Sunday, January 14, 2024

Seafloor methane tipping point crossed in 2024?

The heat in December 2023 was felt most strongly in the Arctic, as illustrated by the NASA image below, showing anomalies above 1951-1980 as high as 9.9°C. 

The image below further illustrates heat striking the northern latitudes in 2023, showing that the temperature anomaly in 2023 was 2.19°C above 1880-1920 in between 24°North and the North Pole

The danger is that ocean heat could abruptly be pushed from the North Atlantic into the Arctic Ocean, temporarily raising temperatures at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, as discussed in earlier posts such as this one

Terrifying rise of Northern Hemisphere ocean temperature anomalies

The image shows the terrifying rise of Northern Hemisphere ocean temperature anomalies from 1901-2000, illustrating crossing of two tipping points, i.e. the Latent Heat Tipping Point and the Seafloor Methane Tipping Point.

This threatens to cause rapid destabilization of methane hydrates at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean and lead to explosive eruptions of methane, as its volume increases 160 to 180-fold when leaving the hydrates. 

The image is an update of the image below, from a 2023 post and added here for reference purposes. Check out that post for more on the Latent Heat tipping Point and the Seafloor Methane Tipping Point.

Note that the above analyses are for annual data. An earlier analysis using monthly data shows that the seafloor methane tipping point was reached in August 2023. 

The danger is that, as the latent heat buffer disappears, incoming ocean heat can no longer be consumed by sea ice, but will instead heat up sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic ocean.

Latent heat loss, feedback #14 on the Feedbacks page
Ominously, sea surface temperatures (60°South-60°North) are on the rise in 2024, as illustrated by the image below.

The image below, adapted from NOAA, shows how high temperatures line up with El Niño months.

[ click on images to enlarge ]

Annual temperature anomalies as high as 2.5°C above pre-industrial

The temperature anomaly in 2023 may be as high as 2.5°C above pre-industrial, as illustrated by the image below.

For more on the analysis behind this potential rise of 2.5°C, see the pre-industrial page. Acknowledging the full strength of the rise is important, because of the feedbacks that come with it. Rising temperatures result in more water vapor getting in the atmosphere (7% more water vapor for every 1°C warming), further amplifying the temperature rise, since water vapor is a potent greenhouse gas. 

The IPCC likes people to believe that the temperature rise is only 1.1°C above pre-industrial, in which case there would be only 7.7% more water vapor in the atmosphere, but with a 2.5°C rise, there would be 17.5% more water vapor in the atmosphere. Those who seek to downplay the danger act as if changes to the Jet Stream and to ocean currents, Arctic sea ice, methane and water vapor can all be ignored.

Humans will likely go extinct with a 3°C rise. The image below shows annual mean global surface temperature (Land-Ocean) created with NASA Land-Ocean temperature anomaly versus 1902-1920, further adjusted by 0.99°C to reflect ocean air temperature, higher polar anomalies and an earlier (pre-industrial) base. The blue line shows a polynomial trend based on 1880-2023 data, indicating that a 3°C rise could eventuate by 2035. The magenta line shows a polynomial trend based on data from a shorter period (2010-2023), which better reflects short term variables such as El Niño and which indicates that a 3°C rise could eventuate as early as in 2024, i.e. this year. 

Note again that the above analyses are for annual data. An earlier analysis using monthly data shows that the September 2023 NASA Land+Ocean temperature was 1.78°C higher than it was in September 1923. The anomaly is 1.74°C when compared to a base centered around the year 1900 (1885-1915). This 1.74°C anomaly can be adjusted by 0.99°C to reflect a pre-industrial base, air temperature and higher polar anomalies, adding up to a potential anomaly of 2.73°C.

Climate Emergency Declaration

The situation is dire and the precautionary principle calls for rapid, comprehensive and effective action to reduce the damage and to improve the situation, as described in this 2022 post, where needed in combination with a Climate Emergency Declaration, as discussed at the Climate Emergency Declaration group.


• NASA - GISS Surface Temperature Analysis

• Sea surface temperature at record high

• 2024 looks to be worse than 2023

• Climate Reanalyzer - Daily sea surface temperatures

• NOAA - Northern Hemisphere ocean temperature anomalies vs 1991-2020

• NOAA - Monthly temperature anomalies versus El Niño

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

• Cold freshwater lid on North Atlantic

• Albedo, latent heat, insolation and more

• Latent Heat

• The Threat of Global Warming causing Near-Term Human Extinction

• Feedbacks

• Pre-industrial

• When Will We Die?

• Extinction

• Climate Plan

• Climate Emergency Declaration