Saturday, June 25, 2016

Climate Feedbacks Start To Kick In More

Droughts and heatwaves are putting vegetation under devastating pressure while also causing wildfires resulting in deforestation and loss of peat at massive scale, contributing to the rapid recent rise in carbon dioxide levels. 

It will take a decade before these high recent carbon dioxide emissions will reach their full warming impact. Furthermore, as the world makes progress with the necessary cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, this will also remove aerosols that have until now masked the full wrath of global warming. By implication, without geoengineering occurring over the coming decade, temperatures will keep rising, resulting in further increases in abundance and intensity of droughts and wildfires.

Temperatures in the Arctic are rising faster than elsewhere. The image below shows that Arctic waters are now much warmer than in 2015. On June 22, 2016, sea surface near Svalbard was as warm as 13.8°C or 56.9°F (green circle), i.e. 11.6°C or 20.9°F warmer than 1981-2011.

High temperatures, as high as 34.1°C or 93.3°F at green circle, were recorded on July 1, 2016, over the Lena River which flows into the Laptev Sea, as illustrated by the image on the right [click on images to enlarge them].

Wildfires can release huge amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), methane and soot. The image below shows that on June 23, 2016, wildfires north of Lake Baikal caused emissions as high as 22,953 ppb CO and 549 ppm CO2 at the location marked by the green circle.

[ click on image to enlarge ]
The video below, created by Jim Reeve, shows an animation with carbon monoxide levels in May 2016.

As increasing amounts of soot from wildfires settle on its ice and snow cover, albedo decline in the Arctic will accelerate. In addition, heatwaves are causing rapid warming of rivers ending in the Arctic Ocean, further speeding up its warming and increasing the danger of methane releases from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean.

As more energy stays in the biosphere, storms can be expected to strike with greater intensity. Rising temperatures will result in more water vapor in the atmosphere (7% more water vapor for every 1°C warming), further amplifying warming and resulting in more intense precipitation events, i.e. rainfall, flooding and lightning.
Record-breaking daily rainfall events around the world. From Lehmann et al. 
Recently, West Virginia got hit by devastating flooding, killing at least 26 people and causing evacuation of thousands of people and a huge amount of damage. Flooding can also cause rapid decomposition of vegetation, resulting in strong methane releases, as illustrated by the image below showing strong methane presence (magenta color) at 39,025 ft or 11.9 km on June 26 (left panel), as well as at 44,690 ft or 13.6 km on June 27 (right panel).

[ click on image to enlarge ]
Furthermore, plumes above the anvils of severe storms can bring water vapor up into the stratosphere, contributing to the formation of cirrus clouds that trap a lot of heat that would otherwise be radiated away, from Earth into space. The number of lightning strikes can be expected to increase by about 12% for every 1°C of rise in global average air temperature. At 3-8 miles height, during the summer months, lightning activity increases NOx by as much as 90% and ozone by more than 30%.

In conclusion, feedbacks are threatening to cause runaway warming, potentially making temperatures rise by more than 10°C or 18°F within a decade. Already now, melting ice sheets are changing the way the Earth wobbles on its axis, Nasa says. As Paul Beckwith discusses in the video below, changes are also taking place to the jet streams.

The danger is that changes to the planet's wobble will trigger massive earthquakes that will destabilize methane hydrates and result in huge amounts of methane abruptly entering the atmosphere, as illustrated by the image below.

Have we lost the Arctic? It looks like Earth no longer has two poles, but instead has turned into a Monopole, with only one pole at Antarctica. On June 29, 2016, Arctic water (sea surface) was as warm as 15.8°C (60.5°F), or 13°C (23.4°F) warmer than 1981-2011. Meanwhile, surface temperatures over Antarctica that day were as low as -66.6°C (-87.8°F).
The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.


 Feedbacks in the Arctic

 Wildfire Danger Increasing

 Arctic Climate Records Melting

 Ten Degrees Warmer In A Decade?

 Arctic Sea Ice gone by September 2016?

 February Temperature

 International Energy Agency (IEA)

 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

 Projected increase in lightning strikes in the United States due to global warming, by Romps et al. (2014)

 Impacts of anthropogenic and natural NOx sources over the U.S. on tropospheric chemistry, by Zhang et al. (2003)

 Wildfires Rage in Siberia, NASA June 30, 2016, images acquired June 29, 2016

 Melting ice sheets changing the way the Earth wobbles on its axis, says Nasa

 Record-breaking heavy rainfall events increased under global warming, by Lehmann et al. (2015)

 'Thousand-year' downpour led to deadly West Virginia floods (July 8, 2016)


  1. Sad indeed..many are claiming denial so that when their kids get grown, they will claim they had no idea what was happening all the while giving in to their wants.

  2. Getting the world to work as one toward stopping Extinction # 6 as an uphill acceleration isn't exactly possible under a system that derives profit from debt enlargement at Earth's expense, a downhill runaway take : The world worships bling and needs a controller of value ~just oracle to control work profit with a view to laws of logic and thermodynamics.
    Our world presently forces entropy rise against Earth's Biosphere at 0th Law of Thermodynamics. We need to snap the world to open system and pray

  3. ". . . potentially making temperatures rise by more than 10°C or 18°F within a decade".

    If that is so, it's wipeout!
    Only microbes, scorpions and cockroaches can deal with that.

  4. We need not wait ten years for the current emissions to reach full potential as there was an excess ten years prior to now that are on the way to reaching that status.

  5. Hello Sam
    You probably saw this :
    What are your first impressions?
    Should I wait for you to write an article on it?
    I sure need to write about it, but I'd rather wait to see what you have to say.
    Hang in there, we care


    1. Yes, I saw it, changes to the jet streams are an important feedback. Go ahead with your post, if you like.

    2. I prefer working from your stuff :-)
      It's always clear and concise.
      So if you think you're going to write about it, I'd rather wait instead of risking fuzziness.

      Thanks for your reply

  6. Hello Sam
    I did write that article on the Jet stream crossing the equator.
    Already over 230 views... Amazing!!!
    Here's the link if you're interested

    Take care

  7. Another source of the methane release in West Virginia could be broken pipes and tanks from the flooding the ripped up some roads and houses.

    1. Good point Rich, thanks for sharing.