Wednesday, May 21, 2014


SUMMARY: Gasp! Antarctica is melting. Coastal cities at risk. New science direct from NASA. Plus eminent climate scientist Kevin Trenberth predicts strong El Nino impacts on world weather. Radio Ecoshock 140521

Welcome to Radio Ecoshock, I'm Alex Smith - but you won't hear much from me in this program. There is huge news from the Antarctic. Scientists fears that those glaciers will melt, lifting global sea levels above the streets of many world coastal cities - have been verified by two studies.

Later in the program, you will hear an excellent interview of top climate scientists Kevin Trenberth, conducted by Peter Sinclair.

Download this Radio Ecoshock show in CD Quality (56 MB) or Lo-Fi (14 MB)


At the bottom of this blog you can also find out about our new climate music contest, and links to download key climate quotes from Radio Ecoshock interviews. You can use these quotes for music, or in your podcast, radio show, or as audio for your web page or blog. Help yourself, help the world.


But right now we're going to bypass the mainstream media machine to hear from the NASA scientists who say the melt of one Antarctic glacier set is now "unstoppable". We don't often get such certainty from science, or large government agencies.

This is a moment to gasp, just like the record Arctic sea ice melt of 2007. The planet has undeniably and unmistakably been altered. It's a major tipping point crossed. Even without the Greenland Ice melt, the Antarctic glaciers will reshape the geography of land for all conceivable generations to come. Redraw the maps, and realize humans will eventually withdraw from mega-cities ranging from New York to China, a retreat from the sea by millions of people, from trillions of dollars in assets. That's what this is about.

I play you an edited-for-radio replay of the NASA press conference held May 12th for the media.

Scientists have long feared that human-made climate change would trigger melting of Antarctic glaciers, especially in the fragile West Antarctic Peninsula. Now the bad news is upon us: Antarctica is melting. The process NASA scientists say, is unstoppable. The inevitable result will be massive sea level rise over the next several centuries. Some scientists suggest 7 meters, or 22 feet of sea level rise is even possible this century, but the NASA study is more conservative, as you will hear.

Keep in mind when the study authors talk about 3 meters, or 10 feet of global sea level rise, they are discussing only the potential from a small part of the West Antarctic Peninsula they have studied, not the totals from elsewhere among the South Pole glaciers, or melt waters from Greenland.

Eric Rignot

We begin with the voice of Thomas Wagner, NASA's Program Scientist for the cryosphere and Director of the agency's polar studies. He is introducing the lead scientist for this Antarctic study, Eric Rignot. Eric is Professor of Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine. You will hear his entire presentation for the NASA teleconference, held May 12th, 2014.

Sridhar Anandakrishnan

Our next speaker at the NASA teleconference is Sridhar Anandakrishnan, Professor of Geosciences at Pennsylvania State University.

I then play you key questions from major media to these scientists and their replies. It's also an exercise in seeing what TV networks and top tier newspapers ask. You can then compare how that filters through to the public. For example, while these NASA scientists say the Antarctic glacier melt they studied IS unstoppable, the New York Times reported it MAY be unstoppable. The certainty of science did not make it to the public.

You can watch the NASA teleconference in full here.

The fact that Antarctica is committed to melting, or at least parts of the West Antarctic Peninsula are, is one of the biggest stories in years. Joe Romm, the respected energy expert and blogger at Climate Progress, says this means coastal cities in many parts of the world will ultimately be abandoned.

You can see what the United States will look like with just ten feet (3 meters) of sea level rise here.

I also recommend this short video by Peter Sinclair - "This Is Not Cool". He interviews scientists, with a couple of news clips, about huge sea level rise coming.

Mother Jones has this key article about the West Antarctic ice sheet collapse.

You can get more essential facts from this Washington Post article.


But it's not just the West Antarctic peninsula, although that will go first. New science finds East Antarctica, long thought impervious to near-term climate change, is also at risk of melting.


The most extreme prediction comes when University of Ottawa climate scientist Paul Beckwith asks whether we could see 7 meters of sea level rise (22 feet!) by 2070. Find that in this You tube video. Paul also points out that moving massive amounts of water from land-based glaciers to the oceans could destabilize weak spots in the Earth's crust, leading to more seismic activity (read deadly earthquakes and tsunamis).

You can read Peter Sinclair's blog article about important New York Times coverage of this Antarctic melting news, plus references to the original science, here.

Unfortunately, one of the original scientific papers is behind a pay wall. Here is the link anyway.


Last week I interviewed scientists about El Nino, the weather-making system that will rock our world starting in late 2014. How serious is it? Let's listen in to a video interview done by Peter Sinclair, who runs the Climate Denial Crock of the Week web site. That's a hot spot to visit often, at

The guest is the eminent climate scientist Kevin Trenberth. He's an expert's expert, listed as "a Distinguished Senior Scientist in the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research" or NCAR. This is the clearest explanation of El Nino and it's consequences I have found anywhere.

Kevin Trenberth

Climate Crocks published the Kevin Trenberth videos in two parts. Find Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

You won't find anything different in the video version, from my radio replay, other than the images of Kevin Trenberth talking by Skype.

Notice that Trenberth also wonders whether this coming El Nino could trip us into a warmer world, a hotter time from which we never cool down. I've suggested that several times.

This interview is courtesy of Peter Sinclair. His blog Climate Denial Crock of the Week is simply excellent. It's hot, don't miss it, at

Comedian Chris Farley on El Nino


Find all our past programs at the web site Or listen to what's new at the Radio Ecoshock Soundcloud page.

Next week I've got more news from a warming world, and some controversial guests. Thanks for listening.


We go out with a song by Dana Pearson of California. Find him as "Vastmandana" at This piece, written especially for the climate is called "Jet Stream in Florida". It works perfectly, to communicate the state that is slowly going underwater, from rising seas and extreme rains.

Climate musician Dana Pearson


I have a contest going for new climate music. If you write or play music, either on instruments or electronically, contact me for details, either through email (radio //at// or using the Contact Form on my web site.

This contest involved weaving in climate quotes from Radio Ecoshock into music you compose. Any entry containing copyright music will be rejected. The winners will be played on the 76 non-profit stations that play Radio Ecoshock.

Anyone can download the package of quotes as .wav files, wrapped up in either a .rar or .zip file. If you have a podcast or radio show, or just want some audio for your blog or web site, you can use these quotes, so long as (a) you credit the source as Radio Ecoshock and (b) don't resell any of them, or use them to promote a commercial product.

Find the files here.

RAR compact file Clime collection.rar

ZIP file

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