Feedbacks & Tipping Points Archive

  • “The big tell here is that the ice is vanishing — it’s melting faster each time we measure,” said Levy, who noted that there are no signs in the geologic record that the valley’s ground ice has retreated similarly in the past. “This is a dramatic shift from recent history.”

    Coastal Antarctic Permafrost Melting Faster Than Expected

    “The big tell here is that the ice is vanishing — it’s melting faster each time we measure,” said Levy, who noted that there are no signs in the geologic record that the valley’s ground ice has retreated similarly in the past. “This is a dramatic shift from recent history.”

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  • A group of U.S. scientists has discovered enormous blooms of algae growing in an area of the Arctic Ocean that they never thought could support the phytoplankton: below the sea ice. The discovery was a shock because living organisms don't usually survive underneath the ice pack that covers parts of the Arctic Ocean for much of the year and blocks out the light needed to sustain life. "First, we were thinking, 'This can't be. This can't be possible. There's no way this can be what it looks like,'"

    Algae in the Changing Arctic Ecosystem

    A group of U.S. scientists has discovered enormous blooms of algae growing in an area of the Arctic Ocean that they never thought could support the phytoplankton: below the sea ice. The discovery was a shock because living organisms don't usually survive underneath the ice pack that covers parts of the Arctic Ocean for much of the year and blocks out the light needed to sustain life. "First, we were thinking, 'This can't be. This can't be possible. There's no way this can be what it looks like,'"

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  • "Civilization is on a path to heat the Earth up by 4 to 7 degrees Celsius before the middle of this century if it fails to end its carbon emissions, triggering a cascade of cataclysmic changes that will include the increase of extreme heat-waves, prolonged droughts, intensified weather patterns, the total loss of Arctic sea ice, rapid decline in global food availability, sea level rise affecting billions of people, and eventually an abrupt extinction of the majority of biological life on earth. The solution, while not a simple one to execute, is clear:  Civilization must end its reliance on fossil fuels and begin to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere immediately, reducing the atmospheric concentration of CO2 down to a safe level."

    Projected Effects And Historical Overview of Civilizational Forced Climate Change

    "Civilization is on a path to heat the Earth up by 4 to 7 degrees Celsius before the middle of this century if it fails to end its carbon emissions, triggering a cascade of cataclysmic changes that will include the increase of extreme heat-waves, prolonged droughts, intensified weather patterns, the total loss of Arctic sea ice, rapid decline in global food availability, sea level rise affecting billions of people, and eventually an abrupt extinction of the majority of biological life on earth. The solution, while not a simple one to execute, is clear: Civilization must end its reliance on fossil fuels and begin to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere immediately, reducing the atmospheric concentration of CO2 down to a safe level."

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  • When permafrost ['frozen dirt'] thaws, so do the microorganisms. With no oxygen, the microorganisms make methane, and with it they make carbon dioxide, Kevin Schaefer of the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Centre explains. The concern is that much of the carbon stored in permafrost -- in frozen dirt -- could be released into the carbon cycle, says scientist Charles Miller of NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Arctic, Miller says, is being affected by warming faster and more significantly than models had predicted. Methane concentrations, and even CO2 concentrations, "that one might associate with flying near a large oil or natural gas production facility or even flying through the middle of a large city" can be observed from an airplane, he says.

    WATCH: ‘Frozen Dirt’ and Methane … ‘We Cannot Go There’

    When permafrost ['frozen dirt'] thaws, so do the microorganisms. With no oxygen, the microorganisms make methane, and with it they make carbon dioxide, Kevin Schaefer of the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Centre explains. The concern is that much of the carbon stored in permafrost -- in frozen dirt -- could be released into the carbon cycle, says scientist Charles Miller of NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Arctic, Miller says, is being affected by warming faster and more significantly than models had predicted. Methane concentrations, and even CO2 concentrations, "that one might associate with flying near a large oil or natural gas production facility or even flying through the middle of a large city" can be observed from an airplane, he says.

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  • "The response of politicians, heads of non-governmental organizations, and corporate leaders remains the same. They’re mired in the dank Swamp of Nothingness. These are the people who know about, and presumably could do something about, our ongoing race to disaster (if only to sound the alarm). Tomlin’s line is never more germane than when thinking about their pursuit of a buck at the expense of life on Earth."

    Climate Change Summary and Update

    "The response of politicians, heads of non-governmental organizations, and corporate leaders remains the same. They’re mired in the dank Swamp of Nothingness. These are the people who know about, and presumably could do something about, our ongoing race to disaster (if only to sound the alarm). Tomlin’s line is never more germane than when thinking about their pursuit of a buck at the expense of life on Earth."

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  • Following an overview of the environmental impacts of meat production, this report turns to an outline of the research addressing changing to meat free diets and by doing so I review research into both the barriers and incentives to adopting a meat free diet. I then turn to a more sociological consideration of meat-eating and discuss the cultural and social practices which surround our food choices and beliefs about the necessity of meat in our diets.

    Desperate Times Require Intelligent Measures | Reversing Meat-Eating Culture to Combat Accelerating Climate Change

    Following an overview of the environmental impacts of meat production, this report turns to an outline of the research addressing changing to meat free diets and by doing so I review research into both the barriers and incentives to adopting a meat free diet. I then turn to a more sociological consideration of meat-eating and discuss the cultural and social practices which surround our food choices and beliefs about the necessity of meat in our diets.

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  • "If continuing hydrate destabilization triggers slope failure at this site, the amount of methane released could be an order of magnitude greater. Furthermore, recent studies have suggested that similar ocean temperature shifts are taking place elsewhere, notably in the Arctic Ocean; the estimate of 2.5 gigatonnes of destabilizing methane hydrate is therefore likely to represent only a fraction of the methane hydrate currently destabilizing globally."

    Warming Gulf Stream Causes Methane Release

    "If continuing hydrate destabilization triggers slope failure at this site, the amount of methane released could be an order of magnitude greater. Furthermore, recent studies have suggested that similar ocean temperature shifts are taking place elsewhere, notably in the Arctic Ocean; the estimate of 2.5 gigatonnes of destabilizing methane hydrate is therefore likely to represent only a fraction of the methane hydrate currently destabilizing globally."

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  • "A 2008 short clip of James Hansen explaining the atmospheric CO2 danger limit is 300 ppm CO2 or less, and who is responsible for the inaction to stop it increasing."

    James Hansen on the Atmospheric CO2 Danger Limit

    "A 2008 short clip of James Hansen explaining the atmospheric CO2 danger limit is 300 ppm CO2 or less, and who is responsible for the inaction to stop it increasing."

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  • "Our analysis suggests that changes in Gulf Stream flow or temperature within the past 5,000 years or so are warming the western North Atlantic margin by up to eight degrees Celsius and are now triggering the destabilization of 2.5 gigatonnes of methane hydrate (about 0.2 per cent of that required to cause the PETM)."

    Recent Changes to the Gulf Stream Causing Widespread Gas Hydrate Destabilization

    "Our analysis suggests that changes in Gulf Stream flow or temperature within the past 5,000 years or so are warming the western North Atlantic margin by up to eight degrees Celsius and are now triggering the destabilization of 2.5 gigatonnes of methane hydrate (about 0.2 per cent of that required to cause the PETM)."

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  • " Only one conclusion can be drawn as the Arctic ecosystem is being rapidly transformed into a landscape that would not have been recognisable a decade or two ago. At just 0.8ºC of global warming, it is already too hot, and climate change has already gone too far if you value a safe climate in which biodiversity and all the world’s marvellous ecosystems are maintained."

    Dramatic Lessons from the Arctic Big Melt of 2012

    " Only one conclusion can be drawn as the Arctic ecosystem is being rapidly transformed into a landscape that would not have been recognisable a decade or two ago. At just 0.8ºC of global warming, it is already too hot, and climate change has already gone too far if you value a safe climate in which biodiversity and all the world’s marvellous ecosystems are maintained."

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