Showing posts with label abrupt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label abrupt. Show all posts

Saturday, October 13, 2018

IPCC keeps feeding the addiction


The IPCC just released its report Global Warming of 1.5°C. Things aren't looking good and instead of providing good advice and guidance, the IPCC bends over backward in efforts to keep feeding the addiction.

The Paris Agreement constitutes a joint commitment by all nations of the world to keep the temperature rise below 1.5°C. The IPCC should have honored this commitment by explaining that the situation is dire and by pointing at action to be taken to improve the situation.

Instead, the IPCC bends over backward to make it look as if temperatures were lower than they really are, in an effort to make it look as if there were carbon budgets to be divided, and polluters should be allowed to keep polluting until those budgets had run out. This is like saying that drug junkies who cause damage and are deeply in debt, should be handed over more OPM (other people's money, in this case the future of all people and other species).

In reality, there is no carbon budget to be divided, there is just a huge carbon debt to be repaid. The urgency and imperative to act is such that progress in one area cannot make up for delays elsewhere. The best policies should be implemented immediately, and everywhere across the world.

Use of terms such as trade-offs, net-outcomes, off-sets, carbon budgets and negative emissions is misguided and highly misleading. Policies based on giving and trading in permits to pollute are less effective than local feebates, i.e. polices that impose fees on sales of polluting products and then use the revenues to support rebates on the better alternatives sold locally.

Here are twelve instances where the IPCC is misleading:
  1. Changing the baseline set at the Paris Agreement
    While the Paris Agreement is clear that pre-industrial is to be used as baseline, the IPCC has instead chosen to use 1850-1900, a period when the Industrial Revolution had long started. This compromises the entire Paris Agreement and thus the integrity of us all. Temperatures may well have been 0.3°C higher in 1900 than in 1750, as depicted in above image in the light blue block. Add up the warming elements and it may well be that people have caused more than 2°C of warming already and that we're facing warming of more than 10°C by 2026.

  2. Misleading calculations and wording
    The IPCC suggests that warming caused by people is 1.0°C (±0.2°C), likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052. To reach these numbers, the IPCC used misleading calculations in efforts to downplay how dangerous the situation is, as discussed further below. As an example of misleading wording, the IPCC says it has high confidence that 1.5°C won't be reached until 2030 if warming continues to increase at the current rate of 0.2°C per decade. Sure, if warming was 1.0°C and if it was indeed warming at 0.2°C per decade and if that warming would continue at 0.2°C per decade, yes, then it would take 25 years for warming to reach 1.5°C. But the reality is that warming is already far more than 1.0°C and that it is accelerating. That makes it misleading to associate high confidence with the suggestion that warming will not reach 1.5°C until 2030. The use of a straight line (linear trend) is misleading in the first place, since warming is accelerating. The use of a straight line is even more misleading when such a straight line is then used to make projections into the future and qualifications such as high confidence are added.

  3. Ignoring the importance of peaks
    Daily and monthly peaks are obviously higher than annual averages, and it's those high peaks that kill, making it disrespectful toward past and future victims of extreme weather events to average that away. NASA records show that, in February 2016, it was on average 1.67°C warmer than in 1900 (i.e. a 30-year period centered around 1900), while the higher latitudes North had anomalies up to 10.8°C. On land, the average anomaly in February 2016 was 2.26°C. And this is before adding 0.3°C for the rise before 1900, and before further adjustments as discussed below. Conservatively, the magenta block at the top of above image shows a rise of 1.63°C.

  4. Cherry-picking the baseline period
    For a baseline of a 30-year period around the year 1900, the temperature rise to 2016/2017 was 1.22°C, NASA records show. When adding another 0.3°C rise for the rise before 1900, warming was well above 1.5°C in 2016/2017. However, the IPCC conveniently selects an 1850-1900 baseline, a period when it was relatively warm, i.e. warmer than in 1750 and warmer also than in 1900. It was warmer from 1850 to 1900 due to increasing livestock numbers and forests clearing, while huge amounts of wood were burned, all contributing to large emissions of black carbon, brown carbon, methane, CO, etc., which caused additional warming during this period. So, this period was relatively warm. There was little impact yet of the sulfur aerosols that started coming with burning fossil fuel from 1900. Choosing this baseline period enabled the IPCC to beef up the temperature for the baseline and then draw a linear trend from 1850-1900 that looks flatter.

  5. Changing the data
    The U.K. Met Office's HadCRUT dataset goes back to 1850. The IPCC used this dataset, but actually changed the data, by averaging the data with datasets that showed a similar rise for the years after 1900, but that showed higher warming for 1880-1900. This enabled the IPCC to further beef up the average temperature for the period 1850-1900 and then draw a linear trend from 1850-1900 that looks even flatter.

  6. Cherry-picking the type of data
    To further support its suggestions, the IPCC uses water surface data for ocean temperature, but uses air data for temperatures over land. When selecting datasets with more consistency and using air temperatures globally, the temperature rise is 0.1°C higher.

  7. Not using new techniques to estimate values for missing data
    The IPCC chooses not to use new techniques to estimate temperatures where data are missing. Less data are available for the Arctic, and this is precisely where temperatures have risen much faster than in the rest of the world. When values for missing data are included, the temperature rise is another 0.1°C higher.

  8. Leaving out 2016
    The IPCC suggests there was a temperature rise of 0.2°C per decade in the years up to 2015, as if the high temperatures in 2016 didn't occur. The IPCC then uses that 0.2°C rise to make projections into the future, conveniently skipping the high temperatures in 2016. Failure to properly address acceleration of future warming is further discussed in the point below.

  9. Failure to properly address dangerous developments
    The IPCC fails to point out that carbon dioxide reaches a maximum in warming the atmosphere some 10 years after emission, which means that the full wrath of global warming due to the very high emissions of carbon dioxide over the past decade is yet to come. While temperatures could rise very rapidly over the coming decade, the IPCC keeps talking about carbon budgets, without properly addressing tipping points such as the decline of the snow and ice cover that will result in huge albedo losses, jet stream changes, more and more extreme weather events, and more. The IPCC fails to point out the danger of destabilization of sediments containing methane in the form of hydrates and free gas. Furthermore, the IPCC fails to properly address the aerosol warming that will occur as sulfur emissions decrease and other aerosols increase such as black carbon, brown carbon, etc. The IPCC fails to mention the water vapor feedback, i.e. the increase of water vapor in the atmosphere that will occur as a result of these developments. Since water vapor itself is a potent greenhouse gas, this will speed up the temperature rise even further. These developments could lead to a potential global temperature rise (from 1750) of more than 10°C by 2026, as illustrated in the image at the top.

  10. There is no carbon budget left
    Instead of pointing at the dangers, as it should have done, the IPCC makes it look as if there was a remaining carbon budget that should be divided among polluters, as if they should continue polluting the world. It should be obvious that there is no such budget. Instead, there's only a huge and very dangerous carbon debt. There is no room for trade-offs or offsets, and terms such as negative emissions are also inappropriate. All efforts should be made to cut emissions, including ending current subsidies for fossil fuel and livestock, while at the same time great effort should be taken to remove carbon from the atmosphere and oceans. And even then, it's questionable whether any humans will be able to survive the coming decade, which will be critically dangerous for all species on Earth.

  11. Suggesting polluting pathways
    The pathways suggested by the IPCC keep fossil fuel in the picture for many years, while highlighting non-solutions such as BECCS. The IPCC makes it look as if coal-fired power plants could continue to operate, by burning more biomass and capturing carbon. The IPCC makes it look as if transport could continue to use internal combustion engines, by burning more biofuel. Instead, clean & renewable energy has many benefits, including that it's more economic, so air capture powered by such facilities would make more sense than BECCS. Furthermore, electric vehicles should be supported now, rather than in the year 2050. It makes sense to stop fossil fuel subsidies, and to support better diets, to plant more vegetation and to support ways to add carbon and nutrients to soils and oceans, such as with biochar and ground rocks. Many technologies have been proposed, e.g. refrigerators and freezers are now made that do not use gases for cooling. The IPCC should not have used pathways that are wrong in the first place. Instead, the IPCC should have pointed at the policies that can best facilitate the necessary transitions, because the scientific evidence is overwhelming and it's the right thing to do.

  12. Not pointing at the best and much-needed policy tools
    The IPCC report fails to point out that imposing fees on polluting products is the most effective policy instrument, the more so when the revenues are used to support rebates on better alternatives supplied locally.
The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.

Prof. Peter Wadhams and Stuart Scott discuss the IPCC Global Warming of 1.5ºC report

Extended version of above video

Paul Beckwith on baseline, methane and more

Stuart Scott talks with Prof. Peter Wadhams on Arctic sea ice

Magnificent work by Stefanie Steven

[ budget ]
Proper analysis would have pointed at what the best action is to improve the situation.

However, the IPCC does not do that. Instead, the IPCC keeps stating that there was a carbon budget to be divided and consumed, while advocating non-solutions such as BECCS and while hiding the full extent of how threatening the situation is.

A quick word count of the IPCC report Global Warming of 1.5°C (SPM) shows paragraphs full of words such as budget (1st image right) and of non-solutions such as BECCS (2nd image right).

[ BECCS ]
At the same time, it fails to mention biochar, meat or local feebates. It fails to mention the huge threat of feedbacks and tipping points such as methane hydrates and Arctic sea ice, instead making it look as if all that could only pose potential problems over longer timescales.

This is indicative of how much the IPCC is part of the problem and part and parcel of the wilful destruction of life itself that is taking place so obviously all around us.

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) might as well change its name to IPCD (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Destruction).



It's not as if people weren't warned.
The danger was described back in 2007: Total Extinction.
The mechanism was depicted back in 2011: Runaway Global Warming.
And still, in 2018, the IPCC sadly keeps on feeding the addiction.




Links

• IPCC special report Global Warming of 1.5°C
https://report.ipcc.ch/sr15/

• Paris Agreement
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2015/12/paris-agreement.html
http://unfccc.int/documentation/documents/advanced_search/items/6911.php?priref=600008831
https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09r01.pdf

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

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

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

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

• 100% clean, renewable energy is cheaper
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/02/100-clean-renewable-energy-is-cheaper.html

• Fridges and freezers that don't use gases
https://www.facebook.com/groups/geoengineering/permalink/1794122703977728

• Negative-CO2-emissions ocean thermal energy conversion
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S136403211830532X

• 'Electrogeochemistry' captures carbon, produces fuel, offsets ocean acidification
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/06/electrogeochemistry-captures-carbon-produces-fuel-offsets-ocean-acidification.html

• Olivine weathering to capture CO2 and counter climate change
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/07/olivine-weathering-to-capture-co2-and-counter-climate-change.html

• Biochar group at facebook
https://www.facebook.com/groups/biochar

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

• IPCC seeks to downplay global warming
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/02/ipcc-seeks-to-downplay-global-warming.html

• Blue Ocean Event
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/09/blue-ocean-event.html

• What Does Runaway Warming Look Like?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/10/what-does-runaway-warming-look-like.html

• Ten Dangers of Global Warming
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/ten-dangers-of-global-warming.html

• AGU poster, AGU Fall Meeting 2011
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/agu-poster.html


Sunday, February 1, 2015

WARNING - Planetary Omnicide between 2023 and 2031

[ click on image to enlarge or view this image ]

Below is a table using the ice core gradients for a continuously pulsing clathrate gun and one where the methane clathrate pulse decays over time from the data on the poster.

[ click on image to enlarge or view this image ]



References and Further Reading

- State Of Extreme Emergency, by Malcolm P.R. Light

- Focus on Methane, by Malcolm P.R. Light
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2014/07/focus-on-methane.html

- Arctic Atmospheric Methane Global Warming Veil, by Malcolm P.R. LightHarold Hensel and Sam Carana



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Near-Term Human Extinction

Global Warming and Feedbacks

Is there a mechanism that could make humanity go extinct in the not-too-distant future, i.e. within a handful of decades?

Most people will be aware that emissions due to human activity are causing global warming, as illustrated by the arrow marked 1 in the image on the left. Global warming can cause changes to the land, to vegetation and to the weather. This can result in wildfires that can in turn cause emissions, thus closing the loop and forming a self-reinforcing cycle that progressively makes things worse.

Furthermore, less forests and soil carbon also constitute a decrease in carbon sinks, resulting in carbon that would otherwise have been absorbed by such sinks to instead remain in the atmosphere, thus causing more global warming, as illustrated by the additional downward arrow in the image on the right. In conclusion, there are a number of processes at work that can all reinforce the impact of global warming.

Emissions can also contribute more directly to land degradation, to changes in vegetation and to more extreme weather, as indicated by the additional arrow pointing upward in the image on the right. A recent study by Yuan Wang et al. found that aerosols formed by human activities from fast-growing Asian economies can cause more extreme weather, making storms along the Pacific storm track deeper, stronger, and more intense, while increasing precipitation and poleward heat transport.

Accelerated Warming in the Arctic

Similar developments appear to be taking place over the North Atlantic. Huge pollution clouds from North America are moving over the North Atlantic as the Earth spins. In addition, the Gulf Stream carries ever warmer water into the Arctic Ocean. As the image below shows, sea surface temperature anomalies at the highest end of the scale (8 degrees Celsius) are visible off the coast of North America, streching out all the way into the Arctic Ocean.


As said, feedbacks as are making the situation progressively worse. Feedback loops are causing warming in the Arctic to accelerate. Warming in the Arctic is accelerating with the demise of the snow and ice cover in the Arctic, and this is only feedback #1 out out many feedbacks that are hitting the Arctic, as described in an earlier post. As the temperature difference between the equator and the Arctic decreases, the Jet Stream is changing, making it easier for cold air to move out of the Arctic and for warm air from lower latitudes to move in (feedback #10).


Abrupt Climate Change leading to Extinction at Massive Scale

The danger is that, as temperatures over the Arctic Ocean warm up further and as the Gulf Stream carries ever warmer water into the Arctic Ocean, large quantitities of methane will erupt abruptly from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, adding a third kind of warming, runaway warming resulting in abrupt climate change, and leading to mass death, destruction and extiction of species including humans.

Persistence of such a progression makes it inevitable that the rest of Earth will follow the huge temperature rises in the Arctic. Massive wildfires will first ignite across higher latitudes, adding further greenhouse gas emissions and causing large deposits of soot on the remaining snow and ice on Earth, with a huge veil of methane eventually spreading around the globe. The poster below, from an earlier post, illustrates the danger.

[ click on image to enlarge - note that this is a 1.8 MB file that may take some time to fully load ]
Views by Contributors

How likely is it that the above mechanism will cause human extinction within the next few decades? What views do the various contributors to the Arctic-news blog have on this?

Guy McPherson has long argued that, given the strengths of the combined feedbacks and given the lack of political will to take action, near-term human extinction is virtually inevitable.

In the video below, Paul Beckwith responds to the question: Can climate change cause human extinction?


Further contributors are invited to have their views added to this post as well. While many contributors may largely share Paul Beckwith's comments, it's important to highlight that contributors each have their own views, and this extends to their preference for a specific plan of action.

Geo-engineering

One of the more controversial issues is the use of geo-engineering. Guy McPherson doesn't believe geo-engineering will be successful. In the video below, Paul Beckwith gives his (more positive) views on this.


I must admit that the lack of political will to act is rather depressing, especially given the huge challenges ahead. So, I can understand that this can make some of us pessimistic at times. Nonetheless, I am an optimist at heart and I am convinced that we can get it right by giving more support to a Climate Plan that is both comprehensive and effective, as discussed at ClimatePlan.blogspot.com

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Abrupt Climate Change - by Paul Beckwith

by Paul Beckwith

Humans have benefited greatly from a stable climate for the last 11,000 years - roughly 400 generations. Not anymore. We now face an angry climate. One that we have poked in the eye with our fossil fuel stick and awakened. Now we must deal with the consequences. We must set aside our differences and prepare for what we can no longer avoid. And that is massive disruption to our civilizations.

In a nutshell, the logical chain of events occurring is as follows:
  1. Greenhouse gases that humans are putting into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels are trapping extra heat in the earth system (distributed between the oceans (93%), the cryosphere (glaciers, ice sheets, sea ice for 3%), the earth surface (rocks, vegetation, etc. for 3%) and the atmosphere (only an amazingly low 1%). The oceans clearly get the lions share of the energy, and if that 1% heating the atmosphere varies there can be decades of higher or lower warming, as we have seen recently. This water vapor rises and cools condensing into clouds and releasing its stored latent heat which is increasing storm intensity.
  2. (i)Rapidly declining Arctic sea ice (losing about 12% of volume per decade) and (ii)snow cover (losing about 22% of coverage in June per decade) and (iii)darkening of Greenland all cause more solar absorption on the surface and thus amplified Arctic warming (global temperatures have increased (on average) about 0.17oC per decade, the Arctic has increased > 1oC per decade, or about 6x faster)
  3. Equator-to-Arctic temperature difference is thus decreasing rapidly
  4. Less heat transfer occurs from equator to pole (via atmosphere, and thus jet streams become streakier and wavier and slower in west-to-east direction, and via ocean currents (like Gulf Stream, which slows and overruns continental shelf on Eastern seaboard of U.S.)
  5. Storms (guided by jet streams) are slower and sticking and with more water content are dumping huge torrential rain quantities on cities and widespread regions at higher latitudes than is “normal”.
  6. A relatively rare meteorological event called an “atmospheric river” is now much more common, and injects huge quantities of water over several days to specific regions, such as Banff (with water running downhill to Calgary) and Toronto and Colorado events.
The above is extracted from one of Paul's earlier posts.

Paul discusses more details in the videos below. Our abruptly changing climate system: where we are and where we are going.

Abrupt Climate Change - part 1


And the next part, Abrupt Climate Change - part 2


Extreme weather is like a sledgehammer repeatedly pounding away at the inaction, lethargy, and climate change denial that is prevalent in rich Western countries around the world.

Inevitably, the hammer pounding will increase in frequency, severity, duration, and spatial extent over the next few years until the denial crumbles, in spite of the annual one billion dollars in fossil fuel money that is paid to support fraud by hiding the truth on the threat that we all face. 

A tipping point in collective societal behaviour will occur, and humanity will finally initiate action, albeit frantically, to begin to deal with the largest problem ever faced in our history.




Paul Beckwith is a part-time professor with the laboratory for paleoclimatology and climatology, department of geography, University of Ottawa. He teaches second year climatology/meteorology. His PhD research topic is “Abrupt climate change in the past and present.” He holds an M.Sc. in laser physics and a B.Eng. in engineering physics and reached the rank of chess master in a previous life.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Arctic Methane Release and Rapid Temperature Rise are interlinked

The image below shows methane readings on November 17, 2013 p.m.

[ click on image to enlarge ]
Very high methane readings are present over the Laptev Sea, the East Siberian Sea and the Beaufort Sea. The situation may be even worse than what it seems at first glance. The pointed shape in the Laptev Sea doesn't imply low methane levels in that area. The IASI (Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer) instrument measuring methane only covers a certain width. The pointed shapes that show up on above image and the bottom inset, are areas where no measurements were taken, resulting from the way the polar-orbiting satellite circum-navigates the globe, as pictured on the top inset. These pointed shapes are visible as light-grey areas on the image below.

Additionally, no data were available for the areas colored darker grey on above image. At lower altitudes, this absence of data can be due to mountains in the area. It can also be that measurements are obscured by clouds, in which case no data are visible for the respective area; again, this doesn't imply that no methane was present there.

So, while there are no data for some areas in the Laptev Sea on Nov. 17, the conclusion must noretheless be that methane was actually present at very high levels all the way from the Laptev Sea to the East Siberian Sea. This conclusion is supported by data from earlier days, e.g. as shown in this post.

Therefore, the situation in the Laptev Sea is worse that it looks at first glance and levels may actually have been even higher on Nov. 17 than the peak reading of 2304 ppb that was recorded on that day. Similarly, more methane may actually be present closer to the North Pole than is showing up on above images.

Why methane is rising from the Arctic seabed

For some time now, huge amounts of methane have been released from the seabed of the Arctic Ocean, reaching the atmosphere at levels of up to 2662 ppb (on November 9, 2013). What caused this? Before examining this further, let's first go back to what was said in an earlier post about warm water off the coast of North Anmerica.

A dust storm approaches Stratford, Texas, in 1935. From: Wikipedia: Dust Bowl
During the 1930s, North America experienced a devastating drought affecting almost two-thirds of the United States as well as parts of Mexico and Canada. The period is referred to as the Dust Bowl, for its numerous dust storms.

Rapid creation of farms and use of gasoline tractors had caused erosion at massive scale.

Extensive deep plowing of the virgin topsoil of the Great Plains in the preceding decade had removed the natural deep-rooted vegetation that previously kept the soil in place and trapped moisture even during periods of drought and high winds.

So, when the drought came, the dust storms emerged. But what caused the drought?

A 2004 study concludes that the drought was caused by anomalous tropical sea surface temperatures (SST) during that decade and that interactions between the atmosphere and the land surface increased its severity (see image above right with SST anomalies).

As the above chart shows, SST anomalies in the days of the Dust Bowl were not greater than 1°C. It is in this context that the current situation in the Arctic must be seen. In 2013, SST anomalies of 5°C or more showed up in virtually all areas in the Arctic Ocean where the sea ice disappeared; some areas are exposed to sea surface temperature anomalies even higher than 8°C (14.4°F), as discussed in the post Arctic Ocean is turning red.


As the above Naval Research Laboratory image shows, strong winds can push a lot of sea ice out of the Arctic Ocean. The resulting absence of sea ice can disrupt vertical sea currents that would otherwise cool the seabed. Furthermore, strong winds can boost warming of the seabed of the Arctic Ocean by mixing warm surface water down the vertical water column. Such feedbacks have been discussed in earlier posts such as the Diagram of Doom. Changes that take place in the Arctic can also cause extreme weather patterns elsewhere, as discussed in an earlier post on changes to the Polar Jet Stream.

Indeed, events can be closely interlinked and the world is now stumbling from one extreme weather event into another. Moreover, things look set to get worse every year. And this can in turn make things even worse in the Arctic. Water off the coast of North America, after reaching 'Record Warmest' temperatures in July 2013, proceeded to travel to the Arctic Ocean, where it is now warming up the seabed.
NOAA: part of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of North America reached record warmest temperatures in July 2013
Below, Malcolm Light explains:

Pollution clouds pouring eastwards off the coast of Canada and the United States are the main culprits in heating the Gulf Stream as this region has the highest oceanic evaporation on Earth.


While the mean speed of the Gulf Stream is 4 miles per hour (6.4 km/hour or 1.78 metres/second), the water slows down as it travels north.

In the much wider North Atlantic Current, which is its North Eastern extension, water flows at about 0.51 metres/second (3.5 times slower), while the West Spitzbergen (Svalbard) current flows at about 0.35 metres/second (5 times slower).

Consequently, it will take quite some time for the summer-heated Gulf Stream waters to reach the Laptev Sea.

In addition, because the Gulf Stream does a closed circuit in the tropical Atlantic, passing close to West Africa (Canary Current) and returning back to the Gulf along the hurricane tracks (North Equitorial Current), it is able to continuously feed hot water into the North Atlantic Current over a very long time period.

This explains why methane is continuously boiling off the subsea methane hydrates from the Eurasian Basin and Laptev Sea during September to November this year and will continue to be emitted past January 2014.

How much will temperatures rise?

The atmospheric temperature increase in Australia this year (0.22oC) indicates that in 10 years it will exceed 2.2oC and in 30 to 40 years, 6.6oC to 8.8oC.

This is the same as the predicted temperature increase from the Arctic methane build up and will lead to total global deglaciation and our extinction by the middle of this century.

There is in addition a delayed carbon dioxide and methane temperature anomaly of 12oC to 20oC.  The 20oC  methane delayed temperature anomaly is the same as the temperature anomaly of the hot clouds that have been blowing around the Arctic this year, indicating that the Arctic has almost caught up with the methane delayed global warming heating.

The stage is therefore set for a giant firestorm, drought and sea level rise mostly caused by the uncontrolled build up of methane in the atmosphere due to the carbon dioxide induced global warming destabilization of the Arctic permafrost and subsea methane hydrates.

So, what to do?

The power, prestige and massive economy of the United States have been built on cheap and abundant fossil fuels and Canada is now trying to do the same. Will the US and Canada, in the short time frame we have left (3 decades), be able to eliminate their extreme carbon footprints? Note that Australia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have similar extreme carbon footprints as well. An additional problem is that reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants will also reduce sulfur emissions that currently mask the full wrath of global warming.

A Comprehensive Climate Plan must include ways to reduce methane levels

What we have got to do is eliminate as much of the atmospheric methane by whatever means we are able to devise,  to bring its concentration down to about 750 ppb. This level will eliminate the methane delayed temperature anomaly and give the massive industrial nations a little leaway to get their houses in order.

All the scientific expenditure and ingenuity of the major industrial nations should be engaged in developing methods of breaking down atmospheric methane without burning it. Methods of increasing the tropospheric and stratospheric hydroxyl concentrations and using radio - laser systems such as the Alamo - Lucy projects and their applications to HAARP must be developed and tested with the utmost urgency as should local methods of converting carbon dioxide and methane via catalysts into other products. We have to get rid of this methane monster before it devours us all. A French group of scientists and engineers have started work on the Alamo-Lucy projects in Europe. If we fail to reduce the fast growing methane content of the atmosphere in the next few decades we are going to go the same way as the dinosaurs.

I cannot emphasise more, how serious humanity’s predicament is and what we could do to try to prevent our certain extinction if we continue down the present path we are following. If we compare ourselves to the Titanic we are only moments away from hitting the iceberg.


Three more images are added to further illustrate Malcolm Light's words. The above image highlights how much temperatures have been rising in the Arctic over the past few decades. In above image, anomalies are visualized by latitude, but are averaged by longitude globally, masking even higher anomalies that can be experienced at specific areas along the same longitude. At times, some areas in the Arctic do already experience anomalies of over 20°C, as also shown by the image below. 

Finally, the image below, from a post at the methane-hydrates blog



All this calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan blog


Related

- Causes of high methane levels over Arctic Ocean

- Climate Plan

- Horrific amounts of methane over Laptev Sea

- Methane Levels going through the Roof

- Unfolding Methane Catastrophe

- Methane Release caused by Earthquakes

- Temperature Rise

- North Hole

- The LUCY project

- The Alamo Project




Saturday, November 2, 2013

Locating sources of the world's highest methane levels


Above image shows IASI methane readings end October 2013 on the Northern Hemisphere. Clearly, high methane levels are very prominent over the Arctic. Over this period, the following peak methane readings have been recorded:
- October 28 - 2369 ppb
- October 29 - 2303 ppb
- October 30 - 2480 ppb
- October 31 - 2332 ppb

[ click on image to enlarge ]
Above image shows methane readings of 1950 ppb and higher in yellow, but only on October 31, 2013, pm.

This image is easier to analyze, since there are only a few areas where high methane readings show up, such as:
  • Last but not least, there's a huge area with high methane readings over the Arctic Ocean.
The image below again shows methane readings of 1950 ppb and higher in yellow on October 31, 2013, pm, but this time only for 3 altitudes, i.e. 451 mb, 469 mb and 487 mb. These levels were selected for their proximity to the altitude of 469 mb, where typically the highest mean global methane levels are recorded, i.e. from 1809 ppb to 1812 ppb for the period from October 28 to 31, 2013. Not surprisingly, the image below looks much the same as above image.



Things look rather different, though, when 3 altitudes are selected closer to sea level. The image below again shows methane readings of 1950 ppb and higher in yellow on October 31, 2013, pm, but this time only at 718 mb, 742 mb and 766 mb. These altitudes showed the highest methane readings that day, of 2322 ppb, 2332 ppb and 2316 ppb, respectively.


Ominously, high methane readings at these lower altitudes show up mostly in the Laptev Sea. In conclusion, some of the world's highest methane levels show up over the Laptev Sea, a huge area most prone to abrupt release of huge amounts of methane from the seabed.

This is further evidence in support of the looming threat of Abrupt Climate Change leading to extinction of many if not all species (i.e. including humans) within decades. It disproves the efforts of the IPCC, as discussed in the post Just do NOT tell them the monster exists, and further organizations to downplay the threat by spreading myths.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Are Alberta’s Tar Sands prepared for a torrential rain event?

by Paul Beckwith

In recent months we have endured incredible tropical-equatorial-like torrential rain events occurring at mid-latitudes across the planet. For example, in North America we experienced intense rainfall in the Banff region of the Rockies from June 19th to 24th and the enormous volume of water moved downhill through the river systems taking out small towns and running into the heart of Calgary where it caused $5.3 billion dollars of infrastructure damage; the largest in Canadian history.

Next, it was Toronto’s turn, with 75 mm of rain falling from 5 to 6pm on July 8 (with up to 150 mm overall in some regions) leading to widespread flooding and $1.45 billion dollars in damages. As bad as these events were, they were dwarfed by the intense rainfalls hitting the state of Colorado from Sept 9th to 15th.

Rainfall amounts that would normally fall over 6 months to a year were experienced in less than a week. Widespread flash floods, landslides, and torrents of water ripped apart roads, fracking equipment and pipelines on (at least) hundreds of fossil fuel sites (mostly ignored by mainstream media) (http://www.desmogblog.com/2013/09/19/media-ignores-damaged-oil-and-gas-tanks-colorado-floods). The level of destruction was simply horrifying, as captured by a man with a plane and a camera. But we have no grounds for complaint, since the widespread flooding in central Europe from May 30th to June 6th caused a much larger $22 billion in damages.

So what is happening? Why are we experiencing so many of these severe weather flooding events that are supposed to only occur every 1000 years or so? Will they keep occurring? What city will be hit next? Can the Alberta tar sands be hit by such an event? What would be the implications?

Abrupt Climate Change In Real-Time

Humans have benefited greatly from a stable climate for the last 11,000 years - roughly 400 generations. Not anymore. We now face an angry climate. One that we have poked in the eye with our fossil fuel stick and awakened. Now we must deal with the consequences. We must set aside our differences and prepare for what we can no longer avoid. And that is massive disruption to our civilizations.

In a nutshell, the logical chain of events occurring is as follows:
  1. Greenhouse gases that humans are putting into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels are trappingextra heat in the earth system (distributed between the oceans (93%), the cryosphere (glaciers, ice sheets, sea ice for 3%), the earth surface (rocks, vegetation, etc. for 3%) and the atmosphere (only an amazingly low 1%). The oceans clearly get the lions share of the energy, and if that 1% heating the atmosphere varies there can be decades of higher or lower warming, as we have seen recently. This water vapor rises and cools condensing into clouds and releasing its stored latent heat which is increasing storm intensity.
  2. (i)Rapidly declining Arctic sea ice (losing about 12% of volume per decade) and (ii)snow cover (losing about 22% of coverage in June per decade) and (iii)darkening of Greenland all cause more solar absorption on the surface and thus amplified Arctic warming (global temperatures have increased (on average) about 0.17oC per decade, the Arctic has increased > 1oC per decade, or about 6x faster)
  3. Equator-to-Arctic temperature difference is thus decreasing rapidly
  4. Less heat transfer occurs from equator to pole (via atmosphere, and thus jet streams become streakier and wavier and slower in west-to-east direction, and via ocean currents (like Gulf Stream, which slows and overruns continental shelf on Eastern seaboard of U.S.)
  5. Storms (guided by jet streams) are slower and sticking and with more water content are dumping huge torrential rain quantities on cities and widespread regions at higher latitudes than is “normal”.
  6. A relatively rare meteorological event called an “atmospheric river” is now much more common, and injects huge quantities of water over several days to specific regions, such as Banff (with water running downhill to Calgary) and Toronto and Colorado events.
It is well past the time that politicians and governments need to act to address these issues. This breakdown of the global atmospheric circulation pattern is well underway now, with a global average temperature only 0.8oC above the pre-industrial revolution levels. With extreme weather events this terrible now, it is highly irrational, in fact reckless, to continue to have global meetings and discussions about whether or not 2oC is safe. Only 0.8oC is wreaking havoc on global infrastructure today. As climate change proceeds and accelerates and we move further from the stable state that we are familiar with (“old climate”) to a much warmer world (“new climate”) we will experience worsening weather extremes and a huge “whiplashing” of events (throughout our present “transition period”).

For a notion of whiplashing, consider the Mississippi River. There were record river flow rates from high river basin rainfall in 2011, followed by record drought and record low river water levels in December, 2012 making it necessary for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to hydraulically break apart rock on the riverbed to keep the countries vital economic transportation link open to barge traffic. Then, 6 months later, the river was back up to record levels. Incredible swings of fortune.

Mitigation at a global level is dysfunctional and inadequate

Adaption has not worked out too well for Calgary, or Toronto, or Colorado, or numerous other places. Let us not be surprised when a similar torrential rain event hits Ottawa, or Vancouver, or even the Alberta tar sand tailing ponds. In Alberta, tailings ponds would be breached and the toxic waters would overflow the Athabasca River and carry the pollutants up into the north to exit into the Arctic Ocean. Such an event would be catastrophic to the environment and economy of Canada.

How can this risk be ignored? Will the latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report AR5 released on September 27th once again be ignored by society?


Paul Beckwith is a part-time professor with the laboratory for paleoclimatology and climatology, department of geography, University of Ottawa. He teaches second year climatology/meteorology. His PhD research topic is “Abrupt climate change in the past and present.” He holds an M.Sc. in laser physics and a B.Eng. in engineering physics and reached the rank of chess master in a previous life.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Abrupt Climate Change

What is Abrupt Climate Change?

Abrupt climate change is defined by the IPCC as a large-scale change in the climate system that takes place over a few decades or less, persists (or is anticipated to persist) for at least a few decades, and causes substantial disruptions in human and natural systems.

Examples of components susceptible to such abrupt change are clathrate methane release, tropical and boreal forest dieback, disappearance of summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, long-term drought and monsoonal circulation.

Deposits of methane clathrates below the sea floor are susceptible to destabilization via ocean warming.

Anthropogenic warming will very likely lead to enhanced methane emissions from both terrestrial and oceanic clathrates.

Above extracted from:
- Intergovenmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), AR5 Workgroup 1, Technical Summary

New Finding Shows Climate Change Can Happen in a Geological Instant

The Paleocene/Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) is a climate shift that occurred 55 million years ago.

James Wright, Rutgers University Research News -
Morgan Schaller, James Wright, and the core sample
that helped them understand what happened
– and how fast it happened – 55 million years ago.
In a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Morgan Schaller and James Wright present their finding that climate change can and did happen abruptly, or in geological terms, instantaneously.

Following a doubling in carbon dioxide levels, the surface of the ocean turned acidic over a period of weeks or months and global temperatures rose by 5 degrees centigrade – all in the space of about 13 years.

“We’ve shown unequivocally what happens when CO2 increases dramatically – as it is now, and as it did 55 million years ago,” James Wright said.

The film below goes into more detail regarding the current situation.

New Film: Last Hours

The film “Last Hours” describes a science-based climate scenario where a tipping point to runaway climate change is triggered by massive releases of frozen methane. Methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, has already started to percolate into the open seas and atmosphere from methane hydrate deposits beneath melting arctic ice, from the warming northern-hemisphere tundra, and from worldwide continental-shelf undersea methane pools.

“Last Hours” is narrated by Thom Hartmann and directed by Leila Conners. Executive Producers are George DiCaprio and Earl Katz.


For more, also watch some of Thom Hartmann’s interviews.

High Methane Levels persist over Arctic Ocean

High methane levels are prominent over the Arctic Ocean, as illustrated by the image below, covering a period from October 3, 2013, 10:54 am to October 7, 2013, 11:53 pm. The fact that methane has not been present elsewhere in such high concentrations over this period indicates that the methane wasn't carried there by the wind from elsewhere. Also, methane typically appears to move along the same latitude, due to the Coriolis effect.


The image indicates a link between seismic activity and destabilization of methane that is held in sediments under the Arctic Ocean. Methane does show up prominently along the fault line that crosses the Arctic Ocean and extends into Siberia over the Laptev Sea.

The Diagram that IPCC failed to include in AR5

The diagram below shows global warming evolving into accelerated warming in the Arctic. Feedbacks such as albedo changes and methane release speed up this process, triggering abrupt climate change and finally extinction.

The Diagram the IPCC failed to include in AR5

This threatening situation calls for an Effective and Comprehensive Climate Plan, such as depicted by the green lines of action in the image below and as further described at the ClimatePlan blog. For more background, see related posts further below.




Related posts

- Just do NOT tell them the monster exists
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2013/10/just-do-not-tell-them-the-monster-exists.html

- Methane Release caused by Earthquakes
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2013/09/methane-release-caused-by-earthquakes.html

- Climate Plan
http://climateplan.blogspot.com



Sunday, October 6, 2013

Just do NOT tell them the monster exists

The Arctic Methane Monster

As discussed in a previous post, the IPCC appears to be acting as if there was a carbon budget to divide among countries, whereas in reality there is a huge carbon debt to our children, while the situation could become catastrophic any time soon.

Indeed, carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas and the Arctic methane monster is threatening to disrupt the cosy lifetyle of those who want to keep selling parts of such non-existing carbon budgets.

So, who do you think the IPCC has been listening to, to reach a conclusion after six years of analysis? Experts or snake oil sellers? The cartoon may give you a hint, but why don't you make up your own mind by going over the IPCC statements and comments below.

Abrupt Climate Change

The IPCC recently issued AR5 documents that included a discussion of Abrupt Climate Change.

from: IPCC AR5 Working Group 1 Technical Summary (final draft)
The IPCC gives some examples:


Yes, methane release from clathrates sounds scary.


If there is little consensus on the likelihood, then surely some experts do believe it is likely. Yet, the IPCC somehow reaches the following conclusion, and does so with high confidence:


Unlikely? What was the basis for this IPCC conclusion? 

This seems like a conclusion that can only have been reached after a robust analysis of all the evidence. So, how did the IPCC reach this conclusion, given that it did so with such high confidence?

Let's have a look. The above conclusion is preceeded by this statement:


OK, that means clathrates will increasingly become destabilized. The IPCC then adds an argument why this would not result in abrupt climate change this century.


Sure, but that's just one rather insignificant negative feedback, compared to the many more significant positive feedbacks, such as melting causing isostatic rebound that can contribute to the occurrence of earthquakes and landslides, in turn triggering methane release. Yet, without even mentioning these positive feedbacks, the paragraph then jumps to the following conclusion:


If these initial estimates are not insignificant and if it's all rather difficult to formally assess, how then is it possible that the IPCC reached its end-conclusion with such high confidence? Moreover, was there any basis for these "initial estimates"? Perhaps there's more elsewhere in the IPCC documents. Here's another paragraph that preceeded the above.


All this expresses is low confidence in existing modeling and lack of understanding of the various processes. Again, how then is it possible that the IPCC reached its conclusion with such high confidence?

How much methane is currently released from hydrates?

On this, the IPCC says:


OK, so things could become scary. And sure, there are no large abrupt releases taking place now, but that doesn't mean there's not going to be any in future. In case of gradual processes, it makes sense to base projections on historic releases. In case of abrupt releases, however, current releases should not be the basis for reaching a conclusion with high confidence.

So, was the work of Dr. Natalia Shakhova perhaps used as the basis for these estimates? Read on!

How much methane is stored under the Arctic Ocean?

How much methane is present in sediments under the seabed of the Arctic Ocean, in the form of free gas and hydrates? On this, the IPCC says in FAQ6:


That doesn't seem to reflect the estimates of Dr. Natalia Shakhova. According to older estimates, the total amount of methane in the atmosphere is about 5 Gt. Saying that more than 50 Gt of methane could be stored in hydrates the Arctic seems deceptive and appears to be seriously downplaying a very dangerous situation.

Natalia Shakhova et al. in 2010 estimated the accumulated potential for the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) region alone (image on the right) as follows:
  • organic carbon in permafrost of about 500 Gt
  • about 1000 Gt in hydrate deposits
  • about 700 Gt in free gas beneath the gas hydrate stability zone.
Back in 2008, Natalia Shakhova et al. considered release of up to 50 Gt of predicted amount of hydrate storage as highly possible for abrupt release at any time. Did the IPCC perhaps misread the figures, mistaking the part of the methane that is ready for abrupt release for the total amount of methane in the Arctic?

How long could it take for large amounts of methane to reach the atmosphere?

How long could it take for large amounts to reach the atmosphere? On this, the IPCC says in FAQ6, in the same and the next paragraph:


Events in which most, if not virtually all methane that escaped from the seabed did enter the atmosphere have been studied in 2002 and published in 2006, as reported at:
http://www.ia.ucsb.edu/pa/display.aspx?pkey=1482
and at:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2005GB002668/abstract

Below, a screenshot from an interview of John Mason with Natalia Shakhova, published at:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/arctic-methane-outgassing-e-siberian-shelf-part2.html


In conclusion, Dr Natalia Shakhova also rejects the idea that methane release from hydrates always takes place gradually, over a long time. Especially in the Arctic, there's a huge danger of abrupt release, given the accelerated warming that takes place in the Arctic, given the huge amounts of methane stored in sediments in the form of free gas and methane, given the presence of a tectonic fault line, etc, etc.

Once released, methane won't get broken down easily in the Arctic Ocean, as this requires the presence of bacteria that can oxidize the methane, as well as free oxygen in the water. Once depleted, oxygen isn't quickly replenished in the Arctic Ocean. Lack of bacteria and depletion of oxygen in the waters of the Arctic Ocean could prevent oxidation of methane rising up in the waters, as described at:
http://methane-hydrates.blogspot.com/2012/03/large-areas-of-open-ocean-starved-of.html

In the Arctic, low temperatures mean there are less bacteria that need more time to break down the methane. In other places, currents may bring bacteria back to the location of the methane plume repeatedly. In the Arctic, many currents are long, so once bacteria have flowed away from the location of the plume, they could be driven out of the Arctic Ocean or may return only after a long time, i.e. too long to survive in Arctic waters which are cold and often ice-covered, so a lot of time little or no sunshine penetrates the waters.

In the Arctic, the danger is much larger that methane releases will overwhelm the capacity of bacteria to break it down in the water. In case of large abrupt releases in the Arctic, the danger is that much of the methane will reach the atmosphere unaffected and remain there for a long time, due to the Jet Stream and the low levels of hydroxyl in the Arctic atmosphere, as further described at:
http://methane-hydrates.blogspot.com/2013/04/methane-hydrates.html

BTW, how did all this methane manage to reach the atmosphere over the Arctic Ocean? 

Methane levels over the Arcic Ocean appear to be rising, as illustrated by the combination of images below, showing methane levels over five years (2009 on the left, to 2013 on the right), each time for the same period (January 21-31) - images by Dr. Leonid Yurganov.

[ Click on image to enlarge - from: Dramatic increase in methane in the Arctic in January 2013 ]
If the IPCC was right, how then was it possible methane levels to rise so sharply and abruptly. How was it possible for large amounts of methane to be present over the deep waters of the Arctic Ocean, as discussed at:
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2013/10/methane-over-deep-waters-of-arctic-ocean.html

[ How did this methane get there? - click on image to enlarge - see also: Methane over deep waters of Arctic Ocean ]
There is a wealth of evidence from scientists such as Igor Semiletov and Natalia Shakhova who have - year after year - been taking measurements in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, complete with first-hand reports that methane plumes have been detected.

"We've found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures more than 1,000 metres in diameter. In a very small area, less than 10,000 square miles, we have counted more than 100 fountains, or torch-like structures, bubbling through the water column and injected directly into the atmosphere from the seabed," Dr Semiletov said, "We carried out checks at about 115 stationary points and discovered methane fields of a fantastic scale - I think on a scale not seen before. Some of the plumes were a kilometre or more wide and the emissions went directly into the atmosphere - the concentration was a hundred times higher than normal."  -  Vast methane 'plumes' seen in Arctic ocean as sea ice retreats, by Steve Connor in The Independent, December 13, 2011.

The image below shows a cluster of methane plumes, over one km in diameter, that appeared in the Laptev Sea end September 2011. The image is part of a paper on the unfolding "Methane Catastrophe".


Of course, we all wished that we're wrong about this terrifying Arctic methane threat, but the precautionary principle demands a thorough investigation of observations that appear to be at odds with wishful thinking, especially when the stakes are so high. So, IPCC, where's the evidence?




Related

- Arctic Methane Monster
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2013/09/arctic-methane-monster.html

- Methane over deep waters of Arctic Ocean
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2013/10/methane-over-deep-waters-of-arctic-ocean.html

- Methane hydrate myths
http://methane-hydrates.blogspot.com/p/myths.html

- Methane hydrates
http://methane-hydrates.blogspot.com/2013/04/methane-hydrates.html

- Methane release caused by earthquakes
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2013/09/methane-release-caused-by-earthquakes.html

- Earthquake hits Laptev Sea
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2013/09/earthquake-hits-laptev-sea.html

- North Hole
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2013/09/north-hole.html

- Seismic activity, by Malcolm Light and Sam Carana (2011)
Arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/seismic-activity.html

- Thermal expansion of the Earth's crust necessitates geoengineering (2011)
Arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/thermal-expansion.html