Hypnagogic Actuality

December 30, 2014

arctic-x-section-350Clear and cold this early Tuesday on California’s north coast — right now about 35 degrees, with a high of maybe the low-50s, but supposedly a lot of sun.
Seems to have gotten colder, quicker this year.

Or life in the age of warm (via NBC News): ‘First off: heat. Combined land and sea temperatures from January-November 2014 were the warmest such period in 135 years of record-keeping, topping the 20th Century average of 57 degrees Fahrenheit by 1.22 degrees.’

(Illustration found here).

And the heat kicker: ‘What’s alarming is that the warmth is happening without the presence of a mature El Nino, the cyclical ocean pattern that pushed 2010 to its record warmth.’
Heating faster than all the rest of us are the poles — Arctic and Antarctica — and the Greenland ice sheet is bubbling away. New research indicates the melting is faster that supposed (via Climate News Network):

But the real strength of the study is that it establishes the pattern of ice melt in more detail, and suggests that climate models may not give a clear enough picture of the future of the ice cap.
To put it crudely, Greenland could lose ice faster in the future than any of today’s predictions suggest.

Which leads to some related reality in the warming warning — release of dreaded methane from under the melting permafrost.
Via Raw Story:

Researchers from Norway and Russia have found significant amount of the greenhouse gas methane is leaking from an area of the Arctic seabed off the northern coast of Siberia.
According to the team’s report in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, the melting of permafrost on the seafloor of the Kara Sea is releasing previously-sequestered methane.
“The thawing of permafrost on the ocean floor is an ongoing process, likely to be exaggerated by the global warming of the world´s oceans,” said study author Alexey Portnov at Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment (CAGE) at The Arctic University of Norway.

“The permafrost is thawing from two sides,” Portnov said.
“The interior of the Earth is warm and is warming the permafrost from the bottom up.
“It is called geothermal heat flux and it is happening all the time, regardless of human influence.”
Using mathematical models based on expected conditions, the study team concluded that the maximal possible permafrost thickness would take around 9000 years to thaw.
If Arctic Ocean temperatures were to increase due to global warming, the process would accelerate, the researchers noted.
“If the temperature of the oceans increases by two degrees as suggested by some reports, it will accelerate the thawing to the extreme,” Portnov said.
“A warming climate could lead to an explosive gas release from the shallow areas.

Meanwhile, in even warmer climes — more research this month has shown methane plumes are popping off the seafloor along the US West Coast, with maybe the gas ‘escaping at 500 times its average rate of natural release.’
From Nature World News:

“If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we’re f’d,” Jason Box, a widely published climatologist, tweeted back in August, when it was first revealed that this could be occurring in the East Siberian Arctic Ocean.
Box, like many experts, is most concerned about the concentration of these releases, as they can speed up climate change well beyond standard projections.
“Methane hydrates are a very large and fragile reservoir of carbon that can be released if temperatures change,” Evan Solomon, co-author of the GRL study, explained in a recent statement. “I was skeptical at first, but when we looked at the amounts, it’s significant.”
How significant?
Try some four million metric tons of methane since the 1970s.
That’s more than 40 times the carbon equivalent of all the methane released in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
“We calculate that methane equivalent in volume to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is released every year off the Washington coast,” said Solomon.
The researcher and his colleagues say they are still shocked at these results, because the great majority of these kinds of methane releases were expected to occur in the Arctic.
However, other recent studies have found that there are more than 500 active methane vents along the US East Coast as well, spiking carbon release from the Atlantic Ocean by 90 metric tons annually.

Surreal reality…

(Illustration out front found here).

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