Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sea ice around Antarctica hits record low as NASA captures the moment massive iceberg the size of Manhattan breaks away from  giant glacier

Once again a single event is being hailed as proof of global warming.  But you cannot logically do that.  A global theory requires global evidence.  You can have warming in one place while it is cooling elsewhere -- for no net effect.  And it IS cooling elsewhere.  I repeat once again the graph showing ice GROWTH in Greenland.  The authors below slide around the Greenland data by saying: "At the other end of the planet, ice covering the Arctic Ocean has set repeated lows in recent years."  It sure has -- in recent years but not this year.  Greenies sure can be slippery.

And breaking ice shelves of course do not raise the water level by one iota.  They are FLOATING ice.  Check your Archimedes.

Also note that West Antarctica is normally more prone to melting than the rest of Antarctica -- probably due to greater subsurface vulcanism

Sea ice around Antarctica has shrunk to the smallest annual extent on record after years of resisting a trend of man-made global warming, preliminary U.S. satellite data has revealed.

Ice floating around the frozen continent usually melts to its smallest for the year around the end of February, the southern hemisphere summer, before expanding again as the autumn chill sets in.

This year, sea ice extent contracted to 2.287 million square kilometres (883,015 square miles) on Feb. 13, according to daily data from the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

That extent is a fraction smaller than a previous low of 2.290 million sq kms (884,173 square miles) recorded on Feb. 27, 1997, in satellite records dating back to 1979.

It comes as NASA revealed stunning images of a huge area of ice breaking off from the Pine Island Glacier.

Pine Island Glacier is one of the main glaciers responsible for moving ice from the interior of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to the ocean.

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured these images of Pine Island Glacier's floating edge before and after the recent break.

The top image shows the area on January 24, 2017, while the second image shows the same area on January 26.

About a kilometer or two of ice appears to have calved (broken off) from the shelf's front.

Mark Serreze, director of the NSIDC, said he would wait for a few days' more measurements to confirm the record low.

'But unless something funny happens, we're looking at a record minimum in Antarctica. Some people say it's already happened,' he told Reuters.

'We tend to be conservative by looking at five-day running averages.'

In many recent years, the average extent of sea ice around Antarctica has tended to expand despite the overall trend of global warming, blamed on a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, mainly from burning fossil fuels.

People sceptical of mainstream findings by climate scientists have often pointed to Antarctic sea ice as evidence against global warming. Some climate scientists have linked the paradoxical expansion to shifts in winds and ocean currents.

'We've always thought of the Antarctic as the sleeping elephant starting to stir. Well, maybe it's starting to stir now,' Serreze said.

World average temperatures climbed to a record high in 2016 for the third year in a row. Climate scientists say warming is causing more extreme days of heat, downpours and is nudging up global sea levels.

At the other end of the planet, ice covering the Arctic Ocean has set repeated lows in recent years.

Combined, the extent of sea ice at both ends of the planet is about 2 million sq kms (772,200 square miles) less than the 1981-2010 averages for mid-February, roughly the size of Mexico or Saudi Arabia.

The shocking new NASA images show the reality of the problem, as Pine Island Glacier has shed another block of ice into Antarctic waters.

The loss was tiny compared to the icebergs that broke off in 2014 and 2015, but the event is further evidence of the ice shelf's fragility.


Canada: The public backlash rises as the credibility of high-cost low-carbon policies collapses

Despite what you might hear from certain Canadian politicians, governments everywhere are starting to back away from anti-carbon policies as the backlash from voters continues to mount. We see it in Germany where they’ve begun returning to coal power. We see it in the cancellation of green subsidies in the U.K., Portugal and Spain. And there are even signs of it in Ontario, which suspended plans for $3.8 billion in new renewable contracts.

Something largely lost in the media flurry over President Trump’s executive orders was the Republican Congress’s unravelling of notable fossil fuel regulations. The House passed two resolutions last week: one rescinding “war-on-coal” water-quality standards, and another rescinding a rule requiring energy companies to report payments made to governments to extract oil, gas and minerals.

This is just the start. The Republicans will roll back more regulations. President Trump will likely withdraw from the Paris COP21 agreement with its weak, King-Canute-like commitments to keep temperatures rising no more than 1.5 degrees by 2100. The United States will likely decline to advance climate policies for at least four more years. But is it behaving any differently than other countries?

In a recent National Bureau of Economic Research paper, Yale University economist William Nordhaus, a strong proponent of climate policies, shows that government efforts have globally done little to reduce GHG emissions. Only the EU has implemented national carbon policies and even those were very modest. Nordhaus aptly calls all the empty talk from so many governments, from South America to Scandinavia, the “Rhetoric of Nations.”

Nordhaus argues that the original Kyoto accord target of limiting temperature increases to no more than two degrees by 2100 is now infeasible. An increase limited to two-and-a-half degrees is technically feasible but “would require extreme, virtually universal global policy measures.” His optimal path to achieve decarbonization with more aggressive policies, without completely suffocating economic growth, requires letting the global temperature rise by an expected 3.5 degrees by 2100.

Governments have a major credibility problem: they’re overpromising and under-delivering. As I’ve written in this space before, Canada’s “commitment” to reduce GHG emissions by 30 per cent from 2005 levels is certain to fail, even if the optimistic environment minister insists that target is but a “minimum.”

There is, of course, a reason why governments are backing away from carbon policies: voters don’t like them. This becomes apparent the moment the public understands that increasing carbon prices comes at a cost. And the phase-out of oil, gas and coal jobs don’t end up replaced by green jobs, as politicians promised they would.

Take the example of Ontario’s renewable energy policies, which have imposed high energy costs by phasing-out coal and subsidizing wind and solar energy. Sole-sourced, non-competitive contracts awarded to producers of wind and solar power have become extremely expensive. Adding to that cost, for every megawatt of intermittent solar and wind energy added to the grid, another megawatt (or close to it) of reliable base-load power — natural gas or nuclear — must be added as well, for those many days without enough wind or sun. When there’s too much wind, solar or other power, as often happens, Ontario has had to pay producers to curtail production, or dump electricity at a loss into the markets of neighbouring competitors.


Now trees are bad?

Scotland was originally heavily forested

Some of Scotland’s greatest landscapes could be threatened by plans to expand tree coverage to a quarter of the country, according to an alliance of countryside campaigners.

The Scottish government has set an ambitious target of increasing woodland cover from 17 per cent to 25 per cent by 2050. The SNP administration has also pledged to plant 10,000 extra hectares of trees by 2022 as part of its strategy to combat climate change.

However, groups representing mountaineers and gamekeepers have forged an unlikely partnership to oppose the plans.

Mountaineering Scotland (MS) and the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) have submitted a joint letter expressing concern to Roseanna Cunningham, the environment secretary.


Britain receives final warning on ‘shameful’ air pollution levels

The European Commission has threatened Britain with court action and hundreds of millions of pounds in fines for persistently breaching EU limits on air pollution.

In a move described as shameful for the UK, the commission sent a “final warning” yesterday, accusing the country of failing to address breaches in 16 areas, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow.

Britain is one of five EU countries served with the warning over illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide, which causes heart and lung diseases. Diesel cars — representing a third of those on British roads — are a big source of NO2. Air pollution from sources including road traffic, industry, farming and construction sites is linked to the early deaths of about 40,000 people a year in Britain.


Could the EPA be gone by this time next year?

Liberals are losing their minds over a new bill in Congress, and it’s only one sentence long. It reads:

“The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”

Introduced by freshman Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), it comes after a series of potentially deadly cases in which people and the environment were poisoned by the EPA. Not only did EPA officials spill three million gallons of toxic waste into a Colorado river, they were caught conducting banned human medical experiments in which people were forced to inhale poisonous car exhaust, using the same methods used in suicides.

Gaetz’s legislation has three co-sponsors: Reps. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), and Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.)



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