Showing posts with label degrees. Show all posts
Showing posts with label degrees. Show all posts

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Forecast: America to be hit by temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees

The image on the right shows that large parts of North America, the Arctic Ocean and Siberia are experiencing low temperatures.

What many people may not realize is that temperatures in the Arctic are actually a lot higher than they used to be around this time of year.

Temperatures in the Arctic have risen due to feedbacks as described in the post The Biggest Story of 2013.

As a result, temperature anomalies above 20 degrees Celsius now feature in the Arctic. As the image on the right illustrates, the once-common temperature difference between the Arctic and lower latitudes has been shattered, and this is weakening the Jet Stream and the Polar Vortex, in turn making it easier for cold air to flow down to lower latitudes and for warmer air to enter the Arctic, as described in posts at this blog for years, e.g. this post.

This is illustrated by the image below, showing that the Arctic is hit by an overall temperature anomaly of 6.55 degrees Celsius, while some areas in the Arctic feature anomalies above 20 degrees Celsius.


Forecasts show that on February 2nd, 2014, 1200 UTC, the Arctic will be hit by a temperature anomaly of 7.85 degrees Celsius, while on February 6th, 2014, 1200 UTC, the U.S. will be hit by temperatures as low as -40 degrees, as illustrated by the image below.


The video below shows temperature forecasts from February 1to February 8, 2014.


The video below shows temperatire anomalies from February 2 to February 9, 2014.


Meanwhile, the Gulf Stream keeps pushing warm water into the Arctic Ocean, as illustrated by the image below.

Click on image to enlarge - view updated animation at earth.nullschool.net 
The image below shows how high sea surface temperature anomalies stretch out from the point where the Gulf Stream travels at high speeds, off the coast of North America, all the way into the Arctic Ocean.


This has already resulted in methane eruptions from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean that started several months ago and are continuing to date - ominous signs of more to come. The image below, which compares peak methane levels at two altitudes between January 2013 and January 2014, suggests that January 2014 peak levels have increased strongly, compared to January 2013 peak levels. Furthermore, that the rise in average peak readings has been most dramatic at the higher altitude.


This suggests that huge quantities of methane have indeed been released from hydrates under the Arctic ocean, and that much of the methane is rising and building up at higher altitudes. The increasing appearance of noctilucent clouds further confirms indications that methane concentrations are rising at higher altitudes.

Of course, the above analysis uses a limited dataset, but if verified by further analysis, it would confirm a dramatic rise in the presence of methane in the atmosphere due to releases from hydrates. Moreover, it would confirm the immensity of threat that releases from the Arctic Ocean will escalate and trigger runaway warming, as high methane concentrations over the Arctic are contributing to the anomalously high temperatures there. The risk that this will eventuate is unacceptable, which calls for comprehensive and effective action such as discussed at the ClimatePlan blog.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

How much will temperatures rise?

If we take the NASA Annual Mean Land-Ocean Temperatures and draw a projection into the future, temperatures will quickly be 3 degrees Celsius higher than the base period (1951-1980), i.e. well before 2050, as illustrated on image 1. below. 

Image 1. Temperatures will be 3 degrees Celsius higher well before 2050

Above projection appears to be steeper than even the worst-case scenario pictured by the IPCC for years, such as on the image below.

Image 2. from IPCC 2001. Projections of globally averaged surface temperature 2000-2100 are shown for six SRES scenarios and IS92a using a model with average climate sensitivity. The grey region marked "several models all SRES envelope" shows the range of results from the full range of 35 SRES scenarios in addition to those from a range of models with different climate sensitivities. The temperature scale is departure from the 1990 value.
Could temperatures rise faster in future than what the IPCC anticipated in 2001? The answer must be yes! In 2007, the IPCC described that, even if greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere were stabilized for 100 years at year 2000 values (B1), then we would still be committed to a further warming of 0.5°Celsius. This committed warming should not be confused with ‘unavoidable climate change’ over the next half century, which would be greater because forcing cannot be instantly stabilized. And of course, as it turned out, emissions have not been stabilized at 2000 values, but have in fact increased substantially.

As it turned out, the models used by the IPCC made all kinds of assumptions that didn't eventuate. But before deciding to instead settle for a relatively simple extrapolation of observed data, there are some issues that require a further look.  

As discussed in the earlier post Accelerated Arctic Warming, temperatures in the Arctic have been rising at a much faster pace than global temperatures, and if this accelerated rise continues, we can expect a 10 degrees Celsius rise in the Arctic before 2040, as illustrated by image 3. below.  

Image 3. Three kinds of warming - 2: Accelerated warming in the Arctic 
Such a temperature rise in the Arctic will undoubtedly lead to additional greenhouse gas emissions in the Arctic, of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and particularly methane, threatening to trigger runaway global warming. 

The image below, from the methane-hydrates blog, combines these three kinds of warming, showing global temperatures that soon catch up with accelerated Arctic warming, as heatwaves at high latitudes will cause wildfires, in particular in Siberia, where firestorms in peat-lands, tundras and forests could release huge amounts of emissions, including soot, much of which could settle on the Himalayan plateau, darkening the ice and snow and resulting in more local heat absorption. Rapid melt of glaciers will then cause flooding at first, followed by dramatic decreases in the flow of river water that up to a billion people now depend on for water supply and irrigation.

In other words, the situation looks much more dire than what most models make us believe; the more reason to adopt the climate plan that is also described at the post at the methane-hydrates blog.

Image 4. Three kinds of warming - 1, 2 and 3 


References

- IPCC (TAR) - Climate Change 2001: Synthesis Report

- IPCC (AR4) - Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis

- Accelerated Arctic Warming

- Methane hydrates