Showing posts with label emissions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label emissions. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

There is no time to lose

Carbon dioxide levels continue at record levels, despite COVID-19 lockdown, the WMO reports. The increase in carbon dioxide from 2018 to 2019 was larger than that observed from 2017 to 2018 and larger than the average annual growth rate over the last decade.

The rise has continued in 2020. The lockdown did cut emissions of many pollutants and greenhouse gases, but any impact on carbon dioxide levels - the result of cumulative past and current emissions - is in fact no bigger than the normal year to year fluctuations. 

“Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for centuries and in the ocean for even longer. The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO₂ was 3-5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now. But there weren’t 7.7 billion inhabitants,” said WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is not a solution for climate change. However, it does provide us with a platform for more sustained and ambitious climate action to reduce emissions to net zero through a complete transformation of our industrial, energy and transport systems. The needed changes are economically affordable and technically possible and would affect our everyday life only marginally. It is to be welcomed that a growing number of countries and companies have committed themselves to carbon neutrality,” he said. “There is no time to lose.”

Above image illustrates the steep rise in methane, compared to carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Levels of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide reached new highs in 2019, reports the WMO. Carbon dioxide (CO₂) rose to 410.5 ppm (148% of its pre-industrial level), methane (CH₄) to 1877 ppb (260% of pre-industrial) and nitrous oxide (N₂O) to 332.0 ppb (123% of pre-industrial).

So, given that there's no time to lose, why mention carbon neutrality, and not 100% clean, renewable energy? Also, let's not lose sight of other emissions such as N₂O. Yes, dramatic cuts in CO₂ emissions do need to happen rapidly, and yes, this does require a complete transformation of industry, energy and transport. Nonetheless, N₂O emissions are also important and most N₂O emissions result from land use, such as food production and waste handling, which must also change. 

[ from earlier post ]
The IPCC (AR5) gave N₂O a lifetime of 121 years and a 100-year global warming potential (GWP) of 265 times that of carbon dioxide. Furthermore, N₂O also causes stratospheric ozone depletion. 

The IPCC, in special report Climate Change and Land, found that agriculture, forestry and other land use activities accounted for some 13% of CO₂, 44% of CH₄, and 82% of N₂O emissions from human activities globally during 2007-2016, representing 23% of total net anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases.

If emissions associated with pre- and post-production activities in the global food system are included, the emissions could be another 14% higher, i.e. as high as 37% of total net anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, the IPCC added.

Let's get back to that 23%. The IPCC calculates this 23% by using a GWP of 28 for CH₄. Over the first few years, however, the GWP of CH₄ is more than 150, as discussed in an earlier post. When using a GWP of 150, land use emissions rise from 23% to 31%, as the image on the right shows. Add another 14% from further food-related emissions and the total share for land use becomes 45% of people's emissions. 

In other words, all polluting emissions need to be reduced. Moreover, a recent paper by Jorgen Randers et al. points out that, even if all greenhouse gas emissions by people would stop immediately, and even if CO₂ levels in the atmosphere would revert back to pre-industrial levels, overall temperatures would still keep rising for centuries to come. Another recent paper, by Tapio Schneider et al., points out that solar geoengineering may not prevent strong warming from direct effects of CO2 on stratocumulus cloud cover. 

This means that the threat is even more menacing when including large methane releases that threaten to occur as temperatures keep rising in the Arctic and sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean threaten to get destabilized, resulting in the eruption of huge amounts of methane. 

What is the joint impact of carbon dioxide and methane? The WMO reported CO₂ levels of 410.5 ppm and CH₄ levels of 1877 ppb in 2019. As discussed in an earlier post, over the first few years after release, methane's GWP is more than 150 times higher than carbon dioxide. Accordingly, the 2019 level of 1877 ppb of methane translates into global heating of 281.55 ppm CO₂e. Together, that makes 692.5 ppm CO₂e, which is 507.5 ppm CO₂e away from the 1200 ppm CO₂e cloud tipping point

The image below illustrates that the joint impact of carbon dioxide and methane could cause the 1200 ppm CO₂e tipping point to be crossed in 2040. The image uses IPCC and WMO through 2019 to display three lines, with added trends: 
- Black line: CO₂ in parts per million (ppm);
- Red line: CH₄ in ppm CO₂e, using a GWP of 150;
- Purple line: CO₂ and CH₄ in ppm CO₂e.

Trends for CH₄ are selected to reflect a steep rise as a result of methane hydrate destabilization. 

How could such a steep rise in methane levels occur?

Stronger methane releases from subsea permafrost can be expected, says a paper by Natalia Shakhova et al. A 1000-fold methane increase could occur, resulting in a rise of as much as 6°C within 80 years, with more to follow after that, according to a paper by Atsushi Obata et al.

Seafloor methane releases could be triggered by strong winds causing an influx of warm, salty water into the Arctic ocean (see earlier post). 
Since little hydroxyl is present in the atmosphere over the Arctic, it is much harder for this methane to get broken down.

Even relatively small methane releases could cause tremendous heating, if they reach the stratosphere.

Methane rises from the Arctic Ocean concentrated in plumes, pushing away the aerosols and gases that slow down the rise of methane elsewhere, which enables methane erupting from the Arctic Ocean to rise straight up fast and reach the stratosphere. 

The IPCC (AR5) gave methane a lifetime of 12.4 years. The IPCC (TAR) gave stratospheric methane a lifetime of 120 years, adding that less than 7% of methane did reach the stratosphere at the time.

The images on the right illustrate this. On November 20 pm, 2020, the MetOp-1 satellite recorded high methane levels over the Arctic Ocean at 293 mb (top image on the right). This corresponds with an altitude of some 9 km altitude, which is where the Stratosphere starts at the North Pole. The global mean methane level at that altitude was 1921 ppb.

The next images show areas with high levels of methane, as indicated by the magenta color, remaining present over the Arctic Ocean even at higher altitudes.

The higher the altitude, the more methane will concentrate over the Equator. Yet at 229 mb, high methane levels are still visible north of Siberia, while global mean methane levels were still very high, i.e. 1916 ppb. 

Even at 156 mb, there still are high methane levels visible (green circle, third image right). 

The conversion table shows that the Tropopause, which separates the Troposphere from the Stratosphere, is lower over the North Pole (at about 9 km altitude) than over the Equator (17 km altitude). 

The fifth image on the right, from an earlier post, shows that methane has accumulated more at higher altitudes over the years. 

The sixth image on the right shows that the MetOp-1 satellite recorded mean methane levels of 1925 ppb at 293 mb on December 2, 2020 am, with high methane levels present over the Arctic Ocean.

The next image shows that a peak methane level of 2715 ppb was recorded by the SNPP satellite on November 30, 2020 pm at 399.1 mb.

The animation on the right shows high methane levels recorded by the MetOp-2 satellite on December 2, 2020 pm, at a number of altitudes: 

- At 1000 mb (close to ground/sea level) a peak methane level of 2129 ppb shows up north of Svalbard. 

- At 918 mb, methane peaks at 2408 ppb and high methane levels show up over the Artic Ocean.

- At 815 mb, methane reaches a peak of 2582 ppb and high methane levels are visible over larger parts of the Arctic Ocean. 

- At 742 mb, methane reaches a peak of 2663 ppb and high methane levels are visible over even larger parts of the Arctic Ocean. 

- At 586 mb, methane reaches a peak of 2518 ppb and high methane levels are visible over a huge part of the Arctic Ocean, while hardly any high levels of methane are visible over land. 

- At 293 mb, methane reaches a peak of 2411 ppb and high levels of methane are still visible over the Arctic Ocean, even at this high altitude. 

[ from earlier post ]
In conclusion, a huge temperature rise could occur soon, even with a relatively small increase in carbon dioxide and methane releases. 

As above image illustrates, a temperature rise of more than as 10°C could eventuate as soon as 2026 when taking into account aerosol changes, albedo changes, water vapor, nitrous oxide, etc., as an earlier analysis shows. 

The joint impact of these warming elements threatens the cloud tipping point to be crossed and the resulting 8°C rise would then come on top of the 10°C rise, resulting in a total rise of 18°C, as illustrated by the image on the right, from an earlier post.

Indeed, there is no time to lose. It is high time to stop the denial of the size of the threats and challenges that the world faces, the harm inflicted and the speed at which developments could strike. 

The situation is dire and calls for immediate, comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan

• WMO Greenhouse GasBulletin

• WMO news release: Carbon dioxide levels continue at record levels, despite COVID-19 lockdown

• Understanding the Permafrost–Hydrate System and Associated Methane Releases in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, by Natalia Shakhova, Igor Semiletov and Evgeny Chuvilin (2019)

• Damage of Land Biosphere due to Intense Warming by 1000-Fold Rapid Increase in Atmospheric Methane: Estimation with a Climate–Carbon Cycle Model - by Atsushi Obata et al. (2012)

• Possible climate transitions from breakup of stratocumulus decks under greenhouse warming, by Tapio Schneider et al. (2019)

• Solar geoengineering may not prevent strong warming from direct effects of CO2 on stratocumulus cloud cover - by Tapio Schneider et al.

• An earth system model shows self-sustained melting of permafrost even if all man-made GHG emissions stop in 2020 - by Jorgen Randers et al.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Why stronger winds over the North Atlantic are so dangerous

The image below shows high temperatures over Antarctica. News reports show that temperatures as high as 18.3°C or 65°F were recently recorded on Antarctica. The image also shows high temperatures for the time of year over the North Atlantic, with strong winds along the path of the Gulf Stream.

Wind and temperature on February 8, 2020 at 18:00 UTC, near sea level (~100m, at 1000hPa)
The image below shows that wind speeds as high as 430 km/h or 267 miles per hour (mph) were recorded (at 250 hPa, jet stream, at green circle).

Wind on February 8, 2020 at 18:00 UTC, at 250 hPa (jet stream)
Above image also shows that Instantaneous Wind Power Density at the time was as high as 330.1 kW/m² (at the green circle). This is almost as strong as the wind was in 2015. Then, the Jet Stream at a nearby location reached a similar speed while Instantaneous Wind Power Density was slightly higher, at 338.3 kW/m².

So, why are stronger winds over the North Atlantic so dangerous?

Emissions by people heat up the air, which heats up oceans and makes winds stronger, in turn speeding up global ocean currents.

A recent study found increased kinetic energy in about 76% of the upper 2,000 meters of global oceans, as a result of intensification of surface winds since the 1990s.

As oceans heat up, more water evaporates from the sea surface. This evaporation will cool the sea surface somewhat, thus making that the sea surface can be colder than the water underneath the sea surface. Some of the water vapor will return to the ocean in the form of precipitation, but for each degree Celsius of warming, the atmosphere will hold 7% more water vapor, so much of the water vapor will remain in the atmosphere.

More water vapor in the atmosphere will further speed up global heating, since water vapor is a potent greenhouse gas.

Much of the water vapor will also get blown further along the path of the Gulf Stream in the direction toward the Arctic before precipitating, thus contributing - along with meltwater - to the formation of a cold freshwater lid at the surface of the ocean.

Stronger winds along the path of the Gulf Stream can make huge amounts of warm, salty water travel underneath this cold freshwater lid toward the Arctic, pushing up temperatures and salinity levels at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean and threatening to destabilize methane hydrates that are contained in sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean.

In summary, stronger winds can trigger huge eruptions of methane. Another recent study found that Arctic permafrost thaw plays a greater role in climate change than previously estimated. All this should be reason to take strong action to reduce this danger.

Emissions keep rising

Sadly, emissions show no sign of decline. The daily average CO₂ level at Mauna Loa, Hawaii was 416.08 ppm on February 10, 2020, higher than it has been for millions of years.

Since the annual peak is typically reached in May, even higher levels can be expected soon.

During the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), about 55.5 million years ago, massive amounts of carbon dioxide were released into the atmosphere. The period lasted for some 200,000 years and global temperatures increased by 5–8°C. From the way emissions are rising now, it looks like we could reach even higher CO₂e forcing soon.

Indeed, the situation at Barrow, Alaska, doesn't look better, as illustrated by the image below, showing CO₂ levels up to February 13, 2020.

Very worrying is the rise in methane levels, as illustrated by the image below.

The image below shows methane levels at Barrow, Alaska, up to February 13, 2020.

High methane levels were recorded over the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) by the MetOp-2 satellite on February 10 & 11, 2020, pm at 469 mb.

In the video below, recorded January 3, 2020, Guy McPherson and Josef Lauber discuss the track we're on.

Below is a video of an earlier discussion (February 25, 2019) between Guy McPherson and Josef Lauber.

The situation is dire and calls for immediate, comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.


• Climate Plan

• News release: Global ocean circulation is accelerating from the surface to the abyss

• Deep-reaching acceleration of global mean ocean circulation over the past two decades - by Shijian Hu et al.

• Arctic permafrost thaw plays greater role in climate change than previously estimated

• The Arctic’s thawing ground is releasing a shocking amount of dangerous gases

• Carbon release through abrupt permafrost thaw - by Merritt Turetsky et al.

• NOAA Global CH4 Monthly Means

Sunday, February 10, 2019

CO₂ levels reach another record high

CO₂ levels just reached another record high. On February 9, 2019, an average daily CO₂ level of 414.27 ppm was recorded at Mauna Loa, Hawaii.

The image below shows hourly (red circles) and daily (yellow circles) averaged CO₂ values from Mauna Loa, Hawaii, for the last 31 days.

As the image shows, average hourly levels well above 414 ppm were recorded on January 21, 2019, but no daily average was recorded for that day. February 9, 2019, was the first time an average daily CO₂ level above 414 ppm was formally recorded and such levels have not been reached earlier over the past 800,000 years, as illustrated by the image below.

CO₂ levels can be expected to keep rising further this year to reach a maximum level in April/May 2019.

How much can CO₂ levels be expected to grow over the next decade? 

A recent Met Office forecast expects annual average CO₂ levels at Mauna Loa to be 2.75 ppm higher in 2019 than in 2018. The image below shows NOAA 1959-2018 CO₂ growth data (black) and uses this Met Office forecast used for 2019 (brown). The growth figures for 2018 and 2019 are spot on a trend that is added in line with an earlier analysis.

Strong CO₂ growth is forecast for 2019, due to a number of factors including rising emissions, the added impact of El Niño and less uptake of carbon dioxide by ecosystems. A recent study warns that global warming will enhance both the amplitude and the frequency of eastern Pacific El Niño events and associated extreme weather events. Another recent study warns that, while the terrestrial biosphere now absorbs some 25% of CO₂ emissions by people, the rate of land carbon uptake is likely to fall with reduced soil moisture levels in a warmer world. Furthermore, fire hazards can be expected to grow due to stronger winds and higher temperatures, each of which constitutes a factor on their own, while they jointly also increase two further factors, i.e. drying out of soils, groundwater and vegetation, and the occurrence of more lightning to ignite fires and to also cause more ground-level ozone that further deteriorates vegetation health. 

The warming impact of CO₂ can therefore be expected to increase over the next decade, given also that the warming impact of CO₂ reaches a peak ten years after emission. The earlier analysis furthermore warns about strong growth in CO₂ emissions due to fires in forests and peatlands, concluding that CO₂ emissions could cause an additional global temperature rise of 0.5°C over the next ten years.

Rise in methane is accelerating

Methane levels are also rising and this rise is accelerating, as illustrated by the image below.

The graph shows July 1983 through October 2018 monthly global methane means at sea level, with added trend. Note that higher methane means can occur at higher altitude than at sea level. On Sep 3, 2018, methane means as high as 1905 ppb were recorded at 307 mb, an altitude at which some of the strongest growth in methane has occurred, as discussed in earlier posts such as this one.

What does the historic record tell us? 

A 10°C higher temperature is in line with such high greenhouse gas levels, as illustrated by the graph below, based on 420,000 years of ice core data from Vostok, Antarctica, from an earlier post.

Tipping points

The threat is that a number of tipping points are going to be crossed, including the buffer of latent heat, loss of albedo as Arctic sea ice disappears, methane releases from the seafloor and rapid melting of permafrost on land and associated decomposition of soils, resulting in additional greenhouse gases (CO₂, CH₄, N₂O and water vapor) entering the Arctic atmosphere, in a vicious self-reinforcing cycle of runaway warming.

A 10°C rise in temperature by 2026?

Above image shows how a 10°C or 18°F temperature rise from preindustrial could eventuate by 2026 (from earlier post).

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.


• NOAA Mauna Loa CO2 annual mean growth rates 1959-2018

• NOAA  monthly global methane means at sea level

• Faster CO₂ rise expected in 2019

• Increased variability of eastern Pacific El Niño under greenhouse warming, by Wenju Cai et al.

• El Niño events will intensify under global warming, by Yoo-Geun Ham

• Large influence of soil moisture on long-term terrestrial carbon uptake, by Julia Green et al.

• 2018 Continues Record Global Ocean Warming, by Lijing Cheng et al.

• Blue Ocean Event

• What Does Runaway Warming Look Like?

• Extinction

• Climate Plan

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Carbon dioxide emissions are rising

CO₂ emissions are rising

In models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions were expected to come down in line with pledges made at the Paris Agreement. Yet, the Global Carbon Project projects growth in CO₂ emissions from fossil fuels and industry in 2018 to be +2.7%, within uncertainty margins from +1.8% to +3.7%.

This rise is in line with an image from an earlier post that shows growth of CO₂ in the atmosphere to be accelerating.
[ Growth of CO₂ in ppm, based on annual Mauna Loa data (1959-2017), with 4th-order polynomial trend added ]

Methane emissions rising as well

And it's not just CO₂ emissions that are rising. Methane emissions are rising as well. Sadly, politicians typically ignore this elephant in the room, in particular seafloor methane emissions that threaten to trigger a huge temperature rise within years.

[ ignoring the elephant in the room, i.e. seafloor methane ]
The MetOp image below shows high methane levels over oceans on December 9, 2018, pm, at 469 mb. Levels over the Arctic Ocean in particular are very high, as the large areas solidly colored magenta indicate.

The MetOp image shows many areas where no data were available, as indicated by the color grey. The NPP images don't have as many grey areas. The image below confirms very high methane levels over the Arctic Ocean on December 9, 2018 pm, closer to the surface, i.e. at 840 mb. While there still are many grey areas, the absence of data for many of them is due to altitude, since large parts of Greenland, Antarctica and the Himalayas are rather high.

As discussed in earlier posts, large amounts of methane appear to be rising from the Arctic Ocean. As the methane rises higher in the atmosphere, it moves closer to the Equator. The NPP image below shows levels at 399 mb on December 9, 2018, pm. At this altitude, there are very few grey areas, so it's possible to get a fuller picture of where the highest levels of methane are. Ominously, levels as high as 3060 ppb were reached.

El Niño events will intensify

The image on the right shows that, on December 30, 2018, sea surface temperature anomalies were as high as 9.7°C or 17.4°F in the Pacific Ocean, 11.1°C or 20°F in the Atlantic Ocean and 17.1°C or 30.8°F near Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean.

NOAA expects El Niño to form and continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2018-19 (~90% chance). A recent study concludes that global warming will enhance both the amplitude and the frequency of eastern Pacific El Niño events.

Albedo change

Albedo change due to decline of the snow and ice cover is another feedback that the IPCC has yet to come to grips with. The IPCC seems to have hoped that albedo loss in the Arctic was somehow compensated for by albedo gain in the Antarctic.

The IPCC (in AR5, WG1) did find a significant increase in Antarctic annual mean sea ice extent that is very likely in the range of 1.2 to 1.8 % per decade between 1979 and 2012 (0.13 to 0.20 million km² per decade) (very high confidence).

As the image below shows, global sea ice extent steadily came down, but then grew somewhat until end 2014. From end 2014 on, Antarctic sea ice extent fell rapidly, with huge repercussions for global sea ice extent, as also illustrated by the image on the right that highlights the most recent years of the graph below.

At the end of 2016, Antarctic sea ice extent was a lot smaller than it was at the end of 2014. Such a difference in sea ice extent corresponds with a huge difference in radiative forcing (RF).

Antarctic sea ice extent was 4.913 million km² on January 5, 2019, a record low for the time of year and 4.212 million km² less than it was on January 5, 2015, when extent was 9.125 million km².

This decline could make a difference of 1.3 W/m² in RF. By comparison, the IPCC estimated the net RF from all emissions by people from 1750 to 2011 at 1.6 W/m².

As the image below shows, global sea ice extent was at a record low for the time of year on Dec. 28, 2018, and looks set to go lower in 2019.

Antarctic sea ice decline is only part of the picture, there's also Arctic sea ice decline and there's decline of the snow and ice cover on land.

Joint impact

A lot of this has not been accounted for by the IPCC, i.e. the recent increases in CO₂ emissions, increases in methane releases, increases in further emissions such as nitrous oxide and black carbon, albedo changes due to decline in the snow and ice cover and associated changes such as jet stream changes, more permafrost melting and stronger impacts of future El Niño events.

The image on the right shows the joint impact of the warming elements that threaten to eventuate over the next few years and that could result in a 10°C or 18°F global temperature rise in a matter of years.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.


• Global Carbon Project

• Looking the climate abyss in the eye!

• How much warmer is it now?

• Feedbacks

• How much warming have humans caused?

• Albedo change in the Arctic

• IPCC AR5 WG1 chapter 4

• The Threat

• Extinction

• Climate Plan

• NOAA El Niño forecast

• El Niño events to become stronger and more intense

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Accelerating growth in CO₂ levels in the atmosphere

CO₂ Growth

In 2016, CO₂ levels in the atmosphere grew by 3.36 ppm (parts per million), a new record since 1959 and much higher than the previous record set in 2015.

Worryingly, above graph has a trendline added pointing at a growth rate in CO₂ levels of 6 ppm per year by 2026.

Growth in levels of CO₂ in the atmosphere is accelerating, despite reports that - for the third year in a row - carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry (including cement production) had barely grown, as illustrated by the Global Carbon Project image below.

Why is growth in CO₂ levels in the atmosphere accelerating?

So, what makes growth in CO₂ levels in the atmosphere accelerate? As discussed in a previous post, growth in CO₂ levels in the atmosphere is accelerating due to:
  • Deforestation and Soil Degradation:
    Agricultural practices such as depleting groundwater and aquifers, plowing, mono-cultures and cutting and burning of trees to raise livestock can significantly reduce the carbon content of soils, along with soil moisture and nutrients levels.
  • Climate change and extreme weather events:
    The recent jump in global temperature appears to have severely damaged soils and vegetation. Soil carbon loss and enhanced decomposition of vegetation appear to have occurred both because of the temperature rise and the resulting extreme weather events such as heatwaves, drought, dust-storms and wildfires, and storms, hail, lightning, flooding and the associated erosion, turning parts of what was once a huge land sink into sources of CO₂ emissions.
    Moreover, extreme weather events can also lead to emissions other than CO₂ emissions, such as soot, nitrous oxide, methane and carbon monoxide, which can in turn cause a rise in the levels of ground-level ozone, thus further weakening vegetation and making plants even more vulnerable to pests and infestations.
  • Oceans may also be taking up less CO₂ than before:
    Oceans have absorbed some 40% of CO₂ emissions since the start of the industrial era. Up until recently, oceans still took up some 26% of carbon dioxide emitted by people annually. As discussed earlier, oceans are getting warmer, and warm water holds less oxygen than cold water. Furthermore, as the water warms, it tends to form a layer at the surface that does not mix well with cooler, nutrient-rich water below, depriving phytoplankton of some of the nutrients needed in order for phytoplankton to grow. Less phytoplankton in the oceans means that oceans become less able to take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. A study by Boyce et al. found a decrease of about 1% per year of phytoplankton in oceans globally. Sergei Petrovskii, co-author of a 2015 study, found that a rise in the water temperature of the world’s oceans of about 6°C could stop oxygen production by phytoplankton by disrupting the process of photosynthesis, adding that “About two-thirds of the planet’s total atmospheric oxygen is produced by ocean phytoplankton – and therefore cessation would result in the depletion of atmospheric oxygen on a global scale. This would likely result in the mass mortality of animals and humans.”

Meanwhile, research including a 2014 study by Franks et al. concludes that the IPCC was too low in its estimates for the upcoming temperature rise locked in for current CO₂ levels. A study by Friedrich et al. updates IPCC estimates for sensitivity to CO₂ rise, concluding that temperatures could rise by as much as 7.36°C by 2100 as a result of rising CO₂ levels.

When also taking further elements than CO₂ more fully into account, we could face an even larger temperature rise, i.e. a rise of 10°C (or 18°F) by 2026 (compared to pre-industrial), as further described at the extinction page that specifies the different elements of such a rise, including a 0.5°C rise due to CO₂ emissions from 2016 to 2026. The CO₂ growth discussed in this post appears to be in line with such a rise and in line with the associated loss of carbon sinks and rising vulnerability of carbon pools.

The situation looks particularly threatening in the Arctic where many of the most vulnerable carbon pools are located, where temperatures are rising fastest and where CO₂ levels have recently risen rapidly (see image below with CO₂ readings at Barrow, Alaska).
[ click on images to enlarge ] 
Also note the recent rise in methane readings at Barrow (image below).
[ click on images to enlarge ] 
Action is needed!

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.


• Climate Plan

• Extinction

• Monthly CO₂ not under 400 ppm in 2016

• Oxygenating the Arctic

• How much warming have humans caused?

• Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade

• Global phytoplankton decline over the past century, by Daniel G. Boyce, Marlon R. Lewis & Boris Worm

• Mathematical Modelling of Plankton–Oxygen Dynamics Under the Climate Change, by Yadigar Sekerci and Sergei Petrovskii

• Global warming disaster could suffocate life on planet Earth, research shows

Monday, May 2, 2016

Wildfire Danger Increasing

Wildfires are starting to break out in British Columbia, Canada. The wildfire on the image below started on May 1, 2016 (hat tip to Hubert Bułgajewski‎).

The coordinates of the wildfire are in the bottom left corner of above map. They show a location where, on May 3, 2016, it was 26.0°C (or 78.8°F). At a nearby location, it was 27.6°C (or 81.8°F) on May 3, 2016. Both locations are indicated on the map on the right.

These locations are on the path followed by the Mackenzie River, which ends up in the Arctic Ocean. Wildfires aggravate heat waves as they blacken the soil with soot. As the Mackenzie River heats up, it will bring warmer water into the Arctic Ocean where this will speed up melting of the sea ice.

Moreover, winds can carry soot high up into the Arctic, where it can settle on the sea ice and darken the surface, which will make that more sunlight gets absorbed, rather than reflected back into space as before.

The danger of wildfires increases as temperatures rise. The image on the right show that temperatures in this area on May 3, 2016 (00:00 UTC) were at the top end of the scale, i.e. 20°C or 36°F warmer than 1979-2000 temperatures.

Extreme weather is becoming increasingly common, as changes are taking place to the jet stream. As the Arctic warms up more rapidly than the rest of the world, the temperature difference between the Equator and the North Pole decreases, which in turn weakens the speed at which the north polar jet stream circumnavigates the globe.

This is illustrated by the wavy patterns of the jet stream in the image on the right, showing the situation on May 3, 2016 (00:00 UTC), with a loop bringing warm air high up into North America and into the Arctic.

In conclusion, warm air reaching high latitudes is causing the sea ice to melt in a number of ways:
  • Warm air makes the ice melt directly. 
  • Warmer water in rivers warms up the Arctic Ocean. 
  • Wildfires blacken land and sea ice, causing more sunlight to be absorbed, rather than reflected back into space as before.  
[ click on images to enlarge ]
The situation doesn't appear to be improving soon, as illustrated by the image on the right. Following the record high temperatures that hit the world earlier this year, the outlook for the sea ice looks bleak.

Further decline of the snow and ice cover in the Arctic looks set to make a number of feedbacks kick in stronger, with methane releases from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean looming as a huge danger.

NSIDC scientist Andrew Slater has created the chart below of freezing degree days in 2016 compared to other years at Latitude 80°N. See Andrew's website and this page for more on this.
Below is a comparison of temperatures and emissions for the two locations discussed above. Such fires are becoming increasingly common as temperatures rise, and they can cause release of huge amounts of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, sulfur dioxide, soot, etc.

May 3, 2016, at a location north of Fort St John, British Columbia, Canada.
May 4, 2016, near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
The video below shows methane levels (in parts per billion or ppb) on May 3, 2016, pm, starting at 44,690 ft or 13,621 m and coming down to 5,095 ft or 1,553 m altitude. In magenta-colored areas, methane is above 1950 ppb.

In the video below, Paul Beckwith discusses the situation.

Wildfires are also devastating other parts of the Earth. Below is an image showing wildfires over the Amur River on May 7, 2016.

The image below shows carbon monoxide levels over the Amur River as high as 22,480 ppb on May 9, 2016. Hat tip to Grofu Antoniu for pointing at the CO levels. According to this Sputniknews report, a state of emergency was declared in the Amur Region as fires stretched across 12,200 acres.

The video below shows carbon monoxide emissions in eastern Asia from May 1 to May 26, 2016.

Meanwhile, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has resumed daily sea ice extent updates with provisional data. The image below is dated May 5, 2016, check here for updates.

As illustrated by the image below, from JAXA, sea ice extent on May 6, 2016, was under 12 million square km, more than 15 days ahead on extent in the year 2012, which was 12 million square km on May 21, 2012.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.

Malcolm Light comments:

Most natural processes on the Earth are run by convection including plate tectonics that moves the continental and oceanic plates across the surface of the planet. Mother Earth has been able to hold its atmospheric temperature within certain limits and maintain an ocean for more than 3 billion years because each time there was a build up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which produced a global fever, Mother Earth it eliminated the living creatures with a massive Arctic methane firestorm that fried them alive. This giant Arctic methane firestorm is a natural antibiotic the Earth uses to rid itself of those creatures that have overproduced carbon dioxide and caused a global fever.

Essentially mankind has again caused a massive build up of fossil fuel carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and Mother Earth has already started to respond with the predicted massive Arctic methane blow out (since 2010) which will lead to an Earth engulfing firestorm in 5 to 8 years.

The giant fires in the Fort McMurray region are a result of atmospheric methane induced heating of the Arctic and 93.5% global warming of the oceans that has generated a massive El Nino event this year. Hot winds moving away from these high pressure areas have generated high temperatures and massive fires in Alberta which is a giant fever spot on Earth where mankind has produced the maximum amount of dirty fossil fuel extraction and pollution in Canada.

Mother Earth will continue to respond more vigorously with her Arctic methane antibiotic to eliminate the humans from her system as we represent nothing more to her than a larger version of an influenza virus which has seriously retarded her oceanic and atmospheric temperature range functioning systems.

If we do not immediately stop fossil fuel extraction worldwide and control the Arctic methane emission sites we will all be stardust before a decade is past.


• The Threat of Wildfires in the North

• Smoke Blankets North America