Friday, 3 July 2015

37.1°C (98.78°F) temperatures in Arctic heat wave

37.1°C (98.78°F) in the Arctic circle!!!

This is THE major news of the day that on't make a daily near you. 

It makes a Blue Ocean event this year so much more likely.

East Siberian Heat Wave

2 July, 2015

The image below illustrates the intensity of the heatwave over western Europe, with temperatures forecast to keep hitting the top end of the scale for days to come.

While the media gives wide coverage to the heatwaves that have been hitting populous countries such as India, Pakistan, the U.S., Spain and France recently, less attention is given to heatwaves hitting the Arctic.

High temperatures close to the Arctic Ocean are very worrying, for a number of reasons, including:
  • They are examples of heatwaves that can increasingly extend far to the north, all the way into the Arctic Ocean, speeding up warming of the Arctic Ocean seabed and threatening to unleash huge methane eruptions. 

  • They set the scene for wildfires that emit not only greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, but also pollutants such as carbon monoxide (that depletes hydroxyl that could otherwise break down methane) and black carbon (that when settling on ice causes it to absorb more sunlight). 

  • They cause warming of the water of rivers that end up in the Arctic Ocean, thus resulting in additional sea ice decline and warming of the Arctic Ocean seabed.

June 24, 2015 - Smoke from wildfires in Alaska - from:

The video below was created by 
Stuart Thrupp from a NASA animation showing carbon monoxide from Alaska wildfires spreading over the Arctic from June 17th to 29th, 2015.

(NOTE - I cannot replicate the video - and neither has the original article - so go to the link above - SMR

The heatwaves that hit 
Alaska and Russia recently are now followed up by a heatwave in East Siberia.

The image below shows a location well within the 
Arctic Circle where temperatures as high as 37.1°C (98.78°F) were recorded on July 2, 2015. The top panel shows temperatures, while the bottom panel also shows the depth of the Arctic Ocean and the location of the Gakkel Ridge, in between the northern tip of Greenland and the Laptev Sea.

As the image below shows, the jet stream is forecast to move up high into the Arctic north of Siberia over the next few days. The image shows the jet stream as at July 8, 2015. 

With temperatures as high as the 37.1°C (98.78°F) recorded on July 2, 2015 (image further above), huge melting can be expected where there still is sea ice in the waters off the coast of Siberia, while the waters where the sea ice is already gone will warm up rapidly. Note that the waters off the coast of Siberia are less than 50 m (164 ft) deep, so warming can quickly extend all the way down to the seabed, that can contain enormous amounts of methane in the form of free gas and hydrates.

From the horse's mouth - Yanis Varoufakis on the EU ultimatum

Can anyone imagine ANY minister of finance (or politician for that matter) in the West giving an interview like this? 

Can anyone imagine anyone in the NZ media runnign an interview like this?

Yanis Varoufakis makes it clear that the EU put a an ultimatum to them - ether accept our proposal (that will destroy Greece) or we will close down your banks on Monday.

It was also made clear that the EU do not like democracy very much.

HIGHLY recommended

Why a NO vote in the Referendum is a Yes for a proud Greece in a Decent Europe
Yanis Varoufakis talking with Phillip Adams, on LNL ABC Radio National

Late Night Live has been a daily companion of mine since 1989. Phillip Adams, its presenter, is someone I consider a friend (he, in fact, interviewed me in 1991 on the… Greek crisis!). In this (yesterday’s) program he added a touch at the very end of the interview that made me (almost) to break down. Thanks Phillip.

---Yanis Varoufakis

Yanis Varoufakis:
Why we recommend a NO in the referendum – in 6 short bullet points

1 July, 2015

  • Negotiations have stalled because Greece’s creditors (a) refused to reduce our un-payable public debt and (b) insisted that it should be repaid ‘parametrically’ by the weakest members of our society, their children and their grandchildren
  • The IMF, the United States’ government, many other governments around the globe, and most independent economists believe — along with us — that the debt must be restructured.
  • The Eurogroup had previously (November 2012) conceded that the debt ought to be restructured but is refusing to commit to a debt restructure
  • Since the announcement of the referendum, official Europe has sent signals that they are ready to discuss debt restructuring. These signals show that official Europe too would vote NO on its own ‘final’ offer.
  • Greece will stay in the euro. Deposits in Greece’s banks are safe. Creditors have chosen the strategy of blackmail based on bank closures. The current impasse is due to this choice by the creditors and not by the Greek government discontinuing the negotiations or any Greek thoughts of Grexit and devaluation. Greece’s place in the Eurozone and in the European Union is non-negotiable.
  • The future demands a proud Greece within the Eurozone and at the heart of Europe. This future demands that Greeks say a big NO on Sunday, that we stay in the Euro Area, and that, with the power vested upon us by that NO, we renegotiate Greece’s public debt as well as the distribution of burdens between the haves and the have nots.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The Greek meltdown - 07/01/2015

The following interview with Bill Black and Michael Hudson is the clearest explanation of why Greece's debts are illegitimate and why the EU and the IMF won't let them off the hook.


US Hedge Funds Get Bailed Out if Greeks Pass Bailout Referendum

To watch Part one GO HERE

To watch Part two GO HERE

"Heartbreaking" Scene Unfolds At Greek Banks As Pensioners Clamor For Cash

1 July, 2015

1,000 Greek bank branches chanced a stampede in order to open their doors to the country's retirees on Wednesday.

The scene was somewhat chaotic as pensioners formed long lines and the country’s elderly attempted to squeeze through the doors in order to access pension payments.

As Bloomberg reports, payouts were rationed and disbursals were limited according to last name. Here’s more

It’s a day of fresh indignities for the people of Greece.
About a third of the nation’s depleted banks cracked open their doors after being closed for three days. But all they did was ration pension payments, hours after the country became the first advanced economy to miss a payment to the International Monetary Fund and its bailout program expired. 
On the third day of capital controls, a few dozen pensioners lined up by 7 a.m. at a central Athens branch of the National Bank of Greece, an hour before opening time. They were to receive a maximum of 120 euros ($133), compared with the average monthly payment of about 600 euros. Many left with nothing after the manager said only those with last names starting with the letters A through K would get paid.
Not only will I have to queue for hours at the bank in the hope of getting 120 euros, but I’ll have a two-hour round trip,” said Dimitris Danaos, 77, a retired local government worker who was making the bus journey from his home outside the Greek capital to the suburb of Glyfada. 

AFP has more color:

In chaotic scenes, thousands of angry elderly Greeks on Wednesday besieged the nation’s crisis-hit banks, which have reopened to allow them to withdraw vital cash from their state pensions.
Let them go to hell!” said one pensioner waiting to get his money, after failed talks between Athens and international creditors sparked a week-long banking shutdown.
The Greek government, which closed the banks and imposed strict capital controls after cash machines ran dry, has temporarily reopened almost 1,000 branches to allow pensioners without cards to withdraw 120 euros ($133) to last the rest of the week.
The move has again sparked lengthy queues at banks across Greece — and outrage from many retirees who are regarded as among the most vulnerable in society, exposed to a vicious and lengthy economic downturn.
Under banking restrictions imposed all week, ordinary Greeks can withdraw up to 60 euros a day for each credit or debit card — but many of the elderly population do not have cards.
 Another customer, a retired mariner who asked not to be named, told AFP he had no cash to buy crucial medicine for his sick wife.
I worked for 50 years on the sea and now I am the beggar for 120 euros,” he said.
I took out 120 euros — but I have no money for medication for my wife, who had an operation and is ill,” he added. 
Here’s a look at the scene at National Bank in Athens courtesy of The Telegraph:

As we outlined in detail earlier this morning, the latest polls show a slim majority of Greeks plan to vote "no" in the upcoming referendum (which, as far as we know, will still go on). Many analysts and commentators say a "oxi" vote would likely lead to a euro exit and with it, far more pain for the country's retirees.
Indeed, as we noted on Tuesday in "For Greeks, The Nightmare Is Just Beginning: Here Come The Depositor Haircuts," Goldman has suggested that only once Syriza's "core constituency of pensioners and public sector employees" sees the cash reserves (to which they have heretofore enjoyed first claim on) run dry, will they "face the direct implications of the liquidity squeeze the political impasse between Greece and its creditors has created. And only then will the alignment of domestic political interests within Greece change to allow a way forward."

And so, as sad as it is, the scene that unfolded today in front of the roughly one-third of Greek bank branches which opened their doors to pensioners, may have been preordained by the powers that be in Burssels because as we said yesterday evening, breaking Syriza's voter base may have been necessary in order for the Troika to finally force Tsipras to relent or else risk being driven from office, after capital controls and depositor haircuts force public sector employees to collectively cry "Uncle", beg Europe to take it back, and present Merkel with Tsipras and Varoufakis' heads on a proverbial (and metaphorical, we hope) silver platter

Greece crisis: Berlin accuses Tsipras of seeking scapegoats outside own ranks
Criticism of Greek prime minister reinforces view that Germany might refuse to negotiate with Syriza administration on rescue package until after referendum

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel

1 July, 2015

Berlin has delivered a blistering attack on Greece’s beleaguered radical prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, accusing him of lying to his own people and seeking scapegoats for the country’s misery everywhere but in his own ranks.
The German government dismissed desperate attempts by Athens to salvage some form of bailout, prompting Tsipras to hit back, accusing the country’s creditors of trying to “blackmail” Greek voters with dire warnings that a vote against austerity in this weekend’s referendum would be a vote to leave the euro.

Tsipras referred to leaders of other eurozone nations as “extremist conservative forces” and blamed them for the capital controls that have forced the banks to shut down and ration csh.

With relations between Greece and Germany now at their lowest point in the crisis, divisions have also opened up among the main EU powers over what to do about Greece after five years of bailout closed down on Tuesday and the country became the EU’s first to default on loans to the International Monetary Fund.

The trenchant criticism of Tsipras from Berlin reinforced the view that the German government might refuse to negotiate with the leftwing Syriza administration on any new rescue package after Sunday’s referendum in Greece – which Berlin insists is a vote on whether to stay in the euro.

The validity of the vote is now also being questioned. The Council of Europe said one week’s notice fell short of international standards and the wording was unclear, while Greece’s highest court has been asked to cancel the plebiscite on constitutional grounds. A judgement will not be made until Friday.

Syriza’s allies in the German parliament – die Linke, or the Left – accused the chancellor, Angela Merkel, of seeking to topple the Greek prime minister. It is an open secret in Berlin that Merkel, and especially her hawkish finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, would be happy to see Tsipras fall as a consequence of Sunday’s vote. At the very least, German government sources say privately, Berlin wants Greece’s flamboyant finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, replaced.

The rising tension over the Greek debacle surfaced at the very top of the EU on Wednesday when Schäuble rejected the latest Tsipras letter to his creditors accepting most of the austerity terms that last Saturday he had described as “humiliation” and “extortion”, while arguing for much more generous rescue funding over two years and including debt relief.

Schäuble said the Tsipras overture just muddied the waters further, while Merkel flatly ruled out any more negotiations this week until after the Greeks have voted.
There can be no negotiations on a new aid programme until after the referendum,” said Merkel.

The French president, François Hollande, however, urged a quick fix. “The agreement must come immediately,” he said. “It’s been a while that we’ve been talking about this agreement. It must happen now.”

Tsipras’s erratic tactics in veering from rejectionism to conciliation and back within hours only added to the exasperation in eurozone circles.

Schäuble made plain that he had given up listening to the confusing signals from the Greek government, suggesting it will be very difficult for the two key parties, Athens and Berlin, to move quickly towards defusing a situation losing control. 

Time is very tight. As well as defaulting on €1.5bn of loans to the IMF on Tuesday, Greece has to redeem European Central Bank bonds worth €3.5bn on 20 July.
Greece is in a difficult situation, but purely because of the behaviour of the Greek government ... Seeking the blame outside Greece might be helpful in Greece, but it has nothing to do with reality,” said Schäuble. “The Greek government is not doing its people any favours at all if it keeps making completely false statements. 

Nobody else is to blame for their situation ... It’s all very sad. We’re in a much harder situation than before. It was always difficult. But it has just kept getting more and more difficult since January.” Tsipras assumed office in January.

Tsipras was also criticised by Germany’s vice-chancellor in the Merkel coalition, Sigmar Gabriel. He accused the leftwing Syriza government of allowing the wealthy and the oligarchs to suck the country dry and take “billions” out of the country.

Who’s liable for this money? Workers in Germany, among others.” He said Europe was doing nothing but throw money at “this corrupt state”.

Valdis Dombrovskis of Latvia, the EU commissioner for the euro, also said it might be possible to strike a deal before the ECB payment deadline on 20 July, only for Schäuble to signal that may not be possible.

In the last 24 hours Tsipras has pirouetted on his tactics to demand debt relief plus a new two-year €29bn baillout from the eurozone’s permanent bailout fund, known as the ESM.

However, this could only be negotiated quickly with maximum goodwill on both sides. The Germans will drive a hard bargain and Merkel may balk at having to take a third Greek bailout to the Bundestag where she could face a revolt.
Merkel and Schäuble strongly emphasised that there was no risk to the rest of the currency bloc from the Greek meltdown.

Europe is strong,” said Merkel. “Much stronger than five years ago at the start of Europe’s debt crisis which originated in Greece.”

The German finance ministry website on Wednesday issued an FAQs list on Greece blaming the Tsipras government for the breakdown while reassuring Germans about the low likelihood of spillover effects.

The impact is limited. The eurozone itself is stable and safe. Contagion risks as in 2012 no longer exist.”

The fact is,” said Schäuble, “that this [Tsipras] government has done nothing to build up a competent administration and it’s been in office for six months.”
Merkel added: “Europe’s future is not at stake. It would be at stake if we forgot who we are and what makes us strong. We are stronger because of the reform policies of recent years, mainly due to Germany’s position.”

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (Reuters / Alkis Konstantinidis)
As EU officials have agreed to pause the Greek debt talks, PM Alexis Tsipras underlined his commitment to the referendum saying that any statements about expelling Greece from the Eurozone should Sunday's referendum result in a "No" vote are a bluff.

The group of Eurozone finance ministers has agreed that the debt talks will be paused until after Greece holds a popular referendum on whether or not Athens should agree to the international creditors’ conditions.

Chris Hedges on CrossTalk

CrossTalk: Cold War Redux (ft. Chris Hedges)

Over the past year at CrossTalk we have asked guests many times whether we face the specter of a new Cold War. Today it is all too obvious there is a new Cold War. What we need to ask now are the terms and conditions of this conflict and the possible outcomes.

Puerto Rico - the next Greece?

Puerto Rico on the Brink of Financial Collapse

Economist James Henry breakdowns the hedge funds, bond holders, and wealthy individuals who have benefited from Puerto Rico's triple tax exempt status

To watch video GO HERE

Is Puerto Rico America’s Greece? U.S. Commonwealth Seeks Bankruptcy Help in Face of Crushing Debt

Puerto Rico could be on the verge of following Greece in defaulting on its debt. Puerto Rico’s government and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority say they will miss today’s deadline for more than $1 billion in payments on a debt of more than $73 billion. This comes as Puerto Rico’s unemployment is more than twice the U.S. national rate, and its poverty level is nearly double that of the poorest U.S. state. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico’s healthcare system may also be on the verge of collapse. We are joined by Congressmember Nydia Velázquez, Democrat for New York and the first Puerto Rican woman to be elected to Congress.

Kevin Hester and Seemorerocks on abrupt climate change

This is our first, not totallly successful attempt at recording a Skype conversation. Not yet being able to edit (and the first part interrrupted by the phone) I have divided the conversation into two parts

Kevin Hester and Seemorerocks discuss abrupt climate change

Part one

Part two

Report on rapid climate change in the Pacific

Rapid Climate Change in the Pacific

The most significant news from this part of the world comes from the South Pacific.

Today’s news, both in Australia and in New Zealand is the formation of a tropical cyclone IN THE WINTER.

Queensland forecasters have named Raquel as their first ever recorded July cyclone, which has formed this morning north of the Solomon Islands.

Senior forecaster Michael Knepp said the category one system was about 2,000 kilometres north-east of Cairns early this morning and it posed no threat to Queensland.

Radio N.Z says:

The New Zealand Metservice says the Category 1 cyclone, named Raquel, is the first on record to form in July in northern Melanesia.

The cyclone season typically runs from November to April.

Cyclone Raquel is expected to intensify over the next 24 hours as it approaches the Solomons.

Metservice meteorologist Georgina Griffiths says a cyclone in this region is unheard of at this time of year.

"In the early records, several lows were found to form in June or July in that Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea area but they were subsequently found not to be a fully blown tropical cyclone so this looks to be the first tropical system that has developed and been named in the Brisbane area of responsibility.".....

Metservice said Cyclone Raquel was about 355km north of the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara and moving about 13 kilometres per hour.

Forecaster Micky Malivuk said the cyclone should gradually intensify over the day.

"It will probably turn Category 2 by tomorrow morning, and by then it will be near Choiseul, and the winds will pick up and also heavy rain."

Continuous heavy rains fall in Solomon Islands caused by Cyclone Pam in the country's east heading South East and away to Vanuatu.

On the 25th April Robertscribbler reported that

A strengthening westerly wind burst over the Western Equatorial Pacific could produce a third warm Kelvin Wave and further heighten an El Nino that already has a potential to be very intense come the northern autumn (our spring).

He reported 20 to 35 mile per hour westerly winds being prevalent along a 2,500 mile stretch of ocean running from just east of the Philippines, across an equatorial zone just north of New Guinea, and on eastward for hundreds more miles in the direction of the Date Line.

Winds within the zone were predicted to strengthen to near gale force intensity. But it wasn’t the size of the zone that may have the greatest impact.

The strong westerlies would have a tendency to push warm surface waters, now topping off at 31 degrees Celsius (and 1-2 C above the already hotter than normal 1979 to 2000 average), downward and eastward. This heat pump action would generate what,are called warm Kelvin Waves.

Kelvin Waves are high energy fuel for strengthening El Ninos.

A friend of ours who was in Rarotonga last week reported very strong winds, something that I imagine is something out of the ordinary.

This part of the world is facing some very rocky times in deed.

Drought on Ha'apai in Tonga

I found it highly irregular that the Pacific, which is at the centre of climate change events is the least reported on areas of the world (with the possible exception of Africa).

We all heard about the devastating cyclone Pam that hit Vanuatu as a severe category 5 tropical cyclone in March.

That disappeared from the headlines and little has been reported since.

I diecided to do a brief search and I found that in addition to these severe weather events most islands in the region are beset with drought, water shortages and difficulties growing food. Islands like Kiribatati and Tuvalu are alredy seeing the effects of sea level rise.

Cyclone Pam on Tuvalu

Tuvalu, which suffered devastating destruction of its crops from cyclone Pam went practically unmentioned in the media

You can find more details on this on a report I posted on Seemorerocks on the 28th June

Finally, there was an article in the NZ Herald this last weekend

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of climate change scepticism in the developed world, a study has revealed. Surprisingly, we have more sceptics per capita than in the US, where large numbers of right-wing media and politicians refuse to accept climate change is man-made.

A new paper from the University of Tasmania, called Scepticism in a changing climate: a cross-national study, found 13 per cent of New Zealanders were climate change sceptics.

It was third only to Norway (15 per cent) and Australia (17 per cent). The United States came in at 12 per cent.

We all know that climate change so-called “sceptics” are not the only denialist. We have the ludicrous denialists who claim that the Pacific is sinking , not rising, but we have those that deny ABRUPT climate change.

We also have the Green Party who say that to admit climate change require admitting I might need to give up driving my SUV'

They suggest a puff on the hopium pipe and the pipe dream of a low-carbon future

To increase climate change awareness the Greens wanted to highlight the opportunities that moving to a low-carbon future would create.”

The article pointed out that the report coincided with :

one of the coldest weeks in New Zealand's history, with parts of the South Island reaching a bone-chilling -20°C.”

They failed to mention that it also coincided with with FOUR major floods in the country in little more than a month.

But of course, that’s weather isn’t it – nothing to do with climate change!

That’s enough from me

This is Seemorerocks, reporting from Down-Under