Thursday, January 17, 2013

Accelerated Arctic Warming

The more northern we look, the more Earth is warming, as shown by the NASA image below.

global temperature anomalies averaged from 2008 through 2012, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
The interactive image below shows temperature anomalies for the different latitudional zones over time.

The Arctic (red line above) clearly shows the strongest warming over time, while accelerating in recent years. The best fit for this warming in the Arctic is a fourth order polynomial trendline, as added to the data on the image below.


This accelerated warming in the Arctic is threatening to destabilize the methane in the seabed and trigger runaway global warming within a decade. Effective action needs to be taken before it's too late!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Remarks at the White House - by James Hansen

Remarks at the White House1

15 January 2013
James Hansen, screenshot

Let us return for a moment to election night 2008. As I sat in our farm house in Pennsylvania, watching Barack Obama's victory speech, I turned my head aside so my wife would not see the tears in my eyes. I suspect that millions cried. It was a great day for America.

We had great hopes for our new President. It is appropriate, it is right, in a period honoring Martin Luther King, to recall the hopes and dreams of that evening, and the hopes and dreams that we…will… never  -  give up.

We have a dream – that our President will understand the intergenerational injustice of human-made climate change – that he will recognize our duty to be caretakers of creation, of the land, of the life on our planet – and that he will give these matters the priority that our young people deserve.

We have a dream – that our President will understand the commonality of solutions for energy security, national security and climate stability – and that he will exercise hands-on leadership, taking the matter to the public, avoiding backroom crippling deals with special interests.

We have a dream – that the President will stand as firm as Abraham Lincoln when he faced the great moral issue of slavery – and, like Franklin Roosevelt or Winston Churchill, he will speak with the public, enlisting their support and reassuring them.

It is not easy to find an Abraham Lincoln or a Winston Churchill. But we are here today looking to find that in you, Mr. President. And until you summon it within yourself, let me assure you that we will return, and our numbers will grow.

Mr. President, we will be here until the promise of a safe world for our children and grandchildren, and your children and grand children – is not a dream. We will be here until we are assured that the history books will rightfully record – that you were the person we were looking for  - the person who turned these dreams…into reality.

______________________________
1 Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, Pray-in at NY Ave. Presbyterian Church and the White House
(www.interfaithactiononclimatechange.org) on Martin Luther King's birthday.
"We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now…" Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Arctic sea ice volume 2012





Above images show Arctic sea ice volume data up to and including the year 2012. On the right, monthly data - click on the image to view data in more detail. On the left, annual minimum data with trendline added.



Details of minimum data (as on the image on the left) - Big changes in Arctic within years
Further albedo changes in the Arctic - Albedo changes in the Arctic
Discussion of some of the implications - Getting the picture
Policies to change the climate back - President Obama, here's a climate plan!

Friday, January 11, 2013

President Obama, here's a climate plan!


President Obama, now is the time to act on climate change! Climate change won't wait. There are encouraging signs indicating that a summit is being organized, to be hosted at the White House, to launch a comprehensive climate action plan with broad-based and bipartisan support.

What plan? Well, here's a climate plan!



The first line of action of most climate plans is to cut emissions. Two types of feebates, working separately, yet complimentary, can cut emissions most effectively and can be implemented locally in a budget-neutral way, without requiring complicated international agreements:
  1. energy feebates (pictured above) in sectors such as electricity, heating and transport, and 
  2. feebates in sectors such as agriculture, land use, waste management and construction (pictured below).
Pictured on the left are feebates that impose fees on sales of Portland cement, nitrogen fertilizers and livestock products. This will make further cuts in emissions.

The revenues are then used to fund rebates on clean construction and on soil supplements containing biochar and olive sand, which will remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in buildings, soil, river banks, roads and pavement.

Working seperately, yet complimentary, energy feebates and feebates in agriculture and other sectors can dramatically bring down carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and oceans; as a result, atmospheric carbon dioxide could be brought back to pre-industral levels of around 280ppm by the end of the century.

For further discussion, also see Towards a Sustainable Economy
Thus, these two feebates will be effective on two lines of action, i.e. on cutting emissions and on reducing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and oceans.

Even with these measures, temperatures will keep rising for some time, as excess ocean heat will get transferred to the atmosphere over the years and as aerosols (particularly sulfur) fall away that are currently emitted when fuel is burned and thus mask the full wrath of global warming.

Continued warming comes with numerous feedbacks. Combined, these feedbacks threaten to trigger runaway global warming, i.e. warming that will cause mass death, destruction and extinction.

How to avoid mass-scale death, destruction and extinction
This means that, in addition to the first two lines of action, further lines of action will be necessary, i.e. Solar radiation management, and Methane management and further action. Further action includes regulatory measures such as ending commercial flights over the Arctic and support for pyrolysis to avoid burning of biomass. The image below pictures several methods of Arctic methane management that should get high priority, given the threat of hydrate destabilization in the Arctic.
Arctic Methane Management

Fees imposed on commercial flights could fund solar radiation management, while the feebates described above will also be most effective in further lines of action, i.e. in Arctic methane management and further action.