Fire Earth

Mass die-offs from human impact and planetary response to the assault could occur by early 2016

Posts Tagged ‘CO2’

The March Hares and Rising CO2 at Mauna Loa

Posted by feww on April 17, 2014

Trends in Atmospheric CO2: Sky Is the Limit!

Up-to-date weekly average CO2 at Mauna Loa [Last updated: April 17, 2014]
Week beginning on April 6, 2014: 401.25 ppm
Weekly value from 1 year ago: 397.67 ppm
Weekly value from 10 years ago: 380.52 ppm

Recent Global CO2 [Last updated: April 8, 2014]
February 2014:     398.06 ppm
February 2013:     395.61 ppm

Recent Monthly Average Mauna Loa CO2
March 2014: 399.65 ppm
March 2013: 397.31 ppm

Last 5 days of preliminary daily average CO2
April 16 – 401.24
April 15 – 402.02
April 14 – 402.16
April 13 – 401.71
April 12 – 401.09

 

co2 at mauna loa

The graph shows recent monthly mean carbon dioxide measured at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii. The last four complete years of the Mauna Loa CO2 record plus the current year are shown. Data are reported as a dry air mole fraction defined as the number of molecules of carbon dioxide divided by the number of all molecules in air, including CO2 itself, after water vapor has been removed. The mole fraction is expressed as parts per million (ppm). Example: 0.000400 is expressed as 400 ppm.

In the above figure, the dashed red line with diamond symbols represents the monthly mean values, centered on the middle of each month. The black line with the square symbols represents the same, after correction for the average seasonal cycle. The latter is determined as a moving average of SEVEN adjacent seasonal cycles centered on the month to be corrected, except for the first and last THREE and one-half years of the record, where the seasonal cycle has been averaged over the first and last SEVEN years, respectively.

The last year of data are still preliminary, pending recalibration of reference gases and other quality control checks. The Mauna Loa data are being obtained at an altitude of 3400 m in the northern subtropics, and may not be the same as the globally averaged CO2 concentration at the surface. Source: ESRL/NOAA

 

 

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GHG Concentrations Climbed to New Highs in 2012: WMO

Posted by feww on November 6, 2013

Atmospheric greenhouse gases reached new record levels

Atmospheric concentrations of major greenhouse gases responsible for climate change climbed to new records in 2012, according to WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin (No. 9: November 2013) released by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

Levels of CO2, the primary greenhouse gas produced by human activities, grew by 2.2 ppm, higher the average of 2.02 ppm over the past decade. At 393.1 parts per million (ppm), the 2012 CO2 concentrations were 41 percent above the pre-industrial level.

The latest analysis of observations from the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Programme shows that the globally averaged mole fractions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) reached new highs in 2012, with CO2 at 393.1±0.1 ppm, CH4 at 1819±1 ppb and N2O at 325.1±0.1 ppb. These values constitute, respectively, 141%, 260% and 120% of pre-industrial (before 1750) levels. The atmospheric increase of CO2 from 2011 to 2012 is higher than the average growth rate over the past 10 years. For N2O the increase from 2011 to 2012 is smaller than the one observed from 2010 to 2011 but larger than the average growth rate over the past 10 years. Atmospheric CH4 continued to increase at a rate similar to the one observed over the past 4 years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Annual Greenhouse Gas Index shows that from 1990 to 2012 radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse gases increased by 32%, with CO2 accounting for about 80% of this increase.

This ninth WMO/GAW Annual GHG Bulletin reports atmospheric abundances and rates of change of the most
important long-lived greenhouse gases (LLGHGs) – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide – and provides a summary of the contributions of the other gases. These three together with CFC-12 and CFC-11 account for approximately 96% of radiative forcing due to LLGHGs.

The NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI) in 2012 was 1.32, representing a 32% increase in total radiative forcing (relative to 1750) by all LLGHGs since 1990 and a 1.2% increase from 2011 to 2012 (Figure 1). The total radiative forcing by all LLGHGs in 2012 corresponds to a CO2-equivalent mole fraction of 475.6 ppm (http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/aggi).

 Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the single most important anthropogenic GHG in the atmosphere

Carbon dioxide is the single most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, contributing ~64%  to radiative forcing by LLGHGs. It is responsible for ~84% of the increase in radiative forcing over the past decade and ~82% over the past five years. The pre-industrial level of ~278 ppm represented a balance of fluxes between the atmosphere, the oceans and the biosphere. Atmospheric CO2 reached 141% of the pre-industrial level in 2012, primarily because of emissions from combustion of fossil fuels (fossil fuel CO2 emissions 9.5±0.5 PgC in 2011, according to http://www.globalcarbonproject.org), deforestation and other land-use change (0.9±0.5 PgC in 2011). The average increase in atmospheric CO2 from pre-industrial time corresponds to ~55% of the CO2 emitted by fossil fuel combustion with the remaining ~45% removed by the oceans and the terrestrial biosphere.

CO2 Global Average

The globally averaged CO2 mole fraction in 2012 was 393.1±0.1 ppm. The mean annual increase from 2011 to 2012, 2.2 ppm, is greater than the increase from 2010 to 2011, the average growth rate for the 1990s (~1.5 ppm/yr) and the average growth rate for the past decade (~2.0 ppm/yr).

aggi_2013
Global average abundances of the major, well-mixed, long-lived greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, CFC-12 and CFC-11 – from the NOAA global air sampling network are plotted since the beginning of 1979. These gases account for about 96% of the direct radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse gases since 1750. The remaining 4% is contributed by an assortment of 15 minor halogenated gases including HCFC-22 and HFC-134a. Source: ESRL/NOAA

Methane (CH4) – THe Second Major Contributor

Methane contributes ~18% to radiative forcing by LLGHGs. Approximately 40% of methane is emitted into the atmosphere by natural sources (e.g., wetlands and termites), and about 60% comes from anthropogenic sources (e.g., ruminants, rice agriculture, fossil fuel exploitation, landfills and biomass burning). Atmospheric CH4 reached 260% of the pre-industrial level (~700 ppb) due to increased emissions from anthropogenic sources. Globally averaged CH4 reached a new high of 1819 ± 1 ppb in 2012, an increase of 6 ppb with respect to the previous year (Figure 4). The growth rate of CH4 decreased from ~13 ppb/yr during the early 1980s to near zero during 1999-2006. Since 2007, atmospheric CH4 has been increasing again due to increased emissions in the tropical and mid-latitude
Northern Hemisphere. The attribution of this increase to anthropogenic and natural sources is difficult because the current network is insufficient to characterize emissions by region and source process.

Nitrous oxide (N2O )

Nitrous oxide contributes ~6% to radiative forcing by LLGHGs. It is the third most important contributor to the combined forcing. N2O is emitted into the atmosphere from both natural (about 60%) and anthropogenic sources (approximately 40%), including oceans, soil, biomass burning, fertilizer use, and various industrial processes. The globally averaged N2O mole fraction in 2012 reached 325.1 ±0.1 ppb, which is 0.9 ppb above the previous year and 120% of the pre-industrial level (270 ppb). The annual increase from 2011 to 2012 is greater than the mean growth rate over the past 10 years (0.80 ppb/yr).

aggi_2013 RF
Radiative forcing, relative to 1750, of all the long-lived greenhouse gases. The NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI), which is indexed to 1 for the year 1990, is shown on the right axis.  Of the five long-lived greenhouse gases that contribute 96% to radiative climate forcing, CO2 and N2O are the only ones that continue to increase at a regular rate. Radiative forcing from CH4 increased from 2007 to 2012 after remaining nearly constant from 1999 to 2006. While the radiative forcing of the long-lived, well-mixed greenhouse gases increased 32% from 1990 to 2012 (by ~0.69 watts m-2), CO2 has accounted for nearly 80% of this increase (~0.55 watts m-2). Source: ESRL/NOAA

Recent Global CO2

  • August 2013:     393.11 ppm
  • August 2012:     389.82 ppm

Up-to-date weekly average CO2 at Mauna Loa

  • Week beginning on October 27, 2013:     394.20 ppm
  • Weekly value from 1 year ago:     391.32 ppm
  • Weekly value from 10 years ago:     373.39 ppm

Related Links

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Deadly Tornadoes Attack Oklahoma Again

Posted by feww on June 1, 2013

Tornadoes kill ‘VNV*,’ injure many more in central Oklahoma

Having declared a Tornado Emergency for parts of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area on Friday, the National Weather Service (NWS) warned early Saturday that “Life-threatening” flash floods were hitting much of central and SE Oklahoma and issued Flash Flood Warnings for five additional states.

Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency. “This has been a very large storm that hit a lot of communities,” she told reporters.

“An extremely unstable air mass has developed across much of Central & Eastern Oklahoma,” the weather service had earlier warned, describing weather conditions as “particularly dangerous.”

“This will likely result in rapid development of severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening.” NWS said on Friday.

At least five tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma, including a mile-wide twister west of Oklahoma City, causing extensive damage. The tornado-ravaged city of Moore was hit again by a tornado, and experienced widespread flooding.

The tornadoes overturned trucks, tractor trailers and cars on I-40, downing utility poles and tossing livestock on the road, eyewitnesses said.

There were tornadoes on the ground and aloft also in the following places: Oklahoma city,  Joplin, Missouri and St. Louis, Missouri.

The storm system also dumped at least 6 inches of rain  across most of Oklahoma and Canadian counties, stranding thousands of frightened motorists in flood water.

Another tornado touched down Friday night 7 miles northeast of Moscow Mills, Mo., about 50 miles northwest of St. Louis. In St. Charles County, 24 houses were severely damaged or destroyed, said Mike O’Connell, communications director for the Missouri Department of Public Safety.”

The storm system knocked out power lines and left at least 250,000 customers without electricity across the Midwest.

“On Thursday, storms in Oklahoma and Arkansas killed at least three people, including Scott County, Arkansas, Sheriff Cody Carpenter, whose body was recovered early on Friday, said a spokesman for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission,” said a report.

Severe Weather Threat Shifts East on Saturday

Another round of severe weather on Saturday is expected, said the NWS Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, with Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys being the areas for greatest concern. Large hail, damaging winds and isolated strong tornadoes are all possible.

SPC confirmed a total of 36 tornado reports in AR, OK, IL, ND, KS, IA and MO on Thursday and Friday, as of posting.

*[NOTE: VNV stands for a "variable number of victims."  It is an unspecified number, often more than 5 and less than 250, used for reporting  the number of  disaster deaths, which would otherwise be denied by the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.]

Related Links

-oOo-

State of Emergency Declared in Missouri

Powerful storm system brings heavy rain, severe flooding, straight-line winds, and tornadoes to Missouri, following days of extreme rains that have prompted Flash Flood Warnings across much of the state.

“Much of Missouri is experiencing dangerous severe weather tonight, on the heels of several days of heavy rain,” said Gov. Nixon. “I urge Missourians to closely monitor weather conditions, so they can take shelter or move to higher ground if needed. The risk of severe weather remains with us well into tomorrow. The state of Missouri will continue to work closely with local officials to help protect lives and property from these storms.”

  • Parts of more than 200 roads were shut down due to widespread flooding.
  • Multiple tornadoes were spotted moving east across the St. Louis area Friday night, with reports of severe damage, said a report.
  • A massive tornado touched down near Bridgeton, causing extensive damage near Harvester, MO, and injuring several people, eyewitnesses reported.

-oOo-

State of Emergency Declared in San Miguel County, NM, due to Large Wildfire

Gov. Martinez has declared a State of Emergency in San Miguel County and activated the State Emergency Operations Center after Tres Lagunas fire threatened cabins and vacation homes, and closed a highway, prompting dozens of evacuations near Pecos, NM.

The fast-moving wildfire in New Mexico’s Santa Fe National Forest, located near the communities of Pecos and Tres Lagunas, about 25 miles east of Santa Fe,  has consumed at least 2,000 acres and is threatening the Santa Fe and Las Vegas watersheds.

The National Weather Service is forecasting Critical Fire Weather conditions throughout the State and has declared a Red Flag Warning for the northern half of New Mexico through Saturday.

 -oOo-

Average CO2 at Mauna Loa: Last 5 days of preliminary daily average CO2

May 30: 399.99 PPM
May 29: 400.20
May 28: 400.27
May 27: 400.29
May 26: 400.45      

 -oOo-

Apparent Temperature for Friday May 31, 2013

ApparentT1_conus - 05312013

 -oOo-

Melbourne, Australia hit by flash floods after record rainfall

Record rainfall in Australia’ s second largest city Melbourne triggered widespread flash floods. The city received cumulative rainfall of 48.4mm between 9:00 am Friday and 8:00 am Saturday, the largest amount in a June day since 1904.

The one-day record almost equaled the average rainfall for the month June, currently 49.2mm, Australia’s BOM reported.

-oOo-

Flooding kills at least 2,  affects 16,000 others in Xinjiang , NW China

Heavy flooding triggered by extreme rain events in NW China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has killed at least two people and affected thousands of others, according to local authorities.

  • About 2,000 residents have been relocated.
  • Some 700 homes have been damaged or destroyed .
  • More than 13,000 livestock lost.
  • Thousands of hectares of crops in Kashgar Prefecture destroyed.
  • “The flooding also destroyed local roads, bridges and underground power lines in the region,” said a report.

-oOo-

Iraq Body Count, May 2013

Some 1,045 people were killed in Iraq during May, most of whom were civilians, U.N. reported. According to Iraq Body Count Org, the civilian death toll for may was 883.

In April more than 700 people were killed, according to U.N. figures; Iraq Body Count reported 561 civilian deaths.

[GW Bush, Tony Blair, Obama and the rest of their criminal gangs will be brought to justice, before the global collapse shifts into full gear.]

DISASTER CALENDARJune 1, 2013  
SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN:
1,015 Days Left 

Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.

  • SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,015 Days Left to ‘Worst Day’ in the brief Human  History

GLOBAL WARNINGS

Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

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Global CO2 Emissions Up 2.5 Pct

Posted by feww on November 14, 2012

DISASTER CALENDAR SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,214 Days Left 

[November 14, 2012] Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.

  • SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,214 Days Left to the most Fateful Day in Human History
  • Symbolic countdown to the ‘worst day’ in human history began on May 15, 2011 ...

.

Global Disasters/ Significant Events

Global 2011 CO2 emissions top 34 billion metric tons: IWR

Global CO2 emissions again reached a new record in 2011 rising 2.5 percent to 34 billion metric tons (bmt), compared with 33.2 bmt in 2010, as humanoids continued to consume ever-increasing amounts of fossil fuels, according to IWR, a renewable energy institute based in Germany.

  • Global CO2 emissions have risen by more than 50 percent in two decades.
  • In 1990,  some 22.7 bmt of carbon dioxide were emitted globally, IWR reported.
  • “China comes highest in the CO2 ranking of countries for 2011 with 8.9 bn metric tons of carbon dioxide (2010: 8.3 bn metric tons). That is 50 percent more than the USA with 6.0 bn metric tons (2010: 6.2 bn metric tons), which ranked second. At 1.8 bn metric tons (2010: 1.7 bn metric tons), India ranks third ahead of Russia with 1.67 bn metric tons (2010: 1.7 bn metric tons) and Japan with 1.3 bn metric tons (2010: 1.3 bn metric tons). Germany ranks 6th with 804 m metric tons (2010: 828 m metric tons). Among the top 10 largest emitters, the USA, Russia and Germany reduced their CO2 emissions in comparison to the previous year (all national results at http://www.cerina.org/de/co2-2011),” said IWR.


Monthly mean atmospheric carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa Observatory. Source: ESRL


Annual mean carbon dioxide growth rates for Mauna Loa. Decadal averages of the growth rate are plotted as horizontal lines for 1960 through 1969, 1970 through 1979, and so on. Source: ESRL

Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

GLOBAL WARNING

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Disaster Calendar – 13 June 2012

Posted by feww on June 13, 2012

DISASTER CALENDAR SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,372 Days Left

[June 13, 2012] Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.  SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,372 Days Left to the ‘Worst Day’ in Human History…

Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

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Disaster Calendar – 11 June 2012

Posted by feww on June 11, 2012

DISASTER CALENDAR SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,374 Days Left

[June 11, 2012] Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.  SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,374 Days Left to the ‘Worst Day’ in Human History…

Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

Posted in global ghg emissions, global heating, global Precipitation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Disaster Calendar – 10 June 2012

Posted by feww on June 10, 2012

DISASTER CALENDAR SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,375 Days Left

[June 10, 2012] Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.  SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,375 Days Left to the ‘Worst Day’ in Human History…

Recent Mauna Loa CO2

  • May 2012:     396.78 ppm
  • May 2011:     394.16 ppm
  • April 2012:     396.18 ppm
  • April 2011:     393.28 ppm

Recent Global CO2 (ESRL/NOAA)

  • April 2012:     394.01 ppm
  • April 2011:     391.83 ppm
  • March 2012:     393.87 ppm
  • March 2011:     391.46 ppm

Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

Posted in anthropogenic CO2, CO2 Emissions, global ghg emissions, global heating, global precipitation patterns, Ocean Co2 absorption | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

4,024,776,626,758,050

Posted by feww on May 31, 2011

Total Atmospheric CO2e: 4,024.78 Gt

CO2 at Mauna Loa (weekly average)

Week of May 22, 2011: 394.97 ppm

  • Weekly value from 1 year ago:   393.06 ppm
  • Weekly value from 10 years ago:   373.93 ppm

Based on the above data, total atmospheric CO2 TODAY:

3,081,994,507,051.11 Mt [3,082Gt]

Combined impact of Nitrous Oxide (N2O), Methane (CH4) and CFC 12 ( CCl2F2) calculated at their full global warming potential: 30.59% of the CO2 Impact, or the CO2 equivalent of

942,782,119,706.94 Mt CO2e [942 Gt CO2e]

Effective Total: 4,024.78 GtCO2e

[MT: Metric Tons;  Gt: Gigatons; CO2e: Carbon Dioxide Equivalent; ppm: parts per million by volume]

Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (ESRL)

The graph, updated weekly, shows as individual points daily mean CO2 up to and including the week (Sunday through Saturday) previous to today. The daily means are based on hours during which CO2 was likely representative of “background” conditions, defined as times when the measurement is representative of air at mid-altitudes over the Pacific Ocean. That air has had several days time or more to mix, smoothing out most of the CO2 variability encountered elsewhere, making the measurements representative of CO2 over hundreds of km or more. The selection process is designed to filter out any influence of nearby emissions, or removals, of CO2 such as caused by the vegetation on the island of Hawaii, and likewise emissions from the volcanic crater of Mauna Loa. For details, see ”How we measure background CO2 levels at Mauna Loa”. The same measurement principles also apply elsewhere. The weekly mean (red bar) is simply the average of all days in the week for which a background value could be defined. The average standard deviation of day to day variability, calculated as the difference from the appropriate weekly mean, equals 0.38 ppm for the entire record. As a visual aid, the blue lines present monthly means of background data as they are presented under Recent Monthly CO2 at Mauna Loa. These data are still preliminary, pending recalibrations of reference gases and other quality control checks. Image and Caption: ESRL.  Click images to enlarge.


This figure shows the atmospheric increase of CO2 over 280 ppm in weekly averages of CO2 observed at Mauna Loa. The value of 280 ppm is chosen as representative of pre-industrial air because it is close to the average of CO2 measured and dated with high time resolution between the years 1000 and 1800 in an ice core from Law Dome, Antarctica. [Etheridge et al., 1996]. Although the time resolution of old air locked in ice cores is not enough to preserve seasonal cycles, there is no doubt that the seasonal cycle, which is mostly caused by photosynthesis and respiration of ecosystems on land, was similar to what we observe today. Therefore, for the comparison with pre-industrial times the Mauna Loa weekly data have been first deseasonalized by subtracting the observed average seasonal cycle, and then subtracting 280 ppm. The enhancement of the CO2 mole fraction in the atmosphere over pre-industrial is expressed both as ppm and as a percentage change since the year 1800. Data are reported as a dry air mole fraction defined as the number of molecules of carbon dioxide divided by the number of all molecules in air, including CO2 itself, after water vapor has been removed. The mole fraction is expressed as parts per million (ppm). Example: 0.000400 is expressed as 400 ppm.  Image and Caption: ESRL 

CO2 emissions reach a record high in 2010

Energy-related carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2010 broke all previous records, according to the latest estimates by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Recent Mauna Loa CO2

The graph shows recent monthly mean carbon dioxide measured at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii.


The last four complete years of the Mauna Loa CO2 record plus the current year are shown. Data are reported as a dry air mole fraction defined as the number of molecules of carbon dioxide divided by the number of all molecules in air, including CO2 itself, after water vapor has been removed. The mole fraction is expressed as parts per million (ppm). Example: 0.000400 is expressed as 400 ppm.

In the above figure, the dashed red line with diamond symbols represents the monthly mean values, centered on the middle of each month. The black line with the square symbols represents the same, after correction for the average seasonal cycle. The latter is determined as a moving average of SEVEN adjacent seasonal cycles centered on the month to be corrected, except for the first and last THREE and one-half years of the record, where the seasonal cycle has been averaged over the first and last SEVEN years, respectively.

The last year of data are still preliminary, pending recalibrations of reference gases and other quality control checks. The Mauna Loa data are being obtained at an altitude of 3400 m in the northern subtropics, and may not be the same as the globally averaged CO2 concentration at the surface.   Image and Caption: ESRL

Full Mauna Loa CO2 record


Monthly mean atmospheric carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii –
The carbon dioxide data (red curve), measured as the mole fraction in dry air, on Mauna Loa constitute the longest record of direct measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere. They were started by C. David Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in March of 1958 at a facility of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [Keeling, 1976]. NOAA started its own CO2 measurements in May of 1974, and they have run in parallel with those made by Scripps since then [Thoning, 1989]. The black curve represents the seasonally corrected data.

Data are reported as a dry mole fraction defined as the number of molecules of carbon dioxide divided by the number of molecules of dry air multiplied by one million (ppm).  Image and Caption: ESRL    -Data Set Available HERE

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Ocean Deserts Source of GHG

Posted by feww on March 12, 2010

Dead zones contribute to climate change

Hypoxic Waters Elevate Greenhouse Gasses in the Atmosphere

A University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science oceanographer says  that the increased amount of nitrous oxide (N2O) produced in aquatic dead zones, low-oxygen (hypoxic) waters, increases concentrations of the potent GHG in the atmosphere, worsening the impacts of global warming and contributing to the widening of ozone “holes” that allow harmful UV radiation through.

Eutrophication in the Sea of AzovEutrophication is caused by human activity. (Source: NASA).

“As the volume of hypoxic waters move towards the sea surface and expands along our coasts, their ability to produce the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide increases,” explains Dr. Codispoti of the UMCES Horn Point Laboratory. “With low-oxygen waters currently producing about half of the ocean’s net nitrous oxide, we could see an additional significant atmospheric increase if these ‘dead zones’ continue to expand.”

N2O, a highly potent greenhouse gas, is present in minute concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere, and is now a major factor in the destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer. “For the past 400,000 years, changes in atmospheric N2O appear to have roughly paralleled changes in carbon dioxide CO2 and have had modest impacts on climate, but this may change. Just as human activities may be causing an unprecedented rise in the terrestrial N2O sources, marine N2O production may also rise substantially as a result of nutrient pollution, warming waters and ocean acidification. Because the marine environment is a net producer of N2O, much of this production will be lost to the atmosphere, thus further intensifying its climatic impact,” a UMC news release said.

As dissolved oxygen levels decline in coastal waters, the N2O production increases. “Under well-oxygenated conditions, microbes produce N2O at low rates. But at oxygen concentrations decrease to hypoxic levels, these waters can increase their production of N2O.”

Shallow suboxic and hypoxic waters produce high rates of N2O “because respiration and biological turnover rates are higher near the sunlit waters where phytoplankton produce the fuel for respiration.”

“When suboxic waters (oxygen essentially absent) occur at depths of less than 300 feet, the combination of high respiration rates, and the peculiarities of a process called denitrification can cause N2O production rates to be 10,000 times higher than the average for the open ocean. The future of marine N2O production depends critically on what will happen to the roughly ten percent of the ocean volume that is hypoxic and suboxic.

“Nitrous oxide data from many coastal zones that contain low oxygen waters are sparse, including Chesapeake Bay,” said Dr. Codispoti. “We should intensify our observations of the relationship between low oxygen concentrations and nitrous oxide in coastal waters.”

The article “Interesting Times for Nitrous Oxide” appears in the March 12, 2010 edition of the journal Science.

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Related Links:

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Belgium buys Hungarian rights to pollute environment!

Posted by msrb on September 30, 2008

submitted by a reader

Trading the Rights [sic] to Pollute the Environment!

Belgium has bought the Hungarian “rights” to emit 2 million tons of greenhouse gas, spokeswomen for  the anti-environment ministries of both countries confirmed. The credits and funds have already been transferred.

Come again?

But, but … wasn’t the Kyoto Protocol a sophisticated joke designed to bring shame to the world’s … you are serious aren’t you?

Actually, and no it’s not a joke, the Kyoto Protocol allows industrialized countries to meet GHG emission targets by buying other countries emissions “rights.”

What’s the trading value of all other rights to rape the environment?

What about the rights to pollute the oceans, how much do they cost?

The rights to create more dead zones and their trading value?

And the rights to acidify your ocean, what’s their trading value?

How much must a country pay to bleach, say, 30 percent of the world’s coral reefs and, by the way, who owns those rights?

What about the right to pump raw sewage into your lakes or coastal waters, and its trading value?

The price of GHG emission rights is confidential!

“The (transaction) price is confidential as this was a private agreement between the two parties,” a spokewoman for Belgium’s Ministry of Climate and Energy told Reuters.

No way. secrecy is unacceptable! Its our air they are polluting and we want to know how many pieces of silver they are paying for it. Out with it now, you ugly beasts!

Et tu, Hungary?

Hungary’s Ministry of Environment and Water said it did not want to jeopardize Hungary’s ability to drive a hard bargain with other countries by revealing price details of the Belgian deal.

Under Kyoto Protocol, Hungary can sell about 100 million AAUs, or “surplus rights to emit CO2″ by 2012. Each AAU allows the buyer to release one ton of carbon dioxide to the environment.

Related Links:

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Buffet the Climate!

Posted by feww on August 22, 2008

More Serious Pollution Anyone?

Warren Buffet and Bill Gates reportedly visited the $9 billion Canadian Natural Resources Horizon oil sands project near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Monday. Horizon Oil is scheduled to start operations October 2008.

The visit by two of the world’s richest persons [and biggest producers of CO2] pushed up Toronto stock market by almost 300 points as speculators snapped up energy stocks.

Horizon Oil Sands Project, Alberta, Canada


Construction site being cleared for the Horizon Oil Sands Project. (Source: hydrocarbons-technology). Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!


Horizon Oil Sands will begin operations October 2008. (Source: hydrocarbons-technology). Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

“IF”

In a news conference held in Madrid, Spain ( May 21, 2008), Warren Buffet declared:

“If the world were falling apart I’d still invest in companies.”

Related News Links:

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Out of the sinking pan, into the fire!

Posted by feww on August 13, 2008

Global Warming Tolls the Death Knell for Tuvalu

Massive tides, high winds and rising sea levels are causing erosion to the four reef islands and five true atolls that comprise the tiny country of Tuvalu.


Map of Tuvalu

Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, the low-lying Polynesian islands are located in the Pacific Ocean midway between Hawaii and Australia. The nine-island cluster contains 600 sq km of ocean, but only a total of 25 sq km of land.


Tuvaluans reaching end of the road. (AP Yonhap). Image may be subject to copyright!

“The residents of Tepuka Savilivili, an island 10 kilometers away from Funafuti, also sense the crisis. One day in 1997, an uninhabited island simply vanished. The residents explained that gale winds blew and covered the island during the night. The next day, the coconut trees had vanished.” Wrote Nam Jong-yeong.

Drinking water is mixing with salty ocean water; the coconut trees are vanishing; during high tides seawater covers most parts of the islands.

Thousands of Tuvaluans have already left the shrinking islands, most of them arriving in what they believe to be a safe destination: New Zealand.

Their new home, however, could breakup and sink in the south-western Pacific Ocean as a result of massive earthquakes. It’s rather like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire!

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Stop Polluting Our Air!

Posted by feww on August 11, 2008

Direct action protesters try to stop UK coal-fired power plant for a day

About a 1,000 climate protesters, who aimed to stop the output at Kingsnorth coal-fired power station for a day, demonstrated outside the plant in southeast England on Saturday.

Nearly 2,000 police and civilian security personnel surrounded the protesters. Police in riot gears brandishing batons charged at the protesters and arrested about 50 people.

“We just want to try and send a message to people that we don’t want any more new coal … it’s something that’s not going to help our future at all,” said Helen Atkinson, 26, a medical photographer from Cumbria, northwest England. (Source)


Kingsnorth power station is a 1,985-megawatt dual-fired coal or oil power station in Medway, Kent, England, on the Hoo Peninsula. Licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation. Credit: Clem Rutter; via Wikimedia Commons.

E.ON the German owned company that operates Kingsnorth is planning to construct two new “cleaner coal” units on the Kingsnorth site, which it claims will be 20 percent less polluting than conventional power stations. They would be the first coal-fired power stations to be built in Britain for 24 years. AFP reported.


Police surround protesters during a sitdown protest at the gates of Kingsnorth Power Station near Rochester in Kent, southeast England August 9, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor. Image may be subject to copyright.


Police and private mercenary agents confront protesters in front of of Kingsnorth Power Station near Rochester in Kent, southeast England August 9, 2008. UK Indymedia. Image may be subject to copyright.


In police heavy-handedness we trust! UK Indymedia. Image may be subject to copyright.


I need clean air! Why are you arresting me? (Photo AFP). Image may be subject to copyright.


[I'll give you clean air, you basta*d!] Police restrain a protester in front of the gates of Kingsnorth Power Station near Rochester in Kent, southeast England August 9, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor. Image may be subject to copyright.

Fair Use Notice!

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World CO2 Emissions

Posted by feww on August 8, 2008

World Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions (from Fossil Fuel Consumption Including Flaring, Cement Production (FFFCP), and Tropical Deforestation (TD)

From 1-1-2008 to 8-8-2008 [08:08:08 GMT ;) ]

23,803.61 MMT CO2
20,473.47 MMT [20,472,745,746,030 kg] from FFFCP
+3,330.14 from TD

Total Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions for 2007

38,058.66 MMT CO2
32,503.49 MMT
[32,503,489,000,000 kg] FFFCP
+5,555.17 MMT TD

Total anthropogenic CO2 production (1750 – Today) [based on CDIAC data updated by MSRB/CASF]

1,358,931.31 MMT CO2
1,271,796.21 MMT [1,271,796,205,000,000 kg] from FFFCP
+  87,135.11 MMT from TD

["leftover from all previous emissions" = 1,729,948.05 MMT]

Total mass of atmospheric CO2

3,008,879.36 MMT [3,008.88 GT]

How much CO2 was there before?

Measurements of CO2 levels in Ice cores collected in Antarctica and Greenland indicate that the preindustrial carbon dioxide level was 278 ppm. Between 1000 and 1800 A.D. that level varied by no more than 7 ppm.

What about human activities?

The CO2 levels have now reached 386 ppm, which means human activities have increased the concentration of atmospheric CO2 by 109 ppm or 39 percent.

Notes:
MMT: Million Metric Tons
GT: Gigatons (billion tons)
Sources: CASF/MSRB; CDIAC; Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency; Earth Systems Research Laboratory; Mauna Loa CO2 monthly mean data.

The following data were used to calculate the total mass of atmospheric CO2 :
1. Mass of dry air: 5.1352 × 1018 kg
2. The mean molar mass of air: 28.9625 g/mol.
3. Molar mass of CO2: 44.0095 g/mol.
4. Mauna Loa CO2 monthly mean data: 385.60ppmv

[On various websites reporting the carbon dioxide emissions, the total amount produced by human activities since 1750 varies from about 1.3 - 1.8 trillion tons. On one website the amount is published once as 1.36 trillion tons and again as 1.71 trillion tons of CO2 on separate pages.]

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How Dirty Is Your Money?

Posted by feww on August 6, 2008

How Much CO2 Does Your Money Produce?

Did you know?

Each dollar you earn (or spend) produces 450g of CO2 pollution!

Original Entry >> Carbon Footprint of Your Dollar

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Arnie Knows the Score!

Posted by feww on July 14, 2008

Bush climate action claims “Bogus”: Schwarzenegger

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: The Bush administration did not believe in doing anything about global warming. Any last-minute action before they leave office would lack sincerity and would be “bogus.”

“If they would have done something this year, I would have thought it was bogus anyway,” he said. “You don’t really have an effect by doing something six months before you leave office … it doesn’t sound to me believable at all. The sincerity is not there.”


California Governor-Elect Arnold Schwarzenegger meets with George W. Bush in Riverside, Calif., Oct. 16, 2003. White House photo by Eric Draper.

Environmental Protection Agency boss, Stephen Johnson, refused on Friday to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under existing pollution laws, despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that his agency, EPA, had the authority to do so.

Schwarzenegger said EPA Chief’s decision “really means basically this administration did not believe in global warming, or they did not believe that they should do anything about it since China is not doing anything about it and since India is not willing to do the same thing, so why should we do the same thing?”

The Bush administration blocked efforts by California and 16 other states Wednesday to limit greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, setting up a political and legal fight over whether states can take a lead role in combating global warming.

Stephen Johnson rejected in December 2007 California’s push for a waiver from the federal government to impose its own high standards for tailpipe emissions, regulations which the other states would have followed had California’s bid succeeded.

Should the fate of an entire nation rest on the decision of one person who is acting with malice aforethought?

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The White House of Horror!!

Posted by feww on July 9, 2008

Horrors of Dracula and the White House Vampires

Origin of the name “Dracula”

King Sigismund of Hungary, who became the Holy Roman Emperor in 1410, founded a secret fraternal order of knights called the Order of the Dragon to uphold Christianity and defend the Empire against the Iraqis …

Vlad II Dracul, father of Vlad III, was admitted to the order around 1431 because of his bravery in fighting the Iraqis and was dubbed Dracul (dragon) thus his son became Dracula (son of the dragon). From 1431 onward …

The Nation, Blood and CO2

Here’s the story in a nutshell about the WH, EPA,  Sen Barbara Boxer, Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director of CDC, Jason Burnett [EPA’s former associate deputy administrator who resigned because, he says, White House wanted him to retract a statement about the dangers of CO2] and tons of CO2 as well as spinning yarn of politics:

Press Conference on White House Interference in Addressing the Dangers of Global Warming

Statement of Senator Barbara Boxer (Remarks as prepared for delivery)

You have heard me say many times that this Administration has downplayed the dangers posed by global warming. They have used every excuse to avoid taking action, even hiding behind China and India.

Now, thanks to a very brave former EPA official, Jason Burnett, who has responded to an inquiry from this committee, who is here today, we know that the Administration’s efforts have been about covering up the real dangers of global warming and hiding the facts from the public.

This cover-up is being directed from the White House and the Office of the Vice President. (Continued…)

WHITE HOUSE DELETION OF LARGE SECTIONS OF TESTIMONY ON PUBLIC HEALTH IMPACTS OF GLOBAL WARMING BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION (CDC)

On Tuesday October 23, 2007 Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works regarding the public health implications of global warming. Dr. Gerberding’s written testimony was heavily edited during the review process coordinated by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, to remove most of the specific information about the health impacts of global warming.

At a White House press briefing the following day, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino asserted that the reason for the edits was that the CDC testimony was inconsistent with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the same topic. According to the White House briefing transcript, Ms. Perino answered a question on this issue as follows: (Continued…)

What Does All This Mean?

EPA: “greenhouse gases may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public welfare” [December 2007]

Supreme Court: Clean Air Act expressly authorizes the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. [April 2007]

White House spokesman Tony Fratto: “Jason Burnett is not the EPA administrator,” EPA chief Stephen Johnson should oversee environmental policy.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director of CDC: “Climate Change is a Public Health Concern. In the United States, climate change is likely to have a significant impact on health, through links with the following outcomes:

  • Direct effects of heat,
  • Health effects related to extreme weather events,
  • Air pollution-related health effects,
  • Allergic diseases,
  • Water- and food-borne infectious diseases,
  • Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases,
  • Food and water scarcity, at least for some populations,
  • Mental health problems, and
  • Long-term impacts of chronic diseases and other health effects”

Sen. Barbara Boxer: There is a “cover-up” aimed at stopping EPA from tackling greenhouse emissions. “This cover-up is being directed from the White House and the office of the vice president”.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, on the administration’s actions: “I don’t know if that is criminal. I doubt it. OK. But I know it is immoral.”

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino: Gerberding’s draft testimony to Congress “did not comport” with science contained in the IPCC report on Climate Change, and “a number of agencies had some concerns with the draft.”

Sen. Boxer: Gerberding’s planned testimony and the IPCC report “matched identically.”

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Top Ten Facts About Your Hungry Building

Posted by feww on July 3, 2008

Did you know?
It took our entire nuclear fleet to illuminate America in 2001!


The Three Mile Island nuclear generating station
, which suffered a partial meltdown in 1979. The reactors are in the smaller domes with rounded tops (the large smokestacks are the cooling towers).

Ten Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Your Building:

  1. In 2001, lighting consumed 756 Billion kWh – America’s 104 nuclear generating units produced 769 billion kWh, while operating at a capacity factor of 89 percent. It took our entire nuclear fleet to illuminate America.

  2. Buildings now use 72 percent of all electricity and account for 80 percent of all electric expenditures.

  3. “Internal gains” account for as much as 27 percent of a home’s cooling load.

  4. There are now 113 million households in the US.

  5. One-third of all households rent their homes.

  6. The average new single-family home has increased in size by about 700 square feet since 1980.

  7. In 2006, 50 percent of all new homes completed were completed in the South. Cooling load management emerges as a priority.

  8. U.S. buildings carbon dioxide emissions (630 million metric tons of carbon) approximately equal the combined emissions of Japan, France, and the United Kingdom.

  9. Lighting uses more energy than cooling in the residential sector. This underscores the importance of breakthrough lighting technologies.

  10. Buildings account for 39% of all US carbon emissions and 9% of global emissions [2005 US Building emissions = 630.3 MMTCE. 2005 US emissions = 1,623 MMTCE. 2004 Global emissions = 7,348 MMTCE]

[MMCTE: Million Metric Tons of Carbon Equivalent]

Source: Hungry Buildings

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Southern Ocean Carbon Sink

Posted by feww on July 2, 2008

From NASA’s Earth Observatory:

Southern Ocean Carbon Sink

If you drove to work or school this morning or used electricity to power the computer on which you’re looking at this image, chances are you released carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, people released about 7.8 billion tons (7.8 gigatons) of carbon into the atmosphere in 2005 by burning fossil fuels and making cement, and that number grows every year. What happens to all of the carbon dioxide that people release into the atmosphere? About half stays in the atmosphere, where it warms Earth, and the other half is absorbed by growing plants on land and by the ocean.

As people have put more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the ocean has responded by soaking up more carbon dioxide—a trend scientists expected to continue for many years. But in 2007, a team of scientists reported in the journal Science that between 1981 and 2004 carbon dioxide concentrations in the Southern Ocean didn’t change at all, even though global atmospheric levels continued to rise. This graph shows the changes scientists expected to see (blue line) compared to their estimate of actual carbon dioxide absorption (red line). The results suggested that the Southern Ocean was no longer keeping pace with human carbon dioxide emissions.

Why has the Southern Ocean started to lag behind human emissions? The answer, believes Corinne Le Quéré, is in the wind. An ocean scientist at the University of East Anglia, Le Quéré led the study that discovered the Southern Ocean’s change of pace. Le Quéré modeled the mechanisms that influence how the ocean takes up carbon and found that winds increased between 1981 and 2004. Winds stirred the ocean and enhanced the upwelling of deep, carbon-rich water. The ocean releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in areas where deep water comes to the surface, so increased upwelling allowed the ocean to vent more carbon dioxide. This increased venting made it look like the Southern Ocean was no longer taking up carbon dioxide as quickly as people were pumping it into the atmosphere.

Full article and references are available at: Southern Ocean Carbon Sink

Related Links:

  • Human carbon emissions make oceans corrosive : ‘Carbon dioxide spewed by human activities has made ocean water so acidic that it is eating away at the shells and skeletons of starfish, coral, clams and other sea creatures …’

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NO More Coal-fired Power Plants Here!

Posted by edro on July 1, 2008

Submitted by a CASF Member:

Too Little, Too Late?

Longleaf Energy Resources Leaves Court with a Red-Coal Face

A Georgia state court invalidated a permit to build a 1,200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Early county, citing the developers’ failure to limit emissions of carbon dioxide. A Fulton County Superior Court Judge, Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore [kudos to judge Moore], reversed a right to pollute permit [aka, air permit] issued earlier this year by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to Longleaf Energy Resources.

POLITICS-US-USA-ENERGY-LEGISLATION
Southern Company’s Plant Bowen in Cartersville, Georgia is seen in this aerial photograph in Cartersville in this file photo taken September 4, 2007. One of the biggest coal-fired plants in the country, it generates about 3,300 megawatts of electricity from four coal-fired boilers. (Chris Baltimore/Reuters; caption: abc News. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

The judge citied a 2007 U.S. Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore decision in which carbon dioxide was ruled to be a pollutant under the existing Clean Air Act and that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.

Anthracite Coal. Credit USGS

How much coal would it take to light a 100W light bulb for one year?

A 100-Watt light bulb consumes about 876 kWh of electricity in one year (100 W × 24 h/day × 365 days = 876,000 Wh = 876 kWh).

Energy density

The energy density of coal, expressed in kilowatt-hours per kilogram, is about 6.67 kWh/kg. The typical thermodynamic efficiency of coal power plants is about 30%. That means only 30% of the coal burned up turns into electricity, with the rest is normally wasted as heat. Coal power plants generate approximately 2.0 kWh per kg of burned coal.

876 kWh ÷ 2kWh/kg = 438 kg of coal

However, the above amount does not take into account a further 5–10% transmission and distribution losses caused by resistance and heating in the power lines AND the initial energy used to mine the coal and ship it to the power plant, which could be equivalent to 10-15% of the total coal consumed.

438 kg ÷ 80% = 547.5 kg of coal {Total amount of coal consumed to light a 100W bulb for one full year!}

How Much Carbon Dioxide?

Carbon dioxide (CO2) forms during coal combustion when one atom of carbon (C) combines with two atoms of oxygen (O2). Carbon has an atomic weight of is 12, and oxygen 16, making the atomic weight of carbon dioxide 44. A kg of coal with a carbon content of 78 percent and a heating value of 32 MJ/kg emits about 2.86 of carbon dioxide. (Source: Carbon Dioxide Emission Factors for Coal)

547.5 kg of coal x 2.86 = 1,566 kg of CO2 {The total amount of CO2 produced.}

[Note: other nasty byproducts include sulfur, which reacts with oxygen to produce SO2, which then combines with moisture in the air to produce acid rain, nitrogen oxides, NOx, and mercury, all of which are extremely harmful to air, water, soil, trees, marine animals and humans.]

Meanwhile, back in Crawford ranch …

White House officials, congressional staff revealed, refused to open e-mail from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, that said climate-warming greenhouse emissions threaten public health and welfare!

The EPA has also told members of Congress that the Defense Department is defying orders over cleaning up toxic pollution at three military bases at Fort Meade in Maryland, McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey and Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.

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What’s a Hydrokong?

Posted by feww on June 27, 2008

A Shrinking World Series

Is it a mega-tropical storm system, or an extra-tropical cyclone (ETC), i.e., a non-tropical, large-scale low pressure storm system like a Nor’easter?

“Hydrokong” is a colossal atmospheric phenomenon. It’s an extreme precipitation event which is enhanced by circulation changes that increase and concentrate the distribution of water vapor.


Hydrokong! The Storm System as it appeared over the central United States June 12, 2008 04:15 UTC. The still image is an aviation color enhancement of a satellite image.

Globally, as total precipitation increases, the duration or frequency of precipitation events decreases. However, warmer temperatures and regional variation can significantly affect those offsetting behaviors. For example, reduced total precipitation in one region, the Western United States, can significantly increase the intensity of precipitation in another region, the Midwest. Hydrokongs essentially create two extreme events, droughts in one region and flooding caused by mega-intense precipitation in another. As the global temperatures rise, more hydrokongs should be expected.


Another Hydrokong in the making? A new System as it appeared over the central United States June 27, 2008 04:15 UTC. The still image is an aviation color enhancement of a satellite image.


An aviation color enhancement of a floater [updated periodically] satellite image GEOS Eastern U.S. Imagery, NOAA SSD. For full size image right-click on the image and select “View Image.”

In the words of Brian Pierce, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, describing the aftermath of flooding last week: “We are seeing a historic hydrological event taking place with unprecedented river levels occurring.”

Are Extreme Precipitation Events Earth’s Natural Defense Mechanisms?

Related Links:

.

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Is 350 ppm Safe? Hell, NO!

Posted by feww on June 24, 2008

Folks, don’t be fooled by the hype: 350 ppmv NOT safe!

  1. There is a 30-year time lag between the release of CO2e greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and the cumulative impact of heat-trapping mechanism taking effect.
  2. The positive feedback system whose impacts we are now witnessing started when the atmospheric CO2 concentration rose above the 330 ppmv in the mid 1970s.
  3. Any concentration level above the 330 ppm is clearly unsafe. To stabilize at levels below 330 ppm, we must aim for much lower levels of about 260-270 ppm.


Average air bubble CO2 concentration versus age in three ice cores taken close to the summit of Law Dome at 67�S, 113�E, around 1390 m elevation. Law Dome is near the Australian Antarctic station Casey. (Source)

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations measured at Mauna Loa, Hawaii. The red curve shows the average monthly concentrations; blue curve is a moving 12 month average. GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 only as published by the Free Software Foundation. [Credit User Superm401via Wikimedia]

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Image of the Day: Blood, Tears and CO2e

Posted by feww on June 23, 2008

‘Economy’ Throttles Ecology!

Look Ma, No Hands!


A Chinese national flag flutters outside a coking plant in Changzhi, Shanxi province May 29, 2008. Origin unknown. Source: Reuters. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

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350 or 450ppm? Neither, Actually!

Posted by feww on June 18, 2008

Submitted by Dione, CASF Member

What would the future be like for my daughter?

Don’t know much about history
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about science books
Don’t know much about the French I took
But I do know that I love her

What a wonderful world this would be

Don’t know much about geography
Don’t know much trigonometry
Don’t know much about algebra
Don’t know what a slide rule is for
But I know that one and one is two

What a wonderful world this would be

[From a Herman's Hermits song, Wonderful World, lyrics by Cooke/Alpert/Adler. Lyrics may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!]

Creating A Sustainable Future (CASF) received an emotional email from a young mother, “Kay,” who wishes to remain anonymous. Kay has a 6-year-old daughter and lives with her family in NW United States. Kay says she is not high on science, “in all probability the Herman’s Hermits famous song, ‘don’t know much about history, biology, science books, geography, trigonometry, algebra, and slide rule’ was written about me!”

She says her knowledge of climatology is even poorer than her French(!) “But I do know that I love my daughter and husband and ‘what a wonderful world this would be’ if we could rein in the greenhouse gases, and reverse the global warming.”

“I have read a number of articles about CO2 pollution in the atmosphere including a few written by the famed NASA scientist, Dr J. Hansen … but he is a government scientist …”

She wants to know the safe level of CO2 in the atmosphere and asks which of the 350, 450, or higher levels of CO2 pollution would be a “safe” level, and whether our reply could be put simply so that a “layperson” could understand the answer.

Hi, Kay – thanks for visiting our blog and email!

The CASF members believe even the lower atmospheric CO2 levels of 350ppm CO2 are unsafe! Here are the reasons why. Our findings put as simply as we could:

  1. Our climate models show that when the atmospheric CO2 levels leaped over the 330ppmv “threshold” in the mid 1970s it triggered a positive feedback loop, which is now impacting the climate. [The atmospheric CO2 inventory has risen by about 17 percent since then.]
  2. The “acid test,” if you’ll excuse the pun, of the accuracy of our models lies in the future, namely how much worse the environmental impacts will be in the 2008-2010 period. If the impacts of CO2 pollution worsened significantly, by a factor of 20% or more, by 2010 (we have a system for quantifying the adverse effects, see Index of Human Impact on Nature for an introduction), as we expect them to do so, then we know our models are accurate.
  3. The catch? By 2010 it would be too late to do anything to slow down the runaway positive feedback system [other than say a prayer for the dead!]
  4. While the preindustrial levels of 260-270ppm were [and they probably still would be ] “safe,” the longer term environmental impacts of CO2 at levels of about 290-300ppm, even if those levels were achievable [assume some miraculous means were introduced to wipe the slate clean,] in the current climatic state are uncertain!
  5. Based on the above, we recommend an immediate shift to zero-emissions, the benefits of which, although by no means immediate, would far outweigh the ultimate cost of playing Russian roulette with climate change.

We hope the above helps. Feel free to visit us anytime!

Best wishes
Dione, FEWW Moderators and rest of CASF Team

Related Links:

dione

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Bering Sea Drilling Revisited!

Posted by feww on June 13, 2008

Update: Bush to urge lifting of ban on offshore drilling
“With gasoline now over $4 a gallon, tomorrow he will explicitly call on Congress to also pass legislation lifting the congressional ban on safe, environmentally friendly offshore oil drilling,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said on Tuesday.

Offshore Drilling

The following post is a reply to Dan Daniels who recently visited this blog and left a comment at Bering Sea Drilling .

Dan Daniels wrote:

I was the District Manager for Sedco Forex responsible for exp[l]oration activities on the West Coast of the US including the Bering Sea. I had two semi-submersible drilling vessels working in the Bering Sea when environmental concerns required us to cease drilling activities.

In the 8 plus years we, as a company, operated in this area we NEVER had an environmental issue (not so much as a st[y]rofoam cup going over the side) – this with daily high scrutiny from the Department of the Interior. I even received an award on behalf of our company for this accomplishment.

I believe strongly that with proper controls, commitment from management, training and overview offshore drilling can be accomplished without detriment to the environment. The issue lies almost exclusively with shipping the product, not developing the field. We should make every effort to carry out the require exploration and focus our efforts on improving the transportation aspects of moving the petroleum products


An offshore Oil/Gas platform.

Mr Daniels,

We [the FEWW moderators] believe the problems are much more extensive than you have stated. The areas of greatest concern are

  1. Impacts of excessive energy consumption.
  2. Climate Change.
  3. Other impacts of excessive CO2 and other GHG pollution created by the consumption of fossil fuels, e.g., oceans acidification.
  4. Marine pollution, habitat destruction and other damage caused by offshore oil and gas drilling including
  • Exploration
  • Production
  • Transportation
  • Storage
  • Delivery

The specific items of concern include:

  • Flaring and venting
  • greenhouse gas emissions
  • Decommissioning of oil and gas installations
  • oil storage tank disposal
  • Pollution created by drill cuttings
  • Produced waters, muds and fluids
  • Subsidence
  • Spills
  • piping
  • Environmental impact of products
  • Health impact of processes in products
  • Spoilage of sensitive ecological areas and habitat destruction
  • Waste disposal
  • Health impact of processes in products
  • Impact on Marine Mammals and other life forms
  • Human Health Impact
  • Climate Change
  • Release of benzene, methanol, sulfur and other harmful chemicals to the environment
  • Discharge of ballast waters
  • Release of tank cleaning water
  • Impact on ecosystems

The following excerpts are from Sense and Nonsense:The Environmental Impacts of Exploration on Marine Organisms Offshore Cape Breton, by David Lincoln.

Sense and Nonsense

The environmental impacts of the Oil and Gas Industry’s exploration operations are pervasive. No country or province which has been exposed to a prolonged history of offshore hydrocarbon exploration has been left untouched by the inevitable accidents and unforeseen consequences of the petroleum industry.

The fishing industry is usually the first sector to be impacted by these exploration activities. This normally occurs when fishermen are told to remove their boats and gear from an area so that a seismic vessel can begin generating noises.

By far the loudest noises generated by the offshore petroleum industry are those produced by seismic survey equipment. This equipment is designed to create very loud noises, the echoes of which reflect off geological strata deep within the seabed and are used to locate likely places for drilling wells. The sounds were at one time made by explosives, which could kill fish at a range of some hundreds of meters, but the almost universal seismic equipment now used offshore is an array of “airguns”.

Seismic Effects on Fish and Marine Mammals

Experiments on the effects of seismic shooting on abundance and catch of cod and haddock were conducted in the Barents Sea. The Norwegian studies looked at the effects of an airgun using a combination of scientific-survey and commercial fishing techniques. The fish survey work extended across a circle 40 nautical miles in diameter (a maximum range of some 33 km from the airgun survey area) and continued until five days after the seismic work was completed..”

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, information has begun to flow out about the Russian experience with decades of exploration activity in the Caspian and Barents Seas. These reports differ markedly from the rather subdued observations in Western Bloc countries. Dr Stanislav Patin in his 1999 book entitled “Environmental Impacts of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry” recalls a catastrophic ecological situation in the Caspian Sea in the 1960’s. “I was a member of the Special Government Committee on this issue and witnessed firsthand the dramatic ecological consequences of the explosive use, including mass mortality of Caspian sturgeons (up to 200,000 large specimens).”

Exploration Drilling

Despite industry claims, the companies do not yet know for certain which type of hydrocarbon (oil, gas, condensate or a combination of these fluids. will be encountered). Vintage seismic data from the 1980’s cannot accurately distinguish between oil and gas and geochemistry, if available, is often difficult to interpret. Before drilling, the companies will conduct a hazard survey primarily to reduce the chances of encountering shallow gas which could be disastrous.

Shallow seismic surveys of the upper few hundred meters of the seabed are often carried out to determine the structure of the sediments and scan for potential hazards to drilling (e.g., shallow gas pockets). These hazards will be described in greater detail in the section on shallow gas blowouts.

The Drilling Phase

Under normal circumstances, the predominant discharges during drilling, would be the “cuttings”; small chips of rock cut by the drill in forming the well, and the “muds” used in the drilling process to cool and lubricate the drill, carry the cuttings out of the hole and counter-balance the pressure of gas, when that is reached. These discharges, their fates and their environmental effects have been the most intensively studied (and argued) aspect of the offshore petroleum industry’s environmental effect.

Mud and Cuttings Discharges: Water Based Muds (WBMs)

Besides their intended constituents, drill muds, both Water Based Muds (WBMs) and Oil Based Muds (OBMs), often contain high levels of heavy metal contamination. WBMs, despite their water base, also often contain appreciable amounts of oil: under some circumstances, it is necessary to add a “pill” of oil to the circulating WBM and this is usually left in the mud, gradually being dispersed through it and ultimately discharged
with it.

The overall quantities of WBM discharged can be high. While the water naturally disperses into the ocean, the other constituents represent substantial contamination. The eight exploratory wells drilled with WBM on Georges Bank in 1981-2, for example, resulted in some 4000 tons of barite and 1500 tons of bentonite clay being discharged.

Mud and Cuttings Discharges: Water Based Muds (WBMs)

Besides their intended constituents, drill muds, both Water Based Muds (WBMs) and Oil Based Muds (OBMs), often contain high levels of heavy metal contamination. WBMs, despite their water base, also often contain appreciable amounts of oil: under some circumstances, it is necessary to add a “pill” of oil to the circulating WBM and this is usually left in the mud, gradually being dispersed through it and ultimately discharged with it.

The overall quantities of WBM discharged can be high. While the water naturally disperses into the ocean, the other constituents represent substantial contamination. The eight exploratory wells drilled with WBM on Georges Bank in 1981-2, for example, resulted in some 4000 tons of barite and 1500 tons of bentonite clay being discharged.

Water-Based Mud

The composition of drilling mud may be changed often during drilling in response to conditions encountered. In practice, this usually means that mud weight is gradually increased by adding barite and other chemicals to control the natural pressure increase with depth. When this happens suddenly, the mud is dumped in bulk and a new batch is mixed (often with heavier properties in anticipation of increased pressure). Analysis of the drilling waste scenario data (volume density and weight) could yield a likely
composition. It is indeed strange that adult scallops are highly sensitive to barite but show relatively low sensitivity to used water based mud cuttings.

Furthermore, dozens of organisms have already been subjected to varying compositions of drilling mud and the toxicity results are known and well reported. Of 415 acute lethal bioassays lasting 48-144 hrs with 68 drilling muds involving 70 species, 8% showed 50% mortality (LC50) below 10,000 ppm.

Ecosystem Impacts

“There is concern that the routine discharge of wastes during drilling for oil and gas could impact valuable fishery resources. Recent studies have indicated that intensive drilling efforts in the North Sea have caused detrimental effects in adult and larval fish and benthic invertebrates at greater distances from drilling platforms than previously envisaged”.

Abundance of benthic organisms near one N.J. rig site plunged from 8011 animals /sqm before drilling to 1729 animals /sq m. during drilling. One year after drilling was completed, the number had risen to only 2638 animals /sq m. Diversity was also impacted from 70 to 38 species /0.02 sq m rebounding only to 53 species /0.02 sq m one year afterwards.

Discharges and Shellfish

Laboratory experiments have shown barium uptake, from WBM-contaminated sediments and foods, by both flounder and lobster juveniles but there does not seem to be any evidence for its biomagnification up the food chain. In the experimental setting, the contaminants suppressed growth of both species and enhanced lobster mortality but this was with concentrations of 9 g barium per kilogram of sediment and a 98 or 99-day …

Certainly, its finer grain size should ensure that it is at least as mobile as the barite and probably more so. Recent research has shown that scallops are peculiarly susceptible to barite and bentonite, prolonged exposure to even concentrations as low as 10 mgl-1 (less than 10 ppm) being fatal, while levels as low as 2 mgl-1 can affect scallop growth.

“As mush as 90% of the discharged solids settle directly to the bottom. (Brandsma 1980). The remaining 10% including clay-sized particles and soluble materials is diluted by the current and dispersed over large areas8. ” Furthermore “during the entire [one well] scenario a total of 468 MT of drilling mud and 2569 MT of cuttings are released to the marine environment.

Now that it has been shown that drilling eight wells spread detectable levels of barite over much of Georges Bank, the COPAN drilling near Sable Island spread flocculant material some kilometers from the source, Norwegian oil production has affected benthic communities over some 100 sq km around major platforms and that background sediment hydrocarbon levels seem to be rising in the United Kingdom sector of the North Sea, the relevance of such impacts can no longer be ignored.

Shallow Gas Blowouts

One of the greatest risks to the environment during the exploration phase is a shallow gas blowout. This is particularly true if the flow is associated with a condensate discharge which frequently occurs. […] Once flow has started, it is almost inevitable that a blowout will occur.

“Cratering occurs when flow outside the casing displaces large volumes of surface sediment. The eruptive force of blowouts can be dramatic and has been documented as lifting large boulders weighing several hundred pounds into the air and dropping them as much as 150 ft from the well site.

“Records show that if a shallow gas blowout does not bridge within the first one to two days, then the well will probably continue to blow for an extended period of time, i.e., weeks or months. Some have continued for years.”

Adams includes a chart condensed from a database of 950 shallow gas blowouts. Of the 56 rigs listed more than half suffered extensive damage or the total loss of the rig.

The truth is that the biological impacts of gas and condensate spills have been poorly studied until recently. Even the Uniacke gas blowout which released condensate in 1984 was not evaluated for biological impacts. Gas blowouts such as occurred in India in 1999 are poorly reported and not studied in detail. It is ludicrous for the industry to argue that gas wells have little impact on the ecosystem when they have not looked carefully at the marine organisms effected and no long-term studies on productivity or reproductive success following exposure are known to exist.

Related Links:

List of references cited for Sense and Nonsense:The Environmental Impacts of Exploration on Marine Organisms Offshore Cape Breton, by David Lincoln, is available at the URL: http://www.sierraclub.ca/national/oil-and-gas-exploration/sense-and-nonsense.pdf

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