Gas Bags

August 30, 2012

Quiet and overcast this way-early Thursday here on California’s north coast, a dramatic contrast to wet, terrifying Hurricane Isaac as it storm surged landward off the Gulf of Mexico, creating tornado-offshoots in its wake.
New Orleans has experienced nearly 25 inches of rain in less than 24 hours — dozens of people were dramatically rescued from flooded areas south of the city.

Meanwhile, across the wind-swept Gulf, the GOP love-fest Liars Convention continues unabated in what must be considered one of the most ironic set pieces of all time — Condi Rice acting as if George Jr. never existed.

(Illustration found here).

Following on Condi’s twinkle-heels, snot-nosed Paul Ryan slashed out such a storm of delusional bullshit across the Tampa Bay Times Forum with on-fire catch-phrases that must have so, so-titillated: If you’re a Republican, that should have hit your G-spot with the force of 10,000 vibrators.
How many assholes can fit into a pair of stretch pants?

Irony doesn’t even make it correct.
As these deep-dish assholes blow smoke, the ability of humans to habituate the earth is getting tighter and tighter.
One major problem is the weird shit currently happening in the Arctic.
By now, if one has been following climate change half-way close, one would know about the record-setting ice melt in the region, which has scientists a bit baffled.
A post at The Atlantic examines a frightening mystery:

In that sense, it is not a monumental surprise that 2012 did not see an overabundance of sea ice or return to the norms of earlier this century.
On the other hand, the catastrophic drop off of sea ice in the last few weeks was not something that was easy to model or predict.

We are all trying to understand a system that has entered territory never seen before, and I think scientists are naturally cautious in their interpretations and predictions of what’s to come.
Models were formulated with understanding of the familiar system, which may explain why some model simulations lag observations in losing ice.

In other words, this shit is so strange, experts are stymied.
Even as worse gets worse — the dreaded methane bomb.
In a study cited by the UK’s University of Manchester reports sections of Arctic Siberia is releasing as much as 10 times more carbon into the atmosphere than previously figured, and seemingly more’s to come.
A few snips (h/t Raw Story):

Writing in Nature, the scientists, led by Stockholm University, discovered that much more greenhouse gas is being released into the atmosphere than previously calculated, from and ancient an large carbon pool held in a permafrost along the 7,000 km desolate coast of northernmost Siberian Arctic — dramatically increasing global warming.
As the temperature climbs carbon, stored in vast ice walls along this Arctic coast called Yedoma, covering about one million km2 (four times the area of the UK), is pouring into the Arctic Ocean in one of the world’s most remote and desolate regions.
This region is experiencing twice the global average of climate warming.
While satellite images reveal thousands of kilometers of milky-cloudy waters along the Arctic coast, suggesting a massive influx of material, the Yedoma has remained understudied largely due to the region’s inaccessibility.

Dr Bart van Dongen, from The University of Manchester’s School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, worked with teams from Sweden, Russia, USA, Switzerland, Norway, Spain and Denmark to research the region.
He participated in a seven-week sea expedition to this remote region during which a large part of the samples used in this study were collected.
He said: “This research sheds light on a globally understudied area of the world, but one which has huge consequences for the entire planet.
“Although this is a very remote region thousands of miles from the UK, considering the amount of carbon locked in this permafrost is twice the amount present in the atmosphere as CO2, the scale of the release of both CO2 and methane into the atmosphere will have a huge effect.
“This will have consequences for the temperatures all over the world.”

The original news story came from Agence France-Presse, which said the report was released yesterday.

On Tuesday, Brad Plumer at the Washington Post carried a related piece about the Arctic and concluded:

More eye-opening is the chance that the vast permafrost in Siberia and elsewhere will keep melting, allowing vast quantities of methane to seep into the atmosphere, which would, in turn, heat the planet even further.
A survey (pdf) of 41 scientists published in Nature last year estimated that, at current melt rates, methane from terrestrial permafrost could eventually contribute 2.5 times as much to climate change as deforestation does now.
That’s very significant.

A lot of scenarios are deemed ‘unlikely‘ to happen in the near future, but as facts and figures continue to indicate all this climate change horror seemingly tends to be ‘worse than previously anticipated.’
Sort of like the GOP.

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