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Robert Springer

Wow, thanks for posting. It was an incredible read.


Its quite hot today where I live, but I'm still shivering.

Here is someone who thought in comparable lines:


And here is even a (dramatized) movie(though in german only) that deals with the aspect of extreme heat: http://www.hell-derfilm.de/

Jim Hunt

This is anecdotal evidence only of course, but to my way of thinking my local infrastructure is already creaking under the strain of climate change. See for example the pictures at the end of my article about:

"A Conversation Between Sceptics"

Shared Humanity

Interesting read.....two comments.

Having an ice free Arctic as the trigger seems unnecessary. Any disaster scenario I can imagine would not differentiate between ice free and nearly ice free.

Second, as I was reading and enjoying the short story, it occurred to me that there are an endless number of ways that this could play out, limited only by our imagination, our ability to think about the unthinkable.

Colorado Bob

Climate change at the Arctic’s edge

A ticking circumpolar time bomb is set to release more greenhouse gases than everything humanity has put into the atmosphere since the industrial revolution: what happens if permafrost loses its permanence? A field report from the frontlines.


Colorado Bob

Siberia is warming faster than anywhere in the world, warns top Russian geophysicist

Siberia is associated around the world with cold but it is now the capital of global warming, says distinguished Russian meteorological authority Valentin Meleshko, former head of St Petersburg-based Voyeikov Geophysical Observatory.

One impact will be even more snow in winter leading to excessive flooding in late spring and early summer, as seen last year in the devastating submerging of vast tracts of the Far East of Russia.

‘The process of warming in Siberia goes faster than elsewhere; it is not just hypothesis, there is data and observational evidence to prove it. Siberia is warming faster than any other place in the world,’ Mr Meleshko told the The Siberian Times.

‘In theory we can delineate the influence of anthropogenic (manmade) factors and natural changes. For the last 30 years, we have seen the significant reduction of ice cover in the Arctic and we can observe significant warming there. It reduced by about 30%’.


Colorado Bob

Study: Alaska’s future looks more rainy, less snowy

Alaskans of the future might have to stock up on ice cleats and endure disappointing snow seasons. A newly published study calculates the degrees to which precipitation falling from the sky will be rain instead of snow, a transformation expected over the rest of the 21st century as the far north climate warms.

The study, published in the June issue of the journal Hydrological Processes, uses a model based on decades of weather data from around the state. It applies the derived calculations of past temperature and precipitation to a suite of well-respected climate-prediction models used by the Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The result is a range of forecasts for future precipitation mixtures around Alaska, with snowy seasons expected to become more rainy.


Gerhard Trausner

Hi Neven !
An exciting story. We see how it will begin. And we will see how it will end.
But I am also the melting season in 2013,
Memory. Since the water was cool, after the water has frozen in late October 2012. It was cooled by high waves well, and was colder in the summer of 2013. This year we again experience the summer with warm, insulated water. The Laptev will be very fast without ice.

Colorado Bob

Siberia is known for its winter cold: will it soon be as famous for its summer floods?
By The Siberian Times reporter08 June 2014
More flooding misery due to burst dam as experts say the cause is global warming.


Lynn Shwadchuck

Well done, Paul. I couldn't put it down. What occurred to me as I read it was how many alternate versions there could be – how impossible it is to predict and prepare. Like Neven I think (hope?) the timing is a bit early, but the roll-out is one set of very probable scenarios. The story paints a dark picture of how much business still influences the responses. Scary stuff.


Timely story.

However, Britain and Europe already seeing extra rain as North Atlantic warms, to say nothing of Pakistan, Nepal, and the snow fields above the Himalayan glaciers. Already flood repair is draining infrastructure budgets.

Water vapor contains more energy than rain and (unseen) water vapor condensing on the surface can melt a glacier faster than rain. (condensing wv can produce wind, see http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/13/1039/2013/acp-13-1039-2013.html) 1 gram of water vapor can melt 7.5 grams of ice, resulting in 8.5 g of runoff.

Floods sure, but do not forget the hail. Warm moist air hitting cool moist air can generate tremendous thunderstorms. We are already seeing hail storms that destroy cars and houses. Hail is also very hard on crops.

Everything is connected. Today everything has microprocessors in it. Every microprocessor is embedded in a drop of "gray plastic" made at one of about 300 chemical plants - most of which are at sea level. They can be "jacked up" as sea level rises, but the high pressure pipe that is needed as they are reconfigured, is made at the Shaw plant outside of Houston, Tx. It does not take much to flood Houston.

Currently, organic matter sinks to to bottom of the ocean, and is converted to methane, but the bottom of the ocean is cold enough that the methane freezes into clathrates that just sit in the sea floor. If the bottom of the ocean warms a tiny bit, organic material from iron fertilized blooms will fall to the bottom, be converted to methane, and -- how much methane makes it back to the surface is a very interesting question. Methanogenesis has been shown to occur at low pH's (pH=3.0).

Today, we can dig and transport lime for agriculture because the mining and transport is subsidized by cheap oil - including the production of cheap gray plastic for mine machinery and truck parts. In the absence of cheap oil and good transportation (e.g., flooded roads and rail lines) lime is expensive. And, rye is a long day plant, it does not do well in the short days of winter. In fact, crop production remains difficult as long as the climate continues to change. Crop production needs predictable seasons.

Even after we stop emitting carbon there will be several decades of residual warming in the system - even if we are actively sequestering carbon. This ongoing climate change will affect crop production.

If all this sounds pessimistic, I read the Greek classics and they seem to have had very civilized life without any fossil fuel.


The Greeks did fine without any fossil fuels, but they had slaves. Don't get me wrong, I am a firm believer in renewable energy, just don't want to skip over that point.

Colorado Bob

Paul Briggs

Here's an idea for you -

The Arctic becomes the new shipping lane of the 21 st century, then , a large coal freighter explodes crossing it's ice free waters. Later on, it is found they sailed into so much methane coming from the sea floor that the ship touched off the explosion .

The ocean was fizzling before they met their fate. The winds were calm. The fire burns for several days because so much methane is being out gassed from the sea floor.

Colorado Bob

Paul Briggs

I am an old man , 65 in September this subject will kill your joy if you follow it.

Jai Mitchell

Interesting story, well written.

I think along the lines of the midlatitude monsoons you write about you should include the ARKstorm scenario, this has happened in California on a periodicity of about 1 30 day deluge every 300 years under normal conditions. In the environment you propose this could be an event that happens every 2-7 years.


One thing that is known is that as the Atlantic current slows/stops the surface warming of Antarctica will increase due to a significant reduction in upwelling. This would lead to a rapid increase in sea level rise, though the effects are (largely)longer than your books' timeline.

More importantly in the west, the declines in the Lake Powell watershed snow will reduce the Colorado below sustainable levels. This is already happening today.

eventually though we will have above freezing temperatures and a hothouse climate in the arctic. It will take a long time for that to happen but we are certainly on our way.

Hans Gunnstaddar

Interesting, but didn't see anything on methane releasing, for example from the ESAS.

Part of the story is about temps hitting 50C and people worried the AC will go out. I doubt any time would be lost in digging underground to guarantee survival at least from the heat. They probably also would refract light down there to grow crops.

Sound too radical? Take a lesson out of the planet's pre-hominid history. The smallest critters, the early mammals, survived the extinction of the dinosaurs by burrowing underground.


It seems to me that if there is a "tipping point" for Arctic sea ice, it is not when the sea ice hits zero in fall, but in a warmer climate when the sea ice fails to form in winter.
The reason, in simple words, is that sea ice loss has a net cooling effect in winter, but a large warming effect in summer.
In winter, the sea ice prevents ocean heat from escaping by reducing heat flow to space, and letting the surface and the air get to cold. Sea ice helps to keep the planet warm.
In summer the sea ice prevents solar heat from warming the ocean.
Clouds and many other things complicate this, of course.
Note that there is very little solar heat late in the year, when sea ice will first be completely gone. So there is very little added heat gain, and that is soon lost in winter.
Focus on the major store of heat, the Arctic Ocean. The ocean gains heat from solar input, and from currents from outside the poles. The ocean loses heat to the atmosphere and then to space. Sea ice reduces the solar input, and also reduces the winter heat loss by allowing the surface to get cold.

Steve Bloom

ARkStorms actually have about a 75-year return period, Jai. We are quite overdue, except it's unknown to what degree climate change may have affected the likelihood of these events.

David Goldstein

Love the story! Along the lines of "Cli-Fi", I have written a screenplay for what I intend to be Hollywood's first climate change "blockbuster". I've written about 15 climate articles for Huffington Post and Common Dreams. This may seem silly but...if anyone knows a connection in the movie industry, I'd love to know. As Paul is undoubtedly aware, creating a 'time sensitive' narrative around climate change is challenging. My solution: In 'The Devil's Bargain', it is 2072, the planet is at 4C warming and humanity is about to initiate a massive geo-engineering intervention through SRM in a last-ditch effort to cool a world brought to edge of civilizational collapse. Of course, there are heroes, villains, etc.

James Sutherland

Good story. Only one thing I would nitpick about and that's the part that says "Even the weak sunlight of the high latitudes". Total sunlight in June/July in the Arctic is actually immense because of all day sunlight.

That could be a problem because June/July happens to be (so-far) the time of year when the ice hasn't had much chance to melt yet. Ice at least guarantees 50%+ of that high june/july insolation is bounced back into space. No ice doesn't offer such guarantees.

That might be why melt pools in may are such a good predictor (apparently).

So when I look at the cryosphere today graph I don't look so much at the September minimum dropping (~no sun by september anyway), I look at that may-august decline shifting leftwards, earlier. I think that's going to have more impact, if ever the Sun gets to dump it's full fury into the Arctic ocean unopposed by ice it's going to change everything.


Good story, but I don't believe that climate change is the only problem. Social unrest and poverty also create a lot of problems. If 2026 is a hungry year, it means that in 2026, social unrest might bring more destruction than megastorms, and that it is not possible to rebuilt everything. I read somewhere that the french revolution's main reason was hunger, so guess what will happen if the whole world is concerned. The lack and excess of water problem should also bring many diseases.
It is very difficult to have an idea about the future and I have to thank Mr Briggs for trying. Some days, I am very pessimitic, but others, I believe that thing could end up well, the Maya disapeared, but not humanity in that part of the world.

Jai Mitchell

I had the same thought James, though at first the ice free state happened in late September so I let it slide, but you are right, that the solar insolation in summer arctic is actually more than in the tropics. (neglecting clouds)

hmmm, well if 30 feet of rain in 30 days is a 75 year event then maybe we will get a couple of those events every few years to catch up and then we will have our drought problem totally solved (like, totally. . .)

Paul Pentony

You don't have to go back to the French Revolution etmuosba there is a good case to be made that the Middle Eastern "Spring" and the conflict that has arisen from it was at least in part attributable to the Russian heat wave and the resultant shortage of wheat.


Oh my gosh...

2% of the earths surface flooding the planet.

Do you know that summer insolation during the early Holocene was 50 W/m2 larger up there than today, totally dwarfing the 1.7 W/m2 addition due to CO2 ?

Another hint, did you know that black soot contributes to a significantly higher forcing than CO2 on Arctic ice ?

Third hint. Did you know that the worst storms and worst flooding in recorded history occurred during the little ice age and that warmer temperatures have always been beneficial, particularly as they decrease the temperature gradient between Arctic and Tropics ?


Try not to get too excited, B S. It's a piece of science fiction.

2% of the earths surface flooding the planet.

Where does it say that?

Do you know that summer insolation during the early Holocene was 50 W/m2 larger up there than today, totally dwarfing the 1.7 W/m2 addition due to CO2 ?

Please list all the differences. Was there more ice back then? What about winter?

Another hint, did you know that black soot contributes to a significantly higher forcing than CO2 on Arctic ice ?

What could be causing the black soot? Dirty Chinese industrial growth? An increase in Siberian wildfires? What could be causing those wildfires? What could be causing that cause?

If you're hot on the 'black soot and not CO2' meme, please contribute to the Dark Snow Project.

Third hint. Did you know that the worst storms and worst flooding in recorded history occurred during the little ice age and that warmer temperatures have always been beneficial, particularly as they decrease the temperature gradient between Arctic and Tropics ?

Yes, atmospheric blocking is a wonderful thing, just like warming. Let's do all we can to increase those as much as possible, as soon as possible.

The blog owner has fed you. Now, please return to your own echo chamber.

Rob Dekker

Oh, man, Neven, you beat me to the punch.
I'd have loved to grill this guy on his fake arguments.


If anyone is interested in this type of scifi, The Black Cloud by Hoyle is a fun read, if outdated (1957).

I mention it because of hte comment about about Hollywood connections. I don't think a global warming blockbuster is sellable in Hollywood since no matter how you spin it, it comes out as political and no one wants to go see a movie and fight through political overtones. However, if the plot is something like the Black Cloud, i.e. a totally different source of the same result, it might be easier for the message to get through about what could happen as a result of global warming.


The story makes the arctic ice too predictable.

I would throw in more variation.


I find it unlikely that the Canadians would be planting trees as part of a carbon sequestration scheme. Most coupled vegetation climate models I've seen show that the the northward migration of the tree line will decrease the planets albedo and that this will offset any gain from carbon sequestration and actually act as an additional warming feedback.

Susan Anderson

Amazing title and image. Hope it becomes the core of a global best seller and wakes a few people up. And that's before I get into reading what y'all said.


The butterflies are already on the move!


Great article, when do we get the second part?


There is no evidence that the summer ice is in imminent danger of collapse.
Feedbacks in the climate system are only marginally positive.

Negative feedbacks are
1. A reduction of sea ice results in increased atmospheric water vapour
and hence more clouds. Cloud albedo is greater than sea ice albedo and
so net short wave forcing is reduced.
2. A reduction of sea ice results in increased evaporation. Evaporation
cools the surface but warms the atmosphere when it condenses. Increased
surface heating will increase the condensation height resulting in more
heat lost from the atmosphere to space. This is called the 'lapse-rate
3. A reduction in sea ice results in more short wave absorbed by the
open ocean. Increased short wave radiation and increased melt water
reduces the ocean mixed layer depth. A shallow mixed layer stratifies
the ocean such that the heating is not mixed to the deeper ocean. With
the heat confined in the surface layer it is lost to the atmosphere more
readily and very rapidly once autumn starts.
4. Thinner ice in summer means more heat loss from the ocean in winter,
resulting in stronger ice growth.

Positive feedbacks are the obvious
1. Reduced sea ice means more open water and lower albedo so more heat
up take and more ice melt.

Thus, a simple calculation including only the positive feedback will
produce an incorrect early loss of the summer ice.

All GCMs show that the inevitable loss of summer Arctic ice does not
influence the global climate system. Warming does not increase
significantly just because the cloud which replaces much of (but not
all) the ice is more reflective. The impact on the North Greenland ice
sheet will hasten the regional melt rate. However, it is evident that
the decline of the Greenland ice cap will take more than 1000 years.
The so called 'speedup' of draining glaciers has been shown to be a
transient feature as most of those 'fast' glaciers, diagnosed in 2003,
have now slowed to their original speeds. Even if tide-water glaciers
were all to speed up, they can only drain 10% of the ice sheet before
they become grounded above sea-level. There is ample evidence that non-
tidewater glaciers have not increased in speed.

However, it is evident that the decline of the Greenland ice cap will take more than 1000 years.

But we are not primarily interested in the Greenland ice cap, but in the first 1-2 metres of sea level rise, as they will entail huge infrastructure costs and displacement of hundreds of millions of people.

The so called 'speedup' of draining glaciers has been shown to be a transient feature as most of those 'fast' glaciers, diagnosed in 2003, have now slowed to their original speeds.

Have they?

Hold on, given the lay-out of your comment it seems that you have copypasted your text from somewhere. Let me google that. Found it: a forum entry by probably someone other than you, back in 2011. You know, 2011, the year before 2012.

How weak to just regurgitate some half-truths, half of which isn't even actual, without giving a source.

Please, don't do that here.

Colorado Bob

Large sea ice changes North of Swalbard

During the last decades warmer Atlantic water has caused a retreat of the ice edge north of Svalbard. In contrast to other areas of the Arctic Ocean, the largest ice loss north of Svalbard occurred during winter.

A paper published in Tellus by Ingrid Husøy Onarheim and co-workers demonstrates large changes in the sea ice cover north of Svalbard. The Arctic sea ice area has been measured, using satellites, since 1979.
The new study shows that the ice cover north of Svalbard is decreasing for all months, with largest ice reduction during winter. This is in contrast to the observed changes in more central parts of the Arctic Ocean, where largest ice decline is happening during summer.



your research on where China stands in this issue is a little off base. China currently plants 3 billion trees per year and has the largest man made forest in the world. 500,000 sq km. China is already in the process of replacing its public transport buses with ones running on LNG. in my city about half the fleet is running on LNG right now. the same applies to taxis. do not assume that China is behind the West it is a long way in front in many ways. the USA burns more coal per head of population than China does. China is building more bigger infrastructure than the USA in any field you care to research. the nuclear power station building is going on now as is other renewables. it will also be the Chinese fishing fleets that rule the waves not Japan.

Bill Fothergill


The cut&paste job to which you refer supposedly originates from Dr Jeff Ridley at the UK Met Office.

I have contacted the Met Office and asked for this to be drawn to his attention.

With a bit of luck, he might drop by.

In the interim, here is a link to one of his articles on the Met Office web site. This discusses various possible states that the Greenland Ice Cap might end up occupying...

(Some might recognise the modelled behaviour as being somewhat akin to a form of hysteresis loop.)

Cheers billf


Report from the Bering-Chuckhi area cold days still.

Jim Hunt

@Bill - Much more from Jeff Ridley and The Met Office on my own blog:

"Can Global Warming be Limited to Two Degrees?"

I live within easy cycling distance of the Hadley Centre! In case you're wondering about the answer, the scientific consensus in this neck of the woods is "no".

Steve Bloom

Good article overall, except for the confidence placed in the time needed for the GIS to undergo major loss. So many recent results have upended the ice sheet models that it's going to take years to catch up. Recall, e.g., that the warmer water encroaching on the marine-based ice sheets was not predicted by the models.

As a general matter, the models haven't been able to manage the polar warming we *know* from paleoclimate research (e.g. Lake E sediment pollen and the Pliocene megafauna on Ellesmere Island) occurred the last time CO2 levels were in the present range. What else have they missed?

Someone should do a timeline of the scientific understanding of ice sheet response to warming, recalling that no more than 15 years ago the general assumption was that even the marine-based ice sheets would respond very slowly. Lots of glaciologists seem still stuck in that paradigm. Anyway, I suspect the graph would take on the shape of a familiar sporting implement.


Careful there Steve.

Someone might call you for icing!


Steve Bloom

Just to note that the Svalbard sea ice paper press release CB linked to concludes "more advanced climate models coupled with observations are needed" to get a handle on the behavior of the currents warming the Arctic. Put another way, there's presently no means of projecting future behavior of these currents, although with continued expansion of the tropics (a fundamental consequence of warming that... wait for it... the models can't get right) "more of that" seems like a safe bet.

The cut&paste job to which you refer supposedly originates from Dr Jeff Ridley at the UK Met Office.

Jeff Ridley isn't responsible for someone quoting his comments from 3 years ago, without giving a source. Especially with the 2012 melting season happening in the meantime.

Bill Fothergill

@ Jim Hunt

I had read about Jeff Ridley doing the "Can Global Warming be Limited to 2 Degrees" gig at the following site...


It doesn't come across as the same person with the troll fodder that Neven (aka Sherlock Holmes) unearthed earlier on this thread.

The article on your blog reinforces the impression that somebody has "doctored" what was actually said.

Re: the Met Office - I'm a bit further away than you, as I'm on the Eastern flank of Dartmoor.

Colorado Bob

Drastic New England Lobster Decline May Be Linked to Warmer Waters

Despite booming populations of adult lobsters, marine biologists and fisheries along the northern Atlantic coast of the United States are concerned about a dramatic population decline for young larval lobsters. Scientists searching for the cause of this drop see signs that ocean currents and warmer ocean waters are possible culprits.
Dr. Rick Wahle, research professor for the School of Marine Science at the University of Maine and founder of the American Lobster Settlement Index, has been tracking lobster populations since 1989. The scope of his study today tracks the waters in New England and Atlantic Canada.
Wahle and his crew of divers are tasked with counting the larval populations of American lobster. He told AccuWeather.com that the last few years have seen some downturn, but that recently the decrease was more drastic.
"In 2013 we saw one of the most widespread downturns in the history of [this study] for sure," Wahle said.


Colorado Bob

This story :

Drastic New England Lobster Decline May Be Linked to Warmer Waters

And this story :

Large sea ice changes North of Swalbard

Go hand in glove. What is troubling is that they span the entire Atlantic from Maine to Norway.

Steve Bloom

Although the AMOC has been slowing of late. I don't understand the current system well enough to know what relationship that has with the overall transport of warmer water into the Arctic, although presumably some. Interesting times.

Hans Gunnstaddar

Philiponfire wrote: “the USA burns more coal per head of population than China does.” Actually close to even. The link below indicates china burns 4 billion tons of coal a year vs. the US’ 1 billion tons. If the US has close to 315 million people x 4 = 1.26 billion people, then they are on par or at least close enough. However 4 times as much coal is just that, regardless of the population comparison. After all China is responsible for their population total, no one else.


Take a look at the graph showing how much coal China uses and how fast that use is accelerating at the link above. Below is some data from that website:

In just 5 years, from 2005 through 2009, China added the equivalent of the entire U.S. fleet of coal-fired power plants, or 510 new 600-megawatt coal plants.

From 2010 through 2013, it added half the coal generation of the entire U.S. again.

At the peak, from 2005 through 2011, China added roughly two 600-megawatt coal plants a week, for 7 straight years.

And according to U.S. government projections, China will add yet another U.S. worth of coal plants over the next 10 years, or the equivalent of a new 600-megawatt plant every 10 days for 10 years.


saying 'they're responsible for their own population' is a bit harsh - what are they supposed to do, cull them every few years? clearly per capita emissions are the only fair comparison, however china gets far less $value for each unit CO2 emitted, and clearly coal will dominate the energy mix for plenty of time to come - nuclear n renewables are still a sideshow

Hans Gunnstaddar

"saying 'they're responsible for their own population' is a bit harsh"

How is that harsh? Who else is responsible? I mean that's a laugh.

Fact: China burns 4 billion tons of coal a year and is continuing to build more coal powered plants for electrical distribution. (see the link provided in my previous post) The health of the planet lies in the balance (regarding all FF burning) - so how does that number come down instead of continuing to sharply rise?

In China their main goal is increasing GDP. The higher the GDP the more energy required. There are more renewables and I commend them on that effort, but the energy produced by their renewables is obviously not anywhere near what they require to sustain and grow their economy, at a faster rate by the way than any other country right now.

Glenn Tamblyn

"The Greeks did fine without any fossil fuels, but they had slaves. "

Fossil Fuels are our slaves. For those of us in the developed world fossil fuels are the equivalent of having 100 slaves. Average energy output from the human body is around 100 watts. Average energy consumption in the developed west is around 10 kWatts


China has nearly one fifth of the world population.
Those of us who live in countries that have three times their emissions percapita, eg Australia, USA, Canada should address our own countries excess emissions not those of a developing country.

james cobban

philiponfire: "China is already in the process of replacing its public transport buses with ones running on LNG. in my city about half the fleet is running on LNG right now. the same applies to taxis."

But LNG might actually be quite a bit worse than coal as far as contributing to GHG buildup - maybe 5 or 6 times worse when everything is taken into account, such as leaks during extraction, storage and shipment, and the energy required to liquify and then gassify it. Watch Years of Living Dangerously if you can. Here's the first episode on youtube:


DavidR: "China has nearly one fifth of the world population.
Those of us who live in countries that have three times their emissions percapita, eg Australia, USA, Canada should address our own countries excess emissions not those of a developing country."

While true, that doesn't address Hans' point in any way. Of course China is responsible for its own population numbers (like every country), and it is quite aware of the fact, witness the decades-long one-child-policy. That policy led to problems such as a gender imbalance (female infants being allowed to die, as male children were seen as more desirable), but that just means the policy needs to be improved, not scrapped. It may be unpopular to talk about overpopulation, even verging on taboo, but if we, as a species, don't take responsibility for our numbers globally, then we are just like the fruit flies in Malthus's petrie dish, expanding exponentially until we collapse.


Hans, every country's 'major goal' is GDP growth, especially poor ones, which china still is. and expecting them to hold emissions steady while western countries emit so much per person is naive in the extreme - there is also the fact that about 25% of China's total CO2 emissions are embodied in products exported to US/EU/Japan, and another major chunk result from ongoing urbanization. what do you expect them to do, stop burning coal and carry on splashing around in the paddy fields? if high-income countries aren't taking significant action, why should anyone else?


Not directed at collapse of ice, but at the other parts of the debate. Came across the talk and included in it was dealing with some of the issues brought https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gh9kDCuPuU8


Neven, the best thing to do is to describe the play by play as the ice collapses. Reality is more riveting. ECMWF projects even more compaction and sunny Anticyclones breaks between the winds.

Hans Gunnstaddar

sofouuk, my first post was to set the record straight on China's actual coal burning. The 2nd post was to respond to your post. Neven doesn't like exchanges that run on, so I'm going to be the first to bow out. Just understand that climate change doesn't care about excuses as to why we supposedly must burn FF. It simply responds proportionately to emissions, with unexpected tipping points in the offing.


Thank you Hans, and others. It is definitely a worthy topic, just elsewhere.

Meanwhile, currently, forces are setting up for possible epic melt from the CAA along the west arctic back to the Laptev.

Any analogous past conditions we can compare with to get a sense of potential outcome?

Nick Naylor

Nova did a really nice video showing how ocean currents and polar ice tie in with weather and other global impacts.

Watching this, I thought about this story & thought it might spark ideas about potential chain reactions.


Nick Naylor

The video also helps identify the various satellite sensors that would likely be the source of breaking news, and the story might benefit from using that angle.

The story would obviously have to make some assumptions about our then-current fleet of satellite sensors, which would depend on political history from now to then.

David Miller

Paul, I think the missing element is human conflict. You referred once to Chinese droughts and 29% of the world population being undernourished.

Personally, I'd guess an increasing population and agricultural output being down by 20-40% causing a lot more than 29%, but if we feed more people and fewer animals, perhaps not.

Still, hungry people go to war. Current conflicts such as Syria can be traced in part or whole to climate change.

Gwynne Dyer put it as well as anyone: "People always raid before they starve"

Two obvious areas of conflict are India/Pakistan as the glacier-fed Indus river dries, and China/Russia as the Chinese breadbasket desertifies.


One problem with considering emissions based only on per capita is that if world population grows, or if the population in one area grows, then emissions would rise in the world, or in that area, if the emissions per capita remain constant. One advantage of considering emissions based on land area is that if that is kept constant for a given region then emissions won't rise with population growth. It might be worth considering limiting emissions per capita, but also limiting emissions per land area, possibly taking into account that some land areas are in a colder climate than others. This is just something to consider.

Jim Eager

Hans' per capita CO2 emission comparison is not as simple as he suggests. What he is overlooking is the fact that a large proportion of Chinese CO2 emissions are generated by production of consumer goods for European, American and other western consumers, so in a sense those Chinese emissions are actually outsourced European and American emissions.


Thank you Paul, I enjoyed reading this, well as in 'enjoy' while you are holding your breath at what feels terrifying...!
I liked how it was set not too far in the future, most projections are so far out that they dont seem real, 50-100 years hence is impossible to imagine.

I really liked the compostional devices you used here, the factual & the 'news clips' etc. Did feel there was a little slowing down of the pace then after the first 'factual' part but that was probably a good thing, let me breathe for a moment! There were a number of reeeally good stories in amongst those news clips, they had great potential if you wanted to expand on some of them.
As others commented there are lots of different ways we each might be imagining things will play out, & over what time frame in reality in the future, but congratulations, this was a great read! No wonder you won the award with it.


hola cara mia! big GFS gyre circulation at the solstice projected:


confirmed by ECMWF


last stand Arctic archipelago thicker ice is going through a high pressure stress test. NE passage should be open very early, while NW passage later but late.


Nearer at the Pole Mass Buoy shows some tentative melting,


despite average temperature well below 0.

Using latest refraction state of art discovery:


Average temperature of sea ice is no longer colder than air, about equal with surface temperature around -4 C….

Jim Hunt

Wayne - The bottom sounder is non functional on 2014E, which makes it pretty tricky to work out if bottom melt is taking place or not. See the temperature profiles at:


Bottom melt has certainly started on the buoys in the Beaufort.

Jai Mitchell

I think you should incorporate tropical region cloud seeding as a way to force more heat into the ocean and combat regional weather effects from climate change:

Singapore, Wary of El Nino Factor, Offers Aid to Indonesia in Fighting Forest Fires
That package includes: one C-130 aircraft for cloud-seeding operations; as many as two C-130 aircraft to ferry fire-fighting assistance teams from Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF)

Jai Mitchell

apparently the countries of Malaysia and Indonesia put 20,000 Kg of salt into the oceans in 1997. Now they are borrowing equipment to increase their seeding capabilities.

It seems that this increased salinity would naturally produce a downwelling effect on the surface of the ocean, driving heat into the deep.


Thanks Jim, I would say that if the bottom melts for the others, is likely for this one. Too bad its not functional. You've highlighted the biggest problem with sea ice, so little data in such a big place!

Steve Bloom

jai, 20 tonnes of salt has to be entirely inconsequential, the reason for which you should be able to work out for yourself. Re the cloud seeding, I would like to see a plausible physical rationale that it even has the potential to result in significantly more heat being forced into the ocean. Remember that when it rains in one location there's another, probably quite close in time and space, in which it doesn't.

Jai Mitchell


you are right Steve, even if it was 3 times that amount (60,000) kg of salt that would only be enough to raise 300,000 cubic meters of sea water to the observed salinity anomaly (.2 0/00) found in the region at the 0-100meter depth. (figure 3.11b in the 2012 state of the climate. To produce a significant regional downwelling for the entire tropics it would have to be a significantly larger volume of salt.
(figure 3.13b)

warning large pdf.

Jai Mitchell

of course, in this scenario, the goal would be to increase the surface mixing rate, say drive the top 1 meter layer down about 40 meters where it disperses heat to lower thermoclines.

Paul Briggs

Thanks, everybody.

My main worry was that I'd gotten something fundamentally wrong — that the average insolation of the North Pole in summer might not be enough to heat the ocean that much, or that interrupting the Gulf Stream wouldn't have that effect.

I should probably have gone into a lot more detail on the effects of food and water shortages and weather disasters on societies (I sort of hinted at a major reshuffling in the Chinese government after the hurricane hit Shanghai and the Turpan Depression flooded) but if I really set out to do this story justice it would turn into a 500,000-word epic novel and I already have a ridiculous number of writing projects going on. (I only just realized that I'd completely forgotten about the effect of the northern monsoon and spring meltwater soaking through the Arctic soil and hitting the permafrost. Eek!)

Thanks for the suggestions on the ARKstorm and using salt to force downwellings. I hadn't heard of these.

Steve Bloom

Yes, although significantly is an understatement since 3000 cubic meters is only about 65 cubic meters on a side. The ocean is a large place.

Re the cloud seeding effect, remember that, in addition to the point I made above about the effect probably being pretty local, this is the warm pool. Water is relatively shallow in most places, the thermocline is deep and ongoing evaporation from the surface is massive. The whole idea fails the smell test, IOW.

Jai Mitchell

not 3,000 cubic meters, 300,000 cubic meters. That is the measured anomaly imbalance in this region, even an artificial anomaly of 1/10th of that would create a significant buoyance differential on the surface, causing a downwelling.

While I appreciate your sense of smell, without doing the math, figuring out the difference in density of slightly salted water, deposited on the first decimeter of the surface and slowly mixing/sinking, one cannot fathom the volume of overturning that this process would create.

even a slight artificial salinity increase would create a significant buoyancy imbalance, an even distribution over hundreds of square kilometers would move considerable volumes of warmer surface water into the deeper ocean.

Steve Bloom

That was a typo, sorry. The 65 meters on a side is correct for 300,000 cubic meters. That is a vanishingly tiny volume, orders of order of magnitude smaller than what would be needed for a significant effect.

"even an artificial anomaly of 1/10th of that would create a significant buoyance differential on the surface, causing a downwelling."

Math for this? I find it more than a little ironic that you're asking me.

And on a hot, sunny day in that region, how much does surface salinity increase due to evaporation?

Also, if the seeding works to any degree, there will be extra fresh water running off into the sea in the same area, right?


Ironi is a Greek word Neven, before considering satellite temperatures as presented , better look at this: http://eh2r.blogspot.ca

I have found a need to reconsider even if 2012 surface air was even warmer at this time of the year. Is not bad, it is science. I must ask NCEP to look at this as well, perhaps a recalibration is possible. At least there is a way out but the data needs to be graphed.

Jai Mitchell



What would drive the uplift of the moist arctic air needed to generate the "northern monsoon"? Even with the arctic ice melting in late spring and sea surface temperatures peaking at 15°C by mid-August, the arctic would still be the coldest part of the northern hemisphere until the northern portions of the continents began to cool rapidly in the fall. It might be start to be possible for the warmer, wetter arctic air to be lifted by colder, dryer continental air starting sometime in October, and this could continue until the arctic froze in December and cut off the moisture supply. This could lead to lots of mid-fall rain and late fall snow in the far north, but the temperate zones south of 50-55°N or so will cool more slowly than the area north of 60°N and might never be colder than the arctic. Any arctic air making it that far south probably won't be getting lifted, making the higher humidity largely irrelevant.

Even when the moist arctic air is lifted, how much rain can be reasonably expected? Air can hold substantially more water at 10°C (likely the highest possible arctic temperature when pockets of colder continental air begin to form) than at sub-freezing temperatures, but still far less than at even a temperate 20°C. Rain will fall, but torrential downpours could be difficult to produce.

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