Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Age of Ocean Warming

This week's program opens with the song "Gas Pump Blues"
"Uploaded by theprizoners on Sep 13, 2008 words and music by bob dean and warren"

In this week's Radio Ecoshock Show we cover one of the most under-reported stories of this century: warming oceans. Up to 90 percent of the extra heat we create with rising greenhouse gas emissions is being hidden away in the world's oceans. Now they are heating up too.

Warmer oceans will lead to species extinction, adding to the great extinction now happening on land. Hotter seas expand, flooding coastlines. And warming oceans guarantee our climate will continue to heat, likely for hundreds of years after we stop emitting carbon dioxide.

Warming oceans will cost the global economy trillions of dollars, at the very least, and may break our civilization altogether.

I interview NASA's Dr. Joshua Willis, who explains the mechanics of heating oceans, and new areas of research.

Then we go to an expert in both oceans and climate, Dr. Alistair Hobday, of CSIRO in Tasmania, Australia. His testimony of species needing human intervention just to survive current warming is frightening.

Finally, I wrap up the program with a sample from "The Climate Show" out of Auckland, New Zealand. We get an update of the latest science showing positive feedback loops already operating in the world's climate. Yes, we are past the tipping point.

Here is how the program begins - and then I'll toss in lots of links in the full show blog (following the "Read More" jump).

Prices at the pump? Let's talk about these last days of oil.

After Peak Oil, there will be greater volatility in prices. According to the best expertise, including the International Energy Agency, we are already long past that peak.

A higher oil price can, after a delay of months or more, temporarily crash whole lines of business. Airline companies are often the first to fall, but everything from niche business to major corporations can totter into bankcruptcy.

Consumers find their wallets sucked into oil company and oil country revenues.

With reduced oil demand, prices drop. But not for long. Producers from Russia to the Emirates and Saudi Arabia, are completing long-term diversification strategies, consuming more of their own oil.

Meanwhile the Asian economies continue rapid growth. Electrification and construction grow into consumer cities, fed by oil and gas all along the way.

U.S. politicians pander to price-protected drivers, with suggestions of using up strategic petroleum reserves.

China is building the most extensive oil supply lines ever known. They have announced, and begun construction on a gigantic oil reserve system. A series of tank farms and other storage will house up to 500 million barrels.

Libya produced just over a million barrels a day. Canada produced 3.3 million barrels daily in 2008. The Chinese store of 500 million barrels allegedly equals 3 months of their current consumption. But that number is fuzzy. I don't know the real and current number for China's total daily oil use. I doubt anyone else does either.

But the Chinese are storing oil like gold in Fort Knox. In reality, when you need it, especially for a war, oil is far more valuable than gold.

Oil hoarding will push up prices even more. Now picture hoarding in a time of falling production, with a known limit to reserves. That is the next few years.

At some point, price shock knocks the globalized economy into a coma. Or worse.

And none of this mentions a further minor barrier to continued oil exploration. Scientists, hoards of them, hundreds of thousands of them, are narrowing the knowledge gap about our atmosphere and our oceans.

Climate change will batter, is already striking, the already weakening energy model.

We now know the atmosphere is far more sensitive than we thought. It isn't enough to stop greenhouse gas emissions. We have somehow to go back in atmospheric time, to a maximum of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide equivalent. That level, at least 40 parts per million below current measurments of CO2 alone - might preserve the polar ice that powers our entire climate system, as we have ever known it.

Our current path is climate suicide, as you will hear in this program.

There is one very big reason why humans must reduce CO2 to survive. It is as large as humans could imagine, for most of our time here.

The oceans are heating up. But we are almost blind to this awful development.

We know species are fleeing from tropical waters toward the Poles. Other marine species are appoaching the point where humans have to assist, like midwives, their current reproduction, due to the heat.

You will hear about that, and much more, from Dr. Alistair Hobday from CISRO in Australia.

I claim, and this is the inspiration for this Radio Ecoshock program, I say heating oceans will do three more things, at least. They will exterminate some species, adding to the Sixth Great Extinction now taking place on land. They will flood the major cities of the world. And ocean heating will cost the global economy countless trillions of dollars.

Probably the last item, the grubby money cost, is the only communicable news, through mass media?

In the last part of the program, you will hear some of the most depressing climate revelations I've heard in 2011. That comes from a new radio program "The Climate Show", from Auckland, New Zealand. Twice the value: a worthy summary of the latest alarming climate science, set in a sample from a program I think you will like, as an mp3 download, or on You tube. Stay tuned for details.


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