a current climate chaos compendium: Part III: water

This part will be full of horrifying facts and news, but my theory is ‘it’s better to know than to not know’.  Given its intensity, you may want to begin by wrapping your spirits and psyches in some sort of protective bubble that you’ve found helpful in the past.  Many readers will prefer ‘hope’ to ‘hopelessness’, and more on that at the bottom, but I did stick in a music video at the end that might be a bit of a tonic.

(part I is here (café version), (c99% version); part II: geoengineering café version, c99% version)

First, from phys.org: ‘Multi-year study finds ‘hotspots’ of ammonia over world’s major agricultural areas’, March 16, 2017, University of Maryland

“The first global, long-term satellite study of airborne ammonia gas has revealed “hotspots” of the pollutant over four of the world’s most productive agricultural regions. Using data from NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) satellite instrument, the University of Maryland-led research team discovered steadily increasing ammonia concentrations from 2002 to 2016 over agricultural centers in the United States, Europe, China and India. Increased atmospheric ammonia is linked to poor air and water quality.”

(click for larger)

“The study, published March 16, 2017 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, also describes the probable causes for increased airborne ammonia in each region. Although the specifics vary between areas, the increases in ammonia are broadly tied to crop fertilizers, livestock animal wastes, changes to atmospheric chemistry and warming soils that retain less ammonia. The results could help illuminate strategies to control pollution from ammonia and ammonia byproducts near agricultural areas.

Gaseous ammonia is a natural part of Earth’s nitrogen cycle, but excess ammonia is harmful to plants and reduces air and water quality. In the troposphere—the lowest, densest part of the atmosphere where all weather takes place and where people live—ammonia gas reacts with nitric and sulfuric acids to form nitrate-containing particles that contribute to aerosol pollution that is damaging to human health. Ammonia gas can also fall back to Earth and enter lakes, streams and oceans, where it contributes to harmful algal blooms and “dead zones” with dangerously low oxygen levels.”

In all regions, the researchers attributed some of the increase in atmospheric ammonia to climate change, reflected in warmer air and soil temperatures. Ammonia vaporizes more readily from warmer soil, so as the soils in each region have warmed year by year, their contributions to atmospheric ammonia have also increased since 2002.

“As the world’s population grows, so does the demand for food—especially meat,” Dickerson said. “This means farmers and ranchers need more fertilizer, which makes it harder to maintain clean air and water. Wise agricultural practices and reduced greenhouse gas emissions can help avoid adverse effects.”

Had this been known long ago…would it have led to ‘wise agricultural practices’ except for small sustainable organic farmers who’d already been doing so already?  Sigh. I also have a similar methane map, and I’ll bring it in comments if you ask me to.  But given everything, I was trying to edit out what wasn’t on topic to this particular Part III diary.

Now this is hair-raising stuff: ‘Earth’s dismal water future, mapped’ Jay Famiglietti, latimes.com, Jun 10, 2018

“Last month, my colleagues and I published a report the centerpiece of which is a global map, derived from satellite data, that shows how the distribution of Earth’s fresh water has rapidly changed since 2002. We analyzed measurements from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellites to determine trends in total water storage — groundwater, soil moisture, surface waters, snow and ice — over nearly a decade and half.”

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“There have always been geographically distinct classes of water “haves” and “have-nots.” Now, as the map shows, those regions of water security and insecurity are shifting radically.

Climate models predict that changing weather and temperature patterns will cause the world’s high-latitude and tropical regions — the areas that are already wet — to get wetter, while already dry, arid and semi-arid regions will get drier. But those models foresee major changes coming at the end of the 21st century. Our map clearly shows new patterns emerging today. This includes the U.S.: The northern half of the country has become much wetter, while the southern half has become much drier.

The map is speckled with nearly three dozen regional hot spots for water insecurity — where changes in the water supply will seriously threaten a region’s health, welfare and environment.

Some are driven by climate change, like the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and the mountain glaciers in Alaska, Colombia, Peru, Patagonia and the Himalayas. Others are the direct result of water management, or lack thereof. Many indicate areas where groundwater is being rapidly depleted, pumped at unsustainable levels to irrigate crops and raise livestock for a growing population or in response to drought.

The water future the map portends is daunting.”  [snip]

“Governments and society are unprepared to cope with the tenuous water future that our research has literally mapped out. The rapid pace and global scope of change requires a response across regions and national boundaries. Few institutions and networks with that kind of authority and reach exist, but they must be fostered, and fast. We need a new water diplomacy that will treat this crucial resource as a vehicle for cooperation rather than conflict.”

Now if you’re able to see any hope in that scenario, more power to you; many of us had actually believed that in the early days of climate change, nations might even be able to cooperate on growing crops that would suit a ‘new climate’ better.  But over the past two decades at least, the smart money was betting on attorneys becoming expert in water law, in the intermountain west particularly. Mining companies have been buying up subsurface water to beat the band, and consortiums have been filing on rivers whose rights have already been appropriated, if not oer-sold.  But attorneys are able to tie up the little guys in court forever, and eventually…win the water.  Nestlé corporate attorneys have done the same, all the way to the Supreme Court, although there have been a few small wins for local activists, one or two may still be pending.

John McCrankypants had campaigned on ‘rewriting the Colorado Interstate Water Compact’ causing many Republicans to withhold their votes from him.  But then he and Jon Bloody Kyl have a long history of water theft from the Indigenous (one or two might still be pending).  So fuck them both (and I say that in the most polite was possible…).

All this, as Nestlé corporation keeps stealing fresh water in drought-stricken California with impunity, although water activists have been fighting the life-stealing evil company for years.   From the Great Lakes (Michigan), as well, Maine, and a subsidiary even tried to sell back one town’s water to residents, Ontario and tra la la.  But the Nestlé water wars are ubiquitous.

‘Hurricane Season 2018: Experts Warn of Super Storms, Call For New Category 6,  A spate of record-breaking storms has spurred a call for expanding the hurricane scale for better warnings that could save lives’, Bob Berwyn, InsideClimate News, June 2, 2018

After noting that there will likely be fewer hurricanes this year due to the El Nino pattern:

“A new review of global data on hurricanes shows that since 1980, the number of storms with winds stronger than 200 kilometers per hour (124 mph, or a strong Category 3) have doubled, and those with winds stronger than 250 kilometers per hour (155 mph) have tripled.

The analysis, published this week by four prominent climate scientists, also shows other clear trends, including a poleward migration of the areas where storms reach peak intensity, which puts new areas at risk, including New England and even Europe.

Storms are also intensifying more quickly, with a greater chance they will drop record amounts of rain, especially if they stall out when they hit land, as Hurricane Harvey did in Houston last year.”

Ah, but what conversation about water would neglect…plastic in the world’s oceans?

From the Guardian, Jan. 25,2018: ‘Billions of pieces of plastic on coral reefs send disease soaring, research reveals; A major new study estimates 11bn pieces of plastic contaminate vital reefs and result in infections: ‘It’s like getting gangrene,’ scientists warn’ and:

‘Coral reef bleaching ‘the new normal’ and a fatal threat to ecosystems

Study of 100 tropical reef locations finds time between bleaching events has shrunk and is too short for full recovery’, also the Guardian, Jan. 4, 2018

“Repeated large-scale coral bleaching events are the new normal thanks to global warming, a team of international scientists has found.

In a study published in the journal Science, the researchers revealed a “dramatic shortening” of the time between bleaching events was “threatening the future existence of these iconic ecosystems and the livelihoods of many millions of people”.

It’s hard to know what other outtakes to bring given that it’s all been written as permanent, and humanity has known about plastic ecosystem ruination since the 1988 studies of the Great Pacific Garbage Patches, although some scientists have apps for all that as well. A thousand sighs.

And again: Hanford Nuclear Reservation in eastern Washington will likely never stop leaking radioactive waste from its nine decommissioned plutonium reactors into the Columbia River, then into the ocean, and Fukishima Daiichi has never been stabilized eight years on, and likely will never be.  The major aquifers in the States are dwindling and full of industrial farming poisons, and the CA Central Valley has lost 55 feet (iirc) of altitude since 1950 due to the water pumped for pistachio nuts. Even the billions spent on concrete aqueducts they built have only slowed down the loss.  Yeah, I’d look it up for you if you need me to.

Yesterday it was 99 degrees here in SW Colorado, which is calculated as ‘exceptional’ (existential?) on the Drought Monitor site, updated once a week.  We’ve had one inch of precipitation over the past four or five months; Weather Underground swears that the July Monsoons (yeah, how charitable a term) during four days in early July…will bring a bit of relief.

This is NOAA’s Mauna Loa carbon monitoring observatory. At Mauna Loa May 2018: 411.25 ppm, with any or all of the positive feed-back loops still extant and yet…unpredictable.

Now in terms of ‘hope’ to turn any of this around in time, I have none.  And yet even if you agree, it doesn’t mean we give up, just see the truth of it all.  I’d begun following earth sustainability conferences in Rio 2012, and other than the indigenous side-meetings cuz they weren’t allowed inside, nothing was changed…except for the worse.  But we might now wish they’d followed the Cochabamba accords, la Via Campesinas, the Maya…because they nailed it! (under Good News a third of the way down)  The COP conferences were even worse in some ways, because they gave the rubes: false hope (as per part II), even had the unenforceable pledges actually been kept.  Our Betters, of course, believe they can live, survive, and thrive in NZ, Abu Dhabi…while the rest of us die.  The fools.  They can count their coins while they choke or drown.

But to me, jettisoning hope doesn’t mean that a person or group has to give up acting, especially locally.  Stopping local pipelines, fracking and uranium mining projects,  boycotting all Nestlé products, growing a bit of your own food, eating less or no meat, whatever your conscience dictates that you must do.

When all hope is lost, we can still light a candle and try to ‘stitch humanity together’ as Long sings below. We can make community with all those we can, consider sharing and cooperating rather than competing, and helping one another with sills, goods, and love.  We can also turn on others to practices that can stave off depression and find instead…acceptance of the atrocious fact that it only took the collective ‘us’ less than a couple centuries to bake in the destruction of this once beautiful big blue-green ball of a planet. Jeeze, that reminds me: one of the websites I’d used for this series had a thing on the right sidebar like ‘If your’re feeling suicidal, do this…’.  Mitigation of any of it is not only too costly, too late, and profitable to a few.

#BoycottNestlé on Twitter exposes a multitude of the corporation’s dirty secrets.

This is American Troubador Larry Long’s 1984 version of part of the Navajo Blessingway healing ceremony chant ‘walk in beauty’ (find harmony within; the Dineh healing ceremonies are largely about that: acceptance, peace within, if not necessarily about eradicating an ailment).

(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

22 responses to “a current climate chaos compendium: Part III: water

  1. The Neighbor- Rainer Maria Rilke
    Strange violin, why do you follow me?
    In how many foreign cities did you
    speak of your lonely nights and those of mine.
    Are you being played by hundreds? Or by one?

    Do in all great cities men exist
    who tormented and in deep despair
    would have sought the river but for you?
    And why does your playing always reach me?

    Why is it that I am always neighbor
    to those lost ones who are forced to sing
    and to say: Life is infinitely heavier
    than the heaviness of all things?
    i’m a big believer in despair. as if any one of us could do something about melting ice caps! we only despair of our own Messianism, refusing to believe it’s a collective problem. what’s the point of worrying about Hanford or Fukushima or…when Uncle Sam sits enthroned in the world, ensuring that no future outside capitalism is possible? a gov’t whose one goal is to steal as much of the truly staggering wealth of the US in order to use that wealth to rob & plunder & make war on other nations & steal their stuff?

    i’m not arguing for ignorance, just some perspective on the value of knowledge. I know in my life I’ve gotten swamped in worrying about & brooding over stuff going on, and I still do. it can be a way of avoiding doing what one can in the circle of actual influence one has.

    if the Trumps love their children too…I do wonder why these people, the obamas & trumps & Clintons & co even have kids. the interdependency of parent & child mirrors that of the human family & earth. “duty to the Party,” as Winston Smith says of his sexual relations with his 1st wife? part of their pretense of being just so folks, just like the rest of us?

    • nice on the rilke poem, j, and thanks.

      as for despair, i think the knowledge that ‘the end is nigh’ actually IS important, in that it can segue into acceptance and still prompt us to do what our conscience dictates we must. one of my chiches is that those still calling for Green new deal (what, public/private partnerships again?) are silly, (see the geoengineering part II), or the fellah over yonder making the case that solar and wind power could save us…were there the financial/political will.

      well, twenty years ago…maybe, might have been the tie, but the carbon footprints of those technologies might have been assessed honestly (though doubtful), not to mention the choke-point of rare earth minerals needed for big battery storage. oh, and,,,yanno, the largest carbon footprint made in the UA: the military! solar bombers, anyone?

      and double arrggh on winston’s procreation as ‘duty to the party’. i’d sure forgotten that.

      • spending some time w/20 yrs old-ish kids who have some greater or lesser glimmering of the mortgaged & foreclosed & ready for demolition future that the world has handed to them. looking for hope, a reason to live.

        we are all going back to the earth one way or another. and all the elements that brought forth life will still exist on earth and, after we ruin it all, in a few million years, when the morning light comes creeping in, nature’ll get up & do it again.

        but what about me? what about my life, plans, work, etc.? my family, children, friends, lovers? some of the anxieties about the end of the world are no different than anxieties about death, end of self, fear of the dark when the dim light of one’s present consciousness is flicked off. but that we can now make the world cease to exist, without children or a future of some kind, was not imaginable in past ages as it is today. we cannot console ourselves with the quasi-immortality offered through reproduction of self in childbearing, a la The Symposium, that urge toward the expansion & transmission of life shared by all of life on earth, b/c the future is foreclosed. or so we fear.

        but the future is not foreclosed. we’ve only heard about it from rumors in the press. that there is no alternative, that we cannot awake from history’s nightmare, who is paying these prophets of doom to say these things?

        try what repentance can. what can it not? heart with strings of steel,
        Be soft as sinews of the newborn babe! All may be well.

        we come from the earth and will return. now is the trial of the earth, our mother’s test, if we will care for our home, oikonomia, management of the world house.

        as for now, increase the love. the song of the earth has not ceased.

        • smile x 2 for a marching song from shostakovitch. but it’ll be a slow climate chaos death, and the poor will go first. but first they’ll be further oppressed and immiserated by the next all street bubble meltdown, which will reverberate around much of the globe. nuclear war? when i used to imagine that as the end of the world, i’d see it like prescient cartoonist r cobb had long ago: the dolphins ‘oh, my’-ing, and surviving, also the cockroaches.

          but as for even bringing news from the prophets of doom: this part III gleaned exactly two discrete commenters total. sigh. so much for a big finale. same with my vignette i posted both here and over yonder as a mental health break. guess i was the main one who’d needed the break, lol.

          but srsly, look at how far-seeing cobb was: pigs beating citizens, surveillance, end of the world, pave paradise, etc.

        • they seem to think that life on earth will last that long? guess again…i’d hoped that at least the rare earth minerals could be used for batteries for solar storage, but mainly er..’defense’? but arrrgh, they killed another 333 whales? those fuckers.

          • Greyson Smythe

            Everything is fine.

            • water water everywhere, and so few potable drops to drink… oh, for a memory, but i think that robert hunziker and others predict that the levels will rise much higher than that w/ all that’s baked in now.

              bit i’d have to to part I to check, and i’m on a couple different missions right now. ;-) but that thar study was purdy durned sci-en-tific, wasn’t it?

  2. Greyson Smythe

    New articles about a new PNAS paper: Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene from the BBC: Climate change: ‘Hothouse Earth’ risks even if CO2 emissions slashed and the Guardian: Domino-effect of climate events could move Earth into a ‘hothouse’ state

    (The both use the term “hothouse” in a way that’s diluted from the usual way it’s used in climate talk; as one that’s merely way too hot for comfort. Usually when I see it used it means “like Venus”).

    • heh, and then…back to geo-engineering the bbc one says; oy veh. i dunno, my understanding is that it’s locked in already, but ‘scientists’ can’t even agree on how close we are to 2 degrees. but the largest value of the paper seems to be a burgeoning understanding of the numerous feedback loops, don’t you think?

      the mendocino fire in california was as 484 sq. miles yesterday, dunno what’s going on w/ the others. apparently herr rumpus room had tweeted that the cal-fires were *caused by* letting water out of dammed reservoirs into rivers to keep riparian ecosystems alive. #WhatAnOaf.

      oddly, i’d decided in the middle of the night to set the site to close comments on diaries after 30 days in hopes that it might decrease the 500-1000 spams per day here. ha, given this, i set it to 60 days for now. i’m gonna try to live chat with the wordpress techies, see if we can straighten out this comments-to-trash-and-spam thing.

      • Greyson Smythe

        I read somewhere that the IPCC doesn’t consider feedbacks that are not well-understood. So, this paper, recent as it is, accounts for more of them, probably.

        Wasn’t it Michael Mann that said we have until 2036 to avoid 2 degrees? 18 years to go, on the Business As Usual path – which we seem to like to continue to be on.

        • sorry, i went cross-eyed fast w/ that one: so much math! ;-) but you might want to read robert hunziker’s newest, always upflifting as all giddy-up.

          ‘The End of the Line: A Climate in Crisis’, August 3rd, 2018, dissident voice

          To quote Bendell:
          ‘Non-linear changes are central importance to understanding climate change based on linear projections and that the changes no longer correlate with the rate of anthropogenic carbon emissions. In other words – ‘runaway climate change’.

          • Greyson Smythe

            Thanks for the Hunziker piece, I hadn’t seen it. Reminds me of this one from Ian Welsh. (Companion piece).

            This year’s Arctic melt is challenging 2012’s record, and might just beat it. When it’s done, all the heat that’s gone into melting the ice will go into heating the water and the atmosphere, and there’ll be more heat to distribute because the albedo of the arctic will have dropped precipitously.

            CO2 sinks are turning into CO2 sources. The Amazon continues to be destroyed. The ocean is absorbing less due to, inter alia, hotter water.

            There’s been no slowdown in fossil-fuel use and the population continues to grow and industrialize. Coal-fired plants are still coming alive. Concrete is still being used. The US Military, a large contributor to climate change, continues to be very well funded, and seems unlikely to adopt clean technologies when full-spectrum dominance (in space!) is its guiding principle. Africa is the new battleground. Capitalism’s gotta capitalize!

            We plan to drill for oil in the Arctic! (Gotta be able to boil that egg, so to speak!)

            The system is set up to grow, grow, grow, until it cain’t grow no more. When that happens, watch out, we might just start fighting with each other over the dwindled resources. Seriously this time.

            • all i can say about that first author is fuck him. yeah, guard what you have to survive w/ guns, which i’d said on that thread, only more politely; he did offer a more modest proposal later: “give some away, guard the majority by the point of a gun”. but then he wanted oprah and george clooney for prez in 2020. but sorry, but it’s impossible for me to read all you bring, esp. since there are so many new issues and diaries still alive both here and over yonder.

              but yes, the military carbon footprint is huuuuuge, which was one of my major chiches w/ bill mckibben and naomi klein: neither ever said that, nor did they say “quit buyin’ so much new shit!, repair the old stuff or be satisfied w/ far less…shit.” ;-)

              • Sorry that I didn’t remember that he’s Persona Non Grata around here. He must’ve changed the post, because there’s nothing in the first one about guns, and only a recommendation to be on good terms with those that do have guns in the second.

                I didn’t expect you to “read all I bring”; this is a blog, and I expect many people wander through, and maybe something I post will strike a cord with them.

                I spose I was mostly expressing solidarity with your Hunziker piece. It’s later than we think.

                • yes, it’s a blog, and as i’d passed on your henry giroux essay: juliania seems to understand him and may be interested. but shall i just breeze by authors you’ve brought instead? if you’d rather, i’ll sure try to. but whether ian changed those posts, i won’t even attempt to check out. but he’s a reactionary who blows hot, then cold, whenever the spirit moves him, and knows no science at all, from what i’ve seen.
                  for instance, he’d thought the paris climate accords were so meaningful (what a ruse they were: voluntary targets by some dozen, two dozen years in the future) ‘should be enforced by a UN climate navy: kapow!

                  although he says he meditates 14 hours a day, his commentariat loves it when he waxes violent, or brings his wrath down upon any of the current heads of the new axis of evil states. this is a new one; i never read the comments, but it made me laugh: yes, identify ‘who’s to blame’ for the world burning and hang em, changed to ‘okay, put em in prison; jayzus

                  but no, hunziker’s link to bendell’s ‘deep adaptation;’ (pg 18) was supremely different, at least to me. not welsh’s “‘Making Sure YOU Stay Alive When Millions Are Dying’. pffffft on that. share, build local alliances, tra la la live love in action.

                  Click to access deepadaptation.pdf

                  on later edit: couldn’t help myself, i looked at you companion link. yes he may have edited it, but he’s still talkin’ about guns, first comment in:
                  realitychecker permalink
                  April 4, 2018
                  ‘As one who has been relentlessly attacked and slandered for years by my comrades on the left for preaching the necessity of being realistic about self-defense issues, I find myself drowning in irony at this moment.’

                  and he means live by the gun, period. he’d also said of me:
                  realitychecker permalink May 30, 2017

                  ‘My next needlepoint will be:

                  Just wait for the magic indigenous mudwomen of the world to sprinkle their magic pussy juice on the Earth, and that will make everything all better. The first thing to do is to get all the men out of power. Wendyworld is coming!

                  ian let it stand.

                • oh, and i’d meant to tell you that i’d finally remembered to poke around for theories on nuclear power’s global warming footprint. james hansen’s and others’ magic bulllet, and with caveats of ‘monitoring and safety mechanisms’ (wth?) the union of concerned scientists. turns out to be worse than a chimera, according to harvey wasserman.

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