Thursday, 27 July 2017

Record levels of atmospheric methane measured

Highest levels of methane recorded in history at Mauna Loa, Hawaii

Atmospheric methane update July 2017. NOAA data used.

Equatorial Levels at Mauna Loa, Hawaii represent the highest July readings in recorded history at 1850 ppb.

Arctic Levels at Barrow, Alaska are around 1920 ppb and are likely to equal last 

year's historic levels.

Note that methane levels always decline during the Northern Hemisphere summer, but the overall direction is up.

Data sources are:

Mauna Loa: 


(CH4, In situ data for both)

I have updated the Wikipedia pages on Atmospheric Methane and Arctic Methane Emissions.


Melted fuel found at Fukushima - Corium up to 6 feet thick below reactor

Expert: Melted fuel found at Fukushima — Corium up to 6 feet thick below reactor — Nuclear waste “piling up at bottom” — Lava-like material has spread all over… “hanging like icicles” — Mystery orange substance seen (VIDEO)


24 July, 2017

Kyodo, Jul 22, 2017 (emphasis added)): In big step forward, Tepco finds melted fuel at bottom of reactor 3 in Fukushima… The debris was clearly identifiable to at least one nuclear expert. “The images that appear to be melted fuel debris match those found in the (1986) Chernobyl crisis,” said Tadashi Narabayashi, a specially appointed professor of nuclear engineering working at Hokkaido University. “It’s definitely fuel debris… It’s an epoch-making event.”

New York Daily News, Jul 22, 2017: Underwater robot captures images of melted fuel at wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant — An underwater robot captured photos of 3-foot thick lumps of melted nuclear fuel covering the floor

Sky News, Jul 24, 2017: Melted nuclear fuel spotted in Fukushima reactor — The radioactive material has been spotted and pictured by a submersible robot…
CNN, Jul 24, 2017: [The robot] has revealed appears to be stalactites of melted nuclear fuel, [Tepco] said… the robot sent back 16 hours worth of images of massive, lava-like fuel deposits

AP, Jul 23, 2017: [Images] showed massive deposits believed to be melted nuclear fuel covering the floor

Asahi Shimbun, Jul 23, 2017: Melted nuke fuel images show struggle facing Fukushima plant— Images captured on July 22 of solidified nuclear fuel debris at the bottom of a containment vessel of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant show the enormity of decommissioning of the facility… [TEPCO] also discovered that the nuclear fuel debris has spread throughout the containment vessel.

AP, Jul 22, 2017: [TEPCO] said the robot found large amounts of lava-like debris apparently containing fuel that had flowed out of the core… TEPCO spokesman Takahiro Kimoto said it was the first time a robot camera has captured what is believed to be the melted fuel. “That debris has apparently fallen from somewhere higher above. We believe it is highly likely to be melted fuel or something mixed with it,” Kimoto said…

Kyodo, Jul 23, 2017: The robot was sent closer to the bottom of the reactor on Saturday and found possible fuel debris scattered in a wide area.
Japan Times, Jul 21, 2017: Fukushima robot finds potential fuel debris hanging like icicles in reactor 3… The objects spotted this time look like icicles… Tepco is pinning its efforts on technology not yet invented to get the melted fuel out of the reactors.

Reuters, Jul 21, 2017: Tepco detected black-colored material that dangled like icicles that could be nuclear debris near the bottom of the reactor’s pressure vessel that contained the fuel rods, the report said, citing unnamed sources.
Bloomberg, Jul 21, 2017: New images show what is likely to be melted nuclear fuel hanging from inside one of Japan’s wrecked Fukushima reactors… [Tepco] released images on Friday showing a hardened black, grey and orange substance

Financial Times, Jul 24, 2017: [Kimoto] was reluctant to speculate on the nature of seemingly corroded orange patches in the images.

NHK, Jul 23, 2017: [TEPCO] says Saturday’s probe found lumps that are highly likely to be fuel debris piling up at the bottom of the containment vessel… The deposits are estimated to beone to two meters thick. Images released on Saturday show black, rock-like lumps and what appear to be pebbles and sand accumulating at the bottom.

From 2014

Studies show multiple fuel cores ejected from Fukushima reactors – Hot particles of uranium and plutonium fuels detected nearly 300 miles away

27 August, 2014

Marco Kaltofen, Nuclear Science and Engineering , presented at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, March 19, 2014: High Radioactivity Particles in Japanese House Dusts… The Fukushima Dai‐ichi accident released very high activity inhalable dust particles that travelled long distances… Airborne dusts can transport radioactive materials as isolated individual particles containing high concentrations of radioisotopes. Alpha and beta emissions related to fission wastes and dispersed fuel particles are hazardous when inhaled or ingested. Radioactively‐contaminated environmental dusts can accumulate in indoor spaces, potentially causing significant radiation exposures to humans via inhalation, dermal contact, and ingestion… a micron‐scaled particle [had] activity greater than 1.0 PBq kg [1 Quadrillion Bq/kg]. The par6cle was collected from a home in Nagoya, Japan. Nagoya is 460 km from the accident site… It contained both fission products and decay products of 238U… tellurium up to 48.0 %, cesium up to 15.6 %, rubidium up to 1.22 %, polonium up to 1.19 %, dysprosium up to 0.18 %, as well as trace amounts of Sn, lead, nickel, iron, and chromium… 226Ra, 134Cs, and 137Cs, 241Am, and 230Th [were] the most commonly detected gamma photon-emitting isotopes… about 25 % of dusts sampled [were] autoradiographically positive for hot particles… the majority of these hot particles were 10 um [micrometers] or less in size, meaning that they were potentially inhalable… Radioactively‐hot particles on the respirable size range were routinely detected, with one as far as 460 km [285 miles] from the release site.
Kaltofen : Radioisotopes in dusts released by Fukushima Daiichi units [include] Uranium and plutonium fuels and transuranics such as americium and neptunium… individual radioactive particles [in an] Ibaraki dust sample [include] Eu, Y, Zr, Th, Ce, Sr… in 1 to 15 um size range…
Kaltofen : The Japanese samples came from as far north as Sapporo in Hokkaido Prefecture and as far south as Tokyo, a range of 780 km. Fifty nine samples of dust from Japan were analyzed… Radioisotopes specific to the Fukushima Daiichi accidents, including Cs134, Cs137, and Co60 were detected in dust samples taken throughout Northern Japan, including areas more than 200 km outside of the accident exclusion zone. Cs134 was detected at all of the Japanese sites tested… Japanese samples… analyzed in the first month after the accident also contained I131 and Am241… Radioactive dust has become a ubiquitous part of life in northern Japan.
Chris Harris, former licensed Senior Reactor Operator & engineer, Aug 21, 2014 (at 24:00 in): NHK just [broadcasted] that many studies are showing… that multiple cores — parts of it, or some, or even most of it — had been ejected. We thought that too. Once you breach containment, that was one of my big concerns — where did the core go after an explosion like? Whether it be steam or hydrogen explosion or a combination of both… it got ‘sneezed out’ all over the place. It’s totally – it’s a huge mess.
Source: Enenews

Positive feedbacks in the Arctic "worry" scientists

We still get fed with reassuring lies that it is all “business-as-usual” and there is nothing to worry about – from Radio NZ to Michael Mann
Climate change scientists 'very worried' Greenland ice sheet might start to melt 'faster and faster'
'Only a small amount has to melt to threaten millions in coastal communities around the world'

24 July, 2017

Scientists are “very worried” that the Greenland ice sheet might start to melt “faster and faster”, a leading scientist has said.

The problem is that the warmer weather is allowing more dark algae to grow on the ice.

Because ice is white, it reflects much of the sun’s energy, but dark algae absorb the heat, increasing the rate of melting.

The Greenland ice sheet is up to 3km thick and would raise sea levels by seven metres if it all melted into the sea. The current rate of melting is adding about 1mm a year to the global average sea level.

Astonishing temperature rises in Greenland driving deadly floods in UK
Now a team of scientists has begun a new five-year research project, called Black and Bloom, to discover how algal growth might affect this, BBC News reported.

Professor Martyn Tranter, of Bristol University, who in charge of the project, told the broadcaster: “People are very worried about the possibility that the ice sheet might be melting faster and faster in the future.

We suspect that in a warming climate these dark algae will grow over larger and larger parts of the Greenland ice sheet and it might well be that they will cause more melting and an acceleration of sea level rise.

Our project is trying to understand just how much melting might occur.”

The algae come in a range of different colours, turning the ice black, brown, green and mauve.


Dr Joe Cook, a glacial microbiologist at Sheffield University, said the massive ice sheet was a “living landscape”.

This is an extremely difficult place for anything to live but, as we look around us, all this darkness we can see on the ice surface is living – algae, microbes, living and reproducing in the ice sheet and changing its colour,” he said.

It would probably take a long time for the entire ice sheet to melt, Dr Cook said.

"When we say the ice sheet is melting faster, no one saying it’s all going to melt in next decade or the next 100 years or even the next 1,000 years,” he told the BBC.

But it doesn’t all have to melt for more people to be in danger – only a small amount has to melt to threaten millions in coastal communities around the world.”

Darkening of the ice and rapid melting of Greenland ice sheet

I almost fell over when I came across this item from TVNZ.

Rapid melting of Greenland ice sheet raising sea levels and alarming scientists

The world-altering change is being sped up by an organism that you need a microscope to see.


It's alive: Blooming algae darken Greenland ice

From CNN

Warmer weather accelerates ice melting in Greenland

Sunnier weather is significantly accelerating the melting of Greenland's glaciers, exacerbating the effects of rising global temperatures, according to a British study.

For the past 20 years, a marked decrease in cloud cover over Greenland during the summer has allowed more solar radiation to warm glaciers and pack ice, according to research led by the University of Bristol and published in Science Advances.

(Source: AFP)

Australian government is rolling back marine protection

Is this in spite of, or because of the dying Great barrier Reef?

Australian government to roll back marine protections

By April Reese

24 July, 2017

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA—Five years after the Australian government created one of the world’s largest networks of marine reserves, it has unveiled a heavily revised management blueprint that would curtail conservation. Some scientists are assailing the plan as deeply flawed. “I suppose you could say it’s an insult to the science community. It’s not evidence-based,” says David Booth, a marine ecologist at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.
Australia is fringed by some of the richest marine ecosystems in the world. Recognizing the need to protect those resources, in 2012, after years of input from scientists and the public, the Australian government strung together a necklace of marine reserves encircling the continent. But following elections a few months later, the new conservative government commissioned an independent review to gather more public input. The draft plan, released on Friday, retains the 2012 plan’s boundaries but scales back protections in some areas to allow for more fishing.
The proposal, which will undergo a 60-day public review period before heading to Parliament, which is expected to approve the plan, covers 44 marine reserves encompassing 36% of Australia’s exclusive economic zone—the wide ring of ocean from about 5 kilometers offshore to 370 kilometers out. In maps showing which activities will be allowed where in the reserves, large swaths of no-take “green” zones designated in 2012—areas in which no fishing or mining would be allowed—have been converted to “habitat protection zones,” where sea floor–ravaging activities such as trawling are barred but other types of fishing are permitted. Under the new plan, only 20% of the reserves would be green zones and more permissive “yellow” habitat protection zones would increase from 24% to 43%.
These draft plans balance our commitment to protect the marine environment, while supporting a sustainable fishing industry, promoting tourism, and providing cultural, recreational, and economic benefits for coastal communities,” National Parks Director Sally Barnes in Canberra said in a statement.
G. Grullón/Science
Many marine scientists are dismayed. “They’ve nearly halved the level of protection,” says marine ecologist Jessica Meeuwig, director of the University of Western Australia’s Centre for Marine Futures in Perth. “It’s very demoralizing to the scientists who’ve done so much hard work,” Booth adds. “You would not believe the amount of work that’s been put into establishing these places. Then suddenly it all comes off the table.”
The massive Coral Sea marine reserve, which buffets the Great Barrier Reef along Australia’s northeast coast, faces the biggest conservation rollback under the plan. About 76% of its sprawling 98-million-hectare expanse would be open to fishing, up from 46%. That would aid the tuna industry, according to the environment department. “They’ve saved the tuna fishery $4 million a year,” Meeuwig says. “So in order to save .03% of fishing revenue, we’ve scuppered what could be the single most important marine protected area in the Pacific.”

On the sixth extinction

Biological Annihilation on Earth Accelerating? Population Extinctions, Entire Animal Species Destroyed
By Robert J. Burrowes

26 July, 2017

Human beings are now waging war against life itself as we continue to destroy not just individual lives, local populations and entire species in vast numbers but also destroy the ecological systems that make life on Earth possible.

By doing this we are now accelerating the sixth mass extinction event in Earth’s history and virtually eliminating any prospect of human survival.
In a recently published scientific study ‘Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines’ the authors Gerardo Ceballos, Paul R. Ehrlichand Rodolfo Dirzo document the accelerating nature of this problem.
Earth’s sixth mass extinction is more severe than perceived when looking exclusively at species extinctions…. That conclusion is based on analyses of the numbers and degrees of range contraction … using a sample of 27,600 vertebrate species, and on a more detailed analysis documenting the population extinctions between 1900 and 2015 in 177 mammal species.’
Their research found that the rate of population loss in terrestrial vertebrates is ‘extremely high’ – even in ‘species of low concern’.
In their sample, comprising nearly half of known vertebrate species, 32% (8,851 out of 27,600) are decreasing; that is, they have decreased in population size and range. In the 177 mammals for which they had detailed data, all had lost 30% or more of their geographic ranges and more than 40% of the species had experienced severe population declines. Their data revealed that ‘beyond global species extinctions Earth is experiencing a huge episode of population declines and extirpations, which will have negative cascading consequences on ecosystem functioning and services vital to sustaining civilization. We describe this as a “biological annihilation” to highlight the current magnitude of Earth’s ongoing sixth major extinction event.’
Image result
Lions in South and East Africa, like this male cat in Botswana, are better known than their cousins in West Africa, which tend to be smaller and are now highly endangered. (Source: PETE OXFORD, NATURE PICTURE LIBRARY/CORBIS)
Illustrating the damage done by dramatically reducing the historic geographic range of a species, consider the lion. Panthera leo ‘was historically distributed over most of Africa, southern Europe, and the Middle East, all the way to northwestern India. It is now confined to scattered populations in sub-Saharan Africa and a remnant population in the Gir forest of India. The vast majority of lion populations are gone.’
Why is this happening? Ceballos, Ehrlich and Dirzo tell us:
In the last few decades, habitat loss, overexploitation, invasive organisms, pollution, toxification, and more recently climate disruption, as well as the interactions among these factors, have led to the catastrophic declines in both the numbers and sizes of populations of both common and rare vertebrate species.’
Further, however, the authors warn
But the true extent of this mass extinction has been underestimated, because of the emphasis on species extinction.’
This underestimate can be traced to overlooking the accelerating extinction of local populations of a species.
Population extinctions today are orders of magnitude more frequent than species extinctions. Population extinctions, however, are a prelude to species extinctions, so Earth’s sixth mass extinction episode has proceeded further than most assume.’
Moreover, and importantly from a narrow human perspective, the massive loss of local populations is already damaging the services ecosystems provide to civilization (which, of course, are given no value by government and corporate economists).
As Ceballos, Ehrlich and Dirzo remind us:
When considering this frightening assault on the foundations of human civilization, one must never forget that Earth’s capacity to support life, including human life, has been shaped by life itself.’
When public mention is made of the extinction crisis, it usually focuses on a few (probably iconic) animal species known to have gone extinct, while projecting many more in future. However, a glance at their maps presents a much more realistic picture: as much as 50% of the number of animal individuals that once shared Earth with us are already gone, as are billions of populations.
Furthermore, they claim that their analysis is conservative given the increasing trajectories of those factors that drive extinction together with their synergistic impacts.
Future losses easily may amount to a further rapid defaunation of the globe and comparable losses in the diversity of plants, including the local (and eventually global) defaunation-driven coextinction of plants.’
They conclude with the chilling observation:
Thus, we emphasize that the sixth mass extinction is already here and the window for effective action is very short.’
Of course, it is too late for those species of plants, birds, animals, fish, amphibians, insects and reptiles that humans have already driven to extinction or will yet drive to extinction in the future. 200 species yesterday. 200 species today. 200 species tomorrow. 200 species the day after…. And, as Ceballos, Ehrlich and Dirzo emphasize, the ongoing daily extinctions of a myriad local populations.
If you think that the above information is bad enough in assessing the prospects for human survival, you will not be encouraged by awareness or deeper consideration of even some of the many variables adversely impacting our prospects that were beyond the scope of the above study.
While Ceballos, Ehrlich and Dirzo, in addition to the problems they noted which are cited above, also identified the problems of human overpopulation and continued population growth, as well as overconsumption (based on ‘the fiction that perpetual growth can occur on a finite planet’) and even the risks posed by nuclear war, there were many variables that were beyond the scope of their research.
For example, in a recent discussion of that branch of ecological science known as ‘Planetary Boundary Science’, Dr Glen Barry identified ‘at least ten global ecological catastrophes which threaten to destroy the global ecological system and portend an end to human beings, and perhaps all life. Ranging from nitrogen deposition to ocean acidification, and including such basics as soil, water, and air; virtually every ecological system upon which life depends is failing’. See The End of Being: Abrupt Climate Change One of Many Ecological Crises Threatening to Collapse the Biosphere’.

Moreover, apart from the ongoing human death tolls caused by the endless wars and other military violence being conducted across the planet– see, for example, ‘Yemen cholera worst on record & numbers still rising’ – there is catastrophic environmental damage caused too. For some insight, see The Toxic Remnants of War Project.

In addition, the out-of-control methane releases into the atmosphere that are now occurring – see‘7,000 underground gas bubbles poised to “explode” in Arctic’ and ‘Release of Arctic Methane “May Be Apocalyptic,” Study Warns’– and the release, each and every day, of 300 tons of radioactive waste from Fukushima into the Pacific Ocean – see Fukushima Radiation Has Contaminated The Entire Pacific Ocean – And It’s Going To Get Worse’– are having disastrous consequences that will negatively impact life on Earth indefinitely. And they cannot be reversed in any time frame that is meaningful for human prospects.

Apart from the above, there is a host of other critical issues – such as destruction of the Earth’s rainforests, destruction of waterways and the ocean habitat and the devastating impact of animal agriculture for meat consumption – that international governmental organizations such as the UN, national governments and multinational corporations will continue to refuse to decisively act upon because they are controlled by the insane global elite. See ‘The Global Elite is Insane’ with more fully elaborated explanations in Why Violence?’ and Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice.

So time may be short, the number of issues utterly daunting and the prospects for life grim. But if, like me, you are inclined to fight to the last breath, I invite you to consider making a deliberate choice to take powerful personal action in the fight for our survival.
If you do nothing else, consider participating in the fifteen-year strategy of ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’. You can do this as an individual, with family and friends or as a neighbourhood.

If you are involved in (or considering becoming involved in) a local campaign to address a climate issue, end some manifestation of war (or even all war), or to halt any other threat to our environment, I encourage you to consider doing this on a strategic basis. See Nonviolent Campaign Strategy.

And if you would like to join the worldwide movement to end violence in all of its forms, environmental and otherwise, you are also welcome to consider signing the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’.

We might be annihilating life on Earth but this is not something about which we have no choice.
In fact, each and every one of us has a choice: we can choose to do nothing, we can wait for (or even lobby) others to act, or we can take powerful action ourselves. But unless you search your heart and make a conscious and deliberate choice to commit yourself to act powerfully, your unconscious choice will effectively be the first one (including that you might take some token measures and delude yourself that these make a difference). And the annihilation of life on Earth will continue, with your complicity.
Extinction beckons. Will you choose powerfully?
Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of Why Violence? His email address and his website is here.