Saturday, April 16, 2022

Runaway temperature rise by 2026?

March 2022 temperature anomaly

The NASA image below shows the March 2022 temperature anomaly. The Arctic is heating up strongly. 

The above image shows a temperature rise for March 2022 of 1.06°C, which is the rise from 1951-1980. The image below shows a temperature rise from 1900 for March 2022 of 1.36°C. 

[ click on images to enlarge ]
The box on above image shows that, when including further adjustment, the temperature rise from pre-industrial to March 2022 could be as much as 2.35°C. Details of the adjustment are described at the pre-industrial page. A 2.35°C rise is only 0.65°C away from a 3°C rise and, as described before, a 3°C rise will likely drive humans (and many other species) into extinction. 

Note that the March 2022 temperature is suppressed, as we're currently in the depth of a persistent La Niña, as illustrated by the NOAA image on the right. 

[ click on images to enlarge ]
The above NOAA image shows that the difference between the top of El Niño and the bottom of La Niña could be more than half a degree Celsius. The peak of the next El Niño may well coincide with a high number of sunspots (NOAA image right). 

The image below features two trends. The black trend is based on adjusted Jan.1880-Mar.2022 NASA data and shows how 3°C could be crossed in 2027. The blue trend is based on adjusted Apr.2012-Mar.2022 NASA data and better reflects short-term variables such as sunspots and El Niño. The blue trend shows how 3°C could be crossed in 2025, triggered by an emerging El Niño and high sunspots. 

Runaway temperature rise

[ click on images to enlarge ]
A strong El Niño combined with high sunspots could cause the global temperature rise to cross 3°C in 2025.

Moreover, this could trigger runaway temperature rise, starting before 2026 where the temperature rise is felt most strongly, i.e. in the Arctic, especially during El Niño events, as illustrated by the image on the right that shows anomalies (vs 1951-1980) as high as 6.6°C in the Arctic.  

[ see the Extinction page ]
The potential temperature rise is illustrated by the bar on the right.

As temperatures rise, loss of Arctic sea ice and of its latent heat buffer will cause more heating of the atmosphere, while changes to the Jet Stream will cause more extreme weather. 

As humans go extinct, transport and industrial activities will stop that currently co-emit sulfur that masks the full extent of the temperature rise. 

In addition, as also discussed at the aerosols page, worldwide forest fires and trash fires could cause huge amounts of black carbon to be emitted. 

Rising temperatures will result in more water vapor in the atmosphere (7% more water vapor for every 1°C warming), further amplifying the temperature rise, since water vapor is a potent greenhouse gas. 

As the IPCC warns (see above image), for each additional 1°C of warming, the global volume of perennially frozen ground to 3 m below the surface is projected to decrease by about 25% relative to the present volume, and the IPCC adds that these decreases may be underestimates. As permafrost declines, huge amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide get released. 

As the ocean heats up, a huge temperature rise could be caused by releases of seafloor methane, further contributing to the clouds tipping point (at 1200 ppm CO₂e) to get crossed, causing a further rise of 8°C. Altogether, the temperature rise could exceed 18°C.

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

In the video below, Jennifer Hynes and Sandy Schoelles discuss the temperature rise. 


• NASA Gistemp

• Pre-industrial

• When Will We Die?

• NOAA - Monthly Temperature Anomalies Versus El Niño

• NOAA - ENSO: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

• NOAA - Solar cycle sunspots progression

• Sunspots

• Extinction

• Aerosols

• Arctic Hit By Ten Tipping Points

• IPCC - FAQ on water vapor

• IPCC - AR6 WG1 TS on permafrost

• Clouds feedback

• Climate Plan

Friday, April 8, 2022

Global Warming and the Fermi Paradox

by Andrew Glikson

Enrico Fermi, Physicist, 1901-1953
According to Fermi’s Paradox, the failure to date to achieve radio communication between Earth and extraterrestrial civilizations can be attributed to their inevitable short-term self-destruction, a consequence of uncontrolled dispersion of toxic substances, contamination of air, water and land, and construction of deadly weapons. On Earth this includes saturation of the atmosphere by greenhouse gases and production of nuclear weapons. 

The most extensive mass extinction event in the history of Earth, represented by the Permian-Triassic boundary 251 million years-ago, involved warming, acidification and oxygen depletion of the oceans, with consequent emanations of toxic H₂S and CH₄, leading to a loss of some 57% of biological families, 83% of genera and 81% of marine species.

If the history of the 21st century is ever written it would report that, while large parts of the planet were becoming uninhabitable, the extreme rate and scale of global warming and the migration of climate zones (~100 km per decade), the extent of polar ice melting, ocean warming and acidification, and methane release from permafrost, threatened to develop into one of the most extensive mass extinction events in the geological history of planet Earth.

As concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases exceed 500 ppm CO₂-equivalents, consistent with global warming of more than >4°C (image above right), driving temperatures to well above 4°C (image below) and threatening to rise at a higher rate than those of the great mass extinctions. 

The accelerating destruction of the liveable Earth atmosphere and oceans (after Wil Steffen, 2012)

Climate scientists have been either silenced or replaced by an army of economists and politicians mostly ignorant of the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere, but quantifying the cost-benefit economies of mitigation like corner shop grocers.

James Hansen giving testimony
before the U.S. Congress (1988)
Proposed mitigation action were mostly focused on reduction of emissions, neglecting the amplifying feedbacks and tipping points projected by leading climate scientists such as James Hansen (image right).

But climate change was not the only threat hanging over the head of humanity and nature. As nations kept proliferating atomic weapons, with time the probability of a nuclear war increased exponentially. 

At the root of the MAD (mutual assured destruction) policy, or omnicide, resides the deep tribalism and herd mentality of the species, hinging on race, religion, ideology, territorial claims and the concept of an “enemy” perpetrated by demagogues and warmongers, leading to an Orwellian 1984 world where “Oceania has always been at war with East-Asia”, as in the current “forever wars“. Prior to World War I two social forces collided, fascism and socialism. While the former has changed appearances, the latter weakened. At the core of superpower conflict between the Anglo-Saxon world and the Slavic or Chinese worlds are claims of moral superiority, but in reality naked grabs for power.

At the centre of human conscience is its mythological nature, a mindset closely related to the mastery of fire where, for longer than one million years, Homo erectus, perched at campfire, watching the flickering flames, has grown its insights and imagination, developing a fear of death, dreaming of omniscience and omnipotence, aspiring for eternal life.

As civilization developed in the Neolithic these sentiments drove humans to construct pyramids to enshrine immortality, undertake human sacrifice, to perpetrate death to appease the gods, expressed in modern times through world wars, as stated by Albert Einstein: “The splitting of the atom has changed everything bar man’s way of thinking and thus we drift into unparalleled catastrophes”.

For an intelligent species to be able to explore the solar system planets but fail to protect its own home planet defies explanation. For a species to magnify its entropic effect on nature by orders of magnitude, developing cerebral powers which allow it to become the intelligent eyes through which the Universe explores itself, hints at yet unknown natural laws which underlie life, consciousness and complexity.

We have entered the age of consequences, masked by the 24 hours news cycle that can only portray transient events but rarely exposes the Orwellian misconceptions which underlie the complicity of the powers-that-be. For, just as individuals can be plagued by insanity, so can groups of people, as in the Jonestown massacre, or in Nazi Germany, where a nation or a species slide blindly into mass suicide, creating systems that saturate the atmosphere with carbon gases and proliferate nuclear weapons in a terrestrial confirmation of Fermi’s Paradox.

Andrew Glikson
A/Prof. Andrew Glikson

Earth and Paleo-climate scientist
School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
The University of New South Wales,
Kensington NSW 2052 Australia

The Asteroid Impact Connection of Planetary Evolution
The Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earth
Climate, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocene
The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earth
Evolution of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizon
From Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligence
Asteroids Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australia
The Event Horizon: Homo Prometheus and the Climate Catastrophe
The Fatal Species: From Warlike Primates to Planetary Mass Extinction

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Shortcomings of IPCC AR6 WGIII - Mitigation of Climate Change

In the video below, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres comments on the launch of the IPCC AR6 WGIII SPM Mitigation report. 

[ U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres ]

The report has severe shortcomings, including: 

The IPCC makes it look as if the temperature rise could be restricted to 1.5°C above pre-industrial and insists there was a carbon budget left, to be divided by using monetary analysis. 

This narrative results in a failure to highlight in the SPM some key drivers of change (such as heat pumps in buildings and air taxis in transport) and in inappropriately referring to such key drivers of change as 'options', while failing to mention the best policies to achieve the necessary changes, i.e. through local feebates.

The agenda behind this narrative becomes further evident in phrases such as “CCS could allow fossil fuels to be used longer, reducing stranded assets” and “oil and gas assets are projected to be more at risk of being stranded toward mid-century”. 

Instead of “assets” at “risk” of getting “stranded”, these are liabilities that burden the world with a rising cost of clean-up and compensation claims. The IPCC gives CCS further undeserved importance by mentioning it no less than 32 times in the SPM, while a key driver of change such as heat pumps is mentioned only once, and not under buildings but industrial policy. 

The image below, from the report's SPM, shows “options” by sector with the length of each bar indicating their potential for emissions reduction by 2030, while the color inside the bar gives a cost estimate. 

[ from IPCC AR6 WGIII SPM, click images to enlarge ]

These are not genuinely options, since the dire situation leaves little choice and instead makes it imperative to act most urgently, comprehensively and effectively on climate change, in line with the Paris Agreement. 

The Paris Agreement does instruct the IPCC to describe the best pathways to achieve this and the IPCC has until now refused to do so. As Arctic-news blog has pointed out for more than a decade, mitigation is most effectively achieved by offering people a range of options, preferably through local feebates, which will also make such policies more popular, as a 2019 analysis (above) concludes.

[ from earlier post ]

Options are more appropriately realized in the form of feebates that can offer a range of options, with the more polluting options attracting fees and with the revenues used to fund rebates on the cleaner options. 

An example of a wider set of local feebates is depicted in the above analysis of EV policy. A more diverse set of feebates could include not only fees on fuel and fuel-powered vehicles, but also on facilities that sell or process fuel, vehicle registration, parking, toll roads, etc. It's important to act comprehensively, along several lines of action, e.g. to redesign cities and plan for air taxis

Given the urgency to act, such lines of action are all best implemented as soon as possible, yet at the same time many lines of action are best kept separate, as illustrated by the above image. 

The image on the right illustrates the difference between using a Gobal Warming Potential (GWP) for methane of 171 over a few years, vs the IPCC's use of a GWP of 28 over 100 years. 

Fees on sales of livestock products can raise revenue for pyrolysis of biowaste, with the resulting biochar added to the soil.  That would also support the transition toward a vegan-organic diet more strongly, in line with the conclusion of an earlier IPCC report that a vegan diet ranks highest regarding mitigation (image right, from an earlier post). 

The Climate Plan prefers local feebates. Where needed, fees can be set high enough to effectively ban specific alternatives.

Furthermore, instead of using money, local councils could add extra fees to rates for land where soil carbon falls, while using all revenue for rebates on rates for land where soil carbon rises.

That way, biochar effectively becomes a tool to lower rates, while it will also help improve the soil's fertility, its ability to retain water and to support more vegetation. That way, real assets are built, as illustrated by the image on the right, from the 2014 post Biochar Builds Real Assets.

Catastrophic Methane Rise 

The IPCC narrative hinges on radical cuts in methane emissions from 2020, as illustrated by the image on the right. 

Instead, methane rose by 15.27 ppb in 2020 and by 16.99 ppb in 2021, the two highest growth levels since the NOAA record began in 1984. 

The combination image below shows the catastrophic rise of methane. The image in the left panel shows a trend based on January 2008-December 2021 monthly mean methane data. 

When extending this trend, current methane concentration would be 1920 ppb. Note that methane in December 2021 was 18.6 ppb higher than in December 2020, and it now is April 2022.

The situation is even worse than depicted in above image, as NOAA's data are for marine surface measurements. Methane tends to rise in the atmosphere and accumulate at higher altitudes. As illustrated by the image below, mean methane level is growing fastest at the higher altitude associated with 293 mb. 

Anyway, have another look at the combination image further above. The right panel shows that, if the trend continues, a concentration of 3840 ppb (i.e. double the current concentration) could be crossed in 2029, which would translate into a carbon dioxide equivalent (CO₂e) of 768 parts per million (ppm) at a one-year global warming potential (GWP) for methane of 200

The image on the right shows a trend that, if continued, will cross a carbon dioxide level of 450 ppm by 2029. 

Add this 450 ppm for CO₂ to 768 ppm CO₂e for methane and the joint CO₂e could be 1218 ppm in 2029, i.e. it would have crossed the point at which the clouds feedback starts to kick in (at 1200 ppm CO₂e). 

The clouds feedback could thus raise the global temperature by 8°C by 2029, but when also adding the temperature impact of greenhouse gases and further drivers, the clouds tipping point could be crossed much earlier, say by 2026, while a temperature rise of 10°C could happen even before the clouds tipping point gets reached. Drivers could include nitrous oxide (N₂O, see image right), seafloor methane, water vapor, loss of Arctic sea ice and the falling away of the aerosol masking effect, as discussed at the Extinction page.

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


• Secretary-General Warns of Climate Emergency, Calling Intergovernmental Panel’s Report ‘a File of Shame’, While Saying Leaders ‘Are Lying’, Fuelling Flames

• Mitigation of Climate Change Report 2022: "Litany of broken climate promises" - UN Chief

• IPCC Climate Change 2022 - Mitigation of Climate Change - Summary for Policymakers

• IPCC special report Climate Change and Land

• IPCC Report Climate Change and Land (review)
• Which policy can help EVs most?

• Confirm Methane's Importance

• Biochar Builds Real Assets

• The Importance of Methane

• NOAA - Globally averaged marine surface monthly mean methane data

• NOAA - Globally averaged marine surface annual mean methane data

• NOAA - MetOp satellite methane data - Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI)

• NOAA - Mauna Loa CO2 weekly mean and historical comparisons

• Clouds feedback

• Extinction

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

From a Miocene-like CO2 level of ~420 ppm to irreversible climate change

by Andrew Glikson

As terrestrial adversaries keep pushing the Earth and its inhabitants to within seconds of a nuclear catastrophe, looming through heat waves, extreme fires and flood events is the huge calamity of irreversible global warming.

[ from earlier post ]

Carbon dioxide (CO₂) reached levels well above 420 parts per million (ppm) at Mauna Lao, Hawaii, on February 13 and 14, 2022, as illustrated by the image, from an earlier post.

The image below, adapted from NOAA, shows CO₂ and other greenhouse gases such as methane (CH₄) and nitrous oxide (N₂O) rising from 280 ppm CO₂e in 1700 to 504 ppm CO₂e in 2021. This figure of 504 ppm CO₂e could be much higher when applying a short horizon to calculate methane's Global Warming Potential. 

CO₂ levels have been rising from ~315 ppm in 1950 to ~419 ppm in 2022, at an average growth rate of some 1.44 ppm/year accelerating to about 2.5 ppm/year recently. 

The rate of this CO₂ rise is unprecedented in the Cenozoic (since 65 Ma) record, with perhaps the closest parallel being the aftermath of the K-T dinosaur mass extinction event, when the temperature rose by as much as ~7.5°C. According to Beerling et al. (2002) CO₂ level rose from 350–500 ppm to at least 2,300 ppm within 10,000 years following the K-T impact, at an average rate of ~0.2 ppm/year, significantly less than today's rate.

Above image shows CO₂ on track to reach 575 ppm by 2061, a level commensurate with atmospheric conditions during parts of the Miocene, when the temperature in central Europe was 20°C higher than today, as also illustrated by the image below, adapted from a 2020 study by Methner et al

The image below further illustrates that to find CO₂ levels as high as 575 ppm, we have to go back in time millions of year, into the Miocene. 

What makes current conditions even more dire is that it's not just carbon dioxide that is rising at a speed unprecedented in history, methane is rising at an even faster pace, as illustrated by the image below, from an earlier post

Can the current climate trend be arrested, or even reversed?

The current global greenhouse gas trend is leading to one of the largest mass extinctions of species in the geological record, one of the victims being human civilization. The current focus on emission reduction overlooks a major factor, namely the amplifying feedbacks from land and oceans (Steffen et al., 2018). There is a desperate need, in addition to emission reduction, for urgent large-scale sequestration of atmospheric greenhouse gases, and for further action to combat the temperature rise.

The role of amplifying GHG feedbacks from land and oceans, leading to enhanced heating, appears to be neglected in climate negotiationsAmplifying feedbacks include:
  • an increase in evaporation, raising atmospheric water vapor levels, which enhances the greenhouse gas effect;
  • a decline in the polar albedo (reflection) due to large-scale lateral and vertical melting of ice;
  • release of methane from degrading permafrost and from polar sediments;
  • reduced CO₂ intake by warming oceans. Currently the oceans absorb between 35-42% of all CO₂ and around 90% of the excess heat;
  • warming, desiccation, deforestation and fires over land areas.
Numerous species have been unable to survive the accelerated global heating following the K-T impact event, nor are many species likely to survive the even higher rate of the of the Anthropocene catastrophe. A connection between climate change and human wars is evident from the accelerated global warming in the wake of the industrial-scale world wars I and II and subsequent industrial developments. It is possible that climate change could have been arrested in the 1960s had global efforts been directed at the time for abrupt cuts in emissions, transformation of agricultural and land clearing practices, and effort at CO₂ drawdown/sequestration. By the onset of the 21st century however, such efforts have hardly been undertaken and could yet turn out to be too late. The repetitions of humanity’s old warlike habits, investing resources in industries of death, genocidal wars associated with intensive carbon emissions, forecast in “The Fate of the Earth”, yield little promise for a change of direction.

Andrew Glikson
A/Prof. Andrew Glikson

Earth and Paleo-climate scientist
School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
The University of New South Wales,
Kensington NSW 2052 Australia

The Asteroid Impact Connection of Planetary Evolution
The Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earth
Climate, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocene
The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earth
Evolution of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizon
From Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligence
Asteroids Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australia
The Event Horizon: Homo Prometheus and the Climate Catastrophe
The Fatal Species: From Warlike Primates to Planetary Mass Extinction