The image below illustrates the threat that the temperature rise may exceed 3°C. The blue trend, based on January 1880 to March 2023 data, shows how 3°C could be crossed in 2036. The magenta trend, based on January 2010 to March 2023 data, better reflects relatively short-term variables such as El Niño and illustrates how 3°C could be crossed as early as in 2025.
Indeed, rising temperatures threaten to cause massive loss of sea ice followed by eruptions of methane from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean. This threat is further illustrated by the image below.
Sea Surface Temperature North Atlantic
The situation is especially critical in the North Atlantic. Last year (in 2022), North Atlantic sea surface temperatures reached a record high of 24.9°C in early September. Recently (e.g. on April 4, 2023), the North Atlantic sea surface temperature was as much as 0.5°C higher (black line) than in 2022 (orange line).
On April 28, 2023, the sea surface temperature in the North Atlantic was 20.6°C, the highest temperature for the time of year in the NOAA record that goes back to 1981.
Monthly Northern Hemisphere Land Temperature Anomaly
Temperatures have been rising especially fast on land in the Northern Hemisphere, where most people are living. As temperatures keep rising, more extreme weather events can be expected that can make life hard, if not impossible, even at higher latitudes.
|[ from earlier post ]|
CO₂ typically reaches its annual high in May or June, so these records can be expected to be broken over the next few months.
|[ from earlier post ]|
So, adding this 385 ppm CO₂e to 425 ppm CO₂ would leave just 390 ppm CO₂e for further forcing, before the Clouds Tipping Point would get crossed, as the image on the right illustrates.
Methane at higher altitude can reach even higher levels than NOAA's global marine surface data. As illustrated by an image in an earlier post, monthly methane recently rose to above 1950 ppb at Mauna Loa, Hawaii.
Further changes such as caused by sea ice loss and changes in aerosols can also speed up the temperature rise.
Moving from the bottom of a La Niña to the peak of a strong El Niño could make a difference of more than half a degree Celsius, as discussed in an earlier post. El Niño can be expected to reach its full strength within a few years, with a maximum possible in 2026.
Furthermore, sunspots look set to reach a very high maximum within years, while the 2022 Tonga submarine volcano eruption did add a huge amount of water vapor to the atmosphere, as discussed in an earlier post.
Vast amounts of ocean heat are moving toward the Arctic, especially in the North Atlantic, threatening to cause rapid melting of Arctic sea ice and thawing of permafrost.
Rising temperatures of the water in the Arctic Ocean threaten to trigger massive loss of sea ice (and loss of albedo) and eruptions of methane from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, as has been described many times before, such as in this post, in this post and in this post.
|[ from earlier post ]|
|Latent heat loss, feedback #14 on the Feedbacks page|
|[ see analysis at the Extinction page ]|
A huge temperature rise thus threatens to unfold over the next few years, as illustrated by the image on the right. The annual rise from pre-industrial to 2026 could be more than 18.44°C by 2026, and monthly anomalies could reach even higher.
Meanwhile, humans are likely to go extinct with a rise of 3°C and most life on Earth will disappear with a 5°C rise, as illustrated by the image below, from an analysis discussed in an earlier post.
This dire situation calls for urgent action as described in the Climate Plan. Reducing emissions alone won't be enough. Carbon also needs to be removed from the atmosphere and oceans, through re-/afforestation, through pyrolysis of biowaste with the resulting biochar (and nutrients) returned to the soil and further methods. Even with a rapid transition to clean, renewable energy, with changes to food, land use, construction and waste management, and with removal of large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and oceans, still more action is needed.
Whether action will happen successfully and rapidly enough is indeed a good question, but that question shouldn't be used as an excuse to delay such action, since taking such action simply is the right thing to do.
|[ image from Climate Emergency Declaration ]|
• NOAA - Weekly average CO2 at Mauna Loa
• NOAA - Climate Prediction Center - ENSO: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions
• Sea surface temperature at record high
• IPCC keeps downplaying the danger even as reality strikes
• Climate Plan