From the frying pan…

The planet Earth just had the hottest June on record and July was the 4th hottest in history. California and the southwest could use some water right now. A new report on Greenland and the west Antarctic ice sheet shows them both losing ice faster than the worst case predictions from a few years ago. All things considered it might surprise you to know that that the global air temperature has not grown all that fast since roughly the years 1998-2000. That would seem like a problem if warming were inexorably linked to carbon dioxide, which has hardly taken a break from accumulating.

Climate scientists need not have worried. Water has much more specific heat than air, meaning that a pound of water holds a hell of a lot more thermal energy than a pound of air. Try for example to cool a drink with a couple cubic inches of cold air. The oceans have a whole lot of water so a little warming below sea level accounts for a lot of energy that would otherwise heat the atmosphere. It turns out that the oceans, in particular the mid-to-deep Atlantic, have warmed up a lot.

An apparent slowdown in global warming since the late 1990s may be due to changes in circulation patterns in the Atlantic and Southern oceans, suggests a study published in the 22 August Science1.These circulation patterns carry sun-warmed tropical waters into the higher latitudes, where they sink and flow back towards the Equator, says lead author Ka-Kit Tung, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

From the 1970s to the 1990s, Tung says, this movement was relatively slow. That allowed the warm water to linger at the surface long enough to lose much of its heat to the air, thereby contributing to rapid global warming.

But around 1999, the currents sped up, sending relatively warm water into the ocean depths instead. That is enough, according to Tung and his co-author Xianyao Chen, an oceanographer at the Ocean University of China in Qingdao, to explain why Earth’s land and ocean surface temperature seems to have plateaued since the anomalously warm year of 1998.

You might be asking yourself, what about those billions of tons of methane stored in fragile ‘clathrate’ crystals in the mid depth Atlantic? Do those clathrates not flash back into gas form when you raise the temperature even a little? If that methane were so sensitive to temperature then you would expect to see a lot more methane seeping from places where clathrates are especially dense, such as the US eastern seaboard.

Methane appears to be bubbling up from more than 500 vents on the Atlantic Ocean floor off the U.S. East Coast, according to a new study in a finding that could have profound long-term implications for the global climate.

While scientists suspected these so-called seeps existed there, until now they lurked undetected. Their discovery suggests similar seeps exist throughout the world’s oceans.

The seeps come from gas hydrates, an ice-like combination of water and methane that forms naturally with extreme cold and depth in the ocean. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, and gas hydrates are thought to hold up to 10 times as much carbon as the earth’s atmosphere.

The seeps were discovered in a stretch of ocean waters from Cape Hatteras, N.C., to Georges Bank, Mass. The majority are located at a depth of about 1,640 feet, which is at the upper level of stability for gas hydrate.

Now you might be asking yourself, didn’t methane cause those giant blow holes in Siberia? Indeed it did! Maybe skip the next free webinar promoting real estate on the Yamal Peninsula.

In Siberian permafrost, large deposits of methane gas are trapped in ice, forming what is called a gas hydrate. Methane remains stable and frozen at certain temperatures, but as the permafrost warms, and its internal strength decreases, it may be less able to withhold the build-up of sub-surface gases, says [Larry Hinzman, a permafrost hydrologist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks and director of the International Arctic Research Center], leading to a release.

Most of the time methane just bubbles up out of permafrost. Lately it bubbled more than usual. But if the melt goes deep enough and a cold winter flash-freezes the surface then methane coming from the deep melt, insulated from freezing by the surface ice, can build up a lot of pressure. As you can see above. That hole is 80 meters across.

104 replies
  1. 1
    The Very Revered Crimson Fire of Compassion says:

    Ruh-roh. I’m really beginning to wonder just how dramatic global warming may become in our own lifetimes. All the stuff I heard about over the years under the heading of “if X happens, of course, we’re all screwed.” seems to be happening, and at an ever-accelerating rate.

  2. 2
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Now I’m afraid to go to bed. Nightmare time.

  3. 3
    am says:

    It’s horrifying.

    I read some stock message boards, and these guys legitimately believe it’s exaggerated and even if it’s a real problem you just need to dump pelletized iron in the ocean or release some sulfates into the upper atmosphere.

    The “but Al Gore has a private” jet meme is depressingly effective at closing minds.

  4. 4
    KG says:

    Well, I’m sure between this and the Icelandic super volcano, it’ll all sort itself out so we don’t really need to worry about anything. Nothing to see here folks, move along

  5. 5
    Baud says:


    Like Godzilla vs. Mothra.

  6. 6
    Dog On Porch says:

    By my political lights, Obama has proved timid. That said, and barring his June 2008 FISA double-cross, I’ve since considered him a fairly candid guy. More often than not, he staked his positions out in honest (enough*) fashion.

    For that reason, and until he’s left office, I’ll harbor hopes that he may yet jolt Americans, by speaking rude truths in public fashion.

    *(I know you know what I mean).

  7. 7
    Baud says:

    @Dog On Porch:

    Did you want the prior thread?

  8. 8
    Dog On Porch says:

    @Baud: Yes, yes I did.

  9. 9
    Baud says:

    @Dog On Porch:

    I’ve done that. No worries (except for climate change).

  10. 10
    jenn says:

    We are so very very screwed.

  11. 11
    srv says:

    Yeah, I saw that thing in Siberia and all I could think of was:
    1) Methane
    2) Entry point for alien Von Nuemann Planet Destructor
    3) Godzilla

    So… fuck everybody, time to get mine – I was thinking of looking at New Mexico, but not enough water. NorNorCal, Oregon, Washington or BC?

    Of course, all that lack of water is causing continental uplift out here, so it could trigger the Long Valley Supervolcano… or St. Helens, etc.

    Where is a hippie supposed to go?

    I’m thinking it’s time to invade Canada.

  12. 12
    KG says:

    @Baud: I tend to think of it as Red Sox vs Yankees. We keep hearing about it but just don’t care

  13. 13
    KG says:

    @srv: I heard they closed burning man because of rain/hail, so I’m not sure there’s anywhere a hippy can go these days

  14. 14
    Schlemizel says:

    No worries! Pretty soon things will get so bad that a large body of people will DEMAND that extreme measures be taken to fix the problem they said did not exist only a few short months previous. The climate change won’t kill us off but the fuck ups we make to stop it will, and probably sooner than we thought.

  15. 15
    srv says:

    @Baud: I need to get a t-shirt: Mothra Forever

  16. 16
    scav says:

    @srv: won’t Canadia have a lot of the burping fens? might be a bad time to consider firepower . . . .

  17. 17
    Baud says:


    I say we use a nuclear bomb to set off the Yellowstone supervolcano so it’s ash can block out the sun and cool the earth.

  18. 18
    srv says:

    @KG: My neo-Luddite techster cousin was just telling me at HH of the wailing texts from Gerlach.

    I just searched SF and Sacramento for snow mobiles to monetize this… but no luck…

  19. 19
    The Pale Scot says:

    I put 20 quatloos on a climate caused ELE before 2150, fifty quatloos on mankind just f@king everything up and causing total civilization collapse by 2100.

  20. 20
    Mike G says:

    Boy, Al Gore really is fat.

  21. 21
    srv says:

    @KG: Burning Man Update!

    Burners segway to Pyramid Lake for skinny dips!

    Ranger: “How could you people not know it’s improper to get nekkid in public?”

  22. 22
    The Pale Scot says:

    @KG: I think the Yellowstone Caldera would be more effective, the southern hemisphere might have a chance if the northern consumer centers were wiped out.

  23. 23
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @The Pale Scot: Since I will be dead, under the most optimistic scenario, by 2050, it’s all one and the same to me.

  24. 24
    Dog On Porch says:

    @Baud: I’m lucky to live in Sonoma county, Ca. Global warming is well understood around here, it being a straightforward vital thing and all.. So I cannot understand why other Americans do not understand. Or rather, I do, and it sickens me. Age and contempt are beginning to seep through my pores. Simply put, I believe– I know– today’s GOP is the party of American Fascism. And they own the “people’s airwaves”.

  25. 25
  26. 26
    Violet says:


    Where is a hippie supposed to go?

    Climate scientist Jason Box moved to Denmark because he thought it would be safer for his daughter with the coming droughts, water issues, etc. in the US.

  27. 27
    The Pale Scot says:


    Where is a hippie supposed to go?

    I’m looking at the western slope of the Andes in Argentina, predicted rainfall maps show it as one of the few places that keep their historic pattern. Might have to learn german to fit in, but the beer and brats would be worth it.

  28. 28
    muddy says:

    @srv: In the 80s I had a Bircher roommate who said global warming was a government plot. To raise land values in Canada. Unclear as to which government this was, likely the One World Govt or some such. I told him to cheer up, his house wasn’t 50 miles from the border and surely that would be good enough?

    He doesn’t believe in it anymore though, now it’s a government plot to confiscate our freedom cars or something.

  29. 29
    muddy says:

    @Violet: I don’t know how good it would be for rising sea levels though.

  30. 30
    Dog On Porch says:

    @Violet: Climate scientist Box overlooks the fact that Canada is on a lease, of sorts. A unspoken lease, one that stipulates that when The USA needs Canada’s water, we’ll take it. That’ll hold us well through his daughter’s lifetime, as well as afford us time to corner Denmark’s water supplies. Resistance is futile…

  31. 31
    srv says:

    @muddy: I loved the Canadian series Intelligence (not to be confused the new cyber-American series).

    It’s about the Canadian intel agency, CSIS, BC drug syndicates, evil US DEA/CIA, China and Big Bad American Multinationals who want Canada’s water. Sorta “The Wire” on a national scale. Once you get over the domestic wifey drama, the plots and acting are quite good.

  32. 32
    Punchy says:

    Methane clathrates? Not in the bible. Therefore it’s all shenigans and hooey.

  33. 33
    muddy says:

    @srv: I remember the lead from DaVInci’s Inquest.

  34. 34
    srv says:

    @muddy: Sadly, only two seasons. I could not get into DaVinci’s or that other Vancouver Sci-fi series.

  35. 35
    Emma says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Me too. And I leave no descendants behind.

  36. 36
    Origuy says:

    @KG: Yes, access to Black Rock Playa is closed through tomorrow at least. Most of California is turning into desert, and the desert is getting torrential rain. The hotels in Reno are offering specials to burners. It’s not just hippies these days; Google millionaires go to Burning Man.

  37. 37
    muddy says:

    @srv: I liked that the cast was more diverse than what you see in American shows.

  38. 38
    The Dangerman says:

    I read someplace that the warning system in some level of beta provided many seconds of warning throughout the Bay area Sunday morning. It should be in place throughout California….

    …but it’s too expensive. We’ll look back at this short-sightedness after the Big One hits and wonder what in the fuck we were possibly thinking.

    We are well and truly fucked as long as the answers from one political party is more tax cuts and more bombing. When the Republicans are effectively decimated – and it will eventually happen – I hope there is time to unfuck things.

    ETA: And a hearty fuck you to whoever came up with the Southern Strategy … and Ronald Reagan.

  39. 39
    Dog On Porch says:

    @The Dangerman: Within months of 1989’s 7.1 Bay Area earthquake, the Home Depot in San Carlos, Ca. began selling “earthquake detectors”. They were merchandised like kid’s candy in supermarkets, at every check-out. To this day, I regret not having bought one just for a laugh.

  40. 40
    Steeplejack says:

    @The Pale Scot:

    Isn’t Argentina on the eastern slope of the Andes?

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    1. Al Gore is fat

    2. It snows in Washington DC in February

    Therefore, Global Climate Change is a hoax.

  42. 42
    E. says:

    People focus on the rising sea levels, drought, crop failure, and all the rest, but what is going to get us is the geopolitical instability from global warming. The continental US is pretty well positioned, all things considered, and we have excellent infrastructure to handle the first climate blows that come along. But other countries do not, and this will be a problem.

  43. 43
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    this will be a problem.

    You mean as in famine, wars, and other calamities?

    Hey, it’s just brown people going after each other. Not to worry!

  44. 44
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @The Dangerman: Oh, they need to be more than decimated. Much more than 1/10th of them need to be rendered hors de combat. I’d say well above 27%.

  45. 45
    patrick II says:


    from Wiki about “Intelligence”

    There were various rumors surrounding the cancellation of the series. Kevin Baker from The National Post alleged: “There’s a theory afloat that CBC Television cancelled the unusually good drama Intelligence in fear of upsetting Canada’s New Government, which is thought to be slavering for an excuse to junk the nation’s public broadcaster and sell off the parts.”[

    It was a hell of a good show, but stepped on too many toes.

  46. 46
    jl says:

    Oh boy! Global warming induced randomly exploding tundra. My Alaska relatives will be delighted too hear about this. They will try to get one situated under Palin.

    Edit: They are make lemonade out of lemons kind of people.

  47. 47
    Anoniminous says:

    The 384 (!) forest fires in the Northwest Territory this summer have burned 3,323,285 hectares or 12,831 square miles. These fires are unprecedented in the baseline forest record going back 10,000 years.

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Steeplejack: Um, yeah, it is.

    Perhaps he meant the eastern slope. The western slope is Chile.

  49. 49
    trollhattan says:

    @Anoniminous: Wow, that’s a phenomenal amount of land. I don’t know what’s going to stop it from happening in the Rockies with all the beetle-killed forests.

  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: IIRC ~30% losses makes a unit combat ineffective.

  51. 51
    Anoniminous says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Actually with the chances of an El Nino increasing the western slope of South America should be fairly warm.

  52. 52
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Anoniminous: The Atacama desert, in northern Chile, is already one of the driest places on the planet. Only the Antarctic I think is in the same general league.

  53. 53
    Anoniminous says:


    The forest across the West are overgrown, bark beetle infested, and diseased. Nature’s cure is fire and it will take decades to get back to normal after the 100 years of disastrous fire policy.

  54. 54
    Anoniminous says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Is the Atacama desert the place with all the big figures were scratched into the ground?

    (And I sadly observe my humorous jest© is sadly overlooked.)

  55. 55
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Steeplejack: You’re right, my mistake,

    Details, Details (Waves hand)

  56. 56
    Punchy says:

    @Anoniminous: I was out in RMNF in 2011 and STUNNED at the destruction of the trees by the beetles. Said it wasn’t cold enough anymore to kill the beetles (3 days straight of -15F I think). Can’t imagine how much worse it is 3 yrs later. Pretty much Colorado is fucked big time.

  57. 57
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:


    (And I sadly observe my wit is sadly overlooked.)

    If I had a dollar for every time that has happened to me, I would be a good $10 or $15 up on the deal.

  58. 58
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Anoniminous: The figures on the ground are to the north of the Atacama, in the Nazca area.

    Your jest was a bit too dry, methinks.

  59. 59
    Steeplejack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    You’re too modest—$18-20, at least.

  60. 60
    Steeplejack says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    My wingnut brother is going to be hitting Nazca in a few days as part of a three-week motorcycle expedition in Peru and Bolivia. I’m trundling him off to the airport first thing in the morning.

    Right now he is stressing out and rechecking things that he has checked about a hundred times already. Good times.

  61. 61
    Anoniminous says:


    It’s been eight years since we’ve had a bark beetle killing winter. The Lincoln National Forest is in horrible shape. White Pine Blister is everywhere. Together they are killing off the Ponderosa pines by the tens of thousands. In the long run it’s what needs to happen. In the short term it’s sickening.

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    I think I’d be in the negative numbers.

  62. 62
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Steeplejack: Well, one doesn’t want to brag. I figure a good 1700 or so are too arcane or subtle for most people (I am a hipster snob, n’est-ce pas).

  63. 63
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I’m hoping for REALLY combat ineffective.

    (30% does sound about right, though…I’ve forgotten so much of my staff training over the years)

  64. 64
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Anoniminous: Yeah, well, fuck you too. No offense.

  65. 65
    Anoniminous says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Ah, thanks.

  66. 66
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    Methane popping out of the ground, tap that and burn it. Problem solved.

    /climate change denier

  67. 67
    jl says:

    @The Dangerman:

    ‘I read someplace that the warning system in some level of beta provided many seconds of warning throughout the Bay area Sunday morning.’

    About ten seconds. BART is one of the few organizations currently receiving the service; they say it gives them time to stop trains going less than 40 mph and that will prevent accidents and equipment damage during earthquakes. Mainly they say it will reduce chance of derailments.

    i heard a seismologist on the news say that. given California geology, they think they could get it up to 30 seconds to a minute with more money for R&D.

    You in the Napa area? Glad you are OK. In SF I did not feel much, but the earthquake did not feel like it was very far away. So I was surprised that it was so severe. But I live on a rocky little hill, so probably that explains it.

  68. 68
    jl says:


    ‘ Methane popping out of the ground, tap that and burn it. Problem solved. ‘

    I hope Lil’ Newtie runs for president in 2016, he will talk about bright new ideas like that. Might even get me to watch a couple of GOP primary debates. Otherwise I’ll check the Palin Channel for her take on it.

  69. 69
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: Well, we are dealing with people who probably light their own farts, so there’s that.

  70. 70
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Anoniminous: What I’m looking at is rainfall, preferably one that doesn’t change so the ecology isn’t stressed. The maps change, but the interior of Argentina seems to be one of the few places in the western Hemisphere that isn’t going to be hit with a severe reduction in rainfall.

  71. 71
    Steeplejack (tablet) says:

    @The Pale Scot:

    What about New Zealand? Seem to remember reading that that would be a good place.

  72. 72
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    Lovely. This blog chooses to leave a depressing post as it’s go into the night post….. If all one gets from here on out is GBCW posts and suicide notes, it won’t be because one didn’t ask for it..

  73. 73
    Anoniminous says:

    @The Pale Scot:

    I wouldn’t take any prediction, at this point, too seriously. AFAIK, the current prediction models are running behind the facts such as methane release in the arctic and off the east coast of the US, arctic ice thinning is running decades ahead of prediction, ditto for the Greenland glaciers.

  74. 74
    Steeplejack (tablet) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Srsly. I can feel myself going into a bit of a diminuendo.

  75. 75
    The Dangerman says:


    You in the Napa area?

    No, I am a Central Coaster but passed through the Bay Area on the way home Saturday night from the Redwoods. From my parents place in SoCal, I could walk to the nearest evidence of the San Andreas (an artesian well) in a few minutes (and not walking THAT quickly).

    ETA: I guess I like quake zones; I could drive to the Parkfield Bulge in a relative few minutes, too.

  76. 76
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Steeplejack (tablet): New Zealand will be fine, and everyone with with a million or two sees it as the perfect place to go. Every senior wing nut I meet down here in FL sees NZ as the last refuge of the white man. It’ll be 1984 with drones.

    I ain’t got that kinda flow.

    You need to find somewhere semi-off the grid where you can grow food that’s not gonna be featured by anglo TV as the place to go.

  77. 77
    fleeting expletive says:

    Sorry for the OT but I had the funniest encounter wit h my next door neighbor. She’s sixtiesh, still agile I guess. She locked herself out of her house and rang my doorbell so I invited her in and g ve her a glass of ice water. She is loud, and rangy, talks fast, she’s from California.

    She said the person who planted this “cane bamboo” between our two yards “should be shot” I asked her if it was enrccahing on her yard and she said yes. I did not tell her that I planted the infamous and nefarious “bamboo cane?–it’s just cane, I sadly learned, not bamboo.). I gu ess I was a coward but the planting served its purpose as it visually shields a gap in my fencing from the street traffic.

    I think if she were smarter she would pin that crime on me but I don’t really think she will.

  78. 78
    fleeting expletive says:

    Ranty, Not whatever.

  79. 79
    The Pale Scot says:


    I wouldn’t take any predictions

    Oh sure, and I’ll probably be too old anyway, if Argentina’s currency keeps getting hammered by the IMF I might be able to buy a few acres to grow potatoes and spleef on.

  80. 80
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    You need to find somewhere semi-off the grid where you can grow food that’s not gonna be featured by anglo TV as the place to go.

    Try Scranton. Or Wilkes-Barre. Near as I can tell, PA and the rest of the mid-Atlantic isn’t going to change much. I’d stick to high ground, though.

  81. 81
    max says:

    @srv: 2) Entry point for alien Von Nuemann Planet Destructor

    If that’s actually the entry point for a Von Neumann planet destructor, hiding in Canada won’t help. You’re gonna need a bigger boat spacecraft.

    [‘A rillly rillly biiiiiggggg spacecraft.’]

  82. 82
    Bill D. says:

    @Anoniminous: Ponderosa pines don’t get white pine blister rust (it’s not in the white pine group) but it does get bark beetles. Lodgepole pines in the Rockies are also dying wholesale from bark beetles, again due to the lack of cold winters. White pine blister rust is particularly killing whitebark pines in the northern Rockies though it affects other white pine species around North America to varying degrees. It’s responsible for making eastern white pine far less common than it once was. It’s originally from the eastern hemisphere so our white pines don’t have good resistance.

    It’s all depressing.

  83. 83
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason: Fracking is )EDIT: screwing the water supplies in PA.) I was thinking Erie PA, but I see all of this security mania snowballing in the U.S., and the NE only stays civil as long as the rest of the country is isn’t in turmoil, if the drought makes the west uninhabitable and curtails grain production at the same time the petrodollar regime starts crumbling, USA is gonna get dicey. Grain, weapons and the world’s reserve currency are the legs the country stands on, kick two of them out and there ail be worries

    Goodnite all

  84. 84
    Mike G says:


    Climate scientist Jason Box moved to Denmark because he thought it would be safer for his daughter with the coming droughts, water issues, etc. in the US.

    I know someone building a house for an MIT climatologist on the Mendocino Coast in northern California.
    It’s a beautiful area with very few people. It’s on the cold and foggy side now, but according to MIT guy will have the best climate in the US when climate change kicks in.

  85. 85
    Bob Munck says:

    Water has much more specific heat than air, meaning that a pound of water holds a hell of a lot more thermal energy than a pound of air.

    Only about four times as much. Not a big difference.

    However, the atmosphere weighs 5.5 quadrillion tons and the oceans weigh 1.4 quintillion tons (approximately) so the specific heat of the oceans total about a thousand times that of the atmosphere. That’s the big difference.

  86. 86
  87. 87
    Hkedi says:

    I have to say, moving back to Hawaii and having a thousand mile moat/heatsink on all sides has been a comfort to me.

  88. 88
    Arclite says:

    A bit late to the show, but watch Robin Williams Inside The Actors Studio to take your mind off the horrors of global warming. I almost passed out from lack of oxygen I was laughing so hard. It is truly amazing to watch his mind at work. So fast, so smart. He was almost a different species. And yet, one of the most human people ever.

  89. 89
    Arclite says:

    @Hkedi: I have lived on Oahu for 15 years now, and am very worried about GW. Once the sea level starts to rise, and food shortages start happening due to desertification, we’re really fucked out here. We import 98% of what we eat and use, and if that dries up, we’ll all be at each other’s throats.

  90. 90
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @The Pale Scot:

    New Zealand will be fine, and everyone with with a million or two sees it as the perfect place to go. Every senior wing nut I meet down here in FL sees NZ as the last refuge of the white man.

    Maybe these wingnuts should let the Maori know about the new rules before they move in.

    In a Maori-Wingnut fight, my money would be on the Maori.

  91. 91
    scav says:

    @Hkedi: Rather also depends on what changes in storm patterns and intensity gets thrown up. It’s not just about having few sweaters.

  92. 92
    Hkedi says:

    @Arclite: Well living on Oahu is the first part of your problem, If/when things fall apart, it’s going to be real bad over there. Better to live on one of the other islands. Maui, where I live, has a bit better balance of farmland and population. (Molokai or Lanai would be better though)

    As for Desertification, and food shortages, I’m a little bit more hopeful on that. Hawaii has a strong culture for caring for the Aina (at least compared to the mainland), and the smaller sizes of the islands will (hopefully) mitigate any run-away desertification. We also have a strong culture of diverse and small scale farming, that hasn’t yet been wiped out by industrial farming. There is a lot of effort already in place to encourage growing and eating in Hawaii, from many sources, and I think we are positioned better than most places to survive the slow collapse of the global food net. Plus, eating locally makes a lot more economic sense than any of the other states except maybe Alaska.

    @scav: Storm patterns are a real wild-card here. I think everyone was spooked bye Iselle and Julio, even though they only beat up Puna on the Big Island and Ulupalakua on Maui mainly. If it starts shifting the yearly line of tropical disturbances north as far as Hawaii, we will be in for a world of hurt. Still, compared to other places like Arizona or Florida, I’m ahead of the curve.

  93. 93
    NotMax says:


    Think the GMO moratorium on the ballot will pass in November?

  94. 94
    John says:


    Hippies can’t afford to go to Burning Man anymore. It’s just millionaires now. And my mailman. He has one of those posh gubmint jobs.

  95. 95
    Hkedi says:

    No clue really. I remember the petitions in Alive and Well, but I have a lot of biology background and see it as pretty self defeating in the long run. Montsanto is pretty evil though, but they bring in a fair bit of money locally, and they just use us for growing seed. It could go either way, I remember reading recently (on the Hanabusa election) that Hawaii is “where polls go to die”.

  96. 96
    ET says:

    The planet may have had the hottest June and July on record, but here in the DC metro area it has been downright pleasant. A refreshing change. Of course we are going to pay for that this coming winter I just know it.

  97. 97
    Tim F. says:

    @Viva BrisVegas: They wingnuts won’t find any friends in the white kiwis. Unlike Australia the white folks who settled New Zealand adopted and totally embraced the culture of the Maori. Most of the street signs that I saw had signs in both languages and the things that are sacred to the Maori – the kiwi, kea, silver fern and kaori tree – are precious to all New Zealanders.

    Yes, part of that has to do with the fact that Maori were well familiar with fortresses and organized welfare before white folk arrived. Hard to impose your will when the other guys will gladly meet you on the field on equal terms and they have home field advantage. The 1840 Treaty of Waitangi gave the Maori tremendous respect and has a similar role there as the US Constitution.

    And the police there deal politely but very firmly with anyone who misbehaves with guns.

    I expect an unpleasant and short stay for white supremacists who think they found a new nirvana.

  98. 98
    Woodrowfan says:

    @ET: I was thinking about that. it’s been a very, very mild August. It’s in the 70s in DC in August, therefore the globe is cooling….

  99. 99
    Fred says:

    So Siberia is where we find the fabled “Asshole of the World” and planet earth farted.
    Hey, if we’re going to wreck the planet we might as well get to laugh about it.

  100. 100
    Gus says:

    But here in Minnesota, we had an unusually cool summer, therefore global warming is a liberal conspiracy. QED.

  101. 101
    chopper says:

    i feel bad for CA. lived there all last year and the climate was wonderful (seriously, it ruined me for anything else). but no fucking rain. moved to ATL and we got like 7 inches of rain in the first month i was here. the grass is actually green.

  102. 102
    Rob in CT says:

    @Tim F.:

    Having visited, my first thought was “why would anyone wish wingnuts on the Kiwis? They’re such nice folks.”

  103. 103
    Rob in CT says:


    Yup. Mild summer here in New England (I LOVE this weather, because basically I hate high summer), therefore global warming is a hoax. QED libs!


  104. 104
    daveNYC says:

    Hawaii and New Zealand will probably come out OK as far as their local climate goes, but NZ will be pretty screwed from the sea level rise. They lose pretty much every city and near half the north island. I’d also be worried what the influx of water will do to the various fault lines.

    We are so boned.

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