Greenhouse Emissions of Agriculture

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 6:25 AM GMT on July 27, 2013

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Greenhouse Emissions of Agriculture

In the last blog there was a comment by peregrinepickle on the emissions from agriculture. It started:

“It sounds like they may be putting the cart before the workhorse with this study. A 2010 survey of the literature found that too few studies on GHG emissions and the impact of various alternative farming practices have been done in US agricultural regions, including the Great plains Ironically, more research is being done in this vein in China. So it seems premature to appeal to US farmers re: willingness to adopt certain practices before knowing exactly where you are going with it.

Agriculture, compared to other sources, is not a huge contributor to GHGs, relative to the contributions by industry, transportation, and utilities. In the US farming is responsible for 6% of the overall emissions of the six major GHGs. However, farming does contribute about 25% of all CH4 emissions in the US, which is major, as this gas is 21-33 times more potent in warming potential than CO2.”

Back in April and May I wrote two entries on the emissions from agriculture (first entry, second entry). These two entries highlighted both the complexity of calculating the greenhouse emissions related to agriculture as well as suggested some of the controversy associated with the calculation. The controversy is especially high in the calculation associated with livestock.

The amount of direct fossil fuel emissions from use of fuels in machinery and pumps for agriculture is modest, as stated in peregrinepickle’s comment. Those numbers are based on a 2010 inventory by the Environmental Protection Agency. Here is a link to the chapter that details the agricultural inventory. The greenhouse gas emissions compiled in the chapter on agriculture are for greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide, especially methane and nitrous oxide. For the EPA inventory, the carbon dioxide associated with agriculture is accounted for in the energy inventory. Additional emissions and removal of greenhouse gasses are calculated with land use, land change and forestry. The national forests are part of the Department of Agriculture.

The accounting with soils and forests influences, greatly, the budget of emissions associated with agriculture. Based on soil management agriculture can remove and store substantial amounts of greenhouse gases. In the U.S. agriculture is a mature and extensive enterprise, and we are not aggressively converting forest to agricultural land. In fact, the amount of forest is increasing and, therefore, can be accounted as an agricultural removal of carbon dioxide. This fact of increasing forest land is not the case in much of the world. World-wide, deforestation as forest is converted to agricultural use, especially rangeland, accounts for much of the carbon footprint of agriculture. Phil Robertson in an article to appear in the Encyclopedia of Agriculture estimates the total greenhouse gas footprint of agriculture is between 26 and 36 percent (thank you Professor Robertson). This range seems soundly based in the synthesis of research, and the number I would quote based on the current state of knowledge.

As detailed in Livestock’s Long Shadow and stated in the entirety of peregrinepickle’s comment, the impact of agriculture reaches far beyond the relevance to climate change. Notably there are impacts on water quality and land quality, and, in my opinion, the impact of nitrogen (fertilizer) pollution is one of the most under appreciated sources of environmental degradation. Management of this whole portfolio of environmental impacts is one of the special challenges of the agricultural sector of human activities.

The mix of greenhouse gas emissions, the details of the practice of land use, the role of biological processes, and the potential to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and store them in soil and biomass characterize the climate impact of agriculture. Agriculture is also vulnerable to climate change. Since agriculture is a highly competitive, market-dependent undertaking, market response to weather and climate can amplify weather-related impacts. Agriculture becomes more entangled with the climate problem, when we consider the possibility of biofuels to replace some of our fossil fuels. This complexity complicates the accounting of climate impacts, but also offers some of our best opportunities to improve our management of the environment. Agriculture is no doubt an important player in our management of climate change, and notably absent in President Obama recent speech on climate change.

A primary source of agricultural information is Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. An often cited document is the 2006 documentLivestock’s Long Shadow. There has been much criticism of this report, especially in its calculation of the emissions of the transportation sector. The original authors did modify their specific statements about transportation. As noted in an earlier blog in this series, there is substantial controversy about the impact of agriculture. Therefore, I end here with a set of reference materials that I have used.

EPA National Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data

PDF of Agriculture Chapter of EPA Inventory of Emissions

Agriculture’s Role in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Chapter 8: Working Group 3: IPCC 2007

Energy Efficiency of Conventional, Organic and Alternative Cropping …

Livestock and Climate Change

and to appear

Soil Greenhouse Gas Emissions and their Mitigation, G. Philip Robertson, W.K. Kellogg Biological Station and the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, Michigan State University, Hickory Corners, MI 49060

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Quoting 257. Some1Has2BtheRookie:


I don't even know how to address you on this, overwash. You don't think so??? What does it matter what any of us think? Does it change the Laws of Physics? Would it erase what has already been observed?
I respect that,I just feel(no expert here) that all this is being way overplayed. What kind of storms did the U.S. experience 600 to 1000 years ago? I have seen with my own eyes trees stumps exposed on the beach,so we are migrating westward as we speak! On the east coast that is.
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Quoting 255. overwash12:
95% Natural,5% man-made because of deforestation ,pavement jungles,Urban heat islands,pollution.


And 0% for greenhouse gas emissions.

To be consistent that means you have to deny all these things:

1. That humans emit CO2 and other greenhouse gases due to fossil fuels.

2. That CO2 and other greenhouse gases are not increasing due to human activity

3. That CO2 and other greenhouse gases do not trap infrared radiation.

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I think my comment broke the blog. Here are just the links to Miami's sea level rise problem. Link

and Link

Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3193
260. yoboi
Quoting 254. Naga5000:


This may help. "We have estimated an increase of 24 X
10 ^22J representing a volume mean warming of 0.09C of the 0 – 2000 m layer of the World Ocean. If this heat were instantly transferred to the lower 10 km of the global atmosphere it would result in a volume mean warming of this atmospheric layer by approximately 36C (65F). This transfer of course will
not happen; earth’s climate system simply does not work like this. But this computation does provide a perspective on the amount of heating that the earth system has undergone since 1955." Link

The paper mentions the limitations in measurement under 3000m, so we don't really know how ocean warming is occurring way down below. Still it gives great perspective on how much heat energy the oceans absorb, enough to raise global temperatures by 65F since 1955. Think about that, 65F...



Thanks Naga.....
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2322
1400 Cities at risk of sea-level rise, study finds

A rise in sea levels threatens the viability of more than 1,400 cities and towns, including Miami, Virginia Beach and Jacksonville, unless there are deep cuts in heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, says an analysis out Monday.

Prior emissions have already locked in 4 feet of future sea-level rise that will submerge parts of 316 municipalities, but the timing is unclear and could take hundreds of years, according to the paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. If global warming continues at its current rate through the year 2100, at least an additional 1,100 cities and towns will be mostly under water at high tide in the distant future.

"It's like this invisible threat," says author Benjamin Strauss,a scientist at Climate Central, a non-profit, non-advocacy research group based in Princeton, N.J., that's funded by foundations, individuals and federal grants. He says these sea levels are much higher than what's predicted this century - typically 1 to 4 feet - because climate change multiplies their impact over hundreds of years.

He says many people have the mistaken notion that if greenhouse gas emissions stop, the problem of sea levels rising will go away. It won't, he says, because carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for centuries - even millenniums - and contributes to two factors that raise sea levels: higher temperatures and the loss of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.



article at news10.net


original article at ClimateCentral.org (includes interactive map)
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258. yoboi
Quoting 253. Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Overwash12,

It may not need to happen again within the next 150 years. Should the sea level rise accelerate to a faster pace than it is now, then a smaller storm could inundate as much, or more, as Sandy did. ... Yes, there is that aspect to consider as well. You are not seeing the forest for the trees, I do believe. Considering what is at stake, over the next 150 years, why would you only look at tiny, insignificant, unlikely possibilities? Like it or not, and I do not, we are not looking at the climate we had 150 years ago. Using past climatological events as a precursor to what the future weather events will be will become more difficult to justify as we move forward from here.



If I recall and I might be wrong sandy hit at high tide and a full moon.....the slosh models did not pick that up......
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2322
Quoting 243. overwash12:
I don't think so,Rookie. Can you imagine a storm of the magnitude that breached the Outer Banks Happening now. The Media would be all over it! Global warming caused this without a doubt! When it is a perfect combination of weather systems coming together to form a " Perfect Storm" ! Nothing more,nothing less.


I don't even know how to address you on this, overwash. You don't think so??? What does it matter what any of us think? Does it change the Laws of Physics? Would it erase what has already been observed?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Incredible Heat Wave in China, Greenland Record
Posted by: Christopher C. Burt, 4:17 PM CDT on July 31, 2013




The heat wave has been a boon to China’s beach resorts, as can bee seen in this photo above taken in Dalian on July 21st. Photo from Global News.

Keep in mind that the July climate for this region would be similar to that of the Washington D.C. area except more humid, since the Yellow Sea has very high SST’s during the summer. Normally, typhoons would be making occasional landfalls along the central coast this time of year and bring relief to the brutal heat. That has not been the case this summer and, along with the heat, drought conditions have developed.

The heat is continuing unabated and, in fact, is predicted to intensify and spread north and west this coming week.

BREAKING NEWS: Greenland has just measured its hottest temperature on record July 30th with a reading of 25.9°C (78.6°F) at Maniitoq Mittarfia during a foehn event. The previous Greenland record was 25.5°C (77.9°F) at Kangerlussuaq on July 27, 1990.

Christopher C. Burt
Weather Historian
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
Quoting 252. yoboi:



What are thoughts about climate change??????????
95% Natural,5% man-made because of deforestation ,pavement jungles,Urban heat islands,pollution.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 240. yoboi:



Yes I have read it....thanks for asking.....I am trying to understand what is the baseline for ocean temps......what is normal for shallow depth and deep depths???????also reading alot about c02......


This may help. "We have estimated an increase of 24 X
10 ^22J representing a volume mean warming of 0.09C of the 0 – 2000 m layer of the World Ocean. If this heat were instantly transferred to the lower 10 km of the global atmosphere it would result in a volume mean warming of this atmospheric layer by approximately 36C (65F). This transfer of course will
not happen; earth’s climate system simply does not work like this. But this computation does provide a perspective on the amount of heating that the earth system has undergone since 1955." Link

The paper mentions the limitations in measurement under 3000m, so we don't really know how ocean warming is occurring way down below. Still it gives great perspective on how much heat energy the oceans absorb, enough to raise global temperatures by 65F since 1955. Think about that, 65F...
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3193
Quoting 242. overwash12:
It might not happen again for 150 years. That's a strong possibility also.


Overwash12,

It may not need to happen again within the next 150 years. Should the sea level rise accelerate to a faster pace than it is now, then a smaller storm could inundate as much, or more, as Sandy did. ... Yes, there is that aspect to consider as well. You are not seeing the forest for the trees, I do believe. Considering what is at stake, over the next 150 years, why would you only look at tiny, insignificant, unlikely possibilities? Like it or not, and I do not, we are not looking at the climate we had 150 years ago. Using past climatological events as a precursor to what the future weather events will be will become more difficult to justify as we move forward from here.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
252. yoboi
Quoting 250. overwash12:
Key West underwater yet? We'll use that as the canary in the mine.



What are thoughts about climate change??????????
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2322

Edited: 2013-07-14

Source
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Quoting 247. BaltimoreBrian:


It is the case that sea level rise is taking place and that it is accelerating.
Key West underwater yet? We'll use that as the canary in the mine.
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Source

This map shows global patterns of changes in sea level (sea surface height) measured by satellite-based altimeters (Topex and Jason 1 satellites) from 1993 through the end of 2007. Places where the sea surface height increased up to 225 millimeters (about 8.9 inches) are shown in dark red; places where sea level dropped are blue.
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248. yoboi
Quoting 241. Birthmark:

I don't know the answers to your questions, but I imagine you should be able to find the answers here.



Thank you Sir for the help...........
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2322
Quoting 246. overwash12:
I agree ,if that were the case.


It is the case that sea level rise is taking place and that it is accelerating.
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Quoting 244. BaltimoreBrian:


The currently accelerating rise in sea level makes that doubtful.
I agree ,if that were the case.
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Goodbye to All That (Water)

Field notes from a drying west.

One remarkable feature of the modern Colorado River, the great whitewater rollercoaster that carved the Grand Canyon, is that it is a tidal river.

These days, the tides of the Colorado are not lunar but Phoenician. Yes, I’m talking about Phoenix, Arizona. On this April night, when the air conditioners in America’s least sustainable city merely hum, Glen Canyon Dam, immediately upstream from the canyon, will run about 6,500 cubic feet of water through its turbines every second.

Tomorrow, as the sun begins its daily broiling of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, and the rest of central Arizona, the engineers at Glen Canyon will crank the dam’s maw wider until it sucks down 11,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). That boost in flow will enable its hydroelectric generators to deliver “peaking power” to several million air conditioners and cooling plants in Phoenix’s Valley of the Sun. And the flow of the river will therefore nearly double.

By mid-summer, temperatures in Phoenix will routinely soar above 110°F, and power demands will rise to monstrous heights, day and night. The dam will respond: 10,000 cfs will gush through the generators by the light of the moon, 18,000 while an implacable sun rules the sky.

Such are the cycles -- driven by heat, comfort, and human necessity -- of the river at the bottom of the continent’s grandest canyon.

The crucial question for Phoenix, for the Colorado River, and for the greater part of the American West is this: How long will the water hold out?

article at TomDispatch.com
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Quoting 242. overwash12:
It might not happen again for 150 years. That's a strong possibility also.


The currently accelerating rise in sea level makes that doubtful.
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Quoting 192. Some1Has2BtheRookie:


You are thinking too one dimensionally, overwash. Let us say, for the sake of this debate, that strong storms hitting your area remain within the climatological norms. More damage will occur to the area if only due to the rising sea levels of the area. Any storm, of normal intensity and duration will still do more damage than the norm because rising sea levels will allow deeper penetration inland from storm surges alone.

Greenhouse Effect and Sea Level Rise: America Starts to Prepare

Sea Level Rise Planning Maps

How do you escape this, even if you do escape more frequent and more powerful storms?
I don't think so,Rookie. Can you imagine a storm of the magnitude that breached the Outer Banks Happening now. The Media would be all over it! Global warming caused this without a doubt! When it is a perfect combination of weather systems coming together to form a " Perfect Storm" ! Nothing more,nothing less.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 199. BaltimoreBrian:


In New York Sandy's tide beat the record set in 1821 by almost 4 feet.
It might not happen again for 150 years. That's a strong possibility also.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 240. yoboi:



Yes I have read it....thanks for asking.....I am trying to understand what is the baseline for ocean temps......what is normal for shallow depth and deep depths???????also reading alot about c02......

I don't know the answers to your questions, but I imagine you should be able to find the answers here.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
240. yoboi
Quoting 236. FLwolverine:
I appreciate you trying to learn. Have you read the climate change information provided here at WU? Click on "climate change" in the upper right hand corner, then click on "feeling skeptical?" Really good discussions of the major arguments against AGW and why those arguments are wrong.



Yes I have read it....thanks for asking.....I am trying to understand what is the baseline for ocean temps......what is normal for shallow depth and deep depths???????also reading alot about c02......
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2322
NOAA’s National Weather Service more than doubles computing capacity

First in a series of upgrades includes improved hurricane model

Nicknamed “Tide,” the supercomputer in Reston, Va., and its Orlando-based backup named “Gyre,” are operating with 213 teraflops (TF) — up from the 90 TF with the computers that preceded them. This higher processing power allows the National Weather Service to implement an enhanced Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) model.

"These forecasting advances can save lives,” said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who helped get funding to add even more capacity to the supercomputer. “It's going to allow for better tracking of life-threatening storms and more accurately predict when and where they'll hit, and with what intensity."

“Next comes the quantum leap,” added Uccellini. Following this round of long-planned upgrades, funding requested in the FY 2014 President’s Budget, in addition to funding provided to NOAA by Congress in the spring of 2013 as part of the Hurricane Sandy emergency supplemental appropriations bill, would increase computing power even further to 1,950 TF by summer 2015. “That gives us the necessary computer power to run an enhanced version of our primary forecast model, the Global Forecast System,” said Uccellini.

"Given recent events like the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma or Superstorm Sandy, federal weather resources and personnel should be considered vital national assets. These upgrades assure world-class capabilities and a continued pathway to keep American lives and property safer," said J. Marshall Shepherd Ph.D., president of the American Meteorological Society and Professor at the University of Georgia. "As a father of two children and a scientist that understands looming weather threats, I take comfort in these developments."


more at NOAA.gov
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Will record rainfall alter taste, price of summer produce?

Heavy rains and severe flooding across the Southeast throughout the summer are expected to impact the farmers' crops and drive up produce prices across the country. CBS News contributor and physicist Michio Kaku said there has been 34 percent higher-than-average summer rainfall in Georgia, 25 percent higher rainfall in North and South Carolina, and a 22 percent rise in rainfall in Alabama.

Kaku calls the extreme weather a "double whammy" following a drought in the South last summer and says the weather swings could be blamed on higher temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico.

"On average, temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean have been higher than normal, meaning more moisture gets in the air," Kaku explained Wednesday on "CBS This Morning."

"When that moisture collides with cold air from Canada...that drives tornadoes, hurricanes and all this rainfall."

The heavy rains will likely mean changes to the taste and prices of summer produce, ranging from peaches to watermelon.

"The famous Georgia peach is simply not going to be as sweet as normal," Kaku said. "The water content is rising in the Georgia peach."

"Tennessee tomatoes could have split in the skin," he added.

And, Kaku warned, "50 percent of the watermelon crop in certain areas have been washed out, so watch out at the checkout stand. You may get sticker shock paying for your groceries."

more at CBSNews.com
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Quoting 228. yoboi:


yes I like looking at both sides.....I enjoy when you post things.....We need to look at everything.......I think both sides bend the truth.....

You think wrong if you think that climatologists' actions even vaguely approach the dishonest behavior of their critics.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
Quoting 229. yoboi:


Is the ocean heat higher than land heat????? I am trying to learn....what is the baseline for ocean heat both shallow and deep temps????? what is normal????
I appreciate you trying to learn. Have you read the climate change information provided here at WU? Click on "climate change" in the upper right hand corner, then click on "feeling skeptical?" Really good discussions of the major arguments against AGW and why those arguments are wrong.
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2295
Quoting 225. yoboi:
Link



121 yrs of climate predictions.......

How's silly Tony's records of predictions? LOL
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
Quoting 221. yoboi:
Guest essay by Jim Steele, Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University.
Here is a rebuttal to Steele's statements about the sea ice. He's even using statistics about the wrong part of the arctic, as well as failing to recognize that it's the change in timing of the ice (formation and melting) that is the problem even more than the change in extent or timing.

Yoboi, you seem to question everything we post on here. Why don't you question what you read on other sites? Sometimes there are two sides to an issue; sometimes those two sides are facts and lies. You have to start looking for facts so you can recognize the lies.

Added: sorry. I forgot the link Link
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2295
Quoting 224. yoboi:
Link



2013 prediction.......

1. 2013 isn't over.
2. If the projection is off by a year or two or ten, it will still be far, far closer to correct than most scientific projections...and all denialist guesses.

Speaking of denialists, would you like me to provide a brief summary of their abysmally wrong predictions? It's quite impressive how consistently and spectacularly they've been wrong. lol
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
Drowning in Denial

073113-toon-luckovich-ed

By Mike Luckovich
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Quoting 213. martinitony:
Yeah, I know, it's just the weather here in Central Ohio, not the climate. Yeah, but, when you add all that weather up you begin to get climate, don't you?


i know, right? if those fancy-degree havin' "scientists" really wanted to show that the world was warming, they'd measure the temperatures all over the place and put them all together, like on a graph or something.

why don't they do that?
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 676
Quoting 228. yoboi:


yes I like looking at both sides.....I enjoy when you post things.....We need to look at everything.......I think both sides bend the truth.....


Anthony Watts is so unaccustomed to the the truth that he cannot use it in its proper context in a sentence! Period! By all means, challenge the data if you feel it needs to be challenged and you have the evidence as to why it should be. Please, quit linking to the unsubstantiated opinions of others and try to use it as evidence "from the other side"! It is more like evidence from, "The Outer Limits"! I implore you to desist with such nonsense.
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229. yoboi
Quoting 226. Naga5000:


How does any of this disprove the current warming trend, and the fact that the arctic is well on it's way to being ice free relatively soon (one model got it wrong in 2005, seems like it may have been too aggressive, but not far off).

Yoboi, you like to focus on what people have said instead of scientific evidence. I would say if we only looked at what people said regarding any topic, we could all find huge flaws in their statements. That's why we focus on the science. The data is quite evident of increased global temperatures, land and ocean.


Is the ocean heat higher than land heat????? I am trying to learn....what is the baseline for ocean heat both shallow and deep temps????? what is normal????
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2322
228. yoboi
Quoting 227. Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Yoboi, if you post one more link to Anthony Watts and I will put you on ignore in that instant. You said that you want to learn. PROVE IT! Quit linking to a known psuedo-science crackpot that persistently finds unsubstantiated op-eds to fill his worthless website! One more link to Watts and you will become invisible to me on the blogs! Do you want to learn science or not?!?


yes I like looking at both sides.....I enjoy when you post things.....We need to look at everything.......I think both sides bend the truth.....
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2322
Quoting 221. yoboi:
Guest essay by Jim Steele, Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University.

On July 29, 2013 the BBC%u2019s Hardtalk journalist Stephen Sackur wrote %u201CThe Alaskan village set to disappear under water in a decade.%u201D He opened the story with %u201Cwithin a decade Kivalina is likely to be under water. Gone, forever. Remembered %u2013 if at all %u2013 as the birthplace of America%u2019s first climate change refugees.%u201D He then quotes a local who laments, %u201CThe US government imposed this Western lifestyle on us, gave us their burdens and now they expect us to pick everything up and move it ourselves. What kind of government does that?%u201D



Link


Yoboi, if you post one more link to Anthony Watts and I will put you on ignore in that instant. You said that you want to learn. PROVE IT! Quit linking to a known psuedo-science crackpot that persistently finds unsubstantiated op-eds to fill his worthless website! One more link to Watts and you will become invisible to me on the blogs! Do you want to learn science or not?!?
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Quoting 224. yoboi:
Link



2013 prediction.......
Quoting 225. yoboi:
Link



121 yrs of climate predictions.......


How does any of this disprove the current warming trend, and the fact that the arctic is well on it's way to being ice free relatively soon (one model got it wrong in 2005, seems like it may have been too aggressive, but not far off).

Yoboi, you like to focus on what people have said instead of scientific evidence. I would say if we only looked at what people said regarding any topic, we could all find huge flaws in their statements. That's why we focus on the science. The data is quite evident of increased global temperatures, land and ocean.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3193
225. yoboi
Link



121 yrs of climate predictions.......
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2322
224. yoboi
Link



2013 prediction.......
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2322
3. Conclusions

[14] In summary, the observational analysis presented in this study provides evidence supporting two hypothesized mechanisms by which Arctic amplification – enhanced Arctic warming relative to that in mid-latitudes – may cause more persistent weather patterns in mid-latitudes that can lead to extreme weather. One effect is a reduced poleward gradient in 1000-500 hPa thicknesses, which weakens the zonal upper-level flow.

According to Rossby wave theory, a weaker flow slows the eastward wave progression and tends to follow a higher amplitude trajectory, resulting in slower
moving circulation systems. More prolonged weather conditions enhance the probability for extreme weather due to drought, flooding, cold spells, and heat waves.

The secondeffect is a northward elongation of ridge peaks in 500 hPa waves, which amplifies the flow trajectory and further exacerbates the increased probability of slow-moving weather patterns. While Arctic amplification during autumn and winter is largely driven by sea-ice loss and the subsequent transfer of additional energy from the ocean into the
high-latitude atmosphere, the increasing tendency for highamplitude patterns in summer is consistent with enhanced warming over high-latitude land caused by earlier snow melt and drying of the soil.

Enhanced 500-hPa ridging observed over the eastern N. Atlantic is consistent with more persistent high surface pressure over western Europe. This effect has
been implicated as contributing to record heat waves in Europe during recent summers [Jaeger and Seneviratne, 2011].

[15] Can the persistent weather conditions associated with recent severe events such as the snowy winters of 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 in the eastern U.S. and Europe, the historic drought and heat-wave in Texas during summer 2011, or record-breaking rains in the northeast U.S. of summer 2011 be attributed to enhanced high-latitude warming?

Particular causes are difficult to implicate, but these sorts of occurrences are consistent with the analysis and mechanism presented in this study. As the Arctic sea-ice cover continues to disappear and the snow cover melts ever earlier over vast regions of Eurasia and North America [Brown et al., 2010],
it is expected that large-scale circulation patterns throughout the northern hemisphere will become increasingly influenced by Arctic Amplification.

Gradual warming of the globe may not be noticed by most, but everyone – either directly or indirectly – will be affected to some degree by changes in the
frequency and intensity of extreme weather events as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere. Further research will elucidate the types,locations, timing, and character of the weather changes, which will provide valuable guidance to decision-makers in vulnerable regions.

[16] Acknowledgments. The Editor and the authors thank the two anonymous reviewers for their assistance in evaluating this paper.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
From Ecologist:

Arctic methane catastrophe scenario is based on new empirical observations

Critics of new Nature paper on costs of Arctic warming ignore latest science on permafrost methane at everyone's peril.....

Last week, the journal Nature published a new paper warning of a $60 trillion price tag for a potential 50 Gigatonne methane pulse from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) over 10-50 years this century. The paper, however, prompted many to suggest that its core scenario - as Arctic permafrost thaws it could increasingly unleash dangerous quantities of methane from sub-ice methane hydrates in as quick as a decade - is implausible.

The Washington Post's Jason Samenow argued that "almost everything known and published about methane indicates this scenario is very unlikely." Andrew Revkin of the New York Times (NYT) liberally quoted Samenow among others on "the lack of evidence that such an outburst is plausible." Similarly, Carbon Brief concluded: "The scientists we spoke to suggested the authors have chosen a scenario that's either implausible, or very much at the upper limit of what we can reasonably expect."

Both the Post and NYT quoted Prof David Archer, an expert on ocean sediments and methane at the University of Chicago:

"For methane to be a game-changer in the future of Earth's climate, it would have to degas to the atmosphere catastrophically, on a time scale that is faster than the decadal lifetime of methane in the air. So far no one has seen or proposed a mechanism to make that happen."

Dr Vincent Gauci, a methane expert at Open University, similarly argued:

"It's not a given that all the methane will end up in the atmosphere. Some could be oxidised [broken down] in the water by bacteria, and some could remain in the sediments on the seafloor."

The problem is that these reservations are based on outdated assumptions that sea floor released methane would not make it into the atmosphere - but all the new fieldwork on the levels of methane being released above the ESAS shows this assumption is just empirically wrong.

Atmospheric methane levels in the Arctic are currently at new record highs, averaging about 1900 parts per billion, 70 parts per billion higher than the global average. NASA researchers have found local methane plumes as large as 150 kilometres across - far higher than previously anticipated.

Dr Gavin Schmidt, climate modeller at NASA, was also cited claiming lack of evidence from ice cores of previous catastrophic methane pulses in the Earth's history in the Early Holocene or Eamian, when Arctic temperatures were warmer than today. But the blanket references to the past may well be irrelevant. In the Early Holocene, the ESAS was not an underwater shelf but a frozen landmass, illustrating the pointlessness of this past analogy with contemporary conditions.

Dr Schmidt also overlooked other issues - such as new research showing that the warm, Eamian interglacial period some 130,000 years ago should not be used as a model for today's climate due to fundamental differences in the development of the Arctic ocean. Ice core methane records are also too short to reach back to the entire Cenozoic - another reason suggesting lack of past evidence is no basis for present complacency; and even Prof Archer himself recognises that ice cores will not necessarily capture a past catastrophic methane release due to fern diffusion.

Finally, the Post and NYT refer to a range of scientific publications - a 2008 report by the US Climate Change Science Programme and a 2011 review of the literature by Carolyn Rupple also in the journal Nature - essentially arguing that a catastrophic methane release would be, for all intents and purposes, impossible within such a short time-frame, with actual methane releases taking place over hundreds if not thousands of years.

Yet in my interview with Prof Peter Wadhams, co-author of the Nature study and head of Polar ocean physics at Cambridge University, he told me that the scientists who rejected his scenario as implausible were simply unacquainted with the unique dynamics of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, the nature of permafrost melting there, and its relationship to ongoing releases of methane in recent years which have been wholly unexpected within established models based on reconstructions of Earth's historical climate:

"Those who understand Arctic seabed geology and the oceanography of water column warming from ice retreat do not say that this is a low probability event. I think one should trust those who know about a subject rather than those who don't. As far as I'm concerned, the experts in this area are the people who have been actively working on the seabed conditions in the East Siberian Sea in summer during the past few summers where the ice cover has disappeared and the water has warmed. The rapid disappearance of offshore permafrost through water heating is a unique phenomenon, so clearly no 'expert' would have found a mechanism elsewhere to compare with this... I think that most Arctic specialists would agree that this scenario is plausible."

In a rebuttal to the original Post article, Wadhams points out that none of the scientists rejecting his scenario understand the unique mechanism currently at play in the Arctic, and all were citing research preceding the empirical evidence which unearthed this mechanism - which has only become clear in recent years in the context of the rapid loss of summer sea ice.

While Wadhams refers directly to an actual empirical phenomenon unique to the Arctic seabed resulting in unprecedented methane venting - uncovered by Dr Natalia Shakhova and Dr Igor Semiletov of the International Arctic Research Center - the critics refer instead to general theoretical dynamics of methane release but show little awareness of what's actually going on in the north pole:

"The mechanism which is causing the observed mass of rising methane plumes in the East Siberian Sea is itself unprecedented and hence it is not surprising that various climate scientists, none of them Arctic specialists, failed to spot it. What is actually happening is that the summer sea ice now retreats so far, and for so long each summer, that there is a substantial ice-free season over the Siberian shelf, sufficient for solar irradiance to warm the surface water by a significant amount - up to 7C according to satellite data.

That warming extends the 50 m or so to the seabed because we are dealing with only a polar surface water layer here (over the shelves the Arctic Ocean structure is one-layer rather than three layers) and the surface warming is mixed down by wave-induced mixing because the extensive open water permits large fetches.

So long as some ice persisted on the shelf, the water mass was held to about 0C in summer because any further heat content in the water column was used for melting the ice underside. But once the ice disappears, as it has done, the temperature of the water can rise significantly, and the heat content reaching the seabed can melt the frozen sediments at a rate that was never before possible. The authors who so confidently dismiss the idea of extensive methane release are simply not aware of the new mechanism that is causing it."

Wadhams thus describes the previous research dismissing the methane threat by Rupple and others as "rendered obsolete by the Semiletov/Shakhova field experiments - the seeing - and the mechanism described above."

So far, cutting edge peer-reviewed research on the link between Arctic permafrost melt and methane release has received no attention from these critics. Indeed, their offhand dismissals are based on ignoring the potential implications of the specific empirical evidence on the ESAS emerging over the last few years, which challenges the assumptions of conventional modelling.
Member Since: November 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1281
221. yoboi
Guest essay by Jim Steele, Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University.

On July 29, 2013 the BBC%u2019s Hardtalk journalist Stephen Sackur wrote %u201CThe Alaskan village set to disappear under water in a decade.%u201D He opened the story with %u201Cwithin a decade Kivalina is likely to be under water. Gone, forever. Remembered %u2013 if at all %u2013 as the birthplace of America%u2019s first climate change refugees.%u201D He then quotes a local who laments, %u201CThe US government imposed this Western lifestyle on us, gave us their burdens and now they expect us to pick everything up and move it ourselves. What kind of government does that?%u201D



Link
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2322
1. Introduction
[2] During the past few decades the Arctic has warmed
approximately twice as rapidly as has the entire northern
hemisphere [Screen and Simmonds, 2010; Serreze et al.,
2009], a phenomenon called Arctic Amplification (AA).
The widespread warming resulted from a combination of
increased greenhouse gases and positive feedbacks involving
sea ice, snow, water vapor, and clouds [Stroeve et al., 2012].
The area of summer sea ice lost since the 1980s would coverover 40% of the contiguous United States. As autumn freezeup begins, the extra solar energy absorbed during summer inthese vast new expanses of open water is released to the atmosphere as heat, thus raising the question of not whether the large-scale atmospheric circulation will be affected, but
how?

While global climate models project that the frequency and intensity of many types of extreme weather will increase as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere [Meehl et al., 2007], this analysis presents evidence suggesting that enhanced Arctic warming is one of the causes.

[3] Exploration of the atmospheric response to Arctic
change has been an active area of research during the past decade. Both observational and modeling studies have identified a variety of large-scale changes in the atmospheric circulation associated with sea-ice loss and earlier snow melt, which in turn affect precipitation, seasonal temperatures, storm tracks, and surface winds in mid-latitudes
[e.g.,
Budikova, 2009; Honda et al., 2009; Francis et al., 2009;
Overland and Wang, 2010; Petoukhov and Semenov, 2010;
Deser et al., 2010; Alexander et al., 2010; Jaiser et al.,
2012; Blathgen et al., 2012].

While it is understood that greenhouse-gas-induced tropospheric warming will cause an increase in atmospheric water content that is expected to fuel
stronger storms and flooding [Meehl et al., 2007], individual extreme weather events typically have a dynamical origin.

Many of these events result from persistent weather patterns,which are typically associated with blocking and highamplitude waves in the upper-level flow. Examples include the 2010 European and Russian heat waves, the 1993 Mississippi River floods, and freezing conditions in Florida during winter 2010-11.
This study focuses on evidence linking AA with an increased tendency for a slower progression of Rossby waves in 500-hPa height fields that favor the types of extreme weather caused by persistent weather
conditions, such as drought, flooding, heat waves, and coldspells in the northern hemisphere mid-latitudes.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
Quoting 218. Patrap:
Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather
in mid-latitudes


Jennifer A. Francis1

and Stephen J. Vavrus2

Received 17 January 2012; revised 20 February 2012;

accepted 21 February 2012; published 17 March 2012

[1] Arctic amplification (AA) – the observed enhanced
warming in high northern latitudes relative to the northern
hemisphere – is evident in lower-tropospheric temperatures
and in 1000-to-500 hPa thicknesses. Daily fields of 500 hPa
heights from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction Reanalysis are analyzed over N. America and the
N. Atlantic to assess changes in north-south (Rossby) wave
characteristics associated with AA and the relaxation of poleward thickness gradients. Two effects are identified that
each contribute to a slower eastward progression of Rossby
waves in the upper-level flow: 1) weakened zonal winds,
and 2) increased wave amplitude. These effects are particularly evident in autumn and winter consistent with sea-ice
loss, but are also apparent in summer, possibly related to
earlier snow melt on high-latitude land. Slower progression
of upper-level waves would cause associated weather patterns in mid-latitudes to be more persistent, which may lead
to an increased probability of extreme weather events that
result from prolonged conditions, such as drought, flooding,
cold spells, and heat waves. Citation: Francis, J. A., and S. J.
Vavrus (2012), Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme
weather in mid-latitudes, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L06801,
doi:10.1029/2012GL051000.


The climate has been producing no greater amount of extreme weather events than it ever has. Just simply false. But you know this.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather
in mid-latitudes


Jennifer A. Francis1

and Stephen J. Vavrus2

Received 17 January 2012; revised 20 February 2012;

accepted 21 February 2012; published 17 March 2012

[1] Arctic amplification (AA) – the observed enhanced
warming in high northern latitudes relative to the northern
hemisphere – is evident in lower-tropospheric temperatures
and in 1000-to-500 hPa thicknesses. Daily fields of 500 hPa
heights from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction Reanalysis are analyzed over N. America and the
N. Atlantic to assess changes in north-south (Rossby) wave
characteristics associated with AA and the relaxation of poleward thickness gradients. Two effects are identified that
each contribute to a slower eastward progression of Rossby
waves in the upper-level flow: 1) weakened zonal winds,
and 2) increased wave amplitude. These effects are particularly evident in autumn and winter consistent with sea-ice
loss, but are also apparent in summer, possibly related to
earlier snow melt on high-latitude land. Slower progression
of upper-level waves would cause associated weather patterns in mid-latitudes to be more persistent, which may lead
to an increased probability of extreme weather events that
result from prolonged conditions, such as drought, flooding,
cold spells, and heat waves. Citation: Francis, J. A., and S. J.
Vavrus (2012), Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme
weather in mid-latitudes, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L06801,
doi:10.1029/2012GL051000.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
Quoting 216. yoboi:


I don't think that 118 degree temp was correct.....it's probably another false high temp reading.....that seems to be the trend these days......they should impose a fine of atleast 10,000 for every false reading.........


I corrected my mistake on the other blog, I was using Wunderground's data as a quick reference as I wrote the post in about 14 seconds and didn't have the time to verify. Also, don't go down this "false temp trend, we've all ready shown you that it is simply untrue, as the methodology used adjusts for bad data. Thanks.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3193
216. yoboi
Quoting 215. Naga5000:


Things sure aren't cooling down. There may be a few regional cool anomalies, but the global trend is still warming, with many more regional warm anamolies. While antarctic sea ice may be increasing, the land ice is still losing volume. I've yet to see anything that points to a cool down or a lowing of warming. In fact, all the evidence points to higher than expected oceanic heat content. The natural ice thermometer is melting still, and until we can get accurate Antarctic Sea Ice volume measurements, this new growth in extent and area may not mean much if it is still losing volume.


I don't think that 118 degree temp was correct.....it's probably another false high temp reading.....that seems to be the trend these days......they should impose a fine of atleast 10,000 for every false reading.........
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2322
Quoting 213. martinitony:
Speaking of agriculture, this today from my local pick your own farm:
"Many people have inquired as to when blackberry u-pick will be scheduled. The cool cloudy weather has dramatically slowed the ripening of the berries, and when we see a considerably large number of berries ripening we'll let you know. In the meantime, if we see a smaller number of berries ripening, but not enough to support our email customer base, we'll post pick dates on our farm's Facebook page the day prior to the picking. Hopefully the deluge of red berries we're seeing on the plants ripens soon!"
Yeah, I know, it's just the weather here in Central Ohio, not the climate. Yeah, but, when you add all that weather up you begin to get climate, don't you?
Weather is sorta crazy all over these days like in Antarctica where the ice seems so prolific, here in the midwest where the summer seems to be a cool one and even in the Arctic, that ice doesn't seem to want to get to a new low. I wonder if this means something about this upcoming winter. Whatdoya think? Things cooling down a bit?


Things sure aren't cooling down. There may be a few regional cool anomalies, but the global trend is still warming, with many more regional warm anamolies. While antarctic sea ice may be increasing, the land ice is still losing volume. I've yet to see anything that points to a cool down or a lowing of warming. In fact, all the evidence points to higher than expected oceanic heat content. The natural ice thermometer is melting still, and until we can get accurate Antarctic Sea Ice volume measurements, this new growth in extent and area may not mean much if it is still losing volume.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3193
Quoting 213. martinitony:
Yeah, I know, it's just the weather here in Central Ohio, not the climate. Yeah, but, when you add all that weather up you begin to get climate, don't you?
Weather is sorta crazy all over these days like in Antarctica where the ice seems so prolific, here in the midwest where the summer seems to be a cool one and even in the Arctic, that ice doesn't seem to want to get to a new low. I wonder if this means something about this upcoming winter. Whatdoya think? Things cooling down a bit?


Nope, see comment #209 by ILwthrfan. The Midwestern U.S. is but a speck in the grand scheme of things and a cool stretch is also a speck in a 30-year climate time-frame.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Speaking of agriculture, this today from my local pick your own farm:
"Many people have inquired as to when blackberry u-pick will be scheduled. The cool cloudy weather has dramatically slowed the ripening of the berries, and when we see a considerably large number of berries ripening we'll let you know. In the meantime, if we see a smaller number of berries ripening, but not enough to support our email customer base, we'll post pick dates on our farm's Facebook page the day prior to the picking. Hopefully the deluge of red berries we're seeing on the plants ripens soon!"
Yeah, I know, it's just the weather here in Central Ohio, not the climate. Yeah, but, when you add all that weather up you begin to get climate, don't you?
Weather is sorta crazy all over these days like in Antarctica where the ice seems so prolific, here in the midwest where the summer seems to be a cool one and even in the Arctic, that ice doesn't seem to want to get to a new low. I wonder if this means something about this upcoming winter. Whatdoya think? Things cooling down a bit?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.