Early Monday on California’s north coast finds our little space overshadowed by overcast skies, sprinkled with occasional splashes of faded-yellow sunlight – today the last hurrah for shine as we’re forecast for more rain for at least the next 10 days.
However, not starting supposedly until tomorrow afternoon, so to enjoy our weather…
Unless, of course, you’re actually running for your lives — catastrophic horror at the Oroville Damn:
The erosion of the emergency spillway is dangerous because “when you start to erode the ground, the dirt and everything else starts to roll off the hill,” said Kevin Lawson, a CAL FIRE incident commander. “It starts to undermine itself. If that is not addressed, if that’s not mitigated properly, essentially what we’re looking at is approximately a 30-foot wall of water.”
(Illustration found here).
Nearly 200,000 people have reportedly evacuated from the area south of the damn, but the good news this morning the water level in the lake has been successfully reduced, so all’s good so far, but authorities won’t really know the extent of the erosion on the man spillway until later today.
The shitload of rain we’ve been experiencing this year is the direct result Lake Oroville was filled to over-the-brim — average annual rainfall for Oroville’s Feather River region is about 31-inches, but since October, already 25-inches of rain as of this past Saturday. Couple in water from different sources, and the tub be full.
In such a way-wet season, there must be chaos in nature. Last Friday, I posted about how our weather is apparently operating without benefit of a ‘steering mechanism,’ an event like La Niña, or El Niño, which can supposedly greatly-influence our weather — currently, we be running on ‘Mother Nature’ alone.
And mama is getting the hot vapors off mankind.
Via the Guardian yesterday:
For the first time, researchers have developed a mathematical equation to describe the impact of human activity on the earth, finding people are causing the climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces.
The authors of the paper wrote that for the past 4.5bn years astronomical and geophysical factors have been the dominating influences on the Earth system.
The Earth system is defined by the researchers as the biosphere, including interactions and feedbacks with the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and upper lithosphere.
But over the past six decades human forces “have driven exceptionally rapid rates of change in the Earth system,” the authors wrote, giving rise to a period known as the Anthropocene.
“Human activities now rival the great forces of nature in driving changes to the Earth system,” the paper said.
Greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans over the past 45 years, on the other hand, “have increased the rate of temperature rise to 1.7 degrees Celsius per century, dwarfing the natural background rate,” he said.
This represented a change to the climate that was 170 times faster than natural forces.
“We are not saying the astronomical forces of our solar system or geological processes have disappeared, but in terms of their impact in such a short period of time they are now negligible compared with our own influence,” Steffen said.
“Crystallising this evidence in the form of a simple equation gives the current situation a clarity that the wealth of data often dilutes.
“What we do is give a very specific number to show how humans are affecting the earth over a short timeframe. It shows that while other forces operate over millions of years, we as humans are having an impact at the same strength as the many of these other forces, but in the timeframe of just a couple of centuries.
“The human magnitude of climate change looks more like a meteorite strike than a gradual change.”
A shitload if Oroville Damns.
Further, the hot spot is also right now the coldest, and this natural effect would effect a shitload of vital stuff. New research indicates we be fucked.
From the American Geophysical Union and the GeoSpace blog last week:
The new study, published in Paleoceanography, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, is the first to record ocean temperature changes during this melting event that occurred during the last interglacial period, the time between the last two ice ages.
Large meltwater events like this one have occurred in Earth’s past, but they usually happen when large continental ice sheets melt at the end of an ice age.
But the new study shows melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet alone is enough to drive large changes in ocean circulation, according to the study’s authors.
Continued melting of Greenland in the coming decades could have similar effects, such as shutting down the Gulf Stream, decimating coral reefs in Bermuda and altering the climate of northern Europe, said Ian Winkelstern, a climate scientist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and lead author of the new study.
“If a big enough chunk of Greenland falls off, which has clearly happened in the past and has clearly caused these dramatic changes in the past, there’s no reason to think it couldn’t happen again,” Winkelstern said.
“We’re doing a pretty good job of melting it right now.”
And the terrifying conclusion:
“The cold conditions recorded by these shells are therefore most likely showing us what the effects of rapid melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet can be,” Winkelstern said.
“Since anthropogenic warming is currently melting the Greenland Ice Sheet at an accelerating pace, these results offer a potential glimpse into a future where sufficient melting has occurred to cause AMOC shutdown.”
And onward out into the weather — off for a walk to Safeway…