Every few days, it seems, another factor is discovered to further accelerate Climate Destabilization. Today we learned that increasing CO2 makes ice crack faster.
... CO2 molecules may be having a more direct impact on the ice that covers our planet. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute for Technology have shown that the material strength and fracture toughness of ice are decreased significantly under increasing concentrations of CO2 molecules, making ice caps and glaciers more vulnerable to cracking and splitting into pieces,...
Ice caps and glaciers cover seven per cent of Earth -- more than Europe and North America combined -- and are responsible for reflecting 80-90 per cent of the Sun's light rays that enter our atmosphere and maintain Earth's temperature. They are also a natural carbon sink, capturing a large amount of CO2.
"If ice caps and glaciers were to continue to crack and break into pieces, their surface area that is exposed to air would be significantly increased, which could lead to accelerated melting and much reduced coverage area on the Earth.
... CO2molecules first adhere to the crack boundary of ice by forming a bond with the hydrogen atoms and then migrate through the ice in a flipping motion along the crack boundary towards the crack tip.
The CO2 molecules accumulate at the crack tip and constantly attack the water molecules by trying to bond to them. This leaves broken bonds behind and increases the brittleness of the ice on a macroscopic scale. [emphasis mine]
Katey Walter Anthony, from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, comments of the speed of thermokarst lake methane release.
"The mechanism of abrupt thaw and thermokarst lake formation matters a lot for the permafrost-carbon feedback this century."
"We don't have to wait 200 or 300 years to get these large releases of permafrost carbon."
"Within my lifetime, my children's lifetime, it should be ramping up. It's already happening but it's not happening at a really fast rate right now, but within a few decades, it should peak."[emphasis mine]
Higher Arctic temperatures have increased snowfall on land around the Arctic circle. Samples from Russia and Alaska suggest that thick snow might insulate permafrost to not only delay Winter refreeze but sometimes prevent it. This feedback hasn't been quantified yet, much less included in climate models.
Scientist Sergey Zimov ... uses the metal rod in his hand to quickly test the depth of frozen ground.
... in a region where temperatures can dip to 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, the Zimovs say unusually high snowfall this year worked like a blanket, trapping excess heat in the ground. They found sections 30 inches deep—soils that typically freeze before Christmas—that had stayed damp and mushy all winter. For the first time in memory, ground that insulates deep Arctic permafrost simply did not freeze in winter.
... Ted Schuur, a permafrost expert at Northern Arizona University. "In the permafrost world, this is a significant milestone in a disturbing trend...
... Mathias Goeckede with Germany's Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry spends weeks each summer traversing crumbling boardwalks over spongy Siberian ground.
Measurements at his site show that snow depth there has roughly doubled in five years. When excessive snow smothers the ground, warmth below the surface may not dissipate during winter. Data from a drill hole on Goeckede's site appears to capture that phenomenon: In April, temperatures 13 inches below ground there increased roughly 10 degrees Fahrenheit in that same five-year period.
..., Vladimir Romanovsky saw something similar. ... a permafrost expert at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks,...
"For all years before 2014, the complete freeze-up of the active layer would happen in mid-January," he says. "Since 2014, the freeze-up date has shifted to late February and even March."
But this winter, Fairbanks, too, saw extremely heavy snow. And for the first time on record, the active layer at two of Romanovsky's sites didn't freeze at all.
"This is really a very important threshold," he adds.
It is a small sample size.
"It's worrisome," says Sue Natali, a permafrost expert, also with Woods Hole, who saw an active layer not re-freeze recently during a research trip to Alaska's Yukon region. "When we see things happening that haven't happened in the lifetime of the scientists studying them, that should be a concern." [emphasis mine]
Shocking positive feedback between sea level rise and CO rise, just found.
When sea level rises 20m in a few centuries, permafrost along the coast of the North Pacific and the Sea of Okhotsk melts so fast it dramatically bumps up global CO2 levels.
About 11,500 and 14,600 years ago, particularly intense melting of the ice-sheets led to what are known as meltwater pulses -- and each time the sea level rose by up to 20 metres within a few centuries. "We assume that this resulted in severe erosion of the permafrost coast in the Sea of Okhotsk and the North Pacific -- a phenomenon that we can observe in the Arctic today." This allowed large amounts of several-thousand-year-old plant remains to enter the ocean, some of which were broken down into carbon dioxide by bacteria or deposited in the ocean floor.
By estimating the area of permafrost lost to the sea at the time, he obtained data on the likely amount of carbon dioxide released. The results are eye opening: 11,500 and 14,600 years ago, erosion of Arctic permafrost probably contributed to about 50 percent of the carbon dioxide increase, and 16,500 years ago to about a quarter.
The AWI team has thus revealed a process that could become reality in the future. Today the Arctic's permafrost coast is eroding severely because the region is warming rapidly -- in some places the coast is receding at a rate of 20 metres per year. As Gesine Mollenhauer explains: "Our findings show that this coastal erosion is an important process, but to date it has not been sufficiently considered in climate models. Such effects need to be included in future models." [emphasis mine]
This is the first I heard of this phenomenon. I am looking for up to date information on it.
The proposed silicon smelter to be located in the town of Newport is expected to give off toxic gases and waste products.
HiTestSands proposes to build a silicon smelter in Newport, Washington State, to extract silicon from quartzite. The stone will be shipped in by railroad from Canada.
The smelter will be fueled by coal, shipped in by railroad cars.
According to the company, using today's advanced technology. the pollutants created by their smelter per year will be the largest in the state per year:
5th largest emitter of sulfur dioxide,
12th largest emitter of nitrogen oxides,
15th largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
The silicon plant will produce per year:
760 tons of sulfur dioxide,
700 tons of nitrogen oxides
320,000 tons of greenhouse gases,
I don't know how much ash from burning coal in the smelter.
The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) about 56 million years ago is considered the best analogue for modern climate change. New research discovered a feedback that made the elevated heat last 200,000 years, faster erosion releasing old carbon from rocks into the air.
"We found evidence for a feedback that occurs with rapid warming that can release even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere,… We hypothesize this is also something that could occur in the future."
"What we found in records were signatures of carbon transport that indicated there were massive erosion regimes occurring on land,"…
"One lesson we can learn from this research is that carbon is not stored very well on land when the climate gets wet and hot," Freeman said. "Today, we're pushing the system out of equilibrium and it's not going to snap back, even when we start reducing carbon dioxide emissions." [emphasis mine]
Ruth, I’m persuaded.
The biblical account is not true; the earth was not made for homo sapiens. We just happened to have evolved.
Apparently warming oceans don't just threaten to unleash methane hydrates from shallow Arctic seabeds. There are vulnerable carbon dioxide reservoirs in the deep sea also capped by liquid or solid hydrates, which haven't even been fully mapped These geologic hydrate reservoirs are often associated with deep sea hydrothermal vents.
… new research that shows how naturally occurring carbon gases trapped in reservoirs atop the seafloor escaped to superheat the planet in prehistory.
Scientists say events that began on the ocean bottom thousands of years ago so disrupted the Earth’s atmosphere that it melted away the ice age.
…, the findings could portend an ominous development.
If undersea carbon reservoirs are upset again, they would emit a huge new source of greenhouse gases, exacerbating climate change. Temperature increases in the ocean are on pace to reach that tipping point by the end of the century. For example, a big carbon reservoir beneath the western Pacific near Taiwan is already within a few degrees Celsius of destabilizing.
Moreover, the phenomenon is a threat unaccounted for in climate model projections. Undersea carbon dioxide reservoirs are relatively recent discoveries and their characteristics and history are only beginning to be understood.
At issue are expanses of carbon dioxide and methane accumulating underwater and scattered across the seafloor. They form as volcanic activity releases heat and gases that can congeal into liquid and solid hydrates,…
The new study by scientists at USC, the Australian National University and Lund University in Sweden, focused on the Eastern Equatorial Pacific (EEP) hundreds of miles off the coast of Ecuador. The EEP is a primary conduit through which the ocean releases carbon to the atmosphere.
… the new data show that there were major releases of naturally occurring carbon from the EEP, which contributed to dramatic change in Earth’s temperature as the ice age was ending,…
Elsewhere around the world, more and more deep-ocean carbon reservoirs are being discovered. They mostly occur near hydrothermal vents, of which scores have been identified so far, especially in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. They occur where the Earth’s crust spreads or collides, creating ideal conditions for the formation of deep-sea carbon dioxide reservoirs. Only about one-third of the ocean’s volcanic regions have been surveyed.
One such reservoir of undersea carbon dioxide, seen in an accompanying video, was discovered about 4,000 feet deep off the coast of Taiwan. Similar discoveries of carbon gas reservoirs have been made off the coast of Okinawa, in the Aegean Sea, in the Gulf of California and off the west coast of Canada.
In many cases, the carbon reservoirs are bottled up by their hydrate caps. But those covers are sensitive to temperature changes. As oceans warm, the caps can melt, …
Much of the ocean floor is unexplored, so scientists don’t know the full extent of the carbon dioxide reservoirs. There is no inventory of greenhouse gases from these geologic sources. [emphasis mine]
Retrogressive thaw slumps dramatically increase permafrost degradation - another positive climate feedback.
A study of Bank's Island permafrost changes raises another red flag.
Researchers found substantial permafrost erosion increase by a type of landslide called the retrogressive thaw slump. In the melting season, the upper layer becomes boggy (shown below in blue) and can slowly slide over the still frozen part with even a slight slope.
...these changes are associated with years with high summer temperatures.... rising temperatures in the Arctic mean permafrost is likely to degrade at a dramatically increased rate.
... in 1984 only 63 active retrogressive thaw slumps could be identified, but by 2013 this number had increased to 4,077 – a 60-fold increase. In the four warmest summers – 1999, 2011, 2012 and 2013 – almost 3,900 landslides developed.
image source (a general diagram, Banks Island is treeless)
image source (not from the study)