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'It's catastrophic, really. They kill 99 per cent of things they come in contact with".
David Barnes, British Antarctic Survey

An iceberg 17 miles long,  now named B-34,  cracked and broke loose from Antarctica's Getz Ice Shelf. The Getz ice shelf is roughly 300 miles long and up to 60 miles wide. Ice shelves in Antarctica have an average thickness of between 1,300 to 1,600 feet and some can extend out hundreds of miles off the coast. The Amundsen shelves are grounded on a bed that lies below sea level and several large islands are partially or wholly embedded in the ice shelf.  The Amundsen Sea ice shelves are weak and more prone to climate change. It is thought to be melting at a rate triple of what it had 10 years ago. NASA notes:

"Why is the Amundsen Sea region more at risk than other parts of West Antarctica?

In addition to the ice sheet being grounded below sea level, there are three main reasons. First, the glaciers here lack very large ice shelves to stem ice flow. Second, they aren’t "pinned" by obstructions in their beds except in a few small places, unlike the Ronne and Ross shelves which are pinned down by large islands. Third, as first observed in the 1990s, the area is vulnerable to a regional ocean current, ushered in by the shape of the sea floor and the proximity of the circumpolar deep current. This current delivers warm water to grounding lines and the undersides of ice shelves in the region."

NASA reports on the recent finding that B-34 has separated from the ice shelf:

B-34 is the 34th iceberg from the “B” quadrant of Antarctica (located between 90 degrees East and 180 degrees) to be tracked by the NIC. The new berg is still smaller, however, than the much older B-15T—a fragment of B-15 that initially broke off from the Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000.

Large icebergs can have large-scale impacts on the Southern Ocean. For example, as the bergs melt, the addition of cold, fresh water to the saltwater ocean can affect ocean currents and circulation. Researchers have shown, however, that even more fresh water comes from the melting of smaller and much more numerous bergs.

In just 17 years, icebergs have decimated the sea life near western Antarctica. In 1997 a 500 square mile section of sea bottom was studied and discovered to have colorful coral like creatures called "moss animals". These creatures filter the water for food. Upon return in 2013, the researchers discovered that all but one of these species had vanished.

CBC news reports:

As the glaciers retreat and the ice shelves collapse on the West Antarctic Peninsula, they break off into floating chunks of ice, some of them extremely massive.

Fifty years ago, icebergs couldn't move around much because most years, the sea surface was frozen for much of the year. But recently, Barnes said, most years, the sea is frozen for less than 50 days a year. That leaves the icebergs free to drift and blow in the wind until they crash boulders on the sea floor, pounding and scraping away everything that lived on them.

The animals that live on the sea floor are called benthos. Species can include sea anemones, sponges, corals, sea stars, sea urchins, worms, bivalves, crabs, and many more. These organisms grow very slowly in the ice cold water, have low levels of reproduction, colonization and growth. Ice shelves and ice bergs scour the bottom killing everything in its path. This is not good news for the southern ocean food web.

From Current Biology:

Life on Antarctica’s coastal seabed rollercoasters between food-rich, open-water, iceberg-scoured summers and food-sparse winters, when the sea surface freezes into ‘fast-ice’, locking up icebergs, reducing their seabed collisions (scouring). In the last half century, there have been massive losses of winter sea ice along the Antarctic Peninsula, as well as retreat of glaciers and disintegration of ice shelves coincident with rapid recent regional warming [1] . More calving from glaciers and ice shelves coupled with less winter ice should increase scouring of the seabed — which is where most Antarctic species live (http//www.SCAR-MarBIN.be). Polar benthos are considered highly sensitive to change, slow growing and all endemic. However, the only published effect of increased scouring on benthos has been increased mortality of the pioneer species Fenstrulina rugula, adjacent to Rothera Research station, West Antarctic Peninsula [2] (Supplemental information; Figure S1 ). It is likely that the recent increase in mortality in this species reflects the mortality of other species on hard substrata. A 2013 survey dive at a nearby locality (Lagoon Island) revealed large areas where no live mega- or macro-fauna could be found, the first time this has been observed there despite being regularly visited by scientific divers since 1997. Here, we report the first assemblage level changes coincident with increased scouring.
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Image Credit: Pakalolo

Shhhh! Florida republicans are quietly plotting a nefarious plan to allow the private sector the opportunity to harvest the trees in our State parks and natural areas, allow agricultural interests to plow up state park land, and allowing ranchers to graze their cattle on currently protected wet and dry prairie habitats. So as not to hurt the feelings of the communications industry, the bought and paid for republican controlled house and senate support cell phone towers rising above the palms and the cypress domes  (assuming any are left given the goodies showered on the timber industry) of Florida's beautiful and award winning state park system.

This top secret plot is under wraps because Floridian's love of our state parks. In 2014, Florida voters joined New Jersey and California in approving $13 billion to protect existing state lands and funding for additional acquisition of conservation land.

"Tuesday was a remarkable day for land conservation in states and cities across America," said Will Rogers, President of The Trust for Public Land, the nation's leader in creating public funding for parks and open space. "Voters in Florida, New Jersey, and California all approved measures which will mean billions of dollars will be spent to preserve the special places which are important to them and their families. And that approval came from voters regardless of their party affiliation."

"But the results were not surprising," Rogers said. "For more than 20 years, The Trust for Public Land has seen that support from Democratic, Republican and independent voters alike. Whether voters are 'red' or 'blue,' they are both 'green' and they are willing to vote with their pocketbooks to protect special places."

The measures included:

•Florida - An amendment to the state constitution won 75-25% approval and will dedicate $18 billion over the next 20 years, with half that amount set aside for new land conservation, including major investments in the Everglades. The $9 billion total makes up the bulk of the $13 billion approved Tuesday. The Florida measure was the largest land conservation measure ever approved in a single state.

Hat tip to The Tampa Bay Times for reporting on this story so that west coast Floridians can see what these greedy and corrupt bastards are up to as Myakka State Park is first to be pillaged. They note:
For decades, "Florida's lawmakers, governors and administrators understood that a state park was . . . for the perpetual preservation of unique portions of original, natural Florida," said Phillip A. Werndli, who recently retired as chief historian of the Florida Park Service. In fact, state law said the parks are supposed to "conserve these natural values for all time."

The parks do make money for Florida, though, because their natural beauty attracts so many visitors, both from within the state and around the globe. A DEP analysis last year found that about 27 million people visited the parks, generating an economic impact of $2.1 billion.

To Steverson, though, that's not enough. In March he told a Senate committee the parks cover only 77 percent of their expenses, and he wants to boost that to 100 percent.

Steverson told the senators he believes the park system can protect the environment "while still becoming self-sustaining. . . . We can do a lot to expand the utilization of this land to support other areas of the DEP mission."

Steverson said his goal is simple: "I want to maximize value for the taxpayers, but also for the environment."

That's also the goal of  HB 7135 and SB 7086 , bills that are rapidly nearing a final vote in the Legislature. Both call for state park management plans to include "preservation of low impact agriculture" among their mandated goals, and to find parks that could support low impact agriculture. The bills do not really define "low-impact agriculture" except to say it's the kind of farming or ranching that doesn't pollute too much or interfere with recreation in the park.

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In 2004, 28 oil wells located 11 miles off the coastlines of Louisiana that are owned and operated by Taylor Energy, were destroyed by a mudslide caused by Hurricane Ivan. The consequences of this natural disaster caused oil to leak into the Gulf of Mexico.  Since the disaster, the Coast Guard and Taylor Energy Company have secretly tried numerous methods to clean up the oil. The major problem is that the mudslide buried the wells under 100 foot deep mounds of sediment. Because of this sediment, it is impossible to plug and abandon the wells that is common practice on other wells in the Gulf Of Mexico. In a futile attempt to contain the flow of oil into the ocean, Taylor Energy has failed by trying to cover the leak using three containment domes where oil collects inside the domes and later is extracted by ships.  Other attempts that have been tried and failed focused on sealing the wells with cement, and by drilling relief wells.  Despite these efforts oil has continued to spill every single day for the past 11 years.

The spill is located in the Mississippi Canyon Lease Block 20 (“MC20”), oil and gas have been bubbling up to the surface from 500 ft below and spreading out on the surface as long as 17 miles.

From AP:

Taylor's oil was befouling the Gulf for years in obscurity before BP's massive spill in mile-deep water outraged the nation in 2010. Even industry experts haven't heard of Taylor's slow-motion spill, which has been leaking like a steady trickle from a faucet, compared to the fire hose that was BP's gusher.

Taylor, a company renowned in Louisiana for the philanthropy of its deceased founder, has kept documents secret that would shed light on what it has done to stop the leak and eliminate the persistent sheen.

Thankfully there has been a watch dog that has been following the spill and noting inconsistencies and untruths from Taylor Energy and the United States government.
The Coast Guard said in 2008 the leak posed a "significant threat" to the environment, though there is no evidence oil from the site has reached shore. Ian MacDonald, a Florida State University biological oceanography professor and expert witness in a lawsuit against Taylor, said the sheen "presents a substantial threat to the environment" and is capable of harming birds, fish and other marine life.

Using satellite images and pollution reports, the watchdog group SkyTruth estimates between 300,000 and 1.4 million gallons of oil has spilled from the site since 2004, with an annual average daily leak rate between 37 and 900 gallons.

If SkyTruth's high-end estimate of 1.4 million gallons is accurate, Taylor's spill would be about 1 percent the size of BP's, which a judge ruled amounted to 134 million gallons. That would still make the Taylor spill the 8th largest in the Gulf since 1970, according to a list compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"The Taylor leak is just a great example of what I call a dirty little secret in plain sight," said SkyTruth President John Amos.

I highly recommend reading the AP article in full. Who could have possibly predicted that not planning for the obvious potential of a powerful hurricane would lead to catastrophic impacts to oil well infrastructure in the GoM?  What kind of nightmares await us in the arctic as Shell is bound and determined to drill there with the Obama administrations blessings.

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Grassland wildfires have been raging across the Siberian Republic of Khakassia killing 23 people at last count, and seriously injuring 47. Homes in 19 different settlements have been destroyed and thousands left homeless according the Tass News Agency. The flames are being driven 20 meters per second by gusty winds according to meteorologists.

The Xinhau news agency in China has reported that the wildfires have crosses the border in China and are now surging in the region of inner Mongolia.

Reports Russian News:

The total area of ​​forest fires in Siberia on Tuesday increased by almost half, to 14 thousand hectares, the press service of the Forestry Department of the Siberian Federal District. Fires in Eastern Russia has already spread to China.

According to the department, the fire blazing in the Trans-Baikal Territory, the Krasnoyarsk Territory, Buryatia, Tuva, and the Irkutsk region in the Altai Republic.

Emergency mode remains in effect throughout the Trans-Baikal Territory and Khakassia in four regions of Buryatia and in one area of ​​the Krasnoyarsk Territory.

In a warming world we can expect more and more wildfires. Longer and hotter summers will extend the wild fire season in many regions of the world.

Interestingly, wildfires in grasslands may become less of an issue in a warming world. Not because they will regrow after a fire as we would expect, but because intense drought will provide no fodder to burn.

The latest detected fire activity in the United States can be seen here.

High spring and summer temperatures in addition to earlier snow melt and less rainfall  have catastrophe written all over it, especially for those who live in the western and southeastern states. It seems that April has become the new July. Something tells me we will not be having a pleasant summer this year.

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Think Progress reports on a John Podesta tweet that states climate change and energy policy will be at the top of her presidential priorities if elected. This will make her presidential campaign the first campaign ever to put climate change as a major priority.

John Podesta        ✔  @johnpodesta  
Follow
Helping working families succeed, building small businesses, tackling climate change & clean energy. Top of the agenda. #Hillary2016

4:45 PM - 12 Apr 2015

1,323 Retweets   802 favorites  

This would make Hillary’s campaign the first major presidential campaign ever to make combating climate change a central issue.

Al Gore, who would go onto win a Nobel Prize for his advocacy of climate change, did not make it a key issue of his campaign for president in 2000. The environment section of John Kerry’s 2004 website did not mention climate change. (The issue gets one paragraph in a 14-page white paper on the campaign’s environmental policies.)

In 2008, Clinton and Obama more readily acknowledged climate change as a serious issue, but is was hardly a central policy issue in a campaign dominated by the fallout from the Iraq war and the emerging economic collapse.

In 2012, with no primary opponent and an opposition party that mostly refused to acknowledge climate science “neither Obama nor Mitt Romney was asked about the issue in any of the presidential debates, and it has not featured prominently in any of the plans for their presidencies.” (Ultimately, Obama embraced aggressive action on climate change during his second term including important new rules for power plants and a landmark agreement with China.)

Meanwhile, nearly all Republican candidates won’t acknowledge the existence of climate change or — if they do — suggest nothing should be done about it.

We of course need to hear more from the candidate herself. For me this is hopeful news as maybe, just maybe, we can build on some of the work that President Obama has done on climate issues and give life as we know it a fighting chance.

Some of the life or death issues for what we are facing when it comes to run away climate change can be viewed in the below clip.  As I said before, if this issue does not become a major issue in the campaign we are in even deeper trouble than we are now. Americans, and particularly American conservatives, do not believe the science or they do it to enable the fossil fuel industry to continue to make profits at our expense. Climate action issues however presented is fine with me. To the critics of this diary, thank you for the opportunity to lay the case for elevating climate change in even starker terms that it deserves, and the importance of this issue which is critical in any presidential campaign. There is no other issue that can begin to compare with humanity getting it's act together today on stopping this potential human extinction event. And it's soon, very soon with no historic world wide action to slow it down.

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 Image Credit: Flickr user (HD Image) barto

Another piece of the puzzle that is climate change has been identified, and it is disturbing as rainfall patterns will challenge the most ecologically diverse but sensitive eco-systems on the planet. A new study published in the Journal Nature found that increases of rainfall in the wettest areas of the tropics are due to violent expressions of deep, moist convection. The tropics climate, and particularly micro-climates, will be impacted very negatively by the rapid changes in Earth's airstreams. Most life in the tropics can not adapt to any slight change in their environment fast enough to avoid extinction.  Many areas of the tropics will become dryer, the Amazon rainforest for example, is expected over time to transition to savannah for a myriad of reasons.

Increased Rainfall in Tropics Caused by More Frequent Big Storms

Many scientists have long thought that in a warming world some regions are likely to see more rain because a warmer atmosphere is capable of holding more water vapor. The idea seemed to be supported by recent observations showing strong precipitation increases in the wettest tropical regions, sometimes referred to as a 'rich-get-richer' pattern.

Joint research from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science (ARCCSS) and NASA published online in Nature today reveals that rainfall increases seen in places such as the western Pacific in recent decades are actually due to large storms – what the authors call “organized deep convection” – happening more frequently, rather than from individual storms producing more rain.

"The observations showed the increase in rainfall is directly caused by the change in the character of rain events in the tropics rather than a change in the total number of rain events," said lead author Jackson Tan, who conducted this research while at Australia’s Monash University but now works at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia. "What we are seeing is more big and organized storms and fewer small and disorganized rain events."

The study helps chip away at one of the big questions facing climate change science: To what degree will a warmer world accelerate the water cycle and patterns of rainfall and drought?

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Photograph by Hsuan Tang

National Geographic reports:

Scientists have measured what is likely the highest temperature ever on Antarctica: 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit (17.5 Celsius).

The measurements were made last Tuesday at Argentina's Esperanza Base, on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, according to the meteorological website Weather Underground. The previous hottest known temperature on the continent was 62.8°F (17.1°C), recorded at Esperanza Base on April 24, 1961.

The Weather Underground called last week's temperatures a "remarkable heat wave," although they occurred during the end of the austral summer, when Antarctic temperatures are typically highest.

The temperature has yet to be certified as an official record for the continent by the World Meteorological Organization.

It's hard to draw much conclusion from a single temperature record, cautions Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City. Last year Antarctica also logged a record cold temperature, he notes.

And what does our Senate Majority leader say to the world about the undeniable climate change that has been observed by 99 % of scientists?

"Considering that two-thirds of the U.S. federal government hasn't even signed off on the Clean Power Plan and 13 states have already pledged to fight it, our international partners should proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal."

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The copper river in the Gulf of Alaska-NASA

The world is changing before our very eyes yet most of us choose to ignore it. There has been a lot of horrible news lately regarding the rapid melting of the planets snow and ice. Irreversible melt in Antarctica, ice free arctic ocean in summer, and massive ice shelves that have held back Antarctica's glaciers for tens of thousands of years are now cracking. In Alaska, land based melting glaciers are rapidly retreating under the pressure of their own weight and the forces of gravity.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center explains how a glacier moves. "Glaciers move by internal deformation of the ice, and by sliding over the rocks and sediments at the base. Internal deformation occurs when the weight and mass of a glacier causes it to spread out due to gravity. Sliding occurs when the glacier slides on a thin layer of water at the bottom of the glacier. This water may come from glacial melting due to the pressure of the overlying ice or from water that has worked its way through cracks in the glacier. Glaciers can also readily slide on a soft sediment bed that has some water in it. This is known as basal sliding and may account for most of the movement of thin, cold glaciers on steep slopes or only 10 to 20 percent of the movement of warm, thick glaciers lying on gentle slopes.

When a glacier moves rapidly around a rock outcrop or over a steep area in the bedrock, internal stresses build up in the ice. These stresses can cause cracks, or crevasses, on the glacier surface."

Alaska's southern coast glaciers that once terminated in the ocean, have now retreated far up Alaska's valleys. A recent study shows that fresh water and glacial melt from these retreating glaciers are "pouring into the Gulf of Alaska accumulating more water than is seen in some of the world's great rivers".  

The Oregon State study reports the tragic news.

Incessant mountain rain, snow and melting glaciers in a comparatively small region of land that hugs the southern Alaska coast and empties fresh water into the Gulf of Alaska would create the sixth largest coastal river in the world if it emerged as a single stream, a recent study shows.

Since it’s broken into literally thousands of small drainages pouring off mountains that rise quickly from sea level over a short distance, the totality of this runoff has received less attention, scientists say. But research that’s more precise than ever before is making clear the magnitude and importance of the runoff, which can affect everything from marine life to global sea level.

The collective fresh water discharge of this region is more than four times greater than the mighty Yukon River of Alaska and Canada, and half again as much as the Mississippi River, which drains all or part of 31 states and a land mass more than six times as large.

“Freshwater runoff of this magnitude can influence marine biology, nearshore oceanographic studies of temperature and salinity, ocean currents, sea level and other issues,” said David Hill, lead author of the research and an associate professor in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University.

“This is an area of considerable interest, with its many retreating glaciers,” Hill added, “and with this data as a baseline we’ll now be able to better monitor how it changes in the future.”

Note: Some of the links above I added, they are not all part of the original OSU article
This is one of the first studies to accurately document the amount of water being contributed by melting glaciers, which add about 57 cubic kilometers of water a year to the estimated 792 cubic kilometers produced by annual precipitation in this region. The combination of glacial melt and precipitation produce an amount of water that’s larger than many of the world’s great rivers, such as the Ganges, Nile, Volga, Niger, Columbia, Danube or Yellow River.
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Photograph by Cory Richards
A polar bear stands sentinel on Rudolf Island in Russia’s Franz Josef Land archipelago, destination of a multidisciplinary scientific expedition in the summer of 2013.

"Arguing about the basic science gets us nowhere

Scientists are as certain that industrial activities are causing climate change as they are that smoking causes lung disease. They have robust estimates of how much heat industrial emissions are trapping in our atmosphere. It’s clear that recent climate change is not natural.

So while asking politicians whether or not they accept those facts is certainly useful, the public also deserves to know what politicians are going to do about the consequences of climate change and how they want to shape our country’s energy mix."

So writes Aaron Huertas  , in a riveting but overlooked piece on the Union of Concerned Scientists blog.

In 2012, not one question regarding the civilization threatening issue of climate change was asked by moderators of the 3 major debates between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. This despite the fact that the Arctic was melting before our very eyes, droughts were occurring, temperatures were at record breaking levels and the Military had come out stating that climate change was a very dangerous threat to our national security. Heck even the CIA was scared to death of it at that time. see From the Guardian regarding CIA and Military efforts regarding Global warming:

The CIA late last year established a centre to collect intelligence on climate change. Earlier this month, CIA officials sent emails to environmental experts in Washington seeking their views on climate change impacts around the world, and how the agency could keep tabs on what actions countries were taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The CIA has also restarted a programme – scrapped by George Bush – that allowed scientists and spies to share satellite images of glaciers and Arctic sea ice.

But not one peep out of Candy Crowley, Jim Lehrer, Bob Schieffer, who had the journalistic duty to ask sharp questions. How sad and embarrassing for them.

After the last debate, Candy Crowley addressed the concerns of the "climate people".

"I had that question for all of you climate change people. We just, you know, again, we knew that the economy was still the main thing so you knew you kind of wanted to go with the economy."

For 2016, questions needs to be asked of Republicans (as well as some of the fossil fuel bought and paid for Democrats)  such as John Boehner who stated “let scientists debate…”  the phenomenon of climate change and of Marco Rubio who stated climate science “is not well-established.” that go beyond whether Climate Change is real.

Some suggestions for journalists from the Union of Concerned Scientists blog.

Anticipate Dodges and Misinformation

CNN’s Jake Tapper did this effectively when he moderated a Florida gubernatorial debate. He anticipated Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s previous dismissive statement about climate science (“I’m not a scientist”) and got the candidates to debate policy, instead.

Ask About Climate Risks

Moderators did this at three gubernatorial debates in Florida, Maryland, and Virginia and the results were encouraging; they garnered substantive responses instead of polarized arguments about established science.

Ask About Energy Policy

Even politicians who reject climate science often support clean energy. For instance, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has dismissed climate science and also vocally supports wind power. Many politicians simply aren’t monolithic on these issues, including Democrats who favor climate action along with policies that promote fossil fuels.

Ask Who Pays for Climate Risks?

A Republican legislator in Virginia is proposing using a carbon price to help pay for dealing with sea level rise in his state. The federal flood insurance system is under increased strain as sea levels rise around increasingly valuable coastal property. And in Oregon, the state is re-negotiating wildfire insurance policy. Where do politicians stand on paying for climate-related damages? Is it on property owners? Taxpayers? Polluting businesses?

Give the Audience the Facts

Finally, journalists can simply note to their audience that politicians who reject climate science are incorrect. Jake Tapper did that during an interview with Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) before moving onto another topic. That’s better than letting misinformation about established science go unchecked.

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The densely populated megalopolis of South Florida is losing it's water wells as sea water intrudes into the Biscayne Aquifer. Salt water has already moved 6 miles inland in Broward County and is likely to continue to creep westward. Ninety percent of South Florida gets its drinking water from underground supplies, most from the Biscayne aquifer. This inland movement observed in Broward County is due to urban withdrawals from the Biscayne Aquifer, ocean water moving sideways into the aquifer and seepage of saltwater from surface sources.

Governor Scott, this is threatening the habitability of a region of close to 6 million of your fellow Floridians. Your inaction and hostility towards climate issues and sustainability now threatens funds and other aid from FEMA as they will not give money to any state that does not plan for climate change. Where is the disaster relief going to come from if not from Federal sources?

A report titled Climate Change AND Sea-Level Rise IN Florida notes the hellish calamity that will affect Florida's urban populations, economy, ecosystems and coasts.

What we know.

Florida‘s Biscayne Aquifer, the principal water supply to southeastern Florida and the Florida Keys, is recharged by rainfall and the freshwater Everglades. Surficial coastal aquifers are already experiencing saltwater intrusion. Rising sea level will increase the hydraulic backpressure on coastal aquifers, reduce groundwater flow toward the ocean, and cause the saltwater front to move inland, thus threatening to contaminate water-supply wells in coastal areas with seawater. In the low-lying southernmost Everglades, sea-level rise will cause brackish waters to encroach farther
northward.

The Pensacola Bay and St. Johns River watersheds and southern Florida from Palm Beach to Miami, the Florida Keys, Naples, and Fort Myers are especially vulnerable to saltwater intrusion into municipal freshwater supplies as sea levels rise (Dausman and Langevin, 2005; Freed et al., 2005; Murley et al., 2008).

The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan’s main purpose is to increase freshwater flow to the southern Everglades. This will help offset the effect of sea-level rise and help preserve Everglades ecologies and southern Florida’s water supply (South Florida Water Management District, 2009a). The South Florida Water Management District already spends millions of dollars per year to prevent Miami’s Biscayne Aquifer from becoming brackish (Miller et al., 1989). Rising sea level will cause groundwater near the coast to become more saline and groundwater levels to increase.

What is Probable.
As sea level continues to rise, these effects will increase the extent of saltwater intrusion especially during periods of drought and the dry winter/spring
season (Heimlich et al., 2009).

Sea-level rise of 15 centimeters (about 6 inches) and more will require implementing adaptation strategies such as water conservation, wastewater reuse, recovery and recharge, stormwater storage, alternative water supplies including desalination,
and other advanced water-management strategies in order to assure adequate water supplies (Heimlich et al., 2009).

If the saline waterfront moves far enough north, it could contaminate the headwaters of the Biscayne Aquifer and southern Miami-Dade County’s water supply Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007; Heimlich et al., 2009; Karl et al.,
2009).

This contamination would increase the salt content of leakage into sewer collection systems and complicate wastewater treatment operations. Water and wastewater treatment facilities that are located at low elevations in coastal regions may be subject to more frequent flooding during spring tides and storm surges (Bloetscher et al., 2009).

Interior regional hydrologic systems of Florida should not be significantly affected (Trimble et al., 1998).

Municipal sewer systems will have to be tightened to significantly reduce groundwater seepage in order to protect wastewater treatment operations (Bloetscher et al., 2009).

Discuss

Following on the heels of the devastating news on on the cracking up of West Antarctica's Larsen C Ice shelf, there is a new NASA study that shows the discovery of 2 seafloor troughs that bring in warm ocean water to the base of the Totten Glacier.

The Totten Glacier Catchment (outlined in blue) is a collection basin for ice and snow that flows into the ocean through Totten Glacier alone. The catchment is estimated to contain enough frozen water to raise global sea level by at least 11 feet (3.3 meters). Image credit: Australian Antarctic Division

Larger Image

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory reports:

The result, published in the journal Nature Geoscience today, March 16, has global implications because the ice flowing through Totten Glacier alone is equivalent to the entire volume of the more widely studied West Antarctic Ice Sheet. If Totten Glacier were to collapse completely, global sea levels would rise by at least 11 feet (3.3 meters). As in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, complete collapse of Totten Glacier may take centuries, although the timing of retreat in both places is the subject of intensive research.

East Antarctica has appeared to be stable compared with the rapidly melting western side of the continent. The new finding shows that "Totten Glacier and the East Antarctic Ice Sheet are a much more interesting and dynamic part of the sea level rise story than we'd previously thought," said co-author Dustin Schroeder, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. Schroeder helped analyze data from an ice-penetrating radar to demonstrate that ocean water could access the glacier through the newfound troughs.

In some areas of the ocean surrounding Antarctica, warm water can be found below cooler water because it is saltier, and therefore heavier, than the shallower water. Seafloor valleys that connect this deep warm water to the coast can especially compromise glaciers, but this process had previously been seen only under the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Deep warm water had been observed seaward of Totten Glacier, but there was no evidence that it could compromise coastal ice.

The newly discovered troughs are deep enough to give the deep warm water access to the huge cavity under the glacier. The deeper of the two troughs extends from the ocean to the underside of Totten Glacier in an area not previously known to be floating.

The data for this study were gathered as part of the International Collaboration for Exploration of the Cryosphere through Airborne Profiling (ICECAP) project, which, together with the East Antarctic component of NASA's Operation IceBridge mission, made the first comprehensive survey of the Totten Glacier Ice Shelf and nearby regions between 2008 and 2012. Other coauthors of the study come from research organizations and universities in Australia, France and England.

This image shows the previously unknown landscape beneath Totten Glacier. Orange arrows point to seafloor troughs deep enough to allow warm water to enter beneath the floating ice. Image credit: UTA/Jamin Greenbaum

A new NASA-led study has discovered an intriguing link between sea ice conditions and the melting rate of Totten Glacier, the glacier in East Antarctica that discharges the most ice into the ocean. The discovery, involving cold, extra salty water - brine - that forms within openings in sea ice, adds to our understanding of how ice sheets interact with the ocean, and may improve our ability to forecast and prepare for future sea level rise.

Discuss

"Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy."

The Climate Reality Project has produced an online video that effectively connects the lies of the tobacco companies to the lies of the Koch brothers and other conservative advocates to downplay and deny climate change.

I remember being gassed as a child just like you see at 2:07, I think of those experiences frequently. I have made it this far, but I do wonder how many children of that time died of chemicals they had inhaled while quite young.

From Media Matters:

Merchants of Doubt features five prominent climate science deniers who have been particularly influential in deceiving the public and blocking climate action. Their financial connections to the fossil fuel industry are not hard to uncover. Yet major U.S. television networks -- CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ABC, CBS, and PBS -- have given most of these deniers prominent exposure over the past several years.

Merchant of Doubt

Number of TV Appearances, 2009-2014

Marc Morano

30

James Taylor

8

Fred Singer

8

Tim Phillips

7

Now that these Merchants of Doubt have been exposed, the major cable and network news programs need to keep them off the airwaves, a sentiment echoed by Forecast the Facts, which recently launched a petition demanding that news directors do just that.

Marc Morano

Marc Morano rose to prominence working for two of the most vocal climate deniers in the U.S., Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and talk radio host Rush Limbaugh. These days Morano runs the climate science denial blog Climate Depot, for which he is paid by the fossil fuel industry-funded Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT). He played a key role  in falsely scandalizing "Climategate," and once said that climate scientists "deserve to be publicly flogged."

Whenever there is a big climate-related story, Fox News turns to Morano to sow doubt on climate science, featuring him 11 times in 2014 alone. Most recently, Morano appeared on Fox News' Happening Now to complain that Google's new policy of ranking websites by their accuracy would prevent climate denial sites like Morano's from getting enough attention. Morano has also appeared on CNN several times to debate climate science.

Not counting his recent appearance on Fox News, Morano appeared on major cable and network news shows 30 times between 2009 and 2014 to deny climate science or attack environmental policies.

James Taylor

James Taylor is vice president for external relations and senior fellow for environment and energy policy at the Heartland Institute, an organization that has received funding from ExxonMobil and the Charles Koch Foundation and is perhaps best known for running a billboard campaign associating acceptance of climate science with "murderers, tyrants, and madmen" like the Unabomber and Charles Manson. For his part, Taylor dismisses "alarmist propaganda that global warming is a human-caused problem that needs to be addressed," and suggests that taking action to reduce emissions could cause a return to the "the Little Ice Age and the Black Death."

In addition to his many TV appearances, Merchants of Doubt highlighted Taylor's multitude of op-eds that have been published in newspapers across the country. Taylor is also a contributor at Forbes, where he writes columns that attack climate science and environmental policies without disclosing his fossil fuel ties. His latest column falsely asserts that the recent winter cold shows that "global warming predictions are proving no more scientifically credible than snake oil."

Taylor appeared on major cable and network news shows eight times between 2009 and 2014 to cast doubt on climate science or criticize environmental policies.

Fred Singer

Fred Singer is the president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, which has received funding from Exxon Mobil and casts doubt on global warming. Singer has received funding from the Heartland Institute to "regularly and publicly counter the alarmist [anthropogenic global warming] message" and consulted for Shell, Arco, Unocal, Sun Energy and the American Gas Association.

Singer is the founder of the Heartland Institute's "Nongovernmental International Panel On Climate Change" (NIPCC), a collection of climate change deniers who have been criticized by many climate scientists for their attempts sow doubt and confusion about the firmly-established scientific findings of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He's claimed that there was "little if any global warming during 1978-1997" and that "the climate hasn't warmed in the 21st century."

Between 2009 and 2014, Singer appeared on the cable and network news program to deny climate science or attack environmental policies eight times, including appearances on ABC and CNN. When once asked about the many scientific institutions that accept the consensus of human-caused global warming -- including IPCC, NASA, NOAA, the National Academy of Sciences, and many more -- he responded: "What can I say? They're wrong."

Tim Phillips

Tim Phillips is the president of Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the conservative advocacy group that was founded by the oil giant Koch brothers. Under Phillips' leadership, AFP has campaigned against the Environmental Protection Agency's carbon pollution standards and tax incentives for wind energy, while denying the existence of subsidies for the oil and gas industries. The Washington Post has said that Americans for Prosperity "may be America's third-biggest political party" due to its widespread influence in elections.

Phillips appeared on the cable and network news programs to deny climate science or attack environmental policies seven times between 2009 and 2014.

William O'Keefe

William O'Keefe is CEO for the George C. Marshall Institute, and previously held leadership positions at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the American Petroleum Institute. The George C. Marshall Institute, which has received at least $350,000 in funding from Koch foundations and over $800,000 from ExxonMobil, has published reports attempting to discredit established climate science. Newsweek called the organization a "central cog in the [climate change] denial machine."

Fortunately, O'Keefe has not appeared on the networks in recent years, although he did publish an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal casting doubt on whether humans are the primary cause of global warming.

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