Showing posts with label rising. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rising. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Arctic Ocean February 2020

On February 20, 2020, 09Z, surface temperature anomalies reached both ends of the scale over North America, while the Arctic was 3.7°C or 6.7°F warmer than in 1979-2000. On that day, the average 2 m temperature anomaly for the Arctic was 3.5°C or 6.3°F.

These high temperature anomalies at 2 meters in the left panel go hand in hand with the wind patterns at 250 hPa (jet stream) as shown in the center panel and the wind patterns at 10 meters shown in the right panel. Closer to sea level, circular winds around low pressure areas bring warm air into the Arctic, from Russia and from the Pacific Ocean.

Above image shows winds at 250 hPa (jet stream) with speeds as high as 317 km/h or 197 mph (green circle) in the left panel, while the right panel shows circular winds at 850 hPa reaching speeds as high as 176 km/h or 109 mph (green circle).

These wind patterns have caused much warm air to enter the Arctic, while relatively little cold air has moved out of the Arctic. Furthermore, stronger winds cool the sea surface. As a result, Arctic sea ice extent on February 24, 2020, was 14.1 million km², slightly more than the 2010s average of 14 million km².

Arctic sea ice, however, is very thin. Stronger winds can also accelerate the speed at which ever warmer water is flowing into the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean and from the Pacific Ocean, as discussed in a previous post. The overall result is that sea ice volume is at a record low for the time of the year.

This is further illustrated by the sea ice thickness (in meters) comparison below between February 28, 2015 and February 28, 2020, i.e. forecasts for February 28, run on February 27.

Rise in greenhouse gas levels is accelerating

Temperatures are rising at ever faster speed as the rise in greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere is accelerating. As illustrated by the image below, 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.

From the way emissions are rising now, it looks like we could soon reach even higher CO₂e forcing than during the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) mass extinction event, some 55.5 million years ago, as discussed in a previous post. Very worrying also is the recent rise in methane levels recorded at Barrow, Alaska, as illustrated by the image below.

The buffer is gone

As the sea ice is getting thinner, there is little or no buffer left to consume the influx of ever warmer and salty water from the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean. As illustrated by the image below, there is a tipping point at 1°C above the 20th century average, i.e. there are indications that a rise of 1°C will result in most of the sea ice underneath the surface to disappear.

[ from earlier post ]
As long as there is sea ice in the water, this sea ice will keep absorbing heat as it melts, so the temperature will not rise at the sea surface. But there is ever less sea ice volume left to absorb ocean heat, and the amount of energy absorbed by melting ice is as much as it takes to heat an equivalent mass of water from zero to 80°C.

Meanwhile, temperatures keep rising globally and more than 90% of global warming is going into oceans.

As the temperature of the oceans keeps rising, the danger increases that heat will reach the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean and will destabilize hydrates contained in sediments at the seafloor, resulting in huge releases of methane.

Are humans functionally extinct?

For more background as to when temperatures
could cross 2°C, see also this discussion on trends 
Species can be regarded to be ‘functionally extinct’ when their numbers have declined below levels needed for them to reproduce healthy offspring. This can occur due to causes such as loss of habitat and disappearance of other species that they depend on.

Species can also be declared to be ‘functionally extinct’ when they are threatened to be wiped out by a catastrophe that appears to be both imminent and inescapable, which would cause their numbers to dwindle below a critical threshold required for survival of the species.

Rising temperatures now threaten most, if not all, species to go extinct in a matter of years. In 2020, the global temperature rise could cross the critical guardrail of 2°C above preindustrial that politicians at the Paris Agreement promised would not be crossed. In fact, they pledged to take efforts to avoid a 1.5°C rise. Their failure to do so constitutes a de facto declaration that humans are now functionally extinct and that the looming temperature rise will drive most, if not all species on Earth into extinction.

See also the 2015 postWARNING - 
Dire Situation

The situation is dire, in many respects. Current laws punish people for the most trivial things, while leaving the largest crime one can imagine unpunished: planetary omnicide!

In the video below, Guy McPherson warns that a rapid decline in industrial activity could result in an abrupt rise in temperature of 1°C, as much of the aerosol masking effect falls away.

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

P.S. Don't forget to vote!

One of the most important things one can do to change things is to vote, e.g. in the U.S., vote for Bernie Sanders and the Green New Deal!

Fossil fuel and control over its supply is behind much of the conflict, violence and pollution that has infested the world for more than a century.

Instead of using fossil fuel, the world must rapidly transition to the use of wind turbines, geothermal power, solar power, wave power, and similar clean and renewable ways to generate energy.

The transition to clean, renewable energy removes much cause for conflict, since it is available locally around the world and its use in one place doesn't exclude use of clean, renewable energy elsewhere.

The transition to clean, renewable energy will provide greater energy security and reliability, besides its numerous further benefits, e.g. it will make more land and water available for growing food and it will give us more jobs, better health, and a cleaner environment. And, because it's more economic, the transition to clean, renewable energy will pay for itself as we go.

Bernie Sanders calls for a rapid transition to clean, renewable energy as part of the Green New Deal.

Please share this message, vote for Bernie Sanders and support the GND!


• Climate Plan

• Why stronger winds over the North Atlantic are so dangerous

• Critical Tipping Point Crossed In July 2019

• Could Humans Go Extinct Within Years?

• January 2020 Temperature Anomaly

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