• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 25 maart 2017

Paul Craig Roberts 269

Our Western Values” No Longer Exist

“Our Western Values” No Longer Exist
Paul Craig Roberts
Let’s be honest. The US attack on Mosul, Iraq, is not an attack on ISIS. It it a repeat of Israel’s operation Cast Lead in Gaza. The purpose is to kill as many Muslims for Israel as possible. Here is the evidence:
Remember, the reason ISIS is in Iraq and Syria is that the US equipped ISIS and sent ISIS to overthrow Assad when the British Parliament and the Russian government blocked Obama’s planned invasion of Syria. ISIS is Washington’s creation, just as is Al Qaeda.
After 16 years and trillions of dollars, the Afghan Taliban still holds sway over “the world’s only superpower” http://news.antiwar.com/2017/03/23/taliban-captures-strategically-important-sangin-district-in-southern-afghanistan/. Here is a US general’s excuse for America’s military defeat: http://news.antiwar.com/2017/03/23/us-general-russia-perhaps-supplying-taliban/ It is the Russians’ fault!
Why are the Democratic Party, the liberal/progressive/left, the twin idiots John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and the American and European peoples so unconcerned with the waste of trillions of dollars in the destruction of millions of lives and the infrastructures of Muslim countries along with the reputation of the Western World? How can it be that tranny toilet facilities are more important than the West’s ongoing gratuitous destruction of Muslim countries?
Why is the liberal/progressive/left helping the military/security complex add Russia to the list of Western Civilization’s war crimes?
How much evidence is required before it is clear that Western Civilization is empty of integrity, judgment, reason, morality, empathy, compassion, self-awareness, truth, empty of everything that Western Civilization once respected?
All that is left of the West is insouciance and unrestrained evil.
“The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.” D. H. Lawrence, Studies in Classic American Literature

Carbon emissions from thawing permafrost will result in a substantial arctic contribution to climate change

Carbon emissions from thawing permafrost will result in a substantial arctic contribution to climate change

Alaska tundraCarbon emissions from the Arctic will threaten our ability to stay within the 2°C target of limiting global warming set by the UNFCCC Paris Agreement, according to an expert assessment published last week. The assessment, which involved several WHRC scientists, looked at the amount of carbon that will be emitted from the northern high latitudes by the end of the century, including releases from thawing permafrost and absorption by increases in biomass resulting from warming.
The vast majority of carbon in the Arctic is contained in permafrost, which is vulnerable to thawing and degradation under climate warming. However, models suggest that some permafrost carbon emissions may be offset by greater plant growth in the Arctic as the climate warms. The exact amount of emissions is difficult to know, because models either neglect or poorly account for key processes, such as fires, insects, drought, and migrating vegetation, all of which interact and are expected to increase over the next hundred years. A comprehensive survey of 98 experts was undertaken to help fill this knowledge gap.
The expert assessment, recently published in Environmental Research Letters, finds that biomass is unlikely to offset a significant fraction of permafrost carbon emissions after 2050 due to water stress and increased disturbances, such as collapsing coastlines and fires.
According to the study, “Some have dismissed the importance of [the permafrost carbon] feedback, asserting that increases in biomass will offset any carbon losses from soil, or that changes will occur too slowly to concern current governments. Our study highlights that arctic and boreal biomass should not be counted on to offset permafrost carbon release and suggests that the permafrost region will become a carbon source to the atmosphere by 2100 regardless of warming scenario.”
All is not doom and gloom, however. Among the more than ninety experts who contributed to the study were WHRC scientists Scott Goetz, Susan Natali and Brendan Rogers. “One important message from this assessment,” says Dr. Rogers, “is that we very much control the amount of high-latitude carbon that stays in the ground.”
According to Dr. Goetz, “Permafrost emissions during the next 10-20 years are likely to increase, but productive forest and tundra areas will offset some of those emissions.” After that, explains Dr. Natali, “If global CO2 emissions continue relatively unchecked, we could face a real problem as carbon release from permafrost accelerates.” Indeed, the assessment concluded that 85% of carbon emissions from the permafrost zone could still be avoided with aggressive international policies, but that window of opportunity is rapidly closing.
The experts did not always agree on the extent of change. Nonetheless, the overarching message is clear, and according to lead author, Dr. Benjamin Abbott, all of the scientists agreed that “the rate and magnitude of current warming is taking us into uncharted territory in regard to permafrost carbon.”

WHRC is an independent research institute where scientists investigate the causes and effects of climate change to identify and implement opportunities for conservation, restoration and economic development around the world.

Permafrost warming in parts of Alaska 'is accelerating'

Permafrost warming in parts of Alaska 'is accelerating'

House near FairbanksImage copyrightSCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Image captionHouses like this one near Fairbanks have collapsed because of permafrost melt
One of the world's leading experts on permafrost has told BBC News that the recent rate of warming of this frozen layer of earth is "unbelievable".
Prof Vladimir Romanovsky said that he expected permafrost in parts of Alaska would start to thaw by 2070.
Researchers worry that methane frozen within the permafrost will be released, exacerbating climate change
The professor said a rise in permafrost temperatures in the past four years convinced him warming was real.
Permafrost is perennially frozen soil that has been below zero degrees C for at least two years. 
It's found underneath about 25% of the northern hemisphere, mainly around the Arctic - but also in the Antarctic and Alpine regions. 
It can range in depth from one metre under the ground all the way down to 1,500m. 
Media captionThe BBC's Matt McGrath explores the permafrost "time tunnel"
Scientists are concerned that in a warming world, some of this permanently frozen layer will thaw out and release methane gas contained in the icy, organic material. 
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and researchers estimate that the amount in permafrost equates to more than double the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere.

Melting fast

Worries over the current state of permafrost have been reinforced by Prof Romanovsky. 
A professor at the University of Alaska, he is also the head of the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost, the primary international monitoring programme. 
He says that in the northern region of Alaska, the permafrost has been warming at about one-tenth of a degree Celsius per year since the mid 2000s. 
"When we started measurements it was -8C, but now it's coming to almost -2.5 on the Arctic coast. It is unbelievable - that's the temperature we should have here in central Alaska around Fairbanks but not there," he told BBC News.
In Alaska, the warming of the permafrost has been linked to trees toppling, roads buckling and the development of sinkholes.
Prof Romanovsky says that the current evidence indicates that in parts of Alaska, around Prudhoe Bay on the North Slope, the permafrost will not just warm up but will thaw by about 2070-80.
"It was assumed it would be stable for this century but it seems that's not true any more," he told BBC News.

'Convincing' case

He says the current permafrost evidence has convinced him that global warming is real and not just a product of natural variation.
"Ten years ago, if you asked permafrost scientists around the globe I would say 98% would say: 'The thawing at Prudhoe Bay won't happen by the end of this century'," Prof Romanovsky explained.
Drunken forestImage copyrightSCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Image captionThis "drunken forest" of collapsed black spruce is also a sign of the melting permafrost
"But now I think it is very possible, and I changed my opinion right during the last four years. I was in the 98%, but now I say it's possible.
"About 10 years ago when I looked at our records, I said that they all show that permafrost temperatures should cool down a bit on multi-decadal timescales.
"I told myself that if it would not cool down I would 100% believe in global warming, and now I believe 100% that we have this very serious trend of warming," he said.
While engineering can prevent the thawing of permafrost underneath important structures, there is little that can be done to prevent the general melting of the layer. 
Scientists believe that the thawing will be gradual, with no major tipping point. There are many unknown factors about the rate of thawing and whether the impacts will be the same across all Arctic regions.
There are also concerns about the bubbling of methane from undersea permafrost in the shallow waters off the Russian Arctic, but researchers say they do not know yet how significant this might be.
There is also a worry about giant sinkholes, some of which appeared in Siberia last year. Experts say that melting permafrost may have unleashed enough methane to cause the ejection of material that formed the holes. 

Indirect impacts

Another expert in the field acknowledged that while the problems in Alaska were serious, scientists were getting a better handle on the amounts of carbon that were likely to be released. 
However, Prof Ted Schuur from Northern Arizona University recognised that, despite the scientific progress, the fact was that thawing would occur and methane would leach into the atmosphere.
"Even if we stopped all emissions today, the Arctic has momentum where there is going to be more warming, more permafrost degradation and some carbon coming out already - we have started the ball rolling in some senses."
"It is probably not triggering a runaway climate effect but it adds to our problem. It accelerates the problem, of climate change. To me that is worrisome because it makes the problem harder."
Prof Schuur added that indirect impacts of warming were also speeding the thaw. In Alaska in 2015, there were near-record wildfires, which he said heightens the exposure of permafrost to warmer air. 
He believes that political negotiations on a new global climate deal, currently underway in Germany and set to conclude in Paris in December, are essential to the long term preservation of permafrost. 
"The climate negotiators meeting in Bonn, and in Paris, won't immediately be able to change what happens with the fire season in Alaska next year, but we can slow the process down by focussing on human emissions and in my mind that's the best bet to have the most control.
"It's very hard to control these landscape global processes that are occurring in the Arctic."
Follow Matt on Twitter.

From Canada to Siberia, Permafrost Thaw Produces ‘Hell’s Mouth’ Craters

From Canada to Siberia, Permafrost Thaw Produces ‘Hell’s Mouth’ Craters, Sinking Lands, and 7,000 Methane Pockets Waiting to Blow 

In places like Canada and Siberia, a memory of ice ages long past is locked away in the very soil. There, dig about three feet down, and you’ll encounter a layer of frozen earth running from 200 feet to almost a mile deep in some places. It’s like a great glacier secreted away underground and covering about 19 million square kilometers of the Northern Hemisphere. We call this frozen ground permafrost.
An Enormous Pile of Sequestered Carbon
Permafrost generally forms in regions where the mean annual temperature is below zero degrees Celsius. And the presently large expanse of permafrost has formed over the past 2-3 million years in which long, cold ice ages and short, and somewhat warmer interglacial periods have dominated.
(Recent research indicates that up to 120 billion tons of carbon could release from thawing permafrost this Century due to the warming that is now being caused by human fossil fuel burning. Such a release would roughly equate to 12 years of present fossil fuel burning adding approximately 40 ppm of CO2 equivalent gasses to the Earth’s Atmosphere [adding about 0.4 C to medium term warming and 0.8 C to long term warming]. The risk posed by this additional carbon feedback coming from the Earth System highlights the need to halt fossil fuel burning as swiftly as possible. Image source: The Impact of Permafrost Carbon Feedback on Global Climate.)
Locked away in all that permafrost is a massive store of carbon. Including peat, methane and methane hydrates, permafrost is estimated to have sequestered some 1,400 to 1,700 billion tons of a material that, if released as gas, could considerably contribute to the volume of heat trapping substances (like CO2 and CH4) already held aloft in the Earth’s atmosphere in a process that scientists call an amplifying climate feedback.
Evidence of Thaw and a Building Carbon Feedback
But now, human fossil fuel burning is causing the Arctic to rapidly warm — at about 3 times faster than the rate of warming for the rest of the globe (0.6 C per decade in the Arctic). And with atmospheric CO2 concentrations presently above 400 parts per million (and CO2e concentrations above 490 parts per million), the world is now starting to thaw out of the icy period of the last 2-3 million years. As a result, the permafrost is melting.

(Thermokarst lakes near Hudson Bay. Image source: Commons.)
When permafrost melts it changes the land around it. Often times, land subsides and deforms as the icy permafrost below collapses when it thaws. The resulting underground cavities can also telegraph to the surface in the form of sink holes. In places where microbes or hydrates are present, the cavities can fill with gas — which can sometimes erupt in a methane blow hole or ‘hell’s mouth’ crater. In Canada, a new study recently discovered that 52,000 square miles of northwestern permafrost is already thawing. The thaw is producing large sink holes, causing coastlines to rapidly erode, and proliferating the round ponds known as thermokarst lakes.
But it’s not just Canada that’s feeling the thaw. In Siberia, warming is also eating away at the permafrost. And what is happening there is arguably on a much grander and more disturbing scale than what we presently see in Canada. In East Siberia, for example, a 100 meter deep, 1 kilometer long crater has formed in the sagging Permafrost. It is officially called the Batagaika craterBut the locals know it as the Gateway to the Underworld. The crater began as a small deformation during the 1960s when permafrost thaw in the region initiated. It has, over the decades, grown considerably larger — with the growth rate accelerating along with permafrost melt during recent years.
Further west, the Yamal region of Russia is seeing strange bulges dispersing across the land. The bulges, according to Russian scientists and to reports in the Siberian Times, are being caused by bubbles of methane gas beneath the surface. The scientists state that these formations are likely being triggered by warming — in which either methane hydrates trapped within the permafrost are thawing or where microbes have come in contact with thawed permafrost carbon to break it down and produce methane. And in recent years, this region of Arctic Siberia has seen some very warm temperatures — with readings hitting as high as 35 C (95 F) during the summer of 2016.
These same researchers now note that some 7,000 underground methane bubbles exist in this region and that warming is pushing them to erupt. When the pressure below the land surface reaches a critical point, the Siberian Times report suggests that the land above can be displaced — bursting outward. The Siberian Times went on to note that large holes forming in the Yamal region during 2014 and 2015 were caused by just this kind of methane eruption.
(The Yamal Crater was one of the first indications that methane pockets forming beneath the Siberian Tundra were starting to erupt due to human-forced warming. Image source: The Siberian Times.)
Touchy Subject Scientifically and Politically
Permafrost thaw producing high volumes of feedback carbon release can be a touchy subject in the sciences and politically. The reason is that rational responses to this threat moves decision points forward on human carbon emissions cuts and it adds to the concern that atmospheric carbon capture will be needed later this century and on through many centuries to follow in order to prevent a scenario in which carbon feedbacks cause a form of warming runaway.
It doesn’t help that the science on permafrost carbon feedback is also new and rife with uncertainty — generating a kind of gray area in which rumors and misinformation can multiply. And there also appears to be some indication that the fossil fuel industry is attempting to use the issue to push gas extraction and burning in the Arctic — falsely claiming that all of the gas is going to release anyway. Which is not true — a portion of the permafrost carbon and related methane would remain sequestered even as human extraction efforts, if they continued indefinitely, would ultimately result in the release of a much larger portion of this carbon to the atmosphere than mere feedbacks alone.
It is worth noting that presently accepted science indicates that the present rate of atmospheric carbon release due to fossil fuel burning is likely many times that of the potential annual carbon release coming from the permafrost even under the worst case warming scenarios. And because that realized rate of permafrost carbon release is directly tied to how much fossil fuel we ultimately burn, we should be very clear that the urgency to cut these emissions couldn’t be higher.
Hat tip to Colorado Bob
Hat tip to Cate
Hat tip to Andy in San Diego

Arctic Entering Its Hottest Period in 2.5 Million Years

Arctic Entering Its Hottest Period in 2.5 Million Years as Last Remnants of Laurentide Melt Away

“This is the disappearance of a feature from the last glacial age, which would have probably survived without anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.” — Adrien Gilbert
There are many ways to tell the Earth’s temperature. One is by measuring how warm the atmosphere is near the surface. Another is to track the heat content of the world’s oceans. Still another is by taking account of melting glaciers and comparing thaw lines with times in the geological past.
And according to new research, the present state of the Barnes Ice Cap — which is the last tiny remnant of the once vast Laurentide Ice Sheet — tells a tale of heat not seen in 2.5 million years.
(NASA satellite shot of the last melting remnant of the Laurentide Ice sheet on August 30 of 2016. Want to see a time lapse of Barnes Ice Cap melt from 1984 to 2015? Take a look at this GoogleEarth time lapse, zoom in on Baffin Island, find the ice cap, and watch the edge lines retreat. It’s a bit uncanny..)
Over the past 2.5 million years, the Laurentide Ice Sheet has swelled and shrunken as cold ice ages were followed by warm interglacials. During the height of each ice age, the glaciers of Laurentide expanded to cover most of present day Canada and parts of the Northern United States. And during warmer interglacials, the ice sheet retreated to its final stronghold of the Barnes Ice Cap on Baffin Island.
But now, scientists have found that the Barnes Ice Cap, and with it the last remains of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, is about to disappear. Projections indicate that the considerable warming the Arctic is now experiencing, due primarily to fossil fuel burning, will completely melt this half-a-kilometer tall mountain of ice in just 200 to 500 years.
Once that happens, the Laurentide Ice Sheet will be gone. And this will be the first time such a thing has happened in 2.5 million years. 

(Recent decline of the Laurentide Ice Sheet during the end of the last ice age to 1,000 years before present. Soon, this once great mass of ice will be completely lost. Yet one more casualty of human fossil fuel burning.)
Though the Barnes Ice Cap may now be rather small compared to the larger ice masses of Greenland and Antarctica, its melt serves as a further sign that glaciers in those regions are also at risk. Gifford Miller, the associate director of CU Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research who has conducted research on Baffin Island for many decades notes:
“I think the disappearance of the Barnes Ice Cap would be just a scientific curiosity if it were not so unusual. One implication derived from our results is that significant parts of the southern Greenland Ice Sheet also may be at risk of melting as the Arctic continues to warm.”
Which is why many researchers are now saying that the imminent loss of Barnes serves as a kind of glacial melt canary in a coal mine.
The study authors further note that even if fossil fuel burning were to stop now, the total loss of the Barnes Ice Cap would still occur. What this means is that some parts of the Arctic are now likely as hot or hotter than they were at any time in the last 2.5 million years — the time when Barnes first formed. And, as the World Meteorological Organization noted so cogently this week, it also means that we’re heading deeper and deeper into an uncharted climate.
Hat tip to Colorado Bob
Hat tip to Keith Antonysen
Hat tip to Kevin