The wandering interests of JamaOwl

Archive for the ‘Ocean’ Category

Climate and Weather part 5

More from “The Weather of the Future”, By Heidi Cullen, Harper, 2011

Chapter 7: Central Valley, California

“Sacramento, which is among the fastest-growing cities in the United States, is the major metropolitan area at the highest risk of flooding.  The Problem is that Sacramento’s infrastructure is inadequate.”  (p. 122) (California with Sacramento marked)


(CC BY-SA 1.0,

I was a little confused about this at first, but then I realized that rivers flood also and Sacramento is located where the Sacramento River and the American River join.  Groundwater is only 30 feet down.  The area has historically dealt with flooding.  What surprised me was the fact that Sacramento has a deep-water port which connects it to the San Francisco Bay.  The channel is 30 feet (9m) deep, 200 feet (61m) wide and 43 miles (69 km) long.

“During the past century, the sea level along California’s coast has risen about 7 inches.”  (p. 129)

Chapter 8: The Arctic, Part One: Inuit Nunaat, Canada

“(M)any scientists believe that cultural preservation, along with housing and infrastructure improvements, is an important way to help the Inuit simultaneously tackle the issues of climate change and cultural erosion.” (p. 163)

“Average temperature has risen almost twice as fast across the Arctic as in the rest of the world during the past few decades. And it’s not just the temperature that is moving fast.  There is also a widespread melting of glaciers – and a thawing of permafrost, ground that was until now permanently frozen. Permafrost has warmed almost 3.5°F in recent decades.” (p. 166)

“Winter temperature in Alaska and western Canada has increased about 5°F to 7°F during the past fifty years.” (p. 167)

Chapter 9: The Arctic, Part Two: Greenland

“Only 500 miles from the shores of Iceland…” (p. 173)

You can see in this picture how close Greenland and Iceland are.


(Public Domain,

Quote by J.P. Steffensen, a scientist at the Center for Ice and Climate at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute. “We have to get used to the word change.  That’s why we have a past, why we have a future – time is flowing forward. We should never strive to re-create the past.”

Chapter 11: New York, New York

“(A)s with Y2K, fixing the climate bug is an opportunity to be seized sooner rather than later.” (p.230)

“(W)e were missing what climate change would do to us.  (W)e had better find out how climate change is going to affect cities, because that’s where the people are.  (Cynthis Rosesnzweig) “… Rosenzweig’s research began to shift from studying the impact of climate change on nature to the impact of climate change on human nature.” (p.231)

“Cities cover less than 1 percent of the Earth’s surface, but they hold half the population and produce about 70 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions.” (p. 231)

View this link to Climate Central and play with a view of sea level rise.

“For New York, climate change means blackouts.” (p. 232)

“Energy systems are generally rated for a certain temperature and power load.  If you keep running your power plant full blast for ten days during a heat wave, that’s when things begin to break down.” (p. 233)

“And as the number of hot days begins to increase, materials begin to break down: concrete, bridges, rail lines.”  “For example, the capacity to transmit electricity over power lines drops with higher temperatures due to increased resistance.”  (p. 234)

My question here is: What is different for the South?


Climate and Weather part 4

More from “The Weather of the Future”, By Heidi Cullen, Harper, 2011

“Corals have probably existed on the GBR (Great Barrier Reef) for more than 25 million years.  The corals first formed during the geological era known as the Miocene. It was during the Miocene that India slammed into Asia and created the Himalayas. The Miocene also was a time when the Australian continent was on the move.” (p. 91)

“According to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), the earliest record of complete reef structures dates back about 600,000 years.  Research suggests that the current reef structure started growing above this older platform about 20,000 years ago, during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), the peak of the last ice age.” (pp. 91-92)

“By around 13,000 years ago, corals began to move into the hills of what had been Australia’s coastal plain, but was now underwater. … Scientists estimate that the present-day, living reef structure is between 6,000 and 8,000 years old; in other words, it dates from the period during which the sea level is thought to have finally stabilized.” (p. 92)

“… in many places of the world – such as the Maldives, the Seychelles, and Palau – coral bleaching has effectively destroyed more than 50 percent of reefs.  In the Caribbean, the numbers are worse, with between 80 and 90 percent of the reefs destroyed by bleaching, disease, hurricanes, and a number of problems related to coastal development, fishing, and other human activities.” (p. 95)

“During El Niño conditions, ocean temperatures in the Indian Ocean and in the central to eastern Pacific Ocean increase. Along with the warmer ocean waters comes a stable mass of high pressure, exactly the kind of weather pattern that ushers in a prolonged period of hot, sunny days.  What might look like perfect weather is actually a condition for extensive coral bleaching.  El Niño turns the lights on in a very big way.” (p. 96)

“Bleached corals aren’t dead; they’re just starving.  …  If the stressful conditions come to an end soon enough – that is, if the weather changes and temperatures become cooler again – the algae can come back, and the corals can survive the bleaching event.  But corals that do survive a bleaching event come out of it in a weekend state.  … Prolonged bleaching often leads to coral death.”

“This situation is really not so different from a prolonged drought.”(p. 99)

“Roughly 30 percent of the excess carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by human activities since the industrial revolution has been absorbed by the oceans. If not for the ocean uptake, atmospheric CO2 would be on the order of 450 ppm today.” (p. 100)

“Recent modeling studies indicate that if atmospheric CO2 levels hit 600 ppm, it will be very tough to save the corals.  By 650 ppm, it will be impossible to save them.” (p. 104)

“…scientists and conservationists are working hard to protect is an area called the Coral Triangle, which spans eastern Indonesia, parts of Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste, and the Solomon Islands and contains 53 percent of the world’s corals.  The Coral Triangle covers an area of 2.3 million square miles, about half the size of the United States. It has more than 500 reef-building coral species – 75 percent of all species known to scientists – and more than 3,000 species of reef fish.  It also has the greatest extent of mangrove forest of any region in the world.” (pp. 105-106)

“Right now only 1 percent of the ocean is protected, compared with about 12 percent of the land.” (p. 106)