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Planet News !2021-04-29T16:37:17+01:00

Meet Nexii, the green construction company allied with Michael Keaton

Meet Nexii, the green construction company allied with Michael Keaton Heather Clancy Thu, 07/29/2021 - 00:01 Green construction startup Nexii first caught my attention back in the spring when the Canadian company announced a partnership with actor and Pennsylvania native Michael Keaton. The initiative — the creation of a manufacturing plant for Nexii’s "sustainable concrete" alternative Nexiite — will bring at least 300 new jobs to a redeveloped brownfield site in the "Steel City" of Pittsburgh that thrived in the era of industrialist Andrew Carnegie. "I’ve always been interested in design and construction, but I only recently learned the game-changing impact the construction industry can have in improving the environment by adoption of innovative, lower-carbon techniques," Keaton said when the relationship was announced in April. "For me, the opportunity to marry job creation with an environmentally sustainable business is incredibly exciting." Keaton’s involvement isn’t just money; he’s participating in a venture called Trinity Sustainable Solutions, which also includes Nexii and commercial real estate developer Trinity Commercial Development, a specialist in redeveloping brownfield sites that has done work for companies including Walmart, Rite Aid, Goodwill and CSX Transportation. The new factory will be constructed using Nexii’s composite, a material manufactured off-site into lightweight panels and then assembled where it’s needed. The building components are modeled using 3D design software; it’s like creating pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that can be pieced together. The approach reduces construction waste and speeds development times, according to Nexii’s marketing materials. If star power doesn’t impress you as a sustainability practitioner or climate-tech evangelist, the flurry of deals and alliances that Nexii has forged since that time will definitely get your attention. In June, the company announced a pact with JLL Philadelphia that is intended to help increase the ranks of Nexii certified partners from among real estate companies, developers and other companies in the building sector. More recently, Nexii created a strategic alliance with building automation technologies company Honeywell. The deal sets up Honeywell as the exclusive tech supplier for new buildings constructed by Nexii. What’s particularly notable about this arrangement is that it’s intended to encourage the use of building management software in smaller structures: Close to 90 percent of the commercial buildings in the U.S. are less than 50,000 square feet in size and lack any sort of management system, according to Energy Star data.  Nexii has also engaged a well-respected adviser from the regenerative and net-zero buildings movement as its "impact architect": Jason McLennan, co-author of the Living Building Challenge and a Buckminster Fuller Prize winner. Nexii is living proof that entrepreneurship is alive and well and thriving outside of Silicon Valley. Founded in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, by two brothers with deep roots in the construction industry, the Vancouver company so far has raised more than $52 million in venture backing. Three-time former Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson (who made substantial updates to the city’s building codes during his tenure) is its executive vice president for strategy and partnerships, and Nexii’s board includes William McNabb, former chair and CEO of Vanguard, and Ronald Sugar, former CEO of Northrop Grumman who is also a board member at Apple and chair of Uber Technologies.  When I spoke with Robertson earlier this week, he told me that Nexii has a twofold mission: To dramatically reduce the embedded carbon associated with buildings — the sector is estimated to account for 39 percent of global emissions — while simultaneously bringing new employment opportunities to Rust Belt and Canadian industrial communities where there is a long history of manufacturing.  We are striving for that big climate impact but also competing toe-to-toe on speed and efficiency of construction. The Pittsburgh plant is an example of that, along with a sister facility in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, and another in Louisville, Kentucky, that Nexii is planning in collaboration with Buffalo Construction, a company that has a presence in 49 states. Its specialty is restaurants, hospitality and multi-family residential structures, among other things. Nexii’s process isn’t just hypothetical. The material was used in the construction of a Starbucks drive-thru cafe in Vancouver; designed to help reduce carbon emissions by about 30 percent. Nexiite is used in the store’s wall and roof panels and assembled in just six days. More recently, the material was used to help build a Popeyes restaurant in British Columbia in less than two weeks. And it's working with Marriott on its biggest project yet, a 172-room, 10-story Courtyard property. "We are striving for that big climate impact but also competing toe-to-toe on speed and efficiency of construction," Robertson said.  Nexii isn’t the only startup espousing some element of prefabrication: Two other startups to watch are Factory OS, beneficiary of strategic investments by the likes of Autodesk and Citi; and Plant Prefab, which counts Amazon and Obvious Ventures among its backers.  Want more great insight on technologies and trends accelerating the clean economy? Subscribe to our free VERGE Weekly newsletter.  Pull Quote We are striving for that big climate impact but also competing toe-to-toe on speed and efficiency of construction. Topics Infrastructure Climate Tech Buildings Startups Carbon Removal Decarbonization Featured Column Practical Magic Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A panel made of Nexiite is hoisted for transportation to a construction site. Courtesy of Nexii Close Authorship

The Anglophone Dilemma in the Environmental Humanities

By Dan Finch-Race and Katie Ritson Transnational discussions of the climate crisis generally use English as a primary language so as to facilitate direct communication among a high number of stakeholders. Translations into other languages tend to be limited, if available at all. We believe that multilingualism should be an important feature of research into interactions between the human and the more-than-human.

It’s time to redefine sustainability

It’s time to redefine sustainability Esteban Guerrero Tue, 07/27/2021 - 02:15 It’s time we should be able to explain sustainability to a 5-year-old — in five words or less. There really aren’t many simple definitions of sustainability. This matters because if we want more people to contribute to a sustainable future, they would first need to know what to do, what the goal is. As expressed by social and environmental leaders recently, people need to become their own problem solvers — and doers — in their communities. Outside-in, top-down solutions alone won’t do it. Therefore, wouldn’t it be more effective if people could just glance at a good definition of sustainability, easily retain it in memory and know exactly what to do from there? Any definition first needs to clearly explain its target word. A very short definition runs the risk of not containing enough words to meet that goal. But what if we could distill the essence of a target word so that a few keywords containing enough meaning could accomplish both goals? Wouldn’t it be more effective if people could just glance at a good definition of sustainability, easily retain it in memory and know exactly what to do from there? Upon hearing any new statement, our short-term memory gets triggered first. As Christopher Poppas stated, this area temporarily stores information, but can only hold up to seven "items" at a time, for roughly 10 to 60 seconds. For this information to enter your long-term memory, however, your brain filters through it and only keeps the key points. Therefore, the shorter definition will stay with you longer, because your brain doesn’t have to filter out information because every word within a small definition counts. Existing definitions Let’s begin with the most well-known definition of sustainability, from the Brundtland report: "Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs […] Sustainable development requires meeting the basic needs of all and extending to all the opportunity to fulfill their aspirations for a better life." Although comprehensive, this definition is too long, even for sustainability professionals to try to recite. I looked at over 70 of the top schools, corporations and organizations in hopes of finding shorter but equally comprehensive definitions. Unfortunately, some definitions were too complex; others, not comprehensive enough. For example: Only 42.7 percent of the definitions mention "people" and "coexist." Fewer, 22.7 percent, discussed our planet, resources and nature. And only 13.6 percent of the definitions included words such as "future," "permanent" or "forever." But nearly no definition explained what people should actually be caring about in terms of sustainability. Only 6.4 percent of the definitions used the word "fulfillment" while 8.2 percent discusses "meeting needs." Fortunately, when we consider all these definitions in aggregate, we can see three essential themes: we want to include everyone; we want to enable people to lead the fulfilling lives they want; and we also want to enable future generations to do the same. The Brundtland definition above includes all three themes. So, if most of the other definitions do not include all three themes, or they do, but not in significantly fewer words, why are they useful? They do not offer anything new nor are they more effective at delivering the same message. To be transparent, I did find a few short definitions, but here is why they don’t work: "People, profit, planet" is a definition by John Elkington and was very powerful and useful when it first came out, partly because of its alliteration and partly because it does seem to allude to the essential elements of sustainability. However, it is open-ended; you still have to explain to your audience what each word means. "Healthy people, healthy planet" has a few problems. For one, is "being healthy" equivalent to "leading a fulfilling life"? "Enough for all (or "for everyone") forever" is the closest definition we found to adequately and simply define sustainability. It implies that people have needs to meet, that everyone should have access to resources and that these resources must be maintained. But the word "enough" is limiting. Having "enough" may not lead everyone to a fulfilled life. If mankind is to reach a truly sustained level of prosperity, we must recognize that fulfillment is a key goal to accomplish. Life is not only about meeting material needs but also about pursuing joys and aspirations. Redefining sustainability Just how much yet another definition will help? Be the judge yourself: "Fulfillment… For everyone… Forever" These 4 words ("The Three Fs") contain all three essential elements and are very easy to remember: Fulfillment: everyone should feel confident to live the lives they dream of, not just aim for sustenance For everyone: all of mankind is included; no one should be left behind Forever: expresses the desired endless continuation of this world and encourages everyone to treat it — and each other — the best possible way to ensure future generations can enjoy life, too And this definition is actionable — you can begin acting on sustainability by contributing anything you can on any of the three dimensions: You could focus on leading a truly better life. You could help your current and future loved ones do the same. Or, you could help ensure we better (re)use resources to enable the above. That’s it. You don’t need to be an expert. Anything that you do, to fulfill yourself and everyone else, forever, helps. The next step Now that you have an easy and actionable definition, ask yourself: What’s keeping people from living more fulfilling lives? Why don’t we have full inclusion throughout everything? When will we start acting on forever instead of just the near term? Additional research will show that we need to bring about three things: empowerment; empathy; and embracing — "The Three Es." By using each of these words as actionable verbs (empower, empathize, embrace), we can begin to evolve the current socioeconomic system at a faster rate into one that finally delivers fulfillment, for everyone, forever — for certain. Pull Quote Wouldn’t it be more effective if people could just glance at a good definition of sustainability, easily retain it in memory and know exactly what to do from there? Topics Marketing & Communication Sustainability Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz

Lululemon, LanzaTech are reshaping carbon waste into fabric

Lululemon, LanzaTech are reshaping carbon waste into fabric Deonna Anderson Mon, 07/26/2021 - 02:00   Addressing industrial emissions and harmful particulate matter, such as those produced by steel mills, continues to be a difficult challenge.  Consider that right now, the steel industry is among the three biggest producers of carbon dioxide. In 2018, every ton of steel produced emitted about 1.85 tons of carbon dioxide, according to the World Steel Association. That equates to about 8 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. LanzaTech, a carbon recycling tech company, views addressing those industrial emissions as an opportunity. It uses CO2 as a feedstock to create products. And in its latest announced partnership with athletic apparel company Lululemon, it’s creating yarn and fabric using recycled carbon emissions. Here’s how it works: LanzaTech captures pollution from industrial sources — for example, greenhouse gas produced by a steel mill in China, the source for the Lululemon fabric, which is similar to the proprietary fabric that it uses for its leggings. The company hasn’t yet announced which of its products will be made from the new textile.  In a process similar to beer brewing, Lanzatech converts the greenhouse gas into ethanol. Then it passes that ethanol onto project partner India Glycols Limited, a petrochemical manufacturer that turns the ethanol into monoethylene glycol, a chemical normally made from fossil fuels. Lastly, one other partner, Far Eastern New Century, a Taiwanese textile producer,  converts the monoethylene glycol to polyester. A close up of the Lululemon fabric Courtesy of Lululemon Close Authorship What makes the fabric Lululemon is making with LanzaTech different from the textile that it has historically used is that it doesn’t require more fossil carbon to be pulled from the ground. "What you don't want is to always have to use fresh fossil carbon," said Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech. "We’ve got to keep fossil carbon in the ground." LanzaTech previously brought its process of capturing and recycling carbon to airlines with a jet fuel application and home care companies, creating packaging and surfactants. Lululemon is the first company it’s working with on textile production. "What we're saying is, ‘Look, we're gonna take all of this waste, whether it's a gas or a solid, we're going to convert it to ethanol," Holmgren said. "And ethanol is going to be an intermediate to make all of the products that we make today in the petrochemical sector." One of Lululemon’s goals is to make 100 percent of its products with sustainable materials and end-of-use solutions, toward a circular ecosystem by 2030. As part of this goal, it is planning to leverage its partnership with LanzaTech, creating a polyester where 30 percent of the product uses recycled carbon emissions.  In addition to its partnership with LanzaTech, Lululemon has a couple of other approaches in place to meet its goal. For example, it is a founding member of the Mylo Consortium, a group of four fashion companies that invest in material innovation — specifically, material made from mycelium, the root system of mushrooms — and other solutions to reduce the industry’s environmental impact. Other consortium members are Adidas, Kering and Stella McCartney. Right now with its LanzaTech partnership, Lululemon is focused on creating and testing a successful fabric in order to inform future scaling and product plans, according to Ted Dagnese, chief supply chain officer at Lululemon.  "We are thrilled with the fabric that we have seen through this partnership to date," Dagnese wrote in response to questions emailed for this story. "We believe that sustainable innovation will play a key role in the future of retail and apparel, especially in polyester which is a widely used material."   Topics Innovation Carbontech Manufacturing Fashion Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Sorbis Close Authorship

Inside the Olympics' circularity strategy

Beyond sustainability lip-service or cute small-scale projects, the organizers recognize the power of the platform and seem to be using it to the best of their ability.

This summer, consider sustainable seafood

This summer, consider sustainable seafood Theresa Lieb Fri, 07/23/2021 - 02:30 Summer makes me nostalgic for seafood. As a kid, our annual family vacation to Croatia was my favorite time of the year. I spent my days snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean, strolling through quaint markets and eating lots of seafood.  But those days are long gone. Seafood hasn’t been part of my diet after learning about the detrimental effects of overfishing on our oceans, appalling human rights violations on vessels and fish sentience.  I’m well aware of many sustainable fishing initiatives and their economic importance. Yet as a consumer, I’ve found it too daunting to evaluate whether the seafood at my restaurants or supermarkets are truly sustainable and ethical.  While diving into seafood issues in preparation for VERGE Food, however, I’ve come across a few better approaches I’d consider supporting. Hopefully, they help bring a better catch to your plate this summer. The smaller, the better In 2019, a study from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future had a surprising finding. Completely eliminating meat, fish and dairy from our plates isn’t the most sustainable way to eat. Instead, complementing a plant-based diet with modest amounts of low-food chain animals such as forage fish, bivalves (mussels, oysters, clams and scallops) and insects has the lowest carbon, land and water footprint. It also adds flexibility and nutritious benefits.  Patagonia Provisions stocks its online shop with sustainably sourced anchovies, mackerels and mussels. They come in handy cans to avoid food waste — a particular problem with quickly spoiling seafood — and are easily recycled. Fresh oysters are another great option. They are truly nature-positive, just like other clams and mussels. Oysters filter up to 100 gallons of water a day, absorb nitrogen, control algal blooms, provide shelter for small fish, protect coastlines and much more. Follow these five tips for buying the best ones.  Plant-based seafood is catching up  Compared to alternative meat and dairy markets, plant-based seafood remains a small segment. But there’s an increasing number of startups in this space who make products that taste great, are healthy and come with a much smaller environmental footprint than the traditional products they’re emulating.  A desert in Arizona is producing sustainable shrimp. Good Catch offers a whopping variety: Three tuna flavors, fish cakes, fish burgers, crab cakes and three breaded varieties. You can order them online or try it at one of their restaurant partners. Sophie’s Kitchen is another one-stop-shop for your seafood cravings, including favorites such as shrimp and smoked salmon. Their tuna is available on Amazon and you can find their other products in many supermarkets.  I’m also excited about Wildtype. They’re constructing the world’s first cultivated seafood pilot plant in San Francisco which soon will allow them to bring their salmon to sushi restaurants.  Kelp is the new kale Seaweed has been all the hype this year — for good reason. It’s a splendid addition to diversified seafood platters. The plants boost ocean health, have the potential to sequester incredible amounts of carbon and provide low barriers to entry for new ocean farmers.  How do you make it part of your diet? Nori — the algae holding sushi together — is the most well-known and widely available seaweed product. But it can be used for a lot more than sushi, such as Japanese miso soup or wrapped around tofu and deep-fried for a dish similar to fried fish. Added to a smoothie, seaweed can give you a calcium and iron boost.  If you’re not much of a home cook, the New York-based startup AKUA might have a good solution for you. Bon Appetit’s Amanda Shapiro says their kelp burger is all she wants to eat this summer "even if it weren’t made of a super-cool, planet-saving seaweed." Get some in their online shop for your next barbeque.  Climate-friendly shrimp grows in the desert  Shrimp is the most consumed seafood in the U.S. It’s also the most carbon-intensive, emitting over four times as many greenhouse gases per serving as farmed salmon, poultry or cheese. Most shrimp is imported from tropical countries such as Thailand, where mangrove forests are cut down to make space for shrimp ponds, releasing large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.  Arizona Desert Shrimp is working to decarbonize America's favorite seafood. Courtesy of Arizona Desert Shrimp Close Authorship But Victoria and Maurice Kemp are proving that it doesn’t have to be this way. They run a shrimp farm at the cutting edge of sustainability in Arizona. Their ponds sit on top of an aquifer too saline for human consumption but just right for shrimp. Once the shrimp are harvested, the Kemps’ next-door farmer irrigates his alfalfa and cotton crops with the nutrient-rich water, reducing his fertilizer need before it returns to the aquifer. No deforestation is involved either, making their product a lot greener. Kemp needs between one and 1.2 pounds of feed to produce one pound of shrimp, a feed to food ratio eight times lower than beef.   The Kemps told me they also hold a patent on a vertical shrimp farming technique that would bring sustainable production closer to urban centers and are looking for the right investor to scale their business. Even now, they’ll ship their Arizona Desert Shrimp right to your door.  These are just a few ways to make your fish consumption more diverse and sustainable. If you choose other options, make sure to check if the products align with Seafood Watch’s recommendations or look out for MSC certification.  What are your sustainable seafood favorites? Send me your tips! I’m at [Want more great analysis on sustainable food systems? Sign up for Food Weekly, our free email newsletter.] Pull Quote A desert in Arizona is producing sustainable shrimp. Topics Food & Agriculture Oceans & Fisheries Fisheries Featured Column Foodstuff Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A sustainable shrimp farm in the desert, using water from a saline aquafer. Courtesy of Arizona Desert Shrimp Close Authorship

Strategies for Companies to Enable More Sustainable and Healthier Buildings

Date/Time: August 12, 2021 (1-2PM ET / 10-11AM PT) With buildings accounting for 36 percent of emissions globally, there is no path to achieve climate goals without addressing energy consumption in buildings. The good news is tools are emerging to support organizations slash emissions through digitization and automation within their commercial and industrial spaces. These measures can also help make buildings healthier and safer for those that live or work within.  In this webcast, experts will cover the latest thinking on the future of buildings, including key trends, challenges and opportunities to make buildings sustainable and healthy. Strategies to navigate the journey to sustainable buildings Finding the balance between healthy and sustainable buildings Evolution of the sustainable building of the future Moderator: Sarah Golden, Senior Energy Analyst & VERGE Energy Chair, GreenBiz Group Speakers:  Youssef Mestari, General Manager Sustainability & Energy Efficiency Solutions, Honeywell Building Technologies Nikki Mehta, Director, Energy & Sustainability, Honeywell Building Technologies If you can't tune in live, please register and we will email you a link to access the archived webcast footage and resources, available to you on-demand after the webcast.

Why Ecocriticism Needs the Social Sciences (and Vice Versa)

By Matthew Schneider-Mayerson, Alexa Weik von Mossner, W.P. Malecki, and Frank Hakemulder it. This is the situation we find ourselves in today. Most environmental scholars, thinkers, and activists agree that to respond to the existential socio-ecological challenges we currently face, we need new narratives of who we are, how we are entangled with the rest of the natural world, and how we might think, feel, and act to preserve a stable biosphere and a livable future. But what kinds of stories should we tell? To which audiences? Are some stories more impactful than others? Might some even be counterproductive?

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. 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 4, 2021, with eight days of forecasts included. This situation 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, and indicating 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 between 2023 and 2025.Sunspots are rising. We're currently at a low point in the sunspot cycle. As the image on the right shows, the number of sunspots can be expected to rise 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.Links 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 Naval Research Laboratory of the U.S. Navy

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). Even with far less methane, levels of further pollutants could rise within years and feedbacks could start kicking in with much greater ferocity, while the resulting extreme weather events would cause sulfate cooling to end, and as a result an 18.44°C temperature rise could occur as early as by 2026 (left panel of above chart). Meanwhile, humans will likely go extinct with a 3°C rise while a 5°C rise will likely end most life on Earth. As the bottom figure in the bar on the left of above chart shows and as discussed in an earlier post, the temperature rise from pre-industrial to 2020 may well be as large as 2.29°C. 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 will probably refuse to consider the above information. The situation is dire and calls for more immediate, more comprehensive and more effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.Links • Climate Plan• Could temperatures keep rising?• Confirm Methane's Importance• When Will We Die? • 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

Heatwaves and the danger of the Arctic Ocean heating up

 Heatwaves and Jet Stream ChangesHeatwaves are increasingly hitting higher latitudes, as illustrated by the forecasts below. The background behind this is that the temperature rise caused by people's emissions is also causing changes to the jet streams. [ click on images to enlarge ]These changes to the Jet Stream are increasingly creating conditions for heatwaves to strike at very high latitudes, as also illustrated by the images on the right.The first image on the right shows that surface temperatures as high as 48°C or 118.3°F are forecast in the State of Washington for June 30, 2021, at 01:00 UTC, at a latitude of 46.25°N. At the same time, even higher temperatures are forecast nearby at 1000 hPa level (temperatures as high as 119.4°C or 48.6°C). The next two images on the right show what happened to the jet stream. One image shows instantaneous wind power density at 250 hPa, i.e. at an altitude where the jet stream circumnavigates the globe, on June 26, 2021 at 11:00 UTC. The image features two green circles. The top green circle marks a location where the jet stream is quite forceful and reaches a speed of 273 km/h or 170 mph. The bottom green circle marks the same location where the 48°C is forecast on June 30, 2021. This shows how heat has been able to move north from as early as June 26, 2021.The next image on the right shows the situation on June 30, 2021, 04:00 UTC, illustrating how such a jet stream pattern can remain in place (blocked) for several days (in this case for more than five days). The green circle again marks the same location where the 48°C is forecast (in the top image on the right).This illustrates how a more wavy jet stream can enable high temperatures to rise to higher latitudes, while holding a pattern in place for several days, thus pushing up temperatures over time in the area.  As said, these changes in the jet stream that are enabling hot air to rise up to high latitudes are caused by global warming. Accelerating warming in the Arctic is causing the temperature difference between the North Pole and the Equator to narrow, which in turn is making the jet stream more wavy.The next image on the right shows that a UV index reading as high as 12 (extreme) is forecast for a location at 51.56°N in Washington for June 28, 2021, illustrating that such an extreme level of UV can occur at high latitudes, due to changes in the jet stream.Accelerated Warming in the ArcticAs the temperature rise is accelerating due to people's emissions, the acceleration is speeding up more in the Arctic than anywhere else on Earth, due to numerous feedbacks and tipping points, including:• Albedo loss goes hand in hand with decline of the snow and ice cover. Albedo is a measure of reflectivity of the surface. Albedo is higher as more sunlight is reflected back upward and less energy is getting absorbed at the surface. Albedo decline can occur as snow and ice disappears and the underlying darker soil and rock becomes exposed. Even when the snow and ice cover remains extensive, its reflectivity can decline, due to cracks and holes in the ice, due to formation of melt ponds on top of the ice and due to changes in texture (melting snow and ice reflects less light). Calving of the ice can take place where warmer water can reach it, and such calving can increase as storms strengthen and waves get larger.• Furthermore, albedo loss can occur as dust, soot and organic compounds that are caused by human activities get deposited on the snow and ice cover, reducing the reflectivity of the surface. Organic compounds and nutrients in meltwater pools can lead to rapid growth of algae, especially at times of high insolation. • Latent heat loss. As sea ice gets thinner, ever less ocean heat gets consumed in the process of melting the subsurface ice, to the point where - as long as air temperatures are still low enough - there still is a thin layer of ice at the surface that will still consume some heat below the surface, but that at the same time acts as a seal, preventing heat from the Arctic Ocean to enter the atmosphere.• Jet Stream changes can further amplify the temperature rise As the temperature difference between the North Pole and the Equator narrows, the Jet Stream becomes more wavy, spreading out widely at times. The changes to the jet stream cause more extreme weather, including heatwaves, forest fires, storms, flooding, etc. This can cause more aerosols to get deposited on the snow and ice cover. It can also speed up the flow of warm water into the Arctic Ocean.Albedo loss, latent heat loss and changes to the jet stream can dramatically amplify the temperature rise in the Arctic. The temperature of the Arctic Ocean is rising accordingly, while there are a number of developments that specifically speed up the temperature rise of the water of the Arctic Ocean, as discussed below.  Arctic Ocean heating upThe temperature of the water of the Arctic Ocean is rising, due to a number of events and developments:                 [ from the insolation page ]Solstice occurred on June 21, 2021. The Arctic is now receiving huge amounts of sunlight (see image on the right, from the insolation page).Sea surface temperatures and temperatures on land are very high in Siberia, Canada and Alaska. Strong winds can spread warm air over the Arctic Ocean.Warm water from rivers is flowing into the Arctic Ocean, carrying further heat into the Arctic Ocean.Warm water from the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean is flowing into the Arctic Ocean and the amount of ocean heat flowing into the Arctic Ocean is rising steadily each year.Arctic sea ice extent is low for the time of year, but at this stage, there still is a lot of sea ice present (compared to September). The sea ice acts as a seal, preventing ocean heat from entering the atmosphere, resulting in more heat remaining in the Arctic Ocean.As mentioned above, latent heat loss is contributing to the rapid temperature rise in the Arctic. The remaining sea ice acts as a buffer, consuming ocean heat from below. Sea ice is getting thinner each year, so ever less ocean heat can get consumed in the process of melting the sea ice from below. Changes to the jet stream could also cause strong storms that could dramatically speed up the amount of heat flowing into the Arctic Ocean, as discussed at the Cold freshwater lid on North Atlantic page.The danger of the temperature rise of the Arctic OceanThe danger of the temperature rise of the Arctic Ocean is that it can cause destabilization of hydrates at its seafloor, resulting in eruption of huge amounts of methane from hydrates and from free gas underneath the hydrates. [ The Buffer has gone, feedback #14 on the Feedbacks page ]In conclusion, changes to the jet stream could cause a huge temperature rise soon, while a 3°C rise could cause humans to go extinct, which is a daunting prospect. Even so, the right thing to do is to help avoid the worst things from happening, through comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.Links• Climate Plan• Insolation• Cold freshwater lid on North Atlantic• Most Important Message Ever• Could temperatures keep rising?• Latent Heat

The Great Blasket Island, Storytelling, and the Environment

By Matthias Egeler and Anna Pilz We are standing on the headland of Dunmore Head on the western edge of Dingle Peninsula, on the western edge of Ireland, on the western edge of Europe. One moment, the slope is speckled with light, the next it is in the shadow of a heavy rain cloud. Then the winds push away the rain leaving behind a sparkling rainbow that disappears after five minutes.

The climate change runaway chain reaction-like process

Amplifying feedbacks leading to accelerated planetary temperaturesby Andrew Glikson“The paleoclimate record shouts to us that, far from being self-stabilizing, the Earth's climate system is an ornery beast which overreacts even to small nudges” (Wally Broecker)Many climate change models, including by the IPCC, appear to minimize or even neglect the amplifying feedbacks of global warming, which are pushing temperatures upward in a runaway chain reaction-like process, as projected by Wally Broecker and other:Lateral and vertical ice melt, including formation of water films on ice; Reduced CO2 intake by the warming oceans due to warming. Currently the oceans absorb between 35-42 percent of all CO2 emitted into the atmosphere and around 90 percent of the excess heat from the rise in greenhouse gases;Warming, desiccation, deforestation and fires over land areas;Release of methane from permafrost and polar sediments;These feedbacks drive a chain reaction of events, accelerating the warming, as follows:Melting snow and ice expose dark rock surfaces, reducing the albedo of the polar terrains and sea ice in surrounding oceans, enhancing infrared absorption and heating.Fires create charred low-albedo land surfaces.An increase in evaporation raises atmospheric vapor levels, enhancing the greenhouse gas effect.Whereas an increase in plant leaf area enhances photosynthesis and evapotranspiration, creating a cooling effect, the reduction in vegetation in darkened burnt areas works in the opposite direction, warming land surfaces.Figure 1. The 2021 global climate trends (Hansen, 2021, by permission)The current acceleration of global warming is reflected by the anomalous rise of temperatures, in particular during 2010-2020 (Hansen 2021, Figure 1 above). Consequently, extensive regions are burning, with 4 to 5 million fires per year counted between about 2004 and 2019. In 2021, global April temperatures are much less than in 2020, due to a moderately strong La Nina effects. Figure 2. The Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum recorded by benthic plankton isotopic data from sites in the Antarctic, south Atlantic and Pacific (Zachos et al., 2003). The rapid decrease in oxygen isotope ratios is indicative of a large increase in atmospheric temperatures associated with a rise in greenhouse gases CO₂ and CH₄ signifies approximately +5°C warming.A runaway climate chain reaction-like process triggered by release of methane is believed to have occurred during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM), about 55 million years ago (Figures 2 above and 3A below).Analogies between Anthropocene climate change and major geological climate events reveal the rate of current rise in greenhouse gas levels and temperatures as compared to major geological warming events is alarming. A commonly cited global warming event is the Paleocene-Eocene boundary thermal maximum (PETM) at 55 Ma-ago, reaching +5 degrees Celsius and over 800 ppm CO₂ within a few thousand years (Figures 2 above and 3A below).Figure 3. (A) Simulated atmospheric CO₂ at and following the Palaeocene-Eocene boundary (after Zeebe et al., 2009); (B) Global CO₂ and temperature during the last glacial termination (After Shakun et al., 2012) (LGM - Last Glacial Maximum; OD – Older dryas; BA - Bølling–Alerød; YD - Younger dryas). Glikson (2020).The definitive measure of Anthropocene global warming, i.e. the rise in the atmospheric concentration of CO₂, to date by 49 percent since pre-industrial time (from 280 ppm to currently 419 ppm), is only rarely mentioned by the media or politicians. Nor are the levels of methane and nitrous oxide, which have risen by about 3-fold. To date potential attempts toward climate mitigation and adaptation have failed. There is a heavy price in communicating distressing projections, Cassandra-like, where climate scientists have been threatened, penalized or dismissed, including from major institutions.  The triggering of a mass extinction event by the activity of organisms is not unique to the Anthropocene. The end Permian mass extinction, the greatest calamity for life in geologic history, is marked in marine carbonates by a negative δ¹³C shift attributed to oceanic anoxia and the emission of methane (CH₄) and hydrogen sulphide (H₂S) related to the activity of methanogenic algae (“purple” and “green” bacteria) (Ward, 2006; Kump, 2011). As a corollary anthropogenic climate change constitutes a geological/biological process where the originating species (Homo sapiens) has not to date discovered an effective method of controlling the calamitous processes it has triggered. Andrew GliksonA/Prof. Andrew GliksonEarth and Paleo-climate scientistThe University of New South Wales,Kensington NSW 2052 AustraliaBooks:The Asteroid Impact Connection of Planetary Evolution Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earth, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocene Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earth of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizon Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligence Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australia Event Horizon: Homo Prometheus and the Climate Catastrophe Links image top• Seasonal origin of the thermal maxima at the Holocene and the last interglacial - by Samantha Bova et al. (2021)• Could temperatures keep rising? - by Sam Carana (2021)• Blueprints of future climate trends - by Andrew Glikson (2018)• Global warming preceded by increasing carbon dioxide concentrations during the last deglaciation - by Jeremy Shakun (2012)• The Last Great Global Warming - by Lee Kump (2011)

By Elmar Ujszaszi-Müller Every year in late September, the atmosphere in Munich becomes thicker when Oktoberfest takes place. The intense odors of roasted almonds and grilled chicken mingle with those of specially brewed lager and the sweat of thousands of people roaming the festival grounds.

Could temperatures keep rising?

Orbital changes are responsible for Milankovitch cycles that make Earth move in and out of periods of glaciation, or Ice Ages. Summer insolation on the Northern Hemisphere reached a peak some 10,500 years ago, in line with the Milankovitch cycles, and insolation has since gradually decreased.Summer insolation on the Northern Hemisphere in red and in langleys per day (left axis, adapted from Walker, 2008). One langley is 1 cal/cm² (thermochemical calorie per square centimeter), or 41840 J/m² (joules per square meter), or about 11.622 Wh/m² (watt-hours per square meter). In blue is the mean annual sea surface temperature, given as the difference from the temperature over the last 1000 years (right axis, from Bova, 2021).Snow and ice cover acting as a buffer While temperatures rose rapidly, especially before the insolation peak was reached, the speed at which temperatures rose was moderated by the snow and ice cover, in a number of ways:snow and ice cause sunlight to get reflected back into spaceenergy from sunlight is consumed in the process of melting snow and ice, and thawing permafrostmeltwater from sea ice and runoff from melting glaciers and thawing permafrost cools oceans.In other words, the snow and ice cover acted as a buffer, moderating the temperature rise. While this buffer has declined over time, it is still exercizing this moderation today, be it that the speed at which this buffer is reducing in size is accelerating, as illustrated by the image below, showing the rise of the sea surface temperature on the Northern Hemisphere. [ from earlier post ]Will the snow and ice cover ever grow back?More recently, the temperature rise has been fueled by emissions caused by people. While emission of greenhouse gases did rise strongly since the start of the Industrial Revolution, the rise in emission of greenhouse gases by people had already started some 7,000 years ago with the rise in modern agriculture and associated deforestation, as illustrated by the image below, based on Ruddiman et al. (2015).The temperature has risen accordingly since those times. At the start of the Industrial Revolution, as the image at the top shows, temperatures already had risen by 0.3°C, compared to some 6000 years before the Industrial Revolution started. When also taking into account that the temperature would have fallen naturally (i.e. in the absence of these emissions), the early temperature rise caused by people may well be twice as much. Temperatures could keep rising for many years, for a number of reasons:Snow & Ice Cover Loss - A 2016 analysis by Ganapolski et al. suggests that even moderate anthropogenic cumulative carbon dioxide emissions would cause an absence of the snow and ice cover in the next Milankovitch cycle, so there would be no buffer at the next peak in insolation, and temperatures would contine to rise, making the absence of snow and ice a permanent loss.Brighter Sun - The sun is now much brighter than it was in the past and keeps getting brighter.Methane - Due to the rapid temperature rise, there is also little or no time for methane to get decomposed. Methane levels will skyrocket, due to fires, due to decomposition of dying vegetation and due to releases from thawing of terrestrial permafrost and from the seafloor as hydrates destabilize.No sequestration - The rapidity of the rise in greenhouse gases and of the associated temperature rise leaves species little or no time to adapt or move, and leaving no time for sequestration of carbon dioxide by plants and by deposits from other species, nor for formation of methane hydrates at the seafloor of oceans.No weathering - The rapidity of the rise also means that weathering doesn't have a chance to make a difference. Rapid heating is dwarfing what weathering can do to reduce carbon dioxide levels. Oceans and Ozone Layer Loss - With a 3°C rise, many species including humans will likely go extinct. A 2013 post warned that, with a 4°C rise, Earth will enter a moist-greenhouse scenario. A 2018 study by Strona & Bradshaw indicates that most life on Earth would disappear with a 5°C rise. As temperatures kept rising, the ozone layer would disappear and the oceans would keep evaporating and eventually disappear into space, further removing elements and conditions that are essential to sustain life on Earth.Paris AgreementAll this has implications for the interpretation of the Paris Agreement. At the Paris Agreement, politicians pledged to take efforts to ensure that the temperature will not exceed 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.So, what are pre-industrial levels? The 'pre-' in pre-industrial means 'before', suggesting that 'pre-industrial' refers to levels as they were in times befóre (as opposed to when) the Industrial Revolution started. Carbon dioxide and methane levels actually started to rise markedly about 6000 years ago, as illustrated by above image, based on Ruddiman (2015). A huge temperature rise by 2026? A recent post suggests that the 1.5°C threshold was already crossed in 2012, i.e. well before the Paris Agreement was adopted by the U.N. (in 2015), while there could be a temperature rise of more than 3°C by 2026. Such a rise could be facilitated by a number of events and developments, including: [ from earlier post ]• The Arctic sea ice latent heat tipping point and the seafloor methane hydrates tipping point look set to get crossed soon (see above image).• Continued emissions. Politicians are still refusing to take effective action, even as greenhouse gas emissions appear to be accelerating. The warming impact of carbon dioxide reaches its peak a decade after emission, while methane's impact over a few years is huge.• Sunspots. We're currently at a low point in the sunspot cycle. As the image on the right shows, the number of sunspots can be expected to rise 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. • 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 between 2023 and 2025.• Rising temperatures can cause growth in sources of greenhouse gases and a decrease in sinks, as discussed in an earlier post.The mass extinction event that we are currently in is rapidly progressing, even faster than the Great Permo-Triassic Extinction, some 250 million years ago, when the temperature rose to about 28°C, i.e. some 14.5°C higher than pre-industrial. In the video below, Guy McPherson discusses the current mass extinction. In conclusion, there could be a huge temperature rise by 2026 and with a 3°C rise, humans will likely go extinct, which is a daunting prospect. Even so, the right thing to do is to help avoid the worst things from happening, through comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.Links • Climate change and ecosystem response in the northern Columbia River basin - A paleoenvironmental perspective - by Ian R. Walker and Marlow G. Pellat (2008) • Vance, R.E. 1987. "Meteorological Records of Historic Droughts as Climatic Analogues for the Holocene." In N.A. McKinnon and G.S.L. Stuart (eds), Man and the Mid-Holocene Climatic Optimum - Proceedings of the Seventeenth Annual Conference of the Archaeological Association of the University of Calgary. The University of Calgary Archaeological Association, Calgary: 17-32. • Seasonal origin of the thermal maxima at the Holocene and the last interglacial - by Samantha Bova et al. (2021) • Palaeoclimate puzzle explained by seasonal variation (2021) • Important Climate Change Mystery Solved by Scientists (news release 2021) • Milankovitch (Orbital) Cycles and Their Role in Earth's Climate - by Alan Buis (NASA news, 2020)• Milankovitch cycles - Wikipedia• Insolation changes • Late Holocene climate: Natural or anthropogenic? - by William Ruddiman et al. (2015) • Critical insolation–CO2 relation for diagnosing past and future glacial inception - by Andrey Ganapolski et al. (2016)• Co-extinctions annihilate planetary life during extreme environmental change - by Giovanni Strona & Corey Bradshaw (2018)• Earth is on the edge of runaway warming • Paris Agreement• IPCC AR5 Synthesis Report — Figure 2.8• IPCC AR5 Report, Summary For Policymakers • Most Important Message Ever• Radiative forcing of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide: A significant revision of the methane radiative forcing - by M. Etminan et al. • When Will We Die? • Possible climate transitions from breakup of stratocumulus decks under greenhouse warming - by Tapio Schneider et al.• A World Without Clouds • How close are we to the temperature tipping point of the terrestrial biosphere? - by Katharyn Duffy et al. • What Carbon Budget? • 2020: Hottest Year On Record• Overshoot or Omnicide? • Confirm Methane's Importance • Arctic Ocean invaded by hot, salty water • Greenhouse gas levels keep rising at accelerating rates • Climate Plan

Greenhouse gas levels keep rising at accelerating rates

At the Paris Agreement in 2015, politicians pledged to limit the global temperature rise from pre-industrial levels to 1.5°C and promised to stop rises in greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and to make rapid reductions in accordance with best available science, to achieve a balance between people's emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century. Yet, greenhouse gas levels keep rising and the rise appears to be accelerating. Carbon DioxideAnnual growth rates of carbon dioxide (CO₂) have been rising for decades. The February 2021 global CO₂ level was 415.88 parts per million (ppm), which was 2.96 ppm higher than the February 2020 global CO₂ level. On April 8, 2021, CO₂ levels at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, reached a peak of 421.36 ppm.Methane  The 2020 global annual methane growth rate of 15.85 ppb was the highest on record. The global methane level in January 2021 was 1893.4 ppb, 20 ppb higher than the January 2020 level. The image at the top shows a trend indicating that methane could reach a level of 4000 ppb in 2026, which at a 1-year GWP of 200 translates into 800 ppm CO₂e, so just adding this to the current CO₂ level would cause the Clouds Tipping Point at 1200 CO₂e to be crossed, which in itself could raise global temperatures by 8°C, as described in an earlier post. Nitrous OxideThe 2020 global annual nitrous oxide (N₂O) growth rate of 1.33 ppb was the highest on record. The global N₂O level in January 2021 was 333.9 ppb, 1.4 ppb higher than the January 2020 level. Greenhouse gas levels are accelerating, despite promises by politicians to make dramatic cuts in emissions. As it turns out, politicians have not taken the action they promised they would take. Of course, when also adding nitrous oxide, the Clouds Tipping Point can get crossed even earlier. Elements contributing to temperature riseNext to rising greenhouse gas levels, there are further elements that can contribute to a huge temperature rise soon. As illustrated by above image by Nico Sun, the accumulation of energy going into melting the sea ice is at record high for the time of year. As illustrated by above combination image, the thickness of the sea ice is now substantially less than it used to be. The image compares June 1, 2021 (left), with June 1, 2015 (right). The animation on the right shows that sea ice is getting rapidly thinner, indicating that the buffer constituted by the sea ice underneath the surface is almost gone, meaning that further heat entering the Arctic Ocean will strongly heat up the water. As described in an earlier post, this can destabilizate methane hydrates in sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, resulting in eruption of methane from these hydrates and from methane that is located in the form of free gas underneath such hydrates. Such methane eruptions will first of all heat up the Arctic, resulting in loss of Arctic sea ice's ability to reflect sunlight back into space (albedo feedback), in disappearing glaciers and in rapidly thawing terrestrial permafrost (and the associated release of greenhouse gases).This comes with further feedbacks such as changes to the Jet Stream that result in ever more extreme weather including storms and forest fires. Temperatures can also be expected to rise over the next few years as sulfate cooling decreases. Aerosols can further cause additional warming if more black carbon and brown carbon gets emitted due to more wood getting burned and more forest fires taking place.Therefore, the 8°C rise as a result of crossing the Clouds Tipping Point would come on top of the warming due to other elements, and the total rise could be as high as 18°C or 32.4°F from preindustrial, as ilustrated by the image on the right, from an earlier post.In conclusion, there could be a huge temperature rise by 2026. At a 3°C rise, humans will likely go extinct, making it from some perspectives futile to speculate about what will happen beyond 2026. Even so, the right thing to do is to help avoid the worst things from happening, through comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.Links• Climate Plan• Paris Agreement• NOAA: Trends in Greenhouse gases• Overshoot or Omnicide?• Cryosphere Computing - by Nico Sun• Arctic Ocean invaded by hot, salty water• Naval Research Laboratry - sea ice thickness• Feedbacks in the Arctic• A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026?• Most Important Message Ever

Methane and the mass extinction of species

by Andrew Glikson“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” Noam Chomsky (1998).The level of atmospheric methane, a poisonous gas considered responsible for major mass extinction events in the past, has nearly tripled during the 20-21st centuries, from ~722 ppb (parts per billion) to above ~1866 ppb, currently reinforced by coal seam gas (CSG) emissions. As the concentration of atmospheric methane from thawing Arctic permafrost, from Arctic sediments and from marshlands worldwide is rising, the hydrocarbon industry, subsidized by governments, is progressively enhancing global warming by extracting coal seam gas in defiance of every international agreement.Methane (CH₄), a powerful greenhouse gas ~80 times the radiative power of carbon dioxide (CO₂) when fresh, sourced in from anaerobic decomposition in wetlands, rice fields, emission from animals, fermentation, animal waste, biomass burning, charcoal combustion and anaerobic decomposition of organic waste, is enriched by melting of leaking permafrost, leaks from sediments of the continental shelf (Figure 1) and extraction as coal seam gas (CSG). The addition to the atmosphere of even a part of the estimated 1,400 billion tons of carbon (GtC) from Arctic permafrost would destine the Earth to temperatures higher than 4 degrees Celsius and thereby demise of the biosphere life support systems. During the last and present centuries, global methane concentrations have risen from approximately ~700 parts per billion (ppb) to near-1900 ppb, an increase by a factor of ~2.7, the highest rate in the last 800,000 years. Since the onset of the Industrial age global emissions of carbon have reached near-600 billion tonnes of carbon ( >2100 billion tonnes CO₂) at a rate faster than during the demise of dinosaurs. According to research published in Nature Geoscience, CO₂ is being added to the atmosphere at least ten times faster than during a major warming event about 55 million years ago.Australia, possessing an abundance of natural gas, namely methane resources, is on track to become the world's largest exporter. Leaks from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) production wells, transport and residues of combustion are bound to contribute significantly to atmospheric methane. However, despite economic objections, not to mention accelerating global warming, natural gas from coal seam gas, liquefied to -161°C, is favored by the government for domestic use as well as exported around the world.In the Hunter Valley, NSW, release of methane from open-cut coal mining reached above 3000 ppb. In the US methane released in some coal seam gas fields constitutes between 2 and 17 per cent of the emissions.While natural gas typically emits between 50 and 60 percent less CO₂ than coal when burned, the drilling and extraction of natural gas from wells, fugitive emissions, leaks from transportation in pipelines result in enrichment of the atmosphere in methane, the main component of natural gas, 34 times stronger than CO₂ at trapping heat over a 100-year period and 86 times stronger over 20 years. So, while natural gas when burned emits less CO₂ than coal, that doesn’t mean that it’s clean – the reason summed up in one word: methane.Global warming triggered by the massive release of CO₂ may be catastrophic, but release of CH₄ from methane hydrates may be apocalyptic. According to Brand et al. (2016), the release of methane from permafrost and shelf sediment has constituted the ultimate source and cause for the dramatic life-changing global warming. The mass extinction at the end of the Permian 251 million years ago, when 96 percent of species was lost, holds an important lesson for humanity regarding greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, and the life support system of the planet (Brand et al. 2016, Methane Hydrate: Killer cause of Earth's greatest mass extinction).The pledge for zero-emissions by 2050 is questioned as governments continue to subsidize, mine and export hydrocarbons. Examples include Saudi-Arabia, the Gulf States, Russia, Norway and Australia. A mostly compliant media highlights a zero-emission pledge, but is reluctant to report the scale of exported emissions as well as the ultimate consequences of the open-ended rise of global temperatures.Norway, a country committed to domestic clean energy, is conducting large scale drilling for Atlantic and Arctic oil. Australia, the fourth-largest producer of coal, with 6.9% of global production, is the biggest net exporter, with 32% of global exports in 2016. 23 new coal projects are proposed n the Hunter Valley, NSW, with a production capacity equivalent to 15 Adani-sized mines.Australian electricity generation is dominated by fossil fuel and about 17% renewable energy. Fossil fuel subsidies hit $10.3 billion in 2020-21, about twice the investment in solar energy in 2019-2020. State Governments spent $1.2 billion subsidizing exploration, refurbishing coal ports, railways and power stations and funding “clean coal” research, ignoring the pledge for “zero emissions by 2050”.The pledge overlooks the global amplifying effects of cumulative greenhouse gases. At the current rate of emissions, atmospheric CO₂ levels would be near 500 ppm CO₂ by 2050, generating warming of the oceans (expelling CO₂), decreased albedo due to melting of ice, release of methane, desiccated vegetation and extensive fires.Claims of “clean coal”, “clean gas” and “clean hydrogen” ignore the contribution of these methods to the rise in greenhouse gases. Coal seam gas has become an additional source of methane which has an 80 times more powerful greenhouse effect than CO₂. This adds to the methane leaked from Arctic permafrost, with atmospheric methane rising from ~ 600 parts per billion early last century to higher than 2000 ppb. In the Hunter Valley, NSW, release of methane from open-cut coal mining reached above 3000 ppb. In the US, methane released in some coal seam gas fields constitutes between 2 and 17 per cent of the emissions.The critical index of global warming, rarely mentioned by politicians or the media, is the atmospheric concentration of CO₂. During 2020-2021 CO₂ rose from 416.45 to 419.05 parts per million at a rate of 2.6 ppm/year, a trend unprecedented in the geological record of the last 55 million years. The combined effects of greenhouse gases such as cabon dioxide (CO₂), methane (CH₄) and nitrous oxide (N₂O) have reached near ~500 ppm CO2-equivalent.Since 1880, the world has warmed by 1.09 degrees Celsius on average, near ~1.5°C on the continents and ~2.2°C in the Arctic, with the five warmest years on record during 2015-2020. Since the 1980s, the wildfire season has lengthened across a quarter of the world's vegetated surface. As extensive parts of Earth are burning, “forever wars” keep looming. It is not clear how tracking toward +4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century can be arrested. A level of +4°C above pre-industrial temperature endangers the very life support systems of the planet. The geological record indicates past global heating events on a scale and rate analogous to the present have led to mass extinctions of species. According to Professor Will Steffen, Australia’s top climate scientist “we are already deep into the trajectory towards collapse”. While many scientists are discouraged by the extreme rate of global heating, it is left to a heroic young girl to warn the world of the greatest calamity since a large asteroid impacted Earth some 66 million years ago.Andrew GliksonA/Prof. Andrew GliksonEarth and Paleo-climate scientistThe University of New South Wales,Kensington NSW 2052 AustraliaBooks:The Asteroid Impact Connection of Planetary Evolution Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earth, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocene Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earth of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizon Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligence Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australia Event Horizon: Homo Prometheus and the Climate Catastrophe

Arctic Ocean invaded by hot, salty water

Sea surface temperatures on the Northern Hemisphere have been rising dramatically over the years, as illustrated by above image, indicating that the latent heat tipping point is getting crossed, while the methane hydrates tipping point could get crossed soon, depending on developments.At the moment, the surface temperature of most of the Arctic ocean's is still below 0°C. Heat is entering the Arctic Ocean from the south, as illustrated by the image on the right. Hot, salty water is entering the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean and it dives underneath the ice, causing the ice to melt from below.  Sea ice that hasn't yet survived a summer melt season is referred to as first-year ice. This thin, new ice is vulnerable to melt and disintegration in stormy conditions. Ice that survives a summer melt season can grow thicker and less salty, since snow that thickens the ice contains little salt. Thickness and salt content determine the resistance of the ice to melt. Multiyear ice is more likely to survive temperatures that would melt first-year ice, and to survive waves and winds that would break up first-year ice.The image on the right shows a forecast of the thickness of the sea ice, run on May 20, 2021 and valid for May 21, 2021. An area is visible north of Severnaya Zemlya toward the North Pole where thickness is getting very thin, while there is one spot where the ice has virtually disappeared. The spot is likely a melting iceberg, the animation on the right shows that the spot has been there for quite a few days, while the freshwater in this spot appears to result from the melting amidst the salty water. Overall, sea ice is getting very thin, indicating that the buffer constituted by the sea ice underneath the surface is almost gone, meaning that further heat entering the Arctic Ocean will strongly heat up the water. As the animation underneath on the right shows, freshwater is entering the Arctic Ocean due to runoff from land, i.e. rainwater from rivers, meltwater from glaciers and groundwater runoff from thawing ermafrost. At the same time, very salty water is entering the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean.  The map below shows how salty and hot water from the Atlantic Ocean enters the Arctic Ocean along two currents, flowing on each side of Svalbard, and meeting at this area north of Severnaya Zemlya where thickness is getting very low. The blue color on the map indicates depth (see scale underneath). The image below, by Malcolm Light and based on Max & Lowrie (1993), from a recent post, shows vulnerable Arctic Ocean slope and deep water methane hydrates zones below 300 m depth. Malcolm Light indicates three areas: Area 1. Methane hydrates on the slope;Area 2. Methane hydrates on the abyssal plane; andArea 3. Methane hydrates associated with the spreading Gakkel Ridge hydro-thermal activity (the Gakkel Riidge runs in between the northern tip of Greenland and the Laptev Sea).  The freezing point of freshwater is 0°C or 32°F. For salty water, the freezing point is -2°C or 28.4°F.During April 2021, sea ice was about 160 cm thick. In June and July 2021, thickness will fall rapidly, as illustrated by the image on the right by Nico Sun.  Sea ice acts as a buffer, by consuming energy in the process of melting, thus avoiding that this energy causes a temperature rise of the water.  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 and remain at zero°C. The amount of energy that is consumed in the process of melting the ice is as much as it takes to heat an equivalent mass of water from zero°C to 80°C.The accumulated ice melt energy until now is the highest on record, as illustrated by the image on the right, by Nico Sun. The image below further illustrate the danger. As the temperature of the water keeps rising, more heat will reach sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean that contain vast amounts of methane, as discussed at this page and in this post. Ominously, methane levels reached a peak of 2901 ppb at 469 mb on May 13, 2021.  In the video below, Peter Wadhams analyses Arctic methane. The video below is an interview with Igor Semiletov by Nick Breeze discussing methane plumes detected during 2020 field research over the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS). In the video below, Guy McPherson discusses the situation. In conclusion, temperatures could rise dramatically soon. A 3°C will likely suffice for humans to go extinct, making it in many respects rather futile to speculate about what will happen in the longer term. On the other hand, the right thing to do is to help avoid the worst things from happening, through comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan. Links • NOAA Climate at a Glance• Danish Meteorological Institute - Arctic temperature• Freezing point of water - Climate Change: Arctic sea ice • Arctic surface temperature • Arctic sea ice - thickness and salinity - navy.mil • CryosphereComputing - by Nico Sun • A 4.5 km resolution Arctic Ocean simulation with the global multi-resolution model FESOM 1.4 - by Qiang Wang et al. • Max, M.D. & Lowrie, A. 1993. Natural gas hydrates: Arctic and Nordic Sea potential. In: Vorren, T.O., Bergsager, E., Dahl-Stamnes, A., Holter, E., Johansen, B., Lie, E. & Lund, T.B. Arctic Geology and Petroleum Potential, Proceedings of the Norwegian Petroleum Society Conference, 15-17 August 1990, Tromso, Norway. Norwegian Petroleum Society (NPF), Special Publication 2 Elsevier, Amsterdam, 27-53. • Extinction by 2027- by Malcolm Light • MetOp satellite - methane• The Threat• When will we die?• A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026?• Most Important Message Ever• Climate Plan

Extinction by 2027

by Malcolm LightThe greatest threat to humanity on Earth is the escalating Arctic atmospheric methane buildup, caused by the destabilization of subsea methane hydrates. This subsea Arctic methane hydrate destabilization will go out of control in 2024 and lead to a catastrophic heatwave by 2026. While the source region for this subsea methane is in Russian waters, the hot ocean current setting them off is the northern extension of the Gulf Stream - North Atlantic Drift, the “Svalbard Current”, which makes United States and Canadian atmospheric pollution guilty of this looming catastrophic Global Extinction event. ReferencesExtinction by 2027 - Post by Malcolm Light and comments of methane in the atmosphere over the East Siberian shelf: Is there any sign of methane leakage from shallow shelf hydrates? - by Shakhova, Semiletov, Salyuk and Kosmach (2008), M.D. & Lowrie, A. 1993. Natural gas hydrates: Arctic and Nordic Sea potential. In: Vorren, T.O., Bergsager, E., Dahl-Stamnes, A., Holter, E., Johansen, B., Lie, E. & Lund, T.B. Arctic Geology and Petroleum Potential, Proceedings of the Norwegian Petroleum Society Conference, 15-17 August 1990, Tromso, Norway. Norwegian Petroleum Society (NPF), Special Publication 2 Elsevier, Amsterdam, 27-53. Projects - Hydroxyl Generation and Atmospheric Methane Destruction

Thought for the day

An ice cave that looks like a wave in Iceland

Ice cave in Iceland that looks like a wave photography by Horour Bjorgvin Magnusson


Celebrating Earth Day 2021 !

The theme for Earth Day 2021 is ‘Restore Our Earth’, urging everyone to focus on how we can both reduce our impact on the planet and actively repair ecosystems.

EARTHDAY.ORG™ works in countries around the world to drive meaningful action for our planet across:

  • Food & Environment: Simply put, the event’s organisers want you to combat climate change by changing your diet – better known as reducing your “foodprint.” While we should all be working to reduce our foodprints, there are several factors to consider, such as access, availability, health, and sustainability.

  • Climate Literacy: Climate and environmental awareness, when combined with civic education, is expected to create jobs, develop a green consumer market, and enable people to meaningfully engage with their governments in the fight against climate change, according to Earth Day organisers. They believe that climate and environmental education should be mandatory, measured, and include a strong civic participation aspect in every school around the world.
  • The Canopy Project: By planting trees all over the world, this initiative aims to enhance our common climate. Since 2010, Earth Day organisers have worked with global partners to plant tens of millions of trees with The Canopy Project, reforesting areas in desperate need of rehabilitation.

  • The Great Global Clean Up: Did you know that unregulated burning of household waste causes 270,000 premature deaths per year, and that 2 billion people lack access to waste collection services? It’s also reported that 79 percent of all […]

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