Climate and Gas

December 16, 2015

648909_9122271_lzOvercast and growing darker by the minute this Wednesday afternoon on California’s north coast — beautiful sunrise, followed by some gorgeous sunshine for awhile, then a rapid cloud gathering as another storm is slated for later in the evening.
In a rain-respite is what we are — according to the NWS, ‘Heavy Rain‘ forecast from tonight through Friday afternoon, where it  supposedly quietens-down to just ‘Rain.’
And from there…until maybe April?

In wake of the Paris climate accord, we’re not out of the woods, just yet — Michael Jacobs, senior advisor to New Climate Economy, an economic think tank (via Wired): ‘“Which is why nobody should feel optimistic. It is an extraordinary agreement, at the top end of what the governments could reach, but it’s really a framework for an incredibly difficult challenge ahead.”

(Illustration above found here).

One of those challenges ahead is lack of real understanding of how our environment really reacts to a warming world — natural heating processes off man-made bullshit. Studies are done all the time where some item is worse than the study before it, and occasionally old-shit comes out of the blue.
A creature of that arena is methane — it’s found a shitload of places, (second-most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the US), and especially under the melting permafrost/sea floor of the Arctic, and if allowed to gush into earth-air, we’re in a heap-a-shit, or stated in more scientific fashion — climatologist and Arctic expert Jason Box, Tweeting in July 2014 about the possibility of a methane uprising (from Salon): ‘“If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we’re f’d.”
He was just trying to be nice about being fucked…

Meanwhile, in another methane-related item this week from supposedly an overlooked source of this greenhouse gas — freshwater rivers and streams. Climate change doing its job: ‘Exacerbating‘ already bad shit. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison conducted a new analysis — the world’s rivers and streams pump about 10 times more methane into our atmosphere than already figured.
From the University of Wisconsin on Monday:

“Scientists know that inland waters, like lakes and reservoirs, are big sources of methane,” says Emily Stanley, a professor at the UW–Madison Center for Limnology and lead author of the paper.
Yet accurately measuring emissions of methane from these sources has remained a challenge.

Rivers and streams haven’t received much attention in accounting for that budget, Stanley says, because they don’t take up much surface area on a global scale and, with respect to methane, didn’t seem to be all that gassy.
But over the years, measurements taken by Stanley and her lab members seemed to indicate these sources may produce more methane than scientists had previously known.

The result was “very surprising,” Stanley says.
“I thought maybe we’d be off by a factor of two, so I was taken aback by how much higher the estimate was.”
The researchers pointed to one possible reason: Not every stream is identical.
The analysis revealed noticeably higher methane emissions from streams and rivers in watersheds marked with heavy agriculture, urban development or the presence of dams.
This suggests efforts to improve stream health may have the added benefit of reducing greenhouse gases.
“The fact that human activity in a watershed leads to high methane concentrations in those rivers and streams underscores yet another reason to pay attention to water quality,” says Stanley.
“On top of everything else, it adds to this climate problem, too.”

Yes, ‘on top of everything else‘ and it’s dark way-too-early these days….

***
This an add-on later this Tuesday evening, another related item, and the US Great Lakes — from Minnesota’s  StarTribune:

The world’s lakes are warming up — even frigid Lake Superior — scientists warn.
Dozens of researchers pooled decades’ worth of data from hundreds of lakes and concluded that the world’s lakes are warming even more rapidly than the oceans or the atmosphere.
The warmer waters threaten fish populations, ecosystems and fresh water supplies around the globe.

“These results suggest that large changes in our lakes are not only unavoidable, but are probably already happening,” the study’s lead author, Catherine O’Reilly, an associate professor of geology at Illinois State University, said in a statement.
O’Reilly research found that as lakes warm, their productivity declines.

And now it’s dark…until it’s light again.

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