Thursday, August 5, 2021

Siberian Permafrost Turns Carbon-12 Tap On: Radiocarbon Diminishing in Air

by Veli Albert Kallio

[ image by Peter Carter of Climate Emergency Institute ]

We at Sea Research Society's Environmental Affairs Department are very concerned of the melting permafrost terrain and methane clathrate deposits of the Arctic Ocean's sea bed (which are seeding Siberia's air once again with carbon-12). This is because Arctic Ocean's methane clathrates, methane (CH4) & carbon dioxide (CO₂) deposits are thought to be the world's largest reservoir of carbon. When it comes to methane, much of that in the Arctic is a side-product of geochemical processes since the birth of our planet some 4 billion years ago and so it contains ZERO radiocarbon (14C). To these are added the various undersea and land-based deposits of ancient fossil carbon which too have zero or just minute content of carbon-14.

We see already the Arctic at a tipping point, reaching a cliff edge to zero carbon-14 presence in tundra's plants emerging over recent years.

Above should set off alarm bells to archaeologists so much so that if carbon-14 can now disappear from the observed portfolio of the carbon isotopes in the plants and animals by radiocarbon-dilution effect from both the ancient geo-carbon and also the fossil carbon sources on land and sea bed. One of the key pillars to calibrate not only radiocarbon dating, but other methods as well that have been indirectly calibrated with the help of carbon-14 as their control measurements, is being attacked by the furious Mother Nature. We stand now on an increasingly elastic and shifting sands on this question. And why just now?

The answer to this is straightforward: the man-made global warming. So, now recall that the Arctic Ocean's sea level fell between some 120-130 metres from its present-day water table during the Ice Ages as water accumulated within the glaciers on the land - and that depressurisation (in addition to warming) is actually the primary route to destroy methane clathrates as it disintegrates at lower water pressures. The broad rule is therefore that the less water in ocean, the more methane clathrate (methane ice) begins to disintegrate.

Methane clathrates (methane ice deposits) as the world's biggest carbon reservoir would have inevitably oozed out copious amounts of carbon-12 into air during the lowering of the Ice Age era ocean water table. At the same time, the ice-filled and cold world oceans were mopping away gases from the air far more intensively than they do today leaving little atmospheric carbon-14 behind in this process. The atmospheric carbon is very rich in radiocarbon if compared to carbon in water courses and oceans - let alone in the ancient soils. This is because carbon-14 forms in atmosphere from nitrogen due to cosmic radiation. As cold liquids hold more gases than warmer liquids, it is not much of hocus pocus for radiocarbon to disappear from the air into these ice-filled and cold oceans teeming with much more marine life than today.

Today there are over 27,000 recorded methane craters discovered on the Arctic Ocean's sea bed and many have diameter of 1 km or wider. The largest methane crater found so far is 750 km² in its area and has the lost from its deposit thickness over 300 metres (and all of that is pure carbon-12 that was originally within methane ice, of course).

Ethnoclimatology Motion UNGA 101292 which the United Nations Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar authorised for tabling on the floor of the UN General Assembly - as the closing plea of the opening proceedings of the first UN Year of Indigenous Peoples - stipulated a faster case history for the Ice Ages period where global warming was initially driven by methane releases from the seabed while carbon dioxide emerged later as the respondent to the warming by high altitude methane. This then tipped the trajectory of the world's constantly cooling climate at the Last Glacial Maximum towards global warming (methane molecule-to-molecule to carbon dioxide molecule is 256 times more powerful in trapping sun's heat). This system tipping point reversed the cooling of the Ice Ages from the earlier snowball-earth runaway global cooling trajectory (which resulted from the continuously advancing snow lines of the Ice Ages that were heading towards the Equator).

The last time methane came to "save the earth" from runaway freezing (snowball earth), but at our current situation we have triggered its instability by the unforeseen levels of carbon dioxide now at 420 ppm that forms a very-difficult-to-get-rid-of background climatic forcing. This issue of carbon-12 from the frozen polar regions, called cryosphere, is not just for the archaeological community and about the timing of our historic events in the distant past to be understood more accurately, but it is a real existential threat today for our society. This time methane is not coming to us from the ground as our saviour like it was during the Ice Ages, but it is now our foremost enemy after our man-made releases of carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide released today lingers in air for 1000 years or even more, although bouncing back-and-forth with surface layers in the oceans, but it is only very gradually disappearing from the air by chemical weathering by the olivine group rocks or soils containing olivine group minerals. Also, very deeply penetrated plant roots lock carbon gradually away as well as the sea plankton if it falls onto the deep ocean bed. It is a grave misconception to think that the plant life is a great natural filter than can sort our mess out. The plants are rather geared to take carbon in as carbon dioxide to only form their leaves, let the autumn come and those same leaves are due to fall onto the ground and turn back into carbon dioxide. Flowers and trees are not any sort of Santa Claus to do that job for us.

As carbon's locking away is not at all immediate as shown above but as it can take thousand years or more to do so, so the same principle applied to the huge releases of Palaeolithic methane (which as lighter-than-air gas resides mainly in the upper troposphere, stratosphere, and mesosphere). As most of methane has been seen in recent years accumulating at fastest rate at the highest altitudes in the atmosphere - far above the surface - it cannot be very well represented in the ice cores. It simply is neither trapped in the snow crystals very much - and consequently - nor seen in the ice cores (that are basically just taken out of the pack of compacted fallen snow) - as most of methane resides well above the cloud level.

This explains why the global warming - which ended the Ice Ages - appears in the ice cores already centuries to thousands of years before the rising concentrations of carbon dioxide is seen in air trapped in the bubbles of the ice cores. Methane oxidizes best to carbon dioxide in warm and moist air, but during the xeric climate conditions of the ice ages and also amplified by the xeric heights in dry stratosphere, methane oxidised back then far slower than it does today. Thus, the huge heating effect of methane melted the ice sheets of the Ice Ages back into the world ocean and as soon as the sea levels rose, methane clathrates got re-pressurised - while the slip-sliding and collapsing ice sheets and ice shelves produced ice bergs and more sea ice to cool both the oceans and the climate. The supply of new methane from ocean beds soon was cut off and in due course also the permafrost releases also began to diminish as climate began to cool due to growing shortage of methane in air. By Holocene Thermal Maximum or Optimum any further global warming had stopped as by then there was little high altitude methane left in upper troposphere, stratosphere, and mesosphere. As a consequence of this new tipping point, the atmospheric temperature rise ceased and settled for the Holocene equilibrium and then dropped slightly for the next few thousands of years.

The above explains, for example, the radiocarbon-outliers of the earliest Egyptian carbon samples being typically more carbon-14 aged than their actual age. Quite ridiculously, the recent discovery of wood material in relation to the Great Pyramid of Giza, which was built by Pharaoh Khufu was radiocarbon-dated to 34th century BCE. This is more than eight (8) full centuries before the historically-known date when the Great Pyramid of Giza was built.

In fact, the timing of 34 centuries before Common Era is a date that occurred long before even the Egyptian state even existed! Yet, these readings were apparently checked very carefully and cross-checked again. The explanation flirted - which we at SRS are strenuously disputing - is that the Egyptians would have stored the wood for over eight centuries before the put that wood in use to build the Khufu pyramid. This is outrageous stupidity as it is very clear that huge bulk quantities of wood would have been required and which could never have been stored for such a long time before its final use. There simpy weren't even manpower and storage facilities in the 34th century BCE Egypt. Even if the wood would have been first used in the construction of the Sakkara Pyramid, the first pyramid, and then recycled to the Great Pyramid of Giza for re-use, it still would not be sufficiently aged enough to explain the carbon-14 readings obtained as 34th century BCE.

The best (or - better to say - only) explanation to the above is the effect of lingering carbon dioxide in the air remaining centuries to over thousands of years after the Palaeolithic releases of geological and fossil carbon from the Arctic permafrost soils and seabed.

Our whole economy (along history-keeping too) stands and falls if the Arctic methane and carbon dioxide emissions of carbon-12 continue this way unabated as today. The world needs cooling urgently and far less CO₂ perhaps 350 ppm or less. Of course, there is also the separate environmental issue of Siberia's forest fires this year and last (2020 and 2021) with a forest of the size of France said to have been burnt.

Above are serious issues where historic dating of carbon is a minor issue but where the dangers from global warming to human society must remain our supreme concern.

A particularly suspicious case to us is the Japanese Palaeolithic as the island sits east of the vast Eurasian landmass and is exposed to winds from north-west that come via Siberia. In particular the Pandora's Box of permafrost carbon-12 is suspect culprit in these comments:

"Ground stone and polished tools: The Japanese Palaeolithic is unique in that it incorporates one of the earliest known sets of ground stone and polished stone tools in the world .. The tools, which have been dated to around 30,000 BC, are a technology associated in the rest of the world with the beginning of the Neolithic around 10,000 BC. It is not known why such tools were created so early in Japan. Because of this originality, the Japanese Palaeolithic period in Japan does not exactly match the traditional definition of Palaeolithic based on stone technology (chipped stone tools). Japanese Palaeolithic tool implements thus display Mesolithic and Neolithic traits as early as 30,000 BC." (Wikipedia, Japanese Palaeolithic)

The effect of carbon-12 seeding in air - as the westerly winds roll gradually over the terrain of Siberia and Arctic to pick up old carbon on its way to east - is seen to be the greatest in the north-east corner of Siberia (i.e. northern Yakutia) where the plants currently appear sucking in major permafrost inputs of ancient carbon. This would suggest that the northern China would be also quite prone to similar permafrost-based carbon-12 seeding. Then, when one accounts for the blocking effects of the Karakoram and the Himalayan mountain ranges in south and the very limited ability for the air to rise in the thin-air area over the vast Tibetan high plateau, the air is mostly guided towards South-East China that also ought see fairly elevated levels of carbon-12. This creates in my mind a question mark over the Chinese archaeological claim that they created the world's first clay pottery some 10,000-15,000 years before others - the people of the Middle East - let alone, the 'laggards' of Europe.

So, is this then another radiocarbon illusion created by the Mother Earth?

"A 2012 publication in the Science journal, announced that the earliest pottery yet known anywhere in the world was found at Xianren Cave site dated by radiocarbon to between 20,000 and 19,000 years before present, at the end of the Last Glacial Period. The carbon 14 dating was established by carefully dating surrounding sediments. Many of the pottery fragments had scorch marks, suggesting that the pottery was used for cooking. These early pottery containers were made well before the invention of agriculture (dated to 10,000 to 8,000 BC), by mobile foragers who hunted and gathered their food during the Late Glacial Maximum." (Wikipedia, Xianren Cave)

There are other issues than a lack of such old pottery findings in addition to the suggested radiocarbon-dilution effect that archeologists must consider. One reason for not finding pottery, or encountering less of it, would be the mobility and the lack of accumulation of domestic waste in heaps, "tells", as in the Middle East because the people were likely highly nomadic. It might be more practical to use wooden vessels, leather skins and avoid pots by other means like roasting meat over the open fire rather than carrying the relatively bulky clay pots (at least for anything other than for use as a cooking vessel for vegetables, seeds, roots, or herbs). Animals and fish could be roosted on rocks or over the fire as and so the need might be just for an occasional cooking pot. When to the potential mobility is added temporary camping in places away from the rivers and the streams, it is easy to miss out vast majority of pottery left behind on the huge grassland steppes of Central Asia and China.

On the other hand, the idea of clay pots could have spread far faster as useful and easy-to-copy practice to bake clay, and the large c-14 dates might be almost entirely carbon artefacts.

At British Museum's conference Anthropology, Weather, and Climate Change we presented a poster Looking at the Forward Running Clocks' - Carbon Cycles and Time from Pleistocene to Present outlining some prime candidates that we suspected as fallen for the Arctic geo-carbon and fossil carbon seeding effects (a link attached at the end).

The carbon "seeding effects" are not only localised and regional radiocarbon anomalies. There are important anomalies also outside the time scales of these seasonal and regional weather patterns - on a global climate scale. As an indicator of this, there is the already stated anomalous global warming that is seen occurring centuries-to-millennia before the rise of carbon dioxide in air trapped within the ice cores before it is enriched with carbon dioxide. This anomaly (an exceedingly toted argument by the climate change denialists) can be associated with the above said methane leaks from methane clathrates (geo-carbon and fossil carbon) from ocean bed, and methane from permafrost (fossil carbon) at very high altitudes - where the were warming the air well before carbon dioxide arrived to the scene. This carbon sourcing would have seeded also the entire overall global air mass to at least some extent with this extra carbon-12 - though somewhat less than the northern anomalies to create also a somewhat skewed background comparisons level (less "aged" than the higher permafrost emissions seen nearer their Arctic sources) but also radiocarbon-diluted.

In all this, remember, it only takes a doubling of carbon-12 in the air to add one half-life (5,730 years) to the measured radiocarbon age. If you reduce it to a quarter, that is already in the range of over 10,000 years - and it is in these ranges or even more than that - these gigantic Arctic carbon stores painted our ancient biological bodies with extra carbon-12.

We have devised some unique experiments that can fully differentiate any carbon from the above Arctic sources from the naturally occurring portfolio of the carbon isotopes.

I just got the latest methane blobs reported 02:30 am today. These images are far from good although they do not create such a television theatre or environmental porn like the forest fires, floods and hurricanes do. Yesterday's readings are "our canary in a coal mine" to show how badly methane and carbon dioxide are now streaming out from the Arctic permafrost soils and seabeds. Our past trust has been to be over-relying on plain or slightly tinkered readings how to interpret radiocarbon. This will be gone as this is how carbon-12 now enters our biological materials from Northern Asia with its culprit caught red handed.

The revised radiocarbon-oriented vocabulary on the Arctic carbon-12 emissions are: Ice Ages' Last Glacial Maximum (= Sea-Level Drop Maximum) until Holocene Thermal Maximum/Optimum (= Permafrost Melting Maximum). The past ancient methane "blobs" were in a vastly larger scales than those seen here today. As I said above, carbon dioxide concentrations could not get over 180 ppm during the Ice Ages due to the cold and iceberg and sea ice filled oceans dissolving gases from atmosphere far faster than today whilst the carbon-12 taps of lowered seabeds and then melting permafrost remained highly venting. This suppressed atmospheric carbon-14 manifestation for a very long time. Situation on graphics on Tuesday, 3 August 2021; received Wednesday, 4th August 2021 at 02:30 GMT.

Our research of ethnoclimatological records show consistent records in Sumer, India, East Asia, and Mesoamerica that the ethnic time-keeping is consistently pointing towards faster causative, duration and termination history for the Ice Ages and as per UNGA 101292. This is also at the core of my 2023 moon expedition bid to raise alarm on above dangers from the Moon to get the First Nations of Americas ethnohistorical climate recollections taken more seriously and to establish Ethnoclimatology as a new branch of science akin to Ethnobotany.

By Veli Albert Kallio, FRGS | Vice-President, Sea Research Society | Ethnoclimatologist

• United Nations General Assembly Motion 101292 for UNFCCC's Talanoa Dialogue

• 'Looking At The Forward Running Clocks' - Carbon Cycles and Time From Pleistocene to Present

Former Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, London, Professor Sir Ghillean Prance, FRS, is fully behind me on my moon flight bid to raise alarm bells on above problem. I hope a positive outcome by the end of this month to be included in the moon flight crew.

• Moon Flight Crew Interview of Veli Albert Kallio (Step 3) for SpaceX 2023 Lunar Mission

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Climate Change Henchmen: Storm, Flood, Heat, Smoke and Fire

As climate change strikes with ever greater ferocity, five henchmen dominate the news: Storm, Flood, Heat, Smoke and Fire.

During the first 6 months of 2021, there have been 8 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events across the United States. The U.S. has sustained 298 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2020). The total cost of these 298 events exceeds $1.975 trillion. The total cost over the last 5 complete years (2016-2020) exceeds $630.0 billion — averaging more than $125.0 billion/year — both new records.

The image on the right shows very high temperatures over North America end July 2021, with fire radiative power as high as 247.3 MW.

The NASA Worldview satellite image below shows large smoke plumes on July 7, 2021, reaching Hudson Bay. Furthermore, large smoke plumes are also visible over British Columbia.

The NASA Worldview satellite image below shows smoke traveling from the West Coast to the East Coast of the U.S. on July 26, 2021.

The Copernicus image on the right shows Siberian fires spreading aerosols over the Arctic Ocean on August 2, 2021 

The NASA Worldview satellite image underneath on the right shows fires (red dots) in Siberia spreading smoke over the Arctic Ocean on August 2, 2021. 

Mainstream media do cover such disasters, often with sensational footage and while pointing at the extensive damage and loss of life caused by such events. 

However, mainstream media rarely point out that climate change is getting worse and and even more so due to feedbacks that can amplify extreme weather events and can further speed up how climate change unfolds.

One of these feedbacks is albedo loss, i.e. decline of the snow and ice cover resulting in less sunlight getting reflected back into space. Fires also come with soot that can settle on snow and ice, resulting in surface darkening that will speed up melting and albedo loss. 

The rapid thinning of Arctic sea ice was discussed in an earlier post and is again illustrated by the image on the right.

The image shows the sea ice (or rather the lack of it) north of Greenland on August 15, 2021. This is where years ago the thickest sea ice was located.

The melt season will continue for at least another month time, so the situation is very worrying, since the disappearance of the thicker sea ice means that the buffer is gone, i.e. that the latent heat tipping point of Arctic sea ice has been crossed.

Here's a link to compare the sea ice north of Greenland between July 29, 2021, and August 15, 2021.

The NSIDC image on the right shows that the proportion of multiyear ice in the Arctic during the first week of August was at 1.6 million km² (618,000 million miles²).

NSIDC adds: The loss of the multiyear ice since the early 1980s started in earnest after the 2007 record low minimum sea ice cover that summer, and while there have been slight recoveries since then, it has not recovered to values seen in the 1980s, 1990s, or early 2000s. This loss of the oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic Ocean is one of the reasons why the summer sea ice extent has not recovered, even when weather conditions are favorable for ice retention.

The Naval Research Lab animation on the right shows Arctic sea ice thickness (in m) for the 30 days up to August 27, 2021, with eight days of forecasts included. 

As the temperature difference between the North Pole and the Equator narrows, the wind flowing north on the Northern Hemisphere slows down, which changes the Jet Stream, resulting in more extreme weather events, including heatwaves and fires. 

One of the most dangerous feedbacks is that, as temperatures of the water of the Arctic Ocean keeps rising, more heat will reach sediments under the Arctic Ocean where huge amounts of methane are stored, causing destabilization. 

[ from the feedbacks page ]
This destabilization threatens to cause huge quantities of methane to erupt and enter the atmosphere, as has been discussed in many earlier posts such as this one and this one

This threat becomes dramatically larger as the latent heat threshold gets crossed and the buffer constituted by Arctic sea ice disappears, so further heat entering the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean can no longer be consumed in the process of melting the subsurface sea ice. 

Ominously, the MetOp-2 satellite recorded a methane level of 2839 ppb at 469 mb on July 30, 2021 pm, as the image on the right shows.

[ peak methane level of 2839 ppb ]
The image underneath shows large quantities of methane over the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) at 469 mb on August 4, 2021 pm. 

On August 4, 2021, there still was some sea ice present in the ESAS. While this remaining sea ice does prevent a lot of sunlight from reaching the water and heating it up, the sea ice also acts as a seal, preventing ocean heat from getting transferred to the atmosphere. The water in the ESAS is very shallow, less than 50 meter in most places, which makes it easier for heat to reach sediments, while it also makes it harder for methane that is rising through the water column to get decomposed by microbes in the water.

[ large quantities of methane over ESAS ]
The image underneath shows that on August 4, 2021 am, at 293 mb, the MetOp-1 satellite recorded a mean global methane level of 1942 ppb. 

At a 1-year Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 200, this translates into 388.2 ppm CO₂e. By comparison, the CO₂ level on August 4, 2021, was 414.89 ppm according to the Keeling Curve measurements at Mauna Loa, Hawaii. A GWP of 200 for methane is appropriate in the light of the danger of a huge burst of methane erupting from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, which would, due to the abrupt nature of such an eruption, make its impact felt instantaneously. 

[ mean global methane level of 1941 ppb ]
Methane levels are already very high over the Arctic, so additional methane erupting there will be felt most strongly in the Arctic itself, thus threatening to trigger even further methane releases.

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


• NOAA Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Time Series

• Copernicus - aerosols

• MetOp methane levels

• NSIDC: Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis - August 18, 2021

• Heatwaves and the danger of the Arctic Ocean heating up

• Arctic sea ice disappearing fast

• When will we die?

• Most Important Message Ever

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Arctic sea ice disappearing fast

Above image, from the National Institute of Polar Research in Japan, shows Arctic sea ice extent at a record low for the time of year, on July 4, 2021, at 8.4 million km².

[ for earlier animations, see discussions ]
Subsequently, the NSIDC also indicated that Arctic sea ice was at record low extent for the time of year, on July 5, 2021, at 8.867 million km² (image above). 

Arctic sea ice is getting very thin rapidly, threatening the latent heat tipping point to get crossed soon. 
The U.S. Navy animation on the right shows Arctic sea ice thickness (in m) for the 30 days up to July 31, 2021, with eight days of forecasts included. 

The very thin Arctic sea ice featuring on the University of Bremen image further below on the right indicates that there is now virtually no buffer left to consume further incoming heat. 

Is the Buffer is gone?

[ disappearing sea ice north of Greenland ]
An often-used threshold for a Blue Ocean Event (BOE) is that a BOE occurs when sea ice extent falls below 1 million km². Similarly, a threshold for the latent heat tipping point of Arctic sea ice could be sea ice thickness.

Disappearance of the buffer constituted by subsurface sea ice could be measured by a threshold of most sea ice becoming less than 0.5 meter thin. By that measure, the buffer is now virtually gone, implying that virtually no further heat arriving from the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean in the Arctic Ocean can be absorbed in the process of melting of the sea ice.

The NASA Worldview image on the right shows the sea ice on July 29, 2021, north of Greenland, where once the thickest sea ice was located. 

The combination image below show forecasts for July 16 run one day earlier for Arctic sea ice in 2014 (left) and 2021 (right). 

As sea ice gets thinner, ever less ocean heat gets consumed in the process of melting the subsurface ice, to the point where there is only a thin layer of ice left at the surface. While this thin layer of ice may remain at the surface for as long as air temperatures are still low enough, and this ice will still consume some heat at the bottom, at the same time it acts as a seal, preventing heat from the Arctic Ocean to enter the atmosphere.

Albedo loss, latent heat loss, storms and changes to the jet stream can add up to dramatically amplify the temperature rise of the water in the Arctic Ocean, which comes with the danger of destabilization of hydrates at its seafloor, resulting in eruption of huge amounts of methane from hydrates and opening up pathways for release of even further amounts of free gas from underneath these hydrates, as illustrated by the image below.

And while the situation in 2021 is dire, the outlook for the years beyond 2021 is that things look set to get progressively worse. 

Outlook is getting worse

This situation in 2021 is the more remarkable given that we're in a La Niña period, as illustrated by the NOAA image on the right showing a forecast issued July 5, 2021, that indicates that La Niña is expected to reach a new low by the end of 2021. 

El Niño events, according to NASA, occur roughly every two to seven years. As temperatures keep rising, ever more frequent strong El Niño events are likely to occur. NOAA anticipates the current La Niña to continue for a while, so it's likely that a strong El Niño will occur somewhere from 2023 to 2025.

Sunspots are on the rise. We were at a low point in the sunspot cycle late 2019/early 2020. As the image on the right shows, the number of sunspots is rising and can be expected to rise further as we head toward 2026, and temperatures can be expected to rise accordingly. 

According to James Hansen et al., the variation of solar irradiance from solar minimum to solar maximum is of the order of 0.25 W/m⁻².

Temperatures are currently also suppressed by sulfate cooling, and their impact is falling away as we progress with the necessary transition away from fossil fuel and biofuel, toward the use of more wind turbines and solar panels instead. Aerosols typically fall out of the atmosphere within a few weeks, so as the transition progresses, this will cause temperatures to rise over the next few years.

So, the outlook is grim. The right thing to do now is to help avoid the worst things from happening, through immediate, comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.


• National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR) in Japan

• The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder

• NOAA ENSO Evolution

Saturday, July 3, 2021

A Temperature Rise Of More Than 18 Degrees Celsius By 2026?

On July 1, 2021 pm, the MetOp-1 satellite recorded a mean methane level of 1935 ppb at 293 mb.

[ from earlier post ]
This mean methane level translates into 387 ppm CO₂e at a 1-year Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 200. 

This GWP is appropriate in the light of the danger of a huge burst of methane erupting from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, which would, due to the abrupt nature of such an eruption, make its impact felt instantaneously.

Carbon dioxide on July 1, 2021, was 418.33 ppm, as illustrated by the NOAA image below.

Together, this CO₂e level of methane and this carbon dioxide level add up to 805.33 ppm CO₂e, which is 394.67 ppm CO₂e away from the 1200 ppm clouds tipping point which on its own could increase the temperature rise by a further 8°C, as discussed in an earlier post.

This 394.67 ppm CO₂e, again at a 1-year GWP of 200, translates into 1973 ppb of methane. In other words, a methane burst of 1973 ppb or about 5 Gt of methane would suffice to trigger the clouds feedback, adding a further 8°C to the temperature rise, as depicted in the image below. 

A 5 Gt seafloor methane burst would double methane in the atmosphere and could instantly raise the CO₂e level to 1200 ppm and trigger the clouds feedback (top right panel of above chart).

[ from earlier post ]
Even without such a huge eruption of methane from the seafloor, there are further pollutants than just carbon dioxide and methane, such as nitrous oxide, nitrogen oxides, CFCs, carbon monoxide, black carbon, brown carbon and water vapor, and they haven't yet been included in the above CO₂e total. The levels of all these pollutants could rise strongly in a matter of years and feedbacks could start kicking in with much greater ferocity, while the resulting extreme weather events would cause sulfate cooling to end, resulting in an 18.43°C temperature rise that could be reached as early as 2026 (left panel of above chart). 

To further illustrate this, the image on the right shows a trend that is based on NOAA 2006-2020 annual global mean methane data and that points at a mean of 3893 ppb getting crossed by the end of 2026, more than twice the 1935 ppb mean methane level of the image at the top.

Such a high mean methane level by 2026 cannot be ruled out, given the rapid recent growth in mean annual methane levels (15.85 ppb in 2020, see inset on image). And, as said, there are further pollutants, in addition to methane, and additional feedbacks to take into account. 

As discussed in an earlier post, humans will likely go extinct with a 3°C rise, while a 5°C rise will likely end most life on Earth. The temperature rise from pre-industrial to 2020 may well be as large as 2.28°C, as the bottom figure in the bar on the left of above chart shows and as discussed in an earlier post.

Will the IPCC get its act together?

Meanwhile, the IPCC plans to release its next report, the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), on August 9, 2021, in the lead up to the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference, from October 31 to November 12, 2021 in Glasgow, UK. Given their track record, the IPCC and politicians may be reluctant to even consider the information in this post, but it clearly is high time for the IPCC to get its act together. 

The IPCC said, in SR15_FAQ, that the "global temperature is currently rising by 0.2°C (±0.1°C) per decade, human-induced warming reached 1°C above pre-industrial levels around 2017 and, if this pace of warming continues, would reach 1.5°C around 2040." 

Sam Carana: "The temperature rise for the most recent decade (2011-2020) is 0.41°C (NASA data) and the rise from pre-industrial may be 2.28°C, so if this pace continued, 3.11°C could be reached by 2040 and humans will likely go extinct with a 3°C rise. Worse, the rise is accelerating and a rise of as much as 18.43°C could occur by 2026."

Potential temperature rise from pre-industrial to 2026

We face the threat of a potential temperature rise from pre-industrial to 2026 of 18.43°C and the eventual disappearance of all life from Earth, as illustrated by the image below. NASA data shows a 1920-2020 temperature rise of 1.29°C. To calculate the rise from pre-industrial, 0.29°C is added for the 3480 BC-1520 rise, 0.2°C for 1520-1750 and 0.3°C for 1750-1920, while 0.1°C is added to reflect higher polar anomalies and 0.1°C for air temperatures, adding up to a rise of 2.28°C from pre-industrial. A temperature rise of a further 16.15°C could happen by 2026, adding up to a total potential temperature rise of 18.43°C from pre-industrial to 2026. Most species will likely go extinct with a 5°C rise, but humans will likely go extinct with a 3°C rise and eventually, all life would disappear from Earth, as discussed in an earlier post.

In the video below, Guy McPherson comments on the IPCC.

EPA could and should act now

In the US, Joe Biden could simply instruct the EPA to enforce tighter standards. The US supreme court ruled on June 26, 2006, that the EPA has the authority to set standards for greenhouse gas emissions. In 2009, the EPA confirmed that greenhouse gas emissions are pollutants that endanger public health and welfare through their impacts on climate change and admitted that the EPA has the responsibility and the duty to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, and it took until August 3, 2015, for the EPA to issue the Clean Power Plan, giving states a number of choices how to reach set targets for CO₂ emissions. In the light of recent scientific findings and in line with the Paris Agreement, adopted on 12 December 2015, it now makes sense for the EPA to strengthen these targets and enforce this without delay.


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


• Climate Plan

• Could temperatures keep rising?

• Confirm Methane's Importance

• When Will We Die?

• Overshoot or Omnicide?

• NASA, Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)

• IPCC:  Frequently Asked Questions, Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C

• Possible climate transitions from breakup of stratocumulus decks under greenhouse warming - by Tapio Schneider et al.

• Most Important Message Ever

• Heatwaves and the danger of the Arctic Ocean heating up

• Science Update: Continued IPCC Conservatism and Lies - by Guy McPherson