Saturday, December 05, 2009

Once the tipping point is reached, there would be essentially no opportunity for humans to react

My expectation is that the Greenland Ice Sheet will start accelerating quite quickly, and one day plunge so quickly into the sea that it touches off a global tsunami, killing everyone within a topographically dependent distance from a coast. My gamble, as I don't want to live in Chicago, is that we'll have several months warning if we watch the sheet carefully, and my vague hope is that this is tens of years away.

That's just to express where I'm starting.

Canadian William Patterson suggests that tsunamis and sea level rise might not be the only problems.

Previous evidence from Greenland ice samples had suggested this abrupt shift in climate happened over the span of a decade or so. Now researchers say it surprisingly may have taken place over the course of a few months, or a year or two at most.

"That the climate system can turn on and off that quickly is extremely important," said earth system scientist Henry Mullins at Syracuse University, who did not take part in this research. "Once the tipping point is reached, there would be essentially no opportunity for humans to react."


[Isotope biogeochemist William Patterson at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada and his colleagues]' findings also suggest that it may have taken 100 to 200 years before the lake and climate recovered, rather than the decade or so that Greenland ice cores had indicated.

So, well, I guess this isn't really news. We've expected Arctic melt to shut down the "Conveyor Belt" and plunge Europe into coldness until direct warming by the Greenhouse effect compensated. But, still, the timing's important.

Are the Southern Taconics the best place to hide? Where will the cities of the 22nd Century be?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

El Niño and the 2009 Hurricane Season

Well, that's it. The 2009 Altantic Hurricane Season is officially over.
Nine named storms formed this year, including three hurricanes, two of which were major hurricanes at Category 3 strength or higher. These numbers fall within the ranges predicted in NOAA’s mid-season outlook issued in August....

"We were right kind of late, but we were right." So many people feel they can call a football game at the end of the third quarter.
“El Niño is expected to reach peak strength this winter, and will likely continue into the spring. It is far too early to say whether El Niño will be present next summer,” added Bell.
Funny thing is, when I asked Kerry Emmanuel about the impact of the Southern Oscillation on Hurricanes, he asked if I meant the North Atlantic Oscillation. So, I guess this is another story he's slow to accept.