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Ac A

Hi all,

I found an interesting comment on The Oil Drum, which is of interest here, latest from Western Greenland and Arctic:

West Greenland Warming Hits 10°C.

The Artic sea ice is currenntly heavily fractured - unheard of in January.

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9758#comment-938598

A-Team

Rick Steiner being a professor of conservation biology at the University of Alaska for 30 years, recently retired, whose 2012 articles can be found here:

http://oasis-earth.com/publications.html

NOAA rather surprised everyone with 30 Dec 2012 listings of certain distinct population segments of various Arctic seals under the Endangered Species Act. While marine mammals in US waters are already protected under the MMPA (Marine Mammal Protection Act), ESA listing may complicate issuance of oil drilling permits in the Arctic, once critical habitat has been designated (that's still years away). The Center for Biological Diversity wants sea ice to be a component of that designation.

The current listings for 'threatened' include Beringia bearded seals, Okhotsk bearded seals, Arctic ringed seals, Okhotsk ringed seals, Baltic ringed seals, southern spotted seals and for 'endangered' the freshwater Lake Ladoga ringed seals.

Below I have provided range maps for Arctic seals along with brief descriptions of their use and dependency on sea ice. The mercury levels in seals is also affected by sea ice extent in an interesting way. (The mercury comes from coal burning and cement manufacture.)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2570426/


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Ac A

An also this:

Australia upgrades temperature scale in record heat wave.

Extreme temperatures across Australia have forced the government to come up with new colors on its climate map to accommodate the new highs. Central Australia was displayed in purple indicating soaring temperatures of over 50 degrees Celsius next week. The entire country experienced the hottest day on Tuesday, with the average temperature across the country hitting 40.33 degrees.

http://rt.com/news/line/2013-01-08/#id42931

Alex

A-Team

The Guardian covers the Australian heat story in more detail, 50ºC being 122ºF. Between climate change heating and lack of water, there has been talk for years about Austrailia becoming the first uninhabitable continent.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2013/jan/08/australia-bush-fires-heatwave-temperature-scale#

http://www.bom.gov.au/lam/climate/levelthree/c20thc/drought.htm

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Djprice537

Christ Alex! You need to post warnings on your links. Oil Drum was perhaps the most depressing thing I've read in weeks.

Djprice537

A-Team...very interesting article on the impact on various seal populations from AGW. I actually feel that these kinds of stories play into the hands of the deniers. They are able to characterize scientists as cute little animal lovers and unaware of the issues facing humanity. We need jobs....and oil.....and jobs....and coal....and jobs....and fracking.

Humans are a selfish species. When we talk about the climate impacts on local species survivability, we need to talk only about species that are directly related to humans.

Examples:

Current desertification trends in the U.S. southwest suggest that large grazing areas, currently used to rase most of our beef will shortly be unable to support cattle.

Winter wheat crop yields, growing in the upper midwest, will be devastated as warming temperatures and lack of snowfall cause large tracts of acreage to be withdrawn from production.

Heat profile trends in the American southwest suggest that planners begin the work to abandon Phoenix by mid-century as the central Arizona desert becomes unfit for human habitation.

Now that will get people to sit up and take notice. You think housing prices are depressed in Phoenix now?

Djprice537

A-Team....we need to start thinking in terms of microclimates and their ability to support human life. Egypt has done this for 4000 years around the Nile river valley. The east coast of Australia will, likely, continue to support human habitation for some time to come.

I am highly skeptical of the proponents for global engineering and think we are way past being able to prevent disastrous warming. Our focus on engineering ecosystems will need to be local and focused on mitigation. The heat wave is coming....get the fuck ready.

Kate

@A-Team. The entire top half of Australia is becoming more tropical, and as the equatorial band expands from the equator Australia will receive more rain over the next century, turning what is now desert into blooming semi-tropical land.

It's the most probable conclusion which sees the bottom half of Australia becoming drier, and the top half wetter. But since the bottom half is mostly already desert, we will probably gain farm/grazing land up north more than lose down south. I wouldn't worry about us too much :)

Kate

People like A-Team seem to forget Australia is HUGE. It has a diversity of climate and environment like very few other countries. We are probably well placed to handle most change that comes our way. I actually see Australia benefiting overall from a warming planet. Not that I want one, but hey, people forget how big this place is.

AmbiValent

More rain doesn't automatically mean more farmland. There are several stages in between until the ground would be fit for farming. If you want to speed that up, maybe the best fitting word for what is needed is not just "irrigation" but rather "terraforming".

Otto Lehikoinen

"More rain doesn't automatically mean more farmland."
Any estimates about how long does this take on various unirrigable soils? Dumping clean waste on these areas now might speed up the process somewhat, but I still guess that would be an intergenerational project. Nitrogen-fixing plants would probably be good but rising the amount of phosphorus is more difficult. Possibly if dead zones on the seas could be dredged for phosphorus this would be instant but with dredging in those you get plenty other not so nice stuff too.

Kate

Yes, you are right, more rain doesn't automatically mean more farmland. It does mean more grazing land. It's not as if the Australian desert is dead soil. It's rich red and black soil that thrives the moment you add water.

There are millions of head of cattle in the Northern Territory and Western Queensland, rounded up by helicopter and moved with the rain. Grazing properties can take up hundreds of thousand of square kilometres of what you would call 'bush' or 'desert'. They are not grazed out either, the area is too big.

That sort of farming is real and done now and will expand as the rain arrives.

Kate

The biggest cattle property in the world is in South Australia - from Wiki

"roughly 6,000,000 acres (24,000 km2; 9,400 sq mi) which is slightly larger than Israel. It is 8,000 km² larger than Alexandria Station (its nearest rival) in the country's Northern Territory and eight times the size of the United States biggest ranch, King Ranch in Texas, which is 825,000 acres (3,340 km2; 1,289 sq mi)"

They only have 10,000 head at the moment because of drought in SA but when it rains they'll expand that again.

Steve Bloom

Kate, the long-term temp increases as such are small enough that in and of themselves they probably would improve climate in some places. But as has become crystal-clear in the last few years, in the mid-latitudes especially fundamental changes in atmospheric circulation will (already are in fact) increase extremes (drought and flood, heat waves and cold snaps, storminess) so as to make life very much less comfortable pretty much everywhere. Bear in mind that this is a system in unprecedented rapid flux, so yet more unexpected manifestations of that flux should be expected.

Neven

Australia will receive more rain over the next century

More Yasis? Crikey! ;-)

Sunkensheep

A-Team:
Australia is an interesting case,
The North is expecting more rain thanks in part to the 'Asian Brown Cloud' (local dimming in SE Asian region), while the cooling stratosphere has caused the antarctic vortex to speed up the circum-polar lows to move south, making southern parts of the continent much more prone to drought.
Neven:
Events like Yasi are much more likely during La Nina years, so it depends on how warming affects ENSO.

Sunkensheep


* while the cooling stratosphere has caused the antarctic vortex to speed up, and the circum-polar lows to move south

Jdean Dingler

If Australia's increased rain takes on the pattern taking shape in North America, then you'll see alternating droughts and floods...

I hope your cattle are good swimmers.

Jeffrey Davis

The Australian heat wave extremes reminds me of the much lower temps this year in Kansas which were still high enough to kill the corn in the field. 112 F is high enough to kill corn. And Kansas got to 114 F.

I'm unfamiliar with Australian agriculture. What crops are threatened by its 50 C temps?

A-Team

It's more instructive to look at evapotranspiration rather than rainfall or temperature in isolation. That 125ºF heat is situated rather inconveniently relative to that. We can see that things are just going swimmingly down there in south-west -- how long can they carry on without water in Perth anyway?

Perhaps it's time to dial back livestock methane belching, the coal exports, and record high-emission personal lifestyles? "CSIRO has concluded that at least half the observed decrease in regional rainfall is due to anthropogenic forcing of the atmosphere (human-induced climate change)."

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/statements/scs43b.pdf

http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/climate_averages/evaporation/index.jsp

http://www.desmogblog.com/2013/01/09/australia-scorches-record-heatwave-warming-trends-bite

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TenneyNaumer

Boy, this thread sure got hijacked from the subject of corrupt officials in the U.S. government (lackeys for Shell Oil) subjecting a scientist to a witch hunt so they could drill in the Arctic, a venture that turned into a fiasco.

idunno

A series of 3 documentaries from the BBC, following a polar bear family on Svarlsbard as they nearly die of hunger due to the lack of sea ice over the course of 2012:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pyql5/episodes/guide

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