melt

labrea_gwJuly 25, 2012

Oh That Liberal Paper The Guardian is reporting more alarms but you can find it elsewhere I'm sure to suit your fancy or whatever it is that blows your nickers up!

At first they thought it was wrong a mistake an error but no such luck.

Now you must forgive me as I never usually join in the weather reindeer games on this forum or is it the climate clash.

The Greenland ice sheet melted at a faster rate this month than at any other time in recorded history, with virtually the entire ice sheet showing signs of thaw.

The rapid melting over just four days was captured by three satellites. It has stunned and alarmed scientists, and deepened fears about the pace and future consequences of climate change.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dip drip drop drip

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tobr24u(z6 RI)

Yikes! I am moving to higher ground with my assault rifle...

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 6:28AM
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pnbrown

Just read about it, and how a glacialogist compared this summer's event to a 19th century melt in July. James Hansen calls that "scientific reticence".

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 6:54AM
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jodik_gw

Not really so surprising, considering the way humankind treats the planet each and every day...

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 7:19AM
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ohiomom

"Synchronicity"

Was just getting ready to post this, and this would be number?

All that fresh cold water dumping into the Atlantic, nothing to see here folks.

The weather guys are predicting that this "hot" and "dry" spell will last well into the Fall.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 7:46AM
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PRO
Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

"I think it's fair to say that this is unprecedented,"

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 7:50AM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

When I saw the title of this thread, I thought it might be about the problems with the Alcan Highway: With Warming, Peril Underlies Road to Alaska But today the Alcan faces challenges that could not have been predicted when it was built. By far the biggest is permafrost, the permanently frozen ground that underlies much of the road.

As the climate warms, stretches of permafrost are no longer permanent. They are melting -- leaving pavement with cracks, turning asphalt into washboard and otherwise threatening the stability of the road.

Not all of the melting is due to climate change. Road improvements like heat-absorbing dark pavement alter conditions in the ground beneath, particularly if a lens of ice lies close to the surface. Merely removing roadside vegetation to uncover dark soil can have a melting effect.

There's an interesting side article about segregated U.S. troops building the Alcan Highway: In Road-Building, Black Soldiers Defied Prejudice

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 9:56AM
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vgkg(Z-7)

Ohiomom,
This would be # 98, pretty much on schedule it seems.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 9:59AM
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david52 Zone 6

Ya know, the country is named Greenland. GREEN-land. Ice isn't green. Its white. So what this is is Gods' correction back to a more natural state.

When the ice melts and all those costal cities are drowned, just where are all those The Sky is Falling left coast liberals going to move to? How about GREENland, Hmmm?

Because "Green" means you care deeply about the environment. A Prius can be adapted to 4X4 and rock climbing so when the ice goes, all those hippies can drive over the glacial till up in GREENland.

We should be rejoicing.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 10:56AM
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denninmi(8a)

David wrote: "When the ice melts and all those costal cities are drowned, just where are all those The Sky is Falling left coast liberals going to move to?"

Good lord, man, get with the program. No cities are going to be flooded, nothing dire is going to happen. If it starts to happen, the right wing legislatures around the country will just outlaw it. Seemed to work in North Carolina. Viola, problem solved. Then we can get back to worrying about bigger issues, like gay marriage and abortion.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 3:59PM
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subtropix

The only surprises climate scientists are observing is the unanticipated speed of change (extreme weather events, rapid warming, etc.). Still, according to this report, Greenland does apparently experience glacial melting at approx. 150 year cycles and one was due. As satelites were not around 150 years ago, not sure we have anything to compare the current cycle of glacial melt to. Given the recent history of extreme weather, however, it would not surprise me in the leastto learn that the rapidity of the melt was unprecedented. Let's see what happens once the arctic autumn begins in August.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 4:41PM
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vgkg(Z-7)

If old Greenland was called Greenland when it was green, was North America called Hot & Brownland back then?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 5:46PM
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pnbrown

Some Vikings saw some grass growing along the margins, and thought it looked like a good place to raise cows. Like frogs in the pot, they did not notice, or didn't know what to do about less and less grass over the next few centuries. They could have learned from paying closer attention to what better-adapted peoples were doing, but they preferred to keep doing what they knew.

Which is what all of us are going to do, as well.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 8:28PM
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david52 Zone 6

on a related note, and not to retire VgKg's count prematurely -

WASHINGTON : From highways in Texas to nuclear power plants in Illinois, the concrete, steel and sophisticated engineering that undergird the nation's infrastructure are being taxed to worrisome degrees by heat, drought and vicious storms.

On a single day this month here, a US Airways regional jet became stuck in asphalt that had softened in 100-degree temperatures, and a subway train derailed after the heat stretched the track so far that it kinked - inserting a sharp angle into a stretch that was supposed to be straight. In East Texas, heat and drought have had a startling effect on the clay-rich soils under highways, which "just shrink like crazy," leading to "horrendous cracking," said Tom Scullion, senior research engineer with the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University. In Northeastern and Midwestern states, he said, unusually high heat is causing highway sections to expand beyond their design limits, press against each other and "pop up," creating jarring and even hazardous speed bumps.

Excessive warmth and dryness are threatening other parts of the grid as well. In the Chicago area, a twin-unit nuclear plant had to get special permission to keep operating this month because the pond it uses for cooling water rose to 102 degrees; its license to operate allows it to go only to 100. According to the Midwest Independent System Operator, the grid operator for the region, a different power plant had had to shut because the body of water from which it draws its cooling water had dropped so low that the intake pipe became high and dry; another had to cut back generation because cooling water was too warm.

-snip-
"We've got the 'storm of the century' every year now," said Bill Gausman, a senior vice president and a 38-year veteran at the Potomac Electric Power Company, which took eight days to recover from the June 29 "derecho" storm that raced from the Midwest to the Eastern Seaboard and knocked out power for 4.3 million people in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

In general, nobody in charge of anything made of steel and concrete can plan based on past trends, said Vicki Arroyo, who heads the Georgetown Climate Center at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, a clearinghouse on climate-change adaptation strategies.

Highways, Mr. Scullion noted, are designed for the local climate, taking into account things like temperature and rainfall. "When you get outside of those things, man, all bets are off." As weather patterns shift, he said, "we could have some very dramatic failures of highway systems."

Adaptation efforts are taking place nationwide. Some are as huge as the multibillion-dollar effort to increase the height of levees and flood walls in New Orleans because of projections of rising sea levels and stronger storms to come; others as mundane as resizing drainage culverts in Vermont, where Hurricane Irene damaged about 2,000 culverts. "They just got blown out," said Sue Minter, the Irene recovery officer for the state.

-snip-

Some utilities are re-examining long-held views on the economics of protecting against the weather. Pepco, the utility serving the area around Washington, has repeatedly studied the idea of burying more power lines, and the company and its regulators have always decided that the cost outweighed the benefit. But the company has had five storms in the last two and a half years for which recovery took at least five days, and after the derecho last month, the consensus has changed. Both the District of Columbia and Montgomery County, Md., have held hearings to discuss the option - though in the District alone, the cost would be $1.1 billion to $5.8 billion, depending on how many of the power lines were put underground.

-snip-

Even as the effects of weather extremes become more evident, precisely how to react is still largely an open question, said David Behar, the climate program director for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. "We're living in an era of assessment, not yet in an area of adaptation," he said.

-snip

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 9:38AM
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jodik_gw

If science, to place an encompassing title upon it, has known about such possibilities for quite some time, why hasn't anyone moved to beef up the nation, structurally speaking, before now? Are we so cheap and so in denial of accepting future changes that we've refused to spend a penny on our own safety?

C'mon... we had to have an inkling that mother nature would balk at some point... it's part of the natural progression in logic.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 10:07AM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

Always find the silver lining in the storm cloud, guys.

At least Greenland's inhabitants will be able to start farming on a greater scale.

Maybe they can send some food aid down to the southern US.

Yay for Greenland, sucks for Texas.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 10:07AM
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pnbrown

What's to be done? Rebuild half or more of the infrastructure in the northern hemisphere? We don't have the resources.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 8:38PM
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ohiomom

After years of ignoring infrastructure, just not a pressing issue in this country, we are witnessing the crumbling of America.

Pretend it is a bad dream and it will go away.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 8:54AM
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denninmi(8a)

Well, it will be fascinating to watch how this all plays out over the coming decades.

Should I plant grapefruit in my back yard yet, or wait five years?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 9:09AM
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pnbrown

Dennis, I'd put my money betting against your grapefruit, even 50 years from now. Wanna take the other side?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 1:11PM
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labrea_gw

Yes, stick out your tongues. You can't stick your tongues out far enough to lick the death-sweat from your foreheads. It's too late to work now bail out the flood with your soup spoons. You've had your chance and you've lost
(Thorton Wilder)
"The Skin of Our Teeth"

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 1:29PM
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david52 Zone 6

There's a pretty significant difference in political corruption from state to state -

I'm lucky to live where I do, its rare and punished - as in vote the bums out - when it happens.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 2:28PM
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david52 Zone 6

wrong thread

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 2:42PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Maybe not.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 3:36PM
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david52 Zone 6

CORVALLIS, Ore. The chronic drought that hit western North America from 2000 to 2004 left dying forests and depleted river basins in its wake and was the strongest in 800 years, scientists have concluded, but they say those conditions will become the "new normal" for most of the coming century.

Such climatic extremes have increased as a result of global warming, a group of 10 researchers reported today in Nature Geoscience. And as bad as conditions were during the 2000-04 drought, they may eventually be seen as the good old days.

Climate models and precipitation projections indicate this period will actually be closer to the "wet end" of a drier hydroclimate during the last half of the 21st century, scientists said.

Aside from its impact on forests, crops, rivers and water tables, the drought also cut carbon sequestration by an average of 51 percent in a massive region of the western United States, Canada and Mexico, although some areas were hit much harder than others. As vegetation withered, this released more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, with the effect of amplifying global warming.

"Climatic extremes such as this will cause more large-scale droughts and forest mortality, and the ability of vegetation to sequester carbon is going to decline," said Beverly Law, a co-author of the study, professor of global change biology and terrestrial systems science at Oregon State University, and former science director of AmeriFlux, an ecosystem observation network.

"During this drought, carbon sequestration from this region was reduced by half," Law said. "That's a huge drop. And if global carbon emissions don't come down, the future will be even worse."

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation, NASA, U.S. Department of Energy, and other agencies. The lead author was Christopher Schwalm at Northern Arizona University. Other collaborators were from the University of Colorado, University of California at Berkeley, University of British Columbia, San Diego State University, and other institutions.

It's not clear whether or not the current drought in the Midwest, now being called one of the worst since the Dust Bowl, is related to these same forces, Law said. This study did not address that, and there are some climate mechanisms in western North America that affect that region more than other parts of the country.

But in the West, this multi-year drought was unlike anything seen in many centuries, based on tree ring data. The last two periods with drought events of similar severity were in the Middle Ages, from 977-981 and 1146-1151. The 2000-04 drought affected precipitation, soil moisture, river levels, crops, forests and grasslands.

Ordinarily, Law said, the land sink in North America is able to sequester the equivalent of about 30 percent of the carbon emitted into the atmosphere by the use of fossil fuels in the same region. However, based on projected changes in precipitation and drought severity, scientists said that this carbon sink, at least in western North America, could disappear by the end of the century.

"Areas that are already dry in the West are expected to get drier," Law said. "We expect more extremes. And it's these extreme periods that can really cause ecosystem damage, lead to climate-induced mortality of forests, and may cause some areas to convert from forest into shrublands or grassland."

During the 2000-04 drought, runoff in the upper Colorado River basin was cut in half. Crop productivity in much of the West fell 5 percent. The productivity of forests and grasslands declined, along with snowpacks. Evapotranspiration decreased the most in evergreen needleleaf forests, about 33 percent.

The effects are driven by human-caused increases in temperature, with associated lower soil moisture and decreased runoff in all major water basins of the western U.S., researchers said in the study.

Although regional precipitations patterns are difficult to forecast, researchers in this report said that climate models are underestimating the extent and severity of drought, compared to actual observations. They say the situation will continue to worsen, and that 80 of the 95 years from 2006 to 2100 will have precipitation levels as low as, or lower than, this "turn of the century" drought from 2000-04.

"Towards the latter half of the 21st century the precipitation regime associated with the turn of the century drought will represent an outlier of extreme wetness," the scientists wrote in this study.

These long-term trends are consistent with a 21st century "megadrought," they said."

end quote

Here, early summer had us in the same hydrological profile as the 2002 exceptional drought. We've had a bit of rain since, but not enough budge the needle. If we get the same dismal snowfall as last winter, we'll be worse than 2002

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 11:04AM
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