Saturday, December 8, 2018

Carbon dioxide emissions are rising

The Global Carbon Project projects growth in carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions from fossil fuels and industry in 2018 to be +2.7%, within uncertainty margins from +1.8% to +3.7%.


The rise is in line with an image from an earlier post that shows growth of CO₂ in the atmosphere to be accelerating.
[ Growth of CO₂ in ppm, based on annual Mauna Loa data (1959-2017), with 4th-order polynomial trend added ]

And it's not just carbon dioxide emissions that are rising. Methane emissions are rising as well. Sadly, politicians typically ignore this elephant in the room, i.e. seafloor methane emissions that threaten to trigger a huge temperature rise within years.

[ ignoring the elephant in the room, i.e. seafloor methane ]
The MetOp image below shows high methane levels over oceans on December 9, 2018, pm, at 469 mb. Levels over the Arctic Ocean in particular are very high, as the large areas solidly colored magenta indicate.


The MetOp image shows many areas where no data were available, as indicated by the color grey. The NPP images don't have as many grey areas. The image below confirms very high methane levels over the Arctic Ocean on December 9, 2018 pm, closer to the surface, i.e. at 840 mb. While there still are many grey areas, the absence of data for many of them is due to altitude, since large parts of Greenland, Antarctica and the Himalayas are rather high.


As discussed in earlier posts, large amounts of methane appear to be rising from the Arctic Ocean. As the methane rises higher in the atmosphere, it moves closer to the Equator. The NPP image below shows levels at 399 mb on December 9, 2018, pm. At this altitude, there are very few grey areas, so it's possible to get a fuller picture of where the highest levels of methane are. Ominously, levels as high as 3060 ppb were reached.


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

Links

• Global Carbon Project
http://www.globalcarbonproject.org

• Looking the climate abyss in the eye!
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/09/looking-the-climate-abyss-in-the-eye.html

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

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


Monday, November 26, 2018

Dangerous situation in Arctic

In the North Pacific, the flow of warmer water is clearly visible (see images right, green circle left).

In the North Atlantic, huge amounts of heat are moving into the Arctic Ocean (green circle right).

At some spots, heat that is traveling underneath the sea surface comes to the surface (green circle at the top).

Most warming caused by people's emissions goes into oceans, especially into the top layer of oceans.

Furthermore, warmer air and warmer sea surfaces can cause winds to grow dramatically stronger. As the Arctic is warming much faster than the rest of the world, the narrowing difference between the temperatures at the North Pole and the Equator is decreasing the speed at which winds circumnavigate Earth; at the same time, the amount of heat that is moving north can grow dramatically, both due to winds and sea currents, and cyclones can further accelerate this.

The danger is that an influx of warm salty water will reach the seafloor and trigger methane eruptions.

The situation is especially critical in many parts of the Arctic Ocean where the water is very shallow. Some 75% of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) is shallower than 50 m (see maps on the right).
[ warm water from the Atlantic Ocean is
increasingly invading the Arctic Ocean ]





















The danger here is huge, for at least five reasons:

• shallow waters can warm up very rapidly in case of an influx of warm water;

• these shallow seas are now covered by ice, so the heat cannot escape to the atmosphere;

• sea ice is very thin, so the sea ice won't act as a buffer to absorb the heat;

• methane rising through shallow waters will pass through the water column and enter the atmosphere more quickly;

• in shallow waters, large abrupt releases will more quickly deplete the oxygen in the water, making it harder for microbes to break down the methane.

The four videos below provide a good introduction into the various issues and illustrate how dangerous the situation is in the Arctic.

Each video is part of a talk between Dave Borlace and Peter Wadhams.

Part 1 discusses albedo change in the Arctic and associated changes such as jet stream changes.



Part 2 discusses the threat of huge methane releases in the Arctic.



Part 3 discusses the thermohaline circulation and methods that could improve the situation such as carbon removal and Ocean Mechanical thermal Energy Conversion (OMTEC).



Part 4 discusses sea level rise and fires.



The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan, i.e. multiple lines of action implemented in parallel and locally where possible.


Links

• 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

• Doomsday by 2021?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/11/doomsday-by-2021.html

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

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

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

• Seismic Events
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/seismic-events.html

• Can we weather the Danger Zone?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/07/can-we-weather-the-danger-zone.html

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

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

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


Friday, November 16, 2018

As El Niño sets in, will global biodiversity collapse in 2019?

Global biodiversity collapse
[ Will global biodiversity collapse in 2019? ]

recent study created a dataset of plant temperature tolerances with a median upper tolerance limit of 23.7°C.

This temperature is about 10°C higher than the temperature in the year 1750.
Only during times of mass extinctions were temperatures that high, such as during the PETM, 55.5 million years ago, and the Permian–Triassic extinction event, 252 million years ago, also know as the Great Dying when some 95% of species known from fossils went extinct.

[ image from: How much warmer is it now? ]
The study concludes that extinction will already occur far earlier than when upper tolerance levels are reached, as "loss of one species can make more species disappear (a process known as ‘co-extinction’), and possibly bring entire systems to an unexpected, sudden regime shift, or even total collapse."

There was a small group of species with large tolerance limits and remarkable resistance to environmental change, but even they could not survive co-extinctions. In fact, their extinction was abrupt and happened far from their tolerance limits and close to global biodiversity collapse at around 5°C of heating.

[ El Niño sets in ]
In the top image on the right, monthly NASA Land+Ocean temperature data 2017-October 2018 are adjusted, and a polynomial trend is added, showing how a 5°C rise in temperature could occur very rapidly, i.e. by September 2019.

The second image on the right is from an earlier post that contains more background on the adjustment of NASA data and the need for a polynomial trend.

A strong abrupt rise in temperature could be caused by an influx of warm salty water into the Arctic Ocean, as this can trigger large eruptions of methane from its seafloor, as discussed in earlier posts such as this one and as further discussed below.

As El Niño sets in, the odds that such rapid warming will threaten to cause global biodiversity collapse are rising.

Earthquakes triggering methane releases


An additional danger is that large methane releases from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean will be triggered by earthquakes.

The danger is that isostatic rebound will trigger earthquakes in the Arctic Ocean that this in turn will destabilize methane hydrates, as discussed in more detail at this page.

Seismic shocks can travel over long distances along fault lines and destabilize methane hydrates in other locations.

Above image shows that on November 9, 2018, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 on the Richter scale occurred on the fault line between Greenland and Norway.

This area is not used to be hit by large earthquakes. No larger earthquake has occurred in this area for more than 100 years.

Subsequent earthquakes did occur nearby, on November 12, 13 and 15, respectively measuring M4.3, M4.6 and M5.2 on the Richter scale, which also are very large earthquakes to hit this area.

Ominously, high levels of methane showed up on November 21, 2018, over the Greenland Sea (top image on the right).

Earlier, high levels of methane had been recorded over the Arctic Ocean. Note that this fault line runs across the Arctic Ocean toward the Laptev Sea.

Methane levels as high as 2787 ppb were recorded on November 15, 2018 (second image on the right).

On November 17, 2018, methane levels as high as 2847 ppb were recorded (third image on the right).

On November 20, 2018, methane levels as high as 2827 ppb were recorded (fourth image on the right).

The images show large methane levels over the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, the submarine permafrost north of Eastern Siberia.

In a 2008 paper, Dr. Natalia Shakhova et al. concluded that release of up to 50 Gt of methane from hydrates storage could occur at any time, an amount many times the methane that is now present in the atmosphere.

Additional emissions

Such a temperature rise would trigger many forest fires, releasing huge amounts of additional emissions, including carbon dioxide, methane and black carbon.

The image on the right shows carbon dioxide levels in California as high as 809 ppm on November 10, 2018 (at the green circle).

The next image on the right illustrates the jump in carbon dioxide levels in Mauna Loa, Hawaii, following the the fires in California.

“Levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached another new record high,” the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in a recent news release. “There is no sign of a reversal in this trend, which is driving long-term climate change, sea level rise, ocean acidification and more extreme weather.”

“The science is clear. Without rapid cuts in CO₂ and other greenhouse gases, climate change will have increasingly destructive and irreversible impacts on life on Earth. The window of opportunity for action is almost closed,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

“The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO₂ was 3-5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now,” said Mr Taalas.

“CO₂ remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years and in the oceans for even longer. There is currently no magic wand to remove all the excess CO₂ from the atmosphere,” said WMO Deputy Secretary-General Elena Manaenkova.

In the associated video, Dr Oksana Tarasova added that “changes in carbon dioxide levels that we are observing now do not happen naturally. Such changes never ever happened in the history of this Planet.”

As the image on the right shows, CH₄, CO₂ and N₂O levels in the atmosphere are, respectively, 257%, 146% and 122% their 1750 levels.

How fast could 5°C warming happen? 

The U.S. Global Change Research Program has just released its Fourth National Climate Assessment. One of its key messages is that temperatures could rise by 5°C or more. The report adds that this could occur by the end of the century, but the report doesn't deny this could also occur much earlier. Indeed, one of its key findings is that some feedbacks and potential state shifts cannot be quantified; and some are probably still unknown.

What the report doesn't mention is that global biodiversity will have collapsed at 5°C of warming. Such a rise kills all plants on land and thus virtually all mammals (including humans), since they either directly or indirectly feed on plants.

A rapid 5°C rise could occur if an influx of warm salty water triggered methane eruptions from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean. Combined with snow and ice loss, it could rapidly raise temperatures by 1.5°C, which increases water vapor. If cloud feedback is strongly positive, water vapor feedback can lead to 3.5 times as much warming, so these warming elements alone could cause 5°C warming within years. And then, of course, there are further warming elements.


The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan, i.e. multiple lines of action implemented in parallel and locally where possible. Of course, as long as politicians remain reluctant to even consider pursuing efforts to reduce emissions, the world can be expected to remain in the Danger Zone for a long time to come.


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

• Greenhouse gas levels in atmosphere reach new record, World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
https://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/greenhouse-gas-levels-atmosphere-reach-new-record

• WMO video - Press Conference: Greenhouse Gas Bulletin (Geneva, 22 November 2018)
http://webtv.un.org/watch/wmo-press-conference-greenhouse-gas-bulletin-geneva-22-november-2018/5970414543001/

• Fourth National Climate Assessment - U.S. Global Change Research Program
https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/

• Doomsday by 2021?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/11/doomsday-by-2021.html

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

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

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

• Seismic Events
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/seismic-events.html

• Can we weather the Danger Zone?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/07/can-we-weather-the-danger-zone.html

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

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

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


Sunday, November 4, 2018

Doomsday by 2021?


The Doomsday Clock, by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, constitutes a potent symbol of the danger we're in. When taking the 'minutes to midnight' from statements 1991 to 2018, an added trend points at Midnight by 2021. Will it be Doomsday by 2021?

The 2018 Statement said that "world leaders failed to respond effectively to the looming threats of nuclear war and climate change. [ . . ] Global carbon dioxide emissions have not yet shown the beginnings of the sustained decline towards zero that must occur if ever greater warming is to be avoided."

Recently, Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director, said: "We expect energy-related CO2 emissions will increase once again in 2018 after growing in 2017."

Next to carbon dioxide, the outlook for other greenhouse gases is also very worrying and the situation could deteriorate very rapidly, as further described below.


[ click on images to enlarge ]
Here's how. As above image shows, oceans continue to warm up, due to the rise in greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere. 

[ wind speed as high as 268 km/h or 167 mph ]
The image on the right shows sea surface temperature anomalies as high as as 7.1°C (or 12.7°F) in the Bering Strait (at the green circle) on October 15, 2018.

Warmer oceans result in stronger cyclones. The next image on the right shows that Typhoon Yutu was forecast to reach an Instantaneous Wind Power Density (WPD) as high as 207647 W/m² at 850 mb and wind speeds as high as 268 km/h or 167 mph at the green circle, i.e. at 18.50° N, 124.00° E, on October 30, 2018, 00:00 UTC.

Cyclones can suddenly push huge amounts of salty warm water into the Arctic Ocean.

On November 12, 2018, there was a sudden influx of warm water from the Atlantic Ocean near Svalbard and sea surface temperature was as high as 20.4°C or 68.7°F, i.e. 17.4°C or 31.4°F warmer than in 1981-2011.

[ warm water from the Atlantic Ocean is
increasingly invading the Arctic Ocean ]
As the image on the right also illustrates, warm salty water from the Atlantic Ocean is increasingly invading the Arctic Ocean.

Salinity levels at the surface of the Arctic Ocean are low, due to the increasingly large run-off from rivers, glaciers, etc. Also, the Arctic Ocean is increasingly receiving precipitation from the Atlantic Ocean, due to stronger winds over the North Atlantic.

All this contributes to the formation of a freshwater lid on top of the surface of the Arctic Ocean, which has in turn helped to keep sea ice extent larger than it would otherwise have been over the past few years.

The influx of water from the Atlantic Ocean has a much higher salinity level. Ice will stay frozen and will not melt in freshwater until the temperature reaches 0°C (or 32°F). Ice in saltwater on the other hand will already have melted away at -2°C (or 28.4°F).

The danger is that a strong influx of salty warm water will reach the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean and trigger destabilization of hydrates in sediments resulting in massive eruptions of methane from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, as described in earlier posts such as this one.

[ The Buffer has gone, feedback #14 on the Feedbacks page ]
Arctic sea ice is currently widening in extent, in line with the change of seasons. This means that less heat can escape from the Arctic Ocean to the atmosphere. Sealed off from the atmosphere by sea ice, greater mixing of heat in the water will occur down to the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, while there is little or no ice buffer left to consume an influx of heat from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, increasing the danger that warm water will reach the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean and destabilize methane hydrates.

This methane could cause temperatures to suddenly rise strongly at the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, speeding up decline of sea ice and permafrost, and further deforming the jet stream.

This could trigger even more extreme weather events, in particular storms, flooding, heatwaves and fires, across the Northern Hemisphere that could devastate crops, take down power grids and threaten meltdowns of nuclear power plants.

Aerosols associated with fires could further push up temperatures, as described in more detail below.
[ Image from: Extreme weather is upon us ]
Burning of agricultural waste can cause a lot of air pollution. The image on the right shows that on November 7, 2018 (at the green circle), levels of coarse particulate matter (PM10) as high as 1,913 μg/m³ were reached.

Even higher levels can be reached due to forest fires. As the image on the right shows, PM10 levels as high as 6,289 µg/m³ were reached on November 10, 2018, levels as high as 9,116 µg/m³ were reached on November 11, 2018, and levels as high as 9,856 µg/m³ are forecast for November 14, 2018, due to fires in California.

Above image shows that levels as high as 75,994 μg/m³ were reached in Siberia in 2017.

Such fires can add huge amounts of black carbon to the atmosphere.

For comparison, the EPA has set a National Ambient Air Quality Standard PM10 maximum of 150 μg/m³.

The decreasing temperature difference between the North Pole and the Equator would make the jet stream even more wavy, accelerating winds that increase fire risks, while also increasing droughts that further increase fire risks.

High greenhouse gas levels further aggravate the situation. Carbon monoxide (CO) levels as high as 52,440 ppb and carbon dioxide (CO₂) levels as high as 809 ppm were reached on November 10, 2018, while CO levels as high as 78,116 ppb were forecast for November 14, 2018, due to fires in California.

The image below shows the smoke from fires in California on November 9, 2018.


Black carbon causes both cooling and warming. Black carbon shades the surface, somewhat cooling the surface of land and water, while it also absorbs heat, thus warming the air above the surface. Furthermore, black carbon causes warming by darkening the surface once it settles down. Studies have calculated that black carbon has a total net global warming effect of more than 1.1 W/m².



Above video Rings of Fire features former firefighter Tom Swetnam.

The image below illustrates to what extent smoke from fires boosted black carbon in the air over North America on August 23, 2018.

[ Image from: Will August 2018 be the hottest month on record? ]
Furthermore, without access to fossil fuel and with the electricity grid down, many people could turn to kerosene lamps for lighting and burning wood for heating and cooking, resulting in even more black carbon emissions that have a huge immediate warming impact. James Hansen (2007) found the GWP for soot (BC) to be approximately 2000 for 20 years, approximately 500 for 100 years and approximately 200 for 500 years.



Next to black carbon, there is another type of aerosols that is important, i.e. sulfur.  Above video contains the Horizon documentary 'Global Dimming', broadcast January 2005 by the BBC.


Above image shows sulfur dioxide levels as high as 3597.10 µg/m³ in East Asia on October 24, 2018, indicating that sulfur levels may still be rising.

[ From the Extinction page ]
The image on the right shows IPCC (2000) projections for sulfur dioxide emissions.

The aerosol masking effect associated with sulfur would be strongly reduced as industrial activity would come to a standstill, thus further driving up warming.

The events as described above could result in a combined additional warming due to changes in aerosols of up to 2.5°C (4.5°F) in a matter of years.

In conclusion, the prospect of such a sequence of events makes a Doomsday-by-2021 warning appropriate. The accumulated impact of the various warming elements is illustrated by the image on the right.

A recent study found upper tolerance limits in plants of 23.7°C, which is less than where Earth would end up with a 10°C rise from current temperatures. However, these are tolerance levels, rather than extinction levels. The study concludes that "loss of one species can make more species disappear (a process known as ‘co-extinction’), and possibly bring entire systems to an unexpected, sudden regime shift, or even total collapse." The study therefore puts global diversity collapse at around 5°C of heating.

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


Links

• The Doomsday Clock by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
https://thebulletin.org/doomsday-clock/

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

• Tweet by Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director, October 8, 2018
https://twitter.com/IEABirol/status/1049249280073113600/photo/1

• Climate change and trace gases, by James Hansen et al. (2007)
http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/365/1856/1925

• IPCC Special Report, Emissions Scenarios (2000)
http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/sres/emission/index.php?idp=140

• EPA National Ambient Air Quality Standards
https://www.epa.gov/criteria-air-pollutants/naaqs-table
https://www.epa.gov/air-trends/particulate-matter-pm10-trends

• Toxic smog cloaks New Delhi morning after Diwali festivities (November 8, 2018)
https://phys.org/news/2018-11-toxic-smog-cloaks-delhi-morning.html

• Extreme weather is upon us
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/09/extreme-weather-is-upon-us.html

• Will August 2018 be the hottest month on record?
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/08/will-august-2018-be-the-hottest-month-on-record.html

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

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

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

• Can we weather the Danger Zone?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/07/can-we-weather-the-danger-zone.html

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

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

• Disappearance of Arctic Sea Ice

Saturday, October 13, 2018

IPCC keeps feeding the addiction


The IPCC just released its report Global Warming of 1.5ºC. Things aren't looking good and instead of providing good advice and guidance, the IPCC bends over backward in efforts to keep feeding the addiction.

The Paris Agreement constitutes a joint commitment by all nations of the world to keep the temperature rise below 1.5ºC. The IPCC should have honored this commitment by explaining that the situation is dire and by pointing at action to be taken to improve the situation.

Instead, the IPCC bends over backward to make it look as if temperatures were lower than they really are, in an effort to make it look as if there were carbon budgets to be divided, and polluters should be allowed to keep polluting until those budgets had run out. This is like saying that drug junkies who cause damage and are deeply in debt, should be handed over more OPM (other people's money, in this case the future of all people and other species).

In reality, there is no carbon budget to be divided, there is just a huge carbon debt to be repaid. The urgency and imperative to act is such that progress in one area cannot make up for delays elsewhere. The best policies should be implemented immediately, and everywhere across the world.

Use of terms such as trade-offs, net-outcomes, off-sets, carbon budgets and negative emissions is misguided and highly misleading. Policies based on giving and trading in permits to pollute are less effective than local feebates, i.e. polices that impose fees on sales of polluting products and then use the revenues to support rebates on the better alternatives sold locally.

Here are twelve instances where the IPCC is misleading:
  1. Changing the baseline set at the Paris Agreement
    While the Paris Agreement is clear that pre-industrial is to be used as baseline, the IPCC has instead chosen to use 1850-1900, a period when the Industrial Revolution had long started. This compromises the entire Paris Agreement and thus the integrity of us all. Temperatures may well have been 0.3ºC higher in 1900 than in 1750, as depicted in above image in the light blue block. Add up the warming elements and it may well be that people have caused more than 2ºC of warming already and that we're facing warming of more than 10ºC by 2026.

  2. Misleading calculations and wording
    The IPCC suggests that warming caused by people is 1.0°C (±0.2°C), likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052. To reach these numbers, the IPCC used misleading calculations in efforts to downplay how dangerous the situation is, as discussed further below. As an example of misleading wording, the IPCC says it has high confidence that 1.5°C won't be reached until 2030 if warming continues to increase at the current rate of 0.2°C per decade. Sure, if warming was 1.0°C and if it was indeed warming at 0.2°C per decade and if that warming would continue at 0.2°C per decade, yes, then it would take 25 years for warming to reach 1.5°C. But the reality is that warming is already far more than 1.0°C and that it is accelerating. That makes it misleading to associate high confidence with the suggestion that warming will not reach 1.5°C until 2030. The use of a straight line (linear trend) is misleading in the first place, since warming is accelerating. The use of a straight line is even more misleading when such a straight line is then used to make projections into the future and qualifications such as high confidence are added.

  3. Ignoring the importance of peaks
    Daily and monthly peaks are obviously higher than annual averages, and it's those high peaks that kill, making it disrespectful toward past and future victims of extreme weather events to average that away. NASA records show that, in February 2016, it was on average 1.67ºC warmer than in 1900 (i.e. a 30-year period centered around 1900), while the higher latitudes North had anomalies up to 10.8ºC. On land, the average anomaly in February 2016 was 2.26ºC. And this is before adding 0.3ºC for the rise before 1900, and before further adjustments as discussed below. Conservatively, the magenta block at the top of above image shows a rise of 1.63ºC.

  4. Cherry-picking the baseline period
    For a baseline of a 30-year period around the year 1900, the temperature rise to 2016/2017 was 1.22ºC, NASA records show. When adding another 0.3ºC rise for the rise before 1900, warming was well above 1.5ºC in 2016/2017. However, the IPCC conveniently selects an 1850-1900 baseline, a period when it was relatively warm, i.e. warmer than in 1750 and warmer also than in 1900. It was warmer from 1850 to 1900 due to increasing livestock numbers and forests clearing, while huge amounts of wood were burned, all contributing to large emissions of black carbon, brown carbon, methane, CO, etc., which caused additional warming during this period. So, this period was relatively warm. There was little impact yet of the sulfur aerosols that started coming with burning fossil fuel from 1900. Choosing this baseline period enabled the IPCC to beef up the temperature for the baseline and then draw a linear trend from 1850-1900 that looks flatter.

  5. Changing the data
    The U.K. Met Office's HadCRUT dataset goes back to 1850. The IPCC used this dataset, but actually changed the data, by averaging the data with datasets that showed a similar rise for the years after 1900, but that showed higher warming for 1880-1900. This enabled the IPCC to further beef up the average temperature for the period 1850-1900 and then draw a linear trend from 1850-1900 that looks even flatter.

  6. Cherry-picking the type of data
    To further support its suggestions, the IPCC uses water surface data for ocean temperature, but uses air data for temperatures over land. When selecting datasets with more consistency and using air temperatures globally, the temperature rise is 0.1ºC higher.

  7. Not using new techniques to estimate values for missing data
    The IPCC chooses not to use new techniques to estimate temperatures where data are missing. Less data are available for the Arctic, and this is precisely where temperatures have risen much faster than in the rest of the world. When values for missing data are included, the temperature rise is another 0.1ºC higher.

  8. Leaving out 2016
    The IPCC suggests there was a temperature rise of 0.2ºC per decade in the years up to 2015, as if the high temperatures in 2016 didn't occur. The IPCC then uses that 0.2ºC rise to make projections into the future, conveniently skipping the high temperatures in 2016. Failure to properly address acceleration of future warming is further discussed in the point below.

  9. Failure to properly address dangerous developments
    The IPCC fails to point out that carbon dioxide reaches a maximum in warming the atmosphere some 10 years after emission, which means that the full wrath of global warming due to the very high emissions of carbon dioxide over the past decade is yet to come. While temperatures could rise very rapidly over the coming decade, the IPCC keeps talking about carbon budgets, without properly addressing tipping points such as the decline of the snow and ice cover that will result in huge albedo losses, jet stream changes, more and more extreme weather events, and more. The IPCC fails to point out the danger of destabilization of sediments containing methane in the form of hydrates and free gas. Furthermore, the IPCC fails to properly address the aerosol warming that will occur as sulfur emissions decrease and other aerosols increase such as black carbon, brown carbon, etc. The IPCC fails to mention the water vapor feedback, i.e. the increase of water vapor in the atmosphere that will occur as a result of these developments. Since water vapor itself is a potent greenhouse gas, this will speed up the temperature rise even further. These developments could lead to a potential global temperature rise (from 1750) of more than 10ºC by 2026, as illustrated in the image at the top.

  10. There is no carbon budget left
    Instead of pointing at the dangers, as it should have done, the IPCC makes it look as if there was a remaining carbon budget that should be divided among polluters, as if they should continue polluting the world. It should be obvious that there is no such 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 also inappropriate. All efforts should be made to cut emissions, including ending current subsidies for fossil fuel and livestock, while at the same time great effort should be taken to remove carbon from the atmosphere and oceans. And even then, it's questionable whether any humans will be able to survive the coming decade, which will be critically dangerous for all species on Earth.

  11. Suggesting polluting pathways
    The pathways suggested by the IPCC keep fossil fuel in the picture for many years, while highlighting non-solutions such as BECCS. The IPCC makes it look as if coal-fired power plants could continue to operate, by burning more biomass and capturing carbon. The IPCC makes it look as if transport could continue to use internal combustion engines, by burning more biofuel. Instead, clean & renewable energy has many benefits, including that it's more economic, so air capture powered by such facilities would make more sense than BECCS. Furthermore, electric vehicles should be supported now, rather than in the year 2050. It makes sense to stop fossil fuel subsidies, and to support better diets, to plant more vegetation and to support ways to add carbon and nutrients to soils and oceans, such as with biochar and ground rocks. Many technologies have been proposed, e.g. refrigerators and freezers are now made that do not use gases for cooling. The IPCC should not have used pathways that are wrong in the first place. Instead, the IPCC should have pointed at the policies that can best facilitate the necessary transitions, because the scientific evidence is overwhelming and it's the right thing to do.

  12. Not pointing at the best and much-needed policy tools
    The IPCC report fails to point out that imposing fees on polluting products is the most effective policy instrument, the more so when the revenues are used to support rebates on better alternatives supplied locally.
The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.

Prof. Peter Wadhams and Stuart Scott discuss the IPCC Global Warming of 1.5ºC report

Extended version of above video

Paul Beckwith on baseline, methane and more

Stuart Scott talks with Prof. Peter Wadhams on Arctic sea ice

Magnificent work by Stefanie Steven

[ budget ]
Proper analysis would have pointed at what the best action is to improve the situation.

However, the IPCC does not do that. Instead, the IPCC keeps stating that there was a carbon budget to be divided and consumed, while advocating non-solutions such as BECCS and while hiding the full extent of how threatening the situation is.

A quick word count of the IPCC report Global Warming of 1.5ºC (SPM) shows paragraphs full of words such as budget (1st image right) and of non-solutions such as BECCS (2nd image right).

[ BECCS ]
At the same time, it fails to mention biochar, meat or local feebates. It fails to mention the huge threat of feedbacks and tipping points such as methane hydrates and Arctic sea ice, instead making it look as if all that could only pose potential problems over longer timescales.

This is indicative of how much the IPCC is part of the problem and part and parcel of the wilful destruction of life itself that is taking place so obviously all around us.

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) might as well change its name to IPCD (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Destruction).



It's not as if people weren't warned.
The danger was described back in 2007: Total Extinction.
The mechanism was depicted back in 2011: Runaway Global Warming.
And still, in 2018, the IPCC sadly keeps on feeding the addiction.




Links

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

• Paris Agreement
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2015/12/paris-agreement.html
http://unfccc.int/documentation/documents/advanced_search/items/6911.php?priref=600008831
https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09r01.pdf

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

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

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

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

• Can we weather the Danger Zone?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/07/can-we-weather-the-danger-zone.html

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

• 100% clean, renewable energy is cheaper
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/02/100-clean-renewable-energy-is-cheaper.html

• Fridges and freezers that don't use gases
https://www.facebook.com/groups/geoengineering/permalink/1794122703977728

• Negative-CO2-emissions ocean thermal energy conversion
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S136403211830532X

• 'Electrogeochemistry' captures carbon, produces fuel, offsets ocean acidification
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/06/electrogeochemistry-captures-carbon-produces-fuel-offsets-ocean-acidification.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

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

• Aerosols
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/aerosols.html

• IPCC seeks to downplay global warming
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/02/ipcc-seeks-to-downplay-global-warming.html

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

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

• Ten Dangers of Global Warming
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/ten-dangers-of-global-warming.html

• AGU poster, AGU Fall Meeting 2011
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/agu-poster.html


Monday, October 8, 2018

What Does Runaway Warming Look Like?

The forcing caused by the rapid rise in the levels of greenhouse gases is far out of line with current temperatures. A 10°C higher temperature is more in line with these levels, as illustrated by the image below.


Carbon dioxide levels have been above 400 ppm for years. Methane levels above 1900 ppb were recorded in September 2018. Such high levels are more in line with a 10°C higher temperature, as illustrated by the above graph based on 420,000 years of ice core data from Vostok, Antarctica, research station.

How fast could such a 10°C temperature rise eventuate? The image below gives an idea.


Such runaway warming would first of all and most prominently become manifest in the Arctic. In many ways, such a rise is already underway, as the remainder of this post will show.

High Arctic Temperatures

Why are Arctic temperatures currently so high for the time of year?


As warmer water enters the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, there is no thick sea ice left to consume this heat. Some of this heat will escape from the Arctic Ocean to the atmosphere, as illustrated by above dmi.dk  image showing very high temperatures for the time of the year over the Arctic (higher than 80°C latitude).


Above dmi.dk image shows that Arctic temperatures are increasingly getting higher during Winter in the Northern Hemisphere.


Similarly, above NASA image shows that Arctic temperatures are increasingly getting higher during Winter in the Northern Hemisphere.


As the Arctic warms up faster than the rest of the world, the Jet Stream is becoming more wavy, allowing more hot air to move into the Arctic, while at the same time allowing more cold air to move south.

Above image shows that the air over the Beaufort Sea was as warm as 12.8°C or 55°F (circle, at 850 mb) on October 2, 2018. The image also illustrates that a warmer world comes with increasingly stronger cyclonic winds.


The images above and below shows that on October 2 and 7, 2018, the sea surface in the Bering Strait was as much as 6°C or 10.7°F, respectively 6.4°C or 11.6°F warmer than 1981-2011 (at the green circle).


As temperatures on the continent are coming down in line with the change in seasons, the air temperature difference is increasing between - on the one hand - the air over continents on the Northern Hemisphere and - on the one hand - air over oceans on the Northern Hemisphere. This growing difference is speeding up winds accordingly, which in turn can also speed up the influx of water into the Arctic Ocean.

[ The Buffer has gone, feedback #14 on the Feedbacks page ]
Start of freezing period

Here's the danger. In October, Arctic sea ice is widening its extent, in line with the change of seasons. This means that less heat can escape from the Arctic Ocean to the atmosphere. Sealed off from the atmosphere by sea ice, greater mixing of heat in the water will occur down to the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, while there is little or no ice buffer left to consume an influx of heat from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, increasing the danger that warm water will reach the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean and destabilize methane hydrates. 

Rising salt content of Arctic Ocean

It's not just the influx of heat that is the problem. There's also the salt. Ice will stay frozen and will not melt in freshwater until the temperature reaches 0°C (or 32°F). Ice in saltwater on the other hand will already have melted away at -2°C (or 28.4°F).

The animation of the right shows salty water rapidly flowing through the Bering Strait.

With the change of seasons, there is less rain over the Arctic Ocean. The sea ice also seals the water of the Arctic Ocean off from precipitation, so no more fresh water will be added to the Arctic Ocean due to rain falling or snow melting on the water.

In October, temperatures on land around the Arctic Ocean will have fallen below freezing point, so less fresh water will flow from glaciers and rivers into the Arctic Ocean. At that time of year, melting of sea ice has also stopped, so fresh water from melting sea ice is no longer added to the Arctic Ocean either.

Pingos and conduits. Hovland et al. (2006)
So, the Arctic Ocean is receiving less freshwater, while the influx of water from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans is very salty. This higher salt content of the water makes it easier for ice to melt at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean. Saltier warm water is causing ice in cracks and passages in sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean to melt, allowing methane contained in the sediment to escape.

[ click on images to enlarge ]
The image on the right, from a study by Hovland et al., shows that hydrates can exist at the end of conduits in the sediment, formed when methane did escape from such hydrates in the past. Heat can travel down such conduits relatively fast, warming up the hydrates and destabilizing them in the process, which can result in huge abrupt releases of methane.

Heat can penetrate cracks and conduits in the seafloor, destabilizing methane held in hydrates and in the form of free gas in the sediments.

Methane

peak methane levels as high as 2859 ppb
On October 2 and 7, 2018, peak methane levels were as high as 2838 ppb, respectively 2859 ppb, as the images on the right shows. Methane levels over the Beaufort Sea have been high for some time, and have remained high at very high altitudes.

The threat is that a number of tipping points are going to be crossed, including the buffer of latent heat, loss of albedo as Arctic sea ice disappears, methane releases from the seafloor and rapid melting of permafrost on land and associated decomposition of soils, resulting in additional greenhouse gases (CO₂, CH₄, N₂O and water vapor) entering the Arctic atmosphere, in a vicious self-reinforcing cycle of runaway warming.

A 10°C rise in temperature by 2026?


Above image shows how a 10°C or 18°F temperature rise from preindustrial could eventuate by 2026 (from earlier post).

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


Links

• Temperature Rise
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/08/temperature-rise.html

• Mean Methane Levels reach 1800 ppb
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2013/06/mean-methane-levels-reach-1800-ppb.html

• Why are methane levels over the Arctic Ocean high from October to March?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2015/01/why-are-methane-levels-over-the-arctic-ocean-high-from-october-to-march.html

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

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

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

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

• Aerosols
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/aerosols.html

• How extreme will it get?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2012/07/how-extreme-will-it-get.html

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