Friday, September 12, 2014


Don't take for granted what you can't replace. 

This article is about the atmosphere's oxygen levels. At first this topic might appear done and dusted. It is true that burning fossil fuels depletes oxygen. However, there are significant reserves of oxygen in the atmosphere. So much so that, in the last 20 years we have only decreased it by 0.03%. But first, some technical background:

"It is roughly true that the oxygen depletion is equivalent to a displacement by carbon dioxide. But it is not exactly true. First, some of the carbon dioxide produced has been absorbed by the oceans. This process involves inorganic chemical reactions which have no effect on O2. Second, the O2:C combustion ratio of a fossil-fuel depends on the hydrogen content. The ratio varies from about 1.2 for coal, 1.45 for liquid fuels, and 2.0 for natural gas. Taking these factors together, we are losing nearly three O2 molecules for each CO2 molecule that accumulates in the air." (Dr Ralph Keeling)

".. the total estimated industrial O2 depletion on Jan 1, 2005 would have been ... 0.095% of the preindustrial amount." (article)
We have lost 0.095% of the atmospheric oxygen through the burning of fossil fuels. It is still happening (current measurements). 

From here "fossil fuel burning is depleting atmospheric oxygen at a rate of almost 1000 tons per second". If we burnt all known sources of fossil fuel we would deplete the atmosphere by 3.3%. Given the current oxygen content at 21% remove 3.3% = 17.7% of oxygen.
That is the equivalent of living at an altitude of 1524m. However, I don't expect we will burn all the fossil fuels.

So what is the problem?

Today we have 20.95% oxygen in the atmosphere, but the geological history has shown periods of 10-15% atmospheric oxygen.
"We found that particularly low oxygen levels coincided with intervals of elevated global temperatures and high carbon dioxide concentrations" (article)

Nature is a fine balance. Look at where the oxygen comes from, at least 70% of the worlds oxygen is generated by phytoplankton. Phytoplankton are one celled plants in the ocean. They use the energy from the sun, and the nutrients from the ocean and produce oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis. These tiny plants are under threat from ocean warming and acidification. 

"... results suggest that changes in the pH at the cell surface of plankton could adversely affect cellular equilibrium, leading to poor growth if not death"
"The implications of our research are profound," said Professor Flynn. "They suggest scope for a more serious impact of oceanic acidification upon marine plankton than previously thought."
"The new research means that ocean warming will impact plankton, and in turn drive a vicious cycle of climate change."

As stated previously phytoplankton are adversely affected by acidification, and also by Surface Sea Temperature (SST). There are many types of phytoplankton. The benign types are the food source of the ocean. But there are other toxic types. Given the right environment the toxic ones will out compete the benign ones. With the result that under warming conditions toxic algal blooms will increase.(link)

Benign phytoplankton, the good, are decreasing. Along with the declines are also decreasing Zooplankton populations. Benign phytoplankton and the Zooplankton are the basis of the ocean food chain, CO2 absorbtion, and up to 70% of the oxygen we breathe. 

The effects are starting to be seen in the food chain.

Let's make a hypothesis on where this could head to, and I admit this is speculation. Ocean acidification decreases the availability of benign phytoplankton. So less oxygen is being produced. However, the ocean is still absorbing oxygen from the atmosphere via diffusion. Ocean acidification increases toxic algal blooms, which are feeding on agricultural pollutants. When the algae die off from over population the bacteria decompose the algae and as they do that, they consume oxygen. They consume more dissolved oxygen than the algae produced. There is nothing to replace the oxygen at the rate that the ocean is consuming it. The land produces roughly 30% of the worlds oxygen. The ocean becomes an oxygen sponge. The more anaerobic it becomes the more purple and green bacteria will dominate.

Unless the land mass is generating at least the same amount of oxygen that the ocean is consuming then our atmosphere will become toxic to human life. Originally it was estimated phytoplankton has decreased 40% from 1950. (linkThe original paper published in nature. Apparently new algorithms in satellite imagery meant a better detection of oceanic plankton in the Southern Ocean. So science refined its predictions. The latest is this report which is predicting 6% loss of phytoplankton, with a 2C rise, without factoring in acidification.

Significantly better than the previous estimate, but even a 6% loss would reduce the amount of oxygen coming from the ocean.
Some back of the envelope calculations...
Oxygen is 20.95% of the Earth's atmosphere. It is generated from 30% (land based) + 70% (sea based)
Decreasing the seas ability to generate oxygen by 6% would result in;
20.95/100 = x/95.8
20.07% with a 2C rise, not factoring acidification and land desertification

The problem with factoring acidification is that colder water absorbs higher levels of CO2 (more acidification) than warmer water. Warmer water, also absorbs less oxygen, decreasing dissolved oxygen and increasing the oxygen minimum zones (aka dead zones). 
Same calculation, 3C rise? For now we will assume a linear effect in the ocean, that would result in a 9% reduction of oxygen generation from the ocean. 
20.95/100 = x/93.7 =>  19.63% oxygen without factoring the effects of acidification and land desertification.

 "if the oxygen level in such an environment falls below 19.5% it is oxygen deficient, putting occupants of the confined space at risk of losing consciousness and death." (OSHA rules on atmospheres in closed environments)

Obviously with the concentration of fossil fuel burning in particular areas oxygen levels are not constant. As mentioned previously between 1990 and 2008 (say 20 years), we have lost 0.0317%. Assume that was to continue at a linear rate, therefore if we hit 3C in 20 years global oxygen will be at roughly 19.6%.
This would imply that certain areas will go oxygen deficient at a 3C rise.
Compare the following images. The first from California, the other from the southern tip of Australia
LJO O2 Plot
CGO O2 Plot
The difference is pretty obvious. The difference may be from colder waters (more phytoplankton) in the southern ocean, or from increased CO2 burning in the US. Regardless, given the 19.6% estimate if 3C in 20 years is an average, then some areas are going to be more at risk than others.
That is not taking into account desertification of the land. "Due to drought and desertification each year 12 million hectares are lost (23 hectares/minute!)..." (link)
We are getting closer to localized oxygen deficiency.  My estimate would be that city centres would be the most depleted. Cities are hotter than the suburbs usually by 1-2C. A city's heat island effect creates low pressure, this pulls in air from the suburbs. The suburbs contain the most traffic during peak hours. Therefore, air being pulled towards the city centre has been subjected to fossil fuel combustion. As mentioned previously, that air would be oxygen depleted. A city, particularly one land locked, would suffer as a result.

Geological record

A number of times in history have seen ocean acidification events. It seems that when it was gradual the systems adapted. When the change was dramatic, large die-backs of plankton resulted. That coincides with our current situation. The recurring theme seems to be that higher latitudes performed better (link) in regards to plankton survival.

What's the effect of low oxygen levels on our body? 
Low oxygen levels also can have a harmful affect on brain function and physical ability. Attention span and concentration may be reduced. Memory and mood can be affected. Abstract reasoning and problem solving skills can be impaired. Speech may become affected. Simple sensory and motor skills may become difficult. Complex tasks that require gross and fine motor skills become harder. This may include tasks such as driving a car and operating equipment. Poor endurance for exercise, muscle weakness and impaired coordination also can be seen. Severe hypoxemia is lifethreatening. It can ultimately lead to confusion, coma and death. (link)

This is a potentially huge problem, it may not hit for a while, but it really seems to be gathering pace. A lot of linear assumptions have been made in coming to these conclusions, let's hope they stay that way.

A global fix would be difficult without radical geo-engineering to cool the water temperature. Initially, the following low tech ideas might help (pulled from the web I don't remember where). But possibly the better approach might be to grow your own phytoplankton. It can be used as a food source for fish and people (if untainted), and it generates oxygen. The other, more industrial, approach is to use electrolysis to generate hydrogen and oxygen from solar cells. Obviously, not for everyone.

Things You Can Do to Improve Your Air and Oxygen Intake
Use plants to reduce indoor air pollution. Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. 
The recommended number of plants is 2 for every 100 square feet of interior space (assuming 8 to 10 feet ceilings) with groupings of plants being helpful. The more leaves the plant has, the better. Covering potting soil with a layer of aquarium gravel will help reduce mold spores. Even four or five plants in a room can make a difference in air quality. Some of the best plants for cleaning air indoors are:
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Gerbera Daisy
  • Aloe Vera
  • English Ivy
  • Bamboo
  • Palm
  • Banana
  • Spider Plant
  • Mum
  • Heart-Leaf Philodendron
  • Janet Craig
  • Devil's Ivy
  • Split-Leaf Philodendron
  • Warneckie Snake Plant
  • Ficus (Weeping Fig)
  • Corn Plant
  • Peace
  • Lily Madagascar Dragon Tree
  • Umbrella Plant
  • Arrowhead Plant
Here is another good article on oxygen generating plants.

The oceans are dying

Red tide at Bondi.
Our entire atmosphere is based on the oceans. When they change it is impossible that there will be no effect on life on Earth.This will start with a post that has been circulating the Net. It is legitimate as you can tell from the hyperlinks. At the end I give evidence to what is causing it, but also present some other worrying facts.

Millions of fish are suddenly dying all over the planet.  In fact, there have been dozens of mass fish death events reported in the past month alone.  So why is this happening?  Why are fish dying in unprecedented numbers all over the world?  When more than six tons of fish died in Marina Del Ray over the weekend, it made headlines all over the United States.  But the truth is that what just happened off the southern California coast is just the tip of the iceberg.  In 2014, mass fish die-offs have pretty much become a daily event globally.  Individually, each event could perhaps be dismissed as an anomaly, but as you will see below when they are all put together into one list it truly is rather stunning.  So is there a reason why so many fish are dying?  Is there something that connects these mass fish death events?  Has something about our environment changed?  The following are just a few examples of the mass fish death reports that have been coming in day after day from all over the globe. Scroll to the end for my take on it…
*In April, 500,000 carp were found “floating belly-up in Kentucky’s Cumberland River“.
*Over the weekend, thousands upon thousands of fish died just off the southern California coastline
California Fish and Wildlife workers are still scooping dead sea life from the surface of the harbor Monday after thousands of dead anchovies, stingrays and even an octopus died and floated up over the weekend.
So far officials have cleaned up 6 tons of dead fish, and they still have a long way to go.
*The death of approximately 35,000 fish up in Minnesota is being blamed on a “lack of oxygen“.
*The recent die off of thousands of fish in the Shark River near Belmar, New Jersey is also being blamed on “oxygen depletion“.
*Officials in Menifee, California are still trying to figure out what caused the death of thousands of fish in Menifee Lake a few weeks ago…
Authorities continued testing the water in Menifee Lake Friday after thousands of dead fish have been seen floating since last weekend.
Menifee city officials first heard reports Saturday of floating fish at the lake, which is located on private property about a half-mile east of the 215 Freeway.
*In the Gulf of Mexico, dolphins and sea turtles are dying “in record numbers“.
*Maryland officials are still puzzled by the death of 7,000 Atlantic menhaden last month…
State environmental scientists are investigating the cause of a fish kill that left about 7,000 dead Atlantic menhaden in waters that include the Inner Harbor and Fells Point.
Jay Apperson, spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment, said that biologists went by boat on Tuesday to the area of Monday’s fish kill. He says the area extended from the mouth of the Patapsco River, up the Baltimore Harbor to Fells Point and Fort McHenry.
*Mass fish die-offs in Lake Champlain up in Vermont are being called “the new normal” by government officials.
*Along the coast of northern California, seals and young sea lions are dying “in record numbers“.
*Three months ago, farmers in Singapore lost 160 tons of fish to a mass die-off event.
*Back in September, approximately 40 kilometers of the Fuhe River in China “was covered with dead fish“.
*Also during last September, close to ten tons of dead fish were found floating on a lake near the town of Komotini, Greece.
The following are some more examples of mass fish death events from just the past several weeks that come from a list compiled on another website
17th May 2014 – Masses of fish turn up dead in a marina in Pultneyville, New York, AmericaLink
16th May 2014 – Mass die off of fish in a river in Aragatsotn, ArmeniaLink
15th May 2014 – Hundreds of fish dying off ‘due to pollution’ in the wetlands of Rewalsar, IndiaLink
14th May 2014 – Thousands of dead fish washing ashore in Cootes Paradise, Hamilton, CanadaLink
13th May 2014 – Tens of thousands of dead fish wash up along coast of Tasmania, AustraliaLink
12th May 2014 – Mass death of fish in the river Eden ‘is a mystery’ in Cumbria,EnglandLink
11th May 2014 – Thousands of dead Puffer Fish, also dead turtles washing up on various beaches in Colombia and Costa RicaLink and here
11th May 2014 – Hundreds of dead fish found in a pond is ‘a mystery’ in Southborough, EnglandLink
10th May 2014 – Thousands of fish dead due to pollution in spring in Sikkim,IndiaLink
9th May 2014 – Die off of Fish ’causes panic’ in the Luda Yana River in Bulgaria.Link
8th May 2014 – Thousands of dead fish appear in a lake ‘shock residents’ in Mangalore, IndiaLink
8th May 2014 – 12 TONS of dead fish removed from lakes in Chisago County, Minnesota, AmericaLink
7th May 2014 – Massive die off of fish in reservoirs in Quanzhou, ChinaLink
7th May 2014 – Thousands of fish found dead on the shores of Roatan,HondurasLink
5th May 2014 – Hundreds of dead fish wash up on a beach ‘a mystery’ in San Antonio Oeste, ArgentinaLink
5th May 2014 – Mass death of fish found in lakes in Almindingen, DenmarkLink
4th May 2014 – Mass die off of fish in a river in Fujian, ChinaLink
3rd May 2014 – 1,000+ dead fish wash ashore along a lake in Ontario, Canada.Link
2nd May 2014 – 40,000 fish die suddenly in a dam in Piaui, BrazilLink
30th April 2014 – Mass fish kill ‘worst I’ve seen in 26 years of working here’ in Iowa, AmericaLink
30th April 2014 – Large amount of dead fish found floating along a river in Xiasha District, ChinaLink
29th April 2014 – Dozens of sea turtles are washing up dead in South Mississippi,AmericaLink
29th April 2014 – Thousands of dead fish washing up along the shores of Lakes in Wisconsin, AmericaLink
28th April 2014 – Turtles and other marine life continue to wash up dead in Bari,ItalyLink
28th April 2014 – Large fish kill found in the Mogi River in BrazilLink
25th April 2014 – Large fish kill found in a reservoir in Nanchong, ChinaLink
24th April 2014 – Large amount of fish wash up dead along a river in La Chorrera, PanamaLink
23rd April 2014 – 2 Million fish found dead in a dam in Tehran, IranLink
23rd April 2014 – Mass die off of fish in Island lake in Ontario, CanadaLink
23rd April 2014 – Thousands of dead fish appear in a lake in Mudanjiang, China.Link
22nd April 2014 – 1,000 fish found dead in Oona River, County Tyrone,Northern IrelandLink
21st April 2014 – Large amounts of fish washing up dead along the Panchganga River in IndiaLink
19th April 2014 – MILLIONS of dead fish found floating in Thondamanaru Lagoon, Sri LankaLink
And remember, this list represents events that have happened in just a little over the past month.
So what is causing all of these mass fish death events? There might be multiple causes, such as pollution or oxygen level depletion in frozen lakes. There are plenty of obvious culprits for river systems you only have to look at the following image to realize that it would take a very special fish to be able to live in the Indian Yamuna river.

80% of animals rely on groundwater and rivers for survival. "30 out of the 47 largest rivers around the world record at least medium threat levels at the mouth" Read more. The threats for river systems are huge and have been covered extensively elsewhere. What will be targeted here is what is occurring in the oceans.

The concern is 2 fold. The first is dissolved oxygen in the oceans. That allows fish to breathe. The second is acidification. That restricts the ability of crustaceans to form shells. 

The oceans dissolved oxygen levels are decreasing. Basically as temperatures increase, the ability of water to hold dissolved oxygen decreases.

Here is a chart that shows the dissolved oxygen ocean levels.
The affects of that can be shown from anecdotal evidence;

We know jellyfish populations are increasing. That is consistent with oxygen depletion.

Toxic Algal blooms are increasing, again consistent with oxygen depletion.

Shark sightings and attacks are increasing . That seems consistent with oxygen depletion at depth. It would force fish to shallower depths, and the predators would follow. In addition, larger fish such as sharks suffer first under oxygen depletion so they are forced up.
Despite booming populations of adult lobsters, marine biologists and fisheries along the northern Atlantic coast of the United States are concerned about a dramatic population decline for young larval lobsters. Scientists searching for the cause of this drop see signs that ocean currents and warmer ocean waters are possible culprits.
Dr. Rick Wahle, research professor for the School of Marine Science at the University of Maine and founder of the American Lobster Settlement Index, has been tracking lobster populations since 1989. The scope of his study today tracks the waters in New England and Atlantic Canada.
Wahle and his crew of divers are tasked with counting the larval populations of American lobster. He told that the last few years have seen some downturn, but that recently the decrease was more drastic.
“In 2013 we saw one of the most widespread downturns in the history of [this study] for sure,” Wahle said.

Then I came across this. Apparently large numbers of fish are congregating around methane hydrates (sea floor vents) without an obvious food source. What are they doing there? There is a lack of obvious prey. Could it also be related to the oxygen levels in the ocean? Again, large fish suffer first when dissolved oxygen decreases. If oxygen depletion causes them to suffocate what would attract them to the hydrates?
I started doing some research, and in turns out there is a type II methanotroph called Methylomirabilis oxyfera, that generates its own oxygen – without light. It uses that oxygen to eat methane. As a byproduct it produces H2O. There are a lot of these methanotrophs around the methane hydrates. So, is it possible that there is an abundance of marine life around these methane hydrates because the fish are actually suffocating? Despite the risks of predation, the methane hydrates are a breath of fresh oxygen for the fish.

Many of these issues are consistent with oxygen depletion, and it has been proven to be happening. There are areas of the ocean known as Oxygen Minimum Zones (OMZ). Unfortunately, these are expanding with the consequence "Reduced oxygen levels may have dramatic consequences for ecosystems and coastal economies"

So why aren't these effects being noticed more? The reason is the fish are being forced up from the depths in order to breathe, so there is ample fishing and the statistics look good. "What you end up with is overly optimistic data because the animals are squeezed in density in that part of the world, which is higher than in others. What you need to do is correct for that.Eric Prince, a research fisheries biologist. 

There will come a time, and probably has already been reached, where humanity will massacre what remains of the fish populations as they are easy pickings. If that doesn't do it, a global warming increase of 2.5C (we are at 0.8C) would cause the OMZ to expand significantly "The oxygen minimum zone in the Atlantic is going to start in North Africa and go all the way down to the tip of South Africa. It’s going to cover every single part of the eastern South American coast." from this interview.

As bad as that is, in addition, the ocean is acidifying as a byproduct of absorbing C02. The acidification rate is occurring at a rate 10 times that of any geological time period in history. Acidification is destroying the organisms at the bottom of the oceanic food chain. 
From this study "
 “Our study showed that all animal groups we considered are affected negatively by higher carbon dioxide concentrations. Corals, echinoderms and molluscs above all react very sensitively to a decline in the pH value ... the sensitivity of the animals to a declining pH value may increase if the sea temperature rises simultaneously." We have both rising temperatures and declining pH. As a result the food chain will re-arrange itself. 
Benign phytoplankton, the good, as against toxic algae, the bad, are decreasing. Along with the declines are also decreasing Zooplankton populations. Benign phytoplankton and the Zooplankton are the basis of the ocean food chain, CO2 absorbtion, and up to 70% of the oxygen we breathe.

Impact of phytoplankton community on food web structure Conceptual diagram illustrating the impact of the phytoplankton community on the aquatic ecosystem.  Diagram from "Tropical Connections: South Florida's marine environment" (pg. 125) - diagram,phytoplankton,primary producers,planktonic,food web,microzooplankton,mesozooplankton,protozoans,diatoms,cyanobacteria,bacterioplankton,fish,detritus,diversity,ameboids,ciliates,flagellates,gammaproteobacteria,alphaproteobacteria

From the above diagram, the first we will become aware of it affecting phytoplankton is in the small fish. This is not some future event;
"What’s worse, the collapse of sea life in the Pacific Ocean isn’t something that will affect us several decades into the future. The implications are being seen right now, as evidenced by an emergency closure of fisheries along the West coast this week.
On Wednesday federal regulators announced the early closure of sardine fisheries in California, Oregon and Washington. According to the most recent data, the sardine populations has been wiped out with populations seeing a decline of 91% in just the last eight years."

The future is now. As the food chain re-arranges, the winners will be jellyfish, toxic algae and bacteria  (such as what has happened in the Baltic sea). The losers will be numerous species, among them the whales, and us.

Some people don't realize that the temperature of the Earth is increasing at a faster rate than what we feel. The temperature increases are being stored in the ocean. Water is a much more effective thermal mass than is dirt. If the temperature was in the atmosphere it would have more of a chance of escaping into space. However, as greenhouse gases increase so the ability of heat to escape declines. Heat does not just disappear.
"Heat is a form of energy (thermal energy) derived from the temperature difference between a body and its surrounding system. Accordingly, the principle of the conservation of heat is implied by the conservation of energy contained in the first law of thermodynamics that states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, merely transformed from one form to another." here
That heat releases from the Pacific ocean into the atmosphere during an El Nino event, which almost looks certain to occur now (latest June prediction).

To show the current sea temperature situation, the image I am using is the Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies for 3rd June 2014 from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. When scientists talk about temperature anomalies they are talking about temperature departures from the base. The base is the average temperatures established from 1880 when reliable records began. 
Global Daily Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly

It is important to realize that these are only surface temperatures. But considerable parts of the ocean are displaying 1-2C already. There is considerable temperature stored deeper which is a concern in its own right, but not one that will be covered here (Google "seabed methane melt" or "Sea Glacial melt"). On a separate note is the temperatures in the Indian ocean in the image. That is where the methane hydrates, discussed previously, were located. The water there is unusually warm, which would result in reduced dissolved oxygen.

So currently there is an increasing rate of CO2 in the atmosphere and increasing air and water temperatures. How far will the temperatures go? Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN centralized body that is monitoring climate change. The IPCC has been forced by governments to become more and more conservative in their predictions. The predictions are based on various atmospheric states called Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). The highest RCP is 8.5. For anyone wanting the full scientific details of an estimated RCP8.5 scenario (that is warming 4C by 2100) then here is the article. Keep in mind, 4C is at the high end of the  IPCC predictions. Realistically, it is looking very likely that we will blow past that prediction. 4C by 2060 is more realistic. 4C doesn't sound like much, but that would actually be a horrendous outcome and threaten our species ability to live in many regions of the planet for many reasons beyond simply what is discussed here (Google heat stress).

Finally, nuclear pollution of the oceans is inevitable.

There seems no other way to view it, our oceans are dying. The implications of this for our food chain is immense. Somewhere between 400 to 800 million people rely on the ocean as a primary source of protein. There seems no way to fix it. Given the continuing buildup of CO2, it is very unlikely to be stopped, and accelerating atmospheric methane is going to ensure that temperatures continue to rise. The effect on the oceans will remain for thousands of years (about 70 actually). Eventually, people may regret their ocean front properties. The byproducts of algal blooms will be that parts of the sea will turn red as blood and stink, and that stench is actually harmful to humans to breathe
I can't avoid a connection to Revelations 16:3-4 in the bible. It seems the Angel of death is us. What a legacy we will leave, our grandchildren will curse the water we once swam in.


I think it is now relatively safe to assume that we will hit an average of 2 degrees increase at a minimum within the next 20 years. See the Timeline post. One of the more balanced scientific views of this and other climate change issues can be found at Robert Scribbler. But he is certainly not the only oneIf you think that 20 years is a long time, then you are underestimating the scale of the problem. This will impact on every aspect of our lives, and there is no room for miscalculation.

The problem is that we currently not feeling the effect. Few hot days days here and there, and everyone can point back to 1998 as the really hot one. The problem is that since then the heat is being stored in the oceans (El Nina/El Nada) but during El Nino it gives the heat back, the last major El Nino? 1998. The current ocean temperatures are hotter than prior to 1998. So the next one is going to be bad. As twisted as it sounds, we need the temperature of the ocean to drop dramatically, regardless of what it does to the atmosphere (see oxygen and "The oceans are dying").

How bad is 2C change? Bad, but not as bad as the trajectory from there to 4C. At 4C...
…the implications of 4C of warming shows that the impacts are so significant that the only real adaptation strategy is to avoid that at all cost because of the pain and suffering that is going to cost… There is no science on how we are going to adapt to 4C warming. It is actually pretty alarming.
Professor Neil Adger (A Tyndall Centre climate change adaptation expert)

 For humanity it’s a matter of life or death, I think it’s extremely unlikely that we wouldn’t have mass death at 4C. If you have got a population of nine billion by 2050 and you hit 4C, 5C or 6C, you might have half a billion people surviving.
Professor Kevin Anderson (Director of the UK’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change)

 … [at 4°C of warming] carrying capacity estimates [for population are] below 1 billion people.
Professor John Schellnhuber
UK’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change
They are not fringe scientists.

So why wouldn't things change nice and smoothly? So that we will all have time to adapt. That is not how the climate works. In the graph below notice 2 things. 1. How quickly things can change. 2.Where we are today. Of course, these time scales are very very long. But if we are heading back up to 25C, then sooner or later mankind is in deep trouble.

Couldn't it stay cool? Well that is what all the fuss is about. We have covered ourselves in a cosy blanket of C02 and methane, and it is about to get a little too warm. Unfortunately, there is no way to take the blanket off. It's just going to keep getting hotter.

The IPCC are underestimating forecasts, their reports consistently under quote the effects. Actually the entire IPCC system is a political fiasco. The entire expose is outlined here including references to the wikileaks documents that prove it.

As bad as that is, there is an orchestrated media campaign to discredit the process. Whenever there is a mistake made in an IPCC report the whole fact gets made irrelevant by media. An example it said in 2007 that glaciers in the Himalayas could disappear by 2035, a claim it has since withdrawn. Deniers jump on that and say the claim was wrong and that scientists obviously don't know what they are talking about. However, what they don't say is that the Chinese studies have found that Himalayan glacier retreat is the highest in the world. Indian glacier studies over the past century show Himalayan glaciers in retreat. So the IPCC doesn't want to commit to a date, it does not change the fact that the glaciers are retreating and that directly or indirectly affects 600 million people.

The other issue is that Only 40 per cent of Americans and 39 per cent of Chinese view climate change as a major threat, according to a Pew Research Center survey of 39 nations in 2013. That, coupled with the bigger problem that the 1% of the world's population that really gain from continued economic growth don't want the current situation to change.

However, I do not subscribe to the view that this equates to the extinction of mankind. There are many people that are claiming there are feedbacks in the Arctic that once initiated cannot be stopped. Some of these claims are not based on scientific fact, I extensively deal with that here.

There are so many factors contained within climate change that I can't really do the situation justice in this introduction. Again, I would defer to Robert Scribbler. My intent here is to prepare for the consequences.
Despite scientists from all over the world trying to get the facts out, they are being drowned by money and politics. These things don't make headlines so in case you haven't heard;

Already (June 2014) this year the population of the world has increased by 32m, that is the size of Morocco. Population by 2025, 8 billion, 7.1 billion now.

In this blog I am going to cover as many issues as I feel are relevant to survival. But I believe the crisis is going to dramatically accelerate. 

People are arguing on the exact timing for when things will get bad. Here is my take on it. Regardless of when, it's pretty safe to assume that our present society is not geared to deal with it. There will be a number of impacts, environmental, physical, sociological, financial and whatever else you care to think of. If the current official estimates are wrong and we go into a dramatic spiral which results in 4 - 10 degrees increase, then it is reasonable to assume only 5-10% of the current world population would survive. If the worst does not eventuate, at the very least, we are going to see very serious threats to food supply and international stability.

Governments are not positioned to do anything about it. The role of government has, for the most part, become a regulator of business. Realistically preparing for climate change is a costly process. Climate change is a truth that a lot of businesses have a vested interest in denying. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that any pro-active measures will be undertaken.

Democracy, once the bastion of the west, will become a noose. The problem is that, desperate for a solution, people will vote for whoever can fix the resulting economic crisis. Most people are living in cities, no job, no food. Or, higher priced food requires economic growth, so that incomes can rise. So voting will be on the basis of economics not environment. 

Truth is that there is a way to economically prevent it, and physically fix it. Sadly, it will be implemented too late for a lot of people, and perhaps not at all.

I would like to have a meaningful discussion with others about various ways to prepare. This is not about getting some guns and tinned food and hiding in the woods. Climate change is permanent (well at least for the next few thousand years). The worst case scenario will not play out immediately. There will be major upsets that dent society, bit by bit it will fail. 2, 3 decades? by 2100? In a way it doesn't matter. When it goes if the infrastructure is not in place for a community to survive then it won't. Climate history is punctuated by sudden dramatic events and we are certainly at the tipping point of one.

Chances are some component of civilization will always survive. For the rest of us we will need a series of connected communities to survive. Going it alone is simply not an option.

Let's assume a survival in the woods scenario. It starts as a trickle of fringe people moving due to inflation, sea level rise or whatever. People are bankrupting because they can't afford the mortgage with increased interest rates, or interest rates are kept artificially low so food prices are going up. Or their house is lost to sea level rise. Now rents are sky rocketing, no education or work experience = no job. They decide to survive in the woods. How many people can the woods sustain? How many people have the skills to survive in this climate, let alone a tougher one?

Now move forward and the trickle becomes a migration. This is a stream of desperate people. Living in the forest becomes a very dangerous place. Assuming someone has all the skills for them and their children to survive. What sort of life will it be? A constant struggle for food and always wary of the neighboring tribe. We are back to being cavemen.

Why prepping for exile? Because we had Eden, and now we are getting kicked out. 

To survive we must learn to cooperate instead of compete. Currently our society is driven by corporations and the drive for profit, so nothing is going to change any time soon. So prepare for exile. Preparing is going to be an act of faith, but if we don't act prior to the collapse then we will be left behind. 

Let me be clear I have no vested interest apart from that of my kids being able to survive. If this, or some other similar community does not prosper then, collectively we perish. It is not a time for vanity.

I am attempting on this site to cover as many of the issues as possible, feel free to comment.