Planet News !

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

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 Evolutionhttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789400763272The Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earthhttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319079073Climate, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocenehttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319225111The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earthhttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319572369Evolution of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizonhttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789400773318From Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligencehttps://www.springer.com/us/book/9783030106027Asteroids Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australiahttp://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319745442The Event Horizon: Homo Prometheus and the Climate Catastrophehttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030547332 Links image top• Seasonal origin of the thermal maxima at the Holocene and the last interglacial - by Samantha Bova et al. (2021)https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-03155-x• Could temperatures keep rising? - by Sam Carana (2021)https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/06/could-temperatures-keep-rising.html• Blueprints of future climate trends - by Andrew Glikson (2018)https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/09/blueprints-of-future-climate-trends.html• Global warming preceded by increasing carbon dioxide concentrations during the last deglaciation - by Jeremy Shakun (2012)https://www.nature.com/articles/nature10915• The Last Great Global Warming - by Lee Kump (2011)https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-last-great-global-warming

Companies are jumping aboard the federal packaging and recycling policy train

Companies are jumping aboard the federal packaging and recycling policy train Arlene Karidis Fri, 06/18/2021 - 00:10 With an aggressive national recycling target (50 percent by 2030); a renewed White House focus on climate change; and clamor for consistent state rules around cutting trash, the federal sustainability policy train is leaving the station. And increasingly, manufacturers and other companies are jumping on board. They are talking to decision makers about a subject that few had on their radar even a few years ago: product stewardship, which calls on producers to take responsibility for what they make at the end of life. Now they want to be in on shaping whatever rules lie ahead to set a level playing field.  With new federal bills up for review and debate, and packaging being a bull’s eye, the status of packaging and recycling policy is in flux. With no cohesive approach in plain sight for now, there’s plenty to think about.  "Our role today is to answer the questions: What is the current landscape for proposed packaging and recycling legislation, and what are the roles of business to advance recycling?" Dylan de Thomas, vice president of external affairs for The Recycling Partnership, told a virtual crowd Tuesday at Greenbiz Group’s Circularity 21. Businesses’ role, whatever it may become, matters as many of them already have made commitments at some level. "We talk about companies’ goals, and companies have big goals for recycled content. But all the work must be underpinned by strong, smart policy," de Thomas said. Mars, maker of candies and food, has diverse packaging needs. "We have glass, paper, plastics, rigid and flexible formats. We do not want to see this packaging released into nature. We want to get it back in the market," said Rachel Goldstein, North America policy director for Mars. The corporation is aiming for 100 percent reusable, recyclable and/or compostable packaging by 2025. [Missed Circularity 21? Catch up with our coverage. ] "We look to redesign for circularity and are looking at extended producer responsibility (EPR)," Goldstein said. EPR is product stewardship legislation charging producers with managing and paying for end-of-life consumer products. The topic, which often goes hand-in-hand with the concept of a circular economy, weighed heavy throughout the discussion.  "Packaging EPR momentum keeps growing," said Sydney Harris, senior associate, policy and programs at the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), a nonprofit that convenes its government members and industry to work toward a common EPR vision. PSI developed a packaging policy model that Harris said has informed 12 state bills. "We support EPR to level the playing field rather than have just a few good companies trying to pull the weight for everyone. We want to make sure everyone is pitching in," Harris said. PSI advocates for a national approach to EPR. While there are such bills in 33 states and Washington, D.C., none exist at the federal level in the United States. That could change, stakeholders figure, as new policies and regulations evolve; one getting a lot of play is the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, which builds on state laws and calls for EPR programs and product stewardship for packaging, among waste reduction efforts. Companies have set aggressive recycled content goals, but some see the only way to get there is to invest in recycling infrastructure — better collection and sortation. We support EPR to level the playing field rather than have just a few good companies trying to pull the weight for everyone. We want to make sure everyone is pitching in. "This [infrastructure] enables markets to create a more circular economy. And we see producer responsibility as a lever to make it happen," Goldstein said. John Campbell, vice president of government relations for beverage can manufacturer Ball Corporation, echoed that thought, and paused for a moment on the collection piece of the puzzle. He sees this as important but made clear that collection is not synonymous with recycling because what is picked up is not necessarily recycled. This reality prompted Ball to release a report on recycling with environmental consultancy Eunomia. "We did it because we saw a gap in information that’s available. Before we can figure out how to go forward, we had to figure out where we are. The Eunomia report looks at what is incorporated into new materials, and we consider that the real recycling rate [versus what is collected]," Campbell told Circularity 21 attendees. "There is a need for reporting. We hope this [study] becomes a tool to inform policy and serves as a baseline to build on what recycling rates are and how we can affect them." It’s complicated because there is no one efficient way to measure recycling. The system is too disaggregated, which is a problem that affects access as well. "You see in homes, hotels, and businesses the different level of access and of support for recovering materials," de Thomas said. For a cohesive, working system, he added, "You have to have bins and trucks to pick up in the first place. You need transfer stations and the right MRFs [materials recovery facilities]. There are MRF deserts where there is not enough processing capacity," de Thomas said, and brought the issues back to lacking policy. Harris mentioned the newly released U.S. Plastics Pact Roadmap to 2025 whose signatories — stakeholders across the plastics value chain — have committed to reaching defined targets through specific actions, to advance a circular economy for plastic packaging. "What I appreciate about the Pact Roadmap is it includes not just goals but detailed strategy on how we get there, and that includes EPR but also deposit return systems and recycled content mandates that I think will drive investments in infrastructure. We need those policy motivators," she said. Consumers are moving in the direction of wanting more investment in recycling and a circular economy. There has to be a tie in between goals and policy, agreed some panelists. Injecting performance goals in policy adds accountability. But policy must be thought out in relation to goals to avoid unintended consequences, or to not advance one material over another, de Thomas said, commenting that the idea is to get all materials back into a circular economy.  For Ball, all the attention around packaging is an opportunity to join new conversations, and timing is everything. "Consumers are moving in the direction of wanting more investment in recycling and a circular economy. Engaging and participating in those conversations early is important. It’s harder to fix [policy problems] later," Campbell said. Harris added that the current state of affairs is an invitation to chime in and to get it right: "There are places where programs are in place and succeeding. And where they are not succeeding, we have the opportunity to improve in the U.S. It really comes down to conversation." Pull Quote Consumers are moving in the direction of wanting more investment in recycling and a circular economy. We support EPR to level the playing field rather than have just a few good companies trying to pull the weight for everyone. We want to make sure everyone is pitching in. Topics Policy & Politics Packaging Circularity 21 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off While there are Extended Producer Responsibility bills in 33 states and Washington, D.C., none exist at the federal level in the United States. Courtesy of The Recycling Partnership Close Authorship

How will you recognize Juneteenth?

How will you recognize Juneteenth? Susan Hunt Stevens Fri, 06/18/2021 - 00:05 Editor's Note: The GreenBiz Group team honors Juneteenth on Friday as a time of reflection about the broader imperative to support diversity, equity and inclusion and the more specific intersection between environmental justice and sustainability. This essay originally appeared on the WeSpire blog and is republished with permission. Opal Lee’s first march to make Juneteenth a federal holiday was around her church in Fort Worth, Texas. As she described it to NPR, "I got together some people here. We had a rally, and so after the rally, the people walked with me, and we've been going ever since." Opal Lee ended up walking all the way to Washington, D.C., in 2016. Quite the undertaking but even more inspiring because she was 90. She has continued to push Congress since. At this writing, her petition on Change.org has 1.6 million signatures. Last year, she finally saw legislation introduced, on Juneteenth, to make it a holiday. It didn’t pass then but has been reintroduced this year. (Editor's note: Since this article was first published, both chambers of the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly have voted to establish Juneteenth as a federal holiday. President Joe Biden signed the bill into law Thursday.)  What is Juneteenth? Juneteenth celebrations began in Texas 150 years ago to commemorate the day that news of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached Galveston, nearly 2.5 years after it was issued. Texas made it a state holiday in 1980. Since then, 47 states have added it as a state holiday or observance. A growing number of companies such as Quicken Loans, Nike, Citigroup, Target and, yes, WeSpire, observe it as a paid holiday. Major banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Capital One, PNC and Fifth Third, close early. For many who celebrate Juneteenth, it’s an opportunity to teach African-American heritage and culture. Traditions include reading the Emancipation Proclamation, singing traditional gospel songs and reading works by noted writers such as Ralph Ellison and Maya Angelou. Barbecue and soul food anchor many a celebration and red food and drinks are served, a symbol of ingenuity and resilience in bondage. We need to be aware that we can do so much more together than being apart. For Lee, commemorating the holiday means more than recognizing a historical moment. It's about embracing unity and equity more boldly as a nation. She points out in her petition that slaves didn’t free themselves and that they had help from allies — politicians, abolitionists, soldiers and others who gave their lives for freedom of the enslaved. "We need to be aware that we can do so much more together than being apart," Lee told CNN. "We can pull our resources (together), learn from each other, and make the world a better place to live." Continuing to strive for equity, unity and justice It is that sentiment that ultimately drove our decision to celebrate Juneteenth at WeSpire. We need as leaders to acknowledge that the work of emancipation is still not done: not in our companies, our cities or our nation. We must actively do more, every day, to bring about racial equity, unity and justice. It starts by increasing awareness and education, but ultimately it requires changing our behaviors. How we hire and promote. How we treat people in meetings. Who we choose to mentor and sponsor. Who we sit with at lunch and include in the casual, informal after-work events. And take it from someone who knows a lot about behavior change: This work is hard. But it’s arguably the most important work we can be doing. Inclusive, equitable businesses are better, stronger businesses. Inclusive equitable communities are better, stronger communities. And inclusive, equitable nations are ultimately better, stronger nations. By taking a day to honor and celebrate when we did the right thing as a nation, we also will have an opportunity to reflect, and recommit to fixing, all that we still haven’t gotten right. So if you haven’t asked your company or school to make Juneteenth a holiday, go ask. If you’ve never celebrated it, start. The promise of emancipation may have started in 1863, but it’s up to us to see it through. Pull Quote We need to be aware that we can do so much more together than being apart. Topics Social Justice Racial Justice Diversity and Inclusion Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A young protester and celebrant of Juneteenth holds a sign that reads "I am my ancestors' wildest dream" at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C. Shutterstock Allison C. Bailey Close Authorship

ehsAI

ehsAI taylor flores Thu, 06/17/2021 - 14:08 ehsAI offers a unique AI and Machine Learning-enabled solution on a multilingual platform to address compliance on a global scale. The technology deconstructs, analyzes, interprets, and converts complex EHS regulations, permits, and legal documents into actionable compliance requirements within minutes, rather than days or weeks as with traditional manual processes. ehsAI is based in Vancouver, British Columbia. We are a women-led organization, a member of Women in AI, and are aligned with the Global Goals for Sustainable Development to combat climate change and promote sustainable industrialization.

Breaking the cycle with upcycled food

Breaking the cycle with upcycled food Jesse Klein Wed, 06/16/2021 - 03:45 Soon — just as the plastic milk gallon in the dairy aisle and the beer can in the alcohol section have the three arrows signaling the packaging is recyclable — food products at grocery stores will have a new label to indicate the product is made with upcycled ingredients.  Upcycling takes byproducts of a process — in this case, food production — that normally would be considered trash and incorporates them into new products for consumption. On the eve of the Upcycled Food Association’s (UFA) launch of a certification and packaging label for upcycled products, Alesha Hartley, certification manager of the Upcycled Food Association, and four member companies talked about the challenges facing the upcycled food world at GreenBiz Group’s Circularity 21 conference.  Matriark Foods takes remnants of fresh fruits and vegetables from farms, and creates vegetable broths and purees for schools, hospitals and food banks. But the hardest part for the company wasn’t the food, it was the paperwork.  "I think if we knew how complicated that would have been before we started, maybe we would have given up before we even started," said Anna Hammond, founder and CEO of Matriark. "But compliance is huge." Food safety is an essential part of any food business, but with upcycled food, it’s even more of a hurdle. According to Hammond, her company had to invent some processes to become compliant because upcycling is such a new sector of the food industry.  "It’s just part of the process of starting a new movement in food and changing the food system at any kind of impactful scale also [requires] figuring out that level of detail," she said. Interested in more on the Circular Economy? Subscribe to our Circularity Weekly newsletter, sent Fridays. The new certification from UFA is a step toward making the process easier and more streamlined for future businesses.  "Having the standard that was defined and is now being certified against adds a whole other layer of trust and transparency," said Dan Kurzrock, co-founder and chief grain officer at Regrained, a platform that connects grain and malt byproducts from brewers to bakeries that use it in bread loaves, nutritional bars and other food products. "You can create a more unified voice for the upcycled food companies to ultimately convey the message of upcycle food and why it's important." For Sheetal Bahirat, founder and CEO of Hidden Gems Beverage Company, the COVID-19 pandemic created upheaval in her upcycling business. The company creates an antioxidant-rich drink, Reveal, from avocado seeds it rescues from five Mexican restaurants. She and her team collect 400 pounds of avocado seeds a week by physically going to the restaurants every other day to pick them up. Bahirat and her company take the avocado seeds that would have cost the restaurants 8 cents per pound to remove and creates a beverage for them then sell on their menus. "It's literally putting money back into their pockets," she said. Over the next couple years, it’s going to be interesting to see how those plans and layouts are going to change as they have sustainability in mind. Pre-pandemic, her team previously could have gone into facilities to adjust operations where avocados ended up in the trash to ones where restaurant employees save, wash and freeze the pits and create a process tailored to each store. But now that education had to be conducted without ever being in the same physical space and without seeing the kitchen set up or trash operation.  According to Bahirat, most food facilities and manufacturers are set up for maximum efficiency without caring about how much gets wasted. How Hidden Gems works with restaurants is a small step towards shifting the focus of those ingrained systems. "Over the next couple years, it’s going to be interesting to see how those plans and layouts are going to change as they have sustainability in mind," she said. Alex Waite is looking towards educating consumers to take her upcycled pet food business to the next level. Her company, Shameless Pets, creates dog treats from leftover veggies, fruits and even some products inedible or undesirable to humans such as salmon skin and eggshells.  "One of our bigger challenges is really helping people understand what upcycling is," she said. "I think the perception around upcycling can sometimes be gross. And we’re fighting that battle to really help people understand what it actually means and how that translates into food safety."  "We don’t want to yuck the yum," Kurzrock added.  [Missed Circularity 21? Catch up with our coverage. ] Pull Quote Over the next couple years, it’s going to be interesting to see how those plans and layouts are going to change as they have sustainability in mind. Topics Food & Agriculture Circular Economy Food Waste Circularity 21 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off ReGrained upcycles leftover grain from breweries to cooks creating baked goods. 

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)https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/10.1139/A08-004 • 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)https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-03155-x • Palaeoclimate puzzle explained by seasonal variation (2021)https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00115-x • Important Climate Change Mystery Solved by Scientists (news release 2021)https://www.rutgers.edu/news/important-climate-change-mystery-solved-scientists • Milankovitch (Orbital) Cycles and Their Role in Earth's Climate - by Alan Buis (NASA news, 2020)https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2948/milankovitch-orbital-cycles-and-their-role-in-earths-climate• Milankovitch cycles - Wikipediahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles• Insolation changeshttps://energyeducation.ca/encyclopedia/Insolationhttp://www.geo.umass.edu/faculty/bradley/bradley2003x.pdf • Late Holocene climate: Natural or anthropogenic? - by William Ruddiman et al. (2015)https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2015RG000503 • Critical insolation–CO2 relation for diagnosing past and future glacial inception - by Andrey Ganapolski et al. (2016)https://www.nature.com/articles/nature16494• Co-extinctions annihilate planetary life during extreme environmental change - by Giovanni Strona & Corey Bradshaw (2018)https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-35068-1• Earth is on the edge of runaway warminghttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2013/04/earth-is-on-the-edge-of-runaway-warming.html • Paris Agreementhttps://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreementhttps://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/english_paris_agreement.pdf• IPCC AR5 Synthesis Report — Figure 2.8https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/syr/synthesis-report• IPCC AR5 Report, Summary For Policymakershttps://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/WG1AR5_SPM_FINAL.pdf • Most Important Message Everhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/most-important-message-ever.html• Radiative forcing of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide: A significant revision of the methane radiative forcing - by M. Etminan et al. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2016GL071930 • When Will We Die?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/06/when-will-we-die.html • Possible climate transitions from breakup of stratocumulus decks under greenhouse warming - by Tapio Schneider et al.https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-019-0310-1• A World Without Cloudshttps://www.quantamagazine.org/cloud-loss-could-add-8-degrees-to-global-warming-20190225 • How close are we to the temperature tipping point of the terrestrial biosphere? - by Katharyn Duffy et al.https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/3/eaay1052 • What Carbon Budget? https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/01/what-carbon-budget.html • 2020: Hottest Year On Recordhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/01/2020-hottest-year-on-record.html• Overshoot or Omnicide?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/03/overshoot-or-omnicide.html • Confirm Methane's Importancehttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/03/confirm-methanes-importance.html • Arctic Ocean invaded by hot, salty water https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/05/arctic-ocean-invaded-by-hot-salty-water.html • Greenhouse gas levels keep rising at accelerating rateshttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/06/greenhouse-gas-levels-keep-rising-at-accelerating-rates.html • Climate Planhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

Can Bumble Bee and Nestlé hook the world on fishless fish?

Can Bumble Bee and Nestlé hook the world on fishless fish? Elsa Wenzel Tue, 06/08/2021 - 02:12 Put down that beet-juice burger. The next big wave in plant-based protein is fake fish. Buoyed by the success of red-meat mimics from the likes of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, a growing number of companies is angling to capture their share of the early market for animal-free seafood. Large companies including Bumble Bee, Nestlé, Tyson, General Mills and Thai Union are making various plays, whether by investing in upstarts or flexing their research and development muscles to formulate new products. The startup space is buoyant with cash and targeting a blend of retail, direct-to-consumer and food service channels, playing with ingredients such as kelp, koji and mung beans. Plant-based and cultivated seafood companies raised $80 million in 2020, according to the nonprofit Good Food Institute (GFI), which counts 800 companies involved in the space. Overall, businesses creating all sorts of meat alternatives raised $3.1 billion last year, more than three times the level of 2019. Alternative meat, dairy and egg products make up more than half of that, at $2.1 billion. Plant-based seafood only accounts for 1 percent of alt-meat sales, compared with 60 percent for beef, poultry and pork analogs, according to data from GFI and retail insights firm SPINS. Yet GFI has positioned the market for fake fish to become bigger, or at least more diverse, than those for beef and poultry alternatives. The nonprofit has named the threatened collapse of fisheries and unmet demand for seafood alternatives as important factors. By 2030, it expects demand for seafood to be 30 percent higher than 2010 levels. Plus, the tens of thousands of edible creatures in the oceans offer a broader palette of flavors and textures to imitate compared with land mammals or fowl. This is not lab grown meat; we actually use ancient techniques to make modern foods. Plant-based seafoods are spawning in the freezers and aisles of mainstream stores. Gathered Foods' Good Catch "tuna" is in a number of outlets, including Publix and Whole Foods. Trader Joe’s plans to stock alt-seafood, too. The pitch Acceptance of plant-based proteins has grown quickly in recent years as consumer sentiment has been shifting away from meat. Unlike the early days of tofu and tempeh, today's alt-proteins are designed to please flexitarians and omnivores, not just to fill a gap for vegetarians or vegans. Plus, the touted sustainability benefits to deriving seafood-like ingredients from plants include reducing the reliance on open-sea fishing and fish farming, not to mention sidestepping the labor abuses found in seafood supply chains. Seafood stand-ins not only promise a low carbon footprint, but they also seek to serve people with dietary restrictions. For example, kelp-based "shrimp" is kosher and won't trigger a life-threatening shellfish allergy. If the sourcing is done carefully, fake fish also should be devoid of the mercury and microplastics that can stem from ocean plastic pollution. Here in random order are several key companies making waves in alt-seafood: Nestlé Nestlé has the advantage of already employing 300 scientists, engineers and product developers spread across eight research and development centers. The food juggernaut's alt-seafood explorations are being made by Nestlé Research in Switzerland and in Germany and the United States under the leadership of CEO Mark Schneider, a vocal proponent of the sustainability potential of plant-based nutrition. Nestlé often describes plant-based food as part of its DNA; in 1886 founder Julius Maggi developed soups with a "meaty," plant-based seasoning. The company's Coffeemate non-dairy creamer, born in 1961, is complemented today by non-dairy almond, oat, coconut, soy and rice milk. Nestlé's Garden Gourmet veggie burgers are well established in supermarkets, as are its vegetable-based sausages, chicken nuggets and lunch meats. The company's sales of vegetarian and plant-based items grew by more than $222 million in 2019 and leaped by 40 percent in the first half of 2020. "In general, there is a lot of dynamism and innovation in this sector, and that is a good thing," said Torsten Pohl, head of the Nestlé Product Technology Center in Singen, Germany, via email. He credited Nestlé's scale, size and proprietary technologies with accelerating the development of plant-based, jarred tuna in a matter of nine months, leading to the release of the six-ingredient, pea-protein-centered "fish" last year in Switzerland. Nestlé scientists, chefs and technologists prototyped and tested the new products in retail outlets, producing early commercial batches in its R&D centers. Defining success for me is when I can sit down in a restaurant and order our product off the menu. "We want to offer people the best plant-based meat alternatives in terms of taste, texture, flavor and nutrition," Pohl said. "To complement our internal capabilities, we also strategically collaborate with researchers, suppliers, startups and various other innovation partners." Nestlé cites the sustainability benefits of reducing overfishing and protecting ocean biodiversity as motivators of these projects. Following its tuna substitute, the company plans to release imitation shellfish and other fish next. New Wave Foods Shellfish are the specialty of New Wave Foods, which Tyson Ventures, chicken giant Tyson's VC arm, backed in 2019. The startup completed a Series A $18 million funding round late last year. The San Francisco-based startup is making mungbean and seaweed-based shrimp that’s supposed to have the "snap" and succulence of the real thing and can be dropped into any hot or cold shrimp recipe. "2021 is the year of the shrimp," said Michelle Wolf, co-founder of New Wave Foods, which is doubling its staff of 15 people by the end of the year and moving its Connecticut R&D kitchen to New York. "And that's what we're really focused on is just blowing out our shrimp product over the next year and delivering that movement." A main New Wave Foods ingredient is moisture-absorbent alginate, derived from brown kelp and used in biomedical applications including hydrogel for wounds. New Wave blends it with mungbeans. To recreate the colors and textures of shrimp, the team consulted with Brad Barnes, a certified master chef and director of consulting at the Culinary Institute of America. The product is kosher and doesn't trigger problems for people who can't eat soy or gluten either, according to New Wave. In March, the company inked a deal with Dot Foods, one of the nation’s largest food distributors, aimed toward rolling out New Wave-branded shrimp on the menus of foodservice institutions and restaurants, which make up the vast majority of the market for shrimp. Wolf believes the disruption of the pandemic has caused consumers to embrace plant-based foods partly as a way to address climate change on a personal level. To reach young adult flexitarians, college campus dining is a special target for New Wave, in addition to corporate dining and independent chains that have weathered COVID well. Market research in April by Fact.MR projected "shrimp" to be the most popular product in alternative seafood. "We saw a huge opportunity with shrimp because it is by and far the most consumed seafood in the United States, but it is also the poster child for a lot of issues in our seafood supply chain," said Wolf, who moved to San Francisco from Pittsburgh following a master’s in biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon, seeking to join a plant-based meat startup. Instead, she co-founded her own venture.  Depending on who’s counting, about half of shrimp is farmed, which in Southeast Asia has been wiping out coast-protecting mangrove trees. Shrimp is responsible for four times as many greenhouse gas emissions as the same amount of steak by weight, according to a study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in 2017. (It described the carbon footprint of a steak and shrimp cocktail dinner as equivalent to driving from Los Angeles to New York City.) In general, there is a lot of dynamism and innovation in this sector, and that is a good thing. Seaweed, on the other hand, which makes up New Wave’s shrimp-mimic, sequesters carbon and reduces ocean acidification. Wolf hopes that spurring demand for plant-derived shrimp will have upstream effects, such as boosting beneficial ocean-based agriculture while reducing demand for farmed shrimp. "Defining success for me … it’s when I can sit down in a restaurant — which is going to be sooner rather than later — and order our product off the menu and text my family back in Pittsburgh and say, 'Hey, you know, go to so-and-so and get the shrimp,'" she said. "That's going to be the moment for me where like, wow, we’ve really done something here." Prime Roots The mission-driven, direct-to-consumer brand Prime Roots is seeking to open the hearts and minds of consumers while helping to reduce the market for animal-based products. "Bacon" was an early offering, and "lobster" ravioli is its latest. Its fermented "superprotein" koji is the key ingredient. Koji mold, the fungus Aspergillus oryzae, has been core to savory foods for millennia throughout Asia. Koji can be tinkered with fairly easily to replicate the texture of muscle fibers of various creatures. Additional ingredients are added to bump up nutrition and finetune the mouthfeel. From Prime Roots' R&D kitchen in west Berkeley, California, the five-year-old company grows koji in a nutrient-rich broth in a process similar to brewing beer. "This is not lab-grown meat; we actually use ancient techniques to make modern foods," said Kimberlie Le, the company's co-founder and CEO. "I wouldn't have even thought to look at koji as a source of protein if I hadn't started to learn about fermentation when I was like 4 or 5 years old with my mom." Her mother, Chi Le, is a well-known chef who appeared on the show MasterChef Vietnam. With a staff of 25, Prime Roots is small but Kimberlie Le believes its proprietary koji brewing can scale up fairly easily. Pound per pound of protein, its processes are far more resource-efficient than harvesting meat from animals, the company estimated. "We really hope that people will support that and see that there's a better way of eating and making protein and that we're fundamentally rethinking our system," Le said. "We're really excited to be able to be there for our community online and really get to go from farm to table, essentially, which is something that's important, to connect people to their food and where it comes from." Gathered Foods' Good Catch Good Catch is becoming the most visible fish-free consumer brand in the frozen aisles, where its bags of shelf-stable "tuna" already appear. The company uses a "six-legume" blend of peas, chickpeas, lentils, soy, fava beans and navy beans. In May, its maker, central Ohio-based Gathered Foods, released a line of $6 frozen fish sticks to be sold in Safeway and other supermarkets, following an April Series B funding round of $26.4 million. Good Catch is in 5,000 U.S. and Canadian stores, and its plant-based tuna salad is bound for 200 Whole Foods prepared food counters. The irreverent Gathered Foods co-founders, brothers Derek and Chad Sarno, have corporate roots at Whole Foods. The self-described "culinary ninjas" also launched the Wicked Healthy plant-based community, and Chad continues to lead plant-based developments as an executive at Tesco. Gathered Foods has attracted funding from celebrities Woody Harrelson and Paris Hilton, and early in 2020 pulled in an investment from General Mills’ venture branch, 301 Inc, an early backer of Impossible Foods. 301 Inc's founder and managing director John Haugen told GreenBiz that seafood is "another compelling proposition that meets the needs of consumers today." Among its other big-name supporters, Gathered Foods has a distribution partnership with tuna titan Bumble Bee.  Bumble Bee Founded in 1899, Bumble Bee claims 28 percent of the market for shelf-stable seafood including tuna, salmon and sardines. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2019, a move industry observers blamed not just on a price-fixing scandal but on a lack of innovation. Taiwan-based seafood trader FCF now owns Bumble Bee. At the same time, consumers had been turning away from canned tuna, especially the millennials and members of Generation Z, known to circle the fresh and chilled items that tend to ring the perimeter of a grocery store. Packaged tuna sales in general, lackluster for years, enjoyed a temporary lift during the early months of the pandemic. I honestly thought I was eating conventional shrimp when I took a bite of it. Those events and trends sent Bumble Bee on a process of soul searching, which led to redefining its purpose as "feeding people’s lives through the power of the ocean." Beyond fish, the San Diego-based company is casting a wide net by considering ingredients derived from plants and algae, from fermentation and from cell-based or cultivated methods, too. Bumble Bee points out that it's the first shelf-stable seafood name to support regenerative practices for the ocean, as well as the first to offer a tuna traceability tool to its customers and to use blockchain technology to trace its frozen seafood's origins. "With all of that, it became very natural to start talking to a company like Good Catch," said Renee Junge, Bumble Bee's communications vice president. The tuna giant and the alt-food startup signed a distribution agreement in March 2020, the first relationship of its kind between a major national seafood brand and a plant-based one. The two CEOs — Jan Tharp of Bumble Bee and Christine Mei of Gathered Foods — speak on a weekly basis. Bumble Bee brings its expertise in sales, orders, logistics and warehousing together with Good Catch's expertise in innovation and production. Through investing in systems and resources, the tuna maker gets a cut of Good Catch's sales. Bumble Bee describes this joint alignment as reflecting the companies' shared values of protecting the ocean via alternative food sources. "That said, our two companies do have different histories, origin stories, business approaches and cultures," said Tharp, who also serves on Gathered Foods' board, via email. "There is a great deal that we can learn from Good Catch; their entrepreneurial and culinary approaches are something we are trying to incorporate into our practices. On the other side, we have systems and processes that are tried and true, which can help Good Catch with efficiencies and scalability. These types of partnerships are not easy, but they are fruitful and essential." Other alt-fish players Alternative proteins are a big focus for the future of another tuna giant. Thai Union in March began selling its OMG Meat products in Thailand, including meat-free crab meat, fish nuggets and dim sum. The Chicken of the Sea seller is working on "shrimp" as well. The tiny Van Cleve Seafood Co. in October began marketing crunchy coconut "shrimp" in Publix’s GreenWise grocery stores. From the Netherlands, Schouten is exploring alt-tuna with its wheat and soy-based TuNo, and it plans to follow with salmon-like and cod-like products. The private company has been producing plant-based proteins since the 1990s. Meanwhile, lab-grown fish is taking off. Out of San Diego, startup Blue Nalu hopes to bring its cultured mahi-mahi to U.S. plates this year. It reeled in $60 million in debt financing in January. Its partnerships with larger companies include Nutreco, Griffith Foods, Pulmuone, Rich Products and Thai Union Group. Blue Nalu is building a demonstration kitchen with a microbrewery-style restaurant, reportedly able to grow analogs to red snapper, yellowtail amberjack and bluefin tuna. What's next? This is just a sampling of the organizations exploring the seafood-analog realm. It's possible that pioneers in alternative proteins, such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, will break their silence with offerings in this area as well. Jen Lamy, senior manager of GFI's Sustainable Seafood Initiative, is excited to see big-name companies getting involved here and hopes others will dive in. What's the business benefit? "There's a lot to be gained from companies in this space that pertains also to the efficiency and the ease of the production system compared to relying on a supply of, for example, wild capture fish from the ocean," she said. "There are all of these reasons coming together at the same time that will, hopefully drive a lot of the companies into the space." I'm hoping we'll see a lot of other companies really focused on taste above everything else because that's what consumers need to need to experience before anything else. Business-to-business activities could accelerate innovations, she added. For instance, companies could open-source their technologies for seafood textures or flavor profiles, she noted. "There's not sort of one code that everyone is trying to crack," Lamy said. "Because there are so many differences between the companies, they're all using either certain ingredients or going for different products or going for different markets." Consumers have been interested in supporting ocean sustainability for a long time, buying Marine Stewardship Council-certified fish or buying from local fishmongers, but the options for acting on those values haven't been clear in the past, Lamy said. Not only do plant-based options provide a clearer sustainability story, but the rise of sustainability labeling for them will help to boost consumer confidence. An additional selling point for seafood stand-ins is their nutritional benefits, as chefs seek to right the wrongs of their predecessor, the low-protein, additive-packed crabstick, industrialized since the 1970s. (Its main ingredient is blended-up fish product called surimi, which has been used in Japan for about 800 years.) A key challenge to winning over consumers is in delivering a seafood aroma that's not intensely fishy, Lamy noted. Among the early offerings she has tasted, the coconut "shrimp" from family-owned Van Cleve Seafood stood out. "It was pretty impressive to me; I honestly thought I was eating conventional shrimp when I took a bite of it," she said. "I'm hoping we'll see a lot of other companies really focused on taste above everything else, because that's what consumers need to experience before anything else." Pull Quote This is not lab grown meat; we actually use ancient techniques to make modern foods. Defining success for me is when I can sit down in a restaurant and order our product off the menu. In general, there is a lot of dynamism and innovation in this sector, and that is a good thing. I honestly thought I was eating conventional shrimp when I took a bite of it. I'm hoping we'll see a lot of other companies really focused on taste above everything else because that's what consumers need to need to experience before anything else. There's a lot to be gained from companies in this space that pertains also to the efficiency and the ease of the production system. Topics Food & Agriculture Oceans & Fisheries Food & Agriculture Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Nomad_Soul Close Authorship

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 Planhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html• Paris Agreement https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/english_paris_agreement.pdf• NOAA: Trends in Greenhouse gaseshttps://gml.noaa.gov/ccgg/trends• Overshoot or Omnicide?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/03/overshoot-or-omnicide.html• Cryosphere Computing - by Nico Sunhttps://cryospherecomputing.tk• Arctic Ocean invaded by hot, salty waterhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/05/arctic-ocean-invaded-by-hot-salty-water.html• Naval Research Laboratry - sea ice thicknesshttps://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/GLBhycomcice1-12/arctic.html• Feedbacks in the Arctic https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html• A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/02/a-rise-of-18c-or-324f-by-2026.html• Most Important Message Everhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/most-important-message-ever.html

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 Evolutionhttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789400763272The Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earthhttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319079073Climate, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocenehttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319225111The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earthhttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319572369Evolution of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizonhttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789400773318From Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligencehttps://www.springer.com/us/book/9783030106027Asteroids Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australiahttp://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319745442The Event Horizon: Homo Prometheus and the Climate Catastrophehttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030547332

7 days in May: The climate finance week when everything changed

7 days in May: The climate finance week when everything changed Joel Makower Tue, 05/25/2021 - 02:11 Last week may be seen as the pivotal moment when climate change finally got serious. I’m not talking about the anticipated rise of wildfires, droughts, floods and other natural disasters, although we’re bracing for the worst of what Mother Nature will throw at us this year. I’m not necessarily talking about any breakthroughs in the U.N. process, although those may be forthcoming in the run-up to COP26 in November. And I’m not even talking about the onrush of net-zero commitments by companies, government and others, although they seem to be happening at an almost-daily clip — so much so that they are no longer news. I’m talking about markets, plain and simple. Consider these stories from the past week: "Carbon is now a buzzword on corporate earnings calls," reported the Financial Times. Corporate execs are uttering the word "carbon" on earnings calls at a "rapidly rising rate, triple over the past three years, to about 1,600 per quarter," the FT said. It cited data from global finance firm UBS that investing in a portfolio of companies with lower emissions intensity — the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of revenue — led to annual returns 1 percentage point higher than the MSCI World index of developed market stocks. It’s important to recognize key moments and milestones that foretell a potentially positive outcome. Last week was one of those moments. "Green finance goes mainstream, lining up trillions behind global energy transition," read a headline this weekend in the Wall Street Journal. Assets in investment funds focused partly on the environment reached almost $2 trillion globally in the first quarter of 2021, it said, more than tripling in three years. Investors are putting $3 billion a day into these funds, and more than $5 billion worth of bonds and loans designed to fund green initiatives are issued — every day. "Banks always backed fossil fuels over green projects — until this year," reported Bloomberg. It noted that banks have poured more than $3.6 trillion into fossil fuel projects — almost three times more than total bonds and loans backing green projects since COP21 in 2015. However, data covering nearly 140 financial-service institutions worldwide found at least $203 billion in bonds and loans going to renewable energy projects and other climate-friendly ventures through mid-May, compared with $189 billion for fossil-fuel projects. Carrots and sticks So, why is the financial world going gaga over green? Simply put, it boils down to carrots and sticks. First, the sticks. Obviously, climate. Last week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) made official what even casual students of the climate crisis have long known: To have any chance of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, investors must stop funding new oil, gas and coal projects — immediately. Those investors already are well aware that as the impacts of a changing climate grow, the increased volatility and uncertainty will roil markets. They're aligning a sizable chunk of their investments with that reality. Within 48 hours of the IEA report, the G7 countries vowed to stop new financing for overseas coal projects and to make "accelerated efforts" to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C relative to pre-industrial times, the first time the seven powerful nations have come together with a public statement about 1.5 degrees. A day later, President Joe Biden issued an executive order that, among other things, "encourages" the Treasury Secretary to assess climate-related financial risk to the stability of the federal government and the stability of the U.S. financial system. It also directed the Labor Secretary to "consider suspending, revising or rescinding any rules from the prior administration that would have barred investment firms from considering environmental, social and governance factors, including climate-related risks, in their investment decisions related to workers’ pensions." The fossil-fuel industry just may be seeing the writing on the wall. "The eventual death of oil and thermal coal won't come from environmentalists or even directly from renewable energy — it will come when big banks decide to stop financing it, rendering it 'unbankable,'" wrote the influential petroleum industry website OilPrice.com, in response to the report. The carrots? Simply put, the economics, viability and risk profile of renewables keep getting better and better. A report released last month by the U.K. think tank Carbon Tracker found that with current technology and in a subset of available locations, we can capture at least 6,700 petawatt-hours annually from solar and wind, more than 100 times global energy demand. (For reference, a petawatt-hour is equal to 1 million megawatt-hours.) As Forbes noted in its coverage of the report: "Renewables could kill off fossil fuel electricity by 2035." Wow. Just wow. Add to all that the seemingly rapid transition to electric vehicles; the growing push to electrify buildings, homes and factories; the increasing viability of alternatives to energy-intensive concrete and steel; and the rise of the circular economy. What a remarkable moment we’re in. Of course, there’s no end of work to be done. The rise of deforestation, the health of the oceans, the quickening loss of biodiversity, the potentially game-changing climate feedback loops — any one of them could be devastating to human well-being. All of these have significant business implications. And companies — both customers and suppliers of the products and services connected to these issues — will find themselves in the crosshairs of investors, activists, regulators and other influencers and changemakers. Expect a new wave of campaigns, demonstrations, boycotts, investor pressure and other tools of the trade. A thought experiment: As the fossil fuel companies turn tail, who will become the next villains? For now, let’s stop and appreciate where we are and how far we’ve come. Progress all too often feels slow and incremental, largely because it is. But it’s important to recognize key moments and milestones that foretell a potentially positive outcome. Last week was one of those moments. And from here, there’s simply no turning back. I invite you to follow me on Twitter, subscribe to my Monday morning newsletter, GreenBuzz, from which this was reprinted, and listen to GreenBiz 350, my weekly podcast, co-hosted with Heather Clancy. Pull Quote It’s important to recognize key moments and milestones that foretell a potentially positive outcome. Last week was one of those moments. Topics Climate Change Renewable Energy Finance & Investing Policy & Politics Featured Column Two Steps Forward Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz photocollage

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 Glancehttps://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/global/time-series/nhem/ocean/ann/4/1997-2020• Danish Meteorological Institute - Arctic temperaturehttp://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php• Freezing point of water - Climate Change: Arctic sea icehttps://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-minimum-arctic-sea-ice-extent • Arctic surface temperature http://ocean.dmi.dk/anim/index.uk.php • Arctic sea ice - thickness and salinity - navy.milhttps://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/GLBhycomcice1-12/arctic.html • CryosphereComputing - by Nico Sun https://cryospherecomputing.tk • A 4.5 km resolution Arctic Ocean simulation with the global multi-resolution model FESOM 1.4 - by Qiang Wang et al. https://gmd.copernicus.org/articles/11/1229/2018/ • 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. https://www.elsevier.com/books/arctic-geology-and-petroleum-potential/vorren/978-0-444-88943-0 • Extinction by 2027- by Malcolm Lighthttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/05/extinction-by-2027.html • MetOp satellite - methane https://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/soundings/iasi• The Threathttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/threat.html• When will we die?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/06/when-will-we-die.html• A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/02/a-rise-of-18c-or-324f-by-2026.html• Most Important Message Everhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/most-important-message-ever.html• Climate Planhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

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 https://www.facebook.com/malcolm.light.50/posts/4013328748745929Anomalies 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) http://www.cosis.net/abstracts/EGU2008/01526/EGU2008-A-01526.pdfMax, 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. https://www.elsevier.com/books/arctic-geology-and-petroleum-potential/vorren/978-0-444-88943-0Lucy-Alamo Projects - Hydroxyl Generation and Atmospheric Methane Destruction http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2015/10/lucy-alamo-projects-hydroxyl-generation-and-atmospheric-methane-destruction.html

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 […]

Nine-year-old is first UK person to have air pollution listed on death certificate

The Government has been urged to set much tougher legally binding pollution targets by the coroner in an inquest into a nine-year-old girl who died of a fatal asthma attack after being exposed to toxic air.

Philip Barlow, assistant coroner for Inner South London, ruled in a landmark second inquest last year that air pollution contributed to the death of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah from an asthma attack.

In a report to prevent future deaths, he said legally binding targets for particulate matter in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines would reduce the number of deaths from air pollution in the UK and the Government should take action to address the issue.

The WHO limit is 10 micrograms of tiny “particulate” matter per cubic metre – and if the UK were to introduce such a limit about 15 million people would be living in areas with illegally high levels of pollution.The current UK – and EU – limit is 25 micrograms per cubic metre, which far exceeds the level of air pollution any part of the country, yet air pollution is responsible for an estimated 36,000 early deaths a year.

Mr Barlow also said greater public awareness of air pollution information would help individuals reduce their personal exposure.

And he warned the adverse effects of pollutants were not being sufficiently communicated to patients and their carers by medical staff

Responding to the report, Ella’s mother Rosamund Kissi-Debrah called on the Government to act on the recommendations in the coroner’s report, warning “children are dying unnecessarily because the Government is […]

Overshoot or Omnicide?

Questions and Answers with Sam CaranaAbove image shows a non-linear blue trend based on 1880-2020 NASA Land+Ocean data that are adjusted 0.78°C to reflect a pre-industrial base, to more fully reflect strong polar warming, and to reflect surface air temperatures over oceans. This blue trend highlights that the 1.5°C threshold was crossed in 2012 (inset), while the 2°C threshold looks set to be crossed next year and a 3°C rise could be reached at the end of 2026. Overshoot?The blue trend in the image at the top shows the temperature rise crossing 1.5°C in 2012. Could this have been a temporary overshoot? Could the trend be wrong and could temperatures come down in future, instead of continuing to rise, and could temperatures fall to such extent that this will bring the average temperature rise back to below 1.5°C?To answer this question, let's apply the method followed by the IPCC and estimate the average temperature rise over a 30-year period that is centered around the start of 2012, i.e. from 1997 to the end of 2026. The IPPC used a 30-year period in its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 ºC, while assuming that, for future years, the current multi-decadal warming trend would continue (see image below).As said, the image at the top shows the temperature rise crossing 1.5°C in 2012. For the average temperature over the 30-year period 1997-2026 to be below 1.5°C, temperatures would have to fall over the next few years. Even if the temperature for 2021 fell to a level as low as it was in 2018 and remained at that same lower level until end 2026, the 1997-2026 average would still be more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial. Furthermore, for temperatures to fall over the next few years, there would need to be a fall in concentrations of greenhouse gases over the next few years, among other things. Instead, greenhouse gas levels appear to be rising steadily, if not at accelerating pace.What did the IPCC envisage? As the image below shows, the IPCC in AR5 did envisage carbon dioxide under RCP 2.6 to be 421 ppm in 2100, while the combined CO₂e for carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide would be 475 ppm in 2100. The image below, based on a study by Detlef van Vuuren et al. (2011), pictures pathways for concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, for each of four Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs).Above image shows that, for RCP 2.6 to apply in the above study, there is little or no room for a rise in these greenhouse gases. In fact, the study shows that methane levels would have to be falling dramatically. At the moment, however, methane concentrations show no signs of falling and instead appear to be following if not exceeding RCP 8.5, as discussed in a recent post and as also illustrated by the images below. Greenhouse gas levels are risingAs the image below shows, the carbon dioxide (CO₂) level recorded at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, was 421.36 parts per million (ppm) on April 8, 2021.  The N20 satellite recorded a methane peak of 2862 ppb on the afterrnoon of March 29, 2021, at 487.2 mb, as the image below shows.A similarly high methane peak was recorded by the MetOp-1 satellite at 469 mb on the morning of April 4, 2021. Below are the highest daily mean methane levels recorded by the MetOp-1 satellite at selected altitudes on March 10 or 12, for the years 2013-2021, showing that methane levels are rising, especially at the higher altitude associated with 293 mb. Similarly, nitrous oxide levels show no signs of falling, as illustrated by the image below.Methane grew 15.85 ppb in 2020, how fast could CO₂e rise? Rising greenhouse gas levels and associated feedbacks threaten to cause temperatures to keep rising, in a runaway scenario that cannot be reverted even if emissions by people were cut to zero.Peaks in greenhouse gas levels could suffice to trigger the clouds feedback, which occurs when a CO₂e threshold of around 1,200 ppm is crossed, and the stratocumulus decks abruptly become unstable and break up into scattered cumulus clouds. Once the clouds tipping point is crossed, it will be impossible to undo its impact, in line with the nature of a tipping point. In theory, CO₂ levels could come down after the stratocumulus breakup, but the stratocumulus decks would only reform once the CO₂ levels drop below 300 ppm.A recent post repeated the warning that by 2026, there could be an 18°C rise when including the clouds feedback, while humans will likely go extinct with a 3°C rise and most life on Earth will disappear with a 5°C rise. In conclusion, once the clouds feedback gets triggered, it cannot be reverted by people, because by the time the clouds feedback starts kicking in, people would already have disappeared, so there won't be any people around to keep trying to revert it.[ click on images to enlarge ]Methane levels are rising rapidly. The image to the right shows a trend that is based on NOAA 2006-2020 annual gobal mean methane data and that points at a mean of 3893 ppb getting crossed by the end of 2026. Why is that value of 3893 ppb important? On April 8, 2021, carbon dioxide reached a peak of 421.36 ppm, i.e. 778.64 ppm away from the clouds tipping point at 1200 ppm, and 778.64 ppm CO₂e translates into 3893 ppb of methane at a 1-year GWP of 200. In other words, a methane mean of 3893 ppb alone could cause the clouds tipping point to get crossed, resulting in an abrupt 8°C temperature rise. Such a high mean by 2026 cannot be ruled out, given the rapid recent growth in mean annual methane levels (15.85 ppb in 2020, see inset on image). Additionally, there are further warming elements than just carbon dioxide and methane, e.g. nitrous oxide and water vapor haven't yet been included in the CO₂e total. Moreover, it may not even be necessary for the global mean methane level to reach 3893 ppb. A high methane peak in one single spot may suffice and a peak of 3893 ppb of methane could be reached soon, given that methane just reached a peak of 2862 ppb, while even higher peaks were reached over the past few years, including a peak of 3369 ppb recorded on the afternoon of August 31, 2018.  Abrupt stratocumulus cloud shattering  [ click on images to enlarge ]Catastrophic crack propagation is what makes a balloon pop. Could low-lying clouds similarly break up and vanish abruptly? Could peak greenhouse gas concentrations in one spot break up droplets into water vapor, thus raising CO₂e and propagating break-up of more droplets, etc., to shatter entire clouds?In other words, an extra burst of methane from the seafoor of the Arctic Ocean alone could suffice to trigger the clouds tipping point and abruptly push temperatures up by an additional 8°C. Omnicide?This brings the IPCC views and suggestions into question. As discussed above, for the average temperature to come down to below 1.5°C over the period 1997-2026, temperatures would need to fall over the next few years. What again would it take for temperatures to fall over the next few years? Imagine that all emissions of greenhouse gases by people would end. Even if all emissions of greenhouse gases by people could magically end right now, there would still be little or no prospect for temperatures to fall over the next few years. Reasons for this are listed below, and it is not an exhaustive list since some things are hard to assess, such as whether oceans will be able to keep absorbing as much heat and carbon dioxide as they currently do. By implication, there is no carbon budget left. Suggesting that there was a carbon budget left, to be divided among polluters and to be consumed over the next few years, that suggestion is irresponsible. Below are some reasons why the temperature is likely to rise over the next few years, rather than fall.How likely is a rise of more than 3°C by 2026?• The warming impact of carbon dioxide reaches its peak a decade after emission, while methane's impact over ten years is huge, so the warming impact of the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere is likely to prevent temperatures from falling and could instead keep raising temperatures for some time to come. • Temperatures are currently suppressed. We're in a La Niña period, as illustrated by the image below. [ click on images to enlarge ]As NASA describes, El Niño events occur roughly every two to seven years. As temperatures keep rising, ever more frequent strong El Niño events are likely to occur. NOAA anticipates La Niña to re-emerge during the fall or winter 2021/2022, 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. The image below shows how El Niño/La Niña events and growth in CO₂ levels line up.  • We're also 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. • Add to this the impact of a recent Sudden Stratospheric Warming event. We are currently experiencing the combined impact of three short-term variables that are suppressing the temperature rise, i.e. a Sudden Stratospheric Warming event, a La Niña event and a low in sunspots. Over the next few years, in the absence of large volcano eruptions and in the absence of Sudden Stratospheric Warming events, a huge amount of heat could build up at surface level. As the temperature impact of the other two short-term variables reverses, i.e. as the sunspot cycle moves toward a peak and a El Niño develops, this could push up temperatures substantially. The world could be set up for a perfect storm by 2026, since sunspots are expected to reach a peak by then and since it takes a few years to move from a La Niña low to the peak of an El Niño period. • Furthermore, temperatures are currently also suppressed by sulfate cooling. This 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. Most sulfates are caused by large-scale industrial activity, such as coal-fired power plants and smelters. A significant part of sulphur emissions is also caused by volcanoes. Historically, some 20 volcanoes are actively erupting on any particular day. Of the 49 volcanoes that erupted during 2021, 45 volcanoes were still active with continuing (for at least 3 months) eruptions as at March 12, 2021. • Also holding back the temperature rise at the moment is the buffer effect of thick sea ice in the Arctic that consumes heat as it melts. As Arctic sea ice thickness declines, more heat will instead warm up the Arctic, resulting in albedo changes, changes to the Jet Stream and possibly trigger huge releases of methane from the seafloor. The rise in ocean temperature on the Northern Hemisphere looks very threatening in this regard (see image on the right) and many of these developments are discussed at the extinction page. There are numerous further feedbacks that look set to start kicking in with growing ferocity as temperatures keep rising, such as releases of greenhouse gases resulting from permafrost thawing and the decline of the snow and ice cover. Some 30 feedbacks affecting the Arctic are discussed at the feedbacks page. • The conclusion of study after study is that the situation is worse than expected and will get even worse as warming continues. Some examples: a recent study found that the Amazon rainforest is no longer a sink, but has become a source, contributing to warming the planet instead; another study found that soil bacteria release CO₂ that was previously thought to remain trapped by iron; another study found that forest soil carbon does not increase with higher CO₂ levels; another study found that forests' long-term capacity to store carbon is dropping in regions with extreme annual fires; a recent post discussed a study finding that at higher temperatures, respiration rates continue to rise in contrast to sharply declining rates of photosynthesis, which under business-as-usual emissions would nearly halve the land sink strength by as early as 2040; the post also mentions a study on oceans that finds that, with increased stratification, heat from climate warming less effectively penetrates into the deep ocean, which contributes to further surface warming, while it also reduces the capability of the ocean to store carbon, exacerbating global surface warming; finally, a recent study found that kelp off the Californian coast has collapsed. So, both land and ocean sinks look set to decrease as temperatures keep rising, while a 2020 study points out that the ocean sink will also immediately slow down as future fossil fuel emission cuts drive reduced growth of atmospheric CO₂.  Where do we go from here? [ image from earlier post ] The same blue trend that's in the image at the top also shows up in the image on the right, from an earlier post, together with a purple trend and a red trend that picture even worse scenarios than the blue trend. The purple trend is based on 15 recent years (2006-2020), so it can cover a 30-year period (2006-2035) that is centered around end December 2020. As the image shows, the purple trend points at a rise of 10°C by 2026, leaving little or no scope for the current acceleration to slow, let alone for the anomaly to return to below 2°C.The red trend is based on a dozen recent years (2009-2020) and shows that the 2°C threshold could already have been crossed in 2020, while pointing at a rise of 18°C by 2025. In conclusion, temperatures could rise by more than 3°C by the end of 2026, as indicated by the blue trend in the image at the top. At that point, humans will likely go extinct, making it in many respects rather futile to speculate about what will happen beyond 2026. 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• Climate Plan https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html• NOAA Global Climate Report - February 2021 - Monthly Temperature Anomalies Versus El Niño https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/202102/supplemental/page-4• NOAA Northern Hemisphere Ocean Temperature Anomaly https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/global/time-series/nhem/ocean/12/12/1880-2021 • NOAA Sunspots - solar cycle progression https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/solar-cycle-progression• Smithsonian Institution - Volcanoes - current eruptions https://volcano.si.edu/gvp_currenteruptions.cfm• IPCC Special Report Global Warming of 1.5 ºC - Summary for Policy Makers https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/spm• IPCC AR5 WG1 Summary for Policymakers - Box SPM.1: Representative Concentration Pathways https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/WG1AR5_SPM_FINAL.pdf• The representative concentration pathways: an overview - by Detlef van Vuuren et al. (2011) https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-011-0148-z• Young people's burden: requirement of negative CO₂ emissions - by James Hansen et al. (2017) https://esd.copernicus.org/articles/8/577/2017• 2020: Hottest Year On Record https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/01/2020-hottest-year-on-record.html• What Carbon Budget? https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/01/what-carbon-budget.html• Most Important Message Ever https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/most-important-message-ever.html • High Temperatures October 2020 https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/10/high-temperatures-october-2020.html• Temperature keep rising https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/12/temperatures-keep-rising.html• More Extreme Weather https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/02/more-extreme-weather.html• Extinctionhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html• Feedbacks https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html• Sudden Stratospheric Warming https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/sudden-stratospheric-warming.html • Possible climate transitions from breakup of stratocumulus decks under greenhouse warming - by Tapio Schneider  et al. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-019-0310-1• Iron mineral dissolution releases iron and associated organic carbon during permafrost thaw - by Monique Patzner et al. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-20102-6• Global maps of twenty-first century forest carbon fluxes - by Nancy Harris et al. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-020-00976-6• A trade-off between plant and soil carbon storage under elevated CO2 - by César Terrer et al. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03306-8• Forests' long-term capacity to store carbon is dropping in regions with extreme annual fires https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/forests-long-term-capacity-to-store-carbon-is-dropping-in-regions-with-extreme-annual-fires • Decadal changes in fire frequencies shift tree communities and functional traits - by Adam Pellegrini et al. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-021-01401-7• NOAA - Annual Mean Growth Rate for Mauna Loa, Hawaiihttps://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/gr.html• NOAA - Trends in Atmospheric Methanehttps://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends_ch4• The Climate Data Guide: Nino SST Indices - by Kevin Trenberth & NCAR Staff (Eds) https://climatedataguide.ucar.edu/climate-data/nino-sst-indices-nino-12-3-34-4-oni-and-tni• NASA - El Niñohttps://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/ElNino• Historical change of El Niño properties sheds light on future changes of extreme El Niño - by Bin Wang et al. https://www.pnas.org/content/116/45/22512• NOAA - ENSO: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions, April 12, 2021https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf• Upper Ocean Temperatures Hit Record High in 2020 - by Lijing Cheng et al. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00376-021-0447-x• Large-scale shift in the structure of a kelp forest ecosystem co-occurs with an epizootic and marine heatwave - by Meredith McPherson et al.https://www.nature.com/articles/s42003-021-01827-6• External Forcing Explains Recent Decadal Variability of the Ocean Carbon Sink - by Galen McKinley et al. (2020) https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2019AV000149• Maximum warming occurs about one decade after a carbon dioxide emission - by Katharine Ricke et al. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/9/12/124002 • Blue Ocean Event https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/09/blue-ocean-event.html • Confirm Methane's Importance https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/03/confirm-methanes-importance.html• FAQs https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/faq.html

Confirm Methane's Importance

Agriculture, land use and forestry responsible for half of people's greenhouse gases emissions?The image on the right updates an image from an earlier post, illustrating the difference between using a Gobal Warming Potential (GWP) for methane of 150 over a few years versus 28 over 100 years. The IPCC in its special report Climate Change and Land assessed the impact of AFOLU (agriculture, forestry, and other land use) versus the impact of fossil fuel, etc., by using a GWP for methane of 28 over 100 years, referring to AR5, an earlier IPCC report. Since AR5 was published, a study found methane's 100-year GWP to be 14% higher than the IPCC value. The image on the right therefore uses a short-term GWP for methane of 171 in the panel on the right-hand side, 14% higher than the 150 used earlier. When using this 171 GWP for methane and when including pre- and post-production activities in the food system, AFOLU (agriculture, forestry, and other land use) causes about half of people's 2007-2016 emissions. The black bar for methane at a GWP of 171 in the panel on the right-hand side further shows a far greater impact caused by fossil fuel, etc., in particular by the use of natural gas for heating buildings, generating electricity, etc.Methane's one-year GWP is 200The image below shows a trendline that is based on IPCC AR5 data that were similarly updated by 14% and that indicates that methane's one-year GWP is 200. Methane Levels Rising RapidlyNOAA data show that methane's global mean for November 2020 was 1891.9 ppb, i.e. 16.3 ppb above the 1875.6 ppb global mean for November 2019. Social Cost of MethaneIn a January 2021 executive order, President Biden called - among other things - for an update of the 'social cost of methane', to take account of climate risk, of environmental justice, and of intergenerational equity, and to have a dollar figure for agencies to use when monetizing the value of changes in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from regulations and other relevant agency actions. Of course, it should be painfully clear by now that the unfolding climate collapse is an existential threat, making it obviously and vitally important to act on methane. We simply cannot afford to delay action, we cannot afford to do so financially nor in any other way. So, what can and should be done? Above suggestion to take strong action was posted Nov. 9, 2020 at facebookEven when issuing a mandate, e.g., for a rapid transition to clean, renewable energy, the question remains how this is best implemented. To what extent could bans help speed up the necessary transition to clean, renewable energy? Examples are banning cars from entering (parts of) cities, banning the construction of new coal-fired power plants, banning fracking and banning natural gas hookups in new construction.Image from the 2014 post Biochar Builds Real AssetsThe Climate Plan likes local communities to decide what works best in their area, while recommending local feebates as the preferred policy tool. Indeed, fees that are set high enough can 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 the revenues 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.We cannot afford to delay actionMean global carbon dioxide was 413.28 ppm in November 2020. Mean global methane was 1891.9 ppb in November 2020, which at a 1-year GWP of 200 is 378.38 ppm CO₂e. Together, CO₂ and methane add up to 791.66 ppm CO₂e, which is 408.34 ppm CO₂e away from the 1200 ppm CO₂e clouds tipping point.This 408.34 ppm CO₂e translates into a methane equivalent of 2042 ppb of methane (again using a 1-year GWP of 200), in other words, it would add about 5 Gt of methane, an amount similar to the methane that is aready in the atmosphere now. Such a methane burst of about 5 Gt alone could suffice to raise the CO₂e level to 1200 ppm and trigger a further 8°C global temperature rise due to the couds feedback.How likely is a large methane burst? Remember the warnings by Natalia Shakhova et al., who more than a decade ago concluded abrupt release of ;up to 50 Gt from the vast amounts of methane stored in the form of hydrates and free gas to be highly possible at any time. A recent study found methane leaking from a large pool of deep, preformed methane, indicating a large potential for abrupt future releases.Keep in mind that the clouds feedback could aso be triggered with a much smaller methane burst, since such an event would also come with a collapse in industrial activity and the associated fall in sulfate cooling, numerous additional feedbacks, and huge rises in greenhouse gas emissions, next to the temperature rise due to such a methane burst itself. The total potential rise in global air temperature at land-ocean surface level from 1750 to 2026 could be 18°C when including the clouds feedback. Also keep in mind that humans will likely go extinct with a 3°C rise and most life on Earth will disappear with a 5°C rise.High peak levelsOminously, some very high peak levels were recently recorded by the MetOp-1 satellite in the afternoon at 469 mb, i.e. 2930 ppb on March 3 and 2878 ppb on March 4.As discussed in an earlier post, next to seafloor methane, there are further warming elements that could contribute to a rapid acceleration of the temperature rise.ConclusionThe situation is dire and calls for immediate, comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.Links• Climate Planhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html• IPCC special report Climate Change and Landhttps://www.ipcc.ch/report/srccl• IPCC Report Climate Change and Landhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/08/ipcc-report-climate-change-and-land.html• Radiative forcing of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide: A significant revision of the methane radiative forcing - by Maryam Etminan et al. (2018)https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2016GL071930• IPCC keeps feeding the addictionhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/10/ipcc-keeps-feeding-the-addiction.html• How much warming have humans caused?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/05/how-much-warming-have-humans-caused.html• Most Important Message Everhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/most-important-message-ever.html• January 2021 executive order by President Biden on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisishttps://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/20/executive-order-protecting-public-health-and-environment-and-restoring-science-to-tackle-climate-crisis/• NOAA mean global carbon methanehttps://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends_ch4• NOAA mean global carbon dioxidehttps://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/gl_data.html• Why stronger winds over the North Atlantic are so dangeroushttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/02/why-stronger-winds-over-north-atlantic-are-so-dangerous.html• Feedbacks in the Arctichttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html• When will we die?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/06/when-will-we-die.html• A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/02/a-rise-of-18c-or-324f-by-2026.html• Methane Hydrates Tipping Point threatens to get crossedhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/08/methane-hydrates-tipping-point-threatens-to-get-crossed.html• Arctic Hit By Ten Tipping Pointshttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/04/arctic-hit-by-ten-tipping-points.html• Crossing the Paris Agreement thresholdshttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/crossing.html• 2°C crossedhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/03/2c-crossed.html• Most Important Message Everhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/most-important-message-ever.html• Blue Ocean Eventhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/09/blue-ocean-event.html• Record Arctic Warminghttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/04/record-arctic-warming.html• There is no time to losehttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/11/there-is-no-time-to-lose.html• Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decadehttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/02/warning-of-mass-extinction-of-species-including-humans-within-one-decade.html• Extinctionhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html• Frequently Asked Questions: How much methane is stored in hydrates and how much of this could be released, say, within a few years?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/faq.html• Source apportionment of methane escaping the subsea permafrost system in the outer Eurasian Arctic Shelf - by Julia Steinbach et al.https://www.pnas.org/content/118/10/e2019672118• 2020: Hottest Year On Recordhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/01/2020-hottest-year-on-record.html

Snowstorms, the breach of the Arctic vortex and the effects of ice meltwater on the oceans

by Andrew GliksonWarnings by leading climate scientists regarding the high sensitivity of the atmosphere in response to abrupt compositional changes, such as near-doubling of greenhouse gas concentrations, are now manifest: According to Wallace Broecker, (the “father” of climate science) “The paleoclimate record shouts out to us that, far from being self-stabilizing, the Earth's climate system is an ornery beast which overreacts to even small nudges, and humans have already given the climate a substantial nudge”. As stated by James Zachos, “The Paleocene hot spell should serve as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of climate”. As snowstorms such as the “Beast from the East” (2018) and “Storm Darcy” (2021) sweep the northern continents, reaching Britain and as far south as Texas and Greece, those who still question the reality and consequences of global climate change, including in governments, may rejoice as if they have a new argument to question global warming. However, as indicated by the science, these fronts result from a weakened circum-Arctic jet stream boundary due to decreased temperature polarity between the Arctic Circle and high latitude zones in Europe, Russia and North America. The reduced contrast allows migration of masses of cold Arctic air southward and of tropical air northward across the weakened jet stream boundary, indicating a fundamental shift in the global climate pattern (Figure 1). Figure 1. (A) Extensions from the Arctic polar zone into Europe and North America; (B) Extension into North America; (C) weakening and increasing undulation of the Arctic jet stream boundary (NOAA) allowing intrusion of air masses of contrasted temperature across the boundary.The weakening of the Arctic boundary is a part of the overall shift of climate zones toward the poles in both hemispheres, documented in detail in Europe (Figure 2). Transient cooling pauses are projected as a result of the flow of cold ice meltwater from Greenland and Antarctica into the oceans, leading to stadial cooling intervals. Figure 2. Migration of climate zones in Europe during 1981-2010 and under +2°C. Faint pink areas represent advanced warming. (A, left) Agro‐climate zonation of Europe based on growing season length (GSL) and active temperature sum (ATS) obtained as an ensemble median from five different climate model simulations during the baseline period (1981–2010). (B, right) Ensemble median spatial patterns of agro-climate zones migration under 2°C global surface warming according to model RCP8.5. Gray areas represent regions where no change with respect to the baseline period is simulated.A combination of ice sheet melting and the flow of melt water into the oceans on the one hand, and ongoing warming of tropical continental zones on the other hand, are likely to lead to the following: Storminess due to collisions of cold and warm air masses;As the ice sheets continue to melt, the cold meltwater enhances lower temperatures at shallow ocean levels, as modelled by Hansen et al. (2016) and Bonselaer et al (2018) (Figure 3A), as contrasted with warming at deeper ocean levels over large parts of the oceans. This transiently counterbalances the effects of global warming over the continents arising from the greenhouse effect; The above processes herald chaotic climate effects, in particular along continental margins and island chains.Figure 3. A. 2080–2100 meltwater-induced sea-air temperature anomalies relative to the standard RCP8.5 ensemble (Bronselaer et al., 2018), indicating marked cooling of parts of the southern oceans. Hatching indicates where the anomalies are not significant at the 95% level; B. Negative temperature anomalies through the 21st-22nd centuries signifying stadial cooling intervals (Hansen et al., 2016); C. A model of Global warming for 2096, where cold ice melt water occupies large parts of the North Atlantic and circum-Antarctica, raises sea level by about 5 meters and decreases global temperature by -0.33°C (Hansen et al., 2016). The extreme rate at which the global warming and the shift of climate zones are taking place virtually within a period less than one generation-long, faster than major past warming events such as at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary 56 million years ago, renders the term “climate change” hardly appropriate, since what we are looking at is a sudden and abrupt event. According to Giger (2021) “Tipping points could fundamentally disrupt the planet and produce abrupt change in the climate. A mass methane release could put us on an irreversible path to full land-ice melt, causing sea levels to rise by up to 30 meters. We must take immediate action to reduce global warming and build resilience with these tipping points in mind.”Computer modelling does not always capture the sensitivity, complexity and feedbacks of the atmosphere-ocean-land system as observed from paleoclimate studies. Many models portray gradual or linear responses of the atmosphere to compositional variations, overlooking self-amplifying effects and transient reversals associated with melting of the ice sheets and cooling of the oceans by the flow of ice melt. According to Bonselaer et al. (2018) “The climate metrics that we consider lead to substantially different future climate projections when accounting for the effects of meltwater from the Antarctic Ice Sheet. These differences have consequences for climate policy and should be taken into account in future IPCC reports, given recent observational evidence of increasing mass loss from Antarctica” and “However, the effect on climate is not included (by the IPCC) and will not be in the upcoming CMIP6 experimental design. Similarly, the effects of meltwater from the Greenland Ice Sheet have so far not been considered, and could lead to further changes in simulated future climate”. Depending on future warming the effect of Antarctic ice meltwater may extend further, possibly becoming global. By contrast to ocean cooling, further to NASA’s reported mean land-ocean temperature rise of +1.18°C in March 2020 above pre-industrial temperatures, relative to the 1951-1980 baseline, large parts of the continents, including central Asia, west Africa eastern South America and Australia are warming toward mean temperatures of +2°C and higher. The contrast between cooling of extensive ocean regions and warming of the continental tropics is likely to lead to extreme storminess, in particular along continent-ocean interfaces.The late 20th century to early 21st century global greenhouse gas levels and regional warming rates have reached a large factor to an order of magnitude faster than warming events of past geological and mass extinction events, with major implications for the nature and speed of extreme weather events. For these reasons the term “climate change” for the current extreme warming, which is reaching +1.5°C over the continents and more than +3°C over the Arctic over a period shorter than one century, no longer applies. The world is looking at an extremely rapid shift in the climatic conditions that have allowed civilization to emerge.Andrew GliksonA/Prof. Andrew GliksonEarth and Paleo-climate scientistThe University of New South Wales,Kensington NSW 2052 AustraliaBooks:The Asteroid Impact Connection of Planetary Evolutionhttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789400763272The Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earthhttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319079073Climate, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocenehttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319225111The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earthhttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319572369Evolution of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizonhttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789400773318From Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligencehttps://www.springer.com/us/book/9783030106027Asteroids Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australiahttp://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319745442

A Sketch for Teaching the Anthropocene in the Alps

By Heidi E. Danzl (trans. Kristy Henderson) The Alps can be considered a hot spot for climate change due to changing growing seasons and tree lines, species migration, more intense weather events, increased glacial melt, droughts, mudslides, avalanches, flooding, and the omnipresence of micro-technofossils. They are therefore well suited to teaching the Anthropocene and exploring its impacts. In the following, I sketch several ideas for teaching the Anthropocene based on existing cultural events, institutions, and practices within contemporary Alpine communities.

The extreme rate of global warming: IPCC Oversights of future climate trends

by Andrew GliksonIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports and comprehensive summaries of the peer-reviewed literature raise questions regarding the assumptions inherent in computer modelling of future climate changes, including the supposed linearity of future global temperature trends (Figure 1).Figure 1. Global mean surface temperature increase as a function of cumulative total global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from various lines of evidence. IPCCComputer modelling does not necessarily capture the sensitivity, complexity and feedbacks of the atmosphere-ocean-land system as observed from paleoclimate studies. Underlying published IPCC computer models appears to be an assumption of mostly gradual or linear responses of the atmosphere to compositional variations. This overlooks self-amplifying effects and transient reversals associated with melting of the ice sheets. Leading paleoclimate scientists have issued warnings regarding the high sensitivity of the atmosphere in response to extreme forcing, such as near-doubling of greenhouse gas concentrations: According to Wallace Broecker, “The paleoclimate record shouts out to us that, far from being self-stabilizing, the Earth's climate system is an ornery beast which overreacts to even small nudges, and humans have already given the climate a substantial nudge”. As stated by James Zachos, “The Paleocene hot spell should serve as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of climate”.Holocene examples are abrupt stadial cooling events which followed peak warming episodes which trigger a flow of large volumes of ice melt water into the oceans, inducing stadial events. Stadial events can occur within very short time, as are the Younger dryas stadial (12.9-11.7 kyr) (Steffensen et al. 2008) (Figure 2) and the 8.2 kyr Laurentian cooling episode,Despite the high rates of warming such stadial cooling intervals do not appear to be shown in IPCC models (Figure 1).Figure 2. The younger dryas stadial cooling (Steffensen et al., 2008). Note the abrupt freeze and thaw boundaries of ~3 years and ~1 year.Comparisons with paleoclimate warming rates follow: The CO₂ rise interval for the K-T impact is estimated to range from instantaneous to a few 10³ years or a few 10⁴ years (Beerling et al, 2002), or near-instantaneous (Figure 3A). An approximate CO₂ growth range of ~0.114 ppm/year applies to the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) (Figure 3B) and ~0.0116 ppm/year to the Last Glacial Termination (LGT) during 17-11 kyr ago (Figure 3C). Thus the current warming rate of 2 to 3 ppm/year is about or more than 200 times the LGT rate (LGT: 17-11 kyr; ~0.0116 ppm/yr) and 20-30 times faster than the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) rate of ~0.114 ppm/year.Therefore the term “climate change” for the extreme warming reaching +1.5°C over the continents and more than +3°C over the Arctic over a period of less than 100 years, requires reconsideration.However, comparisons between the PETM and current global warming may be misleading since, by distinction from the current existence of large ice sheets on Earth, no ice was present about 55 million years ago.Figure 3. (A) Reconstructed atmospheric CO₂ variations during the Late Cretaceous–early Tertiary, based on -Stomata indices of fossil leaf cuticles calibrated using inverse regression and stomatal ratios (Beerling et al. 2002);(B) Simulated atmospheric CO₂ at and after the Palaeocene-Eocene boundary (after Zeebe et al., 2009);(C) 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) Observed climate complexities leading to the disturbance of linear temperature variations include: The weakening of climate zone boundaries, such as the circum-Arctic jet stream, allowing cold air and water masses to shift from polar to mid-latitude zones and tropical air masses to penetrate polar zones (Figure 4), induce collisions between air masses of contrasted temperatures and storminess, with major effects on continental margins and island chains. Amplifying feedbacks, including release of carbon from warming oceans due to reduced CO₂ solubility and therefore reduced intake from the atmosphere, release of methane from permafrost and from marine sediments, desiccated vegetation and extensive bush fires release of CO₂. The flow of cold ice melt water into the oceans from melting ice sheets—Greenland (Rahmstorf et al., 2015) and Antarctica (Bonselaer et al., 2018)—ensuing in stadial cooling effects, such as the Younger dryas and following peak interglacial phases during the last 800,000 years (Cortese et al., 2007; Glikson, 2019). Figure 4. Weakening and undulation of the jet stream, shifts of climate zones and penetration of air masses across the weakened climate boundary. NOAA. In the shorter term such international targets as “zero emissions by 2050” apparently do not include the export of petroleum, coal and gas, thus allowing nations to circumvent domestic emission limits. Australia, the fifth biggest miner and third biggest exporter of fossil fuels, is responsible for about 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. At present the total CO₂+CH₄+N₂O level (mixing ratio) is near 500 ppm CO₂-equivalent (Figure 5). From the current atmospheric CO₂ level of above ~415 ppm, at the rise rate of 2 - 3 ppm/year, by 2050 the global CO₂ level would reach about 500 ppm and the CO₂-equivalent near 600 ppm, raising mean temperatures to near-2°C above preindustrial level, enhancing further breakdown of the large ice sheets and a further rise of sea levels. Figure 5. Evolution of the CO₂+CH₄+N₂O level (mixing ratio) Andrew GliksonDr Andrew GliksonEarth and Paleo-climate scientistANU Climate Science InstituteANU Planetary Science InstituteCanberra, AustraliaBooks:The Asteroid Impact Connection of Planetary Evolutionhttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789400763272The Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earthhttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319079073Climate, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocenehttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319225111The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earthhttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319572369Evolution of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizonhttp://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789400773318From Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligencehttps://www.springer.com/us/book/9783030106027Asteroids Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australiahttp://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319745442

Global Climate Change: What you must know Today

Climate change links with disturbance in the concentration of greenhouse gases, resulting in the rise of average global temperature. As goes by the studies, the effects of global climate change are impacting every sphere of life today. While this is very much told about climate change in the current sources of information, some facts still […] The post Global Climate Change: What you must know Today appeared first on Nature Talkies - We Talk about Nature.

Dazzling and Dangerous: Epidemics, Space Physics, and Settler Understandings of the Aurora Borealis

By Jennifer Fraser and Noah Stemeroff Earlier this year, Explore, a multimedia company that operates the largest live nature camera network on the planet, noticed that one of its livestreams was going viral. The feed in question broadcasts from Churchill, Manitoba. Positioned directly beneath the auroral oval, this camera offers viewers a chance to catch a glimpse of the spectacular auroral displays that grace the city’s skyline nearly three hundred days of every year.

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