Friday, March 20, 2020

World's Governments Must Learn About Emissions During COVID-19 Shutdown

AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE - by Albert Kallio

Global Circulation Models (GCMs) are computer models of the world's atmosphere based on observations and assumptions if there are no direct information available.

World emissions shutdowns are a novel opportunity to learn about how climate system responds under different circumstances that cannot be normally experimentally checked. It is vitally important for the world's governments NOT to shut down meteorological measurements. Indeed, efforts must increase to use opportunity to test and search regional responses of the highly unusual situation.

World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and national meteorological organisations must quickly come up with new research proposals to gain every possible bit of information as this helps to understand how world's climate will respond as the world moves towards ZERO emissions. It is a tremendous tragedy if this unique opportunity to find more about how our atmosphere operates is lost.

Sponsors, please look at serious proposals to make research offers right now! Let's make something positive happen out of this coronavirus calamity.

Veli Albert Kallio
Vice President, Sea Research Society
Environmental Affairs Department

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Methane, Earthquake and Sudden Stratospheric Warming

On the morning of March 12, 2020, peak methane levels were as high as 2902 ppb (parts per billion) at a pressure level of 469 mb (millibar, equivalent to an altitude of some 6 km (almost 20,000 feet).

What did cause this very high peak? The image on the right shows the situation at 695 mb.

High levels of methane, colored in magenta, show up over the oceans at high latitudes north, especially around Greenland and around Svalbard.

The image underneath on the right shows methane even closer to sea level, at 1000 mb. At this altitude, such magenta-colored high levels of methane only show up over an area in between Greenland and Svalbard.

It appears that these high methane levels did originate from this area. What could have triggered this?

The image below shows that an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.6 on the Richter scale hit an area in between Greenland and Svalbard on March 11, 2020, at 21:30:03 (UTC), 2020, at depth of 10 km.

It appears that the earthquake did cause destabilization of sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean in between Greenland and Svalbard, containing methane in the form of hydrates and free gas, with the destabilization resulting in the eruption of methane that subsequently reached the atmosphere.

As illustrated by the image on the right, there were strong differences in pressure in the atmosphere over Greenland on the one hand and over the Arctic Ocean on the other hand, on March 11, 2020, 21:00 UTC.

The next question is if there was something that triggered the earthquake. The image below shows a forecast for March 22, 2020, of conditions in the stratosphere at 10 hPa.

Above image shows a forecast for March 22, 2020, of temperatures as high as 6.2°C or 43.2°F and as low as -68.8°C or -91.9°F at another location at 10 hPa (Polar Vortex), with wind reaching speeds as high as 369 km/h or 229 mph.

The image on the right shows a huge temperature difference between two locations in the stratosphere on March 23, 2020, resulting in wind reaching speeds as high as 341 km/h or 212 mph.

This indicates a strong updraft, carrying huge amounts of relatively warm air from low altitudes over the Arctic up into the stratosphere.

Following a steep fall, Arctic sea ice extent was at a record low for the time of year on March 28, 2020, as illustrated by the image below.
Since the start of 2020, Arctic sea ice volume has been at a record low for the time of year, as the image on the right shows.

These conditions may have acted as a sink plunger, triggering the earthquake and destabilizing sediments at the seafloor, resulting in the methane eruptions.

More generally, the events reflect a huge and growing overall imbalance in the temperature of the atmosphere, and the added methane releases further contribute to this imbalance.

Meanwhile, sea surface temperatures off the coast of North America on March 21, 2020, were as much as 13.2°C or 23.7°F higher than 1981-2011 (at the green circle on the image on the right).

With sea ice thickness this low, it looks like there will be no buffer left to consume ocean heat that gets carried along the path of the Gulf Stream into the Arctic Ocean, which threatens to further destabilize sediments containing huge amounts of methane, as also discussed in an earlier post.

On top of this, high temperatures keep showing up over the Arctic Ocean in forecasts, as illustrated by the two forecasts below (for March 21, 2020, and for March 31, 2020).

Temperature anomaly forecast for March 21, 2020
Temperature anomaly forecast for March 31, 2020


As said above, it appears that this M4.6 earthquake on March 11, 2020, caused destabilization of sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean in between Greenland and Svalbard.

The image on the right shows that earlier, a M5 earthquake hit an area a bit to the north, i.e. on March 3, 2020.

While not much methane showed up locally following that M5 earthquake, high methane readings were recorded elsewhere over large parts of the Arctic Ocean early March 2020, which could have resulted from destabilization along the fault line that crosses the Arctic Ocean (red line).

The next image on the right shows that earthquakes between Greenland and Svalbard over the past decade did predominantly occur on this fault line.

The high methane readings in between Greenland and Svalbard following the M4.6 earthquake could have occurred for the very reason that this earthquake hit an area outside the fault line, where sediments had until now rarely been shaken.

This could imply there could be huge amounts of methane contained in areas outside the fault line, supporting the above warning that ocean heat that gets carried along the path of the Gulf Stream into the Arctic Ocean threatens to further destabilize sediments containing huge amounts of methane. After all, such destabilization can occur as a result of higher temperatures or changes in pressure, or both.


South Greenland was hit by M4.3 and M4.5 earthquakes on April 17, 2020. North Greenland was earlier hit by a M4.6 earthquake, on March 30, 2020.

Earthquakes that hit the Greenland mainland are rare. Earthquakes typically take place on or close to the faultline (red line) that goes over Iceland and extends north, running in between Greenland and Svalbard, as was the case with the M4.2 east of Greenland on April 2, 2020.

This faultline runs across the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean all the way to Russia. Multiple earthquakes hit this faultline recently, including two M4.3 eartquakes, one east of Severnaya Zemlya on April 12, 2020, and one near Tiksi on March 27, 2020.

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


• Arctic Ocean January 2020

• Seismic Events

• Arctic Ocean February 2020

• Climate Plan

Friday, March 13, 2020

2°C crossed

It's time to stop denying how precarious the situation is.

Remember the Paris Agreement? In 2015, politicians pledged to hold the global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pledged they would try and limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Well, an analysis by Sam Carana shows that it was already more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial when the Paris Agreement was reached.

In Sam Carana's analysis, the year 1750 is used as the baseline for pre-industrial. The analysis shows that we meanwhile have also crossed the 2°C threshold (in February 2020) and that the temperature rise looks set to rapidly drive humans and eventually most if not all species on Earth into extinction.

Yet, our politicians refuse to act!

Accelerating temperature rise

Indeed, there are indications that the recent rise is part of a trend that points at even higher temperatures in the near future, as also discussed at this analysis page. Polynomial trends can highlight such acceleration better than linear trends. The 1970-2030 polynomial trend in the image below is calculated over the period from 1880 through to February 2020. The trend points at 3°C getting crossed in 2026.

In above image, the January 2020 and February 2020 anomalies are above the trend. This indicates that the situation might be even worse.

A polynomial trend calculated over a shorter period can highlight short-term variation such as associated with El Niño events and can highlight feedbacks that might otherwise be overlooked. The 2010-2022 trend in the image below is calculated with 2009-Feb.2020 data. The trend indicates that 2°C was crossed in February 2020, and looks set to keep rising and cross 3°C in 2021, more specifically in January next year, which is less than a year away.

Such a steep rise is in line with unfolding developments that are causing the aerosol masking effect to fall away, such as a decrease in industrial activity due to COVID-19 fears. The image below shows a potential rise of 18°C or 32.4°F from 1750 by the year 2026.

Above image was posted more than a year ago and illustrates that much of this potentially huge temperature rise over the next few years could eventuate as a result of a reduction in the cooling now provided by sulfates. In other words, a steep temperature rise could result from a decline in industrial activity that is caused by fears about the spread of a contagious virus, as also discussed in the video at an earlier post.

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


• Analysis: Crossing the Paris Agreement thresholds

• A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026?

• How much warming have humans caused?

• Arctic Ocean January 2020

• Climate Plan

In the video below, Guy McPherson discusses the situation.

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