Tag Archive | "National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration"

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Poles Melt as 2016 is Hottest Year

Posted on 11 February 2017 by Jerry

It does not wait for the White House. Global warming continues all around the world but especially at the North and South poles. 2016 will go down in the record books as the hottest year on record per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This is the third consecutive year of progressively record temperatures.

An article in Science magazine in the January 27 issue of 2017 stated that this last year was “1.1°C above those in the industrial era, and 0.07°C above the previous record set in 2015.” The article goes on to say this conclusion is based on an “analysis by the Geneva, Switzerland-based World Meteorological Organization (WMO), based on data from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United Kingdom’s Met Office Hadley Centre of Climate Science and Services, and the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit.”

All indications are the sea ice of both poles was at historic lows. The air temperatures over the artic and Antarctica in November and December 2015 were near normal and yet the sea ice around both poles was at a lower point than many previous years and decades.

An article by the National Snow and Ice Data Center appearing this year in January 2017 said, “Artic sea ice extent for December 2016 averaged 12.10 million square kilometers (4.67 million square miles), the second lowest December extent in the satellite records.”

In a recent January 26, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Herald, Dr. James Renwick of Victoria University is reported to have seen 2017 begin with more than one million square kilometers of ice missing at the two poles when compared with the historical average. It also reported he saw more than three million square kilometers of ice missing over a 76 day stretch of time between October 13 and December 27th of 2016.

I apologize for the absence of written articles recently. In the last couple of months I moved to a new home in another state and attempted to cope with the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. These two developments took the majority of my time during the intervening period. I must admit that my mood turned around with the Women’s March that swept the nation. It was a beacon of hope that there may be hope that the Trump overtures will not go unanswered by the people. In addition, I took comfort in all of the protests about the cancelling of “Obamacare”.

I now see that progress has just gotten harder to come by and that we must keep fighting for what we believe. Of course I continue to believe that we must have solutions to global warming, the ozone hole, nuclear weapons, nuclear technology and synthetic biology/genetic engineering. So we must keep fighting until we solve these four or five problems that we have collectively created.

For more information or to access source documents for this article please use the following links.

http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/hottest-year-on-record/

http://huffingtonpost.com/entry/2016-hottest-year-global-record_us_587e63eee4b07b9dd704f788

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid+11776133

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/sifter/last-year-was-again-hottest-record

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bright Idea

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Ocean Farming When Wild Fish Are Gone

Posted on 04 May 2015 by Jerry

Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) may be in our future but is actually a throwback to how some countries farmed fish on a small scale in ancient times.   In some places it continues today.  IMTA however, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is, “An evolving approach to seafood production that emphasizes an ecosystem management approach where ‘fed’ species, such as finfish or shrimp, are farmed in close proximity to species that can ‘extract’ nutrients from the water column, such as shellfish and algae or seaweed.”

This can be a model for a smaller isolated farm that is inland from a natural waterway or as described in the April 2015, issue of Scientific American in an article by Erik Vance, “Fishing for Billions”, implemented on a grand scale at Zhangzi Island and several other islands, near Korea.  These islands are being used for a grand IMTA experiment.

Instead of deploying neighboring cages that are used in most of the world, most notably in Canada’s Bay of Fundy, the Zhangzidao Company that is conducting the fish farming, according to the Scientific American article, uses entire islands.  After having “carefully studied the movement of nutrients along the shores….they seed nutrient-rich parts of the islands with young scallops bred to thrive here while carefully removing their predators.”

Critics argue the IMTA of the Zhangzidao Company is not legitimate because there are no finfish being raised which theoretically would feed the shellfish with their excrement.  These farms however produce 60,000 tons of kelp, 200 tons of sea urchins, 300 tons of oysters, 700 tons of sea snails, 2,000 tons of abalones and 50,000 tons of scallops each year.  The company references detailed island maps showing ocean currents, where nutrients congregate and where yields are highest.  They have also used 20,000 refrigerator sized concrete blocks to form needed artificial reefs.

Critics of IMTA rightly point out that where finfish are raised today there is net segregation of farmed fish from wild fish.  They state however that this separation is inadequate because finfish escape and breed with wild fish.  They observe that in open-ocean or bays some of the dangers of fish farms are still present.  Specifically, there is still the presence of sea lice and various diseases that can infect the area.  They also are critical of IMTA because it has not shown yet that it has the ability to scale in inland, artificial environments.

It is a reality that the oceans are being over fished.  This large-scale use of the open water around islands is probably not possible in and around most industrialized nations because of too many environmental laws, political pressures and the lack of public acceptance.

Unfortunately fish are appearing in much smaller numbers and are migrating to different environments as a result of climate change.  In addition, melting glaciers and the future absence of run-off streams due to global warming will eliminate many spawning grounds.  Something may need to be done if our world population continues to grow and increases its demand for fish as the protein source in its diet.

What is attractive about IMTA is its mimicry of the natural interdependence of multiple species in an ecosystem.  Its use is far cleaner for the environment and “green” by comparison to traditional farming techniques.

We salute the pioneers of IMTA as a model to be perfected and put to productive use around the world.  While it may not produce the same amount of fish the ocean now holds, it may serve as a necessary substitute for the wholesale fishing now conducted by too many nations.

Use the following links to gain more information or access the original source documents used for this article.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/china-s-fish-farms-could-save-the-oceans/

http://wn.com/integrate_multi-trophic_aquaculture  (watch film[s])

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Déjà Vu – 400 PPM 2.2 Million Years Ago

Posted on 26 May 2013 by Jerry

We have achieved a 400 parts per million (PPM) concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere.  The May 9, 2013 measurement of carbon dioxide by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showed we passed that milestone.  This is not the first time this has happened.  Ice cores show the Earth achieved this concentration about 2,200,000 years ago in the Pliocene period.  That was a time when there was no ice in the Arctic and the average summer temperatures in the Arctic were above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Scientists around the world have watched with increasing dread as concentrations of carbon dioxide have climbed from 280 PPM before the industrial revolution, to 316 PPM when they started scientific monitoring in the 1960’s, to 400 PPM now.  They have sounded an alarm as the major nations in the world are failing to tangibly act to slow the climate change.

According to a new report issued by Globe International written with the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics a few countries have made tangible progress, more have passed legislation as if they are going to do something and others, the greatest contributors to the problem, have not done anything.  They have stayed in place doing very little or have even reversed course.

The report entitled “The GLOBE Climate Legislation Study” (see link below) cites legislative efforts in 33 countries to support progress on climate change.  Click on a specific country on the world map to see what they have done.  While the report is positive about the collective steps being taken, critics point out the steps taken are not sufficient to prevent the world’s average temperature from rising by more than 3.6° Fahrenheit (2° Centigrade).  This has been the target the U.N. and others have set as a formal goal for approximately two decades.

In addition, critics have observed that sometimes there is a difference between legislating promises and actually meeting them.  They point to Canada’s recent withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol when it became clear they would not achieve their legislatively defined goals.  As a counter argument, advocates point to the Climate Change Act adopted by the U.K.   This is binding legislation representing an example of enlightened leadership from one of the world’s most developed countries.

The concern is we may be passing the tipping point and headed for an average temperature rise somewhere between 7.2° and 12.6° Fahrenheit (4° and 7° Celsius).  The scientific community and the World Bank view this level as creating “cataclysmic changes” in climate that would have severe worldwide consequences.

In the press release about the World Bank’s recent report “Turn Down the Heat” (see the link below) Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank Group President, is quoted as saying  “We need a global response equal to the scale of the climate problem, a response that puts us on a new path of climate smart development and shared prosperity.  But time is very short.”

Adding support for the urgency of the task is a report on the coal power plants planned for the next few years (see link below).  The world continues to add to the global climate change problem as it experiences growth of power demand and consumption.  In addition, the April 26, 2013 issue of Nature magazine reports a recent study looking at reservoirs of fresh water internationally as documenting a startling shrinkage of fresh water.  An example is that the water levels of great lakes Huron and Michigan have dropped to their lowest level since monitoring began in 1860.

Everywhere we look we see reinforcement of the reality of climate change.  Governments at all levels are reluctant to change the status quo.  No one, especially in the developed world, wants to be an outlier proposing significant changes before everyone else does.   We are overwhelmed by the timidity of our elected officials and their fear of the political consequences they will face from the business community that wants no change.  The way to accomplish our objectives is by electing enlightened and educated representatives who appeal to the best in us as opposed to those who elicit our darkest, most ignorant emotional responses.

Use the following links for more information:

http://researchmatters.noaa.gov/news/pages/carbondioxideatmaunaloareaches400ppm.aspx (ignore the log-in pop up screen)

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=ice-free-arctic-in-pliocene-last-time-co2-levels-above-400ppm

http://www.nature.com/news/global-carbon-dioxide-levels-near-worrisome-milestone-1.12900

http://www.globeinternational.org/index.php/legislation-policy/studies/climate?html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20983931

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsid=40714#.uzf25pwmqll

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16151310

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2008/27/contents  (on the left margin select “Original Print pdf” to read the legislation)

http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2012/11/18/new-report-examines-risks-of-degree-hotter-world-by-end-of-century

http://www.wri.org/publication/global-coal-risk-assessment (select Downloads – Full Text)

 

 

 

 

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Coal to Overtake Oil, Natural Gas is a Questionable Substitute

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Jerry

At the present rate of demand, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that coal will overtake oil as the top world energy source within a decade.  Driven by increasing use around the globe this does not bode well for efforts to slow or reduce climate change.  Increasing consumption in both China and India is projected to exceed that of the United States by 2017.  Without any significant breakthroughs in carbon capture and sequester (CCS), which would remove harmful chemicals from the output of coal plants, coal will continue to be very cheap and very dirty.

United States coal demand is declining because of the substitution of plentiful, less expensive natural gas.  New natural gas extraction techniques, such as hydraulic fracking which pulls gas out of shale deposits, coupled with increasing distribution around the world purportedly offer a cost effective, cleaner substitute for coal.  IEA executive director, Maria van der Hoeven has said that “The U.S. experience suggests that a more efficient gas market marked by flexible pricing and fueled by indigenous unconventional resources that are produced sustainably, can reduce coal use, CO2 emissions and consumer electricity bills, without harming energy security.”

Unfortunately (see 2-26-12 post, “Natural Gas My Speed Climate Change”) the natural gas bonanza for the U.S. may ultimately turn out to be part of the problem rather than solution.  In the earlier article we described results from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and University of Colorado study of methane leaks conducted in a natural gas field near Denver.  Methane is the dominant component of natural gas.  That original study showed a total leakage of 4% of the total gas produced at that field.  This 4% is twice the level the government has assumed for these fields.  Two percent makes natural gas competitive with coal.  Four percent or higher makes coal the better choice. The four percent level of leakage makes natural gas dirtier and more harmful to the environment than coal.

Now the same scientists have reported new data from the original Colorado gas field which supports earlier findings.  In addition, they have released preliminary results of a new, more sophisticated, study of leakage at a natural gas field in Utah which showed an even higher level of leakage.  These measurements show a 9% leakage of total production.  These two high levels of natural gas leakage if duplicated in other studies across the country would suggest we halt production until the leakage problem is corrected.

It also indicates we should not approve the Keystone XL Pipeline which will open up many more areas of Canada to natural gas production.  Otherwise natural gas is a much greater contributor to climate change than we ever imagined, greater than coal.  It will be very difficult however, to slow the land rush for natural gas since the profit motive is often the dominant and overriding motivator in the U.S. and Canada.

Use the following links to access additional information:

http://www.iea.org/newsroomandevents/pressreleases/2012/december/name,34441,en.html

http://www.nature.com/news/methane-leaks-erode-green-credentials-of-natural-gas-1.12123

http://iamaguardian.com/490/natural-gas-may-speed-climate-change/

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Record Warmest Year in U.S.

Posted on 05 July 2012 by Jerry

The April 2012 report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center declares that when April is added to the first three months of 2012 or when it is added to the previous 11 months stretching into 2011, they calculate it “to be the warmest year-to-date and 12 months periods since record keeping began in 1895,” or one hundred and seventeen years.  If you compare the one year average U. S. temperature with the average temperature between the years 1901 to 2000, this year has a higher average temperature, up 2.8°F.  Comparing the first four months of this year with the long-term annual average, the first four months of 2012 were 5.4°F higher.

Given the national temperatures, extended drought, and heat wave engulfing the U.S. in May – June and continuing this month, 2012 may yet again set a record. This graphic evidence cannot be lost on climate deniers. Paraphrasing a quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act III, scene II, “Me thinks they protesteth too much.”  The lengths to which they are going to suppress reminders of the problem is significant.  To some of us it indicates they privately know there is a problem.

An article in the June 28, 2012 edition of Nature magazine, entitled “Sea Versus Senators” focuses on just one small aspect of how local and state governments and their business communities are trying to hide the validity of climate science. The North Carolina House of Representatives rejected a law passed in the state senate forbidding scientists in state agencies from using exponential extrapolation to predict sea-level rise.  They compromised however, by limiting the scientists to only linear extrapolation for the next three to four years while the state conducts a new sea-level study.  Similarly, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality removed all references to rising sea levels from a study of Galveston Bay in the Gulf.  In addition, the Virginia General Assembly commissioned a study of rising sea levels only after references to sea-level rise and climate change had been removed from the bill.

What all of these locations have in common is active real estate and tourist businesses. Legislators and businessmen are afraid of further depression in their coastal real estate markets and future reduced tourism because of the fear of rising waters.  This is called “cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.”  To the extent that avoiding reminders of climate change, which they know is real, lulls the larger population into ignoring the worsening problem, these businessmen and legislators put off initiation of real solutions which makes their ultimate catastrophe even worse.

Use the following links to obtain more information on these developments:

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/summary-info/national/2012/4

http://www.nature.com/news/sea-versus-senators-1.10893

 

 

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