an overwhelming amount of work
Thinking about livestock -- I can imagine chickens and goats, but horses and cows are so big. Even sheep and pigs are big. None of us has any experience with them.

According to the University of New Hampshire extension service (2009) each family needs 1-2 beef cows, 1-2 dairy cows, 2-3 goats, 2 pigs, 6 sheep, 6 laying hens, 24 broilers and 12 turkeys.

Considering that we're looking at a small village of 10-15 families that's, whoa, a lot of livestock: some 20 beef and 20 dairy cows, 30 goats and 30 pigs, 75 sheep and 75 laying hens, 300 broilers and 150 turkeys.

A couple of the family members are also talking about horses, too. The extension service suggests a horse for each family member.

I guess I'm just thinking, you know, this year I couldn't even grow tomatoes. My melons died, too.

I've been thinking of how much time and energy it will take to grow the grains, roots, fruits, herbs, berries and vegetables we'll need -- the livestock will take just as much if not more work.

Of course, with 10-15 families, we're looking at 50-75 hands to do the work.

Mike was looking at a plan where we'd place four families together in a compound with outbuildings, surrounded by the hoop houses, orchards and fields. Looking at the livestock pasturage requirements, each compound would need at least 60 acres of land.

I dunno. That just seems like an outrageous amount of meat.

not an example of muzzling
The Harper government has repeatedly said it is “not muzzling” or silencing climate scientists. In 2012, the arctic ice cap blew through previous records of summer melt. Canadian scientists wanted to hold a briefing about this situation but the briefing never happened because it was cancelled by Ministerial services:

"Such briefings do not take place and the documents show the one planned to mark the record ice melt in 2012 was cancelled after weeks of preparation.

The 449 pages of documents are heavily redacted and don’t say why the briefing was cancelled. But they do show the scientists trying to open the lines of communication.

In mid-August of 2012, a month before the ice hit its low, David Jackson, ice service’s director, sent a “heads up” to the Environment Canada’s communications branch alerting them that it “seems to be shaping up for a potential record low this year.”

Environment Canada’s communication branch began working with the ice service to plan the media briefing and prepare “media lines.”

The “media lines” needed approval from not only the department’s communication branch, but also the office of then-environment minister Peter Kent as well as the PCO, an arm of the prime minster’s office, the documents show.

As the scientists waited for approvals, the polar ice continued to melt away and their colleagues at the U.S. NSIDC sprang into action. They held a briefing on Aug. 27 to announce the Arctic ice had shrunk to the smallest size since tracking of the polar cap began 30 years ago.

The Canadian Ice Service scientists had plenty to add, but the documents show they could not even issue a statement without clearance from PCO communications."

Federal government puts polar briefings on ice from news

Scared Scientists
If you're a person who relates to visuals, here's a great piece from photographer Nick Bowers and the The Climate Council of Australia.

Scared Scientists

RIP my lovely tomatoes
I had to pull up most of my tomatoes today. They were infected with Late Blight:

late blight
late blight2

Such a damn shame. I pulled up about 10 plants and the rest, another 10 or so, have it too, but not as bad -- the leaves are infected but the fruit look ok. There's not much hope, but I guess I just couldn't pull up plants with fruit that looked like it might make it.

About three weeks ago, I noticed some of the plants starting to droop but I thought that it was the nearby walnuts (a chemical compound in black walnuts is bad for tomatoes.)

Then I started to see a weird kind of brown cork-like growth on the fruits. So, well, a lesson learned.

On the bright side -- we're harvesting cabbages, had one tonight!, and there are pumpkins and zucchini. The corn are starting to develop cobs and the quinoa is heading.

October gifts
So, every October (since, um, 2013) our family has got together for the Grand October Birthday Bash. We have six family birthdays in October, so that has become the birthday month. Everyone gets a gifts and we carve pumpkins and have a potluck and the kids play in the park.

So I'm trying to come up with some fun gifts. I'm going to use this post to keep track of what I'm getting who, and I'd love to get suggestions from folks who might have found some fun things to give.

Participants include: a cut here because my family is huuugeCollapse )

Something that hasn't happened in a long time: woken by someone in my head calling my name. In a southern accent: "Lisa, honey? Lisa!" I jumped up, looked around, looked out the front door. Yeah, nobody there.

This always discombobulates me for a good half hour or so. Bleh.

(blury) pictures or it didn't happen...
Making pasties:

left to right, rutabaga, (bowl in the middle is everything, plus ground beef) carrot, potatoes and onion





artsy fartsy
I've been feeling all kinds of tendrils of creativity bubble up over the last couple of days. It feels really great. I'm still having some trouble with Mike but it's not ... We're not arguing or even irritated with each other. We're not giving each other the cold shoulder. We're very friendly with each other. It makes me feel, I dunno, lonely. I miss him.

Anyway. Here are some projects I've been thinking about:

-- Baking Today I'm making a bunch of pasties, for dinner and freezing some. Then I'm going to make some baklava for a Eid al-Fitr gift. And I'm throwing together a rhubarb crisp because it's supper easy.

-- Finishing the sand box. I still need to buy the sand (3 cubic yards of Lake Michigan beach sand) -- it'll cost $180, delivered. The box is 8'X16' and about 6' deep.

-- Finishing my garden sculpture: I've got almost all I need together. I still need garden cloth, farmer's cloth, and some bolts -- maybe $50? But the sandbox comes first.

-- Ella's quilt. I dunno, I've put this on a back burner because I haven't decided size, mostly. Should I just make something nice or make something really nice. I'd prefer really nice but a big, big voice tells me that it'd be silly to make something really nice for a kid to use. So here I sit, indecisive.

To be fair, I never finished Luke's Minecraft quilt, because that's when my sewing machine went kablooie. I should do that first, especially since it's half done and looks really cool.

-- Painting the living room floor:
Currently, under the toys and dog hair, we're got an old wood floor that's been painted white and most of that is half worn away. What I'd like to do is paint it a light green with flowers all over. Trying to figure out how to do that while we all live in the house is daunting, but it's doable.
red-roses-anna-folkartanna-maciejewska-dyba-yarrowmany-bleeding-hearts-linda-kempSunflower Lovers by Miriam Schulmanimg-thing
This is the feel I'm going for, if that makes sense. Imagine them all together like a looking down on a garden -- maybe a light green base color? Suggestions welcome.

-- Building a Shoe Bench

Our entrance-way hall is cluttered by shoes are thrown along the wall. I'd like to make a bench that stores shoes underneath.

A smash-up of this and this:

With a flat wooden seat and branches supporting the sides and as dowels to hold the shoes.

I can get the wood free (scavenged) but will need to pay for the varnish/paint. So, maybe $20 for this project.

-- Writing. I dunno, I've just been thinking of stuff. Well, what I mean is that my head is full of writing stuff but I don't have the life-space to do any writing.

-- odd things like this transfer pictures/ink onto wood project. Isn't this cool?

this week's menus
tacos/burritos/fajitas with rice and beans

Shepherd's pie

beef and broccoli w/rice

ham and beans with cornbread

Chuck Wagon Mac

Chicken and rice

Tags: ,

no planes or trains, just automobiles and busses...
Last night around midnight, my daughter in law, Kayla caught the Megabus in Minneapolis to come home from a family trip -- she'd gone to her sister's high school graduation party and to see friends and family.

Around 9am this morning, she was due to change buses in Chicago. But the Megabus was late and she missed her connection. And then the Megabus dropped her, her 2 year old and their bags on a street corner a block away from Union Station in downtown Chicago.

She had no idea where she was, she'd only had about an hour of sleep, and her phone was almost dead.

Kayla called her husband, my son Sam, and he called me.

I called kaffyr -- at 9am on a Sunday morning. I called because I knew I could count on her to, if not directly help, find some way to get help.

And of course kaffyr shook herself awake, drove out and gathered up my lost chicks, and fed them and cossetted them until Sam got there (from about 250 miles/400 kilometers away) some hours later. They're on their way home now, and should be here in a bit. I never second thought it -- I trusted and reached out.

So I'm telling you, reminding you perhaps, that this is what we are. We are family. We fannish folk and far flung flisters. We are family. And right now I love you all.

menopausal fatigue
I just submitted my hours for the first half of July - 50/hrs for the 1st-15th. It feels like double that. I'm having trouble with menopause fatigue. I wake up ok, but by the time I get off work I'm just exhausted. I've been taking a short nap when I get home, maybe 30-45 min, and then I'm ok.

I was having a hard time staying asleep, and last week I started taking melatonin. It's really helped! Not only am I not waking up during the night, I'm dreaming like crazy. Some of the dreams have been pre' stressful, but I figure that's a good thing, too. The subconscious must have needed a good scrubbing.

sing a song
I was driving with the little boys across town and we were singing songs -- Oh Susanna, Puff the Magic Dragon, Mr. Sun, I've Been Working on the Railroad, Baby Beluga, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Clementine...

And as I was finishing up a song, Baby Beluga I think, another tune came to me but I struggled for a minute because I'm not a believer and it felt hypocritical to sing it as I knew it. So I started singing:

We've got the whole world in our hands,
We've got the whole world in our hands...

We've got the little bitty babies in our hands...
We've got the mammas and the daddys in our hands ...
We've got the grandmas and the papas in our hands...

We've got the oceans and the sky in our hands...
We've got the rivers and forests in our hands...
We've got the glaciers and deserts in our hands ...

We've got the apes and the elephants in our hands...
We've got the whales and the dolphins in our hands ...
We've got the pandas and the polar bears in our hands...

We've got the whole world in our hands.

A voice inside of me, a very loud voice, said How arrogant, to think that you have any power over these things but I know that if we say we have no power then we say we have no responsibility.

I was getting choked up at the end and the boys were getting bored singing the same tune for so long. But -- try it. Sing it like that and see how it makes you feel.

Odin takes a look at methane
"Igor Semiletov from the Russian Academy of Science and Natalia Shakhova of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks will be leading 80 scientists on a 100 day research cruise investigating Methane releases from aboard the Oden, Sweden's largest icebreaker.
As well as gathering more data related to the methane fluxes they have previously discovered, this expedition will also be researching Arctic currents and the role of clouds in the Arctic climate." -- Terry at Neven's Arctic Ice Blog

This expedition is HUGE -- in a lot of ways.

Before the expedition launched, Shakhova gave an interview, summed up here by Lynn Shwadchuck:

"The part of the East Siberian Arctic Sea closest to shore has only been under water a geologically short time. On this winter's expedition they were surprised to find the permafrost there at the thawing point rather that at the expected minus 7. It should be more stable than the deeper areas.

Shakhova and Semiletov were doing research on the ESAS in 1998 when they found a single highly concentrated plume of methane. This is what started their dogged search for the answers about the methane that's supposed to be sealed under permafrost.

She seems to be frustrated that other scientists don't understand that methane hydrates in southern oceans release themselves through oxidation slowly and through a deep water column, where in the case of the ESAS the pure methane gas is released straight to the atmosphere thorough physical pathways (openings in the thawing permafrost) and a shallow water column over the shelf.

There is a fault/rift that makes catastrophic release a possibility, which would immediately raise the global average temperature 3 degrees.

They've been very conservative in their estimates of just how many gigatonnes of methane there may be trapped under the permafrost, basing it on the equivalent area on the land-based permafrost. It could go a few kilometers deep or MANY.

The expedition this summer is making a single line across the arctic. She wishes the international scientific community would share in a project to continuously monitor the vast expanse with observation stations."

Where's Oden?

Matt Schupe's Blog on Oden

The World of Geosciences blog.

icebreaker oden

"The SWERUS-C3 Program focuses on investigations of the present and historical functioning of the multi-process C3 system of the East Siberian Arctic Ocean (ESAO). The ESAO is the target area because it is experiencing the fastest rates of climate warming and because of its vast stores of vulnerable carbon. The ESAO is sparingly explored despite hosting 80% of the World’s subsea permafrost with large amounts of C-CH4 currently stored in the shelf and slope sediments and in its coastal Yedoma permafrost. This yields a likely potential for climate-induced mobilization of these carbon pools into the atmosphere as GHG; a positive feedback to climate warming.

The objectives of the SWERUS-C3 research program are to quantitatively address processes central to Arctic Ocean Climate Change Feedbacks ..."

MOOC link
This is pre' cool. From Class Central -- MOOC Course Report: July 2014 List of 111 courses starting in July 2014.

Since I've never taken a course in climate change, I've signed up for Climate Change in Four Dimensions.

I'm also kinda interested in their 4-course Systems Biology specialization. I've got to take a couple of classes at the community college this autumn, so maybe I'll look at that later.

Luke is taking physics and thermodynamics. They kinda dovetail.
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climate news
Just a run down of some of the stuff going on --

Go to Arctic sea ice extent for a bigger image: asina_N_stddev_timeseries-350x280

2012 is the current record holder for lowest September extent, volume and area -- but 2014 is coming close to those records due to low levels of ice accumulation during the winter of 2013-14.

Currently, a high pressure area over the arctic is blasting the ice/slush with 24/7 sunshine. The latest reading from a buoy near the north pole: IABP ICEX Buoy 835100 latest weather data 07/02/1200Z 86.052°N 87.201°W 7.6°C 1021.5mb

That's 45.68 degrees Fahrenheit near the north pole. The scientists studying arctic methane are starting to look wild-eyed.

The Mackenzie Delta has been experiencing high temps in the 25ºC to 27ºC range for the last couple of days (75-82ºF) and the Northwest Territories are experiencing one of their worst recorded fire seasons.

In California, farmers with water are auctioning it off for millions. Richard Howitt, professor emeritus of agricultural and resource economics at UC Davis comments: "If you have a really scarce natural resource that the state’s economy depends on, it would be nice to have it run efficiently and transparently."

A recent paper shows that California farmers are sucking so much water from the San Joaquin Valley aquifer that it's "leading to substantial diminution of this resource and rapid subsidence of the valley floor."

And they note: "Our results suggest that long-term and late-summer flexural uplift of the Coast Ranges reduce the effective normal stress resolved on the San Andreas Fault. This process brings the fault closer to failure, thereby providing a viable mechanism for observed seasonality in microseismicity at Parkfield and potentially affecting long-term seismicity rates for fault systems adjacent to the valley."

In the US Midwest, this week's storms have caused wind and hail damage, and several rivers including the Mississippi are beginning to flood over. Currently, flooding is being reported in Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas and the Dakotas. And Fairbanks, Alaska experienced it's wettest June on record and in Canada, prairie flooding prompts evacuations in western Manitoba
A total of 87 municipalities in Manitoba, Saskatchewan declare state of emergency.

Australia smashed its temperature record in the year to the end of June, beating a high set during the most recent El Nino weather event in the Pacific.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports -- "Buried in the Bureau of Meteorology’s monthly report on national conditions, the agency noted the 12-month mean temperature was a “solid highest-on-record” result.

In fact, mean temperatures were a full 1.08 degrees above the long-term average, smashing the previous record July-June anomaly by 0.18 degrees. The previous record was set in the 12 months to June 2010 – an El Nino period."

And speaking of the El Nino, a new Kelvin wave is being brought up from the equatorial Pacific by a strong West Wind Burst. The monsoon is definitely in trouble.

Yeah, that's enough for now.

crop report
From the USDA report as well as from news reports --

To start on a high note, US olive crops are doing great this year.

But other than that, a lot of the US fruit and vegetable crops are looking bleak as the 500-year drought baking the Golden State is getting worse. US Food prices have gone up, though the FOA reports that world food prices are pretty stable right now (for the most part, as there are hot spots.)

One thing I just can't get used to is the current cost of beef. Since 2009, US beef prices have risen 76% and the US cattle population is now the smallest since the 1951, when the population of the US was less than half of what it is today. I can't help it -- I'm Amurrican. Beef has always been my go-to meat for supper.

Along with the drought in the US west and southwest, the monsoon is not producing much this year. The Hindu Business Line reporting A 42 per cent rainfall deficit this month, with over 90 per cent of India recording deficient/scanty precipitation, has meant very little progress in kharif (monsoon crops) plantings so far.

In the US, rice, oats, spring wheat, barley, peanuts, corn and soybeans are all doing well so far, but winter wheat is crappy with 44% of the crop being poor to very poor. But winter wheat did well enough in the EU and Russia to more than balance out the US shortage.

So overall, we're going to see prices continue to stay high or rise on fruits, veggies, dairy and meats because of the drought, but world food supplies look pre' stable this year -- with the big question mark being how the monsoon does in July-Sept.

Buffalo Bird Woman's words
"We Hidatsas believe that our tribe once lived under the waters of Devils Lake. Some hunters discovered the root of a vine growing downward; and climbing it, they found themselves on the surface of the earth. Others followed them, until half the tribe had escaped; but the vine broke under the weight of a pregnant woman, leaving the rest prisoners. A part of our tribe are therefore still beneath the lake. (...)

Near their villages, the people made gardens; and in these they planted ground beans and wild potatoes, from seed brought with them from their home under the water. These vegetables we do not cultivate now; but we do gather them in the fall, in the woods along the Missouri where they grow wild. They are good eating.

I do not know when my people stopped planting ground beans and wild potatoes; but ground beans are hard to dig, and the people, anyway, liked the new kind of beans better."

I think that she may be talking about peanuts. *digs around* Ah, according to the internet, this is the "hog peanut," Amphicarpaea bracteata, or wild peanut.

I can see why corn, squash and string beans won out.

garden idea
I've been playing with this idea and trying to decide if it would look ok. I'm at work now and my client is sleeping so I'm going to play with this a little and see what I come up with. A cut here because this might get long.Collapse )

Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden

"A few words should now be said of informant and interpreter. Maxi'diwiac, or Buffalobird-woman, is a daughter of Small Ankle, a leader of the Hidatsas in the trying time of the tribe's removal to what is now Fort Berthold reservation. She was born on one of the villages at Knife River two years after the "smallpox year," or about 1839. She is a conservative and sighs for the good old times, yet is aware that the younger generation of Indians must adopt civilized ways. Ignorant of English, she has a quick intelligence and a memory that is marvelous. To her patience and loyal interest is chiefly due whatever of value is in this thesis. In the sweltering heat of an August day she has continued dictation for nine hours, lying down but never flagging in her account, when too weary to sit longer in a chair. Goodbird's testimony that his mother "knows more about old ways of raising corn and squashes than any one else on this reservation," is not without probability. Until recently, a small part of Goodbird's plowed field was each year reserved for her, that she might plant corn and beans and squashes, cultivating them in old fashioned way, by hoe. Such corn, of her own planting and selection, has taken first prize at an agricultural fair, held recently by the reservation authorities.

Edward Goodbird, or Tsaka'kasạkic, the writer's interpreter, is a son of Maxi'diwiac, born about November, 1869. Goodbird was one of the first of the reservation children to be sent to the mission school; and he is now native pastor of the Congregational chapel at Independence. He speaks the Hidatsa, Mandan, Dakota, and English languages. Goodbird is a natural student; and he has the rarer gift of being an artist. His sketches–and they are many–are crude; but they are drawn in true perspective and do not lack spirit. Goodbird's life, dictated by himself, has been recently published. 4

Indians have the gentle custom of adopting very dear friends by relationship terms. By such adoption Goodbird is the writer's brother; Maxi'diwiac is his mother.

For his part in the account of the Agriculture of the Hidatsa Indians, the writer claims no credit beyond arranging the material and putting the interpreter's Indian-English translations into proper idiom. Bits of Indian philosophy and shrewd or humorous observations found in the narrative are not the writer's, but the informant's, and are as they fell from her lips. The writer has sincerely endeavored to add to the narrative essentially nothing of his own.

Agriculture of the Hidatsa Indians is not, then, an account merely of Indian agriculture. It is an Indian woman's interpretation of economics; the thoughts she gave to her fields; the philosophy of her labors. May the Indian woman's story of her toil be a plea for our better appreciation of her race."

Solstice garden update
So first, a whinge: Back in February, our neighbor and Jerome's dear friend had a money problem (very late check from the State) and he and his disabled gf were in danger of eviction. We all piled money together and paid his bills. It came to about $650. The deal was that we'd help him and he'd help dig out the garden beds, come spring.

To date, we've dug out three beds of about 3m X 1.5m, and he helped us dig one of them. He was out digging for less than an hour. I feel -- I dunno. I would do it again, even knowing that he wouldn't do what he promised, mostly because it isn't just him but also his disabled gf. And also it kills me to see people get thrown out on the street.

So there, that's my whinge. I still have one more bed to dig and I don't know if it's going to get dug this year. And the cistern. But we've had so much rain so far this summer that I'm not too stressed over that. And the garden shed, but Mike thinks if I build that, the city will come and kick us off, which is a point. He says that I should call the city to ask if I can put a shed on it, but since I'm already guerrilla gardening there, I'm nervous about calling specific attention to myself.

Anyways, here's the garden update! Each bed is about 3m X 1.5 m, in three rows, so each row of beds is 6m X 1.5, and are double dug and planted rather intensively.

Bed #1: This is actually the latest bed we've dug and we just sowed the whole thing with quinoa, with a variant that does better in humid areas called Oro de Valle: " A stunning gold-headed strain of quinoa resembling the color of gold ore. The head is composed of relatively loose seed clusters, which helps prevent molding or head-sprouting in humid conditions. Stocky plants are about 4’ tall at maturity. Seed is golden-brown when harvested at the peak of seedhead color." -- We shall see.

Bed #2: this bed was supposed to be cabbage and broccoli but it seems to be all cabbage along with some tomatoes that came in from the bed that was in there last year. I plan to make a big batch of sauerkraut. I'm not sure what the tomatoes are -- a mix of Amish paste and beefsteak.

Bed #3: A cool looking watermelon called Moon and Stars (I think. I mean, I know that they're watermelon but the kittens got into my seeds and scattered them all over....) , a couple of cantaloupe, pumpkins and corn. And a stray potato. We lost our seed potatoes that we'd saved from last year (I think Jerome threw them out, not knowing what they were.) I was thinking of getting some organic potatoes and just sowing them to get some seed potatoes for next year.

Bed #4: A line of peas and the rest is tomatoes.

Bed #5 More tomatoes. I plan to put up a ton of tomatoes. We eat a lot of tomato-y dishes.

Bed #6: The undug bed. If I can get it dug, I'll plant an autumn batch of broccoli. And the seed potatoes. Damnit.

I'll add some pics tomorrow if I think of it.

Hey Grandma, what's fer supper?
japanese dinner

Homemade California Roll Sushi, pork and rice balls and a salad of watercress and sliced pea pods.

It was *amazing*.

three recipes for this week
Once again, menus ideas for the week, with a couple of recipes thrown in:Collapse )

May 2014 declared hottest on record by NASA and the Japanese Meteorological Agency
from Nick Sundt, World Wildlife Fund, June 17, 2014

NASA released data today (17 June) indicating that global surface temperatures in May 2014 were 0.76 oC above the 1951-1980 mean. That is well above the previous record of 0.70 oC set in 2010 and again in 2012. This is consistent with the data released yesterday by the Japan Meteorological Agency which also showed that May 2014 was the warmest May on record.

For the March-April-May period, NASA data indicates that temperatures were 0.73 oC above the 1951-1980 mean, making it the second warmest such period on record behind only 2010 when May was 0.80 oC above the mean. The japan Meteorological Agency separately calculated that March-April-May 2014 was the warmest on record, just ahead of 2010. These kinds of small differences are common between the datasets maintained by Japan, the US and others.

Data source:

Image below from:


On the image above, you can really see the El Nino tale coming off the coasts of Ecuador and Peru.

Up way too early
Chore stuff is chugging along. I was gone for three days and everyone put in the minimum, but that's ok.

I've was working at my homecare job while my client's mom has been visiting with her mother, who is 89 and her grandmother, who is 112 -- really.

The big news is that I've temporarily quit the distribution center, and I'm just doing the home care. The reason for this change is that I've run up too many "late punch" points. I am not a punctual person, and one gets 1/2 a point for every punch in that is more than two minutes late. At 12 points, the employee is fired, and I had 11.5 points. I figured that it'd be better to quit with notice instead of being fired. I'll be eligible for rehire in 6-8 weeks if I want to -- I haven't decided if I want to.

Today I have a day off. It's full of crabby children who got up too early and housework, but it's really good to just be able to do stuff when I want to do them. So far I have put about an hour into the kitchen, but I still need to clean out the refrigerator and mop the floor. Then there's the bathroom.

It sounds worse than it is. I actually enjoy making the house nice. I'm not real happy about dealing with crabby kids, but we're all going to take a nap in a little bit. In fact, I think I'm going to go throw them into the tub right now (oy, dirt up to their eyeballs) and then we're *all* going to take a nap.

Dr. Peter Wadhams talks about methane hydrates
Here's what Wadhams had to say in an interview on Real News:

"A few years ago, I predicted that the summer sea ice--that's the September minimum--would go to zero by about 2015. And at that stage, it was only really one model that agreed with me. My prediction was based on observations from satellites and from measurements from submarines of ice thickness, which I've been doing from British subs, and Americans have been doing the same from American subs. And the trend was so clear and so definite that it would go to zero by 2015 that I felt it was safe to make that prediction, and I still think it is, because next year, although this year we don't expect things to retreat much further than last, next year will be an El Niño year, which is a warmer year, and I think it will go to zero.

And once it goes to zero in the summer, it is sort of irreversible, because it means that the next summer there'll be a longer ice-free period. Instead of just one month, there might be two or three months, because the water warms up during the summer months. If there is no ice there, it's absorbing solar radiation, the water's warming up.
As we've heard, one of the things that would happen from that is that the water on the continental shelves warms very much. We've seen seven degree temperatures from satellites. And that means that the seabed permafrost near the coast then melts, and that releases methane. And the methane effect, I think, is the biggest of all the threats from the retreat of sea ice. We've got other effects as well. The retreat is causing warmer air over Greenland, which is causing the Greenland ice cap to melt faster and sea level rise to accelerate.

But the biggest immediate threat, I think, is that the warming of the water in summer is causing methane to be released from the seabed because of the melt of offshore permafrost. And this is something that's being documented by a Russian-American group, and for several years. And we're joining them with some European funding, which we're putting in to help fund their work and going out with them.

So I think that the documentation of this and the fact that the extra methane we see each summer--that's the big, increasing amounts of methane plumes in the Arctic reaching the surface, releasing methane into the atmosphere--and that's reflected in NASA's measurements from satellites of methane levels in the atmosphere in the northern hemisphere, which have started to go up again quite fast after having been flat for a decade or so. I think that that is a big threat.

But the loss of the sea ice is something that's, I think, irreversible, because all the trends are towards decreased sea ice extent, and there's no countervailing trend that will bring the ice back. The biggest effect is an albedo feedback effect, for instance, the fact that as the ice disappears, you're replacing highly reflective ice and snow with poorly reflective water. And that has an effect of increasing the rate of warming of the Arctic, and that increases the rate of retreat of the ice. So all the feedbacks are positive. There's no negative feedbacks that will tend to bring the ice back. Once it's gone in summer, it's gone, and I think the summer ice-free season, having started very soon, maybe next year, will then extend itself so that we might have a number of months of ice-free conditions. We'll have plenty of ice in the winter, of course.

But that ice-free summer will have all these knock-on effects of increasing methane release, maybe producing a catastrophic pulse of methane, which has been predicted based on how much methane is sitting in the form of methane hydrates. And that pulse would be very catastrophic. We examined this with climate modeling and economic modeling and found that a pulse of the size that's predicted based on how much methane is there could cause a temperature rise of 0.6 of a degree within 20 years. Now, that's a big addition to the amount of warming that is already going on. It's pretty much doubling the rate of global warming.

And so--plus it's costing some astronomical amount of money as well to the planet. This is using a model, an economic model. So the cost to the planet of having this happening far exceeds any of the benefits we might get from Arctic oil or shipping through the Northwest passage. We're really stuck with a massive economic cost and, of course, a catastrophic cost to the planet.

So all these things are bound to happen, sadly. And the only way in which they wouldn't happen would be if for some surprising reason the methane hydrates on the seabeds stopped emitting methane. But then we wouldn't get off scot-free, because the other source of increased methane is permafrost on land, and that's also melting as the climate warms. And it's a slower process, but in the end there's more methane going to be released from that over many decades than would be released from a pulse in the Arctic Ocean. So in the end we'll have the methane impact on global warming, which hasn't been taking account of IPCC [models]. It's going to come in and it's either going to hit us fast or it's going to get us slowly, but it's going to hit us."

in the face of 2030
My daughter-in-law, the lovely Kayla Moser, and I were talking the other day about tattoos. Kayla's daughter Torrin, who's 2 1/2, was showing me her temporary tattoos, and I asked Kayla how she felt about Torrin getting tattoos. Kayla has several tattoos and piercings, and she was quick to respond that of course Torrin can get tattoos and piercings if that's what she wants.

And my next thought was, maybe, depending on how bad it is by then... hmm, Torrin'll be 18 in 2030; it'll be pre' bad by then.

Which is to say, I see everything through the lens of the coming catastrophe.

Someone talks hopefully of their 401(k)and retirement in twenty years? I don't think so, I think, and I'm sorry.

Someone talks about mankind going to mars? About their new baby going to college some day? About the development of AI robots? About future cities and how the world will look with 9 billion people?

"If a risk-averse (pro-safety) approach is applied – say, of less than 10% probability of exceeding the 2 °C target – to carbon budgeting, there is simply no budget available, because it has already been used up....the idea of "burnable carbon" – that is, how much more coal, gas and oil we can burn and still keep under 2 °C – is a dangerous illusion, based on unrealistic, high-risk assumptions." (David Sprattin Climate Code Red)

This graph is from Robert Howarth's A bridge to nowhere: methane emissions and the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas


Observed global mean temperature from 1900 to 2009 and projected future temperature under four scenarios, relative to the mean temperature from 1890 to 1910. The scenarios include the IPCC [36] reference, reducing carbon dioxide emissions but not other greenhouse gases (“CO2 measures”), controlling methane, and black carbon emissions but not carbon dioxide (“CH4 + BC measures”), and reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and black carbon (“CO2 + CH4 + BC measures”). An increase in the temperature to 1.5–2.0°C above the 1890–1910 baseline (illustrated by the yellow bar) poses risk of passing a tipping point and moving the Earth into an alternate state for the climate system. The lower bound of this danger zone, 1.5° warming, is predicted to occur by 2030 unless stringent controls on methane and black carbon emissions are initiated immediately. Controlling methane and black carbon shows more immediate results than controlling carbon dioxide emissions, although controlling all greenhouse gas emissions is essential to keeping the planet in a safe operating space for humanity. Adapted from (UNEP/WMO. 2011. Integrated assessment of black carbon and tropospheric ozone: summary for decision makers. United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization, Nairobi, Kenya).

The above graph actually gave me nightmares. I live and breathe this stuff and haven't had a climate change nightmare in years but this one gave me nightmares because of the scale of the graph: 1.5° warming, is predicted to occur by 2030 unless stringent controls on methane and black carbon emissions are initiated immediately.

Because since I've been reading this stuff, since about '06 or so, no matter what anyone projects, it's always worse. Always. "Initiated immediately"? Hahaha*sob*.

At 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial averages, world food production will drop 25%-50% of current production, and the risk of world-wide famine if we have several bad years in a row is pretty certain. Myself, I can't really imagine what world wide famine would look like, but it seems that I'm going to find out.

I try to think of what Lovelock said -- enjoy life now. I find joy every day. But I see the future through this lens. Every event, every hopeful projection. And I don't understand why everyone else doesn't, too.

wind map
This is very cool -- a current jet stream map.

NASA Antarctic Ice News
A recorded press release of the paper that describes the ongoing collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet.

(If the embedded vid doesn't show here, you can go look at it on the NASA site.

Video streaming by Ustream

And here's a link to the Daily Kos article (5 May 2014) The Antarctic Half of the Global Thermohaline Circulation is Collapsing.

I keep thinking about how I will talk to my grandchildren about this stuff. "I did what I could" sounds pre' damn lame.

first, to make me smile
D&D Night up north -- Kayla, Crystalynn and Carl. Carl is 23 yrs old, married with 3 kids, just got his dream job and looks like he's about 14. You go, Carl.

Eillie at the park.

Seth, Ella and Willow at the park.

And secondly, there are three properties available right now that are very reasonable. They are not as perfect as the Perfect Property, but they are good.

This Big Bay property is only about a mile or two away but on the other side of the ridge from the new Rio Tinto Eagle Mine. It's about 4-5 miles south of Lake Superior, and about 2 miles from the Huron River, which flows into Lake Superior.

This Deerton property is located within the Hiawatha National Forest. It's just north of a wetland and there's a small lake about a mile to the southwest.

And this
Chassell property is within a mile or so of Lake Superior's Pike Bay, and is along the southern border of the Copper Country Forest.

All three properties are 40 acres and all of them are under $30k. Now that I don't have to supplement either Carl or Sam, I could swing a $200/mo payment without any problem.

anthropogenic global warming
This is a pretty good paper if you need to pass one on to anyone who mutters about solar influence or the so-called pause:

Foster, G. & Rahmstorf, S. Global temperature evolution 1979–2010. Environ. Res. Lett. 6, 044022 (2011)

Here's a link to the .pfd: Global temperature evolution 1979-2010.

6. Conclusions

This analysis confirms the strong influence of known factors on short-term variations in global temperature, including ENSO, volcanic aerosols and to a lesser degree solar variation. It also emphasizes that LT (lower-troposphere) temperature is affected by these factors much more strongly than surface temperature. Perhaps most important, it enables us to remove an estimate of their influence, thereby isolating the global warming signal. The resultant adjusted data show clearly, both visually and when subjected to statistical analysis, that the rate of global warming due to other factors (most likely these are exclusively anthropogenic) has been remarkably steady during the 32 years from 1979 through 2010. There is no indication of any slowdown or acceleration of global warming, beyond the variability induced by these known natural factors. Because the effects of volcanic eruptions and of ENSO are very short-term and that of solar variability very small (figure 7), none of these factors can be expected to exert a significant influence on the continuation of global warming over the coming decades. The close agreement between all five adjusted data sets suggests that it is meaningful to average them in order to produce a composite record of planetary warming. Annual averages of the result are shown in figure 8. This is the true global warming signal.

Its unabated increase is powerful evidence that we can expect further temperature increase in the next few decades, emphasizing the urgency of confronting the human influence on climate.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get figure to copy (because it's a .pfd? I dunno) But you can go look at it on the link.

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