Friday, September 24, 2021

The dilemma of climate scientists

by Andrew Glikson

“in private conversations, many climate scientists express far greater concern at the progression
of global warming and its consequences than they do in public” - Andrew Glikson (2016)

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Many climate change models, including by the IPCC, appear to neglect or minimize the amplifying feedbacks of global warming, which are pushing temperatures upward in a chain reaction-like process, as projected by Wally Broecker and others.

A climate chain reaction is believed to have pertained about 55 million years ago (Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum [PETM]).

During the Anthropocene (post-1750 and in particular post-1900) greenhouse gas and temperature growth rates levels exceeded those of the PETM and of the end of the last glacial termination (LGT). During 2010-2020 an acceleration of global warming is reflected by an anomalous rise in greenhouse gas levels and temperatures (Figure 1).
Figure 1. 1880-2020 temperature anomalies relative to the 1951-1980 base line (NASA, NOAA, Hadley, Berkeley)

According to Peter Ward and others early examples of mass extinctions triggered by biological processes were related to ocean anoxia and acidification leading to CH4 and H2S release by “purple” and “green” algae and sulphur bacteria. Likewise, anthropogenic global warming constitutes a geological/biological process for which the originating organisms (humans) have not to date been able to discover an effective method of control.

The critical criterion definitive of global warming is the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases, rising from 280 to 419 ppm, i.e. by about 49% since pre-industrial time, only rarely mentioned by the media and politicians. Other parameters of climate change, such as the level of methane and nitrous oxide, have risen about 3-fold. While opinions by journalists, politicians, economists and social scientists proliferate, less attention is given to what is indicated by climate science, rendering the global response to the looming calamity increasingly irrelevant.

Thus, whereas most models portray linear rise in temperature, the evidence for the breading of the circum-Arctic jet stream, allowing cold and warm fronts to cross the boundary, would result in high storminess in high latitudes.

“Most scientists agree that climate change is happening faster than predicted. More than one-third of the world’s soil, which produces 95% of the world’s food supply, is currently degraded. By 2035, outdoor air pollution is projected to be a top cause of environmentally-related deaths worldwide, and half the world’s population will face water shortages.” However, many scientists are reluctant to warn the public about the full consequences of accelerating global heating. Namely, as Joachim Schellnhuber, Germany’s chief climate scientist has stated, the existential risk to the life support systems of the planet.

There is a heavy price to pay for communicating distressing evidence, Cassandra-like, including psychological factors and/or social and professional isolation. Personal optimism may overcome realism. Some scientists are either self-censored or have their work suppressed or dismissed within institutions or by the media, including in government and academia. Some scientists have lost their position.

As cited in the article titled “When the End of Human Civilization Is Your Day Job“ … “Among many climate scientists, gloom has set in. Things are worse than we think, but they can't really talk about it”, and elsewhere “in private conversations, many climate scientists express far greater concern at the progression of global warming and its consequences than they do in public”. It is not uncommon to hear people criticizing climate scientists for not telling them more about the future climate, although when they are told, many recoil. Then there is the plethora of false promises by politicians.

As the world continues to spend $trillions each year on military preparation for war or nuclear war, resources needed if serious attempts are made for protection of life on Earth, despair sinks in.

But the world is now waking up to the climate calamity.

There must be hope.

Andrew Glikson
A/Prof. Andrew Glikson

Earth and Paleo-climate scientist
School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
The University of New South Wales,
Kensington NSW 2052 Australia

The Asteroid Impact Connection of Planetary Evolution
The Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earth
Climate, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocene
The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earth
Evolution of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizon
From Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligence
Asteroids Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australia
The Event Horizon: Homo Prometheus and the Climate Catastrophe
The Fatal Species: From Warlike Primates to Planetary Mass Extinction

Thursday, September 9, 2021

On borrowed time: How long to a Miocene-like tropical ~+4°C world?

On borrowed time: How long to a Miocene-like tropical ~+4°C world?

by A/Prof Andrew Glikson
Earth and climate scientist

Toward late this century global temperatures are likely to either reach super-tropical levels of >>14°C or/and extreme levels of storminess consequent on clashes between Arctic and Antarctic sourced cold and warm air and water masses.

Humans appear to be mainly concerned about any one issue at a time, and while COVID-19 is claiming the lives of millions Homo sapiens appears to be increasingly oblivious to the growing threat to billions of humans and to nature, including the inhabitability of large regions and extinguishment of habitats.

The almost universal assumption as if a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is in itself sufficient to prevent further warming is misleading, since positive feedbacks from land and ocean would continue to raise greenhouse levels and temperatures.

Such feedback effects include:
  1. increased evaporation with warming, water vapor being a greenhouse gas;
  2. melting ice decreasing the albedo effect of Earth, exposing dark rock surfaces, reducing the albedo of the polar terrains and sea ice in surrounding oceans, enhancing infrared absorption and heating;
  3. burnt and desiccated vegetation decreasing the albedo;
  4. decreased absorption and solubility of CO₂ in warming oceans;
  5. release of CO₂ and methane from drying vegetation, from melting permafrost and from bogs.
A critical parameter, rarely mentioned in the media, is the inexorable accelerating rise in atmospheric greenhouse gases. With CO₂ reaching 414.6 parts per million, CH₄ (methane) is reaching 1891.3 parts per billion and total greenhouse gas concentration of 500 parts per million, a level unknown since the Miocene about 5.3-23 million years ago.

With a Miocene CO₂ level in the range of ~400-500 parts per million and mean temperatures up to 18.4°C, the atmosphere is tracking toward super-tropical temperatures, which would render large regions uninhabitable.

Anthropocene temperature rise rates are at least an order of magnitude higher than the mean temperature rise since the Last Glacial Maximum:
  • Given the current mean global land and ocean temperature of 14°C, i.e. 6.2°C warmer than the mean ~7.8°C temperature of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) (~19,000–23.000 years-ago), the mean warming of (~0.00026°C/year rate; 6°C/23.000 years) is an order of magnitude slower than during the Anthropocene.
  • Late Holocene/Anthropocene: 1.04°C/250 years ~0.004°C/year). This relegates the current global warming to an unprecedented category during the last ~3 million years and longer.
Namely, at ~+4 degrees Celsius of warming toward later the 21st century the Earth’s mean surface land/ocean temperature would be warmer than tropical Miocene temperatures. A lag effect between the rise of greenhouse gases and temperature would delay but not prevent the worst effects of global warming.

But even before such high mean temperatures is reached, the weakened jet stream climate zone boundary, allowing penetration of cold and warm fronts, allowing clashes between air and water masses of contrasting temperatures, would lead to storminess, disrupting human agriculture and habitats, as is already happening in northern Europe and within the Arctic circle

How long would it take for global temperatures to rise to about ~4°C and higher would depend on:
  1. The acceleration in rising concentration of greenhouse gases and the lag in consequent rising temperatures;
  2. The extent to which ice melt flow from Greenland and Antarctica may slow down further warming in certain regions, such as the north Atlantic and the Southern Ocean;
  3. Further anthropogenic emissions and/or draw-down of atmospheric CO₂.
From the continuing rise of atmospheric greenhouse concentrations (CO₂: 2020 – 414.62 ppm; 2021 - 416.96 ppm) to date global greenhouse gas emissions are hardly slowing down, nor have attempts at mitigation and/or sequestration been effective. In 2019, the world emitted roughly 36.44 billion metric tons (BMT) of carbon dioxide, compared to 14.83 BMT in 1970.

According to the head of the International Energy Agency no new oil, gas or coal development ought to take place if the world is to reach net zero by 2050. 

However, rising production of hydrocarbons in several regions, for example new drilling for oil in the North Sea, high production of oil and gas the USAnew coal mines in Australia and elsewhere cast doubt on the level of carbon emissions in future.

Conclusion: A rise in the mean global temperature to about 4 degrees Celsius or higher, as projected by IPCC, and/or a stormy climate consequent due to clashes between air and water masses of contrasting temperatures consequent on weakening of climate zone boundaries, are likely to progress through the 21st Century, severely disrupting natural and human habitats and species.

Andrew Glikson
A/Prof. Andrew Glikson

Earth and Paleo-climate scientist
School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
The University of New South Wales,
Kensington NSW 2052 Australia

The Asteroid Impact Connection of Planetary Evolution
The Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earth
Climate, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocene
The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earth
Evolution of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizon
From Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligence
Asteroids Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australia
The Event Horizon: Homo Prometheus and the Climate Catastrophe
The Fatal Species: From Warlike Primates to Planetary Mass Extinction

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Is the IPCC creating false perceptions, again?

IPCC AR6 Report

The Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (WG1 AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) raises the question: Is the IPCC seeking to downplay the dire situation that we are in, again? 

Downplaying the temperature rise from pre-industrial

One of the first issues that comes up is the baseline. The IPCC uses 1850–1900 as a baseline, like it did before (in SR1.5). This is one out of many instances where the IPCC creates a perception that it would take many years before the 1.5°C threshold would be crossed. This 1850–1900 isn't pre-industrial. The Paris Agreement calls for pre-industrial as a base. 

The IPCC image on the right shows a 1.09°C rise from 1850–1900. This isn't the rise to the year 2020, but it is the rise to the period from 2011 to 2020. 

Instead, when taking the 2020 temperature rise and going back one century, NASA data show a 1.29°C rise from 1920, and this is a conservative figure, as 0.1°C can be added to translate NASA's sea surface temperatures into ocean air temperatures and another 0.1°C can be added for higher polar anomalies, which brings the temperature rise up to almost 1.5°C and this isn't the full rise from pre-industrial by a long shot.

Furthermore, the IPCC uses seasonally-biased data to "reconstruct" the temperature rise that took place prior to its baseline, making it look as if there was no rise before its baseline.

Instead, the rise from pre-industrial to 1920 could be as much as 0.3°C (1750 to 1920) + 0.2°C (1520 to 1750) + 0.29°C (3480 BC to 1520).

Adding up the rises for all these elements gives a total rise from pre-industrial to 2020 that could be as high as 1.29°C + 0.1°C + 0.1°C + 0.3°C + 0.2°C + 0.29°C = 2.28°C, as highlighted by above images and as further discussed at the pre-industrial page

In February 2016, the temperature
was 1.70°C higher than in 1900
(i.e. 1885-1914, the 30-year period
centered around the start of 1900)
Ignoring peak peril by averaging over long periods

The map on the right shows that the average global temperature was 1.70°C higher in February 2016 than around 1900 (i.e. 1885-1914). The map also shows local anomalies as high as 15.1°C and even higher peaks were reached on specific days. 

This raises questions as to how the thresholds set at the Paris Agreement should be measured, i.e. is a threshold deemed to be crossed when the anomaly from pre-industrial crosses the threshold for a month, or for a year, or for a decade? Wouldn't a long period effectively grant polluters a long grace period to keep polluting? 

When in doubt, wouldn't downplaying the danger violate the precautionary principle?  

When building a bridge, an engineer will calculate how much load it can handle by first looking at how many heavy trucks will be using the bridge at times of PEAK traffic, rather than to average the weight of all vehicles on the bridge over a 30-year period. Caption and image by Sam Carana from earlier post.

Downplaying the near-term temperature rise

The Paris Agreement calls for politicians to limit the temperature rise to well below 2°C from pre-industrial, while calling upon the IPCC to describe pathways to achieve this. 

Instead of pointing at the policies that can best be  adopted, the IPCC uses Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs), and the only two scenarios for which the rise remains well below 2°C are SSP1-1.9 and SSP1-2.6 (images right).

The position of methane is of vital importance in these scenarios. As a requirement for both the SSP1-1.9 and SSP1-2.6 scenarios, methane emissions would need to have fallen since the year 2015. Even for SSP2-4.5, for which 2°C does get crossed, methane emissions would need to fall.

So, have methane levels fallen since 2015?

The image on the right shows NOAA globally averaged marine surface monthly means up to the most recent one which is April 2021. The NOAA annual mean methane data are:
in 2015: 1834 ppb
in 2016: 1843 ppb
in 2017: 1850 ppb
in 2018: 1857 ppb
in 2019: 1866 ppb (most recent IPCC level)
in 2020: 1879 ppb

Note also that above NOAA data are for global mean marine surface readings. At higher altitudes, even higher levels show up. The combination image below illustrates this, showing that the MetOp-1 satellite recorded a mean global methane level of 1956 ppb at 293 mb on September 2, 2021, am (panel left). The image in the right panel shows that the same satellite recorded much lower mean global methane levels, i.e. of 1894 ppb, closer to sea level, i.e. at 586 mb, on September 5, 2021, pm, while peak methane levels were as high as 2738 ppb and much methane was showing up over the Arctic Ocean. 

Ominously, methane reached very high peak levels recently. The Metop-2 satellite recorded a peak methane level of 3324 ppb at 469 mb on September 24, 2021, pm.

The image on the right shows high recent monthly average methane levels recorded at Barrow, Alaska. While this may not be representative for global methane levels, it does constitute a frightening warning of what may eventuate.

Stronger methane releases from subsea permafrost can be expected, says a paper by Natalia Shakhova et al. A 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, according to a paper by Atsushi Obata et al.

Seafloor methane releases could be triggered by strong winds causing an influx of warm, salty water into the Arctic ocean (see this earlier post and this page). Since little hydroxyl is present in the atmosphere over the Arctic, it is much harder for this methane to get broken down.

Even relatively small methane releases could cause tremendous heating, if they reach the stratosphere. Methane rises from the Arctic Ocean concentrated in plumes, pushing away the aerosols and gases that slow down the rise of methane elsewhere, which enables methane erupting from the Arctic Ocean to rise straight up fast and reach the stratosphere. IPCC AR6 gives methane a lifetime of 11.8 years. IPCC TAR gave stratospheric methane a lifetime of 120 years, adding that less than 7% of methane did reach the stratosphere at the time. 

The MetOp-1 satellite recorded a mean global methane level of 1956 ppb on September 11, 2021 am, at 293 mb. This corresponds with an altitude of some 9 km, which is where the Stratosphere starts at the North Pole. The conversion table shows that the Tropopause, which separates the Troposphere from the Stratosphere, is lower over the North Pole (at about 9 km altitude) than over the Equator (17 km altitude). 

[ click on images to enlarge ]
Mind you, the IPCC report does include some frightening images, such as one with a temperature rise of up to 17.5°C by 2300 (Figure 4.40), and one with CO₂ levels approaching 1200 ppm around 2100, corresponding with a temperature rise of up to 8°C (Figure 4.3).

What the IPCC doesn't mention is that at 1200 ppm CO₂e the clouds tipping point would get crossed that results in an additional 8°C temperature rise. With a high rise in methane levels and the GWP for methane calculated over a short horizon, such a huge temperature rise could eventuate within a few years time.

[ from earlier post ]
The IPCC downplays the methane threat by simply excluding the potential for a high rise in methane levels, while using a 100-year GWP for methane and while also waving away the potential for strong methane releases from oceans to the atmosphere.

For a really high methane emissions scenario, the image on the right shows a trend that is based on NOAA 2006-2020 annual global mean marine surface methane data and that points at a mean of 3893 ppb getting crossed by the end of 2026, a level less than twice as high as the recent 1956 ppb mean methane level.

Such a high mean methane level by 2026 cannot be ruled out, given the rapid recent growth in mean annual methane levels and with double-digit growth sustained beyond 2020 to date. It is deceptive to assume that methane levels have fallen and will continue to fall, the more so since the IPCC doesn't point at the most effective policies to achieve reductions in methane emissions.

By how much would such a doubling of the methane level raise the total carbon dioxide equivalent (CO₂e) level for greenhouse gases? A methane level of 3893 ppb would translate into 583.95 ppm CO₂e (at a GWP for methane of 150 for a 9-year horizon) or 778.6 ppm CO₂e (at a GWP for methane of 200 for a 5-year horizon). 

The image on the right shows trends based on IPCC AR6 GWP values pointing at a GWP for methane of 150 for a 9-year horizon and pointing at an even higher GWP for a shorter horizon. A short horizon is quite appropriate given that the above trend points at the possibility of such a high level for methane getting reached by 2026. 

Even with less methane, when using a short horizon for the GWP of methane and adding the impact of further greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, water vapor, etc.), the 1200 ppm CO₂e clouds tipping point could get crossed by 2026. 

As said, the IPCC AR6 uses SSPs to depict rises or falls for emissions. For methane, emissions would need to have fallen since 2015 for both the SSP1-1.9 and SSP1-2.6 scenarios. The same goes for nitrous oxide, as the top panel of the image on the right indicates.

Instead, however, as the image in the bottom panel indicates, recent nitrous oxide concentrations appear to follow a polynomial (blue) trend, rather than a linear (green) trend. In other words, growth in nitrous oxide releases is also accelerating.

Without implementation of effective policies, emissions cannot be expected to fall. Moreover, emission reductions alone will be insufficient to avoid a possibly sharp rise in temperature over the next few years. 

Sadly, the IPCC fails to outline pathways to improve the situation. 

Given that humans will likely go extinct with a 3°C rise, and a 5°C rise will likely end most life on Earth, the IPCC could have given a little more warning that a huge temperature rise may happen over the next few years.

Natural variability acts as a catalyst in this case. Within a few years time, sunspots will be reaching the peak of their cycle, and they are looking stronger than forecast.

An upcoming El Niño could raise surface temperatures significantly. The image below indicates that the difference between the top of El Niño and the bottom of La Niña could be more than half a degree Celsius. 

The image on the right indicates that the current La Niña is forecast to end early 2022. As temperatures keep rising, ever more frequent strong El Niño events are likely to occur, as confirmed by a recent study. Authors also confirm concerns that this IPCC report has downplayed the threat that a super El Nino event could occur soon.

Another large contribution to the upcoming temperature rise is the falling away of the cooling provided by sulphur that is currently co-emitted by industries such as coal-fired power plants, shipping and smelters. 

As cleaner alternatives become more economic, and as calls for cleaner air become stronger, this could result in a strong temperature rise soon, as discussed at the aerosols page

As illustrated by the bar on the right, there are many further elements that could dramatically push up the temperature soon. Altogether, the rise from pre-industrial could increase to more than 18°C by 2026

Decline of Arctic snow and ice can result in huge albedo losses, loss of latent heat buffer, jet stream changes, more and more extreme weather events, and more. Slowing down of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) and increasing ocean stratification can result in less heat getting transferred from the atmosphere to the depths of the ocean, as also described at this page.

One of the largest threats is seafloor methane and despite repeated warning from some of the best experts in the field, the IPCC simply waves away this threat. This and other elements in the bar have been discussed in detail in many earlier posts such as this one and on the extinction page

Given these huge threats, how could the IPCC give the impression that there was a “carbon budget” to divide? The IPCC downplays the size, speed and ferocity of the temperature rise in many ways. What motivates the IPCC do this? One reason could be that the IPCC seeks to create the perception that there was such a “carbon budget” left to be divided among polluters, so they could comfortably keep adding further pollution for another decade or more. 

Sam Carana, restating a 2013 quote:
[ from the Quotes page ]

“There is no carbon budget to divide between polluters, instead there is just a huge debt of CO₂ to be removed from the atmosphere and the oceans. Comprehensive and effective action must be taken to combat run-away warming.”

It should have been obvious by now that there is no “carbon budget”. Instead, there's only a huge and very dangerous carbon debt. There is no room for trade-offs or offsets, and terms such as negative emissions are simply inappropriate. All efforts should be made to cut emissions, including ending current subsidies for fossil fuel and livestock, while carbon could and should additionally be removed from the atmosphere and oceans. And even then, it's questionable whether any species, let alone humans, will be able to survive the coming decade, so additional action will need to be taken as well. 

[ see the extinction page ]

Excluding the most appropriate policy tools, while instead advocating polluting pathways  

The IPCC creates a perception that pollution could continue for decades to come, by downplaying the temperature rise and by downplaying the threat of a huge rise within years, while promoting the idea that there was a “carbon budget” to be divided among polluters that would enable polluters to keep polluting for decades to come. Again, the IPCC has failed to do what the Paris Agreement calls for, i.e. for the IPCC to specify the pathways that will give the world a better future, specifically the policies that are needed to facilitate a better future. 

In the video below, Guy McPherson also discusses the report. 


This IPCC report should be returned to be rewritten, to instead focus on the best policies to facilitate the necessary changes. The scientific evidence in favor of what needs to be done is overwhelming, from all kinds of perspectives, while it's also simply the right thing to do. Most effective are feebates, i.e. imposing fees on polluting products while using the revenues to support rebates on better alternatives, and feebates are especially effective when implemented locally. Studies on the effectiveness of feebates were made available as early as 2005 and feebates have been discussed by the IMF, the OECD and the UN, and have been implemented in various ways, e.g. in the Clean Car Programme in New Zealand. The situation is dire and calls for the most comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan


• IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways (SR1.5)

• Paris Agreement, adopted 2015

• Seasonal origin of the thermal maxima at the Holocene and the last interglacial - by Samantha Bova et al. (2021)

• Changing El Niño–Southern Oscillation in a warming climate - by Wenju Cai et al.

• IPCC report may have underplayed risk of freak El Nino and La Nina events

• IMF: Chapter 1. What Is the Best Policy Instrument for Reducing CO2 Emissions?, in: Fiscal Policy to Mitigate Climate Change - by Ruud de Mooij et al. (2012) 

• OECD: Are environmental tax policies beneficial? Learning from programme evaluation studies 

• UN: Policies and Legal Options to Promote the Energy Efficiency of Private Motor Vehicles 

• Feebates: An effective regulatory instrument for cost-constrained environmental policy - by  Kenneth Johnson

• NZ Ministry of Transport: Vehicle Purchase Feebate Scheme

• Clean Car Programme in New Zealand

• How much warming have humans caused?

• A Temperature Rise Of More Than 18 Degrees Celsius By 2026?

• Overshoot or Omnicide?

• Climate Plan

• Pre-industrial 

• Feebates

• Quotes

• Feedbacks

• Extinction

• Latent Heat

• Aerosols 

• Can we weather the Danger Zone?

• How much warmer is it now?

• When will we die?

• Most Important Message Ever

• Methane levels threaten to skyrocket

• Just do NOT tell them the monster exists

• 100% clean, renewable energy is cheaper

• Negative-CO2-emissions ocean thermal energy conversion

• 'Electrogeochemistry' captures carbon, produces fuel, offsets ocean acidification

• Olivine weathering to capture CO2 and counter climate change

• Biochar group at facebook

• IPCC seeks to downplay global warming

• Blue Ocean Event

• What Does Runaway Warming Look Like?

• Ten Dangers of Global Warming

• AGU poster, AGU Fall Meeting 2011

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Siberian Permafrost Turns Carbon-12 Tap On: Radiocarbon Diminishing in Air

by Veli Albert Kallio

[ image by Peter Carter of Climate Emergency Institute ]

We at Sea Research Society's Environmental Affairs Department are very concerned of the melting permafrost terrain and methane clathrate deposits of the Arctic Ocean's sea bed (which are seeding Siberia's air once again with carbon-12). This is because Arctic Ocean's methane clathrates, methane (CH4) & carbon dioxide (CO₂) deposits are thought to be the world's largest reservoir of carbon. When it comes to methane, much of that in the Arctic is a side-product of geochemical processes since the birth of our planet some 4 billion years ago and so it contains ZERO radiocarbon (14C). To these are added the various undersea and land-based deposits of ancient fossil carbon which too have zero or just minute content of carbon-14.

We see already the Arctic at a tipping point, reaching a cliff edge to zero carbon-14 presence in tundra's plants emerging over recent years.

Above should set off alarm bells to archaeologists so much so that if carbon-14 can now disappear from the observed portfolio of the carbon isotopes in the plants and animals by radiocarbon-dilution effect from both the ancient geo-carbon and also the fossil carbon sources on land and sea bed. One of the key pillars to calibrate not only radiocarbon dating, but other methods as well that have been indirectly calibrated with the help of carbon-14 as their control measurements, is being attacked by the furious Mother Nature. We stand now on an increasingly elastic and shifting sands on this question. And why just now?

The answer to this is straightforward: the man-made global warming. So, now recall that the Arctic Ocean's sea level fell between some 120-130 metres from its present-day water table during the Ice Ages as water accumulated within the glaciers on the land - and that depressurisation (in addition to warming) is actually the primary route to destroy methane clathrates as it disintegrates at lower water pressures. The broad rule is therefore that the less water in ocean, the more methane clathrate (methane ice) begins to disintegrate.

Methane clathrates (methane ice deposits) as the world's biggest carbon reservoir would have inevitably oozed out copious amounts of carbon-12 into air during the lowering of the Ice Age era ocean water table. At the same time, the ice-filled and cold world oceans were mopping away gases from the air far more intensively than they do today leaving little atmospheric carbon-14 behind in this process. The atmospheric carbon is very rich in radiocarbon if compared to carbon in water courses and oceans - let alone in the ancient soils. This is because carbon-14 forms in atmosphere from nitrogen due to cosmic radiation. As cold liquids hold more gases than warmer liquids, it is not much of hocus pocus for radiocarbon to disappear from the air into these ice-filled and cold oceans teeming with much more marine life than today.

Today there are over 27,000 recorded methane craters discovered on the Arctic Ocean's sea bed and many have diameter of 1 km or wider. The largest methane crater found so far is 750 km² in its area and has the lost from its deposit thickness over 300 metres (and all of that is pure carbon-12 that was originally within methane ice, of course).

Ethnoclimatology Motion UNGA 101292 which the United Nations Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar authorised for tabling on the floor of the UN General Assembly - as the closing plea of the opening proceedings of the first UN Year of Indigenous Peoples - stipulated a faster case history for the Ice Ages period where global warming was initially driven by methane releases from the seabed while carbon dioxide emerged later as the respondent to the warming by high altitude methane. This then tipped the trajectory of the world's constantly cooling climate at the Last Glacial Maximum towards global warming (methane molecule-to-molecule to carbon dioxide molecule is 256 times more powerful in trapping sun's heat). This system tipping point reversed the cooling of the Ice Ages from the earlier snowball-earth runaway global cooling trajectory (which resulted from the continuously advancing snow lines of the Ice Ages that were heading towards the Equator).

The last time methane came to "save the earth" from runaway freezing (snowball earth), but at our current situation we have triggered its instability by the unforeseen levels of carbon dioxide now at 420 ppm that forms a very-difficult-to-get-rid-of background climatic forcing. This issue of carbon-12 from the frozen polar regions, called cryosphere, is not just for the archaeological community and about the timing of our historic events in the distant past to be understood more accurately, but it is a real existential threat today for our society. This time methane is not coming to us from the ground as our saviour like it was during the Ice Ages, but it is now our foremost enemy after our man-made releases of carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide released today lingers in air for 1000 years or even more, although bouncing back-and-forth with surface layers in the oceans, but it is only very gradually disappearing from the air by chemical weathering by the olivine group rocks or soils containing olivine group minerals. Also, very deeply penetrated plant roots lock carbon gradually away as well as the sea plankton if it falls onto the deep ocean bed. It is a grave misconception to think that the plant life is a great natural filter than can sort our mess out. The plants are rather geared to take carbon in as carbon dioxide to only form their leaves, let the autumn come and those same leaves are due to fall onto the ground and turn back into carbon dioxide. Flowers and trees are not any sort of Santa Claus to do that job for us.

As carbon's locking away is not at all immediate as shown above but as it can take thousand years or more to do so, so the same principle applied to the huge releases of Palaeolithic methane (which as lighter-than-air gas resides mainly in the upper troposphere, stratosphere, and mesosphere). As most of methane has been seen in recent years accumulating at fastest rate at the highest altitudes in the atmosphere - far above the surface - it cannot be very well represented in the ice cores. It simply is neither trapped in the snow crystals very much - and consequently - nor seen in the ice cores (that are basically just taken out of the pack of compacted fallen snow) - as most of methane resides well above the cloud level.

This explains why the global warming - which ended the Ice Ages - appears in the ice cores already centuries to thousands of years before the rising concentrations of carbon dioxide is seen in air trapped in the bubbles of the ice cores. Methane oxidizes best to carbon dioxide in warm and moist air, but during the xeric climate conditions of the ice ages and also amplified by the xeric heights in dry stratosphere, methane oxidised back then far slower than it does today. Thus, the huge heating effect of methane melted the ice sheets of the Ice Ages back into the world ocean and as soon as the sea levels rose, methane clathrates got re-pressurised - while the slip-sliding and collapsing ice sheets and ice shelves produced ice bergs and more sea ice to cool both the oceans and the climate. The supply of new methane from ocean beds soon was cut off and in due course also the permafrost releases also began to diminish as climate began to cool due to growing shortage of methane in air. By Holocene Thermal Maximum or Optimum any further global warming had stopped as by then there was little high altitude methane left in upper troposphere, stratosphere, and mesosphere. As a consequence of this new tipping point, the atmospheric temperature rise ceased and settled for the Holocene equilibrium and then dropped slightly for the next few thousands of years.

The above explains, for example, the radiocarbon-outliers of the earliest Egyptian carbon samples being typically more carbon-14 aged than their actual age. Quite ridiculously, the recent discovery of wood material in relation to the Great Pyramid of Giza, which was built by Pharaoh Khufu was radiocarbon-dated to 34th century BCE. This is more than eight (8) full centuries before the historically-known date when the Great Pyramid of Giza was built.

In fact, the timing of 34 centuries before Common Era is a date that occurred long before even the Egyptian state even existed! Yet, these readings were apparently checked very carefully and cross-checked again. The explanation flirted - which we at SRS are strenuously disputing - is that the Egyptians would have stored the wood for over eight centuries before the put that wood in use to build the Khufu pyramid. This is outrageous stupidity as it is very clear that huge bulk quantities of wood would have been required and which could never have been stored for such a long time before its final use. There simpy weren't even manpower and storage facilities in the 34th century BCE Egypt. Even if the wood would have been first used in the construction of the Sakkara Pyramid, the first pyramid, and then recycled to the Great Pyramid of Giza for re-use, it still would not be sufficiently aged enough to explain the carbon-14 readings obtained as 34th century BCE.

The best (or - better to say - only) explanation to the above is the effect of lingering carbon dioxide in the air remaining centuries to over thousands of years after the Palaeolithic releases of geological and fossil carbon from the Arctic permafrost soils and seabed.

Our whole economy (along history-keeping too) stands and falls if the Arctic methane and carbon dioxide emissions of carbon-12 continue this way unabated as today. The world needs cooling urgently and far less CO₂ perhaps 350 ppm or less. Of course, there is also the separate environmental issue of Siberia's forest fires this year and last (2020 and 2021) with a forest of the size of France said to have been burnt.

Above are serious issues where historic dating of carbon is a minor issue but where the dangers from global warming to human society must remain our supreme concern.

A particularly suspicious case to us is the Japanese Palaeolithic as the island sits east of the vast Eurasian landmass and is exposed to winds from north-west that come via Siberia. In particular the Pandora's Box of permafrost carbon-12 is suspect culprit in these comments:

"Ground stone and polished tools: The Japanese Palaeolithic is unique in that it incorporates one of the earliest known sets of ground stone and polished stone tools in the world .. The tools, which have been dated to around 30,000 BC, are a technology associated in the rest of the world with the beginning of the Neolithic around 10,000 BC. It is not known why such tools were created so early in Japan. Because of this originality, the Japanese Palaeolithic period in Japan does not exactly match the traditional definition of Palaeolithic based on stone technology (chipped stone tools). Japanese Palaeolithic tool implements thus display Mesolithic and Neolithic traits as early as 30,000 BC." (Wikipedia, Japanese Palaeolithic)

The effect of carbon-12 seeding in air - as the westerly winds roll gradually over the terrain of Siberia and Arctic to pick up old carbon on its way to east - is seen to be the greatest in the north-east corner of Siberia (i.e. northern Yakutia) where the plants currently appear sucking in major permafrost inputs of ancient carbon. This would suggest that the northern China would be also quite prone to similar permafrost-based carbon-12 seeding. Then, when one accounts for the blocking effects of the Karakoram and the Himalayan mountain ranges in south and the very limited ability for the air to rise in the thin-air area over the vast Tibetan high plateau, the air is mostly guided towards South-East China that also ought see fairly elevated levels of carbon-12. This creates in my mind a question mark over the Chinese archaeological claim that they created the world's first clay pottery some 10,000-15,000 years before others - the people of the Middle East - let alone, the 'laggards' of Europe.

So, is this then another radiocarbon illusion created by the Mother Earth?

"A 2012 publication in the Science journal, announced that the earliest pottery yet known anywhere in the world was found at Xianren Cave site dated by radiocarbon to between 20,000 and 19,000 years before present, at the end of the Last Glacial Period. The carbon 14 dating was established by carefully dating surrounding sediments. Many of the pottery fragments had scorch marks, suggesting that the pottery was used for cooking. These early pottery containers were made well before the invention of agriculture (dated to 10,000 to 8,000 BC), by mobile foragers who hunted and gathered their food during the Late Glacial Maximum." (Wikipedia, Xianren Cave)

There are other issues than a lack of such old pottery findings in addition to the suggested radiocarbon-dilution effect that archeologists must consider. One reason for not finding pottery, or encountering less of it, would be the mobility and the lack of accumulation of domestic waste in heaps, "tells", as in the Middle East because the people were likely highly nomadic. It might be more practical to use wooden vessels, leather skins and avoid pots by other means like roasting meat over the open fire rather than carrying the relatively bulky clay pots (at least for anything other than for use as a cooking vessel for vegetables, seeds, roots, or herbs). Animals and fish could be roosted on rocks or over the fire as and so the need might be just for an occasional cooking pot. When to the potential mobility is added temporary camping in places away from the rivers and the streams, it is easy to miss out vast majority of pottery left behind on the huge grassland steppes of Central Asia and China.

On the other hand, the idea of clay pots could have spread far faster as useful and easy-to-copy practice to bake clay, and the large c-14 dates might be almost entirely carbon artefacts.

At British Museum's conference Anthropology, Weather, and Climate Change we presented a poster Looking at the Forward Running Clocks' - Carbon Cycles and Time from Pleistocene to Present outlining some prime candidates that we suspected as fallen for the Arctic geo-carbon and fossil carbon seeding effects (a link attached at the end).

The carbon "seeding effects" are not only localised and regional radiocarbon anomalies. There are important anomalies also outside the time scales of these seasonal and regional weather patterns - on a global climate scale. As an indicator of this, there is the already stated anomalous global warming that is seen occurring centuries-to-millennia before the rise of carbon dioxide in air trapped within the ice cores before it is enriched with carbon dioxide. This anomaly (an exceedingly toted argument by the climate change denialists) can be associated with the above said methane leaks from methane clathrates (geo-carbon and fossil carbon) from ocean bed, and methane from permafrost (fossil carbon) at very high altitudes - where the were warming the air well before carbon dioxide arrived to the scene. This carbon sourcing would have seeded also the entire overall global air mass to at least some extent with this extra carbon-12 - though somewhat less than the northern anomalies to create also a somewhat skewed background comparisons level (less "aged" than the higher permafrost emissions seen nearer their Arctic sources) but also radiocarbon-diluted.

In all this, remember, it only takes a doubling of carbon-12 in the air to add one half-life (5,730 years) to the measured radiocarbon age. If you reduce it to a quarter, that is already in the range of over 10,000 years - and it is in these ranges or even more than that - these gigantic Arctic carbon stores painted our ancient biological bodies with extra carbon-12.

We have devised some unique experiments that can fully differentiate any carbon from the above Arctic sources from the naturally occurring portfolio of the carbon isotopes.

I just got the latest methane blobs reported 02:30 am today. These images are far from good although they do not create such a television theatre or environmental porn like the forest fires, floods and hurricanes do. Yesterday's readings are "our canary in a coal mine" to show how badly methane and carbon dioxide are now streaming out from the Arctic permafrost soils and seabeds. Our past trust has been to be over-relying on plain or slightly tinkered readings how to interpret radiocarbon. This will be gone as this is how carbon-12 now enters our biological materials from Northern Asia with its culprit caught red handed.

The revised radiocarbon-oriented vocabulary on the Arctic carbon-12 emissions are: Ice Ages' Last Glacial Maximum (= Sea-Level Drop Maximum) until Holocene Thermal Maximum/Optimum (= Permafrost Melting Maximum). The past ancient methane "blobs" were in a vastly larger scales than those seen here today. As I said above, carbon dioxide concentrations could not get over 180 ppm during the Ice Ages due to the cold and iceberg and sea ice filled oceans dissolving gases from atmosphere far faster than today whilst the carbon-12 taps of lowered seabeds and then melting permafrost remained highly venting. This suppressed atmospheric carbon-14 manifestation for a very long time. Situation on graphics on Tuesday, 3 August 2021; received Wednesday, 4th August 2021 at 02:30 GMT.

Our research of ethnoclimatological records show consistent records in Sumer, India, East Asia, and Mesoamerica that the ethnic time-keeping is consistently pointing towards faster causative, duration and termination history for the Ice Ages and as per UNGA 101292. This is also at the core of my 2023 moon expedition bid to raise alarm on above dangers from the Moon to get the First Nations of Americas ethnohistorical climate recollections taken more seriously and to establish Ethnoclimatology as a new branch of science akin to Ethnobotany.

By Veli Albert Kallio, FRGS | Vice-President, Sea Research Society | Ethnoclimatologist

• United Nations General Assembly Motion 101292 for UNFCCC's Talanoa Dialogue

• 'Looking At The Forward Running Clocks' - Carbon Cycles and Time From Pleistocene to Present

Former Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, London, Professor Sir Ghillean Prance, FRS, is fully behind me on my moon flight bid to raise alarm bells on above problem. I hope a positive outcome by the end of this month to be included in the moon flight crew.

• Moon Flight Crew Interview of Veli Albert Kallio (Step 3) for SpaceX 2023 Lunar Mission