Showing posts with label temperature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label temperature. Show all posts

Friday, January 15, 2021

2020: Hottest Year On Record

NASA data show that 2020 was the hottest year on record.



The image below shows that high temperature in 2020 hit Siberia and the Arctic Ocean.

In above images, the temperature anomaly is compared to 1951-1980, NASA's default baseline. When using an earlier baseline, the data need to be adjusted. The image below shows a trendline pointing at an 0.31°C adjustment for a 1900 baseline. 



Additional adjustment is needed when using a 1750 baseline, while it also makes sense to add further adjustment for higher polar anomalies and for air temperatures over oceans, rather than sea surface water temperatures. In total, a 0.78°C adjustment seems appropriate, as has been applied before, such as in this analysis. For the year 2020, this translates in a temperature rise of 1.8029°C versus the year 1750.

Three trends: blue, purple and red

Will the global temperature rise to 3°C above 1750 by 2026? The blue trend below is based on 1880-2020 NASA Land+Ocean data and adjusted by 0.78°C to reflect a 1750 baseline, ocean air temperatures and higher polar anomalies, and it crosses a 3°C rise in 2026.



The trend shows a temperature for 2020 that is slightly higher than indicated by the data. This is in line with the fact that we're currently in a La Niña period and that we're also at a low point in the sunspot cycle, as discussed in an earlier post. The blue trend also shows that the 1.5°C treshold was already crossed even before the Paris Agreement was accepted. 



The second (purple) trend is based on a shorter period, i.e. 2006-2020 NASA land+ocean (LOTI) data, again adjusted by 0.78°C to reflect a 1750 baseline, ocean air temperatures and higher polar anomalies. The trend approaches 10°C above 1750 by 2026. The trend is based on 15 years of data, making it span a 30-year period centered around end 2020 when extended into the future for a similar 15 year period. The trend approaches 10°C above 1750 in 2026.

The trend is displayed on the backdrop of an image from an earlier post, showing how a 10°C rise could eventuate by 2026 when adding up the impact of warming elements and their interaction.



The stacked bars are somewhat higher than the trend. Keep in mind that the stacked bars are for the month February, when anomalies can be significantly higher than the annual average.

Temperature rise for February 2016 versus 1900.
In the NASA image on the right, the February 2016 temperature was 1.70°C above 1900 (i.e. 1885-1914). In the stacked-bar analysis, the February 2016 rise from 1900 was conservately given a value of 1.62°C, which was extended into the future, while an additional 0.3°C was added for temperature rise from pre-industrial to 1900.

Later analyses such as this one also added a further 0.2°C to the temperature rise, to reflect ocean air temperatures (rather than water temperatures) and higher polar anomalies (note the grey areas on the image in the right).

Anyway, the image shows two types of analysis on top of each other, one analysis based on trend analysis and another analysis based on a midel using high values for the various warming elements. The stacked-bar analysis actually doesn't reflect the worst-case scenario, an even faster rise is illustrated by the next trend, the red line.

The third (red) trend suggests that we may have crossed the 2°C treshold in the year 2020. The trend is based on a recent period (2009-2020) of the NASA land+ocean data, again adjusted by 0.78°C to reflect a 1750 baseline, ocean air temperatures and higher polar anomalies.




Where do we go from here? 

It's important to acknowledge the danger of acceleration of the temperature rise over the next few years. The threat is illustrated by the image below and shows upmost prominently in the red trend. 


Of the three trends, the red trend is based on the shortest period, and it does indicate that we have aready crossed the 2°C treshold and we could be facing an even steeper temperature rise over the next few years.

We're in a La Niña period and we're also at a low point in the sunspot cycle. This suppresses the temperature somewhat, so the 2020 temperature should actually be adjusted upward to compensate for such variables. Importantly, while such variables do show up more when basing trends on shorter periods, the data have not be adjusted for this in this case, so the situation could actually be even worse. 

At a 3°C rise, humans will likely go extinct, while most life on Earth will disappear with a 5°C rise, and as the temperature keeps rising, oceans will evaporate and Earth will go the same way as Venus, a 2019 analysis warned. 

Dangerous acceleration of the temperature rise 

There are many potential causes behind the acceleration of the temperature rise, such as the fact that the strongest impact of carbon dioxide is felt ten years after emission, so we are yet to experience the full wrath of the carbon dioxide emitted over the past decade. However, this doesn't explain why 2020 turned out to be the hottest year on record, as opposed to - say - 2019, given that in 2020 carbon dioxide emissions were 7% lower than in 2019.

James Hansen confirms that the temperature rise is accelerating, and he points at aerosols as the cause. However, most cooling aerosols come from industries such as smelters and coal-fired power plants that have hardly reduced their operations in 2020, as illustrated by the image below, from the aerosols page


Above image shows that on December 17, 2020, at 10:00 UTC, sulfate aerosols (SO₄) were as high as 6.396 τ at the green circle. Wind on the image is measured at 850 hPa.

Could the land sink be decreasing? A recent study shows that the mean temperature of the warmest quarter (3-month period) passed the thermal maximum for photosynthesis during the past decade. At higher temperatures, respiration rates continue to rise in contrast to sharply declining rates of photosynthesis. Under business-as-usual emissions, this divergence elicits a near halving of the land sink strength by as early as 2040. While this is a frightening prospect, it still doesn't explain why 2020 turned out to be the hottest year on record. 

Oceans are taking up less heat, thus leaving more heat in the atmosphere. The danger is illustrated by the image below. 


The white band around -60° (South) indicates that the Southern Ocean has not yet caught up with global warming, featuring low-level clouds that reflect sunlight back into space. Over time, the low clouds will decrease, which will allow more sunlight to be absorbed by Earth and give the world additional warming. A recent study finds that, after this 'pattern effect' is accounted for, committed global warming at present-day forcing rises by 0.7°C. While this is very worrying, it still doesn't explain why 2020 turned out to be the hottest year on record. 

Ocean stratification contributes to further surface warming, concludes another recent study
"The stronger ocean warming within upper layers versus deep water has caused an increase of ocean stratification in the past half century. With increased stratification, heat from climate warming less effectively penetrates into the deep ocean, which contributes to further surface warming. It also reduces the capability of the ocean to store carbon, exacerbating global surface warming. Furthermore, climate warming prevents the vertical exchanges of nutrients and oxygen, thus impacting the food supply of whole marine ecosystems."
"By uptaking ~90% of anthropogenic heat and ~30% of the carbon emissions, the ocean buffers global warming. [The] ocean has already absorbed an immense amount of heat, and will continue to absorb excess energy in the Earth’s system until atmospheric carbon levels are significantly lowered. In other words, the excess heat already in the ocean, and heat likely to enter the ocean in the coming years, will continue to affect weather patterns, sea level, and ocean biota for some time, even under zero carbon emission conditions."
Many feedbacks are starting to kick in with greater ferocity, with tipping points threatening to get crossed or already crossed, such as the latent heat tipping point, i.e. loss of the ocean heat buffer, as Arctic sea ice keeps getting thinner. As the above map also shows, the temperature rise is hitting the Arctic Ocean particularly hard. At least ten tipping points are affecting the Arctic, including the latent heat tipping point and the methane hydrates tipping point, as illustrated by the image below.
 
[ from an earlier post ]

A combination of higher temperatures and the resulting feedbacks such as stronger ocean stratification, stronger wind, decline of Arctic snow and ice and a distorted Jet Stream is threatening to cause formation of a lid at the surface of the North Atlantic Ocean that enables more heat to move to the Arctic Ocean. This could cause huge amounts of methane to erupt from the seafloor, thus contributing to cause the 1,200 ppm CO₂e cloud tipping point to get crossed, resulting in an extra 8°C rise, as an earlier post and a recent post warned.

Dangerous acceleration of the temperature rise

The danger is that methane is erupting in the Arctic from the seafloor and that this increasingly contributes to methane reaching the stratosphere. 

While methane initially is very potent in heating up the atmosphere, it is generally broken down relatively quickly, but in the atmosphere over the Arctic, there is very little hydroxyl to break down the methane. 

Methane also persists much longer in the stratosphere, which contributes to its accumulation there. 


Large amounts of methane may already be erupting from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, rising rapidly and even reaching the stratosphere

This danger is getting little public attention. The NOAA image on the right shows the globally-averaged, monthly mean atmospheric methane abundance derived from measurements from marine surface sites. Measurements that are taken at sea level do not reflect methane very well that is rising up from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, especially where the methane rises up high in plumes. 

Satellite measurements better reflect the danger. The image on the right shows that the MetOp-1 satellite recorded peak methane levels as high as 2715 ppb at 469 mb on the morning of January 6, 2021. 

Most of the high (magenta-colored) levels of methane are located over oceans and a lot of them over the Arctic Ocean. 

The next image on the right shows the situation closer to sea level, at 586 mb, where even less of the high levels of methane show up over land, indicating that the methane originated from the seafloor. 

The third image on the righ shows the situation even closer to sea level, at 742 mb, and almost all high levels of methane show up over the Arctic Ocean and over areas where the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean border on the Arctic. 

Because methane is lighter than air and much lighter than water, methane erupting from the seafloor will quickly rise up vertically. While much of the methane that is released from the seabed can get broken down in the water by microbes, methane that is rising rapidly and highly concentrated in the form of plumes will leave little opportunity for microbes to break it down in the water column, especially where waters are shallow,
as is the case in much of the Arctic Ocean.

As methane hydrates destabilize, methane will erupt with an explosive force, since methane is highly compressed inside the hydrate (1 m³ of methane hydrate can release 160 m³ of gas). Such eruptions can destabilize further hydrates located nearby. Because of this explosive force, plumes of methane can rise at high speed through the water column. 

Because methane is so much lighter than water, large methane releases from the seafloor will form larger bubbles that merge and stick together, developing more thrust as they rise through the water.

Because of this thrust, methane plumes will keep rising rapidly after entering the atmosphere, and the plumes will more easily push away aerosols and gases that slow down the rise in the air of methane elsewhere, such as where methane is emitted by cows. 

A further image of another satellite is added on the right. The N2O satellite recorded methane levels as high as 2817 ppb at 487 mb on the morning of January 10, 2021. 

Such sudden and very high peaks can hardly be caused by agriculture or wetlands, but instead they are likely caused by destabilization of methane hydrates in sediments at the seafloor. 

Further contributing to the danger is the fact that little hydroxyl is present in the atmosphere over the Arctic, so it is much harder for this methane to get broken down in the air over the Arctic, compared to methane emissions elsewhere. 

Finally, the edge of the stratosphere is much lower over the Arctic, as discussed in an earlier post.

All this makes that methane that is erupting from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean is more prone to accumulate in the stratosphere. Once methane is in the stratosphere, it's unlikely that it will come back into the troposphere.

The IPCC AR5 (2013) gave methane a lifetime of 12.4 years. The IPCC TAR (2001) gave stratospheric methane a lifetime of 120 years, adding that less than 7% of methane did reach the stratosphere at the time. According to IPCC AR5, of the methane that gets broken down by hydroxyl in the atmosphere, some 8.5% got broken down in the stratosphere.

Conclusions

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

In the video below, Paul Beckwith discusses the situation: 


For another perspective, Guy McPherson discusses the situation in the video below, Edge of Extinction: Maybe I’m Wrong





Links

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

• NASA Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index
https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp

• What are El Niño and La Niña?
https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/ninonina.html

• Multivariate El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Index Version 2 (MEI.v2)
https://psl.noaa.gov/enso/mei 
 
• Temperatures keep rising
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/12/temperatures-keep-rising.html

• There is no time to lose
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/11/there-is-no-time-to-lose.html

• Possible climate transitions from breakup of stratocumulus decks under greenhouse warming, by Tapio Schneider et al. (2019)
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-019-0310-1

• A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026?

• Greater committed warming after accounting for the pattern effect - by Chen Zhou et al. 

• Upper Ocean Temperatures Hit Record High in 2020 - by Lijing Cheng et al. 
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00376-021-0447-x

• How close are we to the temperature tipping point of the terrestrial biosphere? - by Katharyn Duffy et al.
https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/3/eaay1052

• Methane hydrates tipping point threatens to get crossed

• Cold freshwater lid on North Atlantic

• Aerosols

• NOAA - Trends in Atmospheric Methane
https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends_ch4

•  COVID-19 lockdown causes unprecedented drop in global CO2 emissions in 2020 - Gobal Carbon Project
https://www.globalcarbonproject.org/carbonbudget/20/files/International_FutureEarth_GCB2020.pdf

• Global Average Temperatures in 2020 Reached a RECORD HIGH of 1.55 C above PreIndustrial in 1750 - by Paul Beckwith 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0lgTAEUYyA

• Edge of Extinction: Maybe I’m Wrong - by Guy McPherson
https://guymcpherson.com/2021/01/edge-of-extinction-maybe-im-wrong

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


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Temperatures keep rising


Temperatures keep rising. Above image uses NASA data that are adjusted to reflect a 1750 baseline, ocean air temperatures and higher polar anomalies, while showing anomalies going back to September 2011, adding a blue trend going back to 1880 and a red trend going back to September 2011. 

The map below also shows that in November 2020, especially the Arctic Ocean, again was very hot.


Anomalies in the above NASA image are compared to 1951-1980, while NOAA's default baseline for temperature anomalies is the 20th century average. In the Copernicus image below anomalies are compared to the 1981-2010 average. 

Using a different baseline can make a lot of difference. An earlier analysis pointed out that, when using a 1750 baseline and when using ocean air temperatures and higher Arctic anomalies, we did already cross  2°C above pre-industrial in February 2020.  

Above Copernicus image shows temperatures averaged over the twelve-month period from December 2019 to November 2020. The image shows that the shape of the global anomaly over the past twelve months is very similar to the peak reached around 2016. This confirms that global heating is accelerating, because the peak around 2016 was reached under strong El Niño conditions, whereas current temperatures are reached under La Niña conditions. Furthermore, sunspots are currently low. The La Niña and the low sunspots are both suppressing temperatures, as discussed in a recent post.

Future rise?

By how much will temperatures rise over the next few years?


Above image, from the U.N. Emissions Gap Report 2020, shows that growth in greenhouse gas emissions continued in 2019, with emissions reaching a total of 59.1 GtCO₂e. The commitments promised at the Paris Agreement in 2015 were not enough to limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C and those commentments were not even met, said António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, calling on all nations to declare a state of Climate Emergency until carbon neutrality is reached. Earlier, António Guterres had said: "We are headed for a thundering temperature rise of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius this century." 

What could cause a steep temperature rise over the next few years? 

A temperature rise of more than 3°C above pre-industrial could occur, and this could actually happen within a few years time. There are a number of reasons why the temperature rise could take place so fast, as described below.

As said, the temperature is currently suppressed by the current La Niña and the currently low sunspots (Hansen et al. give the sunpot cycle an amplitude of some 0.25 W/m²). Such short-term differences show up more in the red trend of the image at the top, which uses a polynomial trend over a short period. 

Compensating for the fact that sunspots are currently low and the fact that we're currently a La Niña period can already push the temperature anomaly well over the 2°C threshold that politicians at the Paris Agreement pledged would not be crossed.  


The above NOAA image and the NOAA image below illustrate that we are currently experiencing La Niña conditions
 

How long will it take before we'll reach the peak of the next El Niño? NOAA says:
El Niño and La Niña episodes typically last nine to 12 months, but some prolonged events may last for years. While their frequency can be quite irregular, El Niño and La Niña events occur on average every two to seven years. Typically, El Niño occurs more frequently than La Niña.
There are further reasons why the temperature rise could strongly accelerate over the next few years. Loss of cooling aerosols is one such reason. Another reason is the growing frequency and intensity of forest fires, which come with high emissions of methane, of heating aerosols such as black carbon and brown carbon, and of carbon monoxide that causes hydroxyl depletion, thus extending the lifetime of methane and heating aeosols. 

Map from earlier postThe vertical axis depicts
latitude, t
he North Pole is at the top (90° North),
the Equator in the 
middle (0°) and the South Pole 
at the bottom (-90° South). GHCN v4 land-surface
air + ERSST v5 sea-surface water temperature 
anomaly. The Arctic anomaly reaches 4.83°C or 
8.69°F 
vs 1951-1980, and 5.57°C vs 1885-1914.
A hotter world will will also hold more water vapor, a potent greenhouse gas. 
 
Furthermore, many tipping points affect the Arctic, e.g. more methane and nitrous oxide emissions can be expected to result from continued decline of what once was permafrost. 

The temperature rise is felt the strongest in the Arctic, as illustrated by the zonal mean temperature anomaly map on the right, from an earlier post.

As one of the tipping points gets crossed in the Arctic, multiple feedbacks can start kicking in more strongly, resulting in multiple additional tipping points to subsequently get crossed. 
 
At least ten tipping points affect the Arctic, as described in an earlier post, and it looks like the latent heat tipping point has already been crossed, as illustrated by the image below, from an earlier post, which shows two such tipping points. 
 
[ from an earlier post ]

Huge temperature rise

When extending the vertical axis of the image at the top, a picture emerges that shows that a temperature rise of more than 13°C above 1750 could happen by 2026. The trend shows that 10°C is crossed in February 2026, while an additional rise of 3°C takes place in the course of 2026. The temperature could rise this much, in part because at 1200 ppm CO₂e the cloud feedback will start to kick in, which in itself can raise temperatures by an additional 8°C.


And the rise wouldn't stop there! Even when adding up the impact of only the existing carbon dioxide and methane levels, and then adding large releases of seafloor methane, this alone could suffice to trigger the cloud feedback, as described in an earlier post

Of course, there are further warming elements, in addition to carbon dioxide and methane, and they could jointly cause a rise of 10°C by 2026 even in case of smaller releases of seafloor methane, as illustrated by the image below. 
 
[ from an earlier post ]

[ from an earlier post ]
Above image illustrates how a temperature rise of more than as 10°C could eventuate as early as February 2026 when taking into account aerosol changes, albedo changes, water vapor, nitrous oxide, etc., as discussed in an earlier analysis

The joint impact of all warming elements, including the cloud feedback, threatens to cause a total rise of 18°C, as an earlier post warned, adding the image on the right. 

How high could the temperature rise? At a 3°C rise, humans will likely go extinct, while most life on Earth will disappear with a 5°C rise, and as the temperature keeps rising, oceans will evaporate and Earth will go the same way as Venus, a 2019 analysis warned. 

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



Links

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

• NOAA Global Climate Report - November 2020
https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/202011

• NASA GISS Surface Temperature Analysis - maps
https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/maps/index.html

• What are El Niño and La Niña?
https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/ninonina.html

• Multivariate El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Index Version 2 (MEI.v2)
https://psl.noaa.gov/enso/mei

• Copernicus - surface air temperature for Novmber 2020
https://climate.copernicus.eu/surface-air-temperature-october-2020

• NOAA ISIS Solar Cycle Sunspot Number Progression
https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/solar-cycle-progression

• Secretary-General's address at Columbia University: "The State of the Planet"
https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/speeches/2020-12-02/address-columbia-university-the-state-of-the-planet

• U.N. Emissions Gap Report 2020 
https://www.unenvironment.org/emissions-gap-report-2020

• U.N. Climate Ambitions Summit, December 12, 2020
https://www.climateambitionsummit2020.org/ondemand.php

• U.N. Paris Agreement (2015)
https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement

• Why stronger winds over the North Atlantic are so dangerous
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/02/why-stronger-winds-over-north-atlantic-are-so-dangerous.html

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

• September 2015 Sea Surface Warmest On Record
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2015/10/september-2015-sea-surface-warmest-on-record.html

• When will we die?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/06/when-will-we-die.html

• A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/02/a-rise-of-18c-or-324f-by-2026.html

• Methane Hydrates Tipping Point threatens to get crossed
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/08/methane-hydrates-tipping-point-threatens-to-get-crossed.html

• Arctic Hit By Ten Tipping Points
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/04/arctic-hit-by-ten-tipping-points.html

• Crossing the Paris Agreement thresholds
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/crossing.html

• 2°C crossed
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/03/2c-crossed.html

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

• Blue Ocean Event
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/09/blue-ocean-event.html

• Record Arctic Warming
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/04/record-arctic-warming.html

• There is no time to lose
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/11/there-is-no-time-to-lose.html

• Temperatures threaten to become unbearable
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/09/temperatures-threaten-to-become-unbearable.html

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

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



Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Temperatures threaten to become unbearable

Many people could face unbearable temperatures soon. 

Temperature anomalies on land in the Northern Hemisphere (red) are spread out much wider and they are more than 0.5°C higher than global land+ocean anomalies (blue).


The pale green and grey trends are both long-term trends based on January 1880-August 2020 NOAA data. The short-term red and blue trends, based on January 2013-August 2020 NOAA data, are added to show the potential for a rapid rise. How could temperatures possibly rise this fast? 

A rapid temperature rise could eventuate by 2026 due to a number of contributing factors:
• crossing of the latent heat and methane tipping points
• moving toward an El Niño 
• entering solar cycle 25
• changes in aerosols
• feedbacks kicking in more strongly as further tipping points get crossed.

Crossing the Latent Heat and Methane Hydrate Tipping Points

The image below, updated from an earlier post, shows two such tipping points.


The August 2020 ocean temperature anomaly on the Northern Hemisphere was 1.13°C above the 20th century average. The image shows a trend based on January 1880-August 2020 NOAA data. The latent heat tipping point is estimated to be 1°C above the 20th century average. Crossing the latent heat tipping point threatens to cause the methane hydrates tipping point to be crossed, estimated to be 1.35°C above the 20th century average.

Keep in mind that above images show temperature anomalies from the 20th century average, which is NOAA's default baseline. As an earlier analysis points out, when using a 1750 baseline and when using ocean air temperatures and higher Arctic anomalies, we may have already crossed both the 1.5°C and the 2°C thresholds that politicians at the Paris Agreement pledged would not get crossed.

Natural Variability - El Niño and Solar Cycle

Currently, we are currently in a La Niña period, which suppresses air temperatures.

Only a thin layer of sea ice remained left in the Arctic, with extent almost as low as it was in 2012 around this time of year, as discussed in the previous post. As air temperatures dropped in September 2020, Arctic sea ice extent started to increase again about September 15, 2020. This made that a patch of sea ice remained present at the surface of the Arctic Ocean, despite the dramatic thinning of the sea ice. 

When an El Niño event returns, conditions will get worse. 


How long will it take before we'll reach the peak of the upcoming El Niño? NOAA says
El Niño and La Niña episodes typically last nine to 12 months, but some prolonged events may last for years. While their frequency can be quite irregular, El Niño and La Niña events occur on average every two to seven years. Typically, El Niño occurs more frequently than La Niña.
The temperature rise is strongest in the Arctic, as illustrated by the zonal mean temperature anomaly map below. The map has latitude on the vertical axis and shows anomalies as high as 4.83°C or 8.69°F in the Arctic. The North Pole is at the top of the map, at 90° North, the Equator is in the middle, at 0°, and the South Pole is at the bottom, at -90° South. And yes, NASA's default baseline is 1951-1980, so anomalies are even higher when using a 1750 baseline. 


So, what could make the difference next year is an upcoming El Niño. Solar irradiance is also on the rise, in line with the 11-year Solar Cycle.


Above image shows a NOAA graph depicting the current Solar Cycle (24) and the upcoming Solar Cycle (25). 

In 2019, Tiar Dani et al. analyzed a number of studies and forecasts pointing at the maximum in the upcoming Solar Cycle occurring in the year 2023 or 2024.

The analysis found some variation in intensity between forecasts, adding images including the one on the right, which is based on linear regression and suggests that the Solar Cycle 25 may be higher than the previous Solar Cycle 24. 

In 2012, Patrick (Pádraig) Malone analyzed factors critical in forecasting when an ice-free day in the Arctic sea first might occur. 

Patrick concluded that once solar activity moved out of the solar minimum, Arctic sea ice extent would start to crash. Accordingly, a Blue Ocean Event could occur as early as 2021, as illustrated by the image below.  


Further Tipping Points and Feedbacks

Further tipping points and feedbacks can start kicking in more strongly as one tipping point gets crossed. At least ten tipping points apply to the Arctic, as discussed in an earlier post and it looks like the latent heat tipping point has already been crossed. 

Ocean heat is very high in the North Atlantic and the North Pacific, and heat continues to enter the Arctic Ocean. 


Arctic sea surface temperatures and air temperature are now high since ocean heat, previously consumed by sea ice, is now coming to the surface where the sea ice has disappeared.

As above image shows, sea surface temperature anomalies in the Arctic Ocean on September 14, 2020, were as high as 9.3°C or 16.8°F (at the location marked by green circle), compared to the daily average during the years 1981-2011. 

These high sea surface temperature anomalies occur at locations where the daily average during the years 1981-2011 was around freezing point at this time of year.

Part of this ocean heat is rising into the atmosphere over the Arctic Ocean, resulting in high air temperatures that in turn prevent formation of sea ice thick enough to survive until the next melting season. The image on the right shows a forecast of Arctic air temperatures (2 m) that are 5°C higher than 1979-2000 (forecast for October 5, 2020, 18Z run Sep 26, 2020 06Z). 

Methane Danger is High


Ominously, peak methane levels of 2762 parts per billion (ppb) were recorded by the MetOp-1 satellite on the morning of September 20, 2020, at 586 milibar (mb), as above image shows.


Mean methane levels of 1925 ppb were recorded by the MetOp-1 satellite on the morning of September 20, 2020, at 293 mb, as above image shows.


Peak methane levels of 2813 ppb were recorded by the MetOp-1 satellite on the afternoon of September 30, 2020, at 469 mb, as above image shows. 


Methane has been rising most at higher altitudes over the past few years. On September 26, 2020 pm, the MetOp-1 satellite recorded a mean global methane level of 1929 ppb at 293 mb, which is equivalent to a height of 9.32 km or 30,57 ft, i.e. in the lower stratosphere over the North Pole (the top of the troposphere over the Equator is higher, at about 17 km).

Why methane is so important

As illustrated by the image on the right, from an earlier post, high methane levels could be reached within decades, and such a scenario could unfold even without sudden big bursts, but merely due to a continuation of a trend based on data up to 2014. This would obviously result in a huge rise in global temperature. 

A huge rise in global temperature would eventuate even earlier in case of a big burst of methane erupting from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean. 

Methane's initial global warming potential (GWP) is very high. For the first few years after its release, methane is more than 150 times as strong as a greenhouse gas compared to carbon dioxide, as discussed in an earlier post.

How high are current methane levels? NOAA's May 2020 level for methane was 1874.7 ppb

Using a GWP of 150, this translates into 1.8747 x 150 = 281.205 ppm CO₂e. 

NOAA's figures are conservative, given that NOAA measures methane at marine surface level. 

Anyway, when using this conservative NOAA methane figure of 1874.7 ppb which at a GWP of 150 results in 281.205 ppm CO₂e, and when using an additional 413.6 ppm for recent carbon dioxide levels (NOAA's global May 2020 CO₂ level), these two add up to 694.805 ppm CO₂e, which is 505.195 CO₂e away from the cloud feedback tipping point (1200 CO₂e) that can, on its own, raise global temperatures instantly by 8°C. 

This is illustrated by the image on the right, an update from an earlier post

An additional eruption of methane from the Arctic Ocean into the atmosphere of 505.195 CO₂e translates into 505.195 / 150 = 3.368 ppm or 3368 ppb of methane. 

If the current amount of methane in the atmosphere is about 5 Gt, then 3368 ppb of methane corresponds with an amount of methane just under 9 Gt.

Coincidently, a peak level of 3369 ppb was recorded on August 31, 2018, pm. Granted, there is a large difference between a local peak level and a global mean level, but then again, a much smaller burst of methane can trigger the clouds feedback.

Even a relatively small burst of methane could trigger the clouds feedback, given that it will cause huge heating of the Arctic both directly and indirectly, in turn triggering further eruptions of methane from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean.

Huge direct heating of the Arctic could occur due to methane's high immediate GWP and its even higher Local Warming Potential (LWP) given that the release takes place in the Arctic, while huge indirect heating of Arctic would occur due to the resulting decline of sea ice and of much of the permafrost on land.

Even a relatively small burst of methane could cause not only albedo losses but also releases of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide and further fast feedbacks such as a rise in clouds and water vapor, especially over the Arctic Ocean, as illustrated by the image on the right, from the extinction page and an earlier post.

Importantly, the initial trigger to a huge temperature rise by 2026 could be an event that is typically categorized under natural variability, such as an El Niño, increased solar irradiance or a storm causing a sudden large influx of hot, salty water into the Arctic Ocean and causing an eruption of seafloor methane. Indeed, a seemingly small forcing can result in total collapse that takes place so rapidly that any political action will be too little, too late.

The video below illustrates the importance of the Precautionary Principle. The video shows how a seemingly small bump by a forklift causes all shelves in a warehouse to collapse. 


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


Links

• NOAA Global Climate Report - August 2020
https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/202008

• Multivariate El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Index Version 2 (MEI.v2)
https://psl.noaa.gov/enso/mei

• What are El Niño and La Niña?

• NOAA ISIS Solar Cycle Sunspot Number Progression

• Multiple regression analysis predicts Arctic sea ice - by Patrick Malone (Pádraig) Malone 
https://www.facebook.com/Amber.and.Patrick/posts/1140053003062976 

• Prediction of maximum amplitude of solar cycle 25 using machine learning - by Tiar Dani et al. 
https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1742-6596/1231/1/012022

• NOAA - Trends in Artmospheric Methane 

• Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide - global

• When will we die?

• A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026?

• Most Important Message Ever

• Blue Ocean Event
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/09/blue-ocean-event.html

• Record Arctic Warming
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/04/record-arctic-warming.html

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



Monday, July 27, 2020

Arctic sea ice could disappear completely within two months' time

Arctic sea ice fell by 3.239 million km² in extent in 25 days (i.e. from July 1 to 25, 2020). Melting will likely continue for another two months. If it continues on its current trajectory, the remaining 6.333 million km² of Arctic sea ice could disappear completely within two months' time.


The fall in extent over the next two months' time may not remain as as steep as it was in July, yet the sea ice still could disappear completely. One reason for this is that, over the years, sea ice thickness has been declining even faster than extent. The rapid decline in sea ice thickness is illustrated by the sequence of images below.


The image on the right further illustrates that sea ice is getting very thin, which threatens the latent heat tipping point to get crossed. 

Sea currents and the Coriolis force will make that the influx of warm, salty water into the Arctic Ocean will continue. With no buffer of sea ice left underneath the surface of the sea ice to absorb incoming ocean heat, more heat will accumulate in the Arctic Ocean, threatening that the methane hydrates tipping point will get crossed.

The navy.mil animation below was run on August 3, 2020, and shows sea ice thickness over 30 days (last 8 frames are forecasts for August 4 - August 11, 2020). 


Here's another indication that the buffer is disappearing fast. North of Greenland and of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, less than 700 km from the North Pole, the sea ice is disappearing, precisely where the thickest sea ice used to be located. 


High greenhouse gas levels are causing high temperatures over the Arctic and high ocean temperatures. 


On July 25, 2020, sea surface temperatures in the Arctic Ocean were as high as 20.8°C or 69.4°F (at the green circle on above image).


At that same location, on July 22, 2020, sea surface temperatures in the Arctic Ocean were as much as 17°C or 30.5°F higher than the daily average during the years 1981-2011. 

This location is where the Pechora River flows into the Barents Sea (the green circle pointed at by the white arrow on above image).

Distortion of the jet stream is causing more extreme weather, resulting in the recent lengthy heatwave over Siberia that has heated up the water of rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean.

A cyclone was visible over the Arctic Ocean on July 28, 2020, as illustrated by the image on the right. 

Underneath on the right is a forecast for August 7, 2020, showing rain over the North Pole. 

In summary, Arctic sea ice may disappear completely over the next two months, and there are at least six reasons why this could occur:
• Low Arctic sea ice extent;
• Low Arctic sea ice thickness;
• High ocean temperature;
• High greenhouse gas levels;
• High temperatures over the Arctic;
• Distorted jet stream causing extreme weather such as storms that can break up the sea ice. 
As the image below shows, sea surface temperatures in the Arctic Ocean on August 1, 2020, were as much as 11.5°C or 20.7°F higher than 1981-2011 (at green circle, off the coast of Siberia, opposite Greenland). 


Ominously, the MetOp-1 satellite recorded peak methane levels of 2933 ppb, at 469 mb, on the afternoon of July 30, 2020.

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


Links

• NSIDC Arctic sea ice
http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews

• Polar Portal - sea ice volume
http://polarportal.dk/en/sea-ice-and-icebergs/sea-ice-thickness-and-volume

• NASA Worldview
https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov

• Arctic Hit By Ten Tipping Points
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/04/arctic-hit-by-ten-tipping-points.html

• Fast Path to Extinction
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/06/fast-path-to-extinction.html

• 2020 Siberian Heatwave continues
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/06/2020-siberian-heatwave-continues.html

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