Monday, April 8, 2019

Blue Ocean Event Consequences

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 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.


• Blue Ocean Event : Game Over? - by Dave Borlace

• Climate System Upheaval: Arctic Sea-Ice, Snow Cover, Jet-Stream, Monsoonal Consequences - by Paul Beckwith

• Jet Stream Center-of-Rotation to Shift 17 degrees Southward from North Pole to Greenland with Arctic Blue Ocean Event - by Paul Beckwith

• Blue Ocean Event

• Stronger Extinction Alert

• It could be unbearably hot in many places within a few years time

• Feedbacks

• Latent Heat

• Albedo and more

• Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade

• How much warming have humans caused?

• The Threat

• A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026?

• Extinction

• Climate Plan

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