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Well produced short doc summarizing the current report.

NASA: 2013 Sea Ice Wrap Up

November 27, 2013

On That Methane Bomb Thing

November 26, 2013

Methane bubbles rising from the ocean floor.

I’m on my way to take a dog to the vet, and, well, I need a stool sample. Not mine, his. Anyway, this is not a methane joke, just means, I’m in a rush.

Important: Everyone should know that the Guy MacPherson-imminent-global-doom scenarios are not real, and not helpful.
You should know that the scientists I find most credible and thoughtful are somewhat pissed at the methane-hair-on-fire crowd for overstating what is a real problem.
Methane is a problem, and as these  recent studies show, one that is being better quantified and studied now.
This has implications for livestock production, the fracking industry, and dreams of harvesting methane clathrates for energy production.

NYTimes:

Emissions of the greenhouse gas methane due to human activity were roughly 1.5 times greater in the United States in the middle of the last decade than prevailing estimates, according to a new analysis by 15 climate scientists published Monday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The analysis also said that methane discharges in Texas and Oklahoma, where oil and gas production was concentrated at the time, were 2.7 times greater than conventional estimates. Emissions from oil and gas activity alone could be five times greater than the prevailing estimate, the report said.

The study relies on nearly 12,700 measurements of atmospheric methane in 2007 and 2008. Its conclusions are sharply at odds with the two most comprehensive estimates of methane emissions, by the Environmental Protection Agency and an alliance of the Netherlands and the European Commission.

The E.P.A. has stated that all emissions of methane, from both man-made and natural sources, have been slowly but steadily declining since the mid-1990s. In April, the agency reduced its estimate of methane discharges from 1990 through 2010 by 8 to 12 percent, largely citing sharp decreases in discharges from gas production and transmission, landfills and coal mines.

The new analysis calls that reduction into question, saying that two sources of methane emissions in particular — from oil and gas production and from cattle and other livestock — appear to have been markedly larger than the E.P.A. estimated during 2007 and 2008.
Read the rest of this entry »

Al Gore Quietly Goes Vegan

November 26, 2013

I’ve heard Al Gore field the question a few  times – “Are you a vegetarian?”

The answer has always been no, until now.

Washington Post:

Gore’s recent decision to forgo animal products surfaced as an offhand reference in a Forbes magazine piece about Hampton Creek Foods, an upscale vegan product line carried in Whole Foods. Ryan Mac’s article, which posted Saturday, chronicled how wealthy investors including Bill Gates,Tom Steyer and Vinod Khosla have poured money into the company, which hopes to take down the U.S. egg industry with offerings such as a plant-base mayonnaise.

“Newly turned vegan Al Gore is also circling,” Mac writes.

An individual familiar with Gore’s decision, who asked not to be identified because it involved a personal matter, confirmed that Gore opted a couple of months ago to become vegan. Gore’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It is unclear why Gore, one of the nation’s most visible climate activists, has given up dairy, poultry and meat products. People usually become vegan for environmental, health or ethical reasons, or a combination of these three factors.

Bill Clinton explained in a 2011 interview with CNN’s Sanjay Gupta that he adopted a vegan diet primarily for health considerations. Known for consuming a high-fat cuisine while in office, Clinton — who was 65 at the time — said he realized he had “played Russian roulette” with his health for too long, and that since making the switch, “I feel good, and I also have, believe it or not, more energy.”

The Humane Society of the United States food policy director Matthew Prescott noted in an e-mail that industrial farm operations are major sources of nutrient pollution, and contribute significantly to the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“Overconsumption and overproduction of meat has given rise to the factory farm, which has put huge threats on the planet and our health,” Prescott wrote. “Whether it’s the whole Clinton/Gore ticket being vegan now, Oprah promoting meat-free eating, Bill Gates backing plant-based foods or the rise of Meatless Mondays, it’s clear that the way we farm and eat is shifting toward a better model.”

 

“Smokey Joe” Barton is known for apologizing to BP after the 2010 Oil spill, and harassing climate scientists.

Turns out he’s also been a key connection between the tobacco industry and the climate denial industry. Archival footage from ABC News on the tobacco wars of the 90s turns up sequences of Smoky Joe in action on behalf of Big Cancer, digs up haunting parallels between the tactics of Big Tobacco and Big Fossil Fuel, and reminds us of the origins of the anti-science movement.
Poignant to see the late Peter Jennings in action, and remember what it was like when there was at least some tough, probing journalism with a moral compass on mainstream media.

Andy Lee Robinson has updated his indispensable animation of sea ice volume – which makes the point yet again how dramatically northern sea ice is declining – despite the inevitable efforts of distorters and deniers.

Also worth remembering that for total area of ice, we are at a low that is historic over not just the satellite era, but at least 1450 years into the past.  Look at the figure below, derived in 2011 from temperature proxies which were then compared to  ocean sediments – (different critters live in iced-over ocean vs open water) and consider that the so-called “recovery” of sea ice is just a tiny squiggle at the bottom end of a 150 year long slide.

kinnard

 

Below, Dr. Walt Meier of NSIDC discusses the techniques of evaluating ice cover before the satellite record. Explanation at 2:53, if you’re in a hurry.