Saturday, November 13, 2021

Human Extinction by 2022?

The NASA image below shows the October 2021 temperature anomaly. The Arctic is heating up enormously, with anomalies showing up of up to 9.1°C. 


The image below shows that the global temperature over the past century, i.e. from 1920 to 2020, has risen by 1.3°C. The image shows anomalies from 1900-1920. When adjusting data to reflect a pre-industrial base, ocean air (2m) temperatures and higher polar anomalies, temperatures may have crossed 2°C long ago.

The image below shows two trends, based on NASA 1880-October 2021 data, adjusted to reflect a pre-industrial base, ocean air (2m) temperatures and higher polar anomalies. The linear trend (green) misses the point that the temperature rise is accelerating. The polynomial trend (black) shows the potential for 3°C to be crossed by 2026.


Acceleration of the temperature rise may speed up further soon, for a number of reasons:

Aerosols: As cleaner alternatives become more economic, and as calls for cleaner air become stronger, this could result in a strong temperature rise soon, as sulfate cooling falls away and more black carbon may result from more wood burning and forest fires, as discussed at the aerosols page.

Sunspots: Within a few years time, sunspots will be reaching the peak of their cycle, and they are looking stronger than forecast, as illustrated by the image on the right showing sunspots up to October 2021.

ENSO: An upcoming El Niño could raise surface temperatures significantly. The image on the right shows that the current La Niña is forecast to end in 2022 and move toward a new El Niño. As the temperature keeps rising, ever more frequent strong El Niño events are likely to occur, as confirmed by a recent study. Authors also confirm concerns that the IPCC downplays the threat that a super El Nino event could occur soon.

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.


As illustrated by the bar on the right, there are many further elements that could dramatically push up the temperature soon. Altogether, there could be a rise from pre-industrial of more than 18°C by end 2026, as discussed in earlier posts such as this one.

As the image at the top shows, the Arctic is heating up enormously, with anomalies showing up of up to 9.1°C.

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.

The image below shows three trends, i.e. the same black polynomial and green linear trends, based on NASA 1880-October 2021 data, and a blue polynomial trend based on 2015-October 2021 data. Data are again adjusted to reflect a pre-industrial base, ocean air (2m) temperatures and higher polar anomalies.

The blue polynomial trend better reflects short-term climate forcing such as aerosols, sunspots and an upcoming El Niño, as discussed above. The blue trend also shows the potential for 3°C to be crossed by the end of 2022.


The current situation is extremely dangerous

Huge amounts of heat are entering the Arctic Ocean, driven by ocean currents and temperature differences. Sea ice acts as a buffer, by consuming energy in the process of melting, thus avoiding that this energy can raise the temperature of the water of the Arctic Ocean. Furthermore, huge amounts of heat get transferred to the atmosphere over the Arctic Ocean, as long as sea ice is low in extent.


The latent heat buffer has now virtually disappeared, while lower air temperatures are causing the sea ice to grow in extent, effectively sealing off the Arctic Ocean and reducing heat transfer from the Arctic Ocean to the atmosphere, as illustrated on the right by the 30-day navy.mil animation (up to November 12, the last 8 days are forecasts). 

Heat that was previously melting the ice or that was getting transferred to the atmosphere is now instead heating up the water. Some 75% of ESAS (East Siberian Arctic Shelf) is shallower than 50 m. Being shallow, these waters can easily warm up all the way down to the sea floor, where heat can penetrate cracks and conduits, destabilizing methane hydrates and sediments that were until now sealing off methane held in chambers in the form of free gas in these sediments.

Methane can then be released abruptly from the seabed in the form of plumes, causing it to rapidly pass through a shallow water column. Such plumes can quickly deplete oxygen in the water, making it harder for microbes to break down the methane. Where such plumes reach the atmosphere, they will also quickly deplete hydroxyl, which is present only in very low quantities in the Arctic in the first place.


Ominously, methane recently reached very high levels. As illustrated by above image, the MetOp-B satellite (also known as MetOp-1) recorded a peak methane level of 3644 ppb and a mean level of 1944 ppb at 367 mb on November 21, 2021, pm.

Given that humans may go extinct with a 3°C rise, and a 5°C rise will likely end most life on Earth, the COP26 summit in Glasgow could have acted more decidedly. The situation is dire and calls for the most comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.


Links

• NASA Temperature Analysis
https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/

• NOAA - Monthly Temperature Anomalies Versus El Niño
https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/202110/supplemental/page-4

• Changing El Niño–Southern Oscillation in a warming climate - by Wenju Cai et al.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s43017-021-00199-z

• IPCC report may have underplayed risk of freak El Nino and La Nina events
https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/ipcc-report-may-have-underplayed-risk-of-freak-el-ninos-and-la-ninas-20210820-p58klm.html

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

• A Temperature Rise Of More Than 18 Degrees Celsius By 2026?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/07/a-temperature-rise-of-more-than-18-degrees-celsius-by-2026.html

• Could temperatures keep rising?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/06/could-temperatures-keep-rising.html

• Overshoot or Omnicide?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/03/overshoot-or-omnicide.html

• Will COP26 in Glasgow deliver?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/10/will-cop26-in-glasgow-deliver.html

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

• Pre-industrial
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/pre-industrial.html

• Feebates
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feebates.html

• Quotes
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/quotes.html

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

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

• Latent Heat
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/latent-heat.html

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

• Is the IPCC creating false perceptions, again?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/08/is-the-ipcc-creating-false-perceptions-again.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

• When will we die?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/06/when-will-we-die.html

• Most Important Message Ever
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/most-important-message-ever.html

• Arctic Ocean invaded by hot, salty water

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The road to zero emissions is strewn with "alternative facts"

by Andrew Glikson

Once again, the hopes of billions have been raised, only to be dashed, this time by the cruel joke of COP26, the reality being that “By 2030, governments are planning to extract 110% more fossil fuels than their Paris Agreement pledge to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels would permit”.

Misrepresentations abound:
  • The United Nations upper global temperature target of 1.5°C takes no account of the fact that, without the transient short-lived aerosols effect of over 0.5 to 1.0 Watt/m⁻², the mean global heating is nearing ~2.0°C.
  • It is the cumulative concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which controls temperatures, triggering feedbacks from land and oceans, and which has reached a high level of combined CO₂+CH₄+N₂O of >500 ppm CO₂-equivalent. Only sequestration / drawdown from this level may be able to lower terrestrial temperatures.
  • Polar temperature changes are critical: The Arctic temperature anomaly reached 3°C above 1981-2010 in 2016 and the increasing similarity between polar and northern latitude temperatures leads to weakening of the jet stream boundary effect, allowing cold and warm air masses to cross the boundary.
  • The tropical climate zone is expanding and Mediterranean climate zone, where much of the world’s crops are grown, is shrinking and shifting toward the poles.
  • As the polar ice sheets are melting sea levels are rising, initially on the scale of inches and subsequently toward as equilibrium with Pliocene-like temperatures equivalent to a sea level rise of ~25 meters, flooding extensive coastal zones and delta where billions live and grow food.
The development of hydrocarbon reserves is proceeding unabated (Figures 1 and 2). Since the Paris agreement in 2015, the world’s 60 largest banks have poured $3.8 trillion into fossil fuel companies. In the US, auctioning has begun of drilling rights in Alaskan waters and the Gulf of Mexico. In the UK, whose PM is talking about one minute to midnight, 113 new licenses are offered to explore offshore reserves. Germany is developing new coal deposits. Australia, accounting for about 29% of traded coal globally in 2016, has become the world’s largest coal exporter and near-largest natural gas (LNG) exporter, currently representing around 3.6% of global emissions.

Huge LNG projects were planned in 2020 in Alaska ($43 billion), Mozambique ($33 billion), Kuwait ($16 billion), Nigeria ($11 billion), Australia ($11 billion), Russia ($10.8 billion, pipeline), Louisiana ($10.8 billion), Greece ($5.5 billion, pipeline) and elsewhere. According to NES FIRCROFTIn terms of new projects, however, the outlook is wide open. According to sector research firm Rystad Energy, around 250 new Oil & Gas projects are likely to be sanctioned for development in 2020 - up from 160 in 2016. The number of floating production, storage and offloading vessels (FPSOs) is due to increase with as many as 28 currently on order or under construction, while around 4,000 km of subsea oil and gas flowlines are due for installation this year.

In India forecasts for 2024-2025 include utilization of energy supplies of 50% coal, 25% oil, 20% gas, 3% nuclear and 2% hydro.

Figure 1. EIA projects nearly 50% increase in world energy use by 2050, with no decline in fossil fuel use

A 2014 analysis by Katherine Keil concluded that fossil fuels like they exist in the Arctic are expected to continue supplying much of the energy used worldwide.

Given that future emissions and temperatures may exceed what current policies would lead to (Figure 2. below), growth in the use of fossil fuels combined with the lack of effective methods of reducing the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can only have catastrophic consequences. This means that unless civilization moves to a war-like footing, such as in pre-world war II, in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions from all sectors and to sequester greenhouse gas levels, large parts of the Earth may become uninhabitable.

So much for the term “security” repeated through corporate reports.

Figure 2. Climate Action Tracker Thermometer (Nov. 2021 update)

It is the children, led by an 18 years-old girl, who appear to have the perspective on what will determine the future of humanity and nature.


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

Books:
The Asteroid Impact Connection of Planetary Evolution
https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789400763272
The Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earth
https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319079073
Climate, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocene
https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319225111
The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earth
https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319572369
Evolution of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizon
https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789400773318
From Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligence
https://www.springer.com/us/book/9783030106027
Asteroids Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australia
https://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319745442
The Event Horizon: Homo Prometheus and the Climate Catastrophe
https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030547332
The Fatal Species: From Warlike Primates to Planetary Mass Extinction
https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030754679

Thursday, November 4, 2021

The exclusion of climate science from COP meetings

 by Andrew Glikson

There can be little doubt that, had the US, China and Russia been on the same page, an advanced agreement was likely to be reached at COP26, but since it is not, the collapse can be laid at the feet of human tribalism and eternal conflict since the dawn of civilization, ultimately leading to a mass extinction of species.

Climate scientists have practically been excluded from COP meetings, dominated as they are by economists, lawyers and politicians. To date no address has been made by leading climate scientists, including authorities such as James Hansen, Michael Mann, Joachim Schellnhuber, Will Steffen and other, leaving delegates and populations unaware of the ultimate consequences of global climate devastation.

With the exception of David Attenborough and references to “one minute to mid-night”, the science-based projections of global heating have only received faint echoes among the assembly of warring tribes at COP-26, dominated by nationalism, vested interests and sheer ignorance of the current trend, which can only culminate in the end of civilization.

The futility of making political decisions regarding future carbon emissions while continuing to grow fossil fuel industries is manifest (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Global CO₂ emissions by fuel (Global Carbon Project)

The lessons from climate science indicate:
  1. While politicians talk about a 1.5°C target, the mean global temperature has already exceeded this level and likely approaches 2°C when the transient short-term masking effects of aerosols are accounted for. Thus Hansen and Sato (2012) estimate aerosol to lower global temperatures by between -1.0°C and -1.2°C, which implies the real mean global temperatures are close to +2°C above pre-industrial level. By contrast, references to the NASA’s ~1.02°C warming can be compared to a measurement of a patient’s body temperature only after they take a dose of aspirin. Furthermore, this NASA anomaly is measured from 1951-1980, whereas the Paris Agreement calls for a pre-industrial base.

  2. Whereas the critical need for emissions reduction is central to climate negotiations, the effects of cumulative concentration of GHG in the atmosphere (CO₂ + equivalent CH₄, N₂O, etc), which trigger amplifying feedbacks from land and ocean, remains hardly tackled. The current CO₂-equivalent level of >500 ppm (Figure 2), which is near X1.8 times the pre-industrial level of ~280 ppm CO₂, is generating amplifying feedbacks. According to a climate sensitivity estimate of 3 ± 1.5°C per doubling of CO₂ the equilibrium rise in temperature could be approaching +3°C.

  3. The role of amplifying GHG feedbacks from land and oceans, leading to enhanced heating, appears to be neglected in climate talks, including:
    - A decline in the polar albedo (reflection) due to large-scale lateral and vertical melting of ice;
    Reduced CO₂ intake by warming oceans. Currently the oceans absorb between 35-42% of all CO₂ and around 90% of the excess heat;
    - Warming, desiccation, deforestation and fires over land areas;
    - Release of methane from melting permafrost and from polar sediments;
    - An increase in evaporation, particularly in arid zones, raising atmospheric vapor levels, which enhances the greenhouse gas effect.

  4. IPCC-based climate trends are mostly linear, yielding an impression that overshooting of the warming trend is capable of being reversed within acceptable time scales, projections which neglect the likelihood of tipping points of no return. The time scales for attempts to cool the atmosphere may exceed the longevity of civilization. The weakening of the Arctic jet stream, allowing air and water masses of contrasted temperatures to cross the Arctic boundary, leads to disruptions such as the freezing “beast from the east” fronts that hit North America and Europe and Arctic wildfires. The flow of ice melt water from Greenland and Antarctica into the oceans may result in marked transient temperature reversals in the oceans, extending onto land.
While neglecting the consequences of runaway global warming, discussions continue of the price of mitigation and adaptation, i.e. the price of habitability of Earth, proceeding to huggle in terms akin to corner store grocers. Elsewhere, much of the media appears to be preoccupied with the price of submarines, deadly weapons in futile wars, ironically more suitable for coastal surveys of regions flooded by an inevitable sea level rise on the scale of many meters.



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

Books:
The Asteroid Impact Connection of Planetary Evolution
https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789400763272
The Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earth
https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319079073
Climate, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocene
https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319225111
The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earth
https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319572369
Evolution of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizon
https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789400773318
From Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligence
https://www.springer.com/us/book/9783030106027
Asteroids Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australia
https://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319745442
The Event Horizon: Homo Prometheus and the Climate Catastrophe
https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030547332
The Fatal Species: From Warlike Primates to Planetary Mass Extinction
https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030754679