Showing posts with label seafloor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label seafloor. Show all posts

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Arctic Ocean overheating


The Arctic Ocean is overheating, as illustrated by above image.
[ from earlier post ]

Heating of the water in the Arctic Ocean is accelerating, as illustrated by above map that uses 4-year smoothing and that shows temperatures in the Arctic that are up to 4.41°C hotter than the average global temperature during 1880-1920.

The NOAA image on the right shows the sea surface temperature difference from 1961-1990 in the Arctic at latitudes 60°N - 90°N on September 7, 2019.

Where Arctic sea ice disappears, hot water emerges on the image, indicating that the temperature of the ocean underneath the sea ice is several degrees above freezing point.

The nullschool.net image on the right shows sea surface temperature differences from 1981-2011 on the Northern Hemisphere on September 8, 2019, with anomalies reaching as high as 15.2°C or 27.4°F (near Svalbard, at the green circle).

Accelerating heating of the Arctic Ocean could make global temperatures skyrocket in a matter of years.

Decline of the sea ice comes with albedo changes and further feedbacks, such as the narrowing temperature difference between the North Pole and the Equator, which slows down the speed at which the jet stream circumnavigates Earth and makes the jet stream more wavy.


Disappearance of the sea ice also comes with loss of the buffer that has until now been consuming ocean heat as part of the melting process. 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. 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. Once the sea ice is gone, further heat must go elsewhere.

[ click on images to enlarge ]
The Naval Research Laboratory image on the right shows a forecast for Sep. 8, 2019, run on Sep. 7, 2019, of the thickness of the sea ice. Sea ice has become terribly thin, indicating that the heat buffer constituted by the sea ice has effectively gone. Only a very thin layer of sea ice remains in place throughout much of the Arctic Ocean.

This remaining sea ice is stopping a lot of ocean heat from getting transferred to the air, so the temperature of the water of the Arctic Ocean is now rising rapidly, with the danger that some of the accumulating ocean heat will reach sediments at the seafloor and cause eruptions of huge amounts of methane.


This situation comes at a time that methane levels are very high globally. Mean global methane levels were as high as 1911 parts per billion on the morning of September 3, 2019, a level recorded by the MetOp-1 satellite at 293 mb (image below).


[ from an earlier post ]
As the image on the right shows, mean global levels of methane (CH₄) have risen much faster than carbon dioxide (CO₂) and nitrous oxide (N₂O), in 2017 reaching, respectively, 257%, 146% and 122% their 1750 levels.

Compared to carbon dioxide, methane is some 150 times as potent as a greenhouse gas during the first few years after release.

Huge releases of seafloor methane alone could make marine stratus clouds disappear, as described in an earlier post, and this clouds feedback could cause a further 8°C global temperature rise.

In total, global heating by as much as 18°C could occur by the year 2026 due to a combination of elements, including albedo changes, loss of sulfate cooling, and methane released from the ocean seafloor.

from an earlier post (2014)  

In the image below, from an earlier post, a global warming potential (GWP) of 150 for methane is used. Just the existing carbon dioxide and methane, plus seafloor methane releases, would suffice to trigger the clouds feedback tipping point to be crossed that by itself could push up global temperatures by 8°C, within a few years time, adding up to a total rise of 18°C by 2026.


Progression of heating could unfold as pictured below.

[ from an earlier post ]

In the video below, John Doyle describes out predicament.



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


Links

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

• Arctic Sea Ice Gone By September 2019?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/arctic-sea-ice-gone-by-september-2019.html

• July 2019 Hottest Month On Record
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/08/july-2019-hottest-month-on-record.html

• Cyclone over Arctic Ocean - August 24, 2019
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/08/cyclone-over-arctic-ocean-august-24-2019.html

• Most Important Message Ever
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/most-important-message-ever.html


Friday, August 24, 2018

The once-thickest Arctic sea ice has gone

The image below shows Arctic sea ice north of Greenland and around Ellesmere Island. This is the area where for thousands of years the sea ice has been the thickest, in many places remaining thicker than 5 meters (16.4 ft) throughout the year.

[ The once-thickest sea ice has gone - click on images to enlarge ]
The image is a compilation of NASA Worldview images over seven days, from August 14 through to August 21, 2018. The least cloudy areas have been selected from each image to get the best insight in the magnitude of this catastrophe.

The loss of this sea ice indicates that the buffer is gone. Sea ice acts as a buffer that absorbs heat, while keeping the temperature at the freezing point of water, about zero degrees Celsius. As long as there is sea ice in the water, this sea ice will keep absorbing heat, so the temperature doesn't rise at the sea surface.

Once the buffer is gone, further energy that enters the Arctic Ocean will go into heating up the water. 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.

[ The Latent Heat Buffer has gone, feedback #14 on the Feedbacks page ]
At the same time, decline of the snow and ice cover in the Arctic causes more sunlight to get reflected back into space, resulting in more energy getting absorbed in the Arctic Ocean.

[ Albedo Change, feedback #1 on the Feedbacks page ]

Numerous feedbacks are associated with sea ice loss. As the temperature difference between the Arctic and the Equator decreases, changes are taking pace to the Jet Stream that in turn trigger a multitude of further feedbacks, such as more extreme weather and a more scope for heat to enter the Arctic Ocean (see feedbacks page).


A further huge danger is that, as warming of the Arctic Ocean continues, heat will reach methane hydrates at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, causing them to get destabilized and release methane.

[ Seafloor methane, feedback #2 on the Feedbacks page ]
Adding up all warming elements associated with disappearance of the sea ice could result in additional global warming many times as much as the current global warming, all in a few years time.

Meanwhile, for the first time in human history, mean global methane levels as high as 1900 ppb have been recorded. The measurements were recorded by the MetOp-1 satellite on the morning of August 22, 2018, at 280 mb, 266 mb, 307 mb and 321 mb, as shown by the images below.


At 293 mb, MetOp-1 recorded an even higher level, i.e. mean global methane level was 1901 ppb on the morning of August 22, 2018.


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


Links

• It could be unbearably hot in many places within a few years time
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/07/it-could-be-unbearably-hot-in-many-places-within-a-few-years-time.html

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

• Latent Heat
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/latent-heat.html

• Albedo and more
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/albedo.html

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

• The Threat
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/threat.html

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

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




Monday, March 13, 2017

Methane Erupting From Arctic Ocean Seafloor

Seafloor methane often missed in measurements

Large amounts of methane are erupting from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean. These methane eruptions are often missed by measuring stations, because these stations are located on land, while measurements are typically taken at low altitude, thus missing the methane that rises in plumes from the Arctic Ocean. By the time the methane reaches the coast, it has typically risen to higher altitudes, thus not showing up in low-altitude measurements taken at stations on land.

The image below shows the highest mean global methane levels on March 10 over the years from 2013 through 2017, for selected altitudes corresponding to 945 mb (close to sea level) to 74 mb.


The table below shows the altitude equivalents in feet (ft), meter (m) and millibar (mb).
57,016 ft44,690 ft36,850 ft30,570 ft25,544 ft19,820 ft14,385 ft 8,368 ft1,916 ft
17,378 m13,621 m11,232 m 9,318 m 7,786 m 6,041 m 4,384 m 2,551 m 584 m
 74 mb 147 mb 218 mb 293 mb 367 mb 469 mb 586 mb 742 mb 945 mb

The signature of seafloor methane

Above image shows that, over the years, methane levels have risen strongly high in the Troposphere, up into the Stratosphere. This looks like the signature of methane that originated from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean. The image below further explains why.


The Tropopause separates the Troposphere from the Stratosphere. The Troposphere ends at a height of some 9 km (5.6 mi; 30,000 ft) at the poles, and at a height of some 17 km (11 mi; 56,000 ft) at the Equator.

As said, methane is erupting from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean concentrated in plumes, unlike methane from wetlands and agriculture that is typically emitted over a wide area. Since seafloor methane is rising in plumes, it hardly shows up on satellite images at lower altitude either, as the methane is very concentrated inside the area of the plume, while little or no increase in methane levels is taking place outside the plume. Since the plume will cover less than half the area of one pixel, such a plume doesn't show up well at low altitudes on satellite images,

Methane over the Arctic typically does show up on satellite images at altitudes between 4.4 km and 6 km (14,400 ft and 19,800 ft). Seafloor methane will show up better at these higher altitudes where it spreads out over larger areas. At even higher altitudes, methane will then follow the Tropopause, i.e. the methane will rise in altitude while moving closer to the equator.

NOAA image

In conclusion, methane originating from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean can strongly contribute to high methane levels that show up over the Equator at higher altitudes, but this methane can be misinterpreted for methane originating from tropical wetlands.

Methane levels as high as 2846 ppb
[ click on images to enlarge ]

On March 14, 2017, methane levels were as high as 2846 ppb, as illustrated by the image on the right. While the origin of these high levels looks hard to determine from this image, the high levels showing up over the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) later that day (image underneath) give an ominous warning that destabilization of methane hydrates is taking place.

The images also show that high methane levels are showing up at many other places, e.g. over Antarctica where hydrate destabilization also appears to be taking place, which could also be the cause of noctilucent clouds as discussed in earlier posts (see links at end of this post).

Why is methane erupting from the Arctic Ocean?

Why are increasingly large quantities of methane erupting from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean? The main driver is warming of the Arctic Ocean that is destabilizing once-permanently-frozen sediments that contain huge amounts of methane in the form of hydrates and free gas.

Ocean heat is increasingly entering the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean, as illustrated by the images below. Self-reinforcing feedbacks, in particular sea ice decline, further speed up warming of the Arctic Ocean.

[ from earlier post ]

[ from earlier post ]
Self-reinforcing feedback loops

[ click on images to enlarge ]
Meanwhile, the next El Niño event has already started, at a time when sea surface temperature anomalies over the Pacific Ocean are very high as illustrated by the image on the right showing sea surface temperature anomalies east of South America as high as 5.3°C or 9.5°F (compared to 1981-2011) on February 28, 2017.

Greater contrast between sea surface temperatures and temperatures on land has contributed to flooding in California and South America.

Importantly, more water vapor in the atmosphere results in more warming, since water vapor is a potent greenhouse gas.

[ click on images to enlarge ]
Above images shows ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) plumes with strong positive anomalies in all three El Niño regions (on the right).

In other words, temperatures in 2017 look set to be very high, which spells bad news for the Arctic where temperature anomalies are already several times higher than in the rest of the world.

Arctic sea ice looks set to take a steep fall, as illustrated by the image below.


The danger is that further self-reinforcing feedback loops such as albedo decline and methane releases will accelerate warming and, in combination with further warming elements, cause a temperature rise as high as 10°C or 18°F by the year 2026, as described at the extinction page.

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


Links

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

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

• Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/02/warning-of-mass-extinction-of-species-including-humans-within-one-decade.html

• Low sea ice extent contributes to high methane levels at both poles
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/03/low-sea-ice-extent-contributes-to-high-methane-levels-at-both-poles.html

• Noctilucent clouds indicate more methane in upper atmosphere
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2012/09/noctilucent-clouds-indicate-more-methane-in-upper-atmosphere.html

• Noctilucent clouds: further confirmation of large methane releases
http://methane-hydrates.blogspot.com/2013/12/noctilucent-clouds-further-confirmation-of-large-methane-releases.html



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

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


[ click on images to enlarge ]
On February 10, 2017, 18:00 UTC it is forecast to be 0.1°C or 32.1°F at the North Pole, i.e. above the temperature at which water freezes. The temperature at the North Pole is forecast to be 30°C or 54°F warmer than 1979-2000, on Feb 10, 2017, 18:00 UTC, as shown on the Climate Reanalyzer image on the right.

This high temperature is expected as a result of strong winds blowing warm air from the North Atlantic into the Arctic.

The forecast below, run on February 4, 2017, shows that winds as fast as 157 km/h or 98 mph were expected to hit the North Atlantic on February 6, 2017, 06:00 UTC, producing waves as high as 16.34 m or 53.6 ft.


A later forecast shows waves as high as 17.18 m or 54.6 ft, as illustrated by the image below.


While the actual wave height and wind speed may not turn out to be as extreme as such forecasts, the images do illustrate the horrific amounts of energy contained in these storms.

Stronger storms go hand in hand with warmer oceans. The image below shows that on February 4, 2017, at a spot off the coast of Japan marked by green circle, the ocean was 19.1°C or 34.4°F warmer than 1981-2011.


As discussed in an earlier post, the decreasing difference in temperature between the Equator and the North Pole causes changes to the jet stream, in turn causing warmer air and warmer water to get pushed from the North Atlantic into the Arctic.

The image below shows that on February 9, 2017, the water at a spot near Svalbard (marked by the green circle) was 13°C or 55.3°F, i.e. 12.1°C or 21.7°F warmer than 1981-2011.

[ click on images to enlarge ]
Warmer water flowing into the Arctic Ocean in turn increases the strength of feedbacks that are accelerating warming in the Arctic. One of these feedbacks is methane that is getting released from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean. Update: The image below shows that methane levels on February 13, 2017, pm, were as high as 2727 ppb, 1½ times the global mean at the time.

[ click on image to enlarge, right image added for reference to show location of continents ] 
What caused such a high level? High methane levels (magenta color) over Baffin Bay are an indication of a lot of methane getting released north of Greenland and subsequently getting pushed along the exit current through Nares Strait (see map below). This analysis is supported by the images below, showing high methane levels north of Greenland on the morning of February the 14th (left) and the 15th (right).



The image below shows methane levels as high as 2569 ppb on February 17, 2017. This is an indication of ocean heat further destabilizing permafrost at the seafloor of the Laptev Sea, resulting in high methane concentrations where it is rising in plumes over the Laptev Sea (at 87 mb, left panel) and is spreading over a larger area (at slightly lower concentrations) at higher altitude (74 mb, right panel).


This illustrates how increased inflow of warm water from the North Atlantic into the Arctic Ocean can cause methane to erupt from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean. Methane releases from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean have the potential to rapidly and strongly accelerate warming in the Arctic and speed up further feedbacks, raising global temperature with catastrophic consequences in a matter of years. Altogether, these feedbacks and further warming elements could trigger a huge abrupt rise in global temperature making that extinction of many species, including humans, could be less than one decade away.

Youtube video by RT America

Without action, we are facing extinction at unprecedented scale. In many respects, we are already in the sixth mass extinction of Earth's history. Up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species became extinct when temperatures rose by 8°C (14°F) during the Permian-Triassic extinction, or the Great Dying, 252 million years ago.

During the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which occurred 55 million years ago, global temperatures rose as rapidly as by 5°C in ~13 years, according to a study by Wright et al. A recent study by researchers led by Zebee concludes that the present anthropogenic carbon release rate is unprecedented during the past 66 million years. Back in history, the highest carbon release rates of the past 66 million years occurred during the PETM. Yet, the maximum sustained PETM carbon release rate was less than 1.1 Pg C per year, the study by Zebee et al. found. By contrast, a recent annual carbon release rate from anthropogenic sources was ~10 Pg C (2014). The study by Zebee et al. therefore concludes that future ecosystem disruptions are likely to exceed the - by comparison - relatively limited extinctions observed at the PETM.

An earlier study by researchers led by De Vos had already concluded that current extinction rates are 1,000 times higher than natural background rates of extinction and future rates are likely to be 10,000 times higher.

from the post 2016 well above 1.5°C
As above image shows, a number of warming elements adds up to a potential warming of 10°C (18°F) from pre-industrial by the year 2026, i.e. within about nine years from now, as discussed in more detail at the extinction page.


Above image shows how a 10°C (18°F) temperature rise from preindustrial could be completed within a decade.

https://sites.google.com/site/samcarana/climateplan
The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as discussed in the Climate Plan.


Links

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

• Arctic Ocean Feedbacks
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/01/arctic-ocean-feedbacks.html

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

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

• Estimating the normal background rate of species extinction, De Vos et al. (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25159086

• Anthropogenic carbon release rate unprecedented during the past 66 million years, by Zebee et al. (2016)
http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v9/n4/full/ngeo2681.html

• Evidence for a rapid release of carbon at the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, Wright et al. (2013)
http://www.pnas.org/content/110/40/15908.full?sid=58b79a3f-8a05-485b-8051-481809c87076

• RT America Youtube video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSnrDRU6_2g

• RT America Facebook video
https://www.facebook.com/RTAmerica/videos/10154168391051366



Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade. The forecast for February 10, 2017, 18:00 UTC is that it will be 32.1°F or 0.1°C on North Pole, i.e. above freezing...
Posted by Sam Carana on Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Monday, December 12, 2016

Seafloor Methane


Methane levels over the Arctic Ocean are higher than elsewhere on Earth. As the animation below shows, methane levels were as high as 2436 parts per billion (ppb) on the afternoon of December 5, 2016, with most methane rising up from the water, in particular over the Arctic Ocean.

Rise in the atmosphere of methane on December 5, 2016 (MetOp 1 pm), from 1000 mb, i.e. close to
sea level, up to a pressure of 586 mb, which corresponds with an altitude of 3833 m.

Methane levels over the Arctic Ocean have been high for more than a month. The video below, with a soundtrack by Daniel Kieve, shows methane levels from October 26, 2016 to November 25, 2016.



&nbsp

These high methane levels come at a time when there's hardly any sunlight reaching the Arctic, which pretty much rules out the possibility that algae blooms or other biological sources were causing these high methane levels. Instead, these high methane levels appear to be the result of methane eruptions from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, caused by warming water of the oceans.


Indeed, large quantities of methane appear to be erupting from seafloor of the Arctic Ocean and, as this methane rises in the atmosphere, it moves closer to the Equator, resulting in higher methane levels there as well. Above image further illustrates that seafloor methane appears to be pushing up mean global methane level at higher altitudes.

The image below shows the temperature rise of the oceans. Temperatures are rising particularly rapidly on the Northern Hemisphere.

[ Ocean warming, from earlier post ]
The huge amounts of energy entering the oceans translate into higher temperatures of the water and of the air over the water, as well as higher waves and stronger winds. Much of that heat is carried by the Coriolis force along the Gulf Stream from the coast of North America via the North Atlantic into the Arctic Ocean.

As the image on the right shows, sea surface temperatures near Svalbard (green circle) were as high as 14.1°C / 57.3°F on December 6, 2016, 12.1°C / 21.7°F warmer than in 1981-2011.

The rise in ocean heat is threatening to cause ever larger eruptions of methane from the seafloor.

As described at the Extinction page, methane eruptions from the seafloor could well cause a 1.1°C temperature rise over the next ten years, and in combination with other elements, this is threatening to cause global temperature to rise 10°C or 18°F by 2026.

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


Links

• A pdf of the extinction page and an introduction to the Climate Plan can be downloaded from
https://sites.google.com/site/samcarana/climateplan/Climate-Plan-by-Sam-Carana.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1

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

 Methane
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/methane.html

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

 Old Mother Nature, by Daniel Kieve
https://soundcloud.com/danielkieve/old-mother-nature