / Copernicus)













While much of Californias Central Valley is rural with a lot of agriculture, its also home to cities, such as Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton, and Modesto. Interstate 5 and Interstate 99 are two major traffic corridors that run through the region, connecting Northern and Southern California. Interstate and regional traffic, along with industry and agriculture, are sources of air pollution in the region. Weather conditions and topography can trap air pollution between the coast and the Sierra Nevada mountains resulting in a chronic ozone and particulate matter levels that exceed public health standards.







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alt="Air quality measurements in Californias Central Valley region (Landsat / Copernicus, Data MBARI, Data SIO, NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO, Data LDEO-Columbia, NSF, Data CSUMB SFML, CA OPC, Data USGS)"/>











Air quality measurements in Californias Central Valley region (Landsat / Copernicus, Data MBARI, Data SIO, NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO, Data LDEO-Columbia, NSF, Data CSUMB SFML, CA OPC, Data USGS)













So far, weve measured over one billion air quality data points but this is just the beginningand now air quality scientists can request access to the data. Air quality impacts our planet and our healthand we hope this information helps us build smarter more sustainable cities, reduce climate changing greenhouse gases and improve air quality for healthier living.

Tune in to Aclimas blog for more data storiesfrom our California driving campaignin the coming days and weeks.





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 Post subject: Use technology to address climate change, Oxy exec advises
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 7:32 am 
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More oil and gas producers should be ready to use technology to address climate change instead of denying the problem exists, Occidental Petroleum Corp. Pres. and Paramount Executive Officer Vicki A. Hollub recommended on Dec. 14. Weve been doing enhanced oil recovery for decades. When carbon dioxide is used to produce oil, the net emissions are 20% less than oil produced without EOR, she said during an appearance at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, DC.



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 Post subject: Hell & High Water: "Houston Was Warned" --The
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 9:19 am 
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Hell & High Water: "Houston Was Warned" --The Inside Story of the Impact of Hurricane Harvey

 


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Houstons perfect storm is coming and its not a matter of if but when, journalists wrote, a year and a half ago. Why isnt Texas ready?


The story below was a joint project of The Texas Tribune, an excellent local publication, and ProPublica, writes David Leonhardt in the New York Times. Headlined Hell and High Water, it exposed the lack of preparedness, and downright denial, in Houston about flood damage and the climate change of our warming oceans. The project mixes maps and text, and you can dip into it briefly or dig into the details.

Were sitting ducks. Weve done nothing, Phil Bedient, a Rice University professor and storm-surge expert, says in the story. Weve done nothing to shore up the coastline, to augment resiliency ... to do anything.


Hell and High Water 


Houston is the fourth-largest city in the country. Its home to the nations largest refining and petrochemical complex, where billions of gallons of oil and dangerous chemicals are stored. And its a sitting duck for the next big hurricane. Why isnt Texas ready?


It is not if, but when Houstons perfect storm will hit.


They called Ike the monster hurricane.


Hundreds of miles wide. Winds at more than 100 mph. And deadliest of all the power to push a massive wall of water into the upper Texas coast, killing thousands and shutting down a major international port and industrial hub.


20160303-houston-news-app-300x200_1That was what scientists, public officials, economists and weather forecasters thought they were dealing with on Sept. 11, 2008, as Hurricane Ike barreled toward Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States and home to its largest refining and petrochemical complex. And so at 8:19 p.m., the National Weather Service issued an unusually dire warning.


ALL NEIGHBORHOODS, AND POSSIBLY ENTIRE COASTAL COMMUNITIES, WILL BE INUNDATED, the alert read. PERSONS NOT HEEDING EVACUATION ORDERS IN SINGLE FAMILY ONE OR TWO STORY HOMES WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH.


But in the wee hours of Sept. 13, just 50 miles offshore, Ike shifted course. The wall of water the storm was projected to push into the Houston area was far smaller than predicted though still large enough to cause $30 billion in damage and kill at least 74 people in Texas. Ike remains the nations third-costliest hurricane after Katrina and Superstorm Sandy.


Still, scientists say, Houstons perfect storm is coming and its not a matter of if but when. The city has dodged it for decades, but the likelihood it will happen in any given year is nothing to scoff at; its much higher than your chance of dying in a car crash or in a firearm assault, and 2,400 times as high as your chance of being struck by lightning.


If a storm hits the region in the right spot, its going to kill Americas economy, said Pete Olson, a Republican congressman from Sugar Land, a Houston suburb.


Such a storm would devastate the Houston Ship Channel, shuttering one of the worlds busiest shipping lanes. Flanked by 10 major refineries including the nations largest and dozens of chemical manufacturing plants, the Ship Channel is a crucial transportation route for crude oil and other key products, such as plastics and pesticides. A shutdown could direct to a spike in gasoline prices and many consumer goods everything from car tires to cell phone parts to prescription pills.


It would affect supply chains across the U.S., it would probably affect factories and plants in every major metropolitan area in the U.S., said Patrick Jankowski, vice president for research at the Greater Houston Partnership, Houstons chamber of commerce.


Houstons perfect storm would virtually wipe out the Lucid Lake area, home to some of the fastest-growing communities in the United States and to the Johnson Space Center, the headquarters for NASAs human spaceflight operation. Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses there would be severely flooded.


Many hoped Ikes near miss would spur action to protect the region. Scientists created embellish computer models depicting what Ike could have been, as well as the damage that could be wrought by a assortment of other potent hurricanes, showing down to the explicit neighborhood and industrial plant how bad things could get.


They wanted the public to become better educated about the enormous danger they were facing; a discussion could be had about smarter, more sustainable growth in a region with a skyrocketing population. After decades of inaction, they hoped that a allot to build a storm surge protection system could finally move forward.


Several proposals have been discussed. One, dubbed the Ike Dike, calls for massive floodgates at the entrance to Galveston Bay to block storm surge from entering the region. That has since evolved into a more expansive concept called the coastal spine. Another proposal, called the mid-bay gate, would place a floodgate closer to Houstons industrial complex.


But none have gotten much past the talking stage.


Hopes for brisk, decisive action have foundered as scientists, local officials and politicians have argued and pointed fingers at one another. Only in the past two years have studies launched to determine how best to direct.


A devastating storm could hit the region long before any action is taken.


That keeps me up at night, said George P. Bush, the grandson and nephew of two U.S. presidents and Texas land commissioner. As head of an agency charged with protecting the states coast, he kickstarted one of the studies that will determine the risk the area faces and how to protect it.


But the process will take years. Bush said, You and me may not even see the completion of this project in our lifetime.


Its already been eight years since Ike and Houston gets hit by a major storm every 15 years on average.


Were sitting ducks. Weve done nothing. said Phil Bedient, an engineering professor at Rice University and co-director of the Storm Surge Prediction, Education, and Evacuation from Disasters (SSPEED) Center. Weve done nothing to shore up the coastline, to augment resiliency to do anything.


To this day, some public officials seem content to play the odds and hope for the best.


Houstons new mayor, former longtime state lawmaker Sylvester Turner, declined an interview request for this story. Turners office released a statement from Dennis Storemski, the citys public safety and homeland security director.


Only a small section of the city of Houston is at risk for major storm surge, it said.


In a second statement, Storemski placed the onus primarily on the federal government to safeguard the Houston region from a monster hurricane. He said the city looks forward to working with the responsible federal agencies when a solution is identified and funded.


Until then, we continue to inform our residents of their risk and the steps they should take when a distinctive tropical cyclone causes storm surge in the [Ship] Channel, and evacuations become basic, the statement said.


The pressure to act has only grown since Ike, as the risks in and around Houston have increased.


The petrochemical complex has expanded by tens of billions of dollars. About a million more people have moved into the region, meaning there are more residents to protect and evacuate.


People are rushing to the coast, and the seas are rising to meet them, said Bill Merrell, a marine scientist at Texas A&M University at Galveston.


Were all at risk


The Houston Ship Channel and the energy-related businesses that line it are widely described as irreplaceable. The 52-mile waterway connects Houstons massive refining and petrochemical complex to the Gulf of Mexico.


For all its economic importance, though, the Ship Channel also is the perfect conduit to transport massive storm surge into an industrial area that also is densely populated.


Were all at risk, and were seriously at risk, said Craig Beskid, executive director of the East Harris County Manufacturers Association, which represents ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and other major companies that operate 130 facilities in the area. Not only are the people here in this region at risk, but distinctive statewide economic assets and national assets are also at risk.


Half of the Ship Channel, which is 45 feet at its deepest, cuts through Galveston Bay, while the other half is landlocked, snaking inland at about 400 feet wide. Its lean and superficial mood would intensify the height and impact of potential storm surge.


The effect would be similar with Lucid Lake, another narrow channel jutting off the bay that is surrounded by plentiful suburban communities.


The storm models that scientists have created show that Houstons perfect storm would push water up the Ship Channel, topping out at a height of more than 30 feet above sea level. The surge would be only slightly lower in Lucid Lake.


Thats higher than the highest storm surge ever recorded on the U.S. coast 27.8 feet during Hurricane Katrina. And it would be almost entirely unabated. Unlike New Orleans, whose levee system failed during that 2005 storm and was rebuilt after, Houston has no major levee system to begin with. (A 15-foot earthen levee and flood wall surrounds one low-lying town on the Ship Channel, but that would be inadequate to protect against a worst-case storm.)


Youre talking about major, major damage, said state Sen. Sylvia Garcia, a Houston Democrat. And it seems like every year they tell us that were overdue for one.


Each monster hurricane model that scientists provided to The Texas Tribune and ProPublica is slightly different. One model, nicknamed Mighty Ike and developed by the SSPEED Center and the University of Texas at Austin, is based on Ike but increases its wind speeds to 125 mph. Researchers also mention that as p7+15.


Another storm, modeled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is physically smaller but has much higher wind speeds 145 mph. Still, neither the FEMA model nor Mighty Ike is classified as a Category 5 storm, which would have wind speeds of at least 157 mph.


Both would make landfall at a point near the western end of Galveston Island, where Ike was originally projected to come ashore.


For Houston, thats the worst place a hurricane could hit, positioning the counterclockwise-spinning storm to fling the most water into the Ship Channel and Lucid Lake.


The scenarios are rare, scientists say, but by no means impossible. Mighty Ike is considered a 350-year event, according to the SSPEED Center, and the FEMA model is what is referred to as a 500-year storm.


Such events have a small, but measurable, chance of occurring in any given year. For example, there is a 1-in500, or 0.2 percent, chance that a storm portrayed by the FEMA model will occur in the next hurricane season. Over the next 50 years, that translates to a likelihood of about 10 percent.


Scientists widely believe the method of careful the probability of such storms may no longer be legitimate, in part because of climate change. 100-year events might occur as often as every few years, while 500-year events could every few decades, climate scientists say.


As scary as the models are, they are based on current sea levels. That means such storms will be even more damaging in the future as sea levels continue to rise in the wake of climate change.


Each model projects nothing brief of catastrophe. Total damage could easily top $100 billion, scientists say. That is about how much damage Katrina inflicted on Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi a decade ago.


Galveston Island and low-lying communities in the Houston metro area would be completely underwater hours before the hurricane even hit.




       





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 Post subject: The Trick review: How the Climategate scandal rocked the wor
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2021 11:31 pm 
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The Trick review: How the Climategate scandal rocked the world

The Trick on the BBC is a dramatisation of the Climategate scandal, when researchers were wrongly accused of faking evidence of global warming. The film is a correction of the record and evidence that it isnt too late to make up for lost time

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 Post subject: COP26: Last seven years warmest on record, says UN climate r
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2021 2:10 am 
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COP26: Last seven years warmest on record, says UN climate report

As the COP26 climate summit opens in Glasgow, the UNs World Meteorological Organization says global average temperatures have been 1°C warmer than pre-industrial levels for two decades

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 Post subject: Birds in the Amazon are adapting to climate change by gettin
PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2021 10:06 pm 
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Birds in the Amazon are adapting to climate change by getting smaller

An analysis of 77 tropical bird species in the Amazon shows that all of them have shrunk and a third developed longer wings over the past 40 years

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