Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Earth’s Most Famous Climate Scientist Issues Bombshell Sea Level Warning

[Mother Jones] In what may prove to be a turning point for political action on climate change, a breathtaking new study casts extreme doubt about the near-term stability of global sea levels.
The study—written by James Hansen, NASA's former lead climate scientist, and 16 co-authors, many of whom are considered among the top in their fields—concludes that glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica will melt 10 times faster than previous consensus estimates, resulting in sea level rise of at least 10 feet in as little as 50 years. The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, brings new importance to a feedback loop in the ocean near Antarctica that results in cooler freshwater from melting glaciers forcing warmer, saltier water underneath the ice sheets, speeding up the melting rate. Hansen, who is known for being alarmist and also right, acknowledges that his study implies change far beyond previous consensus estimates. In a conference call with reporters, he said he hoped the new findings would be "substantially more persuasive than anything previously published." I certainly find them to be.
To come to their findings, the authors used a mixture of paleoclimate records, computer models, and observations of current rates of sea level rise, but "the real world is moving somewhat faster than the model," Hansen says.
Hansen's study does not attempt to predict the precise timing of the feedback loop, only that it is "likely" to occur this century. The implications are mindboggling: In the study's likely scenario, New York City—and every other coastal city on the planet—may only have a few more decades of habitability left. That dire prediction, in Hansen's view, requires "emergency cooperation among nations." Read More

Alaska’s terrifying wildfire season and what it says about climate change

[Washington Post] FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Hundreds of wildfires are continually whipping across this state this summer, leaving in their wake millions of acres of charred trees and blackened earth.
At the Fairbanks compound of the state’s Division of Forestry recently, workers were busy washing a mountain of soot-covered fire hoses, which stood in piles roughly six feet high and 100 feet long. About 3,500 smokejumpers, hotshot crews, helicopter teams and other workers have traveled to Alaska this year from across the country and Canada. And they have collectively deployed about 830 miles of hose this year to fight fires.
An hour north of the state’s second-biggest city, firefighters were attacking flames stretching across more than 31,000 acres, including an area close to the Trans-Alaska pipeline system, which stretches from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. And that’s just one of about 300 fires at any given time.
“People don’t fathom how big Alaska is. You can have a 300,000-acre fire, and nobody knows anything about it, because nothing’s been done about it, because of where it is,” says Tim Mowry, spokesman for the Alaska Division of Forestry.
The staggering 2015 Alaska wildfire season may soon be the state’s worst ever, with almost 5 million acres already burned — an area larger than Connecticut. The pace of the burn has moderated in the last week, but scientists say the fires are just the latest indicator of a climatic transformation that is remaking this state — its forests, its coasts, its glaciers, and perhaps most of all, the frozen ground beneath — more than any other in America. Read More

Satellite cam captures wildfires in southern Russia

[Big News Network] SIBERIA, Russia -- Russia's Lake Baikal, the world's largest freshwater lake by volume, is surrounded by wildfires. On Monday, NASA's Aqua satellite and its MODIS camera captured an aerial perspective of the wildfire plumes rising from southern Russia.
Aqua's Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) observes radiation across 36 different spectral bands, offering scientists one of the most complete image-based surveys of the planet -- newly updated every two days. One of the instrument's primary applications is monitoring wildfires.
Wildfires have plagued the steppe region of south central Russia throughout the spring and summer. The flames were picked up by MODIS' thermal band observations and rendered with the help of NASA scientists.
The situation has been exacerbated by recent droughts in the region, which have seen Lake Baikal's water levels -- already burdened by human pressures -- fall to historically low levels. As the water levels drop, large swaths of quickly drying peat deposits have become exposed. Officials worry these peat reserves could fuel spreading wildfires.
Early this year, smoke from fires in southern Russia drifted all the way across the Pacific Ocean. The haze's arrival in the Pacific Northwest made for some dramatic red sunsets.Brooks Hays

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Into the Matrix

[Huffington Post] For centuries, writers in the science fiction genre have put into words concepts that when viewed at first blush, appear to be set in a framework of fantasy. Is it possible these concepts are so real, yet our mind has no relational context other than through the use of metaphoric analogy?
Could explorers into alternative planes of consciousness be describing their spiritual and mystical journeys in a way where these experiences could best be understood by others?
In recent weeks I had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Mandelker, Ph.D. Scott has an M.A. in Integral Counseling and a Ph.D. in East-West Psychology from CIIS in San Francisco. His dissertation was the basis of his first book, From Elsewhere: Being ET in America, using an ethnographic and qualitative approach focused on 'the subculture of people' who come to know they are "wanderers" or "from elsewhere."
During the introduction and overview of his academic credentials, Dr. Mandelker gave a brief story of how he became interested in his line of work. It seems he had a kind of existential crisis early on in life, and was driven to discover, what he called, "a way forward or a place in this world" -- realizing only later that his experiences were quite characteristic of the group he later studied, those who may be called "wanderers."
To learn more of what the premise of being "from elsewhere" is all about, you may wish to visit his sites, where Dr. Mandelker explains his work in great detail.
In my interview, we considered the idea that there are two veils that limit our comprehension of reality -- veils greatly affecting our understanding of self and the way of self-actualization. Living in a narrow space within a kind of enclosure by the veils, we try to garner knowledge of the world around us in an attempt to learn and become well-adapted humans. Scott refers to these two veils as "the Social Matrix" and "the Cosmic Matrix."
To the metaphysical newcomer, these concepts may sound confusing or even overwhelming. So let's us take a step back and begin by explaining how the term "Matrix" is being utilized.
In Dr. Mandelker's interpretation of the Law Of One (five volumes of channeled work also known as The Ra Material) -- which he has studied for over thirty years -- the Cosmic Matrix is also referred to as "the veil of forgetting", and was designed by what Ra calls, "the One Infinite Creator" or the Logos. But the purpose of this in-built limitation to human experience was to stimulate soul evolution -- and not to harm us in any way.
In this kind of "spiritual forgetting" we are faced with an irritant, like a catalyst or accelerant for personal seeking and development. According to this view, before birth and prior to arriving on the physical plane, we knew the lessons and personal challenges that we'd set forth as a kind of 'life curriculum' for personal development. And after we depart the physical world, we once again reconcile with a broader spiritual knowing, including how we faced those predetermined lessons. Read More