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Unforced Variations: Feb 2020

Filed under: — group @ 5 February 2020

This month’s open thread. Focus on climate science. Be kind.

105 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Feb 2020”

  1. 1
    MA Rodger says:

    And another “scorchyissimo!!!” starter for 2020.
    UAH TLT has been posted for January at +0.56ºC, the same anomaly as Dec2019 and the equal-warmest January on record, tying =1st with the El-Niño-boosted Jan 2016 (which is pretty impressive given TLTs are boosted more by El-Niños than are surface temperature and 2019 saw no more than very weak El-Niño conditions). The warmest Januarys after 2020 & 2016 run 2010 (+0.50ºC), 1998 (+0.48ºC), 2013 (+0.45ºC), 2007 (+0.43ºC), 2017 (+0.40ºC), 2019 (+0.38ºC), and 2003 (+0.34ºC) and 2015 (+0.31ºC).
    Jan 2020 sits =10th in the UAH TLT all-month anomaly record.

  2. 2

    This would be better on the FR thread, but we don’t have one at present, so:

    https://cleantechnica.com/2020/02/05/norway-hits-64-4-ev-market-share-in-january-up-24-year-on-year/

    “Norway, the undisputed global leader in the EV transition, hit 64.4% EV market share in January, with over 44% share for pure electrics and 20% for plug-in hybrids.”

    That’s not the proportion of the fleet, of course, just the new sales.

    Meanwhile Sweden hit 30% market share for the first time last month. (What’s that about EVs not being viable in cold climates, again?)

    France & Portugal both clocked 11% share. More numbers expected soon from elsewhere in the euro zone.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    Mr. Know It All says:

    1 – MA Rodger
    “…. has been posted for January at +0.56ºC, the same anomaly as Dec2019 and the equal-warmest January on record, tying =1st with the El-Niño-boosted Jan 2016…….”

    HOLY COW! Jan 2019 ties with Jan 2016! That means no warming for 3 years – it’s stalled! Since both are tied for 1st, that means Jan 2017 and Jan 2018 were cooler! Anyone care to deny these inconvenient facts? The deniers will point this out so best start getting your stories right. :)

    By the way MA Rodger, in case you missed it, I found one of your comments, with resulting discussion over in the crank shaft. I found it while looking for one of my comments:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2019/03/the-crank-shaft/#comment-754770

  5. 5
    Mr. Know It All says:

    I’ve posted this in other threads, but for those who missed it:

    Stunning scenery in a flight from Germany to the North Pole and back:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlS_FLwcAN8

    This one is good as well – almost carbon-free trip to the North Pole on a Russian ice breaker:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRRy6t5K3R4

    Also, you can monitor sea levels each day in the Maldives. Local time is 12 to 13 hours ahead of Pacific time:

    https://www.skylinewebcams.com/en/webcam/maldives/lhaviyani-atoll/kurendhoo/maldives-kuredu.html

  6. 6
    David B. Benson says:

    There is no open Forced Responses thread. Given how active it has become, the moderators might consider a new thread monthly, just like this one.

  7. 7
    Killian says:

    Slightly OT here, but till the FR shows up…

    All those times I said wind generators are unsustainable?

    Tens of thousands of aging blades are coming down from steel towers around the world and most have nowhere to go but landfills. In the U.S. … 8,000 …removed in each of the next four years. Europe… 3,800 coming down annually…It’s going to get worse: Most were built more than a decade ago, when installations were less than a fifth of what they are now.

    Built to withstand hurricane-force winds, the blades can’t easily be crushed, recycled or repurposed. …they go to the handful of landfills that accept them, in Lake Mills, Iowa; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Casper,

    “The wind turbine blade will be there, ultimately, forever,”“Most landfills are considered a dry tomb.”

    “The last thing we want to do is create even more environmental challenges.”

    Oops!

    Wind energy is one of the cheapest ways to reach that goal.

    I assumet they’re including the costs of recycling, disposal and long-term land use loss? No?
    https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/wind-turbine-blades-t-recycled-100011150.html

  8. 8
    AndyG says:

    @7, those articles on old blades do, in fact, reference processes other than landfill for working with them. So it’s already in hand and a bit disingenuous to leave the quotes at the minor chord before the major lift.

  9. 9
    nigelj says:

    “All those times I said wind generators are unsustainable?”…”I assumet they’re including the costs of recycling (wind turbine blades) , disposal and long-term land use loss? No?

    https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/wind-turbine-blades-t-recycled-100011150.html

    A challenging problem to be sure, however the article does say that Global Fiberglass Solutions are already recycling these blades into pellet sized materials for composite building boards, and are able to do it at huge scale. The company appears able to turn a genuine profit (no mention of state subsidies), so no need to factor the costs of the operation into the costs of wind power. Although the article didnt give any details so its hard to be sure.

    If the building boards can’t be recycled, they would be easy enough to break down and bury. You can then turn the old landfill area into a park or other purposes as below:

    https://www.dumpsters.com/blog/what-happens-when-a-landfill-is-full

  10. 10
    Polar Flyer says:

    Re #7 – Since you brought it up, I have some questions about the windmill waste. What are the hazards of windmill blade material in a landfill? Is it pretty stable, or does it leach toxins into the soil and watershed? During the post-productivity lifecycle stage of a windmill, how much do the components contribute to environmental pollution and toxic hazards, compared to, say, the waste products of coal, oil, and nuclear technology?

  11. 11
    nigelj says:

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/australia/119352857/climate-change-could-lead-to-increase-in-dangerous-firestorms-that-were-once-rare

    Excerpts: Climate change could lead to increase in dangerous firestorms that were once ‘rare’. Scientists fear climate change will cause a once “rare and unique” weather event to become more common in Australia, as they race to develop predictive modelling and tools to help them better understand pyrocumulonimbus (pyroCB), commonly referred to as firestorms.

    Jason Sharples, a professor of bushfire dynamics at the University of NSW, records the frequency of these storms around Australia and said between 1998, when relevant records started, and 2018, there were 62 confirmed pyroCBs……

  12. 12
    Alan says:

    Also on the subject of carbon sequestration in soil, how can I understand the debate over Indigo’s Terraton project, which claims to be able to sequester a trillion tons of CO2?

    https://terraton.indigoag.com/news/can-farmers-and-ranchers-pull-one-trillion-tons-of-carbon-dioxide-out-of-the-atmosphere

    Criticism and responses (not very technical):
    https://www.wired.com/story/trees-regenerative-agriculture-climate-change/?fbclid=IwAR0ppYnSF9V8pc0ar3s_SfFxRGreSjR_nurBFYfpP6EWYPZo6OTcKxxs3jI

    I’m considering taking a job with Indigo because I’d like to help save the world, but I don’t know how to evaluate their claims. I’m a software engineer.

  13. 13
    David B. Benson says:

    https://m.phys.org/news/2020-02-global-ocean-circulation-1990s.html

    The opposite of the usual ocean circulation story.

  14. 14
    Al Bundy says:

    Mrkia,
    Leaving out the most important words, “El Nino boosted” from your conclusion only shows your lack of character. Nobody is fooled. Everyone is laughing while shaking their head.
    ______

    David B Benson,
    Yeah. It is strange that anyone shutting down a thread wouldn’t start the next one AT THE SAME FRIGGIN TIME!!!!

    Saves time. Saves effort. Doesn’t piss people off.
    _____

    Killian, those issues with turbine blade recycling are being addressed, but assuming they totally fail, please give a single problem that would arise from landfilling turbine blades for thousands of years.

  15. 15

    KIA 4: Jan 2019 ties with Jan 2016! That means no warming for 3 years – it’s stalled!

    BPL: You need 30 years to show a climate trend, not 3. Google “sample size.”

  16. 16

    Gentlefolk, KIA is transparently trolling again.

    Remember, warming stopped in 1998–and 2000–and 2002–and 2009–and, and, and.
    (I may be misremembering the exact years, but with so many to keep in mind, can you really blame me?)

    Trouble is, it keeps starting up again, every damn time.

    And even KIA knows that; he just likes to stir the ant heap and watch from what he fondly believes to be his Olympian height.

  17. 17
    Killian says:

    Re AndyG said @7, those articles on old blades do, in fact, reference processes other than landfill for working with them. So it’s already in hand and a bit disingenuous to leave the quotes at the minor chord before the major lift.

    Son, did you intentionally or accidentally leave off the framing of “sustainable?” And, where did I post no alternatives were being discussed/tried? Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Try not to base your arguments on assumptions… and the laziness of others.

    No alternatives are systemic, none are even widespread. They are playing at the edges, yet you say it’s “in hand.” Perhaps you need to look that up bc it does not mean what you think it means.

    Pay attention, please.

  18. 18
    zebra says:

    #12 Alan,

    I suggest you read through the spiel carefully, a few times.

    Apparently, these practice produce higher yields, increase the sale value of the farmland, require zero expenditures on fertilizer, produce crops that will fetch a premium on the market… even more than “organic” does now….

    …but, funny thing, taxpayers will have to cough up some subsidies to get farmers to do it.

    Just sayin’… even a software guy should be able to figure it out. ;-)

  19. 19
    Andrew says:

    A new maximum temperature record has just been recorded in Antarctica on February 6 2020: 18.3C. This is 0.8C warmer than the previous record from 2015 at the same location.

  20. 20
    Adam Lea says:

    14: If you have to landfill turbine blades, then the problem is that wind energy is unsustainable. It is again a linear system, where materials are extracted to manufacture turbines, they operate for a given time, then are trashed. Given there is only a finite amount of suitable raw materials, this means at some point, materials to make new wind turbines will run out.

    You can’t run a linear system on a finite planet indefinitely.

  21. 21
    sidd says:

    Re: Indigo

    I had no joy with them on carbon capture. But they were very interested in having me sell commodities like soybeans and corn through them although putative pricing was quite … nebulous. I made several enquiries about carbon sequestration, but never got firm answers as to how the program would work, cover crops, soil test protocols or the like. I got the impression they were more a pure commodity player, or wanted to be. Commodity crops are a tough game, unless you’re Conagra or the like.

    They claimed to be working with Rodale, will have to drop on Rodale again, next time i have some hours to spare in Kutztown. I used to know couple people at Rodale, they do good work.

    sidd

    sidd

  22. 22
    Mr. Know It All says:

    Let’s go camping! -35 F with a 10 mph breeze. My kind of fun!

    https://www.wunderground.com/forecast/ca/resolute?cm_ven=localwx_10day

  23. 23
    Guest (O.) says:

    Klimawandel und Ich
    Ringvorlesung rund um den Klimawandel und seine Folgen jetzt im Netz
    https://www.scinexx.de/news/geowissen/klimawandel-und-ich/

  24. 24
    Doug Meyer says:

    I’m hoping to find some good discussion here from people who might be able to describe (for a layman who’s been immersed in the publicly available science for at least a decade) the new “cloud and aerosol settings” that, according to this article, are causing such a kerfuffle in the global climate modelling community…

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-02-03/climate-models-are-running-red-hot-and-scientists-don-t-know-why

  25. 25
    Al Bundy says:

    Adam Lea: You can’t run a linear system on a finite planet indefinitely.

    AB: So? The planet has an expiration date that’s set in sun size. Additionally, the planet has its very own 100% efficient recycling system called “subduction” and “volcanoes”. You CAN run a linear system as long as it maintains itself within those two Truths. My question stands and I’ll add a bit:

    Assuming that either fusion power or the ability to build recyclable turbine blades will come online within 100 years what possible harm can there be to burying 100 years worth of turbine blades for thousands of years? Or are you convinced that fusion and recycling are both impossible?

    “Forever and ever, Amen, right now” arguments are dorky at best.

  26. 26
    Al Bundy says:

    And seriously, just stick old turbine blades in the ocean and let them turn into a reef by seeding them with heat tolerant coral (is a pile or planting a “forest” best?) Or utilize them as super strong construction materials. This is a nothing burger.

  27. 27
    Al Bundy says:

    And isn’t everyone worried about hurricanes and storm surges? Why pay big bucks for engineered solutions when lashing together a skeleton of old turbine blades and letting Nature fill in the gaps costs nothing (given the saving of tipping charges).

    Old turbine blades are a RESOURCE. Only a sub-genius would landfill such a valuable commodity and then lament about the waste.

  28. 28
    MA Rodger says:

    Doug Meyer @24,
    The Bloomberg Green article you link-to says that “Klaus Wyser’s group “switched off” some of the new cloud and aerosol settings in their model.” This ‘switching off’ is described in Wyser et al (2019) which explains the effect of ‘switching off’ a new treatment of aerosols in their model and that this ‘switching off’ returned the ECS to prior values.
    Another modeller quoted in the article has also published on the matter of CMIP6 ECS. Zelinka et al (2020) find that, in some cases of this high-ECS, the diminshing quantity of low Extra-Tropical cloud cover being modelled by the higher resolution CMIP6 models appears to be responsible for lower albedo and thus higher sensitivity.

    “A plausible reason for these responses is an increase in mean‐state supercooled liquid water in mixed‐phase clouds — manifest as an increased liquid condensate fraction (LCF) — in CMIP6, qualitatively consistent with CMIP6 versus CMIP5 differences.”

    But I think the watchword is still “early-days!”

  29. 29
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian: And, where did I post no alternatives were being discussed/tried? Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    AB: Omission of available evidence is evidence of a lack of impartiality.

  30. 30
    Al Bundy says:

    Moved from Data Point

    “Every year Tasmania is hit by thousands of lightning strikes, which harmlessly hit wet ground. But a huge swathe of the state is now burning as a result of “dry lightning” strikes.

    Dry lightning occurs when a storm forms from high temperatures or along a weather front (as usual) but, unlike normal thunderstorms, the rain evaporates before it reaches the ground, so lightning strikes dry vegetation and sparks bushfires.”

    https://theconversation.com/dry-lightning-has-set-tasmania-ablaze-and-climate-change-makes-it-more-likely-to-happen-again-111264

    So the same conditions that prime vegetation for catastrophic burning also increases the frequency of dry lightning. O joy.

  31. 31
    Al Bundy says:

    Doug M: the new “cloud and aerosol settings” that, according to this article, are causing such a kerfuffle in the global climate modelling community…

    AB: Clouds are transient and kinda ghost-like. Their formation, effects, changes, and deaths are way complex and rely on stuff that’s smaller than the cubes-of-atmosphere that climate models juggle. We need better supercomputers to shrink the cubes and the time-per-step. Fortunately, they’re always getting more super. I figure they’ll get super enough to answer your question right about when the future is set in stone. Seriously, can you imagine a ten-years-from-now where any significant segment of the population won’t be in “OMG we’re effed” mode? A blue (or blueish) Arctic Ocean coupled with dying ecosystems (that burn ever so grandly) will do that.

  32. 32
    Al Bundy says:

    Turbine Blade Barrier Islands

    Take 110 meter used offshore turbine blades.
    Sink one vertically.
    Lean others, teepee-like, with the cinch-point being sea level and the tops being 30 feet above sea level.
    Add vertical support blades that support the top of the teepee blades.
    Wrap everything with mesh that allows small fish access and collects bird goop but excludes large fish.
    Harvest the naturally farmed fish while the structure turns into an island.
    Enjoy hurricane parties instead of dying.

  33. 33
    nigelj says:

    Adam Lea @20.

    “If you have to landfill turbine blades, then the problem is that wind energy is unsustainable.”

    Agreed, so use alumininum that can be recycled. If you still aren’t happy that this or other similar materials are sustainable, you may have to go without electricity.

  34. 34
    Killian says:

    Re #20 Adam Lea: Glad you took it. It was not a sincere question from AB as the answers are abundantly clear. Just an example of the poor discourse too many here – and everywhere – engage in.

    How sad is it that the point that wind turbins are unsustainable – a point I have made for years on these fora – is so clearly spelled out after all the years of personal attacks and logical fallacies arguing that I was full of hooey on the issue – is completely ignored by AB in place of fallacial anklebiting and moving of goal posts?

    How can a grown man engage in such immature antics as to pretend interring many thousands of giant, unsustainable wind turbin blades is not an issue? Particularly when the implication from the article is clear: We’re just getting started? The #GND, which I have said from the beginning is a deeply flawed approach to climate for this and other reasons, will multiply the numbers of blades being interred massively, yet we get this anklebiting question…

    So let’s make AB’s anklebiting question into a germane one: What is good about millions of waste turbine blades being dumped into the ground?

    While Rome burns…

  35. 35
    Killian says:

    Re 18 zebra/#12 Alan said #12 Alan,

    I suggest you read through the spiel carefully, a few times.

    Apparently, these practice produce higher yields, increase the sale value of the farmland, require zero expenditures on fertilizer, produce crops that will fetch a premium on the market… even more than “organic” does now….

    …but, funny thing, taxpayers will have to cough up some subsidies to get farmers to do it.

    Just sayin’… even a software guy should be able to figure it out. ;-)

    Ignore Zebra. The pretense that it’s meaningful that subsidies might be needed to help a technogical shift is hardly news and is hardly something to cast aspersions at. Farmers will typically see a drop in production moving from typical farming/organic farming to (semi-)regenerative farming bc it takes time to sequester carbon, build soils in a regenerative (fully circular) way and for pesticide/chem fertilizer residues to reduce. They will often need support where they are dependent on the current food system to sell their products.

    I have not looked deeply into Indigo deeply bc I am not interested in perpetuating the current economic systems and would prefer a different approach that is more integrative of farmers and communities. That said, if they are successly increasing sequestration and soil fertility with their business model, it is most definitely a step in the right direction. So, if you can look at their program and feel confident, despite anything else in the program, that the net result is soil-building and sequestration, you can take a job with a clean conscience, imo.

    This is the sort of thing we would consider a “bridge” technology/approach, i.e. something that is not a solution, but helps move towards solutions and the ethicality and morality of it is clearly in the positive range.

  36. 36
    David B. Benson says:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thwaites_Glacier
    contains results from the latest research on the melting at the grounding line.

  37. 37
    Polar Flyer says:

    Re #20: Are you proposing that something is unsustainable if it generates any amount of waste at all, and if it’s not sustainable, then it is worthless? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to compare relative measures of sustainability as we try to make improvements– say, the waste generation of traditional fuels vs. the waste generation of windmill technology? I think we should ask which technology is “better,” not which technology is “perfect.” And I’m not saying you are doing this, (because I’m not sure what you are saying exactly) but I am suspicious because a common technique of denialists is to hold a technology to an unreasonable standard, and then when it–naturally–fails to measure up to perfection, it gets dismissed as bad.

    After all, NO technology will EVER be perfectly “sustainable.” That shouldn’t stop us from striving for better sustainability. The information about windmill-related landfill waste is incomplete without comparing it to other technologies.

  38. 38

    AL 20: at some point, materials to make new wind turbines will run out.

    BPL: Wood?

  39. 39
    Dan says:

    re: 22.
    How typically convenient of you to ignore these widespread record high temperatures:
    http://coolwx.com/record/records.daily.europe.large.png

  40. 40
    Al Bundy says:

    BPL: You need 30 years to show a climate trend, not 3. Google “sample size.”

    AB: Who cares? We have way more than 30 years of data.

  41. 41
    Guest (O.) says:

    Antarctica logs highest temperature on record of 18.3C
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-51420681

  42. 42
    Chuck says:

    OT: I expect the purging of even more information about Climate Change including a possible blackout unless we see some drastic changes in America’s political quagmire. Trump has been emboldened by his recent acquittal in the Senate and he’s lashing out in all directions:

    https://truthout.org/articles/refineries-are-spewing-cancer-causing-benzene-as-trump-slashes-enforcement/

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/organ-pipe-cactus-national-monument-blasts-arizona-national-monument-being-blown-up-for-border-wall-2020-02-07/?fbclid=IwAR0OqrxlsFr8RMZyD3ixYhT3dh33qYqsNcHUT3Np2ASLI-Y-m0Ry-QRZrps#

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/06/climate/trump-grand-staircase-monument.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytclimate&fbclid=IwAR1B0QmjK0RCMQLdXSSUc13shCmXjbzr_DKyIbHkKtxQfpQu4uUwvghvdV0

    “We are living in an elected dictatorship with Barr preventing any accountability and the Senate GOP now having ceded its power to Trump. Vote smart, people.” ~ Khyber900

  43. 43
    Chuck says:

    KIA SAYS:

    HOLY COW! Jan 2019 ties with Jan 2016! That means no warming for 3 years – it’s stalled!

    https://www.lovethispic.com/uploaded_images/18421-Morons.jpg?4

  44. 44
    nigelj says:

    Polar Flyer @37, exactly right on all points. Old saying: “Dont make the perfect the enemy of the good. ” Of course it’s good to try to minimise waste for many reasons, but the idea that we cannot bury old fibreglass blades, or ever have landfills or they are somehow unsustainable is not supported by any meaningful evidence. We take things out of the ground, we put them back into the ground. Whats wrong with that provided we are not significantly damaging things in the process? Nature does the same.

  45. 45
    John Pollack says:

    Regarding disposal of fiberglass turbine blades – around our area, we have many miles of mostly linear levees that were wrecked by the 2019 floods, and are quite expensive to shore up and replace. It seems that there might be ample opportunity to re-purpose old blades as an erosion-resistant spine to packed-earth levees. An additional advantage is that older levees are often weakened by animal burrows. Reinforced fiberglass is probably a lot harder to dig through than soil.

  46. 46
    John Pollack says:

    Bending back to the focus on climate science, I found this article
    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0764.1
    “Global and Regional Projected Changes in 100-yr Subdaily, Daily, and Multiday Precipitation Extremes Estimated from Three Large Ensembles of Climate Simulations” quite interesting. I’m probably missing some research, but it’s the first time I’ve seen an explicit simulation with a convection-resolving ensemble looking at expected return periods for high precipitation events in the midlatitudes of North America and Europe. It uses RCP8.5, but finds that “100-year” precip. events for a 1980-99 reference period overall become 4-5 times more frequent for 2080-99 in northeast North America and 2-4 times for much of the EU. They also drill down to look at some major cities.

    Granted the limitations of such a study, it’s useful to have an answer to how much more frequent heavy precip. will become, and not just a hand-waving argument.

    It also accords with my local experience that infrastructure built to withstand 50-100 year events in the late 20th century has not held up to 21st century flooding. Resources are strained merely to replace the old infrastructure, let alone upgrade to what would be required to achieve the same degree of flood protection for the next 50-100 years.

  47. 47
    nigelj says:

    Perhaps killian can tell us all exactly what forms of electricity generation he thinks are sustainable.

    And perhaps Killian could give us a concise definition of sustainability? The internet has dozens of different definitions. I want to know Killians preferred version.

  48. 48
    David B. Benson says:

    Further ecosystem collapse:
    https://m.phys.org/news/2020-02-el-nino-contributes-insect-collapse.html

    Tipping more and more…

  49. 49
    William B Jackson says:

    #43 You got that right!

  50. 50
    Doug Meyer says:

    RE: my initial question at 24 and much appreciated responses at 28 and 31

    I realize I’m asking about ongoing debate, and the only answer now could be: “you’ll just have to wait like everybody else”. But help me understand where we are. In April 2019, Science reported:

    “Developers of another next-generation model, from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, wonder whether their new rendering of clouds and aerosols might explain why it, too, is running hot, with a sensitivity in the low fives. The NCAR team, like other modelers, has had persistent problems in simulating the supercooled water found in clouds that form above the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. The clouds weren’t reflective enough, allowing the region to absorb too much sunlight. The new version fixes that problem.”

    Now, in January 2020, Zelinka et al say their own CMIP6 vs CMIP5 comparison (graphs of SW Low Cloud Feedback Components) shows that their higher sensitivity is due to increased warming feedback because of not enough low cloud albedo in the Southern Ocean.

    So is the Zelinka group’s model having the very “problem” that the NCAR group supposedly fixed last year? (But according to that same April 2019 article, NCAR has been having their own issues with aerosol data.)

    I have no idea whether these are two different groups of researchers and/or whether or not there’s any commonality in the models they’re using. And did NCAR get new results since April showing improvement in the Southern Ocean? Any furhter insight would again be much appreciated.

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