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Steve Bloom

Just to be clear re the Francis and Barnes hypotheses, I said competing, not contradictory, basically because of the sort of thing Jai just posted.

Chris Reynolds


But what I consider to be the killer graphic, as posted and discussed up thread, is for 500mb GPH

I've got a blog post ready to go on jetstream changes post 2007 and UK wet summers. I find the jet in summer at 300mb, it's the height I use regularly.

Martin Gisser

Bob, Steve - a discovery of yet another methanogenic bacterium isn't particularly worrisome. (If you want to worry, don't forget to also worry about bacterial nitrous oxide emissions...) 90% of soil bacterial life is still unexplored (forget about the cosmos, dear Homo Sapiens, the soil below your feet is way more complex, plus, it is relevant...). In aerobic conditions the methanogens will quickly be joined by methanotrophs who have the easy and lucrative job of oxidizing any methane.

The question is: how wet and soggy will the molten permafrost be at the end: To much water drowns methanotrophs.


As for debate. could it not also be a chicken and egg issue or even two elements that are actually working together? As in most things in the real world, the more we learn the murkier things can get until you start putting it all elements together as more or less equal forces.

Jai Mitchell


you do realize that the differentials in your graphic are within the measurement error right?

what I don't understand is why your extent values in your graphic are the opposite results in Barnes' (figure 2d) which shows an increasing maximum extent over time fro all series?

In any event, I believe that if 2013 was included in these series one would find a significant step change in maximum extent and duration.

Jai Mitchell

oh, I get it, she flipped the scale on the y-axis. . .

Jai Mitchell


I have been looking at your problem and the best I could come up with is two hypotheses:

1. There is a filter on the series used that excludes extreme poleward pulses, I think this is highly unlikely.

2. The poleward shift of the Jetstream mitigates the maximum extent over time.

Steve Bloom

Martin, after a quick glance through the available recent literature, I remain somewhat less sanguine. DeConto et al. do seem to have nailed Eocene hyperthermal causation, and the fact that those happened, I expect with methanotrophs very much present, is cause for deep concern. There are various differences between then and now, but unfortunately the supply of permafrost carbon isn't one of them.

For reference:

Mackelprang et al. (2011) (the paper discussed in the Nude Scientist article):

Graham et al. (2011) (a contemporaneous review article with overlapping authors, so they can be read together): http://climatechangescience.ornl.gov/system/files/sites/ccsiweb1.ornl.gov/files/graham_et_al__2011.pdf

I've requested a copy of Mondav et al., the new one Bob referenced.

Papers citing Mackelprang et al.: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=9916282851377081820&as_sdt=2005&sciodt=0,5&hl=en

Clearly it's a very active area of research.

More later.

Jai Mitchell

I forgot to add this link


poleward shift of the subtropical dry zones (up to 2° decade−1 in June-July-August (JJA) in the Northern Hemisphere and 0.3–0.7° decade−1 in June-July-August and September-October-November in the Southern Hemisphere) consistent with an overall broadening of the Hadley circulation; and (3) significant poleward migration (0.9–1.7° decade−1) of cloud boundaries of Hadley cell and plausible narrowing of the high cloudiness in the Intertropical Convergence Zone region in some seasons. These results support findings of some of the previous studies that showed strengthening of the tropical hydrological cycle and expansion of the Hadley cell that are potentially related to the recent global warming trends.


Jai is hitting it right on. I cite a simple example


that is clear and complements Francis writiing:

...." this northward shift – in particular the larger shift in high latitudes where warming is greatest – that we hypothesized would be a factor causing the waves to elongate."

It is a relatively simple, the cold Polar Air interface with temperate zone, the likely location of the jet stream, moves more Northwards over the northern Oceans which are warming and keep the air above them equally at higher temperatures. While during winter, land being land cools as always the air right above it relatively much more.
This causes a jet stream elongation , a greater Northwards bifurcation over the North Atlantic and Pacific. A more pronounced Southwards shift forced by the physics of easily moving sub-Arctic atmospheres Southwards. These greater more consistent meanders have great significance over many regions.

Steve Bloom

IIRC the ITCZ itself has also been found to be moving somewhat to the north.

This northward movement and compression of the whole circulation would seem to make it especially difficult to measure an increase in jet amplitude, since the movement of the southern legs would tend to get cancelled out and the northern legs would be shifting regardless.

Jai Mitchell

back to the topic at hand.

if a 50% reduction in summer sea ice extent, occurring gradually between 1979 and 2011 provided 25% of total global warming,


speleotherm core samples have shown that during MIS-5.5 and MIS-11 significant portions of the Siberian permafrost completely thawed, and that this happened at globally averaged temperatures only .5 to .75C higher than today--leading to increased methane emissions.


that our current globally averaged temperature is still increasing and will likely increase an additional 1C based on current CO2 emissions (without additional warming caused by arctic albedo and permafrost emissions discussed above)


we have already surpassed a critical threshold that will necessarily lead to an equilibrium climate sensitivity response of greater than 6C warming (over the next 300 years or so).


Ding ding ding ding ding ...

Jai wins the prize. And what's behind door number 2?

Well Alex we have a complete reorganization of atmospheric circulation. We have the halting of large sections of the oceanic conveyor. We have the end of agriculture as we know it. We have the end of civilization to go with that. As an added special bonus, we have a massive global extinction event. We cannot guarantee it will be the largest extinction event, but with just a little more effort it could be. And just for fun, we have thrown in an extra special prize; anoxic purple oceans and category 6 hurricanes!



From your linked article:

"Temperatures in the region were 0.5-1C higher than in modern times for a period about 120,000 years ago, and at that time stalactites in caves further south, near Lake Baikal, showed signs of growth, and therefore melting."

Since he has defined "modern times" to be pre-industrial earlier in the article is he here saying that regional temperatures, not global temperatures are what they are concerned with?
If so at 60 North we've already blown by the 1.5c due to Arctic Amplification.

Chris Reynolds


Please do not confuse things by introducing unrelated factors. The expansion of the Hadley Cells is due to intensification of the hydrological cycle with warming and has, as far as I've read, nothing whatsoever to do with Arctic Amplification. The Archer and Caldiera finding of northwards movement of the jet is from 1979 to 2001, AA didn't take off until after the period of that study.

You say:

"I have been looking at your problem and the best I could come up with is two hypotheses:

1. There is a filter on the series used that excludes extreme poleward pulses, I think this is highly unlikely.

2. The poleward shift of the Jetstream mitigates the maximum extent over time."

I wasn't aware I had a problem! With regards point 1 - are you seriously saying that Dr Barnes has done something to the data that is not declared in the paper? It is stated in the paper that "Linear interpolation is used to obtain smooth contours from the gridded data" this would not have the effect you desire (reducing poleward pulses). With regards point 2, it would surely mean that the effect of greater amplitude and reduced phase speed of Rossby waves is not detectable.

I haven't yet raised the following paper, although I did mention it in my blog post. In "Exploring links between Arctic amplification and mid-latitude weather" Screen & Simmonds look at F&V2012 and use two valid but different definitions of wave amplitude. In using daymaxmin and seasmaxmin Barnes used a similar approach by looking at two time domain series of data. In line with Barnes' finding that Day and Seas -maxmin produce different results, Screen & Simmonds find that their two different ways of defining wave amplitude produce contradictory results, with contradictory implications.

You say:
"you do realize that the differentials in your graphic are within the measurement error right?"

Yes, and I take it that you are aware of how much of the results of F&V2012 are below statistical significance? That doesn't mean it's wrong, the reasons to suspect the method in F&V2012 are detailed in the Barnes and Screen & Simmonds papers, if those papers hadn't thrown such doubt on F&V2012 the results that are below statistical significance could still be taken as indicative of a process emerging from the background of noise.

With regards figure 3 of Barnes.

F&V2012 state: "Evidence of this mechanism is investigated by selecting a narrow range of 500 hPa heights for each season that captures the daily wave pattern in the height field. The following ranges were used for fall: 5600 m +/-50 m, winter: 5400 m +/-50 m,
and summer: 5700 m +/-50 m."

Note in summer (JAS) 5700m, in autumn (OND) 5600m.

Now look at figure 3. The height regions used by F&V2012 are shaded grey and indeed the extent for the red line (1996 to 2011) is higher than for the blue line (1980 to 1995), which explains the findings of F&V2012. However when one looks at other heights the reverse is true!

Secondly note how the point of maximum extent shows no (or very small) change in the extent, as is argued elsewhere in the paper, I interpret this as meaning that the variation at the point is maximum extent is best explained by a rising of the atmosphere, not by an increase in extent of the waves.

To quote from the conclusions of Barnes:

"We find that the metrics disagree on whether a significant trend in wave extent has been observed, and we explain this disagreement as arising due to the methodology of defining the wave on either daily or seasonal time-scales. In addition, we demonstrate that metrics that focus on a narrow range of isopleths to track the ridges and troughs of a passing wave will incorrectly interpret a shift of the geopotential height field as a change in wave extent. When this shift is accounted for, no significant trend is found."

So that's two papers that find the increased wave amplitude is highly sensitive to method, one of those papers shows the result of F&V2012 is due to incorrect detection of the general rise of the atmosphere with warming.


It's not really proper to compare two discrete periods and declare that the jet is moving more northward. I could pick two periods and show the opposite!

For what it's worth, the rising of GPH with warming is very strong in the 500mb GPH data. When trying to examine the claims of F&V2012 I have been unable to satisfactorily remove the overall increase in GPH but preserve any pattern of peaks/troughs. I have found that following a particular line of latitude (ie. 60degN) and plotting GPH by year, the trend of increasingly northwards peaks is removed when I express the data as anomalies from the average GPH around that line of latitude for each year.

Jai Mitchell


to be sure I mean "problem" as in "puzzle" or "riddle"!

Have you seen Barnes' previous work?

link to barnes polvani 2013 produces HASH reference error

This discusses the pulsing behavior that I was mentioning earlier. I believe that the figure 3 that you use should also include error bars. Since the + or - 50 places the earlier and later series well within the range of uncertainty, no robust conclusions may be taken from their comparison, another method must be utilized.

I would suggest plotting both ranges against a third axis--duration. This will possibly help to clarify the persistence trend and the multivariate integral will produce the comparable values with statistical significance.

After all, isn't the purpose of this exercise to determine a correlation with AA to extreme weather?

WRT hydrological cycle,

I believe that the 2013 year, with a step change in blocking pattern frequency, intensity, extreme weather, northward Jet Stream shift, mid-latitude mid-tropospheric dry air during this cooler than average artic season indicates a significant causation.


Chris Reynolds

"After all, isn't the purpose of this exercise to determine a correlation with AA to extreme weather?"

Nope, it's to establish what is going on in reality!


@Sam - a 6C rise would be catastrophic no doubt, but I think some of the more hyperbolic concerns - anoxic ocean, Cat 6 storms - is still highly speculative. Things will be bad enough without either of those.

We are a rather adaptive species, and we've been a lot warmer previously in paleohistory. I don't recall reading of evidence implying widespread anoxic ocean conditions during the early Cenozoic, when temperatures were considerably higher than present.

The graphic on page 4 might be useful:

I for one am not sure we can escape the transformation that is going to take place. Future history will probably have great detail regarding the struggles of humanity (and the ecosystem) to adapt.

Kevin McKinney

@jdallen-- "Highly speculative" seems too strong. Yes, the indications of ocean anoxia during the PETM seem less strong than the 'classic' anoxic events during the more distant past. Yet we know that anoxia is a real possibility from those more distant events, and it's very possible that temps could exceed those of the PETM. If so, why shouldn't we get the Cat 6 storms and ocean anoxia memorialized in Cretaceous sediments?

Still, I'm pretty sure that hydrological disaster will be more than damaging enough, a lot sooner, so I suppose the more lurid stuff is--well, less relevant over millennial timescales.

Hubert Bułgajewski

Yet two weeks and it starts ...
Now barely grows ice.

Colorado Bob

Antarctic circumpolar current carries 20 percent more water than previous estimates

By analyzing four years of continuous measurements of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current at Drake Passage, the narrowest point in the Southern Ocean, oceanographers have concluded that the current carries 20 percent more water than previous estimates. They also found that the current remains strong all the way to the seafloor.



Hi Chris

"It's not really proper to compare two discrete periods and declare that the jet is moving more northward. I could pick two periods and show the opposite!"

Not quite, pick another winter equally bitterly cold on both sides of the hemisphere, highly likely that the jet stream will be Southwards.
It is pure logic. Would you suggest the stream to exist any other place then at the polar/temperate interface?? Small streams occur in the Polar region now because there are warmer meso- atmospheres unusually steady at high latitudes


My point in mentioning the anoxic purple oceans was its shock value. We are all too often complacent in the extreme. We underestimate impacts and effects by relying only on those things we can prove and disregarding the observed past. Dr. Hansen has done a good job of highlighting that, though few actual hear or heed his admonition.

The reality will be much more severe and will happen vastly sooner than the models predict. It is precisely the things the models exclude that will bite us in the collective ass.

As Kevin notes, there is evidence this has happened before. It requires a larger deviation than we want to hope will happen from current conditions. However, we not only underestimate the impacts and effects of our emissions at our great peril, we instead collectively sigh and increase our bad actions.

We have now I believe passed several points of no return. Whatever we do globally, the system is headed to new conditions. No matter what we do we will lose all of the arctic ice. The tundra will collapse and thaw releasing its 1,600+ GT of Carbon with much of that as methane.

The atmosphere will reorganize its behavior to adapt to the lessened differential temperature gradient from equator to pole. This will likely mean the loss of the three band system to be replaced by something else.

The northern parts of the oceanic conveyor will stall with millennia long implications to the oceans and from them back to the land.

Agriculture will never in human history be the same. Perhaps our successors will see climates like those that allowed agriculture to florish. We will not in all likelihood.

As to the cat 6 hurricanes.... We have already seen at least one in the Atlantic and upwards of a dozen in the Pacific. The definitions do not recognize them as such, though the formulas are eaisily extended.

Likewise we have already seen Tornados that are off the top end of the Fujita scale and that begin a new form of massive systems that have a dozen giant tornados beneath and beside them that scour a mile wide swath of land. Again, the definitions being based on damage fail, as once all structures are gone the scale goes no higher. But when the systems literarily Hoover up the ground, we have entered new territory.

Likewise the giant subtropical lows that are every bit as powerful as large hurricanes are outside the definitional bounds of our systems.

We collectively need to be shocked out of our blind complacency. We are sleep walking into a buzz saw.

I do not know how much any change we make can change the dynamics of the system changes. We might be able to slow some aspects. That may in turn give us some time to adapt and to save some aspects of civilization.

Chris Reynolds


My point is that picking individual years is always subject to the viscitudes of weather. But there are studies that show a northward movement of the jet using a large range of years to establish broader patterns of change than comparing one set of years. I just think it's best to rely on those studies.



"But there are studies that show a northward movement of the jet using a large range of years to establish broader patterns of change than comparing one set of years. I just think it's best to rely on those studies."

Fine with me, but again, you can use examples which confirm these studies. I would be very keen on reading a study suggesting otherwise. Find this example of yours showing a month when the jet did the opposite of what it should be doing. I am not impressed by usual meteorological presenter saying the "jet stream is there" therefore the weather " is like this". The stream lies where it should be, The correct interpretation is that it exists where the pressure heights drop significantly, but mostly at the border where cold atmosphere meets a warmer one.

Jai Mitchell


yes that is how I read it, significant lower latitude permafrost melt at MIS-5.5 and no melt at the highest latitude cave sample. but significant melt there at MIS-11.

We are at or just barely below MIS-5.5 regional temperatures and another .5C of globally averaged warming will put us at Mis-11 temperatures.

Of course, MIS-11 was a much longer event. In any case, as we pass through the next 1-2 degrees C in the next 3-5 decades, and an increasing threat of methane clathrate release under the Laptev, all of this will be clear and there will be no more "skeptics" pretending that oil and coal industry profits are more important than their children's lives.

Chris Reynolds


I'm not going to waste time going and finding an example for you - you watch synoptic scale meteorology as much as I do, you see the changes from year to year.. go figure.


Apologies if I interrupt the discussion about weather but I have some questions about the longer term climate implications of these results which I haven't found elsewhere. Can anybody help on these?

1) If this reduction in albedo is equivalent to 25% of global warming by CO2 (and assuming that this is not completely taken account of in the models) and taking it that atmospheric warming has roughly been predicted accurately by the models what does this new result mean for sensitivity to increased CO2? That is, if this is a component to be added in the models to those factors causing warming then there must be a corresponding reduction somewhere else? Since C02 is the major component then the likelihood is that CO2 component will reduce. Where is the flaw in this logic?

2) If this albedo reduction component is not accurately represented in the models and that the models have under-estimated the rate of arctic ice loss what does this mean for the modelled temperature increase in the 21st century? That is, if albedo reduction is under-estimated and loss of ice is also under-estimated in the models, since both of these cause warming then the predicted temperature rises in the models must also be under-estimated. If so, by how much?

3) If 1) means that C02 sensitivity is reduced but 2) means that 'natural' positive feedbacks are having more of an influence on temperature doesn't this mean that the main conclusion of the research is that humanity has less control of future temperature via reducing C02 emissions? That is, (to paraphrase Richard Alley), we can twiddle the thermostat control knob but it won't have much effect?

Steve Bloom

"(T)here will be no more 'skeptics' pretending that oil and coal industry profits are more important than their children's lives."


Chris Reynolds

Feel free to interrupt the 'weather discussion' it's going nowhere.

CO2 climate sensitivity is set by physics to a degree, but various lines of evidence suggest about 3degC of warming for a doubling of CO2. The loss of Arctic sea ice does not reduce it, it's on top of that 3degC warming.

Yes, it means we have invoked natural feedbacks and have less control.


To. Echo Chris, the weather discussion is on which apparently needs more definitive data.

To your question, expanding a bit further, yes, we are in a place where what many of us think needs to happen is damage control and to take adaptive measures. Thet would include reducing our carbon emissions. Much of what we look for here is the "Killer Argument", which will shake the political world sufficiently that it will stop dithering.

We shall see how it goes.


Hi Anthropocene, have a look over in the Arctic Sea Ice Forum at the top of the page. This should lead you to a thread to discuss your questions. Cheers



Ah, there is the problem. The models based on the proven short term factors assert a 3 degC rise per 275 vppm CO2 rise.

The paleoclimate record records a 10-12 degC rise per 100vppm rise, 9 times higher.


Granted, this relationship is over a limited range and extrapolation far beyond it is highly unreliable.

Still, as Dr. Hansen notes, the rise is extremely likely to be very much higher and the climate sensitivity is likely very much higher than 3 degC for a 275 vppm rise, and more likely 8 degC (or more).



Anything above a 3-4 degree C rise is likely to be catastrophic. We have to limit to much less than this. Even at 8 degC per 275 vppm, we are headed much higher. On the current trajectory to 600-1,000 vppm, we are headed for unimaginable changes. Even were we magically able to hold things to a 150 vppm rise (425 vppm from our current 400), we are headed to more than a 4 degC temperature rise.

At those temperatures, the Greenland and West Antarctic ice are toast.



Chris ,

Studies need validation, an elegant elementary re-confirmation, repeated as often as possible by anyone who wants to check them. Finding an example denying robust studies conclusions always will reveal hidden facets usually ignored. I think overall averaging should work, with some caveats particularly about deep southwards meanders and also expansive cyclonic behaviors, but Northwards shift examples should be common. I don't think it is particularly useful to rely strictly on studies especially when they sometimes contradict each other. It demeans the facts, and confuses by useless doubts from not knowing them thoroughly.



The models based on the proven short term factors assert a 3 degC rise per 275 vppm CO2 rise.

"I remember reading something recently" that questions the lower limit of climate sensitivity in the IPCC AR5, which was 1.5 to 4.5. As I remember the models giving 1.5 had poorer performance than the others.

Has anyone a better memory?

Should I be embarrassed in mentioning the Last Hours Video again? Its message: If we reach 6 degC the 12 is locked in from methane clathrate dissociation. Another great dying. Is it plausible?

I'd like a wiser head than mine to comment - there are a lot of wise heads here.

Jai Mitchell


I did not say that Arctic Amplification caused the expansion of the Hadley Cell. I said that the expansion of the Hadley Cell has caused a northward shift of the jet stream, and has contributed to the blocking pattern increase.

The weakening of the polar jet due to arctic amplification has exacerbated the expansion of the Hadley cell. They are not independent! The expansion of the Hadley cell produces higher latitude blocking high patterns that necessarily shift the water vapor to the north--moving sensible heat into the polar cell.

this increase of mixing between the mid-latitude and polar cells is the fist signs of a process that will continue over the next several decades, leading to a collapse of the polar cell.

Jai Mitchell


Yes, recent model analyses that includes a temperature-dependent reduction of low clouds indicates that the model results with lower climate sensitivity are less robust -- indicating that 2XCO2 climate sensitivity is at the high end of the scale, and also increases the likelihood that it is greater than 4.5C.


The ECS response is a sum total of the direct effects of CO2 increase and feedbacks associated with the increase (like increased water vapor), decreased arctic albedo is one of those feedbacks and the rapid rise indicates that the paleoclimate constraints on the higher potential ECS (above 4.5C) are likely overstated, I believe, because of the rate-change of CO2 increase (as compared to the paleoclimte record).

To my knowledge, there has been no study performed that effectively compares the timescales of the paleoclimate response mechanisms to the Anthropocenic rate of CO2 abundance increase. In the earth today, the positive feedbacks are operating on much shorter timescales than the negative ones.

On the timescale of centuries, this necessarily increases the effect of positive feedback mechanisms (permafrost melt, MOC slowdown, polar albedo decline. . .) and reduces the negative feedback mechanisms (increased expansion of boreal woodlands, CO2 fertilization etc.)

so, no, it doesn't reduce the CO2 component of ECS, it raises the overall ECS response value for a doubling of CO2.


Thanks Jai. I sort of guessed the answer would be something like that but then the dumb part of my brain kicks in and convinces me that it must be a zero sum situation. The positive feedbacks always seem to increase more than the negatives though.

Mike: If that was a polite redirection to the 'Stupid Questions' thread you don't need to be so obtuse next time ;-)

Hans Gunnstaddar


Graph of the Day: Arctic sea ice at record low for February

Arctic sea ice growth has slowed dramatically in recent weeks, thanks in large part to abnormally warm air and water temperatures. Sea ice now sits at record low levels for mid-February.

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, as of February 18, sea ice covered about 14.36 million square kilometers in the Arctic. The previous low on this date was 14.37 million square kilometers in 2006.

"Right now, the Arctic is pretty warm everywhere. If I look at temperature anomalies, there’s a huge anomaly over the Barents Sea and Sea of Okhotsk of about 10°C (above normal) compared to 1981-2010,” said Julienne Stroeve, a senior scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Espen Olsen

Our friend Andy is mentioned in an article in DMI (in Danish):

R. Gates

"The positive feedbacks always seem to increase more than the negatives though."
Such is the nature of a continual net positive forcing on the climate-- especially one as potent as the Human Carbon Volcano (HCV). There are no natural negative feedbacks that operate fast enough to counter the rapidity with which humans are altering the atmosphere by the transfer of carbon from the lithosphere.


The lively discussions and interchange of ideas on this particular thread have been particularly informative so I want to thank all of the people who posted comments.

Hans, hopefully you got enough rain in your area to make a dent in the drought as did I. Unfortunately most of the snow here was limited to above 1300 meters elevation and increased to about half of normal. Below that elevation was mostly rain but it was substantial so the ground is now saturated and rivers are running at normal flows in this area.

Hans Gunnstaddar

Good to hear you've gotten a good slogging Vaughn, as we have also. For our area which has a low population density, what we've received is plenty for the season. As for other parts of CA we'll know soon enough.

In LA they had a mudslide! http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-0302-rain-storm-20140302,0,3128234.story#axzz2umqivccg

Rainstorm unleashes mud, damages downtown L.A. street
Forecasters predict the storm will have dropped nearly 6 inches on downtown L.A. — and more in the mountains — by the time it moves on.

All this recent rain had me wondering if El Nino had already begun, but a search showed no proof yet according to one article that says a better picture will form in April-May.



It appears to be a developing La Niña. Notice the strengthening/deepening equatorial blue stripe extending off of South America.




Hans, one of things I have noticed about El Ninos coming on is that weather conditions more like what are expected during an El Nino can begin, at least sporadically, months before an El Nino gets underway.

Possibly these pre-El Nino changes are partially responsible for the changes in air circulation patterns that have driven so much heat into the Arctic this winter as well. Analysis of this has been published here to a degree but I do not remember anyone having conclusive evidence. I would like to hear more about this if anyone has more information.

Steve Bloom

A couple such storms do not make a season. El Nino may be on the way, but this was no harbinger. The remainder of the season is projected to be quite dry.

Steve Bloom

For California, I should say. Farther north may be different.

Also, at a quick glance these storms were very generous to the Coast Ranges (where Hans lives), but not so much to the mountains that provide the supply for the bulk of the big cities and agriculture.

R. Gates

The CA storms were really part of the MJO cycle and not yet related to any future El Niño event that might start later in 2014. But interestingly, both the disturbances we saw in the winter jet stream, these CA storms, and even the mega-typhoon that struck last fall in the Pacific are all related to increased energy being stored in the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool (IPWP). This energy has been gradually building for many decades, with little bits released to the atmosphere in MJO events, El Niño events, and latent heat fluxes that alter the jet stream. It is just one of the consequences of increasing OHC worldwide, with the IPWP being one of the largest single pools for that energy.


"It appears to be a developing La Niña. Notice the strengthening/deepening equatorial blue stripe extending off of South America."

This stripe of blue is the residual upwelling from a previous Kelvin wave that sent cool water towards the eastern Pacific a few months ago. The upwelling is slowly fading out. There's actually a very warm, downwelling Kelvin wave sitting at the international dateline that's incoming (eastward moving) and causing alarm over an El Niño by summer. With subsurface temperatures up to 5 C above average, this pulse of warm water is comparable to the Kelvin waves from early 1997 that led to the powerful El Niño of that year.

On the rightmost image in the panel, the depth of the 20 C isotherm is expanding eastward: clear evidence of a turn in the Pacific's phase.


Thanks, that makes sense. All that latent heat stored in the IPWP and elsewhere is causing the hair on the back of my neck to stand up. I hate to think about what a substantial release of that heat over a relatively short period of time could do.

Dan Ellis-Jones

Always interesting discussions on here!

Looking at the climate sensitivity and impacts of various levels of CO2, can someone tell me if this is only CO2 forcing, or if it's total GHG forcing, and thus we should be looking at the CO2-e figure?

If it's CO2-e, which I have an inkling it should be, then we're already almost at 480ppm, and will be within the year. Or, if it's not, then what are the predicted temp increases for differing levels of CO2-e?

If Sam is correct - "Even were we magically able to hold things to a 150 vppm rise (425 vppm from our current 400), we are headed to more than a 4 degC temperature rise. " But the measure isn't CO2, but GHG total forcing, then 5C increase, here we come, as we're actually over 200vppm increase right now.

Brains trust... thoughts please!

David Sanger

@Sam check out Weather Underground post by Michael Ventrice on "why I am pushing the idea that El Niño might be right around the corner if the map looks like La Niña!?".

Basically, conditions now look very similar to those prior to the 1997-1998 El Niño, with westerly wind bursts and a series of strong oceanic Kelvin waves.

David Sanger

correction to the link:

"why I am pushing the idea that El Niño might be right around the corner if the map looks like La Niña!?".

[mods can you fix previous comment]


This was projected on ECMWF yesterday for next Thursday. A strong, Greenland-based circulation forcing air of Atlantic origin deep into the Arctic. When it pans out that way, I would not be surprised if 5 March will prove to be the day of SIE maximum this season.

 photo ECMWF0203201496hours0603verysmall_zpse6842cde.jpg


Wether, was thinking likewise. The bigger question is when this circulation pattern will diminish. Because if it continues through the summer it will be similar melt year as of 2013.

My latest data , from all forms of observations, suggest a mild return to anticyclonic activity. If this carries through long term,
the melt will be greater because compaction is needed to create physical conditions favoring melt feedbacks. But if anti compaction continues well beyond extent maxima, we are in for similar cold Arctic summer with still a small minima say within top 10. The mechanics are set for otherwise though, low sea ice extent automatically means Cyclones hanging about shores and open waters of the Arctic Ocean, this would leave the center of the pack to be anticyclonic.

Jai Mitchell

I think that the concept of El Nino creating a "release" of heat from the warm pool is overstated.

What is more likely is that the decrease in surface winds reduces surface mixing during the El Nino phase and that this allows SST to increase slightly. This slight increase in average SST creates a tiny decrease in the ocean's heat uptake rate, compared to the current average, and therefore produces a significant increase in the atmosphere's heat uptake rate.

The tropics acts as a solar energy storage system and transports that energy to the higher latitudes via ocean currents.


Chris Reynolds


Hansen's fast feedback sensitivity, which is roughly the same as Charney sensitivity, is 0.75 ± 0.125 °C per W/m^2. This is equivalent to a equilibrium (centuries) temperature of 3degC +/-0.5 degC, although it's more likely to be in the upper range of that, and possibly a bit higher.

This climate sensitivity (CS) is in terms of radiative forcing. So it applies whatever the source of the forcing is, albedo changes (land use, sea ice etc), greenhouse gas changes (CO2 NO2 CH4 and CFCs), or indeed changes in solar irradiance*

In earlier IPCC (may have changed in AR5 IIRC) the RF's are defined as relative to pre-industrial, which is classed as the state in 1880. CO2 levels then were 280ppm, so doubling is 560ppm. Thus CO2-e for an equivalent doubling is 560ppm, we're some way off that.

Bear in mind that use of CO2-e should only be taken for current conditions, it is not easily extrapolated. As Archer/Buffet show CO2 is particularly important because of the millenial scale tail of around 1/4 of peak CO2 that lasts for something of the order of 100,000 years, a rise in CH4 cannot persist that long unless continually replenished, and the loss of sea ice / ice sheets is a one-time 'bonus', after those are achieved CO2-e due to those factors stays level relative to pre-industrial. Whereas CO2 increases increase the RF and increase the multimillenial long tail which sustains at least part of the AGW for something like 50 times longer than human civilisation has existed so far.

See table 1 of this paper:

It gives a run down of estimates of CS, and where those estimates apply. See also the following figure, figure 7 for an idea of how long it takes to reach equilibrium.

Based on your ~500ppm CO2-e there is no danger of a 3degC warming this century. But that is not the point. The models that give 3degC and greater warming this century rely on humanity burning a lot more fossil fuels. IMO it's inherently impossible that emissions will top out at only marginally above 400ppm. Given current behaviour we're likely IMO to burn the lot. That will take the rest of this century. But as the figure 7 I pointed you to shows we'll only experience something like 50 to 60% of the 'committed warming' this century, processes like the slow thaw of continental shelf methane hydrates will then be able to continue what we started. In a few centuries the planet will be in the grips of a hyperthermal, possibly as large as the End Permian.

What we've started is a slow process in human terms, but it is abrupt in geological terms.

*note that the w/m^2 output changes from the sun are not radiative forcings. The wikipedia page on RF gives an explanation of how to convert.

Jai Mitchell


when you said that 500ppmv CO2 cannot lead to 3C by 2100 and used figure 7 as your justification for that it didn't really make sense.

If, as you say, figure 7 reveals 50-60% of "committed warming" by 2100. And the figure 7 indicates that the model held ice sheets in steady state,

and, from the article above, "The amount of heat generated by this decrease in albedo is equivalent to roughly 25 percent of the average global warming currently occurring due to increased carbon dioxide levels, the team reports

Then, won't the front-loading of warming due to a complete loss of arctic sea ice by, say, 2030 necessarily push the curve to something like 75% of warming potential by 2100 (or more)

wouldn't this push it very close to 3 by 2100?


Indeed, Jai,
That figure only specifies the role of CO2 in case of an instant doubling. Fixed ice sheets, fixed vegetation (!) and fixed 'other GHG's' makes the model it depicts rather theoretical.

R. Gates

"I think that the concept of El Nino creating a "release" of heat from the warm pool is overstated."
Respectfully, that's not what data from multiple El Niño events would tell us. We know the thermocline is lowered greatly in the eastern Pacific during an El Niño, and that warm water upwelling increases as the water is upwelled from above the lowered thermocline. This is quite literally a heat pump that sends both latent and sensible heat in larger quantities from ocean to troposphere. This is a big part of the reason for tropospheric temperature spikes during El Niños and the source of much of that heat came from warm water that was originally stored in the IPWP. Very careful measurements off the coast of Peru during El Niños have measured this warm water upwelling and the resultant tropospheric temperature increases that result.


I am increasingly embarrassed in mentioning the Last Hours Video again. Its message: If we reach 6 degC the 12 is locked in from methane clathrate dissociation. Another great dying. Is it plausible?

It does contain a clip of Michael Mann.

Given the missing climate feedbacks in the CMIP5 models used to calculate the IPCC AR5 carbon budget and given some are already saying we are on course for 4 degC should I take Last Hours as any sort of warning?

Was the decreasing Arctic albedo one of the missing/underestimated feedbacks in the models.

Jim Hunt

Geoff - You may be interested in the view from the Met Office on a variety of missing/underestimated feedbacks in the models, currently being discussed over on the forum:

AVOIDing dangerous climate change. Can Global Warming be Limited to Two Degrees?

Colorado Bob

Ancient "Giant Virus" Revived From Siberian Permafrost.

Climate change could release more ancient viruses. Is there a risk to humans?
Buried deep in the Siberian permafrost and untouched for over 30,000 years, researchers have discovered what is thought to be the newest representative of what are loosely known as "giant viruses."

A team led by Jean-Michel Claverie and Chantal Abergel of Aix-Marseille University in Marseille, France, made the discovery of the previously unknown virus, which has been dubbed Pithovirus sibericum and can be revived in the lab.


Chris Reynolds

Jai, Werther,

Ice sheet loss causes regional warming, just as Hansen/Lebedeff found the regional AGW signal to be robust at distances of up to 1200km, during the rise out of the LGM Siberia was largely decoupled from the warming caused by the collapse of the Laurentide ice sheet.

The primary factor in the delay of warming implied by that graph is ocean thermal inertia. The Arctic will continue to warm above global average, but the global average will continue to be 'held back' by the long time constant of ocean warming.

Another long time constant is associated with the loss of ice sheets. Ice sheets are on land, ice pack is over the ocean. While the Arctic ice pack will probably be largely seasonal within a few decades (at most!), it will take Greenland and Antarctica much longer to disappear, although the transition of the Arctic largely seals the fate of Greenland. Hansen suggests in Storms of My Grandchildren, that cold run off from Greenland will cause regional ocean cooling - hence the intense storms despite the loss of sea ice reducing pole/equator temperature gradient.

Jai Mitchell

RE: El Nino heat pump. . .The release of accumulated heat from the ocean is due to the daily solar incident radiation, not a release from some long-term energy storage system. . .that is all I was saying.


The role of ENSO in the heat balance of the tropical Pacific was first studied empirically by analyzing the observed heat balance of the tropical Pacific over the last 20 years. The analysis shows that La Niña and El Niño are both fundamentally involved in the planetary- scale heat transfer in the tropical Pacific. La Niña corresponds to a mechanism by which the ocean stores the solar heating into the equatorial subsurface ocean, the western Pacific in particular; while El Niño acts a "ventilator" to transport the accumulate heat poleward.

what he is basically saying here is that during a La Nina, more accumulated solar radiation is stored in the ocean and during an El Nino, less (solar energy) is stored in the ocean and more is evaporated into the atmosphere.

see also:

Jai Mitchell


Do you think that there may be a growing disconnect between SST anomalies and Land Surface Temp anomalies as the TOA increases?

Colorado Bob

New data confirms Arctic ice trends: Ice-free season getting longer by five days per decade


March 4, 2014


University College London


The ice-free season across the Arctic is getting longer by five days per decade, according to new research from a team including Prof Julienne Stroeve (UCL Earth Sciences). New analysis of satellite data shows the Arctic Ocean absorbing ever more of the sun's energy in summer, leading to a later appearance of sea ice in the autumn. In some regions, autumn freeze-up is occurring up to 11 days per decade later than it used to.


Chris Reynolds


You ask...
"Do you think that there may be a growing disconnect between SST anomalies and Land Surface Temp anomalies as the TOA increases?"


Have a look at Eurasia, the biggest landmass away from the oceanic influence - I've plotted the difference between the 2000's and the period from 1951 to 1980 (GISS baseline) for Spring and Summer.
Note the US isn't seeing quite the same effect, but being between the Pacific and Atlantic it's a very maritime climate. That doesn't mean the US isn't getting it, it's just not as bad as Eurasia.

Then consider what George Woodwell founder and director of the Woods Hole Research Centre said on "The Science of Tomorrow": (Disc 2 of The Day After Tomorrow (2004) DVD)

"Changing the temperature of the Earth changes all climates, it warms the centre of the continents, for instance, which when warmed dry out. And we're watching at the moment the drying out of Central Asia, we have a big drought in Arizona, elsewhere, and everyone has noticed that the forests of North America are burning, they're burning because it's warmer and drier... ...The same thing is happening all across Asia, I'm told that 13 million hectares of forests in Russia Burned this past summer. These are big serious problems. The climatic disruption has the potential for literally burning civilisation off the Earth in the course of the next decades."

Next decades? - well if he means the decades following throughout this century with BAU emissions - I think he's right.

Then take for example, what I consider to be, the key graphic of Barriopedro et al, 2011, "The Hot Summer of 2010: Redrawing the Temperature Record Map of Europe."

That shows the statistical distribution of summer temperatures from 1500 to 2010, look at the hottest summers and how they relate to the main distribution - they're forming a new normal! The actual paper is here:

What is going on is not just a shift of the distribution but a change of shape biassing to warmer extremes, as Hansen shows in his Climate Dice paper, and as is shown in panel 3 of the following figure:

A major reason for this shift is the drying during heat waves / drought, and the impact on sensible (that which can be sensed) and latent heat fluxes. As the soil dries out energy from the sun stops going into evaporation, and massive temperature increases follow.

Actually here's the distribution from the Hansen Climate Dice paper, for summer.

Look at how the high end tail drives upwards in temperature as the bulk shifts lowering the number of occurrences at the peak of the curve (more normal temperatures).

From my reading of the science, and the data I see, early indications really are that we're 'in for a kicking'.

Susan Anderson

Thanks to all and in particular Jai and Chris for an outstanding discussion and elucidation, imho.

Jai Mitchell

Dana Nuccitelli made a series of heat content values based on global temp and argo buoy data.

I plotted it and made a best fit curve here

note the solar minimum at 2004 to 2011, also during this period was a very large increase in sulfate emissions from southeast asia. This worked to assist in suppressing the rate of heat accumulation during this period.

The projections of global heat content increase can be converted easily to TOA values

Note that the Hansen and Soto values from the paper you linked fit the curve very well (they are actually an average value for 2005-2010 with a .15 error bar).

It appears that positive feedback mechanisms have already started.

Colorado Bob

Steve Goddard -
Not one of the finer brains at the turn of the century. This guy predicted the rebound of Arctic Sea Ice in 2008, and used half governor Palin in his words.

His “scientific” end was :
“You bet Ya’.
The Artic Sea Ice was “rebounding nicely” that year he said.
4 years later the ASI fell out of bed in 2012.
This Feb. was the weakest in the satellite record.
Notice this strange thing on the chart :

Notice how we’ve bottomed out at Plus or Minus 2 standard deviations , and the blue line, is growing flat at the bottom.

We just moved down -2 standard deviations in Feb., and when flat, That’s a pretty slick trick to do in the dark if everything is, “Oakly – Dokly”.

Steve Bloom

Hmm, so Julienne moved to UCL last fall. I hadn't heard. I suppose her chances for advancement were pretty limited at NSIDC, and sadly UCL had some openings. Now hopefully the cross-fertilization will produce some great new science!

Hans Gunnstaddar

"The climatic disruption has the potential for literally burning civilisation off the Earth in the course of the next decades."

Next decades? - well if he means the decades following throughout this century with BAU emissions - I think he's right."

I agree, however something that is talked about in the peak oil blogosphere is the idea that BAU won't last much longer, and this is critical to projections of GHG emissions. Here is a synopsis of thresholds relating to oil, including the most recent development:

- Hubbert prediction in 56 of peak production following peak discovery by 30-40 years. Peak discovery in mid 60's with peak plateau starting in 2005.
- Plateau goes from price in the 30's to spiking at 147 a barrel in 08.
- Price today is +-110 a barrel for Brent.
- Since 2000 Capex (capitol expenditure) of 2.5 trillion by oil majors exceeds all previous capex outlays, yet production barely rises. 10.9% per annum avg. increase in capex RECENTLY caused oil majors to greatly reduce capex and sell assets to give investors a dividend. 1.50 in capex is leading to 1.00 in revenue, so price of oil even at 110 is not high enough.

This trend will lead to a reduction in supply and if the world economy cannot support a higher oil price, supply will continue to decline initiating a descent from peak plateau. The amplifying feedbacks of a weaker economy with lower supply flows causing economic dislocation and an end to BAU as we know it, with much lower emissions.

Most estimates for the timing of this are 2015-2020. Hopefully when that does occur, it will be in time to stop the scorched Earth scenario described above.


I hope you are right, Hans. However, my fear is that, as oil gets harder to find, we will switch to fuels with worse and worse carbon footprints.

The Alberta tar sands are definitely a giant leap in this direction..

Jai Mitchell

this is an interesting read. . .pretty pictures!!!!

The Arctic Forest of the
Middle Eocene
A. Hope Jahren


Chris Reynolds


But the peak may turn into a plateau as higher prices lead to other sources of fossil fuels becoming economically viable. Correct me if I'm wrong, I don't get the time to follow PO these days, but I thought conventional is now in decline, but unconventional has stepped up with the price increases making those new sources viable.

It might seem to the US that high oil prices mean an end to their economy. But Europe has higher prices and is still able to sustain prosperous economies. In fact OECD consumption has dropped and is predicted to remain level. Yet in the 'developing' world utility from oil is greater, so higher prices are having less of an impact on consumption. Take a million Chinese (or Indians) with mopeds (not cars), their per head consumption is far less than the average westerner, and thus they experience less of an absolute impact from oil cost increases.

In any case oil is not the only game in town. The UK government's response to increasing energy prices and the resulting public outcry is to look at repealing greenwash taxes, and to open up large parts of the UK for fracking operations.


Here is a good talk from an economist on peak oil.it's long at over an hour, but quite clear.



Arctic forest... interesting read, Jai.
I remembered having seen pictures of the 'wandering pole' projected on the globe in my youth. that is, I have a hunch that this forest might not have experienced the winter darkness as it is now on Axel Heiberg. Due to axis shift/plate tectonics.
Can't find much more on the web than that 'relatively' the Pole could have been situated more in the region around Wrangel then. Which could place that forest on 2300 km from the Pole compared to 1100 km nowadays.
I'll keep it in mind...
Not much relevance for our human experiment with climate though.

Chris Reynolds

Wipneus and Michael Yorke have been good enough to let me know that there's an update from 2010 to 2013 of 'daily' gridded PIOMAS data. The gridded data so far made available is monthly only.

After some messing about on my part (I declared a key variable as long not double) I can reproduce the main series of daily PIOMAS volume, so will be able to produce daily breakdowns by Cryosphere Today region for that period if anyone needs it. Existing regional breakdowns of PIOMAS are already available by month from 1978 onwards here:



Maps in the article show that the location of the forest is at about 80 N now, but was at about 75 N about 45 million years ago.

Steve Bloom

Alert Bay which is at 82.3 N has sun for 6.5 hrs today and lengthening at about .5 hrs/day



At 78.4 N, Sun would be down from about October 24 to about February 18.

Jai Mitchell

this graphic shows solar insolation values over a year at 80'N and 70'N so you can infer it.


Im glad you liked it, the pictures got me but I really shared it when I saw the relative humidity over several seasons. Can you believe 90% humidity at the end of the arctic summer???


In previous posts it was noted that El Nino will have an impact on warming, and I'd add - likely of CO2 buildup.

METOP IASI globally measured CO2 hit 398 ppm at 945 mb on March 3, 2014, which is 3 ppm above last year on the same date. A lot of areas above 410 ppm. See:


Steve Bloom

Given Ellsemere's location, I would think that in a warm climate it would be well-situated to pick up precipitation coming from the west, much like the Pacific Northwest of today. The western Olympic Peninsula has climate averages similar to what the paper describes, although if you've ever been in a cool temperate rainforest like that you would have realized that the humidity doesn't feel all that uncomfortable at those temperatures. In tropical rainforests it's a different story.

So for Beaver Pond, about 3 months of darkness, a strange home for a camel. The Tongass rainforest (southeast Alaska) at the winter solstice might have something of that feel.

Hans Gunnstaddar

"But the peak may turn into a plateau as higher prices lead to other sources of fossil fuels becoming economically viable. Correct me if I'm wrong, I don't get the time to follow PO these days, but I thought conventional is now in decline, but unconventional has stepped up with the price increases making those new sources viable."

You are correct CR, that the plateau beginning in 05 has been elongated by use of non-conventional supported by a new higher price. The higher price also incentivized more exploration. In spite of unprecedented investment since 2000 (2.5T) an avg. increase of 10.9% exploration costs per annum has resulted in minimal increases in conventional production and the major oil co's have recently announced cut backs on new drilling, selling assets instead to continue to offer investors dividends.

This will lead to a decline in conventional sources causing a spike in price, adding to economic strain, resulting in reduced demand, lowering oil price from its current level and as it does this oil price will not support as much non-conventional.

All seems well now and oil is flowing, but once conventional begins dropping, amplifying effects will initiate a chain reaction leading to collapse. This is not simply my take on it, but many others in the peak oil blogosphere. The range of years is a consensus from posters from the linked articles that explain recent developments:





I'm not saying it's written in stone, just that for those that follow peak oil the writing is on the wall. If there is some way around declining EROEI and it's knock on effects to the economy, well hey, maybe we can just keep burning FF, but I doubt it.

Chris Reynolds


For what it's worth, I think we're at peak now. I'm just not convinced it will lead to a collapse of civilisation and a rapid end to fossil fuel burning.

I do think the coming decades will see society getting poorer, and that a lot of people are in for a shock. But I've been poor in the past and have worked hard for very little, at least this time I'll have better technology than I did back in the 1970s. ;) I should point out that I got my current job at the depths of the recession by undercutting all of the other candidates (i.e. I didn't demand as much as they did - as I found out after getting the job). People are going to have to do a lot of that. Those that fail to adapt will have a hard time of it.

But daft notions like the 'Olduvai Theory', claiming society will totally collapse, neglect the will of the ruling elite, backed by the police and army - a collapse to anarchy would not happen because people can be forced to do whatever work needs to be done to get food on plates and provide at least emergency levels of power for essential services. In the UK plans for the aftermath of nuclear war the emergency food depots were almost all close to command and control bunkers - the food was there for the army and police, and to give civillians an incentive to work.

It might seem like our governments have a velvet glove, but it just seems like that. In the right situation the glove comes off and the iron fist is used.

Bob Wallace

As you worry about peak oil don't lose sight of the fact that we have solutions on the road right now.

If the oil supply really did start to tighten we could move a very large percentage of our driving to electricity in about five years. And we already have the generation capacity to charge our batteries.

If the oil supply tightened quickly we have elasticity that would allow us to make significant cuts in use. It might take a rationing program like we used during WWII, but we'd do that before we'd crash our economy.

Hans Gunnstaddar

CR:"a collapse to anarchy would not happen because people can be forced to do whatever work needs to be done to get food on plates and provide at least emergency levels of power for essential services."

They can, CR? There is a way to have this many people simply by making them do things to put food on the table and power up the system? How would that work?


BW: "If the oil supply really did start to tighten we could move a very large percentage of our driving to electricity in about five years."

Where is the capitol going to come from to purchase all those shiny new EV's? Where's the added energy needed going to come from to build them and charge them? Are there EV jets, ships, tractors and long haul transport trucks? That's a cornucopian view disregarding declining net energy and it's knock on effects on the economy.

All I can do is provide links and then let both of you and others come to your own conclusions. I'm not in the business of selling this, but rather saying should there be a collapse per the peak oil blogs best experts between 2015-2020, then carbon emissions will drop significantly and much higher future temp. estimates get proportionately reduced. This is a Arctic blog so feel I need to keep this debate to a minimum. But I urge both of you to go to those links in my prior post, read the articles and what people are saying in the comment threads.

Bob Wallace

The capital for those shiny new EVs will come from the same place that we get the capital for our shiny new gasmobiles.

About 50% of all US driving is done with cars five years or newer. Just switch new car sales to EVs and PHEVs and in five years we would cut our personal petroleum use by close to 50%.

We have enough spare capacity and transmission to charge 70% of all US cars and light trucks were they all electric. That 70% goes up with every wind farm we build.

Oil won't disappear over night. It will simply get more and more expensive as it gets harder to extract and refine. Moving half of our personal transportation off oil would free up supply for planes and ships.

We also have the ability to ramp up biofuel production while not impacting food and fiber production. We can, for example, grow a crop of rapeseed in between crops of wheat and harvest the seed for oil. Having a crop on the ground in between rounds of wheat is beneficial for the soil.

At the same time we could be doing what Europe has done and move rail to electricity. The Trans Siberian railway runs 2x the width of the US on electricity and carries an immense amount of freight.

We could move most of our shipping to rail, use trucks for 'the last mile'. And electrify trucks. We already have 18 wheelers with 100 mile battery range and use battery powered trucks in our freight yards to move shipping containers.

I think if you dig into it a bit you'll find little agreement that there will be some 'peak oil event' in the next six years. Even the major peak oil web site declared that a non-event and shut down.

We've got to get off fossil fuels. We have the technology right now to do most of the job. We just have to roll it out.

Hans Gunnstaddar

The website, The Oil Drum, did not shut down because of a declaration that peak oil was dead, but rather their over controlling moderators chased off the experts and then the message boards died a quick death.

Since oil is finite, it is impossible for there not to be a peak in oil production. That's geology, a different science than climatology.

Did you read any of the linked articles I provided? If you dig into them you will come to understand the topic much better.

Bob Wallace

Thanks, Hans, I'll pass on your links. I followed the Oil Drum fairly closely. I'm aware that they figured out that peak oil wasn't happening and at that point the site blew up.

Oil is finite. But that doesn't mean that we're reaching the bottom of the barrel. We've used most of the easy to extract and refine stuff. We can cook oil out of all sorts of places for quite a while.

Luckily for us, as we have to work harder to obtain a supply the price goes up. And that increases our desire to find alternatives.

And luckily for us, we've got perfectly usable technology in hand right now.


Echoing Hans, peak oil is far from a done event. Declining production was a key motivation behind the Iraq war, and is a HIGH motivating factor behind fracking and increased domestic gas production. Make no mistake, we are past peak, and this fact is a topic of great concern in many corporate board rooms, which are disinclined to share their data.

It is also a key obsession of the US military; one complete carrier task force has been converted over to use biofuels... Not to be green, but to develop and deploy systems to work around future shortages.

Hans Gunnstaddar

Thanks for chiming in jd. And similar to the US military report, the German military also developed their own report on peak oil. See link below:


Complete English translation of German military analysis of peak oil now available

"The tone of the Bundeswehr document is consistent with written warnings issued by other military analysts and stands in stark contrast to the disinterest of elected officials, bureaucrats and industry officials. The latter sectors have routinely dismissed the concerns of peak oil analysts, but this thoroughly sourced examination (which was conducted by a team of highly credible military analysts from a leading Western nation and approved by their top brass) gives credence to the view that the peaking of global oil production constitutes a threat which appears to be as serious as it is inevitable.

As the Bundeswehr analysts politely point out, there seems to be an instinctive refusal to acknowledge our unprecedented dilemma (which perhaps explains why their study remains so ignored):

Gaining an illustrative picture of a subject is very much a matter of habit. When considering the consequences of peak oil, no everyday experiences and only few historical parallels are at hand. It is therefore difficult to imagine how significant the effects of being gradually deprived of one of our civilisation’s most important energy sources will be. Psychological barriers cause indisputable facts to be blanked out and lead to almost instinctively refusing to look into this difficult subject in detail."

Bob wrote: "I followed the Oil Drum fairly closely. I'm aware that they figured out that peak oil wasn't happening and at that point the site blew up."

The Oil Drum still exists as a library of articles and posts from their days on the net. Please feel free to substantiate your assertion from information found on that site and link it here.

Chris Reynolds


"They can, CR? There is a way to have this many people simply by making them do things to put food on the table and power up the system? How would that work?"

Er, guns and the force of martial law in the most extreme case.

Democracy is merely an expression of wealth, take the wealth away and we drop back into totalitarianism/feudalism. It worked for far longer than democracy has. To be clear, I'm not talking about maintaining BAU, I'm talking about staving off total collapse. People will flock to whoever offers them security, history is full of such examples (the collapse of the FSU and the rise of Putin is but one of the most recent).

Here in the UK, GCHQ probably already has enough information on people's political leanings to instigate a 'Kristallnacht' against those they consider subversives.

Hans Gunnstaddar

CR, certainly the UK has a history of pulling together when needed, so I suppose it could be done. How other countries fair is uncertain. Essentially though it becomes a long term problem with energy returned on energy invested dropping as resource locations become more expensive to tap and as climate feedbacks increase, making it more difficult to sustain a world population of 7+b that is increasing.

Most collapse scenarios have world pop. dropping to a much lower, sustainable level. If we do avert disaster and pop. levels remain in tact, one has to wonder if that will entail continuation of burning FF leading to a climatic collapse of civilization. We can produce more renewables but Jevons paradox; in which more efficiency simply leads to more energy being used, suggests renewables won't replace FF, but rather add to the energy mix. Keep in mind economies need to grow and we see the mantra of growth concerns in the news all the time. But growth requires ever greater amounts of energy and that makes it very difficult to stop usage of FF.

Anyway, I appreciate that scenarios other than collapse are possible, and we will see what happens when crude oil begins its inevitable descent from peak.


Hans, Chris,
This line of thinking should maybe better be put on an appropriate Forum-thread.But, maybe in line with Chris' posts, it often occurs to me that we're not the only aware minds here.
While the public part of government and the media seem almost asleep, it is very likely there's a 'hidden agenda' for what's inevitable.

Chris Reynolds


I'll leave it here. But just a parting shot:

Hans said:
"CR, certainly the UK has a history of pulling together when needed, so I suppose it could be done. "

The UK has a militaristic, rabidly nationalistic, streak running right through it's fabric. We built the biggest empire the world has ever seen with it...

Just saying... ;)

Anyway, you may be right. If you are then AGW will prove to be a very minor affair compared with what's coming.

Jai Mitchell


perhaps the global response to climate change is the only solution to the issue of FF resource depletion?

Re: renewables and Jevon's paradox. Any economic theory developed in the infinite resource regime of the 1850's should be tossed out the window today. Jevon's paradox is resource specific and does not speak to fuel switching within an environment of resource depletion.

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