Thursday, December 22, 2022

Wild Winter Weather

[ posted earlier at facebook ]
The image on the right shows a forecast of very low temperatures over North America with a temperature of -40 °C / °F highlighted (green circle at center) for December 23, 2022 14:00 UTC. 

As the image shows, temperatures over large parts of North America are forecast to be even lower than the temperature at the North Pole.  

The combination image below illustrates this further, showing temperatures as low as -50.3°C or -58.6°F in Alaska on December 22, 2022 at 17:00 UTC, while at the same time the temperature at the North Pole was -13.6°C or 7.4°F. 

The Jet Stream

The image below shows the Jet Stream (250 hPa) on December 13, 2022, stretched out vertically and reaching the North Pole as well as the South Pole, while sea surface temperature anomalies are as high as 11°C or 19.7°F from 1981-2011 at the green circle. 

The Jet Stream used to circumnavigate the globe within a narrow band from West to East (due to the Coriolis Force), and it used to travel at relatively high speed, fuelled by the temperature difference between the tropics and the poles.

[ posted earlier at facebook ]

The Jet Stream used to circumnavigate the globe within a narrow band from West to East (due to the Coriolis Force), and it used to travel at relatively high speed, fuelled by the temperature difference between the tropics and the poles. 

As the above image shows, the Pacific Ocean is currently cooler at the tropics and warmer further to the north (compared to 1981-2011), which narrows this temperature difference and in turn makes the Jet Stream wavier. Accordingly, the Jet Stream is going up high into the Arctic before descending deep down over North America. 

[ click omn images to enlarge ]
The above image shows Rossby waves, from NOAA. When you see a wave traveling along the surface of water, there are peaks and troughs in the water height. The same happens in the atmosphere with a traveling Rossby wave – as the Rossby wave travels through the atmosphere, the peaks and troughs of the wave produce regions of high and low air pressure.

The image on the right shows air pressure at sea level on December 22, 2022. High sea surface temperatures make air rise, lowering air pressure at the surface to levels as low as 973 hPa over the Pacific. Conversely, a more wavy Jet Stream enables cooler air to flow from the Arctic to North America, raising air pressure at the surface to levels as high as 1056 hPa.

On December 22, 2022, the Jet Stream reached very high speeds over the Pacific, fuelled by high sea surface temperature anomalies. The image on the right shows the Jet Stream moving over the North Pacific at speeds as high as 437 km/h or 271 mph (with a Wind Power Density of 349.2 kW/m², at the green circle). 

The Jet Stream then collides with higher air pressure and moves up into the Arctic, and subsequently descends deep down over North America, carrying along cold air from the Arctic. Deformation of the Jet Stream also results in the formation of circular wind patterns that further accelerate the speed of the Jet Stream. 

The image on the right shows the Jet Stream moving over North America at speeds as high as 366 km/h or 227 mph (green circle). The image also shows high waves in the North Pacific. 

La Niña / El Niño

The low sea surface temperature anomalies in the Pacific Ocean are in line with the current La Niña. 

The fact that such extreme weather events occur while we're in the depth of a persistent La Niña is worrying. The next El Niño could push up temperatures further, which would hit the Arctic most strongly. This would further narrow the difference between temperatures at the Equator and the North Pole, thus making the Jet Stream more wavy, which also enables warm air to move into the Arctic, further accelerating feedbacks in the Arctic.

The image below, from NOAA, indicates that the next El Niño is likely to emerge soon. More about that in the next post. 


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


• nullschool

• Jet Stream

• Coriolis Force

• NOAA - What are teleconnections? Connecting Earth's climate patterns via global information superhighways

• Wind Power Density

• Extreme Weather

• Feedbacks in the Arctic

• NOAA - Multivariate ENSO Index Version 2 (MEI.v2)

Friday, December 16, 2022

The short lifespan of technological civilizations and the future of Homo sapiens

by Andrew Glikson

In his book ‘Collapse’ (2011) Jared Diamond portrays the fate of societies which Choose to Fail or Succeed. On a larger scale the Fermi’s paradox suggests that advanced technological civilizations may constitute ephemeral entities in the galaxy, destined to collapse over short periods. Such an interpretation of Fermi’s paradox, corroborated by recent terrestrial history, implies that the apparent absence of radio signals from Milky Way planets and beyond may be attributed to an inherently self-destructive nature of civilizations which reached the ability to propagate radio waves, consistent with Carl Sagan’s views. It can be expected therefore that the number of advanced technological societies in the universe will be proportional to their average lifetime, perhaps lasting no more than a few centuries. Inexplicably, the behavior of Homo “sapiens” reveals the reality of Fermi’s paradox, unless humans can wake up in time.

Since the onset of the Neolithic about ~10,000 years ago open-ended combustion of wood, coal, oil, methane and gas for production of steam power and electricity (Figure 1), and of uranium to generate nuclear power, constrain the life expectancy of industrial civilizations through proliferation of greenhouse gases, alteration of the chemistry of the atmosphere and proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, testifying to the relevance of Fermi’s paradox in the 20-21 centuries.

Geological and astronomical studies establish Earth is unique among the terrestrial planets in harboring advanced life forms, including colonial life since as early as ~3.5 billion years ago. Should the fate of Homo sapiens be recorded, history would tell that, while the atmosphere was overheating, oceans acidifying and radioactivity rising, humans never ceased to saturate the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, mine uranium, unleash fatal wars and fire rockets at the planets. All the time indulging in sports games and inundating the airwaves with gratuitous words, false promises, misconstrued assumptions and simple lies ─ betraying their future generations and a multitude of species on the only haven of life known in the solar system.

Fig. 1. A combined night lights image of Earth signifying global civilization. NASA

In a new paper titled ‘Global warming in the pipeline’, Hansen et al. (2022) state: “glacial-to-interglacial global temperature change implies that fast-feedback equilibrium climate sensitivity is at least ~4°C for doubled CO₂ with likely range 3.5-5.5°C. Greenhouse gas (GHG) climate forcing is 4.1 W/m² larger in 2021 than in 1750, equivalent to 2xCO₂ forcing. Global warming in the pipeline is greater than prior estimates. Eventual global warming due to today's GHG forcing alone -- after slow feedbacks operate -- is about 10°C. Human-made aerosols are a major climate forcing, mainly via their effect on clouds ... A hinge-point in global warming occurred in 1970 as increased GHG warming outpaced aerosol cooling, leading to global warming of 0.18°C per decade.

The inevitable consequence is a shift in the position of the Earth’s climate zones, a decline in the Earth’s albedo (a climatologically significant ~0.5 W/m² decrease over two decades), a rise in greenhouse gases at a geologically unprecedented rate of 2-3 ppm/year), acidification of the oceans (by about 26 percent), receding ice sheets, rising sea levels (~20 cm since 1900), changes in vegetation, forests and soils, a shift in state of the climate and mass extinction, with humans are driving around one million species to extinction.

For longer than 50 years few were aware that a rise in atmospheric CO₂ on the scale of ~100 ppm CO₂ at the annual rate of 2 - 3 ppm per year, could lead to the unhabitability of large parts of Earth (The Uninhabitable Earth, by David Wallace-Wells) (Figure 2A). Now we find ourselves surrounded by the consequences ─ hydrocarbon saturation of air and water, runaway global heating, acidification, dissemination of micro-plastics, habitat destruction, radioactive overload, proliferation of chemical weapons ─ In confirmation of the reality of Fermi’s Paradox.
But just at the time the world was increasingly overwhelmed by extreme weather events, severe fires and floods, climate scientists were increasingly ignored, replaced by politicians, bureaucrats, economists, strategists and vested interests ignorant of the basic laws of physics and of the principles which control the atmosphere-ocean system. Policies and promises guided by the science have been betrayed and meaningful mitigation and adaptation negated by the opening of new coal mines and gas fields. Cold war strategies violating the United Nation charter were depleting the resources required for mitigation of the looming climate catastrophe. Within a blink of geological eye, at a rate unprecedented since the extinction of the dinosaurs, large regions of Earth were becoming increasingly uninhabitable for a multitude of species, surpassing 350 ppm CO₂ and approaching Miocene (5.3 – 23.0 Ma)-like conditions (Figure 2B). All along humans continued busily developing a veritable doomsday machine near 1300 nuclear warheads-strong threatening release within seconds.
Fig. 2. (A) Upper Holocene temperatures. (B). The Middle Miocene long-term continental (brown) and marine (blue) temperature change. Red arrow points to the present (2022) average global temperature of 13.9°C NOAA.

That humans are capable of committing the most horrendous crimes upon each other, on other species and on nature, including mass exterminations, has been demonstrated during the 20th century by the Nazi concentration camps and by genocidal conflicts such as in Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, Rwanda, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Ukraine ─ the list goes on … 

Fig. 3. Tsar Bomba, exploded above Novaya Zemlya
The ultimate step toward the Fermi’s paradox has been reached following nuclear experiments in New Mexico, Novaya Zemlya (Figure 3), the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the rising prospects of a nuclear war, with consequent firestorms, radiation from fallout, a nuclear winter, and electromagnetic pulses looming ever greater. According to a paper by Robock and Toon (2012) ‘Self-assured destruction: The climate impacts of nuclear war’, a thermonuclear war could lead to the end of modern civilization, due to a long-lasting nuclear winter and the destruction of crops. In one model the average temperature of Earth during a nuclear winter, where black smoke from cities and industries rise into the upper stratosphere, lowers global temperatures by 7 – 8° Celsius for several years.

As stated by Hansen et al. (2012): “Burning all fossil fuels would create a different planet than the one that humanity knows. The paleoclimate record and ongoing climate change make it clear that the climate system would be pushed beyond tipping points, setting in motion irreversible changes, including ice sheet disintegration with a continually adjusting shoreline, extermination of a substantial fraction of species on the planet, and increasingly devastating regional climate extremes”.

A nuclear war in the background of carbon saturated atmosphere can only lead to extreme damage to the life support systems of the planet. The propensity of “sapiens” to genocide and ecocide, are hardly masked by the prevailing Orwellian language of politicians in the absence of meaningful action to avert the demise of the biosphere as we know it. Whereas the ultimate consequences of global heating are likely to occur within a century, including temperature polarities including heat waves and regional cooling of ocean regions by ice melt flow from Antarctica and Greenland ice sheets (Gikson 2019), a nuclear war on the scale of the MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) can erupt on a time scale of minutes …

On July 16, 1945, witnessing the atomic test at the Trinity site, New Mexico, Robert Oppenheimer, the chief nuclear scientist (Figure 4), cited the Hindu scripture of Shiva from the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”. Then, as stated by Albert Einstein: “The splitting of the atom has changed everything, except for man’s way of thinking, and thus we drift into unparalleled catastrophes”.

Andrew Glikson
A/Professor Andrew Glikson

Earth and Paleo-climate scientist
School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
The University of New South Wales,
Kensington NSW 2052 Australia
16 December 2022

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, December 15, 2022

Antarctic sea ice in rapid decline

Earlier this year, on February 25, Antarctic sea ice extent was at an all-time record low of 1.924 million km², as the above image shows. Throughout the year, Antarctic sea ice extent has been low. On December 14, 2022, Antarctic sea ice was merely 9.864 million km² in extent. Only in 2016 was Antarctic sea ice extent lower at that time of year, and - importantly - 2016 was a strong El Niño year.

The NOAA image on the right indicates that, while we're still in the depths of a persistent La Niña, the next El Niño looks set to strike soon.

Meanwhile, ocean heat content keeps rising due to high levels of greenhouse gases, as illustrated by the image on the right. 

Rising ocean heat causes sea ice to melt from below, resulting in less sea ice, which in turn means that less sunlight gets reflected back into space and more sunlight gets absorbed as heat in the ocean, making it a self-reinforcing feedback loop that further speeds up sea ice loss. 

The currently very rapid decline in sea ice concentration around Antarctica is illustrated by the animation of Climate Reanalyzer images on the right, showing Antarctic sea ice on November 16, November 29 and December 15, 2022.

In 2012, a research team led by Jemma Wadham studied Antarctica, concluding that an amount of 21,000 Gt or billion tonnes or petagram (1Pg equals 10¹⁵g) of organic carbon is buried beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet, as discussed in an earlier post

The potential amount of methane hydrate and free methane gas beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet could be up to 400 billion tonnes. 

The predicted shallow depth of these potential reserves also makes them more susceptible to climate forcing than other methane hydrate reserves on Earth, describes the news release

“We are sleepwalking into a catastrophe for humanity. We need to take notice right now. It is already happening. This is not a wait-and-see situation anymore," Jemma Wadham said more recently.

The animation on the right shows the thickness of Antarctic sea ice up to December 14, 2022, with 8 days of forecasts added.  

On December 29, 2022, Antarctic sea ice extent was at a record low for the time of the year, at 5.527 million km² (see image on the right). 

Recently, a study discovered a process that can contribute to the melting of ice shelves in the Antarctic, as discussed at the ArcticNews group

Ominously, high concentrations of methane have been recorded over Antarctica recently. The image below shows methane as recorded by the Metop-B satellite on November 28, 2022 pm at 399 mb. 

Global sea ice extent was also at a record low for the time of year on December 29, 2022, at 17.53 million km², as illustrated by the image below, by the National Institute of Polar Research, Japan

The situation is dire and the right thing to do now is to help avoid or delay the worst from happening, through action as described in the Climate Plan.


• NSIDC - Interactive sea ice graph

• NOAA - ENSO: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

• NOAA - ocean heat content

• Climate Reanalyzer sea ice concentration

• Naval Research Laboratory - Antarctic sea ice

• Potential methane reservoirs beneath Antarctica - Press release University of Bristol (2012)

• Potential methane reservoirs beneath Antarctica - by Jemma Wadham et al. (2012)

• A new frontier in climate change science: connections between ice sheets, carbon and food webs

• Ocean variability beneath Thwaites Eastern Ice Shelf driven by the Pine Island Bay Gyre strength - by Tiago Dotto et al.

• Metop-B satellite readings

• National Institute of Polar Research, Japan
• Climate Plan

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Politicians for sale

Are politicians for sale? 

How can it be measured whether politicians are for sale and to what extent this occurs? 

One measure of how much looters and polluters are buying politicians could be this: How fast is methane accelerating? 

Rise in methane and rise in temperature

The rise in methane is vitally important, given methane's potential to rapidly push up temperatures. 

Arguably the most important metric related to climate change is surface temperature on land, as illustrated by the image below from an earlier post. The image was created with a July 16, 2022 screenshot from NASA customized analysis plots and shows that the February 2016 (land only) anomaly from 1886-1915 was 2.94°C or 5.292°F.


Land-only anomalies are important. After all, most people live on land, where temperatures are rising even faster than they are rising globally, and humans will likely go extinct with a rise of 3°C above pre-industrial, as illustrated by the image below, from an analysis in earlier post.

Note that in the above plot, anomalies are measured versus 1886-1915, which isn't pre-industrial. The image raises questions as to what the temperature rise would look like when using a much earlier base, and how much temperatures could rise over the next few years.

What can be done about it?

The next question is: What can be done about it? To avoid politicians getting bought by looters and polluters, action on climate change is best implemented locally, with Local People's Courts ensuring that implementation is science-based.


The situation is dire and the right thing to do now is to help avoid or delay the worst from happening, through action as described in the Climate Plan and posts at


• Human Extinction by 2025? 

• NASA customized analysis plots 

• When will we die?

• Pre-industrial 

Monday, December 5, 2022

Arctic Ocean overheating

Arctic sea ice extent was 10.31 million km² on December 4, 2022. At this time of year, extent was smaller only in two years, i.e. in 2016 and 2020, both strong El Niño years. With the next El Niño, Arctic sea ice extent looks set to reach record lows. 

The NOAA image on the right indicates that, while we're still in the depths of a persistent La Niña, the next El Niño looks set to strike soon.

The image below shows high sea surface temperature anomalies near the Bering Strait on December 2, 2022, with a "hot blob" in the North Pacific Ocean where sea surface temperature anomalies are reaching as high as 7°C or 12.6°F from 1981-2011. The Jet Stream is stretched out vertically from pole to pole, enabling hot air to enter the Arctic from the Pacific Ocean and from the Atlantic Ocean.

The image below shows a forecast for December 5, 2022, of 2m temperature anomalies versus 1979-2000, with anomalies over parts of the Arctic Ocean near the top end of the scale.

On December 6, 2022, the Arctic was 6.63°C or 11.93°F warmer compared to 1979-2000, as illustrated by the image below. 

The image below shows the daily average Arctic air temperature (2m) from 1979 up to December 6, 2022.

Given that we're still in the depth of a persistent La Niña, these currently very high air temperature anomalies indicate that ocean temperatures are very high and that ocean heat is heating up the air over the Arctic. 

Additionally, ocean heat is melting the sea ice from below. 

Accordingly, Arctic sea ice has barely increased in thickness over the past 30 days, as illustrated by the animation on the right.

This leaves only a very short time for Arctic sea ice to grow back in thickness before the melting season starts again, which means that there will be little or no latent heat buffer to consume heat when the melting season starts. 

Furthermore, rising temperatures and changes to the Jet Stream contribute to formation of a freshwater lid at the sea surface at higher latitudes, resulting in further heating up of the Arctic Ocean. 

As a result, more heat threatens to penetrate sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean that contain vast amounts of methane in hydrates and free gas, and result in abrupt release of huge amounts of methane, dramatically pushing up temperatures globally. 

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The situation is dire and the right thing to do now is to help avoid or delay the worst from happening, through action as described in the Climate Plan.


• Vishop sea ice extent

• NOAA ENSO: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions


• Climate Reanalyzer

• Naval Research Laboratory - HYCOM Consortium for Data-Assimilative Ocean Modeling

• Albedo, latent heat, insolation and more

• Cold freshwater lid on North Atlantic