Tuesday, April 4, 2023

IPCC keeps downplaying the danger even as reality strikes

Record hot sea surface

The daily sea surface temperature (SST) between 60°South and 60°North was at a record high on April 2, 2023, i.e. the highest temperature in the NOAA record that started in 1981, as illustrated by the above image. The black line shows this year's SST, up to April 2, 2023. The orange line shows last year's SST, i.e. 2022. The thicker grey line shows SST in the year 2020, when annual temperatures on land and ocean reached a record high, since 2020 was an El Niño year. 

This record high sea surface temperature comes as we're moving into a new El Niño, as illustrated by the image on the right, adapted from NOAA.

There are further reasons why this uptick doesn't come unexpected. The emerging El Niño looks set to coincide with high sunspots, while the 2022 Tonga submarine volcano eruption did add a huge amount of water vapor to the atmosphere, as discussed in an earlier post

Greenhouse gas concentrations keep rising

Reducing emissions is the right thing to do, even though it comes with loss of the aerosol masking effect that causes a rise in temperatures, as discussed in an earlier post. Moreover, greenhouse gas levels aren't falling.

Global monthly nitrous oxide rose to 336.33 ppb in December 2022, as illustrated by the image on the right. A recent study found that atmospheric abundances and emissions of five CFCs (CFC-13, CFC-112a, CFC-113a, CFC-114a and CFC-115) increased between 2010 and 2020.

Carbon dioxide (CO₂) broke three records recently at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, as illustrated by the image on the right. 

The daily mean (green points) rose to 423.23 ppm (parts per million) on April 12, 2023, a record high in the NOAA record for in situ measurements. The weekly mean CO₂ (red lines) was 422.54 ppm in the week that started April 2, 2023, and the monthly mean CO₂ (blue lines) was 421.00 ppm in March 2023.

Furthermore, CO₂ was as high as about 424.5 ppm in a flask measurement at Mauna Loa, Hawaii recently, as illustrated by the image on the right.

Monthly methane recently rose to above 1950 ppb at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, as illustrated by the image on the right underneath.

Globally, methane rose to 1924.99 ppb in December 2022, the highest in the NOAA globally averaged marine surface monthly mean methane record that goes back to July 1983.

The image below has a polynomial trend added based on April 2018 to December 2022 NOAA global methane data and pointing at 1200 ppm CO₂e (carbon dioxide equivalent) getting crossed in 2027.

The Clouds Tipping Point, at 1200 ppm CO₂e, could be crossed and this on its own could result in a further rise of 8°C. This tipping point could be crossed as early as in 2027 due to forcing caused by the rise in methane alone. When further forcing is taken into account, this could happen even earlier than in 2027.

NOAA's 1924.99 ppb for the December 2022 global methane mean translates into 385 ppm CO₂e when using a 1-year GWP of 200 for methane.

So, adding this 385 ppm CO₂e to 424.5 ppm CO₂ would leave just 390.5 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 the image further above shows, 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.

[ see the Extinction page ]
Vast amounts of ocean heat are headed to invade the Arctic. Last year, North Atlantic sea surface temperatures reached a record high of 24.9°C in early September. The continuing rise of ocean heat threatens to trigger massive loss of sea ice and eruptions of methane from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, as has been described many times before, such as in this post and in this post. 

All this is pushing up temperatures and will likely keep pushing up temperatures even further over the next few years. To say that the situation is dangerous is a vast understatement.

Politicians keep downplaying the danger

Meanwhile, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is reading the Synthesis Report of its 6th Assessment Report line by line, asking for approval from politicians who seek to downplay such dangers. "There are multiple, feasible and effective options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change, and they are available now" says the IPCC in an earlier news release with the title Urgent climate action can secure a liveable future for all.

The IPCC was created in 1988 by politicians and set up under the UNEP and WMO to provide politicians with the best-available scientific analysis on climate change. Yet, emissions have kept rising ever since, even accelerating, and the situation has continued to become ever more dire. 

Let's face it, the IPCC is an instrument used by politicians to keep downplaying the danger, even as reality strikes it in the face as to how dire the situation is. Politicians control the IPCC and politicians have proven to be prone to make deals in which they sell out climate action. Politicians have forfeited their chance to influence the process.

Climate action flowchart

In conclusion, politicians should be kept as much as possible out of the climate picture. We, the people, should support communities seeking effective climate action. Below is a flowchart showing how climate action can be achieved without politicians.

[ click on images to enlarge ]


• Climate Reanalyzer - Daily sea surface temperatures

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

• Sea surface temperature at record high

• Global increase of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons from 2010 to 2020 - by Luke Western et al. 

• NOAA - greenhouse gases at Mauna Loa, Hawaii 

• NOAA - Recent Daily Average Mauna Loa CO2

• NOAA - global methane