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[l] at 9/14/19 5:09pm
The changing face of planet Earth

Andrew Glikson
Earth and Climate scientist
Australian National University

12-8-2019

Preamble
The inhabitants of planet Earth are in the process of destroying the habitability of their world through the perpetration of the largest mass extinction of species since 66 million years ago, when a large asteroid impacted Earth, and 55 million years since the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) reaching 5–8°C. The late Holocene-Anthropocene climate change represents an unprecedented event, triggering a fast shift in climate zones and a series of extreme weather events, with consequences for much of nature and civilization. The changes are manifest where green forests are blackened by fire, droughts are turning grassy planes to brown semi-deserts, brilliant white snow and ice caps are melting into pale blue water and clear blue skies turn grey due to aerosols and jet contrails, most particularly in the northern hemisphere. Unless effective efforts are undertaken at CO₂ drawdown, the consequence would include demise of much of nature and a collapse of human civilization.

1. The scorched Earth

The transfer of hundreds of billions of tonnes of carbon from the Earth crust, the residues of ancient biospheres, to the atmosphere and oceans, condemning the bulk of life through the most extreme shift in the composition of the atmosphere and ocean Earth has experienced since 55 million years ago, with changes taking place in front of our eyes. Since the industrial revolution, about 375 billion tonnes of carbon (or 1,374 billion tonnes CO₂) have been emitted by humans into the atmosphere. The consequences are everywhere, from mega-droughts, to heat waves, fires, storms and floods. With atmospheric CO₂-equivalent rising above 500 ppm and mean temperatures by more than 1.5°C (Figure 1) look no further than the shift in climate zones, displayed for example on maps of the expanding wet tropical zones, drying sub-tropical latitudes and polar-ward migration of temperate climate zone. The ice sheets and sea ice are melting, huge fires overtake Siberia, the Sahara is shifting northward, large parts of southern Europe are suffering from droughts, heat waves and fires, the Kalahari Desert dunes are shifting and much of southern Australia is affected by warming and draughts. This is hardly compensated by a minor increase in precipitation and greening such as at the southern fringes of the Sahara Desert and parts of northern Australia.

Induced by anthropogenic carbon emissions reaching 37.1 billion tonnes CO₂ in 2018 and their amplifying feedbacks from land and oceans and, ranging from 16.5 tonnes CO₂ per capita per year from the US to 35.5 tonnes CO₂ per capita per year from Saudi Arabia and 44  tonnes CO₂  per capita per year from Australia, the inexorable link between these emissions and the unfolding disaster is hardly mentioned by mainstream political classes and the media.

Figure 1 (A) Growth of CO₂-equivalent level and the annual greenhouse gas Index (AGGI¹). Measurements of CO₂ to
the 1950s are from (Keeling et al., 1958) and air trapped in ice and snow above glaciers. Pre-1978 changes are based
on ongoing measurements of all greenhouse gases. Equivalent CO₂ amounts (in ppm) are derived from the relationship
between CO₂ concentrations and radiative forcing from all long lived gases; (B) showing how much warmer each
month of the GISTEMP data is than the annual global mean. For July (2019) temperatures rose by about +1.5°C.
¹The AGGI index uses 1990 as a baseline year with a value of 1. The index increased every year since 1979.
2. Migrating climate zones

As the globe warms, to date by a mean of near ~1.5 °C, or ~2.0°C when the masking effects of sulphur dioxide and other aerosols are considered, and by a mean of ~2.3°C in the polar regions, the expansion of warm tropical latitudes and the pole-ward migration of subtropical and temperate climate zones (Figure 2) ensue in large scale droughts such as parts of inland Australia and southern Africa. A similar trend is taking place in the northern hemisphere where the Sahara desert is expanding northward, with consequent heat waves across the Mediterranean and Europe.

In southern Africa “Widespread shifts in climate regimes are projected, of which the southern and eastern expansion of the hot desert and hot steppe zones is most prominent. From occupying 33.1 and 19.4 % of southern Africa under present-day climate, respectively, these regions are projected to occupy between 47.3 and 59.7 % (hot desert zone) and 24.9 and 29.9 % (hot steppe zone) of the region in a future world where the mean global temperature has increased by ~3°C.

Closely linked to the migration of climate zones is the southward drift of Antarctic- sourced cold moist fronts which sustain seasonal rain in south-west and southern Australia. A feedback loop has developed where deforestation and decline in vegetation in southern parts of the continent result in the rise of thermal plumes of dry air masses that deflect the western moist fronts further to the southeast.

Figure 2. Köppen-Geiger global Climate zones classification map
Since 1979 the planet’s tropics have been expanding pole-ward by 56 km to 111 km per decade in both hemispheres, leading one commentator to call this Earth’s bulging waistline. Future climate projections suggest this expansion is likely to continue, driven largely by human activities – most notably emissions of greenhouse gases and black carbon, as well as warming in the lower atmosphere and the oceans.”

An analysis of the origin of Australian droughts suggests, according to both observations and climate models, that at least part of this decline is associated with changes in large-scale atmospheric circulation, including shrinking polar ice and a pole-ward movement of polar-originated westerly wind spirals, as well as increasing atmospheric surface pressure and droughts over parts of southern Australia (Figure 3). Simulations of future climate with this model suggest amplified winter drying over most parts of southern Australia in the coming decades in response to changes in radiative forcing. The drying is most pronounced over southwest Australia, with total reductions in austral autumn and winter precipitation of approximately 40% by the late twenty-first century. Thus rainfall in southwestern Australia has declined sharply from about 1965 onward, concomitant with the sharp rise of global temperatures.

Figure 3 (A) Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) drought map, showing rainfall levels for the southern wet season from
April 1 to July 31 in 2019; (B) NASA satellite image displaying a southward deflection of Antarctic-sourced moist
cold fronts from southern Australia, a result of (1) southward migration of climate zones; (2) increasing aridity of
southern and southwestern Australia due to deforestation; (3) rising hot plumes from warming arid land.
3. Extreme weather events

The consequences of the migration of climate zones are compounded by changes in flow patterns of major river systems around the world, for example in southern an southeastern Asia, including the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra and Mekong river basins, the home and bread basket for more than a billion people. With warming, as snow cover declines in the mountainous source regions of rivers, river flows are enhanced, with ensuing floods, in particular during the Monsoon. For example, in 2010 approximately one-fifth of Pakistan's total land area was affected by floods (Figure 4A), directly affecting about 20 million people, with a death toll close to 2,000. And about 700 people in cyclone Isai in Mozambique (Figure 4B, C). Such changes in climate and geography are enhanced once sea level rise increases from the scale of tens of centimeters, as at present, to meters, as predicted to take place later this and next century.

An increasing frequency and intensity of cyclones constitute an inevitable consequence of rising temperatures over warm low pressure cell tracks in tropical oceans, already affecting large populations in the Caribbean and west Pacific island chains, encroaching into continental coastal zones, China, southeast USA, southeast Africa, India, northern Australia, the Pacific islands. According to Sobel et al. (2016) “We thus expect tropical cyclone intensities to increase with warming, both on average and at the high end of the scale, so that the strongest future storms will exceed the strength of any in the past”. Likewise increasing temperatures, heat waves and droughts, compounded by deforestation over continents, constitute an inevitable consequence of heat waves and droughts. A prime example is the Siberian forest fires (Figure 5B), covering an area larger than Denmark and contributing significantly to climate change. Since the beginning of the year a total of 13.1 million hectares has burned. Total losses from natural catastrophes on 2018 stated as US$160 billion.

Figure 4 (A) Pakistan flooding, shows the 2010 Indus River spanning well over 10 kilometers, completely filling
the river valley and spilling over onto nearby land. Floodwaters have created a lake almost as wide as the swollen
Indus that inundates Jhatpat; (B) Before-and-after satellite imagery of Mozambique showing massive flood
described as an "inland ocean" up to 30 miles wide following the landfall of Tropical Cyclone Idai, 2019. Figure 5 (A) Global fire zones, NASA. The Earth data fire map accumulates the locations of fires detected by
moderate-resolution imaging radiometer (MODIS) on board the Terra and Aqua satellites over a 10-day period.
Each colored dot indicates a location where MODIS detected at least one fire during the compositing period.
Color ranges from red where the fire count is low to yellow where number of fires is large; (B) An ecological
catastrophe in Russia: wildfires have created over 4 million square km smoke lid over central northern Asia.
Big Siberian cities are covered with toxic haze that had already reached Urals.
4. Shrinking Polar ice sheets

Last but not least, major changes in the Polar Regions are driving climate events in the rest of the globe. According to NOAA Arctic surface air temperatures continued to warm at twice the rate of the rest of the globe, leading to major thaw at the fringes of the Arctic (Figure 6A) and a loss of 95 percent of its oldest ice over the past three decades. Arctic air temperatures during 2014-18 since 1900 have exceeded all previous records and are driving broad changes in the environmental system both within the Arctic as well as through the weakening of the jet stream which separates the Arctic from warmer climate zones. The recent freezing storms in North America represent penetration of cold air masses through an increasingly undulating jet stream barrier, as well as allowing warm air masses to move northward, further warming the Arctic and driving further ice melting (Figure 6B).

According to Rignot et al. (2011) in 2006 the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets experienced a combined mass loss of 475 ± 158 billion tons of ice per year. IPCC models of future climate change contain a number of departures from the paleoclimate evidence, including the major role of feedbacks from land and water, estimates of future ice melt, sea level rise rates, methane release rates, the role of fires in enhancing atmospheric CO₂, and the already observed onset of transient freeze events consequent on the flow of ice melt water into the oceans. Ice mass loss would raise sea level on the scale of meters and eventually tens of meters (Hansen et al. 2016). The development of large cold water pools south and east of Greenland (Rahmstorf et al. 2015) and at the fringe of West Antarctica, signify early stages in the development of a North Atlantic freeze, consistent with the decline in the Atlantic Meridional Ocean Circulation (AMOC). As the Earth warms the increase in temperature contrasts across the globe, in particular between warming continental regions and cooling ocean regions, leads to storminess and extreme weather events, which need to be taken into account when planning adaptation measures, including preparation of coastal defenses, construction of channel and pipelines from heavy precipitation zones to drought zones.

Figure 6 (A) Thawing at the fringes of Siberia and Canada. Scientists say 2019 could be another annus
horribilis for the Arctic with record temperatures already registered in Greenland—a giant melting ice
sheet that threatens to submerge the world's coastal areas one day; (B) Weakening and increasing undulation
of the polar vortex , allowing penetration of cold fronts southward and of warm air masses northward. Figure 7 (A) Surface air temperature (°C) change in 2055–2060 relative to 1880–1920 according to.
A1B model + modified forcings and ice melt to 1 meter sea level rise; (B) Surface-air temperature
change in 2096 relative to 1880–1920 according to IPCC model AIB adding Ice melt with 10-year
doubling of ice melt leading to +5 meters sea level rise; (C) Surface air temperature (°C) relative to
1880–1920 for several scenarios taking added ice melt water into account (Hansen et al. 2016)
Postscript

None of the evidence and projections summarized above appears to form a priority consideration on the part of those in power—in parliaments, in corporations, among the wealthy elites and vested interests. Having to all intents and purposes given up on the habitability of large parts of the Earth and on the survival of numerous species and future generations—their actions and inactions constitute the ultimate crime against life on Earth.


Andrew Glikson

Dr Andrew Glikson Earth and climate scientist
Australian National University
Canberra, Australian Territory, Australia geospec@iinet.net.au
Books : The Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earth
http://www.springer.com/gp/ book/9783319079073 The Asteroid Impact Connection of Planetary Evolution http://www.springer.com/gp/ book/9789400763272 Asteroids Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australia http://www.springer.com/us/ book/9783319745442  Climate, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocene http://www.springer.com/gp/ book/9783319225111 The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earth http://www.springer.com/gp/ book/9783319572369 Evolution of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizon http://www.springer.com/gp/ book/9789400773318  From Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligence https://www.springer.com/us/ book/9783030106027
From Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligence
The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earth
Added below is a video with an August 6, 2019, interview of Andrew Glikson by Guy McPherson and Kevin Hester, as edited by Tim Bob.



[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: Andrew Glikson, extreme weather, PETM]

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[l] at 9/14/19 4:36pm
The IPCC has just issued a special report Climate Change and Land, on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. In its new report 'Climate Change and Land', the IPCC finds that vegan is the best diet to reduce emissions. Sadly, it is yet another missed opportunity to show some integrity.

[ click on image to enlarge ] Indeed, little or nothing will change as long as the IPCC keeps downplaying the dire situation we're in.

As an example, the IPCC Report uses a very low value of 28 as Global Warming Potential (GWP) for methane, which is totally inappropriate and unacceptable given the rapidity at which the biosphere is deteriorating, given the accelerating pace at which extreme weather events are striking the land all around the world, and given the grim prospects for people worldwide in the absence of rapid and radical change.

The report finds that agriculture, forestry and other land use activities accounted for around 13% of carbon dioxide, 44% of methane, and 82% of nitrous oxide emissions from human activities globally during 2007-2016, representing 23% of total net anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. If emissions associated with pre- and post-production activities in the global food system are included, the emissions could be as high as 37% of total net anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

The Report adds an image showing that annual methane emissions from agriculture had reached some 4Gt CO₂eq in 2016. The IPCC notes that this 4Gt for methane's CO₂-eq is based on a GWP for methane of 28 over 100 years and without climate-carbon feedbacks, taken from its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), published in 2014.

As said, the Report calculates that net greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, forestry, and other land use were 23% of people's 2007-2016 emissions when using a GWP of 28 for methane. When using a GWP of 150, that share rises to 31%, as illustrated by the image on the right.

Instead of calculating methane's GWP over 100 years, a very short horizon is appropriate. Moreover, research published in 2016 and 2018 had already found methane to be more potent than IPCC's GWP for methane in AR5, as discussed in a recent post.

When using an appropriate GWP, the percentage of greenhouse gases coming from agriculture (in particular livestock products) increases dramatically, thus rightly highlighting the urgency for governments to act, e.g. by implementing local feebates, such as fees on livestock products and nitrogen fertilizers with revenues used to support soil supplements containing biochar, as recommended in a recent post.


Furthermore, the IPCC should have pointed the finger at the cartel of looters comprising fuel, meat, chemical and pharmaceutical industries and fuel-powered vehicle manufacturers and utilities that finances corrupt politicians and that goes hand in glove with a military-industrial complex that feeds on manufacturing conflict over resources that are the very cause of the wrath of pollution.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.


Links

• IPCC special report Climate Change and Land
https://www.ipcc.ch/report/srccl

• IPCC special report Global Warming of 1.5°C
https://report.ipcc.ch/sr15/

• IPCC keeps feeding the addiction
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/10/ipcc-keeps-feeding-the-addiction.html

• How much warming have humans caused?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/05/how-much-warming-have-humans-caused.html

• Most Important Message Ever
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/most-important-message-ever.html

• Feedbacks
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html

• Extinction
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html

• Most Important Message Ever
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/most-important-message-ever.html

• How much warmer is it now?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/04/how-much-warmer-is-it-now.html

• A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/02/a-rise-of-18c-or-324f-by-2026.html

• Climate Plan (page)
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

• Climate Plan (post)
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/06/climate-plan.html

• Olivine weathering to capture CO2 and counter climate change
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/07/olivine-weathering-to-capture-co2-and-counter-climate-change.html

Discussions

• Biochar
https://www.facebook.com/groups/biochar

• Geoengineering
https://www.facebook.com/groups/geoengineering

• Climate Alert
https://www.facebook.com/groups/climatealert

• Arctic News
https://www.facebook.com/groups/arcticnews

• Vegan Organic Food
https://www.facebook.com/groups/veganorganicfood

• Climate Plan
https://www.facebook.com/groups/climateplan



[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: AR5, biochar, climate change, diet, food, GWP, IPCC, methane, organic, vegan]

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[l] at 9/14/19 4:03pm

The July 2019 temperature was on a par with, and possibly marginally higher than, that of July 2016, according to a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) news release pointing an image by the Copernicus Climate Change Programme that is used as the background for above image.

Previously, July 2016 was the hottest July on record with a global land and ocean temperature of 16.67°C (62.01°F), or 3.25°C above the pre-industrial temperature of 13.42°C (56.16°F) and surpassing the record set before that, in July 2015.

The July 2019 Surface Temperature was 16.7°C in real temperatures (as opposed to anomalies), as illustrated by the image on the right, supplied by James Hansen and constructed using Dr. Phil Jones climatology and GISS 250 km smoothing of anomalies.

The image also shows, James Hansen adds, that the monthly mean of the daily mean (not daily maximum) exceeded 35°C (95°F) in parts of North Africa and the Middle East.

The month July typically is the hottest month of the year. July 2019 was 2.34°C (or 4.21°F) hotter than the 1980-2015 annual global mean, and July 2019 was the hottest July on record, making it the hottest month on record to date.

According to NASA data, July 2016 was 2.26°C hotter than the 1980-2015 annual global mean, and August 2016 was actually the previously hottest month on record with 2.31°C above the 1980-2015 annual mean, so August 2019 could be even hotter, which is quite remarkable given that we're currently in an El Niño-neutral period.

There's a spread of more than 3°C between the coldest and hottest monthly temperatures, in line with the seasonal cycle. Since the land/sea ratio is larger on the Northern Hemisphere and land heats up faster than oceans, July typically is the hottest month of the year, so the annual mean temperature for the year 2019 will be somewhat lower than the temperature for July 2019.


Above image takes another perspective, showing NASA Land and Ocean Temperature Index (LOTI) data that are adjusted 0.78° to reflect a 1750 baseline (as opposed to NASA's default 1951-1980 baseline), to reflect ocean air temperatures (as opposed to sea surface temperatures) and higher polar anomaly (to better reflect absent data).

Two trends are added, based on the adjusted data, as described in an earlier analysis. The blue long-term trend is based on 1880-July 2019 data and points at a 3°C (or 5.4°F) rise by 2026. The red short-term trend is based on 2012-July 2019 data, to better illustrate El Niño/La Niña variability and the danger that large methane eruptions from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean could result in near-term human extinction.

NASA's LOTI anomaly of 0.93°C above 1951-1980 for July 2019 becomes 1.71°C above pre-industrial when adjusted as described above. The trends also show that it could be 1.85°C above pre-industrial, in line with the earlier analysis that already pointed at a potential mean temperature for 2019 of 15.27°C, or 1.85°C above pre-industrial. Depending on what will happen in the Arctic and on further variables such as the strength of El Niño over the remainder of the year, 2019 could even cross the 2°C guardrail that politicians at the Paris Agreement pledged would not be crossed.


Above image shows the worrying rise of Northern Hemisphere sea surface temperature anomalies from the 20th century average, with the added trend illustrating the danger that this rise will lead to Arctic sea ice collapse and large methane eruptions from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, further accelerating the temperature rise.

Unbearable heat

As temperatures keep rising, there are places on the northern hemisphere where the July heat is becoming ever harder to bear.

The image on the right shows that on July 29, 2019, it felt like it was as hot as 57.2°C or 135°F in China (in the area marked by the green circle).

How could it get this hot? As the image underneath on the right shows, the temperature in that area was 35.1°C or 95.1°F (at the right circle), while it was much hotter at some places elsewhere in China, e.g. it was 41.5°C or 106.6°F at the left circle on July 29, 2019.

What made the weather so hard to bear was a combination of high temperature and high relative humidity, which was 81% in the area at the circle on the right at the time.

The jet stream is becoming ever more deformed as the Arctic heats up faster than the rest of the world. On July 29, 2019, the jet stream was all over the place, with a strong presence north of the circle, which made warm, moist air from the south move over China.

Since the Arctic continues to heat up faster than the rest of the world, such situations are likely to become more common. As noted in an earlier post, cyclones can increase humidity, making conditions worse. New research has meanwhile emerged pointing at the increasing risk associated with the combination of cyclones and heatwaves.

Wet Bulb Temperature

The temperature in that area of 35.1°C, at 81% relative humidity and a pressure level of 1004 hPa, translates into a wet bulb temperature of 32.11°C.

Had the temperature remained at 35.1°C, but had relative humidity kept rising to 100%, i.e. rainfall, the wet bulb temperature threshold of 35°C would have been exceeded (35.01°C). Alternatively, had relative humidity remained at 81%, but had the temperature kept rising to 38.2°C, the wet bulb temperature threshold of 35°C would equally have been exceeded (35.07°C), showing how dangerous the situation is. A wet bulb temperature of 35°C can be lethal, as the human body will be unable to lose heat, even when the wind is strong and no matter how much one drinks or sweats.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.


Links

• Another exceptional month for global average temperatures, Copernicus Climate Change Service, ECMWF
https://climate.copernicus.eu/another-exceptional-month-global-average-temperatures

• July matched, and maybe broke, the record for the hottest month since analysis began
https://public.wmo.int/en/media/news/july-matched-and-maybe-broke-record-hottest-month-analysis-began

• NOAA Global Climate Report - July 2016
https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/201607

• July 2019 Global Temperature Update, by James Hansen
http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/Temperature/Emails/July2019.pdf

• An emerging tropical cyclone–deadly heat compound hazard, by Tom Matthews et al. (2019)
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0525-6

• Most Important Message Ever
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/most-important-message-ever.html

• Temperature
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/temperature.html

• How Much Warming Have Humans Caused?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/05/how-much-warming-have-humans-caused.html

• It could be unbearably hot in many places within a few years time
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/07/it-could-be-unbearably-hot-in-many-places-within-a-few-years-time.html

• Peaks Matter
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/08/peaks-matter.html

• Extinction Alert
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/02/extinction-alert.html

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html


[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: Arctic, jet stream, ocean, relative humidity, rise, SST, temperature, wet bulb]

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[l] at 9/14/19 3:30pm
Record low Arctic sea ice extent for the time of year


Arctic sea ice minimum extent typically occurs about half September. In 2012, minimum extent was reached on September 17, 2012, when extent was 3.387 million km².

On July 28, 2019, Arctic sea ice extent was 6.576 million km². How much extent do you think there will be by September 17, 2019? From July 28, 2019, to September 17, 2019, that's a period of 52 days during which a lot of melting can occur. Could there be a Blue Ocean Event in 2019, with virtually all sea ice disappearing in the Arctic?

Consider this. Extent was 6.926 million km² on September 17, 1989. Extent was 3.387 million km² on September 17, 2012, so 3.539 million km² had disappeared in 23 years. Over those years, more ice extent disappeared than what was left on September 17, 2012.

The question is how much sea ice extent will be left when it will reach its minimum this year, i.e. in September 2019. The red dashed line on the image at the top continues the path of the recent fall in sea ice extent, pointing at zero Arctic sea ice extent in September 2019. Progress is followed at this post.

Zero Arctic sea ice in 2019

Zero Arctic sea ice in 2019 sounds alarming, and there is good reason to be alarmed.


Above map shows temperatures on Greenland on July 31, 2019, with temperatures at one location as high as 23.2°C or 73.8°F and at another location - in the north - as high as 14.2°C or 57.6°F.

The map on the right shows sea surface temperature anomalies compared to 1961-1990 as on July 29, 2019. Note the high anomalies in the areas where the sea ice did disappear during the past few months. The reason for these high anomalies is that the buffer has disappeared that previously had kept consuming heat in the process of melting.

Where that buffer is gone, the heat has to go somewhere else, so it will be absorbed by the water and it will also speed up heating of the atmosphere over the Arctic.

Sea ice melting is accelerating for a number of reasons:
  • Ocean Heat - Much of the melting of the sea ice occurs from below and is caused by heat arriving in the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. 
  • Direct Sunlight - Hot air will melt the ice from above and this kind of melting can increase strongly due to changing wind patterns. 
  • Rivers - Heatwaves over land can extend over the Arctic Ocean and they also heat up river water flowing into the Arctic Ocean.
  • Fires - Changing wind patterns can also increase the intensity and duration of such heatwaves that can also come with fires resulting in huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, thus further speeding up the temperature rise, and also resulting in huge emissions of soot that, when settling on sea ice, speeds up melting (see images below). 
  • Numerous feedbacks will further speed up melting. Heating is changing the texture of the sea ice at the top and is making melt pools appear, both of which cause darkening of the surface. Some further feedbacks, i.e. storms and clouds are discussed below in more detail. 

Above combination image shows smoke from fires in Siberia getting pushed over the Laptev Sea on August 11, 2019, due to cyclonic winds over the Arctic Ocean. This was also discussed in an earlier post. The image below shows the situation on August 12, 2019.


The image below shows the situation on August 14, 2019.


In the video below, Paul Beckwith discusses the situation.


In the video below, Paul Beckwith discusses the heating impact of albedo loss due to Arctic sea ice loss, including the calculations in a recent paper.


As the Arctic is heating up faster than the rest of the world, it is also more strongly affected by the resulting extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, fires, strong winds, rain and hail storms, and such events can strongly speed up the melting of the sea ice.


All around Greenland, sea ice has now virtually disappeared. This is the more alarming considering that the thickest sea ice was once located north of Greenland. This indicates that the buffer is almost gone.

Why is disappearance of Arctic sea ice so important? Hand in hand with albedo loss as the sea ice disappears, there is loss of the buffer (feedbacks #1, #14 and more). As long as there is sea ice in the water, this sea ice will keep absorbing heat as it melts, so the temperature will not rise at the sea surface. The amount of energy absorbed by melting ice is as much as it takes to heat an equivalent mass of water from zero to 80°C.


Once the sea ice is gone, further heat must go elsewhere. This heat will raise the temperature of the water and will also make the atmosphere heat up faster.

Storms and Clouds

Storms: As temperatures in the Arctic are rising faster than at the Equator, the Jet Stream is changing, making it easier for warm air to enter the Arctic and for cold air to descend over continents that can thus become much colder than the oceans, and this stronger temperature difference fuels storms.

Clouds: More evaporation will occur as the sea ice disappears, thus further heating up the atmosphere (technically know as latent heat of vaporization).

In the video below, Paul Beckwith further discusses Arctic albedo change and clouds.



Disappearance of the sea ice causes more clouds to form over the Arctic. This on the one hand makes that more sunlight gets reflected back into space. On the other hand, this also make that less outward infrared radiation can escape into space. The net effect of more clouds is that they are likely cause further heating of the air over the Arctic Ocean (feedbacks #23 and #25).

More low-altitude clouds will reflect more sunlight back into space, and this occurs most during Summer when there is most sunshine over the Arctic. The image below, a forecast for August 17, 2019, shows rain over the Arctic. Indeed, more clouds in Summer can also mean rain, which can devastate sea ice, as discussed in an earlier post.


Regarding less outward radiation, the IPCC has long warned, e.g. in TAR, about a reduction in outgoing longwave radiation (OLR): "An increase in water vapour reduces the OLR only if it occurs at an altitude where the temperature is lower than the ground temperature, and the impact grows sharply as the temperature difference increases."

While reduction in OLR due to water vapor is occurring all year long, the impact is particularly felt in the Arctic in Winter when the air is much colder than the surface. In other words, less OLR makes Arctic sea ice thinner, especially in Winter.

The inflow of ocean heat into the Arctic Ocean can increase strongly as winds increase in intensity. Storms can push huge amounts of hot, salty water into the Arctic Ocean, as discussed earlier, such as in this post and this post. As also described at the extreme weather page, stronger storms in Winter will push more ocean heat from the Atlantic toward the Arctic Ocean, further contributing to Arctic sea ice thinning in Winter.

Seafloor Methane


[ The Buffer has gone, feedbacks #14 and #16 ]
As the buffer disappears that until now has consumed huge amounts of heat, the temperature of the water of the Arctic Ocean will rise even more rapidly, with the danger that further heat will reach methane hydrates at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, causing them to get destabilized and release huge amounts of methane (feedback #16).

Ominously, high methane levels were recorded at Barrow, Alaska, at the end of July 2019, as above image shows.


[ from an earlier post ] And ominously, a mean global methane level as high as 1902 ppb was recorded by the MetOp-1 satellite in the afternoon of July 31, 2019, as above image shows.

As the image on the right shows, mean global levels of methane (CH₄) have risen much faster than carbon dioxide (CO₂) and nitrous oxide (N₂O), in 2017 reaching, respectively, 257%, 146% and 122% their 1750 levels.

Temperature Rise

Huge releases of seafloor methane alone could make marine stratus clouds disappear, as described in an earlier post, and this clouds feedback could cause a further 8°C global temperature rise.

Indeed, a rapid temperature rise of as much as 18°C could result by the year 2026 due to a combination of elements, including albedo changes, loss of sulfate cooling, and methane released from destabilizing hydrates contained in sediments at the seafloor of oceans.

[ from an earlier post ]
Below is Malcolm Light's updated Extinction Diagram.

[ click on images to enlarge ] The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.


Link

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

• Smoke Covers Much Of Siberia
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/smoke-covers-much-of-siberia.html

• Extreme Weather
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extreme-weather.html

• Albedo and more
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/albedo.html

• Radiative Heating of an Ice‐Free Arctic Ocean, by Kristina Pistone et al. (2019)
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2019GL082914

• High cloud coverage over melted areas dominates the impact of clouds on the albedo feedback in the Arctic, by Min He et al. (2019)
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44155-w

• ESD Reviews: Climate feedbacks in the Earth system and prospects for their evaluation, by Christoph Heinze et al. (2019)
https://www.earth-syst-dynam.net/10/379/2019/esd-10-379-2019-discussion.html

• Contribution of sea ice albedo and insulation effects to Arctic amplification in the EC-Earth Pliocene simulation, by Jianqiu Zheng et al. (2019)
https://www.clim-past.net/15/291/2019

• Far-infrared surface emissivity and climate, by Daniel Feldman et al. (2014)
https://www.pnas.org/content/111/46/16297.abstract

• Extreme Weather
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extreme-weather.html

• Feedbacks in the Arctic
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html

• Rain Storms Devastate Arctic Ice And Glaciers
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2015/01/rain-storms-devastate-arctic-ice-and-glaciers.html

• A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/02/a-rise-of-18c-or-324f-by-2026.html

• As El Niño sets in, will global biodiversity collapse in 2019?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/11/as-el-nino-sets-in-will-global-biodiversity-collapse-in-2019.html

• Dangerous situation in Arctic
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/11/dangerous-situation-in-arctic.html

• Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/02/warning-of-mass-extinction-of-species-including-humans-within-one-decade.html



[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: Arctic, biomass, buffer, burning, extent, fire, Greenland, latent heat, Malcolm Light, methane, ocean, Paul Beckwith, sea ice, soot, thickness, volume]

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[l] at 9/14/19 2:59pm
Smoke covers much of Siberia, as shown by the NASA Worldview image dated July 25, 2019.


The enormous intensity of the fires is illustrated by the image below, showing carbon monoxide (CO) levels as high as 80,665 ppb on July 25, 2019.


The image below shows that, at that same spot on July 25, 2019, carbon dioxide (CO₂) levels were as high as 1205 ppm.


The image below shows that aerosols from biomass burning were at the top end of the scale.


When soot from fires settles on snow and ice, it darkens the surface, resulting in more sunlight getting absorbed (instead of reflected back into space, as was previously the case), thus further speeding up the melting.

The loss of sea ice north of Greenland is particularly worrying, since this is the area where once the thickest sea ice was present. The image below shows the situation on July 24, 2019.


The image below shows the sea ice disappearing north of Greenland and Ellesmere Island on July 25, 2019.


The huge recent fall in sea ice volume is illustrated by the graph below, by Wipneus.


The naval.mil animation below illustrates the rapid fall in sea ice thickness, showing 30-day period including seven forecasts up to August 1, 2019.


The combination image below shows sea ice thickness forecasts for July 25, 2019, and for August 1, 2019.


The video below, by Robin Westenra, further illustrates our predicament.


The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.


Links


• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html



[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, fire, sea ice, soot, volume]

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[l] at 9/14/19 2:03pm
This is the most important message ever posted.
Please share it widely and add your comments!
(click on share in the box underneath this post)

A catastrophe of unimaginable proportions is unfolding. Life is disappearing from Earth and runaway heating could destroy all life. At 5°C heating, most life on Earth will have disappeared. When looking only at near-term human extinction, 3°C will likely suffice. Study after study is showing the severity of the threat that too many keep ignoring or denying it, at the peril of the world at large. Have a look at the following:

Crossing the 2°C guardrail

The image below shows two trends, a long-term trend (blue) and a short-term trend (red) that better reflects El Niño peaks.


The image confirms an earlier analysis that it could be 1.85°C (or 3.33°F) hotter in 2019 than in 1750.

June 2019 was the hottest June on record, it was 2.08°C (or 3.74°F) hotter than the annual global mean 1980-2015, which was partly due to seasonal variations, as the image below shows.


This gives an idea of how hot the year 2019 will be. July 2019 is on course to be hottest month on record, further highlighting the danger that a strengthening El Niño could cause a steep temperature rise soon.

Remember the 2015 Paris Agreement, when politicians pledged to act on the threat of climate change, including by “Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels . . . ”

The image at the top highlights the danger of a rapid temperature rise occurring soon and of the 2°C (or 3.6°F) guardrail getting crossed soon, i.e. in 2020 (the blue long-term trend, based on 1880-June2019 data), or in 2019 (red trend, based on 2011-June 2019 data). Moreover, the danger is that temperatures will not come down after crossing 2°C, but instead will continue in a steep rise toward 3°C.


We are already at about 2°C above pre-industrial

In the image at the top, NASA data are adjusted by 0.57°C. Such adjustment is appropriate for a number of reasons.  First of all, NASA uses the period 1951-1980 as their default baseline. Most of the adjustment is due to the use of a 1750 baseline, which better reflects pre-industrial.

Furthermore, air temperatures over oceans and higher polar anomalies are more appropriate, as confirmed by a recent study that concludes that missing data have been responsible for an underestimation of global warming by 0.1°C.

The image on the right, from a recent study, shows how much difference it makes when using surface air temperatures globally (black line), versus when sea surface temperatures are used for oceans (dark blue line) and in case of incomplete coverage (light blue line).

At a 3°C rise, humans will likely go extinct

The image at the top shows two trends, a long-term trend in blue and a short-term trend in red which follows variations such as El Niño more closely. The blue trend points at a 3°C (or 5.4°F) rise by 2026, while the red trends shows that a 3°C rise could eventuate as early as in 2020 in case of a persistently strengthening El Niño.

At a 3°C rise, humans will likely go extinct, as habitat for humans (and many other species) will disappear. Such a rise will cause a rapid decline of the snow and ice cover around the globe, in turn making that less sunlight gets reflected back into space. Associated changes are discussed in more detail at this page and this page, and include that the jet stream will further get out of shape, resulting in more extreme weather events such as droughts, heatwaves and firestorms. Changes to the jet stream will also contribute to a further strengthening of storms, which threatens to push large amounts of hot, salty water into the Arctic Ocean, triggering eruptions of more and more seafloor methane.

From a 4°C rise, Earth will have a moist-greenhouse scenario

As the temperature rise gains further momentum, runaway heating may well turn Earth into a lifeless planet. This danger was discussed in a 2013 post, warning that, at 4°C rise, Earth will enter a moist-greenhouse scenario and without anything stopping the rise, it will continue to eventually destroy the ozone layer and the ice caps, while the oceans would be evaporating into the atmosphere's upper stratosphere and eventually disappear into space.

[ from an earlier post ] At 5°C rise, most life on Earth will be extinct

At 5°C rise, most life on Earth will be extinct. A 2018 study by Strona & Bradshaw indicates that most life on Earth will disappear with a 5°C rise (see box on the right).

As the temperature keeps rising, chances are that all life on Earth will go extinct, as Earth would be left with no ozone layer to protect life from deadly UV-radiation. Furthermore, Earth would no longer have water, an essential building block of life. Soil moisture, ground water and water in oceans would evaporate and eventually disappear into space, as discussed in an earlier post.

There are several reasons why the temperature will keep rising well beyond a 5°C rise, as discussed below.

Could Earth go the same way as Venus?

At first glace, such a lifeless planet scenario may seem unlikely, as Earth did experience high temperatures before, but each time it did cool down again. While many species went extinct as a result of steep temperature rises, each time some species did survive the mass extinction events in the past.

This time, however, the situation is much more dire than during previous mass extinctions, and temperatures could keep rising, due to:
  • Brighter Sun - The sun is now much brighter than it was in the past;
  • No sequestration - The rapidity of the rise in greenhouse gases and of the associated temperature rise leaves species little or no time to adapt or move, and leaving no time for sequestration of carbon dioxide by plants and by deposits from other species, nor for formation of methane hydrates at the seafloor of oceans; 
  • No weathering - The rapidity of the rise also means that weathering doesn't have a chance to make a difference. Rapid heating is also dwarfing what weathering (and vegetation) can do to reduce carbon dioxide levels; and
  • Methane - Due to the rapid temperature rise, there is also little or no time for methane to get decomposed. Methane levels will skyrocket, due to fires, due to decomposition of dying vegetation and due to releases from melting terrestrial permafrost and from the seafloor (see more on methane further below). 

The methane threat

Our predicament

The predicament of this geological time is that methane in hydrates has been accumulating for a long time, especially in the Arctic, where there is little or no hydroxyl present in the atmosphere in the first place, while some 75% of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) is shallower than 50 m, as also discussed in this earlier post and this earlier post.

As more methane rises abruptly from the seafloor in plumes, the chance reduces that it will get decomposed in the water, and especially so in the Arctic where long uni-directional sea currents prevent microbes to return to the location of such plumes.

Shallow seas (light blue areas on the image on the right) make waters prone to warm up quickly during summer peaks, allowing heat to penetrate the seabed.

Methane rising through shallow waters will also enter the atmosphere more quickly. Elsewhere in the world, releases from hydrates underneath the seafloor will largely be oxidized by methanotroph bacteria in the water. In shallow waters, however, methane released from the seabed will quickly pass through the water column.

Large abrupt releases will also quickly deplete the oxygen in the water, making it harder for bacteria to break down the methane.

[ from an earlier post ] The image on the right highlights methane's accelerating rise, showing levels of methane (CH₄), carbon dioxide (CO₂) and nitrous oxide (N₂O) in the atmosphere that are, respectively, 257%, 146% and 122% their 1750 levels.

Hydroxyl depletion extending methane's lifetime

The graph on the right also shows that methane levels in the atmosphere remained almost unchanged during the period 2000-2007. One explanation for this is that, as the world heated up due to the rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere rose accordingly (at a rate of 7% for each degree Celsius rise), which translated into more hydroxyl getting produced that resulted in more methane getting decomposed. So, while methane emissions kept rising, the amount of methane in the atmosphere remained relatively stable, as more methane got decomposed. Eventually, in 2007, the continued rise in methane emissions started to overwhelm the capacity of hydroxyl to decompose methane.   

The danger is that, as huge amounts of methane get released rapidly, hydroxyl depletion will extend its lifetime, in turn further accelerating heating and resulting in further releases of seafloor methane.

Methane's GWP

Measured over a few years, methane's global warming potential (GWP) is very high. The image on the right, from IPCC AR5, shows that over a 10-year timescale, the current global release of methane from all anthropogenic sources exceeds all anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions as agents of global warming; that is, methane emissions are more important than carbon dioxide emissions for driving the current rate of global warming.

The values for methane's GWP that are used in the image on the right are also used in the image below, which shows that over the first few years, methane's GWP is more than 150 times higher than carbon dioxide.


Above image is actually conservative, as the IPCC also gives higher values for methane's GWP in AR5, i.e. for fossil methane and when including climate change feedbacks, while there also is additional warming due to the carbon dioxide that results from methane's oxidation. Furthermore, research published in 2016 and 2018 found methane to be more potent than IPCC's GWP for methane in AR5, so it seems appropriate to use 150 as methane's GWP for periods of a few years.

Self-reinforcing feedback loops further accelerate heating in the Arctic and just one of them, seafloor methane, could suffice to cause runaway heating.

from an earlier post (2014)   As the image below shows, in which a GWP of 150 for methane is used, just the existing carbon dioxide and methane, plus seafloor methane releases, would suffice to trigger the clouds feedback tipping point to be crossed that by itself could push up global temperatures by 8°C, within a few years.


As described on above image and in an earlier post, a rapid temperature rise could result from a combination of elements, including albedo changes, loss of sulfate cooling, and methane released from destabilizing hydrates contained in sediments at the seafloor of oceans.

[ from an earlier post ] In the video below, Professor Peter Wadhams and Stuart Scott discuss the threat of large methane releases (recorded March 2019, published July 2019).


Seafloor methane releases could be triggered soon by strong winds causing an influx of warm, salty water into the Arctic ocean, as described in an earlier post and discussed in the 2017 video below. In the above images, methane is responsible for a temperature rise of as much as 1.1°C in a matter of years, but the rise won't stop there. A study published in 2012 calculates that 1000-fold methane increase could occur resulting in a rise of as much as 6°C within 80 years, with more to follow after that.



Youtube video by RT America
In the May 2019 video below, Professor Guy McPherson and Thom Hartmann discuss our predicament.



The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.


Links

• Extinction Alert
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/02/extinction-alert.html

• Geographical Distribution of Thermometers Gives the Appearance of Lower Historical Global Warming - by Rasmus Benestad et al.
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2019GL083474

• July on course to be hottest month ever, say climate scientists - The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/16/july-on-course-to-be-hottest-month-ever-say-climate-scientists

• Radiative forcing of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide: A significant revision of the methane radiative forcing - by Maryam Etminan et al. (2018)
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2016GL071930

• Large regional shortwave forcing by anthropogenic methane informed by Jovian observations - by William Collins et al. (2016)
https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/9/eaas9593

• Estimating and tracking the remaining carbon budget for stringent climate targets - by Joeri Rogelj et al.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1368-z

• As El Niño sets in, will global biodiversity collapse in 2019?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/11/as-el-nino-sets-in-will-global-biodiversity-collapse-in-2019.html

• Methane hydrates
https://methane-hydrates.blogspot.com/2013/04/methane-hydrates.html

• Damage of Land Biosphere due to Intense Warming by 1000-Fold Rapid Increase in Atmospheric Methane: Estimation with a Climate–Carbon Cycle Model, by Atsushi Abata et al. (2012)
https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00533.1

• Extreme weather
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extreme-weather.html

• Feedbacks in the Arctic
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html

• Albedo and Latent Heat
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/albedo.html

• Earth is on the edge of runaway warming
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2013/04/earth-is-on-the-edge-of-runaway-warming.html

• When Will We Die?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/06/when-will-we-die.html

• Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/02/warning-of-mass-extinction-of-species-including-humans-within-one-decade.html

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html



[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: El Nino, heating, rise, temperature]

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[l] at 9/14/19 1:32pm
Fires are raging over Alaska. The satellite image below shows the situation on July 8, 2019.


The satellite image below shows the situation on July 9, 2019.


The image below shows carbon monoxide levels as high as 43,443 ppb over Alaska on July 8, 2019.


Carbon dioxide levels were as high as 561 ppm over that same spot in Alaska on July 8, 2019. Carbon dioxide levels were as high as 888 ppm on July 10, 2019, as the image below shows.


The image below shows a forecast for July 10, 2019, with temperatures forecast to be as high as 35.5°C or 95.8°F.


What causes such extreme weather events to occur?

The Arctic has been heating up faster than the rest of the world, due to self-reinforcing feedback loops such as the decline of the snow and ice cover in the Arctic, which results in less sunlight getting reflected back into space and more sunlight instead getting absorbed in the Arctic.

As the image on the right shows, sea surface temperatures in the Bering Sea were as high as 19.8°C or 67.64°F on June 21, 2019.

As the image underneath shows, sea surface temperatures in the Bering Sea were as high as 21.6°C or 70.88°F on July 15, 2019.

Warm water from rivers flowing into the Bering Strait have contributed to some of the high temperatures of the water near the coast of Alaska.

Furthermore, as the June 21, 2019, image below shows, sea surface temperature anomalies have also been high around Alaska further away from the coast.

Indeed, more than 90% of the extra energy caused by humans goes into oceans, and sea currents carry a lot of this extra heat toward the Arctic Ocean.

As a result, ocean temperatures have been high for some time around Alaska.

The image below shows sea surface temperature anomalies around Alaska on June 21, 2019.


Another feedback is that, as the Arctic heats up faster than the rest of the world, the jet stream becomes more wavy, making it easier for cold air to flow out of the Arctic to the south and for warm air from the south to enter the Arctic. These changes to the jet stream also cause stronger storms to occur in the Arctic and more water vapor to enter the atmosphere. All this further contributes to more heating to occur in the Arctic and more extreme weather events.

Heatwaves also cause more forest fires to occur in Alaska, and these forest fires are causing large amounts of soot to get deposited on mountains and on sea ice, thus further blackening the surface. More generally, the Arctic is getting more deposits of soot and dust, as well as stronger growth of algae, moss and microbes, all further speeding up the demise of the snow and ice cover in the Arctic.

The image below shows sea surface temperature anomalies around Alaska on July 11, 2019, with an anomaly of 7.7°C or 13.8°F compared to 1981-2011 showing up north of Alaska in the Arctic Ocean. The light blue areas indicate sea surface that is colder, due to heavy melting of the sea ice in those areas.


The image below shows a deformed jet stream (forecast for July 9, 2019) that enables hot air from the south to move over Alaska.


from an earlier post (2014)   Heatwaves and forest fires are symptoms of the rapid heating that is taking place in the Arctic. Self-reinforcing feedback loops further accelerate heating in the Arctic and just one of them, seafloor methane, threatens to cause runaway heating.

Just the existing carbon dioxide and methane, plus seafloor methane releases, would suffice to trigger the clouds feedback tipping point to be crossed that by itself could push up global temperatures by 8°C, within a matter of years, as the image below shows.


As described on above image and in an earlier post, huge amounts of methane could be released from destabilizing hydrates contained in sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean. Such releases could be triggered by strong winds causing an influx of warm, salty water into the Arctic ocean, as described in an earlier post and discussed in the 2017 video below.


Youtube video by RT America
The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.


Links

• Extreme weather
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extreme-weather.html

• Feedbacks in the Arctic
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html

• When Will We Die?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/06/when-will-we-die.html

• Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/02/warning-of-mass-extinction-of-species-including-humans-within-one-decade.html

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html



[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: Alaska, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, CO, CO2, fire, SST]

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[l] at 9/14/19 12:39pm
It’s time to pursue hospice
by Guy McPherson

A Hearing was held by the New York City Council Committee on Environmental Protection on June 24, 2019, on the Resolution Declaring a climate emergency and calling for an immediate emergency mobilization to restore a safe climate. Below is Guy McPherson's testimony.

Thank you for the opportunity to address the Council’s Committee on the topic of Resolution 864. The topic under discussion is the most important in the history of our species. We face a stunningly severe existential risk that is routinely ignored or downplayed by governments, the corporate media, and paid climate scientists.

I am Guy McPherson, professor emeritus of conservation biology at the University of Arizona. I began my tenure at that University in 1989. I was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor, and then full professor, earlier than is customary. I am one of the relatively few people in history to achieve the status of full professor before turning 40 years of age. My lengthy resume is replete with scholarly publications, including dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles, the “gold standard” by which the process of science creates reliable knowledge. I received the highest awards given by each of the two transdisciplinary colleges at the University of Arizona, and I was granted the honor of emeritus status upon declining further paychecks from the university at the young age of 49 years. To stave off boredom during these two decades, I also served as a faculty member at the University of California-Berkeley, Southern Utah University, and the tiny liberal-arts school, Grinnell College.

But this isn’t about me. We are meeting here today to discuss the most important topic in human history.

I left active service in the academy more than a decade ago to set an example. I stepped away from the monetary system, which I knew was driving anthropogenic climate change and also the worst of the Mass Extinction Events on Earth. I hoped that many people would follow my lead as I lived off-grid in a straw-bale house, secured my water supply with two solar pumps and a hand pump, grew a vast majority of my food, defecated in a bucket, and contributed to the creation of a decent human community. These actions seemed like great sacrifices at the individual level. They did not produce the desired outcome, in part because the sacrifices did not “scale up” to the level of society.

We are in the midst of abrupt, irreversible climate change. We are in the midst of the Sixth Mass Extinction on Earth. As a result of these two, ongoing phenomena, we are faced with near-term human extinction.

Earth is currently at the highest global-average temperature experienced by Homo sapiens. There is no known technology to reduce the global-average temperature. We seem intent upon raising the global-average temperature until all habitat is gone, for humans and many other species.

There are several paths by which we could abruptly lose habitat for humans throughout the world. Habitat loss is already driving refugee crises in the Middle East, northern Africa, the South Pacific, Central America, and within the United States. The refugees attempting to cross the southern border of this country are not seeking a vacation to Disney Land. Rather, they are seeking a means of survival for themselves and their families.

How shall we act in the face of the greatest existential threat our species has ever encountered? The approach offered by Extinction Rebellion is to declare a climate emergency. This approach has been adopted by several government entities around the world. It is a fine starting point.

If declaring a planetary-scale emergency is the starting point, what follows? Where do we go from here?

If we are all going to die – and we are – then how shall we proceed, as a society? If our species is going extinct in the near future – and it is – then how shall we proceed, as a community? These are the two critical questions I pose to you today. These are the important questions I would like the Council, and all of us, to ponder during the coming days and weeks.

How we respond to these two questions defines our humanity. Is there a better measure of our character than how we face our individual death and the demise of our species?

I’m here to ask these questions. Unlike Socrates, I’m here to do more than ask difficult questions: I will also propose a response. Before I reveal my response, I would like to read a short passage from Viktor Frankl’s 1946 book, Man’s Search for Meaning. Written shortly after Frankl was a prisoner-of-war in Nazi Germany, Man’s Search for Meaning was published. It has inspired millions of people, including me.

“Between a stimulus and a response there is a space. In that space is the power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. The last of human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any set of circumstances.”

I would add that we can choose not only our attitude, but also our actions. Again, what better measure of our character than how we respond in the face of impossible odds?

I support Extinction Rebellion in its call for a climate emergency. However, abundant evidence indicates it is too late for a declaration of emergency to prevent our imminent extinction. The strategy I propose goes beyond sounding the alarm. I propose planetary hospice.

Lest you believe otherwise, I am not proposing we “give up” the fight against climate change. However, as the best-informed doctor in the room, and probably on the planet, I believe it is time to accept that we are in Stage 4 as a species. I’ll repeat that, because it’s important to understand: The living planet is almost certainly in the fourth and final stage of a terminal condition. Neither hope nor action will stave off the Sixth Mass Extinction. Neither hope nor any known combination of actions will slow or stop human extinction. It is long past time we admitted hospice is the appropriate way forward.

How do people act when they accept their imminent demise? How do people respond to palliative care within hospice? A quick look into these issues suggests a path forward for this community.

Physicians, especially oncologists, used to lie regularly to their patients. Through the 1960s, lying was considered perfectly appropriate. After all, hope was viewed as unimpeachably good, and removing hope by presenting the facts was therefore undesirable.

More recently, and with much discussion among medical doctors and ethicists, it has become acceptable to tell the full truth to patients. Based upon research conducted during the last few decades, hope is no longer viewed as a motivator for many patients. In response, physicians tend to reveal the full truth to patients. It seems the medical community is ‘catching up’ with common sense in concluding that hope is a poor motivator for action.

It’s time to tell the full truth. It’s time to pursue hospice, with as much honesty, integrity, and compassion as we can muster. It’s time to admit that ignoring the decades-long warnings about climate change have led directly to the expected outcome. It’s time to comfort the afflicted, which includes each of us.

I am often asked for advice about how to live during these tenuous times. In response, I recommend living fully. I recommend living with intention. I recommend living urgently, with death in mind. I recommend the pursuit of excellence. I recommend the pursuit of love. In light of the short time remaining in your life, and my own, I recommend all of the above, louder than before. More fully than you can imagine. To the limits of this restrictive culture, and beyond. Live like you are dying. The day draws near.

Each of us was born into a set of living arrangements over which we have no control. The scorched-Earth policies we have adopted and implemented during the last two centuries have led to the expected outcome: a scorched Earth.

The time for blame has long passed. The time for shaming others has long passed. No blame, no shame: At the edge of extinction, only love remains. Let’s pursue hospice as one expression of our love.


References:

Yesterday’s Testimony, by Guy McPherson
https://guymcpherson.com/2019/06/yesterdays-testimony/

Video of Guy McPherson's Testimony



Guy McPherson talks with Professor Yonder Gillihan, Boston College, March 27, 2019 (Short Version)


[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: climate emergency, Guy McPherson, hospice]

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[l] at 9/14/19 12:03pm
Beyond climate tipping points
Greenhouse gas levels exceed the stability limit of the
Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets

by Andrew Glikson
Abstract
The pace of global warming has been grossly underestimated. As the world keeps increasing its carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions, rising in 2018 to a record 33.1 billion ton of CO₂ per year, the atmospheric greenhouse gas level has now exceeded 560 ppm (parts per million) CO ₂ -equivalent, namely when methane and nitrous oxide are included. This level surpasses the stability threshold of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. The term “climate change”   is thus no longer appropriate, since what is happening in the atmosphere-ocean system, accelerating over the last 70 years or so, is an abrupt calamity on a geological dimension, threatening nature and human civilization. Ignoring what the science says, the powers-that-be are presiding over the sixth mass extinction of species, including humanity.

As conveyed by leading scientists “Climate change is now reaching the end-game, where very soon humanity must choose between taking unprecedented action, or accepting that it has been left too late and bear the consequences” (Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber) ... “We’ve reached a point where we have a crisis, an emergency, but people don’t know that ... There’s a big gap between what’s understood about global warming by the scientific community and what is known by the public and policymakers” (Prof. James Hansen).


Rising greenhouse gases and temperatures

By May 2019 CO₂ levels (measured at Mauna Loa, Hawaii) reached 414.66 ppm, growing at a rate of 3.42 ppm/year, well above the highest rate recorded for the last 65 million years. The total CO ₂ , methane (CH ₄ ) and nitrous oxide (N ₂ O) expressed as CO ₂ -equivalents has reached at least 560.3 ppm (Table 1) (at a very low forcing value for methane ¹), the highest concentration since 34 - 23 Million years ago, when atmospheric CO ₂  ranged between 350 and 500 ppm.

Table 1 . Total atmospheric CO 2 e from CO 2 , CH 4 and N 2 O CO 2 CO 2 rate CH 4 CH 4 rate N 2 O 414.66 ppm  3.42 ppm/year 1865.4 ppb 9.2 ppm/year 332ppb CO 2 ppm CO 2 ppm  rise/year CH 4 ppm CH 4 forcing ≥25 CO 2 e CH 4 ppb rise/year N 2 O ppm N2O forcing = 298 CO 2 e CO 2 ppm  414.7
CH 4 ppm forcing
1.865 x ≥25 =
≥ 46.6 ppm CO 2 e   (equivalent)
N 2 O ppm forcing
0.332 x 298 =
99 ppm CO 2 e   (equivalent)
Total CO 2 e: 414.7+46.6+99 = >560.3 ppm CO 2 e  ¹A methane forcing value of 25 x  CO 2  is very low. Higher forcing values are more appropriate.
Plus: SF₆, CHF3, CH2F2, CF4, C2F6, C3F8, C4F10, C4F8, C5F12, C6F1

Figure 1. Projected CO₂ levels for IPCC emission scenarios
The current rise of the total greenhouse gas levels to at least 560 ppm CO ₂ -equivalent, twice the pre-industrial  CO 2  level of 280 ppm, implies that global warming has potentially reached +2°C to +3°C above pre-industral temperature. Considering the mitigating albedo/reflection effects of atmospheric aerosols, including sulphur dioxide, dust, nitrate and organic carbon, the mean rise of land temperature exceeds +1.5°C (Berkeley Earth institute).

The threshold for collapse of the Greenland ice sheet is estimated in the range of 400-560 ppm CO ₂  at approximately 2.0 - 2.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures, and is retarded by hysteresis (where a physical property lags behind changes in the effect causing it). The threshold for the breakdown of the West Antarctic ice sheet is similar. The greenhouse gas level and temperature conditions under which the East Antarctic ice sheet formed about 34 million years ago are estimated as ~800–2000 ppm at 4 to 6 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial values. Based mainly on satellite gravity data there is evidence the East Antarctic ice sheet is beginning to melt in places (Jones, 2019), with ice loss rates of approximately 40 Gt/y (Gigaton of ice per year) in 1979–1990 and up to to 252 Gt/y in 2009–2017 (Rignot et al., 2019).

The cumulative contribution to sea-level rise from Antarctic ice melt was 14.0 ± 2.0 mm since 1979. This includes 6.9 ± 0.6 mm from West Antarctica, 4.4 ± 0.9 mm from East Antarctica, and 2.5 ± 0.4 mm from the Antarctic Peninsula (Rignot et al., 2019). Based on the above the current CO ₂ -equivalent level of at least 560 ppm closely correlates with the temperature peak at ~16 million tears ago (Figures 2 and 5), when the Greenland ice sheet did not exist and large variations affected the Antarctic ice sheet (Gasson et al., 2016).

Figure 2. Updated Cenozoic pCO₂ and stacked deep-sea benthic foraminifer oxygen isotope curve for 0 to
65 Ma (Zachos et al., 2008) converted to the Gradstein timescale (Gradstein et al., 2004).
ETM2 = Eocene Thermal Maximum 2, PETM = Paleocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum.

Transient melt events

As the glacial sheets disintegrate, cold ice-melt water flowing into the ocean ensue in large cold water pools, a pattern recorded through the glacial-interglacial cycles of the last 450,000 years, manifested by the growth of cold regions in the north Atlantic Ocean south of Greenland and in the Southern Ocean fringing Antarctica (Figures 3 and 4). The warming of the Arctic is driven by the ice-water albedo flip (where dark sea-water absorbing solar energy alternate with high-albedo ice and snow) and by the weakening of the polar boundary and jet stream. Penetration of Arctic-derived cold air masses through the weakened boundary results in extreme weather events in North America, Europe and northern Asia, such as the Beast from the East event.

Warming of +3°C to +4°C above pre-industrial levels, leading to enhanced ice-sheet melt, would raise sea levels by 2 to 5 meters toward the end of the century, and likely by 25 meters in the longer term. Golledge et al. (2019) show meltwater from Greenland will lead to substantial slowing of the Atlantic overturning circulation, while meltwater from Antarctica will trap warm water below the sea surface, increasing Antarctic ice loss. The effects of ice sheet-melt waters on the oceans were hardly included in IPCC models. Depending on the amplifying feedbacks, prolonged Greenland and Antarctic melting (Figures 3 and 4) and a consequent freeze event may ensue, lasting perhaps as long as two to three centuries.

Figure 3. (A) Global warming map (NASA 2018). Note the cool ocean regions south of Greenland
and along the Antarctic. Credits: Scientific Visualization Studio/Goddard Space Flight Center;
(B) 2012 Ocean temperatures around Antarctica, (NASA 2012).
21st–23rd centuries uncharted climate territory
Modelling of climate trends for the 2100-2300 by the IPCC AR5 Synthesis Report, 2014 portrays predominantly linear models of greenhouse gas rise, global temperatures and sea levels. These models however appear to take little account of amplifying feedbacks from land and ocean and of the effects of cold ice-melt water on the oceans. According to Steffen et al. (2018) “self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold” and “would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and to sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene”.

Amplifying feedbacks of global warming include:
  • The albedo-flip in melting sea ice and ice sheets and the increase of the water surface area and thereby the sequestration of CO₂. Hudson (2011) estimates a rise in radiative forcing due to removal of Arctic summer sea ice of 0.7 Watt/m², a value close to the total of methane release since 1750.
  • Reduced ocean CO₂ intake due to lesser solubility of the gas with higher temperatures.
  • Vegetation desiccation and loss in some regions, and thereby reduced evaporation with its cooling effect. This factor and the increase of precipitation in other regions lead to a differential feedbacks from vegetation as the globe warms (Notaro et al. 2007).
  • An increase in wildfires, releasing greenhouse gases.
  • Release of methane from permafrost, bogs and sediments and other factors.
Linear temperature models do not appear to take into account the effects on the oceans of ice melt water derived from the large ice sheets, including the possibility of a major stadial event such as already started in oceanic tracts fringing Greenland and Antarctica (Figure 3). In the shorter term sea level rises include the Greenland ice sheet (6-7 meter sea level rise) and West Antarctic ice sheet melt (4.8 meter sea level rise). Referring to major past stadial events, including the 8200 years-old Laurentian melt event and the 12.7-11.9 younger dryas event, a prolonged breakdown of parts of the Antarctic ice sheet could result in major sea level rise and extensive cooling of northern and southern latitudes, parallel with warming of tropical and mid-latitudes (Figure 4) (Hansen et al., 2016). The clashes between polar-derived cold weather fronts and tropical air masses are bound to lead to extreme weather events, echoed in Storms of my grandchildren (Hansen, 2010).

Figure 4. Model Surface-air temperature (°C) for 2096 relative to 1880–1920 (Hansen et al. 2016).
The projection portrays major cooling of the North Atlantic Ocean, cooling of the circum-Antarctic Ocean 

and further warming in the tropics, subtropics and the interior of continents, including Siberia and Canada.
Summary and conclusions
  1. Global greenhouse gases have reached a level exceeding the stability threshold of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, melting at an accelerated rate
  2. The current growth rate of atmospheric greenhouse gas of 3.42 ppm CO₂/year is the fastest recorded for the last 55 million years
  3. Allowing for the transient albedo enhancing effects of sulphur dioxide and other aerosols, mean global temperature has reached about 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. 
  4. Due to hysteresis the large ice sheets outlast their melting temperatures. 
  5. Cold ice melt water flowing from the ice sheets at an accelerated rate will reduce the temperature of large ocean tracts in the North Atlantic and circum-Antarctic. Strong temperature contrasts between cold polar-derived air and water masses and tropical air and water masses would result in extreme weather events, retarding agriculture in large parts of the world. 
  6. Humans will survive in relatively favorable parts of Earth, such as sub-polar regions and sheltered mountain valleys, where hunting of surviving fauna may be possible.
  7. In the wake of partial melting of the large ice sheets, the Earth climate would shift to polarized conditions including reduced polar ice sheets and tropical to super-tropical regions such as existed in the Miocene (5.3 - 23 million years ago) (Figure 5). 
Figure 5. Late Oligocene–Miocene inferred atmospheric CO2 fluctuations and effects on global temperature
based on Stromata index (SI) of 25 and 12 Ma (late Oligocene to late middle Miocene) fossil leaf remains;
(A) Reconstructed late Oligocene–middle Miocene CO2 levels based on individual independently
calibrated tree species; (B) Modeled temperature departure of global mean surface temperature from
present day, calculated from mean CO2 estimates by using a CO2–temperature sensitivity study. Red
discontinuous lines: 2019 CO2-e levels and 2019 temperatures (discounting the aerosol masking effects). Current greenhouse gas forcing and global mean temperature are approaching Miocene Optimum-like composition, bar the hysteresis effects of reduced ice sheets (Figure 5). Strong temperature polarities are suggested by the contrasts between reduced Antarctic ice sheet and super-tropical conditions in low to mid-latitudes. Land areas would be markedly reduced due to a sea level rise of approximately 40 ± 15 meters.
Andrew Glikson

Dr Andrew Glikson Earth and climate scientist
Australian National University
Canberra, Australian Territory, Australia geospec@iinet.net.au
Books : The Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earth
http://www.springer.com/gp/ book/9783319079073 The Asteroid Impact Connection of Planetary Evolution http://www.springer.com/gp/ book/9789400763272 Asteroids Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australia http://www.springer.com/us/ book/9783319745442  Climate, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocene http://www.springer.com/gp/ book/9783319225111 The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earth http://www.springer.com/gp/ book/9783319572369 Evolution of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizon http://www.springer.com/gp/ book/9789400773318  From Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligence https://www.springer.com/us/ book/9783030106027
From Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligence
The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earth
Added below is a video with an August 6, 2019, interview of Andrew Glikson by Guy McPherson and Kevin Hester, as edited by Tim Bob.





[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: Andrew Glikson, Antarctica, feedbacks, forcing, greenhouse gas, Greenland, rise, sea level, temperature, tipping points]

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[l] at 9/14/19 11:33am

Melt extent over Greenland was well over 40% on June 12, 2019.

The surface melt map that day (on the right) shows many coastal areas for which data are missing, as indicated by the grey color.

As the June 13, 2019, NASA Worldview satellite image (underneath, right) shows, snow and ice in many coastal areas has melted away.

Four nullschool images are added below. The first one shows air temperatures over Greenland as high as 22.7°C or 72.9°F on June 13, 2019, at 1000 mb. Also note the high temperatures visible over East Siberia and the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS).

A second nullschool image shows that a temperature of 0.9°C or 33.5°F was recorded at the North Pole on June 15, 2019. Temperatures above the melting point of ice have been recorded at the North Pole for some time now.

The third nullschool image shows that temperatures as high as 30.5°C or 86.8°F are forecast for June 19, 2019, near Tiksi, which is on the coast of Siberia where the Lena River flows into the Laptev Sea and the Arctic Ocean.

What causes this? As the Arctic is heating up faster than the rest of the world, the path of the jet stream is changing. On June 19, 2019, the jet stream is forecast to move from Siberia to the Laptev Sea at speeds as high as 192 km/h or 119 mph.

The satellite image shows smoke from fires getting pushed by strong winds over the Laptev Sea on June 16, 2019. Smoke settling on ice makes it darker, further speeding up the melting.
[ Temperatures over Greenland as high as 22.7°C or 72.9°F on June 13, 2019, at 1000 mb ] [ Temperature of 0.9°C or 33.5°F at the North Pole on June 15, 2019 ] [ temperatures as high as 30.5°C or 86.8°F are forecast for June 19, 2019, near Tiksi, Siberia ] [ jet stream is forecast to move from Siberia to the Laptev Sea as fast as at 192 km/h or 119 mph June 19, 2019 ] [ fires getting pushed by strong winds on June 16, 2019, over the Laptev Sea (at bottom of image)  ] In conclusion, temperatures over the Arctic are high. Changes to the jet stream due to the rapid heating of the Arctic are causing hot air to move deep into the Arctic, including over the Laptev Sea all the way to the North Pole, while high temperatures in Siberia are warming up the water of rivers, causing warm water to flow into the Arctic Ocean.  
The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.





[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: Arctic, Greenland, jet stream, Laptev Sea, ocean, wildfires]

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[l] at 9/14/19 10:51am

A rise of more than 5°C could happen within a decade, possibly by 2026. Humans will likely go extinct with a 3°C rise and most life on Earth will disappear with a 5°C rise. In the light of this, we should act with integrity.

When will we die?

The outlook for people living now is that they will die before the end of the century. After all, even in more developed regions, people statistically die at an age below 75 years, as the image on the right illustrates.

The image calls up questions regarding possible shortening of life expectancy due to global heating.

A 2018 study by Strona & Bradshaw indicates that most life on Earth will disappear with a 5°C rise (see box on the right).

The first question therefore is whether and how fast such a rise could eventuate.

Furthermore, global heating projections for the year 2100 may seem rather irrelevant to many people, as they do not expect to be alive by the year 2100.

A second question therefore is what makes most sense, focusing on the year 2100, or on how much temperatures could rise over the next decade.

Clouds tipping point

A recent study points at a tipping point of 1,200 ppm CO₂e when marine stratus clouds start to disappear, resulting in an additional global heating of eight degrees Celsius (8°C or 14.4°F).

In other words, such a rise from clouds feedback would clearly suffice to cause extinction of most life on Earth.

Could this tipping point be crossed soon?

At its high-end, the A1F1 scenario used by the IPCC reaches a CO₂e level of 1550 ppm by the year 2100 (see screenshot below).

As discussed, the year 2100 is rather distant. The question is, could this 1,200 ppm CO₂e tipping point be crossed earlier, say, within one decade?

On May 15, 2019, scripps.ucsd.edu recorded a carbon dioxide level of 415.7 ppm at Mauna Loa, Hawaii. NOAA recorded a methane level of 1.867 ppm for December 2018. As shown at the FAQ page, methane is 150 times as potent as a greenhouse gas over the next ten years compared to carbon dioxide. Accordingly, this 1.867 ppm of methane causes global heating of 280.05 ppm CO₂e.

Seafloor methane

Imagine a burst of methane erupting from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean that would add an amount of methane to the atmosphere equal to twice the methane that is already there. Twice the 1.867 ppm of methane is 3.734 ppm, which at 150 times the potency of carbon dioxide translates into a CO₂e of 560.1 ppm.

Adding this to the current levels of carbon dioxide and methane results in a level of 1255.85 ppm CO₂e, well exceeding the 1,200 ppm CO₂e tipping point and thus triggering the extra 8°C rise.




Above image was created with content from a recent paper by Natalia Shakhova et al. It shows that the outlook is much more grim than many people realize.


Above image illustrates the danger, as an ominous sign of what's on the way. Methane levels as high as 2.975 ppm were recorded on June 11, 2019, at 469 mb. A peak this high is likely to have originated from the seafloor.


Above image shows a solid-colored magenta area over the ESAS that afternoon, further indicating that large amounts of methane did erupt earlier that day from destabilizing sediments in the ESAS.

Koalas declared functionally extinct

The Australian Koala Foundation has declared Koalas "functionally extinct". While there still are some 80,000 Koalas left, it is unlikely that Koalas will be able to escape full extinction for long.

Climate change-driven droughts and heat waves are causing dehydration and heat stress, leading to organ failure and premature death.

A rapid temperature rise could make virtually all species on Earth go extinct. As the above-mentioned study points out, even the most robust lifeforms on Earth will likely disappear with a 5°C rise, as species on which they depend will die.

Near Term Human Extinction

For mammals, which depend on a lot of other species, extinction is likely to come earlier.  When looking at near-term human extinction, a 3°C rise from preindustrial will likely suffice to cause extinction.

In 2019, the global temperature could already be 1.85°C above preindustrial and a rapid temperature rise could take place over the next few years.

A lot of good action is possible, as described in the Climate Plan, which offers the greatest amount of flexibility in local implementation, within the constraints of the need to act on climate change as acknowledged, e.g. at the Paris Agreement.

Nonetheless, humans likely are already functionally extinct, as is most life on Earth. This may come as a surprise to many people, but that shouldn't stop people from doing the right thing.

The above image reflects the joint CO₂e impact of carbon dioxide and methane. In addition, there is the impact of further greenhouse gases, such as nitrous oxide and CFCs, as described in a recent post. There are more warming elements, such as albedo loss associated with the decline of the snow and ice cover. These warming elements could jointly push up the temperature rise to some 10°C above preindustrial, while the clouds feedback could add a further 8°C on top of that.

Sulfates do have a cooling effect, but this effect may fall away as society grinds to a halt and stops co-emitting sulfates alongside other emissions in the process of burning fuel, as Guy McPherson has pointed out repeatedly, e.g. in this recent post.

In the video below, recorded at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks on 4 April 2019, Guy McPherson explains how loss of habitat can lead to extinction of species and how global heating can lead to extinction of virtually all life on Earth.


Added below is a video edited by Tim Bob of Guy McPherson talking in Juneau, Alaska, in April, 2019.



In the video below, Examples of Rapid Extinction, Guy McPherson gives examples of species that went extinct rapidly in the past, warning that to rule out rapid extinction of humans would be foolish.



Links

• United Nations, world population prospects, 2017, Life expectancy
https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/pdf/popfacts/PopFacts_2017-9.pdf
https://www.un.org/development/desa/publications/world-population-prospects-the-2017-revision.html

• Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR4 (2007), Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis
https://archive.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/spmsspm-projections-of.html

• Co-extinctions annihilate planetary life during extreme environmental change, by Giovanni Strona and Corey Bradshaw (2018)
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-35068-1

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

• Extinction
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html

• Possible climate transitions from breakup of stratocumulus decks under greenhouse warming, by Tapio Schneider et al.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-019-0310-1

• FAQ #13: What is the global warming potential of methane?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/faq.html#13

• Methane hydrates
https://methane-hydrates.blogspot.com/2013/04/methane-hydrates.html

• Methane, measured by the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) residing on the MetOp polar orbiting satellites
https://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/soundings/iasi

• A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/02/a-rise-of-18c-or-324f-by-2026.html

• Greenhouse Gas Levels Keep Accelerating
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/05/greenhouse-gas-levels-keep-accelerating.html

• Stronger Extinction Alert
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/03/stronger-extinction-alert.html

• Understanding the Permafrost–Hydrate System and Associated Methane Releases in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, by Natalia Shakhova, Igor Semiletov and Evgeny Chuvilin
https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3263/9/6/251

• Guy McPherson at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, April 2019
https://guymcpherson.com/2019/04/the-first-of-two-presentations-at-the-university-of-alaska-fairbanks/

• Guy McPherson in Juneau, Alaska, April 2019
https://guymcpherson.com/2019/05/presentation-in-juneau-alaska

• Seven Distinct Paths to Loss of Habitat for Humans, by Guy McPherson
https://weeklyhubris.com/seven-distinct-paths-to-loss-of-habitat-for-humans


Koalas

Koala habitat 1788 versus 2018
From: savethekoala.com
https://www.savethekoala.com/our-work/act-or-axe

• A report claims koalas are ‘functionally extinct’ – but what does that mean?
https://theconversation.com/a-report-claims-koalas-are-functionally-extinct-but-what-does-that-mean-116665

• Australian Koala Foundation calls on the new Prime Minister to protect the Koala
https://www.savethekoala.com/sites/savethekoala.com/files/uploads/AKF_press_release_10_may_2019.pdf

• Koalas become 'Functionally Extinct' in Australia with just 80,000 left
https://www.ecowatch.com/koalas-functionally-extinct-australia-2637183484.html

• Koalas declared “functionally extinct”
https://inhabitat.com/koalas-declared-functionally-extinct

• Why the Heck Do So Many Koalas Have Chlamydia?
https://www.livescience.com/62517-how-koalas-get-chlamydia.html



[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: Arctic, clouds, ESAS, Evgeny Chuvilin, extinction, Guy McPherson, hydrates, Igor Semilitov, Koalas, life expectancy, methane, Natalia Shakhova, near-term human extinction, ocean, tipping point]

[*] [+] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 9/14/19 10:20am
What we're witnessing is more than a climate crisis, we're facing climate catastrophe and the outlook is grim. We're already in the Sixth Mass Extinction event and we're facing a potential global temperature rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026. Merely declaring a climate emergency is not enough.

[ from the post A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026? ] The Climate Plan advocates measures that can be taken in efforts to improve the situation regarding the climate, as well as regarding the health, prospects and wellbeing of people and life in general. These measures can and should be implemented immediately, in line with the current climate crisis.


Seventeen measures for immediate implementation

1. FOSSIL FUEL - Ban the use of coal and natural gas for heating, cooking and generating electricity. Stop supplying natural gas from utilities over pipelines. Ban sales of natural gas bottles. Use rationing of electricity supply from the grid to overcome bottlenecks in supply, until sufficient clean, renewable electricity can fully supply demand over the grid.

2. NUCLEAR POWER - Stop nuclear power plants from continuing to operate and start decommissioning existing plants. Study options for treating and storing waste from such plants.

3. WOOD AND BIOFUEL - Progressively ban the use of wood and other biomass for generating power, for driving vehicles or for other energy-related purposes. Impose fees on sales of biofuel, while using revenues to fund pyrolysis of biowaste and on return of the resulting biochar to the soil locally. Ban sales and installation of new woodburners. Ban sales or supply of firewood, woodchips, briquets, charcoal, etc. Impose annual fees through local rates on real estate that contain existing woodburners, open fireplaces, and traditional ovens and furnaces that use wood, while using revenues to fund rebates on local sales of clean electric alternatives such as heat pumps.

4. ROAD AND RAIL VEHICLES - Progressively electrify all trains and rail traffic, by imposing fees on trains that run on fossil fuel, while using revenues to fund conversion to or purchase of new electric trains. Progressively ban the use of vehicles with internal combustion in cities, first for one day in the week, then for two days a week, etc. Add fees to annual registration of vehicles with internal combustion engines, and use the revenues to fund rebates on registration of electric vehicles. Progressively close petrol stations and ban sales of products such as gas, diesel, petrol and further fossil fuel. Add fees to sales of fossil fuel and use revenues to fund rebates on clean public transport locally. Ensure there is public access to financial records. Set standards to reduce unnecessary vehicle noise, while ensuring sufficient sound is generated to warn people and wildlife.

5. AVIATION - Progressively ban aviation where flights are powered by jet fuel and other fossil fuel and biofuel. Impose fees on sales of such fuel and use revenues to fund rebates on electric airplanes that can take off and land on rooftops. Similarly, add fees to flights entering and leaving airports by airplanes using fossil fuel, while using revenues to fund electric airplanes that can take off and land on rooftops.

6. SHIPPING - Progressively prohibit use of bunker fuel and other fossil fuel in shipping. Impose fees on sales of bunker fuel, with revenues used to fund batteries and hydrogen fuel cells to replace traditional engines in ships. Impose fees on shipping of fossil fuel, with revenues used to clean up waterways and support wildlife conservation.

7. URBAN WASTE - Progressively make that zero % waste leaves each city, neither by road or boat transport nor through the sky, soil or waterways. Make that waste will be processed within each city, preferably pyrolyzed with biochar and nutrients returned to soils. Add sensors to rubbish bins and garbage collection trucks to ensure that no toxic products are disposed off, unless through collection points that ensure proper processing.

8. PLASTIC - Ensure that no plastic (or plastic parts) will be sold without permit and without fees high enough to ensure return of such items to approved collection points for safe disposal and processing. Ban single-use plastic, such as for packaging, drinking, etc.

9. DIET - Progressively ban sales of livestock products, unless supplied for medical purposes if no alternatives are available. Add fees to sales of livestock products, with revenues used to fund rebates on soil and water supplements that contain biochar and olivine sand in rural areas. In coastal areas, use revenues to assist enhanced weathering in waterways. Stop using antibiotics and hormones to stimulate growth in animals. Stop using crop to feed animals, unless for sales of petfood to pets held with a permit. Add fees on sales of products that have carbon dioxide, sugar, salt, flavors or coloring added, with revenues used to promote vegan-organic diet.

10. AGRICULTURE - Add fees on sales of nitrogen fertilizers and use revenues to fund rebates on biochar and enhanced weather in oceans.

11. WILDLIFE CONSERVATION - Ban chemical pesticides. Remove walls and fences that stop wildlife. Provide ways for wildlife to cross roads and highways. Set aside progressively increasing areas where no urban, agricultural, industrial development is allowed. Move existing buildings, agriculture and industries from such areas. Fund progress through annual fees imposed on real estate in areas zones for industrial, urban and agricultural development.

12. CONSTRUCTION - Add fees on sales of Portland cement, with revenues used to fund carbon-negative contruction material used locally. Fees must be high enough to progressively phase out use of Portland cement.

13. AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY - Prohibit dumping of agricultural and other waste in landfalls, prohibit burning of waste in open fires. Prohibit cutting down large trees without permits. Where permits are supplied, add fees to minimize deforestation, while using revenues to support reforestation and afforestation. Ensure that biowaste gets pyrolyzed, with the biochar returned to the soil locally. Add fees on local rates where soil loses carbon content, with revenues used to fund rebates where soil carbon content increases, such as when biochar and olivine sand are added or when new trees are planted.

14. COOLING - Ban sales of new air-conditioners, fridges and freezers that work with gases. Impose annually rising fees on existing items, while using the revenues from the annual fees to fund rebates on solid state products, including heat pumps.

15. INDUSTRY - Ban the use of cleaning, solvents and other products that result in further addition of greenhouse gases.

16. UNIVERSITIES - Encourage further study in the effectiveness of measures in all above areas. Compare what happens locally with what in other areas, to ensure the most effective policy tools are used locally to facilitate the necessary transitions. Government grants are to be given to studies that sufficiently care about above points.

17. FURTHER ACTION - Further lines of action will be needed to hold back the temperature rise. Some action requires further research and U.N. supervision. Some other action has low risk and, due to the urgency to keep temperatures down, testing and R&D should commence immediately. This applies in particular to ways to reduce overheating of the Arctic.

Examples of such measures are Marine Cloud Brightening off the east coast of North America, in efforts to cool the waters entering the Arctic Ocean. Proposals that need further study are the use of icebreakers during the northern Fall and Winter, to enable more heat to escape from the Arctic Ocean, thus reducing the risk of ocean heat destabilizing methane hydrates at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean. That risk is high from late September when the sea ice starts closing off the Arctic Ocean, thus making it difficult for ocean heat to escape, while warm water is still being carried into the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean. Denis Bonnelle has proposed to use icebreakers that travel in parallel and are interconnected to also clear the ice in between them.

While implementation of some of these lines of action requires U.N. supervision, much of the proposed action can readily be implemented locally without delay and the Climate Plan prefers speedy local implementation, with communities deciding what works best locally, provided that a community does take sufficient action to achieve the necessary dramatic reductions in each type of pollution, in line with the Paris Agreement to avoid a large temperature rise. Examples of implementation of some of these lines of action are depicted in the image below, showing examples of how progress can be achieved through local feebates.

The overview below also includes further possible action that could be considered. Importantly, the situation is that dire that even if all possible action as described is taken, this constitutes no guarantee that any humans will survive the coming decades.


The image below depicts how the above-mentioned measures line up in response to the threat.


In conclusion, the technologies and policy instruments are ready for implementation, so let's stop delaying what's needed so desperately, now is the time for comprehensive and effective action!



[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: action, climate, climate plan, crisis, emergency, wildlife]

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[l] at 9/14/19 9:43am
Carbon Dioxide


Weekly CO₂ (carbon dioxide) levels at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, in May, 2019, reached 415.39 ppm, as above image shows. An ominous trendline points at 420 ppm in 2020.


The daily average CO₂ level recorded by NOAA at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, on May 15, 2019, was 415.64 ppm, as above image shows. The image below also shows hourly average levels from April 15, 2019, to May 15, 2019.


Current CO₂ levels far exceed levels that were common during the past 800,000 years, as the image below shows. CO₂ levels moved between roughly 180 and 280 ppm, while the temperature went up and down by some 10°C or 18°F.


The daily average CO₂ level recorded by scripps.ucsd.edu at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, on May 13, 2019, was 415.5 ppm and the May 15, 2019, level was 415.7 ppm. On May 14, 2019, one hourly average exceeded 417 ppm.


The situation is dire

This level of 417 ppm is 139 ppm above the CO₂ level in the year 1750 and more than 157 ppm above what the CO₂ level would have been if levels had followed a natural trend. As shown by the inset (from Ruddiman et al.) in above image, a natural trend points at levels below 260 ppm.

Furthermore, methane levels are rising even faster than CO₂ levels. While CO₂ levels did rise by 146% since 1750, methane levels did rise by 257% since that time and there is much potential for an even faster rise in methane levels due to seafloor hydrate releases. Levels of nitrous oxide also keep rising rapidly.

Such a rise in greenhouse gas levels has historically corresponded with more than 10°C or 18°F of warming, when looking at greenhouse gas levels and temperatures over the past 800,000 years, as illustrated by the image below.


Given that a 100 ppm rise in CO₂ did historically cause temperatures to rise by 10°C or 18°F, how much warming would be in line with a 157 ppm CO₂ and how fast could such a rise unfold?

A temperature of 10°C or 18° above 1750 seems in line with such high greenhouse gas levels. This is illustrated by above graph, based on 420,000 years of ice core data from Vostok, Antarctica, and as the post What Does Abrupt Climate Change Look Like? describes.


Why isn't it much warmer now? Why hasn't such a rise happened yet? Oceans and ice are still holding off such a rise, by absorbing huge amounts of warming. Of 1993-2003 warming, 95.5% was absorbed by oceans and ice. However, ocean stratification and ice loss are making the atmosphere take up more and more heat.

There are further warming elements, in addition to the accelerating rise in greenhouse gas levels. Mentioned above is the loss of the snow and ice cover. The domino effect is a popular way to demonstrate a chain reaction. It is typically sequential and typically uses dominoes that are equal in size. A chain reaction can be achieved with solid dominoes each as much as 1.5 times larger than the previous one. The exponential function is discussed in the video below by Guy McPherson. Rather than following a linear order, warming elements can be self-reinforcing feedback loops and can influence each other in ways that multiply (rather than pass on) their impact, which can speed up the temperature rise exponentially.

So, how fast and by how much could temperatures rise? As oceans and ice are taking up ever less heat, rapid warming of the lower troposphere could occur very soon. When including the joint impact of all warming elements, as described in a recent post, abrupt climate change could result in a rise of as much as 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026. This could cause most life on Earth (including humans) to go extinct within years.

Methane

Next to carbon dioxide, there are further greenhouse gases. Methane is important, because of its high short-term potency as a greenhouse gas and because methane levels in the atmosphere have hugely risen since 1750, and especially recently, as illustrated by the image on the right.

Carbon dioxide (CO₂), methane (CH₄) and nitrous oxide (N₂O) levels in the atmosphere in 2017 were, respectively, 257%, 146% and 122% their 1750 levels.

A recent study by Turetsky et al. concludes that, since sudden collapse releases more carbon per square metre because it disrupts stockpiles deep in frozen layers, and since abrupt thawing releases more methane than gradual thawing does, the impact of thawing permafrost on Earth’s climate could be twice that expected from current models.

As said, there also is a huge and growing danger of large abrupt methane releases from clathrates contained in sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean.

As illustrated by the image below, methane levels are rising and this rise is accelerating.


The graph shows July 1983 through December 2018 monthly global methane means at sea level, with added trend. Higher methane means can occur at higher altitude than at sea level. On Sep 3, 2018, daily methane means as high as 1905 ppb were recorded at 307 mb, an altitude at which some of the strongest growth in methane has occurred, as discussed in earlier posts such as this one.

The recent rise in methane is the more worrying in the light of recent research that calculates that methane's radiative forcing is about 25% higher than reported in IPCC AR5, implying that methane's GWP (global warming potential) over 10 years may be well over 150 times as much as CO₂.

Nitrous Oxide

Next to carbon dioxide and methane, there are further greenhouse gases, of which nitrous oxide is particularly important. Nitrous oxide is up to 300 times as potent as a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide and has a lifetime of 121 years. Several recent studies point at the danger of huge releases of nitrous oxide from permafrost.

According to a 2017 study by Voigt et al., Arctic permafrost contains vast amounts of nitrogen (more than 67 billion tons). Warming of the Arctic permafrost is accelerating, causing rapid thaw of permafrost soils, and this now threatens to cause huge releases of nitrous oxide to the atmosphere. The study concluded that nitrous oxide emissions in the Arctic are likely substantial and underestimated, and show high potential to increase with permafrost thaw.

In the video below, Paul Beckwith discusses nitrous oxide.


In the video below, Paul Beckwith discusses the recent study by Wilkerson et al.


The study by Wilkerson et al. shows that nitrous oxide emissions from thawing Alaskan permafrost are about twelve times higher than previously assumed. A 2018 study by Yang et al. points at the danger of large nitrous oxide releases from thawing permafrost in Tibet. Even more nitrous oxide could be released from Antarctica. The danger is illustrated by the image below, which shows that massive amounts of nitrous oxide were recorded over Antarctica on April 29, 2019.


Depletion of the Ozone Layer

In addition to being a potent greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide is also an ozone depleting substance (ODS). As the left panel of the image below shows, growth in the levels of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) has slowed over the years, yet their impact will continue for a long time, given their long atmospheric lifetime (55 years for CFC-11 and 140 years for CFC-12). Since nitrous oxide levels continue to increase in the atmosphere, while the impact of CFC-11 and CFC-12 is slowly decreasing over time, the impact (as an ODS) of nitrous oxide has relatively grown, as the right panel of the image below shows.

[ from an earlier post ] James Anderson, co-recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on ozone depletion, said in 2018 that "we have five years to save ourselves from climate change".

Comprehensive Action

In conclusion, while it's important to reduce emissions of all greenhouse gases, reducing emissions of methane and nitrous oxide is particularly important. To both reduce polluting emissions and to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans, the Climate Plan recommends feebates as depicted in the image below. As the image also mentions, further lines of action will be needed to avoid a rapid rise in temperature.

[ from an earlier post ] Meanwhile, Arctic sea ice reached a new record low for April, as illustrated by the NSIDC image below.

In the video below, Guy McPherson describes what threatens to eventuate soon. This is an edit of the April 22, 2019, video in which Guy McPherson was interviewed by Peter B. Collins for the community television station in Marin County, California.


In the video below, Guy McPherson gives a presentation at the Center for Spiritual Living, in Chico, April 28, 2019.


The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.


Links

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

• Permafrost collapse is accelerating carbon release, by Merritt Turetsky et al. (30 April 2019)
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01313-4

• Permafrost nitrous oxide emissions observed on a landscape scale using the airborne eddy-covariance method, by Jordan Wilkerson et al. (April 3, 2019)
https://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/19/4257/2019/

• Can natural or anthropogenic explanations of late-Holocene CO2 and CH4 increases be falsified?, by William Ruddiman et al. (2011)
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0959683610387172

• Radiative forcing of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide: A significant revision of the methane radiative forcing, by Etminan et al. (2016)https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2016GL071930

• Magnitude and Pathways of Increased Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Uplands Following Permafrost Thaw, by Guibiao Yang et al. (July 9, 2018)
https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.8b02271

• Increased nitrous oxide emissions from Arctic peatlands after permafrost thaw, by Carolina Voigt et al.
https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/05/23/1702902114

• We Have Five Years To Save Ourselves From Climate Change, Harvard Scientist Says - James Anderson (January 15, 2018)
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2018/01/15/carbon-pollution-has-shoved-the-climate-backward-at-least-12-million-years-harvard-scientist-says/

• A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/02/a-rise-of-18c-or-324f-by-2026.html

• Care for the Ozone Layer
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/01/care-for-the-ozone-layer.html

• What Does Runaway Warming Look Like?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/10/what-does-runaway-warming-look-like.html

• Rapid ice loss in early April leads to new record low - NSIDC
https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2019/05/rapid-ice-loss-in-early-april-leads-to-new-record-low/



[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: Arctic, carbon dioxide, extent, Guy McPherson, James Anderson, methane, multi-year, nitrous oxide, ocean heat, ozone, Paul Beckwith, sea ice]

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[l] at 9/14/19 9:08am
The March 2019 temperature is in line with an earlier analysis that 2019 could be 1.85°C warmer than preindustrial and that a rapid temperature rise could take place soon, as illustrated by the image below.


A catastrophe of unimaginable proportions is unfolding. Life is disappearing from Earth and all life could be gone within a decade. At 5°C of warming, most life on Earth will have disappeared. When looking at near-term human extinction, 3°C will likely suffice. Study after study is showing the size of the threat, yet many people seem out to hide what we're facing.

Above image asks 'How long do we have?' The image is created with NASA LOTI data, adjusted 0.78°C to reflect a 1750 baseline, ocean air temperature and higher polar anomaly. Trends are added based on 1880-2019 (purple) and 2000-2019 data (red). The long-term purple trend points at 2025 as the year when 3°C rise from preindustrial could be crossed, while the red trend that focuses on short-term events shows how a 3°C rise from preindustrial could be reached as early as in 2020.

The chart below shows elements contributing to the warming, adding up to a rise of as much as 18°C by 2026.

[ from an earlier post ] The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.


If we accept that crimes against humanity include climate crimes, then politicians who inadequately act on the unfolding climate catastrophe are committing crimes against humanity and they should be brought before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands.




Links

• Co-extinctions annihilate planetary life during extreme environmental change, by Giovanni Strona and Corey Bradshaw (2018)
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-35068-1

• How much warming have humans caused?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/05/how-much-warming-have-humans-caused.html

• Extinction
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html

• A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/02/a-rise-of-18c-or-324f-by-2026.html

• Stronger Extinction Alert
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/03/stronger-extinction-alert.html

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html


[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: extinction, preindustrial, trend, warming]

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[l] at 9/14/19 8:22am

Late last month, wind patterns over the North Pacific and North America resembled a screaming face.

The Arctic was as much as 7.7°C or 13.86°F warmer than 1979-2000, while in parts of Alaska the temperature anomaly was at the top end of the scale, i.e. 30°C or 54°F above 1979-2000.

On April 14, 2019, wind patterns over the North Atlantic resembled a growling face, as highlighted by the red ellipse on the image.

Temperatures over Greenland were as high as 14.9°C or 58.7°F at 1000 hPa at the spot marked by the green circle.

On the left, the image shows winds at 250 hPa dipping over the U.S., enabling cold winds to descend deep down over North America.


Temperatures in Colorado that day were as low as -13.5°C or 7.6°F, as illustrated by above image.

The map below shows the jet streams stretched out from North Pole to South Pole, while the jet stream is also crossing the Equator over the Pacific Ocean.


Meanwhile, Arctic sea ice extent remains at a record low for the measurements at ads.nipr.ac.jp for the time of year. As the image below shows, Arctic sea ice extent was 12.9 million km² on April 14, 2019.


The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.


Links

• An infinite scream passing through nature
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/04/an-infinite-scream-passing-through-nature.html

• Arctic Warming Up Fast
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/03/arctic-warming-up-fast.html

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html


[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: Arctic, Greenland, jet stream, ocean, sea ice. extent, wind]

[*] [+] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 9/14/19 7:48am
A Blue Ocean Event looks set to occur in the Arctic when there will be virtually no sea ice left. At first, the duration of this event will be a few weeks in September, but as more heat accumulates in the Arctic, the event will last longer each year thereafter.

Indeed, a Blue Ocean Event will come with accumulation of more heat, due to loss of latent heat, as a dark (blue) ocean absorbs more sunlight than the reflective ice, etc. Consequences will extend far beyond the Arctic, as shown on the image below that features Dave Borlace's Blue Ocean Top Ten Consequences.


Dave Borlace goes into more detail regarding these consequences in the video Blue Ocean Event : Game Over?


A Blue Ocean Event could happen as early as September 2019. The image below shows that Arctic sea ice extent on April 7, 2019, was 12.97 million km², a record low for measurements at ads.nipr.ac.jp for the time of year. By comparison, on May 28, 1985, extent was larger (13.05 million km²) while it was 51 days later in the year.


In the video below, Paul Beckwith also discusses the rapid decline of the sea ice and the consequences.


Clearly, the rapid decline of the sea ice has grave consequences. When also looking beyond what's happening in the Arctic, there are further events, tipping points and feedbacks that make things worse. An earlier post contains the following rapid warming scenario:
  1. a stronger-than-expected El Niño would contribute to
  2. early demise of the Arctic sea ice, i.e. latent heat tipping point +
  3. associated loss of sea ice albedo, 
  4. destabilization of seafloor methane hydrates, causing eruption of vast amounts of methane that further speed up Arctic warming and cause
  5. terrestrial permafrost to melt as well, resulting in even more emissions,
  6. while the Jet Stream gets even more deformed, resulting in more extreme weather events
  7. causing forest fires, at first in Siberia and Canada and
  8. eventually also in the peat fields and tropical rain forests of the Amazon, in Africa and South-east Asia, resulting in
  9. rapid melting on the Himalayas, temporarily causing huge flooding,
  10. followed by drought, famine, heat waves and mass starvation, and
  11. collapse of the Greenland Ice Sheet.


Importantly, depicted above is only one scenario out of many. Things may eventuate in different order and occur simultaneously, i.e. instead of one domino tipping over the next one sequentially, many events reinforcing each other. Further points should be added to the list, such as falling away of sulfate cooling due to economic changes, ocean stratification and stronger storms that can push large amounts of warm salty water into the Arctic Ocean.

Global sea ice extent is also at a record low for the time of year. Global sea ice extent on April 8, 2019, was 17.9 million km². On April 8, 1982, global sea ice extent was 22.32 million km², i.e. a difference of 4.42 million km². That constitutes a huge albedo loss.


As discussed in an earlier post, this all adds up to further global warming that may eventuate very rapidly. The image below shows how a total rise of 18°C or 32.4°F from preindustrial could eventuate by 2026.



The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.


Links

• Blue Ocean Event : Game Over? - by Dave Borlace
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qo3cznpfIpA

• Climate System Upheaval: Arctic Sea-Ice, Snow Cover, Jet-Stream, Monsoonal Consequences - by Paul Beckwith
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtpF--rqZZ8

• Jet Stream Center-of-Rotation to Shift 17 degrees Southward from North Pole to Greenland with Arctic Blue Ocean Event - by Paul Beckwith
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFme3C9e-cs

• Blue Ocean Event
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/09/blue-ocean-event.html

• Stronger Extinction Alert
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/03/stronger-extinction-alert.html

• It could be unbearably hot in many places within a few years time
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/07/it-could-be-unbearably-hot-in-many-places-within-a-few-years-time.html

• Feedbacks
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html

• Latent Heat
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/latent-heat.html

• Albedo and more
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/albedo.html

• Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/02/warning-of-mass-extinction-of-species-including-humans-within-one-decade.html

• How much warming have humans caused?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/05/how-much-warming-have-humans-caused.html

• The Threat
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/threat.html

• A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/02/a-rise-of-18c-or-324f-by-2026.html

• Extinction
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html


[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: albedo, Arctic, Blue Ocean Event, consequences, Dave Borlace, extent, feedbacks, Greenland, ocean, Paul Beckwith, sea ice, tipping points]

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[l] at 9/14/19 7:16am

In July 2019, a critical tipping point was crossed. July sea surface temperatures on the Northern Hemisphere were 1.07°C above what they were during the 20th century, as illustrated by above image which has a trend added that points at 5°C above the 20th century by 2033.

Why is 1°C above 20th century's temperature such a critical tipping point for the sea surface on the Northern Hemisphere? Let's first take a look at where global heating is going.



Oceans are absorbing over 90% of global heating, as illustrated by above image. Due to the high greenhouse gas levels resulting from people's emissions, oceans keep on getting hotter, and given oceans' huge heat-absorbing capacity, it has taken many years before this tipping point was crossed.

In July 2016, the tipping point was touched at 0.99°C. In July 2017, the July temperature anomaly was on the tipping point, at exactly 1°C. In July 2018, the sea surface was a bit cooler, and the tipping point was crossed in July 2019 when the temperature anomaly was 1.07°C above the 20th century average.


Arctic sea ice used to absorb 0.8% of global heating (in 1993 to 2003). Ocean heat keeps flowing into the Arctic Ocean, carried by ocean currents, as illustrated by above image. As peak heat arrives in the Arctic Ocean, it melts sea ice from below.

The image below shows sea surface temperatures on August 13, 2019 (left) and on September 9, 2019 (right). The light blue line forms a line indicating the sea surface temperature there is 0°C. That light blue line has moved pole-ward in September, due to rivers kept adding warm water and also due to more warmer water entering the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.


As above image also shows, the sea surface near Svalbard was 20.4°C (or 68.7°F) at the area marked by the green circle on August 13, 2019 (left), and 20.3°C (or 68.5°F) on September 9, 2019 (right), indicating how high the temperature of the water can be underneath the surface, as it moves into the Arctic Ocean. In other words, further ocean heat is still entering the Arctic Ocean.

From mid August 2019, ocean heat could no longer find any sea ice to melt, since the thick sea ice that hangs underneath the surface had already disappeared. A thin layer of sea ice at the surface was all that remained, as air temperatures didn't come down enough to melt it from above.


This indicates that the buffer has gone that has until now been consuming ocean heat as part of the melting process. As long as there is sea ice in the water, this sea ice will keep absorbing heat as it melts, so the temperature will not rise at the sea surface. The amount of energy absorbed by melting ice is as much as it takes to heat an equivalent mass of water from zero to 80°C.

Once the buffer is gone, further heat arriving in the Arctic Ocean must go elsewhere. As the Arctic sea ice is now growing in extent, it seals off the water, meaning less ocean heat can escape to the atmosphere.


This situation comes at a time that methane levels are very high globally. Mean global methane levels were as high as 1911 parts per billion on September 3, 2019, as discussed in a recent post. This post, as well as many earlier posts, also discussed the danger that ocean heat will reach sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean and cause huge methane releases.

Ominously, methane levels at Barrow, Alaska, were very high recently, as illustrated by above image showing methane levels peaking at over 2500 parts per billion.

In the videos below, Paul Beckwith discusses the situation.

Video 1: What’s up (down) with Arctic Sea-Ice: Extent, Thickness, Volume Dynamics and Thermodynamics
Video 2: New Ice Behaviour Regime for Arctic Sea Ice Melt
Video 3: Is Climate System Internal Variability Significantly Messing with Arctic Sea Ice Demise Predictions?
The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.


Links

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

• Arctic Sea Ice Gone By September 2019?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/arctic-sea-ice-gone-by-september-2019.html

• July 2019 Hottest Month On Record
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/08/july-2019-hottest-month-on-record.html

• Cyclone over Arctic Ocean - August 24, 2019
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/08/cyclone-over-arctic-ocean-august-24-2019.html

• Most Important Message Ever
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/most-important-message-ever.html

• Arctic Ocean overheating
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/09/arctic-ocean-overheating.html


[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: Arctic, global, heat, heating, ocean, sea ice, sea surface temperature, thickness, tipping point, volume]

[*] [+] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 9/8/19 11:43pm

The Arctic Ocean is overheating, as illustrated by above image.
[ from earlier post ] Heating of the water in the Arctic Ocean is accelerating, as illustrated by above map that uses 4-year smoothing and that shows temperatures in the Arctic that are up to 4.41°C hotter than the average global temperature during 1880-1920.

The NOAA image on the right shows the sea surface temperature difference from 1961-1990 in the Arctic at latitudes 60°N - 90°N on September 7, 2019.

Where Arctic sea ice disappears, hot water emerges on the image, indicating that the temperature of the ocean underneath the sea ice is several degrees above freezing point.

The nullschool.net image on the right shows sea surface temperature differences from 1981-2011 on the Northern Hemisphere on September 8, 2019, with anomalies reaching as high as 15.2°C or 27.4°F (near Svalbard, at the green circle).

Accelerating heating of the Arctic Ocean could make global temperatures skyrocket in a matter of years.

Decline of the sea ice comes with albedo changes and further feedbacks, such as the narrowing temperature difference between the North Pole and the Equator, which slows down the speed at which the jet stream circumnavigates Earth and makes the jet stream more wavy.


Disappearance of the sea ice also comes with loss of the buffer that has until now been consuming ocean heat as part of the melting process. As long as there is sea ice in the water, this sea ice will keep absorbing heat as it melts, so the temperature will not rise at the sea surface. The amount of energy absorbed by melting ice is as much as it takes to heat an equivalent mass of water from zero to 80°C. Once the sea ice is gone, further heat must go elsewhere. 
[ click on images to enlarge ] The Naval Research Laboratory image on the right shows a forecast for Sep. 8, 2019, run on Sep. 7, 2019, of the thickness of the sea ice. that the sea ice has become terribly thin, indicating that the heat buffer constituted by the sea ice has effectively gone. Only a very thin layer of sea ice remains in place throughout much of the Arctic Ocean.

This remaining sea ice is stopping a lot of ocean heat from getting transferred to the air, so the temperature of the water of the Arctic Ocean is now rising rapidly, with the danger that some of the accumulating ocean heat will reach sediments at the seafloor and cause eruptions of huge amounts of methane.


This situation comes at a time that methane levels are very high globally. Mean global methane levels were as high as 1911 parts per billion on the morning of September 3, 2019, a level recorded by the MetOp-1 satellite at 293 mb (image below). 

[ from an earlier post ] As the image on the right shows, mean global levels of methane (CH₄) have risen much faster than carbon dioxide (CO₂) and nitrous oxide (N₂O), in 2017 reaching, respectively, 257%, 146% and 122% their 1750 levels.

Compared to carbon dioxide, methane is some 150 times as potent as a greenhouse gas during the first few years after release. 
Huge releases of seafloor methane alone could make marine stratus clouds disappear, as described in an earlier post, and this clouds feedback could cause a further 8°C global temperature rise.

Indeed, a rapid temperature rise of as much as 18°C could result by the year 2026 due to a combination of elements, including albedo changes, loss of sulfate cooling, and methane released from the ocean seafloor.
from an earlier post (2014)   In the image below, a global warming potential (GWP) of 150 for methane is used. Just the existing carbon dioxide and methane, plus seafloor methane releases, would suffice to trigger the clouds feedback tipping point to be crossed that by itself could push up global temperatures by 8°C, within a few years.


Progression of heating could unfold as pictured below.
[ from an earlier post ] The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.


Links

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

• Arctic Sea Ice Gone By September 2019?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/arctic-sea-ice-gone-by-september-2019.html

• July 2019 Hottest Month On Record
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/08/july-2019-hottest-month-on-record.html

• Cyclone over Arctic Ocean - August 24, 2019
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/08/cyclone-over-arctic-ocean-august-24-2019.html

• Most Important Message Ever https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/most-important-message-ever.html

[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: Arctic, change, climate, global, heating, John Doyle, methane, rise, sea ice, sea surface temperature, seafloor, temperature, thickness]

[*] [+] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 9/1/19 2:50am

Wind patterns on March 30, 2019, resembled what Edvard Munch wrote in his diary in 1892, i.e. "I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature", a feeling Munch expressed in his iconic artwork The Scream, part of which is added on the right in above image.


Indeed, at the end of March 2019, it felt like an infinite scream passing through nature! On March 31, 2019, 12:00 UTC, the Arctic was 7.7°C or 13.86°F warmer than 1979-2000, as above image shows, while in parts of Alaska the anomaly was at the top end of the scale, i.e. 30°C or 54°F above 1979-2000, as discussed in an earlier post.

What caused this to eventuate? Firstly, as the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the world, the temperature difference between the North Pole and the Equator is narrowing, which is slowing down the overall speed at which the jet stream is circumnavigating Earth, while it also is making the jet stream wavier, enabling warm air from the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean to more easily enter the Arctic, while also enabling cold air from the Arctic to more easily descend over Asia and North America.


At the same time, global warming is making oceans warmer. Sea surface temperatures were high in the path of the jet stream on March 15, 2019, as above image shows. The sea surface was 10.8°C or 19.4°F warmer than 1981-2011 at the green circle in the left panel of above image. On that day, surface air temperature there was as high as 7.9°C or 46.2°F, and there were cyclonic wind patterns, as the right panel of above image shows.

High sea surface temperatures are causing winds over oceans to get much stronger than they used to be at this time of year.

The image on the right shows that, on March 15, 2019, the jet stream reached speeds as high as 386 km/h or 240 mph at the green circle. These stronger winds then collide at high speed with the air in front of them. This collision occurs with an even greater force, due to low temperatures over North America and due to the lower overall speed at which the jet stream circumnavigates Earth. All this makes that air gets strongly pushed aside toward the Arctic and the Equator.

On March 30, 2019, strong winds pushed warm air into Bering Strait, resulting in temperatures as high as 2.5°C or 36.4°F, as the image below illustrates.


On March 30, 2019, Arctic sea ice extent fell to a record low for the time of year, as discussed in an earlier post. Ominously, methane reached peak levels as high as 2,967 ppb on March 29, 2019, as the image below shows.


With Arctic sea ice extent this low and with temperatures rising relentlessly, fears are that the sea ice won't be able to act as a buffer to absorb heat for long, and that a strong influx of warm, salty water will reach the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean and trigger methane eruptions from destabilizing hydrates.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.


Links

• Arctic Warming Up Fast
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/03/arctic-warming-up-fast.html

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html



[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: Arctic, change, climate, heat, jet stream, methane, ocean, rise, temperature, warming, wind]

[*] [+] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 9/1/19 2:15am
Blueprints of future climate trends

Extreme GHG and temperature rise rates question linear climate projections

Andrew Glikson
Earth and climate scientist
Australian National University
geospec@iinet.net.au
Abstract

The extreme greenhouse gas (GHG) and temperature rise rates since the mid-1970th raise questions over linear climate projections for the 21st century and beyond. Under a rise of CO₂-equivalent reaching +500 ppm and 3.0Wm-2 relative to 1750, the current rise rates of CO₂ by 2.86 ppm per and recent global temperature rise rate (0.15-0.20°C per decade) since 1975 are leading to an abrupt shift in state of the terrestrial climate and the biosphere. By mid-21st century at >750 ppm CO₂-e climate tipping points indicated by Lenton et al. 2008 and Schellnhuber 2009 are likely to be crossed. Melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets has increased by a factor of more than 5 since 1979–1990. As the ice sheets and sea ice melt, the albedo flip between reflective ice surfaces and dark infrared-absorbing water results in significant increase of radiative forcing, and complete removal of Arctic sea ice would result in a forcing of about 0.7 Wm−2 (Hudson, 2011). The confluence of climate events, including a breach of the circum-Arctic jet stream boundary and a polar-ward migration of climate zones at a rate of 56-111 km per decade, induce world-wide extreme weather events including bushfires, methane release from Arctic permafrost and sediments. For a climate sensitivity of 3±1.5°C per doubling of atmospheric CO₂, global warming has potentially reached between +2°C to +3 ° C above mean pre-industrial temperatures at a rate exceeding the fastest growth rate over the last 55 million years. As ice melt water flow into the oceans temperature polarities between warming continents and cooling tracts of ocean would further intensify extreme weather events under non-linear climate trajectories. The enrichment of the atmosphere in GHG, constituting a shift in state of the terrestrial climate, is predicted to delay the onset of the next glacial state by some 50,000 years.

GHG and temperature rise

The paleoclimate record suggests that no event since 55 million years ago, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), when global temperatures rose by more than +5 to +8°C over a period of ~20,000 years, with a subsequent warming period of up to 200,000 years, has been as extreme as atmospheric disruption since the onset of the industrial age about 1750 AD (the Anthropocene), accelerating since 1975. During this period greenhouse gas levels have risen from ~280 ppm to above >410 ppm and to 496 ppm CO₂-equivalent (Figure 1), the increase of CO₂ reaching near-47 percent above the original atmospheric concentration. However, linear climate change projections are rare in the recent climate history (Figure 2) and linear future climate projections may not account for the effects of amplifying feedbacks from land and oceans. Given an Anthropocene warming rate faster by ~X200 times than the PETM (Figure 3), linear warming trajectories such as are projected by the IPCC may overlook punctuated tipping points, transient reversals and stadial events.
Figure 1. Growth of CO₂-equivalent level and the annual greenhouse gas Index (NOAA AGGI).
Measurements of  CO₂  to the 1950s are from (Keeling et al., 2008) and from air trapped in ice and
snow  between  CO₂  concentrations and radiative forcing from all long-lived greenhouse gases .
According to NOAA, GHG forcing in 2018 has reached 3.101 W/m⁻² relative to 1750 (CO₂ = 2.044 W/m⁻²; CH₄ = 0.512 W/m⁻²; N₂O = 0.199 W/m⁻²; CFCs = 0.219 W/m⁻²) with a CO₂-equivalent of 492 ppm (Figure 1). The rise in GHG forcing during the Anthropocene since about 1800 AD, intensifying since 1900 AD and sharply accelerating since about 1975, has induced a mean of ~1.5°C over the continents above pre-industrial temperature, or >2.0°C when the masking role of aerosols is discounted, implying further warming is still in store.

According to Hansen et al. 2008, the rise in radiative forcing during the Last Glacial Termination (LGT - 18,000 -11,000 years BP), associated with enhancing feedbacks, has driven GHG radiative forcing by approximately ~3.0 W/m⁻² and a mean global temperature rise of ~4.5°C (Figure 2), or, i.e. of similar order as the Anthropocene rise since about 1900. However the latter has been reached within a time frame at least X30 times shorter than the LGT, underpinning the extreme nature of current global warming.
Figure 2. (Hansen et al. 2008). Glacial-temperature and GHG forcing for the last 420,000 years based on the Vostok
ice core, with the time scale expanded for the Anthropocoene. The ratio of temperature and forcing scales is 1.5°C
per 1 W/m⁻². The temperature scale gives the expected equilibrium response to GHG change including slow feedback
surface albedo change. Modern forcings include human-made aerosols, volcanic aerosols and solar irradiance.
The CO₂-equivalent levels and radiative forcing levels constitute a rise from Holocene levels (~280 ppm CO₂) to >410 ppm compared with Miocene-like levels (300-600 ppm CO₂), at a rate reaching 2 to 3 ppm/year, within a century or so, driving the fastest temperature rise rate recorded since 55 million years ago (Figure 3).

Figure 3. A comparison between rates of mean global temperature rise during: (1) the last Glacial Termination (after Shakun et al. 2012); (2) the PETM (Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, after Kump 2011); (3) the late Anthropocene (1750–2016), and (4) an asteroid impact. In the latter instance temperature due to CO₂ rise would lag by some weeks or months behind aerosol-induced cooling
Considering the transient mitigating albedo effects of clouds, seasonal land surface albedo, ice albedo, atmospheric aerosols including sulphur dioxide and nitrate, the potential rise of land temperature could have reached -0.4 to -0.9 W/m⁻² in 2018, masking approximately 0.6 to 1.3°C potential warming once the short lived aerosol effect is abruptly reduced.

Accelerated melting of the ice sheets

The fast rate of the Anthropocoene temperature rise compared to the LGT and PETM (Figure 3) ensues in differences in terms of the adaptation of flora and fauna to new conditions. The shift in state of the Earth’s climate is most acutely manifested in the poles, where warming leads to weakening of the jet stream boundaries which are breached by outflow of cold air fronts, such as the recent “Beast from the East” event, and penetration of warm air masses.

As the poles keep warming, to date by a mean of ~2.3 ° C, the shrinking of the ice sheets per year has accelerated by a factor of more than six fold (Figure 4). Warming of the Arctic is driven by the ice-water albedo flip, where dark sea-water absorbing solar energy alternates with high-albedo ice and snow, and by the weakening of the polar boundary and jet stream.

Greenland. The threshold of collapse of the Greenland ice sheet, retarded by hysteresis, is estimated in the range of 400-560 ppm CO₂, already transgressed at the current 496 ppm CO₂equivalent (Figure 4). The Greenland mass loss increased from 41 ± 17 Gt/yr in 1990–2000, to 187 ± 17 Gt/yr in 2000–2010, to 286 ± 20 Gt/yr in 2010–2018, or six fold since the 1980s, or 80 ± 6 Gt/yr per decade, on average.

Antarctica. The greenhouse gas level and temperature conditions under which the East Antarctic ice sheet formed during the late Eocene 45-34 million years ago are estimated as ~800–2000 ppm and up to 4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial values, whereas the threshold of collapse is estimated as 600 ppm CO₂ or even lower. The total mass loss from the Antarctic ice sheet increased from 40 ± 9 Gt/yr in 1979–1990 to 50 ± 14 Gt/yr in 1989–2000, 166 ± 18 Gt/yr in 1999–2009, and 252 ± 26 Gt/yr in 2009–2017. Based on satellite gravity data, the East Antarctic ice sheet is beginning to breakdown in places (Jones 2019), notably the Totten Glacier (Rignot et al., 2019), which may be irreversible. According to Mengel and Levermann (2014), the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica alone contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by 3–4 meters.

Figure 4. (A) New elevation showing the Greenland and Antarctic current state of the ice sheets accurate to a few meters in height, with elevation changes indicating melting at record pace, losing some 500 km³ of ice per-year into the oceans; (B) Ice anomaly relative to the 2002-2016 mean for the Greenland ice sheet (magenta) and Antarctic ice sheet (cyan). Data are from GRACE; (C) the melting of sea ice 1978-2017, National Snow and Ice Data Center (NCIDC)
C. Migration of climate zones

The expansion of warm tropical zones and the polar-ward migration of subtropical and temperate climate zones are leading to a change in state in the global climate pattern. The migration of arid subtropical zones, such as the Sahara, Kalahari and central Australian deserts into temperate climate zones ensues in large scale droughts, such in inland Australia and southern Africa. In the northern hemisphere expansion of the Sahara desert northward, manifested by heat waves across the Mediterranean and Europe (Figure 5).
Figure 5. (A) Migration of the subtropical Sahara climate zone (red spots) northward into the Mediterranean climate
zone leads to warming, drying and fires over extensive parts of Spain, Portugal, southern France, Italy, Greece and
Turkey, and to melting of glaciers in the Alps. Migration, Environment and Climate Change, International
Organization for Migration Geneva – Switzerland (GMT +1); Source: https://environmentalmigration.iom.int/maps
Figure 5. (B) Southward encroachment of Kalahari Desert conditions (vertical lines and red spots) leading to
warming  and drying of parts of southern Africa.  Source:  https://environmentalmigration.iom.int/maps Figure 5. (C) Drying parts of southern Australia, including Western Australia, South Australia and parts of the
eastern States, accompanied with increasing bushfires. Source: https://environmentalmigration.iom.int/maps Climate extremes

Since the bulk of terrestrial vegetation has evolved under glacial-interglacial climate conditions, where GHG range between 180 - 300 ppm CO₂, global warming is turning large parts of Earth into a tinderbox, ignited by natural and human agents. By July and August 2019, as fires rage across large territories, including the Amazon forest, dubbed the Planet’s lungs as it enriches the atmosphere in oxygen. When burnt the rainforest becomes of source of a large amount of CO₂ (Figure 6.B), with some 72,843 fires in Brazil this year and extensive bushfires through Siberia, Alaska, Greenland, southern Europe, parts of Australia and elsewhere, the planet’s biosphere is progressively transformed. As reported: ‘Climate change is making dry seasons longer and forests more flammable. Increased temperatures are also resulting in more frequent tropical forest fires in non-drought years. And climate change may also be driving the increasing frequency and intensity of climate anomalies, such as El Niño events that affect fire season intensity across Amazonia.’

Extensive cyclones, floods, droughts, heat waves and fires (Figure 6.B) increasingly ravage large tracts of Earth. However, despite its foundation in the basic laws of physics (the black body radiation laws of Planck, Kirchhoff' and Stefan Boltzmann), as well as empirical observations around the world by major climate research bodies (NOAA, NASA, NSIDC, IPCC, World Meteorological Organization, Hadley-Met, Tindale, Potsdam, BOM, CSIRO and others), the anthropogenic origin, scale and pace of climate change remain subject to extensively propagated denial and untruths.

Figure 6. (A) Extreme weather events around the world 1980-2018,
including earthquakes, storms, floods, droughts. Munich Re-insurance.
Figure 6. (B) A satellite infrared image of South America fires (red dots) during July and August, 2019, NASA.
An uncharted climate territory

Whereas strict analogies between Quaternary and Anthropocene climate developments are not possible, elements of the glacial-interglacial history are relevant for an understanding of current and future climate events. The rise of total greenhouse gas (GHG), expressed as CO₂-equivalents, to 496 ppm CO₂-e (Figure 1), within less than a century represents an extreme atmospheric event. It raised GHG concentrations from Holocene levels to the range of the Miocene (34–23 Ma) when CO₂ level was between 300 and 530 ppm. As the glacial sheets disintegrate, cold ice-melt water flowing into the ocean ensue in large cold water pools, a pattern recorded following peak interglacial phases over the last 450,000 years, currently manifested by the growth of cold regions in north Atlantic Ocean south of Greenland and in the Southern Ocean fringing Antarctica (Figure 7).

Warming of +3°C to +4°C above pre-industrial levels, leading to enhanced ice-sheet melt, would raise sea levels by at least 2 to 5 meters toward the end of the century and, delayed by hysteresis, likely by 25 meters in the longer term. Golledge et al. (2019) show meltwater from Greenland will lead to substantial slowing of the Atlantic overturning circulation, while meltwater from Antarctica will trap warm water below the sea surface, increasing Antarctic ice loss. Whereas the effect of low-density ice melt water on the surrounding oceans is generally not included in many models, depending on amplifying feedbacks, prolonged Greenland and Antarctic melting and consequent cooling of surrounding ocean sectors as well as penetration of freezing air masses through weakened polar boundaries may have profound effect on future climate change trajectories (Figure 8).

Figure 7. (A) Global warming map (NASA 2018). Note the cool ocean regions south of Greenland and 
along  the Antarctic. Credits: Scientific Visualization Studio/Goddard Space Flight Center; 
(B) 2012 Ocean temperatures around Antarctica (NASA 2012). Climate projections for 2100-2300 by the IPCC AR5 Synthesis Report, 2014 portray predominantly linear to curved models of greenhouse gas, global temperatures and sea level changes. These models however appear to take limited account of amplifying feedbacks from land and ocean and of the effects of cold ice-melt on the oceans. According to Steffen et al. (2018) “self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold” and “would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and to sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene”.

Amplifying feedbacks of global warming include:
  • The albedo-flip of melting sea ice and ice sheets and the increase of the water surface area and thereby sequestration of CO₂. Hudson (2011) estimates a rise in radiative forcing due to removal of Arctic summer sea ice as 0.7 W/m², a value close to the total of methane release since 1750.
  • Reduced ocean CO₂ intake due to lesser solubility of the gas with higher temperatures.
  • Vegetation desiccation and burning in some regions, and thereby released CO₂ and reduced evaporation and its cooling effect. This factor and the increase of precipitation in other regions lead to differential feedbacks from vegetation as the globe warms (Notaro et al. 2007).
  • An increase in wildfires, releasing greenhouse gases (Figure 6).
  • Release of methane from permafrost, bogs and sediments and other factors.
Linear temperature models appear to take limited account of the effects on the oceans of ice melt water derived from the large ice sheets, including the possibility of a significant stadial event such as already started in oceanic tracts fringing Greenland and Antarctica (Figure 7) and modeled by Hansen et al, (2016). In the shorter to medium term sea level rises would ensue from the Greenland ice sheet (6-7 meter sea level rise) and West Antarctic ice sheet melt (4.8 meter sea level rise). Referring to major past stadial events, including the 8200 years-old Laurentian melt and the 12.7-11.9 younger dryas event, a protracted breakdown of parts of the Antarctic ice sheet could result in major sea level rise and extensive cooling of southern latitudes and beyond, parallel with warming of tropical and mid-latitudes (Figure 8) (Hansen et al. 2016). The temperature contrast between polar-derived cold fronts and tropical air masses is bound to lead to extreme weather events, echoed among other in Storms of my grandchildren (Hansen, 2010).

Figure 8. (A) Model Surface-air temperature (°C) for 2096 relative to 1880–1920 (Hansen et al. 2016).
The projection betrays major cooling of the North Atlantic Ocean, cooling of the circum-Antarctic Ocean
and further warming in the tropics, subtropics and the interior of continents; (B) Modeled surface-air
temperatures (°C) to 2300 AD relative to 1880–1920 for several ice melt rate scenarios, displaying a stadial cooling event at a time dependent on the ice melt doubling time (Hansen et al., 2016). Courtesy Prof James Hansen;.
Within and beyond 2100-2300 projections (Figure 8.A, B) lies an uncharted climate territory, where continuing melting of the Antarctic ice sheet, further cooling of neighboring sectors of the oceans and climate contrasts with GHG-induced warming of land areas (Figure 8.A), ensue in chaotic climate disruptions (Figure 8.B). Given the thousands to tens of thousands years longevity of atmospheric greenhouse gases (Solomon et al., 2009; Eby et al 2009), the onset of the next ice age is likely to be delayed on the scale of tens of thousands of years (Berger and Loutre, 2002) through an exceptionally long interglacial period (Figure 9).

These authors state: ‘The present day CO₂ concentration (now >410 ppm) is already well above typical interglacial values of ~290 ppmv. This study models increases to up to 750 ppmv over the next 200 years, returning to natural levels by 1000 years. The results suggest that, under very small insolation variations, there is a threshold value of CO₂ above which the Greenland Ice Sheet disappears. The climate system may take 50,000 years to assimilate the impacts of human activities during the early third millennium. In this case, an “irreversible greenhouse effect” could become the most likely future climate. If the Greenland and west Antarctic Ice Sheets disappear completely, then today’s “Anthropocene” may only be a transition between the Quaternary and the next geological period.’

Figure 9. Simulated Northern Hemisphere ice volume (increasing downward) for the period 200,000 years BP to 130,000 years in the future, modified after a part of Berger and Loutre 2002. Time is negative in the past and positive in the future. For the future, three CO2 scenarios were used: last glacial-interglacial values (solid line), a human-induced concentration of 750 ppm (dashed line), and a constant concentration of 210 ppm inducing a return to a glacial state (dotted line). As conveyed by leading scientists “Climate change is now reaching the end-game, where very soon humanity must choose between taking unprecedented action or accepting that it has been left too late and bear the consequences” (Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber) …“We’ve reached a point where we have a crisis, an emergency, but people don’t know that ... There’s a big gap between what’s understood about global warming by the scientific community and what is known by the public and policymakers” (James Hansen).

Climate scientists find themselves in a quandary similar to medical doctors, committed to help the ill, yet need to communicate grave diagnoses. How do scientists tell people that the current spate of extreme weather events, including cyclones, devastating islands from the Caribbean to the Philippine, floods devastating coastal regions and river valleys from Mozambique to Kerala, Pakistan and Townsville, and fires burning extensive tracts of the living world, can only intensify in a rapidly warming world? How do scientists tell the people that their children are growing into a world where survival under a mean temperatures higher than +2 degrees Celsius (above pre-industrial temperatures) is likely to be painful and, in some parts of the world, impossible, let alone under +4 degrees Celsius projected by the IPCC?

Summary and conclusions
  1. The current growth rate of atmospheric greenhouse gas is the fastest recorded for the last 55 million years.
  2. By the mid-21st century, at the current CO₂ rise rates of 2 to 3 ppm/year, a CO₂-e level of >750 ppm is likely to transcend the climate tipping points indicated by Lenton et al. 2008 and Schellnhuber 2009.
  3. The current extreme rise rates of GHG (2.86 ppm CO₂/year) and temperature (0.15-0.20°C per decade since 1975) raise doubt with regard to linear future climate projections.
  4. Global greenhouse gases have reached a level exceeding the stability threshold of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, which are melting at an accelerated rate.
  5. Allowing for the transient albedo-enhancing effects of sulphur dioxide and other aerosols, mean global temperature has reached approximately 2.0 degrees Celsius above per-industrial temperatures.
  6. Due to hysteresis the large ice sheets would outlast their melting temperatures.
  7. Land areas would be markedly reduced due to a rise to Miocene-like sea levels of approximately 40±15 meters above pre-industrial levels.
  8. Cold ice melt water flowing from the ice sheets into the oceans at an accelerated rate is reducing temperatures in large tracts in the North Atlantic and circum-Antarctic.
  9. Strong temperature contrasts between cold polar-derived and warm tropical air and water masses are likely to result in extreme weather events, retarding habitats and agriculture over coastal regions and other parts of the world.
  10. In the wake of partial melting of the large ice sheets, the Earth climate zones would continue to shift polar-ward, expanding tropical to super-tropical regions such as existed in the Miocene (5.3-23 million years ago) and reducing temperate climate zones and polar ice sheets.
  11. Current greenhouse gas forcing and global mean temperature are approaching Miocene Optimum-like composition, bar the hysteresis effects of reduced ice sheets (Figure 4.A).
  12. The effect of high atmospheric greenhouse gas levels would be for the next ice age to be delayed on a scale of tens of thousands of years, during which chaotic tropical to hyperthermal conditions would persist until solar radiation and atmospheric CO₂ subsided below ~300 ppm.
  13. Humans will survive in relatively favorable parts of Earth, such as sub-polar regions and sheltered mountain valleys, where gathering of flora and hunting of remaining fauna may be possible.

A Postscript

The author, while suggesting the projections made in this paper are consistent with the best climate science with which he is aware, sincerely hopes the implications of these projections would not eventuate.

[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: Andrew Glikson, change, climate, feedbacks, forcing, global, greenhouse gas, rise, temperature, warming]

[*] [+] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 8/24/19 2:14am

As illustrated by above map, Arctic heating is accelerating, with temperatures showing up in the Arctic that are up to 4.41°C hotter than the average global temperature during 1880-1920.

The image below shows two plots. On the left-hand side is the temperature plot associated with above map, had a monthly mean been selected. To smooth the data, a 4-year running mean was chosen, and the plot on the right-hand side shows the associated global mean anomalies. Note that, due to this smoothing, only data from 1882 to August 2017 are displayed in the plot of the right-hand side.


It is appropriate to adjust the data by 0.5°C, as follows:
  1. An adjustment of 0.3°C to reflect a pre-industrial baseline (heating occurred due to people's emissions before 1880-1920);
  2. An adjustment of 0.1°C to reflect air temperatures over oceans (as opposed to sea surface temperatures);
  3. An adjustment of 0.1°C to better include polar temperatures (the top and bottom of the image at the top shows large polar areas that should not be excluded, the more so since the Arctic has the highest temperature anomalies).
The image below shows both adjusted and unadjusted data as dark blue lines, with a light-blue polynomial trend added over the adjusted data.

Such a trend can further smooth out seasonal differences and El Niño/La Niña variability.

Such a trend can also show the potential for further temperature rise in the near future, which can constitute an important warning.

This is particularly important as the trend shows that we could be crossing the 2°C guardrail this year, i.e. the threshold that was too dangerous to be crossed.

What is the danger? Arctic heating is accelerating, as the image at the top shows, and this is could make global temperatures skyrocket in a matter of years. Where Arctic sea ice disappears, hot water emerges due to albedo changes and loss of the buffer that has until now been consuming heat as part of the melting process. This is illustrated by the image below showing the sea surface temperature difference from 1961-1990 in the Arctic at latitudes 60°N - 90°N on August 23, 2019.


Disappearance of Arctic sea ice comes with numerous feedbacks that further speed up the heating, as described in the recent post Arctic Sea Ice Gone By September 2019?. Heatwaves can strongly heat up the water that gets carried by rivers into the Arctic Ocean. As the image below shows, the water was as hot as 10.7°C or 51.3°F at green circle on August 20, 2019, i.e. 9.4°C or 16.9°F hotter than 1981-2011.


As the Arctic is heating up faster than the rest of the world, the Jet Stream gets more and more distorted. A cyclone is forecast over the Arctic Ocean for August 24, 2019, pulling hot air over the Arctic Ocean, resulting in temperatures at the green circle as high as 10.4°C or 50.6°F at 1000 hPa and 7.4°C or 45.2°F at surface level, as the image below shows.


The image below illustrates the distortion of the Jet Stream, moving over the Arctic Ocean on August 24, 2019.


Such a cyclone can pull huge amounts of hot air over the Arctic Ocean, while it can also devastate the sea ice with the destructive power of winds, rain and hail.


As above animation shows, Arctic sea ice is very thin and vulnerable at the moment. The cyclone also looks set to batter the sea ice at a time when huge amounts of ocean heat are entering the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. More ocean heat looks set to be on the way. As the image below shows, sea surface temperatures around North America were as high as 33°C or 91.4°F on August 21, 2019.


The image below shows the worrying rise of Northern Hemisphere sea surface temperature anomalies from the 20th century average, with the added trend illustrating the danger that this rise will lead to Arctic sea ice collapse and large methane eruptions from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, further accelerating the temperature rise.

[ from an earlier post ]
The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.


Links

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

• Arctic Sea Ice Gone By September 2019?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/arctic-sea-ice-gone-by-september-2019.html

• July 2019 Hottest Month On Record
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/08/july-2019-hottest-month-on-record.html

[Author: Sam Carana] [Category: anomaly, Arctic, cyclone, ocean, rise, sea surface, temperature]

As of 9/22/19 9:46am. Last new 9/14/19 5:09pm.

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