Extreme Wildfires: The New Normal

British Columbia, Northern California, France, Spain, Greece, Croatia, Siberia, Montenegro, Portugal

More than 1,000 wildfires threatened beaches and neighborhoods in Rome and the port of Ostia in central Italy.

10,000 residents and vacationers were evacuated from beaches and campsites in the Riviera and coastal Southern France.

Forest fires in Siberia grew by 1,000 hectares in one day, now covering a total of 24,000 hectares. Also affected are the regions of Sakhalin, Kamchatka, Buryatia and Krasnoyarsk Regions.

About 20 forest fires are burning across the western Peloponnese in Greece.

Adriatic coastal areas in Croatia and Montenegro are consumed by wildfires as high temps and winds drive torch tens of thousands of acres across Southern Europe.

At least 200 forest fires followed May flooding in central British Columbia, as more than 14,000 people are forced to evacuate.

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Biological Annihilation Described By New Scientific Study

The First Five Global Extinctions Were Natural…This One Is Not.

An irreversible era of mass extinction has begun, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Yes skeptics, extinctions are cyclical. The difference between this: the first five planetary extinctions were natural.

Visit the Extinction Map.

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Invasion of the Borg: Global Warming Driving Bizarre Marine Species Migration

“This is a weird organism man. I don’t have a clue.”
Don Jeske, Alaskan salmon fisherman

Pyrosomes can exist in formations up to forty feet long, but they don’t belong in Alaskan waters.

Millions of weird 6 in long organisms resembling extended thimbles are invading the waters off of southeastern Alaska. Among other problems, these things belong thousands of miles to the south, in warmer waters.

Sometimes referred to as the “Borg of the sea” or sea pickles, the correct name of these organisms is pyrosomes. They are tropical spineless, filter feeding marine animals of the zooid family. Although they appear in cylindrical form up to forty feet long, they are actually colonies of very small individual animals (similar in a way to coral, except that they move). The tubes appear to be gelatinous and move along by taking in water for nutrients at one end and blowing out the waste at the other.

Although the current incursion consists of smaller pyrosome tubes, they can grow up to 40 feet.

Pyrosome range has normally been in the warm waters of the Equator up until now.  Not only have they invaded the waters off southeast Alaska, but they are also washing ashore in huge masses on the coasts of Oregon and Washington.

These little monsters are yet another species moving inexorably toward the poles as ocean waters warm. The effects will be interesting for all to see!

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As Tengger Desert Encroaches, China Resettles New “Ecological Migrants”

Not far from Beijing, China’s worst drought on record marks radically changing weather patterns

Global warming is driving the desertification of northern China at an annual rate of approximately 1,300 sq mi per year. Based on the most recent research, China is now about 20% desert, with 21,000 square miles more arid wasteland that it did 40 years ago. According to satellite data, the Tengger is slowly merging with two other deserts in the north, which will result in a vast mega desert. The extended drought in the area is expected to worsen as global warming takes its toll.

The most compelling manifestation of the changing climate are the sand storms that sweep through the region beginning in the spring. As they move east, the clouds of displaced soil and dust regularly blacken the skies of Beijing. They have begun moving east into Korea, Japan and the Western US. Life in the region, always difficult, may become impossible in the foreseeable future.

This catastrophe, along with the desertification of part of Africa, the American West, Southern Europe, Spain, Australia, and South America, is generating the beginning of the predicted climate refugee epidemic that has long been predicted. China has already resettled hundreds of thousands, with mixed results. Along with the refugees will come resource wars.

Not even the massive resources and resolve of the Chinese government to implement large scale social and topographical engineering feats can prevent this onslaught.

The leading edge of the Tengger desert is about 200 miles from Beijing. For now.

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Another Fake Clean Coal Plant Bites the Dust

Southern Company’s Kemper Coal Gasification Plant is the Latest Clean Coal Project That Didn’t Make The Long Haul

FutureGen bites the dust
Or, the way MIT Technology Review reported it:  ”Clean Coal’s Flagship Project Has Failed”

Southern Company has shut down its Kemper County Power Generation Facility clean coal gasification showcase project in Mississippi due to incredibly high costs – $7.5 billion so far. Ratepayers are on the hook for $800 million thanks to legislation passed by the Mississippi legislature; the plant also was on the receiving end of a $382 million Federal Energy Dept. “grant”.

Talk about gasification. I love the free market.

It is worth noting that that ratepayers are suing the company for fraud, and the SEC was investigating Southern Company back before the regime change. The delays and excuses were too much even for the regulators in the state of Mississippi.

Last year, the New York Times reported that the University of Southern Mississippi was forced to raise annual tuition $236 per student, partly to offset an extra $1 million in electrical power costs attributed to the plant.

The plant was backed by good ole Haley Barbour, Southern’s chief lobbyist prior to becoming governor of Mississippi. No one was real surprised when he signed legislation that passed the costs of new power plants on the ratepayers.

Company spokesmodels are calling the suspension a setback, but meantime Mississippi regulators have directed that the Kemper plant be converted to natural gas only (rather than coal fired).

Custer suffered the same kind of “setback” at Little Big Horn.

That will be the end of the Mississippi clean coal scam, but it certainly is not the first of these projects to fail after spending a lot of money. Their primary purpose from the beginning was to create the illusion that clean coal was actually a real thing, even though the claims began long before any ground was broken.

FutureGen bites the dust
The imaginary FutureGen 2.0 is a failed clean coal plant that cost taxpayers a lot of money.

CatMap has been following the clean coal carbon sequestration/gasification up our butts fairy tell for over a decade. It was in 2006 that the Bush administration granted $1 billion to an imaginary clean coal project called FutureGen, which was a proof of concept coal fired electrical that would show how clean my coal can be, and also provide millions of jobs in southern Illinois. In 2010, it was rebranded as FutureGen 2.0. It was finally shut down in 2015. Your $ billion is long gone, and so is FutureGen.

Two coal-fired electric generation plants are closing in Ohio. Two more are closing in New Jersey. I wonder who is going to buy all that coal Trump is bragging about?

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Dead Right Whales

The critically endangered species is now under 500 globally as six more whales die suddenly off New Brunswick

National Geographic reports that the carcasses of six right whales were found in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, an unprecedented mortality event that bodes ill for yet another species on the brink.

Humans nearly wiped out the North Atlantic right whale in the late 18th century and the species has never fully recovered. Today, they are the rarest whale species. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature estimates that only about 350 individual animals still exist, down from over 10,000 a century and a half ago. Canada’s department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada estimate is closer to 500.

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Today’s Large Earthquake & Tsunami: The Latest Aberrant Events In Greenland

A lethal 4.1 quake followed by flash flooding kills 4 in Greenland in the latest bizarre happening in Greenland

“It’s not normal that we have such large quakes in Greenland,” - Trine Dahl Jensen, Senior Researcher at the Danish Geological Survey.

Four residents of the coastal village of Nuugaatsiaq are missing and presumed dead after an earthquake and landslide that destroyed dozens of buildings and inundated the village. About 40 people were evacuated from the settlement of about 100 people on the west coast.

Greenland has been experiencing more powerful earthquakes recently, which many geologists believe may be attributed to changes in the landmass itself as ice sheet collapse accelerates. As the melting of Greenland’s massive ice cap and glaciers accelerates, trillions of tons of ice and snow are flowing into the North Atlantic, allowing the land underneath to rise.

The suggestion that global warming can cause earthquakes may seem crazy until you give it even a little scientific thought (remember that people thought we were joking about fracking waste wells causing quakes in Oklahoma until the state and federal geological agencies confirmed it).

A fault line has been described as a coiled spring that can be triggered by a relatively small change in pressure. There are actually several ways that global warming can cause earthquakes > see our previous post.

And then there’s this other thing that happened…..!

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Glacier Pulse Warped Earth’s Crust

Rapid changes in the Arctic resonate across the planet

A gargantuan mass of melting ice and water pulsed through one of Greenland’s glaciers with such force that it warped the Earth’s crust in the process. During the unprecedented warming of 2012, the Rink Glacier pulse traveled approximately 15 miles, actually bending bedrock around it as it pushed its way to the sea.

During the record heat of 2012, most of the surface of Greenland was covered with meltwater, a phenomenon that had not been previously observed. Researchers studying the event believe the unusual amount of surface water drained beneath Greenland’s ice sheet and then thrust its way via gravitational forces until it reached the North Atlantic coast. While a glacier moves very slowly under normal circumstances, this massive pulse moved quickly beneath the ice, ripping up everything in its path.

NASA researchers say this unprecedented event is likely to be a harbinger of the future as the Arctic regions warms twice as fast as the rest of the planet.

The quantity of melted ice that exploded into the ocean was 6.68 billion tons, or gigatons. If all the ice on Greenland ended up in the ocean, it would raise sea levels by about 20 feet worldwide.

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Non-Linear* Global Warming and Sea Ice Albedo Decline

Loss of Arctic reflectivity in sea ice + meltwater ponds drives a feedback loop that accelerates warming at an alarming rate

As Arctic sea ice declines, it begins to crumble, which causes a decrease in reflectivity. Meltwater ponds now appear more frequently, causing a similar effect.

A number of feedback loops mechanisms are at work in the Arctic, and each of them contributes to the acceleration of regional and global warming.

The “surface albedo” effect is a well understood phenomenon that is known to reinforce warming over reflective surfaces such as ice sheets and sea ice. The rapid increase in lower level (near surface) air temperature is causing sea ice and snow cover to melt more rapidly than in the past. The reduction in ice exposes less reflective surfaces such as dark open seawater, bare ground, and vegetation. These surfaces absorb more solar radiation, which warms the land and ocean water and moves heat energy the atmosphere. The loop comes full circle as the near surface temperature further increase and the process reinforces itself.

Examples of feedback processes that amplify an initial near-surface air temperature rise caused by global warming (diagram courtesy of 

The combination of surface albedo reduction and other feedback loops work together to generate a degree of warming that some scientists are now beginning to describe as “abrupt climate change.” This is another way of saying that the rate of climate change is faster than earlier models predicted, and may be virtually unprecedented in terms of the geological records.

Some of these forces are difficult for laymen to understand, but others are more accessible (and therefore alarming). Such changes include increases in atmospheric water vapor as cloud, which radiates heat down and further warm the atmosphere. Another example is airborne black soot including dust and dirt particles that darken glaciers and snow pack, again increasing the solar heat absorption.

In the event of an ice fee ocean, phytoplankton will increase, with a corresponding uptick in solar radiation going into the water and land. As algae and phytoplankton proliferate, interaction with the upper atmosphere, changing the chemical makeup of the atmosphere.

The chemical makeup of the oceans are already changing as the waters absorb more CO2.

Non-linear means it is changing rapidly in response to extreme input (such as human production of CO2 and methane) that are outside the normal influence of natural processes. It is also called “abrupt climate change.”


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Larsen C Ice Shelf About To Split As Giant Moving Crack Rips Across 11 Miles in Six Days

When Ice Shelves Collapse, the Glaciers They Hold Back Flow Directly Into the Ocean, Rapidly Raising Sea Levels

The 1000 foot wide rift is cutting through the Larsen C Ice Shelf like a hot knife through butter. Once the rift traverses the remaining eight miles (which could happen within a matter of weeks), the last of the three massive ice shelves of the region will collapse and crash into the sea. The chunk of ice involved is the size of Delaware (about 2000 sq mi) and will reduce the Peninsula’s area by about 10%. Even beyond the fact that this calving event will create one of the largest ice bergs ever recorded, this is not business as usual.

When this massive berg breaks free, “It will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula,” said Adrian Luckman of the Midas Project, a UK Antarctic research institution. The West Antarctic Ice Shelves Larsen A and B have already collapsed (1999 and 2002 respectively).

Another significant uptick in sea level rise:

Ice shelves are different from both land based ice packs and floating sea ice. As a sort of hybrid, ice shelves are an extension of land based ice that are connected to land but form a floating barrier on coastal Antartica, Greenland and other polar regions. Ice shelves serve to hold back the massive glaciers that flow to the sea from the interior of the continent. When an ice shelf cracks away, the glaciers begin melt into the ocean.

Since the 1950s, accelerated warming trends in the region have driven temperatures up to 5°F higher in the region since the 1950s. They are expected to increase up to 7°F more by the end of the century.

If all the glaciers held back by Larsen C were to run into the ocean, global water level will increase by an additional four inches  (10 centimeters). Because the glaciers are comprised of fresh water, the also change the salinity of the ocean as they mix with the salt water.

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