Thanks for all the fish

Uh, shit.

Last week two studies provided evidence that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has begun an irreversible process of collapse, in part because its key glaciers are grounded below sea level and are melting from underneath.

Now, a team of researchers from NASA and UC Irvine reports that the Greenland ice sheet has a similar instability.

I don’t have the heart to explain all the reasons why this makes me want a drink. For one water absorbs a lot more energy than land and ice reflects almost like a mirror, so less land plus more water and a lot less ice means that energy which used to bounce off into space will stick around and make things even hotter.

You know that feeling when a bad situation goes irretrievably to hell? In my stupider years I took a shot at Longs Peak with two other guys in very late fall. We were roped up and working out how the hell we would attack a steep/vertical snow couloir with a sheet of ice bits blowing up it at 80-100 mph when I realized our third man had high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). At that point our tough rope problem became a rescue operation*. Climate change is that snowy couloir, Greenland is the guy with HACE and civilization as we know it is the summit of Longs Peak. I never did see the view from up there.

(*) He got better once we got below treeline, but I lost a water bottle in the mix and had some strange visions by the time we got back down to the car.

81 replies
  1. 1
    WereBear says:

    Awwww. Crap.

  2. 2
    Tom Levenson says:

    What WereBear said.

  3. 3
    MomSense says:

    Thomas Wagner from NASA said

    This is really happening

    and I don’t know why but that really got to me.

    We’re fricked.

  4. 4
    Kropadope says:

    I can’t wait for the Rs to start running on “summer all year” and “beachfront property for all.”

  5. 5
    Kropadope says:

    I can’t wait for the Rs to start running on “summer all year” and “beachfront property for all.”

  6. 6
    Amir Khalid says:

    Uh, shit.

    You can say that again.

  7. 7
    Botsplainer says:

    At FR the prevailing view about the news from Antarctica was “hurr hurr, now we don’t have to bother trying anymore”.

  8. 8
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I have been assured by noted climate scientist and game show host Pat Sajak that this is all alarmist nonsense, nothing to worry about, would you like to buy a vowel?

  9. 9
    Schlemizel says:

    We have been headed this way for several years, this is going to be a hockey stick graph. The initial part was gradual but there is a point where every bad thing will speed the next bad thing. The reduced ice cover speeds the loss of ice. The increased dark oceans collect more heat. The permafrost begins to melt & releases more methane causing more warming. We are already fucked and just don’t believe it yet. The coming displacement and wars fought because of resource scarcity should be the end of human life on this earth. We have earned it we deserve it it would be rude of us not to accept it.

  10. 10
    JPL says:

    The evolution of climate change..
    Global warming is not real
    Okay there is global warming but not man made
    Whoops, too late.

  11. 11
    Bill Arnold says:

    Cool. I knew about the main extinction events but wikipedia has an interesting list of the minor extinction events. A linked paper discusses asteroid impacts with the ocean, which (according to the paper) could produce a large CO2 pulse similar (though faster) to the rapid pulse we’re causing.
    (FWIW, the sun is further along in its main sequence life, and thus hotter, than it was hundreds of MA ago).

  12. 12
    Brendan in Charlotte says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I’d prefer he buy a clue. But since he won’t, I’d like to offer him a one way ticket to Greenland. Since it’s no big deal, ya know

  13. 13
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I detect a note of sarcasm in your comment, I never took you for a racist

  14. 14
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Brendan in Charlotte: Why Greenland? It might end up, yunno, green. How about Bangladesh?

  15. 15
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    I was watching the latest

    I was watching the latest

    I was watching the latest Years of Living Dangerously episode recently and basically they were saying that a certain bay in Florida (sounded like Appolachopia bay) has basically reached a critical desalination point (to quote Dennis Quaid in The Day After Tomorrow) because of the drought upriver there is not enough fresh water coming into the bay to sustain oysters, the oyster fishermen who have been there for 40 odd years are seeing their business fizzle. I mentioned this to my boss (a climate change denier) and he said that this all happens in cycles, and there is no connection to the destruction of the oyster beds to climate change and I was full of shit and all that. Today he was meeting with a client, who is in the seafood business. He asked him about the business and how it was. The client told him that it was totally devastated. Then he asked him about oysters. “Are there less oysters” he said. The client said “there are no oysters, they are now going for such high prices that restaurants are taking them off the menu, they simply can’t afford to pay $70.00 a gallon for them and make a profit”. I am waiting patiently for my boss to apologize to me for saying that I was full of shit about climate change.

  16. 16
    Schlemizel says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    I feel sorry for the dinosaurs. As far as we know they didn’t do anything to cause their extinction. There was not sajakasour running around telling other dinos that its racist to believe they were killing themselves.

    In a just world those gawdamned deniers will be the last to go, starving, dehydrated, sick with horrific diseases and swept away by gigantic storms.

  17. 17
    Hal says:

    I have some conservative friends who a perfectly nice people, but I have come to the conclusion the world is going to have to be saved from people like them. They take their marching orders from Fox News, and twist themselves into pretzels to say climate change is either fake, or simply isn’t what scientists think it is, and everything will be ok.

    Al Gore is fat and flies in a private jet, it snowed in Georgia this winter, and the earths axial tilt slightly shifted. Those were all reasons one conservative friend has posted on Facebook as to why he doesn’t believe in climate change.

    When there was a story regarding climate change trending, I checked some of the comments being made, and one person actually said the only thing Liberals!!! have to support climate change is 97% of scientists. This was in his mind a damning truth that proved climate change is BS. There is no reasoning with people like this, and trying is futile.

  18. 18
    Booger says:

    No worries. The free market will take care of it.

  19. 19
    raven says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Apalachicola

  20. 20
    raven says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Apalachicola

  21. 21
    SatanicPanic says:

    On a personal note, I am switching from anger at the injustice of it all mode to gallows humor mode. It’s the only way to stay sane.

  22. 22
    jl says:

    @Schlemizel: Around 130 million years versus around 200,000. It’s amazing what human ingenuity can accomplish.

    So, anyway, may soon have to add another 20 or 25 feet to the pile.

  23. 23
    Schlemizel says:

    Please do not hold your breath while waiting, you seem like a good guy and I wouldn’t want you to pass out & hit your head.

  24. 24
    raven says:

    @Schlemizel: Brit’s a bird.

  25. 25
    Schlemizel says:

    I thought that too but I use “guy” as a gender neutral generic term

  26. 26
    A Ghost To Most says:


  27. 27
    Comrade Mary says:

    This is where I start not to totally hate being in my 50s until I remember all the awesome younger people and wee kids who are going to have to suffer through the worst of this.


  28. 28
    scav says:

    Hello, will someone tell FYWP I’m not spam?

    ETA, Well, ok, I’m apparently only SPAM in the last thread, I’m just randomly odd in this one.

  29. 29
    Kropadope says:


    I use “guy” as a gender neutral generic term

    I only use it in the plural as gender-neutral “you guys.” Although, I’ve been known to advocate the gender neutrality of “dude” and “man.”

  30. 30
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Beautiful, horrible story, but, also, too, that (accidental?) opening made it read like a Laurie Anderson performance.

  31. 31
    ulee says:

    I like your writing but I don’t think the visions are gone.

  32. 32
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Apalachicola?

  33. 33
    some guy says:

    (Reuters) – Florida Governor Rick Scott announced plans to sue the state of Georgia in the U.S. Supreme Court for cutting the flow of water that feeds the oyster beds and fish-spawning areas of Apalachicola Bay.

    Scott made the announcement after a two-hour field hearing by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, which heard tales of economic devastation from oystermen complaining about the lack of fresh water flowing into the Gulf Coast bay.

    The governor and local officials said the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers has allowed the impounding of water upstream in large reservoirs, at the expense of Apalachicola oysters.

    Sunburned men told of oyster harvests being off by up to 90 percent, because of saltwater intrusion and loss of nutrients washing down from the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers, which form the Apalachicola River about 50 miles north.

    “The Army Corps of Engineers needs to turn loose that water,” Cal Allen, a city commissioner in nearby Carrabelle, said after the hearing. “All those people around Lake Lanier (northeast of Atlanta) want water to run their jet skis. They’ve got no concept of the situation down here.”

  34. 34
    raven says:

    @Another Holocene Human: It’s actually closed right now because of too much rain.

  35. 35
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: If it was the Gulf ya know fuck that anyway because people have been getting cholera and that other nasty one from eating them lately, plus Atlanta is bogarting all the water, plus the sod farms and cattle farms and water bottling in Floriduhhh eats so much water that the springs in the armpit actually had reverse flow a few years back with briny bay water being sucked into the land side.

    Welcome to Rick Scott’s Florida! Pink Slip Rick strikes again!

  36. 36
    Botsplainer says:

    Lately, oysters have been pricey – $3 per.

  37. 37
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Water war! Original intent! Call up the militias!

  38. 38
    JPL says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: New England oysters are far superior.
    Folks livelihood are dependent on harvesting so I do feel bad for them.

  39. 39
    Schlemizel says:

    Can’t be ‘man’ for what I see as obvious reasons. ‘Dude’, maybe but I really hate that word except when used ironically or derisively. I with there was a one syllable word for ‘person’.

  40. 40
    scav says:

    All together, Caller From Michigan!

    “I’m so fed up with the tyranny I sold my jet ski,” the caller said. “I’m so fed up with the way the government is manipulating the water with the chemtrails, I’m afraid I can’t even use my jet ski.”

  41. 41
    JPL says:

    @some guy: Well f..k that! The water rate quadruples in the summer in GA already and we conserve our water. When FL conserves, I might show some empathy.

  42. 42
    SatanicPanic says:

    @some guy: “All those people around Lake Lanier (northeast of Atlanta) want water to run their jet skis. They’ve got no concept of the situation down here.”

    – so that guy who sold his jet ski cause of tyranny was right!

  43. 43
    KG says:

    @Kropadope: and give up the always useful “dudette”?

  44. 44
    Botsplainer says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    As long as some pink cheeked lard ass paper shuffling wingnut from the exurbs north of Atlanta needs water for his lawn (with an underpaid Latino to mow it) and a driveway in which to park a monster SUV that needs washing between trips to the well-irrigated golf course, his vital need for that water must be provided, the bottom of the food chain be damned.

  45. 45
    Schlemizel says:

    When I lived in Cocoa Beach there was a lot of oystering going on in the Indian River, the brackish water between the mainland and the barrier islands. Slight problem though. Titusville Fl had an ancient waste treatment plant that regularly dumped untreated sewage into said Indian River. Titusville had been waging a decades long war against the EPA to keep their rotten system. As a result the bacteria counts would skyrocket regularly & people were told not to take oysters during those stretches. They blamed the e-coli on dolphins & manatees! those people are delusional

    I have not eaten a raw oyster since.

  46. 46
    Francis says:

    This Southern Californian has a wry chuckle.

    [ps: What do people know about rooftop solar in California? Sources, tips, insults and snark are all welcome.]

  47. 47
    KG says:

    @Francis: i’ve heard, third and fourth hand mostly, that if you get it, you’re supposed to get a credit for when you’re helping the rest of the grid. in theory, you’re supposed to be able to get money from edison (or whomever), but usually, they’ll just zero your bill out. that was a few years ago, so i don’t know if it’s changed.

  48. 48
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @some guy:

    Holee shit. The Governor of a state devastated by climate change is suing cause the government because his state is being devastated by climate change which his entire party platform is denying right now? Who’d a thunk it? WTF?

  49. 49
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @raven: Well, Pensacola flooded pretty bad, were the roads washed out?

  50. 50
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: He had his sense of shame surgically removed years ago. Remember, this is the architect of the biggest Medicare fraud in American history.

  51. 51
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Schlemizel: Gross.

  52. 52
    Shana says:

    On a somewhat related note based on the title of the post, the University of Maryland now has a new supercomputer called Deepthought 2.

  53. 53
    Kropadope says:


    Can’t be ‘man’ for what I see as obvious reasons.

    I generally base this on the broader concept of “mankind” and a sense of inclusiveness. I don’t usually use it this way for an individual man or woman, but more if someone were to take insult to use of the word “man” rhetorically, “I meant you too.”

  54. 54
    raven says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Some were really wiped out and that went all the way to Panama City.

  55. 55
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Botsplainer: Some guy from UF documentary film studies group did an award winning documentary on the high cost in money and to the environment of America’s green lawn obsession. Bernie Machen responded by zeroing out the budget for the academic group.

  56. 56
    raven says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Fackin Gators.

  57. 57
    SatanicPanic says:

    @KG: I talked to someone the other day in San Diego who said he makes a little money from it.

  58. 58
    Schlemizel says:

    I think of ‘man’ as shorthand for mankind, as in Man has not come very far from the days of picking fleas off his neighbors.

  59. 59
    raven says:

    @Schlemizel: I really didn’t mean to start some big deal over it.

  60. 60
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    Vanishing Antarctic ice sheet?

    Great God! Do you see what this means? It means Al Gore is even fatter than we previously realized!

  61. 61
    CaseyL says:

    @Schlemizel: Quite some time ago I decided to de-genderize my speech as much as possible. It wasn’t difficult at all. (And it definitely changed my thought patterns.)

    I say “humankind.” It’s only one more syllable.

    On topic: We’re fucked, and definitely deserve it. I just wish we weren’t taking a lot of other species with us.

  62. 62
    Ash Can says:

    Hey, Earth is going to be fine. This planet isn’t going anywhere. It’s the people on it, and many other living things, that are fucked. I just hope that when the mutant cockroaches gain sentience millions of years from now and take over, they do a better job of managing the planet’s ecosystem, whatever it looks like then, than we did.

  63. 63
    Linnaeus says:

    But a bunch* of climate scientists in the 1970s said that the problem was global cooling, so how could we believe them now?

    *No, not really.

  64. 64
    PIGL says:

    @Hal: They are not perfectly nice people. They have the superficial mannerisms of nice people, perhaps, they know how to act in socially acceptable ways when anyone is watching, but within their attractive outer shell they carry the malice and resentment and obedience to daddy that would march you and me to the gas chambers, and the planet to its doom.

  65. 65
    PIGL says:

    @Hal: They are not perfectly nice people. They have the superficial mannerisms of nice people, perhaps, they know how to act in socially acceptable ways when anyone is watching, but within their attractive outer shell they carry the malice and resentment and obedience to daddy that would march you and me to the gas chambers, and the planet to its doom.

  66. 66
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Booger: We humans may not like the free market’s way of taking care of it, though.

    The planet will go on, just without the current apex species.

  67. 67
    Kropadope says:

    @raven: Hey, I think these semantics debates are valuable.

  68. 68
    Southern Goth says:

    @Hal: It was probably DougJ, but Poe’s law and all that.

  69. 69
    Jay C says:


    University of Maryland now has a new supercomputer called Deepthought 2.

    Shouldn’t that be Deepthought 42?

  70. 70
    Diana says:

    @PIGL: I agree. I wish more people would understand it.

  71. 71
    mainmata says:

    Albedo is a real bitch.

  72. 72
    Regnad Kcin says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Riparian payback is a beech

  73. 73
    Regnad Kcin says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Riparian payback is a beech

  74. 74
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    What WereBear and Tom Levenson said.

  75. 75
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    You must be a racist.

  76. 76
    John Weiss says:

    @PIGL: Oh, yeah.

  77. 77
    J R in WV says:

    Several points to make here tonight…
    1) I read an article about a harvest of oysters from a closed bay. They were able to track the contaminated (bacteriologically) oysters to their destination restaurants, and then to track who ate the bad oysters, and what all the customers had, from credit card slips.

    People who had raw contaminated oysters and drank no alcohol all got hepatitis, all of them.

    People who had beer were less likely to become infected, and those who had wine were a little bit less likely than the beer drinkers.

    People who had liquor to drink were unlikely to become infected.

    So ever since when I have raw oysters and I’m not SURE of the biological nature of the source of the luscious briny edibles, I have a shot of brown liquor while eating the oysters, and usually another shot towards the end of the raw bar feast.

    I was once as high on a mountain as 13,500 odd feet… Mt Antero, one of the many 14’ers in Colorado. There are mineral deposits on Mt Antero with interesting crystals, smoky quartz and aquamarine for the most well known minerals. I recovered some small pale smoky quartz crystals from a large boulder. We had a good time, but we were actually pretty stupid from oxygen deprivation.

    When we came back down, I was shocked at how stupid I had been, and was really glad we didn’t go on up to the higher elevation collecting grounds. Although now I know most of the good collecting is nearer the top of the mountain. Altitude really can affect your thought processes, and while you are at altitude, you can’t tell you’re stupid.

    This fact of altitude is not connected to the people who deny that mankind is causing the Earth’s climate to alter dramatically. I recently had a backup generator installed – it’s connected to the grid so it can tell what the current status of the power supply at my meter is. It’s connected to my natural gas supply to run on NG rather than liquid fuels. Liquid fuels deteriorate over time. Natural gas does not.

    For many years power outages were infrequent enough that I was willing to deal with a regular small portable generator and cans of gasoline. But we’ve had so many long outages the past 3 or 4 years that I gave up and went with a permanently installed machine which will run everything in the place but the AC compressor. I could get a small window AC unit, but the basement appears to stay comfortable at cellar temps. We could get by comfortably by moving a comfortable mattress into the downstairs, where it stays cool.

    In Arizona, so far, you can connect a solar power installation to the grid, and run your meter backwards at times. So far. There appears to be a major effort to reverse that policy now that more people are electing to install solar power systems.

    When we installed our system, we could not connect to the power grid – it would have cost as much to connect to the local power co-op as the solar panel / battery bank system cost.

    BUT the local power co-op paid us $6K to not connect to their grid, so that we were not customers they would have to install infrastructure to service. Then we got income tax credits for the majority of the rest of the expenses… credits were so big we had to take them over multiple years, Now we have electric at home in Arizona with no monthly bill at all.

    So far we’ve never had to start the Honda generator we used while building the small mountain cottage I (and friends and neighbors) built in SE Arizona. But if we get a long cloudy spell, I can power up the (ultra-quiet) Honda generator and get by for quite a while, until the clouds break and the sun shines again.

    I don’t know if the world is going to become too hot for biological life as we know it to exist. I have no progeny to worry about – we were too afraid of nuclear holocaust to reporoduce back when we were fecund. I don’t regret that decision, things are going to get crazy, and I don’t want my kids to have to kill to survive.

    In the meantime, I drink brown liquor and eat raw oysters, and enjoy the sunsets and the sunrises, and the glow of rosy sunshine on the mountains. I wish the best of luck to my young friends!

  78. 78
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Well, in accord with Sajak rules, I guess I am!

    Damn proud of it, too!

  79. 79
    The Usual Suspect says:

    @Schlemizel: FU, loser, you can go die under a rock. We are made of sterner stuff, and will survive. You act like you WANT the human race to die off. You obviously don’t have children.

  80. 80
    Fort Geek says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Maybe we could grab him and the other deniers, bundle them up end to end, and start making a cofferdam out of ’em.

    Every once in a while, ask them how high the water is.

  81. 81
    Fort Geek says:

    @Another Holocene Human: We lost several roads, including three chunks of Highway 90. Some other roads (including Piedmont Rd, which gives access to the Cordova Park neighborhood) were washed out for their entire length. At least 2 feet of yards along each side of the road…gone. Water main broke.
    We had something like 2 feet of rain in a 24-hour period.

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