Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Greatest War Ever

Introduction - Highest Urgency and Priority for Australia

Aaron Franklin
By Aaron Franklin

Hello everyone,

I hope this report is helpful in understanding the current very serious situation. Its an attempt to present it in a way that's accessible to all.

There should be no other priorities until this is dealt with.

Every one should acquaint themselves with the Arctic Methane Emergency Group (AMEG) and its Strategic plan, at:

Lots of good up to date information can be found at , most of the reports there should be compulsory reading for all.

For Australia, as no other world governments appear to be taking notice or action yet, we should lead by example.

The first and most urgent actions we can do are:
  • Get all appropriate Naval vessels en route to the north Pacific and our military engineers preparing seawater mist spraying equipment to be flown to meet them when they get there to meet the dawning Arctic spring. This is for whats called "cloud brightening" and has been trialed and proven already. This produces bright white clouds that reflect sunlight back into space, rather than heating seawater.

    Cooling the waters in the Bering strait region before they invade the arctic basin, and melt the East Siberian Ice Shelf Icepack, is probably achievable with our resources.

    With likely a similar amount of methane, from all winter seafloor hydrates fizzing, trapped under the ESAS sea-ice as is in the Earth's atmosphere right now, this would be a major victory.

    AMEG can advise on the logistics and the best nozzle design and spraying systems currently available.

  • Start fitting out our Airforce high altitude capable airliners with bladdertanks that the Airforce already has for Helicopter range extension, and mist spraying gear for Stratospheric SO2 enhancement. This creates high altitude cloud condensation and also reflects sunlight back into space.

    It is a natural process via volcanoes - e.g./ the Pinatubo eruption put enough SO2 into the global stratosphere to stall global warming for 2 years in 1980, and via Di-methyl-sulphide released by oceanic phytoplankton.

    The loss of over half the oceanic phytoplankton in the southern ocean over the last 100yrs is definately a factor in the runaway melt, and highest local warming on the planet that West Antarctica has been experiencing in recent decades.

    Also burning dirty coal and ship bunker fuel, that releases SO2 has been worldwide shielding us from half the effect of Anthropogenic Greenhouse Agents to date.

    While the Arctic needs a SO2 veil most urgently, we will need to do this worldwide as we drop dirty coal, and the Antarctic summer could really use some help too. So allocation of the Airforce jets to this for the next few decades anyway is very appropriate. 

The IPCC has seriously dropped the ball on climate change and no further attention should be paid to any of their predictions for the following reasons:
  • The Arctic sea-ice models used for the predictions they are still making and planning to present in the IPCC5 report due out 2014 but wikileaked a month ago, are based on linear extrapolations (same loss of area each year) of seaice AREA trends 1980-2001. Since 2001 even sea ice area has been in an exponential summer crash. Whats far more important than sea ice area is sea ice volume. Up till 2003 the only ice thickness measurements available were from nuclear submarines taking Arctic Scientists like Peter Wadhams on several trips a year to sonar scan the thickness of the icepack from below. Since 2003 there has been high resolution radar satellite imaging of the entire arctic ice-cap giving a full dataset.

  • The 1971-2003 sonar data was not a complete imaging of the whole icecap so modeling the total was required. This is being seized on by the the IPCC as a fantasy to protect their cherished belief that their old ice-area models are valid.

  • The IPCC5 report is going to say(if they don't wake up and change it), things like: "minimum summer sea-ice area is predicted to be down by 35% on 1980-2001 levels by 2035". That would require quite a large recovery of the arctic sea ice from where it is now, since its already some 50% down in minimum summer area from 1980-2001 levels.

  • IPCC models on warming global temperatures are still not including any of the many feedbacks (eg/ accelerating release in the arctic of methane, CO2, and NO2) that have been for some years now accelerating the rate of warming. Actual data in recent years has warming rates far above the curves of IPCC models.

  • IPCC reports are edited before release by "special interest groups" like big oil.

Please excuse the war metaphors used in the following. Its very valid to call for an international war effort as AMEG are, and this report is going out to multiple recipients, including web forums for mobilisation of public opinion to assist Government and enviro group action and trying to rev everyone up appropriately.

The Greatest War Ever!

Hopefully the greatest war there will ever need to be.

A call to arms, lessons from the history of mankind and all life on earth, and some much needed moral boosting.

The Arctic Methane Emergency Group are very right to name this War. This group, founded by the head of Arctic studies at Cambridge University Peter Wadhams, contains some of the most informed and reputable, scientists in the world climate science community. Their guts in speaking out loud and clear needs to be respected with our attention and actions.

Its the greatest war ever in every sense of the word great. Great as in huge, great as in fabulous. It must unite all peoples, creeds and indeed life on this planet behind the common cause of saving life on earth from now almost inevitable, and unimaginably huge suffering mayhem and death.

The only question is how soon we all acknowledge this war and how soon we all consider ourselves drafted to our clear duty in it. If this does not happen fast then this war will become unwinnable.

In this war our weapons are not guns and bombs, not nukes and tanks. We must fight it tooth and claw, but in this war our teeth are our knowledge and our claws are our technology.

Its a war that humankind and the planets bio-geosphere have already been fighting for several thousand years without us humans even realising it.

The Chinese say that every problem is a mix of danger and opportunity. Lets appreciate, both the danger and the opportunity.

A Reconnaissance of the Battlefield.

Even before the industrial revolution a battle in this war raged for 2000 years. On one side of this battle, the side against the survival of complex life on this planet was the invention of monocultural large scale agriculture and its associated deforestation. This weapon of mass destruction was massively deployed by the Roman Empire, then spread worldwide by western European culture. It resulted in the dumping of a slow burning 500 Gigaton C-bomb on the planetry oceans and atmosphere by the reduction of organic carbon content of the worlds soils from 2000 gigatons Carbon to 1500 gigatons Carbon.

(In the language of eco-climatology tons C or tons carbon means the total mass of the carbon atoms in the CO2, methane or other organic carbon molecules being described)

This C bomb, released slowly as it was, went down the Arctic plug-hole, and has been hiding in the deep oceans for a millennia.  Now studies in the southern ocean showing CO2 being net released not absorbed have revealed its coming back up.

Until the 16th century AD not all humans were on the side of evil in this battle. Its now known that the peoples of Amazonia were fighting for the planet. The first European explorers at that time to sail up the Amazon reported that the banks of the great river and its tributaries were lined with urban communities of up to 50 thousand people. These great geo-engineers transformed the Amazon basin with great canal systems connecting the river valleys 2000 km from Venezuela to Paraguay. They dug artificial rectangular basins up to 20 km long for floating hydroponic gardens of corn, potatoes and tomatoes.

Their greatest geo-engineering feat though was to transform 10 percent of the land area of the Amazon basin from rain leached infertile soil to Terra Preta (spanish for "black earth") by layering biochar in the ground from pyrolysis of their domestic wastes and other biomass. This miracle soil maintains fertillity for thousands of years, sequesters moisture, beneficial bacteria and fresh organic carbon from jungle humus far better than any other soil on the planet. The carbon they were sequestering was offsetting that being released from soils across the Atlantic.

Their heritage from conserving and nurturing their ecologies is, though threatened and diminished by us now, the richest and most diverse ecosystem on the planet.

Then in the unintended by mortals, yet biggest act of bio-warfare ever, the diseases introduced by those 16th century European explorers demolished that civilisation and many others throughout the Americas, and in a century their sustainable wood based infrastructure rotted away almost without trace.

NOW we get to honour their memory and their legacy of permacultural wizardry by transforming the stripped soils of the world to Terra Preta as they did.

We must at this point have no doubt whatsoever about the seriousness of the consequences in the contract with our Earth that we have stupidly signed all life on the planet up for.

It seems we have initiated the Earths emergency carbon burial response. This means a rapid transition to what is called in paleoclimatology a super-greenhouse earth and an anoxic ocean event.
  • This means ocean temperatures rising to over 40C in the tropics and over 27C at the poles.

  • Super-cyclones so powerful we cannot even imagine rage all year round from the equator to the poles.

  • The deep Oceans lose all oxygen and become stagnant and dominated by anerobic bacteria, producing hydrogen sulphide that poisons animal and plant life on the land and in the oceans.

  • The surfaces of the oceans become colonised by photosynthesising green and purple sulphur chemistry bacteria that slowly over a period of hundreds of thousands to millions of years bury the overburden of carbon dioxide as ocean floor sediments.

These emergency buried sediments are the origin of all the worlds oil and gas shale layers.

We have been grossly disrespecting the suffering and sacrifice of complex life that happened in these periods by digging that carbon back up and putting it back in the oceans and atmosphere.

The best known and most serious so far of these super-greenhouse events is the end-permian mass extinction of 252 million years ago. This event resulted in the extinction of 96% of marine species and 75% of land ones. It was the only known mass extinction of insects and ocean acidification wiped out all corals (todays corals took many tens of millions of years to evolve from sea-anemonies after that) and nearly all creatures with skeletons and shells from the oceans.

The "tipping point" that initiated the end permian and some twenty other more minor super-greenhouse/anoxic ocean events, that have been well studied is thought to be CO2 levels reaching around 1000ppm. This may sound like a lot compared to current levels approaching 400ppm but its not. There are two reasons for this:
  1. Firstly, the CO2 thermal absorption frequency band (the range of thermal electromagnetic frequencies that are absorbed by CO2) is already nearly saturated, and an extra 600ppm has a smaller extra effect than it appears to uninformed scrutiny.
  2. Secondly, the extra effect of far more powerful greenhouse agents such as methane, nitrous oxide, black carbon smog, tropospheric ozone, halocarbons (each with their own seperate thermal absorption bands) that we have put in the atmosphere, likely has us past that 1000ppm CO2 equivalent threshold already.
Furthermore, the Arctic Sea ice volume is in a very clear exponential collapse, as is clearly illustrated by the PIOMASS study. Strongly predicted to be completely gone in September within the next three years and completely gone for six months of the summer/autumn by 2020.

Image from ArctischePinguin
Image from ArctischePinguin

-This will, through sunlight being absorbed by the arctic ocean rather than reflected back into space by sea-ice, double the warming effect currently being experienced from greenhouse agents alone.

- On top of this the latent heat of thawing being absorbed by polar ice melt has been offsetting by 25% the worldwide warming effect of greenhouse agents and when its gone this additional effect will accelerate arctic warming.

- The warm gulf stream will also colonise the entire Arctic ocean further accelerating Arctic warming.

The Arctic defrosting cannot be allowed to happen.

Arctic land and shallow submarine permafrosts are storing about 5000 billion tons C of organic carbon, mostly as methane. Compared to the 234 billion tons C of CO2 added by us over the last 200 years, and less than 5 billion tons C of methane currently in the atmosphere, this is a colossal amount.

About 2.5 billion tons C of methane per year was estimated as being released from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) alone by Shakova's study from 2005-2008, caused by warming to date. It has increased since then there and throughout the Arctic.

The imminent defrosting of the arctic will cause rapidly accelerating release of a large part of the 5000 billion ton C total and the rapid warming of the entire planet by a global average of 5 to 10 degrees celsius within a few decades.
The chart below shows the current situation, and the situation should another 4.5 GtonC methane be released over the present 4.5 GtonC methane in the atmosphere, totalling the effects of greenhouse and aerosol agents.

As can be seen the earth is likely in Super-Greenhouse Anoxic Ocean mode already.

Adapted by Aaron Franklin from image at Wikipedia - radiative forcing

There are reasons why this situation could be more serious than the end permian mass extinction:
  • The geography of the time had all the earths continents pressed together into the supercontinent Pangaea, with only one small icecap perched on the end of it. This means it is implausible that there could have been as much organic carbon stored in polar permafrost as today.

  • There were shallow inland seas that were not as vunerable to anoxia as the world ocean and may have allowed some marine life refuges.

  • The vast interior of Pangaea would have allowed land animals and plants some refuge from the fierce cyclones and colossal rainfalls near the coast. Today the dispersed and more coastally exposed landmasses would not allow this.

  • The injection of CO2 from the Siberian traps flood basalt eruption and the initial warming of about 5C happened over up to 5000 years allowing some geographic migration of land animals and plants to cooler latitudes. Today the damaged ecologies we have and the far more rapid onset of the event would make this far less possible.

  • Onset of the anoxic ocean event in the end permian probably happened after the initial 5000 year period and was most probably caused by methane from dissociating deep ocean methane hydrates as the deep ocean warmed. This also causing an additional 5C global warming. Methane hydrate deposits in the deep ocean today are most likely more extensive, estimates ranging from 5 000-78 000 billion tons C, and the secondary carbon pulse from them could start 300-1000 years from now. Today we have a serious prospect of a double anoxic initiation, the first from shallow and land organic carbon stores and the second from the deep ocean hydrates.

  • The Sun is some 20% hotter than it was then.

  • The transition from a world where substantial ice-caps reflect a lot of sunlight back into space to one without them will likely result in a more extreme temperature jump than at the end of the Permian age.

There is a serious risk that if we let it happen, the coming event will remove all multicelled life from planet Earth.

What must be done.

Its now brutally clear that no safe atmospheric CO2 ppm above the 280ppm maximums of the last few million years exists for Earth today. It's way too late for us to simply wind down our fossil fuel use or even to abrubtly cease it. We have to with the most immediate urgency deploy all the measures AMEG are suggesting and any more that we can think up to delay the Arctic crisis. We can be sure that until CO2 is back to near 280ppm and other powerful greenhouse agents are vastly reduced, delaying the Arctic C-bomb is all that we are doing.

Until we are back to a 280ppm of CO2 and global warming potential equivalent of other agents, not only must we drop all fossil fuels like the red hot coal that they are, it must be all hands to the carbon pumps.

For one thing this means bio-charing and reforesting with diverse ecologies across the globe. The grazing animals don't all have to go, they will be far happier grazing clearings and under trees with summer shade and not wading in bogs all winter.

The most promising carbon pump down scheme is Ocean fertilisation. To some extent this can be viewed as Ocean ecosystem restoration. Its now known that the photosynthesising, base of the foodchain productivity of the Oceans has dropped about 40% in the last century. Due to this and our brutalising of the biodiversity and total mass of fish stocks the Oceans ecosystems badly need to be nursed back to health.

Since we've let things get so far without acting, we now have the necessity and in fact opportunity and privilege of creating fertile new ecology in the around 80% of the deep Ocean areas that are called "desolate zones" because there is currently almost no life in them whatsoever. In some parts of these desolate zones the only thing that is stopping productivity is trace amounts of iron, but now we must fertilise also the larger desolate areas with other nutrients also.

Our teeth and claws for doing all this are fortunately well developed at this point and becoming more developed every day. Some of the carbon pumped down by ocean fertilisation will go to the deep ocean and sea-floor.

Some of it we need to harvest, mostly as krill, for biofuel for our existing cars and carbon-negative powerplant conversions with the byproduct of this being bio-char for our soil replenishment/land carbon sequestration. And as food to replace displaced agriculture.

The long game.

When we are back to a (relatively) safe 280ppm CO2 and have also dealt with other greenhouse agents we will have time to draw breath and make an important decision. Whether to stop there or keep going, coaxing the planet back into another Glacial age over the next 1 or a few thousand years. The pattern of the last million years or so has been revealed, of glacial ages about 80-90 thousand years alternating with interglacials like the last 10 thousand years, usually lasting 10-20 thousand years. It was once thought that the earth was about ready to return naturally to another glacial period. Its now believed that orbital forcing -cycles of the earths axis tilting relative to the sun, maximum/minimum distance from the sun in annual orbit etc will be weak for the next 50000 years, making it unlikely that the earth will return to the happier and much safer times of a glacial period naturally for that long.

Its a widespread but false belief that "Ice ages" or glacial periods as is the correct term, are a tough time for humans on earth. Its true that northern areas of Europe and North America, the south of South America, and New Zealand are covered by Ice sheets and dry and windswept tundras. But even now most humans live in more equatorial regions, now uncomfortably hot, wet and stormy near the equator, and vast subtropical deserts like in the Sahara, middle east, Chille/Bolivia and Australia. In interglacials these are comfortable temperate areas with mild consistant rainfall and rich life on the land. Vast fertile continental shelves rise out of the sea, in the Caribean, connecting from Asia to Tasmania, between the middle east and India, extending massively the subcontinental plateaus of the nth island of New Zealand of New Caledonia and Easter Island . The coral atolls of the Pacific, Carribean, and Indian ocean become huge fertile plains with narrow entrances to deep inland harbours through 300ft high coral barrier walls that surround them. The Oceans have far higher and more widely distributed productivity than today, fertillised by 50x more windblown dust than now, glacial loess from the tundras circling the globe in subglacial lattitudes. Theres much evidence come to light in recent decades that the last glacial epoch was a time of great human civilisations that spanned the whole globe. Megalithic roads and ruins have been discovered under the sea in the Mediterranian, near India, between Yonaguni and Okinawa, inside Australias great barrier reef, throughout the pacific islands and in the Carribean. A ring of Moai circles Easter island beneath the waves. Mitochondrial DNA groups that track the female lineage show the fingerprint of a civilisation spanning equatorial lattitudes from the east coast of India, through southeast Asia, right across the Pacific as far south as New Zealand and on the west coast of nth, central, and sth America. Conversely the male y-chromosome DNA groups show almost only the traces of central Asian invaders conquering those areas in several waves over the last 12 thousand years or so. The global distributions of Coconuts and Bananas, both of which don't survive more than a few days in the sea, and their distant relationship from natural ancestral forms suggests humans were global traders in ancient glacial times.

We would be well advised to keep pumping down CO2 to the 90-180ppm of a glacial epoch and bunker the Arctic C-bomb in a deep freeze.

Provided we can maintain our technology till thats done, we might consider the east Siberian Arctic shelf as possibly the most dangerous geologic feature there has ever been for life on this planet, and suffer its existence no longer.

With the luxury of being able to see gradual injections of carbon into the bio-geosphere as something to expand biodiversity and biomass on the planet at that time, we might think its wise to blast the ESAS off bit by bit into the depths of the arctic basin over a period of centuries.

We cannot know if we might still have the knowledge and technology to recognise and deal with another Arctic crisis like the present one at some time in the near or distant future. Not disposing of the ESAS could threaten earths life again some day.

The longer game.

In my opinion there could be no higher calling for an intelligent species like ourselves than to spread the miracle of diverse life to other planets. This job for the future is one, assuming we're still around, we'll one day have to face.

The claws of our telescopes and spectrometers, some time ago taught us of the life cycles of suns. Ours is destined to slowly get hotter and one day within the next few billion years our Earth will suffer a stupendous runaway greenhouse effect. As once happened on Venus, how long ago we don't know, our oceans will boil. The greenhouse effect of that water vapour will feed back on itself until surface pressures are about 1000 times current from an atmosphere 1000km thick. The land beneath will glow a dull red, scorched by temperatures of 600C. There is suggestions that Venus may once have nurtured a biosphere. Our laser inteferometry has detected particles the size and shape of those green and purple sulphur chemistry photosynthesising bacteria that proliferated in super-greenhouse Earth Oceans, in the sulphuric acid cloud tops 1000km above Venus's surface. In those cloudtops temperature and pressure are simular to Earths surface today. Some suggest that these extremophile bacteria blew frozen on the solar wind to Earth, and got life started here.

Our next potential home is probably Mars. Mars needs lots of work to be a lasting stable paradise for a diverse bio-sphere, so we should probably get started fairly soon. Its good that we are learning whats needed for managing a planetry eco-geosphere now.

There's hints on Mars of how it can be done.

There appears to be no question that Mars had a thick atmosphere and lots of liquid water on its surface within a few tens of thousands of years ago. Also a working magnetic engine at its core as recently as 50 thousand years ago, providing a magnetic field to protect it from the radiation of cosmic rays and the solar wind. All that may have come about as the result of two giant comets striking squarely the north and south poles of Mars a few million years ago. They left the two biggest impact craters in the solar system, 2000 and 2500km across, likely adding water and melting Mar's core to kickstart its magnetic engine. The volcanism that was stimulated would have given mars its atmosphere.

Most likely mars is too small to keep an earthlike atmosphere and oceans for a useful period so we'll have to harvest the asteroid belt, and pepper its surface to build mass, with large asteroids of rock, iron/nickel, hydrogen/carbon/nitrogen/oxygen, and ice composition. The asteroid belt is a perfect resource for this. Something like this happened to Earth in the "late great bombardment" something like half a billion years after the collision of two planets that formed the Earth-Luna system, not long after the Suns nuclear furnace first sparked into life. The late great bombardment was responsible for most of the moons craters, and most of earths water. We'd be best to build a moon much like Earths for Mars too. From the asteroid belt. Or steal one from Jupiter. Lunar tides in oceans are great for stirring up life, and tides in planetry mantles knead them to help keep them molten and magnetic engines running.

Once Mars has settled down from that bashing, those purple and green, sulphur chemistry, photosynthesising extremophiles can be seeded there. To convert the CO2 and sulphuric acid atmosphere to breathable oxygen.

From there its all easy.

The longest game.

The Sun will continue growing bigger and hotter, destined eventually to swell its surface past the current orbits of Venus, Earth and Mars. Even mighty Jupiter will eventually fall in and be consumed by the red giant Sol. As that happens we'll have to migrate outwards, spreading life to the moons of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. These giants all have many great moons for us to help life take root on some almost as big as earth. Some already look like earth did several times in lifes history here. Covered entirely with crusts of ice, salty oceans beneath heated by tidal forces and rocky cores containing radioactive potassium and uranium. Some think that life may already have got started there, as ecologies fueled by sulphur chemistry rather than photosynthesis. This type of life exists on earth in the deep ocean trench volcanic zones.

When the Sun has finished growing it will suffer a violent transformation. It will collapse rapidly to become a tiny red dwarf. This fierce little mother will be, like our nearest neighbor Proxima Centauri, an ancient solar system whose lifecycle has ended, whats known as a flare star. Her energy output will oscilate wildly and colossal flares and coronal mass ejections would scorch with radiation any planet we put near enough her to be warmed.

But we could help her give birth.

Orcas, Pluto, Haumea, Quaoar, Makemake, 2007 OR10, Eris, Sedna are known variously as ice dwarf planets, plutoids or trans-neptunian planetoids.

Balls of frozen water, methane and ammonia with rocky cores, diameters of up to 2350km, its currently estimated that thousands of these exist. It would be easy to nudge these bodies into trajectories that use a gravitational slingshot from neptune. This can easily shoot them out of the solar system at escape velocities that would get them to nearby stars with potential for life to be spawned. We could be doing this as early as when we first start renovating Mars. Artificial intelligence systems could fertilise virgin planets so that they are ready for complex ecologies long before the Sol system dies. Sedna is already near escape velocity, only visiting near Neptune every 10,000 years, she spends most of her time in the Oort cloud which extends nearly a lightyear from earth, a quarter of the way to the 3 star Centauri system.

The outer Oort cloud is believed to contain several trillion individual objects larger than 1 km and many billions with diameters above 20 km. The inner Oort cloud is modelled as having 10-100 times as many as the outer.

Plenty of cosmic eggs for the spawning.

In the end the proponents of fecund universe theory might be right.

Maybe once its got started, life becomes more and more complex, gathering knowledge and technology until before the universe its housed in winds down and dies, life has aquired the means of spawning new universes. With laws of physics tuned for even more interesting life to develop. Maybe its already happened. I hope one day we'll be around to know.

Related Posts by Aaron Franklin:
- An integrated systems plan for 10 year carbon pumpdown to 280ppm
- Supersonic and high velocity Subsonic Saltwater and Freshwater Cloud Making Cannons

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