Showing posts with label historic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label historic. Show all posts

Monday, November 11, 2013

Methane Levels going through the Roof

On November 9, 2013, methane readings well over 2600 ppb were recorded at multiple altitudes, as illustrated by the image below.

[ click on image to enlarge ]
On November 9, 2013, p.m., methane readings were recorded as high as 2662 parts per billion (ppb), at 586 millibars (mb) pressure, which corresponds with an altitude of 14384.6 feet or 4384.4 meters.

Where did these high levels occur? Methane levels were low on the southern hemisphere and, while there were some areas with high readings over North America and Asia, there were no areas as wide and bright yellow as over the Arctic Ocean (the color yellow indicating readings of 1950 ppb and higher on above map).

As discussed in a previous post, huge amounts of methane are now escaping from the seabed of the Arctic Ocean, penetrating the sea ice, and entering the atmosphere, in a process that appears to be accelerating, resulting in huge amounts of methane in the atmosphere over the Arctic Ocean.

The image below gives an idea of the height of this level, compared to historic levels, and how fast levels of methane (CH4) have been rising compared to levels of two other greenhouse gases, i.e. carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O).

Recent peak levels of methane over the Arctic Ocean may well have been even higher, since NOAA didn't release any readings for November 5-7, 2013.

Meanhwile, sea ice extent has stopped growing, as illustrated by the NSIDC graph below.

Data from the Cryosphere Today show that the area covered by sea ice has actually fallen over the past few days, as illustrated by the image below.

[ click on image to enlarge ]
There are several reasons why sea ice isn't growing, including high temperature anomalies in the Arctic, as illustrated by the NOAA image below, showing surface temperature anomalies of over 20 degrees Celsius on November 7, 2013.

High methane levels are contributing to temperature anomalies, by trapping additional sunlight in the atmosphere over the Arctic Ocean.

Furthermore, strong winds have hit the sea ice, as the recent post Methane, Faults and Sea Ice warned. Strong winds are pushing sea ice inward in the Kara Sea and in the Chukchi Sea, while pushing sea ice - up to 5 meters thick - out of the Arctic Ocean along the coast of Greenland, as illustrated by the Naval Research Laboratory animation below.

The Naval Research Laboratory image below shows ice speed and drift on November 9, 2013.

So, could Arctic sea ice collapse and totally disappear in September 2014? Posts at this blog have repeatedly warned about this, e.g. in this post. The image below, created by Wipneus, shows an exponential trendline pointing at zero volume sea ice in September 2016.
All data over the past two decades have fallen within the 95% confidence limits of an exponential trendline that points at imminent loss of all Arctic sea ice within years. September 2013 may have been "only" the 4th lowest on record, but such variability can be expected and may well cause sea ice to disappear completely as early as September 2014.

Strong winds can speed up such a collapse. On this point, it's good to remember what Prof. Peter Wadhams warned about in 2012:
". . apart from melting, strong winds can also influence sea ice extent, as happened in 2007 when much ice was driven across the Arctic Ocean by southerly winds (not northerly, as she stated). The fact that this occurred can only lead us to conclude that this could happen again. Natural variability offers no reason to rule out such a collapse, since natural variability works both ways, it could bring about such a collapse either earlier or later than models indicate.

In fact, the thinner the sea ice gets, the more likely an early collapse is to occur. It is accepted science that global warming will increase the intensity of extreme weather events, so more heavy winds and more intense storms can be expected to increasingly break up the remaining ice, both mechanically and by enhancing ocean heat transfer to the under-ice surface."
Guy McPherson lists 26 feedbacks that speed up warming, and many of these feedbacks occur in the Arctic, as described in the post Diagram of Doom.

Soon, calculates Prof. Peter Wadhams, the albedo loss due to decline of snow and ice in the Arctic will effectively more than double the net radiative forcing resulting from the emissions caused by all people of the world. Additional warming caused by methane releases from the Arctic seabed could be even more devastating.

Hopefully, more people will realize the urgency of the situation and realize the need for a comprehensive and effective plan of action as described here.