Friday, August 3, 2018

Peaks Matter

Heat stress

When calculating how much warmer we can expect it to get, climate models typically use linear projections based on temperature averages, such as annual global average temperatures, daily temperatures that are averages between day and night, etc. Sadly, this downplays the danger, as average temperatures are unlikely to kill people. When lives are at stake, peaks matter!

Where are temperatures rising most?


Temperatures are rising most strongly in the Arctic. Above map shows a rise of as much as 5.7°C or 10.26°F in Arctic.

Ocean heat on the move toward Arctic Ocean

The image below shows that the sea surface was 22°C or 71.6°F on August 13, 2018, at 77.958°N, 5.545°E (near Svalbard), i.e. 6.9°C or 12.4°F warmer than 47 days earlier and 16.4°C or 29.5°F warmer than it was during 1981-2011.


Local maximum temperatures can be good indicators for the maximum heat stress that can be expected in the area.


As illustrated by above image, the sea surface near Svalbard was 22°C or 69.2°F at the green circle, near Svalbard, on August 13, 2018, 16.4°C or 29.5°F warmer than 1981-2011.

This high sea surface temperature is an indicator of the temperature of the water below the surface, which in turn is an indicator of the amount of ocean heat that is entering the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean.

Ocean heat is carried by the Gulf Stream from the North American coast toward the Arctic Ocean, as illustrated by the images below and on the right.

Warming of the Arctic Ocean comes with a number of feedbacks, such as albedo changes that take place as the Arctic snow and ice cover declines, and methane that is released from sediments containing methane in the form of hydrates and free gas. These feedbacks cause rapid acceleration of warming of the Arctic Ocean.

High methane levels warn about seafloor methane releases

The image on the right illustrates the danger, showing high methane levels at Barrow, Alaska, in July 2018.

When making projections of heat stress, it is important to look at all potential warming elements, including albedo changes, changes to jet streams and sea currents, higher levels of methane, high levels of water vapor, etc.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, causing huge warming immediately after entering the atmosphere, while this warming will be felt most strongly where the methane was released. Methane can therefore contribute strongly to local temperature peaks.

On August 6, 2018, mean global methane levels were as high as 1896 ppb. On August 8, 2018, they were as high as 1898 ppb.

Importantly, peak levels on the afternoon of August 6, 2018, were as high as 3046 ppb, as illustrated by the image on the right. As the image indicates, the likely origin of those high levels is the Arctic Ocean, which should act as a stark warning of things to come.

Further contributors to heat stress

Next to temperature, humidity is of vital importance. A combination of high temperatures and high humidity is devastating.

A recent study shows that the risk of deadly heat waves is significantly increased because of intensive irrigation in specific regions. The study points at a relatively dry but highly fertile region, known as the North China Plain — a region whose role in that country is comparable to that of the Midwest in the U.S. That increased vulnerability to heat arises because the irrigation exposes more water to evaporation, leading to higher humidity in the air than would otherwise be present and exacerbating the physiological stresses of the temperature.

The image below shows a forecast of perceived temperatures in China on August 7, 2018.


The green circle highlights an area that is forecast to score high on the 'Misery Index' and that is centered around a location on the coast of Poyang Lake, which is connected to the Yangtze River. Temperatures there are forecast to be as high as 36.4°C or 97.4°F. At first glance, this may not look very high, but a relative humidity 68% is forecast to make it feel like 54.1°C or 129.3°F. This translates into a wet-bulb temperature of 31.03°C or 87.86°F.

The image on the right shows relative humidity. Also note the cyclones lined up on the Pacific Ocean. Cyclones can increase humidity, making conditions worse.
The high sea surface temperature anomalies that are common in the West Pacific (next image right) contribute to warmer air and stronger cyclones carrying more moisture toward Asia.

As another image on the right shows, cyclone Shanshan is forecast to cause waves as high as 17.34 m or 56.9 ft near Japan on August 9, 2018.

If humidity kept rising, a temperature of 36.4°C at a relative humidity of 91% would result in a wet-bulb temperature of 35°C. No amount of sweating, even in the shade and in front of strong winds or a fan, can cool the body under such conditions, and it would be lethal in a matter of hours in the absence of air conditioning or cold water.

There are further factors that can contribute to make specific areas virtually uninhabitable. The urban heat effect is such a factor. El Niño is another one. Land-only temperature anomalies are higher than anomalies that are averaged for land and oceans. As temperatures keep rising, heat waves can be expected to intensify, while their duration can be extended due to jet stream blocking.

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



Below, Paul Beckwith warns that parts of the world 'will soon be rendered uninhabitable'.



Video: Unrelenting Heat, Humidity Will Soon Make Regions UNINHABITABLE

Paul Beckwith: "How hot can it actually get? What is in store for us? When you combine the heat domes sitting over many countries with high humidity, many areas around the planet will soon reach the deadly 35°C (95°F) 100% humidity (wet bulb temperature) or equivalent situation whereby a perfectly healthy person outside, in a well ventilated area, in the shade will die from the heat in 6 hours."

Video: Most Mammals Endure Heat Waves Better Than Humans

"Most people, like the very young, the elderly, and the rest of us won’t last anywhere as long, at even lower temperatures. I discuss the latest peer-reviewed science on how parts of high-risk regions in the North China Plains, Middle East, and South Asia will soon be rendered uninhabitable by combined heat and humidity."

Video: Uninhabitable Regions with Extreme Heat and Humidity



Also watch this video, in which Guy McPherson talks about the way aerosols currently mask the full wrath of global warming.

Video: Edge of Extinction: Rate Matters

Above video is also incorporated in the video below.

Video: McPherson's Paradox

and for the bigger picture, also watch the video below.

Video: Responding to Abrupt Climate Change with Guy R. McPherson




Links

• 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

• 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

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

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


Thursday, August 2, 2018

Global fires, droughts and Orwellian Newspeak while Nero fiddles

By Andrew Glikson

There was a time when the contamination of drinking water constituted a punishable crime. Nowadays those who willfully ignore or promote the destruction of the Earth’s atmosphere and ocean acidification through the rise in emission of carbon gases (2014 ~36.08 billion ton CO₂/year ; 2017 ~36.79 billion ton CO₂/year), hold major sway in the world. Consequently the rise rate of atmospheric CO₂ at 2 ppm/year (from 408.84 ppm in June 2014 to 410.79 ppm in June 2018) is the fastest observed in the geological record since 66 million years ago, when an asteroid hit the Earth, wiping out the dinosaurs. (onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gcb.13342). The hapless residents of planet Earth are torn between survival in several parts of the world and sport circuses in other parts, while some of their representatives are playing with chunks of coal in their parliament.

See interactive version of image at:
carbonbrief.org/analysis-global-co2-emissions-set-to-rise-2-percent-in-2017-following-three-year-plateau

The consequences in terms of heat waves, fires, droughts, storms, floods, human lives and devastation of nature are everywhere. From Japan to Sweden, Oman to Texas and California, a global heat wave is setting records, igniting wildfires, and killing hundreds.
nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/a-global-heat-wave-has-set-the-arctic-circle-on-fire.html

The south-central region is home to the highest temperatures in the U.S. this week, with nearly 35 million people living under excessive heat warnings issued by the National Weather Service. Temperatures are expected to be in the triple digits across Texas this weekend, marking the most severe heat wave in the state since 2011. The Texas heat has already led to record-breaking days for the Texas power grid twice this week. Things aren’t any better elsewhere in the region, with heat indexes in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana reaching up to 110°F.

Dozens are dead in Japan from record-setting, long duration extreme heat event.
climatesignals.org/headlines/dozens-dead-japan-record-setting-long-duration-extreme-heat-event
theweek.in/news/world/2018/07/23/japanese-heat-wave-pushes-temperature-to-record.html
Across the globe in Kyoto, Japan, Thursday marked the seventh straight day of temperatures that exceeded 100 degrees, breaking all known records for the ancient capital city. At least 30 people have died in Japan during the heat wave, which has complicated rescue efforts following floods and landslides that killed more than 200 in western Japan earlier this month. On Thursday alone ten people died and 2,605 people were sent to hospitals in Tokyo due to heat, the Japan Times reports. The day before, Tokyo rescue workers set a record by responding to more than 3,000 emergency calls.

In Sweden, the Arctic Circle is on fire. High temperatures and a prolonged drought have caused 49 fires to ignite across Sweden, with temperatures reaching 90 degrees as far north as the Arctic Circle this week. According to the Washington Post, temperatures in Scandinavia typically settle in the 60s and 70s this time of year, meaning the current heat wave is making things around 20 degrees hotter than normal. In Quebec, more than 90 people were killed by extreme heat in early July. An Algerian city earlier this month broke the record for the highest temperature ever in Africa when it hit 124.3°F.
nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/a-global-heat-wave-has-set-the-arctic-circle-on-fire.html

The current heatwave has been caused by an extraordinary stalling of the jet stream wind, which usually funnels cool Atlantic weather over the continent. This has left hot, dry air in place for two months – far longer than usual. The stalling of the northern hemisphere jet stream is being increasingly firmly linked to global warming, in particular to the rapid heating of the Arctic and resulting loss of sea ice.
theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/27/heatwave-made-more-than-twice-as-likely-by-climate-change-scientists-find

Prof Michael Mann declares “This is the face of climate change … We literally would not have seen these extremes in the absence of climate change … The impacts of climate change are no longer subtle … We are seeing them play out in real time and what is happening this summer is a perfect example of that … We are seeing our predictions come true …". Mann points out that the link between smoking tobacco and lung cancer is a statistical one, which does not prove every cancer was caused by smoking, but epidemiologists know that smoking greatly increases the risk. “That is enough to say that, for all practical purposes, there is a causal connection between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer and it is the same with climate change.”
theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/27/extreme-global-weather-climate-change-michael-mann

Australia, emitting 138 million tons of CO₂e in 2017 and in 2017 exporting 200 million tonnes thermal coal and 172 million tons metallurgical coal, is currently suffering major consequences in terms of drought in New South Wales, north-west Victoria and eastern South Australia.

The factors, as explained by Blair Trewin of the Bureau of Meteorology, include: “a stronger than usual sub-tropical ridge over southern Australia. That means that frontal systems that would normally start affecting southern Australia more generally during the winter are instead mostly passing south of the continent, really only affecting Tasmania and perhaps southern Victoria."

Although the polar-ward migration of climate zones pushed southward by the tropical Hadley Cell constitutes an integral feature of global climate change, rarely does the term “climate change” appear in relevant government and farmers’ statements. Orwellian Newspeak has won the day once again, where talk about the “National energy guarantee” appears to divert attention from the global climate crisis to power prices, in a country where the sky is the limit for alternative clean energy—solar, wind and tide.

The cover-up by the compliant mainstream media, radio and TV of the climate change origin of the heat waves and of fires in the northern hemisphere, and of the drought in the southern hemisphere, is now almost complete. In true Orwellian newspeak terms the words “climate change” have now been replaced with “energy security”..

Andrew Glikson
Dr Andrew Glikson
Earth and Paleo-climate science
ANU Climate Change Institute
ANU Planetary Science Institute
Books:
http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319079073
http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789400763272
http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319745442
http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319225111
http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319572369
http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789400773318