Daily Archives: October 12, 2022

Carl Sagan testifying before Congress in 1985 on climate change

carlsagandotcom– Aug 19, 2021

Original source: https://www.c-span.org/video/?125856-…
DECEMBER 10, 1985 “Witnesses testified on how the greenhouse effect will change the global climate system and possible solutions.”

The Greenhouse Gas No One’s Talking About: Nitrous Oxide on Farms, Explained | Civil Eats

Nitrous oxide gets much less attention in ag circles than carbon dioxide and methane, but it’s 300 times more powerful at warming the planet.

By Gosia Wozniacka September 19, 2019

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

November 9, 2021 update: A report from Greenpeace International, GRAIN, and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy found that Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer accounts for 2.4% of global emissions and its supply chain accounts for 21.5% of the annual direct emissions from agriculture.

It doesn’t steal headlines like carbon dioxide and isn’t as quirky as the methane emitted by cows’ burps. But nitrous oxide (N2O), an often-overlooked greenhouse gas, is a significant contributor to global warming. Its concentration has greatly increased in recent decades due to human activity—no laughing matter, given that it’s a lot more potent than other greenhouse gases.

How and Where Nitrous Oxide is Produced

Nitrous oxide has always existed in the atmosphere. It’s mostly produced by microbes in soil and naturally re

leased, especially from tropical rainforests, permafrost melting in the Arctic, as well as microbes in the oceans.

Human-made sources account for an increasingly larger share of N2O emissions. An estimated one-third to one-half of the nitrous oxide released into the atmosphere today is a result of human activities. The biggest culprit: the increase in agricultural lands and synthetic fertilizer use in agriculture, which has steadily increased in recent decades. And industrial farming—especially of annual crops like vegetables and grains—are especially to blame, as farmers tend to over-apply fertilizers to boost their yields.

…(read more).

See related:

Kumi Naidoo Book Launch Programme Guateng

Gauteng is one of the nine provinces of South Africa. The name in Sotho-Tswana languages means ‘place of gold’. Situated on the Highveld, Gauteng is the smallest province by land area in South Africa.

Why The World Is Running Out Of Soil

CNBC – Jun 5, 2022

Critical topsoil is eroding at an alarming pace due to climate change and poor farming practices. The United Nations declared soil finite and predicted catastrophic loss within 60 years. The world needs soil for farming, water filtration, climate mitigation, ecosystem services, health care and more. The impact of soil degradation could total $23 trillion in losses of food, ecosystem services and income worldwide by 2050, according to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. According to the UN, soil erosion may reduce up to 10 per cent of crop yields by 2050. That’s like removing millions of acres of farm land.

“There are places that have already lost all of their topsoil,” Jo Handelsman, author of “A World Without Soil,” and a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told CNBC.

“We have identified 10 soil threats in our global report … Soil erosion is number one because it’s taking place everywhere,” Ronald Vargas, the secretary of the Global Soil Partnership and Land and Water Officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, told CNBC.

According to the U.N., soil erosion may reduce up to 10% of crop yields by 2050, which is the equivalent of removing millions of acres of farmland.

And when the world loses soil, food supply, clean drinking water and biodiversity are threatened.

What’s more, soil plays an important role in mitigating climate change.

Soil contains more than three times the amount of carbon in the earth’s atmosphere and four times as much in all living plants and animals combined, according to the Columbia Climate School.

“Soil is the habitat for over a quarter of the planet’s biodiversity. Each gram of soil contains millions of cells of bacteria and fungi that play a very important role in all ecosystem services,” Reza Afshar, chief scientist at the regenerative agriculture research farm at the Rodale Institute, told CNBC.

The Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, is known as the birthplace of modern organic agriculture.

“The projects we do here are centered around improving and rebuilding soil health. We have a farming system trial that’s been running for 42 years,” Afshar said. It is the longest-running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional grain cropping systems in North America.

The research has found regenerative, organic agriculture produces yields up to 40% higher during droughts, can earn farmers greater profits and releases 40% fewer carbon emissions than conventional agricultural practices.

How’s that possible? The Rodale Institute says it all starts with the soil.

“When we talk about healthy soil, we are talking about all aspects of the soil, chemical, physical and biological that should be in a perfect status to be able to produce healthy food for us,” Afshar said.

It’s critical, of course, because the world relies on soil for 95% of our food production. But that’s just the beginning of its importance.

“The good news is that we know enough to get to work,” Dianna Bagnall, a research soil scientist at the Soil Health Institute, told CNBC.

Watch the video above to learn more about why we’re facing a silent soil crisis, how soil can be saved and what that means for the world.

See related:

Climate change technology: is shading the earth too risky?

The Economist – Apr 21, 2022

If the world is getting too hot, why not give it some shade? Solar geoengineering could halt global warming, but there are risks to this controversial technology. 00:00 – Is solar geoengineering worth the risks?
00:41 – On the frontline of climate change
01:40 – What is solar geoengineering?
02:05 – Why the Saami Council stopped a research project
03:33 – Why we need more research
05:05 – The risk of global political tension
06:12 – The risk of termination shock
07:07 – What is marine cloud brightening?
09:04 – The risk of unequal effects

View all of The Economist’s climate change coverage: https://econ.st/37suszu

Sign up to our climate change newsletter: https://econ.st/3uX0qNx
Watch our previous video on solar geoengineering: https://econ.st/3vwTTYD
Read our explainer about the IPCC’s recent report: https://econ.st/37vw77x
Listen to our podcast about whether a 1.5°C climate target is attainable: https://econ.st/3xEj1zC
How heatwaves in Europe are strengthening environmentalism: https://econ.st/3EsW2sA
Mumbai’s ambitious net-zero plan: https://econ.st/3JQ053i
Will the energy crisis spark American clean tech innovation? https://econ.st/37o4rS9

Catastrophe and Cartography – Cataracts

Peter Zelinka – Premiered Apr 3, 2022

With the help of Google Earth, we can explore dozens of waterfalls around the world. Niagara Falls is one of the most impressive waterfalls, and we’ll be using it as our starting point today.

One of the defining features of Niagara Falls is the “horseshoe” shape, also called a “Cataract”. We’ll see similar cataracts throughout our journey today.

Potholes Coulee, in the Scablands of eastern Washington, has two very large extinct cataracts. These were formed during the melt-down of the ice sheets during the Younger Dryas (12,900 – 11,600 years ago). As the intense sheet floods raced over the landscape, they carved out the cataracts in just a few weeks.

Speaking of accelerated erosion, we have Canyon Lake Gorge in Texas. Canyon Lake Gorge was formed in 2002, when a storm dropped over 34 inches of rain in just a few days. This caused the dam at Canyon Lake to burst, and sent catastrophic floods down the valley.

Based on the erosion seen at Canyon Lake Gorge, we now know for certain that landscapes can be eroded much faster than mainstream science was willing to admit. This proves that canyons can be formed in days!

We are currently in a calm, minimally erosive phase. This is especially true in the deserts of Utah. The current rate of erosion is one drop of water, one grand of sand at a time. There may be an occasional flash-flood, but the desert landscapes have been pretty well preserved due to the lack of rainfall in the past few thousand years.

However, there are times of accelerated erosion, as our planet shifts from a glacial to interglacial climate. Based on current research, there have been ~20 of these transitions in the past 2.6 million years.

As we ponder this series of events, we realize that there must be a massive influx of energy to the planet. How else would all that ice melt? This is known as the “Energy Paradox”. There are a few possible explanations – increased volcanism, increased solar output, change in the earth’s orbital inclination, impact events.

Here’s my hypothesis:

While the planet is going through the transition from glacial to interglacial, there are mega-storms forming across the world. These mega-storms could stay over one large area for an extended time. This causes severe erosion, like what we saw in Canyon Lake Gorge, but orders-of-magnitude larger.

After the planet stabilizes, the erosion slows down to our present-day rates. This minimal erosion helps to preserve the scars left behind.

The Canyonlands in Utah were mainly formed during these brief, but extreme, storms.

I’m not suggesting that the Canyonlands were formed in one event. More likely, they are the result of the 20+ transitions from glacial to inter-glacial during the last 2.6 million years.

It’s possible that all of the sandstone that was washed away ultimately ended up in present-day Mexico, where we can find large tracts of sand dunes. (All that sandstone had to go somewhere, after all)

For more information, check out these videos:
https://youtu.be/fpeK_IrP1zQ – Randall Carlson – Southwest Erosion
https://youtu.be/haf_PJSASgE?t=1245 – Randall Carlson – Death Valley
https://youtu.be/9NuIk0gZMzk – Potholes Coulee
https://youtu.be/9xJa8a3uaws – Niagara Falls Drone
https://youtu.be/7mCYP_s52PQ – Canyon Lake Gorge
https://youtu.be/CZeXK1UiRZ8 – White Rim / Canyonlands

00:00 – Niagara Falls 02:37 – Snoqualmie Falls 04:26 – Iguazu Falls 05:28 – Potholes Coulee 07:06 – Canyon Lake Gorge 08:22 – Upheaval Dome Controversy 09:15 – White Rim Cataracts 13:10 – Corona Arch 14:37 – Goosenecks & Monument Valley 16:12 – Following the Floods 17:12 – Recap

Catastrophe and Cartography – Ice Age Floods Visualized

Peter Zelinka

Feb 3, 2022

Since we are covering numerous controversial topics in this video, I wanted to be sure and include lots of links for you to do your own research on. One of the most important points to keep in mind though, is that water and erosion are scale-invariant. In other words we can see the same shapes and patterns, but on radically different scales. The small current ripples that you see along the creek can be found at West Bar Ripples in Washington, but these are orders-of-magnitude larger! Here’s the link for the USGS National Map Viewer. Remember, you want the “3DEP – Elevation Tinted Hillshade” filter:

(Be sure to right-click and “Open in New Tab” for each link below) https://apps.nationalmap.gov/viewer/ Randall Carlson

YouTube links:

Drumlins: https://youtu.be/QKlmuEyBw3Y – Ep. 47 with Jerome Lesemann https://youtu.be/NWlyfHtQRgs – Ep. 67 with Jerome Lesemann https://youtu.be/30MUCh4s7oE – Ep. 53 Finger

Lakes Back-Floods: https://youtu.be/ffUvklVGC4g – Ep. 74 Opposite Flows https://youtu.be/lIGBIhOv9xU – Ep. 65 Back-Floods

Ice Dams: https://youtu.be/QHF0sFpF4yA – Ep. 72 Glacier Dam Problems https://youtu.be/VQq0mzeLKOI – Ep. 71 Pressure & Glacial Dams https://youtu.be/3Yd2F0x8ONs – Ep. 70 Immense Ice Dam https://youtu.be/QdzOXchh1DU – Ep. 68 Missoula Ice Dam

Glacial Lake Agassiz: https://youtu.be/cawrBvT1MHM – Antonio Zamora

Flood videos: https://youtu.be/xhUenP-BjZw – Dry Falls Animation https://youtu.be/ORJtxkuD62E – Johnson Canyon Flash Flood https://youtu.be/IYbrqsLFySY – Ice Flow/Jam Footage https://youtu.be/VbaNY0uCx4s – Water Rushes back

Randall Trip Videos: https://youtu.be/kImPL2gfnxk – Channeled Scablands / AncientPresence https://youtu.be/3AJwlK2ZofY?t=274 – Southwest trip / SpencerVybes https://youtu.be/1WsyUhMkcbU – Scablands / SpencerVybes

Websites: https://cometresearchgroup.org/ https://www.scirp.org/journal/paperin… http://geocosmicrex.com/holocene-myst… https://phys.org/news/2017-06-collaps… https://www.glaciallakemissoula.org/t… https://eos.org/features/dont-call-it… https://cosmictusk.com/younger-dryas-…

This is what a glacial lake outburst flood looks like

Scientific American – Jan 15, 2020

As the climate changes and glaciers melt, a lesser-known threat lurks in alpine areas: glacial lake outburst floods. These events happen rapidly, releasing huge amounts of water with little or no warning. Unsuspecting communities lying in the flood path can suffer serious losses.

Researchers seek better ways to predict these outburst floods and mitigate their danger. Take a hike through the Swiss Alps with glaciologist Fabian Walter to learn about this phenomenon and our ongoing efforts to understand it.

The major factors driving up the cost of food

PBS NewsHour – Oct 11, 2022

Another report on the pace of inflation in the U.S. is due later this week and there’s some hope that it’s slowing. But most people have noticed higher prices at the grocery store on everything from dairy to meat to wheat products. The cost of groceries rose 13.5% in the past year, the largest increase in 43 years. Economics correspondent Paul Solman looks at what’s driving prices up.


OOPS. Global Dimming is Worse than we thought.

Oct 8, 2022

I am exchanging corny physics jokes with a good friend of mine. My last contribution was:

Q: I didn’t realize that Einstein was a real person. A: I always thought that he was a theoretical physicist.

His last contributions were:

Q: Why does a burger have less energy than a steak? A: Because it’s in its ground state.

Q: What’s the most terrifying word in nuclear physics? A:Oops.

Thus, I just had to use the word Oops to lead off my title to this video!!

I chat about a brand spanking new peer reviewed paper that determines the aerosol-cloud radiative effect (global dimming) is much larger than we thought; in fact over 40% worse.

If this finding pans out (remember, this is only one paper, and needs to be confirmed with many studies) then it means:

– Climate models are too conservative – Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) is more sensitive than we thought – Warming will accelerate much more as we reduce aerosols from emissions – on the positive side, MCB (Marine Cloud Brightening) will be far more effective than we thought