How Nuclear Winter Halts Global Plant Growth, Causes Crop Failure & Mass Starvation

How a Limited Nuclear War (Pakistan v. India) Would Cause Global Food Shortages and Mass Starvation // Oct 18, 2019

Since the Cold War between the world’s major superpowers ended, people have become very complacent about the threats of nuclear war. A new research paper shatters this illusion by showing that even a relatively small and limited nuclear war between India and Pakistan, apart from killing more people in those countries (50-125 million) in less than one week than all World War II fatalities, would block 20 to 35% of surface sunlight and cool the surface 2C to 5C causing global crop failures; thus causing mass starvation and additional worldwide mayhem.

   

Ref:  India-Pakistan nuclear war could kill millions and threaten global starvation:  A study conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and Rutgers University examines how such a hypothetical future conflict would have consequences rippling across the globe. Today, India and Pakistan each have about 150 nuclear warheads at their disposal, and that number is expected to climb to more than 200 by 2025.

Ref2:  Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats, by Gwynne Dyer.
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How “Nuclear Winter” Halts Global Plant Growth Causing Crop Failure and Worldwide Mass Starvation // Oct 18, 2019

The unthinkable “nuclear winter” scenario occurs when detonations of many nuclear bombs over cities create intense fireballs which loft black carbon high into the stratosphere (upper atmosphere), blocking the Sun and thus halting global plant growth thus causing mass starvation. A Pakistan – India nuclear war (or US – Russia nuclear war) would:

  • block surface sunlight 20-35% (75%),
  • cool global surfaces 2-5C (10C),
  • reduce precipitation 15-30% (60%),
  • reduce Net Primary Productivity 15-30% (100%) on land;
  • 5-15% (50%) in the oceans,
  • and take 10-15 years to recover.

Ref:  To better grasp nuclear winter, scientists study wildfire cloud

    

A giant cloud from 2017 Canadian fires lingered in the atmosphere for a year, showing scientists how a cloud from a nuclear bomb would behave‘.
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Jaw-Dropping Arctic Methane Levels Up 9 x Global Average

Arctic Methane Measurements over Eastern Siberian Shelf Are Now the Highest Ever Measured: 1 of 2 // Oct 10, 2019

A group of Russian scientists led by Igor Semiletov, aboard one of the world’s largest research ships, the RV Akademik Mstislav Keldysh over the Arctic Ocean’s Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf have directly measured extremely high methane levels in the water column and atmosphere above. Seafloor permafrost sediments are thawing with high ocean temperatures and the organic material is then decomposed by microbes to produce methane which bubbles up to the surface. Methane levels in air were as high as 16 ppm which is 9x higher than global average levels.
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Jaw-Dropping Methane Levels up to 9 times Global Average Measured Recently Over Arctic Shelf: 2 of 2 // Oct 10, 2019

In our world of satellite data, computer models, and simulations, on-the-ground (on-the-ocean in this case!) field work is invaluable. UK’s Peter Wadham’s is the sea-ice expert and Russia’s Igor Semiletov is the Arctic methane expert, both exploring via numerous expeditions over many decades. Recent data from an expedition led by the latter report report stunning methane levels 9x higher than global averages. This is very serious, given methane’s global warming potential of 34x, 86x, and over 150x with timescales of 100 years, 20 years, and a few years, respectively.
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Is Greta Thunberg the Catalyst that Tips Humanity to Understand Huge Climate Risks and Finally Act? // Sep 27, 2019

As I marched in today’s Climate Strike for in Ottawa along with thousands of people I had time to reflect on what is really going on. Many years ago I figured out that inevitably humanity would reach a tipping point in its understanding of the huge risks that all life on Earth faces from accelerating climate system destabilization. I also said we would likely only recognize reaching a tipping point in the rear view mirror, after it occurred. Is it possible that Greta Thunberg is the catalyst for thrusting us beyond this tipping point of understanding? It certainly feels like it.
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Greta: Catalyst Tipping Humanity to Finally Act, Tipping Humans to Understand Huge Risks?

Greta Thunberg the Catalyst that Tips Humanity to Understand Huge Climate Risks and Finally Act? // Sep 27, 2019

As I marched in today’s Climate Strike for in Ottawa along with thousands of people I had time to reflect on what is really going on. Many years ago I figured out that inevitably humanity would reach a tipping point in its understanding of the huge risks that all life on Earth faces from accelerating climate system destabilization.

500,000 in Montreal
today, where Greta was…

I also said we would likely only recognize reaching a tipping point in the rear view mirror, after it occurred. Is it possible that Greta Thunberg is the catalyst for thrusting us beyond this tipping point of understanding? It certainly feels like it.

 

Ref intra to Paul’s site, here: Emissions, Carbon Dioxide Removal,  Solar Radiation Management, Three Legged Stool.

Ref2:  ‘Why is Greta Thunberg so triggering for certain men?‘   Irish Times, Sat 07-Sept-2019, by Jennifer O’Connell.  How can a 16-year-old girl in plaits, dedicated to trying to save the planet, inspire such incandescent rage?
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The Return of Blob 2.0? Marine Heat Wave

Return of the BLOB; aka Marine Heat Wave // Sep 25, 2019

In 2014 a phenomena appeared on which there is no history. The ocean temperature off the west coast of North America rose and destroyed marine diversity and wreaked havoc on weather patterns around the globe. Known as the “BLOB”, this voracious spot raised water temperatures in the North Pacific between 4 and 5 degrees Celsius (7-8 F), killing off humpback whales, Pacific cod, and huge numbers of birds, among other creatures.

Is the BLOB, otherwise known as a Marine Heat Wave (MHW) back to torture us? Water temperature is thus far up 2.8 degrees C.
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Marine Heat Waves Resulting in Severe Consequences: BLOB 2.0 // Sep 26, 2019

I continue chatting on the new “BLOB”, this voracious spot of very high water temperatures in the North Pacific Ocean, otherwise known as a Marine Heat Wave (MHW). As abrupt climate change accelerates, the heating is highly non uniform across the planet. Most people know that Arctic Warming is 3x to 5x faster than the global average, but not that:

  • land is warming 2x faster than oceans
  • mountain regions 2x to 3x faster
  • western ocean boundary currents 2x to 3x faster than the overall ocean.

Ref:  ‘THE BLOB EXPLAINED – WHAT IS THE BLOB?
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Greta Thunberg’s full speech to world leaders at UN Climate Action Summit

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Paul just asked that this be published, to this site, dk:

Greta Thunberg’s full speech to world leaders at UN Climate Action Summit //  Sep 23, 2019

‘Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg chastised world leaders Monday, Sep. 23, for failing younger generations by not taking sufficient steps to stop climate change. “You have stolen my childhood and my dreams with your empty words,” Thunberg said at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York. “You’re failing us, but young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you,” she added.

Thunberg traveled to the U.S. by sailboat last month so she could appear at the summit. She and other youth activists led international climate strikes on Friday in an attempt to garner awareness ahead of the UN’s meeting of political and business leaders.’

Ref:  ‘Greta Thunberg stares down Trump as two cross paths at UN‘.

Ref2:  ‘Climate activist Greta Thunberg, 16, addressed the U.N.’s Climate Action Summit in New York City on Monday. Here’s the full transcript of Thunberg’s speech, beginning with her response to a question about the message she has for world leaders.

My message is that we’ll be watching you.

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

“For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.

“You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.

“The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius], and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.

“Fifty percent may be acceptable to you. But those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of equity and climate justice. They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist.

“So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us — we who have to live with the consequences.

“To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5 degrees global temperature rise – the best odds given by the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] – the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on Jan. 1st, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons.

“How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just ‘business as usual’ and some technical solutions? With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than 8 1/2 years.

“There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here today, because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.

“You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.

“We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.

“Thank you.”

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Record Setting Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) Over Antarctica: Causes and Consequences

Here is the first of three new videos dealing with much more southern weather and oceanography, posted today and yesterday.  Paul also added one more video dealing with the North Pole and Greenland from our recent post, here.  This is from three days ago.

Record Setting Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) Over Antarctica: Causes and Consequences //

I shift gears from the Arctic to chat about the Southern Hemisphere and Antarctica. Since the last week of August, the stratospheric polar vortex first became elongated and then completely destabilized, with some regions warming up abruptly from about -70C to an incredible +13C, causing the high altitude vortex to morph into two and then even three vortices.

My understanding is that rapid loss of Antarctic sea ice in some regions and gain in others caused an asymmetry of sea ice around the continent, thus causing asymmetry and breakdown of the vortex.
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What’s Up Or Down: Extent, Thickness, Volume, Thermodynamics of Arctic Sea-Ice

What’s up (down) with Arctic Sea-Ice: Extent, Thickness, Volume Dynamics and Thermodynamics // Sep 12, 2019

In September, 2012 Arctic sea ice extent (regions with at least 15% sea ice concentration) set a record low extent, far below any previous year and subsequent year, until now.

This year, up until about mid-August, sea ice extent closely tracked 2012, in fact was even lower than 2012 for long periods of time. Then, quite unexpectedly, 2019 melt significantly flattened out, stalling to be far behind 2012.

In this first of a series of videos, I discuss possible reasons for this stalling, in light of the fact that sea-ice volume continued to track closely to that in 2012, with no sign of stalling.
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New Ice Behavior Regime for Arctic Sea Ice Melt // Sep 132, 2019

I continue discussing details of Arctic sea ice melt, including the puzzling stalling of the extent drop in mid-August; yet continuation of volume loss to match 2012 (year that set records for both lowest volume and lowest extent).

Physical properties of the sea ice remaining are different since most of the stronger, purer (less salt content), thicker, older multi-year ice has melted out, or been exported and melted, leaving behind only weaker, saltier, thinner, younger first year and second year ice. We are in a new ice behavior regime, with different melt and freeze dynamics.
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Is Climate System Internal Variability Significantly Messing with Arctic Sea Ice Demise Predictions? // Sep 13, 2019

Continuing my Arctic sea ice loss videos, I discuss a paper on sea ice thickness variability arguing that internal variability of the climate system is very large, and thinner ice is even more sensitive to internal variability.

It suggests that we cannot predict complete loss of Arctic sea ice within a time window of less than 20 years; and that the difference in emissions pathways between RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 adds 5 more years to uncertainty. I am extremely skeptical of this result. To me, large variability means when a large negative swing occurs the sea ice will unexpectedly and rapidly vanish.

    

Ref:  ‘How predictable is the first ice-free Arctic summer?’ 25 August 2016 17:44, Guest post by Dr. Alexandria Jahn.
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Variability of Arctic Sea Ice Thickness in Six Different Arctic Basins // Sep 14, 2019

Continuing my Arctic sea ice loss videos, I examine a paper on sea ice thickness variability that uses the PIOMAS model and a Community Earth System Model. Dividing the Arctic Ocean up into 6 different basins:

  • Barents-Kara Seas,
  • Laptev Sea,
  • East Siberian Sea,
  • Beaufort-Chukchi Seas,
  • Greenland Sea, and the
  • Central Arctic Basin (CAB).

It examines each basins sea ice thickness history and projections, and timing as to when basin thickness average falls below 0.5 meters. Greenland Sea lasts longest (cushioned by cold glacier meltwater); the CAB lasts next longest.
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