Ancient Forests, Wolves, Wildlife and The Wrangell Timber Sale 

intheshadowofthewolf

The U.S. Forest Service is seeking public comment on a proposed timber sale  on Wrangell Island, which is in the Alexander Archipelago in the Alaska Panhandle of southeastern Alaska. The island is just 30 miles long and 5 to 14 miles wide, contains an abundance of wildlife and is separated from the mainland by the Blake Channel.

The Forest Service released five alternatives in their draft environmental impact statement for the Wrangell Island Project on June 2nd. Its preferred alternative would allow two thirds of the acreage to be selectively harvested and a third clear cut, producing about 65 million board feet, and could build up to 17 miles of new national forest roads, some of which will stay open to the public and about 15 miles of temporary roads. The earliest timber sale would be mid to late summer 2017, and targets the largest, highest-value tree stands, which…

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From the Arctic to Africa to the Amazon, More Troubling Signs of Earth Carbon Store Instability

robertscribbler

The time for debate is over. The time for rapid response is now. The Earth System just can’t take our fossil-fueled insults to her any longer.

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Arctic Wildfires

(These Arctic and Siberian wildfires just keep getting worse and worse, but what’s really concerning is they’re burning a big hole through one of the Earth’s largest carbon sinks, and as they do it, they’re belching out huge plumes of greenhouse gasses. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

Carbon Spikes over the Arctic, Africa, and the Amazon

Today, climate change-enhanced wildfires in Siberia and Africa are belching out two hellaciously huge smoke clouds (see images below). They’re also spewing large plumes of methane and carbon dioxide, plainly visible in the global atmospheric monitors. Surface methane readings in these zones exceed 2,000 parts per billion, well above the global atmospheric average.

Even as the fires rage, bubbles of methane and carbon dioxide are reportedly seeping…

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Why I Don’t Hunt

I could go on and on about how hunting is an outdated, cruel and unusual sport. The simple fact is, the animals are my friends, and I don’t kill and eat my friends; not for sport, for flesh and certainly not for trophies. No matter how much it might make me feel proud, temporarily satiated, stuffed or thrilled, the kill would not be worth it once the temporary insanity wore off.

Text and wildlife photography by Jim Robertson

Text and wildlife photography by Jim Robertson

 

El Nino is Basically Over — But this Global Coral Bleaching Event Just Won’t End

robertscribbler

Back in 2014, an unsuspecting world was on the verge of a major global temperature increase. But despite warnings from scientists like Dr. Kevin Trenberth that deep ocean warming had sped up and would eventually result in rapid surface warming, the big media meme at the time was that global warming had ‘paused.’ Originating in The Economist, and swiftly spreading to numerous other news outlets, this particular blast of bad information fed the public a big helping of false sense of security.

In 2014 through 2016, maximum global temperatures jumped from around 0.65 degrees Celsius to around 1 C above the 20th-century average. In just three years’ time, the whole of the Earth’s surface had warmed by about 0.35 C. This is like cramming all of the warming from 1880 to 1980 into the three-year 2014-to-2016 period. Never before in all of the global climate record starting in the late…

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2012 Record Challenged as 40% of Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melts on June 17th

robertscribbler

Yesterday, 40% of the surface of Greenland melted.

It was still mid-June, yet a month before melt values typically peak. But a persistent high pressure system over Greenland, a rapidly melting Baffin Bay and warm winds riding up the west coast were enough to spur a surface melting event that shoved melt coverage firmly above the two standard deviation threshold and into record range.

greenland_melt_area_plot_tmb

(Greenland Melt Extent as of June 17, 2014. Image source: NSIDC.)

Temperatures along the west coast of Greenland and on through the southern ice-covered tip ranged between 30 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit, while 30-43 degree readings surrounded much of the periphery. Warm winds and rain to mixed precipitation accompanied a moisture-laden storm emerging from Baffin Bay and passing over the western ice sheet to add further and extreme early season melt pressure.

The warm storm and rains compounded already rapid melt pond formation along Greenland’s…

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Large Sections of Greenland Covered in Melt Ponds, Dark Snow

robertscribbler

Over the past couple of days, temperatures across the Greenland Ice Sheet have really ramped up. The result has been a pretty significant mid-to-late season melt pulse. According to NSIDC, nearly 40 percent of the ice sheet surface has been affected by surface melt during recent days. And Greenland ice mass balance appears to have also taken a hit.

This surface melt pulse is, arguably, best portrayed in the satellite imagery:

Greenland Melt July 20

(Large section of Western Greenland near the Jackobshavn Glacier experiencing significant surface melt on July 20, 2016. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

On July 20th, this approximate 300 x 70 mile swath of Western Greenland shows a number of distinct strong melt features. Near the interior edge of the melt zone we notice the light blue coloration indicative of widespread and general surface melt. From the satellite, this bluing gives the impression of a thin layer of…

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Record Hot Atlantic Basin to Fuel Brutish 2016 Hurricanes?

robertscribbler

Last week, Gulf of Mexico sea surface temperatures off Tampa Bay were outrageously hot. On July 10, the ocean temperature measure hit 93 degrees Fahrenheit (34 Celsius). By the 11th, temperatures had warmed still more. And by the 12th, ocean surfaces had hit a sweltering 95 F (35 C).

Tampa bay water temperatures

(NOAA shows extreme sea surface temperatures at Old Port in Tampa, FL. Hat tip to Michael Lowry.)

It’s pretty rare that you see ocean waters anywhere on Earth become so hot. And when you do, it’s often in places like the Red Sea or the Persian Gulf — not the Gulf of Mexico. But in the new world driven to increasingly extreme warmth by human fossil fuel emissions, the potential heat bleeding off of ocean surfaces has jumped by quite a bit.

And it’s not just true with Tampa Bay. According to Michael Lowry, a hurricane specialist at…

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Global Heat Leaves 20th Century Temps ‘Far Behind’ — June Another Hottest Month on Record

robertscribbler

We’ve left the 20th century far behind. This is a big deal. — Deke Arndt, head of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information

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One of the top three strongest El Ninos on record is now little more than a memory. According to NOAA, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Central Equatorial Pacific hit a range more typical to La Nina conditions last week. This cool-pool formation follows a June in which ocean surfaces in this zone had fallen into temperatures below the normal range.

El Nino Gone

(El Nino had faded away by June and turned toward La Nina-level temperatures by late June and early July. Despite this Equatorial Pacific cooling, June of 2016 was still the hottest June on record. Image source: NOAA.)

But despite this natural-variability related cooling of the Equatorial Pacific into below-normal ranges, the globe as a whole continued to warm relative to previous June temperatures…

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Greenland’s Contribution to Sea Level Rise Doubled During 2011-2014 — Larger Melt Pulses on the Horizon

robertscribbler

According to a new report, the Greenland Ice Sheet lost one trillion tons of water due to melt during the four-year period from 2011 through 2014. That’s about double the typical rate of loss during the 1990s through mid-2000s. Subsequently, Greenland’s contribution to sea-level rise also doubled. As a result, Greenland alone contributed 0.75 mm of sea-level rise every year during the 2011 to 2014 period.

(The above video briefly explains the findings of a new scientific study indicating a doubling in the rate of Greenland melt during 2011 through 2014.)

Bear in mind, the study focuses on Greenland only. Those numbers don’t include thermal expansion from the world’s warming oceans. Nor do they include an increasing amount of melt from Antarctica. Nor do they include large volumes of melt coming from the world’s rapidly disappearing mountain glaciers. Together, all of these in total are pushing sea levels higher by…

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